Melissa and Michael

Life, Love, Photography

There were so many tender moments this day. This was the first time I have cried during a wedding. The father and daughter dance just hit me hard and especially the mother and son dance. Now that I have a son it just made me really appreciate the moment that the parents part with their children and give them away to be cared by someone else. Melissa lights up the room with her sweetness and Michael has such a soft heart for her and a true kindness to him. I am so happy for this couple. They are such a great example of what true love is.

Location: Loft at Keith Farms

Daily essentials for the little babe.

Life

Here are some items that are helping us stay sane and keeping our little babe happy. I wish someone had shared these things with us when we first had Jude. A lot of them are like.. well duh.. but when you are sleep deprived you are not thinking straight. I honestly try to be a minimalist when it comes to baby stuff. So getting the right few things is important. So here are some things that we are loving right now. ( fair warning I am not a all organic mom)

The Owlet sock. By far my favorite baby purchase. The price tag is big but I promise it is worth it. The Owlet is a oxygen and heart monitor. You can’t put a price on piece of mind and sleep. It alarms you at the base station and on your phone when baby’s heart rate or oxygen is low. This helped me sleep and not worry about checking on him every few seconds when he was new. I also love it when he is taking naps and I don’t have to keep checking on him, I can just look at my phone and it will tell me his levels. It makes me more productive and helps him get better sleep. I have not been using it as much at night since he sleeps in our room and snores like a freight train. But I can’t wait to use it as we transition to the crib.

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Mini humidifier from Toys R Us. It is about the size of my hand. It doesn’t take up much room and is perfect size for just Jude. It fits perfect on a shelf right near his bed. It is almost silent, lasts 9 hours, and has a night light!!! Before this he had a stuffy nose every morning.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Giraffe rattle sold by Starting Out (at Dillards) is his favorite cuddle toy. It is a great snuggle size without getting in his face. He naps with it a lot and I don’t have to worry about it smothering him. The cactus chew toy by Iitzy Ritzy. (Target) is helping him with teething. The back of it has a raised pattern for gum massage. He also likes to snuggle it. Easy to clean and easy to pack in the bag. My favorite burp rag is sold by Wee and Me. It is a cute design and came with a matching bib. I love it because it is thick and soft. My other favorite burp rags are by Gerber. They are HUGE!! If you have a baby who likes to throw up a lot like Jude.. YOU NEED THOSE! I get them at the grocery store in the baby isle end cap at HyVee.

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Night light with stars. This little lamb has multicolored stars that shine on the ceiling and also plays music. (Toys R Us) It keeps him occupied while I take a shower or put on makeup. Honestly we put it in our room sometimes because we think it is cool too. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Ikea lantern. This is awesome at night. We leave it on all the time so we don’t have to turn on the light when changing his diaper or feeding him in the middle of the night. It puts off just enough light to see what you are doing without waking him up. And it is a cool decoration during the day.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

In the beginning I was going to breastfeed only…. then Jude decided he didn’t like that and my boobs decided they didn’t want to really help out either.. so formula it was… then I was only going to have 3 bottles and never buy a drying tree….. Then I got tired of washing bottles every few hours.. so 8 bottles later and 2 drying racks I am so thankful!!! (all munchkin brand) Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Sleeper clothes with NO FEET! Fun fact, Jude hates feet in this clothes. He was really fussy at night and did not sleep well the first few weeks and we would strip him naked and he would be happy.  He would kick and kick until we let him be naked. So we tried one of these and he has been sleeping through the night since 2.5 months old.  This one is from Carters and it has a zipper. I recommend the zippers because at 2a.m., those pesky 8 button legs get really blurry and hard to snap.92E3DDE2-864A-4915-88B6-5B4FC40B3DF8

Target Sensitive wipes are the holy grail of wipes. They are easy to use because one comes out at a time instead of 10. And the hard plastic cap keeps them fresh.Also a good price. Boudreaux’s butt paste is my fav. I tried the organic one and it didn’t work on him but the original does. Honestly since using the target wipes he rarely gets diaper rash. The nose sucker from the hospital is hands down the best. The ones at the store don’t have enough suction. TAKE THAT THING WITH YOU WHEN YOU ARE RELEASED!!! Nose saline helps get those boogers out without drying out the nose. But the best trick yet is the foundation sponge! We use it as a butt paste applicator because that crap does not come off your hands. You can buy them cheap in the makeup isle anywhere. Easy to clean and easy to use.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Halo sleeper sack only needs four words….HE SLEEPS ALL NIGHT!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

You need 4-5 diaper changing pad covers! That is not a joke. Between boogers, poop, throw up, and a little boy who pees. I go through 2 a day sometimes. Target has so many cute ones they are like Pokemon, you gotta catch them all.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Jude sleeps in the Rock N Play in our room. He loves it!!!! It is considered a safe bassinet. It is inclined so it really helps with his acid reflux. I got the one that has a sound machine and self rocks on a timer! Worth the extra $! Its is also just good for him to chill in during the day. The white noise sound is what he sleeps too every night. It is just loud enough that it covers background noise and lets us put him to bed early in our room, but still have the TV on in the living room without waking him. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

You need 1 million bibs.. or like 20. I like the bandana ones but all bibs are good. Between spit up and  drool they save me a lot of laundry time. you have to have so many because you stash them everywhere and go through like 4 a day during teething. The amount of drool is  unreal!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOnce again, I would love to be a breastfeeding mom but it just didn’t work out. Formula is insanely expensive and it takes a long time to find the right one. We went through 4 different types before finding this one. We use Similac sensitive. It really helps with his acid reflux and has a  lot of great nutrition. Similac also sends a lot of coupons and free cans every few months.

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Jude and I are both allergic to scents in lotions, detergents, and perfumes. We use Dove sensitive lotion and body wash. He never has dry skin or baby acne with this. Also we use All free and clear detergent for clothes. Dreft which is commonly used does have scents in it. We wash our clothes with All also. If your baby’s skin is frequently irritated I recommend this. Remember he puts his face on your clothes just as much as his.

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This is a organization cart from Target. It has been great for a diaper changing station and storage. It also has wheels so during postpartum recovery it can go wherever you want to sit all day. The top fits 2 packages of diapers and wipes. Second shelf we keep burp rags and chew toys/binki. Third shelf is bath supplies.

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These are our daily essentials. They work for us and Jude is a very happy baby. I’m not claiming to know the best products but I thought if these things are working great for us, they might save some time and money for someone else. Feel free to ask questions.

2017 Favorites

Life, Photography

Here are a few of my favorite photos from 2017.

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Kelsay & Will

Life, Photography

 

The body, heart, and mind.

Life

I have shared every part of my life on here but I have kept pretty quiet about my pregnancy. I talked more about the one I lost than the one that has thrived. I think I was scared to jinx it. But today I feel like opening up about pregnancy. There are so many things no one tells you, good and bad.  There are a million things I want to say about pregnancy. I truly have had an amazing time and it has been on the easier side. But every pregnancy is different and beautiful. I could go through a list of things every woman should buy in the beginning, the things that will happen to your body that just freak you out, and the horror show of emotions. And if you want to know the nasty details, the lists, and insanity that goes along with pregnancy I would love to tell you one on one. (people don’t tell you because I swear you would never get pregnant if people did) But for now I would like to share about the body, heart, and mind.

The body

In the first weeks you can’t wait to see the belly start to grow. It is a reassurance that everything is going good. You stand in the mirror for hours just trying to decide if you have a bump yet. Then a few weeks later you have an official bump. At this point it is cute and still easy to cope with. A few more weeks go by and your first stretch marks show, putting on your shoes gets a little harder, and you keep needing to stop for a breather. But then you start feeling the flutters! The kicks! They are amazing and freaky at the same time. Once again it is another sign of reassurance. But when I hit month 7 I looked like a tiger had attacked my lower belly.  I would stand in the mirror and sob. I would sob for the body I once had. I would cry that my husband would hate my body as much as I did. I felt like I had done everything. I bought the best belly butter out there and had been using it since day one. I stayed on a diet, I stayed active, and never scratched the belly. But little did I know, stretch marks are genetic and I was going to get them no matter what. It took me from month 7 till these last few weeks to understand the beauty in them. I mean don’t get me wrong, it is hard to see them in the mirror and just be okay with it. But I have finally decided that they are not ugly marks, they are beautiful. I am making a human!!! A small little boy is growing inside of me and this is his home. It is okay to be upset about them, its okay to not want them, but sooner or later you have to realize that they are there because you are awesome! My body looks completely different. I won’t go into details but EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT PEOPLE!

The heart

Pregnancy has taught me that you can fall in love over and over again with your husband. Thinking about Britton being a Dad makes my heart so extremely happy. I have loved him since I was just a teenager but now I love him in a whole new way. I have also found a whole new love for my friends. I have had the sweetest texts and calls from friends encouraging me and telling me so many sweet things. I have found so much hope in so many people. After loosing our first pregnancy it was hard to get excited about this one for a while. I just knew something bad would happen. But as time went on the Lord softened my heart and I have fallen in love with this bump that will soon be my son. I can’t imagine how much I will love him when I can actually see him. Pregnancy teaches you not only a whole new self love, but love for others. When people ask me what I am most excited about when Jude is here, I tell them how excited I am to see our family and friends love on him. He will have so many people wrapped around his finger.

The mind

The emotional toll that pregnancy takes on you in unreal. The ups and downs, the tears, the laughs, and the anger. I can be all of these in one day. If I had any advise, it would be to take time to know your emotional triggers. What makes you tick? Mine are repetitive noises, repetitive questions, and big groups of people. I started realizing that right before I would get emotional my face would get super red and my hands would get hot. It was just enough time to step away from what I was doing and take a walk. Like I said before, you will feel love and hate towards your body and that is okay. You will understand one day how amazing this all is. And if you need to cry in the mirror and have a tiny pity party to make yourself feel better. Do it girl!! Another tip, stay away from instagram. I could scroll through the perfect mom bods for days and let it mess with my mind. Remember that you are not them. There is such a thing as photoshop, posing, and good lighting. Do not think you have to look perfect to have a perfect baby. Looking at those photos and dwelling on other people’s bodies won’t get you anywhere.

This journey is beautiful, nerve wracking, and amazing. I would love to speak with any woman who is pregnant or thinking about being pregnant. I will share as many details as you would like to know. We have to all stick together in this. I have been on the side on struggle, loss, and no hope. But I have also been on the side of new hope, happiness, and love. Remember that every pregnancy is different and every woman is different. Do not compare yourself to other women. Everyone has to take their own journey.

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Michaela and Zach

Life

Michaela and I met at Missouri State a few years ago. We were inseparable in classes. Everyone thought we were sisters we were so close. I got a call a month ago that she wanted to go to a Cardinals game and I was going to meet Zach for the first time. The second we met I knew he would be perfect for her. He is everything she wants and needs and he is amazing with Riley. I can’t wait to be part of this wedding in a few months and stand next to her. Here are a few from their session in Fair Grove.

If you like the photos you can see more at aewphotography.com

Mariah & DJ

Life

Mariah and DJ rocked their engagement shoot. We went to a friends farm that has a piece of each of our hearts. We all grew up here. We have had many bonfires, laughs, rope swing crashes, 4 wheeling fun, and fishing. I can’t wait to capture their wedding in a few months and see them grow. Here are a few of their photos.