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Every time I blog, I wish that I had [more] time to do it. Truth is, I have so much to do on a daily basis that I have no choice but to eliminate something in order to a.) get the other things done.; and b.) keep my sanity. Ugh, priorities. The blog always causes anxiety when I think about what [I think] I want it to be. So much planning, so much dedication, and the pressure to be consistent in order to make it worthwhile. But you know what, screw that. For the last week, I’ve been in Los Angeles attending the Adobe Max (design) conference. And doing one small thing there made me realize that I can’t – and I don’t – want to stop playing. And if part of “playing” means blogging randomly about anything I want, with no pressure, then that is what I will do. 🙂 So, with that, I’m going to blog random art projects or photos or whatever I feel would be fun to share — with no pressure and without making content planning a part time job in itself. After all, all it takes is a blank canvas and some paints, a coloring book, or a big bed to have a little fun…

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in our closet.

Anyone else itching to purge your (& your baby’s!) entire wardrobe in order to make room for new, pretty spring pieces!? I literally have stacks of clothes ready to drop off at Goodwill. The warm sun (well, thoughts of it here in Minnesnowta…) and fresh air makes me want to ditch the big sweaters and long down jacket — NOW! Welcome to my life again, pretty white tops, maxi skirts, and sandals! I’ve already had moments of weakness excitement for spring and clicked “buy now” a couple times without looking back. (#onlineshoppingaddict) Here’s a peek at some of the new items in our closets…

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first birthday | pink ombre + gold glitter

Ahh, the much anticipated first birthday. The first birthday party of many to come… The theme: Pink Ombre+Gold Glitter. My thought was since this was one of about two birthday parties in which I get to call the shots, why not make it lovely and do exactly what I want to do [with no regards to the baby’s interests]. You know, because before I know it, she’ll demand (in a high-pitched 3-year old voice) that she wants a “Dora” party or some other equally-awful theme (sorry if any of you had a Dora party for your daughter…) that I would have to really flex my creative muscle in order to make visually appealing (and photo worthy). Back to Pink Ombre+Gold Glitter.. At the time of planning it, I thought I was pretty creative. But then I saw all over Pinterest that every other mommy was doing the same thing…

As a photographer, thoughts of getting the right photo takes priority for every decision in my mind. (any other photogs have that problem!? It’s kinda exhausting! But great too.)

That being said, I HAD to get not only amazingly-delicious, but gorgeous, cupcakes from my favorite gal at Miss Sara’s Cakery in Hastings. And instead of dusting off my KitchenAide mixer and making a cake for Finley that she would inevitably destroy, I paid $60 for a beautiful pink ombre cake (that was a light mint color inside!). Totally worth it for two reasons: 1. It looked amazing in her cake smash photos. 2. She barely destroyed it which meant that we got to eat it!

Who knew helium was so expensive (and that there is a shortage of it)!? After making multiple phone calls to see if various places could fill balloons I’d provide or rent out a helium tank, we ended up buying a disposable tank ($40) that filled close to 50 balloons. I tied various pink & gold ribbon to the balloons and cut them at all different lengths. Cory had the duty of buying washers from Home Depot (much cheaper than party stores!) to hold the balloons down. The outcome was even more than I expected… while Cory was annoyed trying to walk through a sea of balloons, I was in awe. (Helpful hint: if you buy a disposable helium tank, do not fill balloons even a day before the event. It doesn’t last long!)

In addition to the balloons, we had various pink flowers down the center of the tables (with a gold striped table runner made out of wrapping paper). I steered clear of roses since it was Valentine’s Day (seriously, $8 a stem!? No. The roses you’ll see in a photo were for me from my loving husband who remembered it was Valentine’s Day too!). I bought a tassel banner off etsy (here) and did some DIY glitter heart cupcake toppers and a “ONE” banner for the highchair. That was pretty much the extent of the decorations.

It was the perfect little party! We mingled, drank wine, and ate hors d’oeuvres before opening gifts and singing happy birthday to the birthday girl. I totally thought I would lose it during the singing but surprised myself and didn’t. And then my wonderful friend, Amanda, put together a video of the party that was enough to set me over the edge. If I saw it somewhere else, I would think about how much I wish I had a video like that of my baby’s birthday. I’m so lucky!

As if we wouldn’t remember her first birthday well enough, Finley helped us out by achieving another milestone — pooping in the bathtub! Way to go, little lady!

Here’s a photo recap of her big day… (and don’t forget to watch the video at the end!)

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infographic love

Wow. Wow. Wow. I am beyond excited & humbled by the outpouring of love for the one-year infographic I posted for Finley’s birthday. I’ve gotten so much interest in doing custom designs for people around the world. First off,  I definitely want to and am going to try with all I have to do custom orders for everyone interested! I just need to figure out the logistics of it all to ensure I can complete them, not only for each one of you, but also in a timely matter. So please bear with me for a little while longer! My hope/plan currently is to list the infographic as a product in my etsy shop as an easy way for anyone to place an order and communicate with me. I also plan to offer a mounted print or canvas of the artwork as an additional option to the digital file. I will reply back or email each one of you as soon as possible to get things rolling. In the meantime, I thought a blog post would be a good way to communicate quickly so people aren’t left hanging for long. 🙂 I have a few other ideas brewing in my head that I am excited about too… Stay tuned! And thank you, thank you, thank you for the love!! I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of Finley’s 1st birthday photo shoot…

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happy birthday, baby!

It’s one of those moments in life when my feelings clash… like it was just yesterday that she was born, yet at the same time, it feels like forever ago! I will be saying the same thing on her 25th birthday, no doubt. (omg, I’ll be 55 then!) Regardless, I cannot believe my teeny-tiny-newborn-valentine-baby-girl is one year old today. More posts about my first year of raising a daughter, thoughts on being a mommy to a one year old, along with a first birthday party recap, will happen in the near future, but for now, an infographic in celebration of her big day! Happy Birthday, baby girl!

(Visit my etsy shop (or click on image!) to order your own infographic like this and more!)

ONE YEAR INFORGRAPHIC

life as a mama | a “new normal”

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I knew life would forever be different, but there are no words, no advice, no books, nor countless stories from experienced parents that can prepare you for parenthood. When we got home with Finley, we looked at each other, confused, as if it was our first day of kindergarten, with no clue what to do next. I felt so lost, I wished I was back in the hospital for a couple more days to feel be taken care of. The first few nights, we slept with our lights on (dimmed) because, heaven forbid I couldn’t see my baby if I opened my eyes. Feeding/changing her countless times in the middle of the night was a huge production. Cory and I would both get up, turn on lights, fumble around to make a bottle, get pooped and peed on while changing our crying baby’s diaper. The whole ordeal would take at least an hour. We were zombies during the day the entire first week month. And the first week is when everybody and their brother wants to visit. Bless their hearts.. 🙂

If this trailer of “Up All Night” doesn’t sum it up, I don’t know what does. I cannot stop laughing when I watch this!

The swearing, the crying, the wipes… the freaking wipes! They stick together and you can never get just ONE out with one hand while the other hand is holding the baby’s legs so her feet don’t get in the poopy diaper.

Cory and I also had a moment when we looked at each other and said, “We need to get out of the house”. We felt like prisoners in our own home. But, going out in public was also a huge production… Was she just fed? Is her diaper clean? Is she sleeping? Ok, Go! Fast! And God help us if she starts crying when we are in a store. It happened in Target and we [sorta] panicked. No one wants to be “the lady with the crying baby”. I stayed in the aisle with the screaming baby while Cory ran to another aisle to get a bottle of water so we could make a bottle for her (see, we weren’t even prepared enough to have a bottle ready in public!). By the time he got back, she had stopped crying. The good news is, when the baby is that little, people just give sad, puppy-dog-eye faces and think it’s so sweet, versus when the child is a little older, you get glares while they think “OMG. Control your bratty little child, lady!”. Can’t wait until those days…

My parents stayed with us the first week. I’m not sure we would have made it through that week without their help. Chances are, Lucy would have starved to death and us to, for that matter. One night, my mom stayed up in the living room while Finley slept in her cradle until she woke up for her first feeding so we could “go to bed” for a couple hours without the anxiety of Finley being next to us, needing us. Something so small, yet so wonderful.

There is no doubt that I wore the same two outfits every day for two months. (I’m sure Cory was really attracted to me.) I was so proud and felt accomplished with each little thing I may have gotten done in one day; whether it be a shower, a prepared meal, or doing the dishes. My biggest milestone that first week was when I figured out how to pump and do my makeup at the same time. First epic fail as a mama: spilling the pumped milk all over the bathroom floor. I could just cry [over spilled milk]!

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it, but there was a night or two when I woud rock Finley’s cradle with one arm off the side of the bed, telling her to “Go the F to sleep. Please. You are an infant. You are suppose to sleep“, then instantly feel so mean for using the F word directly to my sweet, innocent daughter. (But rest assured, she’s a baby and doesn’t know good from bad [words] yet.)

Though amazing, those first couple months weren’t very glamorous. But, truth is, my life is so much richer and full of love than it’s ever been before. Between a happy marriage to my handsome husband who would do anything for me [and I for him], an adorable dog who is loved more than most dogs [and is part human, I’m pretty sure], and now this healthy, beautiful little baby who is all ours (all ours!!), there is so much love. So much happiness. I feel incredibly lucky+blessed every. single. day.

I mean, does it get much better than this:

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Finley is just over three months old now and I finally feel like we’ve [sort of] gotten the hang of things. This “new normal” is pretty darn wonderful. She’s been such a good little baby… She rarely cries, loves her nuk, enjoys bath time, smiles when I use the bulb suction to suck boogers out of her little nose every day (seriously!), lets me dress her up in multiple outfits and take way too many pictures of her, and will go from breastfeeding to a bottle [that is only room temperature] with no hesitation. She’s not picky! She’s been smiling since she was four days old and is just one happy, easy going baby! I know the days will come when she’ll seem like the naughtiest little girl in the world (while people glare at me and think I should control my kid), but I’ll still love her to pieces and all the while, still think she’s the best little girl in the world too…

Because she is. 🙂

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finley | 02.14.2013

Finally, I’m back! I’ve been having thoughts of blogging for weeks now, but hadn’t found the creative juices (or energy… or time…) to sit down and get the job done until now. And what better time to do so than on my sweet daughter’s 1-month birthday! I always used to secretly chuckle about how [new] parents always go on and on about how they “cannot believe their baby is 1-month, 6-months, or a year old” — asking “where has the time gone”. Well, consider me guilty. It definitely is hard to believe she is already a month old! But it’s also one of those situations where it feels like forever ago that I was at the hospital in labor, yet it feels like just yesterday. I know, totally doesn’t make sense.

To kick off blogging again, I thought I’d fill it with a fun Finley infographic vs. a wordy post. In the near future, I will blog about my “birth story” and other thoughts+feelings+stories (+pictures!) of this wonderful world of motherhood…

FINLEY INFOGRAPHIC BLOG