I put on the Swimsuit

4487203882-R1-E004.JPG

I am a travel junkie at heart. I am one of those people who would totally take my kids out of school for a year and travel the world. Maybe one day I will! A lot of our traveling the past couple of years, especially with three little ones, has felt more like trips than vacations. Seaside, Florida is that one place where we go every year that actually feels like a vacation. We rent a beach house for a week and we have zero problem unplugging. We go about the day with no real schedule. We go for bike rides, swim in the pool, and play by the beach. Everything is in walking distance. We eat good food and each day the kids pick a treat, either a snow cone, ice cream, or something from the local candy shop.

Our last trip to Seaside was a few months ago, October 2017. It was our first trip since Perry and Zeke were born where we didn’t bring a grandparent or two along to help. Brian and I really wanted this trip to be just the five of us.

Since the day Stella was born, I’ve been very intentional about capturing moments of my kids’ childhood through photographs. This was our first vacation just us and my heart wanted to document it. I didn’t want us to dress up and stand on the beach and pose, I wanted authentic captures of what we actually do when we go to our favorite beach. The only problem was, this meant me being in a swimsuit.

I am forever blessed for being able to personally carry my children, but I’ll be honest, I was not the glowing pregnant kind of gal. When I was pregnant with Stella, it showed from my eyebrows to my toes. I grew everywhere. When I was pregnant with Perry and Zeke, I gained more than 80 lbs. Carrying them was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I accepted the fact that for a few years, my body isn’t really mine and that’s ok. My job during these early years is to carry them, to grow them, to feed them. I already knew (because I’m a planner by nature) that I had two goals for 2018:  one professional and one personal. The personal one is to take care of me again, both emotionally and physically. In my head, I knew that if I waited until the following year we went to Seaside to hire a photographer, I’d probably like the images of myself better, but my heart said no.

My heart told me to hire the photographer. Take them this year. Capture this time, right now. Document the tummy pooch and the thighs that rub together. This is our first vacation just us five. Capture it and don’t you dare let your head talk you out of it because you’ll never have this time back. Don’t be one of those moms who refuses to get in the picture because they don’t like how they look. Most importantly, this isn’t about you anymore. You have the responsibility of raising a daughter. Put on your swimsuit, play with your kids on the beach like you love doing, and let the photographer capture it.

Lauren Kinsey is not only one of the most talented photographers I’ve ever worked with, but she has grown to be one of my closest friends. I was honored she took the time to capture a morning of our family on the beach. We just played and she captured beautiful, real moments like only she can. The day the images arrived in my inbox, I was a little scared to open them because Lauren’s work is as authentic as it gets. I knew the images would be unfiltered, unedited, and completely real.

I’m glad my heart won over my head this time. I’m glad my family has these images we will treasure forever. Thank you, Lauren.

As far as sticking to those 2018 goals:  Emotionally, I'm seeing a therapist weekly which has been amazing. I find it fascinating to educate yourself about yourself! Physically, my husband and I hired a personal trainer a month after we returned from this Seaside vacation and we workout 45 minutes, three days a week. As of right now, I don't love it. I adore the trainer, but I'm not really a gym loving kind of gal. However, I can feel myself getting stronger and my energy levels going up which is exactly what I need to keep up with my precious three babies. The best way I can take care of my kids is to take care of myself. The best version of me means the best mom for my kids. 

Cheers to all the moms out there who put on the swimsuit and create memories with their kids and cheers to all the moms who realize taking the time to take care of you isn't selfish, it's necessary. You simply can't pour from an empty cup. 

Images by Lauren Kinsey