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Happy Thursday, friends! Happy Spring!! Back by popular demand… it’s launch day for MOMMY & ME MINIS!!!

Spring is so very gorgeous in Virginia! This is a great time of year to spruce up the photos in your home. Before we dive into the details… real talk?! As a fellow mom raising a 1 & 2.5 year old… our lives are busy! It’s that time of year where we’re covered in pollen, we’re tired, we feel like we’re going 1,000,000 miles p/ hour, schedules are hectic… allergy season is upon us… the idea of scheduling a photo shoot and preparing for picture day may sound a bit overwhelming to think about… I get it! But! Spring is here! You’ve conquered Spring Break and Easter… Summer is just around the corner… flowers are in bloom… it’s not yet too hot and humid out (!!), annnnnd it’s almost Mother’s Day!

It’s really the perfect time to get motivated to pull down your spring/summer clothes from the attic (I tackled this yesterday!), grab your favorite spring colors or flowey maxi dress… whatever you feel beautiful in… block off 20-minutes with me to have it be all about YOU and savor some special time and snuggles with your children! » OPEN POST »

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My sweet little Thomas is a lucky ONE! This birthday theme couldn’t be more perfect for our little lucky charm. He’s 26 pounds of joyful thumb-sucking squish… I tickle, squeeze, and smooch on those pudgy cheeks and thighs every single day. That strawberry blonde hair, that little smirk, that laugh, those blue eyes, those doughy biscuit rolls… I’m in awe of him.

One year old today… my how time flies! The nights are long but the years are oh so short. Ryan and I were quite surprised (and grateful!) to find out only 8-months after our Michael was born that I was pregnant again with Thomas. God works in mysterious ways. Michael was only 17-months old when Tommy was born (birth story here!). While raising two under two most certainly had it’s moments of pure exhaustion… In being a stay-at-home boy mom-preneur hustling two businesses… the struggle is real each and every day to find that perfect work/mom/wife/life balance. But I always knew no matter how hectic of a day, week, or month I was having… that I could count on Tommy’s smile and dimples to make it all better. He and Michael remind me on a daily basis just how lucky I am to be their Mom. Our hands and hearts have never been more full! » OPEN POST »

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Well hello there friends! As many of you know, I’m a Shoot & Share photographer which is a fancy way of saying that I offer my clients all of their high-resolution, non-watermarked images with a print release. I deliver my images to my clients via an online gallery system where they can easily view, share, print, and download their images with the click of a button. I’d rather my clients have them to enjoy, treasure, and share those images, their memories, versus having the images sit on my hard drive or make my clients feel pressured to buy prints from me.

Full disclaimer that this is a long blog post and I go into a lot of nitty-gritty detail but for good reason! This is the an important announcement, a shift in my business structure, so hang in there with me and read it all if ya want to be fully in the loop!

After 8+ years, Allison Shumate Photography has partnered with a brand new online client gallery system… CloudSpot!

Let me start by saying that I took this decision very seriously and had been contemplating making a switch for quite some time now. Please know that it was a well thought out business decision to ensure my clients are well taken care of for the long haul! This was also a personal decision because this is how I organize and safely store all of my own personal/family images.

If you are an ASP Client, then you are familiar with the PASS system that I’ve been using ever since I started my business. Over the years, I’ve been a loyal PASS advocate and I’m grateful for their services. So why the change? » OPEN POST »

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My little Michael,

OH, my heart! Tonight was just like any ordinary night these days. We had dinner as a family — it was taco night! Your DaDa made it (I heated the taco shells) and at the table we ate, sang nursery rhymes, made animal noises, counted to 10, and your meal was complete with a halloween flavored Oreo for dessert… or as you call it, a “coosie!”. I carried you upstairs, we had a tickle fest on the floor in your room while we put on your PJs, and before I put you in your crib for “night night”, I held you a little tighter… closed my eyes and soaked the moment in a little longer… because tomorrow you will be two. My little boy, turned big brother, turned toddler, tomorrow will be two-years old!

How is it that these last two years have felt like a lifetime yet, looking back, it feels like I blinked and we’re here now? Two years ago… 730 days ago… you forever changed my life. You, my sweet boy, answered my lifelong dream… to be a mom, your mom. Navigating the new world of parenthood has been the most pivotal, life-changing, challenging, happy, and scary… one big emotional roller coaster all balled into one… it has challenged me both mentally and physically… becoming a mom is one of my greatest joys. Your Dada and I re-watched your birth story video tonight. Let’s just say that I couldn’t get through the first 3 seconds before happy tears came pouring down my face. Your whole little body once fit perfectly in the palms of my hands. I re-read my letter to you on your first birthday and I still ask myself the same question… where did the time go?!
» OPEN POST »

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Hi friends! Whew! It’s been a while since I last sat down to write a blog post… You can always follow along on Instagram Stories to see what I’m up to! It’s been a busy, busy time over here with raising two boys under two, wrapping up Summer, and gearing up for a fun-filled October/November of Fall family sessions (I have 23 sessions in October!!). My inbox has been buzzing non-stop for 2019 inquiries of expecting parents — SO exciting!!

Speaking of exciting!!! I have some news! It’s ironic that my last blog post was about my Craft Corner (read about it here). It’s my new favorite girly space and I’ve spent many, many late nights in here dreaming up some BHAGS (big, hairy, audacious goals!!!). It feels SO good to officially introduce you to The Crafty Neighbors, LLC! Me and my fellow boy mom-preneur, bestie, and next door neighbor are now proud co-owners in this new venture and we couldn’t be more excited! We’re homemade craft makers of personalized gifts to embellish, empower, and elicit joy for you and loved ones. » OPEN POST »

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For all you crafty mamas out there… this blog post will speak to your love language! If you follow me on Instagram then you know that my latest DIY project around my house is my new craft corner! I convinced my hubby Ryan to share a little corner of his man cave in the garage. I wanted a place where I could get messy, be inspired, and create!

I know what you’re thinking… the garage isn’t the best place to be inspired… Well! Our garage is not your typical garage! We don’t park our cars in it since we have a pool table in there with a sofa, a fridge, games, Bose speakers for tunes (of course!), and it’s complete with fancy-schmancy custom checkered flooring that was installed before we moved in (the previous owner was a car guy). We’ve had many nights of entertaining in this space with many fun (dance party) memories so it’s a happy space for sure!

This whole idea on my need for a craft corner came when I recently invested in a Cricut Maker! Now, I’m a Cricut newbie! To say that I’m excited to learn all what this machine is capable of would be quite the understatement. So many possibilities! Gifts are my love language… I love the happy feeling of gifting something to a dear friend. I cannot wait to brainstorm personalized and thoughtful gift ideas for my clients. After doing lots of research on which machine to buy, I chose the Cricut Maker because it was built to grow with me! It’s the “ultimate smart cutting machine” handling fabrics, leather, paper, vinyl, and balsa wood. It arrived this past weekend just as I completed my craft corner in the garage. Click here and be sure to check out my go-to Amazon list for crafty mamas!

Back to the craft corner design inspiration… We go in-and-out of our garage on a daily basis. That being said, it’s an easy room to collect junk. You’ll see in the “before” pictures on the left below that we tried disguising a lot of clutter in our garage (scroll all the way down to see a pullback view of the entire garage). This craft corner project was just the motivation I needed to spend several hours in the garage this past weekend to transform the space! A large drop-off to Goodwill, sold several items on Craigslist, rearranged a few things, threw away a bunch of things, and a quick paint job later… our garage now feels 10x larger and is a much more useful space. Ryan and I moved my desk and iMac from our upstairs guest room (where my office used to be) and brought it down to the garage. Then it was a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot for the finishing touches and voilá! I give you my new craft corner… a place to monogram all the things!

The pegboard was already installed before we moved into our house. Personally I wouldn’t have chosen such a large piece of pegboard but the size works great now that I’ve decorated it! The paint color is Behr Serene Breeze and I love it! Such a calming yet cheerful color! I got the 3-tiered baskets from Home Depot and spray painted them white — I also got various hooks for the pegboard. My Hobby Lobby finds include the music note (not sure why I felt compelled to have this… I just love to sing and dance!), the letter board, the white buckets, the gold organizer, the pineapple candle holder, the “hey y’all” sign, and the white Christmas lights. Love their 50% off deals! The huge gold ball ornament was purchased at HomeGoods several years ago — obsessed! During the holiday season it’s in our front foyer but in the off-season the only place it can be stored is the garage (it’s that big!)… So! It now sits right next to my desk and I couldn’t love it more — you better believe I’m going to put vinyl on that soon!! I have a craft cart next to my desk which holds various vinyl, cardstock, wood stain, and other supplies. The bins underneath my desk hold notecards/thank you cards, craft items, and gift wrap.

I’m settling right into this new space and have already spent several late-nights crafting! So much to learn! I’m exciting to use this space for my photography work too (culling, editing, etc.). Will likely host my future On Air with Allie episodes right here! For the guys (if you’re reading this)… don’t worry… it’s still very much a man cave garage (just ignore the teal wall and Christmas lights, LOL!).

I hope this craft corner weekend makeover inspired you crafty mamas to spruce up your space!

To view my master bedroom retreat before/after click here. To view our backyard reno project click here.

Here is a pullback view of the entire garage! See all of that clutter in the “before” photos?! Feels so much more organized now… let’s see how long that lasts!

 

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Hi friends! Can you believe that the time has come to book your family’s annual mini-session?! Every year I offer an annual Fall/Holiday Mini-Session special to my clients as a thank you for their love, loyalty, and support! Psst!! My current ASP Family clients get a 1-hour head start on booking their timeslot before it opens up to the public. There are *limited spots* available and I’m thankful that they sell out every year!

Fall is so very gorgeous in Virginia! This is a great time of year to spruce up your family photos hanging in your home, get images for your upcoming holiday cards, and/or gift photographic prints/albums to family and friends for Christmas. It’s a win-win-win!

How it works…? I have 2 dates available (with corresponding rain dates) along with various morning/afternoon 20-minute timeslots. The location will be announced 2-weeks prior to your mini-session. I have a helpful Client Guide that I will share with you 2-weeks prior with more details on where to meet, what to expect, tips on what to bring, outfit inspiration, etc. As always, the session investment includes an online gallery of your images along with a print release. Images will be professionally edited/enhanced and delivered before Thanksgiving so you have plenty of time to order holiday cards!

Click the link below to route to my Online Store for more booking details!
*Book your session*

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Mic check. Testing… testing… is this thing on?! HI y’all! Yikes, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve last sat down and had the time to write a blog post! It’s been a busy, busy summer to say the least! It’s very rare that both boys are napping at the same time… so when they DO, I have to be very diligent with my time… Do I shower? Cull/edit? Run another load of laundry? Do the dishes? Clean the house? Run errands? Take a (much needed) nap?!… the struggle is real! Hence why you may have noticed things being a little quite over here… blogging was put on the back-burner these last few months so I could focus on family life and loving on my clients.

Since we welcomed Thomas into our family and now raising two boys under two… life at times is now what we call “beautiful chaos.” Figuring out my new work/life balance has been a constant struggle… I continue to remind and give myself some grace over perfection… SO! I just wanted to pop on here to say “hi!” and to give you an update on what’s been going on in my world.

This summer has been filled to the brim with visits to the rivah, pool, birthday parties, park/zoo adventures, baby showers, family celebrations, and making memories in our recently renovated backyard! The photo below is from a recent peach picking trip to Carter Mountain. On the business front, my maternity leave ended on May 1st and I started shooting again. I had missed catching up with my clients during March/April so it felt so good to get back into a routine in scheduling sessions. Several of my clients had due dates in June/July/August so it’s been such a joy meeting and snuggling newborn babies all summer!

Thomas is now 5-months old and I think it’s safe to say that Ryan and I are officially out of the “newborn haze”. We’re settled into a groove with our two little monkeys and life is oh, so good! T started sleeping through the night at around 3-months old so that was a game-changer. I’ll be honest… it’s been quite challenging at times to navigate my new mommy-hood world with two babies… some days I feel like I’m crushing it and most other days I feel like I’m just trying to keep my head above water. Can I get an amen?!

We’re now into August and I’ll be savoring the last taste of summer with my littles… but is anyone else ready for FALL?! One of the many reasons I love living in the Virginia is the changing seasons… Fall is gorgeous here! The changing leaves, cooler “sweater weather”, cozy socks, Pumpkin Spice lattes, boots, firepits. Sign me up!

September will most certainly be bittersweet because Michael is starting up preschool. {Insert big, fat boy-Mom tears!!}. What?! My baby boy is growing up way too fast! He’ll be going 2-days per week September thru May. Even though I’ll miss our mornings together those days, I know he will love it! It will be great for him (and me!) to have a more structured schedule during the week, meet new friends, learn new things, and will give this tired mama a break! I’m looking forward to having more one-on-one time with Thomas too during the week… the kind of time and attention that Michael got when he was T’s age. His preschool (like most, I’m sure) has lots of opportunities for the parents to get involved which I love… Donuts with Dad, Mother’s Day Tea, a Halloween parade, a Christmas pageant, etc. So, yes… I’m already planning his 1st day of school outfit and I already have gifts ready for “Teacher Appreciation Week”… oh yes, I’m that Mom. LOL!

During my office hours lately I’ve been plotting out my weekly fall schedule and what my days will look like. More on this later! Many have reached out to ask if I plan to offer my annual Holiday Mini-Sessions this year. Yes!!! Details will launch later this month. Stay tuned!

SO! That’s just a little update for you! I promise my lack of blogging this summer hasn’t been because I’ve been living under a rock… although I know that perception is reality! I’ve made a goal to start blogging more of my recent sessions and personal life. You can also follow along on Instagram — I usually post daily Stories there!

Hope you all have a great rest of your Summer!!

XO,
Allie

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On the morning of March 9 2018, our alarm went off at precisely at 6:15 a.m.… I awoke with a huge smile on my face. After nine long awaited months, today was the day that Ryan and I would welcome another sweet baby BOY into our family. It felt like Christmas morning! I laid there in bed for a few more moments just rubbing my huge belly, soaking in those last little kicks and hiccups that I would routinely feel every morning.

While it felt like my pregnancy went by in a flash (thanks to an on-the-go toddler keeping me distracted!)… it seemed the last month of my pregnancy took foreverrrrr… Despite the sciatic nerve pain, swelling, nightly heartburn, and waddling around… I loved being pregnant. But, I was certainly ready to meet our little man. I spent the last several months nesting, decluttering, organizing… the house was clean, pantry was stocked, bags were packed. We were ready!

Our hospital bags were already packed in the car and ready to go! My parents spent the night so they could watch Michael before our babysitter arrived (so they could then join us at the hospital). We spent the next hour fixing Michael’s breakfast, playing in the playroom, and snapping a few photos of Michael’s remaining time as an only child. It was 7:45 am and time for Ryan and me to head to the hospital. After giving Michael one last big hug goodbye (my last as a mama of one!) we hopped in the car, and off we went! A few happy tears were shed (by me!) as we drove off because I knew the next time we walked into our home it would be forever changed. Michael would officially be a big brother and we’d be raising two under two!

I remember it being such a surreal feeling during that 12-minute car ride to the hospital… Ryan looked at me as we drove off and said, “Okay! Let’s go have a baby!”. It was a sunny Friday morning, 50°, with a slight breeze in the air. The roads were clear. We both chatted about all of the anticipated excitement that was to come in the next few hours. “King of the Road” was playing on our Coffee House Sirius radio station.

We parked and arrived with 3 minutes to spare prior to our check-in time. A nurse greeted us and walked us to our triage room where the C-section prep began. If you heard or read Michael’s birth story then you may recall we ended up having an emergency C-section due to Michael’s heart rate dipping and my irregular contractions (we later found out his umbilical cord was wrapped around his foot). While an emergency c-section wasn’t at all part of my birth plan at the time… we were blessed with the birth of a healthy baby boy and that’s all that matters. No matter how babies enter this world… birth is birth is birth. So, when we found out last August that we were pregnant (read more about that here!), we decided to go the C-section route again this time around since the birth and the postpartum recovery was all that I was familiar with. A small part of me wanted to try for a VBAC just so I could experience both… but the unknown of the concerning risk of having a uterine rupture (when the uterus tears open along the scar line from a C-section I had just 16-months prior) was something I definitely wanted to avoid. Yikes! So, early on in my pregnancy we scheduled our C-section for the morning of March 9th, 5 days prior to my actual due date. I was at peace with it.

I slipped into my labor & delivery gown (polka dots, of course!). Our nurse hooked me up to an IV and various monitors to watch baby’s heart rate and my vitals. Shortly after we were settled in, my parents and Ryan’s mom arrived at the hospital. It was almost time!!! Again… such a surreal feeling! No crazy contractions, no epidural, no pain at all… yet, I was about to have a baby within the hour. What?! I was starting to really enjoy this whole scheduled C-section thing! Everything was going to plan which you can’t always say that with the uncertainties of birth.

My OBGYN greeted us with a smile and was excited for our baby’s arrival (she’s the same doc that delivered Michael). We met our anesthesiologist and she talked us through step-by-step on what to expect throughout the surgery. I was told in advance that she was the gatekeeper in allowing me to have one extra person in the delivery room (in addition to Ryan)… she was super nice and gave my Mom permission to be in there with us! That meant the world to me since she couldn’t be in the room with Michael’s birth. It was time for Ryan and Mom to slip into those fashionable scrubs!

I walked down the hall and into the operating room (Ryan and my Mom would soon join me once I had my spinal block). The operating room was as clean and bright as I remembered it… just 16-months ago with Michael’s emergency C-section, I was being wheeled into this room on my hospital bed with an entirely different perspective on how things would unfold. This time around the birth team was moving at a much slower pace… I was calm, cool, and collected… with no fear as I knew I was in great hands by the Henrico Doctors medical staff. Coming from a girl that used to be terrified of needles, blood, surgery… I must say I was one tough cookie that day! I remember saying “girl power!” as I looked around the room… all women doctors and nurses on my birth team today! I slid up on the operating table and my hands started to get a bit clammy… time for the spinal block. As I said, I’m not a huge fan of needles. For this medicine to be administered you have to bend over, stick your back out, and remain completely still (much easier to do this time around without having contractions)… my nurse was amazing – she gave me a pillow to hug and as I hunched over she wrapped her arms around me. One of my favorite hits by James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend” was playing quietly on the radio… my Dad used to sing it to me when I was little so it immediately put me at ease (insert “God wink”). I felt a cold chill go down my back and seconds later my legs were totally numb. Man, that stuff works fast! I laid down on the bed, they pulled the drape up, and it was showtime!

Ryan and my Mom joined me at my bedside. My hubby looked so cute in his scrubs. He grabbed my hand and kissed my forehead. He was quiet… I could tell he was a bit nervous. Mom took my camera and started documenting video. “Mac the Knife” was playing on the nurse’s playlist – I was diggin’ the music that day! Roughly 15-minutes went by… strangely familiar feelings of pressure, tugging, pulling… it was in that moment on March 9, 2018 at 10:36 a.m we heard the sweet little cries of our baby boy, our Thomas Daniel.

My doctor opened the flap to the drape in front of me and immediately passed Thomas through and onto my chest. My sweet Thomas… finally in my arms! Happy tears streamed down my face! He was 7 lbs., 4 oz. and 19.75” of pure perfection. My heart exploded with immense JOY! I was so surprised and happy to see that he had much of my features as a baby — Michael came out as Ryan’s mini-me! When I was pregnant with Thomas there was this quiet fear inside me thinking… How could I possibly have more love to give when it’s all wrapped around my first son, Michael?? A recent birth story article I read sums it up beautifully on how I felt welcoming Thomas into our family… “But as any parent of more than one child knows, your heart, instantly, inexplicably, miraculously, graciously, and magnificently expands with more love than you ever believed was possible, as soon as you lay eyes on your baby, and hold {him}, and feel {his} body on your own body…”. It’s unexplainable, raw, love.

Once they stitched me up and the spinal tap had worn off they wheeled us up to our Postpartum room where we stayed for 2 nights. Thomas was so alert those first few hours exploring the world around him, meeting his grandparents, and lots of skin-to-skin snuggles!

The following morning my parents brought Michael to the hospital so he could meet his little brother for the first time. Those first few moments as a family of four… it’s a memory that I will forever cherish. The look in Michael’s eyes, his gentle and lovingly touch, his smiles just warmed my heart! They became instant buddies.

The following day we packed up our room. We were so grateful for the incredible care the nurses provided but we were ready to head home sweet home. Many, many thanks to the family and friends that visited us during our stay to celebrate our new addition!

A huge thank you to my Mom for taking my camera into the birth room so Ryan could be fully present for the birth of our son. I will forever treasure those memories captured. We’re also so very grateful to Kathryn Ivy Photography for visiting the day after Thomas’s arrival to photograph Michael meeting his little brother and those special moments as a family of four. And last, but certainly not least, thank you to Andrea Pesce Photography for documenting our in-home newborn portraits!

Welcome to the world Thomas! We love you bunches! XO!

I loved putting this slideshow together of our time in the hospital (*** this does include a few beautifully graphic moments from the birth ***)
and some favorites from our newborn session once we got settled in at home.

 

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  • Emily - May 17, 2018 - 2:08 PM

    I so loved reading your post and seeing the video! I really felt like I was there with you guys again! What a perfect addition he is 🙂ReplyCancel

By popular demand… our backyard renovation project is live on the blog today! My hubby and I are so very proud of the transformation. Watching our vision for this space come to life has been so very rewarding. Before I went on maternity leave, you may have caught my On Air with Allie episode where I did a walk-through of what our backyard used to look like (you can watch it here). As I mentioned on the episode, this Summer it will be 6-years since we moved into our home. Over the years, we haven’t had to do too much to renovate. There are many reasons why we settled on the house we’re in… one being that we are in a cul-de-sac and our backyard backs up to wooded wetlands which offers lots of privacy. In the spring/summer months, the woods are filled with luscious green leaves and when you’re on our back porch it feels like you’re in a tranquil tree fort.

Over the years, we’ve invested in our patio space because we love to entertain but we haven’t done much with our backyard area aside from a firepit and a hand-me-down Little Tykes playset. In the past, it’s really only been a play and bathroom area for when we had a dog… so, late-February we knew that with a rambunctious toddler and a soon-t0-be newborn in tow it was time to make some changes so we could get the most out of our backyard space.

Michael loves to spend time outdoors so what better place to explore and make memories than in our very own backyard?! » OPEN POST »

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