INDIANAPOLIS PHOTOGRAPHER | toni's story

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I have two boys, Gaige, age 6 1/2, and Mason, age 2 1/2.

My Monkey: Gaige's heart is full of love and determination! He is very sensitive in all aspects of life! If there's a sad part in a movie, he will be the one with tears in his eyes! His smile is contagious and will light up any room instantly! Gaige was honestly born an athlete! Since he was 15 months old he could shoot a basketball with perfect form. I cannot wait to watch his love for sports grow and grow. After all I will be his biggest cheerleader! He is also my lover, always wanting to cuddle and hug me. Definitely a momma's boy!!! I will never forget the incredibly funny face that Gaige used to make when he was about 9-12 months old! It was so cute and so funny!

My Monster: Mason is strong willed and big hearted. He makes every situation light and airy. His personality is funny and loud. There is definitely never a dull moment with him in the room! He has grown into his own little person who loves to be outdoors and get dirty. He's finding his love for sports. And he is definitely his brothers biggest fan! He is also a definite momma's boy who finally found his love for cuddling at nearly 2 1/2 years old! Also at 2 1/2 years Mason decided he no longer liked being clothed, so he normally ran around in only his undies!

I have known since I was a little girl that I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know then, the amazing incredible, and sometimes overwhelming feelings that would come along with that!

With Gaige we had been trying for a few months so I wasn't expecting the double pink line to show up that Friday morning January 25, 2008. So many emotions happened when I looked down and saw that extra pink line, though faint, still there! I announced it to my husband, Tim, by filling his top drawer with diapers, a bib, and a onzie! We couldn't hold our news in too long and announced it to our families in mid February!

Again with Mason we had been trying for a few months, but I just knew that I was pregnant by my symptoms. I started testing the second week of October 2011, but kept receiving negative results. I struggled with this because I could just tell that my body was trying to change. Finally on October 22, 2011 I got that positive test I had been waiting for! I announced it to Tim by putting Gaige in a big brother tshirt! Again, we couldn't hold our news in too long so as we were trick-or-treating that year we let Gaige take off his costume at each grandparents house and he was wearing his big brother tshirt underneath!

With Gaige I had that feeling that he was a boy from pretty early on. With Mason my symptoms during pregnancy were so different that I had my thoughts of him being a girl...although I wouldn't trade two boys for the world!

With Gaige I had a very easy, wonderful, uneventful pregnancy! I enjoyed every minute and milestone of it! With Mason I was more exhausted and ached a little more, but I still soaked up every minute and milestone of it!

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My husband was gone from September 7-11, 2008 for training in Kentucky. I had my doctor check me the week prior to him leaving although I was only 37 1/2 weeks along. He assured me that I would make it through the next week, but that I probably wouldn't make it to my due date of October 1. Tim got home at 7pm Thursday and I woke up to my water breaking at 3am Friday morning! Talk about good timing! I labored at home on the couch for some time wondering if this was really happening and at 6:30am we headed to the hospital. They confirmed my water had broken and at my contractions were 1 1/2 minutes apart. I opted to receive the epidural and 9:30am they got me medicated! My contractions became further and further apart so at 11:30am I asked them to decrease the epidural and vowed that I would try to go without the next time around! After 15 hrs of labor and nearly 2 hours of pushing, our precious red-headed baby, Gaige Edwin was born at 5:44pm! He was completely perfect in every single way! Emotions swept over me as they laid him on my chest and I became a mommy! I calmed his crying immediately with the sound of my voice, and I knew in that moment that this is what my life was meant for doing!

Mason was a little more stubborn! I labored every night for an entire week with him! Losing my mucus plug on June 4 and having consistent contractions every night from about 1am-6am for that entire week! Finally on Monday I had enough and went to the doctor, he didn't even want me to go back home because he was certain I would go into labor and not make it back to the hospital! I went home and enjoyed one last evening with my family of 3! Gaige and I had took a walk and then played in the sprinkler in our clothes! The next morning I stayed home from work from being up all night with contractions holding steady at 7 minutes apart and my husband got home around 10:30am for us to head to the hospital. We were placed in a triage room at 12:00pm and told at 2:30pm that they would probably be sending us home because my contractions weren't consistent enough and varying at 5-7 minutes apart. I was devastated because I was over being in labor! My doctor assured me that he would not let that happen and at 5pm we received the great news that we would be admitted! We took a little walk to stretch our legs and when we got back to our triage room my contractions were intense and coming on quickly! The on call doctor broke my water at 6:03pm and with quick progression and no time for medication, I gave birth to our amazing strawberry-blonde Mason Eugene at 7:22pm! When they placed him on my chest I was relieved to be holding him and felt my love grow bigger than I ever thought possible! He was perfect and precious and completed our family in every way! But my extremely intense moment was when Gaige climbed up in the bed with me to meet his baby brother, every hair on my body stood on its end and my heart nearly exploded with love and joy!

It was very emotional leaving the hospital for that first time with our fresh new Gaige! I was nervous, excited, happy, and anxious! Learning everything for that first time was a bit overwhelming to say the least! With a little remaining jaundice, we spent a few days of our first week running to have levels checked! Gaige was 3 months when he started sleeping through the night for us!

Leaving the hospital for the second time was an "ok I'm ready" feeling! Missing Gaige and wanting to be with my entire family under one roof was beyond describable! Mason's jaundice didn't show up until day 4 and he had to be wrapped at home but we quickly brought it down in his first week! This little guy was a much more stubborn than his brother and didn't sleep through the night until almost 8 months! YIKES!

Being a mother is the most incredible experience of my lifetime! Watching these babies grow into little boys and one day men, is the biggest blessing I have ever been given! They have taught me so much about unconditional love and patience!

I believe that we, as mothers, all go through struggles of some sort! Motherhood is a major adjustment whether it's planned or a surprise. Personally as a mother I struggle to remember myself. I get caught up in the day to day and the quickness of their childhood and desire to soak up every single moment of it. This sometimes leads to me forgetting that I need to still be the "me" I was before motherhood from time to time!

The best part of being a mom is the feelings that I get when I look into their beautiful blue eyes or watch them sleeping soundly. Completely indescribable!

The most challenging thing for me is seeing sadness within those eyes. And although I know that this is part of life and sadness will come and go, it is still heart wrenching to watch my boys go through that! As a mom, you never want to see your children hurting!

My husband has been my number one support through this amazing ride, but right next to him stands my mother. After all, what little girl doesn't want to grow up to be just like her momma? She is my biggest hero now and forever, and I'm struggling she is the first person I call!

Surprises are around every single corner in motherhood! I could never pick just one thing that has caught me off guard! What I wish someone would've told me was to prepare myself for the fullest heart in the world! Motherhood fills up places in your heart your weren't even aware were empty. And although the struggles are real, each day is a fresh start so remember to make the memories count!

I wish I could hold onto their innocence! I wish that they could always see the world through the eyes they look through now! No bad or evil, fun in everything they do, and pure joy just from living! I wish they could stay as carefree as they are today!

Wow, do I ever have fears! I'm sure those fears will always be with me, even as they grow, and graduate, and marry, and become fathers, I will always have fears for them. I deal with these by praying that they ALWAYS know they have somewhere to go and someone to lean on. No matter what the situation, their dad and I will always and forever be here for them!

Wow, do I ever have fears! I'm sure those fears will always be with me, even as they grow, and graduate, and marry, and become fathers, I will always have fears for them. I deal with these by praying that they ALWAYS know they have somewhere to go and someone to lean on. No matter what the situation, their dad and I will always and forever be here for them!

Be your own original parent! Don't let others tell you how to raise or what is best for your family! A mother honestly knows best!

Each day is a brand new day where your child is older and smarter. Remember to laugh, play, cuddle, and love. Make moments count as memories!

I believe that our children have the power to change the world! We just help them have the confidence to do so!

This is by far the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done in my entire life! I am so thankful that God chose these incredible little boys for me to raise! I'm truly blessed beyond measure!

 To my amazing, incredible, loving boys:

I can't thank God enough for choosing me to be your momma! You both have changed me in more ways than I ever thought possible! You have been the biggest blessings in my life. I pray that you always know and feel the depth of my love for each of you!

My hopes for you as you grow are that you find peace and happiness everywhere you go. I pray every night that you will grow into loving, caring, and generous men who give life their all! Never be afraid to take a shot at something, even if you think you won't succeed. The only risks you'll ever regret are the ones you didn't take! Smile wide and never let anyone make you believe you are less than you are! You are both incredibly amazing and I cannot wait to see where life takes you!

Life is an adventure and only you can write your journey! Dream big my babies, but never forget where your roots are! Daddy and I will be here always and forever, no matter what! Remember that we are so completely proud of you both, always have been....always will be! God is by your side in everything you do, always remember to say your prayers and count all of your blessings in life!

I love you beyond measure or words Gaige and Mason! Thank you for making my life complete and happy and full of love! You are my world!

With all my love, Your Momma

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spaces are limited for motherhood photography sessions, so be sure to get set up today!

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Ashlee also provides magical and delightful services for: newborn photography, cake smash photography, baby's first year plans, maternity photography, family photography, and Newborn mentoring for photographers.

If you have a milestone or special moment you want to remember forever, let's chat! Ashlee loves to photograph in the woodlands and around downtown Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, and Greenwood. She also has a professional studio space available for sessions.

EMAIL: ashlee@alaurenphoto.com