What’s one more?

Hubby and I have the biggest of announcements and thought we’d share it here, amongst our friends and photography family. Come June 2018, we will be welcoming our fourth little Busbee to our family, and we couldn’t be happier!

This Busbee nugget has been brewing since our trip to Hawaii (baby’s first airplane trip), so I anticipate this child will have an adventurous spirit.

Years ago I would have never imagined having such a big family. Once upon a time I only wanted one child.

As the years have passed, and as we had our first, second and third child, my heart kept bursting with the thought of another. It was a longing I couldn’t quiet. With the birth of each new baby, hubby and I would take a look at one another and say, “we want another, right?” And we kept wanting another.

Baby Busbee No. 4 is the final piece of our Busbee family puzzle. This one completes us. Caleb, Natalie and Cameron are so thrilled with what’s to come, and their joy makes this addition even more incredible.

We are the most grateful humans to have been gifted these blessings by God. And while we are undeserving of his trust in and grace for our family, I am honored and continually shocked to be a part of something so priceless and special. 

I may say a lighthearted, what’s one more, but those are just words that give me courage to perform well at the most important job I’ll ever have, being a mom.

Thank you for the support and well wishes. We are excited for the months ahead!

 

When the kids come home for the holidays

When the kids are home for the holidays, you seize the moment and make memories. The Schneider family had the brilliant idea to capture the memories through photos. 

One of their big requests was to try to get their dog Fiona in on the action. And why not…she’s a super cute pup?!

Look at this one – she’s looking right at the camera! What a stunning little specimen. 

We staged the photo session at the family’s Pittsboro home, which was naturally gorgeous and full of fall color. The family specifically loved this transplanted Japanese maple. 

Following the group portraits, we took a few individual shots, including these fine wine/bourbon drinkers. They warmed up to the camera in a wonderful way – with their favorite beverages!

And Fiona’s favorite family member wanted a personal photo with his dog.

The mother-daughter photos always steal my heart. 

And a mom-and-dad photo for good measure. 

All in all, this family totally rocked their photo shoot. I can’t thank the Schneiders enough for making this gig so enjoyable!

Johnson family brings on the charm

The Johnson family has captured my heart once again! I got to walk the fine campus of UNC-Chapel Hill with these gorgeous people for their session. Mark is currently finishing an advanced degree in education at UNC, so the campus holds a big place in their hearts.

Plus, it’s gorgeous!  We kicked off our session in McCorkle Place, which was painted in beautiful fall color.

Also, people walking dogs. Check out how I quickly removed this dog-walking photo bomber, below.

We wanted to recreate this photo on the steps of South Building from two years ago, but currently South Building is blanketed with Campaign banners (possibly for the next 10 years :( …yikes).

 

We had to frame this year’s photo further to the left of the columns of South.

And then there was my attempt to get smiles out of big brother Jacob. He was fighting an ear infection (and we didn’t know it), so truly he was a trooper. And he cracked a few adorable smiles. 

Baby Julia will be turning one in January and she was displaying her best crawling and balancing talents. She is very sweet and on the move!

Here’s one of my favorites from the session. They look absolutely snuggly and cozy and warm. Those kiddo’s sweaters are too cute.

Thank you, Johnson family, for trusting me with your precious memories!

The cutest of sisters

June and Lily aren’t just any two girls. They are sisters. The cutest of sisters.

Whenever I have the opportunity to photograph them and their sweet family I am blessed to be in their company. Seriously. These giggles and smiles make any day better.

Plus, sisters are just so darn special. I have two sisters, so I know the lucky level of friendship these girls feel. I know how easily sisters can make each other laugh (and cry). I know how comfortable they make each other feel. 

When I ask them to snuggle up next to each other for a photo, that’s all the direction I need to give. Because sisters know exactly what to do. They are like puzzle pieces that fit together effortlessly. 

June and Lily always exceed my expectations during their photo sessions. Seeing them grow up together as siblings adds something special to every visit I have with them. 

Girls, treasure each other. And consider yourselves blessed :)

Kylie and Co.

The Moore family just helped me and my camera kick off fall, and I couldn’t have picked a better crew. Kylie just turned two and absolutely lit up in front of the camera. She also has the adorable nickname ‘Squeaky,’ which I got to call her the entire session, so there’s that.

We headed to Yates Mill County Park looking for fall color. And though the leaves haven’t quite popped yet – at least not in Raleigh – this family’s beauty and joy was captivating. 

Who needs leaves when you have these smiles?!

Kudos Moore family on another successful session. Much love to this sweet bunch!

A long three weeks

Here’s the truth: it has been a long three weeks.

In my new role as stay-at-home-freelance-photographer-videographer-mom, I am blessed with keeping my kiddos during their 3-week intercession break from year round school.

That’s three kiddos for three weeks. That computes to
…let’s see here
…math
…UTTER EXHAUSTION.

But my tired is absolutely worth these kids’ smiles.

I choose to treat intercession break as “mommy camp.” I want my kids to have a memorable time away from school, and I also aim to wear them out every single day so that they can rest their little souls in the afternoon. 

Here’s a slideshow of our first intercession break, “mommy camp” style.

What are your favorite school break activities?

Pass the baton

Ages ago I was a runner. I ran track in middle school and probably high school too. I can’t even remember. It was not memorable, possibly because I was so mediocre.

One of my events was the 4 x 100 meter relay. In that event, you sprint with all your might for 100 meters before passing the baton off smoothly to the next sprinter. It was painful and nerve wracking. Again, I was not great at this running thing.

Moving on though…

Lately, the pangs and anxieties of that race have felt all too familiar.

My hubby Jed and I have entered a very exhausting phase of parenting/relationship that I’m going to call the “baton” phase. Daily, there are so many things to accomplish and so many voices talking – otherwise known as life – that Jed and I have to take turns at the helm. One of us flounders around as the parent while the other one recovers, and we pass the baton to one another as needed.

I can’t say that it’s this overt how it all happens, but surely enough, when one of us “can’t even,” the other one steps in. And we don’t necessarily transition the baton smoothly. It’s more like tapping out.

Last week I took “the baton” and traveled sans hubby with all three of my children out of town. I do realize that many moms might not struggle with such a trip at all. I am not one of those moms. Perhaps I am built differently, with different anxieties and capacities and weaknesses and strengths.

The trip included endless amazing experiences, and cherished time spent with my mom and dad. We went on hikes, we went rock hunting, we dined on fancy lunches and dinners, and we trekked through caverns. We had a blast!

Unfortunately, I was somewhat on edge the entire time, and left feeling a bit depleted. I wish that weren’t the case. These days in my kids’ lives are so short and I want to truly savor the moments, but I confess (is that even the right word?…confess) that I sometimes find it a challenge.

I took many pictures to capture the experiences, because I knew in hindsight it would all look pain free and magical, and I’d be better able to see the happiness of it all from a distance. That’s the way photos work. 

I’m not sharing these thoughts in order to gain sympathy. Jed and I chose to parent this many kids; we love having a big family. We are suckers for the pain, and a happy, beautiful, luxurious, blessed pain it is.

When the kids and I returned back home from our travels, I was eager to pass the baton to hubby. I may have even told my kids to not ask me for anything for an hour once we entered the house (and no, that didn’t work). I needed to tap out, to officially be “off the clock.” And hubby was there for me when I needed it. He grabbed the baton for the evening, bathed the kids and put them to bed. I escaped for a fun photo session the next morning, went to the gym and meandered around Target for an hour. It was the break I needed before picking back up the parenting baton.

“Baton parenting” is not perfect – or anything close to perfect, but it is where we are. At least at times.

One thing is certain – I don’t want to be a mediocre parent, like I was a runner. I want Jed and I to be the best parents that our family could have. I welcome insight from more seasoned parents, those long-distance runners out there. Because I recognize that we parents are in this race for the long haul.

Herndon family strikes again!

And what I mean by that is, the Herndon family delivered incredible, glorious perfection once again during their family photo session this weekend. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing the Herndon’s since the birth of their first child. Each and every photo session is an absolute joy.

Madeline has blossomed into an adorably sweet, friendly little lady.

Avery is a mini-Madeline, but with slightly more toddler energy.

Both of these sisters are unbelievably charming and playful. They somehow remember me from photo session to photo session, even though I only see them annually. 

It’s impossible not to fall in love with this family. The parents are the coolest. They scuba dive, they enjoy good beer, they refurbish mountain cabins. They work hard and radiate in the presence of their children. 

But then again, who wouldn’t?!  LOOK AT THESE GIRLS. They are angels, I tell ya. They are sisters who probably never fight or whine.

 

Even Madeline, who developed a painful blister on the back of her heel for the sake of wearing pretty shoes during the photo session, barely uttered a complaint. 

Thank you, Herndon family, for always coming to life in front of the camera for me, and for trusting me with your sweet memories.

How time flies

Eight years ago today I became a mother. Caleb Heath Busbee came into the world uttering healthy cries and changed my being, every part of me, for eternity. He’s an amazing little dude, if you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him. 

As a gift to my children (well, to myself really) on their birthdays, I create an annual video that encompasses their past year. These are such treasures to my family and I and we watch them over and over again. It’s amazing how time flies and how the smallest details of their little lives can be forgotten. I need these videos to help me remember! Enjoy.

 

Caleb Year 8 from Melanie Busbee on Vimeo.

B is for bubbles

I attempted to make this session with baby Max and his family all about the bubbles. I thought I could distract from the camera with those enticing bubbles (and a new bubble machine, too). But not all plans are destined for success.

Folks, I was outsmarted.

Max knew better. He knew what I was up to. Don’t get me wrong, he liked the bubbles, but he is also as smart as an engineer. He wanted to dig into the bubble machine and figure out the mechanics. How does this contraption work?

Most babies leave it at, oooooohhh shiny bubbles.

Anyway, so Max made me work for it. I had to beg and plead for smiles. But oh, they were worth the wait. He’s perfection – eyes, nose, lips, brain. Everything. I love this kid and his laid back family.