Monday, June 22, 2015

Birth photography

Eww. Who wants pictures of blood, poo, me in pain, and "down there"... That's what most people think of when they think about birth photography. I am here to assure you, that is NOT what birth photography is all about. Hear me out... (skip to the bottom for a list of what it is)

With my first daughter I made sure to pack my make up bag for possible touch ups just before she made her debut (by the way that never happened). Beyond that, I didn't think about photos. It was clear, after the fact, that I hadn't thought this part through. My wonderful sister grabbed the camera at the last possible moment and snapped a few photos. Bless her heart, she got the WHOLE moment. Lily laying on my chest, still connected within.  I do cherish that photo, though I wish I had more from such a momentous occasion. My one regret with Lily's labor and birth is not having photos to remember it by.

(cropped for your pleasure)
Lily, moments old

Fast forward a couple years and I find out I'm pregnant with number two. I'm determined to have a beautiful hands off home birth and I want to remember every detail for the rest of my life. I scour the Internet for birth photographers and find just a few. All I could think was WOW these are expensive! I was determined to have a photographer. 

Enter, Heather at Mother Bird Photography. From the moment I contacted her, I could tell birth and photography were her passion. We connected immediately! Such a warm and kind woman who listened 100% to what I wanted. Labor begins and Heather arrives. She fell into the background, not interjecting herself into the moment. She captured every possible moment with Lily, Barry and the midwives. Something which would not have been possible if they were taking the pictures. Fast forward to that evening, post birth. I checked my e-mail and I already had a few photos from Heather. They were gorgeous! First moments, siblings meeting, first latch on and a perfect photo for Lexi's birth announcement. Not too many days later, the whole experience was ready to view. As I scrolled through the photos I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. It was beautiful. Every moment I was aware of and even those I wasn't, was right there at my finger tips. Heather and the photos were worth every penny. It was such a joy to work with Heather and I hope to use her again for all of our future babies.

Months have gone by and I still scroll through the photos remembering every detail as vividly as it had happened yesterday. I will always cherish these photos. Here is a lovely slide show put together by Heather herself, Lexi's birth story, and Lily's birth story.

Slideshow of Lexi's Birth
Lexi's Birth Story
So a quick list of WHY birth photography may be right for you:

  • Photos of your birth story will help you remember and process every detail. This helps reduce the chance and severity of postpartum depression. 
  • You will have these special moments of you, your support person and baby for the rest of your life. 
  • Your significant other, mother, daughter, son, whoever is there for you will be able to be IN the moment instead of behind the camera.
  • It isn't about "crowning" and blood, it's about support, love, and memories. It's about dad supporting mom, the emotion and love in the moment
  • Professional photos capture the moment unlike amateur photos.
.You won't understand unless you see it. Seriously, look of birth slideshows, watch videos on YouTube, find the beauty!! :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015


 Homeschool. Something I am so passionate about and love so much. But along with that passion and love comes confusion. There are so many wonderful resources and curricula it's difficult to choose what's right for our family. I have been researching for years in order to choose what we would like to do. After using the Montessori method for a year, I decided it wasn't for us. As much as I love learning through play and all the other wonderful aspects of Montessori, it was just SO much preparation, planning and mess that I couldn't keep up with it all. I wasn't enjoying our school time so it was time to move on. Thankfully we found Charlotte Mason. Lily and I both enjoy this literature based method. Every day Lily brings her school books to me and BEGS me to read. She just wants to keep going and going. I love her love for learning. Instead of doing worksheets and sitting focusing on "learning" all day we put a large focus on playing and developing. We always follow Lily's cues and know when it is time to move on.  The most important subjects for this age are:

  • Bible 
  • Nature Study
  • Habit Training
  • Read alouds

What we have done in the past/currently-
2 Years- A full (school) year of Montessori.
2 Years 9 months through 3 Years 9 months- P3/4 twice through.
3 years 9 months- My own Curriculum focusing on Bible, Character Qualities, Nature study, Read alouds and Reading Readiness
4 years- Yet to be determined

I love, Love LOVE Sonlight. The read alouds included are wonderful! It is literature based/Charlotte Mason and has a focus on bible study. Every week we work on scripture memorization, every day we read two bible stories from our bible story book, many read alouds and do an activity with each story. The activities are usually "learning through play" and include everything from cooking a dish to go along with the story to counting and classifying characters. We also focus on one character quality each week and do many different activities to understand what they mean. Nature study and nature journaling are also a very important part of our week.

So now my dilemma. There are SO many wonderful curricula that I would love to use.

Before Five in a Row (core)
Sonlight (core)
Ambleside Online (core)
Simply Charlotte Mason (handicrafts, life skills and habit training)
Life of Fred (math)
Considering God's Creation (nature study)
Handwriting Without Tears (penmanship)
Petra Lingua (foreign language)
Ivy Kids (supplemental "fun" boxes)

For awhile I struggled to decide between SL, BFIAR, and AO for our core. Since then I have given up on BFIAR because of the lack of read alouds. So here are my two options:

First Option for a total of $405:
USED SL P4/5- Core
SCM- Handcrafts, life skills, habit training
LOF apples- Math
CGC- Nature study
HWT- Penmanship
Library resources- Foreign Language

Second Option for a total of $250:
AO Y0- Core
SCM- Handicrafts, life skills, habit training
LOF apples- Math
CGC- Nature study
HWT- Penmanship
PL- Foreign Language
Ivy Kids for supplements for additional $15 a month

Obviously the second option is more appealing because of the wonderful price and flexibility with what we can do. But I am hung up on SL. I love how everything is laid out for you each day with very little planning. I love how the books show up at your door and the read alouds are so enjoyable. I love how Lily loves it. AO would be enjoyable too but there is a lot more planning and searching/buying books. I'm just so torn between the two!

Anyone use both and have a strong opinion either way?
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