Sunday, December 28, 2014

Photography Lately

Photography is probably to blame for my lack of blog posts this year. And in case I thought it was just my imagination that i wasn't blogging as much, I saw it by accident last night as i was scrolling down my blog & got to "blog archives". Um, yeah. It wasn't my imagination! 152 posts in 2009, 450 posts in 2010 (!!!), 276 in 2011, 212 in 2012 (i had to go back & make sure i read that right! Ha!), 174 in 2013, annnnnd! A measly 62 in 2014. Dang.

I am thinking I will have a new year's resolution to get that number back up in 2015. If i do, it will be the first time ever to have a ny resolution about blogging. Ha! First time for everything, I guess. I've always been opposed to resolutions on blogging, i mean - the blog is for me to do with what i please... i blog when i want, i don't when i don't want. But i'd really like to have more than 62 posts next year!

Moving on! This has been a VERY BUSY season for photography. I'm not complaining at all! It was just a lot. Last year I really overbooked myself at the holidays, leaving myself too little time to edit! This year i started out well, and had time to edit as I went, but kept adding sessions when i really should have stopped. Thankfully i finished editing all of my Christmas sessions before Christmas! But i did do four additional shoots after that!

I regret nothing. I mean... i made these exceptions to my "being done for 2014" rule, for four very good reasons. Why? The first was a maternity shoot & she was likely going to be induced in the next two weeks...kinda couldn't wait! Ha! The second was a dream session for me! Number 3 was a newborn session & it's really best to do those in the first 14 days of life & baby girl was 10 days old! :) And 4, i had some friends in town & they're some of my favorite people, and who knew when i would see them again! So definitely no regrets!

None of these are edited yet, but i did take a few behind the scenes shots with my cell phone!

A couple weeks ago, I did a maternity session at Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, La. I absolutely LOVE that place! I had my bridals done there. As a photographer I've only done one session there... a senior session back in May. So i was overjoyed to get to go there again! (Most people don't choose it because it's about 45 minutes away. But so worth it!)

This is heading into Rosedown Plantation. 

And this is on my way home. 

Last weekend, I got to do a proposal session!!! It was SO MUCH FUN, y'all! I have always wanted to do a proposal. Josh got in contact with me, told me the where, when & how, and i headed there. I hid on the side of some townhomes. Then i realized i might be blocked by some columns, so i moved closer. Then i realized she would see me before the proposal even happened, so i started to head back to another spot, but THEY WERE HEADING MY WAY!!! LOL! He was supposed to text me first! She didn't see me, whew!!

So i did my first pro pics of a proposal & i really hope i get to do that again! It was fun! I haven't edited any of them yet, but i did grab a few with my cell phone so she would have something to post when she announced to the world (because i knew i wouldn't have them ready that quickly!). She was SO happy, and i am so happy for her! For both of them! (I've known Becca for awhile as she is my good friend Amanda's stepsister. She goes to our church now, though, so i've gotten to know her a little more. Josh is on our worship team.)

After that i headed to my friend Shoshanah's house for a newborn session with her brand new baby girl!! I met Shoshanah through blogging but she is local and we've gotten together a couple of times. I did her maternity pictures a few months ago, so i was excited to do the newborn pics. (Newborn pics are not my specialty. Fingers crossed that they turn out good!)

Last Sunday, my friend Robyn was in town & she asked me to get some pics of her boys. Y'all. This killed me. I used to nanny her boys (part-time) when her youngest was just a baby. They are now 11, 15, and 18. I have kept in regular contact with Robyn, but hadn't seen her boys in awhile & could NOT GET OVER how tall they were. Just couldn't get over it!!! Two of them are a full head taller than i am! And the youngest one is not far behind them!

I knew they were super tall. I mean, i've seen them a couple times since they've gotten so tall. But i guess that wasn't anytime recently (they moved to Texas this year), and i was in shock! I told Robyn that i had probably never used the word "tall" so much in a one hour period! Ha!

 See? TALL!!!! (And handsome.) ;)

I had SO MUCH FUN taking their pics...even though i'm not sure if i got any ones without some blur...they were pretty hyper/crazy/teenage boy-ish. Ha! Such a fun shoot, though!

I got some with Robyn, too. I love her a TON! She is an amazing, kind, strong woman & she is funny, too. Love her!

So there ya go! That's pretty much the four shoots i have left to edit right now!! Guess i better get to it! ;)

By the way, have I shared here that I finally have a photography website? My friend designed it for me & I love how it turned out!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Card Roundup

I feel like my last post was kind of heavy... how about a fun one? How about some Christmas card stats? My friend Erika actually came up with this idea. She wrote a Christmas Card Roundup post, and it was hilarious and fun to read, so this is me totally copying off of her. I never come up with great blog ideas on my own! So i steal other people's ideas! I'm sure a lot of people are like me & just don't admit it out loud. Oops. ;)

But it's totally justified, because (a) Christmas cards are one of my most favorite thing of the christmas season... giving them and receiving them. And (b) I got more cards this year than any other! See? Justified.

First... I'll show you our Christmas card this year. Actually, for the first time, I ordered 2 different cards, because i am indecisive. Also because it allowed me to order two different types of cards from mpix and i wanted to see the quality! I have been using mpix since 2008, and i love them, but i have always ordered prints through them and cards through Tiny Prints or Shutterfly. This year, i wanted to try mpix. I'm glad I did! The quality is excellent and also, i received them very quickly! Win-win!

So here is one of our cards. Apparently i sent out all of the other one and didn't have an extra to take a picture of! It was cute, though. Promise. ;)



We got a LOT of cards this year, and i was thrilled with that. I love getting them. Checking the mail is so exciting for me for the entire month of December! In case you don't believe me...

5 in one day was super fun!! 

Anyway... how about some Christmas card stats??? Thank you, Erika, for the great idea. Sorry to steal it. Please forgive me! So, here is our wall of cards! I have never put them on the door before... but my Christmas card hanger was over-full, and i wanted to see each photo card! Haha. 

Number of photo cards: 21
Number of non-photo cards: 18

Let me interject here that the reason there are so many non-photo cards, and the reason we got so many cards this year, is because our church had this great little idea. They set up a sort of mailbox with slots for every letter of the alphabet, so people could bring Christmas cards and deliver them there, thus saving people money on postage. I think this encouraged people who never do cards to do them, because there were 3-7 cards for us in the V slot every Sunday leading up to Christmas...from people i normally don't get cards from. It was fun! 

That being said, 11 of the 18 non-photo cards are from church family. 1 is from a blog friend, 1 from a girl in my support group, and the rest are from extended family. :) 

Of the 21 photo cards:

Number of collage cards:
Number of cards from blog friends (people I would not/did not know outside of blogging): 4
Number of cards with pets: 2 (I did not know this was not a thing! How is this not a thing?! Furbabies are a part of the family!) 
Number of cards from theatre friends: 4
Number of (photo) cards from church family:  2
Number of cards from Louisiana: 12
Card that comes from the farthest away:  Tonawanda, New York (1289.81 miles), and believe it or not this is not a blog friend. This is my dear friend Rebecca who was in my wedding & I in hers. Miss her so much!

And my two favorite categories: 
Number of cards from people who suffered from infertility but now have a sweet baby on their card: 3 (So happy for you ladies!!)
Number of cards with pictures that I TOOK: 4 (Very exciting for me!)

So there ya have it! Hope you enjoyed it! Have a merry Saturday after Christmas! :)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas #2 & stuff

Good morning, everyone! How was your Christmas? Mine hasn't been my favorite... mainly because Brad is sick!! I mean, SICK. Thankfully, it's not the flu, as i know SO MANY PEOPLE with the flu right now! No, it's more like some kind of bronchial infection. The cough is just... out of control! Anyway... i was off Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & the day after Christmas (er, today). The plan was to spend Christmas day with Brad's side of the family, so i met my parents for lunch on Christmas Eve Day. :)

Brad was already getting sick on Monday, he missed work on Tuesday, but he had to go back on Wednesday (Christmas Eve day) because his coworker was off, and one of them is always supposed to be there. So by the time he got home he was absolutely MISERABLE. He took medicine and went straight to bed.

I was bummed he had to miss Christmas Eve service at our church, but i understood, and went on my own. It was a beautiful service.

Christmas Day we got up & he seemed a little better! I made breakfast & we exchanged gifts. I would like to take a moment to tell you how DELICIOUS this was. It has only three ingredients, which happen to be 3 of brad's favorite things, so i knew this was a win. 3 ingredients means easy work for me (ha), and Brad's favorite things means he would love it! This is sausage & cream cheese inside unrolled crescent rolls. Y'all. It was SO GOOD! I'm not even a big sausage eater but i loved it. DELICIOUS! 

 And Fievel got a new Christmas sweater! He's real excited about it, can't you tell?!

But then i was making cookies and i turned around and saw this...

And i knew he would be staying home this year. Not just home, but in bed! At first I thought I'd stay with him, because I didn't really want to go to Christmas without him. But after awhile I got dressed & headed to his aunt's house by myself.

I hate going places without him. I mean, girls nights, of course. And work, duh. But places like church or holiday celebrations...HATE IT. Even if he stays home on a Sunday morning, and i go to church without him. I feel like my left arm is missing or something. I know this is ridiculous considering i was single way longer than i have been married, but it's just how it is. I enjoy being with him.

I know some of you are rolling your eyes, because you don't have husbands or your husband is away all the time, so let me just interject here that on my way to his aunt's house, i remembered our military spouses and i remembered my new friend who is a detective and her husband is a fireman, and they are rarely off for holidays but if they are, it's not at the same time. I remembered my friends who have lost loved ones and now have to spend every year without them. So don't worry - i gained a little perspective! And once i got there i was so glad i went.  love Brad's family and really enjoy hanging out with them!

The food was delicious, and his uncle put on home videos from when Brad & Jaimie were tiny!! Like 2 & 5!! So cute!! Also, Brad's cousin Megan, who is a photographer, brought her Canon 6D with her 70-200 lens, and i played with it for awhile. I absolutely love it! I took her family picture with it & it came out SO sharp! Eeek!! I was pretty excited as you can see by my expression!

I will admit that one thing that had me down this Christmas was the fact that we still are not parents. Last year, we said what we said the four years before it, "Maybe NEXT year we'll have a baby by Christmas!" Then when i actually got pregnant in March, i couldn't believe it! We would have a  baby by Christmas! What a different and wonderful Christmas 2014 would be! But i miscarried, and it just felt like the cruelest joke.

For some reason, i didn't think the holidays would be too hard. We don't have kids on my side of the family, and this year we would be spending it with brad's dad's side of the family. There are a ton of kids but no newborns or pregnant people. Ha. And I made it to my due date, which i thought would be the hardest part. My due date was hard, but I think Christmas might have been harder. You see, Christmas is so magical to children, but also to parents! To see the wonder and excitement in their children's eyes...this is something i absolutely long for. Seeing my facebook feed full of kids waking up to their gifts, parents or grandparents reading the Christmas story to family, a tree full of gifts under it... all of these things are things i desperately want to experience. When people this year asked, "Are you ready for Christmas?" meaning, "Have you gotten all your shopping done?" and i would say "no", I then had to add, "It's okay, though. We don't have that many to shop for." That is sad to me. That is something that makes me sad. You might think it's a blessing because it means more money in our pockets...but it's not. I want to have a tree full of gifts underneath. I know it isn't about the gifts. But the gifts represent people...children...family. That's the part of Christmas that is missing, and there is a certain emptiness I feel because of it. 

I have been pretty positive these last few months, but yesterday was a hard day. And i am not saying "Maybe next year" this year, because you know what? Maybe i still won't be a parent next year. I'm not losing hope but it's totally out of my hands & i have no idea when or if God is going to answer this prayer in the way that i want Him to. It's a hard road. And i know He knows that. I don't know why He hasn't answered our prayers yet, but I do know that He cares and understands my feelings.

So imagine... I'm on my way home yesterday when my blog friend, Laura, messages me asking if i got a small package from her. I told her i didn't. She said that according to tracking it was delivered. She said, maybe they left it on my front porch? I told her i would check when i got home, but i didn't think so. I mean, there is no way to miss a package on my front porch. 

When i got home, i didn't see it, but she said it was small. Maybe i should check the mailbox. Our mail normally comes around 11 am, and i had checked it twice after that on Christmas Eve day. Nothing. I decided we either didn't get mail or it didn't run on the 24th. Well, what do you know...it was sitting in my mailbox. A beautiful snowflake in memory of Baby V. How thoughtful! How wonderful! And up until that point in the day, nobody had acknowledged baby v or how i might be missing him/her. Laura, that meant so much to me. Thank you!!! 

God totally knew that i needed this gift on Christmas Day... not on Christmas Eve. And He made sure I didn't see it until the day I needed it most. How sweet of Him!!

I'm not trying to say it was a terrible Christmas. I have Brad and my dog and for the first time, a super cute house!!! :) I love our families. I love our friends. I am blessed with women of God who love me & pray for me. And my support group friends! How would i make it without them!? So please believe me, I do recognize the good things in life! But i also recognize the importance of sharing. I don't like keeping quiet about infertility anymore. I want people to know how it affects people. And i want to remember how it affected me. Because one day i will have my miracle baby, and i will be able to look back on posts like this & praise the Lord for what He has done. :) 

So there you have it. Our Christmas rundown. :) And, by the way... as of this morning...Brad is still sick but seems to be feeling a lot better! And his cough is better! I think we are on the mend! :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas #1

Merry Christmas!!

A few weeks ago we celebrated Christmas with my side of the family. Us, my parents, & my sister & brother-in-law. We had a wonderful day!! We ate a delicious meal, had a little family photoshoot, and watched the first 5 episodes of Scandal. (Very Christmasy, i know...the plan was to watch Elf or Charlie Brown's Christmas, but then we started telling mom about Scandal, and HAD TO WATCH IT IMMEDIATELY! Ha!)

That's really all there was to our day, except for a little photo shoot. My sister had requested some family pics, so I brought my tripod & camera, and set it all up!

It started with an impromptu headshot session of my sister... isn't she gorgeous? I think so. ;)


 This is probably my favorite picture EVER. If this is not a Michelle-face, i don't know what is! 

Then, her husband, Michael, joined us outside, so i got a few of them!

We were still waiting on my parents (*cough*mymom*cough*), so we set the timer on my camera, and got some of the four of us. :) The silly pics... they kill me. I laugh every time i look at them! Haha!

But we finally took a decent one. ;)

My parents FINALLY joined us - haha - and we got some of all of us! I don't know if i showed you the ones from Thanksgiving,  but these turned out so much better, I think!! Some of the silly ones are blurry, but i have to include them because they are HILARIOUS. To me, anyway. ;)

This next one makes me laugh so hard... my sister said we needed to all laugh for a pic... i think her laugh & mine look normal...maybe Brad's too. But Mike & my dad... ahahahahaha! Just a LITTLE overdone. So funny! 

Hope you enjoyed these!! Have a very merry Christmas!! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

on Thankfulness

If you would have told me back in March that I would wake up on Thanksgiving morning with a heart full of thankfulness, I wouldn't have believed you. I probably wouldn't have believed you in April or May or even August. It's been a tough year. 2013 was my hardest year, until 2014 happened. Infertility just goes on and on, you feel like it's not just your story now, but that it always will be. Then miscarriage touched me. I didn't expect it to, I thought I would have a one month old at Thanksgiving, but I was wrong.

Then after I miscarried, I still hoped that even if i didn't have a baby at Thanksgiving, maybe i would at least have one on the way. And i don't. I still don't. But i am so thankful this morning. And I'm thankful that I'm thankful. :)

I'm not thankful for miscarriage, and I'm not thankful that infertility keeps going on and on, and that I don't know if or when it will be resolved. What I am thankful for is that God has sustained me. God has helped me through it. God has put people in my path to help me on this journey. He has given me songs like I am not Alone and You are Wonderful and Not for a Moment to remind me that He is always there, that He knows my struggles, that He loves me unconditionally, and that He has promised to one day turn my sorrows into joy.

He's given me a husband who may not always understand what I am feeling, but who always tries to understand, who always has my best interest at heart, who cares about me more than anything else in this world. He sometimes makes me laugh so hard i can't breathe. He sometimes makes me laugh through my tears. There are not enough words to say how thankful I am that we are together.

He knew back in 2003, when i looked into this little puppy's eyes and just HAD TO HAVE him, that I would one day face some tough times and need this little dog curled up next to me. Dog lovers, you understand, right? :)

He's given me some wonderful family & friends & church family. They pray for me, they wish the very best for me. They hurt when i hurt and rejoice when I do. I love these people.


He knew I needed a support group. A safe place to vent my heartache and frustrations and be completely and totally understood. He gave me the courage to go and he's given me more friends through that group than I know what to do with. Some of these friends are lifelong friends. And that's the number 1 reason i can be thankful for infertility. I would never have met these people if not for this journey. Even if i had, we certainly wouldn't have the bond that we have. Very thankful for every one of these girls (plus some that are not pictured!).

He's given me photography, helped me to learn it, helped me to start a business with it, and given me mentors to help me get better. He even gave me the ability to photograph pregnant mommies and newborns and children without feeling the pains of infertility. Oh, i feel those pains outside of photo shoots all the time, but get me behind the camera and something happens. My focus goes to photography and how to get the right image of that beautiful mama-to-be. I am so thankful He allowed that! Maternity shoots are some of my favorite shoots, which is something i never expected!

Oh, and did I mention He helped us get a house this year?! Yes, he did. And i love it. Some days I drive up in our driveway, and smile. This is our house. THIS is our house! This is our HOUSE. This is OUR HOUSE?!?! :) Or i walk down the hall and see the beautiful wood floors and smile. I love it. It's cute and perfect for us. Also, i LOVE Watson! It's a great area! We love so much about this area. We've found a lot of local places that we really enjoy. And we are closer to church, my family, and several friends.

This list could go on and on, obviously. There is always SO MUCH to be thankful for. Today I will think about and celebrate those things with my family. Can't wait.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! And P.S. I am praying you all have a wonderful day today. Even if you are hurting and not feeling very thankful right now... that's okay. It's okay to feel that way. Praying you feel His peace & comfort in your heart today.

Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord 
for He is good
His love endures forever. 
-Psalm 106:1-