Summer Session with Sharon Ashlie Photography

Hey friends,

There's a photographer in town that I'm kinddd of obsessed with.  But before I tell you who it is (and why!), just LOOK at this photo!

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Ahhh, I love it!!  And it's just one of my favorites from a couples session we did with Sharon Ashlie Photography over the summer.  Such a fun experience!  The whole shoot took less than an hour and we spent the whole car ride home gushing about how much we loved Sharon.  Which is why I wanted to share my favorite images from that day AND a few of the reasons you should hire her, too!

1. SHE FINDS ALL THE BEST LOCATIONS

Our session took place on a sprawling horse farm out in the country at sunset.  It was GORGEOUS.  During the shoot, we actually went to two locations on the same farm - one on a remote country road and one in front of this big, beautiful oak tree.  Both places were perfect and not too far from home!

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2. SHE SENDS A STYLE GUIDE BEFORE EVERY SHOOT

Soooo glad she did this because I have ZERO fashion sense (I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl).  Her guide includes classic recommendations for women as well as men.  For the shoot, I wore a summery dress in a soft blush color.  Love!  Pretty sure it's sold out, though, because I can't find it online anymore.  But you can find the wedges here for under $50!

My husband kept it simple with slacks and a white tee.  Oh and his old leather jacket!  He was such a trooper for wearing it - it was almost 100 degrees outside!

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3. SHE'S THE NICEST PERSON - AND SO EASY TO WORK WITH!

Speaking of the heat, I was feeling a little cranky before we arrived.  Not with Sharon!  Just with how insanely hot it was.  I started sweating just THINKING about getting out of the car.  And let me tell you, no one feels particularly attractive in that kind of heat.  No one!  But despite that, Sharon was so positive and good-spirited throughout our entire session.  And when Luna (who was hanging out in her pack-n-play) starting fussing, she was totally understanding.  She even snapped a few family photos for us!

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Even better, she knew all the best poses!  We had no idea how to stand or what to do but she was more than happy to point us in the right direction.  Then she gave US the credit for being naturals!  Which is not true at all but still made us feel pretty amazing!

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4. HER PHOTOS ARE STUNNING

Duh, right?   But I've seen them a hundred times and I still can't believe how gorgeous they are!  They're warm and clear and oh so bright.  Plus they made me look WAY prettier than in real life, ha!

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5. SHE OFFERS A VARIETY OF SESSION TYPES

Ours was a couple's session but she also offers senior portraits, maternity photos, and event coverage ... whatever you need!  And her absolute favorite is WEDDINGS!  I'm already brainstorming ideas for our next session together and I just. can't. wait :)

6. She's offering one FREE print to five lucky customers!

Sharon is offering one FREE 8 x 10 professional gallery print to the first five people to book a session.  That's a THIRTY DOLLAR VALUE and all you have to do is mention Lace & Lu when you book!

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Want to see more examples of Sharon's work?  Head over to her website for more info.  And if you book a session, don't forget to mention Lace & Lu!

With love,

Lace

Sharon Ashlie is a portrait and event photographer based in Fayetteville and Southern Pines, NC.  This post was not paid and all opinions are my own :)

A Weekend at Wrightsville Beach

Hey friends!

We got back from Wilmington a few days ago and I'm still a little tired!  Does anyone else ever feel that way?  Like you go on vacation to rest but then you come back even MORE tired than you were before?  How does that happen?!

Still - we had a pretty great trip! 

It was our first time in Wilmington and I LOVED it there.  It's kind of your quintessential east coast beach town ... salty ocean air, laid back people, and more seafood than you could possibly eat in one weekend.

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We arrived late Friday night and checked into our Air BNB room.  Have you guys stayed in an Air BNB before?  It's kind of amazing!  Our house was really big and really nice - and so was the owner!  If you're ever in Wilmington and need a place to stay, I definitely recommend his place.  He'll give you the scoop on all the best places to go and he even makes fresh-baked cookies every night, yum!

Before we left, I did a last minute packing job and completely forgot Luna's swim suit.  I should have checked my Beach Essentials for Older Babies checklist (but I didn't) ... total Mom Fail moment!  Luckily, I brought extra sunscreen and a beach tent to protect her sensitive baby skin.  Unluckily, my husband ignored my sunscreen recommendation for himself and burnt to a crisp! 

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It's not surprising since most of our weekend was spent at the beach.  As soon as we arrived, Luna ran to the water and plopped right down.  And she didn't leave that spot for hours!  It made me wish we lived a little closer so she could go to the beach more often!

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If you're planning a trip to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, I do have one other recommendation ... steer clear of the pier if you can.  It was BEAUTIFUL but also a litttttle annoying because the lifeguards kept blowing their whistles at people swimming too close!

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Every now and then, I reapplied Luna's sunscreen and after a while I brought her into the shade for a nap.  Now that I think of it, I probably should have taken one, too!  Maybe then I wouldn't be so tired now, ha!

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Did I mention that a group of our friends was in town?!  It was great having them around ... although I won't be sad AT ALL when they all start having kids.  My mom friends can probably relate - once you have littles, you're on a totally different schedule from the rest of the world.  But it was still fun to have girlfriends around to hang out with :)

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We had so much fun that we're actually heading back to the beach next weekend, too!  And I'm going to ATTEMPT to get a few more pictures with me in them (mom problems, right?).  For now, here are two of my favorite pictures from last weekend's trip with Kris and Luna :)

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What are your favorite beaches to visit?!  Have you ever been to Wrightsville Beach?  Tell me all about it in the comments!

With love,

Lace & Lu

The Great Debate Over Baby #2

Hey mommas,

The other day someone asked me a BIG question:

When are you going to have another baby? 

It made me laugh because around our house we've been asking ourselves the same thing! 

If it was up to my husband, we'd already be trying.  And these days, I'm right there with him!  We survived the first year of parenthood and have this bright, beautiful, happy toddler to show for it.  Luna is almost 15 months and it's the BEST age.  She's fun and playful and so willing to help out and I honestly can't get enough of her.  And that makes me want to have more kids right this second!

But I also have a lot of fears.  I remember the struggles from that first year so wellAnd while I might be overthinking things, having another baby is a big decision.  You know?

That's where our great debate comes into play.  Or ... I guess it's just MY great debate.  Because let's be honest, Kris knows what he wants and he's just waiting for me to make up my mind.  So what's really going on in my head right now?  For starters ...

I'm nervous about the pregnancy part.

Oh man, pregnancy was rough for me the first time around.  I lost nearly ten pounds and burst capillaries in my face from throwing up so much - and that was just the beginning!  There's also delivery and recovery to get through.  And this time around, I'll have to do it all while caring for an active toddler.  How do other moms do it?!?!

And then there's the newborn stage.

I love love love being a mom.  But those first few months are just plain hard.  You're tired and emotional and overwhelmed from all the changes.  Your marriage goes into crisis mode from the stress and sex is off the table.  And then there's breastfeeding.  It was so much harder than I expected!  Hopefully it'll all be easier next time around but I'm still a little anxious about it.

It'll be a big change for our firstborn.

I know, I know.  Other people have multiple children all the time and their firstborns somehow get through it.  But I'm so sensitive to Luna's feelings!  I never want her to feel unloved or pushed aside.  And right now, it's easy to be patient with her.  But what about when baby #2 comes along?  Will I still be able to keep it together when she's having a bad day?

But we want a big family.

And that means at some point Luna will have to go through that transition into big sisterhood.  And actually, it might not be so bad!  She's so caring and snuggly and I can imagine her being a little helper.  In the short term, it might be rough but I think we'll all be that much happier in the long run.

And we're not getting any younger.

Plenty of people have babies into their late thirties and forties - that's totally fine!  But as you get older, there are additional medical considerations that come into play.  And I'm a natural worrier - I'd rather keep things as uncomplicated as possible.  And that means the sooner the better when it comes to having more kids.

THERE'S A CATCH.

And that's my husband's job.  He does a lot of traveling - sometimes for long periods of time - and it makes planning a little bit harder.  Would I rather deal with morning sickness alone or risk going into labor alone?  Or would we rather put off baby #2 altogether for longer than either of us anticipated?  It's a tough decision and one that we'll have to make sooner rather than later. 

Final verdict:

I still have a few reservations but it miiiiiight be time to seriously consider baby #2.  I'll make sure to keep you posted :)

With love,

Lace

P.S. What are your thoughts on having more kids?  Do you have a timeline in mind?  What are your fears about it?   And if you already have more than one child, how do you manage it?!?!  Let me know in the comments below!

*Photography Credit*

The image(s) featured in this post were captured by Pineland Photography.

How to Survive A Road Trip with a Toddler

Hey mommas!

We've been spending a LOT of time on the road lately.  And this week we're adding another couple hours to the mix since we're heading to the lake for a long weekend.  That means four whole days of tubing and tangled hair and time with our family.  But before we get to the fun, we have to survive a 3-hour (or more) car ride with Luna. 

In the past, I would have been seriously stressed out right about now.  Even the thought of traveling with Lu used to give me the worst anxiety!  But motherhood has taught me a few things and I've picked up a few survival tips along the way.  They've made car rides so much easier for me - and I'm hoping they'll work for you, too!

TIP #1 - TIME IT RIGHT

Whenever possible, I plan road trips around Luna's schedule.  We wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and then play.  I mean really play.  I chase her around and tickle her and do anything I can think of to wear her out.  By the time we leave, she's usually ready for quiet time and a long nap.  Perfect timing to start a trip!

TIP #2 - KEEP ESSENTIALS WITHIN REACH

There was a time when I would toss my diaper bag into the back seat before trips.  It was such a rookie move!  These days, I keep it up front with me and all essentials within reach.  That includes a bottle, sippy cup, pacifier, snacks, a light blanket and a few toys.  If Luna starts fussing, I just pass her one of the toys or a bottle and keep going!

TIP #3 - DESIGNATE TOYS JUST FOR THE CAR

Speaking of toys, I always keep a few special ones in the car, like Luna's stuffed puppy.  When I'm ready to leave the house I'll say, "Lu, do you want to see your puppy?!" and she runs straight to the door.  I hand her the toy, strap her into the car seat without a struggle, and we're on our way!  Every few weeks, I'll rotate the toys out or let her pick out a brand new one at the store.  And once she's a little older, I'll add crayons, notepads, and little games into the mix. 

TIP #4 - KEEP THINGS COMFORTABLE

On travel days, I dress Luna in soft, light clothing and stay away from anything with buttons, zippers, or itchy tags that could irritate her skin.  I also prefer short sleeves.  It's way easier to toss back a light blanket than to change her out of an outfit that's too hot!

Which reminds me .... keep in mind that most cars have better circulation and air flow in the front seat.  Even if you're comfortable in the front, you might want to take it down a couple degrees to keep your little one feeling the same way in the back :)

TIP #5 - TAKE BREAKS OFTEN

Another way I keep Luna happy on the road?  We pull over at least once every hour (or two) and let her run around.  Sometimes we stop at parks along the way and other times it's just a grassy patch next to a gas station.  But either way, we give her a chance to stretch her legs and get rid of pent up energy.  There's one exception to this rule and that's when she's sleeping.  In that case, we just keep driving and hope we don't run out of gas or have to pee before she wakes up.

TIP #6 - PLAN FOR DELAYS

GPS needs a "traveling with a toddler" option that automatically adds a couple hours to any road trip.  Since that's not available yet, just assume that it's going to take a little longer than expected to get anywhere you're going.  Anticipating delays makes it much easier to cope with them when they actually happen.

TIP #7 - TRY TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN

I'm saying "try" because we all know how difficult it can be traveling with a toddler.  But in my experience, it's more fun for everyone when we don't overreact to Luna's crabbiness.  Instead, we listen to music, play sing-a-longs, and make animal noises.  It takes a lot of effort but it's also so nice to hear her laugh even when she's feeling super confined in the car.

TIP #8 - BREAK OUT YOUR LAST RESORT

When you're traveling, there will be times when your little one is inconsolable and impossible to deal with.  Don't worry, momma.  It's happened to all of us and desperate times call for desperate measures.  So put on a movie.  Pass over your phone.  Give yourself a free pass to do that Bad Mom thing you never thought you'd do.  And then bask in the glory of a quiet car ride with a happy toddler :)

How do you survive road trips with your babes?  Do you have any extra tips to share?? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

Safe travels and best of luck!

Lace

*Photography Credit*

The image(s) featured in this article were captured by Pineland Photography.

 

Confessions of a Cosleeping Momma

Hey mommas!

It's time for a BIG confession that only a few people know about our family:  we've been cosleeping since the day Luna was born.  And I don't just mean sleeping in the same room.  I mean sleeping in the same bed

We did it against doctor's recommendations. 

We did it against all our friend's and family's dire warnings. 

We did it despite the million reasons why we shouldn't.

And guess what?

Cosleeping was the BEST decision we could have made for our family.*

I'll admit - it wasn't part of our original plan.  In fact, before Luna was born I couldn't fathom why some parents would disregard all the current information on cosleeping.  It's dangerous.  It's against the rules!  And I'm one of those people that really likes rules. 

But the moment Luna came into the world everything changed.  Up until then she had always been snuggled safe and warm in my belly.  And now she was out in this big world and I couldn't bear the thought of her being alone.  Her little cries felt heartbreaking that first night.  So I picked her up, nestled her into my arms, and we drifted to sleep together for the very first time. 

Since then, we've slept together as a family every night for almost 14 months.  Pregnant Lacey would have been SHOCKED, ha!  But over time I've come to realize that there are so many things I never understood about cosleeping/bedsharing.  So whether you're thinking about trying it, you're totally against it, or you're just the slightest bit curious what it's really like, these confessions are for just for you :)

#1 - IT WAS TERRIFYING AT FIRST

During pregnancy, you receive so much negative information about cosleeping.  You're told over and over all the things that can go wrong.  And that information is out there because it happened to someone.  Many someones.  There are people in the world whose baby might still be alive if they didn't share a bed.  In most of those cases, though, there were other risk factors involved (alcohol, drugs, or obesity to name a few).  But when you're new to motherhood and super sleep-deprived, the fear over those things is crippling.  I woke up screaming almost every night in the first week or two from vivid nightmares that all ended with me holding Luna's limp body in my arms.

For the most part, those fears faded away after a few months.  Or maybe they just changed over time.  In the beginning, I was afraid I would smother Lu on accident.  As she grew, I was worried she would roll off the bed.  And these days I worry about what it will be like when we finally do transition her into her own space.  But I think that's just part of motherhood.  Once you become a parent, you're pretty much guaranteed to worry about something every single day for the rest of your life.

#2 - IT FEELS NATURAL

Despite all my fears, it felt so right to share a bed with Luna.  She slept better and longer in my arms than anywhere else.  And I slept better, too, knowing she was safe with me.  It was also just really hard for me to imagine leaving her alone in a crib.  I think I'm extra sensitive about this because I struggle with feeling lonely sometimes.  We spend so much of our lives alone in the world and all I want is to protect Luna from that feeling for as along as possible. 

#3 - YOU MIGHT FEEL PRESSURED TO STOP

This was probably the hardest part about cosleeping for me in the early months. During that time, I was getting so much pressure from every direction to stop what I was doing.  I heard it from family members.  I read it in books.  I heard it from the super judgy nurse at the doctor's office.  And I heard it from all those incredible women who have never been mothers but know what's best. 

Now that Luna is a little older, I'm a lot less sensitive about the subject.  If someone wants to share their opinion, I'll always hear them out.  But if they ask me to justify our decision, I just say it's what works best for our family and leave it at that.

#4 - IT MAKES SLEEP TRAINING HARD

When Luna was around four months, the pressure really started to get to me and I decided it was time to crib train.  I read a whole book on the Ferber Method before starting.  It's supposed to be a gentler method of sleep training but the process was TRAUMATIZING for me.   And I mean that literally.  My chest still hurts thinking about it and it's almost impossible for me to talk about.  It was one of the worst nights in my entire life and the reason we'll be hiring a sleep consultant when we do finally make the switch.

#5 - A LOT OF OTHER MOMS DO IT TOO

This isn't really a confession but it is one of the magical things about motherhood.  We all have these shared experiences that connect us in ways that you could never explain to someone who hasn't been through it.  And even though we don't all cosleep, the ones who do feel this extra sense of solidarity.  We sigh in relief when we realize that we're not the only ones.  And even the ones who don't cosleep can usually relate to the feeling that we're all doing at least a few things "wrong".

#6 - IT FEELS CONFINING AT TIMES

Every now and then, it would be nice if we could drop Lu off with a friend or family member for the night.  But it's almost impossible to do when your baby is used to cosleeping.  It's one of the many reasons we'll eventually need to transition her into her own space (although I'm trying not to think about it)!

#7 - IT'S ADDICTING AFTER A WHILE

Regardless of the hard parts of cosleeping, it's the best feeling when I climb into bed at night and Lu rolls over to wrap her arms around me.  I love her smell and her little heartbeat against my skin.  And I love how she seems so comfortable and at peace.  I know when she's with me that she feels really, truly safe and it's the best feeling I could possibly describe.  And if I could go back in do it all again, I wouldn't change a thing.

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If you have any questions about our experience cosleeping I'd love to talk more about it!  Just leave a comment or submit a contact request and I'll get back to you as soon as possible :)

With love,

Lace

*IMPORTANT NOTE: This is NOT a recommendation to cosleep or bedshare.  It's just my personal experience.   Current safety guidelines recommend keeping babies in your room for the first year but not in your bed.  Also, it's important to keep in mind all the risk factors association with cosleeping and infant deaths.  If you're interested in bedsharing, just do your research on how to do it in the safest possible way.  Good luck mommas!

*Photography Credit*

The image(s) featured in this article were captured by Pineland Photography.