Freak out, break down, and then get over it: a lesson in LOVE and photography.

I’m sitting here in our Hilton Head ocean front resort-like hotel room at 3am with my mom sleeping in one bed, Chad in the other, and Beyah on the floor by my feet (she insisted on the floor). We’ve been stuck here for the last day or so in what we are calling our cave as we all find hope in every minute that goes by that Beyah doesn’t throw up, and hanging our heads the second that hope is shattered again and again.

Rewind the Wednesday, and you’d find us all so happy and excited to head down to Charleston and Hilton Head for what was supposed to be a much needed, relaxing family vacation full of walking one of our favorites cities, date nights thanks to my mom, an awesome photo session for Chad, Beyah, and I, and spending some quality time with my big brother, his wife, and kids. We ended up with mere remnants of this plan.

We got into Charleston in the afternoon and had a good evening: good food, a little shopping, and a post toddler bedtime stroll downtown. Thursday woke up to a grumpy toddler, but nothing too unusual for a 2 year old out of her routine. Looking back, that was probably the start of it all. Chad and I decided to scrap the idea of including Beyah in some pictures during our photo session due to an unhappy napper. We had the best time with Jenna (check her out HERE) walking the city blocks, being more romantic than we have been in quite some time. Later, I took my mom out to eat while Chad and B got takeout.

Then it hit. I felt nauseous before I ever went to sleep and was throwing up what felt like ever hour or so. All. night. long. Nothing would stay down and I felt so defeated. I assumed it was food poisoning (think again). I was so looking forward to this family time after so many weeks of what has felt like non stop working with very little quality time with my big girl and husband. I’m almost 9 months pregnant, and this is not supposed to happen…right? I finally stopped throwing up late morning, but spent almost the entire day sleeping. Around dinner time, I finally got the strength to take a shower, get dressed, and go eat on our oh so romantic date night. I may of eaten 5 bites of what looked to be a great meal, while Chad inhaled his made from scratch chicken and waffles 😉 We planned to stay out late (like 10pm…crazy I know), but I could barely keep my legs walking and my eyes open. I cuddled with B and hit the sack early.

We headed to Hilton Head Saturday morning and spent some quality time with my older brother and fam at a really cool farm. Beyah instantly fell in love with a “reindeer” in the animal petting area. She followed him around, giving him more hugs than he may have liked 🙂 By the evening, it hit her. Hard. She threw up dinner and anything else. She’s been throwing up ever since. There’s nothing worse than watching your child get sick over and over again, begging for it to stop and knowing there’s very little you can do. It’s now 4am on Monday morning, and I’m cautiously happy to say that she’s made it almost 6 hours now. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now if only we can make the 8 hour drive home.

I think we’re all still in a haze. We spent more than half of the trip severely sick and locked down. We can only hope my mom and Chad don’t get it.

Being in front of the camera was an awesome experience, and one that we need to do more often. I feel like we got a wonderful lesson in empathy in addition to some amazing pictures. As the photographers, we strive to make our clients feel comfortable in front of our cameras, but empathy works best. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I had my freak out, break down moment about a week ago in preparation. I usually have a fairly confident and carefree view on my physical appearance, but with pictures coming up something happened. Here I am, almost 9 months pregnant with a 2 year old, and after trying on most of my current wardrobe, I decided that I looked horrible and had absolutely nothing to wear. I have become “that mom” who doesn’t put a lot of effort in her looks and instead spends all her time and money on her new found love for children’s clothing. This is a fairly conscious and happy choice I make, but I am human and have my moments. Chad reassured me that I look great and that we could shop for clothes in Charleston, but it really didn’t change my feelings. I went to a wedding vendor party the next day where so many kind friends told me the same thing, and maybe I believed them a little. I ended up splurging on a couple things from Anthropologie, getting my makeup done professionally downtown, and feeling wonderful. And I love our pictures.

Life is not perfect. Your vacation is not perfect. You may not always look or feel perfect. BUT, it’s all worth it. When you get knocked down, go ahead and freak out. Break down. And then, get over it. With patience and a lot of love, you learn these crazy lessons about what is valuable. You aren’t going to remember the bad parts as much as you cherish the good. When it comes to having your pictures taken, you will make funny faces. You might think you look fat in some. You might wish you had worn something else.

YOU HAVE TO LET IT GO. If you think you or your children or anyone will look back on images and think these ridiculous thoughts, you’re crazy. You didn’t hire someone to capture perfect. You hired them to capture LOVE.

A big thanks to Jenna of Jenna Marie Weddings for capturing the love I feel for my husband and baby daddy. I look at these pictures and see that 16 year old boy I met so long ago, and I’m so proud of the man and father he has become. Gray hairs and all 🙂 As I am usually the rock in the family, he stepped up big time this past week and took amazing care of all three of his ladies. We love you so much.

Check out the full highlights from our “just because” shoot with Jenna in Charleston HERE and LIKE her on Facebook 🙂 Thank you Erin Lundy for finding Jenna 🙂

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