Friday, March 30, 2012


I have gotten incredible encouragement from friends old and new since posting about how things have been rough. I hate to hear about other people going through rough times, but it does make me feel less alone and makes me feel like I am not a terrible person for feeling some of the things I've been feeling. I love when people come out of the woodwork to email me or comment on here...I got an email from someone today that I met several years ago and had no idea she followed my blog. It was just the most encouraging and sweet made my day!

Things were good today. We didn't have ANY appointments or prior commitments and it almost felt as though I could breath better. I took the boys on a walk and we have just hung out and relaxed all day. I talked to our littlest one's physical and occupational therapists today about every 8 weeks or so, skipping a week of therapy...just to give me a breather from all of the appointments. I honestly don't know if I have had a single day since Christmas when we got our first addition to the family that I have had nothing on the calendar that had to be running Tate to preschool, no appointments, no meetings...nothing. I think I need to do this more often!

I have been pricing appliances for our new kitchen online today and even found time to watch one of my taped shows! That is UNHEARD OF during the days since our family has grown! Nearly all of our laundry is done (also completely unheard of!)...not put away, but done and folded. :) I do have a basket of my laundry up in our room where Sean is sleeping (he worked last night) that I will do later.

This weekend will be jam packed with fun things. We need some fun. Tomorrow is our Easter gathering and our niece Kayla's birthday party with the Peakin family and then after that we are heading to Des Moines where I will be doing a fellow photographer friend's family pictures in exchange for her doing our pictures the next day! Cannot wait! We got a hotel room and plan to have a fun, family night. Not going to may be rough in a tiny hotel room with all 5 of us...not sure how the sleeping is going to go. We may need prayers for that! Ha.

Sean worked has his last night shift for the next 4 weeks last night. Woohoo! I HATE when he works nights! So it'll be days for him over the next 4 weeks and that is just so much better for the whole family.

SO, all in all things are looking up!

Sophia's Infant Photoshoot...

I got to take pictures of 4 day old Sophia the other day.
She is so alert for her age! Lora finally got her sound asleep though, but she wasn't having the crumpled up baby positioning...nope, she liked to be stretched out, arms above her head. It was so cute!
I love her!
Can't wait to take photos of this little sweetie as she grows!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

look what I found...

I am not usually a believer in luck, but I will take little lately! :-)

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sometimes we just want to bury our heads...

...and cry.
Or run and hide in the bathroom...or really anywhere the kids can't find us.
It's been rough. I want to be completely honest here...this adjustment has been hard.
We are doing as well as can be expected with all we have going on. We are busy...super busy. I feel like all I do is discipline children, change diapers, make meals, do laundry, discipline children, step on toys, make meals, administer meds, discipline children, change diapers, make meals, discipline children, administer meds...oh, and then there's the bazillion appointments per week for our 2 newest additions and also the fact that we are doing all of the necessary things that need done when you purchase a house. So right now, that's our life. We are feeling overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, tired, overwhelmed...well, you get the point. So that doesn't leave much time for just fun, happy times. I am feeling like I don't have time for anything fun. It stinks. I am praying this changes soon. I guess we're still not quite in the groove. I do know with all my heart that things will get better, but for now, it's hard.
I just have to be honest and not portray life as something that it's not right now. So right now, in this season, we are overwhelmed. I love nap time and bed time and moments spent with amazing friends and family. Those are the moments that are keeping my head above water right now.
Sorry for the lack of posts...I will try to be better!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The DeCook Family of 5...

Sophia Grace is 1 day old today!
I got to go to the hospital again and take more pictures...I have a feeling she is going to be the subject of lots of my pictures for the next year (and beyond!)...

I love the family pictures!

And it is amazing (and a little annoying...ha) how gorgeous Lora can look only 1 day after birthing a child! Geesh!
Beautiful family...special weekend....blessed little girl!

Such a special time...

You all know what a dear friend Lora is to me. We have grown so close. It was such an honor to be able to be a part of these last couple of days with her while she has been in the hospital after having Sophia Grace. I love her and her family and cannot wait to love on Sophia just like I do Ava and Chloe. It's been so special to get to photograph so many special meetings and moments while they have been in the hospital. I could totally do this for a on call photographer that people call when they have their baby. I could stand in a room quietly while I photograph so many special moments.'s been SO FUN!
Sophia Grace is such a sweetie and even though I spent lots of time behind the lens...I got a little bit of time to snuggle with this little angel as well. :)
And I love this dear friend of so much.
It's been an honor to be a part of this special time for their family.
Love you guys! Let's do this again in a couple years okay?! ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

a pinterest project...

I found this wall on Pinterest way back when I started using it. It was one of my first pins. I love it. And I am so excited that I am going to HAVE it in my new house!!! It will be a scaled down version though. There is a large wall in the kitchen that I will need to do something with and it took about 3 seconds for me to know that it would be this. :) I may not do the middle wall, just the metal and chalkboard parts. It's so fun to imagine in my head all of the things we will do to the house. I LOVE decorating houses and can't wait to get to decorate every room in my own home!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

We bought a house!!!

Remember when I posted about how I wanted a house HERE.
We found one that had everything we wanted and even more than we thought we'd get!
Here it is!!!

We came to an agreement today and it's ours! Of course, we still have to get through the inspection, but if all goes well with that, we should be moving into it in May!

The only catch is that it is not in our neighborhood. In fact, it's in a completely different school district. However, we are okay with this. We made sure that we only looked in the school districts that we would be happy to send our kids to. We are excited about the neighborhood our new home is in. It's a great location and the school is great too.

Oh, and in the backyard is this...

Yup, that is a crazy, insanely huge and adorable PLAYHOUSE! That is SEAN in front of it...which means the playhouse is huge! I don't even have to duck to "play" in it. It has a wrap around porch, 2 stories, a foundation, landscaping, screens in the windows that open and close, a balcony, several rooms, a fake fireplace and electricity...yup, electricity. And there are 2 of these! The other is a 1 story one and isn't as fancy, but still...c'mon! The boys (and all the little girls in our lives) are going to go crazy for these play houses!!!

And the crazy thing is, the yard is so large and wonderful that these gigantic structures don't even really put a dent in it!

This house has so much more room than we thought we would ever get! It'll be so nice with our growing brood to have room to stretch out in. There's so much space that we don't even have enough stuff to fill it! It needs a lot of cosmetic work inside...can you say wallpaper?!?! Ugh. It'll be nice to make it our own though. :)

Can't wait to do some before and after pictures of the inside and maybe put some of my pinterest ideas to work!

Welcome Sophia Grace!

I know (except I don't know because I've never had a baby) that it is HARD to have a baby. I mean, I can't even begin to imagine going through the whole process from finding out you're expecting to pushing the baby out, to dealing with all of the physical stuff that comes after your bundle is born. It has to be the hardest thing ever.
However, it's super hard to wait in the waiting room too. ;) You know, you're pacing and wondering how things are going, has the baby been born, is everyone okay, what does it look like, etc. So this morning, as I paced in the waiting room until I got the news that my dearest friend Lora had her sweet Sophia Grace, my heart was racing. Seriously, I hate that part, but also kinda love it. So exciting! Such a momentous moment is happening just behind the doors, a birth.'s amazing.
I got to meet Sophia Grace less than an hour after her arrival. And it took an instant to fall in love with her.
And the moment Granny Linda walked in and layed eyes on her newest grandchild and held her in her ams...the waterworks started.
Can't wait to go back to the hospital in a couple of hours to get more pictures and snuggle with that sweet baby who I know will be such a huge part of our lives!
Congratulations to James, Lora, Ava and Chloe on the arrival of your sweet new addition Sophia Grace! Love you all!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Location for family photos...

We are getting family photos at this location in 10 days. Seriously, it is such a perfect location!!! I wish it was here in the QC! Since I can't post pictures of 2 of our little men for several months, I likely won't be able to share the images on here. :( Maybe I will, but I'll make our 2 littlest guys blobs just so you can see. If not, at least you got to see the fun location! Ha...I am so sure that completely satisfies you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How are we doing?

Well, we are surviving. We are taking things day by day, minute by minute. We are still managing to fit in lots of stuff into our schedule outside of just being a family. Not sure it's the smartest way to go about things, but it's just how we are I guess. I have moments every single day where I am just so overwhelmed. Some of those moments last all day! :)

I feel it's important to maintain the things outside of just disciplining, making breakfast lunch and dinner, changing diapers, giving baths, doing laundry, picking up the house, giving time outs, administering meds, going to physical and occupational therapy that bring me joy. However, I am finding it hard to find time to do anything else aside from those things listed above. I need to fit time in with friends and family, get into the real world for a couple of hours now and then, be creative, take photographs, have adult interaction that doesn't include what we are working on for therapy this week or discussing medications and doctor appointments. I have found that finding the time to do any of those things has come at the sacrifice of sleep and after about 10 days of that lack of sleep, I just can't be the mommy and wife I want/need to be. So I try to get at least 1 good night of sleep every 7-10 days so I can have fuel for the next week. I need those extra things outside of being a mommy and wife to keep my sanity and to have that at this season in my life, I am pretty certain I will not be able to get a good night sleep every night. So 5 1/2 hours is the key number. If I can get a minimum of 5 1/2 hours of sleep each night, I am good for that 7-10 days before I need a good 8 hours to refuel.

As far as you friends and family out there who we have yet to hang out with and spend time's not you, I promise. It's's us. The thing is, our newest addition is kind of confused as to who mommy and daddy are when other adults are around. We want him to completely understand who we are and create some boundaries for him. He loves being around other people, he loves playing with other kids, but he needs constant supervision when not at our home or when around a bunch of new people. And to be honest, it's me who is not ready for that. After a day of being a mommy and doing all of those duties, I just don't think it's any fun to have to hover over our little 3 year old and not allow him to just run and play (like he can at our home when it's just us). And I am still pretty certain that though he seems ready to be exposed to lots of people and experiences, he's not. He gets confused and overwhelmed and makes bad choices and I just don't want to set him up for confusion and put him in a place where I know he will end up just needing's just too soon. So we keep these interactions limited right now. Maybe one little gathering a week. We used to get together and hang out with people a few times a week, so this is an adjustment for Sean, Tate and I for sure.

And speaking of Tate. He has probably as much of an adjustment to deal with as our newest addition does! And he is amazing and wonderful. He doesn't love his new brother yet though. Really, it's a struggle. He's (for the most part) kind to him, but definitely not overly loving and affectionate like he is to our baby. He will come around. In the last week there have been glimpses of what things will grow into. They've played together in his room, shared, giggled, wrestled around, etc. However, he for the most part just ignores this new fixture in our family. He's doing less acting out though and getting to the point where he is realizing that we are now a family of 5. He stands firm in his desire to be a family of 6 though. Just yesterday he said it to me again, "Mommy, remember I want to be a family of 6 with a sister." He's so silly and pretty crazy if he thinks that might happen! Ha.

So all in all, our adjustment is going as expected. We are so blessed by these boys and know that as everyone adjusts and time goes on, things in our family are going to be so much fun and our house will be so full of excitement and I cannot wait for that! I cannot even begin to describe how blessed I feel when I look at this family we've built of 3 completely different boys with such different and wonderful little personalities. I feel like I have the best of every world in these boys. Between all of them, we have smart, athletic, artsy, cuddly, comedic, quirky, inquisitive, rambunctious, joyous, deep thinking, competitive, caring, loving, silly, strong willed, loud, quiet, social little boys. We have everything between the 3 of them and I don't think we could ask for more!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Return of the Blob...

It's not easy to get a picture of all of the grandkids on my side. After all, they are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10. And then, you have to factor in that the 1 and 3 year olds are blobs...and that just makes for a weird picture. ;)
We tried.

Photoshoots have begun!

I had no idea they would start this early, but the weather went and got all spring like on us and so I guess I could start now! :)
I have done Lora's maternity shoot and baby Wesley and baby Nile, but this was my first official NEW non-friend client of the year!
Sweet Samone...
Check out lots more images from her session on the Jennie Peakin Photography Blog linked on my sidebar. (I can't hyperlink right now or I would have done that...not sure why it's not working. Hmmm)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our 1st Baby...

Our 1st baby, Tater is seriously being so strong. He has his moments of jealousy and frustration and anger and then he has moments where he shines as an amazing, loving big brother. Mostly though, he's between those 2 things. I have to say that I am so proud of him...even in the tough moments. We have thrown a lot at him, he is going through so much. It's really hard on all of us. I want to be completely honest here...we are exhausted and have feelings of guilt for throwing all of this at him all so quickly, but also we are hopeful that this is going to do incredible things for him as a person. We love him more than words and would never do anything to hurt him. We have had a couple of amazing days. Things have gone great. We are kind of hunkering down at home and just being a family of 5 for while. Sean took a week off and has until Wednesday night before he has to go to work which has made it nice to just be together and establish a routine and some boundaries for our new addition as well as get used to being a family of 5.
And we are so proud of Tate and are taking every moment we can to tell him so.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

just sayin'...

Tate had diarrhea in his pants today at Von Maur...good times.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My boys...

I have a house full of boys...all of my boys. I love them all so much. I can't believe how God has blessed me. It's still so surreal. I cannot believe how our lives have changed so much already in's like we have a whole different life! Crazier and more chaotic and more stressful, but way more love fills this house and for that, I am so happy!

Today is the day...

...that our family is complete...for good...forever. Though chaos will be here to stay, I have a sense of relief and calm and just plain, "WHEW" about it! Today is the day. :)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

the after picture...

For those of you not on Facebook, here I my new cut!

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my hair...

This shaggy style will be no more as of 3:15 today!  Woohoo!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Style advice...

So I need advice. It's super silly advice, but whatever...I can't decide what to do. And I should be able to answer this question considering I am a photographer and would hope I would have an answer for a client if they asked me this same question!
We are getting family pictures taken in a few weeks. I have this vision of what I would like our clothing to look like. It's all panning out beautifully with the boys outfits! I am so excited! We are going to be a Target add because I got the 2 big boys' outfits there and if I wear what I am thinking I might wear - the majority of my outfit (minus my jeans) will be purchased there too! The baby will be wearing something he already has that (in my opinion) is adorable.
Okay, so here's the question...
Is it silly for me to wear a coat in pictures? Let me explain. We will have our pictures taken outside...end of March. The boys are wearing long sleeved shirts and shorts (unless it's bitter cold and make a last minute decision for them to wear jeans). I will be wearing jeans. We are all wearing bright colors that "go", but don't matchy match. I want to wear this...

I LOVE yellow and it "goes" with our color scheme (although this coat in red would too...which they also have). I would also wear this coat a's so me! :) However, is it silly to wear a jacket in family pictures?! Tell me the truth!

If I don't wear this, I will likely wear a solid black top of some sort with bold, colurful jewelry that "goes" with our color scheme.

Monday, March 05, 2012


Our littlest might have been treated to some chocolate pudding today in an effort to teach him some more self feeding skills. :) First time he's ever had chocolate...I'm guessing it won't be the last. He thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

make-up and our family

So I used to LOVE make-up and cosmetics of all kinds! Since I became a mom, gained a lot of weight and started to feel crappy about myself, I didn't really care about make-up anymore. I certainly don't feel great about myself still, but since losing a bunch of weight in 2011, I feel WAY better about myself than I did before. And seriously, I bought make-up the other day! I bought new eyeliner and 3 new lip colors! I am super excited about this! I remember when I used to feel this way after purchasing cosmetics and it feels good to feel this way again. Although I don't like the feeling of spending the money to get them! Eek! Cosmetics are expensive!

Our family of 5 was all together this weekend. It was wonderfully chaotic. :) As will be our life I'm sure! I am sad because once again, we are apart. :( This will HOPEFULLY be the last time. We will all be together again on Thursday for least that's the plan right now. Oh, and Tate decided today that he wants to be a family of 6...his words exactly, "I want to be a family of 6...I want a sister!" Ummmm...sorry bud, not happening! And honestly that's just funny that he said that because he isn't super keen on being a family of 5 quite yet! Ha.

And how's that for 2 completely unrelated paragraphs to make 1 post! :)

Saturday, March 03, 2012

I want something else too...

This cut...

with this color...
Just sayin'.

I want a new house...

Not a NEW house...just a house that's new to us. :) I LOVE our house and never thought I'd ever say this! Honestly, it took a 1, 3 and 5 year old running around in our tiny house with no dishwasher and only 2 "official" bedrooms for a total of 2 1/2 days for me to realize that this place might not cut it. Ugh. I want a house with a dishwasher, at least 3 bedrooms, a finished basement, a fenced back yard, a 2 car garage and a patio...oh, and I want it for cheap and in my within a few blocks of where I live right now. That would all be nice. Wish us luck! If we don't find those things in a home...we'll be staying here for sure! :)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

It's MARCH! :)

I just keep thinking that we're going to make it...make it through this winter without me hitting that miserable stage...that "I'm so sick of this snow" stage. :) We'll see!

Tomorrow morning our family will ALL be together once again, but just for the weekend. :( And technically we won't all be together for much of it as it happens to be Sean's weekend to work. Ugh. Guess I should get used to taking care of 3 boys alone anyway. I am sure come Sunday, I will be SAD to have us all apart again...and likely super exhausted. Ha. Then, it's looking like we'll be together FOR GOOD on the 8th! Hooray!

I found "the stroller" that I want. It was a task to decide. I mean, reviews are NOT helpful whatsoever! I swear, people either LOVE it - it's the best stroller EVER, or the HATE it - such a terrible stroller, don't buy it! So whatever, I guess I'll return it if I don't like it. It helps that it's totally cute! :) Unfortunately they didn't have it in the store, so I had to order it online. I was super bummed about that because I really wanted it for this weekend. I had some things I wanted to do at the mall and our middle guy just cannot be trusted yet I don't think. I had visions of me running down the mall after him with a stroller and yelling for Tate to follow me as he lolly gagged behind paying no attention to my panic. Ya, I probably won't be doing my errands at the mall. I have discovered that our middle guy might be the reason that leashes for kids were invented...for reals.

We went to Aldi today and were bombarded by this woman outside of the front door who couldn't let us by because she was going on and on and on and on about our baby and how cute he was and how he's the cutest thing she's ever seen and so on and so forth. She had a large tattoo right across her chest that read "F&%@ the police" cursive, with a rose on each side. Seriously?! It was so strange and uncomfortable.

We had a couple of appointments today, lots of errands were run, I made breakfast for dinner, stocked our kitchen with groceries...I love productive days! :)

Lora and I went out last night with several of the preschoolers' moms from Tate and Ava's preschool. We went to Jersey Grille in Davenport. It was yummy...and nice to chat and get to know some of the other moms. :)

The house is quiet and it's March and that makes me happy.