Monday, January 31, 2011

Professional Photos

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take Karlena in and had some professional photos taken. We saw Marie with Finished Vision Photography in Sioux Falls.

You must check out her site and all of the amazing examples she has of her work. I was so so impressed with how these photos turned out and if money were no object I would have ordered a copy of every one she took...but these 4 were my favorites and I wanted to share them with you!

Marie had a way of posing her just right and then captured it on film. I seriously love how cute she looks here!  We had hoped that she would sleep through the session (and she should was her nap time!!)  But she wasn't having it. She was mesmerized by the light and the camera and just watched Marie the whole time.

She took pictures with these neat backgrounds and this wicker basket and she had tons of other "props" that she could have used too.  You can imagine how hard it was choosing just a few photos with so many awesome options!

I am probably biased...but I think this girl is the sweetest girl I have ever seen! :)  Thanks Marie for doing such a great job and helping us capture her beauty when she was just 23 days old! These are photos I will treasure forever!

Monday, January 17, 2011

4 weeks ago

4 weeks ago today this sweet girl officially joined our family!  I can't believe how fast time has gone already. Karlena is growing and changing but today I wanted to share a little bit more about the night she was born!  I worked on December 20th but was having contractions for a good part of the morning.  They weren't terrible but my doctor had warned me that because she was our 4th things could go fast.

So after lunch I called my nurse and she had me come in the office to hook up to the monitor and be checked.  I was having some good contractions but they weren't consistent and I wasn't dilating. So at that point my doctor said that I should go home, take a hot bath and wait.

She said that IF something was going to happen that day it would be evident around 6 or 7pm...
So I went home, took a bath and then tried to relax. By 3:30pm I was having some pretty consistent contractions and decided that after dinner we would all head up to Sioux Falls just to spend the evening at my parents house just in case.

By 6pm I knew that things might just be progressing. My contractions were strong and I was having trouble talking through them so we loaded the car and headed up.  I was still in a bit of denial that it was really happening though and when I called Dominic again I told him not to start back home yet but to wait until I called him from my parent's house.

We got to SF and my brother and his wife were still there and everyone came running out and helped unload the boys. It was pretty funny actually...they said they practiced the "drill" once they knew we were coming!  My mom said that she would come with me to the hospital and stay with me until Dominic showed up.

We got to the hospital and they got me all hooked up and I was dilated to a 4 so I was admitted and we knew that sometime soon we would be having a baby! I was scared though because up in MN that day they had terrible snowy weather again and we weren't sure that Dominic would make it back in time.

I think that we were all checked in around 7:30-8pm...she came at things moved really fast. Without sharing all the details my contractions were hard and fast and my epidural just couldn't catch up with them so until about 1/2 hour before she was born I was in terrible pain - I was so grateful that my mom was there to reassure me that I was doing great even though I felt like a big wimp!

The moment that Dominic walked in the room (around 10pm) I just cried with relief.  So grateful that he made it in time. Once it was time to push she was here within 15 minutes. That is the one part of labor that I am good at. Once it is time I want to meet my baby now!! :)

It was cool because they put her right on my chest and let me just hold her for quite a long time before they weighed and measured her. Such an amazing first few moments with my daughter.

Karlena has truly been a joy to have in our family. She has everyone wrapped around her little finger already and I am sure that is just a sign of things to come!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A dress for a princess...

The last time that I went to visit Karlena in CO in September before she passed away we went to Once Upon A Child to look for some "girl" things.  Karlena was SO excited that we were having a girl...and naming her after her. She spoiled us with all of our kids and our little girl was no exception.

So when we saw this dress for only $6 we both knew she needed to have it. I remember Karlena telling me more than once that I had to make sure to take her photo in the dress and send it to her.

So this morning after her bath, I got little Karlena all  dressed up and snapped a few photos.  She was more awake than she often is and she just looked at me like "Why mom?".  I think that over the course of her lifetime there will be MANY more moments like this. :)

She is such a tiny little princess and it is times like today that I miss my dear friend even more. I KNOW she would have loved getting these photos in the mail....she would have hung them on her closet door so she could see them each morning. With each new moment like today I re-feel that loss in my life once again.

But I know that Kar is smiling down on us and loving my girl just the same. So friend - these photos are for you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New photos!

We didn't have a chance to put Karlena in this outfit on Christmas - but I had to at least get a photo of her in it because this was her 1st Christmas with us! She hated having the hat on her head though so I had to wait until she was asleep to put it on her!

I think we got this adorable outfit from my brother Mark and his wife Mindi...but I can't completely remember...regardless it is so soft and looked so cute on her this morning. 

I know Mark and Mindi gave us these headbands. Helps take away from her crazy hair that she has! :)  Her hair is so soft and she has amazing lift...if it doesn't stick straight up when she is a teenager she is going to be grateful for that some day!

Right now we are getting ready to head over to Gabriel's classroom for "show and tell".  When I dropped Gabriel off this morning he said this was going to be his best day ever!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2 weeks!...well and a few days! :)

At just over 2 weeks old our girl is growing and finally eating like a champ! She even gained almost a whole pound in 1 week and is now a whopping 7lbs 10oz! So much for problems with her nursing!  She just needed a little longer than the boys did to figure it all out.  I am so glad that we stuck with it though!

She is a very contented baby, slepping lots still and only getting up every 3-4 hrs at night which is very manageable!  She has an "awake" and slightly irritable time from about 7-9pm but it isn't terrible colic like our boys had and if I feed her she calms down pretty overall things are going great!

It is our first full week away from daddy though and that is hard on both Dominic and I. So I try and send him a text each day with her photo and update here as well so he can see how she is changing.  Please pray for us as this time is probably the hardest. We continue to pray about God's plan in all of this change - and are grateful for the many blessings we do have even when it is hard.

The boys are loving their sister - even though Elijah is a little jealous of her "lap" time with me. But I try and give him some time also and he seems to be adjusting ok. Gabriel and Isaac both just love on her so much and are wonderful helpers!

We hope your week has been blessed and thank yo so much for your encouragement and support!

The Smith Family Journey

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