Mike & Leigh

A cloudy, Virginia family farm engagement session.

I met Mike and Leigh on her family farm in Wytheville Virginia for their engagement session. Rolling hills, insanely green grass and a sky full of clouds with this happy couple is the recipe for a dream session. Every time Mike and Leigh looked at each other they would burst into laughter-it was the sweetest thing.

In the midst of the current craziness that the world if facing spending time with this couple was exactly what my soul needed. I had to refrain from hugging them, which was so hard, but they lifted me up in a way that is hard to explain. We talked about their wedding plans, and Leigh’s crazy amazing sewing and knitting skills (you need to follow her instagram to see what I’m talking about!) and Hello Fresh. The normalcy of this session what part of what it made it so beautiful.

I received the best message after this session. Mike told Leigh his face was sore from smiling and laughing so much. Que the heart explosion!

Thank you two for the love that exudes from you that flowed over into me. Your session was so good for my heart. The love you two have for each other is so sweet. Thank you for sharing your smiles and story with me. I cannot wait for bridal portraits on these same, beautiful Virgina hills for your wedding next year.

Koree+Ashleeann Engagement

A snowy, spring engagement session at Grayson Highlands State Park.

Mountain top, 50 degrees, and a little snow on the ground with these two makes for an epic engagement session. I seriously had the hardest time picking the images to share and to be honest I really didn’t narrow it down so be prepared for image overload.

This is the session Ashleeann and I have been planning for almost a year. After rescheduling for rain, snow and then lots of cold weather I was beginning to wonder if this was going to ever happen. There was still snow on the ground from the winter storm that hit on Friday but the sun was shining and dare I say it felt nice when we arrived at Grayson Highland State Park.

When you go to the park you can’t help but hope for wild ponies but when you get the sunset and weather like we did you don’t even think twice about the ponies. Koree and Ashleeann laughed, danced…which resulted in more laughter and shared in lots of sweet moments. The way these two can get lost in the moment with each other took my breath away.

Koree+Ashleeann

Rainy day engagement session at Sugar Hollow

How perfect that today is the seventh year anniversary for this adorable couple? As soon as I realized that I knew I had to get their blog up.

I met Koree and Ashleeann over a year ago during my Christmas tree farm sessions. I will never forget how amazed I was by their crazy adorable and well behaved dogs. I remember asking Ashleeann if she could come train my son to listen as well as their dogs did! I told them as part of their session they might feel a little bit crazy but to just have fun with it and trust me. Talk about being over the moon when she contacted me a few months later when they got engaged.

We had been planning the details of her and Koree’s engagement session at Grayson Highlands for months but the weather had other plans. Ashleeann and I were crossing our fingers and toes but it wasn’t enough. When you get your hair and make up done the last thing you want to do is waste it so we quickly came up with an alternative plan.

With my umbrella in hand we trekked through the park at Sugar Hollow in Bristol. We had a small window before the heavy rain hit and I knew the trees would give us enough protection so that we wouldn’t get soaked. Seriously whose hair looks this amazing in the rain? To top it off Ashleeann walked the entire trail in her heels. Dedication!

This sessions has me even more anxious for their session at Grayson Highlands. I’m envisioning lots of warm sunshine and hopefully some wild ponies.

My journey into Motherhood

I have started and stopped this a thousand times, a million if you count the times I have written it in my head. I have tried to talk myself out of sharing because I thought-what does this have to do with my business. But the reality is that my business is an extension of me and I want to be my authentic self which means sharing my personal stuff along with my work.

The enemy wants mothers to feel isolated. If you are alone that means you are left to your thoughts and to become trapped under the weight of comparison, especially when you first become a mom. There is so much pressure, worry and fear.

I had Brooks on April 9, 2016 and as a new mama I had decided that I was going to breastfeed. In my mind I was convinced it was the best thing and the most natural thing which had to mean that I could do it right? I took a class, did research, bought the cute milk snob cover and a boppy and I thought I was all set. 

I didn’t know that when we I had to move to Missouri two weeks after Brooks was born that the stress, I didn’t know I was feeling, from not having anyone around would kill my supply. I didn’t know the reason why Brooks was crying was because he was hungry. He was burning more energy nursing that he was getting from me. Bring on all the guilt and shame that honestly still haunts me today. I have tears in my eyes, and a pit in my stomach as I type this. When I look back on photos of those early weeks all I can feel is guilt. 

I will never forget taking him to a pediatrician in May for a checkup to find that he wasn’t gaining weight. I had no idea and I was shattered. They let me nurse him to see if they could see a shift in the ounces after he ate. I nursed him and prayed so hard for a change on the scale that didn’t happen. I left the room when they brought in a bottle of formula and I fell in a heap on the floor in the office hallway and balled my eyes out.

Why is there so much judgment around how you feed your baby? As a society, now a days, you are pretty much in the wrong with any choice. If you breast feed there are opinions on how and when, cover or no cover and when you should stop. If you formula feed people say you should breast feed instead. Then, just when you think you are out of the clear (or partly) by starting food there is a whole other realm of what and when is the right time to introduce foods. Purees or baby led weaning; homemade or from a jar. We have taken an already stressful job, being a mom, and added so many more levels to it.

For the next 2 months I poured every ounce of myself into fixing my supply. I started seeing a lactation specialist and buying anything and everything I heard would help

-lactation cookies, store bought and homemade

-all the flax seed (I put in on everything)

-coconut water

-fenugreek 

-lactation tea

You name it and I tried it. I was hooked up to a pump all day it seemed in an effort to fix myself. I kept thinking how can you not even do the one thing you were designed to do for your baby-feed them?

Have you heard of SNS? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either and I swear I thought I had googled everything. It is supplemental nursing system and it reminded me of a soap on a rope but for formula. I would wear this bottle around my neck and tape a tiny tube down my breast so that Brooks could nurse and get formula at the same time.  What he didn’t finish had to be transferred to a bottle to feed him from afterwards. To be honest, I think it only fueled my depression more. The time to prep for feedings and clean up was so intense that there was no time in between. I was mentally and physically exhausted and trying not to drown under the weight of guilt I was carrying. My gauge of time or the day of the week was based on when we had appointments with the lactation specialist to weight Brooks.

I was able to breastfeed Brooks until he was 18 months but we had to supplement for him the entire first year. 

When Brie was born my heart wanted so terribly to be able to breastfeed without supplementing but I had ‘convinced’ myself that if we had to supplement it would be ok. Truth be told if that had been needed I would have mourned the loss. I whole heartedly agree that fed is best, a million times over, but I wanted to make it work.

This Wednesday Brie turned one (que the mama tears!). It was an emotional day for so many reasons but one specially being that we made it a full year breastfeeding. I am so thankful for all the snuggles and the special times we have shared this past year. But even more so I’m thankful for the testimony that God has given me. It is not a testimony specifically about breastfeeding but more about realizing who I am in Christ for my children. I was chosen and I enough for them despite my short comings and mistakes. No matter what the world says about my choices I am enough. Breastfeed or bottle fed I am enough.

If you formula feed, pump, exclusively breastfeed or a combo you are rocking at it mama. Don’t place your self worth on how your baby is fed. Fed and loved is best. You are amazing and more importantly you are ENOUGH! God chose you to be the mother of your children. Don’t let the enemy steal that gift and weigh you down with lies, fear and shame.  You are enough and exactly what your babies need. 

My journey as a new mom did not go at all as I planned. I saw myself as a failure on so many levels and to be quite frank there I days that I still struggle. But I do know that there is power in sharing, it can break your free from the lies and struggles that have held you captive. 

If you are a new mama or soon to be please block out the voices of society, don’t succumb to the worries and expectations that the world wants to place on you. Breath in the sweet smell of your new baby, rub the fuzzy shoulders and revel in the fact that you are holding your perfect gift from God. 

Photo courtesy of the amazing Jessica-Shutter and Bloom Photography

Lance & Katherine| 10.12.19

Virginia Wedding at Warehouse 817

I first met Katherine for coffee at Bloom Cafe in Bristol (if you haven’t been you need to go!). We ended up chatting for almost 2 hours before we even realized how much time had passed and most of what we talked about wasn’t the wedding. That is how I knew we were a perfect fit.

Katherine has the most infections laugh and smile and her wedding day was filled with so many laughs. I knew that Lance didn’t love having his photo taken but as soon as Katherine was around everything about him lit up and I could see him truly be himself with lots of genuine smiles and laughs.

Their first look was so emotionally charged that I had to fight back tears. Katherine started crying as soon as she stepped out of the Bristol Hotel and saw Lance standing a few yards away waiting for her. Some of my favorite moments from the day are of her crying, Lance wiping away her tears and then the two of them both laughing about it.

If you had asked me to describe the type of wedding that I would love to finish of the year with I don’t think I could have created a better one in my head. Lance and Katherine your day was perfect and I am so thankful that I was able to share in so many laughs and capture so much love. Congratulations on your beautiful wedding and I pray continual blessings for years to come!

VENDORS

DRESS- CURVACEOUS COUTURE, COLUMBIA MD

HAIR & MAKEUP-

INVITATIONS-MINTED

PRE WEDDING VENUE-THE BRISTOL HOTEL

VENUE-WAREHOUSE 817

CAKE-THE CAKE GALLERY

CATERING-GINGERBREAD COOKING AND CATERING

FLOWERS-TENNESSEE FLORIST SUPPLY

DJ-ROBBY BRANSON MOBILE DJS

John & Taylor| 10.5.19

When I woke up the day of John and Taylors weddings I can honestly say it was the first day that it truly felt like fall. The air was crisp and the leaves were starting to change colors. I had been going over the details of this day for over a year so it was almost surreal that the day was finally here. To be honest, I was also so exited to finally be able to share the bridal portraits that I had taken of Taylor on her family farm a few weeks prior!

The Trinkle Mansion bed and breakfast was the perfect backdrop for John and Taylors first look. Moments prior to the first look Taylors mom helped to make sure all of the details were perfect. There is something so beautiful about a bride on her wedding day-just filled with so much love and anticipation. Taylor was glowing.

After portraits at the Trinkle Mansion Taylor and John said their vows at the West in Church in town surrounded by their closest family and friends. Guests signed wooden hearts to fill a box that will hang on their wall. Their beautiful day was finished off with lots of celebrations and dancing at the Wytheville Country Club.

DRESS-Annies Room Kingsport TN

INVITATIONS-Julie Compton Creative 7 Concepts

CAKE-Dawn Hodge

FLOWERS-Coulter’s Florist

PRE WEDDING VENUE-Trinkle Mansion

WEDDING VENUE-West End Church Wytheville

RECEPTION VENUE-Wytheville Golf Club

DJ-Mark Taylor|MTE

VIDEOGRAPHER-Manoa Raine

Lukas & Tyller|9.28.19

Maple Lane Farms started to show off some fall colors for Lukas and Tyllers beautiful wedding day. The leaves were falling and so were the tears. The anticipation and excitement surrounding this day was contagious.

The tears starting flowing as soon as Tyller made her way down the aisle. I had to look away from Lukas to make sure that I could keep it together. His reaction and the way he looked at Tyller took all day long my breath away.

Thank you for letting me into your lives and sharing your hearts with me. Your relationship is beautiful and rare and I count it an honor to have been a part of your wedding. Congratulations!

VENUE- MAPLE LANE FARM

DRESS-ANNIES ROOM

CAKE-BLACKBIRD BAKERY

FLOWERS-MADE BY HANDS FLORALS