Sunday, March 28, 2010

a baby story

I got a call from a woman last week sometime about going maternity shots for her. She was having her 6th child and wanted pictures of her 5 children (1 girl, 4 boys) and her pregnant belly, (another boy). I agreed, we set up a time, and that was that. As the day came, we eventually made the call that it was too chilly and windy to shoot, so we rescheduled for the following Friday, knowing that day was exactly a week out from her due date and really cutting it close.

On the Friday of the shoot, I get a voicemail about 2 hours before I am scheduled to meet her at the George Bush Library pond, saying that she wasn't feeling well and we would have to cancel. My heart broke, as I knew the belly pictures were important to her, so I called, got her address and my son Andrew and I headed to her house so we could AT LEAST get her belly on 'film' before that wasn't an option and her little man made his debut.

When I arrive at her home, her children were all dressed to match, and she looked lovely is this amazing sheer black lace top that showed off her belly nicely. We headed to her back yard, found a pretty spot in the shade for everyone to sit and started shooting. We shot for about 15 minutes and in that time, she had SEVERAL severe contractions and with each one, I was getting more and more nervous.

We made our way back to the front of the house, I packed up my equipment, and was about to head out when I realized that, inside the house, things were going downhill fast. I didn't know what to do and soon found out that her husband was in town at the grocery store, she had been planning on a water birth, but her midwife was in Austin and she had no real plan for where her kids were going to go for all this, which is completely understandable considering she was a week out from her due date.

At some point, I talked to 0ne of her friends and we made some plan to get the kids to her, but that took a back seat very quickly when I noticed she was in real live labor and there would be no transporting of children, as I was absolutely NOT leaving this stranger in her home to have this baby alone, no matter what!

Then, her water broke. Now, I should mention that this mother-to-be was the absolute calmest, most in control I have EVER seen for someone about to literally give birth on her living room floor. She was on speaker phone with her midwife by this point, and that was probably all we needed to get through this situation, but me being who I am (a mother, yes, but a TEACHER, a PHOTOGRAPHER, not, I repeat NOT a doctor) I called 911 because I needed direction, coaching and support. I think I remember telling the sweet 911 operator "I am about to have to deliver a baby, it is NOT going to wait and I need you to tell me what to do." She had lots of other questions for me first, so I was trying to rack my brain for old episodes of ER, and really wishing I had been a fan of 'Rescue 911' or whatever that show was called... I kept thinking 'boil water, get towels, sheets, I need a shoelace'.

Under strict orders, my son Andrew kept her boys outside, but her 11 yr old daughter stayed in the house with us simply because I had no idea where towels, shoelaces, or anything else would be in the event that they were needed. She was a champ, doing anything and everything we asked her and is really the heroine of this story. We got a small stack of towels between the mom's legs and about 20 seconds after that, what we think was a head appeared, and less than a minute later, a chunky, pink baby boy was in my hands.
Per the 911 operator's instruction (or instinct, I cannot remember which), I untangled the little man from the cord... it wasn't around his neck, just everywhere else, like he had been caught in a spider web. I cleared his mouth with my finger, wiped his eyes, and strategically passed him to his mother, being careful not to put any stress on the cord. We still had a 'placenta to deliver, catch and wrap up for the doctor', Miss 911 tells me, to which I responded (only in my head, I hope) AWESOME, only with very sarcastic undertones.

Luckily, the mom had planned on a home water birth, though the moment she asked me to start gettign her pool ready, I quite sternly told her to give up that dream, because there was no time for me to blow up a pool and fill it with warm water so we could follow her 'birth plan', but she did have the blue and white hospital pads, suction bulb and other necessities on hand, so as 911 was asking me for things, we (11 yr old daughter and I ) were able to go to the birthing box and find them. The mother used the bulb to clear the airways, we got mom to a sitting position and got our little man on her breast within 3 minutes of delivery.

That's when the cavalry arrived. The new daddy got home first, to a huge surprise, then the sheriff appeared, closely followed by the ambulance. As throngs of people started pouring into the little home in the country, I took advantage of the break and unpacked my camera. I was able to capture the still unnamed newborn only minutes old, in his mother's arms, looking around, probably wondering what all the fuss was about. I have so much admiration for this new mommy, who was so happy and content to look her baby over, smiling and talking to him, posing for pictures... In all my life, I have honestly never seen anything like the strength this woman showed.

The last picture I took was of two gloved hands holding clamps, as an 11 yr old girl who demonstrated such maturity and grace under such pressure, cut her new baby brother's umbilical cord. I will never be the same.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Please join me on my new blog!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dying Eggs

We dyed eggs for Easter... Here is the set up...
Hard Boiled Eggs
Vinegar (and the oh so lovely smell that accompanies is)
Excited kids!
Serious kids!

Artistic kids!
Concentrating kids!
Goofy kids!

"This is getting boring and they stink"... otherwise known as whining kids!Kooky eggs!
Eggs that look like dad!
Er, um,... interesting eggs?
A good time was had by all :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break

It's sad to say that the most exciting part of Spring Break 2009 was lunch at McDonalds, taking pictures in the bluebonnets, going to Maggie Moo's and then getting to buy a book from the book store, followed by coming home to watch the Aggies play UConn. Sad, but true. I am going to do the bluebonnet shoot again this evening. Although it was an overcast day, it was still to bright for my fair haired, blue eyed babies, so we had an overage of squinting... will post those soon!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Today was our elementary school carnival. There was A LOT going on today, including the last Aggie basketball game of the regular season... ! Grace and I (along with our neighbor Bethany) headed out to the carnival at 11. Andrew had a soccer game at 12, so Stacey and the boys went to the ballpark before meeting us at the carnival around 1:20. The auction part of the carnival was also at noon. I had to be there because our grade level was auctioning off a ceramic beverage tub (I think it went for about $350) AND the plate I made for Grace's kindergarten class was also being auction (side note: My sweet, sweet step-dad bid and won our plate and gave it to us, so we now have it proudly hanging in our breakfast room!) We had lots of fun and I took hundreds of pictures. I have more of Grace, because she was there longer and Lucas because once he got there, he was with me mostly.... There are so many great pics I can't post because they are of other people's children.... I'll give you what I can.... I am taking a photography class, so I am getting better with my camera.... I have a few artsy shots I'll try to post soon!

Ryan, after playing with his friends in the Water Wars game (essentially people paid 5 tickets to throw water balloons at my son and his friends.)
Andrew, just finishing some crazy game where he was in an inflatable pit with inflatable weapons attacking his friends.... weird kids!

GG being cheesy.
Lucas being a vampire.

Lucas in a bouncy house thing....
Lucas sliding down a bouncy slide...

Grace making a sand candy creation.

GG very excited about an annoying whistle she won..... hmmm, I wonder where that ended up *trash* cough, cough
I love this pic of her though :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lucas is 3

I spent my 20's having babies. I had four, to be exact. If I wasn't pregnant, I was recovering from pregnancy, nursing, or trying to become pregnant. Little Lucas Trant Stagg was the last of our miracles. Today, he is three and I am trying to remember where the years have gone... it seems like only yesterday, I was sitting at the bar, eating Cookies & Cream ice cream with my friend Afshan. She was staying overnight so that Stacey and I could leave at 6:00am to have our final baby... three years ago today.

Here is Lu blowing out the candles.
Eating cake and wiping his hands.
My friend Katie, with her baby Ellie.Katie's other daughter, Addie.
The kids watching Lucas open gifts.
It was a long night.. even for a big ol' 3 year old.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The class plate

This year, I was asked to paint the class plate. For those of you who aren't familiar with this tradition, each year a parent paints a plate for every kindergarten and 4th grade teacher, to be auctioned off at the carnival in March. These plates go for ridiculous amounts of money, but as an example, this year the proceeds from the carnival got every teacher a smart board, scanner and digital camera... so I'm not complaining!
However, these plates are absolutely amazing and I am incredibly intimidated by the thought of 1. having this plate on display for a month before the carnival and 2. the responsibility of creating something that could possibly earn my school hundreds of dollars.... I can see it now. Every teacher will have their fantastically artistic and creative plate go for $350 + and then bidding starts on mine and my poor husband has to buy it for $25 because no one else will even bid (And you WILL be buying it if no one bids, Stacey!).

The theme for this year's carnival is "Under the Sea" and while some people paint their plates to go with the theme, but I have chosen not to. I have always had this vision of a round plate, Earth painted in the middle and children all around it, standing on Earth holding hands. Every plate has something written on it, so I drew the plane below: Below that is the plate so far... still wet.. I am assured the strokes won't show when it's all said and done!

Around the rim, I am finger printing the kids, then making their prints into kids and will detail them holding hands. The continents will be outlined in black and flying over the earth will be an airplane with a banner, reading "What a wonderful world..." I am putting the airplane on tomorrow. The kids are all writing their names on paper for me.. I plan to shrink it and somewhere around each kid, I will carbon their name on (it will be in their own handwriting, which I think is pretty special). I need your thoughts... what else can I do to make it special and what can I do on the back? HELP!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I love this man...

He is an awesome cook, he is the best dad I have ever met in my entire life, he does dishes and laundry, he wants to show me all the things he's seen and share every experience with me, he buys me Chunky Monkey without me asking for it, he moves things/redecorates/hangs things without complaining (too muh), he comes to school to feed my snake for me because, while I love my snake, I do not like feeding him live mice, plus the first ever blu-ray he watched on his PS3 and the fist thing he EVER watched on his new LCD TV was.... wait for it.... Mamma Mia! Now, if that ain't love, I don't know what is ;)

Monday, January 5, 2009

A girl called....

I knew who it was by the number on my caller ID.

My heart skipped a beat.

I hesitated, wondering if I should just let it go to voicemail.

I looked at Stacey, gulped, and answered.

It was her. I now know how mothers of poor, unsuspecting boys felt when I called (and called and called and called)


Her- "Um, hi, um, *long pause*..."

Me- "Sarah? Do you want to talk to Andrew?" *no, no, no, this can't be happening*

Her- "No, no. Can, um, he come over?"

Me- "When? What time? Ask your mom. We are on our way to the grocery store so I could drop him off. Is now ok?" We were in the car already...

Her- "Yes, see you in a minute..... (forgets to hang up) MOM!! HE'S COMING RIGHT NOW!!!" *giggle, giggle*

And there you have it. A girl called.

***side note***

I love this little girl, they have played together on numerous occasions, she has great parents and if I had to hand pick a child for Andrew to hang out with, it would be her, so my panic doesn't stem from the fact that SHE called, just the fact that a girl called.... and giggled.

And to think, I have 2 more boys...

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Serves 2
1/2 lb. cod

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. dried basil, crushed

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Dash salt

2 plum tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into thin slices

2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Pat fish dry and cut into 2 serving pieces. Combine oil and lemon juice in a baking dish. Add fish and turn to coat both sides. Sprinkle with basil, pepper and salt. Overlap tomatoes in even layer on fish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes or until fish just begins to flake when tested with a fork.