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Happy 1/2 birthday Michael!! OH my goodness!! My Mama bear heart just can’t take it! I blinked and he was born… blinked again… now my little angel is already 6-months old!?! Looking at this monthly milestone timeline of images just melts my heart. Watching him learn, grow, and develop over these last 6 months has truly been a beautiful thing to experience. I love you little monkey!

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Today is the day that I say farewell to my roaring twenties… and hello to thirty! The BIG 3-0! Yes, I’m thirty! And I gotta say, it feels good! The closing of a chapter — another decade lived. A fresh start. The adventure continues.

Occasionally I’ll think back and reflect on one of my favorite self portraits… 5 years old, running around a sand volleyball court in a navy nautical dress, entertaining myself, smiling, laughing… I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I plopped down, gripped the sand with my fingers, and kicked my sandy toes in the air… life was so carefree.

God has blessed me with a beautiful life.

My twenties were nothing short of roaring… In the last 10 years, I experienced college life, joined a sorority, boy drama, parties, graduated VT, entered the corporate world, started my photography business, bought and sold cars, lived in The Fan, got engaged and married a man I’m crazy about, bought a house in the West End, became and aunt and godmother, beat infertility, experienced the miracle of pregnancy, gave birth to my son, and became a stay-at-home mom to my sweet boy. Motherhood… the greatest gift, my truest calling.

Thirty. An amazing milestone to have reached. I’ve got quite a bit to show for my years… my health, my family, and a photography career that is booming! I’m truly happy. I couldn’t be more proud of my skin, my body. For 9 months, it carried my little boy and underwent an emergency c-section. The little scar on my belly is a sweet daily reminder of the miracle of life. How we should make each day count. Oh, what a wonderful world it is.

I have so much to be thankful for. I’ve learned a lot, made mistakes, and since becoming a mother I’m getting better about giving myself grace over perfection.

I’m embracing my thirties with an open heart, an open mind, with no regrets, doing things and investing my time with people that make me truly happy.

Cheers to 30 years! Excited for what the next decade will bring.

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“The name Fount is grounded in the Middle English version of the word, meaning: a rise or beginning from a source, something that provides what is needed. We grew attached to this name instantly, as we believe it describes motherhood as perfectly as we hope to capture it – a source where life flows from; a deep wellspring.”

Anxious. Empowered. Excited. Energized. Fearless. These are just some of the many feelings of emotion that came over me last August (7 months pregnant!) when I clicked “submit” to register for the 2017 Fount Workshop. Fount is a “lifestyle publication devoted to the art of being a mother.” The founders of The Fount Collective believe that “motherhood deserves to be celebrated, lifted higher, and beheld for the daily devotion it demands.” The Fount Workshop was designed for creative artists that specialize in documenting the art of motherhood. So many workshops out there are catered to wedding photographers so it was a breath of fresh air when I first learned about the Fount Workshop because it tailors to my core passion. For my first in-person workshop, joined with other talented photographers from around the globe, this couldn’t be a more perfect fit! » OPEN POST »

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Wishing a very happy birthday to my amazing hubby, Ryan!!! Words cannot express how much you mean to me, to Michael, to our family. I have loved watching our love grow each and every day. Becoming your wife and the mother to your son has been by far my greatest blessing. Watching you embrace becoming a father and the way Michael lights up when he looks at you… it truly melts my heart! I am so grateful to have shared so many of life’s beautiful seasons with you over the years… from our first kiss, to our engagement, to our wedding day, our pregnancy journey, to the birth and raising our son together. It’s been an incredible adventure thus far and we’ve only just begun. There is no one else I would rather do life with than you.

I love that our perfect Sunday afternoon is strolling the aisles of Costco. I love our weekend projects, our long talks by the fire drinking red wine, gazing at the stars at Denton Abbey, dancing in our kitchen while washing dishes, and the way you still look at me from across a crowded room. You still give me butterflies.

Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for your strength, your sense of humor, your incredible dance moves, your dedication, your wit, your grilling techniques, your bear hugs, your kind heart. Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family and for your blessing to let me stay home with Michael. Thank you for being you.

Happy Birthday!! Can’t wait to celebrate you this weekend!!

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A fellow photographer friend posted an awesome blog post today about why she created a personal Instagram account — you can read about it here. I have gone back-and-forth on this because while I certainly still want to post my personal life on my business Instagram account to build more of a connection with my followers… I also don’t want to overwhelm people with over-sharing baby pictures of Michael! Nor do I want to stress about curating the best-of-the-best perfect images from my iPhone to ensure my grid is pretty to look at 24/7. I also love the idea of easily creating photo books!

SO! I caved and created a new personal account where I’ll be posting daily shenanigans. Of course, being the OCD type-A mom that I am… I have already uploaded 126 posts to get my account caught up from Michael’s birth to now. HA! My phone is always running out of room with countless photos/videos so I’m excited to have a place to store and share them online. Some days it might be one post… other days I may post a dozen times… it just depends on what we’re up to! Some images might be perfectly exposed and in focus… while others might be blurry… but it’s our beautiful story nonetheless. While of course this account is for friends and family to follow along… this account is mainly for me. A digital home to store our memories.

If you need a daily dose of baby boy cuteness or you want to be entertained by our daily shenanigans… then give us a follow! 🙂

Follow @shumatefamshenanigans

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YIKES!! It’s been almost 1 month since I last blogged something… That doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried!! I have several blog posts still in draft status that just never got around to getting published… but they will be soon! It’s been a busy, busy time this last month and now my family is gearing up for birthday season in March/April (we have EIGHT birthdays in our immediate family during this time!). We have lots to celebrate this year since my Mom is turning 60, my sis-in-law is turning 35, and I’ll be turning 30!! Big milestones this year!!

SO! Let me catch you up!! In the last month we had our Keswick Hall getaway, Michael was baptized (blogging about this next week!!), I attended several photography webinars, photographed several families and babies, enjoyed a relaxing trip to Denton Abbey, and hosted a Mom Prom! And of course, lots of baby snuggles and family time in between all of that! Virginia has had some crazy weather with it being 70° one day and then snow flurries the next… Soaking up all of this sunshine is getting me SO excited for spring!! » OPEN POST »

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This family is the absolute sweetest! I was grinning from ear-to-ear as they arrived for their session and I saw the two sisters in matching dresses. Aren’t they just the cutest?! And little James, what a handsome boy! Had so much fun being my goofy self and making these kiddos laugh. Loved getting to know them as we strolled the grounds of Tuckahoe Plantation during my annual Holiday Mini-Session Special. All of their smiles are just contagious! Enjoy browsing some favorites from our time together! 🙂 » OPEN POST »

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Hi friends! Happy Monday! If you follow along on Instagram then you know that we took a family trip this past weekend. It was an adventure that I will always cherish. December 1st was our real anniversary (4 years!). We had a romantic dinner at home and Ryan surprised me with a getaway to Keswick Hall! With the hectic hustle and bustle holiday schedules and still getting into a routine with Michael, we decided to postpone our trip for mid-January so we could really relax and enjoy it. Then Virginia got hit with a crazy snow and ice storm… So… we postponed again! We booked it for Valentine’s Day weekend (and the 1-year anniversary of finding out we were pregnant!). After much anticipation, this past Saturday morning, my little family packed up the car and scooted to Charlottesville for our belated celebration! Aside from going to the rivah, this was a our first family vacation! » OPEN POST »

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So! Be honest… in looking at this photo, does your heart skip a beat? Does this place put a smile on your face? I have a confession to make… When I’m not shooting, my perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon is in comfy clothes with my family and strolling the aisles of Costco. Anyone else yelling, “Amen, Sista!”. I know it might sound strange but for almost 7 years now, my hubby and I love going together! Now we have a Bob Stroller in tow with Michael tagging along. I remember Michael’s first time to Costco, LOL. He was wide-eyed in his stroller as we shopped around. We try to limit our trips to once a month (because it’s like Target, we can’t leave Costco without spending several hundred dollars). You could literally walk into Costco because you initially needed the jumbo box of k-cups and a book of stamps… and end up walking out of there with a canoe! HA! We purposively have a monthly budget for Costco to ensure we don’t overspend and go crazy in there. It’s probably a good thing that we can’t log online like Amazon (PS… How did I just recently find out about Honey?! Where have you been all of my life?!) to view all of our previous transactions. Bet it would be a pretty long list.

Between the huge red shopping carts, their gigantic pies, the wine selection, ready-made meals, awesome prices, the yummy food samples, amazing customer service, the ability to return things without a receipt (cash back!), stylish clothes, or the delicious Chicken Bake…!… what’s not to love? If you’re thinking to yourself, “Allison, what’s a Chicken Bake?”, then you need to stop what you’re doing and drive to Costco and order this for lunch in their food court (for only $2.99!). It’s seriously like a hot pocket on steroids, good! » OPEN POST »

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You guys! I cannot believe that February is already here and busy as ever! This past week I was on-the-go!! If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen some of my daily adventures. I photographed 2 newborn sessions, 1 maternity session, and 3 Smash Cake sessions (one being in Northern Virginia) all while coordinating with Ryan or my Mom to watch little Michael… meanwhile, I went to 2 different coffee play dates, continued voting with the Shoot & Share contest, had a pedicure with my bestie, spent quality time with family, hosted a firepit happy hour with 18 my amazing neighbors (+ all of their kiddos!), attended Thrive (a weekly women’s morning bible study that I recently joined and I love it!), cleaned the house, enjoyed a day trip adventure with Ryan and Michael to Northern VA, and went to 2 Super Bowl parties… Michael and I had a fun-filled week together to say the very least! Above is a snapshot of the sneak peeks I’ve posted from last week — Gosh, my heart is so full!

I was SO ecstatic when this past January was the biggest month ever for my photography business! I’ve welcomed 12 new clients into the ASP Family and I’m up 777% in income from this time last year!! Y’all… that is such a confidence booster knowing that January was when I took the leap from leaving the corporate world to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom and continue to run my photography business. I couldn’t be more appreciative of my ASP Family for their investment in this dream of mine. It’s an honor to document their stories and motherhood journeys. I can already tell that 2017 is going to be an EPIC year! » OPEN POST »

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