Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

It’s hard for me to imagine, but this time two years ago, I was barely recovering from having my first HOME Water Birth Story session! Yes, me. I was recovering…from photographing it! To say this birth was eventful would be a huge understatement, as this birth was filled with so much peace, joy, love…and also worry, pain, and uncertainty. Our strong Mommy undoubtedly passed her strength and spirit to her incredible, brave, princess fighter, and through some tears and quite literally a “labor of love,” I watched as this life was brought Earth side. We started at my clients’ home, fairly late in the evening, maybe around 9 pm, but ended up at OU Children’s sometime well after midnight. Thankfully, God had His hand over this family the whole time, and I could not have been more thankful to be a small part of their amazing journey while growing their sweet family. Through the joys of having social media and especially Facebook, I have been able to watch this precious little one grow into now a beautiful little “wildflower” as her Mommy likes to say. I’m sharing today as I think of this child often, and am so thankful for her life and that I was able to witness the beginning of it. With the COVID pandemic taking over our ability to do normal, daily tasks, including various types of photography over the past several months, I have missed being able to meet and document our world’s newest blessings. And this birth was so very special to me, so sharing my love for Births and this Birth Story just seemed natural. 

Here are a couple of images from this special child’s amazing Birth Story, as captured through my lens. I love every image from this Birth Story. Documenting this time is truly an honor for me. To be there, in the room, present with Mom, Dad, the medical team, and of course, God, who makes this miracle happen. I’ve been questioned before about how I can document “births.” “Aren’t they…umm…”  … LET ME STOP YOU THERE. Births are beautiful. They are part of everyone’s story, and documenting the details couldn’t be more fulfilling to my soul. If you can’t see beauty in these images, my guess is that you have some preconceived notion of what you think birth is like, and not what it actually is. Because…just look at these! BEAUTIFUL. GOD. MIRACLES. 

Happiest of Birthdays to you, Eden! Thankful to have been among the first to meet you!

                             

 

xx, 

Shelby 

 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – June 3rd Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – June 3rd Update
I’m playing catch up, again, which seems to be my favorite game! I wanted to make sure these updates on my surgery are recorded somewhere other than Facebook, and are searchable for anyone who might be interested. I have had at least half a dozen women ask me about BII, and I am very happy to help in any way that I can. The biggest takeaway is that you are not alone!!
 
This post is from one week post op, so from June 3, 2020. My surgery was May 27th, so I wrote this about a week later.
I didn’t grab my selfie shot for this blog post, but in any case, you can get the gist of how my post-surgery week went! 
 
“It’s been one week since my surgery, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to say. In fact, this time last week, the recovery nurses and anesthesiologists were still trying to wake me up from my “narcoleptic” state (until I finally left around 10:30 – the procedure began around 1:00 and was about four and a half hours total). Literally, they tried waking me up for longer than the procedure itself 🙈 Every time I’d begin coming out of sleep, my oxygen would drop and I’d pass back out. I was on oxygen for a while and breathing treatments, most of which I don’t remember much about. The flashes of things I do remember amuse me though. I’m very grateful for the care I received from the recovery team (Gail, Jorgie, Dr Chris) and of course the patience that Jason and Amanda had while waiting for me, in the parking lot.
 
The week post-op has been really positive overall; minimal pain meds were used, and I feel more alert and have a bit more energy (which is weird to me since I’m on muscle relaxers around the clock and am healing intensely in my body). My first post op appointment was Thursday after surgery and my second follow up was yesterday. My drains were removed (hallelujah 🙌🏼). I’m bruised, obviously have a long way to go to “heal,” physically and psychologically.
I’m sure it doesn’t help that it seems I awoke to a world literally on fire and in <even more> chaos and disarray. My heart hurts for our nation and it seems like there’s no end in sight.
All that to say, I had so much peace about the surgery itself, going in to the surgery, and now will continue to ask for prayers for healing and peace over recovery – mine, and our country’s. It’ll still be a few weeks of relatively restricted activity, and obviously a lot of physical changes will also be taking place. I haven’t cried or even been upset, yet…so I’m hoping to keep it that way. 💞
 
Below is a quick before and after of one week ago to this morning, just in my face; I hate selfies, and no make up selfies even more, but I think it’s good to look back on and to share. A lot of women can do this before/after immediately after surgery…y’all I was a mess until Friday (I still have almost no memory of Thursday, much less have had the ability for a picture where I wasn’t zonked out) and honestly didn’t see the change others see. I had been feeling a lot of inflammation in my body, my hands and fingers, face, etc for a couple years, and from what I’ve seen in BII groups, this is a real thing. I didn’t see it by itself, but I feel there is a difference in my face when the images are side by side. Same bathroom and lighting, even though the before is brighter for some reason. Anyways, I’m thankful for the outpouring of love and prayers and all of the kindness shown to my family by friends! We’ve had so much food sent to us, as well as lot of people checking in and sharing their stories of BII with me.
Love and hugs to all, and if anyone has questions about #BII, I’m an open book.”
 
xx Shelby
 
Phone picture from my dear friend and surgery care giver, Amanda! So thankful for her time and energy spent on helping me get well and be with me through this time. 
Also, my Baby Yoda is a gift which was hand made by my dear friends, the Spiveys! My friend Shelby’s wife, Liz, makes them, and was a total surprise when they conspired with my husband to give him to me before surgery. 

Blogging Again? …. Maybe

Blogging Again?  …. Maybe

Hi! 

I get it. It’s been a while. In fact, unbeknownst to me until this very moment, it’s been a YEAR since I’ve last posted! Where has the time gone? 

Well, here’s a bit of an update. And possibly why it should matter.

Last April, 2018, my husband was deployed and was gone for 374 days! Crazy, right? Well, in that time, I was taking care of our two kiddos, ensuring that we attended all of our end of school events, enjoying our summer vacation…and then the craziness of our school schedule returned! Seriously, I have two kids, but the amount of extracurricular activities they enjoy is insane. Karate (x2, two days a week, and one was on the tournament team last year), piano (x2), gymnastics (competition team, 2 times a week, and then meets), band, archery, golf, academic team…and I’m confident I’m missing something! And, I love it. I love watching my children grow in their chosen activities, whether they are “good” at them or not! That said, I was left with little time for “me” (my undeniably bad health issues) and my photography growth. 

Fast forward through his return in May of 2019, and my husband came home, we went to Europe on a Disney Cruise (AMAZING! I’ll post pictures one day…and maybe even do a blog post!), and….then he moved to Washington DC. He was home 1.5 months total between his return and his departure. Have I mentioned lately how much I <<LOVE>> the Air Force? Note the sarcasm. And, although *some* time away is nice – because, let’s be honest, the running joke with our friends is that the pain in my neck is actually a long-term chronic illness called “being married” – working on a second year without a partner in the home to help me raise our kids, to help with things like home maintenance and bills, and to just be there for each other and to enjoy each other has been difficult. Manageable, thanks to an amazing tribe of friends, but nonetheless, difficult. I actually really love and adore my husband, and he’s my other half. It’s pretty tedious going through life without half of yourself. I miss him. But right now, this is our calling – him to be there for the Air Force and his country, and for me to be here for our children. 

I’m pretty verbose, and condensing anything is rather tedious for me! So, to sum up, it’s been a long year and a half or so, and thank goodness I’ve received a swift kick in the caboose from some AMAZING friends! MY TRIBE! I’ll discuss my tribe more later and the significance of me being able to say that, so be prepared for that upcoming post. So, even though I’ve not done nearly as many sessions as I’d like over the last year (still grateful for each and every client who enjoys working with me for my style and vision), and even though I’ve lost some confidence in myself because of this, they won’t let me continue the negative self-talk. In fact, I have at least four friends literally on a mission to help me in any way they can (life, health, kids…all the things) but for this post’s purpose, they’ve been steering me back on course with my photography goals. And although I’m afraid of failure, they have faith in me. And with that…here I am. Blogging for the first time in a year. 

What’s in store for my clients? New sessions, in studio! Up next…Fall Sessions, Halloween themed sessions, and …Christmas! 

What could be better than all that? Christmas WITH Santa! It’s totally happening! 

Want a sneak peek?  

I thought so! Check it out! 

 

 

The Harry Potter-Themed VP Campaign

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I know, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been back to share some of what’s going on with my family and with my photography! Things have been a little busy around here, and truth be told, that’s a good thing.

I’m jumping back in to sharing with a few personal images that I thought would be fun and hopefully a little inspiring for your children. My Sweet Caroline is amazing, intelligent, funny, and talented. That said, she’s also *very* shy. I guess I should say that she has been very shy…over the course of the last two to three years, I’ve seen this child blossom in front of my very eyes. She’s been trying new things (karate, karate tournaments, school dances, joining school clubs, etc), and she’s learning to excel in all of them. Not to say she started out amazing in these things, and I dare say she may never actually “dance” for you or anyone else. Ever. But…she went to a dance, twice. THAT’S HUGE, PEOPLE! Here’s proof! Two of these are social butterflies that I am so thankful are in my daughter’s life!

Well, the new school year started, and with that came every Mother’s fear of the dreaded years in “middle school.” Let’s be honest, I know of no one who thought those years were great. But, as with most things with a blanket statement like that, my kid has proven otherwise. She came home from her first day at Brink Jr. High and she said she “LOVED IT!” She commented that she loves the freedom that comes from her teachers instilling more independent procedures for them, that the teachers talk to them like they aren’t small children, and that they are actually challenging her. It may help that she’s chosen (on her own…because this Mommy is still a little nervous about pushing her too hard at this level) all Pre-AP courses, and one course that even already counts for high school (Pre AP Algebra I). Y’all, it’s crazy hearing the teacher say in orientation that we need to know that this is High School level work and expectations. She’s still my BABY! Right? Okay, so maybe not, but in my heart she is, and the last thing I want to do is put too much pressure on her – in 7th Grade. But my Bug welcomed it. And though it has proven challenging (YAY!! She’s actually *truly* LEARNING new concepts for the first time since being in Oklahoma) she’s enjoying it and hasn’t wanted to back out of any of it.

When my historically *shy* child came to me telling (not asking) me that she was going to run and campaign for Vice President (the highest she can run for in this school at her grade level) I was a bit shocked. And proud. VERY PROUD. I understand the difficulty it is for her to be up in front of people (most of us have that fear…but for her, multiply that by like a zillion), and she knew she’d have to give a campaign speech – in front of her classmates. Remember, she’s a military kid – she moves around and has only been here for two years. I imagined some of the kids being here their whole lives and feeling more comfortable with being in front of their friends (though, it’s a huge school for anyone!). Anyways, she and I brainstormed things that she could do her campaign around, and there are a few things in this world she LOVES. 1) Reading 2) Reading Harry Potter 3) Reading. And if there’s a fourth, maybe watching Harry Potter. Soooooo, as someone who isn’t *as* in to all of the HP fanatical stuff, I asked if there were things that she could build a campaign around. She immediately came up with a few slogans, and then after hanging out with one of her closest friends, they came up with all of the ideas for her posters and all of the slogans, and even part of her speech!!! She was really excited. A few days later, with the help of two friends, she got her posters finished, her posters put up in the school, and her speech was given. And, I did some praying. I did a lot of praying. Is that silly?

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I’d love to say that my little girl won the Vice Presidency, but alas, the democratic process spoke, and the candidate that was essentially pegged to win, won. He had a crazy awesome speech, and is very well known and liked by all (I was also informed that the cheerleaders would all vote for him…because he’s cute). We were pretty sure this would happen, but I didn’t know how my daughter would handle it. She did great – she congratulated him, and she was happy to know she’d still be in Student Council as a “Senator.” And that she saved her *good* ideas for being able to share them herself at meetings. That girl has a very level (and clever) head on her shoulders!!!

Here are some of the pictures that she took for her Harry Potter-Themed Campaign for Vice President. I couldn’t be more proud of her – and I am so excited to see where her life takes her! Oh! I should add that she was thrilled to find out that her ideas were completely original and not already on Pinterest!! Originality and creativity for the win!

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This one might be my favorite, though I really like the Sorting Hat one above, too!
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We also had a really good lesson on product placement during her campaign…

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This may not have been the best poster for this particular location 🙂
Am I the only one who thinks that?!

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Anyways, thank you ALL so much for reading this, and for those of you who cheered my girl on and who pray for her on a regular basis…thank you. I don’t have enough words, but she’s a huge blessing in my life, and I already know she is one to others too. She’s come so far, and each day I see more of her personality coming through. I know a lot of people struggle with their children having some issues or different-abilities…just as mine do. God has so much more in store for them and for all of us — we just have to trust Him and the path that he sets us on with our babies.

Blessings,

Shelby

 

 

 

Birge Family – Deployment Homecoming

It’s May. To be specific, here in the United States, it’s May 7th. I say that with the knowledge that currently, so many service members are on the other side of the world, in different time zones, in different climates and vastly different environments. And I am grateful.

I am grateful for families like the Birge Family who went without a husband and a father present in the home for months; and thankfully back in March, he returned to his family, with their arms opened wide for him. I don’t take these words lightly — I know he was always there for them as he could be. But I also know firsthand the struggles that come with being military spouse with babies in the home. Having that extra set of hands is a huge blessing, and I know he would have been there in a heartbeat if he could have. But, you see, he is part of our military, and he had a greater calling, to sacrificially serve his country. And he, like so many others, has done this so well, and still let his loved ones at home know how much he misses them.
Now, this family has been amazing. As military members, as clients, as fellow military spouses…sweet Ebilene and I just clicked! I’m so thankful for not only her cheerful, supportive attitude and presence amongst other spouses and service members, but also for her huge heart and patience. Spouses like this keep the military community running on energy, love, and commitment…not just to the country, but to one another. Our service members are amazing for all that they do, but one would be amiss to miss the work of the ones they leave behind. 

As this family has been super gracious about things that have been going on here on my family’s Homefront, I decided I had to thank her in one of the only ways I think I can…which is going a bit above and beyond, just as she has for so many in her company. If you have a couple minutes, check out this beautiful video, created specifically for the Birge Family to document this beautiful time for them! 

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice! 

Blessings Always,

~Shelby 

Favor Real Estate – Company Headshots

When you live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, it’s very likely that you’ll run in to some of the kindest people…even if it’s just out and about doing errands, at Kohl’s! 

After we chat over a few items and then our military backgrounds, we were comfortable enough to share each other business cards, and out of that came a beautiful friendship and these updated portraits for this sweet couple! As always, very honored to capture moments and images that families will love, as well as to update some business photos as well! 

Also, you can find these images at Favor Real Estate…talk with the Peterson’s if you are interested in an awesome property management duo to help your real estate needs! 

{D} Family : Newborn Session – Twins!

{D} Family : Newborn Session – Twins!

Seriously, how beautiful…to be blessed with two healthy babies, one boy, one girl?!

This family is absolutely precious — just look at these images! You know, I had someone comment on one of the Facebook previews about their Dad proudly serving…actually, while Daddy is proud of his babies and his wife…in this case, the Mommy is the one serving. That’s right — a toddler at home and the Military Momma taking care of these precious littles AND doing her thing at work while serving our country too! Amazing, loving, and beautiful family. Such an honor to meet them, and I know the sacrifices this family is making. It’s not easy, but with that much love, they make it look like it is!

In talking with Mommy, we decided an at home, candid lifestyle session with a few posed images would work best for their family. I call this realistic expectations! With a toddler at home and two newborn babes, although I know it can be done, I think having the best of both portraiture and lifestyle is the way to go!

Also, if you are interested in seeing their maternity session, you can find it HERE

This one is a must share!! LOVE!
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Proudly showing off what Mommy is up to here in Montgomery, Alabama.
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Perfection…
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I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a prouder Big Brother!
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Daddy has his hands full of love…
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Quite possibly, one of my all time favorite lifestyle captures.
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I adore this one so much! Look at those precious faces!
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Gorgeous
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I might have been a little too giddy about capturing this one! Look at those smiles!
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Pure love…and you can feel it!
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One final image to round out this amazing family newborn session!

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Our Newest Family Member

Our Newest Family Member

Sometimes, you have to start your Monday off with a little bit of extra cuteness.
Today just happens to be one of those days!

Y’all, meet Beckett! She is the newest member of our family, a rescue puppy from Forever Yours Pet Rescue in Oklahoma City. What started out as any regular Saturday running errands wound up becoming a day that would soon change our lives.

My son, sweet Tyler, is a REALLY good child. He’s rarely ever thrown a “tantrum” and he’s typically pretty respectful of our wishes and requests. Granted, he doesn’t alway listen, but he doesn’t yell, scream, or throw fits. Well, on this very fateful September day, one week before making our Adoption of this pretty girl official, he did at the PetSmart Pet Adoption Event in Moore, Oklahoma. He must have known she was truly meant to be ours. As we left that first day after meeting her – “Zuri” according to her paperwork – Tyler said repeatedly that we were breaking his heart and that she was one of his biggest dreams. From the mouth of a six year old child, it’s actually pretty heartbreaking. As was watching my husband HAVE TO carry a bawling child out of the puppy rescue area. This behavior is so uncharacteristic for him – it truly broke MOMMY’S heart listening to how sad he was!

One week later, on September 17, 2016 the discussion of Zuri still had not passed. Tyler was still heart broken, as was our daughter. Both kids literally begged and offered to pay the full Adoption fee of $140 in order to pick her up, if she was still there. As we were, once again, out running errands, we found ourselves on the east side of town, right by the PetSmart (a good move by Mommy), and we HAD to go check to see if she was already adopted…and much to our surprise, she was still there! Clearly, it was a sign, right?! It actually sort of was…later that afternoon, we had a terrible storm, and that puppy rescue tent was badly damaged. Thankfully all of the puppies were safe, but our puppy – our Zuri – was with us, safely tucked away being loved on at home.

After officially making Zuri ours, we decided to change her name to something that suited her a bit better, especially since she wasn’t fully responsive to Zuri. We had all loved the name Beckett before adopting our German Shepherd mix almost two years ago, but our daughter decided to name “her” dog Zasha (after a dog in a book, called Saving Zasha, about a German Shepherd…I couldn’t really say no to that). And my son named this new little pup, Beckett, likely to make Mommy happy! And Daddy – despite the “fight” about all of the reasons not to get her, the kiss on her forehead at the Adoption tent that day sealed it…she was ours, and he loved her too.

So thankful for the many volunteers at Forever Yours and those with the PetSmart event that day! We love our precious girl, and she’s been a wonderful and loving addition to our home!

How could one NOT fall in love with this face?!!!

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I love this puppy so much! She’s such an amazing addition to our family.

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That Face. Seriously, I must fall in love with it every single day! She’s such a wonderful puppy!
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Three Generations – Foster Family 2015

Three Generations – Foster Family 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t deny it…one of my all time favorite family sessions!!!

I loved meeting this AMAZING family boasting three generations of beauty and love. Truly, they are a family that I one day aspire to have. I enjoyed photographing everyone…but I think Grandma Joan and Grandpa have my heart. What a blessed family to have these loving grandparents to have started this family. I had to capture a few special ones of just them towards the end, so be sure to keep scrolling since I couldn’t just choose a few.

We had this special session in Pike Road, Alabama, along one of my favorite and most scenic fall session areas. The fence, road and lighting are perfect for the look that they were hoping for. When I tell my clients I do a combination of “posed” and “lifestyle”…this session is exactly what I have in mind!

Although rebuilding my photography business in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as a portrait and lifestyle photographer, I will ALWAYS remember how beautiful this session was, and what it meant for them to allow me to capture these special family moments.

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