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What We Ate Wednesday: The First One!

 

It’s possible I hyped up this blog post a little too much, my pictures aren’t quite as exciting as I remember them being when I took them BUT. What we ate Wednesdays. It’s a thing. It’s happening! This is the first one and the bar is set low my friends, so come back in one week.

I’m not a full week in yet because we’ve spent the last week or so traveling (and a hurricane before that) but next week. It’s on! Eating Paleoish at home! It really is possible.

A little food background for me and why we eat like we do: I don’t have any diagnosed food allergies. I’ve done the testing and I’m not allergic to anything food wise. I have not done a food sensitivity blood panel though, but based on my elimination dieting in the past few years I have a good idea of what is good for me and what isn’t. 

I’ve always had eczema but it got really awful (Topical Steroid Withdrawal style) in 2014 so in 2015 I went paleo and did autoimmune paleo and figured out what foods work well for me and what don’t. Outside of the paleo framework I haven’t done an extensive reintroduction with different grains, but in general I tolerate most gluten free grains, goat’s milk products, and occasional conventional cow dairy. For the past year I’ve been living ON THE EDGE out of pure exhaustion and laziness but I’m slowly coming out of it. Meal prepping healthy meals just wasn’t realistic for me in the season of new motherhood of two and now that I’m totally done breastfeeding (and not as hungry ha!) and am in a little bit more control over my schedule/sleep I’m getting back into it! And honestly feeling so great. I literally feel well, and I feel GOOD about eating better and serving healthier meals to my family. A win win!

Both my kids have sensitive skin and eczema (but are clear right now and have been for most of their lives!) so we avoid gluten totally for Emmeline (we’ve trial and errored and it gives her belly pain and unhappy poops) and most dairy. Lincoln tolerates a little gluten here and there but he has a patch of eczema on his face that pops up when he’s crossed the threshold of too much. End background, resume blog post. 

Our current meal rhythm is helping me so much. I hate being locked into a plan but I also NEED a plan or we throw it all away at Chick Fil A or Chipotle. Every time.

The rhythm right now is kind of boring, but we are loving the parameters. It is really fun deciding what kind of tacos to eat on a Tuesday instead of WHAT OF ALL THE MEALS WE’VE EVER EATEN SHOULD WE EAT ON TUESDAY? Ya feel me?

Mondays: salads + smoothies
Tuesdays: tacos
Wednesdays: whatever
Thursdays: three piece
Fridays: nachos or soup
Saturdays: pizza or brinner
Sundays: snacky dinner

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Pizza Saturday: Frozen pizzas, my friends! Usually with carrot sticks and/or cucumbers but this weekend we had apple slices because… we had apples slices. We’ve tried like all the different gluten free pizzas around, but the cheese pizza from Aldi is our jam. I buy two cheese pizzas for me and the kids and we usually have a few little pieces leftover, and the kids love it. Marshall likes the regular people four meat pizza that’s like a $1.99 at Aldi and ta-da! Saturday night. I love made up holidays and little family rituals and Saturday pizza nights feel SO weekend to me and give us a break from cooking. Also, once I get all the way back paleo it will be easy to swap out my cheese pizza for a paleo crust sans cheese, etc.

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Snacky Dinner Sunday: This is our favorite! We’ve done this for years, and it’s become so much fun now that both kids are eating real food. We usually buy some fun meats and cheeses from Aldi and then just throw out all the fruit, crackers and any other snacky things we have laying around. I was inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book, Seven and Andy Crouch’s The Tech-Wise Family to light candles a few weeks ago and we had our own little special Sabbath. Again, I’m a sucker for family rituals and I love this Sunday one. We’ve usually been serving at church all day, and had weird naps and dinner on the living room floor is a great regrouping before heading upstairs for bath and bedtime. I think I like most that it will grow as the kids grow and turn into a family meeting. We try to talk about our week ahead but Lincoln and Emmeline just get louder when we try to talk to each other.

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Salad + Smoothie Monday: This week was the southwest salad mix + mixed greens and plain chicken meat from a whole chicken I cooked in the Instant Pot. Back in my best paleo days I made a weekly whole chicken for broth and used the meat for soup, nachos, lunches, etc. so I’m trying to get back into the habit of cooking a whole chicken on the reg. The kids don’t like salad so much so we throw their greens into the blender for green smoothies and we just started making ones for ourselves too. The salad comes with tortilla strips, cheese and buffalo ranch. I passed on the cheese and ranch and used our vegan ranch and added a little Sriracha on top! It was excellent. A little spicy but the smoothie (greens trio + mango + pineapple + coconut water + almond milk) was an excellent compliment.

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Taco Tuesday: Every Tuesday is taco Tuesday. And so it shall be forever! Last night we had ground beef tacos, which we almost NEVER do and I was ready to use a GF wrap from Aldi but then I ended up just eating the insides and it was amazing. I added avocado and goat cheese, diced tomatoes and greens and it was so filling and so flavorful, I could not stop talking about what a great job I did cooking. And by cooking, I mean remembering to thaw out the meat in an appropriate time and cooking it in the frying pan for like 10 minutes and throwing some spices on it. I ended up filling up my bowl twice and couldn’t quite get a photo of it full either time. Marshall ate his with cheddar cheese and regular flour tortillas, and we made the kids quesadillas with the ground beef and goat cheese. Lincoln requested a little cheddar be added to his and Emmeline ate all of hers without any complaint (she never really complains) and ate an entire avocado and a half because she is the best ever. Sidenote: my go to “taco seasoning” is some of the following: paprika, garlic salt, salt, oregano, onion powder.

Coming up!

Wednesday: I’m out of town, Lincoln picks! Most likely will be Five Guys.
Three Ingredient Thursday: Egg Roll in A Bowl
Fun Friday: Nachos
Saturday: Brinner

 

Eczema Awareness: My Story

20180125_January Everyday05.jpgMy mom says I was born with eczema on my thumb, but I don’t know if that is true or if it was an exaggeration. Eczema  is a misunderstood disease, and we are kind of in a transitional place in history with it. The generation that came before us saw it as a skin disorder, and the generation now sees it as an immune disorder. It’s pretty unpredictable and literally different for everybody and every BODY. Some triggers are diet, other triggers are things that come into contact with the skin like allergens. Stress is major trigger, it all just varies greatly.

So for me, I always had a patch here or there. On my hands, face, arms, or legs… it never failed I had a patch somewhere. I’d go to the dermatologist periodically and get the latest and greatest topical steroid out there and it would clear up and then when the seasons changed it would resurface somewhere else.

I didn’t really understand about topical steroids as a kid, teen or young adult, I just thought I was supposed to do what the doctor and my mom said to do. So after 20 years of intermittent topical steroid use, when pregnancy hormones hit my veins, something happened and eczema took over. I began what I believe to be Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW)– there are some telltale signs of it (eczema sleeves and mask on the face… I had both of these) and it was just exacerbated by pregnancy and breastfeeding and my immune system being on overdrive.

I saw a few different doctors and dermatologists but the consensus was “use more topical steroids” and after researching TSW and Red Skin Syndrome I decided that if TS wasn’t safe for me breastfeeding, it wasn’t safe for me at all. So, I stopped cold turkey and the eczema exploded.

It was a dark season. I don’t really care to elaborate more, I honestly don’t know how to describe it without sounding super dramatic and dark, but it was one of the most hopeless times of my life. I thought about death often. The literal pain and just the mental strain of the disease was unbearable most days.  No one could tell me what was causing it or why. There was no cure and there was no indication on when I would be healed. I was disfigured, hurting and a brand new first time mom. It was not the best of times.

I don’t ever want to go through that again. I don’t want any other person to ever have to go through that. Especially my kids. So, awareness is important. Awareness of options for treatment is important. Awareness of whole body health is important. Awareness of what we put on and in our bodies is so important.

We can’t passively sit by and rely on physicians who don’t know us and the FDA to make decisions for us and our bodies– we have to research. We have to understand. We have to be aware. STAY WOKE!

Over the next month I’ll be sharing more about my experience with TSW, what I did to make it through, what happened after I had a baby again and the current treatment plan I’m on and why. I’ll also be sharing some practical tips for living, traveling and raising kids with eczema because I’ve learned SO much over the past four years!

If you are a fellow warrior– do not give up. You are not to blame. God is in it with you and you’re becoming stronger day by day– you will look back at your strength in awe.

Keep on, warriors.

Last 90 Days

I have been stubbornly putting off reading Rachel Hollis’ recently released and overwhelming loved book Girl Wash Your Face, but I did listen to her podcast interview with Jen Hatmaker several months ago and it made me laugh so hard I tinkled a little.

Rachel has this whole movement thing that she does called the Last 90 Days where you go into the last quarter of the year busting it instead of slipping into comfortable and not so great habits because “it’s the holidays”. Man, it feels good to not be alone. I am all about indulging because of “the holidays”. I am here for the Last 90 Days. Here for it!

Several of my real life friends mentioned doing it and then on the eve of October 1st I had two emails and a random text from somebody about it so enough was enough. Loud and clear. I am buying in. She’s got her five to thrive below which I love. Today is October 1st, and I did wake up before my alarm but I went back to sleep. I’ve been fighting sickness for the past week or so and I ended up sleeping an extra four hours (Marshall was home!) that I really, really, really, needed.

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I haven’t set up my new bullet journal yet so I’m putting my gratitude here:

  1. Smart Water. I go from SO thirsty to needing to pee so fast because of this water and it’s amazing hydrating powers. Thank you Smart water.
  2. Marshall’s commitment to finishing our freaking kitchen. This thing has been a work in progress for months. MONTHS. I haven’t been super kind about it (I really hate the limbo stage of DIY renovations and it’s gone on forever) but he is ON IT and working so hard so late in the evenings and all day long and it’s really coming together to something beautiful. I can’t wait to share more photos of it. Estimated time of completion is FRIDAY so I am clinging to hope that is the case.
  3. Clear skin. I’m getting a few itchy and painful spots of eczema back and I am shocked at really how painful it is. I had such intense nerve damage and weirdness from it that I really blocked the sensations out, so I’m really grateful to be so much better.
  4. A great day with Lincoln. Three years old has not been my favorite age. Tantrums, attitude, crazy power struggles… it’s been wonderful but it’s been HARD. He’s in the process of dropping nap (he’ll be four in December) so he’s adjusting to being awake for an entire day and it’s not been super smooth every day. Today was one of the best days we’ve had in a while though. He watched a fair amount of TV while I slept and Marshall worked on the kitchen but after lunch he played Legos by himself for like an hour, then came downstairs and played trains and colored and drew, and he was totally happy. He was very pleasant and polite, and thanked us for dinner and for listening to him (that is my favorite thing… “Mommy thank you for listening to me.”) and it was a nice break from the normal three and a half douche nozzle behavior. Thankful for that.
  5. Emmeline is talking. It equal parts breaks my heart and sets my soul on fire! She loves to be able to communicate and tell me what she wants, and says the most adorable things now like “hold you”, “Ah too” (Paw Patrol) and  her favorite, “eat”. She is saying her name super clearly and we can’t get enough.
  6. Energy! I’ve had a cold for over a week now and today I got some energy back and am not coughing as much. I had enough wits about me to clean up (step 1 in me feeling back in control somewhat over my life) and did a few loads of laundry. Feeling so thankful to not be coughing and peeing my pants 100x a day.
  7. Fun mom friends. The last few weeks I’ve had fun times hanging out with some mom pals with kiddos my age. It’s been so fun seeing all their little friendships blossom and to spend time together and goof off with mom pals. Tomorrow I am meeting a mom friend (maybe 2) at yoga and then having lunch at our house. So simple, but seriously a morning of my dreams.
  8. Budget meetings and date night. Tonight we squeezed in a “budget meeting” before bed and talked about expenses for the month and we even planned a DATE NIGHT. I am beyond excited.
  9. Man, Rachel Hollis! I listened to one of her motivational videos yesterday? Today? and she talked about the fear of failure and how it holds people back. She says success is actually built past failures, and the difference is you’re standing on top instead of buried at the bottom. DAYUM. I have had a lot of fear lately regarding the future of this blog, my photography business, etc. and she’s right! She’s SO FREAKING RIGHT. I’ve learned something from every failure so far, so what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll learn something? Let’s freaking go.
  10. My photo/video team at church. We have this little group chat and today especially the convo was so great. They are such an amazing group of people, I find it to be so amazing that we are all united at this moment in time for the job that we have. Such a joy. They just light up my life!

So I’m working on some good habits that I’ve been working on all year. More vegetables, less sugar. No (NO) gluten, minimal dairy. More rest, less sickness. More discipline, less feeling like it. Getting up early, going to bed early. Investing in what God has put around me, not putting more things around me to invest in.

Last 90 days. LET’S GO!

Our Summer in Photos | 2018

What a summer! It’s officially fall and we are currently in the mountains of North Carolina getting the first glimpse and feels of the fall breeze and I am 100% in my happy place (minus two points for a congestion and cough). I’m using this weekend as an official transition into FALL and we have big plans to get home, wrap up some home renovation projects and then I have my eyes on a DIY fall wreath project which has me feeling giddy in the most basic white girl crafty wife mom way.

Back in my one-kid days I documented and regularly posted our “everyday” photos but things have been super busy around here since Emmeline Joy joined us (16 months ago…) and while I’m hanging in with the documenting (somewhat), posting regularly is clearly not my forte… right now, anyway!

Easing back into a little bit of a slower season work wise and kicking it off with a recap of our summer in PHOTOS! Like, one hundred photos in a blog post. I’m pretty sure that’s too many. But some highlights:

• We celebrated Emmeline’s first birthday • Emmeline took her first steps • I taught summer school online • Lincoln went to day camp at the YMCA • We spent countless summer evenings and weekday mornings at the Y pool • We took our first road trip to Tennessee (me, ever!) and spent several nights in a hotel as a family of four • during our trip to TN we celebrated the beautiful life of Marshall’s grandma Joy, got to visit with cousins, aunts and uncles and had a date night in Nashville • I took the kids to Pullen Park and Lincoln hated the boats, but they tolerated the train and loved the popsicles • Countless mornings in the sandbox in our front flowerbed • Lots of playdates during the week and some weekends with incredible friends • a family trip to Marbles kids museum on a Thursday • Em started cutting molars and hated us and life, but really likes her new toothbrush • Buzz Lightyear jammies and Superman shirt on repeat • I rented a Sony DSLR and then bought one a month later • Our first trip to the beach as a family of 4, I still haven’t had a Britt’s donut and we all got sunburned • teeny tiny ponytails • one million diaper changes • so many carseat naps • a blue and pink hydrangea bush for a brief time in the front yard • the end of the 2s class in preschool • our best friends from CO and Winston Salem came to see us (and I can’t find the memory card) • so many snacky dinners • Sundays at church serving as a family of four •

Man. I loved this summer 100000 million times more than last summer. Not to hate too much on last summer, it was just really hard with a newborn and new toddler. This summer was just so much more fun. I’m so aware of only having eighteen summers. 3 down already with Lincoln, two down with Emmeline… it’s all going so fast. Kids of Mine: if you’re reading this in the future, please know that while sometimes you drove me completely crazy, I truly love every minute of being your mom. Please don’t ever leave me. K thanks.

Less Skincare, More Life

 

For as long as I can remember my skin has been a topic of conversation. As a child I had eczema so I was always being moisturized and more severe or infected areas were being treated with topical steroids and carefully crafted bandages. In the summer I was slathered in sunscreen and when it failed (it always did) I was usually very sunburned and peeling. The teenage years brought acne into the already dry and eczema mix and which was frustrating as all the treatments for acne seemed to exacerbate the eczema situation. Into my twenties the acne and eczema combination worsened and after my first big eczema flare in 2014 I simplified my skincare down to virtually ZERO products. I did UVB therapy 1-3x a week for almost two years so I have substantial “sun” damage on my face and all over. In the past four years I have simplified my beauty and skincare routine to the bare minimum and found that in the absence of products my skin and hair really seem to flourish on their own when left to their own devices… and when provided with fruits and vegetables. That element is clutch. Dairy and gluten lead to acne breakouts on my chin almost immediately. As if the eczema and gut health wasn’t a motivator enough to eat clean (it’s not, sometimes I really want cheese.), I get the bonus motivator of a zit-free chin.

The most fascinating thing about my eczema journey is really the way my soul morphed through it all. I was an average lady when it came to appearances. I didn’t wear a TON of make up, but I wore a lot to achieve a “natural” look. Which kind of makes me laugh, looking back. I was not okay going out without something on my face, even though my light mineral make up usually wore off pretty quickly.  I’d always cover blemishes and those dark circles under my eyes (which didn’t exist because I slept SO much in my twenties), and leaving home without wearing mascara was not an option. When my eczema started worsening in 2014 I upped my make up game, covering as much as possible which definitely made it worse. After weeks of literally causing myself stinging, burning pain just to keep up appearances I really questioned myself WHY I continued to wear make up when literally it was just for other people to feel better about the way I looked. No one gave me sad looks or made comments if I covered up the sores. Is that a metaphor or what?

One of the core values of our church’s code is we do more by doing less  and it has permeated every part of my life just about. Skincare included. By using less on my skin, less in my hair, less on my body I am overwhelmed with more. More confidence in who I am and not what I look like. More time to sleep in the mornings. More money in our budget to spend elsewhere. More life, less showering. Literally, MORE natural oils in my hair and on my skin which is an indicator of health. More fun, less worry about the long term effects of

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my simplest of simple beauty and skincare routine and favorite products. Face toner, shampoo, make up remover… all kinds of stuff! Some are super crunchy (looking at you, Apple Cider Vinegar) and some you can buy at Target (hello, Eucerin baby eczema cream). Some are from Beautycounter (you can shop here: www.beautycounter.com/kelliechaney— I recommend checking out their Countermatch line) and some are from the grocery store. Less really is more! Let’s go!

Hey remember that time…

Remember when I said I was going to blog 100 days in a row? And then after one week I got behind? And then two days after that I just stopped completely because life.

It’s been REAL busy around here but we are turning a corner… things are slowing down, priorities are shifting, the vision is becoming clearer. 

Early in July we roadtripped to Tennessee to see Marshall’s family because his grandmother passed away suddenly. We attended a memorial service and then spent the weekend visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins watching home movies and chasing the baby around. It was a sad time, but it was a great time. My favorite memories as a kid were being at my grandma’s house at Christmas or Thanksgiving when all 5 of my mom’s siblings were there with their kids. It was just the craziest of times but so much fun. People and food everywhere, kids running around getting into trouble… it was just the best. Friends are special, but cousins are just a special kind of special.

I was watching the home videos of Marshall’s (and my) Grandma Joy, the sweet woman we named our little girl after and it hit me. At the end of my life I want to have lived a long life with many, many, many, many, many, many memories of a house full of my people. My kids, my kids’ kids, their significant others… when I’m 70 none of my family is going to care what I posted on Instagram or Facebook, or how successful my blog or business was or wasn’t, what they’ll care about is what I poured my life into. So Kellie, what are you pouring your life into? Working all the time for what?

Suddenly I just have this urgency to spend all of my days in the best possible way in the way that matters most to me. I want to spend every moment soaking up every detail of this celestial calling I’ve found myself in. I can’t believe that it’s already been three and a half years since we brought the biggest one home. Four of eighteen summers is underway– and I’m in it to bring it home, too.

 

Our Favorite Daddy

This man. Like lots of girls, I entered adulthood projecting all kinds of life experience onto God, viewing him through the lens of my earthly father. I was blessed with a hardworking dad, but he’s human and has his shortcomings like we all do, and I definitely attributed some of his qualities to my Heavenly Father. When this guy became a dad, it forced me to question my dad perspective and to really examine the qualities I had “seen” in God. A few weeks ago we visited Elevation Ballantyne, the “mothership” and broadcast location for our church in Raleigh, and they played this beautiful song from Hillsong church, ‘I am who you say I am“. By the first chorus I was totally undone, realizing the flawed way I had been viewing my Father’s love for me. Who the son sets free oh is free indeed, I’m a child of God, yes I am! In my father’s house, there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, yes I am! I am chosen, not forsaken, I am who you say I am. You are for me, not against me, I am who you say I am!”

How God views me is not contingent upon my behavior, obedience, good deeds that I do, or nice things I say… his love is unconditional and simply is because of who I am: his child.

So on this Father’s Day, thank you to my wonderful husband, who in spite of his shortcomings loves our children, and me, unconditionally just because of who we are are. You make me a better mom, a better person, a better everything. Thank you for pointing me to truths about myself and our life when it’s tempting for me to believe the lies. You are my greatest gift. You’re always a hand squeeze away, willing to load the dishwasher, change the diaper, trim the nails, dress my wounds (more than I can count) and hug it out. You’re a dream come true.

Thank you for making me a mom. I like to say that the kids did, but really, it was you. Happy Father’s Day!

Friday Introductions: Hey, it’s Kellie.

 

I have a little “about” page but it’s FRIDAY! So here’s a somewhat “fast five” about me.

  • I have been blogging since 2007, which is INSANE! Note that I didn’t say that I’ve been blogging everyday, or consistently, or am making money by blogging… it’s just something that I’ve kept somewhat constant through all the life seasons. I actually hate actual journaling or scrapbooking so this has been a fun outlet for me. No rules, just fun, and just Kellie-ness. This WordPress situation has been so fun to see come together… Imported all the posts from all my blogs that I’ve had over the past decade into one place so the gang’s all here! If you ever get bored and want read what 19 year old Kellie was doing in Spain in 2007 (that time I fell down the stairs and thought I broke my arm…) or what 24 year old newlywed Kellie was thinking, or what 27 year old new mom Kellie was raving about–IT’S ALL HERE.
  • I don’t really like labeling myself or my profession. I just feel tied down and smothered and I need to be FREE from expectations. I have recently learned that I am most likely an Enneagram 4 Wing 3 (WHERE MY TYPOLOGY NERDS AT?/I thought I was so unique I can’t believe I am actually one of nine types) and this obsessive compulsion I have to be an individual makes so much sense now. So we’ll just say that I am a “freelancer”. I freelance a lot of things… teaching Spanish, taking photos, picking up groceries, changing diapers. I relish in the freedom of that title, in that it doesn’t not have an expected outcome but I also rest in the boundary of having a definition of what I do. Just so very “four” of me.
  • Photography wise, my passion is birth photography. Without a doubt. I am in the process of building a framework for a realistic way to make this my full time gig, so if you are pregnant or you have a friend that’s pregnant and looking for birth coverage I have a deal for you. I am empathetic by nature and birth is one of the most powerful things I have experienced and witnessed on this earth and I feel that I have been called to serve families in the days and weeks leading up to their baby’s Birth Day. You can read more on my “Birth Days” page above!
  • I love my church. I did not love church for a VERY long time. It always felt kind of dead, like an obligation and filled with lots of “shoulds”.  I became a Christian in the 6th grade — I encountered Jesus in an undeniable way and that was the beginning of a lifelong journey of discovering him and my faith in a REAL and RELEVANT way. For years, I was looking to the church to be something I was lacking. I was looking for community, unity, diversity, authenticity and excellence and I was disappointed for years. And then we visited Elevation Church in Raleigh. Over several months I realized that that thing I was lacking was JESUS and that I couldn’t always lean on the church to meet all my needs– Jesus would meet all my needs. Through Elevation we have SEEN people raised to live in Christ and God move in and through us and others regularly– miracles every single day. It’s incredible to be a part and to witness such a refreshing move of God through a church that is AUTHENTIC. If you’re not local to one of the seventeen locations, definitely tune in online and catch the sermon and be a part of eFam. What we get to be apart of is INCREDIBLE!
  • I have had eczema for my WHOLE LIFE until I started a new miracle drug in February and I am basically flare-free. I’m not eating 100% paleo anymore but mostly gluten and dairy free (mostly…) and I cannot imagine what life would be like right now with two kids if I had never tried Dupixent. To read more about that journey click here! And here for 10 days in! And here for my postpartum eczema story in 2015!

Dontezz Foster | Brand Photography

In March I had the absolute HONOR of shooting some fresh content for Dontezz Foster– a local gospel artist! He is in the process of wrapping up his album and it was such a blast to hang with him and his team and get some great photos in. We were able to use the studio space at Playground Studios in Durham which was an awesome growth opportunity for me as I don’t normally do studio work and I loved it and will definitely do again. I’m in the process of designing an in-home studio space because there is just something super classic about a portrait with a backdrop, even though parking deck lighting will always be my first love…

I just wrapped up our second gallery and planned out our third session and I am loving this collaboration! God continues to send me clients that I just gel with immediately and I am so thankful. I try not to be cliche about it, but we are most def handpicked! Looking forward to shooting lots of content to come, the best is ahead! Can’t wait to hear the new album. Music is another love of mine and I’m a self proclaimed choir nerd (11 years of choir right here, 4 show choir competitions and 2 barbershop quarter camps, coming at ya) so working with musicians like this is an unspoken dream come true. Thankful barely covers it!

Find Dontezz on Facebook and follow him on Instagram.

Katie | Ayr Mount Maternity

 

Watching this sweet friend become a mama has been the greatest joy! Katie and I go way back to the days of Girl Scouts, high school English group projects and most recently, bridesmaid duties. When she got married and became a (step) mama to Cayden, it was so incredible watching her step into that role and own it! I did some photos of the two of them a few years ago and blogged it back in my Tumblr days, and she is still just as gorgeous as ever.

They welcomed sweet Emmie a few weeks ago and this coming Saturday morning I get the complete pleasure of documenting some of the sweet newborn snuggles at their new (!) home and I cannot wait.

It is such an honor to tell these stories! That baby girl is so treasured and prayed for. Miracles happen every day— they really do!

Probably my favorite part of this session was the big beautiful tree. If you’ve ever seen a placenta (if you haven’t, you probably can’t believe I just dropped that word in here like normal– I take a picture of it at each birth so I can show it to you, if you want) you’ll know that the veins leading to the cord are an undeniable tree and branches. It’s truly incredible to see a perfect picture of nature in such an intimate place. The placenta acts as a filter, getting nutrients and oxygen to baby while they grow, and trees do the same for us. Brilliant design. So, brilliant! I just love the image of baby growing with that big tall tree.

Stick around for more of Katie and Emmie’s story… it’s a great one. They are an incredible duo and have the sweetest boys in their life. Mamahood looks so good on you, Katie!