I love engagement sessions. Always have, always will. But they are extra special when you get to travel to Lexington, share a few delicious meals with the soon to be Mr. and Mrs., have an incredible shoot at a gorgeous arboretum, and they indulge your childhood love of horses by driving you through acre after acre of horse pasture, pulling over when the horses are near the fence so you can giddily see if any will eat an apple and let you pet them. Yep. Leah and Wes spoiled me on my trip to Kentucky for their engagement session! Let’s just say I can hardly wait to go back for their wedding in the fall!! It’s going to be something special, that’s for sure :) Until then, enjoy a few of my favorites of this wonderful couple! Leah and Wes, thank you again for being SO kind and hospitable, and giving me a fantastic taste of your hometown! I had such a great time with you guys and I’m thrilled that I get to come back and be a part of your wedding! September can’t come soon enough :) XO
Hey guys! Today I’m super excited to share Makenzie and Rob’s big day with you!! These two met and graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University, where I went to college! Woop woop. In fact, Rob only found out about IWU because he and I attended the same church in Park City, and he heard I was having good experience at IWU. He decided to look into it and ended up attending! Which means, you could kiiiiinda say I’m responsible for bringing these two together ;) Haha! I kid. In all seriousness though, Makenzie and Rob are two of the sweetest and most genuinely happy people I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing! Their wedding was a perfect representation of their kind spirits and complete love for one another. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself :) Makenzie and Rob, I just adore you guys and I’m so grateful I got to be a part of your beautiful wedding!! Thank you for entrusting me to document your love, it was an honor. XO.
Ceremony Venue: Mountain Life Church | Reception Venue: Jeremy Ranch Country Club | Cake: Midway Country Corner |Florist: Pam Olsen | Bride’s Dress: One Fine Day | Bride’s shoes: Alfani via Macy’s | Jewelry: Etsy | Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse | Groom’s Tie: Etsy
With Mother’s Day around the corner, I figured it would be appropriate for me to write a post as a mother. You know, seeing as I am one and all. Disclaimer: I debated writing this because I didn’t want people to take it the wrong way. I recognize that everyone’s situation is different. What I say won’t apply to everyone. And I didn’t want to come across as a know-it-all. (Even though I totally am. I mean, a year and a half of being a mom makes me a pro, obviously.) But I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. Because although you can’t make everyone happy, if this post will encourage even one of you Moms out there, it’s worth it. So yeah. Since kids don’t come with a “How to Be a Mom” manual, I thought it might be fitting as a new-ish mom to give some insight to the soon-to-be and just-became Mothers out there. Or who knows, maybe these points will hit home to a few long-time Mamas as well. Honestly, these are more a reminder to myself more than anything else… But here are three important things I’ve come to realize since becoming Natalie’s mom.
1.) Don’t let yourself go. Don’t lose yourself in this world of mothering and caregiving. Don’t sacrifice your sense of self. While your children become your priority, it doesn’t do them any good if you stop taking care of YOU. Stay active. Be healthy. Put an effort into getting yourself ready in the morning. Make time for yourself and your hobbies. Whatever it is that makes you feel good about yourself, makes you feel like you, needs to be a priority too! I’m not saying it’s easy. (It’s not.) But having a child is an easy excuse to start giving up on doing things for you. Which in turn doesn’t end up being good for anyone. You are worth more than that.
And believe me, I’m not saying I have it all figured out. (I wish!) I’ve skipped many a workout when I was too tired, I ate a donut for breakfast this morning, and Lord knows how many times Jake has come home from work to find me still in my yoga pants and fuzzy robe. (It’s as sexy as it sounds.) But, I haven’t given up. I don’t do those things every day. I make an effort to exercise and eat well because it makes me feel a whole lot better about myself. On days that I put in the effort to workout and get myself ready I feel like I’m more productive and prepared to take on the day. Jake doesn’t hate if I’m actually showered and dressed when he comes home, either. Haha. Those are things that fill me up and make me a happier person, and in turn a better mom and wife. Even if working out doesn’t do much for you, whatever it is that does, do those things! Maybe it’s reading a book, or going to coffee with a good friend, or doing a devotional, or blogging, or sewing, or even bird watching… Make sure you fill your own cup, because truly, if your own cup is full, it’s amazing how much more you can pour into your kids and husband.
2.) Don’t be too hard on yourself. This might seem ironic following everything I just said in point one, I know. Buuuut it’s a balancing act. While you don’t want to let yourself go, you also have to give yourself some grace. After all, you just grew a tiny human in your belly. Or even if you adopted your baby, you are still raising a tiny human. That is a HUGE responsibility. So when those days happen where you didn’t get the laundry done, or you ended up eating pizza because the dinner you planned never happened, or you find yourself getting ready for bed and realize you’re still in last night’s pajamas… It’s ok. Tomorrow is a new day, and you’re doing the best you know how.
And it’s also SO hard not to compare yourself to others. Because even when you think you’re doing pretty good, scratch that, especially when you think you’re doing pretty good, someone comes along who’s doing even better. Someone who always looks put together and has the cutest outfits for their little girl. Someone who had a baby a month ago and already looks better now than you did pre-baby. (I’ll keep it real, that’s my particular sore spot… Darn these last 10 lbs. of baby weight.) Someone who threw the most amazing, Pinterest-worthy first birthday party for their son. Someone who is so proper, whose kids are always so well-behaved, and you just know they’ve never lost their temper and snapped unnecessarily after a sleepless night. The truth is, though, YOU are the best mama for your little babe in the entire world. No one knows her like you do. Her smell, her noises, her moods. No one loves him like you do. His giggles, his discoveries, his personality. And in the end, none of that other stuff matters. The cute clothes and Pinterest parties and perfect bodies, you’d never give up your sweet little baby for those things. Your mini you, that is all that matters. So just keep doing the best you know how.
3. All the clichés are true. All the mushy sayings, and silly phrases, and lovey sentiments about having kids and being a mom, they’re all true. That your heart doesn’t know how much love it can feel until you have a child. That it’s not easy but it’s worth it. That a mother’s work is never done. That the days are long but the years are short. That you start crying at everything. That they hold your hand for a little while but they hold your heart forever. That your life will never be the same but you wouldn’t trade it for anything. Basically, being a mom is one of the greatest blessings in the entire world. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll wish you were better at this or that. You’ll be more tired than you’ve ever been in your life. But it’s all so unbelievably rewarding. When your child holds your hand, or gives you a hug, or reaches for you with that silly smile and says “Mama”…
It’s simply the best ever.
Happiest of Mother’s Days to all you amazing Mamas out there!!! You should be celebrated for all that you do. Here’s to being the best moms we know how.
Continuing to catch up on blogging my weddings from last year, today I’m sharing a super sweet and joy filled day… The day Amy and Kelly tied the knot!! You might recognize them from their engagement session, which was all things lovey and gorgeous and breathtaking. (If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and look, I’ll wait.) I knew their wedding would be absolutely delightful as well, and it didn’t disappoint! I mean, how gorgeous did Amy look in her goddess-like wedding dress?? And Kelly was looking quite debonair in his suit as well! Enjoy a few of my favorites from their happy day. Thank you again for allowing me to be a part of your wedding Amy and Kelly!! What a wonderful day it was :) XO
Venue: Mountain Life Church | Dessert Caterer: Sweet Temptations | Cake: Jamie Culbertson | Florist: Brown Floral | Hair and Makeup: Signature Brides | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Wedding Dress: Danielle’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Bridesmaids bracelets: Compliment | Ceremony music: Laura Taylor | DJ: Adam Richardson | Wedding Biscotti’s: Lillian Sanchietti (Grandmother of the Bride)
I’m on my way to New Jersey for a wedding tomorrow, but I had to leave you with a little bit of sweetness for your weekend!! And really, it doesn’t get much sweeter than adorable baby Max. I had the immense pleasure of photographing Sam and Mark’s wedding two years ago, and this past Christmas I had the opportunity to meet up with them again and capture their newest family member! (Although weddings may be my first love, photographing my wonderful couples’ growing families is an extremely close second!!) Max is almost 5 months old now, but I couldn’t pass up sharing a few from this precious newborn session :) Thank you again, Sam and Mark, for welcoming me into your home and into this special time of your lives!! It was so wonderful catching up and meeting your handsome little boy. Can’t wait to see how he grows this year!! XO