Troy’s 1st Cake Smash

TODAY – June 25th – is my baby boy’s FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!   Wow time flies doesn’t it?  I did his cake smash this weekend and he took it so seriously.  I think he was shocked that I put a cake on the floor and let him have it.  I wanted him to have a sock monkey cake and decided to create his cake topper out of clay.  I was inspired by something I saw on the web and wanted to try my hand at it.  Too fun AND I can keep his cake topper.   He just couldn’t be any more precious.   We had his birthday party yesterday so I’ll post those pics soon too.   I love my baby boy and I am so grateful for the gift of him.   Our family can’t imagine what life was like without him.  That’s how it is supposed to be though isn’t it?  There is always a hole there until God’s choice shows up to fill it.

I think this is the “Are you really going to let me do this?” expression.



On Friday, Lucy arrived at about 12:40 PM.  Poor Jamie  was in the hospital for about 32 hours before Lucy arrived but both of them were Rock Stars and made it through safe and healthy.   As I guessed (hoped for) last week, Lucy does indeed look JUST like her beautiful mama AND she just may have her Daddy’s hair.  These pictures were taken within an hour of her birth and prior to her bath so jury is still out on the hair but I will definitely say it is Strawberry.  She was 8 pounds 4 ounces and 22.5 inches.  I am so anxious to get to do her newborn pictures later this week so consider this the first sneak peek with lots more coming your way.

And YES YES YES she has Jamie’s cheeks (and Shane’s!).  Wooooohooooo!!!!!

Everyone is in love with Lucy already (of course) and it was so fun to watch Shane and Jamie as they just beheld her in that first hour of her birth.  They were just absolutely in awe of her (and frankly, so was I!)

For me though, one of the most moving experiences of the day was watching my Aunt Becky experience her first grandchild for the very first time.  She walked in the door and was crying up a storm the moment she set eyes on her (which in turn set me off crying which was difficult since I was behind my camera.  Focusing is tricky with wet eyes).

What compelled me most about it was a realization that maybe only one adoptive mother to another would really understand.   I am not sure I can adequately put this in words but I’ll attempt it because it moved me so much.

The first time I laid eyes upon my daughter I was in love.  I just couldn’t believe this tiny little girl was mine and that I was going to get to take her home.   I am sure Jamie felt exactly the same way on Friday.  That is a common feeling amongst parents upon seeing their child for the first time.  What is not common though, is that I had no frame of reference for Tori.  I didn’t look at a familiar face.  In fact, I saw a very unfamiliar one.  Tori and I have different genetic heritages and different nationalities and that was obvious to me from the start.

Tori, in all her beauty, has become my frame of reference for what BEAUTIFUL looks like to me.  (By the way, I feel all this with each of my kids but I am using Tori as the example here).    Now, as a side point, we hear from people all the time how much Tori looks like me and I, personally, think she favors my mother more than me.  That is just a special added bonus gift that God gave me.  I don’t “need” my daughter to look like me though.  I don’t need her to have her daddy’s eyes, or her Sweetie’s hands, or my smile.   I appreciate the gift of that when other mothers have that blessing of seeing familiar and loved features in their child BUT it is just a different gift when they don’t.   In their unfamiliarity, there is a precious uniqueness and a wonder.   I admire and cherish every hair on my daughter’s head.  The freckle on her nose.  The shape of her eyes.  Her dimples.  Her teeny tiny bones.  Her delicate shoulders.  The way her hair waves.  I stare and stare at my little beauty and I, know, that she is the measure by which beauty is defined from the moment God gave her to me.

I feel confident that my Aunt feels exactly that for Jamie (and Jenna).

But here is what never occurred to me until Friday.   While I did not see anything familiar to me the first time I held my daughter, someday I am going to. When my daughter, (God willing), gives birth to her daughter, I am going to see the continuation of my standard of beauty passed on to my granddaughter.  Will it be Tori’s eyes?  Will it be her delicate bones?  The shape of her toes or her ears?     It will be a precious moment for both of us.   I will have the blessing of seeing another baby girl who reflects the image of the woman I cherish most in all the world – my daughter.   My daughter will have the blessing of seeing another person with her features FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE.     That will be incredible.   And it was incredible when I watched this play out with Jamie and Aunt Becky.

I can’t say whether or not my Aunt was thinking what I was or if she was seeing it in the same way but I have tears streaming all over again just remembering how I watched the whole thing unfold on Friday.  When I saw her eyes, her tears, and the way she said “she looks just like Jamie”, my own river of tears started because I knew that what she experienced in that moment was a first.  The first time anyone ever saw our beautiful Jamie in the face of someone else and it was a beautiful thing to behold.   It made me anxious for the day that I will see my baby girl’s baby girl for the first time and I know that I will respond to the moment exactly the way my Aunt did.  With tears of wonder and joy and a sense of awe at how amazing God is and how much He loves us.

Shane + Jamie + Lucy (almost) {Phoenix Pregnancy Photography}

I am so excited!  This week our little Lucy will arrive!  Yipppeeeeee!!!!!

The beautiful blonde above is my cousin Jamie and her wonderful honey Shane.  I was born when my Aunt Beck was 16 years old.  When I was 16, Aunt Beck had Jamie.  She was “mine” from Day 1.  Most adorable baby girl ever.   Is Lucy going to look like Jamie?  Oh I hope I hope I hope.  Can’t wait!    (But if she sports Shane’s hair I am going to be TOTALLY okay with that!!!!)

I love the above picture of these two.  I told Shane to make sure he didn’t look like he was choking her.  I have four brothers and three sons.  I should have known better than to say that.  Once it leaves your mouth, they just can’t resist.

I had so much fun photographing these two.   We were worried about the heat but it turned out to be that AWESOME weekend in May where it cooled off for a minute.  Super nice day.  They took me to dinner afterwards and then chatted on our couch with me and Jim until the wee hours of the morning.  I laugh until my stomach hurts when I am with this dynamic duo.


I think my cousin looks beautiful pregnant and I have loved watching her excitement grow right along with her baby belly.   My bet is on an 8 pounder.

Shane gets an A++ for picture day.  After his third shoot with me he said “I know what you’re after Doni” and then he gave it to me.  I had told them both at the beginning that I wanted to see the natural interactions between them so that we could capture that for Lucy and I would know it when I saw it because I know these two very well.  Shane ignored my camera and did what he always does – he loved Jamie.  I love how he loves that girl and she thinks the sun rises and sets where he stands too.  Lucy is going to know it to when she is old enough to interpret these pictures of her parents and I super love that fact.  (You say things like “super love” when you have four kids.  The lingo of four year olds is pretty hip).

Jamie has perfect cheeks.  When she was a toddler, I used to stick my fingers in her mouth (my very clean fingers) and measure the thickness of her cheeks between my index finger and thumb.  It was unreal.  They must have been one inch thick.  I cracked up when the ultrasound tech this week told them that they could actually SEE Lucy’s cheeks on an ultrasound.  LOL!    Perfection.

Shane and Jamie – I love you two to pieces and I can’t wait to have Lucy in MY arms.  A.D.O.R.E.

J+S+K {Phoenix Pregnancy Photography}

S is one beautiful expecting mama and was brave enough to face the June heat to capture this moment in time.  I was scared to death the heat would get to her so we brought plenty of water and I tried to shoot fast.  (I *tried*.  I am not fast at this job.  Too much of a driver to get it done quickly so that is one risk in hiring me.  Expect a 2 hour shoot.)

Recognize this little cutie?   At 2, a photo shoot in June was not high on her priority list but we still got some shots of Miss Busy Bee that I loved.   S hired me to do Kennedy’s 6 month and 1 year shoot so it was so fun to get to see her again at 2.  Adorable as ever.

See you again next month J, S, and K!