Monday, April 11, 2011

Top 15 Favorite Pictures (In no Particular Order)

I could easily post a hundred pictures of Olivia, but I must practice some restraint. I have picked my top 15 favorite pictures, and I'll explain why. Each picture has a story. It's one thing to take a picture, it's another to capture a story with a picture. Starting with number one: Belly picture. This picture was taken I believe the night before Olivia was born. I'd been trying to set up a maternity photoshoot but things just weren't falling into place. I had a feeling the baby was coming soon, so I took a picture of my belly. I'm so glad I did; it's the only one I have. It's crazy to look at this picture now and see what I looked like with a belly. My belly never got that big, and I feel blessed for that. 2. Bath time! Olivia loves her baths; always has. When I see this picture, it reminds me how small she once was! She's just a little over 6 pounds in this picture! I never thought she'd grow as fast as she has. It also reminds me of our favorite time together: bathing and showering. It's one of the things I do with her that is always enjoyable. I absolutely love that bonding time.
3. Bunny ears! Dan and I enjoy putting clothes on her head. She looks so silly. Last night, as I was taking her shirt off for her bath, I did this again and she looked like a little alien. It is so funny. I realize this might sound weird to you, but for us, it's a reminder of playtime with baby!
4. Lindsey and I have been very excited that we both had girls within a month and half of each other. Isabelle came first in November. I was always worried that my kids wouldn't have cousins their age because I'm the youngest, but I was wrong. Now Olivia has a cousin to be best friends with, and I hope that's what they are! Best friend cousin in the making!!
5. Favorite picture of all time! I hesitate even sharing this picture because it captures one of the most intimate feelings I've ever shared with Daniel. I am so glad Stephanie took this picture. This was taking just right after she was born. The bond I felt with Dan in that moment was so strong, and I'll never, ever forget that feeling.
6. "Well hello there!" Dan and my favorite birth picture of Olivia. She looks so alert and happy already! She ALWAYS stares at the camera, so it's no surprise she has since birth!
7. Strange calling this a "favorite" picture, but even our struggles and afflictions are for our good. This was taken during the time after birth where she wasn't crying. She literally layed there, breathing so fast. She had just run a marathon and had a 103 degree fever at birth. This reminds me how fragile life is and also how blessed we are to have a healthy baby. Some are not so lucky, and I thank Heavenly Father every day for such mercy to give us a healthy baby.
8. Because of her fever, she had to get an IV and receive antibiotics for the first 48 hours of life. It was the strangest thing to see her without an IV because that's all we've ever known. And I have to give props to the NICU nurses who can start baby IV's like nothing! Those veins are TINY, and I complain about how difficult it can be to start an adult IV!!
9. Big Blues! Olivia's eyes are just absolutely breath taking. I love them. She's so aware of her surroundings and takes everything in. It's no surprise to me that she's 2 weeks old and looking directly into the camera-- that's Olivia!
10. Nap time. In the beggining of life, she slept anywhere, anytime. I always loved to see her sleeping with and on her daddy. She's been daddy's girl from the start.
11. Screaming time. Olivia loves baths, but she hates being cold after them! She would seriously just scream the entire time we dressed her. It was so pathetic, I had to take a picture. This picture always reminds me of the song, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."
12. "Drunk eyes." For the first month, Olivia would fight sleeping... who am I kidding, she still fights sleeping! But in that first month, she'd fall asleep and then flutter her eyes, looking totally drugged! Such a little cutie!
13. Do I do anything but cry? This was at the height of Olivia's "pooping problem." She was born with a congenital anal stenosis. She had a narrowing in her intestines that made it very, very difficult to pass stool. Because she was unable to poop on her own, she was sooooooo fussy! She cried so much, and it just breaks my heart to think back on those days when my daughter was in such pain. It was difficult for us because we couldn't even play with her, she was that uncomfortable!
14. First "out of the hospital" family picture! We are proud parents of our beautiful daughter!
15. HEADBANDS! Mommy loves making headbands for Olivia. She already has close to 30 headbands. I've had such a fun time making them, and think she looks just about as precious as can be in them!

And for the grand finale, a video of Olivia! We had been doing Patty Cake all morning and she was just laughing and smiling. By the time I grabbed the camera, she was over it! But I love these moments with her when I sing and play with her. She now tries to sing back. She extends the length of her coo's so that it sounds like singing. She's trying so hard! She's going to be a singer I think.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Olivia Makayla Long

Well, here it is 3 months later, and I'm just finally posting my first blog since Olivia was born. On January 3rd, 2011 at 4:56 PM, Olivia Makayla Long entered the world about as dramatically as her life has yet proven to be. I pushed for four hours. Olivia was in distress. I had a fever. She didn't cry for 2 to 3 minutes after birth. She had a fever. She had an IV and antiobiotics for two days. But boy was that the most amazing experience I've ever had!? I wrote a very detailed story of her birth and am not sure if I'll post it here because it's nearly three pages I believe. Needless to say, the labor was intense. The pushing more intense. Her arrival was tense. But when the placed her in my arms and our eyes locked, it was the most spiritual experience I've ever had. It is hard to describe, but I literally felt the power of our temple sealing in that moment. At 11 days old, we took Olivia to Mari Thompson for her newborn shoot. The pictures turned out amazing. The pictures lie because it was very difficult to photograph her. She fought going to sleep, tooth and nail, just as she does now!
She was born with a full head of dark hair, just as her mother was! The verdict is still out as to whether her hair will turn blonde like her mom and dad.
Her nephew Isaiah has said to his mother, "Don't you just love her 'starey' eyes?" She has these intense eyes that stare intensely into yours. It's as if she's literally reading your soul!
She is a "spirited baby", as I've discovered from The Baby Whisperer. That is the perfect word to describe Olivia. She has quite the little personality and when she smiles, she smiles with her whole body!
Daniel and I feel blessed beyond belief by the addition of Olivia into our family. She has added infinitely to my happiness, struggles and all! It's all part of the process and even on my most difficult day, I still look at her and smile while my heart melts by the big blues!