We are all going through something pretty bizarre right now. “We’re in it together” is a phrase we hear multiple times a day. We cannot get away from talk of Covid-19 no mater what channel or station we turn to… and here I am writing yet another blog that also mentions it…BUT – this one is hopefully, I think.

It seems most of the world has just stopped. I applied for my Real ID in early February and still have not received it in the mail. My license is a month expired…. thankfully I have my temporary license, but is even the DMV closed? Or did they just forget me? Anyway, I digress…

You know it’s really bad when court shuts down… Not only did everyone’s wedding get put on hold, but people couldn’t even get a marriage license. The good news is that slowly the world is finding ways to get some things going. Shows are being broadcast from peoples homes, new mandates and health and safety requirements and procedures are allowing things across the country to start moving again. We still have a ways to go… but in a lot of states you can even get a marriage license again! Check your local counties for how to do this if you’re interested.

Our dear friends Dale & Megan were one of millions of couples who have had to put their wedding on hold, but Megan was quick on her toes. She and Dale left work early on March 13th, just before quarantine officially started in the state of California, and they got their marriage license. They still plan to have their big beautiful wedding later this summer, but they did what was most important to them… they had a beautiful, heart felt, emotional social distance wedding ceremony with their parents, as well as Megan’s Maid of Honor and Dales Best Man (my husband, Randy!). I stepped in as their photographer to help keep their guest count down.

So exactly HOW do people do this? What is the etiquette for a Social Distance Wedding? While I am a professional photographer, I am not professional at Social Distance Weddings…. no one is, we are all brand new to this… BUT – here is my advice for couples hoping to accomplish this over the next few months:

  1. Keep it extremely intimate. 10 guests or less (your photographer and officiant should be included in this count).
  2. Ask all of those attending to PLEASE self quarantine for two weeks prior to your event to help ensure no one gets sick or spreads germs.
  3. Just incase someone in attendance is an essential worker, and also – just for the safety and comfort of those you’ve invited, provide masks and gloves.
  4. Have your ceremony OUTDOORS in the fresh air.
  5. Make sure there is enough space in your designated ceremony area that everyone can stand 6 ft apart and feel comfortable and safe.
  6. Keep it short and sweet, enjoy toasts, champagne, and send your guests on their way.

These two took it one step further and live streamed their wedding for other close family members and coworkers to witness their wedding. It was beautiful. It was simple, it was sweet,  It was held in Megan’s fathers backyard, and it was perfect. We can’t wait to celebrate again with all of their originally intended guests this summer and to see Megan in her bangin’ wedding dress!

Check out the photos from their Social Distance Wedding:

 

If you or anyone you know is interested in having your Social Distance Wedding Photographed, please visit my website at http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message 🙂

 

Stay safe my friends, and stay healthy!

I actually am shocked it’s already been 20 days since California got our statewide “Stay Home” orders. The first day hit me hard emotionally and I thought, “I’m too extroverted! I can’t do this!! I NEED people!” For many reasons, I am thankful to be married and have a daughter… but in this time, I am EXTRA thankful. My husband is working from home, my daughter is all over the place constantly… it is hard to get bored around here.

Yes – I wish I could take her on a Target run, to visit ANYONE outside this house, to the park… literally anywhere. I am not a homebody. I never have been. I like to be out and about… so that aspect of this has been challenging, especially with our unusually rainy weather we’ve been having.

Still – I count our blessings. Yes, I’m losing business left and right. Yes, I’m out of work. Yes I get bored doing the same thing every day. BUT… I’m not alone. We are all healthy. We don’t have to spend our days in the hospital. We have what we NEED. We have technology that keeps us connected to our friends and family (weekend Zoom game nights have been super fun), and that allows us to get things delivered to our door so that we don’t HAVE to go out. We aren’t living in snowy weather, we CAN go outside and go on walks when it isn’t raining, we can explore the neighborhood and play in the dirt… We are fortunate. I am grateful. I will continue to stay home, and when I do have to go out for groceries, I will gladly wear my gloves and fashionable red and white polkadot mask my mother-in-law made for me.

This will be a blip in our history if we all do the right thing. It is a trying time, but we CAN DO THIS. Stay home. Stay healthy. And if you go out, wear gloves and a mask. We can beat this!

If you are feeling lonely, disconnected, scared, depressed, unhappy in anyway… CALL SOMEONE. Staying home does NOT mean complete isolation. Use technology to your advantage. I’m happy to chat or play games with anyone who needs some interaction on FaceTime or Zoom. Hit me up! I’ll even get out of my night time pajamas and put on my day time pajamas for you 😉

And on a final note… Let’s remember that we’ll be back to regular life soon if we all do our part. We’ll get back to going to beautiful weddings like this one below, hugging our close friends and family (yep, I still plan to be a hugger) and probably washing our hands more thoroughly and regularly forever.

Last week I shared their engagement… today I’m sharing their beautiful wedding at The Retreat in Corona. ENJOY!

 

Be well my friends, stay healthy and stay home!

For any post quarantine photography needs, please reach out to me! I am still booking business for when this craziness is over and I would love to photograph your events, your families, or anything your heart desires.

http://www.briannacaster.com

Quarantine Day 6.

Wow… how life has changed since my last blog post… how life has changed since a week ago.

In the State of California we are on self quarantine orders as everyone knows. As a Photographer this means I’m out of work. All of our team events have been rescheduled for the next two months, possibly longer if people don’t STAY HOME AND FOLLOW THE RULES! I have personally COMPLETELY lost 3 events I was supposed to photograph because clients rescheduled to dates that I’m booked elsewhere.

There’s a big part of me that wants to go off about people who need to stay home and abide by the Quarantine orders… but I just don’t want to get negative right now. So instead, I’ll share what’s going on in La Casa De Shraders.

As I mentioned before, I’m out of work. Thankfully my husband is not, but he is on work from home orders…. which is nice! There’s no commute 🙂 and our sweet daughter gets to go knock on the office window every morning when she wakes up and get kisses and hugs from her daddy.

We don’t have our babysitter coming right now, or our house keeper (first world problems, am I right?) – because we are trying to play by all the rules. YOU GUYS – I’m not even visiting my Mom or my sister and that is TORTURE. That’s what a rule follower I am! I am reluctantly cancelling my baby girls first birthday party… but she’ll party with Mom and Dad 🙂 She wont remember that she didn’t get to have her party… only we will.

Although I can’t photograph, and have zero dollars coming in, I still have to answer clients and deal with reschedules… I want to stay on top of blogging and business planning so we can jump right back in… but it’s all very hard to do without a babysitter. So when my husband is off work, he takes over and I try to get a little work done every day. During my daughters naps, I clean the house, prep our meals, shower, and if I get a few minutes to sit down and breathe… I try that too 🙂 When she’s awake I chase her around the house, up and down the stairs, we take walks through our neighborhood a couple of times a day, we snuggle, we giggle, and we just enjoy our time together.

I am SUPER thankful for technology during this crazy time. FaceTime chats and virtual cocktail hours with friends makes this all a lot less daunting. If you haven’t done that yet you should!!

I hope that you are all keeping your hands clean and staying home. We are all in this together… let’s be a part of the solution, not the problem. Stay home no matter how strong your immune system is, or how little of a threat this seems to be to YOU as an individual. Remember that all it takes is you touching one thing that someone who is not so fortunate touches… you can still spread it even if you don’t know you have it. BE SAFE. BE KIND. STAY HOME.

Until we can shoot again… Enjoy one of my last couple of engagement sessions before the Quarantine:

 

 

I look forward to photographing and CELEBRATING when this is all over.

 

Stay healthy my friends.

 

Accountability

I literally cannot believe I have a walking 10 1/2 month old already. She’s no pro of course, but she’s on her way very quickly. A little too quickly. Part of me is SO thrilled to watch every milestone, but a little piece of my heart breaks along with that thrill because it’s just moving too fast. I am loving every milestone she hits, but I just want to savor each one a little more slowly. It may be the most cliche phrase on Facebook these days, but I am LIVING that cliche every day of, “SLOW DOWN, TIME!!!”

As we rapidly approach her 1st birthday like a rocket into outer space I am reminded that this means I have to get my head back into the game of growing my business. I told myself that I wanted to take a step back for at least her first year, and that already doesn’t seem like long enough. I’ve obviously continued to work my business, but my focus wasn’t to grow it or build new relationships (other than with my clients of course) – my focus was to keep booking, and keep things moving, while not shooting quite as much as in previous years so that I’d have more family time. Then, I told myself, after the first year I’d pick up the pace a bit more, and start focusing on some aspects of my business that I put on the back burner for the last 12 months.

So I’m working on it. Today I started Monday Accountability Meetings with my dear friend and fellow Entrepreneur, Annie. We set ourselves goals for the week, and discussed our over all objectives for the remainder of this year. I’ll enjoy every moment of this coming month the way I have enjoyed these last nearly 11 months with my precious girl… office hours two days a week, plus shooting, and all of my downtime is with her. Then after her birthday I’ll be putting in a few more hours and setting a few more goals. I LOVE my business. I LOVE what I do. But my favorite thing in the world is to be Brynlee’s Mom. So I’m setting my expectations at a very reasonable level. They are lower and less aggressive than they were before I became a Mom, and I know they’ll stay that way until she’s in school… I’m setting myself a pace that I am comfortable with that I feel will enhance my business reasonably, without taking away from my daughter. This also means I’ll be able to continue to go the extra mile for the clients I DO take on, as I will continue to be selective going forward so as to keep some weekends open for family time.

I think it’s important to set ourselves reasonable expectations, and even more important to hold ourselves accountable to our goals if we want to keep things moving. The best part is, I have my bestie on the line every Monday so that we can help each other do these things! I encourage everyone to try having an accountability partner they check in with weekly. Whether this is for personal goals (weight loss, home purchase, vacation planning, life planning, debt demolishing) or business goals (as an employee working toward a promotion, or an entrepreneur trying to grow their business), having someone you check in with weekly will keep you on the right path.

Below are some images of one of the couples I’ve chosen to work with this year, Judy & Isaac. My time spent with them was full of laughter, conversation, beautiful views, and all kinds of love!

Take a look at their extended Engagement session at two of their favorite locations in Irvine:

 

For more information on engagement and wedding photography in Orange County and beyond, please visit http://www.briannacaster.com

 

Peace & Love,

Brianna.

2020 is already keeping me on my toes. How about you? I know I’m a little late to the party on the “New Year” post, but I’ve been a bit preoccupied. Like most people I associate an entire year with the things that happened… As one year ends, I always have a lot of mixed emotions. I feel excitement for what’s to come, I feel fear of what’s to come, I feel nostalgia for the past, and if difficult things happened in a year – I feel relief that we get a fresh start… if good things happen, I get a bit of anxiety and apprehension thinking, “will next year bring pain and sadness because this year was so good?” But the reality is that the start of a new year is truly just another day… no matter how much we try to box it up, put a bow on it, and send it off, or throw it away with yesterdays garbage – that really doesn’t mean anything; it doesn’t predict anything. However, it’s still a nice excuse to set new goals, and give ourselves a fresh start; a metaphorical washing clean and starting over.

For me, 2019 had both times of extreme joy and celebration (the birth of my daughter, the birth of my nephew), and times of great fear, sadness and loss (cancer diagnosis for my cousin, and the cancer diagnosis and death of my beloved uncle). 2020 has already brought us a whirlwind in just the first month! My cousin had her final round of chemo, and just last week had that nasty tumor COMPLETELY removed. She gets to move onward and upward from here as she heals from a 9 1/2 hour surgery and is now cancer free. We discovered a massive slab leak in our beautiful kitchen which resulted in a dangerous amount of mold and our removal from the home, not to mention the destruction of my beautiful kitchen… HOWEVER, I count this one as a blessing. Yeah it’s a bummer that we can’t be in our home, but we have had so many wonderful, loving friends and family reach out to offer us help. We are staying with my Aunt, and could not be in a better place. She has a crib and nursery where Brynlee sleeps, plenty of baby toys around the house, we are closer to Randy’s work, and have plenty of space here… not to mention we are all HEALTHY AND SAFE! I don’t even care about the inconvenience – I am just thankful we didn’t get exposed to the mold and that my daughter, my husband and I are all safe. As for business, we are booking weddings like crazy for 2020 which is exciting, as 2019 was a lower booking year for us. So I look forward to this year and all of the joy and beautiful couples it will bring my way!

Below is the engagement session of one such couple! Ceasar & Laura were adorable at their vintage inspired engagement session. Ceasar is a part of a car club and all of his friends brought out their classic cars to participate in their session. Check it out!

I am 100% positive their wedding will have just as much vintage charm – I can’t wait 🙂

 

Happy February my friends!

 

Brianna

A Farewell to 2019

Yet again… I fell off the blogging train for a while. To be honest, it was completely intentional. I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog about business, or life in general because I haven’t had any clue what to say lately… but fear not, I finally found my words around 4am this morning, and decided that I would finally blog again.

2019 was a year of ups and downs. I had the greatest and most challenging day of my life when I gave birth to my daughter on April 1st. Becoming a Mother has been the most amazing experience of my life. It has not been without it’s challenges, as parenthood is obviously not easy… but it has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. In just under 9 months, she has changed so much! She has the sweetest, sassiest, most wonderful personality… and I love every minute I have with her. She is my dream come true.

What has had me tied up and unable to know what to say recently, has been the most difficult part of this year… the passing of my Uncle JR. My family is used to long goodbyes. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s for 15 years before she died, my Aunt suffered from Dementia for 5 years before she died, and my Grandfather took his sweet time too… he died just before turning 93, lived a good LONG life, and sadly, suffered for a long time before leaving us. My uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and died only two months later on December 8th. Hearing of his diagnosis was a kick in the teeth… having to say Goodbye to someone who was still coherent, and knew I was there, was really painful and vastly different from my experiences of loss. I wrote him a letter and read it to him. And though it was difficult, I am thankful that I was able to tell him what he meant to me before it was too late.

So it’s been hard to get my head in to my  business these last several weeks. I’ve been handling what has needed to be handled, but I haven’t been posting much because it just hasn’t felt right… and I’ve been consumed with family affairs as you can imagine. However, as this year comes to a close I felt like I needed to post a year end blog, but couldn’t do so without addressing the craziness that has been 2019. With this loss, and with every loss my family has faced, we always ban together… we always show up for one another, we hold onto each other, we grieve together, and we heal together. I am blessed beyond measure to have such a strong family. I have been reminded yet again, how important it is to document them, and decided to do so on my favorite day of the year. Christmas Eve.

We were missing a few cousins this year who were working, out of town, etc… we missed them, but we did our usual… we laughed, we ate, we drank, we laughed some more… and we laughed and drank and laughed and drank some more. These photos aren’t perfect, the lighting wasn’t staged – it was on camera flash, just capturing the moments I could in all of their perfect imperfections.

Cheers to the end of 2019… Cheers to healing, and progress for 2020 for the Garofalo’s, and to health, happiness, and even more love and laughter for all of us and all of you in 2020!

 

Family. Is. Everything.

 

Happy end of 2019 everyone! I wish you all the best for 2020.

Well… this blog post was started a week ago. I stopped mid sentence to run to the hospital with my sister because they wanted to run a stress test on her because she was 9 months pregnant and the babies heart rate was a bit low at her appointment that day. They sent her home from the hospital that afternoon, but at 11pm that night we were back and it was baby time! My precious new little nephew was born just before 6am on Tuesday morning. It was a LONG night and my first night ever away from Brynlee. She was not happy about it and gave her Dad a run for his money.

Over the next couple of days I caught up on sleep as much as I could, and caught up on work too. By Saturday I had 4 client meetings… 3 of which ran smoothly, and the last of which had a wrench thrown in it because 10 minutes before my clients were to arrive I dislocated my shoulder and had to go to the Emergency Room. It has been one hell of a week to say the least. Because my fingers still work I’m able to type this post up with the keyboard in my lap as my sitter takes care of my sweet girl. The whole world can’t stop even if I want it to… unfortunately I can’t move my right arm much at all so I can’t be left alone with my baby. I can’t lift her, or my arm and it sucks… so I might as well blog! Thankfully my husbands boss is amazing and understanding and is very flexible so Randy is able to stay home this week until someone is here to help me. I am PRAYING that the ER doctor was correct and I only have to wear the sling until Thursday and can start lifting my sweet baby up on my own again. It is my truest form of torture in life right now not being able to scoop her up 10,000 times per day.

Aaaaanyway – let’s talk about mini sessions! I captured my first round of Mini’s of the season and have two more to go. I am also praying that my doctor clears me to shoot this weekend because I have another round of Mini’s to capture. Fingers crossed!

Family portraits often bring when them more stress than weddings from the clients side. Most commonly this happens with parents of small children obviously. They put so much time and effort into choosing outfits, and getting out the door to be on time and it’s chaotic and difficult… and then it’s hard for them to relax and enjoy the session. It’s hard not to – we all want the perfect holiday card right? I personally enjoy the most authentic or silly photos best when I get holiday cards from people. I never take our holiday cards seriously. I encourage you this year to just enjoy what you get no matter what it is. If your kid is constantly running out of the frame… just laugh it off. Flip them upside down, make them laugh – be silly, and just let it be what it is going to be. You are 10 times more likely to get a killer photo if you just PLAY!! Let’s all remember to play a little more… take the stress off ourselves and remember that no one’s life is picture perfect… so why NOT have an authentically chaotic photo for your holiday card? You’ll make everyone smile.

Here are some perfectly imperfect shots from my first round of Mini’s this year:

 

 

Don’t miss out on family portraits! For more info visit http://www.briannacaster.com

 

 

Stop and Dance.

This week in work life: I have had two engagement sessions (Sunday and Monday), I have two weddings coming up (Thursday and Saturday) and a day full of family mini sessions this Sunday. My camera is going to be ready for a vacation soon… but it’s not getting one!

This week in Mom life: Brynlee finally had a break through with teething – literally. She cut her first tooth and we are SO happy! She was on the struggle bus for a week and a half until that sucker finally made it through… and now she’s back to my happy little pumpkin butt. She still acts like I’m giving her lemons every time I try to feed her actual food… but hey, you can’t win them all – am I right?

I’m just thankful she’s feeling better AND taking the bottle when I’m away working. There were a few weeks where she was refusing it and it was breaking my Mama heart thinking of her going hungry… although she really wasn’t. She would eventually reluctantly take it when she was starving, but it was a struggle. The guilt never stops… I realized early in my pregnancy that the worry would never end from that moment on, and early in motherhood that the guilt would never end either… We just have to make it a practice to not allow the worry and guilt to consume us, or cause us to make poor parenting decisions. Easier said than done, I know… it’s always a work in progress… Most importantly, sometimes we need to just stop everything else and dance with our babies. The work will always be there, the dishes can wait, the text can wait, Facebook will be there after they go to bed… so turn on some music, be silly, and dance with your babies… real babies, fur babies, nieces, or nephews… whatever sweet innocence you have in your life that is growing too fast… put everything down today, or tomorrow – for 20 minutes… turn on some music, let go of the guilt and worry – and dance with that precious little being. I try to do this every evening with Brynlee and she absolutely loves it.

When I’m away from her, I don’t love it… but I am fortunate that I get to do something else I love while I’m away… which is…. you guessed it – capturing LOVE! Check out these cuties on the beach… I adore them, and their love story, and I can’t wait to photograph their wedding in January.

 

For more information on Engagement and Wedding Photography in Orange County and beyond… or for your Holiday portraits this fall, please visit briannacaster.com and send me a message 🙂

Let’s get into some realness…

…. Because obviously sharing my birthing experience and the challenges of early motherhood hasn’t been real enough, right? Just be glad I didn’t tell you all about how she pooped her entire car seat the other day on our way to swim, and how I had to pick her up out of a pool of baby doodie, wrap her in her clean swim towel, and wipe out her car seat with 735 wipies one handed, while balancing my poopy baby on my hip. Oh wait… did I just tell you that? Oops.

Anyway this one is about the struggle (business-wise) that is 2019. As I mentioned before… finding the work-Mom balance hasn’t been easy. Add to that, 2019 has been an absolute shit-show business wise and it had nothing to do with me taking a couple of months off to have a baby. I knew going into this year that our bookings were down and I spent a solid 6 months trying everything I could think of to get our numbers up BEFORE I took leave to push out a kid. I tried new ad types, I dropped prices, I kicked out incentives left and right, launched promotions… I tried everything I could think of. I wish I could tell you that at the last minute I figured it all out and my business continued to soar while I was sore. But that’s not true. I was 100% unsuccessful.

I’ve been a bit spoiled, I’ll be honest. 5 1/2 years ago I had a business partnership explode in my face. I thought I had lost everything. I didn’t have a portfolio I could use to market myself… I had nothing… almost. What I did have was a reputation with some amazing women at Wedgewood Weddings. When they heard what happened, they wanted to work with me. They gave me a chance, the spread the word about me, and by the end of that terrifying year I had 3 venues referring me to their client base. From there my business climbed up… up… up. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have these relationships and I have maintained them over the years.

This year, thanks to these relationships, we are still in business… it was just a shockingly slow year. I’ve talked to a lot of other vendors in the industry who have experienced the same drop in bookings that we have. As much as I never want to hear that anyone’s business is slowing down, I was relieved to discover that it wasn’t just me. Still… my wheels have not stopped spinning about how to make 2020 better (so much so that I’ve been wide awake since 4:15am thinking about what to do and how to grow… and I know what you’re thinking… “yeah because you have an infant who wakes you all hours of the night.” But you’re wrong. She’s still asleep… She’s perfect. This is all me.) For one thing… I think it just naturally will be. We’ve all concluded that a lot of people have put their weddings off until 2020 so that they can have a “cool date”. Sounds silly, but it’s real.

Fingers crossed that I don’t jinx this but our bookings for 2020 already seem promising… However, I calculated my overhead for this year and based on our decrease in bookings, let’s just say it had me up ALL. NIGHT. The good news is, that when I can’t sleep… it’s because my wheels are spinning, and ideas are forming… and I jumped out of bed finally at 5am because I think I have a solution.

Wish us luck! And until then… send me those referrals! Mama needs to make some cheddah! (so I can buy Brynlee more cute outfits and take more photos of her… obviously)

Below are some photos… sadly, not of my super cute baby… BUT happily, of a gorgeous wedding I recently photographed at Wedgewood Vellano. All joking aside, I love sharing my wedding work as much as I love sharing photos of my baby – I hope everyone can appreciate both! 🙂

I really loved working with Ashley & Chris… they are adorable, and their wedding was perfect!! Take a look…

 

 

For more information on wedding photography, family portraits, or any other photo needs – please visit briannacaster.com and drop me a line 😉

It’s amazing how quickly you forget the hard stuff once your “new normal” settles in. I had to really sit and reflect to remember the challenges we faced in the early days of parenthood… and the many moments of, “I can’t wait until we get passed this phase, then it’ll get easier.” We often referenced one of my favorite songs by Darius Rucker, and said to each other during the hard times, “It won’t be like this for long…” If you haven’t heard this song, and you’re a relatively new parent – listen to it… but grab a few tissues first because it will get you right in the feels.

We started working on a night time routine when she was 7 weeks old. We struggled through the 8 week regression and then at 9 weeks it started to get a little easier… We did what we like to call “The pacifier dance” some nights for 10 minutes, and some nights for 90 minutes… then she just stopped taking the pacifier all together. Every night isn’t perfect. Teething tends to throw a wrench in things every few days, but she bounces back so easily. We have gotten her bed time routine down to an art. She gets a bath, a story or two, then we turn on her sound machine, zip her up in her sleep sack, kiss her all over and say goodnight… then we shut off the lights and walk out… and without so much as a peep, she settles herself right to sleep. We started this so early that it never felt like we were really “sleep training” – we never let her really cry. Sometimes we’d let her fuss for a max of 5 to 10 minutes but if she ever REALLY cried, we knew something was wrong (teething) and soothed her immediately. It was a journey getting her to put herself to sleep, and her nap times aren’t quite as easy – but her bed time is perfect 99% of the time and she’s down before 7pm every night.

The best part of this is that I didn’t do any of it alone. We did, and still do, all of this as a team. Randy decided early on that he would go into work earlier so that he could be home with us in the evenings. I sincerely commend his dedication to our family because he gets up at 4:15 every morning and is out of the house before 5am so that he can be home by 4pm, take a walk with us, or just play with Brynlee, then do her entire bedtime routine with me. Becoming parents has brought us closer than ever. When I asked him one time how he felt after experiencing her birth, and how he felt it affected his thinking of me and our relationship he said, “I feel closer to you than ever.”

As much as becoming parents takes a lot of attention away from each other in order to focus on regulating your lives after such a huge disruption to your norm, doing all of these things side by side has kept us connected to each other. Navigating the early days with support for each other, and helping one another in difficult moments, i.e. seeing that one of us is frustrated while trying to handle the fussy hours, and stepping in to give that person a break, has given us each a whole new level of love and respect for the other. I thought I was the most in love that I could ever be on my wedding day… but two and a half years later, 6 months into being parents, I can honestly say I have never loved that man more. Not only do I adore watching him be a father and love on our baby, but his love, support and partnership toward me is more intense and beautiful than it has ever been. Having Brynlee has strengthened our marriage in ways I never imagined.

Going back to work has been wonderful. Randy made that easy too. Because he has always been such a part of her routine, going to photograph my first wedding back was stress free (except for the fact that I had driven all the way to Palos Verdes with out important pieces to my pump…Whoops!) For a few weeks I tried to juggle office work and mom-life but it proved to be too difficult and guilt inducing. I felt guilty if I needed to put her in a jumper so I could answer some emails, I felt guilty that I couldn’t fully focus on my work OR on her… I felt like I was not giving my work or my daughter my all. Finally I hired a sitter for two days per week so that I can really focus on work. I am totally crazy about my sitter. She is a dream. She loves Brynlee, and I get the best of both worlds… I’m here with them but I can fully focus on my work and know that Brynlee is getting the attention she needs from our sitter, she’s going on walks, being put down for her naps, and still gets fed by me. The other two days per week I have an assistant answering my emails. This may or may not prove to be “enough” but for now it’s working and everything feels GOOD!

My Mom has always said that becoming a Mom is the best thing she’s ever done. To this day she says that if she didn’t have her kids, her life would feel empty. Parenting isn’t for everyone!! I truly believe that. It is ok if you’re not feeling called to be a parent, or have never had a desire to be one. I was kind of stuck in the middle… I felt like I probably wanted to be a Mom, but wasn’t 100% sure… I was on the fence. And then I wasn’t on the fence, I was on the rollercoaster of pregnancy still unsure if motherhood was for me… I guess I clearly leaned more toward motherhood than away from it, because I went for it. When I think back about those days of uncertainty prior to getting pregnant I laugh. I had no idea how sweet motherhood would be. I had no idea how insanely precious my days would be as a Mom… how perfect it would all feel… if I knew then, what I know now… I would have jumped into the idea of motherhood with gusto. If I could give my former self a message in a moment of doubt about being a mother, I’d look her right in the eyes with the most pure smile, heart beaming and tears of joy and say “DO IT!!!!!!!!!! It is THE. best. thing. ever.”

I love my life more than I have ever loved it before. I love being a wife and a Mom AND a business owner 🙂 …I just wish I could slow it all down a bit so it didn’t all go by so quickly.

 

Part of being a Mom for me definitely includes lots of adorable photo shoots as you can tell. God knew what he was doing when he gave me a very happy and photogenic child! I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams to be her Mama. It’s my greatest and most treasured job in life.

Next week I’ll get back to talking about my clients and my work…. 🙂

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