April 29, 2020No Comments

An insanely crazy but amazingly wONEderful year

A few weeks back I received this note from a client of mine, a new mom I had just done newborn pictures for.

Hey Rachel! Hope this doesn’t sound creepy, but I’ve been so excited for our pictures that I often find myself on your Instagram looking at your previous newborn shots! Tonight I took it a step farther and decided to read your blog posted in your bio. I never expected that my social media “stalking” would end with me sobbing! I wanted to share that I resonated so, so deeply with your post about Charlie and the “first few weeks.” I love being a Mom but it’s HARD- from the postpartum recovery, to my anxiety and nighttime baby blues, and the constant google searches and trial/error (do I burp her more? Maybe it’s a growth spurt? Is it bad If I have another glass of wine?!). This has been the most amazing and challenging 3 weeks of my life and it was so nice to read your post and feel like I’m not alone.

There I was, now wiping away my very own tears, feeling completely humbled by one of the kindest emails I’d ever received. Was I creeped out? Hell no! It felt pretty nice to hear that I’m not the only one virtually “stalking” people on social media! My husband, Mike, has said on multiple occasions he’s not sure if he should be impressed or scared by my online investigative abilities. But as moved as I was by my client’s message, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what post she was talking about.

I had to pull up my own instagram profile and click the link in my bio to refresh my memory on what exactly it was I shared with the world, a blog post I had written titled “The First Weeks - Learning to Lean In.” As I read through it, I expected to be brought back to those exact moments that I described in great detail, full of emotion and the type of rawness that only the early postpartum days can evoke. But instead, I just felt this void. A disconnection from that girl who I apparently was a few months earlier. It bothered me, thinking that there was a part of myself that I seemingly had buried somewhere so far away, as if I was ashamed of who I was during that earliest stage of motherhood. Mike and I always joke to other new parents that our motto during the first few months with Charlie was “survive and advance” but I don’t think I realized that was what I was actually doing every day, every hour, every minute; I was literally just trying to survive. During those lowest points, I truly did not think things would ever get better.

There was one moment during that blur of a time that did stick though, and feels especially fitting now. It was over brunch in the middle of a crowded First Watch cafe. I was attempting to eat my first actual meal of the day, slug my second cup of coffee, all while trying to keep Charlie asleep long enough in his little cocoon wrapped around my chest for me to catch up with my friend, Colleen. Coll and I have been close friends for years; she and her husband grew up with Mike and when I came along to their crew, Coll took me under her wing. Over a decade later, the same could be said with every other major life moment we both experienced that came after. First our engagements, then our weddings, and now our kids. At one point during our chat, I just started crying. I was a mess. I felt like I had no clue at all what the hell I was doing. My boobs ached. I smelled like spit up. And I was just so fucking tired. Like she’s always done throughout our friendship, Coll looked me straight in the eye and told me what I needed to hear. That even though I couldn’t imagine it right now, things would get better. “I promise it just will," she said. So much better that I’d probably look back on this very moment one day and laugh. And get this part - she told me it’d be so much better that I’d actually start considering having another kid! HA!

So on the eve of Charlie’s first birthday, as I sit here and blow up balloons and bake his little funfetti cake while he’s asleep upstairs, I can’t help but laugh. Just like Coll told me I would. The “better” I had so desperately hoped for in those early months arrived, and ironically, it was even better than I could’ve ever imagined. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to pinpoint when it happened; there wasn’t some major turning point or developmental leap Charlie reached that got us there. But we did. And while we won’t be surprising Charlie with a little brother or sister anytime soon, I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about it often, with excitement and eagerness nonetheless.

Having a kid changes you, completely. As a writer, I’m even at a loss for words right now trying to describe what it feels like. The way your child nestles in your chest before a nap, but looks up one last time before he falls asleep as if to make sure you’re still there. How he gently moves your hair out of your face to say hi, only to swiftly tug it back (and hard I might add) to hide and play an impromptu game of peek-a-boo. The way he sits on your lap, legs crossed, bottle in hand, living his absolute best life watching morning cartoons, kicking his feet in excitement. And God, that giggle. The one you get when you haven’t even tickled him yet, but he knows it’s coming and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. There isn’t a better sound in the entire world.

These moments that were once a constant are becoming more fleeting as Charlie becomes more independent. We can’t help but cheer him on loudly as he’s learned to stand, arms raised in the air like Superman jetting off into the sky. I’m so proud of who he is becoming and what he is achieving while also wishing I could press rewind and have him just lay still in my arms again for hours on end like he used to. Letting me stroke his cheeks for as long as I wanted, blissfully unphased while he cooed away, sometimes slipping in a quick smile. Most times now it feels like a race against the clock to get his diaper changed, or sneak in a quick hug or smooch before he’s off to the races again. 

I’ve spent this entire year watching my son grow without realizing until now how much I’ve grown alongside him. I’ve learned so much about myself because of him. That I’m stronger than I ever thought I could be. That listening to my gut is always the right choice. That my deepest worries are rooted in the deepest love I’ve ever known. That my level of patience is indeed higher than I ever anticipated (I’ll be sure to report back on this one during the toddler phase) and ultimately, that even on my not so good days, I am still doing a damn good job raising a happy and healthy little boy. A little boy who turned this once scared and uncertain girl into a brave and confident mother.

Happy 1st birthday, Charlie. I love you more than all the stars in the sky, the fishies in the sea, and all of the pizza in NYC.

Love, Mommy

January 11, 2019No Comments

New Year, New Uniform

There are two things that haven't changed about me since I was a kid. My clothes better be comfy and I need a good pair of kicks. While my tomboy self has happily evolved and added more feminine flair over the years, I'll always feel most at home in a pair of oversized sweats and running around in sneakers.

In my now career as a photographer, I work with a wide range of people. My days can start off running around with babies and kids and end with posing engaged couples or female bloggers. I need to be able to move freely and feel comfortable while still looking put together. More importantly, I want to look like ME! This year I also have the added bonus of dressing a bump so maternity fashion is a whole new world to me. 

Check out my latest go-to look with links below!

ITEMS + LINKS

H&M Men's Denim Jacket

My take: I wanted an oversized denim jacket and opted for the Men's cut instead when trying a few on at H&M. Great for layering in the winter, growing with my bump, and gives me enough room when moving around with my camera gear!


ASOS Maternity Ridley Skinny Jeans 

My take: Love these jeans, very comfortable, stretchy denim material. I would suggest going up one size though for longer wear throughout pregnancy! The normal size they recommend was a little too tight for me. 

I'm a big fan of the over the bump support in these jeans!

Old Navy Jacquard Sweater-Knit Fringe Scarf 

My take: Great for layering, well-made, and warm.

**Currently on sale for $15 plus additional 20% off!**

Old Navy Faux-Leather Classic Sneakers

My take: True to size, comfortable from first wear, easy to clean, versatile color combination for different seasons. 

**Currently on sale for $22.00 plus additional 20% off!**

 

Photos shot by Kerry Anne Photography  

January 4, 2019No Comments

Nursery Gone Global

I love surprises of all kinds. Surprising friends, surprise treats or a bouquet of flowers, or even a little surprise note to read from a loved one. So what wasn't a surprise was our decision to not learn our baby's gender ahead of time so we could be, you guessed it...surprised! Not gonna lie, it's been hard to resist the temptation of learning if we're having a boy or a girl these last few months, and I had to use all my might to not take a peek at the screen during our 20 week scan when the technician checked out "those parts" but I'm glad we've decided to keep it under wraps.

When it came time to start designing our gender neutral nursery, I wasn't too worried. I knew there would be a plethora of ideas and inspiration I could find. What worried me more was pinpointing the exact vision I wanted for the room. If you've read previous blog posts, you know I often struggle with making decisions (at 30 years old I still have a hard time committing to an ice cream flavor selection when it's my turn in line). The one thing I did know was I wanted the nursery to feel cohesive throughout the rest of our home, which meant it would go along with our self-proclaimed "Global Chic" vibe. I love ALL things global decor, and am a sucker for pops of color so this was what I had in mind once I started my search on the magical world of Pinterest.

While I saved many pins on my Nursery Board, I kept coming back to these two images. And guess what? I couldn't choose between the two! So instead, I've decided to incorporate features from both images as my main source of inspiration for Baby C's nursery, shown below:

Pinterest Inspiration 1: "Bright + Modern" as featured on A Beautiful Mess

Pinterest Inspiration 2: "Tropical Jungle" as featured on Julep for Minted

With the arrival of our little one in just four months (!!!), I finally sat down and created a more detailed mood board to use as I start shopping and registering for items. Within a few hours, my vision came to life in the form of what I'm calling our "Jungle Chic" nursery. 

Finally feeling like we are ready to really get a start on our nursery! First up, ordering the baby furniture we've selected (shown below), clearing out the space, and choosing our paint color. The room already gets a ton of light and we'd like to keep it bright, so white is the color we've decided on. Now wish me luck while I go look at hundreds of white paint swatches...

Inspo Links:

Zuri Rug

Brushstroke Sheet

Fringe Bin

Palm Print

Giraffe Print

Eero Furniture

Splash Pillow

January 4, 2019No Comments

Amalia’s 1st Birthday

I tagged along on Danielle + Wil's day off as they celebrated their daughter, Amalia's 1st birthday. Our session started off just as sweet as it ended. Coffee + treats at Suraya, followed by a cake smash at home!

December 20, 2018No Comments

20 Weeks

20 weeks. Halfway there.

I've learned a lot of things throughout this pregnancy so far. Things about babies, things about the human body (spoiler alert: it's f**king crazy), things about Mike, and things about myself. Here's just a few I wanted to share.

1. Everyone's experience is different: Yes, there are a ton of similarities between women's pregnancies, and you may talk to a few women who have shared nearly identical symptoms and experiences as you. Google is not always necessarily your friend, and can sometimes initiate more panic than necessary. That's not to say I haven't had my fair share of late night rendezvous with the search engine, let's be real. But I've learned that just because someone I know experienced one thing and I didn't, doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong. I've chosen to limit my informational intake as to not overload myself to a few resources, namely TheBump.com, my doctors office, my mom, and close friends.

2. The human body is cray. Like really crayDuring my first trimester, it felt as if a host took over my body.  It wasn't subtle, or a gradual transition. It was swift, all-consuming and said "What up, girl! I'm about to make you feel like absolute shit for the next few weeks. Sound good? K." My doctors confirmed that "morning sickness" is not necessarily the most accurate term, as my nausea was more of an all-day, but let's REALLY rev it up starting at about 4pm experience every afternoon. Walking incline level 2 on the treadmill felt like I was walking up Mount Everest and Sour Patch Kids were the only kind of kids I could stomach being around and keep up with. I finally turned a corner around week 14, the host said it's farewell (for now) and old Rach was back, baby!!

3. Bigger boobs are no joke: I fully understand now why my larger chested friends often told me to not complain about my barely there size 34, slighty B-ish boobs.

4. Listen to your gut: This has been the biggest piece of advice I've received from many mama friends and it's one I want to carry with me into motherhood. There are so many unknowns when it comes to this space and like I mentioned before, the experience is different for everyone. Your body is unique, your kid is unique, your family is unique. It's important to keep this in mind when making decisions on what's best for each of those things. Over the last few months this has meant mostly reflecting on what seems to be working best for me (physically and mentally) and Mike and I having conversations about what we think will be best for us in the future.

5. If it hasn't already, your relationship will officially enter the #nofilter zone: "Those look fun." That's what Mike said to me as he noticed the stirrups on the bed at our first OB/GYN appt. We did a deep dive with our doctor on all things related to the female anatomy and Mike still can't seem to get over the fact that there isn't another better term for a pap smear, but I have to say he has been present and engaging in all aspects of this experience so far. It's not that I ever doubted he would be but you can't ever be too sure just how your male partner will react to this new territory of physical changes and experiences. There have been tears, and moments of self-doubt, worry, and funky physical occurrences, but I have been lucky that Mike has been by my side, with curiosity rather than distaste, and support rather than opposition. Ultimately, he's not carrying our child and can never fully relate to that experience, but it's been amazing watching him try his hardest and I know it's not just for me. It's coming from a place of genuine excitement and love for our family. So thank you, Mike for being there, and for patiently pressing pause on Netflix multiple times an episode because I have to pee every five minutes.

6. Things are going to be different soon, and that's okay: Another sentiment I've heard often is the enjoy _____ now. I recently stopped at Target after a shoot to "pick up a few things" and much to my delight, the new Magnolia Home holiday display was up and I took my time wandering the space, sniffing pine scented candles and admiring Joanna's effortless table settings (ugh I love her so much). All of a sudden the "enjoy this now" phrase flashed into my brain. While I initially laughed at the idea of myself having this revelation in the middle of Target, I'd be lying if I said it didn't scare me a little bit. This pressure of having to savor every single moment of independence before the baby comes because once he or she is here, everything will change. I mean when it's put like that, doesn't it just sound daunting? But there is truth in it. Things are going to change. A lot. But it'll be a new normal, sure to be filled with its fair share of stress and chaos, but also filled with new forms of immense joy and love.**

Here's to the next 20 weeks. Can't wait to meet ya, Baby C.

**My friend Molly sent me this article to read after I wrote this post and I felt like it really resonated with some of the things I mentioned and is just an overall great read. Wanted to include it here for any soon-to-be or current mamas! Read Here

November 22, 20182 Comments

You

You woke me up to write this.
You’re always on my mind.
Our mind.
I may not feel you yet
But I do.

You caught us by surprise
How quickly you appeared.
It was a Wednesday. 8/29.
Two little lines.

You made us laugh.
You made us cry.
We said a toast
To you that night.

You are so little
But yet so big.
The biggest little thing.

You did flips the other day.
You already love to dance.
Showing off in that darkened room
Lighting up our lives.

We see you in our dreams
Especially your dad’s.
An extra kiss goodnight
And one when we wake
For you.