Last month I had the pleasure of taking some photos for sweet Isabela — one of the bravest teenage girls I have ever met! She is heading off to Hillsong College in just a few weeks (that’s right, in Australia!) and has set up an online shop to sell a lot of her clothes to help her 1) downsize before moving down under and 2) have a little extra pocket money for the journey. Homegirl is incredible and has been busting it working three jobs since she graduated high school in June to raise all the money she needs for college and it was an honor to spend time with her and take photos too! She is truly incredible. Super gorgeous too, inside and out. I vividly remember being in that season of life, so much unknown and excitement (and for me, definitely some fear!). Incredible things are ahead for you, Bela girl! Check out her Instagram shop here: https://www.instagram.com/therareandthebeautiful/
I could write volumes about this day and what it meant to me personally, but all that pales in comparison to the bigger story here– Abram was born!
I met Mary in September of 2015. The week after we started going to Elevation I joined an eGroup and Mary was there. She is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, so genuine and has one of the most thoughtful and kind spirits. Against all odds and busy-ness of life and her move out of Raleigh, we have kept in touch and seen each other off and on at church things. I talked to her this summer, still flying high from my own birth at Baby & Company in Cary, and asked her if she would be interested in free birth photography. Anyone that does “birth work” can tell you– birth is on another level. Once you experience it, personally or even just being present, you can’t quit! It’s truly a spiritual experience. Ever since my own birth I started to feel a little flame ignite in my soul that maybe, just maybe, birth photography was something I wanted to do. You know, like as a job. Or at least a serious hobby.
Fast-forward to October 11, 2017 and I missed a phone call a 3am. I was asleep (rare, seeing as my own sweet baby does not actually always sleep at night…) and I heard CLEARLY as ever someone in my bedroom say: “Kellie.”
I opened my eyes, sat up and said “huh?!” and nobody replied. Marshall was asleep, as were the kids, and I looked at my phone to see what time it was and saw I had missed a call from Mary and had a text from her that she was at the birth center. Was it an angel that said my name? I think so. (YES. YES IT WAS.) But at this point you probably already think I’m a weirdo from my aforementioned spiel about birth being an addictive spiritual experience (and some of you are still unsure about this whole birth photo thing in general…), so I’m going to hold off on the “do angels exist?” convo and keep going with the birth story.
Any who, it was at the birth center where I welcomed my own babe a few months earlier that I watched sweet Mary labor and bring her sweet (and big!) baby boy earth side. I had this moment when I refilled her husband’s water bottle and filled up the ice bucket in their room to make some cool rags for Mary during transition that it hit me. Birth stories are the ultimate love story. Have you seen a husband love and serve his wife during labor? A midwife speak love, truth and encouragement to a laboring mom? A mom relying fully on her breath to sustain her, the very breath God breathed into us at creation? The brilliant design of birth and the incredible, tangible atmosphere that follows? It’s all love. An amazing picture of our father’s love for us.
I shouted out loud with joy and surprise when at 7:42am Abraham “Abram” entered the world weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces and at 20 inches long– the son of two of the bravest, strongest people I’ve ever met. It was an honor to witness and be part of this baby’s birth day! Thank you barely covers it!
Lincoln was a newborn when I resigned from my teaching job for the coming school year. I was supposed to be excited to have the opportunity to work from home and be with my baby all the time, but it was such an unfamiliar thing I was really not as thrilled as I thought I would be when I signed my resignation letter. There was so much unknown and comments made by co-workers and friends (“oh it must be so nice to be able to stay at home….”) that made me think I was surrendering a hardworking life for a glorified maternity leave– except permanent.
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You may remember my friend Tracy from last summer, I took some pictures for her fun fashion blog. She has recently decided to become a consultant for Lularoe, so we met up to take few pictures of the styles she’ll be carrying. Keep up with her on Instagram (@lularoetracyvazquez)! Yay for an exciting new opportunity! (And seriously, get to a pop-up and try their leggings on. You won’t be sorry…)
My amiga Tracy is a fellow Spanish teacher by day and fashion blogger by night (and track out)! She asked me to take some quick photos for her recent blog link-up, official hashtag: #starsandstripesstyle. Check out the post here: http://www.glitterandruffles.com/blog/stars-and-stripes-style
This family has been such a blessing to us in this new season of parenthood. Most of our life is in North Raleigh or Wake Forest and this crew lives pretty close to us in the SE Raleigh area, and Jess is a stay at home mama so during my pregnancy and first few weeks of newborn life we started hanging out pretty regularly. She (pregnant and a 2 year old in tow) would come over, give me breastfeeding pep talks (not to mention was a major source of text encouragement during my crazy pre-labor), bring me dinner, help me make yummy lactation cookies, teach me her couponing ways… so many ways this lady has selflessly served me over the past several months!
She recently had her second sweet little boy (a rockstar VBAC!) and I offered to take some pictures of the four of them. Her husband takes awesome pictures, but as the self-appointed photographer of my family, I often end up with awesome pictures of everyone else and none including me and figured he could relate. Jess kept these a surprise for Gabe for Father’s Day and they are so sweet! Grateful that God continues to bless my heart with great friends. Also, can we talk about how amazing (and well-rested!!?) she looks for having two littles? Gorgeous.
Michelle was my work BFF this year. She is just one of those people that you meet and instantly feel like you’ve known for a lot longer than you really have. She is absolutely adorable, and even when I was nine months pregnant and she was a size 2, people (okay, kindergarteners) continued to get us confused. Up until the end of the school year, teachers would accidentally mix our names up and the last week of school one student looked at me, dead serious, and said, “you know what? I really get you and the Spanish teacher confused.” I am the Spanish teacher.
When I decided not to return to face to face teaching, I was super sad to not be working with her (and the rest of my amazing team), because we had a really great thing going. It is rare to find a team of five that work well together and we really mesh super well. I was sad about leaving technology and after talking to her we realized that she would be the perfect person to keep teaching it! She’s young, energetic and super knowledgeable about technology, specifically, the way we use iPads in the classroom and I felt totally better about leaving knowing I’d still be in communication with her and she’d be able to carry the torch.
Let me start by saying that I graduated from college with some really wonderful ladies. My four years at Meredith College are definitely among the greatest of my life so far, and that is mostly in part to just being around and learning with and from an amazing group of women, then, as students and now as alumnae.
I go back and forth with how I feel about my undergraduate education. I had little to no knowledge about student loans or that there was a difference in paying for a private or public education. Now, as a parent I will definitely encourage my children to do the community college to public university ‘pay as you go’ route. As we continue on our debt-free journey I truly hope though that we are out of debt and able to save so that someday if we have a daughter we can afford to send her to Meredith. It is such an amazing place to learn and I have some of the best friendships because of it!
It was actually while catching up with Bekah that I shared with her how grateful I am for the unique education I received at Meredith, and that even though I was unwise in going into debt to become a teacher, God has used connections I made while I was there to get me some really great jobs to help me pay it off. He’s so good like that, doing big things in those details and using decisions we make for good. All Romans 8:28-ey and stuff.
I think I met Bekah through Cornhuskin’, but as any small college is, we ran in the same circles friend-wise. We reconnected (not that we really disconnected thanks to social media!) at our 5 year reunion a few weeks ago and decided to do some anniversary pictures this fall for her and her husband. She emailed a few weeks ago needing some updated personal photos for a project for grad school so Lincoln and I met her one afternoon to grab some quick shots. She is so lovely inside and out!