Category Archives: 52 week challenge

Wow, it’s birthday time, and my 52 week art project documenting Justice’s first year is now complete! He is at a fun stage these days. He is starting to show interest in walking, curious and amazed at the world around him, building his vocabulary, and showing excitement with each new experience. Here are a few things he is up to these days:

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Every 3 months we took pictures with Justice in the wooden high chair, and now that his birthday is here, I thought it was fun to see how much he has grown via these photos. Look at where his head is in relation to the top of the chair.  It helps give a real scale to his growth over the past 12 months!

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Justice’s very first photo shoot was at exactly 1 week old, and featured him with daddy.  Now that baby has turned a year, dad thought it would be fun to show how much Justice has grown by recreating that same photo shoot a year later.  It seemed to be much more work the second time around!

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Finally, Justice found a perfect way to complete my 52 week art challenge!

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We all enjoy listening to music in our family, but it is big brother Ryan who actually has a talent and passion to create it, which I highly admire.  I hope Justice echo’s Ryan’s passion for playing music.  We’ve fostered his enjoyment of making noise by creating a music corner for him with flutes, drums, rattles and other noise makers.  But when I saw big brother so tenderly showing Justice how to strum his guitar, it melted my heart.  I had to capture their moment on camera!

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If you would have told me five years ago that not too long from then I would have four kids and be married to a wonderful man, I would not have believed you for a moment.  But I have had so many beautiful blessings come my way in recent years, my growing family being the biggest! While Justice is my first born, he is not my only child. I adopted Miss Marissa in 2013 as a single parent, and dad had two older children of his own before we met, Ryan and Nadya. Each one of our teens are in a stage of developing their passions and talents, and it is so fun to see them prosper in their respective arts.

Ryan has been the musical master of the group, taking leadership roles in his high school marching band and winning numerous awards for his talent over the years. Marissa has a beautiful singing voice and loves to dance, but she is still working on the courage to show her talent to others freely.  Nadya is an amazing drawer and I am working with her now to write, illustrate and publish her first book this summer.  I hope baby can be inspired by his older siblings and their passions. Right now he is starting to show interest in making noise, banging on things, copying rhythms and blowing into flutes. I am excited to see where this goes!

As much as we would like to have them all around, all the time, it is rare when both of dad’s kids are in Fresno with us (mainly because the oldest, Ryan, is so busy and his visits here are few and far between). But this week was one such opportunity when all four of our kids were together, so off to the park we went to capture sibling photos for baby Justice!  My hope is in the future Justice will look back at these images, forming memories of his early years through the pictures, knowing how much he is loved but us all.

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Oh, and he is learning to blow kisses!

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This was a big week for us!  We took a trip up the Northern Coast of California into the heart of redwood country. Justice loved hiking with us and exploring the forest floor on his own through both touch and taste! He was even copying the sounds of the creaking trees to our amazement. These days he is full of expression and great joy for new experiences, he cannot hide his delight even for a second. How wonderful it has been to watch this budding soul observe and take in the world around him. As I said before, he is clearly a nature boy!  I love him so so much.

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In the last month Justice has had a burst of growth with new skills.  Early on last month he cut tooth #8. He no longer does his army crawl, but does the typical baby crawl with a robotic flare to it. While he took a few steps on his own 12 days ago, he has not attempted it since. He has been using language, like saying and waving “hi” pretty reliably. Recently as we were listening to his babbles we realized that he is saying “O My God” and copying lots of sounds he hears. Now we have to be more careful what we say around him since is now our little mocking bird! He has also been eating so much more solid food.  Just 2 days ago he had his biggest solid meal ever! He now eagerly eats whatever we are eating for our meals.

One commitment that we have kept over the past 9+ months is cloth diapering our little man. It has been a family endeavor indeed. Dad is the one who cleans off the “solid” waste, I wash and dry the diapers, and sister periodically helps me stuff them. We have over 35 pocket diapers, more than enough for one baby! Ideally we do 2 loads of diaper laundry a week, washing half of his “stash” at a time. Although recently we have been stretching it, perhaps it has gone a bit too far…  Because of waiting too long to wash the most recent load of diapers, I had to do some extra washing to get the smell out of them. With most of his diapers cleaned all at once, this allowed me the opportunity to get a “stash” shot showing off his colorful “fluff.”  We decided to make a heart and put him in the middle of it.  This was no easy task as Justice is a fast mover, but we got it!!!

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Last week we attended a conference as a family.  Lots of new friends interacting and holding Justice was a great joy for our little boy. With all the public interaction came the risk of passing on some germs to him, which did indeed happen.  Days after the conference we had a sick boy, congested, crusty nose and sleepless nights. Because of his sickness Justice was feeling pretty crummy and I never officially took any photos of him.  But I did find this fun one on my phone of his sick boy face.  Happy to catch some joy even in the difficult moments.

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This weekend our family, along with 125 other blessed souls, participated in a Teaching Conference held at Fresno City College (in the beautifully remolded Old Administration Building) about empowering individuals to rise up and serve their communities. Initially I was worried about how we were going to handle Justice and his naps at the college for two entire days, but to my delight he did pretty well.  He is a social guy after all, and was having a blast exploring and interacting with new people. His naps took place in his stroller, which was a relief. And with Grandma, both big sisters and other willing participants at the Conference, we had plenty of hands to entertain of our active boy.

I volunteered to photograph the weekend long event which kept me pretty busy. It was fun capturing candid moments of all the bright faces that were there. Here are some images that were caught with our family participating in this joyous Teaching Conference.

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As I have been taking walks around the neighborhood with Justice, I have observed his delight when he sees and gets to interact with the dogs walking our same route.  I figured, his enthusiasm over our kitties and other peoples pets means he may be ready to see the bigger animals at the zoo.  This Memorial weekend we decided to take Justice and our girls, whom are both avid animal lovers as well, to the Fresno Chafee Zoo.

Although it was hot and crowded, and many of the animals were taking refuge in the shade making them hard to spot, the kids had a great time. I think the petting zoo was truly baby’s favorite. That should not be surprising as he is a hands on kind of a guy and has very little fear.  I think our first trip was a success and we look forward to going much more since we have a family pass now!

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This week baby was not feeling his best. Restless nights, lower appetite, runny nose and grumpy boy were the challenges we were dealing with. By the time we took these images at the end of the week, he was already on the mend from his sickness and feeling so much better. But to add to feeling crummy, Justice was busy cutting his EIGHTH tooth! It’s not an easy feat to capture his teeth on camera, but he gave me a big toothy grin and you can see them all. I must say, this boy expresses all his feelings without hesitation, and so many of his emotions were present during these photos.

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At 10 months old, Justice is growing and changing daily. He has a funny little army crawl, but by far prefers to be on his feet. He is an expert cruiser, can pull himself to standing and walks with us all over the house while holding our hand.  He has not yet found the confidence to walk on his own, but I suspect he will soon. Along with cutting his 7th tooth last week, Justice has a new passion for solid foods and he demands that we share what is on our plate with him.

We are pleased that that he only wakes up once a night to eat (a recent shift from the 3-4 times we had to feed him each night!) He has been practicing his vocal abilities and discovered his ear shattering yell is a great way to get our attention. It is easy to get him to laugh with a silly face, noise or a tickle, and our two kitties bring him so much joy these days.

Big sister assisted me with his 10 month session and I could not help but include her hands and feet.  These high-top Converse with rainbow laces are so her and will go down in my memory as classic 16 year old Marissa.

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