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The Road Less Traveled-Going to a College Where You Don't Know Anyone

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The Road Less Traveled-Going to a College Where You Don't Know Anyone

"Who is headed to the east coast?" My junior year English teacher polled our class for a show of hands. Half the class raised their's. 

"Who is staying in SoCal or the west coast?" The other half raised their's. 

Seemingly, with no one left, she hesitated, but asked, "Anyone going to the midwest?" 

With equal hesitation, I raised mine. One solitary hand. There were some snickers or chuckles, but most of my friends understood-Carrie spends her summers in Iowa. That makes sense. For her. 

Drake University Sheslow Auditorium

The week of graduation found me packing up my bedroom into two categories. One, box up for later. Two, box up for my dorm room at Drake and put in the Blazer. My dearly beloved 1993 red Chevy Blazer. 

4 days after graduation, we hit the road and I didn't come home to SoCal until Christmas.

Driving two cars in tandem across the country for 3 days gave me a lot of time to think about what I was leaving behind and what I was approaching. I knew I was going to the right school, God had made it very clear, but I had no idea what I was getting into. My freshmen year was so difficult, my body started rejecting dairy foods (just add insult to injury, right?) and I lost 10 pounds instead of gaining the infamous "Freshman 15".

But, thankfully, I met new people. Most were "Iowa nice" and I found an amazing group of people that loved me and were God with arms on. It was a fresh start and it was messy, but by the middle of freshman year, it was such a beautiful thing and I was loved for who I was-quirks and all. God used a chisel to shape me into who I am today and through His leading me to Drake, I found a wonderful church body, met my husband (who didn't go to Drake, but "coincidentally" landed at my church), and eventually the life I have now developed. 

Is adulting hard? Gosh, yes. But man, there are some pretty sweet rewards in it. Is there fear in attending a college where you know literally no one? Absolutely. But is it worth it? Darn tootin'. ;) You will be ok-I promise!!

Best of luck and strength to my dear Class of 2017 Carrie Krupke Seniors!!! You will do amazing things!!

--Carrie

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10 Little Known Things

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10 Little Known Things

1. If budgets allowed, I'd probably have a purse and shoe problem. As it stands, I have a $6 pair of brown shoes that I have loved for 4 years and my only purse these days is a glorified diaper bag.

2. I enjoy Fixer Upper episodes, but we don't have cable. So I live vicariously through Magnolia's blog and JoJo's magazine. 

3. I am sloth-like slow at going up stairs.

4. I competitively swam from ages 8-18. Doing flip turns in the pool last year trying to get Loch to turn in utero had me missing doing laps like crazy!

5. As a kid, I ran face-first into a 4x4 stairway banister and the scar under my right eye has gracefully turned into a slew of freckles. 

6. Growing up 15 minutes from Disneyland, we would often hear the thunder of fireworks at night. But, a good Iowa thunderstorm still gets my heart racing if it's right overhead. 

7. I've never broken a bone despite being thrown by a horse, but I have 9 cavities filled.

8. The $0.25-$2 extra for an avocado on my burger, or guac on my fajita is totally worth the investment. Every. Time. 

9. Though flute was my major instrument for my music ed degree, I have a minor in organ and a church music certification. Now that our church building has an organ, I totally geek out and itch to put my organ shoes back on. 

10. I noticed my husband's biceps first. I fell in love with who he is next.

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How to Prepare for a (young) Family Session

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How to Prepare for a (young) Family Session

I've shared about our family's adventures in front of the camera when Laidy was two and when she was 6 months, so I thought it time we update things as a family of four! If this helps any mom of Little Folks, then the time taken to write it is well worth it! (Plus, I wanted to show off our adorable little people and a bonus good hair day for me-finally found hairspray that holds!!)

DAY BEFORE PREP: 

-gathered any props we needed (chalkboard for "7 Months" for Lochlyn, Ella's sweater, harness, leash and treats)

-gathered clothing choices and laid them out, including shoes for Laidy 

-showered and shampooed me and Laidy so we'd just curl hair the next morning

-took the night easy since we'd encountered illness the previous week and I wanted to lay low

DAY OF

We scheduled our session to start at 10:00 so we wouldn't have to race out the door as if it were a school morning. Lochlyn's feeding schedule miraculously lined up nicely (anyone else have trouble getting a second child on a schedule?) and we brought ample snacks to placate/bribe/feed Laidy and myself. #nursingmomprobs This was the first time that Gerard held an opinion about where we should do our session, so when he offered the capitol as an option, I went with it. 

We met Austin at the west-facing steps of the capitol and yes, it was a terrible time of day for lighting because the sun was peeking around the corner making things quite bright on the west side. Austin's a pro and that's why we pay him the big bucks to leverage light well. Eventually, we went inside to warm up and use window light too. I've never been inside the capitol building itself so it was a great education for me (and for future sessions with my own clients!). 

Talk about gorgeous. (And I'm not just talking about the window light. Who is that lovely little lady?!)

Lastly, on our way to the car to get snacks, we had to document the Des Moines skyline for a few reasons. Mainly, Laidy has had this obsession with the helicopters at our area hospitals since Lochlyn was born and she's convinced that the Principal Building (the one with a diamond shaped top) is the hospital. We can't get her to believe to the contrary, so we'll embrace it and document it! 

After our session was complete, we had our taxes done, headed home for lunch, and a nap for everyone. This is how teachers schedule their "days off" after a week of conferences. #adulting 

Hope this helps other families with Littles!!

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How to Return to Work

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How to Return to Work

I've tossed the idea of this post around in my head since I returned to work last September after Lochlyn's birth. And I wasn't sure if it was appropriate blog fodder for this, a typically photography-leaning blog. BUT, then I remembered my audience and that several of my families and brides are blessed to be having babies this year and those Mamas will most likely be returning to work. So, here's how I tripped and stumbled my way back to my career after a wonderful maternity leave....

Lochlyn was born July 16th and I found myself counting out the 6 weeks the day after he was born. I'd be returning to teaching the second week of school and in my heart, that didn't sit well at all. I knew immediately, I'd be requesting the extra time to get him through his 8 week vaccinations and taking some Deduct Days (days without pay) to make it happen. That time was approved and I'm so thankful, because in that extra time, I was able to fly home to California so my Grandma, Mom and Aunt could meet Lochlyn. 5 days before I was to fly home, Grandma started hospice care and the urgency of the trip, the nature of it, entirely shifted for me. I was no longer fearful of flying on my own with a newborn-I just needed to get home. Flying with a newborn is for a whole other post, but I strapped him to my front and my one bag on my back and off we went. 

this was the family that gathered for Grandma's funeral the following month in October. I worked for a few weeks, then had almost a full week of bereavement leave. Like I said, tripped and stumbled back to work....

this was the family that gathered for Grandma's funeral the following month in October. I worked for a few weeks, then had almost a full week of bereavement leave. Like I said, tripped and stumbled back to work....

Upon returning, the physically and emotionally grueling nature of the trip had me down with a fever and virus of some kind but I still wouldn't change my decision to go. That fever kept me home an extra day of maternity leave and I returned a day later than I anticipated. So, I started my routine back to work on a Thursday. I recommend starting mid-week (not returning on a Monday) so you can get back into the groove as gently as possible. I'm thankful I did this too, because there was some miscommunication about where I would be pumping so I had to punt the first day back. The room I was in was not going to work in the long run, so our building's custodian brainstormed the next morning and I landed in our school's concession stand! How to Be A Band Director 101: be best friends with your custodian. THEY KNOW EVERYTHING! 

So a few bullet points (since I like lists) of things to consider while preparing to return: 

-Communicate prior to your return where you will pump and what your schedule will be with your colleagues. 

-Make that pumping schedule be every 3-4 hours. Lochlyn ate so often that I had pump times of 7:30am, 10:50am, 1:20pm, and 3:25pm. Around the 6 month mark, I dropped the 3:25pm pump when we started introducing people food.

-As a teacher, we have a bell schedule, but if you don't have periods of your day dictated to you, set alarms on your phone or computer to remind you to go pump. Otherwise, the "girls" (ahem) probably will. 

Lastly, a list of things I have in my pump bag or on hand to make things run smoothly at work: 

-pump (obviously. we got our's from the hospital when we delivered and covered by insurance. I have one from when Laidy was born and one from when Loch was born. It's great to have one at home and keep one at work!)

-a sign to tape on your door over the doorknob so no one unlocks and walks in on you!

-tape.

-antibacterial-for hand use prior to pumping

-kleenex-my nose always runs when I pump, or I'm fending off allergies.

-travel size deodorant-the concession stand can get HOT with the popcorn machine, vending machine, and nacho cheese machine always running, so it's often like a sauna in there!

-spare pump parts-flanges and bottle lids especially

-nipple cream

-other toiletrees?

-cell phone-for a timer of roughly 20 minutes

-water bottle-you will never know thirst like the thirst of a nursing mama.

-chair with a back-20 mins 3-4 times a day can do a number on your shoulders and neck!

-table space-to lay things out-especially for lunch time!

-microwave-for a hot lunch!

-cleaning wipes for parts or disinfecting your table top before laying items out

-battery pack-in case your building ever loses power

-pump bra-if you want hands free while you eat lunch. I've found that this really helps reduce tension in my neck and shoulders.

-pitcher of water in fridge if a sink isn't nearby to refill water bottle

-plastic ware for lunch! There's nothing worse than hooking up to the machine, heating up lunch and realizing you have nothing with which to eat it!

-paper towels-to wipe any drops/spillage and wipe hands after applying cream

Before Laidy was born, friends would ask if I planned on nursing and I'd respond, "If all parts work. I'll do the best I can." Now having nursed two babies, I'd say that even when the parts are working as you'd like them to, the pressure to produce enough is always there and it will push you beyond what you thought was your best effort. Even having some extra stored up in our freezer, I felt the pressure to produce upwards of 18oz a day and it wasn't a good "Pump Day" if I didn't. I have pumped in a car in numerous parking lots, while driving, half way through wedding photography coverage, in two different storage closets at church, at work while study hall students are on the other side of the razor thin wall, in airports with a cover on, in between trips to the bathroom sick with the stomach flu, while in the bathroom sick with the stomach flu, by the light of the vending machine, by light of my cell phone flashlight so as not to wake my husband, and I have shamelessly asked our superintendent for a "pump room" in our middle school's renovation plans. (I later realized that I had referenced a function of my boobs to the head of our school district and was very much filled with embarrassment.) 

As most moms will tell you, 'You just do what you gotta do.' and I would add that Motherhood has taught me how to make what you have work-improvisation to the extreme. Eating my lunch yogurt with a knife. Pumping one side at a time because I forgot to pack a second shield. It's not easy, nor is it fun, but I definitely couldn't have done it without support. 

A few people stick out as my cheerleaders in this endeavor.

-Gerard-spousal support is critical. I've jokingly said that I'm in charge of input, he's in charge of output. Gerard has cooked a large majority of our meals while I'm feeding Loch and kept my water bottle full. So, he's in charge of MY input while I'm in charge of Loch's. 

-My sister (pictured above)-has abundantly donated to our freezer stash when Loch decided to have growth spurts every other week and I couldn't keep up. We've used not even 1/4 of her deep freeze full of breast milk!! It definitely pays to be pregnant at the same time as a sibling who produces really (really) well!

-Our childcare providers. They are angels to our kids and have loved them through rough days, homesick days, congested days-"everything" days. I've never second guessed our decision to have Loch and Laidy where they are and they've truly been as happy as I when that first shipment of my sister's milk came in the mail!

-My "pump partner"-a fellow teacher and I have pumped together every morning before school and at lunch since she returned from her maternity leave in October. We've complained to each other, encouraged each other, swapped horror stories, sleep deprived stories and are watching our babies start to crawl at the same time. At first, I wondered what it'd be like to pump sitting next to somebody (the whole modesty thing, you know) but it's been so nice to not be an island and alone in that concession stand! Thank you, friend!!!

Hope this helps those getting ready to return to work after a baby and always feel free to send questions my way. If there's anything I can do so that you have a smooth transition back to work, let me know! :)

--Carrie

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Hidden Reminders: Part II

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Hidden Reminders: Part II

When the popcorn machine starts smoking while you're pumping in the concession stand and you start coughing/having a hard time breathing while there's a study hall full of students on the other side of the door listening...#youjusthavetolaughasyousputter

When a colleague or student says something that's reminiscent of a phrase from one of the books you've read your child 100s of times and you start to quote the book outloud....

When your husband with the self-proclaimed terrible memory reminds you that you have an anniversary coming up: the day he went down on one knee with a ring in hand. #heremembered...

When your daughter thanks you for the "new" bath toys that were really just found anew in the hall closet and brought out again. #freeentertainment

When that student you thought was dropping band changed her mind and decided to stay because she enjoys what happens in your classroom. 

When your 6 month old sleeps for 5 hours straight one night and SEVEN straight the next, and EIGHT a few nights later...and successfully sleeps for THREE hours in his crib!!! #getouttathebassinet

When your boss sends you an online survey to voice concerns about your job you've been wanting to express for YEARS...#canyouhearmenow?

These little things can make my heart laugh and lighten my spirit. But I also have to remember that ultimately, these are just superficial occurences. And while, yes, enjoyable, they are not the true source of my Joy. Christ is. So when these happy things come my way, I say a little "Thank you Lord!" and continue moving forward. He is in the big things of life and the littlest things. 

 

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