Motherhood Monday – Ashleigh T.

It’s Monday, and after a special edition of MM last week, we’re back to our regularly scheduled interviews this week! This week’s MM Mama is Ashleigh T.!

Meet Ashleigh

Ashleigh and I were in the same 5th grade class! We became fast friends then and were friends all the way through high school. When we went to different colleges, we lost touch a little bit, but through life circumstances, we have been reunited over the past year and a half or so and it has been so sweet! She has a sweet one-year-old named Turner that is absolutely precious, and it has been so much fun walking through having little boys together so far! We can’t wait to be able to hang out with the “T” family more soon! Ashleigh is kind, caring, and so funny. I have loved getting to be her friend through the years!

The Interview

1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)

My husband and I met on September 17, 2012 at 12 pm at the University of Montevallo Farmer Hall. We had been set up by a dear mutual friend. We talked for a few hours about life, dreams, and well…babies. We discussed the desire we both had to adopt hours after we first met. Our relationship blossomed quickly, and we were married on July 19, 2014.

On August 15, 2015 I had a “gut” feeling to take a test. Without any symptoms or any reason to think it would actually turn positive, I took a test for the fun of it. Three tests later, we jumped in the car and purchased more tests for those also to turn out positive.

I had a very scary pregnancy in the beginning. My hormone levels were not increasing as they should, had a uterine tumor that was causing issues, and doctors had tried to prepare me for the worse.

Fast forward nine scary months filled with fear and doubt by doctors and too much googling, I gave birth to the most precious baby boy on April 6th, 2016. Turner Stephens Thomas, (now ONE YEAR old) came into the world via an emergency c section a few weeks early and spent his first few days in the NICU. On the day he was released to go home, I held my son wire free for the first time in what felt like an eternity. I was in awe that his tiny life had been entrusted in the hands of my husband and me.

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First moments as a family of THREE! Picture provided by Ashleigh

2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?

Mommin’ ain’t easy. Turner’s first few weeks at home were tough. I had the mindset that “fed was best” and told myself that I would try nursing and if it didn’t work, well then; it simply wasn’t the end of the world. The day after we arrived home from the hospital, with the stress of everything that had happened and trying to heal from a major surgery, I was not producing anything to satisfy my son. We put our boy on formula and to this day I wonder if things would be different. Letting go and realizing that in the big picture not everything is my fault has been my biggest lesson.

Lesson two would be that, after seven ear infections and a pretty extensive surgery our son surpassed doctors’ expectations, and I now know that doctors don’t know everything. My faith has grown so much in the last ten months, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for my little family.

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Such a sweet face! Picture provided by Ashleigh

3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.

Sometimes I jokingly wonder if Turner can read our minds. He often comes to snuggle or give kisses just when we need them making, our day so much brighter.

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Turner First Birthday Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

4. What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?

My biggest challenge of motherhood is feeling sufficient. I am a recent graduate and have my first teaching job. I teach fourth grade ELA at a small town school about twenty minutes from home. I love and adore my 43 students and consider them “my kids,” but when I am home my time must be devoted to Turner. I often wonder if I am doing the right thing but God gives the perfect signs at just the right time telling me that I am. I know I must move forward and give my job my all in order to provide for my family. Being a mother will always be a top priority so finding balance is something that I will continue to work towards in the midst of this crazy thing we call life.

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Way to go, Mama!! Ashleigh graduated a couple weeks after Turner was born. Picture provided by Ashleigh

5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?

Hours: 24/7, 365

Pay: kisses, squeals, and unmeasurable amounts of joy

Description: Worry endlessly, give it your all, run on caffeine and limited sleep, clean lots of vomit and poop, LAUNDRY galore, kisses, tears (from both the parents and baby), hugs, & laughter

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“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?

Growing up my parents were very involved with everything I did. My grandparents were also extremely involved, and some of my fondest memories are those that were spent with my extended family. Turner sees my parents pretty much every day and sees my husband’s family at least once a week. I pray he cherishes the time with his extended family as much as I did growing up!

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“T” Family Pictures — Helena, AL — Spring 2017

7. If you knew someone who just found out they were going to be a mom, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.

As cliche as it sounds, enjoy every single second. It goes by way too fast and stay off google! Don’t google the good, bad, and ugly because it fills you with unnecessary fear!

Take time for you and your spouse or significant other before the baby comes; in a good way, things will never be the same.

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8. Anything else you want to include?

Life is precious and you have been chosen by the Father to raise your child. Lean on Him and there is no doubt that good things will happen!

Wrap-Up

I love how Ashleigh talked about the stress and pressure of breast feeding and how she chose that “fed is best.” There is so much pressure and disagreement about how babies should be fed, and most of the time we don’t applaud moms for simply doing what is best for their family and their child. I also love how she talked about her faith growing while Turner has surpassed doctors’ expectations. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord answers prayers?

Thank you for answering my questions, Ashleigh!! Your words were encouraging and honest.

What was your favorite thing that Ashleigh said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.

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Motherhood Monday – Special Edition

Part of our family story is that Sam and I were “long-distance married” for the first 9 months of our marriage and the first 5 months of my pregnancy with Henry. One of my sweet friends from college is going through a similar season of life, and she asked me to answer some questions for her blog!

Here’s a sneak peek of the post:

How did you deal with the stress of being pregnant while Sam was gone? 

When we found out I was pregnant with Henry, we had already been living long-distance for about 4 months. This did not make it any easier though. Sam took the majority of the stress on his back. He served me well by traveling back and forth from Atlanta to Tuscaloosa almost every single weekend. Since I was still in school, it was hard for me to get over to him and get back at reasonable times. Looking back, I did not appreciate all that he did for me and Henry during that time. When he was there, he put cold washcloths on my neck when I would get sick. He would buy me Coke icees or whatever I was craving that day. He would get to Tuscaloosa really late at night Thursday or Friday nights after fighting the traffic, and he would leave really early in the morning on Mondays to make it back in time for work. He sacrificed a lot, so I could finish school well, and that is something that I will always be grateful for. Being long distance also allowed us to be more appreciative and thankful for the time that we had together. I would get so excited about the weekend, not only because it was the weekend but because I knew that Sam would home with me

 I think there were several ways that I dealt with the stress. One of them was just being in an active relationship with Jesus. He frees us, and He loves us. He wants the best for us, and spending time with Him was and still is the best stress reliever. One of them was being in/leading a small group of girls. This created a consistent time to be surrounded by other believers and talk about Jesus. It was a sweet time of rest that I truly came to love and appreciate so much more than I ever had, even though I had been in these small groups before. Another thing that saved my sanity during this time was my friend that I carpooled with to the school we were both interning at. It took about 30 minutes to get to our school, so we spent a lot of time in the car processing, talking about what the Lord was teaching us, and being each other’s sounding board for all of life’s craziness. I am so thankful for the way Rachel loved me in that season. I cannot stress enough the importance of community in all seasons of life.

Click here to read the rest of the post and my answers to all of Hailey’s questions! 




Motherhood Monday – Leigh H.

Monday has rolled around again, and it’s time for my favorite post of the week, Motherhood Monday! This week, Leigh H. is in the hot seat to answer all my questions about motherhood.

Meet Leigh

Leigh is someone I’ve met since we moved to Georgia. She is in the MOPS (Moms of Pre-Schoolers) group that I am part of, and she and her husband are part of the young marrieds group that Sam and I are part of as well. She is one of the sweetest, most intentional people that I’ve met. She always asks questions and shows that she is genuinely interested in getting to know you. When I first joined MOPS, I was so glad that she was there because she really made me feel welcome as soon as I joined! I can’t wait for y’all to read Leigh’s answers.

The Interview

1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Include your child(ren) and their age(s)

I would describe my motherhood journey as a blessed surprise and a demonstration of God’s ability to do immeasurably more! For the first two years of my marriage, my ability to have children did not look promising. However, God healed me. After that my husband and I spent several years just enjoying life as a family of two, and then just as we were toying with the idea of having a baby, we found out we were expecting! My daughter Olivia is now 3.

2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?

Being a mom has taught me how to be flexible, and it’s reminded me how little I can control in life. Neither of these lessons were “fun” for me to learn, but gaining this knowledge has served me well in other areas of my life. God was gracious and kind to use a sweet little girl as His teaching method! Lastly, I’ve learned how little some things matter that seemed very important in my mind before I became a mom.

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Sweet Olivia! Picture provided by Leigh

3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.

Olivia had a bit of a speech delay when she was a toddler. It is so precious to me to have long conversations with her now and hear her chatter all day long. I also adore seeing her excitement over the little things – a new cup, getting to do something by herself for the first time, going out to dinner. She teaches me a lot about being grateful and recognizing all of the “little” blessings that come each day.

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Love this precious family picture! Picture provided by Leigh

4. What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?

The biggest challenge of being a mom is the lack of control we have (do you see a theme here?!). I want to jump in and “fix” everything, help her figure things out, make sure everyone is kind to her and force her to obey. Guess what? I can’t do any of that. My job is to guide her, pray and then trust that God can use whatever transpires for his glory. My job is simply obedience; He’s the one in charge of outcomes.

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Those curls! Picture provided by Leigh

5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?

A mom is a nurturer, cook, maid, driver, social coordinator, advocate, detective and mentor.

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Big smiles! Picture provided by Leigh

6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects our parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?

My parents love to celebrate, and they celebrate big. Holidays, birthdays and accomplishments came with cheers, decorations, gifts, parties and who knows what else! They also made traditions a significant part of each holiday. I plan to do the same as Olivia grows, because each of these things made life really fun and gave me things to look forward to each year.

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Playground time is the best time! Picture provided by Leigh

7. If you knew someone who just found out they were going to be a mom, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.

My practical tip would be that she should reading about the different feeding schedules and routines out there. I think a lot of moms focus their preparation on the delivery and forget that it’s a very, very small part of parenthood. Before a mom-to-be is sleep deprived, she should research and pray about the approaches and routines that would best fit her family’s lifestyle. As far as wisdom, I would want to tell her that God will equip her with everything she needs to be a great mom. She can be at peace knowing that His supply is endless.

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Look at that sweet face! Picture provided by Leigh

Wrap-Up

I resonate with Leigh’s answer about not being able to control or “fix” everything. I thought her words about just obeying what we feel the Lord is asking of us and letting Him take care of our children. I read a blog post about our children coming third, and it reminds me of that. When we live our lives with God first, our spouse second, and our children third, it takes so much pressure off of us to have everything perfect for them or being able to control everything. I know that the Lord loves Henry and my future kiddos so much more than I ever could, so I know that He will work everything out for them more perfectly than I could ever imagine.

Leigh, thank you for your thoughtful answers to my questions and your intentionality with people around you. I loved reading your words of wisdom.

What was your favorite thing that Leigh said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.

 

Motherhood Monday – Jessica V.

Welcome back to Motherhood Monday on the blog!! It has been about a month since I’ve welcomed someone to the blog to talk about their motherhood experience. I’m really excited to welcome Jessica V. to the blog today!! We actually got to visit them last week, and it was so much fun hanging out with them and seeing their son, Nathan, for only the second time. He is the sweetest baby!

Meet Jessica

Jessica and I have husband best friends. Our husbands lived together in college, so we got to become friends too! Edgar, her husband, was in our wedding, and Sam was in theirs. We actually have similar timing when it comes to our stories with our husbands too. They started dating around the same time we started dating, got engaged around the same time we got engaged, and our weddings were two weeks apart. It has been so special to live life alongside each other, even from far away. Jessica is a very sweet, thoughtful, and wise friend. She is very loyal to those around her, has an incredible heart for the Lord, and seems to juggle being a mom and wife very well. I can’t wait for y’all to read her words of wisdom.

The Interview

1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)

When I think back over my motherhood journey, I feel such a mix of emotions, from sadness and grief, to absolute joy, to fear and confusion, and also a large measure of gratitude towards God for all that He has taught me through this process. My journey started almost exactly a year ago. One Sunday in mid-March 2016, I found myself in my bathroom holding a positive pregnancy test. My husband and I were definitely in shock, but elated to be expanding our family. On Monday, I miscarried. It was very early in my pregnancy, and my doctor told me it was fairly common and probably would have no bearing on my ability to get pregnant in the future. Even so, I was heartbroken. One moment there had been a little life growing inside of me, and the next it was gone.

I also felt a lot of shame and fear of condemnation. I felt like the world would have me believe that it wasn’t a big deal; that it wasn’t even a baby that I had lost, because it was no bigger than a poppy seed. I was in counseling at the time, and my counselor was so helpful in giving me a framework for thinking about my pain. She reassured me that I was absolutely entitled to grieve my loss (and to me it was a very real loss), no matter what the world wanted me to believe. I think the Lord really used that experience to teach me about allowing myself to feel my emotions, to grieve loss and acknowledge pain rather than just pretending that “I’m fine.”

That was also a season of learning to trust in God’s character, even when I don’t understand His plan. A verse that was really comforting to me during that time was Psalm 139:16, which starts, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance.” I clung to the truth that God could see that little unformed baby just as clearly as He can see you or me. Even if no one else could mourn that tiny life in the same way as me, God could.

Another lesson in trusting God’s character came when I found out I was pregnant the second time. In the interest of being honest, I’ll say we ended up getting pregnant right after my miscarriage because we didn’t realize that a woman could be ovulating immediately after a miscarriage and before her period returned. It turns out she can! That was such an emotional roller coaster. I had just accepted that we were not going to be having a baby and had turned my mind towards what our next year of ministry with the Navigators would look like…and then I found out I was pregnant again. I had been feeling so hopeful and excited about really investing in freshmen women at Vanderbilt, only to then realize that I would not get the amount of time with them that I had expected. I was so excited about this new baby, but at the same time I was sad to be “giving up” my expectations for what the next year of my life would look like. I really had to wrestle with accepting that God’s plan for my life was good and right.

As my pregnancy went on, I did come to feel greater peace about this new season that God was leading us into. I also think that God began to really increase my joy, especially through sweet moments like seeing my little man on the ultrasound and feeling him kick. At times I still felt sad for how my life would be changing and fear for how unknown the whole parenthood thing felt, but it was really helpful for me to be honest about naming those emotions when they came. I am so thankful that I had the Lord, my dear husband, and sweet friends to walk with me through whatever I was feeling and help me to face the coming season with hope and courage.

My healthy baby boy, Nathan Judah Voltz, was born December 13, 2016 (5 days earlier than his due date). He is three months old now, and I absolutely love being his mommy. My life right now looks so different than I had expected, but I am so thankful for it and for the truth that God’s plan is so much better than my own.

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“Nathan was just a few days old when we took this picture. My husband, Edgar, is such a wonderful husband and father!” Picture provided by Jessica

2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is one that I feel like I learn over and over again through different seasons of my life. I think I could sum it up in two parts: 1) my life is not about me (nor has it ever been) and 2) I’m selfish and often want it to be.

Being a mom means I can no longer choose to do what I want whenever and however I want anymore, because there’s a tiny human who needs me to meet all of his needs and provide stability for his little world. It’s funny, I’ve always thought of moms as just being these inherently selfless superheroes, but I’m learning that selflessness isn’t inherent at all (in fact, I think the Bible tells us that we are instead inherently self-centered).

I think God is building selflessness into me through the daily trial of choosing another over myself. There have been plenty of moments when I am finally about to fall asleep, cozy in my warm bed, when my baby wakes up crying. In those moments, a part of me is really tempted to roll over and hope my son figures it out on his own, but because I love my son, I get up and go to him…time and time again. There was a period of time (after the initial adrenaline rush of parenthood had worn off) when this process of choosing another over myself was really hard for me. Even if I was physically caring for my son, I was constantly thinking about my “needs” and the things I felt like I was missing out on. However, as time has gone on and I’ve adjusted to my new role, it has slowly become easier to put his needs before my own.

I’m slowing becoming a more selfless person, and honestly, I really like the person that motherhood is making me become. I want to look more like Jesus. I was recently reading Philippians 2:3-4, which says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” When I read those verses, I thought, “Wow, that kind of humility is what I want my life to be marked by.” I really believe that motherhood is a huge part of God’s training plan for me to grow to look more like Christ.

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“Here’s my sweet 3 MONTH OLD! Where is the time going?!” Picture provided by Jessica

3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.

Nathan is still so little, so I’m not sure that I can think of any specific story to share. However, I love just spending time with him and seeing his little personality come out more and more. He’s just a sweet, happy, laidback, inquisitive, and thoughtful boy. I am getting so much joy right now from the times we spend together while I’m putting him down to sleep. I typically sit with him in my arms, rock him, and sing worship, Disney, or Needtobreathe songs. Often times, while he’s still fairly awake, he will “sing” along with me by making these elongated cooing sounds (I can’t think of a better way to describe them!). It just makes my heart soar. I love thinking about all of the singing our family will do together in the future, whether in times of worship or just playing around in the car. I also love that I get to sing the Gospel over my son and myself every day; it really ministers to my heart!

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“I’m generally a pretty silly person, and I love sharing that with my little guy!” Picture provided by Jessica

4. What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?

I think that women today, mothers or not, feel a lot of pressure to “have it all together”. We can feel like we have to excel at everything we do, and if we’re not excellent in everything then we must be failing at everything. I think the heat just gets turned up on all that when you become a mother. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to have perfectly-behaved model babies, a successful career, a tiny waistline, a Pinterest-perfect house that is always clean, healthy home-cooked meals on the table every night, deep relationships with friends that we keep up with regularly, and an ever-grateful husband who just gushes about how good we are at loving them. I get exhausted just thinking about it, and yet I often get caught up in trying to figure out how to meet these impossible standards!

Now that I’m a mom, I feel like I’m even less able to meet these standards. Nothing can thwart the best-laid plans quite like a baby, am I right? So, I’ve been trying to challenge myself to really devote the majority of my effort towards nurturing my son and loving my husband. If I have additional capacity in a given week, it usually goes towards my ministry with college students, but I’m trying to practice discipline by putting my family as my first priority. I want to be a woman who is faithful to work where the Lord has called me, not a woman who is chasing after an unrealistic standard of perfection that I will never meet. Granted, I am so far from having this figured out. If I’m being honest, I still spend way too much time comparing myself to the perfect mommies of Instagram. Thankfully, I am often reminded by my sweet husband and good friends that I do not have to have it all together to try to meet some imaginary standard of perfection – and that is so freeing!

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“Snuggly nights in watching Netflix are some of my favorite times with my little family!” Picture provided by Jessica

5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?

I think it would go something like this:

“This position requires long hours; must be willing to work weekends, holidays, etc. Actually, there really is no off time included with this position. No experience required; plenty of on-the-job training. This position will quickly help one to develop skills such as problem-solving, advanced negotiation tactics, and flexibility. Daily tasks may include but are not limited to: spending large amounts of time making sure your child is eating enough, handling various bodily functions (which can often be found in places they should not be, like on your clothes), practicing the art of stealthily placing a sleeping baby into his crib, experiencing the small wonders of discovering a big world while you watch your child play, and relishing in lots of baby snuggles. This job can be extremely difficult, but more rewarding than words can describe.”

6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?

I know that my parenting will certainly be influenced by the way my parents raised me, but because Nathan is still so young, I’m not sure I’ve seen much of my parenting style or tendencies come out yet. I’m also realizing it is a lot easier to think about all of the things I would do differently from my parents, but that’s not to say that my parents didn’t do a lot of good things to love and support me and my sister either.

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is just how much I value traditions. My family was never much for creating traditions that we held onto for years and years. We were generally very flexible in most things that we did. That flexibility had its benefits, but sometimes my heart really longs to have traditions that I can carry on with my own children. Now that I’m planning my own family’s future, I LOVE that I get to be in control of creating sweet moments that my children can look forward to and expect each year. Most of the traditions that I want to start revolve around Christmas, but I also love the idea of birthday traditions and summer vacation traditions. I want my children to feel a special sense of closeness and security from our family structure, and I think traditions are one way to build into that.

7. If you knew someone who just found out they were pregnant with their first baby, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.

I don’t know if I have much sage advice to offer because I’m still such a newbie at this myself, but one thing that comes to mind is just to give yourself so much grace! Adjusting to parenthood is hard all by itself, and when you add on top of that the fact that you are recovering from a major procedure (no matter which way your baby is born) and trying to adjust to chronic sleeplessness, things are just going to be difficult at first! It is totally okay to eat take-out every night, have dirty dishes in the sink, laundry piled up, etc. You will eventually learn to adjust to a new routine for your family, but it doesn’t have to be a week after your baby is born…or even seven weeks for that matter! As an aside to that, when Nathan was first born I made it a practice to never turn down help when it was offered. If people wanted to bless our family by washing our dirty dishes, I totally let them. It made such a difference to have people who were willing to help us!

As far as practical goes, I would say don’t let your guard down when it comes to your baby’s bodily functions. I swear, every time I think that I don’t need to throw a burp cloth over my shoulder because surely my child won’t spit up on me, I end up with the biggest trail of spit up running down my shirt. The same goes for little boys with peeing. The moments when I think I’m safe, that surely my son won’t pee when I open his diaper, are the times that I end up using my hands to block a huge stream of pee from covering the walls of the nursery! But then again, maybe my child is just a prankster!

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“This was my reality when Nathan was first born! I was exhausted all the time and needed so much help.” Picture provided by Jessica

Wrap-Up

Jessica’s answers were all so real and so wise, but one of my favorite things that she talked about was how hard it is to always put someone else’s needs over your own. This is something that I know I really struggled with when Henry was first born, and it is still a struggle now, as I’m sure it will probably always be. We are inherently self-centered, so I know the Lord uses motherhood to teach us selflessness along with about a million other things.

Thanks for answering my questions, Jessica! Your honesty and wisdom is so appreciated, and I loved reading your motherhood journey.

What was your favorite thing that Jessica said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.

Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement

Brittany and Trey are so sweet to each other and to the people around them! We are in the same small group at church, and Sam and I have loved getting to know them. When they told our small group that they were expecting, we were so excited for them!! They are going to be such great parents, and we can’t wait to meet that sweet baby.

We took their pictures at Stone Mountain Park, which is where Trey proposed to Brittany!! Such a sweet place to take these pictures. We had quite the time with the balloons, but after duct taping them together and snapping a bunch of takes, we finally got one with them up in the air pretty much perfectly. I love the way these turned out!

Oh, and don’t worry, I waited until they announced. That’s the hardest part about having these pictures–I’m so impatient to share them!

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

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Brittany + Trey Pregnancy Announcement — Stone Mountain, GA — Spring 2017

Jordan + Andrew Maternity

It took awhile for Jordan and me to find a date that worked for their maternity pictures, but when we finally did, the weather was so nice! We got to spend the morning outside exploring, snapping pictures, and swapping pregnancy stories. Sweet Sawyer still hasn’t made an appearance yet (only a few more weeks to go), but doesn’t Jordan make a pretty pregnant mama?? I know they can’t wait to meet their precious baby boy!

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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

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Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Jordan + Andrew Maternity 9 WM

Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Jordan + Andrew Maternity 6 WM

Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Jordan + Andrew Maternity 3 WM

Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Jordan + Andrew Maternity 8 WM

Jordan + Andrew Maternity — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Photography Spring Special key word is DEER.

Sofia’s Birthday Pictures + A Surprise

Sofia’s 3-year-old pictures were so much fun!! We got together at her favorite park and took pictures including her Beauty and the Beast tea set and flowers. She loved the flowers and wanted to hold them the whole time. We had a great time laughing and watching her play. We even took some surprise pictures that you’ll see at the end of this post announcing that Sofia won’t be an only child for much longer! (I waited to post this until after her mom announced of course :))

Sofia 3 year WM 3

Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 1

Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 5

Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 4

Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 8

Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 2

Sofia 3-year-old Birthday — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 6

Sofia Sibling Announcement — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

Sofia 3 year WM 7

Sofia Sibling Announcement — Snellville, GA — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Photography Spring Special key word is SURPRISE.

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity

We had planned Cari + Luis’s maternity shoot for their baby girl, Chloe, weeks in advance. Of course when the day finally came around, it was raining… Cari and Luis were so flexible and sweet to open their home for me to come into and take some pictures of them during the waiting time before their sweet baby arrived.

Side note: Their home is decorated so cute and with very thoughtful decorations from their lives before marriage and their life together now. Foxes have a sweet memory and meaning to them, so the fox they have is extra special for their Chloe. Also, the dress on the fox was Cari’s when she was a baby. See? I’m telling you, they are so thoughtful!

Update on baby watch: Chloe Elizabeth is here and beautiful! I know they are loving life as new parents with their precious baby girl!

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 8 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 1 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 2 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 4 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 3 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 5 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 7 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

Cari + Luis Lifestyle Maternity 6 WM

Cari + Luis — Alabaster, AL — Winter 2016/2017

The Open Hands, Open Home Photography Spring Special key word is FOX.