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A New Normal

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We’re back…sort of…keep reading. Having a baby changes you in ways I could have never expected or even described before she was here. Priorities change, life evolves, and you discover a new normal. A better normal. It’s only been 7 1/2 short weeks with her, but somehow we feel like this is how it’s always been. It’s like life before her didn’t exist. I know that sounds so strange to those of you without kids, and if you had told me that even 8 weeks ago I would have thought you crazy! How one small little person practically made the last 29 years disappear I have no idea, but she did. Life is new because of her. With that we’ve been doing a whole lot of thinking. Actually all we do these days is think. We think about Adeline and her future. We think about how much fun we’re having as parents. We think about where we want to go from here, and how we want our life to grow with her in it.

One of the things we learned over these last few weeks is that we need to change our business structure. The pace we were working at before, isn’t going to work now without sacrificing something important. Sacrifices like family time, full-time nursing, snuggling with the wee one, and sleep! And I’m not willing to make those sacrifices. 8 weeks ago I thought I could do it all. Today, I know I can’t, and I’m a little freed by that revelation. I can’t be a full time mommy, a full time photographer, and a full time blogger. One has to go, and I bet you can guess where this is heading…?

I love blogging. I really do! But it’s a lot of time, and if I’m completely honest with myself, it hasn’t gotten us where we’d like to go. I thought if I blogged everyday, day in and day out, then my business would just suddenly explode. After two years of that (and about 3 before that with pretty consistent blogging), it just hasn’t. It’s a tough reality to face, but introspection is good. So, Kyle and I had a serious conversation about where to go, and what to do with the blog. We still want to continue. We still want to share pretty pictures, and we still want to use it as our ongoing personal journal. But we feel like we need to drop the regular teaching posts. That’s the area of the business that we were trying to push, and that’s the area that we feel like wasn’t growing at the rate we’d hoped. And it’s the area where we spent the most time. The return on investment, just hasn’t been there. I’m being transparent and honest here. And with our time being spread thinner these days, we have to prioritize. We might share a post here and there in the future, but for the time being, it’s not going to be consistent. I loved them, but the days of Monday posts are over, along with regular wedding related advice. I just can’t do it all. We will be trying to develop some sort of consistent schedule for sharing weddings, engagements, and our life, but what that’s going to be, I’m not sure. I can tell you that this week we’ll be sharing our newborn photos taken by the talented Perry Vaile and some that we’ve taken ourselves of her first few weeks! AND our first wedding back is Friday, big YAY!!!

I promise we’re not disappearing all together. It’s just going to be a new normal for the blog. We’ve got our life on a new normal, now it’s time to get our business on one : )

Lisa Pontius - September 29, 2014 - 9:32 am

Hi,

You don’t know me. We’ve never met. But you shot the wedding of my great friends Ed and Tess and since then I’ve been following your blog. I also blog…not as often as I would like, about my life as an expectant mom (due in November). my link is http://www.marriedeverafter.blogspot.com

Anyways..I just wanted you to know that I have really enjoyed your posts but I think you are making a very wise decision to step back. I am also a business owner and know that I will have to cut way back in order to be the type of mom that I want my daughter to have.

I never meant to end up following your posts, or keeping up with your goings on, but I wish you all the best with your new little adventure!

Perry Vaile - September 29, 2014 - 10:35 am

Such a beautiful decision! Time with Ada is so much more valuable than time on a keyboard!!! :) love you guys!!!!

Tricia Foushee - September 30, 2014 - 10:54 am

Wonderful Decision! Ada Pearl is your priority now!!!

Hank Lowry - September 30, 2014 - 11:10 am

i believe this is a good decision for you. The work on the blog, computer, facebook ……… can be the straw which breaks the proverbial back, you are now involved in an great endeavor which can blend with your work life once you decide how it best will work for you. I am proud of you for having this insight.

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Adeline Pearl

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Hello all! I’m back for a brief blog post to officially introduce our new daughter, Adeline Pearl Dunlap. Born on August 7 at 1:29AM, weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces, 20 1/4 inches long, with a full head of hair! We have never felt so much love for something in our lives. In some ways it feels like our life has changed so much in the last 11 days, and in others it feels like she’s always been part of it. Driving home from the hospital with her Kyle and I were talking about how everything before her almost seems insignificant. It’s beautiful how quickly this little girl stole our hearts. I look at her often and start crying happy tears because I love her so much. Even now as I write this, I can’t help but tear up. She completes us in a way we never knew was possible.

Parenthood has been good to us so far. She’s a sweet little girl! She sleeps well, eats well, and rarely cries unless she’s hungry or has a wet diaper. She’s in her crib already, and seems to love it! We sure are loving her sound machine! We’re sleeping like babies with that thing on, haha! She’s also content to sit and take in her new world on the outside all by herself, when we let her. It’s hard to put something so cute down : ) People keep asking us how the dogs are adjusting to her. It took them a little while, but they’re finally getting used to her. Baxter would leave the room every time she cried for the first few days, and Allie seemed ambivalent to her at first. Now whenever people come to visit, they stay close to her side. Even to the point of laying at the feet of whoever’s holding her. I guess they know she’s theirs to protect. They still don’t really snuggle or lick her (unless we force them), but I’m hoping that will come with time.

We’ve had a lot of people ask about where her name came from and how to pronounce it. We know she’ll get that a lot throughout life, but both of us had to correct our names (me being A.J. and Kyle going by his middle name), and since neither of us really minded it, we are hoping she doesn’t either. Adeline is pronounced ad-uh-line (not lynn). We came up with that, because we really wanted to call her Ada, but wanted her to have a formal name. I love nicknames, and since there was really no where to go from Ada, we decided to lengthen it. Plus we just thought Adeline was so pretty, and using that for another daughter when one’s already named Ada wouldn’t exactly be fair : ) And Pearl is our birthstone. One of our favorite relationship facts about us is that our birthdays are one day apart. It only seemed fitting to include that in her name.

The other question we get a lot is how was labor. It really wasn’t all the bad. I did get an epidural, which definitely helped with the contraction pain, but the rest wasn’t awful. They induced me at 10:30AM, I progressed nicely, and then had to push for 2 1/2 hours. Which sounds like a lot, but really when you’re not feeling the pain, you don’t think about it. They did give me a drug before the epidural that made the room spin and made me nauseous, which was awful. Other than that though it was a great experience! When she finally did arrive, they placed her on my chest, and I immediately started crying. It was so amazing to see her in person finally! Kyle gave her tons of kisses, and we reveled in the fact that we were new parents. He was amazing through the whole process. He took such great care of me, and had settled into being a dad so naturally. Not that I had any doubts. Seeing him with her is as special and beautiful as I expected it to be. I love him more now than I ever have.

Now that we’re home, we’re working on our routine. Having a baby takes up a lot of time. I’ve never done more laundry, dishes, slept less, and been more emotional in my life. But it’s all worth it when I look into her little eyes and fall in love with her all over again. As of today, I’m back to answering emails and voicemails, but will still be taking a break from the blog for a few more weeks while we continue adjusting. We’re posting a few new photos here and there on Instagram, but honestly we’ve been taking a lot with our real cameras! We’ve been keeping one on each floor and anytime something cute happens, we’re grabbing that instead of our phones. I love that though, because memories shouldn’t just be documented through a phone. We’re actually getting high quality photos of her that we can use down the road instead of just showing off on a 2 x 3 inch screen : ) I promise to share more of her on here later once we’re back to blogging again!

We do want to thank you all for your patience with us during this time, and for all the love and support. We’ve read every single one of your comments, and have felt so incredibly blessed by your words! I can’t begin to describe how loved you have all made us feel! I’m off for now to go snuggle my baby : ) See you again in a few weeks!

Sabrina Fields - August 18, 2014 - 3:16 pm

Oh my goodness, congrats again, you guys! I have tears in my eyes from reading your post (thank you, pregnancy hormones!). What a beautiful time for all three of you!!

Alexandra Beauregard - August 18, 2014 - 3:31 pm

She’s so beautiful, A.J.!! So happy to hear that labor went well and that you’re all adjusting so beautifully!! She’s absolutely precious!! Congratulations, again, to you and Kyle!! xoxoxo

Brian Darocha - August 18, 2014 - 3:36 pm

So cute. We’re so happy for you guys. BTW – who won the “guess her birth day and time” contest? I know it wasn’t me. :-D

Lindsey Laughlin - August 18, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Beautiful post, A.J.! Made me tear up a little too!

Brooke Lee Hefner - August 18, 2014 - 6:14 pm

So sweet! Enjoy every moment with her, it goes by so fast! Welcome to parenthood guys!!!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Blog Hibernation

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I’m admitting blog defeat. I really thought I could do it. I thought I could blog all the way up until I had the baby. But I can’t. These last few days of pregnancy are much harder than I expected. The waiting game, the swelling, soreness, and general lack of desire to do anything other than lay on the couch have gotten to me. I keep saying I had no idea doing nothing could be so exhausting. Even the idea of getting dressed to go relax at the pool has proven too much a few times over the past week. I found myself wide awake at 3:30 this morning stressing over what to write, and decided that it’s ok if I don’t.

Waiting for this baby to arrive has been one of the most fun and difficult parts of pregnancy. We sat at dinner last night, talking about how strange this phase feels. Our life is about to change, and we have no control over when. We can’t go anywhere to get our mind off of waiting, because I have to stay close to my doctors. My energy level is about 30 minutes long, so it’s not like I have the stamina to do anything that will distract us. And unless they decide to induce me at some point, we just have to keep waiting. But I keep reminding myself, she’s still not technically due yet. 2 more days before her expected arrival, and yet it could still be up to 2 weeks after that. We’re ready anytime little girl, anytime : )

I’m not sitting over here miserable either though. I still very much enjoy being pregnant, feeling her hiccup and kick, we’re just really ready to meet her on the outside too. And I’m ready to sleep on my stomach and back again, haha. We’ll see when she decides to make her grand arrival. For now though, I’m putting the blog into maternity leave hibernation. I promise I’ll be back on a limited blog schedule in a few weeks! Most likely right after Labor Day. I know that sounds forever away, but it’s only a month! And I promise to do a post once she arrives and we’re settled in at home so you can meet her.

As far as Monday goes, I’m referencing back to my post on “letting yourself off the hook” really pointing fingers at myself on this one. I can’t do it all, and that’s OK!

I’m off now, for real maternity leave this time. Thank you all for your love and support, and I’ll see you again in a few weeks! In the meantime, if you want to stay updated on what’s happening baby wise you can follow our Facebook Page or Instagram @aj_dunlap and @kyle_dunlap. We’ll be posting updates there : )

*If you’re a new couple interested in hiring us as your photographers, please still say hi through our contact form! We might be a little delayed in responding these next few weeks, but I promise we will respond!

Image above by Julia Wade Photography. This was 7 weeks ago…my belly is MUCH bigger now, haha!

Kelly Maloy - July 28, 2014 - 10:34 am

Good for you babe!!

Marcella McFadden - July 28, 2014 - 10:51 am

Good for you to take that time off! But I will tell you, if you plan on breast feeding, you’re not gonna wanna sleep on your stomach just yet. Full smooshed boobs = some serious pain and leakage. Trust me! Lol!!!

Danielle Blocker - July 28, 2014 - 7:18 pm

AJ I’m so proud of you! It’s so good to give yourself this time to just savor the moments.

Oh + thanks for the laugh! I’d almost forgotten about the fact I couldn’t sleep on my belly for months! It’s one of those things about pregnancy that you just don’t think about or realize until you can’t do it anymore. Yes, I totally agree with Marcella and was going to mention the boob thing too then I saw she posted it already! :) Plus I had a csection and didn’t sleep on my belly because of that either. Honestly it felt like about a bit more than year before I felt like my body was more my own again.

I know the waiting is sooo hard, but she’ll be here soon! Aliya made us wait, even while being induced…I had her 2 full days after the induction began! So many people were messaging us wondering if she arrived + we just simply forgot to tell everyone. I wish you the best of luck!!

Deana Macdonald - July 30, 2014 - 1:20 am

I remember those days A.J. It want be long now… Can’t wait!!!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Wedding Blog Features

We are a tad bit behind with a recent features posts, but only because I don’t like boring you all with these. I know it’s not nearly as exciting to you as it is for us and our couples who have gotten featured. But for us and them it’s pretty much the most exciting thing that can happen professionally!!! We are always truly honored to see our work on another wedding blog. Every time an approval email hits my inbox I do a little (ok, big) happy dance! Seriously, other than making my clients smile from ear to ear, getting your photos published is one of the highest form of recognition in our industry. It takes patience and the ability to be told no (A LOT), but every yes is worth all that hard work.

We are over the moon excited to share with you some of our recently published weddings. We’ve had lots of dream come true publications in the last few months, like a front page Style Me Pretty feature, and 8 different wedding blogs featuring our work! Such a humbling experience. Thank you to each and every one of these blogs for sharing these weddings. Congrats to the beautiful couples, and thank you so much for letting me share your stories!!! If you’d like to see more of a particular feature, just click on the photo to view it!

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Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!

Giveaway Winner

Giveaway Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who entered and shared Monday’s giveaway!!! There were so many great questions asked! I loved the pattern that developed of questions about blogging, client relationships, running a small business, and how we got started. All topics I remember having no clue about the first few years in business. I’m excited to start tackling those and helping some of you out in the upcoming weeks & months! I love sharing what I know, but it’s even better when I’m sharing things you actually want to know about : ) So thank you for being honest, showing me your hearts, and honoring me with the privilege of helping you.

I bet you want to know who won, right?! Without further ado, the winner is…Kristen Bailey!! Kristen, if you’ll email me at aj@ajdunlap.com I’ll send you over your gift card : ) Congratulations! Thanks again to everyone who entered!!

Like the photos? Click the "like" button above or leave a comment! It's the only way we'll know :)If you're getting married and would like to talk to us about your photography, please click HERE to contact us!