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Another Back Injury for Ollie?

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Another Back Injury for Ollie?

We are praying that Ollie doesn't have another back injury like he did two years ago. I noticed that he wasn't wanting to jump and his energy level was low. Just like it started two years ago. Then he yelped when I grazed his back. Concerned, I immediately put him on crate rest and made an appointment with the vet. More than likely they will prescribe steroids and/or pain meds. The most important thing to remember is to keep Ollie on crate rest and absolutely NO jumping. Sometimes these things can be resolved with steroids, and we are hoping he won't need to have another surgical procedure. Updates to come!

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Baby Easton | 12 Months

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Baby Easton | 12 Months

I still cannot believe Easton is a YEAR old!! It's incredible. This year has gone by so fast. It was super hard, but yet it went by like that.

This post is coming at you super late! (A lot happened in February)

That being said, Easton turned 12 months old 2 weeks ago! He subsequently got the flu on his actual birthday! Poor fella. He ran fevers all night and for about 48 hours after his birthday. A first birthday that we will never forget! Thankfully he survived it. More importantly WE survived it. A sick baby is no joke! They need you when they are sick! A couple of days later he ended up getting an ear infection. 

Before it gets any later I wanted to list out some of Easton’s milestones since turning 1 year:

  • He claps his hands all the time
  • he knows how to high-five,
  • he loves playing tug-of-war with Ollie
  • he says "maa" for more when he wants more food
  • he mimics what we say sometimes, like full sentences the other day he said "there it is!" after we said it
  • he loves to look at airplanes in the sky he loves to look at the trees outside
  • he loves to hold my hands and walk in the grass
  • he loves to play with sticks and rocks and do all kinds of little boy things
  • he is getting more persistent with his wishes and will protest when he doesn’t get what he wants
  • Naps are starting to become a real struggle, he is on the brink of transitioning to one nap, I think. He still a little young so I’m trying to maintain two naps a day but it’s getting harder!
  • He’s not quite walking but he is cruising along furniture
  • he loves to empty out all of my drawers and Tupperware and scattered all over the floor! My house is never clean anymore! There is always a little mess somewhere if not everywhere… Welcome to toddlerhood so they say! 
  • walks around with his little walker!!
  • got his first bike helmet and enjoys bike rides with us now :) 

I'm so happy to have documented a portion of his first year on my blog. It's nice to know that I can go back later and re read about his little milestones and smile.  Happy birthday sweet boy :) 

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Easton | 11 Months

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Easton | 11 Months

11 months old already! 

WOW. 

I cannot believe how FAST Easton's first year is going! I am so behind on his monthly updates! Life has been BUSY! 

Since  my last update, Easton has had so many changes. 

Here are some of his milestones to note:

*He is eating SO well! He has been eating three meals a day since about nine months. He prefers fruit over anything else! He still loves to eat meat and he loves cheese! Veggies are hit and miss, but I am continuing to offer them.

*The "cruising" has begun. Easton will stand up and cruise along the furniture and balance himself without any assistance for a few seconds. Yesterday he faceplanted into the floor and hit his newly erupted front tooth on the wood floors of our home. I felt so bad! Thankfully he is alright and the tooth is fine! 

*Sleep is going well at night! Naps are still hit and miss! But, whatev's.

*The other night at dinner, he said "hungry" CLEAR. AS. DAY. Jeremy and I looked at each other in disbelief! He also tries to say "more", but it comes out "ma". Water is "bar". By the way, his favorite drink is water, he sips it really well now from an open cup! I havent gotten him to use a straw yet, but I need to start working on that.

*He LOVES playing fetch and tug of war with Ollie! I have to really supervise the two of them because they really get into it :) 

*His new favorite activity is his red wagon. He lights up everytime he goes for a ride! 

*One of his favorite pasttimes include looking out of our bedroom window. He will stare at the trees and the neighbor's house forever! 

Here is a precious photo of Easton from yesterday!

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How Having a Baby Changed My Business

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How Having a Baby Changed My Business

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Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with a photographer friend over coffee. As I bounced Easton on my lap and struggled to feed him, I felt obligated to apologize for not being 100% focused in on our conversation. This seemed to be an illustration of the last ten months: balancing a baby and a life. 

But, she graciously said it was ok and she totally understood. Over the course of the next few minutes, our conversation led us to this topic: how a baby affects your life and business. I admitted to her that before I got pregnant, I was worried about what having a baby would do to my business, my baby at the time.

I feared that I would not have time to put forth the effort to run a business, that I would somehow lose my ability to remember how to use my camera, that I would drown in a sea of to-do's while trying to sustain another human being. As a result, my ultimate fear was that all of the work I had put into my business would vanish. 

I feel like these are all legitimate fears that people have prior to starting a family. Life is never the same after having kids, it changes. It's a GOOD change, but it is so different than what you have been used to.

Now that I am a mom and a business owner, I can tell you it is not as scary as I had imagined. The Lord has given me so much grace and resources(a gracious husband, grandma's and friends) to allow me to continue to do what I love and serve others. And in the process, I have changed too. And with that, here are some of the ways that having a baby changed my business! 

- My time is more valuable now

Each moment of the day has purpose! My day is pretty much ran by a baby. Feedings, diaper changes, play time. It leaves little time in the day to get things done. But, when nap time rolls around I stop at nothing to make sure I am checking off things on my to do lists!

Do I miss the days of laying on the couch watching reruns of Law and Order (Criminal Intent is my favorite!)...Yes! I miss those longggg periods of rest. But, I know that this season in my life is short and it won't last. Having a baby definitely makes you more aware of how you are spending your time. 

You've got to roll with the punches. I used to have schedule out my days by the tasks I would be doing hour by hour. And I used to say to myself, "I'll get this wedding culled in 1.5 hours". But now, things are done in chunks of time. And if the wedding doesn't get culled in 1.5 hours, it's ok! It will get done. In fact, most of the time I will edit weddings once Easton has gone down for the night, or I will wake up before he wakes in the morning and work. I basically work around him. 

 I finished out my 2017 year and I never once got behind on a deadline!! {The Lord had always been good to me and allowed Easton to sleep at just the right times for just the right amount of time for me to get the work done.} Blog posts still go up, and the gallery is still ready and everyone still receives their photos on time! I still think that my clients deserve the BEST, and having a baby does not change the way I serve them! I make every effort I can to see that they are getting more than what they deserve.

- I'm no longer a work-a-holic 

Let me start by saying, my business and my clients are just as important as they were pre-baby. Never have I felt that service to my clients should take a back seat. They are the lifeblood of my business and I absolutely LOVE serving each and every person.

Now, let me say this: My business used to be my baby. I had a tendency to work non stop and not come up for air some days. It was unhealthy for me and my family at times. Not to mention, it can become and idol in my heart if I do not keep it in check.

But there was a shift in my thinking after Easton was born. Those work-a-holic tendencies? They were forced to go! This is how the Lord sanctifies. He weeds out the things that prohibit your heart from being aligned with His word, it's a beautiful thing!

I feared that if I wasn't doing some kind of work, my business would suffer. But the thing was, a lot of my time and energy was being exerted in the WRONG things. I "felt" busy, but I wasn't being productive. There's a difference. (That is a whole other blog post in itself!)

After Easton, I realized I had unintentionally cut out the fluff. Instead, I only worked on things that actually were productive. Because I didn't have the ability to have extra time on my hands like before, I was forced to only concentrate on those things that truly mattered.

This has actually helped me stay more focused in my business! I don't have time to "kill" anymore, so I do the things that need to be done and I go on to the next task! 

- I Do Not Overload Myself With Too Much

Because Easton is so little and needs so much of me, I have to be careful to what I say "yes" to. I know that I cannot shoot a double header weekend, or have more than 2 portrait sessions per week on weeks that I have weddings.

With the amount of work that is involved, it wouldn't be fair to my clients and it wouldn't be fair to my family. I want to be able to give the best of myself to not only my clients, but to my family as well! So, I just have to be careful with the amount of work that I book. 

- I love shooting more than ever now!

Because I am at home so much, getting out and shooting weddings and portraits have actually brought me MORE joy than ever before!

I love to get out and just create.

Being cooped up in the house too long will give you cabin fever and give you an excuse to binge eat whatever you can. But now, my work has more intention and purpose behind it than it did before. And I love that! 

I hope that this post is encouraging to my fellow lady entrepreneurs who are considering starting a family! In the end, having a baby wasn't the 'end of my business', like I had feared. It is actually growing and I am continuing to serve my clients well! 

 

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Baby Easton | 6 Months

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Baby Easton | 6 Months

6 Month Update

Happy half birthday, Easton! How are you 6 months old already?! I was telling Jeremy the other day how much he has grown from the time he was a teeny tiny 6lbs 11oz newborn until now, it’s amazing how quickly they grow!!

We are really enjoying this age right now. He is so much more interactive and is such a happy baby. One of his favorite things to do is “fly”. Jeremy will hold him on his belly and he will “fly” to me. It thrills him lol!

6 Month Milestones:

*Sleep training is complete! Easton is sleeping 11-12 hours a night! Naps have gotten a lot better. Every nap is not equal. Sometimes they will be an hour long and sometimes they will be two and a half hours long! We did hit a snag last week though. For a period of about five days, Easton’s naps were only 30-40 min long and he had a lot of crying around bedtime too. I attribute it to the developmental leap that he went through (Wonder Weeks App is so informative!). Now that the leap is over, sleep is a lot easier for him and we are taking our good naps again. 

*We started solids!! This is a super fun milestone! We are doing baby led weaning. BLW involves giving your baby soft foods in their whole form, so no puree’s. For example, you can give strips of pineapple, banana, avocado, melon. You can even give chicken, pork, beef patty strips, etc. As long as it is soft. BLW teaches the baby how to eat independently, and strengthens their hand/eye coordination as well as stimulates their senses. Baby can have as much or as little as they want (breastmilk is STILL the main source of nutrition). Foods that baby eats are just to compliment the breastmilk, they are not meant to take the place of breastmilk (that happens closer to a year old). What I really like about it is the fact that you can expose your baby a variety of foods and textures, which encourages them to be good eaters and expands their palate! There are foods that should be avoided until baby is one year, though. For more info, visit www.feedinglittles.com

*He sits up now!! One of the qualifications to starting solids was that Easton had to be able to sit up independently. And, because he was so eager to try food, I let him practice sitting up. It literally took one day of practice before he was doing it. I used my boppy pillow and put it at the small of his back to help give him support. Before I knew it he could do it all on his own.

*I think he will crawl this month! He’s got a lot of upper body strength and pushes himself up onto his hands. He will get his legs going a little bit but hasn't figured out how to get up onto all fours. If I put him down on his blanket he will “swim” around and roll from one end of the blanket to the other. 

*Easton weighs 16lbs already! It's amazing how much weight he has gained. Yet, another 2lbs in one month!! I'm so glad he got his tongue tie revised! I think it definitely helped.

*We took him to the park and sat him in the swing! He loved it! Daddy even took him down the slide! He wasn't too sure what to think of that, lol! 

*He’s been to the beach a few times, but isn't quite a fan of the water just yet. we are hoping his isn't a waterphobe like his four legged brother, Ollie. We want to keep exposing him to the water so he becomes comfortable with it though.

*We had our first ‘vacation’ away from home a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't a planned vacation, but rather an unexpected one. We had a leak in our home which destroyed the tile. As a result we had to get new floors installed which meant that we had to move almost everything out of our home and relocate to my Dad's house for a few days. Easton slept like a CHAMP in his pack and play. I was a nervous wreck as I thought he would not sleep in anywhere but his crib. He proved me wrong though!

Here are a few photos!

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Baby Easton | 5 Months

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Baby Easton | 5 Months

5 months old

Our baby boy is 5 months old!! I cannot believe it! The time is FLYING! Where did the 4th month go? I actually did not write a 4 month blog post because, well, the 4th month was REALLY rough. And, I just did not have the time to write :( 

This is going to be a lengthy post because so much has happened since 3 months. 

Starting around 3 1/2 months, Easton really changed his sleeping patterns. He began to start “protesting” naps. He would CRY and fuss and it was SO hard to get him to sleep. Up until that point, he had been putting himself to sleep for naps and doing ok with it. He had never really made it past that 30 min nap mark, as he would only nap through one sleep cycle. But nonetheless, he would at least put himself to sleep. It got so bad that I had to start rocking him to sleep again for every nap (like we did when he was a newborn). Then it got to the point where I had to rock him CONTINUOUSLY or he would wake up. THEN he started protesting bedtime (which he never did before). Finally, he started waking up multiple times in the night. The cycle continued for weeks and it completely exhausted me.

On top of that, Easton’s feeding habits began to change as well. Turns out his latch was not great due to his tongue tie and he needed to have a revision. I was so glad that our pediatrician told us about this dentist who does laser frenectomy procedures. Easton tolerated it well, but the first couple of days after were hard. His feedings did not improve initially and his latch was still “off”. The after care was completely rigorous, but I was dedicated to the process of him properly healing. We got in contact with a wonderful lactation consultant and also began taking him to the pediatric chiropractor for adjustments. As of today, his latch is PERFECT and he has gained 2 POUNDS in one month!!! For anyone who has a baby with tongue tie and does not think that it is a big deal, please read this article—it explains EXACTLY what happened with Easton and I. And please peruse this website to learn more about tongue tie.

Next, his sleep. So remember how I had mentioned being exhausted from assisting him to sleep all the time? Well, it just so happened that around the same time that I felt myself coming to a breaking point of utter exhaustion, was the same time that this class came out by my favorite sleep consultant. I knew there had to be a change. I couldn't keep doing what I was doing spending hours in a dark room rocking him and going though a nightly battle with him falling asleep. I remember speaking with my friend about it and telling her that I just felt like I was “surviving and not thriving”. It was true, I was doing whatever I could just to survive. I was eating terrible because it was easy, and I was becoming so stressed and snippy! And, nobody wants that! 

After implementing the things that I learned in the sleep class, I am SO proud to say that Easton has improved SIGNIFICANTLY. Every night I put him down in the crib FULLY AWAKE and he falls asleep within 10 minutes with hardly any fussing. He sleeps for about 11.5-12 hours a night and usually wakes up once to eat, though sometimes he sleeps through. His naps are getting so much better and he is able to link his sleep cycles together so his naps are not ending after only 30 mins. They last anywhere from 1-2 hours now! :) And as for me? I am feeling like myself again. I am getting the rest that I need and am able to tackle the things around the house that I need to! I thank the Lord that He sustained me through Eastons 4th month! 


5 Month Milestones:

*He weighs 15.2 lbs!! He gained 2 lbs in ONE month after having his tongue tie surgery!

*Rolls from back to tummy and tummy to back

*Goes to bed at 7pm every night and sleeps till about 6:45am or 7:00am, usually gets onefeeding in the night.

*Puts himself to sleep!!!

*Naps are 1-2 hours long!

*Loves sleeping on his tummy

*Can sit up unassisted for a couple of seconds

*Can put his own pacifier in his mouth by himself (it’s so cute!!)

*Everything goes in the mouth

*Very interested in what we are eating, loves to suck on apple slices

*Giggles and laughs!

*He is starting to mimic us

*Smiles when he sees Ollie (oh and the other day I SWEAR he said “Ollie” lol!)

*Said “da da” ON FATHER’S DAY!! AND we got it all on video!!

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Baby Easton | Three Months

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Baby Easton | Three Months

 

It seems like these last three months have gone by so fast! I mean, it "feels" like three months, but the rate at which my baby has grown has flown by! He seems like a big boy now! 

Three months means we are officially OUT of the newborn phase of Easton's life! It's bittersweet. There were a lot of struggles that came with the newborn phase that I won't miss, but he will also never be that tiny again, so it's sorta sad! But with this new phase in his life brings with it new milestones. 

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Milestones for this month:

*Consistently rolls from tummy to back

*LOTS more smiles

*He is so interactive now and loves to talk to us

*He has been drooling a lot lately, making me wonder if it is the beginning stages of teething?

*Still consistently is sleeping from 8pm-6am (sometimes 7am) with no dream feed anymore

*Has been to church with us twice now! 

*Loves the pool! His favorite thing is to float. He even did a little tummy time on the surfboard!

*Took his first trip to Dubois Park in Jupiter but didn't like the cold water 

*He has pretty much outgrown the "newborn" size. Things in his closet that I thought he would take a while to fit in are actually fitting now! (They really do grow fast!)

*Had his first trip to the dentist (the appointment was for me) and he sat on my lap while I got my teeth cleaned. He even flirted with the dental hygenist! :) 

Napping is still somewhat of a struggle but it has gotten ALOT better! Some days he goes down really easy and other days (like yesterday) he really protests! I've gotten better about not rushing in the minute I see him wake up on the video monitor. I just watch to see what he will do. If he is not crying, I don't go in. Typically though, naps average 45 minutes. Last week he did 1 hour naps one day! That didnt last long though :( But today he did a 1.5 hour nap!!!

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Baby Easton | Two Months

 

2 Months Old!

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I have been tryinggggg to set some time aside to write out a 2 month blog post for Easton for weeks now! It's just been so crazy busy around here. That's no excuse though because I desperately want to keep records of his life!

So how is Easton? He's great. In fact, right now he is asleep in my arms. It's 6:00 am and he was wanting to wake up for the day after his morning feeding and I just couldn't start my day yet. So I swaddled him up, gave him a paci and we are chilling in the recliner :) *jeremy is bringing me some coffee to sip on*

 

2 month milestones:

-He is definitely more expressive, loves to smile and "talk" to you.

-Sleeps from about 8pm-5am.

-Beginning to put himself to sleep while awake (without being rocked to sleep!) this was HUGE for him. The only way he used to fall asleep was if he was being rocked! If you're interested in learning how he did this check out takingcarababies.com.

-Gaining lots of weight & getting a chunky belly!!

-This month he conquered breastfeeding!! It was a huge struggle and I ALMOST gave it up. Im so happy I stuck it out though!

-Felt the rain on his head for the first time

-Had his first Easter and had a meltdown :) His evening bouts of colic seem to have resolved though so that's a good thing!

-Took his first trip to Nelson's Produce!

-Had a dip in the pool for the first time & he loved it!

-Took a 2 hour nap on his own! He's really struggled with 30 min naps from the time he was 4 weeks old. I say he struggled, but it was more like I struggled. Easton was ready to go after those short naps lol! But after using some tips from nap expert Cara, we had a breakthrough. It's only happened once (yesterday). Now that I know he can do it, I am going to continue to work with him on it.

-He rolled from tummy to his back 4 times in a row yesterday! I seriously think he will walk early. He is ready to explore!

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Baby Easton | One Month

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Baby Easton | One Month

Our boy is 4 weeks old!

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4 weeks, 28 days, 672 hours…sounds like a long time when you break it down that way. But the truth is, for me, it has gone by fast. Don’t be fooled, it’s half way through the morning, I am still in my PJ’s, drinking this morning’s coffee and watching Easton on the baby cam, crossing my fingers and toes that he doesn't wake up so that I can finish writing this post! That is how my days have been, get things done when you can get them done! But I take solice in these breaks I get where I can sit at my kitchen table, enjoying the silence with a cup of coffee and a candle burning. 

This past month has been a major adjustment for Jeremy and I. We are still navigating the waters of parenthood: what kind of schedule we are going to give Easton (feeding/sleeping), trying to figure his cries out, and keeping up with all of the dirty diapers… 

My biggest struggle with being a new mom is reading books and thinking that is the end all prescription to mold the perfect baby. I think a lot of new moms probably struggle with that. After all, we have never done this before, there’s got to be a manual for this thing, right?! Wrong. Every baby is different. The books will tell you what your baby “should” be doing and you feel like something is wrong when he/she doesn't fit the mold. 

Best advice this week: Do what is best for our family and best for our baby. 

The best thing that the three of us did this week was to get out of the house and go do a little shopping together. Life gets tiresome when you render your days to the four walls of your house. Another thing Jeremy and I have done on a consistent basis is leave Easton with the grandparents and go out to dinner together. It’s been such a sweet reward for both of us and something that we plan on continuing to do every week! :)

Milestones for this month:

  • It seems like Easton had eye contact down pat at the start. From the moment he was born, he locked eyes with me and continues to keep his gaze on whoever holds him :) 
  • Easton lovessss smiling at us, he is especially smily in the morning! I love the morning time with him! 
  • He is eating like a champ, he’s gained 2 lbs since birth!! Which is awesome because he dropped 11% of his body weight after we brought him home.
  • He’s starting to make little “coo” sounds and other cute little baby noises, they are so sweet!
  • He LOVES to be cuddled. In fact, he falls asleep best when he is being held or rocked. Grandmas love this! 
  • Another thing that he loves is staring out the window! He has a changing table that is right up next to the window and he will just gaze out there forever!
  • He loves being outside, taking walks and feeling the breeze on his face.
  • He has an obsession with the ceiling fan in our living room! You can lay him on his back and it will have his attention indefinitely!
  • We have had a couple of visits to the Doctors. Most recently, Dr.Bowling told us that Easton is an “intense” baby by the way that he furrows his brows! He said he needs lots of stimulation because he is so curious. 
  • He's not a huge nap taker, but he sleeps well during the night. Lastnight he slept 5.5 hours straight!! He seems to know his day from night so it's helped a lot.
  • Yesterday was Jeremy's first day back to work. He works 24 hour shifts. When he came home this morning, Easton greeted him with the biggest smiles he's ever shown us! It was SO sweet! He missed his Daddy!

 

 

 

 

 

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Introducing Baby Easton!!

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Introducing Baby Easton!!

 

Meet Easton

Introducing Harry “Easton” Browning! Born on Feb.25, 2017! Named after his Poppa, Harry Browning, Easton is now 2 weeks old and giving his Mommy and Daddy a run for their money! He's generally a good boy, but has his fussy moments where you just think you can't do it anymore! It's all newborn baby stuff :)

So how is life with a newborn? The first few days at home were the hardest. But it has gotten easier little by little. Easton doesn't quite yet have a routine, he is the one who is running the show! And motherhood is hard work. Hard. Work. I've shed lots of tears and struggled with "I don't think I can do this". I've prayed for patience and endurance...and for Easton to give us some sleep! It's hard work, but it is rewarding. And from what everyone says, it will get better. 

Lastnight he slept like a champ, I accidentally hit the snooze on my alarm for his feeding and he slept 5 hours straight! After eating he went right back to sleep, giving us about 7 hours total! I don't think we have had that much sleep since before he was born!!

Jeremy has been a phenomenal husband and father. I couldn’t have asked for a better man in my life than him. He has really supported me through the adjustments of motherhood! 

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Five Years as Yours | Happy Anniversary!

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Five Years as Yours | Happy Anniversary!

HAPPY FIVE YEARS!

When we first met, who knew that we would soon be taking weekly trips to the jetty to go surfing. You had me at your cutback :) It was shortly after that when we were floating in the water and you told me you loved me. Not long after, you flew me to NYC and proposed at the Top of the Rockafeller. (Well done!) After a few short months we were married, then we got a puppy and settled into a little apartment. Then we had to leave our apartment (they were serious when they said we couldn't have a dog) and we moved into a little bungalow. And now…its our 5 year anniversary and we are expecting our little boy to arrive any day! 

So much awesome-ness condensed into one paragraph (which probably has many grammatical errors, but it's ok!) 

It’s simple. I love you more now than I did 5 years ago. You’re going to be the BEST dad, because you are the BEST husband! Happy 5 year anniversary!

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This is Us | 38 Weeks

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This is Us | 38 Weeks

The 38 week mark is here! Wow! We are SO close! In the forefront of my mind is the question "When will I go into labor?!". It could happen any day now! 

Last week my coworkers through me a surprise baby shower and gifted us with SO many things including a video monitor that we had on our registry! That was so incredibly kind of them, I am so undeserving! 

So, how am I feeling? I am actually feeling alright. I'm thankful that my energy has been able up and able to keep up with the things that need to get done around here. There are some days where I have energy slumps, but that is what naps are for! Last week I took TWO naps in ONE day! It was just heavenly. 

Easton is moving around a lot, though he doesn't have much room in there! I take jabs to the ribs every now and then but it's all good :) 

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Ollie Turns 5!

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Ollie Turns 5!

Every morning he wakes up wagging his tail, burrowing under the sheets and wanting to snuggle. That's Ollie's life, happy. And today, he turns 5! 

It's been quite the year for Mr. Ollie! Last spring he suffered an acute spinal injury that left his back legs paralyzed and had to have emergency surgery. It was probably tougher on Jeremy and I than it was on him (You can read about it here, here, and here). But, thankfully he has recovered and he ended up having a good year.

In celebration of his 5th birthday, I bought him a stuffed toy that he has attempted to bury in the backyard. He tends to do this with certain toys, not sure why! Anyways, Happy Birthday Ollie boy!

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This is Us | 36 Weeks

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This is Us | 36 Weeks

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Photo Cred: Kimberly Smith Photography

Here we are! I'm 36 weeks now, officially made it to the nine month mark! I always wondered what  it would be like to get this close. Over the course of the last few week or so, I've gone through a mix of emotions that include:

*Excitement - cannot wait to meet Easton!

*Anticipation - when will I go into labor?!?!

*Exhaustion - pedal swelling is real and it's NOT fun!

*Nervousness - labor...AH!

*Joy - I'm going to be a momma!

*Peace - God's timing is perfect.

*Relief - baby's room is finally done!

I'm officially done shooting weddings/engagements until after baby Easton is born. I've been using this time to get little things done around the house. And I've also been using this "downtime" to work on administrative things in my business and relaxation! This past weekend was one of the most relaxing weekends. Jeremy and I spend the day in Jupiter on Friday, then on Saturday I spent time with a good friend who is also in her ninth month of pregnancy, and on Sunday, Jeremy and I had family over to the house for dinner. I'm really enjoying this time before the baby! Each week I get more excited, I just can't wait to see what little Easton will look like! :) 

 

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This Is Us | 34 Weeks

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This Is Us | 34 Weeks

Ok, guys it’s starting to get real!

We are having a baby.

Time has flown by so fast, this pregnancy went by crazy fast for me! It seems like yesterday I found out I was pregnant, and now I am 34 weeks. 

The question is, are we ready? 

The resounding answer is no :) 

Jeremy reassures me that we will never “be ready”, it’s just one of those kinds of situations where you just jump in. I’m sure the survival skills will kick in! We’ve got a little bit more to do in the nursery. The man from Home Depot is supposed to come today to install the window blinds, my family is coming in from Winter Haven today for my shower tomorrow, and I have been packing items into the hospital bag. 

I’ve got my LAST wedding before the baby on Sunday! And I am so thankful that I will have a stellar team with me on this one. If there was ever a time that I would need to lean on other photographers, this is definitely it. If you're reading, Kim and Frank, THANK YOU!

After this last wedding, I’m looking forward to a chance to rest and nest. We've done just about everything that we need to as far as upgrades and decor to our home, so we are set there. I’ll just need to organize the nursery. 

And then…I want to have a beach day. I want a whole day to just go to the beach, with a book and CHILL! 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t stop to mention how thankful I have been to God for a healthy pregnancy. Last night, as I was getting into bed, I kept thinking about how grateful I was to be able to have the energy and ability to do all the things that I need around here. <3

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Do Not Open Till December 25th

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Do Not Open Till December 25th

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He sat the package down and carefully adjusted it beneath the tree. The hot pink box and gold ribbon looked enticing. “No peeking”, Jeremy said, as if he could see me opening it up with my eyes. 

I'd never peek. 

I only did that once.

I was in the fifth grade and I had gotten home from school hours before my mom was expected to come home from work. It was a few days before Christmas and there were a plethora of gifts neatly wrapped and nestled underneath the twigs of the douglas fir tree. With nobody around and nothing to do, I did what any curious 10 year old would do. 

I gently lifted the corner of one of the wrapping paper and lifted up the scotch tape. The wrapping paper didn't rip. It flicked open easily, not even bending the paper. My discovery excited me. I adhered the tape back to the paper and thought, “that was cool, glad Mom got me this!”. 

The fact that I had discovered how to peek and secure the wrapping paper back with the tape was too easy. I'd never be found out. So… I peeked at another. And another. It must have been the thrill of getting away with it because soon, I had snuck a glance at every. single. gift.

Oh the guilt that soon followed. I felt terrible! I didn't tell my Mom right away, in fact I think at least a few years went by before she ever knew. 

Here’s to never sneaking a peek again...Merry Christmas!

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Our "Babymoon" Trip | Charleston, South Carolina

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Our "Babymoon" Trip | Charleston, South Carolina

Well, our babymoon has officially ended. Boo! We had SUCH a fun trip!!! I wish that it didn’t have to come to an end so soon. Most of our time was spent in downtown Charleston, where we ate an entirely excessive amount of the most amazing foods, walked the coblestone streets, window shopped and toured museums. So much walking. My feet feel like they’ve got blisters! Granted, I could have opted to wear a more comfortable shoe, but my black booties were too cute not to wear out! If you're up to it, scroll through some of my favorite highlights (mostly iPhone photos) from our trip :)

The first night we got into town is was FREEZING! We were greeted with 45 degree temperatures, a north wind which made it feel that much colder, and a light drizzle. There was no better time to enjoy a HOT drink in a cozy Charleston coffee shop. So, that is what we did. We stumbled upon an old hole in the wall coffee shop, whose name escapes me, and thawed out some. After warming up a bit, we ducked in and out of the little shops and came across Nick’s BBQ, you can’t go to South Carolina without eating BBQ! 

The next morning, we woke up and headed to Patriot’s Point where we toured the USS Yorktown, one of the highlights for Jeremy. It was still bitter cold. I stayed bundled and kept telling myself all I need to do is keep walking to warm up! Poor Jeremy didn’t bring ANY long sleeve shirts! Thankfully though, he had a fleece flannel. Later that day, we went back into the downtown area and ate at Hominy Grill. Y’all, I loved that place! It was a true southern restaurant with amazing southern food. In fact, the Travel Channel was there filming at the restuarant! And the best BBQ chicken sandwich I’d ever had! After that, we toured The Old Exchange. Jeremy and I both agree that was the highlight of our trip. Learning about the history through a guided tour by someone dressed up as though he was from the 1700’s was so cool!

After walking around Charleston all day, Jeremy and I were exhausted! We headed back to our cottage on John’s Island. The next morning we woke to a foggy and yet again, cold, country morning. The fog that hovered over the pasture was beautiful. I wanted so badly to sit outside with a cup of coffee, but opted to keep warm and enjoy from inside :) This little cottage we stayed at was adorable, exactly what I had envisioned for a trip to the low country. 

Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a ride out to Angel Oak. This 400 year old live oak tree was something that looked like it could have been from the movie. My inner 10 year old self wanted to climb it lol! (There are signs everywhere stating “no leaning/climbing,etc) Next, we headed up the road to the Firefly Vodka Distillery, I drank water, while Jeremy sampled six different kinds of vodka (don't worry, the portions were very small!). The lemonade vodka was his favorite, perfect to mix with unsweet tea for an Arnold Palmer with a kick :) 

Another highlight of the trip was when we headed back to downtown Charleston for the last time and took a carriage ride! The hour long ride took us along East Bay street, Rainbow Row, Stoll’s Alley (if you blink you’ll miss it!), and circled through the city. We even saw the home featured in the movie The Notebook!!! Ah! 

Jeremy and I both had an amazing time. We were just talking about how we cannot believe that Thanksgiving is around the corner. Then Christmas. Then New Years. And before you know it, Baby Browning will be here! That is CRAZY! Speaking of Baby Browning, he is doing great. He is moving and kicking around SO much! I’ll have to post a baby update soon :) I’m so thankful that we were able to get this time to spend together before the baby arrives!

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Warming up with coffee!! (decaf)

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The next morning...

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Love all the window boxes in Charleston!

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Lots and lots of brick!

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Touring the USS Yorktown

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And finally, a drive out to John's Island, where we stayed!

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Isn't this kitchen bar just darling?

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This place is called the Three Oaks Plantation for a reason...

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Breakfast joint in town

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400 years of life! Angel Oak was massive!

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Oh, just walking around a vineyard, no big deal.

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Went back to downtown for a carriage ride, a must do when in Charleston!

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Smallest alley in Charleston, Stoll's Alley. Blink and you will miss it.

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Cutest little bakery in Beaufort, SC.

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Bye, bye, SC...Thanks for all the fun!

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October Plans: Lots of Weddings + Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

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October Plans: Lots of Weddings + Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

Happy Monday Everyone!

I am starting out my week with a small cup of coffee, a spiced pumpkin candle, tackling my to do list and prepping for this weekend’s wedding. This weekend will kick off the “October Wedding Month Extravaganza”…That is, I am shooting 5 weddings this month! F-I-V-E. Yikes! My head still kind of spins when I think about it. Any photographer will tell you that this is a lot, especially when still working part time AND pregnant. My hopes are for a smooth transition from wedding to wedding with stress free moments in between. 

I knew that this month was going to be a little hectic, especially since I am now 19 weeks pregnant. So, I decided ahead of time to put up some structure in my schedule and my life to help me not get too overwhelmed. 

First, I intentionally blocked off the whole month from any further shoots other than weddings. No engagement sessions and no portrait sessions. While I feel bad telling people “no”, I realize that I just can’t do it all. I always want to give my clients my very best and I know that being too overwhelmed with work will put a stress on me that will result in poor client care—something I definitely do not want! 

I have also been making a point to get some gym time in and stay as active as I can. I’ve been going about 3 times per week. Because of this, I’ve definitely noticed that I have more endurance than I did before. I’m not doing anything too crazy, just walking on the treadmill and lifting weights. I’ve got a calendar next to my desk and will mark off the days that I go to the gym, anything to get me motivated!

Last, I set up a meal plan for myself. I planned out a Monday-Friday schedule of what I will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, even snacks! Sounds dorky, BUT, I find that I function best when I have a plan already in place. 

I am hoping that all of the effort that I put into creating systems for my business and my home will greatly pay off for me this coming month! With that said, here's to drinking lots of pumpkin spiced lattes!

XO, 

Kristen

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Jeremy Turns 30

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Jeremy Turns 30

Our family has been enduring a rough few weeks since the passing of Jeremy's father. Our hearts miss him. But our faith is being strengthened with each new day. And today we are celebrating Jeremy on his 30th birthday! He is a wonderful man, 30 years in the making. With that, here are a few words from my heart to his:

I'm so grateful to have you, an amazing man of God as my husband. God has blessed me so much more than I could have imagined when He brought you into my life. I pray that you will continue to be the man that God called you to be and trust in Him in all things, living a life that brings glory to Him. I love you with all of my heart--forever and ever. Happy 30th Birthday! Your wife, Kristen

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On My Mind Today

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On My Mind Today

A Story Telling Image

I’ve been pretty quiet around here lately. I haven’t blogged or posted on instagram at all in the last 10 days. I hit an emotional wall 10 days ago when my husband’s dad(my father in law) passed away suddenly. His father was only 62 years young. And the days surrounding that have probably been some of the saddest in our lives. My father in law, Harry was one of the sweetest men that I have ever known. His cheerful countenance and optimistic perspective always made my heart smile. He was so excited that we were having a baby. In fact, every time he saw me he would ask, "How's my grandson doing?" (He predicted that the gender was a boy!) We will miss him so much.

A couple of days after his passing, I was looking through photos and came across this one of my husband and his father sitting on their favorite swing in Tennessee. This photo was taken year ago at my dad’s farm. I remember walking outside to find the two of them enjoying the sounds of nature as they peered out into the pasture, rocking back and forth on the swing. I took my long lens out and unbeknownst to them, snapped a couple of frames. I love the story that the photo tells. But more importantly, I love the fact that I decided to take this picture.

This is a moment in time that I could have let pass by. I could have not picked up the camera and just let the moment be undocumented, risking the fact that it would have been forgotten. I'm not even sure if the memory reel in my mind could not have recalled this moment a year later. But instead, I chose to freeze this moment and not let it pass. And now, this photo is not only sitting on our shelf at our home, but it was also shared with so many people who were inspired by the father-son story that it tells. 

So, I am thankful that I caught this moment, thankful for my sweet father in law, and thankful for my capability to capture moments like this through photography.

xo,

Kristen

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