Wednesday, August 30, 2017

This baby journey: Part 1

Y'all, what a wild ride... And this little human isn't even here yet.
I just think this is all so amazing and fascinating.

I'm making my sweet (poor husband) take photos of me every few weeks. I do love seeing him learn photography more! I'm not sure he loves it as well and he keeps pointing the camera at our dog instead.

Here is 10 weeks - 12 weeks - 14 weeks. 

The Backstory...
I really had prepared myself for the potential of challenge/infertility. I've always been told I might have endometriosis and many doctors scared me with what that "could mean" for children. The closer we got to the the idea of starting a family, the more I hoped this wouldn't be true. And I feel like the the older you get, the more aware you become of infertility, risks, miscarriage and more.

Long story short.. it didn't take long, at all. And I was shocked.
I really couldn't fathom reading "pregnant" on the first test I took. I paced around our tiny little apartment not really sure how to take it in. I felt shock and gratitude. It didn't really make sense but I was grateful.

I bought a sweet little baby jumper to give Charles as a way to inform him. I planned on giving it to him after work but he came home late and 15 of our young adults were about to arrive. Those 7 hours felt like forever and we finally got some time alone at 11pm. He was so sweet and I was very much still in shock.

Life changing with the news of a kiddo hit quickly. It wasn't our plan to be pregnant before our trip to Ecuador/Chile with our church and I was heavily advised not to go to Ecuador due to Zika. We had so many things to learn and decisions to make. All while trying to keep this news tight while we processed.

We lied a little bit about why (gosh, you have to lie a lot when you are first pregnant) and skipped Ecuador but I got to meet the team in Chile. That week without Charles while he was in Ecuador was rough. Life had so much new and I was so bummed to be separated from him and traveling alone. But I survived!

Pregnancy so far:
I wasn't sick (also so thankful) but extremely tired. Sheesh, it is hard to be so exhausted and act normal while the news isn't out.
Also, I am a pretty open person so having this HUGE news that I wasn't telling many people was so hard. Act normal, don't talk about how tired you are, don't be obvious about not drinking or eating sushi, keep up, don't get too emotional. Phew, that was a tough phase. It's pretty much 2 months of living a double life! No one told me how weird that part was.
But 8 weeks in (about 4 weeks of knowing we were expecting) we got to see our little babe had a heart beat. This made it feel so real, especially for Charles.
The journey from 8 to 13 weeks felt like forever. Weeks of wondering what was happening and how our little one was doing. But then, we saw him or her on the screen. This little one went from a fuzz ball on to a baby with a face and limbs and movement. Wow, so overwhelming. Again, so grateful.

Then, we spent about a week telling as many of the people around us as we could. It was so meaningful to have these conversations and to share in the hugs, tears, celebrations and prayers.

This kid is so loved already. We are honored by all the support we've received.
This is quite the journey! 

Sidenote: My heart is heavy for the many who don't have this story and long for a little. That makes me struggle to share the words above. So much of my journey resonates with challenge, difficulty and hurt. I really hope my words about this journey do not add to any pain and am saying a prayer for the many in waiting. We don't know the journey ahead of us but I certainly wish hope for you. And while our journeys may be different, I am familiar with challenging times and am absolutely an ear and friend if you need one. 

To be continued... (don't worry, I won't make you see every week of bump photos). 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tapper Family | Crystal Cove Sunrise Session

There's not much I'll get up before sunrise for (usually just snowboarding) but the beautiful morning beach light was worth it.

I met these dear clients (but first friends) at Crystal Cove for their family photo shoot. Our last session was here when Ashley was pregnant with Gavin (how is he almost two?)!

I'm so glad to catch up with these four and capture sweet moments from this season.
Love you, Tapper Family!

Words like this mean so much after delivering a session:
"Thank YOU!! I'm seriously so in love w these pics I feel like you 100 1000% captured US. I'm in tears. They're all good but there are so many that I want to print and frame!"

Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Next Big Adventure...

Guess what?

It's time for our next big adventure!

Ready or not, a little Stoicu is headed our way and we're so grateful.

Even though I am all about sharing authentically on the internet, this feels a little strange. We've known a big change is coming for a while now and we've loved having as many in person conversations, phone calls and visits to share the news as possible. There's something very special about sharing news this big and engaging in the responses that people we love have. This is something that I think is often lost with the need to instantly share our experiences with the world. I know it is 2017 and everything gets shared through social media, but it feels a little weird to break this seal.  We're currently sitting at a coffee shop having the conversation about pressing "post". I'm like, "I am a photographer, blogger and moment sharer.. I have to." and he's sharing his process of hesitance and the significance and personal aspect of this journey. And I am so glad he is. I love that together we can question the norms, how we want to do things and what matters to us.

So, we're inviting you into this journey. And we're excited about the support and love that comes from how we can share with our broad community. That is super meaningful to us. But we're also sharing that there is more to this moment than, "Hurry, lets tell the world".

There are conversations about how everything will change, the different fears we have, longings we can't wait for, unknowns around each corner and exciting milestones. There are hugs, tears, bursts of excitement and fun conversations with those we love. There are prayers. And now begins the conversation of how social media will affect our kid(s) and our responsibility in that area.

So with this fun news comes a little back story to the authentic journey that comes with making an announcement like this. Social media allows such beautiful connections but may we find significance in the moments we experience, not just the ones we "share".

More to come on this journey but for now, arriving in our home February 2018...

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer Vacation 2017

Last Summer we did a two week road-trip and we realized that while there are fun options, we don't love Summer vacation. So this year we decided that we still needed & wanted a getaway but that we'd do a Summer and a Winter vacay.

So we planned 4 nights camping in Big Trees State park and then unknown spots for the weekend. Four nights would be the most we've camped in one spot and we were looking forward to arriving and being. We'd have options but we could also just set up the hammock and hang.

It was great. Morning bacon, eggs, pancakes and coffee. Moving slow. Heading to a river or lake. Sandwiches by the water. Dinner and a fire at camp. Our time was flexible, unplanned and free.. just the way it needed to be. Our challenge is always figuring out the balance of enjoying surrounding things and slowing down and just being in one spot. I don't think we've mastered the balance yet but it is always hard when you're in a new place.

The main challenge was our furry pup. While the campground was dog friendly, he couldn't join us on any trails and a lot of places we went to enjoy nature we're "no dogs allowed". Plus he just wanted to be able to run leash free. People who travel with dogs, any tips?

Anyway, we left and took a beautiful drive over The Sierras and ended up in Mammoth. This drive was a highlight. So peaceful, minimal other cars, beautiful snow capped mountains and rivers and tons of trees. Every campground in Mammoth was full so we ended up in no mans land and the pup got to roam free.

Our trip ended with two nights on the Kern River. It was way too hot but that made for nice river hangs and floating.

The downside? After 7 nights of camping you need a few days vacation before hitting real life again. But, well worth it.

Charles does such a great job of planning, packing and making our camping successful. He loves this stuff and it gives him life. We loved exploring new spots, swimming in natural water, soaking up the mountain views and navigating the adventures that came. Plus, a few days in your really start to have those good conversations when you've been away from the normal life routine. The space to dream, reflect, and much more. This is why you need vacation... space to breathe. Hooray!

How do you vacation? I'd love to hear your favorite getaways!

First things first: Tent & Hammock!

The beautiful meadow where bears slept at night. 

Adventure pup!

Breakfast is one of my favorite parts! 

Doesn't that middle photo make you laugh? Bat dog in action! 

Lake Alpine

His favorite part... 

More breakfast dates!

It's perfect when the days and warm but mornings and nights are cool enough for a fire. 

This sweet guys humors me while I make him run to the meadow before the sun peaks to get a photo together. 

Me a long time ago and me now on the same tree.. 

Down the dirt road... Our campsite in Mammoth. 

That's the moon!

Kern River lounging.. 

Our final night... 

Until next time, Vacation!