Archive: April 2011   |   View all recent posts

10 Thing I've Learned About Being a New Parent
WHO: Saige   |   WHAT: Newborns, Personal   |   WHEN: April 26, 2011

Little Saige is just over 3 weeks old now, and while I in no way claim to have this whole parenting thing figured out, I have learned a few things so far. Here are 10 of those things in no particular order (except #1):

10. Paternity leave = weight gain. And it's worse than pregnancy weight gain for dads because after the baby'e born, every other day friends and family are bringin' killer dishes over to the house for dinner. It's like bein' on a cruise ship where all you do is eat... without the cheesy entertainment shows.

9.  The dog - once your cherished companion and surrogate baby - is now, well, a dog.  Actually, Mia's been taking the whole baby thing in stride and has done really well. In fact, she may be even sweeter now than she was before as she tries to garner a little attention away from Saige, which makes it even more sad that she's now this man's 3rd best friend behind mom and baby.

8.  Previously mundane or even tedious tasks are now like vacation.  Don't get me wrong, being a first time parent is amazing, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but let's face it, after changing 15 diapers a day and staring at a mostly sleeping (and if not sleeping, mostly crying) baby for 3 weeks, a trip to the grocery store makes me feel like I just won the lottery. 

7.  3 hours is the new 8 hours.  Everything you knew about time continuums gets thrown out the window, and your life becomes a series of compartmentalized 3 hour cycles.

6.  The house you once knew goes MIA.  Things like diaper caddies, baby swings, and burp cloths replace things like coffee table books, vintage storage chests and vases as decorative objects around the house.  Colorful, squeaky, fuzzy things have multiplied like a wet Gremlin, and pink stuff has spread like a fungus.  It's mind-boggling how someone so small requires so. much. stuff.

5.  Nobody's really got this newborn stuff all figured out.  If there's one thing I've learned from all these baby books, it's that they all contradict each other sooner or later.  There are strategies du jour out there that lotsa people are tryin' to put in a book and sell to us newborn parents. 

4.  Your wardrobe gets frozen in time... at least temporarily.  Let's face it, for the first few weeks when you're sitting around the house all day taking care of a baby and barely surviving your self, the need to look publicly presentable falls way down on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs chart somewhere below the need to scrub bathroom tile grout with a toothbrush.  In fact, and sadly my wife can vouch for this, every day for the past 3 weeks I've alternated wearing 2 pairs of khaki cargo shorts.  I think I even heard Kylie call me "khaki" the other day.

3.  It's surprising how easily you'll - at least once - be tempted to make ridiculous, unrealistic sacrifices just to get the baby to go to sleep.  For me, that moment came one day last week at about 2:30 in the morning.  I'd been trying for 90 minutes to get Saige to go back to sleep after her last feeding, but all she did was cry. I'd gone through the progressions of all her typical reasons for crying - hunger, diaper, gas, burping, too hot/cold, too much visual stimulation, too much Diet Coke (just kidding on that last one) - but nothing soothed her.  She was cranky.  I was cranky.  And I think it was at that moment that I asked God if he'd make Saige go to sleep if I promised to give up watching SportsCenter on Saturdays during college football season.  I can't be sure because I was still a bit foggy from the sleep deprivation, but I think I may have offered to give up sight in my left eye just to sweeten the deal. 

2.  The Cosby Show is still freakin' hilarious.  Okay, this one might just be specific to me and my wife.  Kylie has our DVR set to record every Cosby episode that ever aired in syndication, and admittedly I ridiculed her for this... at first.  Then, every time she would feed Saige, she would play one of those episodes. I joked that it kinda became like a Pavlov's dogs thing... anytime Saige heard the Cosby theme song, she would start making a suckling motion with her mouth becuase she knew it was dinner time.  Anyway, the more episodes I sat through, the less I made fun of Kylie.  I'd forgotten how hilarious Bill Cosby is... truly a comedic genius.  I find myself nearly laughing out loud at his deliveries and mannerisms on that show, and I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it back in the day.

1.  My wife is amazing.  Seriously.  I joke about how much work it is having a newborn around the house, but honestly I have it easy compared to her.  She works so much harder than I do and never rarely complains.  She's been a fantastic mom to Saige, and I am blessed with more than I deserve to have her as my wife.

And just for fun, here's a few more images from the past several days...

A close-up of Kylie's Easter basket this year.

The Easter bunny made a stop at our house this year.

Thanks, Carla, for the adorable hat!!

There's just something about Saige's face I think is so adorable when she's pouting.


Saige + Mom = Melting
WHO: Saige & Kylie   |   WHAT: Newborns, Personal   |   WHEN: April 18, 2011
Have a few more photos to post, but here's just a couple I took today of my 2 favorite girls. Seeing these two together brings me more joy than I can describe in a few sentences. I love to see the bond grow between them each day.

BTW, pretty sure it was while I was taking these photographs that the dog helped her self to a chewy treat in Saige's recently detached umbilical cord that was temporarily sitting on the ottoman. Nice.  I can see how she'd be confused... it did look a litle like a Beggin' Strip.

These images were both taken with Kylie standing near a window where light was spilling into the living room.  I placed a 4'x6' silver reflector left of the frame to provide a little reflected fill light.

The grain was added in post processing in this first image.

In this next image, I overlayed one of the textures I photographed in my trip to Paris last year.


Saige - Pieces & Parts
WHO: Saige   |   WHAT: Newborns, Personal   |   WHEN: April 16, 2011
Didn't take many photos yesterday except to document a few pieces & parts of little Saige.  Other than the first image below (shot with an 85mm f/1.4), the rest of the images were photographed using a Nikkor 60mm Micro (macro) lens with all natural light.


Saige - Day 6
WHO: Saige   |   WHAT: Newborns, Personal   |   WHEN: April 15, 2011
Maybe my favorite image yet, simply because I know how much this image will mean to me 20 years from now... especially if she happens to pick-up an interest in photography.

Same basic set-up as the day before, except this time I used a faux wood floor mat backdrop I got from and a bathroom rug I picked up from the Great Indoors.  This image bove was photographed with an 85mm f/1.4 lens at f/2, ISO 640 and a shutter speed of 1/250th.


Saige - Newborn Photography Set-Ups
WHO: Saige   |   WHAT: Newborns, Personal   |   WHEN: April 14, 2011
Took a couple more images of our new little obsession yesterday.  I just can't get enough of her.  Some day there will be non-Saige content on this blog again. Promise. In the meantime, thanks for bearing with me while I indulge myself in adoring our sweet little girl.

A couple people have asked about the set-up for the images above, so I included a pull-back view below of a corner of our living room where I made a pretty simple, all natural light set-up.  Everybody's different, but for me the key to these images has been creating them about an hour after Saige has been fed and has succumbed to a subsequent food coma.  Then I just made sure she had a warm, comfy environment, and she's pretty content.

By the way, I've gotta give a huge shout-out to my photography friends on a photography forum I'm a part of for the great tips and tricks for photographing newborns. It's not something I do a lot of, so they gave me a couple pointers that made a huuuge difference.  Also, thanks to my friend and fellow photographer Haley Birkelbach for letting me borrow some of her newborn photography gear to create a few images of baby Saige.

Mia was my (in)voluntary test model for a few of the images.  I think she was happy to be back in the spotlight for a second since she's now second fiddle around here.

And finally, here's a pull-back shot of the set-up from the image I posted the other day.  Again, it was all natural light where I basically opened the front door, set the planter pot I got at Crate and Barrel on the tile in the entry way, and put a space heater just in front of the pot.  In the final image I just changed the color of the pot to match the flowers in her hair a bit better, cloned out the grout lines in the tile, and vignetted the background. Finally, since she doesn't have any distinctive features or hair styles yet that would be a giveaway, I flipped the image horizontally for a stronger composition that leads the eye through the image more naturally from left to right and comes to a rest in the lower right corner.  Super easy!


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