Browsing Tag


Wednesday by Leah: EC Part III

I’ve talked about our journey with Elimination Communication (EC for short) here and here. Since Jonah is now 15 months old and rapidly gaining more autonomy each and every day, it’s time for another update! If you’re not familiar with EC, please read the earlier posts first cuz I don’t feel like recapping here. Haha.

Anyhow, about a month ago Jonah started grabbing his diaper right before – or after, if he’s really engrossed in play – he needed to potty. Sometimes he will pull his pants down, sometimes he’ll fetch another diaper and hand it to me, other times he will walk to his potty, but usually he just grabs his diaper and looks at me, and I say, “Do you need to go potty?” and then take him to his little potty chair in the bathroom. We also go to the potty after naps and in the morning, and whenever we get back from being out and about.


Between 12 and 18 months is considered the sensitive period for toilet learning, in the Montessori tradition. I don’t strictly adhere to any one parenting/teaching philosophy, but Jonah clearly is showing signs of readiness! So I honor that. And I do think practicing EC, even part-time, has been really helpful in making using the toilet a familiar, regular part of Jonah’s day. I don’t view toileting as something he has to master in a day, or a month… it’s just an evolving process and as he gains more independence and ability to do things for himself, he will begin using the toilet more regularly on his own. He’s already taking some initiative with using his potty and he is able to control his bowels and wait to pee on the potty when needed. He LOVES washing his hands, too – mostly because he loves water, and he gets a kick out of climbing his stepstool to the sink to wash his hands.

We aren’t offering any candy or other bribes to reward him for using the toilet – there’s also no pressure for him to go, and he still wears diapers, not training pants yet. I also try to limit my praise when he does go now. I used to get really excited, but now it’s more of a normal thing. “Oh look, you went potty! Help Mommy flush it down the big toilet! Ok, now let’s wash our hands.” I still do the cueing noise when he sits down, but he doesn’t really need that anymore. I’ll probably stop doing that soon – it’s really more of a habit for me, not something I think about doing. He sits on the potty and I go, “Pssss, pssss!” – but by now he’s been using the potty so long he’s often already going before I get the sound out. He feels the need to go, and he knows the potty is the place to do it. Well, most of the time. Like with all things parenting/kid-related, some days/weeks are smoother than others. But again, it’s a journey – not a destination. Not yet. He doesn’t have to go in the potty all the time at 15 months of age.


I think he will be ready for training pants in a month or two, once he gets better at pulling his pants on and off. I need to get a little stool for him to sit on, and stock up on more elastic-waist pants! I expect a number of accidents as move forward with toileting, so I want to have plenty of changes of clothes on hand. Jeans and other pants with snaps/zippers are just too difficult at this point, so as cute as they are on him, we need a more practical wardrobe as he gets older and more ready to leave diapers behind!

Oh, and flushable wipes have been awesome! His poop is solid now (usually!) and sometimes sticky. And pretty darn stinky. So I much prefer being able to dump the whole contents of the potty in the toilet and flush it down, rather than having cloth wipes to wipe off or regular baby wipes to throw in the trash. Wipe, dump in potty, flush! Much easier for me. I like being eco-friendly, but when it comes to stinky poo, I’m ok with the flushable wipes. More than ok.


Would love to hear your toilet learning tips and experiences, too! Please share!

Wednesday by Leah: Sick Day(s)

BabyRoX has been incredibly healthy since birth. He ran his first-ever fever at 12 months. It was roseola, which didn’t seem to affect him in the slightest. High fever for a couple days, then a non-itchy red rash broke out. He didn’t act like he felt bad. Then a week later he got a stomach bug. Two pukey days, a low-grade fever, more napping and less eating, and he was good to go. He didn’t seem to feel too awful then, either. We didn’t need to go to the doctor, although I did call the nurse hotline just to reassure my worried mind.

But this past weekend, my sweet boy felt absolutely miserable. In pain from an ear infection and teething. High fever, runny nose, coughing. He couldn’t get comfortable. He wanted to sleep but couldn’t. He just wanted me to hold him. So much for night weaning- he wouldn’t eat any food, so I nursed him as often as he wanted. Anything to make him feel a little bit better.


Luckily, our pediatrician has Saturday hours, so off to the doctor we went. Thankful it wasn’t the flu or anything truly serious, I left with instructions to give him Motrin as needed and… amoxicillin. Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I lean toward the holistic/organic/crunchy side. I’m NOT anti-allopathic medicine, but I’m also not a huge fan of medical interventions unless they are truly needed, because the risk of unpleasant side effects or complications from the intervention is higher than I’d like. I know antibiotics are over-prescribed. I know they strip the body of good bacteria, not just bad. I know they are ineffective if the infection is viral. I know that there are gentle, holistic remedies that can be very effective at treating both bactetial and viral infections. I know all of this.


I also know that I took a sh*t-ton of antibiotics growing up. Big, pink, gooey spoonfuls of amoxicillin. I liked the stuff! I was on hormonal birth control pills for years. I ate Dunkin Donuts every Saturday for 6 years straight. Ok, maybe not quite… But a lot went into my body that isn’t organic. And I’m fine. So why am I so guilt-ridden over giving my toddler one round of antibiotics? His body has been far less “contaminated” than mine was growing up. And, as my awesome and hilarious friend mentioned in this post, he’s going to eat all kinds of nasty stuff anyways! He’s already helped himself to generous portions of cat food, lint, and dirt. (And the chips that my parents like to feed him! Don’t think I don’t know about that!) And he didn’t have a truly sick day until nearly 15 months of age.

So thank you to all my awesome mom friends for assuaging the guilt and giving me a healthy dose of perspective. You know who you are. Y’all rock.

I’m doing ok. You are doing ok. BabyRoX is doing ok. We’re all ok!

And for the record, amoxicillin is no longer pink NOR as tasty as it used to be. The times, how they’ve changed!


Wednesday by Leah: One Year

This weekend, BabyRoX is turning one. Wow. Did it go by fast? Yes and no. Those hazy newborn days seem SO far away, especially when I see my brand-new niece and how tiny and helpless she seems. And it’s crazy to think about a time when Jonah – since he’s not so much a baby anymore, I guess I’ll start using his real name – wasn’t a part of our lives. But at the same time, I’m shocked at how quickly we got here. The bouncing, grinning, trying-to-talk boy who blows raspberries on my cheeks and tummy, who loves eating broccoli and olives and lentil soup, who pulls on kitty tails and scales stairs at lightening speed… not so very long ago he could barely hold up his head. He slept A LOT. He nursed A LOT. He was my Zen baby. He taught me how to slow down. And now he’s teaching me how to speed up again.

This past year has been filled with more joy and love than I could have anticipated. It’s been a time to trust my intuition, to gain confidence as a mother, to get to know this precious being who joined our family. To learn from him. To learn how to teach him. To be fully present and savor the time that I knew would go by too fast.

And as we prepare to celebrate his first year of life, the sadness at the end of the baby era is fading – a little bit of that will always be there, because I do so love the baby stage – but I am eagerly looking ahead to this next year. To all the firsts – walking, talking, going to Disney World, cooking and making art and taking nature walks. More hugs and kisses. More singing and dancing. More laughter and yes, more tears. To getting to know Jonah even better as more and more of his personality comes out. I can’t wait to hear his thoughts, his take on the world.

I watch my sister with her sweet little girl, and I am so excited for her to go through this journey, too. For however difficult those first days and weeks might be, the joy and love is so much more – so worth the sleepless nights, the marathon nursing sessions, the stress and worry that come with being responsible for a tiny baby you love with all your might 24/7. It’s a HUGE transformation, becoming a mom. I can’t fully express how huge. I am more of myself because of Jonah. I am more aware, more compassionate, more present, and more self-ish, because I want him to have the best version of me. I have to take care of myself to be in the best space, physically and mentally and emotionally and spiritually to be the mom I want to be for Jonah. And I have to be gentle with myself, and oh-so-forgiving, because I’m not the best version of myself 24/7. And that’s ok, too.

So many adventures ahead! This past year has been the very start of an amazing journey. Happy One Year, Jonah. You fill our lives with light and love. Smiles and hugs and kisses and raspberries! And let there be cake!



Wednesday by Leah: Everyday Adventures

One of my favorite things about having a kidlet is getting to turn mundane errands and outings into grand adventures. Yes, it takes longer to get stuff done, but it’s also a lot more fun, and by slowing down and stopping to smell the roses, BabyRoX gets a better chance to learn about our wacky and wonderful world.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store. I had about 15 items on my list. Normally, it would take me 10 minutes to get those items and check out. But we were having a sensory and linguistic adventure! So it took around 45 minutes. We felt the drops of moisture on the celery stalks. We felt the smoothness of the butternut squash and the roughness of the pumpkin stem. We shivered in the dairy aisle and warmed up by the hot bar. We tasted the pears on the sample tray. I talked about each item, the colors and names and textures. BabyRoX chattered back, pointing at things and exploring each item I handed him.

I’m not immune to the parental guilt/pressure to provide my child with the perfect balance of stimulation, education, free play, and chill time. Does he have the “right” toys to encourage creativity and development? Does he have enough social interaction with peers and other adults? Are Mark and I playing the “right” games with him?

But then I step back and watch how fascinated BabyRoX is with clapping his hands, catching bubbles, touching a pumpkin. I don’t need to get him any fancy toys or sign him up for special classes. He is 11 months
old and everything around him is new and exciting. I just need to slow down and give him the opportunity to take it all in. To climb up and down the stairs 5 times. To play with his food.

I’m a pretty high energy, fast-paced person and I have a really calm, mellow child who likes to study things and people intently. Almost daily, I have to remind myself to slow down, to follow his lead, to sit for a moment and take in the world, to listen and observe.

He’s a great little teacher, and I love our everyday adventures. Today we are going to play with leaves and rocks. And hopefully not swallow any. Well, at least not any rocks. I think leaves will digest a bit better.

Wednesday by Leah: 11 Months

Today BabyRoX is 11 months old. Eleven! Wow. That happened…fast. Soon he won’t be BabyRoX. He’ll be ToddleRoX. (But we’ll still call him BabyRoX.)

He’s trying to walk. I’m not ready for that milestone just yet. I’m not ready to watch my baby stand up and run away from me. But I’m also not going to stop him. I’m trying to think about all the fun, awesome things we’ll be able to do in the year ahead. We will go for nature walks and ride trains and sort things and stack things and cook food and eat food and make art and roll down hills. He’ll be able to do more and more and more big-people things. He’ll start talking. Whole sentences, not just Mama and Hi and Bye. It’s going to be awesome! I know it!

But yes, I’m a little sad and sniffly, looking at his newborn pics and kissing his little nose and watching him look at me with such excitement and adoration, because even though he is only 11 months old today, it went by so fast that I feel like he will be 15 years old in no time at all. And I’m just not ready to have a teenager! They usually don’t look at their mothers with excitement and adoration, unless that mother is handing out car keys or money or delicious food. You know how some people don’t really dig the baby stage? Well. I am not one of those people. I have ALWAYS loved babies. I will sit and hold babies for hours and not get bored. So of course I’m a little sad to be exiting the baby stage with my own darling baby.

The past 11 months have truly been the best of my life. There was an interesting post on A Practical Wedding yesterday, concerning mixed feelings around motherhood. It’s a topic I’ve seen elsewhere on the Interwebs, too. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that people are different, and there is no ONE universal experience of anything, let alone something as complex and layered and life-changing as motherhood. But I had read all this stuff about how it’s hard work having kids, and how juggling the mother identity with all the other aspects of myself could be really difficult and maybe not so happy. I was fully prepared to welcome any and all emotions that becoming a mom, giving birth, and having a tiny person to take care, would bring. Actually, I was expecting to struggle a good bit. But for me, this has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I lucked out. My birth was amazing and just how I envisioned. I had a healthy, happy baby that still rarely fusses. I was surrounded by support. Breastfeeding was no problem. I didn’t have post-partum depression or anxiety. All of these circumstances combined to let me absorb the massive amounts of oxytocin flooding my system, to sit with my precious little boy and just fall head over heels in love.

Yes, I think having an empowering, peaceful, unmedicated homebirth played a role in my transition to motherhood. Yes, I think encapsulating my placenta helped with my postpartum recovery and hormone shift. Obviously, having a healthy and laid-back baby made the whole taking care of a newborn stage WAY easier. And I do think some of this was just… luck. Good fortune. In any case, the past 11 months have been filled with more joy and love than I could have imagined – and my life was already filled with generous amounts of both. BabyRoX is an inquisitive, active, happy little guy. He loves to sing and drum on things. He loves to study people – intently. He takes about 10 minutes to warm up to a new place, and then he’s off exploring. He is an amazing climber and will scale near-vertical inclines with impressive speed. He does NOT like to wear socks. Because he loves to suck on his toes. New places and new people delight him. Laughter delights him even more. When he eats foods he likes, he throws his hands up in the air and dances. He prefers savory to sweet to and warm to cold.

Sometimes he bites.

Hey, no one’s perfect.

But to me and Mark, he’s the best. He’s our favorite person other than each other to hang out with. And just wait til you see his Halloween costume! OMG. I can’t even.

Wednesday by Leah: Cuteness

Some weeks I have a lot to say.

Other weeks, I just want to post cute pictures of my baby.

It’s one of those weeks.


Wednesday by Leah: BabyRoX Does Stuff!

When BabyRoX was a newborn, he mostly just slept and ate and looked cute. And I loved him and I stared at him for hours on end. And everyone told me how fast the time would go by, and at the time it didn’t feel fast but now those days are getting fuzzy in my mind and he has outgrown 3 seasons of clothing and I can’t believe he even used to fit into those tiny little diapers and onesies anymore.

Now, my sweet little baby DOES stuff. Lots of stuff! He crawls – up on his hands and knees (no more army crawling with his belly on the ground!), he climbs – furniture, staircases, you name it! He spends half the day standing and cruising from one piece of furniture to the next. He signs “milk” when he wants to nurse. He wakes us up by patting our faces and giving us kisses and blowing spit bubbles everywhere. He laughs and sings and gets angry and LOVES to eat food. Real, solid food. And he waved “bye-bye” for the first time this week. I swear he said it two weeks ago, too, but there hasn’t been a repeat. He has waved bye-bye a number of times since the first time, though, so I know he “gets” that one. I know it is such a simple little thing, waving goodbye, but the excitement I felt was enormous. Each time he accomplishes a new task, I feel ridiculously happy. I’m so proud of this beautiful little creature. I’m so amazed at all he can do, at the many ways he can communicate with us, at his growing independence. I see how happy he is when he does something for himself – the confidence that grows daily as he is able to get around, to feed himself, to clearly communicate his needs and preferences. It is an absolute honor to watch him learn and assist in his development. It’s like I have second chance to discover the world – to him, everything is new and interesting. Each day is such an adventure, even when all we do is pet the cats and splash in the sink and roll a ball around and eat a mango.

He is strong and healthy, and I am oh-so-thankful for that. He hasn’t been sick once, not even a cold. He still has an unbelievably calm temperament and his precious, toothless smile that melts my heart. He is the most easy-going baby I have ever met and I keep wondering where he gets it from. Maybe it’s the Reiki. Maybe the Hypnobirthing did it. Maybe it’s just how he is. All I know is that we are incredibly lucky to share our lives with this sweet little person.

I’m so looking forward to the months and years ahead, but I’m also really enjoying the here-and-now. I don’t want to forget these days. They ARE going by so fast, and I need to make more time to jot down just how awesome and special this journey of parenting is.

Wednesday by Leah: Feeding BabyRoX

I had to leave BabyRoX for 3 whole days and 2 nights last weekend. It was a last-minute trip to Indiana for a friend’s funeral. It was really hard to be away, but I did it! And BabyRoX was fine. And I’m really, really glad I went. I took last week off to do some much-needed grieving and reflecting. One of my reflections, not related to my friend, is… man, pumping sucks. I never minded it when I only had to do it sporadically, but pumping around the clock was way more of a chore than breastfeeding. Mad props to those moms out there who pump every day!

Right now, BabyRoX nurses about 6 times in a 24-hour period. He eats anywhere between 3 and 7 oz of milk each time (I’m guessing, based on how much comes out when I pump!). I had gotten lazy about keeping my freezer supply of milk well stocked. I’ve donated milk, and I’ve even had to throw it out when it gets too old to keep and I didn’t find a mom in need in time. But I am so glad I had *just* enough milk to leave for 3 days. Actually, Mark had to water down the last two bottles. Now I’m going to make sure to keep that freezer full of milk until BabyRoX is eating solids for the majority of his nutrition.

Two months ago, we started exploring the fun and messy world of solid food. We’re doing a hybrid of baby-led weaning and the Montessori approach to weaning. With baby-led weaning, you introduce solids in their regular form – no purées or baby food. You let the child choose what they want to eat and let them explore the food and feed themselves, you don’t spoon-feed the child. Mealtimes happen at the family dining table (or the restaurant, if you’re out and about). This is a really easy approach because it doesn’t involve making baby food. It’s messy, of course, and you have to watch the child carefully to make sure he/she doesn’t choke on food. You also don’t give them ANY and EVERY food – you start out with soft, easy to eat foods like avocado and sweet potato, steamed veggies, etc. I’m not feeding BabyRoX filet mignon or anything. Duh.

The Montessori approach advocates self-feeding, as well, but uses a child-size table and chair (weaning table), instead of having the child in a high chair right away. The emphasis is on learning about mealtime rituals – using utensils, setting the table, cleaning up, drinking from a glass, etc. Initially, food is introduced at a time separate from the family mealtime so that the parent can focus on the child and help the child learn table etiquette and just get used to eating in general. Actually, the awesome blog How We Montessori has a great comparison of the two approaches to weaning/starting solids: here!

So for at least one meal a day BabyRoX eats with us. We have an awesome clamp-to-the-table highchair (this one) so that he can be a part of all the mealtime action. I also give him at least one meal a day at his weaning table. I bought a tiny chair that fits him perfectly and the table right now is a nightstand that just happens to be the right height and super sturdy, but we do need to purchase an actual table soon. He’s had a variety of foods so far and loved almost all of them. He is NOT a fan of creamed spinach or oatmeal. He likes pretty much everything else. Rice, rice cereal, mango, tomato, avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, beets, regular spinach, kale, zucchini, carrots, apples, etc. We’ve explored a lot of foods already. He tried salmon yesterday and loved it. I also don’t just give him bland foods. He’s had spiced-up things already and really seems to like the flavors. He says, “Mmmmmm!” enthusiastically and reaches for more food and/or bangs on the table when he wants more. We’re currently trying to teach him sign language for more instead of table-banging and food-grabbing….but it’s a process.

Eating is fun, and usually very messy. If we’re at a restaurant I try to give him some food he can eat easily without much mess and I help him eat the rest by holding it and letting him guide my hand towards his mouth. I don’t ever shovel food in or try to make him eat anything. Again, he gets almost all of his nutrients from breastmilk still, so eating is more about learning how to eat and getting exposed to various flavors right now.

He has a little glass he can sip milk or water from. Sometimes he sips it nicely and puts it back down. Other times he spills it down his shirt (or bib…I often take his clothes off to feed him dinner because it gets so messy!), and then tries to bang the cup on the table. Again, it’s a process. I don’t expect to have a perfectly well-mannered child at 8 months of age, but I do want him to begin learning proper table etiquette and how to use utensils. I also let him eat with his hands a lot, because a.) that’s easiest and b.) it’s fun and c.) it lets him explore the textures of the foods better. But I also give him a spoon and/or spork and let him try to feed himself that way. We end every meal by wiping hands, mouth, and table. He usually tries to eat the wipe I give him, but sometimes he wipes himself, too. He’s learning!

It’s fun, it’s cute, we have a good time. I’m not super strict on anything food/weaning related other than making sure we are watching him eat in case he chokes and giving him healthy foods as opposed to processed, refined sugar stuff. Yay, food!

Colorado and Back with The BabyRoX

– Posted by Mark

We’ve just now returned from our trip to Colorado! We were there for the wedding of our friends Paralee & Aaron – (Leah went to high school with Aaron and Paralee was one of our very first Interns! (Season ONE!)) So it was obviously a great honor that they hired us to be their wedding photographers (and we all know that I would’ve been bored if I was just watching the wedding!)

But this isn’t the wedding preview post – just a few shots (because goddamn that was a beautiful wedding) and well – some more rambling since posts from me have been a lot less regular lately. That’s mostly because we’re still deep in our wedding season (which apparently last from February until the beginning of December) and editing is a full time job – nevermind the part where we keep shooting weddings, portrait sessions, running photobooths, and holding workshops for the Interns.

Oh – and of course there’s the BabyRoX growing everyday!

Since I’ve been away from blogging – I’ve had some time to think and try to figure a few things out – mostly regarding the direction where we’re trying to take this photography business of ours, the Internship, and everything else we’d like to do with our lives. Not that I’ve made much progress in any of those areas – but it’s all definitely been on my mind a good bit lately.

And our team. We’re regularly shaking things up and Alumni Photographers that work with us as associates will move on and new ones will come on board. Currently – we’ve got Elaine, Krista, and Mishaun. Check them out – because they’re quite awesome, and much nicer than me 😉

If you saw Leah’s post yesterday – then you know that the day after this Colorado wedding she found out that her friend had passed away in his sleep. It was a complete surprise and shock to everyone.

Nothing else reminds us more that time is precious and we waste so much of it by putting things off – even at the cost of living the lives we want.

These days Leah and I are pretty much doing everything we can to do everything we’d like to do. We’re very unrealistic and we fight ridiculously hard to make unrealistic things happen.

It’s something I hope that BabyRoX picks up.

We’ve got a lot of work right now (editing, emailing, editing, shooting) – but I found this old blog post that I wrote a while back and you might be interested in checking it out. Have a great weekend. Because you’re awesome. Really.

How to Be Unrealistic.


Wednesday by Leah | Thank You Everyone

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

– Posted by Leah

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 MonthsBabyRoX will be 3 months old next week! I can’t believe it. Now that I’m getting back into “work mode” I’m ever-so-thankful that I am self-employed. There is NO way I could leave my lil man and go to an office 40+ hours a week. Or even 20 hours a week. I would’ve quit my job. These days are too precious and this time is too fleeting for me to miss so many wonderful moments. Yet at the same time, I need to be working – for financial reasons, of course, but also because as much as I love being a mom and spending nearly all of my time with my sweet boy, I’m also more than a mom and I need to spend time on those other parts of myself, too. I love our business. I love the people we’re lucky to work with – clients and other photographers alike!

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

So this week’s post is less informative, less reflective, and more just a big, huge, gushing THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone we work with, to everyone who hires us, for making this awesome life of ours possible. Mark and I say EVERY day – usually multiple times a day – how grateful we are to get to spend so much time with BabyRoX. To see his precious smiles and respond to his adorable gurgles. To show him the world, to watch him take it all in. He comes to meetings with us and he’s even been on several shoots already. Mark and I take turns playing and/or napping with him so the other one can focus on writing blog posts, responding to emails, answering phone calls. It’s busy and sometimes crazy, but that’s how we roll.

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

Even when we are super busy, we make it work (thanks to our +photographers and interns for taking on extra work, and to our free babysitters – aka grandparents). And even though things get hectic, we still get to spend WAY more time together as a family than if we had office jobs. Being self-employed can be stressful and scary at times, but I am now convinced it is worth the risk, worth facing down the fear of failure, worth the blood/sweat/tears/late nights/early mornings. It’s worth it ALL to get to call the shots, be our own bosses, and make as much time as possible for our child.

And we couldn’t have a business if we didn’t have clients. So thank you thank you thank you a million times over! We love you. You make this possible for us. You. Are. AWESOME.

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months