I know that 2016 was really, really hard for many people.  So many struggle and so much hate spread.  But I have to say, it was one of the best years of my life.  Probably b/c I lived in my own little bubble of pregnancy + baby firsts, but this year goes down in the books for me.  I can't wait to see all that 2017 brings b/c I have a feeling it's only going to get better.  Ava has so many milestones that will happen and I don't want to miss a thing!  Here are some of the most memorable moments for me this past year, happy + sad.


1 // The day we found out we were having a girl.  It was so unreal looking at the sonogram and seeing our baby move around inside my belly.  Even though we walked away not 100% confident it was a girl, we both just knew it was.  We would of been happy no matter what it was, but we both really wanted a girl and I was delighted I got to use the name we had picked out since my mother was alive.  This was a magical day.  And I will never forget how awful my bladder felt holding all that water for so long!  We had to stop half way through my sonogram for me to go partially relieve myself before I peed all over that bed!

2 // Taking my favorite photo ever!  This deer portrait of one of our mama + baby deer has to be one of my all time favorite captures.  I'm so honored it ended up being the cover image on an article I wrote for Somerset Life magazine that came out this October.  

3 // Experiencing being pregnant.  This was such a magical time for me.  I was so scared for so long to be pregnant, imagining it to be horrible.  Although it had many not so fun moments, it was truly something I will treasure forever.  Feeling that life growing inside of me and that feeling of her body wiggling and kicking me from the inside.  Magic.  Pure magic.  I had never felt more beautiful in my life, even at my biggest.  Definitely not the same feeling postpartum!!!  I felt myself come into myself through pregnancy.  I'm grateful for the experience.

4 // Having our friend build us a screened in porch + getting to decorate it!  The biggest home improvement thing we have ever done and it was so worth it!  This space will be enjoyed for years to come.  So many of my favorite first moments with Ava were spent out there.  It has been my space to go to when I need me time.  It was the funnest makeover I have ever done as far as designing a space goes.  I cherish this space.

5 // Creating my first craft for our unborn baby using my mother's china scraps.  I had been hoarding these china scraps for years waiting for the perfect project.  Making this and decorating Ava's room before she came was one of the funnest things I did this year.  I might take back my last comment and say that this was my favorite space I have ever decorated!  A close tie!  Even though she hasn't even slept in that room and it looks totally different already, that nesting that happens when you are pregnant is amazing!

6 // Losing our sweet Bella Rosa.  My kitty I had since I was in high school.  The one I took with me when I left home to venture out on my own.  The one who was with me through horrible break ups, many moves, deaths, and so much more.  She was the best cat I could of ever imagined to have.  She was my girl, my constant companion.  She had the most loving soul and silly personality.  I miss her.  Even all her white hairs that were stuck to everything in our house.

7 // Not long after losing Bella, we lost our Violet Mae.  All my life I had been a cat person until I met Violet.  It was love at first sight.  After wooing this stray dog for a week in my yard, she finally gave in, rolled over belly up and let me pet her and we soaked up each other's love from that day forward.  God she was a sweet dog!  So gentle in spirit with deep loving eyes.  If I could ever have another dog I would wish her to be just like Violet.  But I know she was truly one of a kind.

8 // Giving birth to my Ava Pearl.  Now this I could write a book about.  But to keep it short, let's just say this was the most insane, hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life and I would do all of those 50+ hours of labor again in a heartbeat if it meant having her.


9 // Giving Ava her first bath, and every bath since then.  Such a special time.  I wrote more about it here.


10 // Watching James become a father.  This has been just as life changing for him and it's been so wonderful to see him go through these changes along side me in his own ways.  Ava is the light of his life.  He has been forever changed.


11 // Watching my Nanna with Ava.  This gives me the biggest joy, watching my little girl with her great grandmother.  This is the next best thing to seeing her with my mom.  I know how much it means to Nanna too.  It's simply one of the best things on earth.


12 // Finding a new favorite coffee shop, Electric Coffee.  Not only do we get to drink good coffee, we made new friends from it too!


13 // Meeting our midwife.  She was an angel as far as I'm concerned.  I have a whole blog post coming on this, so I will save it for that.  But her.  She was a huge blessing this year.


14 // Our first outing with Ava.  It felt so special.  We went to the park in Kerrville and had a picnic and she slept through the whole thing.  I will never forget that day.


15 // Saving Ava's placenta and umbilical cord.  James cooked up my placenta and made me pills and we have her umbilical cord in the freezer and are going to plant it under a tree, maybe on her first birthday this summer.  It meant alot to me to have this done, and James was so amazing with it!!!


16 // Becoming a family.  2016, the year we became 3.