packing my hospital bag for the third baby

The last time we had a newborn was about 5 years ago. It's amazing how different the baby market is now, than what it offered back then. In a lot of ways I felt like a first time mom this time as I created a registry, shopped for my hospital bag and prepared for our little boy to arrive. 

I knew I was going to have a c-section this time, so it was a little different preparing my bag. Now we are at home and have passed week 6 with our little Theodore. Goodness what a joy! 

birth, labor, newborn, delivery, csection, its the everyday, photography, atlanta, marietta
birth, hospital, newborn, its the everyday, lifestyle, baby boy, must haves, packing

But as I pull out newborn items, and use products (some for the first time) that I didn't use with our other two boys, I wanted to create a list of things that have really helped me this time around. I think for my own sake really, because if we have another baby I'd like to remember what we actually found as necessary. Hint: you don't need much.  

I'll start with my hospital bag for this post, but I'd like to follow up with our must have baby items with a third baby. 

When I created my list, I scoured Pinterest for some ideas for a c-section delivery. I found some very helpful ideas and used some from a few different sites. So here's my go to list for packing your bag (keep in mind this is for c-section, but a lot could apply for a natural delivery). 

1. Nursing pads  I think they may actually have nursing pads if you ask for them, but I brought a few just in case. My milk seemed to come in faster with each baby, so I was thankful I had some on hand that I liked. 

2. Burts Bees facial wipes these were super helpful when I couldn't get up that first 24 hours or so after he was delivered. My face felt gross, and it was quick way to make me feel a little fresher without the help of soap and water! 

3. Gas x pills sounds embarrassing to pack (as well as the next item) but were so helpful! Especially with a c-section. You are having a major surgery, and air somehow finds a way to become trapped in the weirdest places. I had gas pains in my shoulder and neck! Taking this simple little pill will relieve some pain for you in a big way. 

4Colace I know this is not so lovely to talk about, but be sure to include this in your bag. Especially with c-sections. You'll want to start taking it earlier than later, as everything slows way down with surgery. I started this right away and was so very thankful I did! It helped a lot. And thats enough about that.

hospital bag, csection, labor and delivery, must haves, list, everyday, blogging, motherhood, newborn

5. Ginger tea and Ginger brew  after delivery I was on a liquid diet for 24 hours. Hot liquids are encouraged to help move everything along, and having something that will settle any nausea was wonderful. I love Traditional Medicinal teas, and the ginger is really soothing. We also packed some natural ginger ale (the Ginger brew) and both my husband and I loved it mixed with cran grape juice! The bubbles felt good in my belly too! Also you can pick them both up at Kroger, our local grocery store here in Georgia. 

6Prenatals I brought my own prenatal vitamins, because I wanted to take what I was familiar with. I love my New Chapter ones, and they even have a Post Natal one that I'm using now. They are whole food based with organic ingredients, plus an extra blend just for breastfeeding! The hospital gives you a multi vitamin usually but I know how my body feels taking these, and I opted to bring my own. 

labor, delivery, newborn, baby boy, c-section, hospital bag, everyday photography, atlanta

7. A few of newborn outfits and onesies. With our first son I made the mistake of bringing baby clothes that were 0-3 in size. Um, those do NOT fit a typical newborn (7-8 lbs). I learned quickly that they have to be labeled "N" for newborn. I'd bring some in each size though since you never know how big baby will be! I brought about 3 or 4 outfits. The sooner you dress them, be prepared for possible blow outs or wet diapers leaking through those little clothes! 

8. Swaddles I had read that some mom's did not take swaddles and didn't need them at the hospital. Um, nope. We spent many hours awake because Theodore kept kicking out of his swaddled blankets from the hospital. I had wished we'd brought our trusty swaddles from home! They have velcro straps that helped him stay swaddled and sleeping! I linked to a brand that I really like, and that stays swaddled. Really though, ones with velcro are great in general. 

9. A robe  and a pretty night gown once you are out of your amazing looking hospital gown, it's so nice to feel pretty in a comfortable night gown and robe. I always try to get up and walk as soon as I possibly can, because it helps healing go that much faster. Having a pretty robe to keep myself modest was a need. I'd even bring 2 or 3 night gowns, if you will be there for 3-4 days (c-section). It's so much better than pants, since the nurses need to check you regularly and make sure the top is easy access for breast feeding. I picked up a gown at motherhood maternity (linked above) and it was made for nursing and so very comfortable!

newborn, baby boy, photography, its the everyday, blogger, mama, motherhood, atlanta, northern georgia

I really wanted to make a nice even list of 10, but these 9 things were the ones I really remembered as being helpful. Of course you can add the essentials like your own toiletries, your pillow, slippers, change of clothes, camera, phone and chargers etc. Being our third time here I knew we didn't want to take too much stuff. 

You should have seen us with the first two babies. We actually had a cart for all our gear. Ahem. 

I hope this list is helpful for you mama who is having your first, your second, your fifth. Wherever you are in this journey of motherhood. What a fun and blessed one it is isn't it? 


motherhood portraits this summer (looking for a few mama's)

When I was younger I developed an interest in photography. I remember shooting portraits of my sisters, my best friend, my dogs. I didn't know a lot of the technicalities of photography but I managed to figure out how to shoot portraits in the best light, and kept my eyes open for good color and composition. I was probably around 13 or 14 when I took pictures using film, not even knowing if my exposure was correct. 

Cameras have certainly changed since I used my Dad's old minolta, with film. I do love the mechanics of old cameras, the loud noises of winding and clicking that tell you another frame has been taken. And the waiting. Waiting for my finished roll of film to be developed and mailed back to me was always exhilarating. 

Now I use a digital camera, and we've been able to upgrade over the years since Jonah and I have started doing photography together. I'm thankful for this tool that we can use. But I'm still learning. I'm still figuring out the best lighting, the best exposure, the best composition. But I know more of what I like to shoot, the direction I'd like to just stay with right now. The sweet spot that creatives always work towards, I feel like I'm beginning to be in. 

at home photography, motherhood, its the everyday photography, childhood

I mentioned it a couple posts back but my direction is for now going to be on motherhood. 

I was praying this morning about my photography. Always something I give to the Lord because I want to trust that anything I do will be with His leading. I want to bring Him glory in the work of my hands, in the talents He's given me. 

How can I tell more stories? How can I reach out to mama's and encourage them by taking their story? Why is this important?

motherhood, at home, lifestyle photography, its the everyday photography

The other day I had a revelation. At least to my own way of thinking. 

There is a lot of guilt that I can carry in my role. A lot of expectations and assumptions that I have conjured up in my own mind of what a "perfect mom" is supposed to look like. No one has ever said any of these things (my internal checklist) to me. No one has said that if I failed in these areas I was a bad mom, and I didn't have value. It's my own thoughts that have led me to believe I needed to do all the "things" before I was deemed a good mom, or even a valuable woman. 


When I take these thoughts to God I KNOW that my thinking has not been focusing on what is true (Philippians 4:8). God has created each of us in His image, and we ARE valuable, not because of all the things we do, but because of our worth in Him. He alone is the reason I have value, because of my worth in Christ. I am so thankful I serve Him first. I am thankful He helps me discern what I should and shouldn't do. And He has given me a heart for our children and a heart to encourage mothers. My revelation was that I am valued by God. Just that. No amount of work on my part will earn my way to His heart, He already loves me. And just like that I can walk in that freedom, fully invested in the everyday of raising boys, being a wife,  and loving people. Clear away all the other clutter in my head and my focus becomes clear. 

I love being a mom. I love all the things that make up our days. Like rock gathering, bike riding, lego building, exploring, fort building, car racing and every little thing that they delight in, I have found I can delight in too. Childhood goes fast. I don't want to miss it for fear of not getting my house cleaned the right way, my meals perfected or whatever I've made up on my list. Those things will get done, and I'll continue to seek the Lord for help in becoming a better manager of the home. But the play, the building of their imaginations, the questioning minds of our boys are growing and changing quickly. And I don't want to miss these days. 

imagination, childhood, its the everyday photography,
childhood, imagination, outdoors, its the everyday photography

And I know that other mama's are in the same place. Of growing, of learning what it means to be a mom to their children. 

You, mama, are so valuable. God created you to be a mama to the ones He's given you. And He is going to grow you in ways you never knew, as you love and teach and guide your children.

And He's growing me. As a mom, a wife, a daughter of God. I'm learning each day and I'm trusting Him to prune and nourish me so that there will be fruit that is beautiful and sweet. 

at home, photography, childhood, outdoors

This summer I'd like to grow in a few areas in my own photography and I'm seeking a few mama's to help me in this. Some areas I'm specifically focusing on will be portraits and lighting. 

Here are the details for portrait sessions:

Between June-August I'll be offering 3 sessions for mama's as listed below. 
An at home session. I'll come to your home for these portraits. 
The time frame will be limited up to one hour.
You will receive up to 15 final edited images in high resolution. 
The focus will be on you as a mother, and can include your kiddos. 
The pricing will be at a discount from my regular full sessions and will be $130. (limited the session to 3, after that pricing will change)   
To schedule your session you can reach me here. 

I'd also like to say one last thing, the work you do at home is valuable! Training hearts, growing the next generation is important. They are going to lead one day and we need to do our part in pouring into them the best we know how (with the grace of God). Let's encourage each other in the *good* work we've been given. 

I can't wait to meet more mamas in this photography journey!




the best day (mother's day)

I can't say that this year Mother's Day was something I was excited about. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for our two boys. SO thankful! What a great privilege and honor it is to be given children to raise up. God has given us two little gifts that we treasure. But this Mother's Day we were also remembering the two babies that God gave us for a short time. The two that are now in heaven, perfect and whole with Him. They are having the best Mother's Day and I can't wait to see their faces one day. What a great hope it is to think of the day we see our Savior and loved ones!

But there is a sadness that comes with the loss of those little babies. And it hangs onto our hearts, like a tiny little pinecone that is rooted to it's tree. 

cloudland canyon, national park, outdoors, mothers day,, story photography

It's hard to rejoice on this day as we also remember the two that are not here. I know that it's getting easier for us as each day passes. Healing is like that. And perhaps next Mother's Day will be a little easier than this one. But for this day, Jonah asked what I'd like to do. Anything special? 

Honestly I wanted to avoid the recognition and ceremony that is the norm for the day. I wanted to be as far from crowds and cheerful wishes from those that meant well, because I wanted to just quietly remember and feel what the day meant. It meant thankfulness for our children. The ones here, the ones in heaven. Thankfulness for this role as a mom. What a heavy, joyful gift it is. And to reflect back on the One that sees our hearts. To spend a little time in worship to Him, our Maker, our Giver of good and perfect gifts. To praise Him for His faithfulness, His relentless pursuit of us, His heart that is for us and with us. I wanted to go somewhere peaceful, and see beauty. 

And so our adventure began. Jonah was thrilled to learn that I wanted to go visit a state park near us (well, within a few hours). A place where we could hike, picnic, and see waterfalls. Going on an adventure felt like the perfect way to spend this day. 

So on Mother's Day, after I was woken up to be led on a search for cards the boys had made and "hidden" for me, I was treated to breakfast and then we packed up and headed out to Cloudland Canyon. Jonah packed us a picnic lunch that we took along with us. It was a great start!

cloudland canyon, north georgia, its the everyday, photography, motherhood, mothers day
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography

After a couple hours we arrived, and the gorgeous weather kept it nice and cool as we hiked. It was beautiful up there in the mountains and our hike took us to one of the first waterfalls. The boys were so great the whole time, hiking right along with us, exploring all the trees, sticks, rocks, caverns and weird bugs along the way. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
beauty. there is always something beautiful that God has made right in front of us!

beauty. there is always something beautiful that God has made right in front of us!

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography

We stopped at the first waterfall and dipped our hands in the water, rested on the rocks and admired the vastness, the sound, and the isolated beauty of it. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfalls
so thankful for these men!

so thankful for these men!

After a break we continued on to the next waterfall. A little more crowded, and set away from us thanks to a bridge. But thanks to my adventurous husband we found another waterfall not far from it that we could literally put our feet in and sit by for lunch. It was something to sit by the roar of water, dip your toes in the frigid cold and eat your lunch, with the sun shining down on you. What a wonderful memory together. 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall, hiking
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall
eating lunch with our toes in the water. what a wonderful memory with the boys!

eating lunch with our toes in the water. what a wonderful memory with the boys!



After lunch we waded a bit in the water, watched a dog nearby slip and fall from a small overhang into the water (yikes! he was fine!), and hiked a bit around the fall, under a cavern, and as close as we could to the falls. It was neat to explore the rocks, see some weird crustaceans (crawfish maybe?), and feel the dripping water above us from the rocks. We took some shots, and allowed our five year old to man the camera to take one of us. To our surprise he did great! 

mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall, adventure
mothers day, cloudland canyon, its the everyday photography, waterfall

We were blessed with a peaceful, adventurous, amazing afternoon. And on the way home we stopped by a local strawberry farm to pick several pounds of warm, sun-ripened berries and enjoy homemade ice-cream. It was a perfect ending to our day! I am so grateful for the family God has given me. For this role as a mother. For the pain of the past year that has made me appreciate the gifts we have even more. For what God has been speaking into my heart, for how He's made me mother a little different, a little more intentionally, and a little more focused. My heart is changed even more with each child, and I pray it's being shaped and molded to be more like His. We needed a day like this, and I am so very grateful for this, the very best day. Which as it turns out, was Mother's Day after all. 

this life, this adventure together. is there anything greater?

this life, this adventure together. is there anything greater?