for those of you who have followed along with me since i had our first baby, you know that i took over 10,000 photos of her first year.  yes, you read that right.  (in case you missed it, i wrote an ebook about how to photograph your baby’s first year to inspire new mamas with their cameras).   when i was growing up, my mama was always wonderful about documenting our childhood in pictures.  and being that my childhood didn’t have digital cameras, she was also diligent about printing those photos and placing them beautifully in albums upon albums upon albums.  when i was little, i used to pour over those albums, as my mama would retell funny stories about me at a young age and walk down memory lane herself.  even when my boyfriend (now husband) came over, we would have some laughs as we turned each page and i showed him my childhood.  i also placed a huge emphasis on how darling i was as a baby, to reel him in.  (i mean, it totally worked.  married for 10 years with our second baby on the way.  i knew what i was doing.)  all of these things come to mind as i dreamed of our baby’s first year photo album and i knew that i had to follow in my mama’s footsteps and create books upon books for my daughter to see.  and to show her boyfriend, should my husband ever allow her to date…which is highly unlikely.

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after her first birthday party was enjoyed and photographed (if you missed it, click here to see), i went into full “baby’s first year photo album” mode.  i knew immediately that i wanted to make her album through artifact uprising because their photo books are simply stunning and timeless.  i like to have keepsakes that are like my home and my style, simple and timeless.  it may have taken me a few hours to put together (mostly because i am all about the details and i was equally crying as i was picking out the pictures), but creating a photo book through artifact uprising is so simple!  in the end, i love that her first year album starts with pictures of her in the hospital and ends with her at her first birthday party, with all the best moments in between.

Baby’s First Year Photo Album

Baby's First Year Photo Album | Bethadilly Photography

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Letters To My Children | 15 Months + 15 Weeks (In My Belly)

thursday, july 27, 2017

dear babies,

my heart is full.

the life that your daddy and i wanted is just playing out beautifully and it’s all because of you two.  from the moment the doctor placed big sister in our arms last year, i turned to your daddy and said, “let’s do this again.”  and while most daddies would halt the breaks, your daddy quickly agreed.  if there is anything we wanted for our children, it was for them to be very close in age.  we want you to never know life without the other and grow up being one another’s best friend.  we want you to have the childhood of your dreams, with a sidekick sharing every single moment and memory.  we want you to know that your sibling will always be your biggest fan and will always be there to hold your hand.

to my oldest:

everything about you at 15 months is pure bliss.  although calm and reserved, like the little lady you are, you are equally full of life and the first to offer a heartwarming smile.  and babe, are you smart!  it was only a few weeks ago that we were at dinner, talking about how cute you are as you played quietly in your highchair.  as you were entertaining yourself, your daddy asked me, “don’t you think it’s adorable when she claps her hands.”  all of a sudden, you looked up and clapped your hands!  it was in that moment that we realized that you are listening at all times, and can truly understand certain words.  since that moment, we have taken that to heart and really watched how you respond to simple commands.

you can easily hand mommy your milk, play peek a boo, clean up your toys, put your books away neatly in their bin (yes, you literally put them in the same direction!…you are a little mama!), stand up and sit down when asked, dance and pat your belly.  while you have always loved to read books, you now turn the pages a little slower and really examine the pictures before moving onto the next page.  it is as if you are retelling the story to yourself and it thrills us to pieces.

when it comes to eating, you are a blueberry addict!  you love, love, love blueberries.  and while there are a lot of things you will share with the puppies, there has never been a blueberry shared.  you also really love organic cheddar bunnies, cilantro chili, strawberries, yogurt, cheese, beans and red peppers.  and steak!  you really love steak.

steak is easy to eat with the 12 teeth you have!  four of those are molars and you got all four of them last week!  you are literally the easiest teether anyone has ever seen.  you wake from nap with two new teeth and a smile.  you don’t show any signs of teething, making it an ultimate surprise when you open your mouth for your toothbrush and reveal new teeth to us!

while you aren’t walking yet, you are cruising around really well.  you love to walk along the couch and your play table and pull up on everything!  the thing is, you have become a very fast crawler!  you know that crawling will get you from point a to point b in the blink of an eye, so it’s your preferred method.  but babies who crawl well are known to excel at fine motor skills, making some of the most famous surgeons excellent crawlers.  or so someone told me…

since my last letter to you, we have learned that you will be a big sister in 6 months!  just watching you giggle at the puppies and play kindly with your friends, i am so excited to see you as a big sister.  i will always love you because you made me a mama and i can’t wait to give you the gift of a sibling.  you are going to be a perfect role model and we couldn’t be more excited for you.

to my littlest:

we learned about you on a sunday in may.  mama had been feeling a little tired for about a week and excitedly bought a test…only to wait another week to take it.  i was the same way with your sister, too nervous to take the test.  i always want a plus sign so badly that i get nervous.  after daddy finally urged me to see if what we hoped was true, i took the test and immediately two lines appeared in the window.  immediately.  i then took a digital test, and a plus sign popped up quickly.

the first thing about of my mouth was, “well peanut, you are going to be a big sister!!!”  to which your sister looked at me with a quizzical look and then kept drinking her milk.  then i started jumping up and down when your daddy hugged me, to which he said, “be careful!”  and for the next 5 weeks, it was a beautiful secret that just your daddy, your sister and i knew about.  i love those first couple months of being pregnant, when we are the only ones who know.  i love the secret smiles that we share and the anticipation of seeing you for the first time at the doctor.

your sister got to see you get your first picture taken and hear your heart for the first time, right along with us.  it’s heartwarming to know that she will literally see your whole life.  if there is one thing you should know about your big sister, it is that she is so loving and there is no better big sister to wish for.  she is it.  you are so lucky to have her to look up to.  i can’t wait for you to meet her, you will adore her.

if there is anything that i am most excited for, it is watching the two of you together.  she will always be there for you to help you when you stumble, to hold your hand, to listen to your secrets and to kiss you when you worry.  she will be the one to find you when you hide, to chase you with the sprinkler, to pick up your dropped ice cream cone and shush you in church.

as you continue to grow and grow, we can’t wait to meet you in january.  we are getting your room ready for you, one decision at a time and dreaming what life as as family of four will be like.  know that you are so loved and that there is a little girl waiting to tickle your toes.

love, mama

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creative blur is something that can take a photograph from boring to not boring, just by thinking through your camera settings.  while we were vacationing in north carolina, i was really excited to visit the biltmore estates.  while the inside of the house proved to be not as impressive as i imagined, we did enjoy walking the grounds of the estate and taking in the many gardens that are on the property.  for those of you who have been with me awhile, you know that, while i am getting better with plants, i am far from being an expert gardener.  just walking through these beautiful gardens made me really appreciate the full time gardeners who tend them; what a job!  with the prompt for week 24 being creative blur, the beautiful blooming subjects provided to be a perfect opportunity to get creative with a low aperture.  i find that photographing with low aperture is especially fun and powerful when given a subject that repeats, like the flowering bush below.  using a lower aperture allowed me to single out one strand of the blooming bush to showcase, while allowing the rest of the beautiful bush to fall into a beautiful blur.

photographing my everyday is one of my passions.  to inspire your everyday photography, be sure to read the everyday photograph.

to join in on the bethadilly 52, where we take one photo a week using the hashtag #thebethadilly52 on instagram, check out the prompt list.

The Bethadilly 52 Week 24 – Creative Blur

The Bethadilly 52 Week 24 - Creative Blur | Bethadilly Photography

this photo was achieved using : my nikon and wide angle lens.

my settings were : ISO 100 | f/1.4 | 1/1600ss

 . . .

to learn more about creative blur, be sure to read 3 effective ways to create blur within photographs.

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while traveling we stumbled upon a wall in north carolina that contained wishes upon wishes of things people wanted to do or see or accomplish before they die. of course, it got me thinking about what i would write and what happened next was humbling. sure, i would love to have a getaway in london with my husband (fingers crossed for next year, babe ). and it goes without saying that i want to see the faces of all my children on each of their wedding days and hold my own grand babies and retire in a farmhouse that has a fireplace and a porch made for wine sipping and hand holding. but more than any of those things or moments, above all of that, i simple want to feel like i did it. I want to feel like my children know they were loved fiercely, with my whole being, every damn day. i want our home to feel like a place that they return to each chance they get, not because they have to visit but because they miss us and long for us and find our home to be their home always . i want to feel as though i have lived my whole life with intention, giving all i can to the people within our four walls. and i want to be their first phone call always because they know their mama will just be so proud, big or small. when it comes down to it, things are things. but when He tells me it’s my time, i want to leave behind a life and a legacy of people who just want to live fully. i want to smile and have zero regrets and know that, if all i accomplished was growing and loving tiny humans into people who know where home is, it’s a life well lived. it’s not a dream i save money for, but something i do every day when i kiss my people and every night when i pray for them and our life. in everything i do, i do it for this feeling. we get this life one time. that’s all.

photographing my everyday is one of my passions.  to inspire your everyday photography, be sure to read the everyday photograph.

to join in on the bethadilly 52, where we take one photo a week using the hashtag #thebethadilly52 on instagram, check out the prompt list.

The Bethadilly 52 Week 26 – Street Photography

The Bethadilly 52 Week 26 - Street Photography | Bethadilly Photography

this photo was achieved using : my nikon and wide angle lens.

my settings were : ISO 320 | f/2.2 | 1/800ss

 . . .

to learn more about street photography, be sure to read 5 places to look for inspiration.

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summer evenings bring an opportunity for family time in a new way.  as the sun is out until later and the weather is warm, we are intentional about going for evening walks after dinner time with our baby girl.  i love everything about our evening walks and they are something that i always want to remember.  i want to remember how our little girl curiously looks around, from left to right, taking in the details and sounds of the neighborhood.  how it’s a beautiful chance for my husband and i to slow down and talk about our days, our life, our dreams.  i want to always remember the sound of lawnmowers mowing and the smell of fresh cut grass paired with someone barbecuing hamburgers.  it’s those smells that also take me back to my own childhood and define summer nights.  of all the things that i love and want to remember, i love how much our little girl adores strolling with daddy and mommy in her stroller.  she is definitely one to appreciate a simple family outing.  and it truly is the simply family outings and our simple moments together that define our family’s strength.  when i saw the potential for leading lines within the crosswalk, i seized the opportunity to document the moment with my camera.

as a mama, my goal was to photograph my baby’s first year perfectly.  to inspire you to do the same, be sure to read the first twelve.

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Strolling With Daddy by Bethany Deschamp

Strolling With Daddy by Bethany Deschamp | Bethadilly Photography

this photo was achieved using : nikon d750 and sigma art 24mm f/1.4 lens.

my settings were : ISO 160 | f/2.8 | 1/640ss

 . . .

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