by gillian claire: 2013



choices / sponsored post.


nine days.

(top: roman, bottom: asher)
Alright guys, I'm here to talk a little bit about two of my favorite topics: babies + childbirth, and also to share a little bit about my sponsor: LifebankUSA. One issue that I feel very strongly about is a woman's right to birth and to me it is all  about women being educated about their choices. Having a baby is different than what it was in our mother's generation: we have more easily accessible rights and choices regarding how the birth of our child will go. I have always tried to hold strong to my convictions about the choices that I have made for my sons at birth and of course after, even when they went against the grain.  One thing that I am trying to keep in mind is that no matter what, I will never be perfect and neither will my choices. Today, mothers have so much to choose from and truly, the responsibility can be overwhelming. I would love to be the "perfect mom" and I find it very easy to fall into the "I wish I could be more like that," trap especially in the blogging world. Personally, I know that I will never be perfect and I know that when it comes down to it, being a good mother is really about trying my best to make better choices every day. I believe that all parents should educate themselves about all birth and parenting choices and feel empowered by making the best decision for their family. Whether you choose to have your baby at home or in a hospital, whether you choose to go intervention free or have an epidural during birth, whether or not you choose to breastfeed: make an educated choice that is best for YOU and feel empowered by it!

One choice that is new to our generation is that of cord blood banking, and I have been asked to share a little bit about that option with my readers today. LifebankUSA is a company that offers both cord blood banking as well as the combination of placental and cord blood banking. Collecting and saving stem cells from a baby's umbilical cord and placenta at birth could one day save that child's life or the life of a family member! There is only one opportunity to choose cord blood banking and it occurs at birth. I did not choose to bank Roman or Asher's cord blood, but as the practice is becoming more well known, it is something that I want to keep in mind if I get pregnant again. One thing that I think is really awesome about LifebankUSA is that you can also choose to donate your baby's cord blood! Cord blood banking is definitely something that is worth looking into today, so consider adding it to your list of things to educate yourself about as a parent!

Currently, LifebankUSA is hosting a contest on Facebook to give away 3 Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats! These car seats are valued at $290! Be sure to check out the LifebankUSA Facebook Page to enter for a chance to win. All you have to do is "like" their page. Good luck!

(I was compensated for sharing my opinions. Thank you for supporting my family by reading!)

listen closely.

2R6A6364 (3)
2R6A6365 (2)2R6A6365<2R6A6363-2 (2)2R6A6345-2 (2)2R6A6354-2 (2) "let your heart guide you. it whispers, so listen closely."
- the land before time
i love these photos that aaron took of asher and me. this was during my frantic "trying to fix my camera" phase. honestly i don't even know what went wrong here but these photos are super grainy and technically wacky. i seriously love them in spite of that though and kind of because of that.
they aren't "perfect", but they are, ya know?

a letter to my baby.

IMG_6584-4 .
oh, asher. it's honestly hard to remember sometimes that you actually, truly are two.
certainly it's clear that you are changing and growing. every day you make me smile in wonder with your new words and new habits. of course you are two, of course. but still, really, you are just my baby. you are wanting and whiney and you ache and need with reckless abandon. you still sleep next to me every night and you still wake up to nurse. you still stir franticly to find me and you settle with my touch. you are sweet and little and  still somehow keep so much newborn-ness lingering about you. i can't completely explain this, but baby is just a part of your aura. i see it in you and your dad sees it too; it's just there.

you are such a trying little soul, full to the brim in every way imaginable. needless to say, my days also feel filled - with lots of patience-testing and soul wrestling moments and darker thoughts of "i never thought i'd be this mother" shouting and crying and wondering "when will this day/this week/these hard moments end?"

i know that you ache too. you feel so much and too much and your little tiny heart just can't always hold it all in.

looking back, i see now how it has always been in you, always all along. the way you stretched your little leg inside me, reaching, reaching until finally i could grasp my hand around your footprint entirely. poking from my belly, a tiny perfect foot. a real baby foot attemping to climb his way out of my womb, fascinating. i see it too, in the way you were born. i planned a water birth all along, it's what i'd practiced over and over in my mind. but at the last minute, my midwife was still fighting uneasy feelings that i should get out of the bath. and so, as you were coming into the world, i did. you were born in bed, fighting and grasping for breath. a baby who just wanted to breathe too soon. desperate to do everything fast and first right from the very first day.
sometimes, amidst all the turmoil and strife, i just get it. i get that you and i are not that different at all. and sometimes, in the middle of the night - there's just a fleeting instant where i feel it. we're both toppling about, restless in our sleep. i  pull your head to my face. i swear you still have some of that downy newborn hair and if i just tuck you in just right, i can still get a taste of that intoxicating newborn smell . your arm curls under my neck and your little baby hand twists for a fist of my hair. and we both just breathe a momentary, miniature sigh of relief. it's not a real sigh, but it's something.
and in that moment, we finally feel what we both have been searching for all along in life - just to be loved and cared for, for no other reason than love itself. 


happy halloween!


portraits of roman.

roman and i had a little date the other day. panera + thrift store shopping + a last stop at the foothills so that i could test out my rental lens. i only planned to try to grab a couple photos of my normally grouchy model but roman just lit up and wanted to continue to pose long after i was ready to be done. i know that he was soaking in the one on one attention and i was so happy to be with my biggest and wonderful boy. 
he truly is a wonderful and magical child. a round round face always lit up with happiness, a soft and cuddly boy who is always ready for love and affection.
i think it's safe to say that i am certainly in love with this boy.
and i'm convinced that 5 is just pretty much absolutely perfect.
IMG_5253-2IMG_5251-2IMG_5163IMG_5177IMG_5223-2IMG_5224-2IMG_5242IMG_5265-2the photo shoot i had with roman one year ago here. much different backdrop. ;)

baby wearing.

( indiana, september 2012 )
remembering some favorite baby wearing photos to celebrate world baby wearing week.
baby wearing is something very special and near and dear to my heart.
also remembering that we all carry and "wear" our babies as mothers.
whether inside our bodies, in a sling or in our arms. ;)

portraits of asher.

IMG_4964-3IMG_4965-4IMG_4958-3nature's child.
(asher, october 1st)

be by ourselves, with friends only.

well, i'm really irked at my camera right now. and at canon. and at the world in general.
but i mean seriously, of course my camera equipment would start giving me a hard time before all my fall sessions come up in the next few weeks, why would i possibly expect any less?
not to be whiny, but don't things always happen at crucial times like this?
my phone and my hair straightener also broke this week. :(
seriously, so utterly frustrated.
but the good news is that we got a brand new huge amazing rug (seriously, the rug of my dreams) for $110 off toady. 
and i managed to find a few photos that i love amidst all the photo taking madness and fury that i've been experiencing lately while trying to pinpoint the problem. 
so here you go: poor quality photos from the resevoir the other evening -
mountain sunsets with birds flying over me just to add to the beautiful peacefulness of the moment. 
i really hate being so stressed when in the honest reality and scheme of things: none of this matters.
like roman says,
"i wish we could just live in the woods with no restaurants or anything nearby. we could get our own honey from our bee hives and grow our own food in our garden and just be by ourselves, with friends only."
mmm yes, if only.

IMG_4987IMG_5005IMG_4952(this one, sooc, i love how the little tiny evergreens look each night on the mountains against the sunset sky.
so, so pretty and perfect.)

Being Prepared / Sponsored Post.

( asher, nine days old. )
I definitely still look back to Asher’s birth a lot and think about how it has affected me in many, many ways. Some of these ways are positive and some are negative. One thing that I certainly learned through it all is that you can never be completely prepared for anything. Some of the things that I did in preparation for Asher’s birth were to plan to be at a hospital over an hour away so that I could pursue a completely unmedicated birth with midwives, read everything I could on natural childbirth, write down certain unconventional medical requests for Asher’s treatment in the hospital and get involved in a skin to skin research study that followed mothers who held their babies for extended and uninterrupted times following birth. I did not, however, prepare for my son to be born with immediate medical concerns, be whisked away from me shortly after birth and spend a week in the NICU.


I bring up this topic of "being prepared" today because I was contacted by LifebankUSA to share with you their mission. It is something that I feel is very important for pregnant mothers to consider when preparing for birth. I had been briefly introduced to the idea of cord blood banking during my pregnancies but I never learned too much about it. There were so many other decisions and expenses to consider that banking my babies' cord blood always got put on the back burner.

LifebankUSA is a company that offers both cord blood banking as well as the combination of placental and cord blood banking. I’m sure that a lot of you have heard of cord blood banking by now. By collecting and preserving stem cells from the umbilical cord of your baby at birth, you could potentially one day save the same child’s life or that of a family member. Placental and cord blood banking is something new that i hadn’t heard of before and that is currently only offered through LifebankUSA. Placental and cord blood banking preserves stem cells from both the umbilical cord as well as the placenta. Banking placental blood in addition to the blood from the umbilical cord increases the total number of stem cells available which could increase the probability of a future transplant success and survival as well the potential to treat additional medical conditions that could affect your child or family members in the future! Currently, LifebankUSA also offers free placental tissue banking to those who chose to bank with them which could be of medical value in the future.


I am so interested to know, have any of you mothers banked your baby’s blood? Why or why not? This is definitely something that I want to consider if I ever have another baby. The cost is very reasonable especially when you think of the long term benefits.
Be sure to check out LifebankUSA if you would like to learn more about placental and cord blood banking. Also, if you "like" their page on facebook you can enter to win a 4Moms mamaRoo baby seat!
( I was compensated for sharing my opinions. Thanks for supporting my family by reading! )

kindergarten, first day.

we just finished our first week of homeschool at our house!
this is roman's third year of homeschooling. i did two years of preschool with him at home and now to my amazement, he has somehow gone and become a wonderful, happy, round-faced kindergartener! we always wait until after labor day to start school, which i love because i'm not even ready to consider the thought of summer ending until at least september!
we have started off the first day of school the same each of these three years. i have roman color a sign  and take a first day of school pictures. of course, we always include asher who has so far completed "baby school" and two years of "toddler school" ;)
i also have roman draw a self-portrait and write his name. then i trace his hand and i have done the same first day of school interview with him all three years. it has been so fun to compare each year and see how he has grown and changed!
it's very strange to feel the years passing by through this ritual. i still remember so clearly roman's first day of preschool at 3, when asher was still a tiny newborn in his little white jammies sucking away on his paci while we made play-doh.
it has been such a blessing to stay home and be with my boys everyday and to teach them and care for them. it has definitely not always been easy especially with our wild spirited child by our side constantly trying to undo any and all school progress.
but it is indeed a blessing, to see my little roman's face light up on the first day of kindergarten with the most genuine smile in the world.
peeking out of the covers saying, "is it school day mommy??"
and to know that i don't have to pack him up and ship him off, just yet.
these boys are my heart and i feel so happy and blessed to be able to have them home with me. ;)
i went back and found our first day of school photos from last year to compare. and here are some photos from where we were this time 2 years ago!

lucky enough.

"if you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you're lucky enough."
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happy thoughts.

some happy thoughts of late:
IMG_3525-2IMG_3531the sweet things about this little boy:
when he plays "baby",
when he acts all dramatically adorable during the times when he actually lets me photograph him,
early mornings when he is all sticky sweet and rolls all over me squeaking, "hi mama"s at me.
when he is sad in his car seat and all he wants is to "cuggle" (cuddle) and kiss and hug.
dipfinding old mama/baby photos like these.
photo shoots that turn out all dreamy and wonderful.
IMG_4685-2freshly washed baby hair and finally fitting into a thrifted treasure that i bought for him when i still couldn't imagine him ever growing this big.
IMG_4686-2IMG_4687-2many mountain adventures with these guys. :)
an early morning starbucks and cloudy park date with my littles.
IMG_3739-2soft skin, natural light, his favorite shirt.
IMG_4708-3roman taking to heart and showing off to us after i keep telling him how adventurous he is.
IMG_3808-2and these brothers, of course. always trying to make me grow as a person, even when i don't feel up for it. :)
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