A bridal shower for a dear friend with Baby Sis JeannieSuh, solo trip to Piper’s for tea and quiet thoughts, a trip to the Rock Shop for a birthday present for MamaSuh next week as well as a good dose of good vibes, a visit to the my favourite little family for some snuggles with my three favourite babies, and frolicking in the fall with my dear Murph.
Your first question is probably what’s a blessingway?
We first read about Blessingways at Birth Without Fear, and then at Tribe de Mama. There were a lot of things we loved about the idea — bringing a group of women together not just to get excited for the new baby but also to love and pamper the mom, fill her with love and support in the last few weeks or days before she gives birth. Our fierce lady tribe, as we call it, is our group of young women who, sure, love to talk about boys and dresses and TV, but also like to talk about self image and spirituality and what it means to be a young woman in a modern culture. This seemed right up our alley, Emi and Trav and their precious babes are so much the heart and soul of our #friendsfamily, and everyone is getting so excited to meet new little SB here in a matter of…days, weeks?
We kept our plan very simple and straight forward; setting up our big pink pavilion tent in the side yard, a la The Red Tent. There was food, of course, because…duh. Mingling, a lot of giggling. We had a brief bit of seriousness — sharing words of wisdom, prayers, and songs of strength to empower Emi. And I just love my ladies so much more, after this, because everyone had something different, yet everyone had something perfect. Each song or poem or quote built on the next, until there were more than a few teary eyes. Then we had a moment of prayer, and then a moment of giggles — and did a sage burning. Sage burning is traditionally seen as a way to clear fear or negative thoughts, and really leave you clean and calm — the perfect state of mind to be in before a birth. (Oh, and a few of us soaked up the extra sage, because who doesn’t like to feel clean and positive and calm?)
Then we had the fun stuff — gift opening! Then — belly painting! Then, eating the massive, delicious cupcakes Kristin brought. (Eating one alone took me about four hours. Too rich, too decadent. I could eat one single bite per hour and then had to just stop and think about my life for a while.) And finally, a group hug, a group picture!
As I said when I shared our group picture earlier, I love that we have a group of women who cares so much about each other. We know how to laugh, we know how to goof off, we love to be silly — but we also really want to build each other up, install confidence, help each other be our best. That’s a very cool thing, I think, and something I hope we keep for many years to come.
Listen, sometimes, it’s hard to keep all the Emilys in my life straight. Especially considering Travis and I have been friends since, hmm, kindergarten? Thereabouts, anyway — and he insisted on having a younger sister named Emily and marrying another Emily. Considering we have all been friends for several years now, and been in dance company shows together as well as been involved in each other’s weddings, we tend to spend big chunks of time together, in one room. Which means all three of us spend a lot of time all turning our heads in response to someone to someone calling Emily?
Last Saturday was one of those days — a bridal shower for Emily the Sister at the home of her longtime family friend. Emily the Sister I also call my Mini-Me, or auf Deutsch, Kleine Mich, since we both studied German and Dance at MSU together — she was just about two years behind me, on a very similar path.
So, this shower was beautiful and tasteful and complete with a giggling baby who kept everyone entertained. There was a Match the Love Song to the Disney Movie contest which I COMPLETELY DOMINATED, by the way. I walked in,saw it, and said, I’m gonna win that. And then I did. (No one is surprised.)
There were also Mad Libs, and a really incredible thing called Pickle Wraps (ham + cream cheese + pickles, sliced up) that I did not know existed prior to this day and am really glad I know about now. Several of the dance company girls from my last few years of dance company made it in town, and we all got to reminisce about old shows, our favourite pieces, who’d been hurt that year, who’d been sick. Who had a wardrobe malfunction and who slipped on stage. You know, all the good stuff you don’t see sitting in the audience, and we giggle about back stage…
Only one more month until Emily and Richard tie the knot!
So, first things first — I’d never done any sort of real photo shoot before this. I’ve always pestered my friends and family by taking a hundred million pictures at every event big or small, and this year, learning more about photography was one of my goals.
It started with buying a nicer camera, and learning how to use it. Then I started trying to really frame pictures, pay attention to the light. And then — I needed an opportunity, and one of my best girls, my soul sister Emi gave me that opportunity.
Back when Shaun and I were getting married, we gave someone a similar opportunity. A coworker’s sister had always taken pictures in a sort of amateuer photograph capacity, if someone just needed or wanted some nicer than average pictures of their family. But she was looking to branch out further — and she happened to work out perfectly for Shaun and me. After the warm-up engagement session she did with us, we were completely confident in her ability to shoot our wedding. She needed that opportunity to shoot her first wedding ever, with a laid back, easy-going couple willing to take a chance on someone who had never shot a wedding before, but wanted to learn how.
I feel like Emi gave me my turn for her maternity and family shoot. She wanted some pictures, I wanted the opportunity to shoot them — to challenge myself and see what I was capable of, to see if this was an avenue I should continue pursuing. I felt so nervous — one the one hand, this was something I felt in my gut that I could excel at — and on the other — I am always full of self-doubt. I didn’t want to fail my best friend in such an important request. I didn’t want to talk a big talk and then not live up to expectations.
Happily — I’m really, really pleased with the end result.
Shaun and I took Travis, Emi, and the little ones Jack and Norah to the nearby park. Shaun fought monsters with Jack and Norah while I shot Emi and Trav, and then we all wandered over to the woodland trail to do some shots together, and some of Emi with her babies. These kids are absolute dolls, there is never a dull moment, with Jack imagining monsters and bad guys and heroes of all kinds, and Norah picking everyone flowers, and naming her fuzzy-wuzzy Sally. Sally’s a boy, though, she’d correct you gently. Always, with this family, I can see plainly how much they love each other, how much these two young parents care about their kids, and care about raising them into incredible human beings.
I can’t wait to meet Baby#3 (SB) in just a few weeks — especially as I’m going to be birth photographer, and will get to photograph this same beautiful family again.