aka Jakey Potatey.
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was writing a wee blog in the days leading up to Eli's birth?! 2.5 years later... we are perhaps just days away from meeting the second little Hutton button! We can't wait to find out who has been hiding and growing inside me! But there's also a million things to do beforehand, and no doubt this little bubs is probably easier on the inside than on the outside, so I'm content waiting if he or she decides they are not quite ready for the outside world by due date ;)
I'm totally not any more prepared this time around than I was last time... it's sooo surreal still, and I think it will feel that way until I'm holding my precious new love in my arms! And then I'm sure it will feel like it's exactly as it was always meant to be... as if life beforehand was somewhat incomplete or something.
It's taken me since the beginning of this year to work out whether or not to share these images from the 2017 Shoot and Share Contest with you. These first two images are particularly special and poignant, and I don't share them because of the 'awards'. I share them because I want to share the hope in these images. This is beautiful little Emily, who I photographed in NICU at about 26 weeks old. This absolutely tiny little girl really touched me, and I am just so pleased to let you know that she is now 20 months old, and is doing so well! NICU is an amazing place. It's a place filled with so many mixed emotions and roller-coaster rides for so many parents - in reality, it's a place sometimes crippled by sadness and fear, and other times filled with hope and strength. But no matter what, it's always a place filled with love and care. I know not all these beautiful, tiny little babies are as fortunate as Emily, but I wanted to share the power of the hope, love, strength, and the fighting spirit of this wee girl!
Out of over a thousand photos in the "Passion Portraits: Giving Back" Category, Emily’s photos placed 12th and 15th. This category is reserved for photos taken to give back to our communities. It's about using our gifts within photography to share with and bless others. These two photos are really special to me, and I'm glad they touched the hearts of photographers around the world who voted.
These tiny humans are so much smarter than they often get credit for! We watched in awe as our niece and nephew communicated and expressed themselves so extensively with baby sign language long before they could talk... and we were keen as beans to try it when we had our own children! We began consistently using few simple signs with Eli at around 5 months old - "food", "milk", "finished", "more", "Daddy" and "Mummy" - and after a couple of months his reactions suggested he was understanding what we were signing. I'll never forget when Eli clearly signed "milk" back to us for the first time though... he was just over 9 months old and we were flying above the Southern Alps on a plane to Wellington. Liam and I just looked at each other with our mouths wide open and with melted hearts.... did that just happen?! We hadn't just been signing idiotically to a brick wall... this little munchkin had been soaking it all up and learning an amazingly powerful communication tool. He was so little, yet he was telling us what he wanted and needed well before he had the ability to speak. So rewarding!
Eli just wanted to show you all how much his Teddy and this chair shrunk over his first 14 months of life!
So just as a reference... first photo is 0 months and the last photo is 14 months! 12 months is bottom middle!
We have this printed and framed in our hallway and I loooove it! He's always been a busy boy and was quick to get on the move... I love seeing his movement and cheeky personality develop each month! I am hoping to do this every month until he is 2, and then perhaps every birthday until he is 21 (if he will still let me! Perhaps I'll still be bribing him with food...) ;)
Just as a little bit of fun we let Eli loose on a wee 1st birthday cake especially for him (you know... the dairy-free, egg-free, and therefore probably taste-free kind that you are too scared to serve up to guests as the ACTUAL birthday cake). This was a surprisingly flippin' DELICIOUS cake though (thank you Chelsea Winter)... Liam and I maaay have totally polished off what was left.
'Twas a bit of a giggle... he spent the first 5 minutes just walking around the cake playing with the balloons. It definitely wasn't the 'smoosh your face in it and eat your heart out just 'cos you can' kinda party... I don't think he knew that the sticky blue thing was actually food and proceeded pretty cautiously with each tiny bite! But we had fun watching him play with the textures and get his first wee taste of the joy of sugar ;)
Being a Mama.
It's the greatest thing I've ever become. A privilege. A blessing. A hard, amazing, extremely un-glamorous, crazy awesome, sleepless, life-long journey.
We are SO excited to let you know that Eli William Hutton was born on the 28th July 2015... a full 8lb 8oz of awesome!
We are making sure we spend heaps of precious time with our new little bundle... he is just so amazing and we absolutely adore the gorgeous newborn cuddles he is giving us!
(Just a reminder... I am on maternity leave until January 2016, when I will begin taking on a limited number of shoots. I will attempt to follow up emails over the next few weeks, but responses will be slow sorry! For now, this amazing little man needs my undivided attention... but I pretty much can't take my eyes off him anyway, so that's ok!)
Thanks for all your well-wishes and love!
Life is simple, and beautiful. Family is central to everything. Work is physically demanding, and hours are long. Lives are lived out communally on the streets. The landscapes are stunning, the textures and colours are rich. Making ends meet isn't always easy, but the people of Vietnam are happy, vibrant, and so incredibly friendly. It's a land rich with culture and history. We felt increeeedibly privileged to explore this beautiful country!
It's exciting, nerve-wracking, overwhelming, amazing, and miraculous all in one. I am beyond grateful for the life inside of me. I feel like I still must have weeks and weeks to go, yet suddenly I'm counting down the days in single digits! Where has the time gone?! I have LOVED being pregnant. I have loved being connected so fully to this wriggly little baby... I just can't fathom the fact that soon it's going to be on the outside! Sure, there have been times when I've sat eating dry crackers at 3am 'cos I can't sleep, times when my big bump has got me wedged between the supermarket checkout and the trolley, times when I've laughed so hard that it's turned into inconsolable tears, many times when I've thought the baby's boney little bum and foot pushing out so hard on my stomach are actually going to poke a hole in my side. And many times in the first 18 weeks that I fertilized a patch in the garden with, ah, surprise spew.
But those moments for me have been happiness. My pregnancy has been super smooth and I still feel really good, which I am so thankful for. I loved shooting weddings throughout and was super blessed with awesome clients over this last season! I am so aware of how lucky I am... so aware that some people desperately want to be pregnant and can't, lots have hard and complicated pregnancies, and far too many go through the worst times imaginable losing their precious babies. I have been through all of these things with friends in the past 9 months, which has been incredibly difficult. Because of this, I've been so grateful for every crazy shape that I've watched my stomach morph and wriggle into, and for every single day that I've carried this baby.
People keep asking if we are 'ready'. Ha! I'm pretty sure nothing is going to prepare us for what is to come. But we are ready to try. Ready to try to attempt this parenting thing... with all the joys, struggles, mistakes, tiredness, and happiness along the way.
Oh. my. goodness. We're actually about to have a baby. It's obviously happened trillions of times before, but woooah... a new little human is going to enter our world sometime in the next few days/weeks. One that we are solely responsible for. One that we will fall in love with more than we can ever imagine now. One that will provide more challenges for us to overcome than we have ever known. One that is going to change our lives completely and utterly!
Are we grown up enough for that?!