Personal

6 Months with Leland Theodore

What?! I promised myself I wouldn't be one of those moms that was always saying where did the time go? But I totally get why moms are always saying that now, because seriously- how is our little guy already 6 months old? I won’t cry, I won’t cry, I won’t cry!

These past 6 months have been the most wonderful 6 months of my entire life. Life with Leland is more than I could have every hoped for. I knew being a mom would be hard, but the sleepless nights and crazy hormones made it a tougher transition than I expected, but through it all Leland has been the brightest light in our home. He is such a good baby and happiness is just his natural demeanor. The kid loves to be passed from one person to the next, he finds his cousins to be absolutely hilarious, and will flash a smile at just about anyone who says hi to him. If I had to pick one word to describe Leland it would be joy and his joy is just contagious.

Leland has his ups and downs with sleep, and I will be completely honest we haven’t really forced a schedule on him so I take full responsibility for his sporadic sleep habits. We are all about napping on the go, staying up later on weekends and rocking our little guy to sleep- I know all bad habits, but that’s just where we are at over here! Right now Leland is sleeping like a champ so I will count my blessings and continue to say a prayer each night that we make it to the morning without a midnight nursing session.

Our little guy has two little bottom teeth and when he smiles and flashes those two pearly whites I just about melt into a puddle. Leland is all about food and it has been so much fun to watch him discovering new tastes and textures. He adores his baths, which is great because this kid has some serious rolls that need scrubbing after his very messy meals. Everything in our house has turned into a song, and we find ourselves humming made up songs about avocados and Leland’s toy moose. But somehow we just keep singing no matter how made up and silly the songs get because it makes Leland laugh and we are all about Leland giggles over here.

Each month Leland and I have a little photo shoot on our bed, and it is the sweetest to see how much he has changed over these last 6 months, including that hair- from dark hair to almost a blonde! Oh what a difference a few months can make!

And these are just a few fun pictures from life, because every day is more fun with Leland around. Before Leland we were always on the go (and yes we are still on the go a lot), but now we find ourselves just wanting to stay in and make Leland laugh. Oh sweet boy, you have changed everything for the better!

2018 Personal Highlights

I could write a 100 blog posts about 2018. Becoming parents is more than we could have ever dreamed, and I think you all know how I feel about our little man. Leland Theodore is just pure perfection. I have so many favorite moments, so creating a top 10 is tough. If I could bottle up this year and keep every memory perfectly without fading I really would. God was so gracious and kind and we have a million big and little things to praise Him for. Don’t get me wrong, it was also tough. The sleepless nights kicked my butt this fall, and getting past the postpartum blues was real, but that all kind of fades away with time and baby giggles.

So here it is- my top 10 memories of 2018!

Being pregnant. I absolutely loved being pregnant. Watching my body grow and change was such a joy. For a person who often takes her body for granted I loved feeling more connected to my body. I felt so grateful for what my body was able to do. And feeling those baby kicks- there is nothing like it!

Hot air ballon festival. We’ve talked about going to a hot air ballon festival for years. We have even driven all the way there in years past to find out that it was canceled because of weather. Not this year! This year we made it to the festival and the balloons actually took off. I think there is just something so magical about hot air balloons!

Baby showers. We were seriously spoiled by our friends and families before Baby Beatty arrived. The ladies in my family threw us a “Next Big Adventure” themed shower, Ted’s mom and sister planned us a backyard “Baby-Q” celebration and the girls in our bible study group helped us celebrate with a poolside bash. It was so fun to celebrate with everyone and all of the details that went into the celebrations made us feel so loved and known.

Leland Theodore’s birth story. I haven’t share too much about Leland’s birth story. I hope one day to write a whole post about it, but for now I can tell you that it was perfect. I had a long and difficult labor, but the memories we made during those days in the hospital are some I will always cherish. I welcomed my sisters and our parents in to help while I was laboring and after Leland made his entrance into the world our room was a constant stream of family and friends. It was loud and a little chaotic, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Our little beach babe. We love the beach around here. So it didn’t take us long to head to the beach with our little guy. Ted’s family planned a little getaway on Lake Huron. We spent our time BBQing, exploring the beaches and climbing the local lighthouse. I may have cried at the end of our beach day because I was so happy. My little family with the sun setting behind us on the Great Lakes- yup, a dream of mine coming true.

Pool days. My parents have the best pool, and my favorite memories from childhood are the memories we made as a family in the pool. It has been so much fun to watch the pool transform over the years as a place of our family, and then a hangout spot for our friends and now the gathering place for all of the cousins. We couldn’t let the summer pass by without taking Leland for her first dip!

Our first flight with Leland. Ted had a work conference in Portland, Oregon so we added a few days on both sides of the conference and spent some time exploring Portland and the surrounding area and then we headed up to Olympic National Park for a few days. Some people may call us crazy, but we took Leland on his first plane ride at just 6 weeks- and hey it all worked out! We had the best time taking Leland on his first hikes and teaching him the art of adventure. Olympic National Park was absolutely stunning and watching Ted hike with Leland tucked in close in the rainforest made my momma heart explode.

Learning to be a full time work at home mom. Yes, I still work full time- I photograph over 100 sessions a year and up to 12 full day weddings. This year I took about 2 months off from work, but was back to photographing for the fall busy season. We get sitters when necessary, and we have the most amazing support system, but Ted and I do our best to balance our work and home life between the two of us when possible. That meant a lot of baby wearing, waking up before our little guy and quick baby hands offs when one person was home from work and the other needed to head off to work. It has been so fun to see our marriage flourish as we focus on this new stage of life as a stronger, more unified team.

Road tripping along the coast of Maine. We joined my parents for a road trip along the coast of Maine to check out the fall colors. My parents love Maine, so I grew up hearing all about it- and it truly was gorgeous. We loved stopping in all of the little fishing villages, walking along the harbors and eating delicious seafood every night. Our trip finished at Acadia National Park where Ted and I were able to have a little day date while Grandma and Papa hung back with Leland. We hiked the Precipice Trail, which is basically iron rung ladders that you climb up on the side of a mountain- it was terrifying and incredible!

Turning 30 in St. Augustine, Florida. We typically head south for my birthday, but skipped the tradition last year because pregnancy was kicking my butt. Ted went all out this year and surprised me with the most amazing trip to St. Augustine. We spent lazy mornings with coffee in bed and snuggles with Leland, enjoyed long walks and picnics on the beach and explored downtown. The highlight had to be the spa day Ted planned for me. An entire day of pampering- I couldn’t have asked for anything more! 30 sounded a bit scary, but celebrating it with my guys certainly made me ready to welcome it with open arms!

There you have it, the top 10 moments of 2018! Thank you so much for following along. Your love and support of our little family means more than I could ever say. We hope this year brings you lasting memories with the ones you love- and we can’t wait to capture some of them along side you!

Meet Leland Theodore

This post is just a little late, but I think that is just how most of my life is going to go from here on out!  The past 4 weeks have been the most beautiful blur as we have adjusted to being a family of three!

Our son, Leland Theodore Beatty, joined our family on Friday, July 20 at 5:55 p.m.  He came into the world at 8 lbs 7 oz, 21 inches, and we just can't get enough of him! He has a full head of hair, a nose just like his Daddy, and so far he is as social as his Momma. 

We cannot thank you enough for all of the messages, texts, gifts, cards and prayers.  We are feeling so loved and supported as we adjust into parenthood.  This little guy has stolen our hearts and we are just feeling so thankful to God for blessing us with this precious gift! 

Greece

Okay, okay I know- this blog post is so picture heavy, but I would never say editing down my favorite images is my strong suit.  And when you travel to somewhere like Greece, it makes editing images even more difficult.  So out of the 600 pictures I currently have from the trip, I would say I am doing pretty good by only sharing 60!  

When we found out we were expecting a little one Ted and I decided we wanted to take one more big vacation before baby's arrival.  We called it a joint 5 year anniversary trip and babymoon.  Greece has always been high on both of our lists, and when we started to look into  the timing and the details it sounded like the perfect getaway for a mix of exploring and relaxing.  Yes I know, for some people that sounds absolutely crazy.  I was 33 weeks pregnant on our 11 hour flight home, and I know that doesn't make sense for every family.  But our doctor okayed it, and since I have been feeling great I had no problem traveling so late in my pregnancy. And with lots of prayer, everything went great! We are keeping our fingers crossed that baby is always this great of a traveler :)

We flew direct from Toronto to Athens.  We only spent one night in Athens, but felt like that was plenty to see the major sites.  From there we island hopped between 3 islands- Milos, Santorini and Crete.  Each island was completely different and I think that is what made the trip so amazing.  It felt like we were in a totally different part of the world after each ferry ride- the food, people, and landscape changed so much from island to island. 

Milos had very few tourists.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel where they completely pampered us.  We spent time at the beach and explored at a very leisurely pace.  Santorini is a must see, it is the perfect picture postcard image of Greece.  The rest of the world also thinks so, so there were more crowds to deal with here than in Milos.  Crete was a lush, endless island.  We rented a car and saw a big chunk of the island, and moved from mountains and gorges to beaches and historic cities within a few miles.  

The trip was exactly what we hoped it would be.  We moved at a slightly slower pace than usual, which made for slow mornings and afternoon chats over lemonade and Greek salad.  The memories from our 2 weeks in Greece are some of my very favorite we have ever made.  The people were kind, and I loved that everyone wanted to chat about our bump.  Always exclaiming- it's a boy! We will find out if all the Greeks were right soon enough!  If you are thinking about a trip to Greece I would say, go!  The blue water, fresh food, and endless opportunities to explore quickly made it one of our favorite travel destinations.

I will highlight a few things in the pictures below, but if you have any questions about where we went or what we did I would love to chat details with you!

We are already day dreaming about another trip to Greece in our future.  But for now I am looking forward to printing some of these pictures to hang in the nursery and telling the baby the story of his or her first European adventure! 

Sharing the Baby News

So I thought it would be fun to share with you the story and a few pictures from when I told Ted he was going to be a dad!  I had always imagined I would find out first and then do something super fun and a little bit extravagant to tell Ted.  He is always surprising me, and has planned some big surprises for milestones in our life together- so I wanted to do the same.  

The first weekend of November we photographed a wedding on Saturday night and had a flight to California scheduled for early Sunday morning.  We were flying to LA, driving down the coast and spending 5 days outside of San Diego at a conference for Ted's work.  The weeks leading up to the trip were all a bit hectic, with my busy season just coming to an end.  Once we landed in California we were ready for some rest and relaxation.  On the second day of our trip I woke up and had the sudden realization that I might be pregnant.  In all honesty, I knew right away that I was pregnant- it's so true that your body just knows.  Immediately I knew had to go get a pregnancy test.  I told Ted a small fib about what I needed to buy and had him drop me off at the drugstore, but since we were in downtown San Diego he couldn't find parking and just circled around and didn't come in the store with me.

The next stop on our tour of San Diego for the day was the Hotel del Coronado.  I made a quick stop in the lobby's restroom where I took the test.  I immediately started crying.  I tried to get my composure together so Ted wouldn't suspect anything.  He was actually making a phone call when I walked out of the restroom, so I don't think he had any time to see the look on my face.  After walking through the hotel lobby he suggested we take a stroll on the beach.  I was about to burst! My mind was literally racing as I tried to digest what I had just learned and pretend to be engaged in whatever Ted was talking about as we walked! 

We found a lifeguard station and I told Ted I wanted to setup the self timer to take a picture together.  This is totally normal for us, so he obliged.  I took the picture, then switched it over to video.  Ted and I sat in the sand and I told him I had a surprise for him, and he had to close his eyes.  I handed him the positive pregnancy test and he opened his eyes. To say he was surprised would be an understatement! We cried, he asked a whole bunch of questions, we laughed- it was the best. I didn't plan a huge surprise or moment like I thought I would, but life kind of took care of that for us.  We were in the most beautiful place and the timing was perfect.  

We spent the rest of our trip celebrating.  We had so many different things to chat about from names, to a nursery, to how and when we would share the news with our family and friends. California will always have a special place in my heart now, and I joke with Ted that when our kids are all gone away to college maybe we can afford to stay at the Hotel del Coronado to celebrate. 

We are having a BABY!

Surprise- we are having a BABY! Oh goodness, we are so excited to share this news with you! Just typing that out still makes me want to pinch myself- I can't believe this is real!  Ted and I have been praying that God would grow our family, and He so faithfully answered our prayers in His perfect timing.  We are currently soaking up every moment of this season before baby arrives.  As my bump seems to be growing each day and we can now see and feel baby's kicks everything is feeling more real.  

I thought it would be fun to answer some of the most common questions we have gotten since we started sharing the news about baby with fiends and family.

When are you due? Our due date is July 18.  So currently I am 21 weeks along. Just over half way there!

How are you feeling? Great! I struggled with some nausea during my first trimester and a few new aches and pains that I wasn't expecting as baby continues to grow, but overall I feel fantastic!  Thank God for Ted who always remembers that we are currently in a stage where we can't leave the house without water and plenty of snacks.  He usually has a granola bar in his pocket for backup!

What is the biggest change in your life right now?  I am constantly hungry!  I had no idea how hungry I would be! It feels like my days are filled with endless snacks. I currently crave any and all citrus, and if it was up to me I would be drinking chocolate milkshakes everyday- although I am trying to curb that craving as much as possible! I am also in bed by 10:00 now and letting myself do a little more sleeping in- which has been a big change for someone who could run on very little sleep before.

What is your favorite part of pregnancy?  I have really enjoyed every moment of being pregnant.  I love knowing my body is able of performing such an important task.  I have been resting in the fact that God created my body for this, and that He is working to perfectly knit together our baby's every little detail. I specifically love the way Ted greets me and baby when he gets home from work.  He always asks how "our" day was and my baby belly gets extra kisses from him when he walks in the door and it's simply the sweetest.  He can also feel and see the baby kicking now, which is so much fun.  I cannot wait to watch that guy grow into his role as dad! 

Are you finding out the baby's gender? Nope! We are waiting to be surprised when our little one arrives.  We rotate between calling the baby him one week and her the next week, and neither of us have any deep inclination as to if we think the baby will be a little boy or girl.  We have been working on choosing names and it is turning out to be a lot more difficult than we anticipated!

How did you tell Ted? This is such a fun story, and I am going to share it in a separate blog post! 

What does this mean for your business? We know the baby will be adjusting our schedules in big ways, but we both plan to go back to work full time.  My work schedule and hours are going to look a little bit different, but luckily Ted and I have schedules that can be really flexible- so we plan to make it work! I am currently scheduling shoots through July 1. I will then be taking maternity leave for all of July and August.  If everything goes as planned, I will be back to regularly scheduling shoots in September.  Ted and I will continue to photograph weddings together starting this September. 

Thank you so much for your continued love and support.  We are so thankful for each day with our little babe, and know this is such an amazing responsibility and blessing.  We are so thankful for this community and we can't wait to share this new chapter of our story with you all!  

2017 Highlights- Personal

2017 was quite a year.  Every year around this time I sit down to write out our story to put in our photo album.  When I think about writing our story for 2017 it has a lot to it.  Ted and I both grew so much personally, spiritually and in our careers.  The year was filled with some awesome adventures with some of our favorite people, slow mornings at home, and more time spent with family and friends.  I really, really loved the way this year challenged us and I am hoping for a 2018 that brings more adventure and growth. 

So without further ado- 1o of our highlights from 2017! 

Our year started out with our biggest adventure! We visited Iceland with two of our very dearest friends and had the time of our lives.  I have about a million photos to share from this trip, but they are still in my editing queue- yikes! Iceland is so beautiful and unlike anywhere I have ever been.  We hiked on glaciers, soaked in hot springs, stayed in little fishing villages, visited waterfalls, and watched the Northern Lights!  Those Northern Lights are something else, and I am already plotting a way to get back to Iceland to see them again! 

Just like we have every year since our wedding, we celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary in Petoskey.  Our trip almost always looks the exact same, and I think that is why I Iove it so much.  Our first stop is at the church where we were married, where we read the bible readings from our wedding and pray for our marriage.  Then we make our way to the Perry Hotel where we celebrated our wedding reception.  They always treat us like royalty and gift us with champagne and put us in the room with the best view of the bay. I really love that place, and it is by far my very favorite tradition.

Next up- our chance to be lighthouse keepers! I had been looking forward to this trip for a whole year! Ted and I got to be lighthouse keepers at Crisp Point Lighthouse in the Upper Peninsula.  We took care of the lighthouse, opened it for guests, cleaned the area, and ran the gift shop. We invited some of our family to come Up North with us for the adventure and had so much fun camping on the beach with them. One of my very favorite moments of the entire year was rock hunting with this bunch in our pajamas at sunset.  I hope I never forget how much fun we all had together doing something so simple! 

I know this is a work highlight, but it is also a huge personal highlight for me! Ted started shooting with me this year, and it has been the very best.  I could go on and on about the ways he serves our clients, but you have probably already heard me do that.  Another way it has blessed us is in our marriage.  We have had so much fun growing and learning while working together, and I love the new element it brings to our relationship. 

We finished the summer with one last adventure to Northern Michigan with family and friends.  The highlight of this trip was watching Ted compete in his first triathlon.  This guy has so much heart, and it was so cool to see his summer of training pay off during the race.  He also has so much physical endurance, and I could never do something like this so it's fun to live vicariously through him! The atmosphere around the race is so fun and we had a blast chasing him around the course and cheering for him at different spots.  We rented the prettiest little beach house in Northport and once the triathlon was over we visited all the local wineries and breweries to celebrate! 

Clearly we are all about traditions in the Beatty family.  A few years ago we started a tradition to take a big road trip every October.  This year we headed out to Utah.  We visited Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Capitol Reef and Zion National Parks.  We hiked every day, cooked over a fire, slept in our tent most nights and the cutest little cabin one night, and totally disconnected from the world.  Utah and its National Parks absolutely stole our hearts and we had one epic road trip! My favorite memory was hiking The Narrows together at Zion, something I think everyone should do once in their life! 

Every year we try to get at least one photograph with everyone from the Miller side, but somehow one person is always missing.  This year we actually got together with the sole intention of taking a family picture.  I know we will all treasure this picture for years to come and I can't help but laugh when I look at it, because how are there really that many of us?! 

Our last trip of the year was to San Diego.  We left the day after our last wedding of the year, and it was such a sweet way to celebrate the end of wedding season.  Ted actually went on the trip for work, but a whole lot of it felt like vacation.  We watched incredible sunsets, ate delicious seafood, and even tried surfing- which was on our bucket list! 

This year we became an aunt and uncle to three new little humans! We welcomed Alicia, Colin and June to our family and we think they are simply the greatest.  There isn't much that we love more than being an aunt and uncle and these three have already stolen our hearts! 

The stomach flu struck our house the day before Christmas Eve so we had a very low key Christmas celebration.  The day after Christmas I was finally feeling better, and we got our booties outside for some snowshoeing.  It was the perfect way to celebrate Christmas together and after being sick it felt so good to get outside and get moving! And that snow! I love the way that white stuff looks right after a big snowstorm.

Well there you have it! A few of my very favorite memories from 2017.  From big adventures to Iceland to just finally getting outside after recovering from the flu, I am so thankful for all of the big and little moments this year.