Maternity Monday: Azzurra

I have known Moe my whole life and he has always been known as Uncle Moe to our babies. Moe started bringing Azzurra to our family dinners around the time Penny turned one and we have loved her from day one. We have been literally counting down the days until they had a baby of their own. In mid October, they welcomed a beautiful and perfect baby boy, Luca.

Like Mitch and I, Moe and Azzurra LOVE Ft. Bragg. It holds a special place in their hearts. It is where they got engaged and, like us, took their engagement photos, so it only seemed fitting to make the trek over for their maternity photos.

Ft. Bragg is known to have days and days of fog but on this particular day it was extra foggy! But as we made the drive up the coast towards Sand Dollar beach, the sun started coming out in all its glory, giving her session the most amazing warm glow.

Azzurra wanted to have both a casual look and more formal wear and I think she rocked both! She is always stunning, but oh man, pregnancy looked SO good on her!

Now to figure out a way to have all sessions end by looking for seashells on the beach with my favorite girls and a good beer at the local brewery!

xo,

Amanda

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Maternity Monday: Emily

In honor of sweet Ivalee’s first birthday coming up this Saturday, I thought it fitting to share her beautiful Momma’s maternity session. I have known Emily for several years; our husbands have been friends since they were little! She is not only stunningly beautiful, but so kind, hard-working and an incredible mom!

I seriously cannot believe Ivalee is already turning one - fun fact - she and Mitch actually share a birthday!!

Emily and I went up to the Honey Run Covered Bridge (one of my last sessions before the bridge was lost in the Camp Fire) for her session. It was a beautiful evening spent chatting about motherhood, friendship and raising little girls!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

xo,

Amanda

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Goals and a New Series

Last year, for the first time in nearly TEN years, Mitch and I sat down and wrote down our goals for the year. They included everything from home improvement goals, financial goals, physical fitness goals and the list goes on. If I’m being completely honest, we didn’t revisit the list that often throughout the year, but when we came back to that list at the end of the year, we had accomplished over half of the goals!

It. Felt. AMAZING!

There really is something about writing goals down, on paper, with your spouse and literally being on the same page!

So we did it again. We set big (and small) dreams for our family!

For 2019 I have decided to take it one step further and set some business goals. I have some big dreams for this little business of mine and I am hoping to take it one tiny step, one tiny goal, at a time.

Up first on the goal list, start a blog! This has been on my mind for several years, but it always felt too big.

There was NO WAY I could keep up a blog.

Seriously, NO WAY.

But, maybe, just maybe, I could blog once a week. Thats totally doable right?

So here it goes….

Every Monday I will post a Maternity Monday series.

I LOVE maternity portraits. I think that motherhood and pregnancy are incredibly beautiful. I think that the time is so short and comes with so many different challenges that it can be easy to forget. But taking one day to get dressed-up and feel beautiful allows for pause. It freezes time just for that one moment, so that one day your baby can look back and see just how loved they always were.

And since I like to practice what I preach, I’m including a photo from my own personal maternity session by the UBER talented Amy Jensen!

I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I do!

xo,

Amanda

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Coming Up for Air

It was Mother's Day. Sunday May 14, 2017, to be exact.  We had a lovely brunch with family that morning. We dined on the patio table my husband had just built. The sun was shining. We laughed about stories I don't quite remember anymore and smiled at our girls as they ate and played outside.

It was a beautiful day.

Until it wasn't.

Sometime around 1 in the afternoon, after everyone had gone home and the girls were sleeping quietly, Abby woke up early with a fever.  Nothing alarming. Low grade as they say.  Trying to be proactive we gave her some medicine.  Mitch went to work outside and I sat on the couch and snuggled my baby. I remember thinking, I love how snuggly she is when she doesn't feel well.

I heard the back door open as Mitch came in from outside.  Feeling Abby's head, she still felt too warm for my liking and I stood up to ask Mitch for the thermometer and more medicine.

That is the moment my life changed forever.

I pulled my baby away from my body and realized the unimaginable.  My beautiful perfect baby wasn't breathing. Wasn't responding.  I screamed at the top of my lungs. I screamed, for what felt like a lifetime. 

For SEVEN minutes I held my lifeless baby in my arms. For SEVEN minutes we tried calling 911 with no answer. For SEVEN minutes my world crashed.  For SEVEN minutes I told myself she died.  I died. 

And then she didn't.

But a part of me did.

For six months I lived underwater. I lived in a fog of flashbacks and tears.  

I lived in fear of what was going to happen next.  

For six months, it felt like I couldn't breathe. The light had left my life, I felt empty and dark. I put a smile on my face. I said things like, "I'm good. Things are great. The girls are doing well."  I went on walks, coffee dates, girl's nights and date nights. I went to work. I showed up. At least thats what I wanted people to believe.

I lived everyday thinking that God had given me a trial run for the unthinkable.

This wasn't really living.  This was surviving. On my own. Alone and sad. Ashamed to tell anyone. Afraid of what others would think if I really let them in.

I am a mother. A wife. A business owner. I should be tough, strong and heal quickly. But the truth is, I couldn't.

I couldn't' do it alone anymore.

The thing is.  We aren't supposed to do it alone.  Our lives are meant to be shared. Shared with our spouses, our friends, our families, and most importantly, with the Lord.  

We are not alone, we are never alone.  If we just ask.  If we can just move past the fear. The shame. The guilt.  If we can just ask, He will be there. 

Remember how I told you my life changed forever that Sunday in May?  For months I believed that my life had changed for the worse.  I believed that things would never be innocently good again.  

I was wrong. So wrong.

When I stopped letting my shame and fear control me, I asked for help. And for the first time in over six months I feel like I can breathe again.

I learned to trust that even when everything feels empty and dark, like your living underwater, God is there, waiting for you to just ask.

"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Genesis 1:2

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