Norah Avary: The First Year

Norah’s Birth Story:

  • On Friday, May 13th I went to sleep around 10pm just like any other night. I was tired, unbelievably swollen, and so ready for my baby girl to come. I had a strong feeling that Norah would come at 38 weeks (mother's intuition?), but it was my first baby and the chances of that happening weren’t likely. My older sister had her son three days past his due date, and I figured that might be more of a possibility. Just before 12:30am on May 14th I frustratedly woke up to use the restroom yet again. I went pee and headed back to bed. As soon as I was about to get into the bed I felt a gush of liquid. Feeling confused I grabbed a new pair of underwear headed back to the toilet. Then I got up and headed back to the bed for a second time and then another gush of liquid. I told Pat that I thought my water might have broken and headed back to the toilet. I texted my friend, Crystal, after I did a quick google search trying to confirm if my water had indeed broken. Crystal called and we chatted and decided that my water had broken, but since the contractions hadn’t started she said I should try to go back to sleep. Well, within a minute of two of hanging up my contractions started at five minutes apart lasting about a minute long. I had not expected this at all! I thought maybe we were timing them wrong, not actually believing that they could start out so quickly! They then quickly went from five minutes apart to four minutes apart to TWO minutes apart at around 1:50am and SO VERY INTENSE. I was in contact with my doula, Charlotte, as the contractions were happening to let her know when she should head over. At 2:15 after they had been happening at two minutes apart Charlotte headed over to our house. She got to us just after 3am and I was losing it. The contractions were literally sending me to the floor crying out in agony. I couldn’t understand why they had to be so strong! I wanted to die and said so many times haha! Charlotte helped me work through a few contractions when one hit that felt very different. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and that’s when charlotte checked my underwear. The bloody show happened and I was ready to push and didn’t know it! She said we needed to head to the hospital immediately (this was around 3:15am). Pat grabbed our stuff and we headed out the door (apparently I apologized to Nash for having to leave him in the middle of the night haha). Before I could get in the car I fell in the driveway because of a contraction. I could not get in that car, but I had to. I had FOUR contractions in the car on the way to the hospital and yelled for Pat to floor it because I thought that baby was going to be born in the car! She was coming  QUICKLY! We got to the hospital just after 3:30 and the walk to the L&D ward was AGONIZINGLY LONG. I had like two or three contractions before we could make it there. We got to the desk and the triage nurse who was not very nice made me sign some paper and took me to the triage room to do a urine sample and change into a gown. I could not do a urine sample because of all the contractions. She had no idea that I was so far in my labor. Laverne (one of my nurses during delivery) did my cervix check in triage and found out that I was FULLY DILATED and READY TO PUSH! She kept me in the triage bed and rolled me in to my room and her and Pat helped me roll into the other bed. We waited a few minutes for Dr. Turner before I could start pushing (they hooked me up to monitor Norah’s heartbeat and got my IV put in for fluids). The pain was unbearable and I didn’t think there was any way I could actually do this. I wasn’t strong enough. I was nervous because we didn’t have our birth plan with us, but we didn’t need one. I had planned and prepared for a natural birth, and at that point it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. I just wanted to make sure that Norah and I had skin to skin IMMEDIATELY and I wanted a delayed cord clamping. Dr. Turner, Laverne, Lyndsay and Charlotte were simply the most amazing team Norah and I could have had for this birth. Everyone was SO encouraging! They kept telling me how amazing the whole time and I needed that. “Push girl, push!” “I can see her head!” “She’s coming!” . I started pushing just a bit after 4am and Norah Avary shot out (literally) at 5:02 am! The doctor actually barely caught Norah--Pat watched the whole thing happen and it's so funny to hear him talk about it! Norah was SO pink (the doctor and nurses kept commenting on her color!) and squishy and looked so much like her daddy! Within seconds she was on my chest and I was SOOOOO in love. Immediately. I couldn’t believe she was here! I couldn’t believe that after all the months of waiting, after all the contractions and pushing that she was in MY ARMS.

Highlights of the first 365 days of her sweet life:

24 hours old

24 hours old

four days old

four days old

one week 

one week 

one month

one month

two months

two months

three months

three months

four months--on the beach in California

four months--on the beach in California

five months 

five months 

six months

six months

seven months

seven months

eight months 

eight months 

nine months -- my little valentine

nine months -- my little valentine

ten months

ten months

eleven months

eleven months

one year--drama queen <3 

one year--drama queen <3 

one year celebration

one year celebration

Laurin + Rafa || Motherhood Session

"Until one becomes a mother, no one can ever tell you what it will feel like to love someone else so deeply and profoundly that you will rejoice when they rejoice, ache when they ache, feel what they feel - even without ever speaking a word." -Jennifer Quinn

HBD Phoenix!

This family--oh, I just love them so much! Getting to be there as they celebrated Phoenix's first birthday was so special. Phoenix is by far the happiest, silliest most full of life one year old that I know. Sean and Vanessa have done an exceptional job at raising him! <3

Connor & Liz || 3•12•16

I got to help Jonathan Lee (of Jonathan Lee Creative) shoot this GORGEOUS wedding in Augusta, GA. Connor and Liz were such a stunning couple and their wedding was absolutely perfect. Amazing venue? Check. Beautiful bridal party? Check. Sweet, love-filled ceremony? Check. Rocking reception? Check. It was such an honor to help document their day. <3 

They had the SWEETEST first look ever! I mean, look how in love that groom is with his bride? Swoon.

I'm not only obsessed with Liz's dress, but all of her bridesmaids' dresses as well. 

Liz and her dad started out with a traditional dance and then went into a super fun routine. It was awesome!

Marty + Kayla || 11/14/2015

Marty and Kayla had a beautiful, autumn wedding at The Barn At Chestnut Springs in Sevierville, TN. It was such a sweet day filled with lots of love not only between the bride and groom, but FOR the bride and groom! Seriously, these two are so loved y'all! It truly was a privilege to capture their day for them! A special thanks to my second shooter and friend, Bill Roop of Bill Roop Photography

Enjoy this glimpse at their day!


Saylor's Senior Session

I had the best time photographing Saylor in the downtown Knoxville area. She is absolutely gorgeous and so, so sweet. I had the best time getting to know her a bit and found out that she also shares an interest photography! I wish you all the best this year, Saylor! <3

Ellie

I had the honor to photograph the fierce Ellie Regalado for her upcoming album, Dream. We did her session in Old City, Knoxville. It ended up POURING rain that day, so we had to get creative while shooting indoors and under some sort of shelter. It was a challenge, but this resulted in being my favorite shoot ever! Ellie is FIERCE and you can see that in these images! Good luck, Ellie on this new venture!

songbird

songbird

Happy Birthday, Levi!

Christa Schoolfield knows how to throw a birthday party! The evidence you'll find is in the pictures below! Levi is hers and Stephen's last baby so they wanted to go all out for his first birthday party. It was a huge success! A sweet day for such a sweet boy. :)

Happy Birthday, Levi!!! Pat and I love you!

David + Emily || 8•1•15

"And should this be the last thing I see
I want you to know it's enough for me
Because all that you are is all I'll ever need

I'm so in love, so in love, so in love, so in love"     -Tenerife Sea, Ed Sheeran

♡♡♡

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A huge thank you to my friend and second shooter, Jonathan Lee! He was a blast to work with and helped grabbed so many important shots! 

Lavender Honey Cupcakes

 Our women's Bible study is getting ready to kick off for the fall at Calvary Knoxville and we had a fun get together last night! I decided that I wanted to make a pretty, feminine desert for the occasion because what a great opportunity to bake. As I was trying to brainstorm some cupcake ideas my husband mentioned that the Lavender Honey Latte at Spero Coffee was a big hit and maybe I should do that as a cupcake. So I got on Pinterest and stumbled across this amazing recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. Seriously, guys it is AMAZING. Make it!

cupcakes + bokeh

 

Lavender-Honey Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2

    cup butter room temp

  • eggs room temp

  • 1 3/4

    cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2

    teaspoons baking powder

  • teaspoons dried lavender

  • 1/2

    teaspoon salt

  • cup sugar

  • 1/4

    cup honey

  • teaspoon vanilla

  • 2/3

    cup milk

Directions

  1.  In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, the 2 teaspoons lavender, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, honey, and vanilla; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out batter in cups.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes for 1-3/4-inch cupcakes (or 16 to 18 minutes for 2-1/2-inch cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Pipe or spread with Honey Frosting. If desired, sprinkle with additional lavender. 

Honey Frosting

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces cream cheese (2/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4cup honey
  • 1/2teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Allow cream cheese and butter to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In large mixing bowl beat cheese, butter, honey, and vanilla with mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency. 

Seriously, go make these! Like NOW.

Cupcakes + Birdcages

Cupcakes + Birdcages


Garden Wedding

"We are made of the same parts, We were made from the same heart. The world might think that's one thing, To me it's certain, nothing else is right"
-Matthew Mole, Same Parts, Same Heart
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So moody. <3 

So moody. <3 

Monica Noel

I loved getting to photograph Monica! She is loud, funny, quick-witted, beautiful and a joy to be around and she just so happens to be my younger sister. She just graduated from California State University, Stanislaus with her bachelor's in Child Development. To say she is good with kids is a huge understatement, because she is AMAZING with them; she loves them and they love her SO MUCH. She's off to continue her education at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA. I know she'll do great things!

My dad and her--don't they look good?!

My dad and her--don't they look good?!

JD + Pierson

I loved photographing JD & Pierson for their engagement session! They are funny, sweet and super good looking. Seriously, they could be supermodels. We spent the gorgeous, warm (some may even argue that it was hot) evening on a friend's property in Louisville, TN. We started at the top of a hill with grass that was seriously three feet long and ended the evening in a beautiful spring-fed pond. JD & Pierson were up for absolutely anything which made for some pretty great images!

I had a BLAST hanging out with you two and can't thank you enough for letting me do this session for y'all. <3 

Paper Lights & Adam Sams//Vienna Coffeehouse//Maryville, TN

Paper Lights just finished the first leg of their tour #SpreadTheLights along with special guest Adam Sams and Maryville was lucky enough to catch one of the nights. It was such a chill evening filled with gorgeous tunes and great people. And, of course, great coffee! If you weren't there then you definitely missed out. But, here are some photos of the night!

If you weren't there then you need to check out their websites and grab some of their music!                                           www.paperlightsmusic.com   &  www.adamsams.com

Happy Birthday, Trent!

Six years ago today I was waiting at the hospital for my nephew Trent to arrive and he's had my heart ever since! He's so smart, so handsome & so respectful. I am so proud of the little man he's becoming! He loves his mommy so much and I had the pleasure of getting to capture some of that love in these pictures below. Happy Birthday, Trent! I love you soooooo much! Chelsea, you have done such a wonderful job with him and I love you sooooo much too! 

Is your heart not melting?! Look at that sweet kiss on the forehead. <3

Is your heart not melting?! Look at that sweet kiss on the forehead. <3

He's so grown up. 

He's so grown up. 

Gem Perspective 💎

My beautiful friend, Vanessa, has a heart to help women on their journey to wellness- wherever that is & whatever it looks like. She's started a movement called Gem Perspective that I'm so happy to be apart of! (I did her sugar shred a couple months ago and really loved the challenge- it really helped me get started on my journey to a healthier me! It also helped me get creative in the kitchen- I will NEVER buy canned pasta sauce again! Anyways, I took some photos for her recently and am in love with this session! It was so much fun.

Please visit her website and see just what it is she's all about:

www.gemperspective.com 

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Chance + Stephanie {e n g a g e m e n t}

I had so much fun doing engagement pictures for these two! They were such a sweet and fun couple and their joy is contagious. I really can't wait to do their wedding in October!

This is one of my absolute favorite shots of the evening! It was a moment when the sun peeked out and we caught some beautiful light! Plus, how adorable are they?

This is one of my absolute favorite shots of the evening! It was a moment when the sun peeked out and we caught some beautiful light! Plus, how adorable are they?

Save the Date!

Save the Date!

Nathan's Senior Recital

Last night I had the pleasure of watching Nathan play ten classical pieces for his senior recital and it was nothing short of amazing. Eight of them he had memorized and one of them he wrote-- to say he is talented is an understatement. It was truly a treat to not only be there but to also snap some photos (afterwards) for him! Great job, Nathan!