We’re all in!

We’re all in!

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We’re all-in! What does that mean? It means that Andrew and I entered our first international photography contest last week. The Shoot & Share Contest is held annually and photographers from around the world submit their photos.

For the contest, being “All-In” means we both submitted the maximum number of entries allowed – 50 each! We can’t share our entries with you right now, but you can go and vote in the contest. Anyone can vote at http://contest.shootandshare.com/vote.

Here’s how Shoot & Share describes the contest voting: “View the photos randomly and vote for your favorites. No one knows who took the photos, but everyone votes for the winners. Most votes wins.” Pretty cool.

Here’s the deal, this year, 225,207 photos were submitted! That’s a pretty big field of photography. It’s actually pretty improbable that we’ll even see one of our photos when we vote.

So, you probably won’t see our photos and might not even know it’s ours unless you’re in it, but, please, take part. Go vote in the contest. It’s fun and you’ll see some great images. Warning – voting can become addictive!

Babywearing = Life Improved

Babywearing = Life Improved

It’s the last day of International Babywearing Week (Oct. 4-10), and I wanted to share how babywearing has helped our family navigate life with our first child (including photography!). One of the things I most looked forward to while pregnant was wearing our little one. Our daughter (we’ll call her L) was a few weeks old when I wore her for the first time in a Little Frog ring sling we bought at Sprouting Up in Jefferson City, Missouri. It was awkward at first figuring out how the ring sling worked, but the leaders at Central Missouri Babywearers were tremendously helpful. We were also gifted with a Boba 3G (a soft structured buckle carrier) by our sweet small group friends. The Boba has been Andrew’s go-to carrier. Finally, when L was about 9 months old, I got over my fear of wrapping – a 4.6 meter piece of woven cloth (made specifically for babywearing) is intimidating! I bought a Little Frog wrap, attended a couple babywearing meetings and just practiced. Here are a few ways babywearing has helped us.

Sleep

Sleep is what many parents dream of (or at least daydream!). Like all babies L has fought naps and bedtime but often a little more than most. Babywearing has given us one more tool to get the kid to sleep! It’s almost guaranteed that if she’s sleepy but refusing to sleep, babywearing will knock her out within 30 minutes if not 2 minutes flat. The proof is in the pictures. Yes, it’s a little more challenging for me to get some things done while wearing a sleeping baby but it’s so much easier than holding her.

A little computer time while baby sleeps. 

Look at those curls!

Daddy time

What’s cuter than your husband wearing your baby? They get to bond since they don’t see each other as much. Andrew has worn L plenty of times while we go hiking, on a walk or even while cleaning the house – it’s just so much easier than having a fussy baby! And they get to be silly together – one of their favorite pastimes.

Aren’t they cute?

Closeness

There’s something awesome about having my baby’s sweet little face and head and neck right there in front of me ready for kisses, pats, hugs and smiles. And, let’s be honest, I was a bit stressed about taking newborn out in public for a while, especially since she was born during the height of flu season. Being able to keep her close while babywearing helped because she was cocooned against me. Plus it helped her feel safe. Once she got bigger, I started wearing her on my back.

Hands free

Babywearing can be hands free depending on the carrier and the carry used. Wearing L on my back means I can cook supper with a fussy, needy baby. When baby needs to be held ALL the time, babywearing comes to the rescue. There have been many times when babywearing has helped both soothe L as well as save a little of my sanity while also helping us to get things done. We also can hike and go adventuring.

Selfie in between photographing my stepmother’s 50th birthday party. Yep, I have a crazy mom face – I’ve learned you’ll do almost anything to get your kid to smile.

Work

When you can’t get anything done because the baby needs to be cuddled, babywearing helps you get things done. Plus, you can take your baby on photoshoots. Andrew wore L for several shoots with our friends when we were just getting started. It worked then but she’s a little big and loud for it now!

I’m trying hard to intentionally treasure these early months and years of parenthood. They are going by so fast already. For me, babywearing has helped ease the craziness of life with a little one and given us all lots of fond memories. We definitely don’t wear her all the time, especially as she’s getting bigger and bigger, but babywearing still proves to be an important option at this time in our lives.