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This weekend was my weekend to attempt to feel like a normal person again.

Being a stay at home mom, well, you can imagine I don’t get out much. In fact, it is very rare that I even change out of my pajamas. Sweat/yoga pants are my best friends. I don’t remember the last time I wore mascara. I find myself striking up odd conversations with strangers at the grocery store/doctor’s office because I’m just so excited to be a NORMAL PERSON again! I live a very glamorous life — changing diapers, getting spit up on, always smelling like food, giant bags under my eyes…seriously, I really wonder why I haven’t been asked to be on the cover of Us Weekly.

ANYWAY. I’ve been really cranky lately. I think I’m not starting to realize what it feels like to be TRULY exhausted. It’s hard being on the job 24/7; I suddenly have so much more respect for my mom. How on EARTH did she deal with FOUR OF US?! It makes my head spin just thinking about it.

On the bright side though, I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, helpful and most importantly, patient husband. This weekend we decided to make a trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo. We took Mal to the Wild Animal Park last year, but he was too young to really enjoy it. He certainly enjoyed himself this time around though! Ian was so great the whole time. I was able to take pictures while carrying Leia in the Baby Bjorn (or as I like to call it, the love of my life) and Ian ran after Mal alllllllllll day. This kid never stops! I’m glad he had so much fun…and even though Ian was certainly worn  out by the end of the day, I know he had lots of fun too.

Now onto the show!!! The children’s play area was the best. They had this giant hill that kids could slide down by using pieces of cardboard. There were so many kids doing it over and over and over again. It was really cool to watch. And Mal LOVED it!

FYI: Penguins are my FAAAAAAAAAAAAVORITE!

My boyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyys!

Hehe…my GQ model. Rawr.

I’m going to try to shoot more this week. I’ve been so busy lately and I think my lack of shooting is really taking a toll on me. BUT! I just ordered THIS bad boy and I need to practice with it! So my goal for this week is to SHOOT! You guys want to see more pictures of Leia anyway, right??? 🙂

WOW! What a crazy month it’s been!

Well. I have been very busy (<— understatement). I can’t believe it’s almost been an entire month since I had the little peanut head! May has completely flown past me and I’m just now realizing that the month is almost over.

Thankfully I have had plenty of visitors and helpers this month otherwise I don’t think I would still be standing! Things are finally starting to settle down though and I THINK I’m getting into the groove of things. It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how newborns are. I mean, Malakai is already 2 so I guess that’s enough time  for all my infant know-how to go out the window. But MAAAAAAAAAAANNNN. It’s been kinda rough.

Did you know that babies poop & spit up A LOT? Did you know that babies want to be held 24/7? Getting things done around our apartment has been difficult. In fact, just a few minutes before I started writing this I was crying to Ian about how I couldn’t make dinner because the babies have been keeping me busy all day and so I didn’t have time to do the dishes. BUT, despite all the craziness around here we are SO HAPPY about our newest edition to our little family.

Mal a bit of a struggle adjusting to the new baby. Phrases like: “Mama, no baby!” and “Mama, baby couch” were things he said on an almost daily basis whenever I was holding her (which was most of the time). Luckily he’s gotten over that phase and constantly wants to kiss and hug her. It’s really sweet. He’s been trying to be very helpful too, like grabbing me a diaper when she needs a new one (and sometimes when she doesn’t, but he thinks she does) and giving her a pacifier. He’s an AWESOME big brother! 🙂

I took that the first week…I’ve been really slacking with picture taking. I’ll take more, I promise.

Born April 23, 2011 at 5:56AM!

I had a mostly typed out entry. And then Malakai asked for chocolate milk. I made it for him and then when I came back everything was gone. I kind of want to cry now.

WELL. Let’s see if I can remember what I had typed.

I am 38 weeks and one day pregnant. Which means I could pop any day now.

This morning I received a text from my husband. Just called my grandma. Told her the name. So….I guess that’s her name. I guess you can open the floodgates and tell everyone. I know you want to.

We have had the hardest time trying to name her. It was so easy with Mal. As soon as we heard it, we knew that was “the one”. But we’ve been struggling this time around. Violet, Scarlet,  Delilah, Aeris (yeah, like THIS Aeris) were all top contenders at one point. None of them really “popped” for us though. BUT! We have finally come to an agreement, just in the nick of time!

Leia Evelyn Indiana.

The name combo was actually suggested by my sister-in-law, Rachel. A little backstory: Indiana was my #1 choice for a girl’s name. Come on, isn’t Indy a badass name for a little girl?! UGH! But according to my husband, “Indiana is a boy’s name”. So I gave up my #1 choice for the sake of compromise. Evelyn is my husband’s grandma’s name and we both agreed  early on that we wanted to use Evelyn as a middle name.

When we decided on Leia, I didn’t really like the way it sounded with Evelyn. So when Rachel suggested this name combo, I was stoked. AND THEN, we realized that her initials would spell out her name! L.E.I.A. COME ON! How freaking awesome is that?! We screamed and cried and squealed over it and I immediately ran it by Ian to see what he thought. Now, as cool as he thought the initial thing was, he was still kinda iffy about using Indiana. I let it go, just because I knew that once he saw how much pain I would have to go through in labor, he would cave. He would have to, right?! Well, I’m glad it didn’t have to come to that. Haha. And I’m glad we have finally (and amicably)  made a decision.

My anthem over the past few weeks has been Cleo by Built to Spill. A good friend of mine who is currently pregnant as well is actually naming her baby after this song. Anyway, I want to share it because it’s SUCH a cute song and it makes me cry every time I hear it. ENJOY!

Living in the womb, running out of room. Have to come out soon, have to meet the sun and moon and…

Hurry up, Leia. We’re ready for you!


Mal’s new favorite thing to do is wrap himself  up in this Power Rangers sleeping bag we have. I don’t know why he does it…he says he’s cold, but sometimes I’ll find him sweating in there. Either way, it’s freaking adorable.

Also, did you hear? I now have a FB page. and a TWITTER! @alyssastrongarm. I’m totally moving up in the social networking world!!!!

Soooo, let me tell you a bit about my friend Sarah. We met (I think) when I was still in high school, but didn’t really establish a friendship until about 3 years ago. I don’t know, I’m a little unsure of the time line of things because I was doing the whole “oooh, I’m living on my own and I’m going to drink all the time” phase. (sorry, mom). Lame. Anyway, she has become one of my best friends ever and I just wanted to let everyone know how lucky I am to have her in my life.

Sarah is the backbone behind the fun, themed photo shoots I arrange with my friends. Seriously. They would not be possible without her. When I first started doing the photography thing, I was a little nervous about getting myself out there and shooting people. But Sarah and I came up with the idea to have photo shoot parties, or as we like to call them, ANTM Parties! (ANTM = America’s Next Top Model) Basically, we just got all our girlfriends together and offered them booze and snacks and took pictures. Sarah was a key part in the planning, directing, and funding these parties so you can see why I love her so so much.

I know Sarah wouldn’t help me out so much if she didn’t believe in me. And I know that sounds super cheesy, but I don’t care. She is willing to put forth her time and energy and money into helping ME build my portfolio and learn, even though there is very little gain for herself. Talk about selfless! The world needs more people like her. 🙂

So thank you, Sarah. Thank you for being such a great friend to me and for supporting me. Even if I fail miserably at photography, I’m so thankful to have you believe in me so much that you are willing to do all that you do for me. I love you!

Oh, did I mention that she’s SUPER HOT too? Hehehe…

I know I was supposed to write about Mal’s birthday party, but the week after his party was my week to do absolutely NOTHING! 🙂

I will say that my baby’s 2nd birthday was a huge success. We all had such a great time. We had our family from the Apple Valley AND Vegas show up. That’s a 3-6 hour drive for them! They must love my kid or something. 🙂

These are the cupcakes I made for the party. From scratch. What?! They were so fun to make. I would make them again in a HEARTBEAT!

I used this recipe for the cupcakes, this recipe for the frosting, and THIS recipe for instructions on putting the cupcakes together. Big thanks to my mom and my sister for the help! (they were delicious, and I’m embarrassed to say how many I actually ate…)

This past weekend, I watched a workshop on creativeLIVE starring the AMAZING photographer, Jasmine Star. The course was all about building your photography business. I walked away from the workshop with 15 pages of notes and feeling soooooooooooooo inspired. Once I have this baby, I’m planning on heading at this thing full force. I just need to do it.
One thing that I am vowing to do is build my portfolio. For a while, I was mainly interested in fashion photography, which is why I was always organizing those crazy themed photo shoots. And while those were a BLAST and a really good learning experience for me, I know that it’s not the direction I really want to go…and the pictures that I took before don’t really benefit my portfolio in the wedding/engagement/portrait field. So that’s what I need to focus on. I’m going to start over and work on building my portrait portfolio. Plus, I need to get out there and second shoot. I am so upset because I actually had a second shooter opportunity offered to me (thanks again, Chuck!) but I had to turn it down because my husband works that weekend and we wouldn’t have a babysitter for our TWO (yep! two!) babies. UGH. Still, I know there will be other opportunities if I just keep pushing forward and putting myself out there. I’m really excited!

So, if any of my wonderful friends want to have a couples or portrait sesh, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!! Let’s do this.

Oh, one more thing. I emailed Jasmine Star after the workshop. Totally not expecting an email back, since this is an extremely popular photographer who has over 35,000 FB fans and who’s FB wall is constantly being posted on by her many adoring fans. But she TOTALLY emailed me back this morning.  YES! SHE emailed ME back!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I want to print it out and frame it. She has been my photographer idol since I discovered her a while back and I’m floating on cloud nine right now. I don’t think I will ever delete it out of my inbox.
Hope you guys have a great week!