Making up stories and crying a lot more than usual... but looking at the positives – life lately

September 28, 2015
Chelsea and I have started telling stories to each other. It started about a week ago. I'm not sure if Chelsea asked me to tell her a story first or if I offered, but we both have been loving it! Of course, I incorporate her name into the story, making her the main character of almost all my stories, which makes them all even better.

It's fun to challenge myself in coming up with an exciting story for Chelsea, and she tells me if it's exciting enough or not! There must always be an antagonist. If I forget to add one, in my haste to make a simple, sweet, story, or a quick story about how we need to share, Chelsea won't let me say "The End" until a bad guy has been inserted in there somewhere. The favorite thus far has been the one with two unicorns who go to a dragon's cave who has been flying down to the Unicorn's Village and trying to eat all the unicorns. The unicorns go up there, clean his cave, go grocery shopping for him, and make him pizza (because everyone loves pizza). When the dragon comes home, he says "Pizza?! I love pizza!" and they all become friends. Chelsea and Alexa loved this one because I made up a low voice for the dragon and they thought it was pretty funny.

Anyway, the point is, these stories have been really strengthening our relationship. Andrew and I have been pretty good for a long time at putting Chelsea to bed with a couple of good books and a little conversation (Alexa always just goes to sleep, but we'll add her in as she gets older) and I had the thought tonight that if we keep this habit up with Chelsea, it will become one of those memories for her that she carries until she's a mother, too. We'll all look back on these "pillow talks" with fondness. I know that I will.

an oldie that I know will be one of my favorite photos of all time (seen first here)

Life's been pretty rough for me lately. I've never been sapped of energy for such a long period of time in my life, and this third pregnancy is really doing a number on me. Throw in some totally wacked-out hormones and you've got yourself a hot mess. I'm not really a cry-er, at least, not since I was a little child (there ya go, siblings, I admit it). As a result of all these changes, though, you'd think I had been crying every day since I was born. It's been really tough on me.

The hardest part has been feeling like I don't even recognize myself anymore. I used to be interested in everything, but when my mom and Andrew suggested taking a class to learn something new (an opportunity I would normally jump at), I found myself coming up with excuses to avoid failure, exerting any more energy than I absolutely have to, and avoid people all together. None of these excuses has ever stopped me in the past. Cue the water works.

I don't know what the solution is. I don't know if something will change and I'll somehow get all my energy back tomorrow, but I decided that I'm making some goals. Little goals that will hopefully help me to rediscover myself and lessen the tears.

After Women's Conference last night, I decided to change my perspective on this pregnancy. One of the speakers mentioned that when we have finished with our lives here on Earth and return to the Glory of our Heavenly Father, we will think, "Is that it? Are those trials all I had to endure?" That's not to belittle trials in any way because, they're pretty dang hard, but compared to the Glory we will receive from God if we remain true, our trials will seem "but a small moment." D&C 121: 7-8

When I give birth to this baby boy, I know it will feel the same. I also know that there are SO many women out there who would give anything to be going through what I am if it meant that they could have a child. My heart mourns for these women and I am ashamed that I have complained at all.

I don't know everything, but one thing I do know is that every single one of us is special. Divine. All of us are blessed with our lives and circumstances so that we can have experiences unique to us. Experiences that allow us to touch someone else's life, to provide them perspective that they otherwise would never know. That is why each of us is so important! That is why each of us is needed by our Heavenly Father! He loves you! You are important to Him, and He needs you.

All I'm saying is to not give up. I say it to you and, more especially, to myself. Dark clouds will pass and if you turn around, you'll see the sun reflecting off all the knowledge you now have and the truth that you now know. And you will have a unique and beautiful life ahead of you, one that still contains trials, but that you are fully equipped to meet head-on.

Thanks for reading today. I hope that you really do feel that you are special and important. Now excuse me while I go say a prayer of gratitude and cry tears of gratitude tonight.

We're having a...

September 16, 2015


We couldn't be happier or more excited! Andrew was especially relieved! He wasn't sure he could handle one more bundle of estrogen joy! Ha ha.

I haven't really started collecting things for him yet, what with my lack of any energy AT ALL (I'm chalking it up to having to watch two crazy children all day), but I think I've thought of a way to solve that... Pinterest. Pinterest can get ANYONE excited!

So we're pretty stoked. This boy is coming to a pretty awesome family, if I do say so myself! Chelsea certainly is excited about having a baby brother! She likes to kiss my tummy and tell everyone that she's having a baby brother. We've been trying to think of names for the little guy. We're pretty convinced on one name, but keep searching because we'd REALLY like to find a German name for him (in honor of the Stange roots). We'll see where our preferences lead us.

At this stage in the game, I'm definitely showing. The belly button is already sticking out, and I started wearing maternity pants today! They are COM-FY!

Thanks for reading today! See you next time!


Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

Alexa – 12 Months

September 13, 2015
What? I'm only... two months late. I think I've been subconsciously putting this post off because I'm still in denial that she's one year old.

So, technically, this is more like a 14 month update, but the photos are from when she just barely turned one. Info = 14 months, photos = 12 months.

Get it? Good. Let's go.

At 14 months, Alexa...
calls her blanket and her pacifier "ki ki"
says "I love you"
waves hello and goodbye like a champ
has 8 teeth (four on top and four on bottom)
blows kisses, unprompted (adorable!)
does NOT sleep well in unfamiliar houses but is a champ at home
will only go to sleep in unfamiliar houses if I sing her there
loves big sister despite the fights over toys
still loves twirling
has learned to nod her head for "yes" and shake her head for "no"
loves to listen to the sound of her shoes on different surfaces
can be a little instigator with sister sometimes (she is just as good, if not better, at teasing Chelsea as Chelsea is at teasing her)
runs away with a huge smile every time she sees you coming with a clean diaper in hand, it's one of her favorite games!
hates it when anyone leaves
plays by herself rather well (that's how I've been able to read so many books recently)
still has hardly any hair (her longest hair is right around her ears)
I have a feeling that Alexa is going to be my little dress-up girl! She often comes to me with a new shirt or pants to try on from her room
is kind of a picky eater
still takes two naps a day, but they're not much longer than an hour
always says "thank you"
still thinks that every animal she sees is a dog and says "woof woof"
dances to good music on occasion
is still my little snuggle bug
has quite the collection of vocabulary and communicates herself very effectively
is not very ticklish
still confuses everyone when her tiny little self starts walking around

She may be small, but this little gal is PACKED with personality! We all love her in our house and she is often the source of sunshine for everybody with the way she gives out smiles like heart-shaped cookies on Valentine's day! She is such a blessing to us!

We love you soooooooo much, little flower!

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^^click on any of the pictures to be taken to their corresponding month updates. thank you alexa zurcher for the monthly stickers!^^

Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities including Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

Susan Stange Design - Closed

September 10, 2015
After months of consideration, I have finally decided to close my Etsy shop, but I couldn't close without some kind of tribute to the business that was like my little companion for three years of my life!

First, here are some stats.

Open: February 2013 - September 2015
Views: 24,123
Favorites: 1,755
Total number of sales: 137
Most popular item: Car Seat Protector
Item listed the longest: Car Seat Protector

Items sold in shop:

Baby Changing Mat

Car Seat Protector

Girl's Chevron Dress

Chevron Maxi Skirt
Aztec Tribal Maxi Skirt
Tribal Pants

Tribal Baby Leggings

Fox Coat Costume

iPad Travel Companion
Ivory Lace Maternity Dress
Tulle Skirt

Gathered Plaid Girl's Tunic with Triangle Elbow Patches

Mustard Yellow Girl's Tunic
Baby and Toddler Gold Leggings
Baby and Toddler Faux Fur Vest
Pleated Plaid Midi Skirt

I can't really describe to you how looking back on my shop history makes me feel. I feel accomplished, empowered, successful, humbled, and satisfied. I got out of my Etsy shop exactly what I put in, that is, a lot of love and satisfaction from my hard work.

It was a hard decision, choosing whether or not to close up shop. Ultimately, I decided to close because I felt that my shop was taking away more time from my family and from my other interests than I wanted, and I found myself headed down to my sewing room grudgingly when it was time to fill an order. For all these reasons I decided it was time.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to have my own shop for however brief a time it was. Thank you all for your love and support during this period of my life. Maybe someday I'll reopen, but until then, you can find me here on my blog! Thank you all again for your support and to anyone who is thinking of beginning their own little business, I say go for it! You're guaranteed not to make it if you don't try, and you won't regret trying, but you may regret not. Good luck! See you next time!

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