Smith-A long and rambling personal story

I feel like lately I've been spending a lot of time considering the very fine line of sharing and connecting on a personal level and OVERsharing. Where is the line? How much is too much to divulge and when should we let people see in?

Like all aspects of life, it seems finding that sweet spot is next to impossible. I love reading personal stories & peeking behind the scenes. I love when I feel like no one gets what I'm going through and suddenly I see something somewhere in the vast ocean of the internet that connects with the exact thing I'm dealing with.  But where I start to feel weird, or even a little icky is when it becomes another way to attract clientele,followers, likes etc. You know when someone "bares their soul" but things are little too clean and calculated?

This blog has been many things over the years... it started as a travelogue when my husband and I moved to the woods and then slowly became a personal musings/photo posting mess while I sorted out what I wanted to really do with myself, and finally it's become a place where I share my latest work and a few random insights mixed in.

I've had a few people ask why I haven't been posting as much, and why I haven't shared personal stories lately.

My answer is partly because I've been really busy shooting and building a super rad business, and partly because I've been contemplating the line of undersharing and oversharing. But mostly because, and the whole reason for this rambling mess, we have adopted a new Baby Boy 5 months ago and things have been a bit busy.

Our son Smith (yes that's his first name, yes we named him) came home in June, and since then I've been wondering if I should share it here. After all, there's so much information out there, does anyone really need to know? Am I exploiting his story and the story of his birth parents' to drive traffic to this site? Does it really apply to my business anyway?

But on the other hand the response I've had to the post I wrote about Elodie's adoption was greater than I expected and has been the top post on my blog ever since. It also opened the door to talking to women who were contemplating adoption, longing for a babe, or feeling at a loss over infertility. Many of my clients have read that post and it opened up this whole new level of understanding why I do what I do. I have cherished many of the emails and kind words I've received about that post. Which is what finally convinced me to write about Smith's story of coming home.

When the call came in all I heard was HE. I heard, you've been matched and HE is healthy. And then I stopped listening. Again. I really tried to take in the information being presented to us in rapid fire, and I noticed my husband scribbling notes but all I could think was "I knew it would be a baby boy." And then I thought: "And here I am again, not listening to all details" and then I thought "when can we go meet him?" He was a further drive away then his sister was. He was a few days older too. He was being cared for by the sweetest kindest soul, although we didn't know that at the time, and I am forever grateful to his foster mother for showering him with love while we were making our way to find each other.

We had to wait 2 days before we could go pick him up. 2 days. They were busy and felt excruciatingly long as well. Elodie talked endlessly about her baby brother and told everyone she knew that she was a big sister. We organized, and made room, unpacked baby stuff and reminisced about Elodie's arrival. There was a long bike ride and extra snuggles and trying to sleep but just watching the clock tick on slowly. Then monday came and a long 5 hour drive that was mostly filled with a heavy silence. There were raw nerves exposed but nothing we said could ease our own fears and what ifs. What would he look like? What would he be like? What would they look like? What would we feel like? What if they don't like us?

And suddenly, we were there. Pulling up. Nerves and emotions balled up in my throat and stomach so bad I forgot to breathe. We met at the home where Smith had been staying. There were too many people to keep track of: Social workers, ministry workers, foster mom...why were there so many people? Then, in the corner of the yard, under a massive shady tree, there was a sweet, young couple with a bundle. Our bundle. A young couple filled with just as much and even more fear than we felt. And such huge hearts, and brave souls that I can never ever begin to even touch on the profound sense of awe I feel about them.

Every time I had thought about this moment I was going to be the picture of calm but when it came down to it all I could whisper was: "Can I hold him?" Peeking out of that little blanket was the most perfect face, one I had been dreaming about for nearly 2 years. That little face made waiting for what felt like forever, worth every second. It made every time I felt the wind knocked out of me when someone asked if we were planning to have others, worth it. It made wondering if it would ever happen and feeling angry, alone, achingly sad very much worth it.

When the time came to pack up and drive back home, I cried for 3 hours straight. I cried because it was finally over, I cried because he was finally here in front of us and I felt so overwhelmed with emotions that I almost felt nothing at all. I cried because I didn't want to be in the car, I wanted to be at home, in our space. I wanted our kids together. I cried because his birth mother's eyes were so deep with sadness I was afraid it might wash her away. I cried because I am always a little afraid I'm not capable of embodying the woman my children's birth mothers' think I am. And the weight of letting my kids down and the women who gave us a gift so grand is at times crushing.

The further we drove away, the more real it all started feeling. The more real he felt. He was ours, we were his. And then the tears stopped and parenting kicked in. That super deep, in your bones, in your soul kind of thing just took over and I knew everything was right in the world. 

When we finally came home, late that night, and his big sister came sleepily to meet him, they had this moment. A true sibling bonding experience: He farted and she laughed so hard it made us all laugh until we started to cry. And that was the beginning. 

We are currently in the final stages of completing his adoption. that's the thing about adoption, you wait forever and then you wait a little more. We are under contract not to share photos of his sweet little face until he is legally a Nugent. But once he is, I will be sharing more.

Adoption, infertility, feeling like the odd man out... it all can feel like an overwhelming, lonely road. We've walked it twice and had two very different experiences. Both with the best possible outcomes. Both with there own trying moments. And if there is one person out there feeling any of the wide array of feelings I've felt during these times, my hope is that this will help them.



Feature session- Ria

I haven't posted any of my new work in a while, but I've been wanting to share this gorgeous maternity session for a while. And since baby is due to make an appearance any day now, I thought I'd share. All you need to know about Ria is that she is one of the loveliest, kindest, easiest to talk to kind of women. She has a natural ability to make you feel like you've known her forever, has a sweet outlook on life and is beyond excited for motherhood. 



Momma Feature- Maureen | Kelowna Mother's day photo session

Maureen and I met at our yoga studio, and quickly became allies. She is an incredibly down to earth, kind spirited, hilarious momma whom I look up to. Besides my own momma's words, it's Maureen's words that often ring in my ears when I'm at the breaking point. She's shared so many of her trials and tribulations as a mom, which have made me stop and consider my own version of motherhood. Capturing her and her kids as they're all about to take off into adulthood was a milestone I loved being part of. Enjoy her words of wisdom. 


First off tell me about your munchkins (age, stats, awesomeness):
Clarice Catherine - 21 years.  My first true love.  She propelled me into this new version of me...mother. Fun loving, enthusiastic about life, strong willed, courageous, smart, loves and inspires the child in everyone
 Shannon Lee - 19 years - My gorgeous redhead so brave, free, adventurous, loving, has an incredible open heart, creative, intelligent.
 Alexander Charles - 16 years - aka Alex.  He is so charismatic!  His smile is so contagious and he loves fun and laughter, so incredibly smart, loving in a very unassuming open way.   It has been such a wonder for me watching him grow.

What's the most surprising thing you've discovered about motherhood?  I was so surprised at how innate it was within me.  It opened me up on so many levels and when I let it, the nurturing qualities of motherhood just naturally  arose in me.  I think this is true for every woman.

 What's your go to trick when all else fails and everything is falling apart?  Well the kids certainly helped with this one.  We would all just have a Kitchen Dance Party!!


How do you relax at the end of the day?  It's different now that the kids are older.  I have to admit relaxing at the end of the day when the kids were young was a struggle and I think most days I carried my day into my restless sleep.  As we live, we learn and now I like to connect with the kids and see how their day has been.  I try to round them up a few nights a week so we can have dinner together.  This is changing though as they start to build their own lives.

What's the best advice you received as a new mom?  Take time for yourself.  You can't forget your goodness.  This needs nurturing too so your natural nurturing can flow to others.  It's also so important to take time with your husband or special someone especially if that person is in your kids life.  It's the one relationship that kids see up close and learn the most from.

How do you balance your life/work and life as a mom?  It is so much easier now that the kids are pretty much all grown up.  When I look back on it all, I wonder how I did it all especially since I have no family in Kelowna and the their Dad lives in Vancouver.  As they grew, the unending appointments, events, school activities (there was a few years when each of them were in a different school!) etc were unyielding but I think we all look back on it and realize it was great fun.

 Anything else you'd share about being a mom?  It is the most rewarding part of my life.  My kids know me like no one else does, they have made me see and feel so much that I know I would have never been open to had they not been part of my life.  There have been times when I have been near insanity but even in those times, I could not imagine a life without them.  They put the spring in my step and make me smile right to my core.  Everything I have done has been done with them in mind.  I would finally like to share a poem  that was sent to me by a friend when my oldest child graduated from high school.  It really hit home and made me realize the hardest part of motherhood is also the main goal of motherhood - to raise your kids with all the goodness you have within you so they know themselves and then to be able to stand back and let them create their own beautiful life.


Maureen also shared this writing... which is one of my faves. 
 by Kahlil Gibran

 Your children are not your children.
 They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

 They come through you but not from you,

 And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
 You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
 For they have their own thoughts.
 You may house their bodies but not their souls,
 For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
 For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
 You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
 Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
 For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Thank you Maureen!

Momma feature- Kerry | Kelowna Mother's day photography sessions

Oh my, I am so thankful to have met Kerry! Last spring she came by my booth at the Babies in Bloom fair, and whenever anyone asks if it was worth booking at the fair, I always tell them I met Kerry. She is one of those women you just connect with instantly: warm, witty and so easy to chat with. Lucky for me, she signed up for a First year baby package, which captures baby's milestone ages: newborn, 3 months, 6 months and coming up 1 year! We've spent the last year talking about babies, motherhood and general life, so I can't wait for you to read her insights. 



First off tell me about your munchkin (age, stats, awesomeness): Ashton David O'Brien turned 1 on May 4, 2014. Ashton is very social he loves attending parties and rarely makes shy. He is very curious and loves to explore. He's an exceptional listener for his age. Ashton is very sweet and loving and will always give a playmate or a smaller baby a big kiss. 

What's the most surprising thing you've discovered about motherhood? It's wonderful how Motherhood demands you learn a whole new side of yourself and how amazing our bodies actually are. 

What's your go to trick when all else fails and everything is falling apart? Humour! If all is failing I just stop and laugh at the situation and give Ashton a little tickle so he'll laugh too. 


How do you relax at the end of the day? Honestly by going to bed early and if I really want to treat myself a relaxing bath. 

What's your go to beauty routine? Good facial care and cream routine, getting my nails done by my bestie, and going to the gym on my lunch break.

What's your go to, need to throw clothes on and get out the door, wardrobe staple? Blue jeans, shirt and a scarf. 

What's the best advice you received as a new mom? Do what works for you and your family. 


How do you balance your life/work and life as a mom? By working part time. I find it's a great balance.  Three days at work focusing my energy on my career and lunch time workouts, the other four days are play dates, and quality time with my baby. 

What are your favourite mommy-time rituals? Singing and Nursing my baby to sleep. 

Anything else you’d like to share about being a mom? Being a mom has been a blessing. It's truly a gift to see the world through a child's eyes as they learn and develop. 



Thank you Kerry!