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OH my goodness! I still cannot stop smiling… my dear girlfriends Kendall, Emily, and Missy hosted a baby shower in honor of me and my little Thomas. I woke up bright and early yesterday morning to a beautiful day! After having snow and chilly weather in the single digits… I was pleasantly surprised to have a sunny 68° day to enjoy! I scooted over to Avenue 42 Style Studio. The lovely and talented Arianna did my makeup and made me feel absolutely flawless! In addition to my baby shower yesterday morning… my family got together with Andrea, Thomas’s maternity and newborn photographer, yesterday afternoon to have our maternity portraits taken. It was simply an unforgettable day!

I arrived at Kendall’s house for the baby shower and was in awe of what all the lovely hostesses had done… it brought me to tears… I was truly speechless! These ladies planned this children’s book inspired baby shower to absolute perfection! They put Pinterest to shame — not a single detail was overlooked! The decorations, flowers, delicious brunch (and desserts!!), yummy mom-osas, the clever emoji game, thoughtful gifts, and “book worm” party favor candies… it was all so surreal! As I walked from room to room soaking in every detail I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed… this was my baby shower! It was all starting to feel real that this was actually happening… in less than 7-weeks we’ll be welcoming another sweet boy into our family! My sweet Thomas, you are already oh so loved!!! Spending the morning surrounded by such loving, inspirational women whom I respect and look up to was such a blessing! » OPEN POST »

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One of the major changes I’ve noticed with both Michael and now Thomas’s pregnancy journey is the need to be freakishly organized and prepared for anything. In preparation for Michael’s arrival (Fall 2016), I put together a baby car kit so I’m prepared while on-the-go! The last thing I wanted was a blow-out situation and we don’t have an extra set of wipes/diapers (or change of clothes) laying around – that would be one yucky (and smelly!) car ride home! Well, I’ve recently revamped my car kit to now include items for a 15-month old and a soon-to-be newborn. Today I’m going to share with you what’s inside my ultimate DIY car essentials kit!

I featured this topic on a recent On Air with Allie — episode 19! In case you missed it, you can scroll down to watch the replay where I dig into my car kit and show you what’s inside!

» OPEN POST »

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“Our lives are made up of a series of moments.” As a motherhood photographer, I’m grateful to experience and be trusted to capture many treasured, heartfelt moments. Those fleeting moments that truly take your breath away. Today Mr. Behl turns ONE! Oh, what a journey it has been so far! I’ve had the honor of photographing every milestone throughout this sweet boy’s life.

I got to be there when his Mommy and Daddy told their pregnancy announcement news to Behl’s big brother and sister… and when Finley and Tripp took a bite into a cupcake and squealed “BLUE!” at Behl’s gender reveal… and when Emily’s belly grew and we captured their maternity photos while strolling the University of Richmond campus… and even witnessed being in the room when Behl was born… his newborn photos… 6-month photos… and most recently his Smash Cake photos! I’m blessed to have this family as dear friends in my life. I’m thankful that I can share the gift of photography with such loving families. It’s a privilege that I do not take for granted.

Happy 1st Birthday Behl!

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Today marks a very special milestone. Exactly one year ago today, I officially said farewell to the corporate world to dive headfirst into motherhood. One whole year… where did the time go?! My sweet little boy was merely 3-months old last January when I made the choice to become a stay-at-home-mom. Since the day my son was born, I’ve been in awe witnessing each milestone as he grows. Every day with him is absolutely new and different in wonderful, small ways. Tomorrow he’ll be 15-months old and I’m 32-weeks pregnant with baby boy #2! Ryan and I are gearing up for raising two boys under two! I could not feel more blessed to raise these boys with such a loving, hard-working, and supportive husband.

Becoming a mother has challenged me both mentally, physically, emotionally… Michael has taught me many things in the last 15-months. He is and always will be my first little boy. Thanks to Michael I feel much more prepared for Thomas’s arrival. Staying at home with Michael has been quite an adventure! As you can imagine with a busy, busy toddler… we have a mix of great days and challenging days. Days where we laugh till our stomachs ache… days where we get dressed and conquer those errands and play dates… and other days where we stay home in PJs and goof off in the playroom… The days can sometimes feel long but the years are so, so short… motherhood is hard, regardless of where or how we do it, ladies. But one thing I know for sure is our little Michael man brings us SO much JOY! These next 7 weeks, we’re soaking up our last true one-on-one time with our little rascal.

In addition to being home with Michael, I’ve continued to refine my craft by working with families to capture the art of motherhood. After hustling after this photography dream of mine for several years now… I’m proud to say that 2017, my first official year full-time, was my most successful year yet!

Super stoked for my 2018 goals! I have some big dreams for my family and my business. January is off to a great start!

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As a motherhood photographer and boy-mom, I love to fuel my fellow mommy readers with tips and tricks to make their day-to-day lives easier! I started the “for mommies” category on my blog to do just that along with various lifestyle topics discussed in my On Air with Allie episodes.

If you follow my blog, Instagram, or know me at all then you know that I’m an Amazon Prime fan girl! It feels like every other day there is a package at my doorstep. The convenience factor of having something delivered in less than 2-days without ever having to leave the house is Amazon-azing (see what I did there??)! If only Amazon had a frequent flyer miles program… let’s just say I’m surprised I didn’t get invited to their Christmas party this past year, LOL! Since I’m such a loyal and dedicated shopper with Amazon… I decided to start a public “idea list” inspiration board with some must-have products that I highly recommend in hopes that my followers (and the Amazon Community) might benefit from them. I plan to add-on to my idea lists as new products are added to our household!

In the spirit of me prepping for baby boy #2 (due in March!!), my first “idea list” inspiration board to share with you is… Must-Have Baby Registry Items. It’s similar to a Pinterest board, but for specific products that can be purchased right on Amazon. Some of them you’ve probably heard of and others might be new to you! I’m excited to share with you some of my go-to baby products that are tried and true in my household. My hope is that these recommended products are useful in your home too!

Click here to check it this inspiration board! Be sure to leave a comment or heart (“like”) on my Amazon profile to let me know you stopped by! Hope you enjoy it!

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I’ll say it again… Happy New Year friends! Can you believe we are well on our way into January?! This month is already flying by! It’s been a chilly January at that! We got only a few inches of snow last week and it’s just now starting to melt away due to the low, low temperatures (down in the single digits at times)! The kiddos (and teachers!) in the neighborhood have loved it because school has been cancelled all of this time! But, it’s supposed to be in the mid-60s on Friday… that’s Virginia weather for you! I’m surprised Ryan, Michael, and I have gotten through this winter season without any head colds… knock on wood!

So, today I’m going to share with you my 2018 goals! After completing several exercises in my first-ever Powersheets (by Lara Casey — get yours here), I came up with my goals several weeks ago and wrote them down. If you tuned in live or watched the replay of a recent On Air with Allie episode (pause for now and go watch it here)… I gave some helpful tips on how you can cultivate life-giving goals for 2018! In that episode, I walked you through the various “prep work” exercises that I did, I talked about the importance of choosing a word for 2018 (mine is “nourish“), and we chatted about the benefits of doing a life evaluation all before writing down your goals. I also mentioned the highlights of my 10 goals for this year (5 personal and 5 business goals). » OPEN POST »

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All of you busy, hard-working mamas out there…! I want to fill you in on something that will be a game-changer with your grocery shopping experience. While I actually do love grocery shopping… since having Michael in tow (and will soon be raising two boys under two!) it’s not always that easy of a task! Outsourcing my grocery shopping has been such a stress reliever for me! I no longer have to work around my toddler’s nap schedule, stress about how he’ll behave in the store (and then start rushing up and down the aisles if/when he gets fussy), and/or overspending by adding more stuff to my cart outside of what’s on my shopping list (like, double-stuffed Oreos!)…

Last summer, I discovered the genius invention that most grocery stores are starting to adopt… ordering your groceries online and picking them up! It’s brilliant! I previously had used Kroger ClickList but they recently changed the interface of their website making it more difficult to shop coupons/savings, re-ordering previous items, filtering when searching, etc. Publix has recently opened up in Richmond and I’ve been blown away by their customer service, on-the-go meal selection, produce, and… let’s get real… their wine selection (!!). They even have an app so when you’re in the store and looking for something you can type it in and it’ll tell you what aisle it’s on. Their free Baby Club is a cool program too! They are bit more expensive on certain things compared to the other local grocery stores but, to me, their perks and overall shopping ease outweighs the cost difference. So! This past weekend I gave Instacart a try with Publix and I’m hooked! » OPEN POST »

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Dear Michael,

This month you’ll be 15-months old and since the day you were born it’s been an adventure! Watching you grow from a a 7 lb., 8 oz. newborn to now a wiggly toddler has been truly awe-inspiring. Your Daddy and I have celebrated each milestone with you along the way and we’re so proud of the sweet little boy that you are. When you were 11-months old, you took your first independent steps… and you’ve been on-the-go ever since! You’re constantly exploring the curious world around you and have babbling conversations in your own secret language. You love to eat — anything that we put in front of you, you devour! Your favorites include pizza, BBQ, spaghetti O’s, pancakes, and bananas. You love to make a mess with your food at dinner time and get it all in your hair. Your Daddy I think you do this on purpose to ensure you’ll get a bath because you love splashing around in the tub with your toys. We are so very thankful that you’re a great sleeper too! You first slept through the night (7PM to 7AM!) in your crib when you were merely 8-weeks old… and with a few exceptions due to teething or a cold… you’ve continued that sleeping routine since. Your Daddy and I pray that your little brother will acquire your same love for sleep. We moved you into your “big boy” room just before your 1st birthday. You helped DaDa put together your new crib and since you’re our little “rivah rat” we decorated your room a nautical theme. One of many special times with you is first thing in the morning… you wipe your sleepy eyes, always having your left thumb in your mouth (just like Mommy and your cousin Maury Jr.), and you snuggle with DaDa and I in our bed while you guzzle down your morning milk. We savor these snuggle moments because right now they are brief as you are quickly ready to start the day (after eating your pancakes and bananas, of course!). You love your playroom. I’ll enjoy my cup of coffee and watch you play in there as you make your daily mess rummaging through all of your toys. I cannot wait for you to have a sibling to explore and play with. You haven’t quite figured out what it means that you’re going to have a brother… and you don’t seem to notice Mommy’s ever-growing belly… but your Daddy and I know in our hearts that you’re going to be the best big brother. We love the fact that you’ll only be 17-months apart… we cannot wait for the moment you two meet and for all of the fun, messy, fussy, sweet moments to follow from then on. What’s very special in being a big brother is that you are, and always will be, our first child. Our first love. You taught me how to be a mother. You’ve shown, and continue to show, me an understanding of love that only a mother could come to know. Your Daddy and I have you to thank for blessing us with the joys of becoming parents. You dealt with our first-time rookie fumblings and nervous tears… Over these last 15-months, you’ve taught us, challenged us, made us laugh, built-up our confidence, and prepared us to welcome your little brother into our family. It will be quite a transition when we bring your little brother home in March. While you’ll no longer be the center of our love and attention… you’ll now be sharing that limelight with your little brother… we still love you with all our hearts. It will certainly be a continued adventure… we are ready to embrace all that raising two under two has to offer. These next 9-weeks, your Daddy and I plan to soak up every minute with you before we become a family of 4! When that time comes… always remember, we loved you first.

Dear Thomas,

That moment, one early June morning on the porch having coffee, your Daddy and I read the results… PREGNANT! A few months later… surrounded by family and our closest friends… the color of blue confetti filled the air to celebrate the news that you, little one, growing inside my belly are a baby BOY… my sappy mommy heart has been bursting with excitement to meet you, to hold you, to love you! Your Daddy and I anxiously are counting down the minutes when we can finally welcome you into our family. Do you know how much you are already so very loved? Guess what?… You have a big brother too! Your Daddy and I both have a sibling and we had always dreamed of our first born having a sibling but we had no idea that the news of you would come so soon! Someone once said that “there’s no buddy like a brother.” You two are going to be two peas on a pod… double trouble… and best friends! I can already foreshadow the sibling rivalry that you two will share… but oh, what fun we’ll all have! We cannot believe that in just 9-weeks you’ll make your grand entrance into this world! My pregnancy journey with you sure has flown by! Aside from the constant trips to the potty, occasional heartburn and sciatica pains, and now waddling around like a penguin — this pregnancy has thankfully been a breeze! Now more than ever you’re kicking and dancing up a storm in my belly (especially after Mommy sneaks a handful of M&Ms!). I feel that we already have such a special bond… Your tiny little movements and daily hiccups bring me so much joy. When I wake in the morning, just as I open my eyes and before I’ve had a chance to move, I feel you moving around, ready to start the day! You’re most active at night… hopefully not a sign for being a night owl once you’re born?! With each prenatal appointment, your measurements are spot-on with where you should be in your development… I’m sure it’s your way of showing off to your big brother! We’re all very proud and impressed. In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you home — your cozy nursery is all ready for you!

 

Photo above by Liz Cook | www.liz-cook.com

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Well, hello friends! I cannot believe it’s been well over a month since my last blog post. I guess I figure since I’m chatting to many of you live every Wednesday over on my Facebook page (click here to watch replays!) that I don’t need to blog that often… but I know that I do! In fact, to blog at least twice per week is on my list of goals for 2018! My apologies for being MIA on here… December has been a whirlwind of a busy season!

Some memorable December highlights…

  • Ryan and I celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary this past December 1st! We packed up Michael in the car for a weekend getaway at the rivah! It was a quiet, romantic, fun-filled weekend. As always, I squeezed (my then 25-week preggo belly) back into my wedding dress to twirl around on the beach.
  • The following week I hosted bunco with some neighborhood girlfriends
  • I joined my dear friend at Altria Theatre to see The Sound of Music. Little Thomas in my belly was dancing around to the music!
  • We enjoyed our first snow of the season! Roughly 5″ fell overnight and we had a solid day of sledding, snowball fights, and of course a backyard family mini-session in the snow! Click here to watch the fun unravel!
  • Our family scooted over to Lewis Ginter to stroll and enjoy the GardenFest of Lights — if you live in Richmond and you’ve never been you must go and see the half-a-million twinkling lights (you have until January 8th)!
  • Ryan and I also hosted our 6th annual Jingle Ball — a festive cocktail evening in our home that always goes strong until the wee hours of the morning with dancing and karaoke!
  • We had a positive 28-week prenatal appointment this month with our little Thomas. Last week we entered into our 3rd trimester — this pregnancy is flying by! We cannot wait to meet our little boy!
  • We gathered with our neighborhood friends for an annual tacky light tour! We came back to our house for a firepit gathering, projector movie for the kiddos, and a visit from Santa!
  • For the first time in 7 years… Christmas cards didn’t make it on the priority list this year. We’re giving ourselves the grace to let things fall away so we can soak up every minute of this fun-filled season with Michael. We still enjoyed the excitement of opening all of the Christmas cards we received from dear family and friends this season. It was quite freeing to not have to tackle the Christmas card project this year — maybe we’ll pick it back up next year.
  • I received in the mail my first-ever PowerSheets by Lara Casey. — I dedicated several hours to the prep work prior to cultivating my 2018 goals. I’ll be going over more details on this in this week’s On Air with Allie episode. Tune in live on on Facebook tonight!
  • I photographed 3 family sessions, 1 newborn, and 2 maternity sessions this past month! A great way to wrap up the year!

This was Michael’s second Christmas, he was merely 2-months old this time last year, so it was much more fun this time around as he’s starting to catch on to the magic of Christmas. I have a feeling it will get even more amazing as the years go on! Watching his eyes light up as we walked through Lewis Ginter and the tacky light tour, hearing his giggles at a dancing santa doll, snuggling while watching Christmas shows, MiMi & PaPa reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, holding his little hand as he walked down our staircase on Christmas morning, and feeling every ounce of his excitement when he realized what Santa brought him (!!!) and the other lovely gifts from family and friends… are all memories (and more!) that I will forever cherish. A little 7-minute highlight reel from our Christmas Eve and morning festivities is below — an annual tradition that I create for our family to enjoy!

Yesterday, I spent 4-hours taking all of our Christmas decorations down (including the Christmas tree!)… while I felt like the Grinch taking it all down so quickly after Christmas… in all fairness, I’ve had our decorations up since 1-week prior to Thanksgiving… LOL! So, needless to say, I was ready to get my house back in order! My fireplace mantle, countertops, coffee tables, and front yard seem so bare… but the simplicity of it is pure bliss! I do, however, have our winter wreath still on our front porch and 2 snowy trees lit in our family room… they’ll stay up for the rest of the winter season. Surprisingly, Michael didn’t break one Christmas ornament (or decoration!) this season… we had a few close calls… but all is safely packed away.

This week, I’ve been busy wrapping up a few things on my to-do list before scooting to the rivah for New Year’s Eve! Be sure to join me live tonight at 8PM on Facebook for another On Air with Allie episode — I’ll be doing a fun, free giveaway!

To read about my Christmas recap in 2015 (click here) and 2016 (click here).

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