This year for Mother’s Day, we traveled to Chicago for a wedding, and Adi and I were both away from our moms. I so love my job and I especially loved this Chicago couple, but I have to admit, it wasn’t easy missing my first Mother’s Day ever with my little Emerson and being away from my own mom. Did I also mention my dad’s birthday fell on Mother’s Day this year? I think it’s safe to say I won’t be getting daughter of the year award. I’ve never really understood the kind of love a parent experiences for a child until I had my own. This mama thing is no joke and when you add up all the restless nights and the full workdays with no lunch break, you get on your knees and thank the good Lord for giving you that kind of unconditional love in your own parents. I’m convinced that for me, there’s nothing on planet earth that comes close to being Emerson’s mama and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to think that I’ve been chosen for that role in his life. When that little boy of mine reaches for my face, plants a big juicy one on my lips, and holds my hand as he wobbles around, my heart swells so big that I swear it could burst open. To know that my own parents have loved me like that for all these years is mind blowing. It also makes me want to go back to my teenage years of eye rolling and lip smacking and body slam myself to a brick wall.
My parents sacrificed everything for me and have loved me at my very worst. They’ve taught me to value the important things in life: not bigger and better, but simpler and wiser. They continue to inspire me and amaze me with the exemplary lives they lead… lives filled with a desire to serve others and a will to follow God every single step of the way. Mom and dad, I’m the luckiest daughter in the world to be loved by you two and I hope with every ounce of my being that my son will one day love me as much as I love you both. So, a Happiest of Birthday’s to my daddy and a Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Adi’s mom, who is the best mother-in-law a girl could ever hope for, and all the mamas in the world. Though you deserve to be celebrated year round, I hope you all got a thoughtful card, some beautiful flowers, and a delicious breakfast in bed!
I know I’ve shared these photos before, but they are such treasured photos of my parents and my mother-in-law on the day that I became a mother. I can’t wait until Ems knows just how very lucky he is to have them.
You know how every now and then one of those days comes along where nothing goes as planned, you have a million things to do, your baby skips a nap, and you don’t get a chance to eat lunch until almost 4, yet somehow, it’s still a good day? Today was one of those days. N-o-t-h-i-n-g went how it was supposed to go but strangely enough, I felt that it would be okay. I really shouldn’t feel that way though because Adi and I will be traveling to Chicago tomorrow for a wedding and I have yet to do laundry, pack, run my thousand and one errands, make baby food for Emerson while we’re away, and wash my hair (no, seriously, it’s a luxury these days). And here I am, making time for a bowl of rocky road and an episode of Flip This House. Priorities, people… it’s all about priorities. Anyway, while we’re super excited to be going away for the weekend, I’m also incredibly sad that I’ll miss my first Mother’s Day ever with my little boy. There will be a lot of face-timing, phone kisses, and tears on my part and some good making-up celebrating when we come home. Meantime, I’m sure we’ll be instabombing pictures of one of our favorite cities while we’re away, so feel free to follow along here if you’d like. And because every post is just better with a photo, here’s one that has nothing to do with this post (you know, to go with the theme of my day) and everything to do with what I love more than my rocky road: a gorgeous bride in a beautiful gown with lovely light. Perfect day after all.
Hi there! If I have any readers left out there, I’d just like to say a big THANK YOU and bless your hearts, you kind, kind souls. You guys, I’m sure you already know this and I know I sound like a broken record, but I have been so incredibly bad with blogging and it’s really not Emerson’s fault. Though I’d like to blame it on the fact that look, I have a 10 month old (whoa!!) who refuses to let me get near the computer, we all know there is nap time. Truth is, I’ve been working a lot and trying to rediscover that initial feeling I got from blogging. If I’m going to be honest, I’ve kind of lost that feeling and it makes me sad because I miss it. The excitement of hitting the “publish” button and the anticipation of the first comment has been replaced with life stuff. There is so. much. going on over here (good stuff, happy stuff, stressful stuff, work stuff, and all kinds of other stuff) and I really need to get better at managing my priority list. This has been a battle of mine for as long as I can remember and having Emerson (poor thing is getting blamed again) has only shown me just how much I really struggle with that.
I’m really close with launching a new look on this blog (hallelujah thank you Jesus amen) and with that will hopefully come a fresh, new start for me. One that will involve better prioritizing, more blogging, better time management skills, and reconnecting with those feelings I get from writing. Gosh, I miss it. Anyway, that’s the plan Stan (couldn’t resist) and I’m just hoping you’ll stick with me. And if not, that’s okay too. But here’s a little incentive… you know I love a good first look and since we’re talking about “feelings” and all, this one gave me butterflies. I’ll be sharing this beauty of a wedding with you all soon as we launch the new blog. Have a happy Friday, friends, and may your weekend be as lovely as can be.
Meeting this beautiful couple in West Palm Beach to photograph their engagement photos was quite the event. We started the day off at the breathtaking Bethesda By The Sea church (oh, you know, the church where Michael Jordan got married this weekend… I mean, NBD) and finished off the shoot walking the streets, discovering the most perfectly lit spots. I particularly loved how willing these two were to do anything and loved the easy way they connected with my camera. As we walked the streets, we exchanged stories about home renovations, school woes, last minute wedding planning stresses, and our shared love for the Miami Heat. You know, all the important things in life.
In between these conversations, we’d stop to take a few photos of their love and I couldn’t help but notice that through all of life’s stressful circumstances, the one thing we can rely on is love. When we stop and touch our foreheads together, wrap our arms around each other, and softly kiss, all of the world’s problems are replaced with the freedom that comes with love. Suddenly, we are free to give, free to love, and free to forget all else. Alex and Alin, thank you so much for the opportunity to photograph your engagement. I had such a blast with you guys getting lost on the streets and getting to know your love. In your marriage and in your new life together, there will sometimes be stress, unfavorable events, and unforeseeable pain. My wish for you is that in those moments, you stop and give yourselves the freedom to forget everything except for the love you feel for each other.
Enjoy your photos and I can’t wait to share your beautiful wedding soon! PS. Thanks for saving my door, Alex. ;)
So incredibly beautiful, these two.
Bethesda by the Sea, you have my heart. oh, my light… how I love this.
Oh, my. This is such a special post for me. If there’s anything that gets those happy tears flowing from my eyes, it’s seeing a mother with her child. Stephanie and I basically grew up together, spending our summers at her pool, going on road trips, spending every dime we had at the mall, and sneaking into movies we couldn’t get into. Some years back, Steph made the move to beautiful North Carolina and we’ve all sort of gone about this growing up business. This last time she visited, I couldn’t help but smile at how very different our lives are now. We were once so careless (and tan) and now, our daily activities revolve around being mommies, chasing our careers, and growing daily in our faith. Plus, there’s a lot more sunscreen (obviously feeling nostalgic about the baking in the sun days). When Steph asked me to capture her with her daughter, Chloe, just doing the things they love, I had no idea I’d end up blinking back tears a few times (this mommy thing has really gotten to me, you guys). It’s a beautiful thing to watch your friend in the best role of her life and it’s even more beautiful to know how blessed she is to have such a sweet, big-hearted, angel of a daughter. I fell hard for Chloe and by the end of the shoot, I wanted to bottle up her sweet innocence forever. Steph, I love you and your little Chloe and I’m so honored to have been able to capture you both in moments that I hope will make your hearts smile.
Before the shoot, Steph let me know that she and Chloe love playing Candyland together. I encouraged her to bring the game and let me photograph them playing, but I didn’t expect to see Chloe not so secretly arranging her cards in a way to make sure she wins. Sweet soul is so innocent that she doesn’t quite get she’s “cheating”. Hey, when you’re as cute as she is, you can get away with anything.
This face, right here: just perfect. My darling Steph, you are so beautiful. After such hard work, everyone deserves a little ice cream… and no one enjoys it more than Chloe. Absolutely adored this moment below (like, went home and told my husband he needed to give me a daughter next or else, adored). ;)
They were a couple of high school sweethearts that walked the halls together holding hands and sneaking kisses at their lockers between classes (I would know because I went to school with them). Too in love to separate after graduating, they went to college together, moved in together, and graduated together. After college, they continued their relationship, all while discovering, growing, and encouraging each other’s passions, careers, and talents. With Jordan landing a great job and Aniela pursuing her career in modeling and acting, they knew that no matter where life took them from that point on, they would follow each other around forever. And so this love story continues with the two of them married, living a life they’ve always dreamed of, traveling the world together, and never taking a single moment for granted.
To celebrate 5 years of marriage and 14 years together, Jordan called me with his plans of surprising Aniela with a vow renewal. He would invite their closest family and friends, buy her a dress, book the venue, and even get her a bouquet. It was in that moment I realized that this man loves his wife. And I mean, loves his wife. Obviously, I knew this to be true, but it isn’t often that you see this kind of love. So of course, this event quickly became a favorite of mine. Bonus points for the fact that they’re a gorgeous couple and I absolutely adore them. Jordan & Nel, it’s been such a blessing to be in your lives and to have known you both for so long. I love your love and I can’t wait to see it just keep on growing.
A big thanks to The Angler’s Resort for being such an awesome venue. Absolutely loved shooting at this charming hotel! Hey Aniela, toss your bouquet (meaning, pretend to)!!!… Aniela literally tosses bouquet. =)
Two of my favorite photos of the day below. Thank you random guy tanning for making these extra South Beach.
I’d just like to take this opportunity and publicly declare TGIF, followed by the world’s strongest fist pump. Took you long enough, Friday. If there’s ever been a week that I’d like to have disappear, it’s this one. Good riddance you bad, mean week, you. Of course, it wasn’t all bad all the time… like that one day where Emerson started making a new kind of sound that resembles singing (voice of an angel on earth, I tell you), and that other day where he suddenly started picking himself up and holding onto furniture like a boss, and of course, there was Valentine’s Day yesterday, when papa showered us with flowers, balloons for our little, and sushi takeout. So yea, I guess it wasn’t all bad. I’m not going to bore you with all the details of what went wrong but we’ll just say it was one of those weeks that made me thankful for health and all that good stuff we too often take for granted.
Speaking of good stuff, I have so many great shoots and weddings to share with you. I know what you’re thinking, but you know, I’ve got a 7 month old that just doesn’t understand mama can’t lay down on the floor and let you climb all over her because she needs to blog. So, climbing-1, blogging-0 it is for now. But I’m trying, so that’s gotta count for something, no? I think so. :)
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite shots taken in South Beach (where else?) at a surprise vow renewal last month. Man, I love my job.
Happy Valentines Day all! Today, I get to be extra cheesy because you know, it’s my blog. Those that aren’t feeling the mush, feel free to come on back tomorrow. No hard feelings, I promise. ;)
The story goes like this: A little while ago, there was this guy with ridiculous good looks (ladies, I’m talking the works here with green eyes, dark curly hair, and chiseled cheeks) walking the halls of my highschool, completely unaware of the effect he had on all the girls. He was shy and quiet, which just meant mysterious and totally swoon worthy. Eventually, he became my peer counselor and I, along with all the other girls, swooned away. Just thought I’d add that my issues for needing a counselor started purely with gym class and somehow got much more serious with each passing day. May or may not have been the green eyes. A few years later, we began dating and I’ve been counting my blessings ever since. Luckily, there’s a lot more to him than just good lucks, but of course, no harm in having bonus points. The charming boy that made my palms all sweaty in highschool, went right ahead and stole my heart forever when he became my husband. So on this all about hearts and romance day, I’m going to get all cliche and declare my husband as the best husband ever. And I know everyone says that, yaddayaddayadda, but simmer down ladies and let’s just settle this once and for all: mine’s the best there is. ;) In all seriousness, he really is—for me. I believe that God created Adi knowing that he would one day be my husband and I his wife, and I’m thankful to Him for writing us such a beautiful story.
Adi, my love, today is just one of those holidays that comes around once a year where people are supposed to shoot each other with cupid’s arrow and shower each other with singing cards, dinner dates, heart shaped confetti, and flowers galore. Today, people everywhere are going to see romantic comedies and tell each other “I love you” a little more. But somehow, I got lucky enough to have today be really no different from the rest. Minus confetti, singing cards and cupid aiming for god knows where, because that would just get annoying reallll fast. You, my love, are my gift from God and it’s you that I get to go on this beautiful life adventure with. It’s you that I get to love and be loved back so completely and unconditionally. And best of all, it’s you that I get to raise, grow, and love our little Emerson with and hopefully add more littles to our family.
My darling Valentine, it’s you that I love… always has been, and always will be. So as I said, you’re just the best there is.
This has been a difficult last month for our family. I’ve given myself some time to process and heal before returning to blogging and sharing this news with you all. For a while there, I thought of just blogging a wedding or a photoshoot, with no mention as to what has been going on. For those of you who have been following this blog from the beginning, you may think I’m an open book. But the funny thing is, I’m not. Not really, anyway. Sure, I blog about dates with my husband and share some photos of my family with you all, but all of that is a glimpse of my life that I choose to share. In reality, I’m quite vulnerable and fiercely protective of the people and events in my life that I hold so dearly. And this is as cherished as it gets for me.
I’ve decided to share this because I wish for every single person to know the kind of woman my grandmother was. About three months ago, we received news that she had cancer. For the first 6 weeks, I refused to acknowledge this in my heart. My head knew otherwise, but my heart just simply could not accept this. You, see, my grandma? She was strong. And quick. Besides the occasional back ache and problems with her vision, she was quite healthy. She was savy, very funny, and kept us all together. She was a loyal woman and that stubbornness my husband so often points out in me? I get it from her.Year after year, we’d pack up our bags and head over to Romania to see her and the rest of our family. And each time we’d leave, a piece of me would stay behind with her. It was difficult, being so far away. Though the distance was great, we spoke to her quite often. Of course, now, I think not often enough and I long to dial that phone number just once more. I long to hear her answer just once more. But I suppose after that once more, I’d want another once more. Because you can’t really ever be ready to let go completely, can you.
On the first Sunday of 2013, we received news that she had gone to be with her Lord and Savior. While I can’t put into words what it feels like to lose someone you love so much, there is a strange sense of peace knowing we were blessed to have had the years we had with her. She was brave, even in her last days. Her spirit was joyful and her heart always sincere. She was a friend to so many and had a serving heart that always put others before herself. She adored her grandchildren and loved ice cream. My grandmother loved her garden, her chickens (yes, you read that right), and her home. She loved fashion (you should see the photos of back in her days) and it was a fact that we couldn’t leave the house until she approved of what we wore. She was beautiful beyond description. She made us laugh with tears. A woman that would get lost in scripture and spend hours in prayer, she never missed an opportunity to share God with others. Up until she became ill, she walked to church three times a week, every week, without question. My favorite thing about her though, was the way she’d sing at church. It’s a memory that I hold on to tightly and if I close my eyes, I could hear her so vividly. She sang with all her heart, loudly and beautifully. This is how I want to remember her always.
A few days ago, almost exactly one month from my grandma passing, we received the news that Adi’s grandmother had also gone to be with the Lord. It was a longer road of suffering for her and it’s a strange feeling of relief that she no longer feels pain, yet immense sadness that she is no longer with us. Though I don’t have as many memories with her because of the long distance between us, she left behind a family that misses her more than she could have ever known. She was loved by so many and there is a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think that Emerson will never get to know his great grandmothers. It’s short, this life. A breath, really. But it’s eternity that we prepare for and there is great joy knowing that they were prepared. I’m ever grateful for that.
To both of our grandmothers, our bunis, we can’t wait to one day be with you in heaven. We miss you so. We love you so.