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Here is a peek of my lovely wedding day! We were married July 20, 2008 in the gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota. Find more images and details about my incredible wedding day on Style Me Pretty.

                    

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Entries in photography (134)

Monday
Feb012016

birth story ::: arden skillman

My first labor & delivery didn't exactly go as planned. Well my second one....sorta went as planned? Meaning it was still a little crazy. My husband was (again) the one to help deliver his child. Apparently I should have included that in our wedding vows.


Shortly after our first son was born, my husband and I had decided a homebirth was best for our situation (aka a precipitous birth). While I am a crunchy kinda gal, I never thought I'd be "that lady". But we knew it would take a lot to convince me to get back into a car while in labor. We also LOVED spending the first 24 hrs at home as a family. Those precious hours are pure magic.

A few days before my 40 week mark I had a some cramping that lasted a couple hours each time. By cramping, I mean they gave me ptsd flashbacks of the pain involved with childbirth. Can I un-pregnate myself please?!

Around 4pm on the day that marked 40 weeks, the sporadic mild contractions started again but this time didn't subside after a few hours. I informed my midwife that this might be happening tonight. She had a 3 hour drive and had been to my house earlier that day for our prenatal. Oh the joys of living in rural Wyoming.


At 7pm the contractions are still random but we are convinced this won't stop. We have a shared moment of panic where my husband joins me in a ptsd flashback. He then makes a dash to Walmart for last minute supplies. The garden hose, which we needed to fill up the birth tub, was delayed because of holiday shipping (this comes in real handy later). I take a bath and relax....still hoping the contractions might stop.


Some time before 10pm I realize things are picking up and I now inform my midwife that she should start the drive. By picking up, I mean I can no longer lay down or do anything. Sitting on the toilet is THE ONLY comfortable place to be in the whole house. And so now I sit there. And endure what is quickly becoming not fun (people call this active labor). Doubts creep in about preferring to go to the hospital.


The next two hours fly by. My first labor felt out of control and miserable. This time I felt pain but it was much more manageable. 1) I knew the labor wouldn't last 15 hours and 2) there was a few minutes of reprieve between each contraction. I had neither the first time around. At 11pm I tell my husband to fill the tub because I think I'll want to be in it soon and we share a moment of clarity. We know we want to have this baby at home and we know the chances are good that the midwife won't make it on time. And we are okay.

Now. I don't understand how women don't know they are pushing out a baby. But somehow I didn't realize I was pushing out a baby. I just know that my mom walked in to ask how I was doing (she had just arrived to make sure if the toddler woke up he'd have someone attending him). I looked at her and said things were "not fun" and then all of a sudden I yelled that she needed to find Trevor...NOW.


I was (still) sitting on the toilet. And there was a baby's head beginning to emerge. Dangerously close to a very small porcelain birth tub. My husband walks in like he knows exactly what to do, giving both me and my mother instructions (me to get off the toilet and her to get towels). With the next contraction he catches our son's head which was still contained in the amniotic sac. Another contraction—the sac breaks and we hear a little war cry as our baby gracefully falls into his hands.


It was just after midnight. That garden hose had managed to fill the tub a whole 8". Just like my first birth, I looked over at the tub with jealous eyes thinking "it sure would have been nice to use you". But alas, all was well and I was comfortably laying on my bed snuggling my sweet babe. The birth assistant arrived within 15 minutes of the birth and my midwife about an hour after. They both did a great job caring for us and cleaning everything (there was surprisingly little to clean actually). Postpartum care lasted about three hours and we laid down around 3:30am to sleep. Gunnar had slept through a rather noisy ordeal just across the hall—until 4:30am when Arden made a small cry. He walks into our room and says "BAY BAY". We introduce them and then my dear dear husband gets up to play with our toddler so I can rest.


While we didn't *quite* get the relaxing stress-free birth we intended, it was an amazing experience. I feel honored to have my husband at my side to experience such craziness. He is my champion always. We named our second son, Arden—which is a Celtic name meaning eager/ardent. Skillman is my paternal grandfather (whom I was never able to meet) and an ancient Norse name meaning trustworthy. Arden was born on January 3rd at midnight, weighing 7 lbs 2 oz and 20.5" long. He's also real cute.

I am hopelessly in love with all three of my boys and look forward to watching my babies grow up as brothers together.

Photography by Smiling Eyes Photo

Wednesday
Jan062016

winter maternity + family session

HAD to share these amazing photos that I will cherish my whole life! I had no idea how much I'd appreciate them—having captured these moments of our family. My sister-in-law did such an incredible job. If anyone lives in the Denver/Fort Collins area, you won't be disappointed!

Photography by Smiling Eyes Photo

Friday
Dec252015

merry christmas

Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas full of love & laughter.

Thursday
Apr302015

styling for this old house magazine

Sharing my most exciting styling project to date! The publication This Old House magazine hired me to style a gorgeous bathroom for their May issue.

Here's the first image from the layout—not too shabby, eh?

And another shot that wasn't used in the layout.

The "his vanity" pictured above is my favorite part, I just loved the little shaving details. And below is my name PRINTED in the issue. *pinch me!*

Such a great project and an incredible team to work with on location. Not to mention a beautiful subject (the historic/modern bathroom in St. Louis). And to make an incredible job even better—I'll be styling another project for the magazine next month! SO exciting. 

All photography/design owned by This Old House magazine // Produced by Tisha Leung

Photography by Alise O'Brien // Styling by Me // Interior Design by Joni Spear // More bathroom details on this Houzz feature

Tuesday
Apr282015

my babe turned one

I'm blogging! There must be pigs in the sky. But how could I resist showing off this little light of my life?!!!!

It's been over a year since this insane day happened—and yet it feels like yesterday. Party pics coming soon!

Thursday
Dec252014

plaid tidings to you

Merry Christmas to you as you celebrate the joy of the season! 

Tuesday
Dec162014

8 months old ::: gunnar james

My little sprout is eight months old! This warrants a mini shoot. In the midst of the bustle of Christmas moving into our new home. He sure is a distraction. But I don't mind catering to his every flinch. Not one bit.

He has a complex range of emotions, this being the pensive one. Absolute genius I tell you.

Agh I love that face sooo much!

Friday
Dec052014

leaving our home of 7 years

Three weeks ago my family left our St. Louis city home and arrived at the rural plains of Wyoming, the home of our childhood.

(2600 Penn Street)
My life has been everything but manicured the last two months. The dust is finally settling and I can breathe a bit easier. While the stress of moving 1200 miles (with a 7 mo old) in a few short weeks was burden enough—there was also the internal processing of leaving the life we knew behind. Moving. Was. Hard.

(The view from our front porch, looking down the street)
In seven years we had built a life and community we loved. I moved to St. Louis just after graduating college. In my twenties—I started my professional career, went from single to married, bought my first home, and became a mother. In the shadow of that famous arch, I grew up.

(One of the gorgeous old mansions just blocks from our house)
Suddenly I have regret. Did I spend enough time with the people there? Could I have made a bigger impact? Will the city miss me? Was my scope of influence too small? Did I take advantage of all the great things that this city had to offer? Did I shop at Target enough? < Actually, yes. Yes to that last one. I shopped there way too much.

(View down the street)
I now have much respect for those that, for whatever reason, have to pick up their lives and move often. It’s a lot of work. And maybe roots go a little deeper each year, making it a little bit harder. But I don’t regret those roots. That city and the time spent there will always be special to me. So many great memories.

And now I look up and see a big sky. A really big sky. Which is fun. I may never have to parallel park again. Also fun. New adventures await, and I embrace them.

Monday
Aug042014

4 months

Oh how I wished I blogged more! This ball of pudge is clearly no longer a newborn squish. It's true what they say, the days are long but the years (months) are short.

Just shy of four months old, Gunnar loves to smile & giggle. He is so chill and SUCH a chunker. Probably because he loves to eat a lot. I love that he often holds my hand while nursing. His face still melts my heart at every opportunity. Currently he does not enjoy tummy time, rolling over, or naps....I'm holding out that he might some day. Luckily he prefers the potty over his diapers, which should come in handy in the future. He enjoys being worn, shaking his keyring, storytime, walks & exploring the world, making faces at momma & daddy, growling, and being my little photo prop. (As evidenced on my instagram feed)

My days are spent nurturing this little guy. I'm a lucky gal.

Wednesday
Jun042014

7 weeks into motherhood

You guys, I have NOTHING to blog or instagram except my first born child. Essentially there is nothing else going on in my life. This little creature has been all-consuming since his arrival. I do love him most dearly and very much enjoy our days of snuggling. The biggest adjustment is definitely the amount of attention he requires during his waking hours, and the scrambling to get 40+ things done during his short irregular nap times. Goodbye selfishness, there is no time for you. 

Gone are the naive dreams of working from home, whilst enjoying my sweet angelic babe each day. Instead are long days of breastfeeding, cleaning up body fluids, 
breastfeeding, laundry, breastfeeding, and attempting to keep the house from becoming a disaster. Did I mention there is a lot of breastfeeding? Which did NOT come easily or naturally in the beginning. If I'm being honest, at times I've even resented spending 1/4 of my waking hours on this single task. At 7 weeks, I estimate over 150 hours nurturing my little guy. I can't think of anything else in my life that has been given that much dedication. This is a calling that is physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. I had no idea.

But it is now getting a bit easier, and each time I have a little less anxiety about nursing around others. I envy those women who make it look so seamless, and hope to look half that put together some day. 

I haven't even touched on the many other surprises that came along with motherhood. Or the infinite list of questions like "do I leave my kid in the car while I return my shopping cart?" and "will my rug start growing some funk from all the milk it's absorbed?". But alas my sleeping babe will awake any second so I must publish this stat.

One day I do hope to blog about other fun things, but for now I plan to treasure (as best I can) this time when my baby needs his momma most.

Newborn photos by me—Gunnar was 4 days old. And yes, I was unexpectedly hit hard with a case of I-have-the-cutest-baby-ever-born-and-everyone-needs-to-look-at-his-picture syndrome (so annoying!).