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When Harrison and I got our black lab puppy, Meeko, I was 5 months pregnant with our daughter Wylden. We got all kinds of comments about how crazy we were for getting a dog right before the transition of having a baby, but I’m going to tell you a few good reasons why we thought and still think it was a great idea for our little family!
1. It makes for an easier transition
Before Meeko, Harrison and I could essentially do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted! We could just hop in the car and head to dinner downtown or spontaneously go out of town for the weekend. But when we got Meeko, that allll changed! (Totally worth it, though!) With Meeko, we had to think through, does the restaurant have a patio with outdoor seating? Is the place we’re traveling dog-friendly? Do we need to find someone to stay with him, feed him, take him on walks, or let him out while we’re gone? Do we need to bring a leash, dog food, or water bowl?
It felt like a good stepping stone of letting go of some of the “independence” & “freedom” that come with being kid-less, or dog-less. Now with Wylden, it’s similar questions. Do we need to pack a bottle, pouch, or snacks? Is this place kid-friendly? Do we need to arrange a baby-sitter? Are we willing to deal with the late night consequences of keeping her up past her bedtime? (; But it doesn’t feel quite so earth-shaking because I believe Meeko helped ease us into it.
2. it helps you hold more loosely to things and tighter to things that aren’t things
In our house, I love for things to be clean. (I didn’t say I love to clean, I said I love for things to be clean.) And having a dog makes that infinitely harder! Hehe. Muddy paw prints on the floor, dog hair in all the corners, dirty baseboards, chewed up bark and sticks across the house, mud on our all white walls. (I had to pick all white, didn't I?) And now, the beloved Antrhopologie bedspread that we splurged on as newlyweds has a nice dull, orange-ish clay stain from quite a few puppy snuggles.
BUT, I wouldn’t trade the snuggles & wet nose & figure 8s between my legs & tag around the house for cleaner walls or bedspread. The same way I wouldn’t trade spit up on my favorite shirt or the unsweet iced tea, coffee, or Chick-fil-A milkshake Wylden has knocked out of my hand time and time again for the amazing gift that she is to us!!!
3. your baby gets to grow up with a best friend
I can actually get pretty emotional when I fast forward thinking about how dogs don’t live as long as humans. It’s morbid, but I already hate thinking about the day Wylden will lose Meeko! They are already such good buddies and it’s so much fun to see them interact. Wylden had been in love with Meeko for a while and it seemed like as soon as she started crawling, he took a renewed interest in her too. She was finally big enough to play!
She waves her wubbanub (crazy name for her passie with a little lamb on it) in front of his face to tease him and they play gentle tug-of-war. As she climbs the steps to our upstairs, he stays with her every step and helps push her little booty up with his nose. She feeds him every other bite of her food from her high chair on the kitchen island and he licks her face when she’s done. It’s the sweetest relationship. They’re best buddies.
And, since Meeko was just a baby himself still when she was born, he didn’t have long enough to get too used to the idea of being spoiled and king of the house. He’s had to learn how to share (both his toys and our time & affection!)
I know I’m biased, but Meeko definitely helped prepare us for having a baby in more ways than one and watching these two grow up together is already bringing us SO much joy!! So, should you get a dog before you have a baby? My answer is YES!!! :)
Today is my due date & while there are still no signs of our little one's arrival, I am excited to share a few of the ways photography has helped to prepare me for when Wylden Lily girl gets here!
1. Encouraging Confidence
As a photographer, one of the roles I take most seriously is the role I play in helping others feel confident. It is my highest goal to make whoever steps in front of my camera feel at rest to be fully themselves & let that shine from the inside out. And how much more so do I want to do that for my daughter Wylden?! There will be days when she feels on top of the world & days when she feels worthless - we've all been there. How can I, as her mama, be a part of building her up to embrace who God has created HER to be? Photography gives me small ways to practice this every day and I can't wait to start practicing this with her, too.
2. Embracing Real & Unique Beauty
When it comes to photography, I would describe my style as a balance of documenting your candid/natural moments while offering styling direction to ultimately create intimate portraits that will present you, your love story, & your celebration in the best light. Meaning, I want the REAL you. But I will also tell you if you have something in your teeth, you feel me?!
So what does that have to do with raising Wylden? I know there will be times when I will project onto her an expectation of how I think she should be or look or act. And with God's grace, there will be times when that is appropriate. For example, I want to lead her in how to treat others kindly, laugh at her mistakes, & take creative risks! BUT - she is not going to be just like me, she is not going to be perfect, & God is going to mold her into something uniquely, wonderfully beautiful! I want to give her freedom to do her thang - while also guiding her along the way. The same way I hope to do so in your time spent with me - capturing the natural essence of you & your relationship, while leading you so you don't have to think, "but what do I do with my hands?!"
3. Cherishing the Little Moments
At times, 9 months felt like forever, and at other times, it seemed to fly by so fast. Often, when we're there in a moment of time, we don't feel the full weight & significance of those moments as we do when we look back at old pictures and it hits us hard. That's why I love photography. That's why I'm passionate about you printing your photos & hanging them where you'll see them. They serve as a reminder of what's most important, why you said yes, & the most beautiful parts of life.
Photography is one way - but what are other ways I can be present, engaged, & appreciative of the little moments with Wylden? Harrison and I have been talking about a few ways the past week or so that we can do this with each other. Putting our phones completely away when we have dinner together. Charging our phones in another room at night so we don't spend our last moments before falling asleep next to each other looking at a screen. Writing down our to-do lists to clear our minds so they're not floating around in our heads when we're talking to each other. I want to be present & engaged when I spend time with Wylden so I don't miss the little things because I was distracted by my phone & my never-ending list of to-dos. I know from photography that all the little moments are what make up the greater, wonderful story.
To all of you who have shared in our joy as we await Wylden Lily's arrival, THANK YOU! And a special, special thanks to our dear friend Carrie Jo of Texture Photo for taking these beautiful photos that will forever remind us of this sweet, sweet season! XOXO
Meet Piper, the newest addition to the Smith family, who just happens to have 4 legs and a wagging tail. I am now in lalala love with golden doodles after playing with this sweet pup all snowy afternoon. She is a cuddly bundle of joy! Chris & Taylor, I didn't know your little family could get any cuter, but you defied all odds! I had so much fun with you three in Talahi Park - even if it was freezing outside!
I hope you enjoy these cuddly yummy snowy wonderful photos from our shoot together at Talahi Park. There's definitely enough puppy love to go around!