– Written October 9, 2013 (5 weeks)

Beginnings foster surreal excitement.  They are moments when the whole world feels like it is within your grasp.

The moment Josh and I decided to “pull the goalie” I was flush with the kind of excitement that is rarely experienced.  It’s the kind of excitement that you don’t realize you are experiencing until your mom catches you blushing and grinning at a text message from your boyfriend or girlfriend. It also feels like Christmas morning when you anticipate opening the gifts under the tree.  Anyway, my cheeks constantly held a lively shade of scarlet and I couldn’t keep a grin off my face.

I started looking up my symptoms. Every new bodily experience of mine brought up pregnancy links first.  In these links “I knew” became a broken record – women just seemed to sense when they were pregnant even before missing their period or taking a test.  I grew more fearful that I wouldn’t “know” like these women did.  I wanted to have this seemingly divine experience with my baby and know it was there before a test told me so.  Almost right away I had inklings of knowing but I told myself it was probably unlikely just so I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

Then there was simply no denying it.  I remember telling Josh I would be  concerned about my aching breasts and surprised if I wasn’t pregnant.  Finally, I was so confident I even started praying for our little baby before I even took the test.

Josh and I decided we wanted to find out together rather than have me surprise him with the news.  I was 5 days late for my period when he got home from tour so almost right after I got home from work we both went into the bathroom to take the test.  Ordinarily I am a pee-in-a-cup pro, but this time I totally botched it up.  To my relief, Josh appeared engrossed in other things and missed my moment of shame.  I didn’t want to sneak glances at the little dipstick because I really wanted Josh to discover the answer first.  So I left the bathroom but when I came back to grab something I could see “pregnant” in my periphery.  I gasped, picked it up for closer examination, then turned it to Josh.  We stared, wide-eyed at each other for a fraction of a second then I fell into his arms with tears in my eyes.  For good measure, we left the test out on the counter until the battery died – I couldn’t help but think the test just might change its mind.

I already love where this new journey is taking me and Josh.  He’s already so sweet, offering to cook me food, packing my lunch, and seeking to meet my every whim.  I will not be demanding.  In fact, so far I beat him to the punch on these things and often reply, “oh, I already packed my lunch” or “oh, I already did that.”  But it is awesome knowing he wants to be so present and helpful.  I know he’s anxiously awaiting the advent of my cravings.  I just hope he’s not too disappointed if what I want is something like broccoli instead of pizza or Oreos.

And now, as I write this, I am keeping the biggest secret of my life when all I want to do is tell the whole world!  Today I was asked by one of my new co-workers if Josh and I had children.  I wanted to say yes, but paused for a fraction of a second before I answered with, “no, but we have two dogs.”  I feel like I’m lying.  But, I suppose, to a lot of people, the eye-of-a-needle sized person I’m carrying with me is not a life yet.  But to me, this is my child and I am already fiercely protective.  I can only pray and hope that my body is so kind and nurturing to this little cutie and anticipate the day when I can protect them with my own arms.

The best part of all of this though, is the love I feel from my Father.  I didn’t expect to get pregnant right away.  I set these expectations because I am aware it is often times takes several months for even the healthiest of couples to conceive.  When I saw our positive pregnancy test I was overtaken by a feeling or warmth and love – like God was giving me a long congratulatory hug and whispering “I love you” the whole time.  I feel so blessed to have conceived right away.

For more baby making storytelling CLICK HERE.

Our Annual Photo Spree + Our 3 MO Belly!

Every year, around our anniversary, Josh and I take pictures together. They end up added to a collage we have in our living room that one day will cover a whole wall I’m sure.  I LOVE our tradition!  This year I loved that we got to do our photo fun with Mandy again!  First of all, she is a wonderful, sweet, dear friend!  Second of all, she is an incredible photographer!  She also did our engagement photos and wedding.

Anyway,  I love our tradition because I truly love the time with Joshua and then being able to put up pictures of our ever growing love up around the house!

This year, our shoot was a little more special because we’re having a baby and couldn’t be more happy about it!  In this year’s blend of images you will see some “pregnancy” geared images.  (Our little peanut is 13 weeks cookin’ in these pictures – so, roughly, 3 months.  As I post this we are 17 weeks into this adventure!0001 0002 0003 0004 0005 0006 0007 0008 0009 0010 0011 0012 0013 0014 0015 0016 0017 0018 0019 0020 0021 0022 0023 0024 0025 0026 0027 0028 0029 0030 0031 0032 0033 0034 0035 0036 0037 0038 0039

Big thanks to Mandy Henry for the beautiful images!

Baby Beginnings

We are having a baby!  Yippee yippee yay!!!!!

As most stories start, I want to start this one at the very beginning.  Our big news starts well before conception.  An important tid bit to know about me is I don’t make decisions lightly, particularly not big decisions.  I have an unintentional rule of thumb for myself that I have to have 3 solid reasons for making any big leaps.  For example, before I got my eyebrow pierced I asked my parents for their approval.  When I did ask them my dad asked for my reasons, because he knew I would have them, and I have him these:  one, I was called a “goody-two-shoes” all through grade school because I didn’t flub up morally or rebel so I thought it was time to try and fix that a little, at least physically, specifically in the hopes of reaching those kids that might be afraid to approach a “goody-two-shoes” like me otherwise; two, my dad worked at a second chance high school and I wanted kids like those to feel like I was approachable; third, I thought they looked so cool.

So, you can imagine that if I thought so long and hard about getting a little eyebrow piercing, how convinced I would have to be in order to start a family.  Hence, the Lord obviously prepared my heart for welcoming kiddos into our family for at least a year and in doing so gave me a good, long list of solid reasons to have a baby.

I suppose the very beginning started when Josh and I got married.  We decided we were going to have kids, if we were going to have them, in about ten years – when I was about 30.  None-the-less, we still talked about kids fairly frequently.  We talked about what kind of parents we wanted to be, what our kids might be or look like, and what sort of traditions we would want to have with our family.

When I photographed my first set of twins with Bella Baby Photography at Good Shepherd Hospital our conversations picked up from a rare occasion to increasingly frequent.  There was something about photographing twins that really made my heart swell lovingly.

Then God took me another step forward and decided on the approach of talking to me through some key people.  First, my good friend Hannah had her first little boy about a year ago.  In talking with her about her pregnancy, delivery and keeping up life with an infant my eyes were opened to the reality I had hoped for in having kids.  Hannah has a similar personality and lifestyle to mine so hearing her story confirmed my hopes and dreams about maintaining an active pregnancy, delivering responsibly but naturally, and continuing to pursue career passions with a child.  These things are totally possible and I am so excited to tackle them myself now!

Then one of my best friends from high school, Alicia, had her first little boy.  Again, I had another woman with a like mind to talk to about pursuing a career and a natural approach with children.  Besides, when a best friend has a baby you fall head over heels for that little nephew!

Now, my friend Becky really did me in.  She not only booked me for 3, 6, and 9 month maternity photography but also for newborn and once a month photos of Scarlett over her first year of kickin’ it on planet Earth!  Scarlett is the epitome of adorable.  She’s got those big eyes, round face, and an adorable, dimpled, willing smile.  And I see this cutie once a month!  I remember asking Becky my list of questions after she had Scarlett.  How was your delivery?  How are you feeling?  How are you sleeping?  Were there any surprises with being a mommy?  With this last question, which is really my code question for “is this baby sucking the life out of you,” she answered just as my friends Hannah and Alicia did:  “yes I’m exhausted but I’m so happy to be.”

I hope I’m not putting words in your mouths dear friends, but when I asked you all my questions the first time I saw you with your babies you all totally won my heart over to the side of motherhood.  In the end, the key with all of these women was the fact that they not only were pursing dreams alongside raising their adorable children but they had amazing love testimonies to share!  Truth is, having a family scared me before because I usually heard blurbs about how kids suck the life out of you, how incredibly hard it is, and how they take over your whole life.  But these women told me and showed me what I had hoped for, that having kids is ultimately a blessing and that every day they are overjoyed to be moms!  These women have children in their lives, not children taking over their lives and dreams.

So now my baby fever meter was officially tickled.  I love kids.  I love Hannah, Alicia, and Becky’s babies.  And though I knew I loved kids, I was perfectly content just seeing them now and then.  But God had different plans, so He took to some more drastic measures to really get my attention; He chose a select set of days to turn my baby making decision upside down.

Key day #1:  We had a pregnancy scare.  Scare is harsh because we weren’t scared, and I think that’s the moment when we both realized separately that we were not only ready to welcome a kiddo into our family but that we were hoping the “accident” took an we were, in fact, pregnant.  I guess God didn’t want to impose that on us though, he wanted us to willingly give way before blessing us with a peanut, because we didn’t get pregnant at this moment.

Key day #2:  I photographed a very large and very adorable family.  As the story goes, Beth was desperate to get a session in with her dad and all of his family because she had gotten word he may not even have two weeks left.  He had been battling cancer for some time and the cancer was now officially winning the fight.  It took some maneuvering to get my schedule and that of all her family members aligned but we did it!  Not only was I touched by the story behind making this session happen but, more importantly, I was so moved by the closeness Beth’s dad had with all of his kids and grandkids; throughout breaks in shooting, various kiddos would walk over to him and make faces or sit on his lap or play some other silly game.

Key day #3:  I photographed a vow renewal ceremony.  This was a family of a 6 years married couple and 3 toddlers.  I fell in love with the family almost right away and the couple’s level of patience and absolute joy for their kids.  I also fell in love with their youngest daughter Kaia.  Sounds narcissistic I know, but if you look at the pictures I took of her you’ll see that it was those round, bright blue eyes and adorable chubby face that won me over.  I remember hopping in my car with a full heart and thinking, “I want a family like that and I think I might be ready now.”

Key day #3 continued:  I talked to my mom a little about the idea of having kids.  When I got home from my vow renewal ceremony I chatted with my mom in the kitchen for a while.  We easily ended up on the subject of kids since it obviously was now at the forefront of my brain.  A few key points came up in our conversation:  a good time for me and Josh to have a baby would be in the summer when he is more frequently and predictably home, Mom would come and help me with the baby, and me wanting another puppy was actually me wanting a baby.

Key day #3 continued some more:  I talked to Josh about my new revelations.  My mom asked me the other day how long Josh and I talked before deciding to start our family.  My answer, about 5 minutes.  After I chatted with my mom upstairs in the kitchen I went downstairs to see my hubby.  I fairly quickly worked into what was on my mind, “Hey so I just realized that summer would be a good time to have a baby since you’re home more and Mom said she would help take care of the baby on weekends we both have gigs.”  His reply was just as shocking, “So do you want to make a baby?”  I think I blushed, which is funny because I’m married to the guy, and I stumbled on my words mumbling about how that’s not what I meant but that I just wanted to share my new found wisdom.  He simply asked the question again.  We got pregnant within days and found out officially on October 7th via a pregnancy test.  The coolest thing about all of that is that I had a specific prayer since photographing that set of twins at the hospital that if and when Josh and I were supposed to start the baby making journey that Josh would give us the green light, not me.

So maybe you’re wondering what my list of reasons to make this baby were?  Yes, it is important to me to be able to follow our dreams while raising a family. Yes, it totally meant the world to me to confirm that it was, in fact, more than possible for babies to integrate into the life structure you created instead of them taking over the whole show.  And yes, I did want a baby.  But, honestly, my list was only this long.

  1. God asked us to let go and let him make our little miracle.

That was all I really needed to know.  I know our journey may be tough at times, but I am so excited to be taking this adventure with the love of my life.  I think we are going to have some fun!

Happy New Year everyone!