Hello lovely Gainesville friends! Do you have the *cutest* kid? Do you want the chance to get FREE photography and possibly even FREE clothes? If so, please apply to have your child model for us!
We are partnering with Lauli Designs, a clothing company run by two mamas who happen to be sisters as well. These ladies sew some amazing creations- I know, because I’m one of their best customers! They make everything from maxaloones (pants that will fit your baby from 6 months to 3 years of age) to cloth diapers to hoodies. Here is their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1748074008799693/
Here’s the deal: they need ads to grow their business and we are looking for kids to model the clothes. Children must be between 6 months to 6 years old, have transportation to and from the session, have parental permission (a release will be required before the child can participate), and availability the day and time of the shoot. If your child is selected, you will receive FREE copies of any images that are selected by Lauli, featured in ads, and possibly even get to keep the clothes they model.
The shoot is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, February 4th, from 9-11 am. This session will be in downtown Gainesville (specifics to be determined later). After your child’s part is over, you are free to leave. All children must be accompanied by parent or legal guardian at all times.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on our business page on FB (www.facebook.com/waterbearphotography) to apply. All that is needed to apply is a recent snap of your child in full light, their age, and that you are available the day and time of the shoot. Please no personal information, photos where children are not fully dressed, or multiple applications. Applications will be submitted to Lauli Designs and those selected will be notified. Thanks, and good luck!
Happy New Year! 2016 brought a lot of highs and lows for us; we unexpectedly lost our Irish Wolfhound, Leo, and W’s father, Bill, to cancer. Amidst mourning, we also started two businesses (WBP being one of them) and got to watch our son, X, embody a million small miracles each day. We are still waiting to be matched for our adoption and are coming up on two years being on the list. To put it mildly, it’s been a roller coaster of a year.
My prayer for 2017 is that it’s a year of respite and growth. We’re saving for a new home so that our family has room to expand. We’re also really trying to figure out if we should stay in Gainesville or move elsewhere before X starts school. While we love our home here, we aren’t sure if it has what our family needs in the long run. I’m hopeful that this year can be one where we truly have time to gather ourselves and make future decisions.
WBP is heading in some new directions that both scare and exhilarate me. I’m being challenged every day and I’m so thankful for my awesome clients who continue to spur me to grow further. If you have a crazy idea for a session- try me! Our only limitations are the ends of our imaginations.
I was able to spend today doing what I love (a photography session) and what I needed (giving my house a deep clean!). We’re home, unpacked, and ready for 2017! Praying that you have a happy and healthy year! ❤
2017 is going to bring a lot of changes in our business. We hope that you’ll join us for the journey as we step outside our comfort zone to create beautiful works of art! Though we’re still on vacation (see some pics below), we’ve been working hard to assemble a creative team for our new ventures. While not everything is finalized yet- details to come soon- we’ll say that we will be partnering with some incredible mom-run businesses this year!
We will also be trying to feature a “Business of the Month” starting in January. Our goal with this is to be more intentional about supporting other parent-run businesses (dad-run businesses are more than welcome to apply as well!). The selected businesses will be featured on our blog and receive free or discounted sessions in exchange for trade. If you would like to get photography and publicity, please drop me a line! January and February are already booked…but March-December is wide open!
Here are some of our vacation pictures. We’re loving our time out West and wish you a happy and healthy new year! See you soon!
My heart is so full right now. I’ve been really lagging in updating this blog because I’ve been so busy and booked up with your beautiful holiday shoots. Thank you. Thank you for supporting me in this. Thank you for fueling my passion, my creativity, and giving me my dream job. On my way our of town for vacation, I even stopped by the hospital to do some newborn photos. Hopefully, I’ll get to spend this time with my family catching up here, dreaming of fun ideas to try when I get home, and bonding with my family in a wild new place. For now, here’s the Christmas card photo I took this year. Confession: we got him to smile by pretending we were dying…he’s a strange kid, but we love him. Happy holidays from the Water Bear family to yours!
Prepare for some feels (and maybe some boobage). When X was born almost 11 months ago (already?!), we struggled to breastfeed from the get go. Tongue tie, hypertonic muscles, and more caused me constant, excruciating pain. In my head was an anxiety-filled countdown until it was time for his next feeding. Sometimes, when the pain was too much, I would pump instead (though I never got much). In addition to the stress of feeding him, I had a rough recovery from birth.
I remember feeling like a failure the first time I gave him formula and then crying out of relief because it meant I didn’t have to go through the pain of breastfeeding. I remember pumping constantly throughout the night to keep my supply up. I remember the countless specialists we saw, friends I confided in, and times I broke down in front of Will. I remember the first time that I didn’t want to look at or be close to my own baby.
Thankfully, there exists a vast network of support! My OBGYN helped me have a healthy pregnancy, achieve the natural birth I had desired, and referred me to PT. An ARNP clipped X’s tongue tie and provided countless resources like referrals to PT, OT, and Craniosacral Therapy. Numerous lactation consultants and nurses helped us along the way too. I wasn’t sure I was going to make 3 days breastfeeding and we’re still going strong at 11 months! Thank you ladies- you all hold a very special place in my heart.
These pictures (taken by W) mean so much to me because I never thought they would be possible. I would go on to talk about my mom tribe and him but X would probably be in college before I finished. Needless to say, the support is out there. If you need help, don’t wait! This time is too short and too precious to not be able to enjoy it. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your little ones. Message me if you ever need encouragement- I’m always looking to expand my village. 🙂
Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve updated; to say this is a busy season of life is a drastic understatement! God and our Gainesville community have blessed Water Bear Photography in a big way and we’ve been incredible busy. Additionally, we are leasing space for our first ever set of indoor mini-sessions! Incredibly all of our spots sold out within 36 hours of us posting about them…and here I was, terrified no one would one book. This has been a huge exercise in faith. Faith in God, faith in my community, and faith in myself.
It’s hard to see what will happen down the road, but if this lease goes well, WBP may have a permanent studio space! It’s my constant prayer that God uses this business not only to serve my family, but also the people of Gainesville. That it helps to build relationships, bring small businesses together, and foster trust. I hope that my clients know how much I think about them; once you book, you’re family! I cheer for your successes, pray over you, and always try to make you feel that your session is the most important one I’ve ever done (because it is!). Thank you, thank you to those of you cheering us on. I could never do this without you.
This picture below is from the Crafts and Coffee event hosted by Gator Fun 4 Kids at Buddy Creations in the Oaks Mall. I am fortunate enough to call the event organizer a friend, and she booked me to man their Fall photobooth. I had so much fun taking photos of sweet kiddos while getting to know more local mamas. 🙂
When it comes to things that we consider failed endeavors, we can either content ourselves with the results or we can come back to face it again at a later time. I often work with babies and small children so it’s always a toss-up how a shoot will go. Nine times of ten we can still get some great shots, but what happens when they’re in melt down city? We try again later.
Now a shoot with a crying baby isn’t exactly the end of the world, but I do believe it applies to bigger problems in life. See below. I tried to plan a 10 month shoot that I thought X would LOVE. It was outside, had bubbles, and water- pretty much everything he adores. Did he like it? Not one bit. In fact, out of over 200 images, this one was basically the only one that turned out OK. So I posted it to social media and it became one of my most popular images (I’m still baffled about it too). What I considered a failure, others adored.
I’ve recently fallen in love with this quote by Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. Either I win or I learn.” It’s so easy to get discouraged when we don’t feel like we’re making the progress we hoped or when we see others out-performing us, however, I love how the perspective can shift from failure to education with this mindset. Then, just maybe, next time the baby will smile for the camera.
W and I renewed our adoption home study yesterday and to celebrate, we wanted to do a family photo session give away! It is open now until July 17th- the day that I was adopted- and is open to residents of Gainesville, FL, and Columbus, OH (OH residents must be able to schedule between July 24-30th when I’m in town). While I will do my best to accommodate the type of session that you would like, I can’t offer wedding or newborn sessions for this give away. The winner will get a 45 minute long session and up to 15 edited digital copies of their photos. Good luck!
Here’s the link to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway
As of today, my baby is six months old! It brings a lot of emotions; sadness, joy, relief that I’ve kept this tiny human alive thus far…X can now say “mama”, “dada”, and makes a brave attempt at “I love you” (it comes out more like, “ah wah oo”). He has his first tooth. He can sit unassisted. He even pulled up to standing the other day which stressed me out to no end.
All these milestones mark an ending of the baby phase and the beginning of childhood, with the promise of someday adulthood. Ok, I know I’m reaching a bit with that one, but as a mom, it’s hard to NOT look so far ahead. “Enjoy it, it goes so fast” seems to be the mantra on repeat. However, I read an article the other day and really liked the quote that went something like this, “Growing up isn’t a tragedy; it’s the point”.
I can see both sides of it. We struggled to get pregnant and did our best to soak up every single happy milestone because the fear that we might lose him always loomed in the back of my mind. Every week, I dragged out a whiteboard with the week number and date on it to take a picture so that I could watch my belly grow. I did it to celebrate and to have evidence that he was here.
Now that same baby has been born (healthily!) and is six months old! That fear of losing him is still there, but now it’s morphing into a fear of losing his bright and bubbly babyhood. As some of you might know, W and I are in the adoption process too. We don’t know how old our daughter will be when we get her, so X might be the only baby baby (you know what I mean) that we get to experience.
I’m trying to find the balance of cherishing this stage while also rejoicing in his milestones and achievements. Sometimes that means putting my camera away and just enjoying his smiles without frantically trying to document them. Sometimes that means crying over his new developments. God has richly blessed us with our surprise miracle baby and I want to soak up each moment without fear of the future.
Even when he bites the dog.
To say that becoming a mom has changed a lot about me is an understatement. A lot of them are predictable changes; I now have a deep and abiding love of elastic waistbands and appreciation for the mom bun/yoga pants combo. However, up until the end of my pregnancy I had no idea that babywearing was a “thing”. At this point, some of you are nodding sagely while others are left feeling the same way I did (huh?).
Remember how people used to tote around tiny dogs in their purses? This is like that but with the added benefit of close, skin-to-skin bonding with your child. After X and I struggled so hard to nurse (see my previous post, Breastfeeding Photography), babywearing became our special thing. It helped to forge that bond in those rocky first few weeks and is still a huge part of our daily lives (and how I accomplish 99% of tasks).
Recently, an Erizo handwoven wrap called “Mr. X’s Adventure” came to live with us. It was a custom piece designed by another mama for her own Mr. X. Her inspiration for the colorway? A cave diving photo by the late Wes Skiles (see below). When I saw this wrap existed, I had to have one for my Mr. X- it was just too perfect! As some of you know, W and I met due to our love of cave diving and our Mr. X is named for a famous cave diver and conservationist. This piece of functional artwork holds a special place in my heart and keeps my baby close to it as well.