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Being a Mom is hard.  People say that to you when you become pregnant.  You believe it but you don't fully understand.  Women will talk about the pains of childbirth, the early sleepless nights, the terrible twos, teething, sickness, fatigue.  They will share their stories.  Which we all need. We need these stores.  We NEED to talk about all of this.  We rarely talk about ourselves though.  We rarely discuss the loneliness, the guilt, the boredom, or even the yearning for a previous life.

I wasn't in love with my daughter.  Not at first.  Everyone tells you that when a baby is born it will change your life.  That you can never imagine loving something more.  I cried big hot tears when they first put her on my chest.  Tears of relief and exhaustion.  I knew that she was mine.  That I wanted to protect her, care for her, and do what was best for her.  But I also didn't know her.  Our love affair was a slow one.  Getting to know each other.  Her revealing her brilliant shining personality one small moment at a time.  And then one day there it was.  That unimaginable love.  The kind that brings tears back when I think of anything happening to her.  I had a lot of guilt at first about not being bonded with her.  People asked if I just couldn't get enough of her.  If I just wanted her with me all the time.  Nope.  I needed space.  I needed to be me without being a Mom. 

These days its hard to find space in a small camper with a one year old.  She sleeps in the same room as us.  She cries, she snores, she coos--she wakes up really damn early.  As a Mom, Photographer, Navigator, Wife, and Researcher I'm still trying to find the balance in myself. And we need to talk about that.  There are days I just want to be one thing.  I just want to be a photographer that day.  Or I just want to be a tourist.  Or I just want to be a lover.  It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the roles and demands.  To pine for a simpler time instead of being present in this whirlwind.  Right now there are no babysitters.  All of my roles are full on all the time and I would be lying if I said it wasn't exhausting. 

But its also beautiful.  There is a lot of living in my life right now.  I get to experience a beautiful world that I shamefully haven't seen before.  I get to roam streets and woods and beaches and swamps.  I wash our daughter under the full moon.  I sing her to sleep amidst the background of crickets, tree frogs, and cicadas.  I read.  I photograph what is before me.  I talk about what is whispering to my soul.  I tell myself the truths I need to know.  It's okay to be overwhelmed.  Live here now.  You are enough.

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Aliviya and Jordan

I am so excited to finally share this awesome engagement session between Aliviya and Jordan!  These two absolutely rocked their session!  I LOVE that they took it up a notch with the formal attire.  As always the Knoxville Botanical Gardens didn't disappoint.  Give these guys some love!



Jenna & Christian Anniversary Session

I'm catching up on some blog posts!  Lately Anniversary sessions have found a special place in my heart.  Engagement sessions are fun because everything is new and exciting.  But anniversary sessions have such a deeper tone to them.  There's something about celebrating the fact that you've made it through it all that brings everything alive.  Nothing beats saying, "I choose you every damn day and I'm going to keep choosing you."  



Free Engagement Session Finalists

I had so many amazing Brides at the Pink Bridal show that I just could not choose a winner for the Free Engagement/Bridal Session contest!  So this year I decided to leave that up to you, my readers, and the couples families and friends.  I have narrowed it down to three amazing couples and now its up to you to vote!  Vote for your favorite couple to win!  Voting will be open all week and on Friday I will announce the winner!  Don't forget to share this post on Facebook to get more votes.  Good luck! [polldaddy poll=9038850]



Catherine & Bryan's Wedding

_MG_0353 The first weekend in November it was freakishly cold here in East Tennessee.  There was even snow in the mountains, which is unusual for this time of year.  Despite the cold, Catherine & Bryan got married at Dara's Gardens and had one of the most beautiful fall weddings I have ever experienced.



Catherine's dress was a classic ivory with a beautiful lace jacket over the top.  She looked absolutely stunning!  The dress went perfect with her colors of grey and yellow.





The pictures and ceremony were outside, while the reception was in a heated tent.  I have to give it to this bridal party, despite the unexpected temperature they were all great sports!  Everyone went with the flow and made it for a truly heartfelt day.















After family photos (and a quick hot apple cider break), Bryan, Catherine and I snuck off to take some amazing fall photos on Dara's Garden's property.  I absolutely love the way these turned out!








After the sun went down it was time to go inside and enjoy the party!  I loved the lights in the tent, and all the beautiful succulents Catherine had used as pops of color and table centerpieces.














Catherine and Bryan thank you so much for sharing your beautiful day with me and letting me capture it.  Catherine, I know you and I hit it off from the first meeting and I loved getting to know you!  You have a beautiful spirit and I loved getting to know both of your families better.  Congrats Mr & Mrs!

A special shout out to Amanda Womble for being my amazing assistant that day!  My preggo self couldn't have done it without you!  Thanks for helping me carry gear and braving the cold.




Jodi & Blake's Engagement Session

IMG_8731 copy Fall colors, woods, a pond, pumpkins, and a family owned farm...what's not to love about this engagement session?  Early in October I headed over to Anderson County to Jodi's family farm for an afternoon of fun photos.

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I knew after our first meeting, that Jodi and I were going to hit it off.  Jodi is sweet and makes everyone around her comfortable.  So when the time came,  the day of the shoot, to meet Blake I knew he would be the same.  Blake has a contagious smile and between these two we just kept laughing all day.

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I loved that these two chose to be adventurous and get out on the pond in the boat.  Even if it did have a small (tiny), leak in it.  The whole day they were up for anything which is exactly what a photographer wants.

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You can tell that family, history and heritage are all very important to both Jodi and Blake.  Not only did we shoot on the family farm but Blake's family showed up to help out and Jodi's Mom provided a lot of the cute props.  Blake plays in a bluegrass band and you can just tell with both of them that the area is very important to them.



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Jodi and Blake I cannot wait to photograph your wedding next July!  Thanks for being up for anything, even some of the off the wall things I asked you to do.  I felt so comfortable with you both.  Your love and respect for each other is apparent in every photo and I can't wait to experience that 100 fold on your wedding day!



Holiday Sessions!

holiday card Our holiday sessions are filling up quickly!  I know its early to be thinking about the holidays, and you may not want to yet, but just think of already having your pictures done and getting your cards ordered before everyone else this year!  What a load off to have one thing done and be ready to concentrate on fun stuff like, shopping!  (Have I mentioned I'm a little bit of a shop-a-holic?)  Our holiday session is filling up quickly, so contact me today to reserve your time slot!

Happy Monday all!



John & Lynn

IMG_1898 I am so lucky to have these two in my life.  We call them Speed Racer's adopted Grandparents.  They're not Grandparents by blood but they have been an integral part of his life since he was born.  I have loved getting to know these two and being accepted as one of the family.


John and Lynn are proof that if you work at a marriage, love can last a life time.  They clearly still adore each other and had so much fun having their pictures taken.


They have traveled all over together, raised three beautiful women, and a complete gaggle of grandkids.  They cherish family as much as they cherish each other.





Thank you John and Lynn for not only making me part of your family but for showing me that youth is a mindset, not an age, and that love is eternal.  Your love is inspiring.