Top 5 Newborn Items

by Lauryn on July 29, 2014 in Personal

When I was pregnant I loved looking at lists.  I wanted to feel prepared and looking at what others had suggested was so intriguing to me.  Some of it made perfect sense, some items seemed ridiculous, and some were surprising.  I thought I would share 5 items that I think EVERY parent should have.  Truly I think these items will make those first 3 months go better than they would without them.

Jared and I are pretty simplistic.  Our house is not large, and with it being almost 100 years old, we have 2 closets.  Yep, 2.  We don’t have a lot of room to store things!  This is not an exhaustive list.  There are THOUSANDS of items out there that are geared towards the newborn stage.  Im sure all of them serve their purpose and are helpful in some capacity, but they probably aren’t for everyone.   When making this short list, I wanted the items to be something every parent could really use and benefit from.  The truth is you do not need much.  You don’t!! Not in the early months.

Let’s save the best for last and start with #5…

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The 5 S’s.  New parents, take note…these will be lifesaver’s for you.  I am not kidding. When your baby is crying, try ALL of these things. You will figure out quickly which one(s) your baby likes.
1. Swaddle
Babies love to be swaddled. Most all of them love to be saddled all the way up to their neck. Some babies prefer an arm out, or both out. Try swaddling completely first, and if they fight it after several tries, pop an arm out. Do not listen to the naysayers when they sweetly, but passive aggressively tell you that babies want to be free.
2. Side
Hold the baby like a football perpendicularly to the floor, or parallel with the floor on their belly.
3. Shush
This one (and swaddling) are like magic. Shhhhhh REALLY LOUDLY directly into your baby’s ear. Yes, very very loudly. You will feel like you are going to hurt their ear. You won’t. Put your lips on their ear and Shhhh your heart out.
4. Swing/Sway
Hold the baby however you can/like and swing your body back and forth or sway side to side.
5. Suck
If you are breastfeeding and you don’t mind being a human pacifier, by all means go for that. If that is uncomfortable physically (it will be) you can use your pinky, or a pacifier. Sucking immediately sends calming hormones into their bodies.

swaddle 2Aden and Anais swaddle blankets may seem a little pricey but they are SO worth it.  Get a nurse to teach you how at the hospital.  Wrap that baby TIGHT.  If you have a houdini, but you know they sleep better and feel better with a swaddle, do the double swaddle.  Swaddle in the blanket, and them zip them into the Woombie.   Mac was swaddled round the clock for about the first 2 weeks.  We then would give him periods of time out of the swaddle to move his arms and legs around and to do Tummy Time.  We swaddled him for sleeping until he was about 4 months old.
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Ahhhh the Sound Machine.  This one is crucial.  For the baby, and maybe even more so for you.  If you are taking shifts with your husband or wife (you should!) having the sound machine on while the off duty parent sleeps will help them to actually SLEEP.  They won’t hear the crying!  It will also help you sleep while the baby is sleeping.  Babies make SO many weird noises at first.  It sounds like they are choking.  For real.  They grunt and cough and do all sorts of things that will send your new parent heart right up to your throat in fear.   If the baby needs you, he WILL let you know.  Trust. c26-B0045I6IAO-2-l

Even if you are breastfeeding, get a paci.  I know all the books tell you to not do this.  JUST in case, have one on hand.  Sometimes babies just need to suck and your anatomy has already taking a beating to fulfill that need.  Use the paci.  It will be okay!! You will wonder why you waited so long to try it. 14583529_201306281120

My NUMBER ONE baby item: the Rock n Play.  GET THEE A ROCK N PLAY! There are literally no negatives here.  It’s lightweight.  Its super portable.  It collapses for easy storage.  It keeps the baby upright for sleeping to help reduce reflux.  You can rock it with your foot.  Some of them have a vibration button.  Its a safe place to put the baby down while you try to brush your teeth.  Its affordable.  Seriously– go buy this now if you are expecting or line up someone to get it for your shower.  Mac slept in this for the first 6 weeks of his life.  We did a slow transition to the crib, but we still use it to this day!  If I need to do the dishes, Mac goes in the RnP.  If I need to pee, RnP.  The cat is about to puke a hairball onto the couch, RnP.  Don’t worry about buckling them in until they can roll, its not necessary.

Bonus item!!43585042707493p_isSleep gowns (or Footed Zip Up Sleepers) with hand flaps.  These make diaper changes so easy!  The hand flaps are essential because trying to cut a newborn’s nail is like playing Operation.  You are bound to clip their tiny little fingertip and you will hate yourself when you hear the forthcoming screams.  Babies even scratch their faces in the womb.  Mac came out with scratches.  If you can’t find enough clothes with hand flaps, use baby socks in a pinch!

So there you have it, my Top 5 Newborn Items (with a Bonus!)  Agree?  Disagree? I hope this is helpful to someone out there!

1 comment

Kevin & Stephanie: Married!

by Lauryn on July 21, 2014 in Wedding

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Remember Kevin and Stephanie?  I had the best time during their Cherry Blossom Engagement and I was so excited to be shooting their wedding in June! It was a really perfect day.  Sunny, but not too hot with a nice breeze.  We even were able to have a bit of privacy around the Jefferson Memorial! My favorite part of the day was during the Best Man’s toast.  He talked about how God created marriage and how it is a reflection of our relationship with Christ.  His words were so wise and they filled up my heart.  One reason I love shooting weddings is because it reminds me of the vows Jared and I made to one another 5 years ago.  Enjoy some of my favorites of the day, there are a TON!

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FAVORITE!

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We ran into another Bride and Groom!

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Stephanie’s Bridesmaids had tagged along for portraits to help and watch, Steph loved seeing peeks from their phones!!Army Navy Club Wedding DC_0044

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This is Stephanie’s favorite chapter in the Bible and this bible has been in their family for generations! Army Navy Club Wedding DC_0067

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Vendor Info:

Ceremony: Resurrection Lutheran Church
Reception: Army Navy Country Club
Coordination/Planning: Ashlee Virginia Events
Videography: George Bucur
Photography: Lauryn Galloway Photography
Florist: Johnson’s Florist
DJ: Astro DJ
Rentals: Something Vintage
Hair and Makeup: Premiere Hair and Makeup
Cake: Amphora Cake

5 comments

Kevin & Kristen: Married!

by Lauryn on July 8, 2014 in Wedding

This was absolutely the most perfect wedding to start off my season. Happy people, beautiful venue, and perfect weather. Could not have been better! Enjoy some of my very favorites…there are a TON!

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Congratulations Kevin & Kristen!!

Venue: Tuckahoe Plantation
Dress: Bella Rosa Bridal
Shoes: Fibi and Clo
Tux: Men’s Warehouse
Flowers: Floral Praises
Cake: Pearl’s Cupcakes
Hair/Make Up: Ave 42
Ceremony Music: Stephen Clatterbuck
Reception: The Lone Rangers
Caterer: Hazel Ruth, Jeff Ferris
Event rentals: Party Perfect

3 comments

Family: Jayne & Beckett!

by Lauryn on June 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

I really love that pictures are so meaningful to people. I am so thankful for every single picture of I have of my family, even if it’s only one or two of a particular person. I think that pictures reveal something about the people in them. Just a small hint at who they are. When a friend asked me if I would be willing to donate a session to their silent auction benefiting the Richmond Food Bank, I happily said yes! I have donated sessions in the past and I really enjoy doing them.

Meet Jayne and her son Beckett! Jayne won a family session and we had a great evening walking around St. Christopher’s. Beckett attends school there so it was really fitting. He currently is at the lower school campus so he had a good time walking around the “Big School” where he will be very soon!

Enjoy some of my favorites from our time together!

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1 comment

Newborn: Mac!

by Lauryn on June 18, 2014 in Personal

I thought it was about time I shared with you Mac’s Newborn session!

Jared and I were originally going to hire a friend to do these for us, but in the end we couldn’t make it work financially. Some might say that because this is a once in a lifetime kind of thing, we should have splurged. I knew that I could do some though even if it wasn’t as wonderful as it would have been had we hired someone. We are so happy with the images we do have! Are there some we wished we had? Absolutely, but we made the best choice for our family at the time and that was to save money and do them as best we could ourselves!

Enjoy!

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Can’t wait to share his nursery with you! Still a few more things we need to do to call it finished!

7 comments

1st Mother’s Day.

by Lauryn on May 9, 2014 in Personal

What an exciting moment in life. My first Mother’s Day! We are celebrating a bit on Saturday this year because a friend is getting married on Sunday!

I know this day is not an easy day for everyone, including myself. From strained relationships with your Mom, loss of a child, struggles with infertility, losing your Mom, and more… It can be a hard day. I hope that you are able to find some peace on Sunday.

Being a Mama is hard, but there is a lot of joy to be had in it as well!

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Happy Mother’s Day everyone!! I hope its a great one!

1 comment

May Goals.

by Lauryn on May 9, 2014 in Business,Personal

Im so late with this post!!

I think this year has been the fastest feeling year yet. It feels like I blink and there goes another month. Is that what becoming a parent does to you? I don’t think I like it! Spring has been really beautiful this year friends. I think flowers are really lovely, but the Spring trees have stolen my heart. Dogwoods, Cherry Blossoms, Plum Blossoms… they are all so perfect. I have also really enjoyed seeing our Camellia bush bloom. We got it last year at the end of the season (cheaper!) and they only bloom in the Spring. We had to wait a whole year to see it! The blossoms are so pretty and soft. I want the bush to get so big. We purposefully put it in a corner so it could take over that whole area. Definitely will take a few more years.

Onto April’s Goals…

April’s Success Rate: 63% (Not tooooo terrible.)

Personal:

  • Read one book for myself. Im going to read Caleb’s Crossing!
  • Get a Haircut. I’ve been wavering…keep it long, or go short again?!
  • Walk 3-4 times a week, weather permitting.
  • Start Jesus Calling Devotional.

Business:

  • Blog twice a week.
  • Book 2 more weddings.
  • Send off Non-Essential Gear for Cleaning/Calibrating.
  • Taxes!

May

May Goals:

Personal:

  • Read One Book.
  • Walk 3-4 Times A Week, Weather Permitting.
  • Keep Up With Watering Indoor Plants.
  • Mail Mac’s Birth Announcements.
  • Celebrate 2 Friends Marriages!
  • Paint Canvas For Above Mac’s Crib.

Business:

  • Sell Canon 40D.
  • 2nd Shoot for Tori REALLY Well.
  • Blog Twice A Week.
  • Book 1 Wedding.
  • Send Off Non-Essential Gear for Cleaning/Calibrating.

I am really excited for May! It’s going to be a really good month. 2 of our dearest friends are getting married. Jared is in one of the weddings, and I am in the other. It’s so fun being a part of a wedding!! Im also excited to celebrate my first Mother’s Day! Last year Jared and I were still not pregnant and it was a hard day for me. I knew that God had a plan for us, but in the midst of “the wait” it’s so hard to keep that in the forefront of your mind.

What are you looking forward to in May?

1 comment

Mac’s Birth Story.

by Lauryn on April 23, 2014 in Personal

Obligatory Disclaimer:  Birth is very personal.  Please keep that in mind if you would like to comment.  There is a lot of judgement floating around the world of Pregnancy, Birth, and Mothering, and I don’t want to play a part in that.  Birth is also a little…yucky.  I use specific words, so if that isn’t your deal, skip this post.  If you don’t like birth stories, skip this post.  And, lastly, the long version of the story is L-O-N-G. 

The Short of It:

McKinley (Mac) Cooper Galloway

19.5 Inches
6.6 Lbs
2-4-14

Labor started at 4:30 AM.  Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, stayed that way throughout entire labor.  Water broke at 7:00 AM.  Left for Hospital at 2:40 PM.  In Labor room at 3:15 PM.  Was dilated to 6 centimeters.  Went from 6-10 in 1.5 hours.  Started pushing at 4:50 PM.  Mac was born at 5:05 PM!  Med-free Vaginal delivery.  2nd Degree tear because Mac had a hand over his face.  Healthy babe and healthy Mama!

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The Long of It:

I woke up around 4:30 AM with what I thought were contractions.  They were coming pretty close together so I started timing them.  2-3 minutes apart.  They remained 2-3 minutes apart until I was completely dilated and started pushing.  I was too interested in what was happening to fall back asleep.  Around 7 AM I got up to pee and then woke Jared.  I excitedly told him I was in labor.  He asked me questions about what it felt like and we both hoped that the baby would be coming that day.  We also discussed whether he should go to work or not.  I felt a small gush of fluid and ran to the bathroom.  My mucous plug, and a few seconds after that my water started leaking.  It continued to leak for the rest of my labor.   We also immediately knew that Jared would not be going to work that day!  Because my water had broken, we wanted to let the Midwives know.  They said to labor at home until I couldn’t bear it anymore, and to eat and drink as I could.  We labored at home by ourselves until 11:30 AM when we asked our Doula to come.  I took a shower and we cleaned the house!  Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc… I felt good knowing that we would be returning to a clean house!  As I said my contractions continued to be 2-3 minutes apart, but they did start to ramp up in intensity.  At first I would sing the ABC song to distract myself through it, but then I started needing to moan and breathe deeply through them.  I bounced on the ball, and did laps around the kitchen table. Jared and our Doula took turns rubbing my back and hips.  I was happy and making jokes after each contraction.  We checked in with the Midwives.  They listened to me during a contraction and said I was getting close, but since I was so happy between each contraction to wait a bit longer before coming in.  I started to doze off in between contractions so our Doula suggested we lay in the bed for a while.

Something about walking up the stairs and hoisting myself onto our very high bed CHANGED my labor.  Almost immediately I knew things were getting real.  I tried to do one more contraction in the bed, but quickly started shouting that we needed to head to the hospital.  I started to daze out in between contractions.  I didn’t want to talk or be touched.  Laborland!  I had several contractions before we were headed to the hospital.  I’m sure our neighbors were worried because I was loud and I couldn’t care less who heard me!  We left our house at about 2:40 PM and arrived at the hospital by 3:00 PM.  I had so many contractions in the parking deck, elevator (where I tried to be somewhat quiet for others sake!) and walking to Labor and Delivery.  I just clung to Jared through each one. I remember being SO irritated at the check in.  I had to sign so many things and answer so many questions.  We were in our labor room by 3:15 PM.  Trying to work through contractions while one nurse monitored the baby, another nurse was taking my vitals, the anesthesiologist was explaining all the risks of an epidural should I ask for one, etc, etc… I wanted to punch all of them! Finally I was allowed to get in the shower.  I labored in there while they filled up the tub for me.  They checked me in the shower and I was 6 centimeters.  I was making a ton of noise and everyone kept reminding me to keep it low.  SO difficult!  I remember yelling back at one point, “I’M TRYING!!!”  I got in the tub, which was really nice because I was able to relax into the water between contractions.  Our Doula and Jared took turns spraying my back with hot water.  There were handicap bars all around the tub and when I would feel a contraction coming on, I would get up on my knees and pull down on the bar as hard as I could.  You never know what you’re going to want to do I guess!  My arms and chest muscles were sore for days after! My body started pushing contractions and I would yell, “I’m pushing!”  The MW would tell me that that was the baby moving farther down the birth canal.  At one point I was convinced the baby was going to fly out of me so the MW told me to reach down and see if I could feel the baby’s head.  I couldn’t which made me feel a lot better.

When the MW checked me again she felt a lip on my cervix.  I had dilated to 9 centimeters so she wanted to try to push it out of the way.  I got out of the tub and onto the bed.  She pushed on the lip of my cervix through 2 contractions and that was the worst pain I have ever felt.  Ever. There was no control, I was screaming.  She wasn’t able to get it to budge so back into the tub I went.  Shortly after I started yelling, “This baby is coming right now I swear it’s coming!”  They had me get out of the tub and onto the bed again.  I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing!  I started pushing at 4:50 PM.  I had dilated from 6 to 10 in 1.5 hours! I pushed through about 4-5 contractions.  I kept waiting to feel the ring of fire.  I also kept asking the MW if I was making any progress.  I was terrified of having to push for hours.  She assured me I was doing really well and I told her not to lie to me.  She used her hands to show me how much of the baby’s head she could see.  All the nurses thought this was great progress, but I remember despairingly telling them I didn’t think that was very much at all.  They, of course, laughed at me.  They also kept commenting on how much hair the baby had.  Jared held one of my legs, and the Doula held the other while I clenched the bed sheet in my hands.  Pushing was so hard, even though I seemed to be doing well.  I jokingly say that years of constipation prepared me for pushing! Finally I felt the ring of fire.  Needless to say I was screaming through that contraction.  The next contraction I decided to push longer and harder than I had been because I wanted that baby out!  The MW told me to reach down and feel the baby.  I said no, and then she said, “Yes!  Reach down and grab your baby!” I sat up slightly and grabbed our baby and pulled him onto my belly.  WHAT SWEET RELIEF.  We were Team Green so Jared picked up a little leg and knowingly said, “It’s a boy” and kissed me.  He was born at 5:05 PM.  He didn’t start crying right away and was pretty blue so the NICU nurses were rubbing him vigorously and suctioning his mouth.  He started to let out whimpers so we knew he was okay.   Jared cut the cord and I delivered the placenta.  Felt just like everyone says it does…Jell-O.  I had a 2nd degree tear because he came out with his hand covering his face!  His nose and upper lip were bruised for a few days from it.   Jared took a few pictures of him on my chest and then went out to tell our family!

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We are so thankful that we were able to have a med-free birth like we had hoped for and a healthy baby like we had prayed for!  We are also incredibly glad that we made the choice to hire a Doula.  She was invaluable to us!  She knew exactly what we needed at every step of the way.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comment section, or feel free to email me!

15 comments

Let’s Revisit: Getting Ready!

by Lauryn on April 17, 2014 in Wedding

Let’s Revisit is a mini-series I am doing “revisiting” popular wedding photographer blog topics that I have not covered in quite some time.  It’s time for a refresher! 

Today I want to talk about a part of the wedding day that for the most part doesn’t get much thought.  Or, the thought it does get, is not sufficient or thorough.  Where you get ready and dressed for your wedding day…matters.  It matters for the Groom too!  Most of the time when Brides and Grooms think through where they will get ready, they think about proximity to the Ceremony, cost, and what the location means to them.  Proximity to the Ceremony space is an important one!  You don’t want to waste 30-60 minutes of your Day of Timeline driving all over the place.  Cost is also very important.  Let’s be frank: Weddings are expensive.  Even when you plan a smaller budget wedding, things are costly!! And, lastly the meaning of the location to the couple holds a lot of weight, as it should.  Getting ready at home, or a friends home is very special!  However, even though all of those things are very important, I would say there are a couple things that are more important.  I am biased because I look at this from a photographer’s perspective, but its truly out of care for my clients.  I want to deliver stunning images, and not just stunning images of the Ceremony, Reception, and Portraits, but the entire day.  That’s why it matters to really think through where you will be getting ready!

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Light:

It has been said that a photographer’s main tool is not their camera, but light.  I agree with this.  Photographer’s are manipulators of light!  This is the number 1 priority when choosing a Getting Ready location.  Is there beautiful and plentiful light?  Without it, your photographer will have a harder time delivering those stunning images.  Tungsten and Florescent light do not count.  Natural light is best and the most flattering! You need windows or doors, or a private outdoor area!

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Brandon and Jessica

Style:

This is the 2nd most important bit.  If you are having an outdoor/country/barn wedding, why would you get ready in a hotel room?  Continuity between venues will allow your photographer to capture moments that are really representative of the day.  If you are having a barn wedding, consider a quaint Bed and Breakfast instead of a hotel room.  If you are having a beach wedding, consider renting a pretty beach cottage.  If you are having a modern city wedding, go for the hotel room.  Old city architecture wedding?  Get some rooms at a gorgeous 100 year old inn.  Your photographer will be photographing your details during this time as well.  So, if you’re having a vintage wedding and there is nothing vintage around to use for your necklace photograph, it’s not going to make a ton of sense image wise.  This piece is especially important if you are ordering an album!  You want the whole day to coordinate well together!

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Trace and Natalie

Space:

This really depends on your wedding party and how many family members will be with you while you get ready.  Having 20 plus people with you?  Don’t book 1 room at the B&B, book the master suite.  And, don’t forget that your photographer is going to be there as well; probably with a lot of gear to boot!  He/She will need room to move around the space to capture candid moments and to really photograph the over all feel.  They will not be able to do this if they are relegated to standing in one corner while you slip into your dress!

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Mark and Tegan

Troubleshooting:

Maybe the space doesn’t meet one or more of the criteria listed above, including cost, location, and meaning.  What do you do?  If you love a certain place but it’s an hour away, consider hiring your photographer for an extra hour that day.  Found the perfect place, but it’s too costly?  Consider cutting the budget somewhere else.  Your parents want you to get ready at home with them?  Clean out a bedroom, replace bed linens, remove clutter and unnecessary furniture, and make sure there is plenty of light.  Or maybe the perfect place doesn’t have a lot of light?  Make sure you are okay with images that have more grain and a moodier feel.  Your photographer may give you a lot of black and whites!  Have to get ready in the church’s nursery rooms even though you are having your wedding in a field?  Bring some props to the room with you so your photographer can still create continuity in your images.  An old chair, some extra lace, leftover flowers, etc… Can’t afford the honeymoon suite at the hotel to accommodate all your family that wants to be with you while you get dressed?  Consider having them come after you are dressed for a big reveal!  Unless you have unlimited resources and book things so far in advance, chances are you will have to compromise in some way.  Make a priority list, and go from there!

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Mark and Ashley

Picking the right place to get ready can really change the way your entire wedding day feels, especially through your images.  Photography is one of the most important parts of the day, and maybe even one of the most expensive.  Make sure you have done everything you can to help your photographer capture the full story of your day! Those images are forever!

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Weekly Pregnancy Pictures!

by Lauryn on April 11, 2014 in Personal

Wow.  What a project!

When Jared and I found out I was pregnant, we quickly started talking about taking a weekly picture to document the pregnancy.  We wanted to do something that was somewhat unique, and we wanted to do something that we could actually do.  We started on Week 11.  Before that I was really afraid to own my pregnancy.  Getting pregnant is a miracle.  Growing a baby (any number of hours/days/weeks) is a miracle.  Birthing a baby is a miracle.  So, I was afraid of starting this series.  I knew very well that this was a gift, and we weren’t guaranteed anything.   Jared convinced me it was time though, and I consented.

We drove around The Fan one day, up and down many alleys.  I had this image in my head of where I wanted to take my picture each week.  I wanted a cool door.  We picked out a few that we liked and then were finally able to narrow it down to just one.  I love that door, and I am so glad we chose it!

Weekly Pregnancy Pictures Lauryn Galloway_0001There were a few things that made this difficult for me.  One, I don’t have that many clothes.  My parents were so gracious and generous to me and bought me maternity clothing for my birthday.  I loved everything we picked out, and Im sad I don’t get to wear them anymore!  However, when you are taking a weekly picture, you don’t really want to wear the same thing twice, and certainly not the same outfit twice.  Unless, of course, you are wearing the same outfit in EVERY picture.  I am no fashionista and I had to come up with 30 different ensembles!  Even when I wore the same article a few times, I tried to be mindful of switching it up a bit.  I also tried to do my hair differently throughout the process.  Not something different each week, but I tried to throw in variety!  The other difficult part?  After a certain point, you think you don’t even care anymore about the pictures.  At least, that’s how I felt.  I can’t remember what week it was, but at some point I really didn’t want to do the project anymore!  I rarely get all dolled up, and so it was a big production each week on picture day! I am so thankful that Jared made me stick it out though.  Here are some of my favorites…

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First and last picture!

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We weren’t able to take my Week 39 picture!  I went into labor on Tuesday and we were planning on taking my picture that Wednesday.  Im also bummed because I really wanted to take a picture right before we headed to the hospital.  However, once it was time for us to head to the hospital, NO WAY was I in a picture taking mood.  We should have done it right away!  Mamas-to-be, take note!  Take a picture the moment you know you are in true labor!!

I am hoping to order an album with a picture on each page.  Maybe for my birthday or Christmas?

**I also wrote out my birth story, but I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in reading that on here!  I loved reading them, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.  So, if you would like to read it, I am happy to share!  Shoot me an email or leave a comment! :-) 

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