Clay and Amber Maternity Shoot

I have always loved photography. After Demi was born, she became an outlet for me to practice and have some fun playing around on the Nikon Michael bought me after we got married, I never dreamed someone would ask me to take pictures for them, but I am so glad that Amber messaged, asking me to. 

We met Clay while watching the Alabama/Texas A&M football game last fall, and met Amber at their Super Bowl Party this February, and absolutely have loved them from the beginning, so when Amber asked me about maternity and newborn photos, I jumped at the opportunity to document this sweet moment in their lives! 

Their sweet baby girl is due in April, so with only 5 weeks left we went ahead and captured some precious moments between one of the most adorable couples I have met! They just beamed throughout every picture together. Their precious baby girl will have Crimson and White flowing through her veins, so we had to add in some houndstooth and her cute little Bama shoes! I cannot wait to meet Baby Girl Dodson in just a few short weeks! 

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9 MONTHS – February 27, 2014

 

 

I CANNOT BELIEVE SHE IS 9 MONTHS!!!!!

How much quicker can time fly by?? 

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Our visit to the pediatrician was one that I wasn’t expecting, because I don’t realize how big she gets sometimes. She had been holding steady at the 50% marker for all of her growth throughout her 8 months, but at 9 months, she was 60th percentile in weight and 80th in height! My baby girl is getting so big! 

9 MONTHS

19 lbs. 3 oz.

29 inches long

She is sitting pretty with her two bottom teeth, the top one is trying SO HARD to pop through, we will see how long that takes.

Favorite Foods: lemons, oranges, pears, yogurt and thanks to Papi, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream… bad Papi

She Can: wave, stand for a couple of seconds before falling, loves to pretend to cough when we cough, and LOVES LOVES LOVE feeding herself and even tries to with a spoon but we don’t let that happen considering more gets on her than in her.

Loves: Mirrors, bouncing, climbing, reading, playing with Fezzik and chewing mommy’s wallet.  

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8 MONTHS – January 27, 2014

ImageI cannot believe my little monkey is 8 months!!! she is already 28 inches long and weighs 18.5 lbs. She is becoming more and more independent and crazy every day!

From traveling all over the place, like a champ, to standing up and falling (really hard) and not crying at all, I am completely blown away by this sweet girl everyday, and so thankful for my little blessing! 

(Since I missed her 6 & 7 months because of holidays, figured I would at least post the pictures, but no explaining needed because all of that stuff is old tricks for this big girl! )

New Loves: 

– Chasing Fezzik around the house and getting into all of his toys, food, water and just annoying him as much as she can.

– Gabbing all day, all night and even while she eats! She loves to babble.

– Spitting all over the place, we think she just loves the feel of her tongue making that crazy spit noise.

– Laughing at everything, daddy, Fezzik, the vacuum, you name it we laugh at it.

– Silly faces, Michael Ross’ child need I say more! 🙂

– Hearing people say “you are so pretty” makes her smile so big, which scares us already.

– Mirrors, this child LOVES looking at herself in the mirror and just smiling.

Big Girl Can Now: 

– Crawl, ALL OVER THE PLACE! She is into everything.

– High-Five, which she loves to do, definitely going to be a sports girl!

– Pull herself up, which we were just doing to our knees but this morning she pulled herself all the way up to her feet for the first time

– Feeding herself puffs! She doesn’t want any help with that!

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Why Is Being A Stay At Home Mom Such A Bad Thing?

I recently read a blog post that discussed why a woman looked down on young wives and mother and was not sorry. Throughout reading her post all I could think to myself was who is she watching be a wife and mother to think that it is average and not celebratory? Has she gone in and watched a woman go through the agonizing pain of pregnancy and labor? Has she been in the room when her and her husband are arguing and watched them battle through and come back together as husband and wife? If she stepped into a stay at home moms shoes, she would know its more than laundry and dishes, its more than settling instead of actually accomplishing something, and I for one feel sorry for her.

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At 26 years old, I had a masters degree from the University of Florida, with an undergraduate degree in marketing and public relations. At 27 I decided to go back and also get my Masters in Accounting and begin studying for the CPA exam. I never desired to be a stay at home mom, but I did desire to get married and share my life with another person, had I decided to settle, I would have married the first guy that crossed my path, but I didn’t.

Many people like this woman if they were to meet me know would not know my accomplishments before I had my baby girl, because they assume because I am a stay at home mom, I have given up on ambition and dreams and desires to do anything with my life outside of laundry. I commend women who work, whether single, married with no children, or married with children, I think that no matter what, work is work and it is hard, but guess what, so is being a stay at home mom. I envy my friends who do go to work, because they are getting a break from the craziness of their house, and no not because my housework is all I do and my husband doesn’t help, my husband comes home every day and helps with a huge majority of the housework, I envy them because they get away from the occasional tantrum, the crawling into things, the feeling of am I doing everything I can for my child. I am a stay at home mom because I want to train my child, I want to help her grow, I want to be there for every laugh, every smile, the first time she sits up, the first time she speaks, walks, for every last milestone. Guess what I have done the whole going to Europe and getting the cultural experience, I have graduated with three amazing degrees from three great schools, I have gotten a wonderful job and gotten a promotion at that job and while every last bit of that was so amazing and made me feel great about myself, none of it was like seeing my baby girl for the very first time.

Let me explain something to the women who think marriage and childbirth is average and everyone does it, its not that walking down the isle moment and the getting pregnant moment that matters, it is everything after that, and that is far from average, that is hard work everyday for the rest of your life, why do you think there is a such a high divorce rate, BECAUSE ITS HARD. My husband and I fight, that is the easy part, its coming together in love and speaking to each other and talking through things that is difficult. I had a miserable pregnancy, was pre-eclamptic, had an 83 labor before a c-section and then FINALLY got to meet my baby girl, yes that sounds simple enough. I am in charge everyday of taking care of another life, making sure she is healthy. I am the healer of boo boo’s the person who helps teach her what the word no is, helps her lean new things like how to talk, her ABC’s and later the person who will help her with homework. I would give my life for this baby girl over and over again. I will teach her the value of that college education, the study abroad experience and the benefit of hard work a good job and making yourself a success, but make no mistake I will also teach her the joys of being a wife and mother.

I have plenty of time, mobility and freedom to continue to pursue my goals and ambitions and believe that unless you have stepped into the shoes of a mom, working or not, you have no idea what you are saying, because I was one of those people who assumed things and now am eating my words. We complain sometimes, yes, because guess what that is what women and even men sometimes do, we are human. We complain about jobs, our boyfriends, our professor, our parents, so what makes it different just because I am a wife and mother. Spend a day with a stay at home mom or working mom and realize her life is more than that laundry piling up in the laundry room, it is so much more. I will never compare what I do to a doctor, teacher, nurse, lawyer, engineer or any other profession, because guess what, every profession is different, every job is different and important, so how can you feel like you can compare any of those jobs to mine when you have no idea the work that I do. Some stay at home moms actually do work as well from the home, but are still considered a stay at home mom, it’s not a death sentence.

I chose the life of a stay at home mom, when my kids start school, I will go back to work, but you can bet I will be the one dropping them off and picking them up from school everyday because I want to be involved in their life, the sports they play, the friends they have and still be able to see all those firsts. Wives and mothers, whether they work or not, didn’t give up on anything, they chose a very difficult path that will be something they work on until the day they die.

I will never say that being a wife and mother is for everyone, because it isn’t, if you aren’t willing to work hard at it, realize there will be days you want to pull your hair out, days you wish you could back out of everything, days you sit on the floor holding your child, crying wondering why you cant console her, days you just cant handle, then its definitely not for you, because before wife and mom, I could pick up and leave at anytime, it was easy, now my life is far from easy, far from perfect and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Thankful

Today, 6 months ago, I went on bed rest, while waiting for my sweet little Demi to decide when she felt like gracing us all with her presence. She would never get to make that decision, it would eventually be made for both of us. As I am sitting here this morning, going through my devotions and listening to this sweet girl coo and talk to herself, I am overwhelmed by the fact that both she and I are here. I look back 6 months ago with everything we were walking through, from the cord being wrapped around her little neck, to my high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia that had me so worried for both her and my safety. So many wondered why there no pictures of me holding my sweet girl after labor, or why the first picture people really saw of me and Demi together was about 2 weeks ago, well if was because of my own insecurities of what that pregnancy had done to me and my body. 

ImageI went from being this size 2-4 125 pound person to a person I barely recognized, a person that had retained so much water when they pull the IV out of my hand to put a new one in, I didn’t bleed, a person who needed a thigh blood pressure cuff to go around her arm. I was so overwhelmed with joy by the beautiful little girl I had been blessed with that I thought I may never have, all the while also having thoughts of why do I have to walk through this, why do I have to gain this crazy amount of weight and be in this situation where I had no control, I took this beautiful gift and made it about me. I cannot believe looking back on everything how self centered and selfish I had become, taking and putting so much emphasis on my physical appearance and thinking “what would people think or say when they see how big I am?” My biggest fears were would people think wow she really let herself go, when that was far from the case. I look back at this time with such disappointment in myself, but with such wonder at what God was doing in my heart. For a period of time I forgot the thing I should be most thankful for should be the fact that I am alive to see this baby grow up, that after the amount of time I was in labor that we didn’t lose me or Demi.

Now in November, I look at this healthy, happy, vibrant almost 6 month old baby girl and am more and more thankful for her. I see the way my husband has loved and encouraged me through every last bit of this craziness. Through doctors visits, medications to help with the swelling and finally finding out that all medication was doing was causing me to be more sick, realizing that losing the water weight was going to take time, because it was going to all be on me and not what doctors could do. Through this time God humbled me in such a big way, making me think twice about where my heart was and why was my outside appearance so important when I should be focusing on other things. Don’t get me wrong, that didn’t and still hasn’t taken away the desire to make sure I am working out everyday, eating right and trying to get back down to my pre-birth weight, but why was that the main focus in such a time of joy and celebration for my healthy baby girl? 

Today I am thankful for what I walked through, I will always be thankful that God felt I was strong enough to take on this crazy pregnancy that was not only a gift but another way God has drawn me closer to Him. I am so thankful for all of the crazy things He has helped me overcome and watched as I drew closer to Him. I could not imagine being here without having walked through all the trials and challenges I have, because I cannot imagine such joy through every last one knowing it shaped me into the woman of God that I am. 

More than 70 pounds down and only about 20-someodd to go, I look back at these past 6 months with such thankfulness for the beautiful daughter we have, for the amazing journey we are walking through and for the beautiful testimony that God is continuing to build through all of it. I cannot help but be in awe of how He is shaping my life through every trial and every amazing way He helps me through them. I am so grateful for His faithfulness and will forever be in awe that He chose me. 

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Demi 5 Months ~ October 27, 2013

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Cannot believe little one is already 5 months!!! She is loving her solid foods, well most of them, trying so hard to crawl that she has the awesome spin around in circles thing going, and is almost to long for her bathtub, but cant sit up alone yet so we have to hold her while we bathe her! I cannot believe how much she changes each month. 

Loves: 

-Her feet and thumbs, any way she can get those suckers in her mouth makes for a good day. She has become quite the gabber with her feet and thumb in her mouth too. Its really a skill. 

-Throwing toys, she is super strong and you will hear the rattle or her wubba hit the other side of the car when she is not happy in her back seat. 

-She is really good at holding her own bottle now and will move my hands when she doesn’t want help being fed. She is definitely little miss independent. 

-Gasping for air is her newest thing, she has learned that it gets mom’s attention and she now laughs when I come running. We took her to the doctor to be sure but yeah, it was an attention getter, crazy manipulative little girl. 

-She has discovered that mom’s hair is REALLY fun to pull and what makes it even more funny is watching mommy say ouch a million times. 

-She has become a regular at the nursery in church and they say that she is so good and just sleeps and gabs the whole time, mommy gets her time and Demi enjoys having fun with her little friends. 

-Pictures, little girl LOVES having her picture taken. This child just lights up when a camera comes out and starts putting on the faces. 

Dislikes: 

-Naps, we have begun the boycott of nap time… oh joy for mommy. 

-Squash, it is the one solid food this child will spit out no matter how hard we try to get her to eat it. 

-Socks, she will pull those suckers off as fast as she can once they get on, we lose them like crazy. 

-Bibs, we have tried the velcro bibs, the snap ones and the ones you pull over the head, she somehow finds a way out of them all… sneaky little girl. 

 

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4 MONTHS – September 27, 2013

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4 MONTHS ~ And growing more and more each day! 24 1/4 inches long and 14.4 pounds! My little monkey just makes me smile with every little sweet moment! 

LOVES: 

* Baby Einstein! She loves the puppets and pictures, and smiles each time a new puppet comes up!  

* Our walks are so much fun for her! She loves looking around and smiling the entire time! She takes in every last minute of being outside!  

* POPCORN!!! OK not the food, but she loves mommy lifting her up in the air and making pop noises while I bounce her and her little cheeks just go crazy! She laughs the whole time, and sometime drools all over me, but its worth it for that little smile!  

* Just like her daddy she loves to laugh and laugh! It makes the day so much fun to have that little giggle!

* She will talk talk talk!!! 🙂 She loves just “talking” back when we talk to her! It is so much fun to listen to her coo

* ROLLING OVER!!! She has officially rolled over and is holding her little head up like crazy when she does! Every month the doctor goes on and on about how far along she is in developing!  

NEW DISCOVERIES: 

* FOOD!!! She is no eating Rice Cereal, Carrots, Peas and gets so excited when she sees a spoon! It is so much fun to her! 

* She has started trying to crawl when she rolls over! She pulls so hard and then looses it when she cant crawl! 

* Her bumbo time, now that she can hold her head up by herself! She sits there looking around like such a big girl! 

* She has become a pro at holding her head up by herself! I am so scared she will be crawling and moving around like crazy soon! 

DISLIKES: 

* Not being able to crawl. She will begin screaming like crazy if she cant move once she turns over on her belly! She gets so frustrated that she cant move herself around yet! 

* Not being able to roll back over to her back after rolling over to her belly! She is not a fan! 

* Cleaning out her nose or ears is apparently cause for lots of screaming! 

* She has learned what the word “no” means and she is not too fond of it and she demonstrates when I take something away she has a grip on and say no. She begins to scream like crazy! 

 

This sweet girl has definitely changed so much and it makes me so excited to look back month by month and just blown away with how much she is growing! I love this sweet little girl and every little bit of attitude, craziness and goofy antics that she is developing! She has her daddy’s sweet sweet personality of just being so fun and goofy already! I cannot wait to see what this month holds for us! 

 

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3 Months ~ August 27, 2013

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3 MONTHS… I cannot believe how big she is getting! Miss priss is all of 23 inches long and 13 pounds 4 ounces. 

LOVES: 

* We have discovered that our thumbs and hands are so much fun to put in our mouth and just go to town! We can actually hear her in her room at night just sucking away! 

* Our new thing is baseball and football! It makes me smile to see how drawn into the TV she gets into when either is on TV! 

* SHE LOVES READING!!! Demi gets so into books whenever we pull them out and start reading. She follows along with all of the pages  and loves looking at the pictures. 

* Just like she did in the belly, she is a kicker! She will kick all covers off of her, kick until she comes out of her swing and kick her little piano keys on her playmat. She also will kick when she is unhappy and that one actually hurts at times! 🙂 

NEW DISCOVERIES: 

* FEET! She is starting to try and move her feet close enough for her to grab them, they are her newest obsession! She is getting close to grabbing them! 

* She has discovered that her tongue is a fun thing to play with by sticking it out at mommy and daddy whenever she sees ours! She loves imitating those little motions.

* Her arms have some serious power! If she is unhappy with something all of the sudden in the car, you will hear her Wubba hit the other door because she has thrown it! She is learning that kind of gets our attention. 

* She isnt rolling over yet, but she will turn and spin on her back all day long and that moves her around the room pretty well! 

* She is very curious as to who the little girl in the mirror is when we walk by, she really enjoys making faces at herself!

DISLIKES: 

* Apple Juice, she will spit that stuff out of her mouth all day long and make this mean little face of “what the heck is this?”

* Being still…. apparently it is the worst thing ever!!

* Teeth, little munchkin is starting to chew on everything and cry a lot because her little gums are preparing for her teeth to start popping in.. she is not a fan! 

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I am so blessed to be watching this sweet girl grow and begin to have such personality and crazy faces! Her smiles and little laughs are making this become more and more fun! She is my little road trip companion as I drive home and study/learn from my dad to get ready for the CPA exam… and she adores just hanging out with Muddy and Papi while mommy works! 

I knew being a mom would have its ups and downs, but I could have never imagined the amount of joy this face brings me everyday, the amazingly even stronger bond its created between Michael and I, along with this little girl giving me so much drive and motivation to make myself better and give her the opportunities to be everything she could want to be! I am so grateful! 

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May 27, 2013 ~ 2 MONTHS!!!

 

 

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We had our 2 month checkup today and are sitting pretty at the 50% percentile in every category! Miss Demi has gained over 4 pounds in 2 months and has grown 3 whole inches! 🙂 

Sweet munchkin LOVES: 

  • Sitting in her swing and staring at Winnie the Pooh and Tigger for hours on end
  • Just laying in her bath tub during bath time and kicking her little feet and smiling
  • Her wubbas that Muddy Buddy got her, she holds her binky in by just clinging to her wubba! 

Munchkin DISLIKES: 

  • Laying on her tummy for tummy time, unless Fezzik in flipping her over! 
  • CLOTHES!! Demi cannot stand being in clothes or diapers, she LOVES being a naked baby, its one of the things that makes her stop crying 

New Things we have discovered: 

  • She has started not only smiling, but the occasional giggle will come out! I cannot believe baby girl is already smiling and giggling! 
  • She realized she has hands and fingers and LOVES to suck on them and stare at them! She is getting great at using her little hands and holding her wubba’s and grabbing at hair!
  • She started recognizing mommy and daddy’s voice when we talk to her! Its so wonderful when someone else may be talking to her and she hears my voice or Michaels and looks for us or smiles! 
  • SHE IS A MOVER!!! If I lay her down on her tummy for tummy time she will spin herself in circles, and loves to move her feet and kick a ton! I have a feeling she will be a speedster when she begins to crawl around! 

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2 WHOLE MONTHS OF CUTENESS!! 

I still cannot believe that I am a mommy! I feel like Michael and I keep waiting for her real parents to come and pick her up from a really long babysitting job! We have been so blessed to be able to enjoy so many sweet moments with Miss Demi, and it feels like time is already flying by way to fast! 

Such an amazing time of change and new things happening the main thing being  that God has blessed us with the ability for me to stay at home with Demi and make sure I don’t miss a single moment of my sweet little girl! She is the most amazing study buddy for the CPA exam as well as an awesome little workout buddy when mommy has to go to the gym, and LOVES running errands! 

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and cannot wait to watch my baby girl become even more active and giggly! 

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Demi ~ One Month

ImageOne month ago at 6:07am our sweet lil munchkin was born! I cannot believe how quickly one month has gone by and how slow at the same time!! 

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She started out 19 inches long and 6 pounds 8 ounces and is now 21 1/4 inches long and 9 pounds! She loves the little things, like listening to her daddy’s voice and her pink binky, but also loves some weird things like Fezzik barking like crazy, for some reason if she is crying and he starts barking, she falls asleep. 

Demi’s first month has been crazy with her first visit to church for Father’s Day, back to Gainesville for her dedication at Abundant Grace where we were blessed enough to have both families there to pray over her and us as parents! We were so blessed to be back home with our Gainesville church praying over us and this beautiful blessing that I sometimes cant even believe is here! 

With how quickly this past month has flown by, it scares me how much quicker the rest of the time will go! For now enjoying even the crazy hair pulling out moments, knowing that sooner or later we will miss them!