Kacey Crawford Photography » a Philadelphia, South Jersey and Tri-State portrait and wedding photographer

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Day 1: Tales of a [insert adjective here] mother

IMG_03295 months ago, this sweet, schmooshy, cuddly little girl made me a mother – a miraculous gift and a role I didn’t think I would ever get to play – and she has been patiently enduring my transition into this new role ever since.

I used to be one of those women in my younger years who probably took for granted the whole having children thing. I recall casually thinking “sure, I will probably have kids someday, when I meet the right partner, when I’m ready, after my career is more established, after I travel and see the world a bit more, and, and, and…” How incredibly naive I was and little did I know then that what was once a casual, almost dismissive “given” would become such a deep rooted desire, a longing, a daily prayer, a painful struggle, an unfulfilled hope for so many years and then a heartbreaking, world shattering, tragic loss…but then…

THEN came our miracle.

As I look back on the journey that has brought me to this place, into this season, into this role as a new, 39 year old mother of a healthy, smiley 5 month old, I am filled with emotions too varied and complex to often express and gratitude too much to contain. But because I want to always bathe in that gratitude and never lose sight of how so very blessed I am, I find myself sometimes almost denying that motherhood is HARD. It’s almost as if by being honest or transparent about the challenges, that I worry I am being less grateful…but I am learning that it’s BOTH AND, not one or the other. Motherhood is a gift and it is hard and it’s not for the faint of heart and it’s always beautiful and it’s always worth it…and if I deny either, the gratitude or the challenge, I am missing out on the fullness of this transformative experience.

But let me pause for a moment…as I must acknowledge an elephant [that always seems to lurk] in the mama room…scratch that… in the woman room…that ugly, self-doubting, comparison-game-playing version of myself, of ourselves, that gets tangled up in pursuing the “perfect pinterest-worthy life” rather than focusing on what’s real, what’s right in front of us, what and who we are being called to as women, as mothers, as people. ENOUGH…that is enough… of that senseless pursuit YOU, ME, ALL OF US. and ENOUGH — you are enough. Hear me again, you, me, all of us…YOU ARE ENOUGH. God has uniquely designed and created each of us with a purpose and a calling far bigger than what will ever be reflected on a darn pinterest board or instagram feed. Now don’t get me wrong — I am not anti-social media at all — infact, I utilize a lot of social media in my career. But I am advocating for a release from all the unfair, unnecessary and unrealistic expectations we allow influences from those sources to place on us. There is such a fine line between jealousy and an unrest of one’s spirit — and I have had to ask myself the tough question lately of whether this angst I feel is just masked jealousy I have pent up inside or whether it’s more. And I know now that it’s more… my spirit is disturbed by some things I am seeing and hearing. I am seeing women and mothers tear each other down daily – maybe not intentionally but it’s there — in their judgement of each other’s choices and abilities, in their jockeying for position in the Whos Who of Moms Everywhere, in their never ending drive for their kid to be #1, in their competitive efforts to out-organic each other, in their somewhat idolatrous quest to simplify…and the most disturbing part, is that I have gotten tangled all up in it all too. ENOUGH! I am calling me, us to a higher pursuit — a pursuit that seeks God first…a pursuit that honors our calling as women, as mothers, as friends, etc…a pursuit that begins and ends with a spirit of love and gratitude…a pursuit that will dirty our hands and blister our feet in love and service to others…a pursuit that isn’t about us at all.

Now where was I? Oh yes…motherhood. The beautiful, transformative experience of motherhood.

I have learned so much in just 5 short months, but mostly how much I have left to learn. Now more than ever, I am grateful for my village, for the Mama Tribe, for those who have gone before me in this crazy journey and now lend their wisdom, insight, instincts and encouragement. Motherhood is not meant to be a solo journey, that is for certain. On those days when I am an unshowered, frantic, hot mess of a person, I know I am not alone…and there is such comfort in that.

As our little one gets older and bigger by the second, I am feeling the pressure of maximizing every moment we have to spend with her. I feel this crazy crunch and almost a panic to be as intentional as possible with talking to her, narrating life to her, reading to her, praying with her, singing to her, teaching her sign language,  stretching and moving and strengthening her little body, tickling her, etc…as if those things alone are going to dictate the kind of kid she is or how healthy or how intelligent or how social or how well rounded she is. I know there is such value in doing these things for sure but it’s a bit arrogant of me to think that I have that much influence over her whole personhood or demeanor when the truth is that in many ways she is already who she is…and will continue to grow into more of herself.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” ~ Psalm 139:13

Little lass is already known by God…and there is such liberation in that. We don’t have to create her into this person we think she should be. We need to steward and nurture and help call to fruition the person God has created her to be and the gifts and abilities he has already given her and the ones he may give her later…but it doesn’t depend on me, on us. That’s a game changer, dear reader…and that is where the real transformation happens – in acknowledging that while my role as a mother is very important and is a very high calling, everything doesn’t start and stop with me and little lass’s future and self and life story doesn’t rest solely in my hands. Thank God for that sweet sweet truth…

…and for the gift and miracle of motherhood.

 

   
October 9, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Wendy - How dear and love the pics. Following along on Insta

October 2, 2014 - 6:52 pm

admin - Angie – I love YOU my friend — and thank you for always going “there” in conversation and in life with me…and for letting me always think out loud 😉 You are a gem and I am so grateful for you!

October 2, 2014 - 6:51 pm

admin - Skye – Congratulations on your little girl and thank you for your encouragement – greatly appreciated! ~kpc

October 2, 2014 - 6:25 pm

Angelsea Urban - I. love. this. and YOU! Great post!

October 2, 2014 - 5:27 pm

Skye - This is just perfect. I’m a new mom to a 5 week old little lady. This expresses so many things I want to remember in my day-to-day. I’m going to bookmark it and will return often. I wish you the best with your 31 days of writing!

Once Upon a Vintage Inspired Nursery

3 1/2 weeks and counting…until Little Lass Crawford arrives…that is if she comes “on time”. We cannot wait to lay eyes on you and hold you closely in our arms, our darling daughter…but no rush little one – take your time and you come when you’re ready…only you and God know what your birthday will be 😉

In the meantime, your Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa McGowan have been busy at work getting your room all ready for you. Every color, every detail, every piece of decor and furniture was imagined with your little self in mind…and fortunately for all of us, your Grandma M is wildly creative and helped bring our vision to life, even more fully and beautifully than I imagined it or could have ever done myself.

May this room be a sanctuary for your blossoming soul, a safe haven for your prayers, an open meadow for your imagination, a stage for your stories and a place where you feel surrounded by love and light and beauty…from those who love you now and the legacy of love that precedes you, my sweet girl. You are so very very loved.

 

Now for some pictures and details…

The armoire in your room belonged to your great grandfather, my Daddy’s daddy, Lovett. I unfortunately never got to meet him but my Daddy tells me he was such a loving and hard working man who would have loved us and you very much. Your crib is from your Mommy’s dearest friend Kelly and her son Bruce who wanted you to have a safe, comfortable place to rest your little head. Kelly has been waiting for you and cheering your Mommy on all along, like she always does, and as if she hadn’t already doted on us enough, she hosted and helped plan your baby shower sweet girl — a day I will never forget and will cherish forever.

Your friend Mrs. McFarland embroidered your beautiful name on the back of it but shhhhhh….it’s still a secret from everyone else until you get here 😉 Mommy found some vintage paper dolls and doilies from the 1920s and 30s that she knew belonged in your room. Your {wildly creative and gifted} Grandma M then gathered, collected, refurnished and created the amazing assortment of frames above your crib to show them off. But more on those in a bit…

Your Uncle Bo, Aunt Cheryl, cousins Colleen and Evan, James and Sara and Micaela and Mark gave you this awesome changing table and Uncle Bo even put it together so that Mommy and Daddy didn’t have to pull their hair out trying to figure it all out. Infact, Uncle Bo and your Grandpa M did a lot of work and heavy carrying to help get ready for you lass. And Aunt Cheryl and Colleen worked so hard with Grandma to make your shower so special and perfect. You will be seeing a lot of them and especially Colleen and Evan, and eventually their cute little puppy Tank too, because they live right around the corner and can’t wait to meet you.

Mommy was going to make some tissue paper flowers herself but instead found them already cut out and ready to fold and fluff on Etsy so boom.done.beautiful.

Grandma M is always looking out for pretty, unique things for you little lass — she found these perfect burlap flowers, antiqued vase and vintage Amish dress — and they instantly added such charm to your room.

Grandma M made these adorable paper dresses for your baby shower (and the pennant garlands hanging from your window) and then we repurposed them in your room to give you something pretty to smile at while you’re having your diaper changed. Like I told you, she’s {wildly creative and gifted}!

The frames…oh the frames. I don’t even know where to begin to tell you about these frames my dear girl. I shared my vision for the colors and ideas for your room with my Mommy, your Grandma M. I showed her a couple idea starter photos several months ago when we found out you were a girl…and then imagine my surprise at Christmas when I opened this large box carefully wrapped in tissue paper containing all of the uniquely shaped, sized and painted frames just waiting to be filled. Simply put, little one, your Grandma always goes above and beyond and shows love in such profoundly tangible and meaningful ways. From there, she gathered more papers and embellishments and made the frames come to life by adding your paper dolls and doilies. And then the finishing touches…her Cameo brooch and a heart brooch from your Great Grandma McGowan.  May these be something that you always cherish and hold close because I know I will.

Your friend Tammy made you your very own precious “Lass Crawford” chest to hold all your treasures, critters, discoveries, and other special things. She’s another one of those really creative and gifted types, just like your Grandma.

At night, when it’s just you and me kiddo, I will gently rock you to sleep in this old rocking chair that was made by your Great Great Grandfather. It is here that I will tell you stories and share with you the legacies of love and faith and family. It is here that I will whisper to you about Jesus, it is here that I will hold you close and love you forever.

Mommy and Daddy have some friends, the Marlins, who moved all the way to Africa last year. Kristy, who you will get to meet this fall when they come home to the states for awhile, is working with some brave women over there and teaching them how to make things with their hands so they can begin to put their lives back together after so much pain and sorrow. They started a studio and named it “More Than Sparrows” and Mommy was so excited to be one of their first customers. This little owl was made by a strong woman who has seen and experienced much in her life. May you too be strong in the Lord little one so that when life gets tough, you can rise above and soar again.

Inside these nifty little suitcases are all sorts of fun things…the top one is full of extra decor for your room just incase a dress or pennant needs replacing. The middle one has some really cute pairs of shoes and some of your Mommy’s old baby clothes for when you are old enough to wear them. And the bottom one is full of warm, fleecy blankets given to you by some people who love you very much. Your Daddy picked out this mop-head dolly for you and propped her up inside your crib against the pillow Grandma M made to keep it nice and warm for you until you arrive. Your friend and fellow lover of meadows, Carolyn “Mort”, found and gifted you this antique cradle and bisque faced doll knowing how fitting it would be right below your window with all that golden light coming in. She’s about to be a grandma to 2 little grandbaby girls and is so excited to meet you too. Someday, your Daddy and I will tell you the story of how we chose your name — this little Teddy has your name on her bib — and we will always remember exactly where we were and what we were feeling when God dropped your name on our hearts and minds. Soon enough, little one, soon enough.

Well little lass…there it is, your soon to be nursery…filled with more love, heart and soul than we can often contain…and waiting, waiting for your blessed arrival.

   

Philadelphia Portrait Photographer|Beloved Styled Shoot: Senior

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Creative Directors: Angelsea Urban and Kathy Bryan Azar
Websites: www.angelseaurban.com and www.katherineazar.com

Wardrobe Coordinator: Becka Pillmore
Website: www.pillphotography.com

Caterer: Amie Bigelow Falk
Website: www.imagesbyamie.com

Venue: American Swedish Historical Museum
Website: www.americanswedish.org

Set Design: A Styled Fete
Website: www.astyledfete.com
Provided: bed, chandelier, settee, and other accessories

Other Props: Magpie Vintage Rentals
Website: www.magpievintagerentals.com
Provided: table, chairs, china, glasses, and pillows

Florist: Autumn Snow Floral Design
Website: http://www.autumnsnowfloraldesign.com/

Hair Styling: Brittany Garro and Stephanie Marceli of Karma Salon and Spa
Website: http://www.karma-salonandspa.com/

Makeup: Amy Guirate and Erica Grisafi Greb of DUO Makeup Artistry
Website: www.duomakeupartistry.com

   

Philadelphia Portrait Photographer|Beloved Styled Shoot: Mother and Child

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Creative Directors: Angelsea Urban and Kathy Bryan Azar
Websites: www.angelseaurban.com and www.katherineazar.com

Wardrobe Coordinator: Becka Pillmore
Website: www.pillphotography.com

Caterer: Amie Bigelow Falk
Website: www.imagesbyamie.com

Venue: American Swedish Historical Museum
Website: www.americanswedish.org

Set Design: A Styled Fete
Website: www.astyledfete.com
Provided: bed, chandelier, settee, and other accessories

Other Props: Magpie Vintage Rentals
Website: www.magpievintagerentals.com
Provided: table, chairs, china, glasses, and pillows

Florist: Autumn Snow Floral Design
Website: http://www.autumnsnowfloraldesign.com/

Hair Styling: Brittany Garro and Stephanie Marceli of Karma Salon and Spa
Website: http://www.karma-salonandspa.com/

Makeup: Amy Guirate and Erica Grisafi Greb of DUO Makeup Artistry
Website: www.duomakeupartistry.com

   
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