1 Month

I am writing this a bit after you turned a month old...closer to 6 weeks. In all fairness the reason I was waiting was because of the photos! I shot your one month images using film and am still waiting on the lab for those pictures. I do want to shoot most of your monthly images using film, so I will have to figure out this whole waiting issue. Lesson learned I need to write out my words on the day even if they photos aren’t ready yet. Hey, you choose a photographer mom, so get use to this sort of garbage.

Your first month was complete bliss.

You are complete bliss.

I read somewhere that babies are in a continual state of bliss and happiness. Truth.

Since you have a sister on the go you have been out and about quite a bit.

You’ve been shopping, Disneyland (twice), the beach, a Yo Gabba Gabba party...but most of the time you are with me.

We hang out together a lot.

I sometimes think “wow my babies like to be held a lot...” and then I remember babies like to be held a lot. All of them. And I just happen to do it.

Of course you are more comfortable sleeping on me. Of course you are more comfortable being held by me and rocked by me rather than a swing or a bouncer.

My confession is that every once in a blue moon I need a break. Like, to go to the bathroom, or to wrestle your sister....but besides that we are glue.

You eat like a champion.

You have had a tiny bit of acid reflux and it seems to bother you more right before bedtime. Poor lil monkey. We take lots of breaks while we feed for burping. I do think part of the problem is the Niagara Falls-esque milk supply I have plummeting into your tiny throat. I don’t think feeding you upside down would make a difference.

I took you in to see your midwife to check out your breastmilk jaundice and she weighed you. I think you were almost a month old and had already gained a pound and a half. Atta boy.

All of your dark hair is still here including the fur on your ears. Love to notice the features that still make you a newborn. Your cry, your nuzzles.

I love the trust and complete comfort you have with me. When we are feeding you will have your eyes close and just bob around with your mouth wide open knowing I will help you get what you want. Once you are latched on you give a little attitude...like you are the prince being handfeed grapes. Guess what? You are! You expect certain things and you should.

I also like the little seal we create with our sweat. If you are feeding or sleeping my my arm, your cheek becomes stuck to my arm and I have to peel us apart. Gross or awesome?

Since you have been born I don’t think I haven’t taken a single nap. You sleep so well at nights. I know part of that has to do with us co-sleeping. We don’t have to get out of bed to eat or change our diapers. On average we wake up 2-3 times to burp or latch back on and that’s it. We both drift back to sleep.

Mostly we sleep with me on my back and you laying on my chest or cradled in my arms. Your head is usually close enough for me to kiss.

Like most new babies you are working through digestion and Dad loves to help you work out gas. When I look over he is constantly rolling you around. He is a man on a mission and I think you appreciate it.

You do prefer me (I am the walking bottle) but you and dad have a special mid-afternoon nap thing that is kind of boys only. You are doing it right now as I type next to me in bed. You both zonk out on the bed, breathing deep. Love my boys.

Your sister is pretty nutz about you. She can’t kiss, hold or hug you enough. She does this gritty teeth thing when she wants you so bad.

I love the way she says your name “fuhbanks”...and she almost always says it in a whisper.

We mostly call you baby brother, Fairbanks, Banksy, Banksy Bear, noodle, sweet boy.

I mostly just think you’re perfect.

You love when I run my lips over yours. It puts you in a trance. Dad watches in wonder that I have such control over you (not sure why he is surprised...). You love my attention and affection and I love giving it.

I am pretty sure you have been smiling since week one. Mornings are your smiliest times.

When you were first here I saw a lot of your sister in you but as you grow bigger more and more you are looking like yourself. Still one of my babies with those cheeks and kissable lips...but your face and your eyes are you....and no one else.

We are starting to get into the swing of things as a family of four. Your dad and I have to take turns around bedtime tag teaming our two munchins.

Sometimes we are all doing the same thing at the same time like sitting around the kitchen table, laying on our bed, snuggling on the couch. Those moments are emotionally intense...at least for me.

I have a family of four. I have a husband and a daughter and son.

This fact makes me feel so full and so overwhelmed. Is there enough of me to go around? There has to be...and I will work hard to make sure there is.

I know there is still time to find balance but for now my main goal is to hold you, feed you, love you and be present for my whole family.

Dishes will get done. Parties will be had. Dates for dad and I will happen again. I will lose the extra weight. There will be plenty of time to outfit myself and get gussied up......

But for now, you are my focus. Welcoming you into our family is all that matters.

I will blink and your newborness will be gone, so I take as many small glances as I can at you throughout the day and let myself feel you so new in my arms.

Being a parent is tough cookies at times but I refuse to waste my time wishing for something else. Wishing for what at times I think will be easier. Trust me, nothing is easier than loving your kids. Nothing is easier than holding you. Nothing is easier than wanting so much for you.

I promise to keep working hard at living NOW.

My friend Natalie Norton shared something on her instagram feed that I haven’t be able to stop thinking about. Hope she doesn’t mind me re-sharing,

“ One of the reasons I resonate so completely with A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is because of how deeply I believe this to be true.” You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too.” I look at my children, and I think, “Like it or not, they’re becoming like me. Like it or not, they are modeling so much of their own future stories after the one I’m choosing to live every single day.” I pray for the courage to teach them in the only way I know how, by inviting them in- by inviting them into a story they’re proud to be a part of. And I hope that together, we can create a life story so much more meaningful than anything any of us could have ever created on our own.”

Loved what she shared so much.

I want to help create a life story for my family that we are proud to have lived.

I want to always invite you into my life, sweet Fairbanks.

I want to keep working hard at seeing and valuing those little miracle moments..you looking into my eyes while you eat, making sure I’ve got you. The way your sisters face looks as she holds you and laughs as she pretends you are tickling her. The way your dad bounces you over his shoulder in his underwear. The way it feels to be touching three people I love SO much all at the same time. I am storing those moments and adding them to our story.

Fairbanks you belong in our story. Like your lullaby sings, “..with you here, everything is right.”

Love, Mom

ps. stay little



Shooting film means sometimes having to wait to view and share images. I guess I could get the gear and do it myself at home but I am thinking I have zero time to do that at the moment. I can barely find time to shower.

Here are a few fun moments we had in February. Celebrated Win's birthday with a train ride at El Dorado Park, then celebrated Nova's and Grant's Birthdays with a bonfire at Corona Del Mar beach. I cried wolf about dutch oven peach cobbler. When I tripled the recipe, it didn't cook fast enough and then burned. At least I am keeping expectations low and no one will ever expect perfection out of me (expect for when it comes to creating perfect children, which I do).

Love my little sprite. She is so full of life. She choose her outfit the day we went to the park. Style genius.



Fairbanks's Birth Story

I spent most of the pregnancy with you feeling like I needed “more time.” More time to get stuff done, more time for work projects, more time for one last shoot, more time to get the house in order, more time to wrap my head around having two kids, more time to be READY. This had nothing to do with you…really. I wanted you and was excited for you to be in my arms but from previous experience I knew that certain things would be easier to get done with you chillin’ in your hot tub a little bit longer. What I had kind of forgotten was one of the most miraculous lessons that childbirth has taught me: trust.  Trusting the whole process. Trusting that timing happens for a reason. Trusting you to communicate with me and me to communicate with you. Giving up control and trusting in the basics. Not very much matters once you go into labor. Once I felt that first rising contraction, I remembered. All that mattered was healthy baby and healthy me.

I had an uncomplicated pregnancy with you (similar to Nova’s). Everything happened when it should. You grew and so did I. Towards the end I had a few days with a little bit of high blood pressure but I am starting to think that just happens to me a couple weeks before I deliver. I never got swollen with you and didn’t have any tailbone pain like I did with your sister. I did have some sciatica pain during the first part of the third trimester, which was pretty icky but thankfully didn’t last. But honestly what I cared more than anything about was trying everything that was in my control NOT to have a posterior birth. I leaned forward for months. I tired to only sleep on my left side. I crawled around on my hands and knees whenever I could manage. I loved Nova’s birth story but I wasn’t going to complain if your’s was a lot shorter and maybe less painful.  But there I was thinking too much about something that in the end I knew was out of my control.

For months I had Braxton hicks contractions. I would be walking or standing or doing nothing and my stomach would get hard as a rock. One time we were walking into Disneyland and it happened. I had to stop walking for minute and catch my breath. It would feel like I had no room for my lungs. I wondered if all these little tightening’s were helping prep my body for real labor…was I dilating? After having one baby it is hard not to compare what you have already experienced with all the new experiences. I never really had Braxton hicks contractions with Nova and subsequently ended up doing all of my dilating and laboring with her over a two day period. Intense and long. So these little contractions you were giving me were tiny seeds of hope. Maybe this time would be shorter? I had to keep reminding myself that it might not mean anything and to stop trying to guess. If your birth involved 24hrs of active labor like your sister’s, so be it. I had done it once. I could do it again.

Starting Thursday night on March 28th, I had what felt like pretty bad period cramps that lasted for a couple hours. Peculiar since your due date was still a week away. Nova was 5 days late and so I really didn’t expect you to come any earlier than your due date, April 3rd. Besides, I still had things to wash and buy and do. We spent the couple hours before sunset at Newport Beach. We ate Café Rio and splashed in the water with Nova. It was a bit chilly and I wrapped your sister and myself up in blankets. Passersby looked at my belly and I felt proud. I was super pregnant and that only meant one thing, I had one of my all time favorite humans on his way.

As an interesting side note: when I was experiencing a little high blood pressure, I was quite stressed out about numerous things.  I tried not to be but I just had so much whirling around in my mind. And knowing that I had high blood pressure didn’t help because I was stressed wondering about all the “ifs” and really wanted our homebirth. Your sweet midwife, Lindsay Meehleis, pretty much ordered me to stop working and to take it easy. She said I could be productive 1hr a day and then the rest of the day I could only relax and do enjoyable non-stressful activities. When you run your own business you don’t really get orders like this very often. A load was lifted. She prescribed a massage and I obliged. I changed my mindset after that and gave my worrying a break. I think it was only once I did that that I became ready for you to be here. I needed to make some space and once I did early labor started.

Friday, March 29th, at 1:30pm I felt the first “wave” contraction. I told your dad and his eyes got wide, I smiled. I laid on the couch and started paying attention and timing them for fun. After about an hour, I stopped timing but they were growing and feeling more intense. My excitement was building. I called your midwife just to tell her early labor was happening and that I think my mucus plug was starting to come out. Then I left to get a pedicure. I know this sounds weird but I needed to take my mind off the contractions. I actually went a few hours not really having any, which is typical in early labor and when I did have contractions they were mild. I could talk through them and even walk through them. Still pretty easy going.

We got Cortina’s takeout for dinner and the contractions kept coming. I think your dad and I both thought there was a chance stuff could really get going this night so we kind of kicked it into high gear. Finishing baby wash, getting out supplies, turning up the water heater.

We both gave Nova a bath and I helped dress her in her jammies. I laid her down in her crib with little tears in my eyes reminding her that at anytime her baby brother might come. We kissed her goodnight with my heart beating out of my chest.

That night I was probably awake every hour a few times. Contractions were coming every 30 minutes or so. I would try to sleep in between…but it was hard. I know I did get some sleep though. And as intense as they were starting to feel I could still lay down through most of them, which meant they were still pretty mild.

At about 6am I woke up your dad a little teary eyed and told him I was feeling lonely and didn’t want to labor alone anymore. He immediately was awake and comforting me. I was feeling so many emotions. I think more than anything I was realizing for the 2nd time what the hardest part of labor is, the unknown. As hard as the contractions may feel or even the life altering experience of going through transition and pushing, the unknown is what always gets me. It didn’t matter that I had done it before. I still had no idea how long it would last, how intense it would get….my mind was way over-analyzing it and to be honest I think I was really starting to remember being in labor with Nova and how challenging it was (challenging is a dumb word to describe it). You were getting close and I was purging.

For me labor always consists of so much purging. Letting go of things. Creating space. And that is what I was doing. Cleaning out so we could both have a fresh start for our birth tub beginning.

Contractions were getting stronger but were still sporadic. Your midwife called and she suggested getting on my hands and knees, sticking my hips up high and rocking them back and forth for 45mins, even through contractions. Apparently this could help intensify the contractions and get stuff going faster. After doing this I was suppose to lie on my left side. It definitely was an uncomfortable position to be in during contractions and they felt so much stronger and more intense in this position…painful I would say. Nova was playing along side me during this excersie and even climbed on my back a couple of times. Why else would I be on my hands and knees on the floor if I didn’t want to play and wrestle?

After we were done with that we decided to go for a walk. I was kind of nervous to be out in public contracting…what if I started acting like a crazy person? Would I make our neighbors feel uncomfortable? Grant reminded me it didn’t matter at all and not to worry about it. So out we went. It was around 9:30am. I did have a few contractions but with long breaks in between. What gives? I thought walking would speed things up not slow them down. The sun was out and there was a cool breeze. It felt really good to feel the sunshine on my face and arms.  It smelled like spring flowers and cut grass. It was a Saturday and felt like it. People were out doing yard work and it was seriously gorgeous outside…which I think always happens on Saturdays. It really just felt like a happy, exciting day.

Lindsay showed up around 10am. I wanted to impress her with strong contraction, which is ridiculous, because really “trying” to do anything during labor generally just slows things down. So much of it is a mind game, which only proves how connected our minds and our bodies are and how much our thoughts affect us physically.

Stuff just felt slow moving and we were trying to decide if she should check me. Both of us knew checking was a little bit pointless. I could be any range of numbers dilated and it could change in a flash OR maybe not for hours, days even. But, there was a possibility of her trying to help strip my membranes to speed things up if she did check me. I decided to go ahead and be checked. We both agreed I was probably a 3 or 4 so I wasn’t getting my hopes up too much. Besides it was a lot more painful as I neared active labor with Nova and I just assumed the contractions I was feeling couldn’t be close to active labor. I thought they were still too mild and sporadic.

I lay on the couch and she checked me. Her eyes got wide as she said,  “You are a 6 almost a 7…and 90% effaced”. What?! This was amazing news. I knew it meant the more difficult part was coming but it also meant I was nearing the end and would probably not be doing this for another day. I felt serious relief at that point since my mind to that point had been so fixated on NOT having a super long labor.

Lindsay thought she would maybe head to the Target nearby to let things speed up without her staring at me, but just as we started the discussion, contractions started coming and coming and coming. And they were more intense. “I am not going anywhere. Time to set up the tub.” This was around 11am, minutes after she checked me.

Melissa, her assistant, showed up and the house was in a bustle. Hoses were being attached, supplies were being organized. Beach towels were being carried into the family room where the tub was going to be.

I sat next to Nova in her highchair as she ate lunch and bounced on the yoga ball. I knew I was in active labor but it felt SO different than last time. I was still able to focus on Nova and walk around and make jokes. Was I really in active labor? I even helped put Nova down for her nap. By this point tears were in my eyes as I hoped Nova could be around once he was born AND that it would be positive for her. I didn’t want her to be bothered at all by what I was going through.

It was 1pm. Nova was in her crib napping, the tub was full of water and I was ready to get in it. Right around this same time my parents arrived. They had been driving from Utah and my Dad was dropping my Mom off. They both came in for a minute and my Dad saw me draped over the tub. I pretty sure he heard a contraction as he was leaving and I remember thinking, “I hope he knows I am alright”. With my Mom there I could relax about Nova a bit. I knew once Nova woke up Grandma could help take care of her and distract her.

At some point during all of this when I was probably wondering out loud whether I was progressing, Lindsay told me to try and feel his head. I had never done this with Nova’s birth. With my pointer finger I could feel the top of his head! It was amazing. It felt like there was something slick covering his head…the water sac?

Don’t get me wrong, contractions were still super uncomfortable and even painful at times but I am telling you they were nothing like having back labor. I couldn’t help but keep exclaiming, “ This is not the same as back labor…this is still hard but…” Really. No one had to give me backpressure at all. The contractions instead of wrapping from my front to my back, like with back labor, stayed right in front. Early labor and active labor felt so much easier this time. Shorter and less painful.

Then transition happened.

I am guessing transition started happening around 2:45pm. Up until that point Grant and I had been in the tub and I had switched positions a couple of times. I either wanted to sit leaning back on your Dad a little or be on my knees leaning over the sides of the tub.

I don’t think transition felt different from Nova’s birth. I think transition is transition. You know you are in it when it feels like your body is splitting in two with every contraction.  I say “you know” but when you are in transition you kind of don’t know. When you feel pain that intense you hope it means the end is near but in your mind you aren’t quite sure. I remember feeling a little bit of fear. Fear thinking that I would be stuck in that place forever. Fear that it would really never end. I kept asking how much longer..and I saw Melissa and Lindsay make eyes at each other that told me maybe we were close. They are smart and knew better than to ever tell a woman in transition how long anything would last but when I pleaded with them to tell me whether I would have to do this for the rest of the day, they both had an inkling that wouldn’t be the case.

This is generally the part of labor when women feel like they can’t do it.  I don’t know about others but I am not the most quiet. At the peak of the transition I cry out and my whole body shakes. I remember feeling foggy and emotional. I remember crying out and whimpering for “help”.  “Please help me, please help me”. Lindsay looked firmly into my eyes and said, “Rachel you are the only one who can do this and you are doing it!”. She kept reminding me not to be afraid of the contraction that was approaching but to welcome it, let it work for me. This has to be the ultimate challenge. Knowing the most painful thing you will ever feel is approaching and to welcome it. Want it. Truly know and believe it is for your benefit. This is the test of natural childbirth.

I tried changing my no thoughts to yes thoughts.

Nova woke from her nap in the middle of this right around 3pm. I cried and starting mumbling my worries for her. Lindsay had to gently remind me she was fine and was going to be taken care of. Grandma brought her out to the family room and Nova kept saying, “Mommy sad? Mommy sad”. I remember your Dad telling Nova to look at him so she could see his eyes weren’t worried and to tell her I was fine just working hard to get you here. Grandma took her out to the backyard. They could still hear me from out there and Nova was a bit worried but Grandma and her talked about all the animal noises I was making and they practiced making them together.

So I was inside growling like a lion and Nova was outside growling like a lion.

It was the middle of the day and the afternoon light was streaming through the family room windows. It felt calm but not the same as nighttime calm. It was energizing laboring during the day. I liked knowing that the rest of my world was there with me, whether they knew it or not. I felt like the energy of a Saturday gave me something.

With Nova’s birth I never felt the urge to push. I kept asking Lindsay if and when I should push and she kept telling me to listen to my body and push when it felt like I needed to. This was kind of frustrating. What if I didn’t know or never felt it? But to my surprise contractions started to bare down and sure enough my body naturally started pushing without any direction from anyone else.

Right around this point I turned around and was on my knees facing your Dad. I guess I was only pushing for about 15mins but it honestly felt so much longer while I was in it. I remember opening my eyes for a second during a pause and looking into the reflection of the water and at my hand gripping on to your Dad’s foot. Was it uncomfortable for him? He wasn’t saying if it was. I knew he wasn’t thinking of himself but was thinking of you and I. I felt so grateful he was there for me in that moment.

With every contraction and every push and every grunt the room was full of praise and positive words. “You’re doing it!” “Great job!” “That’s perfect!”. Even with all of the support I don’t think I was alone in my surprise when with one of the pushes your head popped out!  I really didn’t know we were close to that (neither did dad). Once that happened I was a woman focused. There was what felt like a long break between your head coming out and the next contraction and I was worried for you. The next contraction came and I bore down and gave you everything I had. There is no motivation better than knowing you will hold your newborn child in a few seconds.

Whoosh! Your body came out and relief. Your Dad caught you with Lindsay helping. You came out with your water sac covering your head and body and Lindsay gently removed it as your Dad and her lifted you out of the water and into my arms.

I wish I could describe in any accuracy what that moment feels like. It is the perfect cocktail of joy and relief and love. Like fireworks and falling flower petals and laughter and the best kind of tears. In that moment I had never felt so full and complete. You were here.

You were pink almost right away and let out a big loud cry! Music to my ears. You looked almost identical to Nova when she was born.  Dark hair, cheeks for days, cute button nose, 8 chins, arms rolls. You looked like one of my babies. You WERE one of my babies! I recognized your strong kicks in my arms. I have a feeling you weren’t so sure you were ready to come out of your hot tub. I held you close and kissed you to remind you I was still right there.

All of this happened in a matter of moments and I told someone to knock on the window so your Grandma and sister knew you were here and to run in. They did and your sister smiled and her eyes lit up. She had been waiting a long time for you. “Bath tub! Bath tub!” Having a pool full of water in the living room is torture for a toddler and of course we wanted her to jump in with us! Off came her clothes and in she came with us. All of us together. A family of four, at home, healthy, HAPPY. It was truly an amazing moment. I kissed your Dad and both of my babies. We sang you your song. I had never felt happier.

To make sure you were warm enough we needed to get out of the water. Out came Nova and Grandma took her to have a real bath. I held you and carefully stepped out of the tub and onto the couch covered in beach towels (beach towels are the hallmark of a homebirth). You were still connected to me via the umbilical cord which was super thick!! I was still having contractions which surprised me. I guess with subsequent births the after contractions while delivering the placenta and while your uterus contracts back down are more intense. No one told me this. Once I delivered the placenta there was some relief.

We waited to cut the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsing almost 30mins after your were born. It is pretty awesome to feel the cord pulse.

I tore but Lindsay did a pro job of stitching me up.  I could care less about tearing. Would it be nice not to tear? Sure but during transition and while I am pushing it is the last thing on my mind.

You latched on super quick and wanted to eat eat eat. I was a happy mom.

You were in my arms from the moment you were born and for hours afterward. We were bundled in towels staring at the blue sky and sunshine.

At one point I looked at my hand that had been wrapped around you and there was black stuff all over it. Poop!!! You had a massive meconium poop all over both of us. It was kind of adorable.

It was obvious you were a big boy and we all made guesses on your weight. Some were high 9’s others were over 10lbs. I think I guessed 10lbs exactly. You ended up weighing 9 lbs 15 ounces. I decided it was close enough and I was claiming 10lbs. You were such a bundle of love.

The next few hours were clean up and resting and holding and kissing. I moved into the bedroom. Lindsay helped me go to the bathroom and I put on a giant adult diaper and a frozen witch hazel pad.

I laid in bed, in shock. You were here. Active labor was really only 4hrs. The sun was still out. I felt really good. Not sleep deprived. I was a mother of two.  Was I really not pregnant anymore?

Who can deny childbirth is a miracle?

I was so transformed by both of my children’s births.  I have no choice but to have complete respect and honor for my body and what it can do. The love and attachment I felt for you the moment you were born is mind blowing. Immediately you are someone I felt such an intimate connection with. I am not sure why, despite all of my faults and shortcomings, I am blessed with the family I have. Fairbanks, despite any of my mistakes you were created and grew and were born and are perfect. It is impossible for you to be anything but perfect. And I wonder…why me? Why did you choose me? How am I worthy?

They say being born in the caul, as you were, is a sign of good fortune. Being born this way brings good luck and supposedly natural healing abilities. To me, my sweet boy, you are my good luck. My good fortune. You were meant to be part of our family…and now that you are I feel abundantly wealthy.

Sometimes, even now, two and a half weeks later, I am still in disbelief you are here. I have to look at us in the mirror with you balled up on my chest to remind myself it really did happen. I wonder if I will feel like that for the rest of my life…amazed that you are mine. I have a feeling I will.


(Eternal thanks to Lindsay, our midwife. We are all madly in love with her. I have a midwife post coming soon!)

Fairbanks Mitchell Porter


You're here.


One week old today.

I know I have a newborn..because I am walking around the house holding one but honestly I am still in shock. So you're here. Did that happen in a flash for anybody else?

Maybe it was you being 4 days early. Or the fact that this labor was WAY shorter than your sisters. Or maybe because you came right in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday...when people are out riding bikes and having picnics...and there I was holding my lucky charm.

I am excited to share your birth story but it will have to wait a little bit longer as I process.

Here are some notable facts about your birthday:

You were born on March 30th, 2013, in the water at home at 3:23pm on a Saturday with light streaming through the family room windows. You weighed just under 10lbs (9lbs 15 ounces)...so I am claiming 10lbs. Besides the fact that you were were healthy and perfect, the 2nd most extraordinary occurrence was you being born in the caul! Meaning part of the water sac still covering your head and face as you came out. This is supposedly extremely rare and is said it brings good luck and well as being an indication of you being a natural healer. I just think it's pretty cool. You are welcome for the super strong water sac.

So much more to say...but will have to wait a bit longer.

My sweet sweet Fairbanks. It feels so normal to have you here with us. From the first moment I held you and fed you it seemed like we had been doing it for ages.

Your sister Nova tells you at least 30 times a day that she loves you. Not joking. If you don't grow up to have the worlds best self esteem than I will be shocked. You are showered with love from all of us.

Nova begs to hold you and one of the very first times she did she broke out in song..."edelweiss, edelweiss....clean and bright, clean and bright". My heart melted into a million pieces.

She pats your back and tells you it's OK and kisses you every chance she gets. She asks for you when she wakes up and if she ever has been away from you. She wants you to always come with her outside, or on errands or to her bedroom. She is bonkers for you.

Sometimes when she is holding you, you swat at her face and she laughs and says "funny baby bruda!". She is your biggest fan.

I even think she sees you and I as the same person now. Loving one of us is loving both of us...and that makes sense. We are pretty much one.

I have probably held you 99% of your life so far. And that seems right.

Even when I have to set you down or let someone else hold you...I wish I could keep you. You have taken all of your sleeps in my arms except for a few you have had with Dad.

Since you weighed more at birth I think you sleep more soundly because of it. We had a 5hr stretch your first night and since then all we do is wake and feed and then you fall back asleep on me for anywhere from 2-4hrs. Sure my sleep is interrupted but in any given night I get at least 6hrs of on and off sleep. That is a win in my book.

Since your labor and birth were quicker than Nova's the healing as been much milder..and I have felt really good. No extreme exhaustion or pain or physically weird stuff. Maybe it also has something to do with my body having done it before. I am grateful.

Of course when you give birth you have some gnarly hormone drops in the days following the birth, tears are shed and I wonder if I am being the best mom possible for you. I know it is all part of the normal order of things...and you don't expect me to be a robot.

Since you are little but not SO little...I want to dress you in all your littlest clothes before you grow right out of them. Really there is no reason for a newborn to be dressed and I want as much skin to skin with you as possible but those tiny onesies call to me.

You rarely open your eyes. Like practically never. It's so cute. Nova was super wide eyed from the moment she was born...but you are the opposite. Sleepy and content to wait a bit longer to see what is beyond you and I. I don't mind being your eyes as long as you like.

Grandma and Grandpa Thurston have been here helping to take care of us and it has been so nice.

I loved the way you felt moving inside of me pregnant and it always takes me a while to believe that I am not pregnant anymore...I always am left feeling a little hollow and confused....but when I hold you against me every once in a while I recognize your movements. Your strong kicks and sensitive knee jerk movements. It is super comforting.

You are a pro eater! My milk came in day 2 and we haven't slowed down. It is an adjustment (mainly for my body..ouch) but you are doing such a great job! You poop and pee like you a professional. I think on day 3 we changed 7 diapers. I had no idea a newborn could poop this much. I am a proud mama bear.

Speaking of bears...I like to call you my lil bear....but really I call you Fairbanks most of the time. Banksy is another nickname and I am sure more will come. For now I am OK with you just being my "baby".

I already find myself regretting the days that pass not wanting you to grow up and knowing from experience that I can't stop it. It's like being on a train ride where every view out the window is the most beautiful thing you have ever laid eyes on and then in a flash it is gone but replaced with an equally beautiful sight.

It's heartbreaking loving this much. My heart breaks over and over again for you and your sister.

I was reminded of these words by Kahlil Gibran these last few weeks:

"To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully."

To me this is what being a parent is...or at least being a mother. I know, and still walk fiercely into it. It takes being brave in a way I never knew I would have to be.

So much more is in store for us as you help me become a mother and I help you become a man.

My sweet baby boy. I am so blessed to call you mine.

Love, Mom

2 Years


You and me and dad..alone...for a few more days.

You turned two only a month ago, and yet thinking of you as a big sister makes you seem a hundred years old.

Everything about you is fun and happy and full of light.

I would say the most noticeable change you have had these last few months is your language skills. You talk talk talk!

"Was dat mommy?" as you point to an old orange rind, a ladybug, a panty liner. I give you the answer and you repeat back word for word whatever I say to you.

Other favorite phrases include, " I dow want to mommy," "Scawee, scawee (scary), OK, mommy daddy got you," "happy or sad?" ....and the best one by a landslide is "I wuv you mommy"...as you wrap your arms tight around my neck and proceed to kiss me so hard you are shaking.

As we get closer and closer to baby brother being here your awareness of what's going on really surprises me. I actually think you understand that I am growing a baby in my belly. One day, all on your own, you kissed and hugged my stomach and said., " I wuv you baby bruda". And since they you have been asking for my bare belly and kissing, hugging and expressing your love for him daily. You even include him in snack time sometimes by sharing your drink with him or your piece of cheese. "Yummy baby bruda".

I wonder if you are old enough to understand what love really means..but then again I wonder if any of us really are. All I know is when you say it, I feel it..and I know your brother does too.

You have a special kind of life because most of your days are spent with both your mom and dad. We both wake up with you in the morning, we eat our meals together, we put you down for a nap together, bathe you together, put you to bed at night together. We know this is rare and treasure these seemingly mundane moments together.

You are a creature of habit and love the consistency we have tried to give you with your schedule.

You don't fight naptime or bedtime (at the moment) and, I daresay, you're excited about both.

Bedtime consists of finishing dinner and then you immediately running to the bath. You first have to grab your bath baby. Usually you only want mom to help you out of the bath, but only with one hand becuase you are a big girl and can do it yourself. "Me do it". I then wrap you up in a towel and help you brush your teeth with your Dora toothbrushes. You prefer 2 toothbrushes and we roll our eyes and oblige. Then I brush your hair, scoop you up in my arms and we look at ourselves in the mirror as we tell the bathroom goodnight. Then I smother you in kisses before you turn off the bathroom lights. Lotion, diaper (you always ask for cream or baby powder), jammies and then reading time. You prefer to have mom sit in the rocking chair and dad lay on the floor...and you split your time sitting in your rocking chair next to me or crawling over dad like he is a jungle gym. We read try to read only 3ish books but you want more and more and more. You prefer mom to do the reading which means I get to read and re-read Puppy Boo everyday at least 4 times. Then lights out, you slam the door so it is pitch dark and then we all fumble around while you try and tuck Aspen in to her bed, throw as many animals as you can into your crib (favorites include, dino, muno, 2 babies, bear, dog and sometimes the hard plastic cow). You want me to pick you up but it is getting harder and harder in my state so I pretend I am the one lifting you while dad does all the work. We then discuss our day briefly, talk about what to look forward to tomorrow and then whether you are happy or sad about bedtime, you give both of us giant hugs and kisses while you tell us you love us. We count to 5 and into bed you go. 2 cookies and a half a vitamin c later, and we are outta there. After we leave you call out loudly " I love you mommy, I love you daddy." And you wait for our answer back... "We love you Nova." Then we look at each other and shake our heads because it is ridiculous how much we really do.

You had a brief moment a few months ago when we thought we were going to have to transition to a toddler bed, but since moving into our home and putting you back in a real crib you are fine sleeping in one again. Even though you prefer to climb out on your own you will call for us in the morning and kind of refuse to climb out until we are in there watching. We are NOT complaining. I also love when I come into you in the morning and you say, "I'm awake mommy"...with a little grin on your face. Then you proceed to talk non stop telling me all about your babies and animals and bed and dreams (no doubt). We had missed 12hrs together so we have a lot to catch up on.

Lets talk about Aspen. She is a doll Grandpa Lloyd bought you for Christmas and she is your best friend. She eats with us in the booster seat for every meal. She comes with us on most errands. She is usually wherever you are and she is starting to smell. Every other doll is named Aspen as well...but we all know there is only one REAL Aspen. Affectionally named after your baby cousin Aspen. Your first imaginary friend.

I am so impressed at how well you play make believe already.

I am so impressed with pretty much everything you say and do.

You are gaining a lot of interest in emotions and what they mean. We have numerous conversations each day about whether someone is happy or sad and what that means. I hope you are learning it is OK to feel everything.

If I am ever leaning my head down against the table or maybe I really am sad and you see tears, you will pat my back and say "it's ok mommy, I've got you". How can that not make me feel better?

You are a great eater but still prefer anything over meat or breads. Milk products you go nuts over though. "Yogie" (yogurt), cottage cheese and milk being your favorites. You accidentally learned what whipped cream was when I squirted it in your mouth and have recently gotten confused when asking for it. "Cream of wheat mommy, pease?" We like to eat cream of wheat together for breakfast sometimes but I couldn't get why you were asking for it at lunch time. Oh! You mean whipped CREAM.

Honey is also something you ask for everyday. Man, you are adorable.

You are a lover and want to kiss and hug everyone we say goodbye to. But not just any kiss, has to be a lip kiss. Lately you have been telling everyone you love them as you say goodbye as well.

You also like to point out when you think something is funny. How you pick up on humor is beyond me.

We still have lots of nicknames for you...pickle and noodle being our main ones at the moment.

With all the words you say, you still aren't very interested in saying your own name. You have...but when we ask you to you give us kind of a blank stare. Like you are thinking why in the world do I have to say my own name all the time. We think we are in part to blame for calling you pickle all the time.

Potty training we don't push but you do come to us and let us know when you want to use the toliet. It's awesome. Today alone you told us four different times you had to go "poo poo" (which means both) and we rushed to the toilet and every time you went! Proud parents. So far you have made the start of toilet training very easy for us.

You love playing in water, in your new toyhouse with daddy, playing basketball, nunning (running), swinging and jumping! When you go to your my gym classes you spend most of the time jumping to your heart's content on their 6ft trampoline. When you land on your bum you yell out "BUM!".

You recognize your street and other landmarks as we drive around and always announce you are home once we pull in the driveway.

Not our proudest moment but you now ask to watch shows or play games on the computer.

You have always been musically minded and remember melodies so well. We often catch you singing the wonder pets theme song, or the Dora theme song. We watched sound of music the other day and you recognized a couple songs we already sing to you and the last few days we have caught you singing edelweiss to yourself.

I can't forget to tell you we went and saw your first movie on your birthday. We watched Wreck it Ralph and you sat through the entire thing with sippy cup and cracker cup in hand. It was a proud moment for us.

We also taught you that while on chairs you need to be on either your knees or bum and you repeat "knees or bum" over and over again while testing your limits on chairs.

Your independence is growing and growing and I can see so much pride and sense of accomplishment everytime you figure something out on your own.

I could write and write and write about every little thing you are. I want to. I don't ever want to forget anything...and yet I know I will. It is reality that I will keep feelings and small, meaningful moments in my mind and the rest will float about only resurfacing if needed. The problem is, I feel like all my moments and memories with you are needed.

Changes are coming for you my sweet baby girl. In a few short days you will become a sister. I know your dad and I are giving you one of life's greatest gifts, a sibling. I know this and yet I find my eyes welling with tears when you let me rock you in my arms. I have loved having you as my only child. You won't really remember any of what has happened up to this point but I KNOW it has shaped your mind and heart. Recently a friend and fellow mother that I photographed wrote something to the effect, "...more than what it's done for me is what I hope it has done for you. I found time to carve out space for you in my life daily and I hope you know I will continue to do that forever..."

I will Nova. I will always have space for you...as much as you need. That is a gift that all mothers have...infinite space. I am just starting to realize that as I open my heart more and more for your brother. The space is endless. He is not taking yours, he is getting his own. This makes me sigh with relief.

Happy two years to my baby girl the color of lemons. And as the lullaby I wrote you sings, "You're part girl and part the sun." My shining star.

Love, Mom


36 Weeks

I keep thinking she was the one who taught me it was possible

and you will be the one to show me it's endless.

Am I right?

I have done this once before but I know you will need new things. Different things. Things for only you and me.

Right now you are a like a little secret (to everyone but me).

We spend all day together.

You move. I move. You talk. I talk.

I am trying to think good thoughts for us and to only say things that won't embarrass you.

I know I am your face. I feel that weight.

Not the kind that has built on my hips and my chest but the kind that presses on my heart telling me you are everything.

I worry about all the things I am suppose to worry about and still worry a little bit more about things I know are silly.

Will you call me Mom even if I don't live up to it?

Know this,

I do not give up. Not on you. Not on us.

Sometimes I whisper to you in my mind thanking you for being so close (and so forgiving).

I need you.

My sweet sweet boy. Only a few more weeks until I can kiss your lips and touch your skin.

You are not a secret to me

but I am ready for surprise.

 She was the one who taught me it was possible

but you will be the one to show me it's endless.

And I will not be surprised about that.

South Island- New Zealand

Remember when we traveled to New Zealand over a year ago? Yeah, me too.

Better late than never is becoming a mantra over in these parts.

After having my images and our story featured in Wayfare Magazine this last summer, I have been meaning to share a few of my favorite images from the trip. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lately I have been having a serious itch to travel far far away...and I'm due to give birth in about 7 weeks :/ So, instead, I will look at these photos, close my eyes and try with all my might to imagine I am within a arms reach of that magical glacier water once again.

This place was incredible.

(all shot with ektar 100 film and a little of portra 800 with my contax 645 and canon eos3)

23 Months

I keep feeling like I only have 1 more month with you as my baby.

I know I am probably being ridiculous. Ridiculous because everything has it's transition time. You won't change overnight (that much) or even in a month....but I am here to tell you it feels like it.

You are part baby and part little lady.

You love to play pretend baby...crawling on the floor, fake crying or saying goo goo ga ga (which we taught you to save our ears from your amazingly high pitched fake cry).

You ask to be picked up and rocked in my arms as I sooth you with coos and kisses.

You never cared for binky's as newborn but now they are your favorite pretend babyland play toy. Numerous times in the day you will insist that you, dad and I all have them in our mouths.

Talking TALKING!

"Good norning!" "tank you mommy" "pease" and the list goes on and on. You can repeat whole sentences we say. I know this should make me happy but I it actually makes me a little sad. Too old. Too old.

It is nice to have you be able to give your opinion on any matter AND to be able to recount stories to us.

Your favorite time of the day might be right before bed when we talk about everything we did that day. Your eyes wide and interested...filling in the blanks we miss.

Today we went to Disneyland and bought you a mint chip ice cream cone. You met both Mickey and Minnie and all on your own decided that you wanted to kiss both of them on the nose.

You are too much.

I will save some of the words I want to share for the ginormous post I am sure to make when you turn 2...until then my sweet baby...stay that way just a little bit longer.

(Photos taken on the end of a roll of film I needed to send to the lab. Unscripted, off the cuff. Dirty room, light meter, piggies and you...my sweetest lil pickle.)

Some Favorites from 2012

Here are a few of my favorite portraits from this last year...shots that made me linger a little longer..

Not going to lie, 2012 has been a transitional year. It has been full of really really great moments and some challenging ones. I guess that is bound to happen when it's a year you move.

This year some of my photographic goals include shooting WAY MORE personal work. I really slacked in this area in 2012. I am going to put down my phone and pick up my film cameras and shoot my own life. I think it's deserving.

I also am excited to announce some changes to my pricing which will include some new Southern California only rates for my wedding clients. I will still be available for travel (and y'all know I LOVE to travel) but clients having me shoot close to home are worthy of some perks. So if you have inquired about having me shoot your wedding in 2013 and want to take a look at some of my new options, feel free to email me (info@rachelthurston.com).

I really really want to thank all of my amazing and loyal clients AND friends and family for supporting me as a photographer and mother. It is a constant evolution of adjusting and changing to meet the needs of my family and my desires as a creative. I am going to be starting some new blog posts dedicated to being a working mother. I have so many thoughts running through my mind and sharing I know would help me and hopefully some of you dealing with similar life challenges.

I just feel blessed. Really really blessed.

Happy New Year everyone!



Waiting & Missing

We went to Kauai in June and I am missing it.

Most of you have figured out by now that we are super close to closing on a home in Anaheim, CA. Because of this we have been in kind of a spending lock. So naturally all I want to do is plan vacations, buy clothes and get eyelash extensions.

The last 4 months have been some of the roughest. I feel selfish and bad even admitting that. I mean, we are buying a home and I am pregnant with another perfect babe. I have Nova...I have Grant....but still....life has not been easy. I have not felt good for months. I am tired and emotional and stressed and overwhelmed by lots and lots. I am sick of being guests in others homes. All this just makes me want to lay on the beach near Hanalei and eat as many papayas as my troubled heart desires.

I know I haven't been blogging as much personal stuff as I have in the past. I want to again. I need the release. I am thinking of doing regular posts on being a business owning Mom/parent. I think talking about stuff outloud is really cathartic and good. I have been far too quiet. I am ready to say a bit more.

Buying a home is exciting and terrifying. I think the hardest part is all the compromises we feel like we need to make to get into a first home. Didn't think we would live in this exact area....and to be honest if it was just Grant and I, it wouldn't matter. Kidlins change everything. Will I find my "village"? What about play-dates? Other families we can trust? Will Nova be happy? Can I be a good Mom in Anaheim? Are we making all the right decisions?

So many questions and underneath it all, I am grateful. First homes aren't suppose to be perfect, right? Mom's aren't suppose to be perfect either....I am learning.

We will be super close to D Land! Because of that I keep joking that our new home will be nicknamed "the happiest place on earth". Maybe it won't be a joke. I hope. All I can do is hope.

Tuesday rant over. Life goes on.

18 Months


There is no denying it....you are a full blown toddler.

But you are still giving kisses on demand which eases the pain of you aging.

You are your parents pride and joy (understatement).

Talk talk talking. You may still say things only we can understand but you are AMAZING at communicating with us. You explain, use words, show us and try and try again. I am so proud.

The day doesn't start or end without you talking about babies. It is usually the first word you say when you wake up.

You love holding, wrapping, kissing and caring for all your baby dolls.

You went through a phase were you wanted us to swaddle your babies over and over again.

Your eyes light up when I lovingly take a turn cuddling one of your dolls. I burp them on my shoulder and soothe them to sleep. Your eyes twinkle watching my every move.

These last few months we have been on the move between UT and CA staying with grandparents. You have been resilient and patient with all the changes. You know you can depend on us to be there during most moments of the day.

You have been in the ocean, the mountains, the desert and everywhere in-between. Your 18mos photoshoot was taken up Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, at the White/Red Pine trailhead. You wore a red romper I wore when I was your age!!

You have been sleeping in your travel crib and really love it.

You ask for "nigh-nights" and will start singing the goodnight song. Bedtime is a positive thing. Hallilueh!!! (refer to months 1-11 if you aren't sure why this excites me).

You are still BFing but we have dwindled to mornings and bedtime. I can't imagine letting either of those feedings go. They are both so special and important to me. I know they are to you as well. Glad it is still working out for both of us.

You are amazing at playing make believe. Sometimes your creativity surprises us. Not because our SuperNova is creative but because you are so young. We think you're brillant.

Make believe phone calls, make believe feedings, make believe owies. Even make believe acting like you are a baby (which in my mind you still are!) You will cry like a little baby and you want me to cradle you and tell you it will all be OK.

You are also an amazing imitator. I guess I must say "wow" a lot because now so do you.

You like to hold my hand an walk with me. You like to hold my hand when you watch gabba gabba and eat too. Gosh, I love it.

You. are. a. monkey!

You climb on everything and swing from everything and are not scared of heights.

You don't walk, you run.

You weigh all of 21lbs and are so strong and agile.

Papa takes you for lots of runs in the jogger and you'll stop and play in parks and then you both come back smelling like wind and sweat :)

The big news this month for you is you are getting a brother or sister this coming April!!!!

My feelings are a tiny bit torn about this for reasons that must be explained in another post. BUT we are SO excited and I am so happy to give you a sibling.

How amazing that this new baby will be born with three faces staring instead of just two? We feel blessed.

Bumps and bruises are what we expect. Your poor knees.

Your hair is fine and blonde and a little wild. it curls up at the bottom and we can't touch it enough.

You don't watch TV all that much but do ask for "gabba gabba" now.

Eating is going well. You love trying new things and still like your ole standbys...cheese, avocado, milk. "Crackies"is also a favorite of yours.

We call you "pickle" most of the time with the occasional nuh nuhs and Novs. When we were in Hawaii in June a little girl on the beach asked if we named you "pickle". Kind of wish we had.

You are so friendly and out going. You want to play with everyone and be friends with everyone. You give hugs and loves freely even when denied. I am so proud at the loving kind soul you are. So nurturing.

I would say your current obsessions are babies, dogs, pointing at and talking about eyes. You love giving other people and things drinks from your sippy (you shared some water with my iphone today). And bouncing on anything is something that never gets boring.

Your feet are looking so long to me. I can see the baby feet fading and the little girl feet taking their place.

I still have moments of guilt. I spend a lot of time with you but the last month or so have felt lots of nausea with baby #2 and I am way boring. I just don't have the energy to chase you like I have before. Thank goodness for your Dad....but I don't want this to be the beginning of some premature separation. You know? I love you being independent and you are great at independent play but I am not ready to let you far from me. Guessing I never will be.

Work has been good and busy in spurts. I just wish that all my energy could be saved for you...but I guess that's not realistic. Just know that I want that.

If a momma and baby bubble exsisted I would buy one so we could escape there whenever we needed (BFing time?).

I am constantly amazed that someone as imperfect and flawed as me could help to create and produce the perfection that you are. Your sweet kind effervescent spirit engulfs me. I am overwhelmed by you and who you are becoming. I want to give you everything you need to fly and fly and fly some more. I hope my weakness and follies don't hold you back at all.

I hope you always let me wonder at you..even if at times I need to do it from afar. Just know I will always want to be closer.

Being your Mom is the thing I'm most proud of. I love you my sweet Novs.


(ps. ignore the color in this post. Argh. I have been having a wreck of a time with labs getting my scans right. I do apologize if they are wonky).



One Month Ago

It's been a whole month since we moved out of our beloved home in Long Beach.

Looking at these photos of our neighborhood, park (frisbee golf course!) and our yard, makes it seem like it is so much further away than just 30 days.

We had a great month. Lots of work, a trip to Hawaii, play time with friends and family.

Taking a road trip to Utah today to spend some time there. Still booking work in California (and everywhere)...but will be in the Salt Lake City area more than usual for the next couple of months. Excited for those warm summer nights and bonfires in the canyons.

We miss Nova's home...but have kind of realized being together is 'home".  It's summer and I am with my two favorites. No complaints.

Nova's Home

Today we say goodbye to Nova's home.

We really moved here for her. Any important event worth remembering has to do with her for the most part.

We wanted to find a space that felt right for her to be born in. We wanted to move into a home that we could see ourselves becoming parents in. The home we affectionately called "The Oasis" was just that.

Do I have regrets? Sure. Change makes you think about all the things you wish you could change....but I can tell you with 100% surety I don't have regrets about not photographing our life here enough. I shot a lot. A lot more than I even shared. I do regret not sharing more (if any) videos of her, but I have them so I guess we can do a blast from the past down the road.

Best moment in this home: cradling my baby girl up through the water and into my arms the moment she was born. In our bedroom. In this house. I think we lived here for that moment and that moment alone.

Worth it.

For what this house means to me this post seems trite and impossible to do justice. For that I am sorry. Some things are too big to write or even photograph. Becoming a mom is just one of those things.

On to other homes..and hopefully more babies. xxoo.


(polaroid image taken by our mailbox and house #'s when she was just a few days old)


Bonus Family

Grant's family doesn't have any "step" parents or "in laws"...they have bonus dads and bonus siblings. I really love that.

These are a few shots from the contax and expired film I shot on Easter.

Just felt like giving a HUGE public thanks to Nancy and Hugh for all their help moving this week. Such lifesavers. We love you guys so much.

PS. how rad are Grandma Betty and Grandpa George? Hugh's mom and Nancy's dad...who we get to see at almost all family gatherings. How cool is that? Grandma Betty sang "this lil piggy went to market..." to Novs and she just sat and stared at Grandma with delight.

PSS. I am also loving the "tired dad" shot of Grant. Rubbing his eyes with pickle upside down. It's exhausting being a dad sometimes.

Moving & Travel Plans

We are moving...nowhere.

Really, we are going to be Gypsies for a few months.

It's not going to be that different from every other summer. We are use to being all over the place during our busy work season. The difference is all of our stuff will be in storage.

Here is the schedule so far:

SoCal- June 1-6

Kauai- June 7-14

Maui- June 15-18

SoCal- June 19-30

Between SoCal and Utah for July and August

Bay Area/San Francisco- August 24-25

Big Sur- Sept 6-9


I am sure more stops will be added but this is a good start.

If you are interested in booking me for work in any of these locations (or any other locations) during these dates, please shoot me an email @ info@rachelthurston.com.

We are especially excited to catch up with friends and family in Utah. Summers in Utah are super dreamy. We already have plans to night swim on the rooftop pool at Snowbird, Watch movies in the park, Camp in the mountains, Go on LOTS of dates while Gma and Gpa Thurston babysit!!!

The plan is to be back in Southern California fulltime, living in a home by September-ish.

That is the plan. Now you know. Let's say goodbye to the Oasis and hello to adventure!


15 Months

We are moving out of your house this week.

We are sad.

You were born here and have spent the majority of your days pressed up against the glass windows and running around on the concrete floors.

Every day you seem more and more like a little girl and not a baby...maybe you are trying to tell us you are ready for new things? Ready for the next adventure?

I love these photos of you. You with your beloved iphones, with just a tee on..being comfortable in your space. The house is a mess, the exposure on these shots aren't perfect but they are so US.

You are my everything.

You give kisses and hugs on demand..and sometimes not on demand. You pretty much always want to be hugging or kissing something or someone.

You bring your arm up to your shoulder and make a rocking motion and comfort sounds to indicate a hug. Just how I have always hugged you!!

Your kisses are sometimes like head butts and are either open mouth or little pop blows on our cheeks or legs.

So SO affectionate..and I couldn't be happier that this is part of you.

You like to eat with a fork or spoon and try really hard.

You also like to feed us your food either before it goes in your mouth or after you have chewed it for a bit.

You are always sharing.

You are actually super surprised to be around kids who don't seem to like sharing. You constantly hand toys and books and food to everyone around you.

I love watching you and Winston play with each other. I know there will come a time when you both become more possessive...but for now I enjoy how happy you both are to share each other's toys and sippy cups.

I just caught you two giggling together in your bedroom.

Running and climbing. You can get on top of anything now and testing us by standing on chairs is your favorite.

Still BFing and since you had a cold the last couple weeks it seems like you want to eat with mom non-stop. So I've started walking around with you while you are eating..editing on my computer..packing a box. I even slipped the other day while you were eating and landed right on my butt. You never even unlatched. Amazing persistence.

You sense change..and want to stay close to comfort and familiarity.

You have started running your tongue back and forth across your lips when you are happy, excited or being busy.

Lately you have been trying things on..like my bras around your neck and then checking yourself out in the full length mirror.

You talk a lot and jabber like you are making sentences...but the only words you say for sure are: ball, baby, mama, dada, papa, bye bye, hi, eye.

You also sign: more, all done and milk.

You have an elaborate "sound" vocabulary that tells us pretty much anything you want or need. A refreshing sound when you are thirsty. Clicking noises when you want to listen to music. Bark, meow, moo, quack, monkey noises, birdies sounds (caa)...

I like how you play so well with others and on your own. You will wander around singing to yourself and play pretend.

You feed your babies bottles and food..and try to feed us as well.

I like how you will find little corners and spots and take a sit down and rest. We could be at a cafe outside, walking around our neighborhood. Sometimes a girl needs to rest.

You like to hold things. Always holding something.

Most anytime we need to put a shirt on you or a jacket on you have to trade hands with whatever your holding to put your arm through the sleeve.

You especially like to hold things while you nurse with me. A favorite, besides you pink blanket, has been a huge stuffed bear. It's ridiculous. I can't even see you while you are eating when bear is with us.

When we take you for walks on our block you stop to hug and kiss the gnomes in the yards, sit on all the chairs and benches and blow on the pinwheel.

Since you turned one you have pretty much slept 11-12hrs a night straight. Thank you.

Changing diaper time is not your favorite. We have started singing Old Mcdonald in order to distract you. Works sometimes..but only if we are super animated.

Sometimes life is very dramatic and a girl just needs to throw herself on the floor and roll back and forth crying. A few minutes of that and you always feel better. We just watch wide eyed.

I am sad to take you away from your home. I am sad you won't even remember this home...and it was such a transformative place for all of us.

I will miss you being in all your favorite spots.

I will miss chasing you around the kitchen and through the hallway.

I will miss sitting and staring out our windows as we nursed. I spent hours and HOURS doing this.

I will miss you slamming all the doors shut as you tell us "bye bye!".

I will miss seeing you wave and smile at me from the front door window when I was out in the office.

I will miss the calm and peace this space fills me with.

I know it was the right place to move and birth you and spend your first year.

You are our little pickle and no matter where we live you will always be our little pickle.

I am SO happy I took so many photos in our home and tried to record your first months of life.

I just feel so blessed I get to have you and dad with me. Where I live, you live. That makes me immeasurably happy.




12 Months of Nova

My sweet bestie Heather gifted me these photo props when our Nutty was born.

It was no easy task to take these photos ON TOP of the non-photo prop card shoots I was doing with her monthly. Why do I take on so many *extra* projects?

I am glad I did it. This is fun to look at. I missed the yellow blanket on month 4...and they were taken in different spots w different lighting...BUT most of them were taken on the actual day she turn that age. I'm tired just thinking about it.

These photos mean so much to me..especially this week as we pack up and say goodbye to the home Nova was born in and the home we became parents in. I will tell you more of our plans later..but for now just know that there will be more reminiscing and remembering this week as we say our goodbyes.

Moving on will be OK because Grant and Nova are moving on with me. What else really matters? Walls can be replaced, right?

Being A Mom is my Favorite

Mothers Day 2012 and here is a look at me and my Nova from the last year as shot on my iphone.

Nothing in my life has made me more happy. Nothing.

Happy Mothers Day to all women who are nurturing caring and loving others. And a special shout out to my Mom, my Mother in law and my Grandmothers. I am in awe of all of you.

(A lot of these were posted on my instagram feed. Follow me at @_rachelthurston)


We are super busy around these parts.

Lots of shooting. Lots of planning. Lots of things I am excited to share with you..once the time is right.

When my life starts to feel like it is spinning faster and faster there is really nothing that centers me more than downtime with Grant and Nova. We will stop everything last minute, pile into the car and head to the beach for the last few minutes of light.

Nova stretches out full body on the sand. Grant insists on carrying every last item..leaving me looking lazy and spoiled. And I squint over their heads into the sun...and for those few minutes everything looks golden.

Try giving your favorite people just 15mins of being together time and tell me if it gives you the same thing it gives me.

Tomorrow I head off for a day trip to Sacramento to photograph a sweet newborn and her family. It will be a long, exhausting, satisfying day. I will be glad I went. And I will be grateful I spend as much time as I can in between work filling up on family time. I can't be a good photographer if I am not first and foremost a good wife and a good mother. If I sacrifice my relationships every other part of my life suffers.

I know blogging has been quiet. But like I said on twitter awhile back...If I am being quiet online you know I am being loud somewhere else.

Balance Balance Balance. What do you do to keep centered and balanced?