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Friday Finds {Christmas style}

Thursday, December 20, 2012


It's been a while since I posted any Friday Finds. It's actually been a while since I've been out on my scavenger hunts at all. I sure do miss them. Last week while I was out looking for ugly sweaters for a friend's party, I ran across this footed bowl. It was just $1.50. I loved the Jade green and thought it was perfect for holding some of my old Christmas ornaments since the glass jar I usually use crashed to the ground last year.


I also picked up this pine cone wreath for a dollar but thought it was too drab and tired but really well constructed. It actually looks better in the picture than it really was.


I needed it to be a bit more festive so nothing a little spray paint and highlighting some details can't fix! You know I love acorns...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My most favorite find was a faux bois tiered serving platter but I haven't taken a picture of it yet. Believe me when I say it's super cute and at $3.00 a steal.
 
It's good to do a little thrifting every now and then, don't you think?
 
Have a great day.

The only words I have

Friday, December 14, 2012


My heart is breaking. I love Connecticut and pray for comfort and peace for Newtown and especially for all those families whose lives were forever changed today. I really have no words and can only offer up this quote.

You and I may cry out, "No one understands. No one knows."
But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands.
He can reach out, touch and strengthen us.

~Elder David A. Bednar 

New trimmings for the tree

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 
I'm breaking with our tradition of silver, white and green ornaments for our tree and going with gold, blue and green. The handmade family ornaments are staying which is a jumble of different things that are too precious not to use but the background colors will look a little something like the picture. I've spray painted branches gold and am working on the peacock ornaments. Wierd? Or is it more wierd that we haven't finished decorating yet?
 
Have a great day!
xo
Laura

I have a clean desk

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

 
So...that little break from work lasted about three days. I hope I didn't need the notes that were stacked on my desk. I was supposed to take the whole month off since the PR world for Doctors is kinda slow right now. But then another change came and I'm back on the health talks. But that's good and most of the work I do is still at home.
 
And because I thought I wasn't going to be working much, I booked a few photo sessions so I am busily getting those done so I can start on others next week - engagements and bridals! I've looked at hundreds of photos trying to get some ideas. There is a big trend with theme engagement pictures but some are a little kitschy for me, like dressing as Bonnie & Clyde. I think vintage inspired clothes are great but didn't that relationship turn out bad? And would you tire of those photos in 5 years? I think I would. Who knows.
 
Anyway, some are really formal and then there's casual and relaxed. The couple wants casual and relaxed - whew! I didn't know where I was going to get Bonnie & Clyde costumes...
 
 
One of the recent senior photos.

Have a great day!

xo
Laura

It's a story that cannot be told in a few paragraphs, but years.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I always hesitate to write lengthy stories because for 1 - this isn't a book and 2- I don't always read lengthy blog posts. I can't be the only one, can I?  Unfortunately, this isn't a 1 or 2 paragraph post but I tried to sum in up as best I could.

So the story goes...

When my oldest boy, now 10, was around 2 years old, I noticed that he had longer than normal, or what I thought were normal, tantrums and would get easily irritated. I was told this was just a boy being a boy and that after having two nearly perfectly behaved girls, I was due a little chaos in my life. I accepted that and went on.

By the time he was four, he still hadn't outgrown tantrums. They were worse, actually. More intense, with raging, not the normal crying and screaming. I took him back to the Dr. and said that there was no way this was normal, citing specifics that made the Dr. cringe, and that one of us was going to have to be medicated. While I didn't want to put a child on unnecessary medication, I knew at this point that something was necessary.

After a full evaluation, I had the diagnosis: Pediatric bi-polar disorder. Strangely enough, I wasn't sad, just glad it had a name and knew we'd deal with it however we could.  Some may call it a stiff upper lip but to me that conjures up feelings of masking pain. There was nothing to mask or ignore. I looked at this as more of a firm resolve to meet this head on. I credit my mom for that. It's definitely a Hernandez trait. She always said there are just two choices in anything troubling us: you move on or your don't, you fix it or you don't, you get the idea. There's no use worrying or whining; just go and do, she would say.

So with that we went on with some sort of thankfulness. Thankfulness, that by nature, Jon and I are pretty even-keeled. Because, we have found out that the stress of this is heavy. I have found over the years since the diagnosis that one could get to the point of being abusive. I can completely see why people turn to alcohol and drugs to numb themselves; to escape from stress in whatever situation causes it. I have compassion for them. In our situation we just have to step away and let him be. It's hard to be rational in the moment so taking a step back is all we can do. I mean, the problem will still exist when we get back. But with more of a clear head, we are better able to deal with it. Patching a few holes in the wall is nothing. Patching a soul, well that is a whole new ball-game.

I can't fully describe the rages that we witness and a young boy who has no idea how to control them; the uncontrollable sobbing and lying in a heap in the middle of a room destroyed and big, beautiful eyes full of tears asking why he can't be at peace. I can't explain how a small disappointment, something almost not even worth mentioning, in a daily routine of ours can be an insurmountable problem to him. Talk about perception. While the rest of us so easily think, "This is no big deal," his mind sometimes seems to not be able to process such simplicity. I could never fully explain the depth to which my heart has sank when he has wished to die so he doesn't have to live this way. I can't describe the feelings and how it's changed us in ways or all the traits associated with Bi-polar disorder. They are vast. It would take too long and would be inadequate. But through it all, I have learned so much about it and still, there are many reasons for me to be optimistic.

When his mind is more at rest, it is easy to see his wonderful traits. He can be very loving and tender. He is kind to animals which I can't even tell you how much that means to me. He is smart and remembers a lot of information and has a great creative streak. He is witty and has a lot of friends. That is one thing the Dr. was concerned about. Bi-polars tend to attract the "wrong" crowd but so far he is well-liked by his peers and has some good friends. His Dr. was really happy about that.

He has learned to better control his outbursts, usually reserving the blow-ups for me and his dad. Here, with us, he feels safe and can quickly cycle through his frustration and that is ok with us. Sometimes it's an easy fix and sometimes it's not; leaving us emotionally wiped out. But, you go on and each time learning how to better prepare for the next episode. The last 5 months have been the most peaceful in 6 years and we are so grateful! We are told that as he grows his chemical imbalances may change so we are honestly praying for that. No one knows about that for sure since childhood mental illness has not been studied in depth in the medical community. His disorder is similar to juvenile diabetes in that it is usually more serious than adult onset. So with maturity, he should be able to better handle it. I am confident he will.

There have been days that I wished he could just have a "normal" problem that's easily explainable and that people wouldn't think he was just an unruly child. I have wished that people could see mental illness as something they could talk about and not shy away from and have a little more compassion for, just as they would any other illness. But that's where I come in! And I guess that's why I am putting it on here. I have been meaning to talk about it for a long time but could never find the right words and it has just become so commonplace for us to live with this, that it doesn't seem to be a big deal anymore. It's just our way of life now. I also didn't want people to think he's dangerous or use it against him in any way.

But then, something comes up and compels me. For example, last week the nurse at school called and was concerned that Reese hadn't eaten that day. He has gone from a great eater to a picky one. As I talked with her, the thought came to me that this was something of a control issue and a potential problem was on the horizon. But it was a remark she made about him not being on his medication very long that caught my attention a little more. By her notes she said he had only been diagnosed this past February. I corrected her and said that we have been dealing with this for 6 years. 6 years! And I still can't get people to see its seriousness. She was so surprised by that. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. These types of stories are commonplace for anyone dealing with any types of these disorders.

At his parent-teacher conference, which by the way, was great! I was so happy. It took all I had to not start crying. He did get an inconsistant for behavior, which I could have predicted, but he had improved in other conduct and the school work was so much better than last year. Last year was one of the toughest on record for him and me. I can't even begin to explain. Just trust that this conference made his day, week, maybe even year. Mine too.

His counselor was present at his conference and had all the paperwork ready for an IEP plan. All I did was sign and she sent it off. That way all teachers and faculty would know about his disorder and are bound by law to acknowledge it and work together instead of having a different set of rules in every classroom.

His teachers have all been great. I don't want to give the impression that they haven't. Since Kindergarten we have had the best of the best but they have to deal with so many other students and keeping track of each and their specific needs can be difficult. This plan puts it all out there and each teacher will see the same file instead of different notes and no one really understanding the situation. When I met his homeroom teacher at the beginning of the year, he told me the notes from last year's teacher said, "Prone to crying." That was it. Again, I had to explain the why of it all so I decided we had to get this plan in place. I feel like this could be a new beginning for him. I know his teachers want to see him succeed and that gives me great hope.

ANYWAY, as you can see, this is a long conversation. My apologies! I can't do it justice on a little blog. Just know that this exists and this is our story.

xoxo
Laura






Chalkboard history

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Over 40 years ago, my mom brought home this chalkboard after pulling it out of an old, dilapidated one-room schoolhouse just a couple fields over from where I grew up in Washington state. 

The farthest back I remember playing with it was when I was in 1st grade and my mom telling me that one day my own kids could write on it. I also remember going into the schoolhouse some years later, before it was torn down and having to watch my step because cows had taken up residence. By then it was just a shell of a building. We just stood in the middle of the room and my mom told me how she would love to buy it to restore.

I don't know the age of the chalkboard but it has stayed in such good shape all these years even surviving 3 cross-country moves. It's now up in the kitchen and it makes me so happy to bring a tiny bit of history of my little valley right here in my home.

 
 
*

*The school house was across the driveway from where my horses are standing. Mine was the one on the right, Midnight. His official show name was The Midnight Champion but I just called him Middy. My sister's horse was named Star and her show name was Star Countess. She was a big diva, being a 3/4 registered Arab.  That is my childhood home in the background on the side of the hill. It was the best place to grow and play. I was so lucky.

Bored with the gourds

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


After a month of gourds sitting around the house in vases and wooden boxes, not to mention used as bowling balls for Trae, I grew a little tired of them.
 

Although there are only a couple more days for Fall decorations, I thought I would liven them up for Thanksgiving. I took to them with gold spray paint which gave them some instant bling. I should've done this a long time ago. Note to self for next year.

(I also should've edited the photos but you get the idea.)
 
Have a happy day!

Getting to it

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I was so excited to begin the weekend with reduced work hours and dive head first in to a bunch of projects and continue for the week. But then this migraine crept up on me and for three days it wreaked havoc. I was so happy when I woke up headache free this morning.

So this week I am finishing a bunch of photos and I already sanded down a piece of furniture which will be painted. I'll be blogging about weekend adventures with my dear friend Janet who came to visit from Utah the exact week that Hurricane Sandy came for a visit. It was planes, trains and automobiles for them!

I am also going to try my hand at wiring a new light for the hallway. It can't be that hard, can it? Famous last words. The last time we did this it took forever because of some strange wiring done in the 70's that we had to figure out. We'll see...

I have room parent stuff to attend which I am really looking forward to - it's all about making pilgrim hats with Blair and eating a Thanksgiving meal with Reese. I loved those days in elementary school, didn't you?

And I might even get a much needed haircut too. It's going to be a good week. Hope you enjoy yours!




Trae and Blair, the only two who stuck around for a picture before trick-or-treating.

A confession

Monday, November 5, 2012


I know it's PC to say that I limit my kids' television watching exposure. Really, I know I should limit it but when I really need to work...which is everyday, I turn on Disney Junior and let Trae have at it. There, I said it, I feel better now.

And speaking of Disney, we went to Disney on Ice the other night. We haven't been to a show since Belén and Charley were little so it was time to take the other three and since they were running a great special on tickets, we couldn't pass it up.

This is how good it was: Trae crying when the show was over.


 
 
Have a great day!

Mini cakes = fewer calories

Friday, November 2, 2012

 
It's that time of year when I do a little baking.
First up, miniature pumpkin shaped cakes.
I saw these on a magazine cover and thought they would be cute to give away
so that is what we did.
Who wouldn't want a mini cake?
 
 
 



It's good to be a Senior

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I've been working on the editing process for a few high school seniors. Even though little is required, my eyes are starting to bug out so I'm off to Manhattan for the day with one of my dearest friends. I'll give my eyes a rest from the computer and soak in the sights of NYC.
See you soon.
Until then, enjoy these smiling faces.





Gathering for autumn displays - Union Mill Acres

Monday, October 15, 2012

When I was young we were forever going somewhere, anywhere, to just get out and explore. Even if my mom was just going to the corner store, we all darted out to the car as if we'd been cooped up for months and this was our only escape. Even now I tell my kids, 'Please, act like you've been in public before" because they are loud and crazy and act like they're limited in outings of any kind. When they hear the sound of me taking the keys off the hook, they come running to see where I am going, every one of them. I guess it's in their nature.

I still like to go and see what's around and this time of year I can always find something that will make us happy. For us it's festivals, craft fairs, walking trails, farms, football games, pumpkin patches, hay rides; anything Autumn.

We went to a little place in the country (which is pretty much any direction you go here) and stocked up on gourds, pumpkins and mums. Union Mill Acres was adorable and the people were friendly and helpful. There was a great assortment of everything you need for fall displays and the prices were the best around unless you go to the auction directly.

What a great place. Just see for yourself...






A barn with more things for sale. This would be my dream, having a barn on property to have a little shop!
Blair picking out a pumpkin
A topiary of gourds and pumpkins, good price too.
Cinderella pumpkins - my favorite
Gourd crazy
Trae pulling the mums for me until he discovered the sand box (upper right corner)


Handsome hubby carrying Blair's pick
So clever. I have never seen this before.








I hope you are enjoying this season as much as I am - hopefully even more!

xo
Laura





























Are you tired of my love for acorns?

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Don't answer that. Look at how cute these are first.

On my walks around the neighborhood I gathered up some acorn caps and sewed up some fabric acorns. I didn't pay attention to the shape; just gathered and pinched the fabric as I sewed along. Then I stuffed them and hot glued the caps on top. They are not the traditional acorn shape but they work for what I need. Soon I'll have a whole bowl full.





Have a happy weekend!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Oh, hello.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Has it already been a couple of weeks? How are you?

I am losing track of time these days, it's been so busy. I hope it's that and not that I'm losing my mind...

Good news - my days will become a little less busy from here on out - or rather, as soon as possible, even though I am now the room parent for two of my kids' classes. Luckily, it's a co-parent job.

But anyway, my job (outside of home) was just getting too chaotic for me and I couldn't get to the most mundane, domestic goddess-like tasks (that I actually enjoy) which desperatley needed my attention. Then my boss decided that I needed to increase my work hours by 10 each week. I knew that wasn't going to work. I already felt at my limit so I said that I was afraid it was going to stretch my family too much.

So he came up with an idea that I am totally on board with. Instead of increasing my hours, he'll hire an assistant for me to run all of the outside events that I organize. So now I get to really work from home. And I still get to stay at 15 hours a week. Music to my ears. We'll see how it goes, but for now, I am happy about the new plan.

That also leaves me time to get back to a regular blogging schedule and pick-up a few more photo sessions. Some things that are coming up are Friday Finds (that I've been holding off)/the Pumpkin patch farm/an outing with a friend to my favorite antique mall/converting my old buffet into a kitchen island - love it./Fall crafts that I actually got to and other random things.



Should be fun! For me anyway :)

Have a good day,

xo
Laura

Nature's little gifts

Friday, September 21, 2012


I've already professed my love of acorns with their sweet little caps that crunch under my feet as we stroll around the neighborhood.

Now I want to try to make a wreath with them. I think I would like it a little more flat with the acorns lying end to cap. Maybe even spray painted? The construction seems to be easy, it's the collecting that is more of a challenge I think. So you'll know what we'll be doing on our weekend walk.

I also stumbled upon a picture of this twig leaf that I am dying over. There are sticks everywhere right now since the heavy rainstorm brought them down last week.

How great is it that nature gives us such good materials to work with?

 
 
 
Have a happy first weekend of Fall!

Life is too short to waste your passion

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


A few months ago a great couple from church, Jordan and Erin, asked if I could help get them in to local venues where Jordan's vocal talent could be showcased. Music is a passion they want to pursue. Of course without thinking, I said "sure!" And in return, Erin would design a logo for me. Again, "Sure!"

I never really know how to go about anything but I don't think it's ever too hard to figure out. And in a small town, you can always find people who are willing to help get an idea off the ground. That's one thing I love about small towns.

So I knew just where to start for this concert promoter thing - the local Library. They have a coffee shop and are always looking for ways to promote it which helps sustain the library. States are notorious for cutting those budgets. And since I help out the library with a few other things, this was an easy task. They were game!

The first concert he gave was in the quaint coffee shop but I felt we would quickly run out of space another time. So the unused courtyard in the back of the library came to mind and thus, the outdoor concert was born. It was fun being out in the cool autumn-like air and listening to music under the stars. Who doesn't love that??






A happy present

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future;

it is something you design for the present.

~Jim Rohn


I like this quote. It really is up to us to be happy. Sure, others can make it more difficult at times but ultimately it is something we are responsible for and have to decide to do. I have talked about this before and have compassion upon those who find it more challenging to be happy. I've witnessed that up close but I know there is help and there is no shame in getting help.

Sometimes in our quest to be healthy, we only look to diet and exercise to see that our physical bodies can meet the demands of the day. But a big part of being a healthy, well-rounded person is to make sure our mental health is in good shape. The demands on it can actually be more challenging and taxing, which in turn, affects physical health.

It all works together which is why we have to as well by helping others design their happy present. Off to go jot down ideas on what I can do!



In a nutshell - crafty acorns

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The weather has a crispness to it in the mornings. You know what that means - Autumn is near.

Trae and I took a walk to a church in our neighborhood so he could play on their playground. I heard the crunch underneath our feet as we walked along. The acorns are beginning to fall - one of my favorite times of the year. We picked up a few little specimens. They were still green and some were too small but soon there will be more to look for. There is one house that we like to walk by because they have a huge tree that drops the larger acorns.

Every year we gather them, put them in the freezer to kill any worms (which still elicits the question from whomever opens the freezer, "Why is there a bag of acorns in the freezer??") Do they not know me at all??

I always end up putting them in a glass vase for a little decoration. I also get a branch and hot glue the leaves and acorns back on it and put it in the vase full of acorns that act as a filler.
It's exactly what my mom would do except she'd send us out to gather filberts and walnuts that fell from the trees lining our driveway.


Maybe this year I should switch it up and make some felted wool acorns?



Some are just so cute you could eat them.




How about painting them?


Or maybe I should send acorns to heads of state like John and Yoko to plant as a symbol of peace?




Whatever their use, they sure are cute little suckers.

Which acorn project would you try?

(The heads of state thing might not work but the others are promising!)


Friday finds - Guarding the pencils

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sometimes I'll spy something thrifty and have a very specifc purpose in mind, assuming whomever I use it for will like it too. But that can be a miss at times.

So when I saw this 50-cent-pot-bellied-thrift-store owl, I thought it was perfect to hold Reese's precious colored pencil set. He loves to draw with real art pencils.
But I also thought this owl looked a little scary so the plan was to spray paint it. I put it up in his closet to safe keep until then. I spent the entire afternoon on Labor Day cleaning out his room. Entire afternoon. Boys can quickly destroy a room with all their antics and what Reese calls his "Karate chop incidents."

After I cleared his dresser, I rotated some of his decorative things. Even boys like to display their precious items. His glass/rock frog collection took its turn in the drawer and all of the Beyblades went back in the minnow bucket. I pulled out the owl, plopped in the pencils and put it on his dresser. I was surprised that when I told Reese I wanted to paint it he said "Noo. I like his blue tie!"

So now he proudly sits guard over the pencils and its colors and strangeness all seem to work, don't you think?

Here's to those simple things that can make you happy.

Leaves of green

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A month ago I cut a big Elephant ear leaf (Colocasia) from the planter boxes at Jon's work. (I sought permission from the boss.) The large single leaf with a long stem looked great in the vase.

It lasted a whole month and up until last week, still had a nice shiny color. When it decided to finally give up I went back for another. They had grown a lot over the summer so the smallest one I could find was still too overscale for the vase.

The stem was so thick I had to cut it short just to fit in the narrow neck of the vase. That meant filling the pot-bellied vase full of water so the stem could reach. After I did that I remembered I had a large cylindrical vase that would have been perfect. But at least the littler kids won't try to pick it up. If they could they would be the world's strongest kids.

All this for bringing in some green...





Forward thinking

Monday, August 27, 2012


School starts in 7 hours and I'm not even ready. The summer has flown. It was nice having a lazy schedule with the kids. Maybe too lazy since I failed to get them all ready?? But just like everything else, I suppose, it'll work out.

The week at our local Elizabethtown Fair and the fireworks display signaled the end of the season for us. The nature of Jon's work is such that we don't really get in a lot of summer fun. While some women are football widows, I feel more like a summer widow because the hotel demands so much time from him. I tend to look forward to Fall a little bit more because of that (and sharing football season with him.)

I'm also looking forward to spending time alone with Trae man and seeing Blair become a big, full-time elementary school girl but a little sad that this is Belén's last year of high school. Everywhere I look it's a little bittersweet for me but I just have to remember to be thankful and enjoy.

So here's to the summer that was and the Fall that will be!



This land

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm a lover of National Parks. One of my favorites is Yosemite, which holds extra special memories for me.

When Jon and I were first married we lived in Monterey, CA and took a day trip to Yosemite where we hiked to a waterfall with our friend, Mike. We decided to drive up to Glacier Point and see the gorgeous vistas.

Suddenly, I wasn't feeling well so I laid in the backseat of the car while we slowly wound up the long drive to the top. We were behind a tourist bus, going through tunnels, so I figured I was sensitive to the exhaust or that the hike wore me out. Never had I felt so nauseated and dizzy. Maybe, I thought, it was the beginning of the flu.

Finally out from behind the bus, we parked in the lot and I was able to breathe the fresh, mountain air and see famous Half-dome in the distance. The striking views, incredible rock formations and how everything existed together was nothing short of a miracle, I thought, and only brought by God. It was so beautiful I wanted to jump around in celebration or something.


Shortly after we got back to Monterey I went to the Dr. where he informed me that I didn't have the flu, just a little baby, who would make his or her debut in about 8 months. And that - will always be Yosemite for me.

But besides the baby (Belén) you can see why it took my breath away.

Watch a little or a lot. Enjoy.



Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.

A birth story - baby Andie

Sunday, August 19, 2012


My friend Heather texted me at 12:15 am and said she was going into labor so I texted back and said I would be on my way to the hospital. A few months earlier she asked if I would document the experience of her daughter's birth. I was excited by this request; honored really. I got ready and headed out the door for an exciting night (or morning) of seeing the events of this day unfold through my lens. We would catch all the emotion leading up to the birth and then right after. We discussed what kind of pictures to take and had it all planned.

I arrived at the hospital just before 1 am and texted her from Triage at 1:03. I was assuming that they would be in the room, talking, waiting and going through the motions of getting to the stage when delivery was just minutes away. I had planned on at least 5 hours of this and was happy to be there.

As I sat in the waiting room for a little while, I took a few pictures of the surroundings that would help tell the story. A woman finally came to the desk and smiled as I walked up to her. I told her I was there for Heather and she asked me to wait a moment. She left, came back and said to go to room 60. I would have to go back through security to get a badge and door pass. They were really accomodating and although it had only been 4 years since I was there, I noticed they had changed a few things around. I didn't remember the strict security of the building but thought it was good.

Entering the hall, I noted how hushed it was and took a photograph. Another nurse met me and asked if I was there for Heather. She pointed down the hall, smiling, and asked if I was ok with births and everything. I just nodded knowing she, of course, wouldn't know that this wasn't my first rodeo.

The door was open but lights were dimmed and I tiptoed inside realizing right away that they were in the thick of things. How long ago did this start?? I asked myself. I overheard a nurse say "she's going fast" when I was walking into Triage but didn't know they were talking about Heather. Pulling out my phone I looked at the text. 50 minutes. I was amazed at the progression. She is a rock star, I thought.
Knowing that photographs weren't allowed right then, I waited and listened.
I stood just outside the door wondering if I should even be listening to such a moment but I needed to be close so the nurses could call me to come in.

And so I listened and tears slowly fell down my face as I heard in a tired and nearly defeated voice echo those 4 words that almost all of us have uttered during labor, "I can't do this."
Kyle, her husband, immediately said in a tender and calming voice, "Yes you can, Heather, yes you can. You're doing great." He stressed the word "great" and the nurses all chimed in and said the same thing. She had what sounded to be a big personal cheering section around her. I thought it was funny how at that moment we seem not to care who is at our feet. We just need the encouragement. I did anyway.

I heard Kyle say he could see the baby and that she had lots of dark hair, encouraging Heather to keep going. The nurses were excitedly telling her that it was going to be soon; they could see her and she was doing great, just to hang in there and give it her all. Instinctively, I brought my hands to my mouth in nervousness, waiting to hear that final moment of bearing down. Someone said, "Let's go Heather!" and then at 1:21 am, I heard cheers and was quickly called in.

My eyes were a little misty and the intensity of listening made me forget all about camera settings. Everything was so quick it was hard to not get in the way so I hung back a bit and tried to snap pictures as best I could. It was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget.

Although we had this photo story planned out, it went according to another plan, a perfect one.

*shared with permission