Mommy and Ransom

You pick up a few things here and there when the mother of your children is a photographer.  Whether you want to or not ;-).  A couple of weeks ago I turned to Jake and said, “You know what would make me really happy that wouldn’t cost any money?”  His ears perked up.  This was a win win here!  I was buttering him up.  What I wanted was a little photoshoot of me and Ransom together.  How could he say no to that?  Let me pause here and let you in on something.  My husband is the opposite of me when it comes to photography.  Let me explain.  Obviously I’m the photographer and he’s not, but aside from that I LOVE to stop on the side of the road during a road trip for a photo op.  He HATES stopping on the side of the road for a photo op.  I LOVE planning outfits for our own family photos and being photographed together or photographing the boys.  He HATES doing family photos (not unlike most of the husbands in the families that I photograph).  It’s not that he hates photos, he just doesn’t like taking the time to make them happen.  I keep telling him he’s going to thank me when he’s sixty.  So when I prefaced my request by saying it was something that would make me really happy and would also be free, and also did not insist that we do these photos right now, I knew he’d probably be much more amenable than he usually is to my schemes (which are usually not so nicely introduced and are usually this instant kinds of requests).  And I was right!  I’m learning…  I asked if we could do them the following Sunday, you know, because I would already have makeup on.  Who wants to waste perfectly good time and energy on great hair and makeup on a day when no one else will see you??  Not those who have small infants!  I also made sure to be very kind and thorough as I was giving my instructions, because let’s face it, when you’re photographing a photographer and you are NOT a photographer, there can be some pressure, which could lead to a fight.  Not that this has ever happened to us…  I was very nice, and he understood how much these photos meant to me, so he really gave it his best effort.  And the photos came out exactly as I imagined!  Thanks Babe!

Also I’m sorry if you are reading this and you are NOT a photogapher and these kinds of photos would make you really happy but not for free.  Kinda.  Call me!

You may have noticed that we do lots of photos on my bed.  This is because this part of our house has the best light.  We live in one of those older homes that has lots of character, but is unfortunately somewhat dark.  Our master bedroom window isn’t blocked by any trees and lets in some very lovely light, so there my friends is where we shoot.  Enjoy these photos of me and my littlest man, side-lit by my bedroom window.

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The Brothers Dreyer

 

Today my oldest boy turned seven.  He started out as my baby and now he’s the leader of a tribe of brothers.  The gap in his mouth from his missing two front teeth melts me when he’s asking me if I know where his sword is.  I could go on, but the baby of this tribe is teething and needs my full attention.  Enjoy these photos of the Dreyer brothers!

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A Day With the Dreyers

6:37 – I hear the sounds of Stampy Longhead (or is it Longnose?  I can never remember) drifting into my room from the living room where my kids are watching his latest Minecraft video on the iPad.  I think, “WHY is my door open?  WHY is the hall door open?” as I roll out of bed and shut them both.

7:02 – Hear Ransom gurgling from his room.  He’ll go back to sleep…

8:12 – Finally ready to get out of bed after eating my breakfast (in bed) (He has a brother but he just got married, sorry ladies) (Ironically, he married another Beth, so there are now two Beth Dreyers.  I apologized to her for taking the website, gmail account, twitter, and instagram accounts) while listening to the Bible on YouVersion.  Don’t you love that guy who reads the NIV version??  Ransom did go back to sleep but he’s up now so I feed and snuggle him.

10:40 – Morning chores are done-ish and Ransom is back down again.  I deny the first request for lunch from my children who have not eaten the eggs and sausage that they begged Daddy to make for them.  I work out.  That baby weight isn’t budging quite as quickly this go round.

12:15 – After lunch, big boys play outside in the blow up pool while Ransom watches from the pack and play.  Four years ago when Rhett was born, I bought mosquito netting for the pack and play, envisioning just such a moment.  And four years later it’s happening for the first time.

12:30 – Rhett is screaming.  His teeth hurt because Shep kicked them.  Shep violently denies such a kick.  Upon further investigation it is discovered that he did in fact accidentally kick Rhett in the teeth.  We learn about why lying is wrong.

12:35 – Rhett asks from outside if he can poop in the back yard.  I say no.

12:36 – Rhett is wailing and crying and screaming at the injustice of not being allowed to poop in the back yard.  Ransom joins him in his lament.

2:00 – Quet time.  Bless the Lord oh my soul.  All three boys are down at the SAME time!  Glory!

2:34 – Smell burning rubber from my room which is on the other side of the house from the kitchen.  Run to the kitchen racking my brain to try to remember what in the world I had left on this time.  Discover that I had removed the cast iron skillet from the burner but forgot to turn it off.  The rubber grippy thingy on the front handle of the skillet is hanging over the top of the not-off burner and is beginning to melt.  It is too hot to open windows and air out the smell.

2:36 – Attempt to rest.  Nevermind, Ransom is awake and ready to nurse.  Bring him into my room, good thing he’s so darn cute.

4:30 – Quiet time is over!  Second swim of the day for the big boys.  Conducted in the nude.

5:45 – Jake is gone tonight.  I decide to eat early so the kids and I can watch a movie.  I’m really proud of having dinner fixed, eaten and cleaned up by 5:45.  We get ready to watch the Lego Movie with popcorn.  Rhett insists on bearing the popcorn from the pantry to the counter.  When he lets go of the jar thinking he’s setting it on the counter, he’s just shy of the counter and instead drops the jar, sending it shattering in a million pieces all over the floor.  Whose idea was it to keep the popcorn in a glass jar anyway!?

5:47 – Rhett is again wailing because now there is no more popcorn.

6:15 – The glass shards are finally all cleaned up (they actually aren’t, I found bitty pieces of glass for days afterward) and we are peacefully watching the Lego Movie.

8:15 – Two out of three are in bed.  Almost done!!  Time to have some snuggle time with Ransom.

9:45 – Put Ransom down.  Get ready for bed and read till Jake gets home.

10:32 – Jake gets home.  We talk for a little while and both go to bed, exhausted.

And I wouldn’t trade a thing.  Ok, I would trade Jake working two jobs.  But other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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What Could Be More Beautiful Than Real Life?

I am a portrait photographer.  I capture portraits of people to document periods of time in their lives, and I am blessed to work with really great clients.  Many of my clients have small children, and the antics in which we engage in order to achieve happy smiling faces from those small children are truly a sight to behold.  Sometimes I can plop a child or some children down and sing and dance my way into their hearts so that they will smile at my camera.  And sometimes I can’t.  When children are very small, especially before they begin to develop the ability to reason, it can be hard to squeeze a portrait out of them.

I think the idea of a portrait being this image of a person dressed in their best, smiling and posing is great – clearly, it’s what I do.  I love the smiling happy looking images of my family that are on my walls.  But sometimes commemorating the time in a happy smiling portrait just isn’t going to happen.  And you know what?  That is ok!  Because real life is beautiful, and it’s messy, and it’s hilarious, and it’s not usually dressed in it’s best with a big grin on its face.  I love to take photographs that feature a family looking awesome, but I love photographs that feature a family looking real as well.

Ashley had family in town recently and they wanted to get some photos.  Especially photos of all the little cousins.  Now ‘the cousins’ are five children under the age of four, but I was all about it!  I basically knew that I was not going to get a spectacular ‘portrait’ of these five children.  And I was right.  But I absolutely love these photos!  They tell a story about a family visit.  Where dinner was being prepared inside as I dragged people in stages out front to pose in front of the house.  Where the kids wouldn’t sit still, and we gave them candy and cookies to try to keep them happy.  Where Jane has scabs on her face because earlier that day she fell down.  Hard.  There will be more formal, posed portraits of these kids when they are older.  But this is real life right now.  Ashley’s kids are 3, 2, and 1, and her sister’s kids are 2, 1, and about to be born.  Life is crazy!  It’s not calm, organized or predictable.  It’s chaos.  It’s life.  And that is beautiful.  Because really, what could be more beautiful than real life?

 

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At Home With Ransom

My sweet Ransom is already almost five weeks old!  It has actually been a very lovely five weeks to tell you the truth.  This transition has been the easiest for me.  Going from footloose and fancy free to one baby is pretty challenging, just because everything is new.  Going from one to two is challenging because you have to learn how to juggle.  But going from two to three has really not been that hard.  I think there are several reasons for that, some that have to do with our specific circumstances, but over all I think it’s because we are confident in our parenting now.  We know what it’s like to have a newborn, we know how to juggle multiple kids, I know how breastfeeding works, I know what is normal and not normal for a baby, my big boys aren’t in diapers anymore etc etc.  And obviously it’s waaaaay easier to recover from a vaginal birth than from a c-section.  Hello!!!

Also I think with my first two, I was trying really hard to not miss a beat with life after giving birth to a certain extent.  I was trying to keep up with housework, get work done, get back into all of my church activities, get my baby to sleep through the night and look great at the same time.  This time is different.  This time it’s sweeter in a way because I’ve been wanting a baby for so long.  Because I’ve experienced loss.  Because I’m older and wiser.  This time I’m not in any hurry to do anything but enjoy this little guy.  This time I’m actually taking the age old advice to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps.’  I’m taking it easy and letting the dust pile up (and how how it has piled up) while I take naps and sit on the patio snuggling my baby.  Last week I didn’t even leave the house until Friday when we walked over to the neighborhood park to play.  Our friends completely surprised us by raising money to help us buy a car (seriously the shock of the century!!!), and we aren’t even rushing into that.  I’ve been waiting about four years to buy a minivan (never thought those words would come out of my mouth!) so I’m going to wait until just the right one comes along.

All that to say, it really has been a sweet and peaceful time for our family, and I am so thankful.  But don’t worry.  Today I was that parent at the pediatrician’s office who didn’t respond until the second time the nurse called my baby’s name.  It was one of those, “Gee when are that kid’s parents going to respond…Ooooh wait that’s me….” situations.  I actually blushed.

And now here are a ton of photos.  Because I’m a photographer, and I just had a baby.

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