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    Welcome to my blog where not only will you be able to view my most updated work and recent sessions, but also regularly learn a bit more about me, my family and my every day life. For my complete portfolio, session information, current pricing and contact information, please visit my website at heatherbirdphotography.com.

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Santa Photos – 2015

Last year, I had the opportunity to offer Santa sessions to my clients with one of the most amazing Santas I have ever met.    It’s hard to believe he’s not truly the real Santa Claus.    I was sad to not be able to offer the sessions this year, but I knew it would be too close to the time that my baby Zeke was born.   However, I was able to book some time with Santa and get some pictures of my own boys again this year.

My parent’s have this Norman Rockwell Santa print hanging in their home every Christmas Season.   It’s one of my dad’s favorites.   Last year, I wanted one image in particular.  If I could just recreate this image with my boys, even if I didn’t get any other photos, I’d be happy.   And we were able to do it.  I printed and framed it for my dad for Christmas last year.

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This year, the one shot I wanted, I was also able to get.   Baby Zeke (just 10 days old) snoozing with Santa.

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The rest of these were just icing on the cake… lots of icing!  🙂

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All four boys with Santa!

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This series with Nolan and Santa makes me smile:

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As do these:

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This next image is totally Nolan:

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And I love Benny’s reaction to Ricky and Santa here:

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Santa was so awesome and told the boys a story and let them ring his reindeer bells!

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What’s better than a high five from Santa?

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Ok, well, maybe cookies from Mrs. Claus

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The day before the sessions I almost cancelled.   I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed with a 9 day old newborn.   I wasn’t sure that I could manage getting Zeke to a doctor’s appointment that morning, getting the boys ready, driving there and dealing with Zeke’s oxygen and monitors for the pictures but my photographer friend who was also doing some sessions reminded me that Zeke would only be this little once and I might regret not doing it.   I’m SO glad she said something and that I listened to her.    We’ll cherish these photos with little Zeke forever.   There is no way I would have been able to do it, however, without the help of my mom and my wonderful friend, Angelina, both who came to the house that morning to help get everyone and everything ready to go.   Thank you both!  Love you.

This image is in the running for my favorite:

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Merry Christmas!  Ho, Ho, Ho!   3 more days!

Love,
Heather

Cathy Mack - Love these pictures Heather. They are perfect. All I do is look, click and cry. LOVE them every one!

Heather Bird - Thank you, Cathy! I’m happy you like them as much as I do. Merry Christmas!

DeEtta Bird - I’m so glad you followed through even though you were anxious about it. Priceless pictures. Now you will have a Norman Rockwell type picture to hang like you parents.

Nolan’s Hip Hop Performance

Nolan is our little performer.   He wants to be in movies and is always up for some attention.    We decided this past fall to put him into the cutest little boys Hip Hop dance class.   He has a great teacher who is really great with so many little dudes and I’m always surprised at how much they are actually learning technically.

Last week Nolan had his first ever Hip Hop Performance.  He’s the one in the picture below in the back row with his arms out.   Is this not the cutest lil’ Hip Hop Crew ever?!

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And here is a little video of his performance.   They performed on a huge stage at the Browning Center at Weber State University so he was a little bit nervous, but he did a great job!

I wasn’t totally sure f Nolan was loving taking Hip Hop or not, but after this was over he asked, “Mom, can I please take Hip Hop again next year!”   So, be on the watch for his next performance sometime in 2016!

Love,

Heather

Star Wars Birthday Party

I never posted the pictures from Benny and Nolan’s 6th birthday party this past summer and seeing how everyone is going bonkers this week for the new Star Wars movie, I thought I would finally share.   I really wanted to document it because we had so much fun with all the many ideas for Star Wars related food and party fun and but their birthday hit such a busy time that I never got to, so here goes.

The boys spent the night at my parent’s house the night before their party and were so excited when they walked in to see their Star Wars table.    For the back drop of the table I used huge black paper, splatter painted it with some yellow paint and glued on yellow letters that I printed in Star Wars font.    We have various Star Wars masks and light sabers so it was really easy to spruce up the table with extra Star Wars fun.

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There are endless ideas for Star Wars food (thank you pinterest)!   This party was so fun to plan and create.

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We always have two cakes, one for each boy so doing Dark and Light Side cakes were perfect.   It helped that they each wanted a different kind of cake also!

Star Wars Birthday Party 8For party favors, we used bouncy balls… plenty for everyone to have as many “galaxies” as they wanted.Star Wars Birthday Party 7

And lightsabers made from pool noodles, duck tape and electrical tape.   I cut pool noodles in half, duck taped the end of each and added some black electrical tape to make them look more official.

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These were perfect because the party included a water slide and some water fun.  I had no idea what a hit these light sabers would be!    Everyone LOVED them.   And they are inexpensive enough to make that there were plenty to go around.

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They came up with all kinds of games, from sending them all down the slide with each person, to the intended use of fierce battles without the sting of a plastic lightsaber.    Even the adult’s political conversation turned to a light saber battle in an attempt to solve the never-ending debate between these two in the bottom right corner.  😉

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Months later my boys are still playing with these things!  Ken will drag these light sabers in from the garage for regular battles in the family room.

The boys loved their light an dark side cakes and especially the trick candles that were on top of them!

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The Star Wars party was a hit and so fun to do!

Having twins makes it a little tricky at birthday time to allow the boys to choose how they want to celebrate and the theme they want.   They are such completely different boys that they never seem to agree.    Nolan really wanted to go to Boondocks, a local fun center while Benny really wanted the Star Wars party.   So we compromised 😉 and did both.

They took a couple friends with them to Boondocks on their actual birthday and had such a fun day!

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Boondocks 1It’s hard to believe they are already well on their way to 7.   But they remind me often as they already debate what their next party will be..maybe, just maybe they will decide together next year.

Love,
Heather

More good news for Zeke

We had Zeke’s hearing test this morning.  This was his fourth hearing test since birth.   Initially he failed the newborn screening in his left ear.  Since then the results have gotten better, little by little.   This doesn’t necessarily mean that his hearing was improving, but that each time they did a better test, less sensitive to movement and other factors.    Today’s test was one of the best tests for truly getting an accurate result because it measured his brain activity in regards to the sounds.    And our little man passed with flying colors!   The audiologist said, “those were just beautiful results at all four pitches.”   And “you can’t really get better results than he got!”

We will continue to test every 6 months as children with Down Syndrome have smaller ear canals and are more susceptible to fluid, ear infections and other things that could affect his hearing but to be starting at this point is fantastic.    We are so relieved and thankful!

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In other news.   Zeke is very alert and loves to look around at various things, his favorites being the ceiling fans, Christmas lights and of course all of us.

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He’s getting stronger day by day and is working on holding his head up.  Unlike some babies, he doesn’t seem to mind tummy time, but was extra proud when I sat him up like this.

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And the biggest news… he’s starting to smile is response to us.   The boys can sometimes get a smile, I can usually get a smile and Nana (my mom) can ALWAYS get one.  He has started to smile even when I just say her name.

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Thank you again for your love and prayers.
Much love,
Heather

Cathy Mack - He is such a cutie and great news on the hearing test. I am guessing Nana is pretty proud of the fact she always gets smiles. She is a oretty special lady I think too.

Heather Bird - Oh yes! You know her.. she is very proud that she can get the smiles always.

A thankful update

I realized, after many people have inquired over the last week or so, that I haven’t updated most of you since we were in the hospital.   So here is a little recap and an update on where we’re at today, which is SO thankful!

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There were a few initial concerns and reasons why Zeke remained in the hospital in the Special Care nursery for some extra time.   He was initially sent there about an hour after he was born when a nurse spotted his lips looking blue.   He spent the rest of him time at the hospital in the Special Care nursery.   Initially they said that he had Pulmonary Hypertension which is extra pressure in the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your lungs.    An echo-cardiogram (ultrasound of his heart) determined that he had a Coarctation of the Aorta which is a narrowing of the main vessel that carries blood to the organs.   Everyone is born with a hole in your heart that typically closes up after 2-3 days.    There was some concern that this hole may not close or that when it did close, the Coarctation would become worse making it an immediate concern.    The only way to correct the Coarctation would be surgery and it would have to happen almost immediately.    Because of these things Zeke was on oxygen and was being monitored.   He also had jaundice.  And he failed his newborn hearing screening in his left ear.

All of these things coupled with various explanations of each coming from so many different doctors and nurses made for an overwhelming time.    Then additional people  (Social Workers, Early Intervention therapists, etc.) popping in and out to give us information about Down Syndrome and to see how we were handling the news made it pretty difficult for me.    In hindsight, we had it pretty easy compared to some.   I know the specialists coming were there to make sure we had all the information we needed.  Even though I didn’t really want to see them then, I’m thankful now that they were there.    Zeke only had to spend 5 days in the hospital.   Although it felt like an eternity, I know many that have spent months with their babies in the NICU and I can imagine how difficult that can be.   We were lucky to have such amazing nurses caring for our little man, who also helped us smile through those tough days and nights.

By the 5th day, Zeke’s jaundice was in a low-risk range and he was on a fairly low amount of oxygen yet we remained there until they could determine if heart surgery would be required.   Another echo was done that day and it was determined that the hole did close and that there was no Coarctation and no surgery!   I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relieved in my life.    Both relieved his heart was okay and relieved to take our baby boy home!

We came home with Zeke on oxygen.   He was still needing some until he could get stronger.    Three weeks later, I now realize that the oxygen wasn’t so bad, however initially it was, again, so overwhelming.   They showed up at our house with a huge tank and many small portable tanks and listening to all of the many instructions made my head want to explode.   But we got the hang of it.   It became less overwhelming and eventually just more of a nuisance.    He has a pulse oximeter that measures his heart rate and oxygen levels that despite the constant beeping throughout the night during that first week home has given us much peace of mind.

And… I’m so thankful and happy to share that we’ve spent the last 5 days with Zeke on NO oxygen!   We started weaning him during the day and slowly added nighttime and he’s done just fine.   We still use the pulse oximeter at night (mostly for my own anxiety) but it’s about time to send back all of this equipment.

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Zeke has had 2 additional hearing screenings since he failed the initial test.   Each time his hearing has improved some.   We aren’t 100% sure yet, but the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Doctor said that he didn’t suspect that we would have to worry about any hearing loss.  We have another test at the end of December but for now we are thankful it’s only one ear and seems to be minor.

After so many initial scares, we are so thankful that, for now, each one has been lifted.

I can’t begin to thank everyone who has offered prayers, love and support this last month.   We’ve had many visitors who’ve come to love on Zeke, offer me company, take the older boys for some fun, bring meals and gifts and even do a house call to cut the boy’s very shaggy hair (Thank you Angelina!  I love you!).   There are friends and family from afar who’ve continued to call, text, email, send cards, gifts and meals.  Thank you, all.    I owe a very special thank you to my parents…I’m not sure we’d survive without them.  They’ve been available daily to help with the older boys and their busy schedules, to help with Zeke, to keep us company in the hospital or at home, to bring anything and everything we’ve needed at anytime.    “Thank you,” in a blog post or card doesn’t begin to do justice to the blessings we’ve felt from you all, near and far.

I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Much love,

Ken, Heather and the boys!

Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks:

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He loves to look around at his toys.

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His brothers love to be near him.  Ricky and Zeke. (above)

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Benny and Zeke (above)

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Playing with the boys.

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Thank you to Grandma DeDe (who we are missing so much this Thanksgiving) for Zeke’s crib toys!  He’s loving the black and white shapes.

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In the last couple of weeks, Zeke has had his first walk, pushed solely by his proud big brother who wouldn’t let anyone else have a turn.  🙂  Ricky and his friends took off ahead of us all to show Zeke around (although he slept through the whole thing)

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He loved his first bath and every bath since then.

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And he made his first trip to Nana and Papa’s house!

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He’s ready for his first Thanksgiving!  We’re off to Nana and Papa’s again.

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Rebecca Childers - I love this update, brought tears of pure happiness my friend. Sending you all LOTS OF LOVE!!xo

Sandy McLeod - To the Bird family,

What an amazing, beautiful, little man, and what an amazing family! I could never possibly conceive the love, and devotion you all have had simply because of your love! God allows us to experience what seems to be setbacks, when, if we believe is a setup for life coming together! Bless your strength and continued love for God and family! Prayers, hugs and kisses!!!

Heather Bird - Thank you, Sandy and Rebecca! Lots of love to both of you too.