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My good friend, Janelle, was so excited when she found out she was having a baby girl after having two boys. Nora is a sweet little princess and is so loved by her older brothers, Jack and Liam. I had a great time at this lifestyle shoot and left with baby fever (as I usually do with newborn shoots). Baby Nora makes their family complete.
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About 30 minutes ago, I sat down with a beautiful cup of espresso and was ready to write this blog. Then my son, who is potty training, pooped in his underwear. For real. So that I’m not too graphic, let’s just say that the poop didn’t just get in his underwear. After cleaning up that mess, I had to be a spider ninja since two jumping spiders decided to invade our household. Oh, and I swept up some crumbs for the second time within the hour. Good news is my espresso is still warm. Anyway…

Welcome! Welcome to our perfectly imperfect life. As you can see, I’m going to be real with you guys in this blog post. I think it is important for my clients (and loved ones who support my business) to know me on a deeper level. I mean, I do take pictures of important milestones in my clients’ lives, so it only seems fair that I let you in a little on how my life is when I’m not working.

As a photographer, I spend a lot of time planning out sessions so that they go smoothly. During the shoot my OCD kicks in and I straighten things that are crooked, wipe snot and drool off of a teething baby, etc. Not for this shoot. I wanted to capture REAL life. I wanted to capture the essence of our life and what it looks like right now. It’s so easy as a photographer to do lifestyle sessions with clients but forget to document your own family. I want to remember our life years from now. When my family looks back on these photos, I know we will be able to really remember this little duplex on Walton Ferry Rd. and our time here.

My goal for this shoot was to capture what represents an authentic, typical day in our home. So I didn’t straighten the house or clean anything. I let Micah wear PJ’s even though it was 2 P.M because, let’s be honest, we stay in our PJ’s when we can. I just grabbed my camera and started shooting. It was nap time when it all began.

Micah’s new thing is to say he’s hungry when we tell him it’s time to take a nap. It’s totally an excuse because we feed him before nap time. Still, he makes his way to the kitchen and climbs in the refrigerator.

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We usually end up bribing him with reading two books instead of one. Works like a charm. Every time.

 

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Nowadays, he is all about some train books.

 

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We moved into this duplex a year and a half ago and I still haven’t decorated his room like I want. The color on the wall is a gross yellow-white, but Micah doesn’t mind. He loves his wagon bed and his playroom. I made blackout curtains. Totally Pinstrosity, if you know what I’m saying.

 

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Those toilet paper – looking things on the right? Yeah, that isn’t toilet paper. They’re inserts for cloth diapers. I bought some from China and I think I have enough for 20 children.
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One of my favorite things in his room is the picture I made for him when I was pregnant. Ben and I really struggled with our marriage when I was pregnant. It was a really scary time, but we both trusted that God in it all. We really focused on the lyrics of a popular song by Gungor. So I wrote a snippet of the lyrics on his picture. They read, “You make beautiful things out of the dust. You make beautiful things out of us”. At the time, we felt like our lives hadn’t turned out like we thought it would and it had crumbled to dust. We felt lost. But we knew that God was doing something great by giving us a child and that somehow he would use Micah to bring joy into our lives. To make beautiful things out of us.

 

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God obviously kept his promise, because who wouldn’t feel joy with moments like these?

 

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Oh yeah, and we just got a kitten. Micah named her Shuga. She likes to listen to stories as well.

 

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I love those sweet little fingers pulling up his “covers”.

 

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And I love that Ben reads to Micah. I love that he has been so involved as a Father. From day one he has changed diapers, helped with feedings,  gotten up in the middle of the night, and provided for us the best he can. He’s a really hard worker.2014-08-28_0018PINIMAGE

 

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When we have finished reading books before nap time,  we will pretend like we are going to sleep and Micah is our teddy bear. Then we will start to tickle him…

 

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Which usually ends in a “night night” beso and some snuggles

 

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Ben typically falls asleep before Micah does. That’s when the really sweet goodness happens. The sweet goodness where Micah will talk to his teddy bear and whisper sweet things to his Daddy. He’ll love on him too.

 

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Then Micah starts to get sleepy. Ben is already asleep, because he works so hard and is tired quite often.

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This is usually my opportunity to get work done, such as cleaning the house. But since I wanted to document our home and all within, I figured I would take you around our home and show you the things that represent the things us.

Like how I love to do DIY projects and decorate the space that we have.

 

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Don’t deny it, you are totes jelly of those bunny earrings.

 

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Ahh, one of my favorite places in the house: our coffee station. I am a coffee lover and enjoy making espresso. We added some of our London nostalgia on top of the shelf to remind us of our time there.

 

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Check out this tea towel from Anthropologie hanging on one of the hooks. Ben bought that for me one day when we had gotten into an argument. He is a very thoughtful man and says sorry. I value that trait in him.

 

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He is so thoughtful, in fact, that he set up my keyboard a few months ago. I’m a singer/songwriter but haven’t been singing or writing very much since we have been married. He wants me to pursue that more often because he knows it has a special place in my heart. If you look closely, you can see a picture of my Daddy playing the guitar to me as a toddler.

 

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Here is my office. I sit next to the window as I edit and watch the cars go by when my eyes need a break. The laundry really makes it look professional, huh?

 

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When I need a change of scenery, I couch hop about two feet away. We have this really cool couch/futon thing our friends gave us. You can fold it different ways. It can be a couch, chaise type thing, or a bed. Ben’s grandmother made a quilt and we keep it there. Isn’t it adorable? I wish I could have met her. I hear stories about her and it seems like we would have a lot in common.
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Micah’s rocking horse is also in the living room, because what’s a living room without a rocking horse? Oh and by the way, Ben and I made it for Micah’s 1st birthday. We did pretty good, eh?

 

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I used to have my Dad’s Nikon out on a shelf as decoration, but recently got it fixed. Ben went to school for film photography, so we hope to play around with film photography together. Isn’t she a beauty?

 

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We leave our shoes at the door. Ben is a quarter Filipino and I think that’s where he gets it. I started leaving my shoes at the door when we started dating. I love his converse. They are kind of vintage and cool, right?

 

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Our fridge is pretty terrific. I love all of the projects Micah brings home from school (i.e. Mother’s Day Out).

 

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Look closely and you can see our feelings chart! I’ve got a B.A. in Psychology, what did you expect?
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Next to our fridge is a little DIY project of mine with my bag and Micah’s school bag. Ben bought that stylish London leather bag for me for Valentine’s Day in 2013. We spent the night on a hotel boat in Chattanooga and I got food poisoning. How romantic. I haven’t eaten clam chowder since.
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I don’t really know how to segway into this, but did you know we are pretty much hippies? We did cloth diapers and everything. The past few months we started using essential oils, since the side effects of medication can be lengthy and absurd. Ben took a steroid for a year straight, and is still experiencing negative side effects. Just say no to drugs (when you can).
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So now we aim to live naturally. I even bought a book on Edible Wild Plants! If you see me foraging in your back yard, now you know why. Ben got me a giftcard to Barnes and Noble as a graduation present. He told me to get a book that I would enjoy reading, since I had spent the last three years reading school books. Isn’t that sweet?
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It’s also sweet that he buys me flowers because he knows they lift my spirits. We always have fresh flowers in the house. (What’s not so sweet is that while I was writing this blog post, Micah threw a pillow and knocked over the vase, spilling water onto several electrical chords behind the TV. Gotta love those toddler moments).
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There is a lot of singing in our house.  Always singing.  Ever since we were dating, Ben would sing “You are My Sunshine” to me, so I made him this.
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Our duplex is pretty small, in case you didn’t notice. But that’s ok. I call it our little cottage. As if we are pretending to live in the countryside of England. There are little defects everywhere, but I think that just adds character (although the popcorn ceiling certainly adds PLENTY of character in my opinion).
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Our laundry room is TEENY tiny. But I decorated it as well with a vintage spanking paddle my Mammaw gave me. Of course I haven’t had to use it yet. Have you seen how precious our sweet boy looks? So hard to punish that sweet little face.
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Don’t you agree?

 

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Look at him holding his egg. He refused to let go during naptime, I guess.

 

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And what’s a great blog post without a bathroom selfie? The boys were asleep, I had no other choice but the bathroom mirror selfie. Don’t judge. If the mirror looks dirty, it’s because it is. And because Ben wrote scripture on the mirror. It’s blurred out due to my artistic photography skilzzzzz.

 

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So there it is. Our family isn’t perfect. You know, the thing I wanted most in my life was to have a family. A healthy family. We went through some really hard times as a family this last year. Last fall I watched my family start to fall apart. It felt like it was crumbling into little pieces and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was absolutely terrifying and traumatizing. I told you I would be real in this post. I’m being real because I know we aren’t the only family that started to fall apart. That lost sight of what we were made to be. We are also not the only family that was put back together. Some of you know us well and experienced that time with us. We are so grateful for those who walked with us and for us during that time. You may have even thought we wouldn’t make it. We wondered that ourselves at times. But we did. We made it, by the sheer grace of God and only by his grace. Life is messy, a whole lot messier than I thought it would get if I am to be honest.

They say not to be afraid to fall apart, because it gives you the opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along. I think there is some truth in that. But I also think there is purpose in the actual “falling apart”. Another favorite quote of mine that got me through this past year is by Dr. Frankl. “Suffering ceases to be suffering at the point it finds meaning.”

So now, our family laughs. Sings. Cries. Grieves the things lost. Rejoices in the tiniest of light in the darkness, for you can’t value the brightness of light without experiencing the dark. We dance (literally…to the hot dog dance from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). We heal. We rest in the peace that passes all understanding through Christ Jesus. Together.

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BECAUSE LOVE NEVER GIVES UP
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This session was done in early spring, but it is just now making it’s way to my new website. Get ready to swoon (and possibly have baby fever). Say hello to Dylan, a handsome little fella that came into the world with some amazingly loving parents. I had the best time during his newborn shoot and just fell in love with the way Kelly decorated his room. They are first time parents, but you can’t tell by the natural way they care for that sweet baby. They’re naturals, for sure. Another favorite part of this session was their sweet dog, Georgia, taking part of the lifestyle shoot. She knows she is already the best big sister. Dylan is surrounded by love and joy. Isn’t he precious?
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These sweet lovebirds are already enjoying married life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share their engagment session on my blog. Aren’t they just adorable? Matt had Lauren laughing the entire time, which I think is so important in a relationship. When the hard times come, it is always nice to have someone that can make you laugh. I’m so happy to have photographed these two. Their love for each other is endearing and true. You can tell by the mere way they look at each other. Swoon…
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Meet the Robertson family. Erin is my cousin and practically my sister. We grew up together and now it is super fun watching our children grow up together. My son came to this shoot and actually snuck in for a picture at the end (you can see it at the bottom…silly boy). Don’t you love the beautiful field? They get to look at this beautiful landscape every morning (a perk of living in the country). I also love that Erin wanted to incorporate instruments in their shoot, considering she is a fantastic music teacher at a local elementary school. Everything about these pictures shows the personalities of their sweet, precious boys. I look forward to getting to watch them grow up.
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