At the beginning of the year I started a new weekly self-portrait project. 14 weeks in and I'm super proud of what I've created so far. It's been no easy task either and I've wanted to give up a few times, but i'm still going strong. Keep scrolling to read and see more!
Double exposure with dried flowers.
Self-portraits in the shower...sure why not. 🙃 (If you’re curious about that eye on the wall, my significant other and I use our kids’ bathtub crayons to leave each other notes in the shower. That eye is a part of an “eye” love you note/drawing.❤)
Being a mama to these three is the greatest thing ever!!! Some days are super tough, others are a piece of delicious chocolate cake. But no matter what kind of day we're having though, I wouldn't trade it for anything. ❤
Polar vortex self-portraits. ❄️
Our washer broke and as I was cleaning the laundry room preparing for the delivery of the new one, I noticed an amazing pocket of light hitting the wall where the dryer normally sits. (I had moved it out of the way to clean behind it...there were soooooo many socks back there!) I jumped on the opportunity to take self-portraits in this spot because I probably won't get to photograph in it again until our ancient dryer inevitably breaks...LOL!
My self-portraits this week were taken in front of our freshly painted kitchen walls and we played around with long exposures. It was so much fun! I'm pretty excited that dad got in the frame as well! ❤
I've been missing the beach like crazy so I did my self-portraits there this week. ❤
When double exposure self-portraits with flowers don't work out and you start to get frustrated, you resort to making a pot of coffee at 5pm, then you use your almost overflowing mug of said freshly brewed coffee to double expose your face onto. 😜😂😄
Not going to lie, this week's self-portrait was super freaken frustrating to create. I wasn't feeling inspired, my kids kept pulling down my background, I was tired, nothing was working out right, and I almost gave up. I even thought to myself quite a few times, "eh, maybe I'll just skip this week..." But I pushed through the frustration, created this, and I could not be happier! It feels so good to not have given up! ❤
"Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy."
–Sunshine on My Shoulders by John Denver
I am a flower in the springtime...I'm only just starting to bloom.🌱
New plant, who dis? My significant other came home from the grocery store with a fern the other day and as soon as I saw it, I knew that it would be joining me in my self-portraits this week. 😜
"We're just a mess of moments
That's adding up to where we are
And you're the frame and focus
That's making sense of it so far
I'm not depressed or hopeless
I'm only walking in a blur
And you're the frame and focus"
-Frame and Focus by Lights
Today is this cutie's first birthday, so I thought it'd be fitting to share some of my favorite images I created during his fresh 48 session.
Fresh 48's are one of my favorite kinds of sessions! Not sure if it's because I get to spend time with a brand new babe or if it's because they remind me of when my children were that new and little...probably a combination of both.
Just a couple days after Bowen's birth, I was warmly welcomed into his home to document his first, fresh moments and to capture the love that his mom, dad, and big brother have for him.
It. Was. The. Best! :)
"Brothers don't necessarily have to say anything to each other- they can sit in a room and be together and just be completely comfortable with each other."
Normally I'm not one to make sugar cookies because they always turn out too thin and crispy for my liking, or they spread like crazy and combine into one giant cookie the size of the baking sheet... But I found the BEST chewy sugar cookie recipe EVER and now I'm obsessed with making these. They are sooooo good that they don't even need frosting...crazy, right!?! Of course I still frost them though...it just wouldn't be right if they weren't frosted haha.
Below are photos of my girls helping me make them. It started off a little rough, but ended up being a ton of fun!
Here's a link to the cookie recipe in case you want to make them yourself. https://addapinch.com/chewy-sugar-cookies-recipe/
I cannot believe the time has come to celebrate my youngest daughter’s first birthday. It’s a little bit mind boggling to me because this past year flew by.
Freya is the sweetest little babe. She is goofy and has such a personality. She is an entertainer. She can wave, give high fives, hugs & kisses, walk, run, climb, clap, you name it. She babbles like crazy and her laugh is contagious! She can say mama, dada, bye bye, hi, hot, and many more. She loves playing with her big sisters; she wants to be a part of everything they're doing. She is such a good little sharer. She has 8 teeth. She LOVES food and feeding herself! Anything we eat, she wants to eat too. She even let’s me know when she wants more of mama’s milky by using sign language haha. She is so smart; she surprises me everyday! She has brought so much joy into our lives!
I felt as though it would be fitting to share her birth story because I literally just finished writing it today... took me one whole year to do it hahah!
My camera got passed around after her birth--the photos below were taken by my whole birth team and I.
Freya's Birth Story:
It was November 6th, my due date and also my mom’s birthday. The question of the day was, “Will Freya make her entrance today?” (side note: my daughter Lilith came on her due date all on her own--naturally, no inductions, interventions, etc, so we often wondered throughout my pregnancy with Freya if she would come on her due date just like big sister did.)
The day progressed just like any other day and there were no signs labor would be imminent. Around 1:40pm I headed to the bathroom for the zillionth time that day, and when I sat down on the toilet I heard and felt a “pop” inside of me. (My water broke with Lilith’s labor and it sounded exactly the same as this so I knew instantly what had happened.) I was so glad to be on the toilet too because water started trickling out hahah. So many thoughts and emotions rushed through me. I was nervous and excited at the same time…I was going to meet my third daughter soon!
After using the bathroom, I got a hold of my midwife Patrice (of Full Circle Midwifery). She told me to keep her posted and I did. Contractions started 30-45 minutes later. They were tolerable, very irregular, and had no distinct length or pattern. Things were moving slowly so I decided to take a nap with my girls to try to get my mind off of things. Trying to nap was impossible. I was just too excited and my mind would not stop racing. I think I got up from my “nap” around 4:30pm. Things were still moving slow so I hopped on my exercise ball to try to speed labor up.
Around 5:30-5:45ish everything changed. Out of nowhere contractions started happening every 2 minutes, lasting at least a minute long, and were very intense. I got a hold of Patrice and told her it was time to come. Since she and my other midwife Dorothy live over an hour from Manistee, they got in contact with Jennifer Cameron (CNM and owner of Transitions Women’s Wellness in Manistee) to have her come over first since she lives closer. I also got in contact with my sister to have her come over and watch my girls while I labored.
At this point I decided to move from the ball to the couch so I could relax better. I put my hypnobirthing training to work and breathed through every single contraction. I also repeated birth affirmations to myself in my head. (You’ll see in some of the photos below that I had birth affirmations up on the walls of my house.) Things started getting really intense and for a little bit I was somewhat worried that Freya was going to make her entrance before any midwives arrived haha. Shortly after, Jen arrived, which was such a relief! My sister arrived a half hour later and then shortly after that Patrice and Dorothy showed up. By that time I had moved to the bed.
Around 8:15pm I started feeling a little pushy and felt pressure in my butt. Once the push contractions really got going, the urge to get on my hands and knees swept over me, so that's what I did. I moved from the bed to the floor. I breathed through every single push, repeating over and over in my head that, “I can do this,” “I'm going to see my baby soon,” and “it's not pain, it's power.” At one point, Freya was too deep in my pelvis for a heartbeat to be heard. Even though I knew it wasn't much of a concern, it somewhat scared me, so I pushed even harder. I wanted her out ASAP haha!
All while I was pushing, David was doing light touch massage on my back, and let me tell you, it was amazing. He kept encouraging me and telling me I was doing great and it seriously was so perfect. At one point as I was pushing, I looked up and smiled. I was just so happy that I'd be meeting my baby so very soon. I pushed for approximately 45 minutes and at 9:03pm, Freya Jacey Burns was born. As soon as she was out, I had David get my sister and our two daughters from the other room so they could meet Freya. The girls were soooo tired but so excited to meet their little sister. It was seriously the sweetest moment ever.
David cut Freya’s cord shortly after I birthed the placenta. Soon after that I moved back up to the bed. Freya got her first diaper change as well as got measured and weighed. My squishy little nugget weighed 9 pounds 2 ounces; she is my biggest babe yet! No wonder I constantly felt her in my ribs and down in my pelvis while I was pregnant with her.
Being able to have a successful first home birth as well as a successful second VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), was the most amazing, rewarding, healing experience ever! Some may find the idea of having a home birth scary, but for me and my family it was the least scary, most calm and perfect birth ever. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Thank you again to my amazing birth team! You all rocked!
My partner David Burns & sister Felicia Marquand
Midwives Patrice Bobier & Dorothy Vandezande at Full Circle Midwifery
Midwife Jennifer Cameron at Transitions Women's Wellness Center
The photos below I took the morning after she was born. Big sisters Dia and Lilith needed some Freya cuddles.