N was less than 24 hours old, and we were alone in our room at the hospital. H had gone home to check on the pets, and after a night of constant checks, the room was finally peaceful. I reached over to grab my camera, and I snapped a few dozen photos of her. Brand new.
It’s hard to describe how I feel when I have a camera in my hands. Things are more clear, focused. All the noise falls away, and I’m left with just the images I want to create. The artist and her canvas. From the moment I realized I was actually in labor, I felt like I was sprinting toward the finish line in a race. N didn’t just show up two weeks early, she came roaring into this world in a whirlwind that left my head spinning for weeks. But for a few short minutes, I was able to focus on her tiny fingers, her eyelashes, her little dimples.
She’s a giant now, compared to that day. And the list of things she’s taught me in the past four months would fill a novel. I thought this transition to motherhood, to working at home with a baby, would be all about showing myself grace. I was wrong. Oh, I’ve had to show myself plenty of grace, it’s true. But N has taught me that being present is the most important thing. I can write emails while she naps, or check my Instagram feed after she goes to bed at night, but these precious moments with her? They’re flying by. So I set my phone down, and I look in her eyes. I snuggle her close when she needs me. I’m trying to live each moment as it is. I’m trying to extend that presence to all aspects of my life. To focus on my meals when I’m eating. To listen to people when they’re speaking. To be present in all aspects of life.
Everything is different now. It’s messier, more exhausting, and yet, it’s exactly the same. The days blur together in an endless parade of giggles and emails and laundry. The giggles are new, but the endless emails and laundry have always been here. We’ve gone to IKEA, H has taken a business trip without us, and N’s been to three states (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho). She’s got her passport, and is preparing for her first trip to Germany.
In some ways, the busy nature of having her has helped me. I’m more focused. I tend to waste less time on social media, because I have things to get done. I’m behind on getting my garden planted, but hey, we got some April snow, so it was kind of a blessing. I may not be multitasking as much, but I’m a boss at prioritizing and getting things done. I’m finding a new balance in 2017.
A couple years ago, I started getting a lot more inquiries to photograph small weddings. Intimate weddings, I called them. I started shooting weddings with less than 50 guests. Then, I was getting inquiries for weddings with less than 25 guests. And now, I occasionally get to shoot an elopement or two in the Inland Northwest. A lot of people have told me that they can’t find much information on how to elope locally, usually it’s for an Las Vegas or NYC elopement. So, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned, and hopefully you can plan the wedding or elopement of your dreams with lots less stress! Win. 🙂
How to Elope in (North) Idaho.
Eloping in Idaho is, in a few ways, a lot easier than eloping in Washington. First of all, there is no waiting period to get your Idaho marriage license. That means you could walk in there this morning, and get married this afternoon. Bam! Just that easy. Second, unlike Washington, which requires two witnesses to a marriage, Idaho only requires the officiant’s signature, so you can get married with no guests, just your officiant – and photographer! – in attendance. Here’s the Kootenai County marriage information page. Their office is in Coeur d’Alene — and yes, they’re even open on Saturdays.
Now that you’ve decided to elope in Idaho, and figured out how to get your marriage license, it’s time to decide where to get married. You could call a court judge, and get married at the courthouse, but there are so many beautiful places in Idaho to get married. When Sara & Joel decided to elope in Idaho last year, and rented a cabin on Hauser Lake for a long weekend, and brought their sweet pups along! In doing a quick search, I found so many cute places on AirBnB, that I made a list. I love this yurt in the mountains near Sandpoint! If you’re local, maybe consider getting married at home. How sweet would it be to say you got married in your own backyard? But, if you’re like me, and your backyard isn’t exactly picturesque, you could choose a beautiful park, like the City Park in Coeur d’Alene. If the lake isn’t exactly your thing, why not hike up a trail at Q’emiln Park in Post Falls and get married in the woods?
Or, maybe my favorite, splurge on a couple fancy nights at a boutique hotel (like the Blackwell Hotel in Coeur d’Alene) and elope there! Many of the hotels have small elopement packages. The bonus of booking a package at one of the hotels? They often take care of details like an officiant, and give you extra perks like a massage or breakfast in bed. Both of those things sound amazing to me! 🙂
Lastly, once you’ve decided to elope, get in touch! Weekday elopement coverage starts at just $700 right now, and is the perfect way to share your wedding with all those friends and family who won’t be with you on the day of your wedding. I’m happy to recommend locations, officiants, and other vendors – like a florist! – to make your intimate wedding feel as special as it is.
It’s April this week, and it finally feels like spring is on it’s way to Spokane!! Looking back over my March photos made me realize what a busy month it was. We got a lot done in March after hibernating for most of January and February. I’m sure some of that was because of N’s arrival, but I think a lot of it had to do with all of the snow!!
March started with a couple of sunny days! Or at least, moments of sunshine. N’s room faces west, so we get the most glorious sunshine in the afternoons. It’s really amazing. N isn’t a huge fan of the sun streaming it, because it lands right on the glider and sometimes blinds her. Oh gosh, I have to rave about the glider we got. We ended up buying it secondhand from another mama, and it’s been seriously the best thing we’ve purchased. if you’re planning on having a baby, buy the best glider you can afford. I promise, it’s worth it. I spend so many hours in ours!! Anyway, there’s just something about soaking up that sunshine while nursing my babe. Sometimes I just want to rush through those moments so I can get back to whatever we were doing, but I remember that she’s only going to want to snuggle me for so long, so I’m trying to soak up the moments — and the tiny baby toes.
We’re heading to Germany in May, and so we decided to fly down to Portland for a single night (we’re crazy, I know) to test out this whole “flying with a baby” business. It was a good learning experience, for sure! N did pretty well on the flight, and we learned a ton from our adventures. Portland is a fantastic airport for kids and mamas. There is a lactation/pumping room near the Alaska gates (just past security). We popped our heads it to check it out — it’s roomy! — but didn’t need it this time, plus they have a nice family bathroom near the Starbucks and the Alaska gates, which is where N and I grabbed this quick selfie. Also: hallelujah for babywearing. We went to Portland without a stroller, but with two baby carriers! N didn’t nap very well, with all the travel and new adventures, so being able to snuggle her in close meant she would nap on us. She even slept through her first adventure at Powell’s, but don’t worry, we bought her a book to commemorate it.
Since we knew we were staying in downtown Portland, we traveled extra light — no stroller or carseat — and just took the MAX down to our hotel. Surprise, surprise, our super travel baby was bored and slept. It was a little annoying at times, but for quick trips, I think it’s great to travel so light (we were still carry on only, even with bring N’s travel crib along). She was pretty worn out from the trip – we all were – and napped a lot the next few days. She doesn’t normally fall asleep after nursing that often, but she did that week. Lola and Shadow also decided to come snuggle up in N’s room while she napped on me. I took advantage of the free hour to start reading a book, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, which I ended up devouring and stayed up late to finish.
March also was the end of my maternity leave, and I started working again regularly, instead of just trying to keep up with my emails. Thankfully, H has been able to make his schedule flexible and has been home one afternoon a week, but I end up working late in the evenings too. That’s not going to work long term, so I’m working out a plan for the summer. Eventually, I’ll even actually get things together and do work. Anyway!! Of course, I swear, on the days when I needed to get a bunch of work done, N would realize that. She won’t nap and she’s super fussy, and needs to be held all the time. So, mama naps and baby wearing are the only way I can get even the littlest things done.
I had my friend Alyssa (check out her Etsy shop) make this sweet Gonzaga headband for N, and she wore it all through March Madness! She was very unhappy to find out we didn’t win the championship, but she’s a Zags fan for life. She was super fussy during the final 4 game, until I turned her around to watch the game. Starting her young! 😉 In business news, my new business cards and thank you cards arrived from the printer, and I can’t wait to send them all out to my couples and new clients this year!!
Miss N was wearing her Gonzaga outfit a lot for March Madness, we were super happy about that, for sure! My brother came up for a day to help us build a real fence around our veggie garden. We had put up some fencing last year, after we realized that Shadow didn’t know the difference between the garden and the grass, and just ran through all my plants. 🙁 But he started jumping that little fence, and we had to build a new one! Shadow, being the quirky pup he is, decided that the pile of sawdust from the table saw was a great place to lay down. Crazy pup! Lastly: some gratuitous chunky baby legs. N had such skinny legs when she was born, but now it’s all rolls! I can’t believe how fast she’s growing, and I am so thrilled that it’s April and spring is here!!!
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Oh, February. I can’t tell you how many times I looked up plane tickets to warm places like Hawaii or Palm Springs. Luckily for H, they were all too expensive. Otherwise, he would have come from work one day to find that I had taken N to someplace much warmer and with far less snow! 🙂 Last winter was so much easier to handle, because we escaped to Barbados in December. I’m already thinking we need to head to Hawaii next winter. So, if you’ve been there, will you give me your tips??? We’ve never been! [Yes, I know it’s crazy that I’ve been all over the world but never to Hawaii. That’s life!]
In late January, I caved and bought N one of the first – and only – super girly things she has. And uh, it doesn’t even even fit anymore, but the cute little flowers were adorable. Also, it snowed a lot. To the point where I wanted to cry every time it snowed. That view is a lot different now, thankfully!
A selfie with my cutie at her two month appointment, and a snap from her two month photos. It’s crazy to me to take her monthly photos on the same quilt, and see how she’s growing! I know that she’s getting bigger, but when I look at these photos from a few weeks ago, I can’t believe how much bigger she is already!!
N got her first real set of shots at her two month appointment, and boy, was it rough. First, I’m super lucky that N is a generally really happy go-lucky kid. She’s stubborn and goes from happy to hangry in a hot second, but she’s generally pretty awesome. So, the amount of fussiness after her two month shots nearly broke my heart. We snuggled all day long, and after a day or two, she was back to her usual self. I’m not looking forward to her next appointment, because I know she’ll get more shots! 🙁
N took her first trip to Seattle, which included lots of snuggles with family, learning to use a ring sling, and a 2nd birthday party. She was a total champ and napped like a pro in the car. Since then, we’ve flown to Portland and driven down the Tri Cities. Have baby, will travel! 🙂 When we were over in Coeur d’Alene at Mother’s Haven to take some photos last month, we swung up to Paragon Brewery for lunch. The food was great, and H really liked his beer. N slept through most of it while we took turns snuggling her and eating.
My first shoot back from maternity leave (while still kind of on leave, haha) was to help my friend Amy, over at Inland Mama, announce her third baby. I am impressed by her tandem wearing, but tandem wearing while pregnant?! #momgoals
Every February for the past three years, a friend of mine has hosted a private Facebook group where we wear red lipstick all month long. I wasn’t as active as I have been in years past, but I found a couple new shades. I’ve found that red lips automatically make you look put together. No one realizes that you’re not wearing any other makeup if you’ve got a red lip.
And that’s it! A month of snow, baby snuggles, red lips, and N’s first road trip! I can’t believe yesterday was the first day of spring, and I even did some yard work over the weekend.
Oh, hey there. It’s been a while. I had this great idea that I could keep up with blogging while I was on maternity leave, but that didn’t really happen, did it? I wanted to blog so many times, but I wanted the new site to be done first. And now, it is! And I’m back! 🙂 I don’t know why I thought the Monday after Daylight Savings Time would be a great day to go back to work, but I’m here!!
So, let’s start with a personal post – my December & January recap. Spoiler alert — it involved a lot of baby snuggles (and waaaay too much snow). A few days before N’s arrival, Lola and Shadow were almost cuddling on his bed (cameo by my big ol’ belly). The second two photos were taken less than 24 hours apart. The first, I planned to send to my mom, because I was really proud of myself for putting on real shoes – with laces – to get the oil changed in my car. Little did I know, 12 hours later, I’d be at the hospital. The second photo was the view from our recovery room, just after N was born. There hadn’t been any snow on the ground when we went to the hospital.
Little miss and I enjoying some snuggles and skin to skin on her first day, and the view of downtown from the skybridge at Sacred Heart.
We got home from the hospital just in time to watch the MLS final, which the Seattle Sounder’s won! N’s first MLS match in the books, and she wasn’t even 72 hours old. 🙂 I snapped a little selfie with N a few days after she was born, because I had gotten so accustomed to seeing a big, pregnant, belly, and instead, I was holding this tiny little baby in my arms. I still can’t believe it some days!
We’ve done a lot of baby wearing in the weeks since N was born. It makes my life 100x easier, and I’m completely addicted to it. We celebrated our first Christmas as a family of three by snuggling on couch and watching a fire video on the TV. Then we started binge watching The Man in the High Castle and I am going to impatiently dream of season 3. Any other good shows I should try and catch?
January was a blur of baby snuggles and shoveling snow. So. Much. Snow. I’m really looking forward to spring, how about you?
And that’s it! I can’t believe it’s already March, I have so much catching up to do!!
One of my goals for 2016 was to be more diligent in posting these recap posts, because I felt like each month was just flying past in a blur. I’m sure it’s only going to get crazier when baby Wenzel arrives this month!
We packed a lot of stuff into October and November. Once I ended my wedding season in September, I still had a bunch of editing and family sessions to do in October, plus we were working on the nursery like crazy. You guys, it’s almost done and I’m really hoping to share it with you very, very soon!!
October, oh October. You were full of rain. It was the rainiest month every recorded in Spokane, and I’ve lived through a couple rainy spring months in this town. Even my dog was sick of the rain (you can see how bored he was a few photos down)! He got to the point where he would pout at the window, because he didn’t want to go out in the rain. I didn’t blame him. I never track my fitbit data like I should, but I bet my October was super lazy, because neither of us wanted to go for walks. On the other hand, the weather was still warm enough for me to enjoy my favorite lunch – toast. I happened to score a perfectly ripe avocado, and after a bunch of disappointing ones, had to document that joy. The other slice is covered in cream cheese and homemade plum butter.
Baby Wenzel’s upcoming arrival also gave me the chance to order some new thank you cards, so I designed these simple little ones. I’ve been sending out a lot of them lately! This blanket, from a past bride, and these books, from my cousin, were some of the first gifts to arrive. I’m pretty sure I owe my postman a large plate of Christmas cookies this year, because he’s been delivering quite a few packages this fall!
I’ve been following Luisa on Instagram for ages, and it’s always been a double edged sword. I love seeing images of her life in Berlin, but it’s like looking into an alternate reality where we lived in Germany instead of the US. However, I was extremely thrilled when she announced her new cookbook, and H and I were both looking forward to the day it arrived. In fact, I had a streuselkuchen in the oven mere hours after its’ arrival! We’ve only made a few recipes so far, but it has earned a place on my cookbook shelf for good. I even used her streusel topping instead of my normal pie topping this Thanksgiving, and it got rave reviews!
We finished off the month of October with the last of my mini sessions at Cannon Hill Park, and Halloween. We didn’t have nearly as many trick or treaters this year (I blame the rain and it being a Monday), so I ended up with tons of extra candy…and ate most of it myself. Oh boy. But at least our costumes were amazing this year!
November arrived and all of a sudden, most of my clothing didn’t fit anymore and I was scrambling to find a winter coat. I’ve been doing pretty good about going to yoga every week, and I can’t tell you how much I love my Sunday prenatal class at South Perry Yoga. But a couple weeks ago, I had to stop on my walk home, because even though I’ve seen this belly every single day, I’m still surprised sometimes by my reflection. When we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, we ended up coming up with a lot of gifts for baby Wenzel, and Shadow got to sleep on the back seat. He was pretty thrilled, and slept the whole way home.
It’s been great to see how much better Shadow is doing with this round of home renovation. Last year, we couldn’t do any work without him having to be in his crate. Now, he does a pretty good job of hanging out nearby, although sometimes he has to come in and lay down and let us know how boring we are, haha!
Slightly related: we ordered a few things for the nursery, and Amazon sent them to me in this giant box. Lola loves boxes, and hid inside this one. Shadow kept trying to find her in the box, and she would bat at his nose with her paws to keep him out, which provided me with a good half hour of entertainment before he figured out how to open the box enough to see her without getting smacked.
And that was October & November…I really need to take more photos of Lola, but she’s been a bit cranky with me, since she doesn’t fit in my lap very well anymore, and has preferred H to me. What did you do in October or November?