My Little Muses

I am expecting my 3rd and final baby in about 3 weeks now, and I have one BIG fear.  I know it's normal, and I remember feeling the exact same way before I had my son, but it's real, this worry of mine.  I am so worried about how this new baby boy will change my relationship with my first two children and I am worried about how this will change my first and second born's tight bond. 

I know, I know... it will just be that much sweeter.  It's just that much more love in our little home.  And I know that watching my first two love and care for my third will likely be the best thing in the whole entire world.  But I'm still a little bit afraid.  So when I recently took a workshop and was asked to do "One Last Session"... to pretend like I could only do one more session, I knew it had to be of these two precious children, who have my whole heart for my whole life.  Here are a few of my faves from likely my last ever session of just the two of them. (Insert preggo mom hormone cry here)

A Grandparent's Love

I lost my grandparents when I was a teenager... at a time in life when I was selfish and pre-occupied.  My biggest (and maybe only) regret in my life, is not realizing or appreciating my relationship with them and spending more time with them as they and myself aged.  My brother and I were so very close to them when we were young... They were quite possibly my very favorite people in the whole world, in fact.  Some of my most favorite memories include sleepovers at their home, our long walks, gardening and swimming with them, playing solitaire with my grandpa, hanging laundry with grandma and having "yard sales" in their front yard.  They showed me as much love as I've ever known and I know they helped shape me into the woman, mom and wife that I am.  I often think of how much they would adore my own children if they were still here.

This said, this session fell very near and dear to my heart.  Seeing this little boy and the bond and love between he and his Nana and Papa, was about as sweet as it gets.  He is clearly so adored by them and they, him.  This might just end up being a thing for me.

Madelyn Jane

As I slowly find my style and mold into the artist I dream to be, I find myself feeling so much more connected to my work and to my clients. This session and this family touched me deeply.  Their connection and love were easy and seamless.  This is what a newborn baby and her little family should look like, right? 

Now before I go any further, I would just like to say that I wrote something similar to this last night... and quickly deleted it.  It was too personal.  Then today, I spoke with a friend who had similar struggles and she said, "No one talks about it."  And I knew I had to rewrite this and share.

So... as happy as these images make me (and they really really do), they also take me back to a pretty painful time.  As some of you who are close to me know, I struggled greatly after my daughter was born, with post-partum depression.  It was awful.  I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  It was dark, painful, lonely, terrifying and shameful.  And as I look back at that time in our lives, one thought really consumes me... how much of this precious time I missed.  I yearned to be THIS family, connected, happy and in love.  Now I don't write this because I want pity... and I don't often dwell on it... but every now and then, I do look back, and it hurts.

Here's what I know now:  I was not alone.  There was help.  Not every post-partum course is the same.  I am SO glad that I reached out and asked for that help.  And I will forever be grateful for my husband's support and love during that excruciating time. 

Now enough of the lows.... back to the highs.  There really is nothing sweeter than a precious new life born into a family full of love.  This is one lucky little girl. <3


The Babywearing Project

One of my favorite things, like ever, is wearing my babies.  At home, grocery shopping, hiking, you name it.  I absolutely treasure that while I'm doing the daily chores that need to be done, we're sneaking in some extra snuggles.  I loved nursing my babies in their carriers, and will always cherish the way their little faces would rest on my chest or the way they tip their little heads up to sneak me a smile or a kiss.  My son is two years old now, and although our babywearing days are fewer and farther between, we both still love it, and I'll wear him as long as he'll allow it.

My love of babywearing, all the cuddles and the bonding it promotes, led me to this little project.  I was so humbled to have several beautiful, loving parents drive from near and far (on Superbowl Sunday, nonetheless!) to allow me to capture some really sweet moments. <3

Brave Ryan

I am not even sure where to start here.  All I know is that this young man likely struggles more on a daily basis, than I could even fathom.  The things that are easy for me likely are not for him.  Yet on this day, this brave young man repelled down a high rise in downtown phx, as a fund raiser for the Special Olympics.  And I was fortunate enough to bear witness to the whole thing.  And even more incredible... I am working with an incredible organization, Spectrum Inspired, to share his story.  Grateful.

A Camping Trip to Remember

When I was a young girl, my dad used to take my brother and I camping every summer... multiple times a summer.  Many of my favorite childhood memories were made camping in Oak Creek Canyon.  I am a daddy's girl.  Big time.  I admire him for so many reasons... even more so now than ever, with some of the health challenges he has recently faced.  For awhile now, it has been on my bucketlist to go camping... specifically, with my dad and my daughter, in Oak Creek Canyon.  Well this past weekend, it happened.  It was everything I had hoped it would be and then some. 

First of all, it was magical seeing my daughter love camping the way I did when I was young... every bit of it.  From setting up the tent, to exploring and picking fresh berries, to climbing rocks by the creek, to befriending caterpillars and snails, to making s'mores and telling campfire stories, to reading in the hammock, to being in awe of the view of the skies from our tent... she loved it all.  Just as spectacular, was watching my dad teach my daughter the things he once taught me... and listening to them giggle in the tent at night... I could go on and on. 

There were lots of excuses to put this trip off... lots of reasons to "do it next year".  But the truth is, none of us know what tomorrow holds.  Do the important things today... make the memories... say the things.  This little camping trip, perhaps meant more to me than what is reasonable... and no one else may ever know or understand the importance of it, but that's ok.  We made memories to last several lifetimes last weekend and for that I am so grateful.

When we left, I asked Raelyn, "When we come back next year, should we invite everyone else?"  She quickly replied, "No, just the three of us."  My heart is full.

Breastfeeding: A Labor of Love

Breastfeeding: A Labor of Love

Breastfeeding truly is a labor of love.  Especially at first, there is nothing easy about it... Being that it is a woman's God given ability, you'd think it would come naturally... not always.  It takes determination, persistence, patience, practice on both mom and baby's part, and a whole lotta love... and that's when everything is working the way it should... Add in infections, tongue ties, low milk supply, pain, and exhaustion of a new mommy, and it takes even more.  This gorgeous momma persisted through several hurdles and I was so honored to capture these moments.  It is difficult to describe, and unless you are a breastfeeding momma yourself, difficult to understand... There is an unparalleled connection and bond that comes from providing nourishment from your body to a helpless little life that you, yourself, had a part in creating... Not to mention the countless silent, private cuddles and snuggles that come with. <3

A Mom's Weekend Away

Being a mom is a crazy thing...  It's the most amazing, most rewarding thing to be in the whole world, but it's also the hardest.  Being a mom and a wife and an entrepreneur and just being me, pulls me in all different directions, and finding the balance is nearly impossible sometimes.  This weekend was just further proof of that.

Me, all last week: Girl's weekend coming up!!!  I am sooooo excited!!!!  Oh, I can't wait to get away, and eat, drink, and sleep all on my own schedule and not have to worry about or tend to anyone else!! 

Me, Saturday morning: I am so nervous to be leaving my family for the weekend.  I feel so guilty....I shouldn't go.  I could cry at any moment. Ok, I am crying.  Should I go?  Maybe I should just stay home and spend some downtime with the fam.  Ok, fine I'll go.

Me, in Sedona with my girlfriends: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  This is amazing!  Pour me another.

This morning:  Oh, I can't wait to get home to my family.  I have butterflies, I'm so excited to see them and hug them and hold them.   And I swear they've changed in only 2 days!!  OMGeee, it feels so good to hold my babies.  (more tears)

Summary:  This weekend with my girlfriends was simply amazing.  I relaxed, I explored, I slept A LOT, I overindulged, I reminisced, I laughed until I cried (several times), and maybe even peed (unless you've passed a child through your girl parts, don't judge), and I came back refreshed for my family.

Here are a few of the moments. 

Now Blogging!

I am officially going to be blogging some of my sessions and I couldn't be happier about it!  For me, being a photographer is more than just taking photos.  It's about human connections and telling people's stories.  Everyone has their own story, their own joys, their own hardships.  I am so blessed and privileged to have the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life, not only in my nursing career, but on this journey as well, and I couldn't be more grateful.  Thank you to all who support me, encourage me, and critique me.  I want to learn, improve, connect, move and be moved. <3