Homegrown cinderella pumpkin (with baby in the background).
Dinner in a Pumpkin, a Lucas family tradition since 2005. (I've tried several recipes over the years, and this one is our favorite.) And we love sweet & salty pumpkin seeds, too.
Scrappy friends who come over for a mid-week potluck. (From left: Aly Dosdall and Faith, Wendy Smedley, Ali Monson holding Keira, Elisha Snow, Rachel Gainer and Shelby, Kelly Jeppson and Gabe.)
Fun party favors brought by Kelly Jeppson. (Don't you want to be the sort of person who always remembers to bring homemade treats to any gathering? That's Kelly for ya.)
One more shot of Keira bug because I simply couldn't resist.
Speaking of Halloween treats, you should know that Ella Publishing Co. is having a Halloween sale! Use code ELLAWEEN at checkout before midnight on October 31, 2010, to receive 31 percent off of any (or all) of the following ten eBooks:
It's hard to believe that it's been a year since we said goodbye to Ruby the Wonder Dog. We still miss her. We talk of her often. "Hey, remember Ruby?" one of us will say. "She was the best," another will reply. "There will never be another like her."
Despite her massive size, she was my "replacement baby" during my struggle with infertility. She was the thing I nurtured and cuddled while I hoped for a baby of my own. I may not have had to wipe her slobber off my shoulder, like a real baby, but I definitely had to wipe it from my pants several times a day. :) And it was from her that I received the unconditional love and absolute adoration that I craved. She didn't like to be more than 5 feet away from me at any given moment. And when Jeremy was around, well, she liked to be directly on top of him, if possible.
With all the baby excitement and hullabaloo, the anniversary of Ruby's passing came and went quietly. It was not unnoticed by Travis, Jeremy, and I, but the sting was swallowed up by the overwhelming love we felt for our sweet baby girl. I still don't quite know what to make of the fact that Keira Jane Lucas joined our family on October 4, 2010, the exact one-year anniversary of Ruby's death. (After a short battle with cancer, we let Ruby go on October 4, 2009.)
That part of me that still believes in fairy tales and magical things has a hunch that Ruby was up in heaven pulling a few strings for us. She always was pretty persuasive.
In honor of Ruby this month, here's a photo book I created using the templates at Shutterfly.com. I gave it to Jeremy for Christmas last year.
I grabbed these shots of Jovie early this morning, one through the back-door window and the other through the ground-floor office window. (I had to be careful not to draw any attention to myself, because Jovie does not stay in states of repose for long.)
Here she sits so calmly on the patio furniture, very human-like, gazing out at the back yard, seeming to wonder what adventures await her today...
Will she get a chance to bark at the mailman or the elderly neighbor, Ralph?
Will she catch any bugs, like the poor praying mantis she carried around the yard for about 5 minutes last week?
Will there be a walk with mommy and Keira? (Oh please please please let there be a walk!)
Will that one tall kid (Jovie's favorite) come over today to wrestle with her on the lawn?
Will grandpa Lucas come visit her at lunchtime, with a baggie of treats hidden in his pocket?
My dear friend Elisha Show made time for a last-minute photo shoot of Keira Jane on Saturday (which was her 2-week birthday).
It seems the best time to photograph newborns is in the first two weeks, because they're so sleepy and snuggly. I'm so glad we made it in just under the wire! I can hardly look at these pictures without crying. She is so tiny and perfect, and I feel so, so lucky.
Visit Elisha's blog to see a few more shots (and to tell her how wonderful she is).
If you'd like to be more like Elisha (as I do), sign up for her upcoming online workshop at Big Picture Classes. It's called "Get Great Photos with Any Camera," and it starts October 28.
Keira Jane arrived a wee bit early. Her due date was actually today, October 13, and it was highlighted and colored in bright and bold on my calendar. (Not that I could possibly have forgotten or overlooked it.)
Here's the "Happy Due Date" picture we e-mailed to her birthmom.
Keira has a little FAO Schwartz teddy bear that's a miniature version of the big teddy bear we gave to her birthmom at the hospital. The plan is to take pictures of Keira with the bear each month, to watch her grow before our very eyes. (Are you just dying over those hand-crocheted booties made by one of the resident grandmothers in my neighborhood?)
Unfortunately, this is the best picture I have of the mama bear. (I promise to never hold an actual baby in this sort of strangle hold.) The little present behind my head? That was a gift for Keira from her birthdad. So, so sweet. I'm taking good care of those things so she'll have them when she grows up and always know she was loved right from the start.
Keira is now 10 days new. And she just hit her one-week anniversary as a Lucas. My heart is full.
I am a mother. I've yearned for this for 11 years, ever since I fell in love with my tiny newborn niece, Haylee, on April 22, 1999. Five years later, I was married, and another six years later, I finally brought home my own bundle of joy. And now, at least a dozen times a day, I look at the darling in my arms and say to myself in wonder, "I'm holding a baby right now! And I get to keep her!"
Expected: How fun it would be to hear people say "your baby." Unexpected: The jolt I felt the first time someone said "your daughter."
Expected: That being a new mother feels something like falling in love for the first time. Unexpected: The euphoria I feel every minute. The whole world looks brighter, newer. I'm full of creative ideas and overflowing with inspiration (if only I had a spare minute to follow through on any of them). I half expect to see little cartoon birds lifting the bed covers each morning while singing mice lay out our outfits for the day.
Expected: That I'd be very, very tired from the feedings every two hours. Unexpected: How little I care about being tired. I'd rather be tired. I love being tired. After six years of being well rested but empty handed, I'm ready to be physically exhausted with a cuddly infant in my arms.
Expected: That Travis would be a wonderful dad all over again, just like he's been to Jeremy. Unexpected: How quickly he fell in love with Keira Jane. "I had no idea," he said to me the other day. "About what? How cute she'd be?" I asked. "About all of it," he said.
Expected: That there'd be lots and lots of laundry. Unexpected: How much I love folding baby clothes. (Just don't ask if any of the grown-up clothes around here have been laundered in the last two weeks.)
Expected: That there'd be a learning curve as I adjust to being a new mom. I'm not the fastest diaper changer in the West, not by long shot. (I've been known to go through three new diapers during one changing session, thanks to Keira's air-exposure-pee-reflex. But Travis has the record with four.) Nor do I have the onesie wrestling down quite yet. (Slipping a wriggling, floppy newborn into a tiny, form-fitting, fabric tube should be an Olympic sport.) Unexpected: How much I already know from years of watching sisters and sisters-in-law, friends, and neighbors with their children. It appears I've been a sponge for the last 10 years, quietly gathering everyone else's best ideas and learning from their experiences.
Expected: That I'd be grateful to my baby's birth parents. Unexpected: How deeply I love, admire, and respect my baby's birthmom. How fervently I pray that she will have absolutely everything she wants and needs out of life, that she will be happy, that she will be treasured and loved by all who know her. How I hope for every happiness for her birthdad, too.
Expected: That being jolted awake every two hours by a crying infant would wreak havoc with my sleep habits. Unexpected: How vividly I remember all of my dreams. I usually remember dreams only occasionally, but now I enjoy the pleasure of clearly recalling three or four weird dreams every night! (Only one so far has involved misplacing the baby.)
Expected: That new babies bring joy and wonder with them right from the start. Unexpected: The outpouring of gifts, visitors, well-wishes, and more from friends, family, and even strangers who are sharing in our happiness. (For just one wonderful example, visit The Daily Trumpet to see what Wendy and her cohorts put together for baby Keira.) I wish every baby born on this earth could be greeted with such a celebration.
Expected: That being a new mother would change my life entirely. Unexpected: That I still feel exactly like me. I think, all this time, I was imagining an enormous, transformative change to come over me—that a pillar of light would rain down from heaven, and I'd be endowed with motherly wisdom, power, and instant immunity to all disgusting bodily liquids.
Yes, the change is and will be total, but it hasn't been an overwhelming or sudden shift in the fabric of my very existence. It's been quiet and gradual. It feels as comfortable as slipping into a soft, fluffy robe that fits like a dream and that I never, ever want to take off.
Photos taken by Travis with his dad's vintage Polaroid Land Camera and then scanned.
On Wednesday, there was a "friends" shower, thrown by one of my BFFs since high school, LaRie Nelson, and my sister Michele Redman. Can you tell LaRie works for Stampin' Up!? Adorable banner and treat bags.
And my sis was in charge of the food. My mother-in-law brought an amazing fresh peach cake (and apparently the recipe is top secret); my friend Marisa brought a fruit platter and a scrumptious dip; and my sister made fabulous sugar cookies, Special K bars (a family favorite!), cheesecake with multiple topping choices, and apple-toffee dip. I managed to NOT get any good pictures of the full spread, because once the guests arrived, I was suddenly somewhat distracted.
Here are my baby's darling grandmas: Grandma Bev and Grandma Janet. This is going to be one lucky little lady!
Jovie had a great time. She loves a good party.
At baby shower number two, thrown by my ward friends ("ward"=Mormon speak for "congregation"), the treats had a fall theme. Pumpkin cake and peach cobbler. Jeremy and Travis were in heaven with all the leftovers. Thanks Kelli, Kim, and Christine!
How cute is this?!? My first diaper cake. And it's packed with useful things like baby spoons, toys, and hair bows. (Although chances are good that my baby won't have much hair for quite some time.)
Bags and bags of heart-stoppingly cute stuff. Not pictured: the group gifts of a baby swing and a Pack-n-Play, which are still in the boxes at the moment.
Man have I got some washing and folding ahead of me! Did you catch the ladybug Halloween costume/pajamas there on the right?
And a carseat cover made by my sis-in-law Becky that I adore. (Yes, I caught that misplaced modifier. But, since I adore both the carseat cover and the sister-in-law, I wasn't too worried about it.)
I know what you're thinking, "Where are all the people?" My pal Megan took pictures of the people who were at shower number one at least, so I know those are on the way. (Thanks, Megan!) I was not so on the ball with shower number two, but I have plenty of cards to remember everyone by.
What a blast! And then I head to Idaho this weekend for the Idaho relatives shower. (Did I ever mention that, although I was born and primarily raised in Utah, I am related to half of Southeastern Idaho?) I haven't seen some of my cousins for at least a year, so I can't wait to get the crew together again.
I feel so, so lucky for my wonderful family and friends. It's enough to make a girl cry. Thanks.