Friday, May 30, 2014

5 Things (to catch you up on my life!)

I have been absent from this blog too much! I don't know why!! But here i am again. Gonna try to blog a little more often, promise! Anyway... how about 5 on Friday? Just to get me back into the blogging thing. And catch you up on some stuff.

Actually, to catch you up on photography. Sorry about that. Hope you don't mind all my photo sharing!

Before I let you look at the pics, let me just say, exciting things are happening with Melissa V Photography. I have a logo! A website is in the works! I am almost officially registered as an LLC!!!!! (!!!!!) I never imagined i would actually start a business with this... i originally got into photography to take good pictures of normal everyday stuff. But once i learned to shoot in manual, things kind of took off! Believe me, I know i still have a lot to learn. But I've also come a long way, and I am excited. And i love my logo. Thanks, Brittany! :)

Two weeks ago, I did 2 family sessions in front of a new school in our area. This school is becoming a hot spot for photos because of their ginormous oak trees! Seriously... HUGE! Roots as tall as Amanda's two year old son... i didn't exactly measure, but i don't think I'm exaggerating.


I just want to say that the two ladies above (Amanda & Ashlee) have been some of the biggest sources of love & support for me throughout infertility & miscarriage. They pretty much rock. And i am obsessed with their families.

 Isn't she a cutie? I think so. Her name is Abby. She is a hoot.

My first official newborn shoot. I think I did okay. I hope I did okay. And let's sit back and reflect on the fact that I survived and did not kidnap tiny babies. Whew! ;)

Really enjoyed this session, though. I feel like I learned a lot. I have been saying that newborn sessions are my weakness, and I realized the reason it's my weakness is because I haven't really done any! Haha! I did get to take pictures of my friend Wendy's sweet daughter, but that was a year or so ago, and they just wanted a few pictures, nothing with props or anything. So i am glad i got this opportunity, and I'm glad it was with this family. They were patient & sweet & we had a good time!

One with big sister, Abby. She is a doll!

This is the one that pretty much kills me. Be still my heart.

Last weekend, i got to act as second shooter for a wedding! My friend Jamey was the main photographer. She was my second shooter for my first (& only) wedding back in September. I had a really good time at this one! I was in charge of getting groomsmen pics before the ceremony. Here are a couple of them.

This one was their idea... I think it came out pretty cute! Notice the best man taking a selfie. Hahaha!
 And this one... so sweet.

So, downtown there are these fountains that shoot up out of the ground. Every time lately that I have been there for a photo shoot, they are turned off for some reason. Not cool! I like them as background! Well, this time they were on! And we were pretty much to the end of Abby's session. So she asked her mom if she could stand IN the fountains. Her mom said YES.

And then i had THE MOST FUN on a photo shoot EVER! Haha. How fun is this?!

She is bracing herself! 

REALLY bracing herself! Haha! 

OMG, it's cold!!! 

So there you go! Fun times!

For some reason, while i have plenty of shoots scheduled in June, i have NONE for this weekend. Kind of glad it worked out that way, because it's been raining all week & doesn't look like it's stopping any time soon!

Happy weekend!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Another Whole30

A lot has been going on & apparently i forgot i have a blog. Whoops!

Where to start?

Remember that time I did a whole30?

Well, i did another one. Except it ended up being a whole12. Yesterday was Day 13 & I totally cheated. I was second shooter for a wedding. Wedding was at noon, I had to be there at 10:30. I knew that i would be famished by the time I got to the reception, and I was right. I chanted to myself the whole way there, "meat and veggies, meat and veggies" but when it was FINALLY time to eat (after cutting of the cake & first dance & lots of other dances), i did NOT stick with just meat and veggies!

My concern is always what happens after a cheat. I am not going to beat myself up for cheating, i just don't do that. I used to be queen of beating myself up, and there are still times i insist on doing it, but for the most part i am not a fan. I don't think beating yourself up for something is really taking good care of yourself, does that make sense? So, no beating myself up, but y'all. I CANNOT ALLOW THIS to spin me out of control! And it is already starting, I can already see it happening.

So on Tuesday I shall start again.

Last night i went to a party. I put on a dress and felt HORRIBLY DISGUSTING in it. The logical thing to do would be to put on another dress, but this was really the only one i felt i could pull off in flats, and after being on my feet for 6 hours (photographing the wedding) I just wasn't willing to wear heels. The dress was so tight. It is supposed to be a little tight, but i always felt sexy in it before (yes, even at my size!). This time i did NOT. I felt like a cow. I even wore a sweater to hide my arse.

THIS IS NOT WHO I AM! Yes, i'm overweight, but i normally feel good about myself. I don't hate myself for being fat, i just don't. My husband loves me just the way i am, that helps, and while i think it would be awesome to be able to wear a dress without having to kill myself trying to squeeze into a pair of spanx, i still do not hate how i look. In fact, if it wasn't for infertility, PCOS, insulin resistance, and the potential for diabetes, i wouldn't even worry about losing weight!! (Not that losing weight would definitely cure my PCOS or infertility but it certainly wouldn't hurt!).

Actually, even if not for those things, i WOULD want to lose weight, but not so i could look hot. When i get to the size i am now (almost my heaviest ever) i just FEEL terrible. TERRIBLE! So disgusting and gross. So, yes, i guess i am mad at myself. I have gained back a lot of weight after whole30 #1.

Now, before you comment that it's a diet & you will always gain back weight on diets, this one ISN'T A DIET! It's a 30-day reset/recharge/detox, and is simply meant to propel you into (or back into, as the case may be) a healthy lifestyle. And yet, I TREATED IT LIKE a diet, and there you have it. Weight re-gained. I won't beat myself up, but that doesn't mean i am not furious with myself. But I'm trying to forgive & move on. 

Anyway. Last night my confidence was gone, i felt like a freaking heffer, and i just can't allow myself to continue to gain weight.

So like i said...Tuesday i will start again. Prayers & encouragement accepted & needed!

 A week before we started our first Whole30 - October 2013

A few days before we finished our first Whole30 - November 2013

Too bad i gained it all back... and then some... grrr. But maybe looking at these before & afters will motivate me to try it again. 

Let's hope so.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My (not) Mother's Day

I meant to tell y'all about last weekend, and here it is THIS weekend & i am just now remembering. Whoops. Well, anyway. Last weekend.

Last Friday, I had dinner with my friend Shana after work. Just a quick catch-up session. I had never eaten there - it was kind of subway-style but mexican food... it was DELISH!

Saturday was very rainy & stormy! I had my friend Amanda's maternity session but we had to cancel it. We didn't really do anything except lounge around, haha. I did cook dinner to bring to a church member, so we visited with them for awhile.

Sunday! Sunday was Mother's Day. Most of you know Mother's Day can be really hard for people dealing with infertility. ESPECIALLY if you are a church-going person going through infertility. Not that i think it can be any fun to stay home in bed &/or go visit friends & family on mother's day. But church is really hard because the entire service is usually geared to the moms. As it should be, OF COURSE, but it can be ... just, hard. Some churches have all the moms stand up, they give gifts to all the moms, they preach about being a mom... yeah. If you really don't get why it would be hard, please read this article i found about it. This article wasn't written by an infertility group, but by the Southern Baptist Convention, which i think is awesome. Thank you, SBC, for recognizing that it can be a tough day for some women out there! Thank you for pointing that out to church leaders.

ANYWAY. In the past, i have just gone to Mother's Day service anyway. I want to celebrate my mom, of course. And nobody really knew about what we were going through, so i could just put on a happy face and got through it. But this year? Well, i just knew months ahead of time that i would not want to go. First of all, it'd be my first mother's day since the miscarriage. Second of all, it would be my first mother's day since i went public about our infertility. So... no. No, thank you. 

I had told Brad that i didn't want to go but i didn't want to sit home either! I told him i wanted a fun day so we didn't have to think about the fact that I should be about 16 weeks pregnant. And that's what we did.

He took me to eat breakfast at Mason's Grill. We both love Another Broken Egg and La Madeline's but i wondered if there were other amazing breakfast places in Baton Rouge that we were missing out on. I asked on FB & the popular vote was MASON'S GRILL. They won for best brunch in BR at some point... we had to go. They don't take reservations, so we figured we would just go when they opened at 9 & it would be fine. Well, we got there a little after 9 & the line was out the door!

When we finally got up to the front to give our names, she said, "Oh, there are just two of you? Well, if you go stand by the bar, you can grab one of those seats if someone gets up!" All the other parties were of at least 4, most larger than that! We went straight to the bar and were immediately seated. SCORE!! I felt like, see? There are some advantages to there only being two of us! (Of course, i would wait 10 hours for a table if it meant we had kids (or just go to another restaurant!), but you know what I'm saying. Felt good at that moment to get moved straight to a table. We would have had to wait at least an hour!

We had an AMAZING breakfast. We both got french toast, which came with eggs & another side. I got crispy bacon, he got hash browns. It was all fantastic. :)

After that, we went shopping. We went to Macy's. I got two new shirts. That was fun. I had a gift card for $25 in my wallet, and would pay the difference. Well, when i got to the cash register & pulled out my gift card, there was ANOTHER gift card stuck under it!! I said, "I have no idea if anything is on this one!" But there was $25 on it, too. I paid 10 cents. Haha. It was awesome.

He also bought me my favorite perfume which i have been out of! That was my not-mother's day gift. Sooo, yeah. Makes sense to me!

So at that point, i felt like we were on a roll... being seated right away, getting two shirts for ten cents. AND nobody had said "happy mother's day" to me. I know it sounds silly but i didn't want that. I was nervous about that. Don't get me wrong - some friends who know what we are going through and care about me sent me texts throughout the day saying i am a mother to them or something along those lines that was super sweet and thoughtful. But a random stranger saying "happy mother's day!". Well, i just didn't want that. I wanted to pretend it was any other day. I KNEW it was going to happen, the waiter or the starbucks barista or somebody, because that's just what people SAY to be polite! But they didn't. And i was glad.

Anyway. We also went to ULTA. My friend Erika is a huge fan of Ulta and we have one here and i've never been! So i decided I would go in her honor! And i did. Haha.

Then we went to Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks & the produce stand. And then we went home. The day was pretty much amazing. And i am so thankful for a hubby who understands and who is willing to spoil me on certain days like that! I know he would prefer to be at home... but he took me on a fun day without a single complaint through all of that shopping. Seriously - i got a keeper! :)

So that was last weekend. This weekend is just photo shoots and editing and really beautiful days! :)

P.S. For those of you new here, please know i am not against moms or mother's day!! We did take our moms out later on to celebrate them. I am often in awe of my friends that are moms & notice what good moms they are!! It's just a hard day for people like me. I am hopeful that next year will be different. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

a little love for the ladies in my life

Mother's Day.

Just a few things I want to say.

To my friends who are experiencing infertility/miscarriage/failed adoption/infant loss:
I am praying for you tomorrow, this weekend, all the time. I love you. I believe one day we will all look back & rejoice on what God has done for us!! For now, know that you have a sister on this journey who is holding you up in prayer! Love to you all! Now, go do some retail therapy or get a massage or pedicure or something. Do whatever you want to do tomorrow. Big hugs to you!

To those who have lost their moms:
Praying for you today. Praying you receive little glimpses that your mom is still with you. Praying that you feel comfort from Jesus tomorrow, and that you feel love from the other mother figures in your life. Praying that you know how very much you are loved & cared for. Hoping that you feel nothing but peace & comfort tomorrow.

To my single friends who thought they would be married with kids by now: 
Look, i don't know if Mother's Day is hard for you. I really don't. It wasn't for me. But other days were hard, and I just don't want to leave you out of this! Most of you know my story, I was single for way too long (at least i thought that at the time). I've been there. Maybe longer than you, maybe not as long as you, but that's not the point. The point is, i remember. I remember longing for a husband & children. I remember getting SO TIRED of doing everything alone. I remember being a nanny & wishing they were mine, wishing my life would MOVE ON so i could meet Mr Right already & start popping out babies. I remember the physical pain of loneliness. I remember wondering if God had forgotten to give me a husband. I REMEMBER. So maybe Mother's Day isn't hard for you, and maybe it is. Either way, I just wanted you to know that you are thought about, prayed for, loved, valued. And that you are never really alone when you have Jesus. He is always with you. He hasn't forgotten about you. Hang in there, girls. xoxo

To my friends who are moms: 

I hope you know how much i love, respect, admire you. I see you with your kids. There is no question in my mind how very much you love them & hope the very best for them! I understand when you question your every decision. I know that your adventure through motherhood is full of fear, worry, joy, faith. But you put your ALL into it. You give your ALL. You create, you work hard, you play with them, you make sure they are getting everything they need, you wipe their noses and get them to bed on time and miss out on fun things so you can be with them. We all know there is SO MUCH MORE to what you do than that, but this blog post can only be so long!

I love my mom-friends. I am always amazed, always impressed, always admiring you. I don't consider any of you to be bad moms or so-so moms or really strange moms! You all may do things differently, but you're all such good moms. And some of my closest friends are some of the best moms i've ever known, which makes me crazy-proud of you.  

There are some mom-friends that have been so insanely supportive of me during my walk through infertility. This is not that common, and I do not take it for granted. You have cried for me, you have prayed with me. When i have been angry, you have been angry with me. You have allowed me to vent. You have allowed me to be angry or upset or fearful without judgement or telling me i shouldn't feel that way. When i have grieved, you have grieved with me. When i found out i was pregnant, you were almost as happy for me as I was happy for me! And when i miscarried you were absolutely heartbroken. You don't tell me those cliche' things that people say when they don't know what to say. Instead you give me words of comfort, you remind me how much God loves me & has a good plan, and if you don't know what to say, you just hold my hand or hug me or tell me you are so sorry.

I love you for that & I always will! It means WAY more than you could ever imagine, and sometimes i worry that if you go through a hard time i won't be able to repay you. I won't be as good of a friend to you as you have been to me. But i am sure going to try! (Hopefully there won't be any such times for you to need me to be that kind of friend! But you know what I'm saying.) Amanda. Aimie. Beth. Mandy. Ashley M. Mary Ann. Laura. Ashlee. Ashley V. Megan. Lindsey. Sarah. Shana. Becca. And more. I am so thankful. (A few of those are not moms but i couldn't not include them! They have been so amazing for me in this infertility journey!)

I realize there is one group I am leaving out - you don't technically belong in the infertility group anymore, but you don't feel like you fit in the mom-group either. I am talking to those of you who are now finally about to have your first mother's day after years of infertility &/or miscarriage! Yes, indeed. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow! I hope you are pampered, spoiled, and filled to overflowing with JOY this mother's day! (But really, how could you not be!?) I am genuinely happy-excited for you & for those of you who are still pregnant, i cannot wait to meet your baby (or babies - SIX ladies from my infertility support group are currently pregnant with TWINS!) (At least, I think it's 6. Maybe more. I may have lost count!)

MOVING ON. To the two moms God has given me! :)

My mother-in-law. She is the BEST & i am SO LUCKY to have her for a mother-in-law! I often say she is my favorite MIL or she is the best MIL & she says it's because she's my ONLY MIL, but y'all. I've  heard the horror stories! There are some crazy mother-in-laws out there! Haha! I LOVE mine! Love & adore & admire & want to be like someday! She is an excellent cook, she is a bookworm (like me!), she is really sweet & kind & FUNNY. Seriously, she cracks me up all the time. She is one of those people that, upon meeting her for the first time, you would feel okay with just making yourself comfortable in one of her recliners, and having some coffee or dessert or whatever it is she's making, & just chatting with her about life or shopping or books or anything! She is a good listener and she has great stories & i just love her to pieces & am so thankful for her in my life. She is an encourager. She is genuine. And she loves me!

(She also raised an incredibly good-looking and talented son, who treats me like a queen! I am thankful for that, too!) Love you, Mrs. Cheryl!

And last but NOT LEAST!! Saving the BEST for last, of course

MY MOM (aka, Marmie). 

I want to honor her. I want to celebrate her. This woman is amazing. She has not walked an easy road. She has not had the easiest life so far. She has had GREAT moments of joy & peace, i know, but she also has experienced more than her share of loneliness, hurt, depression. Through the years I have watched her grow closer & closer to the Father, and it is evident. I am often in awe of all that God has done in her life! He has molded her & made her into a beautiful woman of God. She is full of grace, wisdom and so much kindness. And as if that's not enough? She's a great cook, she is an excellent decorator, if you have any question about decorating or cooking or cleaning or just, ANYTHING, she knows the answer! She is funny & fun to talk to, and THE BEST shopping companion. I am blessed to be her daughter. I truly am.

I am so glad to call her not only mom, but friend. And yes, i do sometimes think, "I'm becoming my mother!". That's not always a bad thing, you know! ;)

Also, she's getting a pool. A swimming pool. Yes, indeed. I see many pool lounging days in our future! ;)

(She doesn't love this one because she has no makeup on, but y'all! She is beautiful!) 

So thankful for ALL of the ladies in my life. Hope you have exactly the kind of weekend you needed. :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day Sessions | family photography

I did mother's day mini-sessions this year. I am so glad i did. It was my first time attempting a photo session marathon, but everything went so smoothly and I am thankful! BIG THANKS goes to my friend Mandy for coming both days and acting as my assistant! I don't know if i could have done it without her!

Some have wondered how i handled doing this while going through infertility, but just want you to know that something happens when i get behind that camera! Haha. I first discovered this on my first maternity shoot. I think i am so focused on photography, and getting those settings just right, and getting that perfect shot, that i don't really have room to be thinking about what I don't have that i so desperately desire. I definitely still experience grief and heartache, and it happens at such random times, but never during these photo shoots. So thankful to God for that!

(And if you are one of my infertility sisters, I will not be offended if you just go on and skip this post! Love & prayers to you, this weekend especially.)

And without further ado..here are some of my favorites from the mini-sessions!

Mallory with Emeline (aka Emmy)

Jeanie with Dawson

Jennifer with Landry 

Kristie with Brock & Bella

Allison with Elijah

Megan with Izaac 

Jessie with Andrew 

My friend Caty (left) with her mom, dad & sister :)

Heather with Bryleigh & Brock 

Angela with Brayden

Jaime with Ashlyn & Landon

Mika with Poppy & Paisley

Candice with Kynlee

That last one is my FAVE! :)

Hope y'all enjoyed these. And happy mother's day to the moms. We love you!