Magical Monday | Happy Birthday Baby Brie

Dear Brielle,

My heart and soul are bursting with joy today.

It is truly a special magical day. This post is being published this morning at 7:41 am. The exact moment you entered this world one year ago and I held you safe in my arms and not in my belly for the very first time.

There was a time where I didn’t think I’d ever see the day when I’d hold a healthy happy baby after losing your sister, Bella. They call pregnancy after loss having your “rainbow baby”.  I used to think that was such a silly thing to call it. Pregnancy after losing a child is such a scary, anxiety ridden time.  It is definitely not a rainbow. You feel at any moment something could go wrong to send the world crashing down around you once again.  I spent much of my pregnancy with you in denial because I didn’t want my world to come crashing down around me for a second time. Pregnancy is supposed to be a magical time of bonding and connecting with your baby but I spent my 9 months with you in fear that something might go terribly wrong. And I couldn’t stand to live through that pain again.

So for me the magic truly came that day I first met you my Brielle, kissed your forehead, and promised you’d be entering a family that loved you waaaaaay before we ever knew you’d be a part of our world. After getting to know you over the past 12 months of your little life I now know what it means to be a rainbow baby.  You are truly my rainbow after the storm and I feel so lucky to be able to call you my daughter.

But, I do have to tell you in all of my wildest dreams I never envisioned a baby as beautiful as you would be mine to have and hold and love forever. When I was younger I used to imagine a vivacious, curly haired dark-eyed version of myself staring up at me and calling me mama. I think you shocked us all when you entered this world with your strawberry blonde hair, crystal clear striking blue eyes, and a cry so quiet that it would put a mouse to shame.

If I had to pick one word to sum up YOU in this first year of life it would have to be: SHINING.

You were the glimmer of hope that lit my world back up after a year of picking up the pieces of a broken life. I waited long and hard and patiently for your arrival. When you got here you were embraced and appreciated and oh so loved (so so loved) by family and friends near and far. That love just radiates through you and back outward again each and every day.

Your blue eyes simply sparkle, your smile can light up any room. 

Seriously it can! Just last week the deli clerk at the grocery walked across the store just to say hello to you. She said she saw your smile from across the room and had to come say hello. You spent close to 3 minutes just beaming at her and saying “Hi!”. You can brighten up the day of anyone who happens to cross your path. Especially mine. When I have a bad day all it takes is knowing that I get to come home to you. That can always bring a smile to my face.

This weekend your daddy and I celebrated ONE YEAR with you. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. We threw a huge bash. To celebrate surviving. To celebrate overcoming. To celebrate you. You soaked in each and every moment. The house was filled with friends and family from near and far. You shouted with delight, your crawled up to each and every guest, beaming from ear to ear. So happy that so many people were there because they love you.  The party was beautiful, sweet, & lively just like you.

You’re neat and clean just like your dad. You’re a busy bee just like your mom. You love peaches. Books. Naps. Stroller rides. Elmo. Kitties (especially your furry siblings). Yo Gabba Gabba. Remote controls. Nana & Mema & Grandad & Papa. Mama & Daddy. Life.

I can’t wait to watch you embrace what’s in store for your life in the coming year. Walking, playing, talking. It’s a big world out there and it’s yours for the taking my love.

Sometimes I wonder when I am going to wake up from this dream. How we were blessed with such a perfectly happy, content, and lovable baby I’ll never know. I often think about how the universe works in such mysterious ways. Your sister left us to make way for you in our life. And even though I still mourn a life without Bella, I can’t imagine a life without you in it my Brielle Rose.

Happy Birthday my lamb. My little love. My munchkin.  My 99. I love you so very much.

Forever and Always.

Mama

A big thank yous to Belle Papers and Parties, Shugar Shugar Bakery, and Kelly Nelson Photography for creating a party the truly was “Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice”. Because of you I was actually able to enjoy the celebration with family and friends instead of worrying over the details. The photos above are a combination of mine and those of the lovely Kelly Nelson. These are just a few highlights of Brielle’s special day. I’m going to let Kelly share the rest of the day with you later this week.

Wisdom Wednesday | Advice

Sometimes it can be really hard to follow advice.

  • Everything in moderation. (right after I’m done scarfing down this pint of ice cream…)
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. (as the internal dialogue drones on – “does so and so like me? does this dress make me look fat? oh my gosh, did I have food stuck in my teeth that whole time?!”)
  • Only bite off what you can chew. (while my to do list continues to grow exponentially…)

I am frequently asked for advice. From my family (whose house should we spend the holidays at this year?). My friends (should I break up with him?). My coworkers (what software should I use to do this?). My clients (what camera should I buy?). I like giving advice. It makes me feel appreciated. I am a people person. I enjoy talking through issues. I love to teach what I know. And I seem to always have an opinion.

But lately I’ve had a problem. I can’t seem to follow my own advice.

This month has been Christmas in July here at Be Young Photography. If you’re on the nice list I’ve been sending 2 gifts via email containing photo tips for take better pictures of the special little people in your life. Are you on the list yet? Don’t worry, if you’re late to the party I’ll be sending an archive of all the gifts at the end of the month.

This week as I sat down to work on “Gift 6” a funny thing happened. I almost couldn’t bring myself to push the send button.

Because the gift I was about send was advice I am hard pressed to follow myself.

Don’t forget those un-planned, un-posed, lifestyle images! Take a snap as those kiddos are zoned out in front of the TV. Or taking their afternoon nap. Or eating lunch. Or sharing a special moment playing with their sibling. It’s just as important to capture them in everyday life as it is to plan out special shots just for you. In 20 years you’ll want to have every expression, every age, every moment bottled up so you can look back and remember. Start capturing those everyday shots today and bottling up those moments.

Going “pro” has certainly been a double edged sword. I love having the knowledge and know how to stage beautiful images. I love the fun that comes with being able to think creatively and make art behind the camera lens. But, I am my own worst critic as well. If the house is a mess I don’t want to shoot. If we are in our pajamas and having a chill day I am too lazy to shoot. If I’ve been behind the camera all week photographing other people’s families I am too tired to shoot. If the big fancy camera is tucked away in my camera bag and all I have is my compact camera I am too proud to shoot. As a pro I don’t want to post shots that “don’t make the cut”.

And now, as a result of ignoring my own advice, my portfolio of family images has suffered.

I resolved in that instant, the moment I hit send button to pick up my camera phone which was sitting right next to me. I snapped a few photos. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Because in that instant I started following my own advice.

How about you? What advice do you find it most challenging to follow? In life? In photography? Do you take enough family snapshots? Share your words of wisdom or a snapshot of your life here today.

Wisdom Wednesday | Finding Inspiration

What inspires you to photograph?

Children and family? The serenity and beauty of nature?  The simplicity of everyday life?
 
For me, it’s my Bella angel & my Brie baby.
 
The lessons they’ve taught me about family, compassion, love, creativity, and healing. Those are my inspiration.

What lights you up? Makes your heart sing so loud that you lose track of time? Gets you lost in the moment? Fills your soul with joy? And keeps you snap snap snapping away? Comment below and tell me. Or even better yet, show me.

Family Friday | Pool Time

I am a Pisces.

I am true to my zodiac description to a tee. Intuitive. Idealistic. Creative. Compassionate. Selfless.

I have two fish swimming in a circle tattooed on my back.

However, I am going to let you in on a little secret.

I hate the water.

I was never that kid that spent everyday of summer vacation at the pool. We were never that family that took the week long beach vacation laying out in the sun and sand all day. I hated swim lessons. And I dreaded putting my head under water.

So I must admit, taking Brie to the pool for the first time was quite an ordeal and much out of the norm for me.

She wasn’t too sure at first. But by the end I think she liked it. And so did I.

She might be the one to truly turn me into a Pisces, and actually love the water.

 

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