Advice For Friends Who Will Be Moms

Today is my baby's 5 month birthday.IMG_6558 He spent his first night away from home this weekend while mom and dad went to a wonderful friend's wedding.  My stepmother and dad were kind enough to keep Oliver, and it was nice to have a weekend away and be adults!  THANK YOU MISSY AND DAD!!!!  It was such a treat!!

For the last few months I've been mentally making a list of things I want to tell all my friends who will become mothers.  The funny thing is that there is not one single thing someone can tell you to prepare you for it.  People told me that before I was a mom, and I was like "well duh," but I still thought I knew what it would be like just a little bit.

My first dog Milly was the love of my life up until that time.  I lost her tragically, and I just assumed that it was similar to losing a child, or that I loved Milly as much as I would love a child.  While I am in no way discounting how much I loved Milly, because God knows that was a deep deep bond and love, the way I love Oliver is entirely different.  I did not know what it would be like, and there was no way I could have.

This is not exactly how I want to describe being a mom, but it's the best I can come up with.  I am lucky enough that I have never been truly addicted to anything.  I've always been able to walk away from vices with no problem.  With Oliver I feel like an addict.  It goes beyond a mental desire to see him.  There are times when I wake up at night and I just need to go be near him.  I have yet to sleep through the night, but not because Oliver is crying or I need to feed him.  I wake up at night just to make sure my family is ok.  I check on Jimmy, make sure Charlotte is snuggled in, and then look at the baby.  I assume it's like being addicted to cigarettes, but much much better (obviously).  As soon as I walk into his room in the morning and see that sweet smile it's like I got my fix and life can continue.  Hopefully someone out there knows what I am talking about and is not reading this thinking I'm just obsessed with my child, which I might be.

So here is my advice for my friends who will be moms one day.

The love you feel for your child will be the most powerful love you've ever felt, but it's ok if it takes a second.

I was scared to admit this at first because it made me feel like a failure.  I had it built up in my mind that Oliver would be born, I would look into his face and be stabbed through with a love unlike any I had ever known.  While that was true in some ways, it happened a little bit differently for me.


This is a photo of me he first time I got to hold my sweet man. I believe the photo speaks for itself.  It was without a doubt the best moment of my life, and I was filled with all kinds of happy emotions.  I had wanted a baby for as long as I could remember.  I am 100% certain I was put on this earth to be a mother.  The strange thing is that in this moment my biggest feeling was gratitude, not love.  I was so grateful that this perfect child was born and entrusted to Jimmy and me.  I had the exact birth I wanted to have.  I was overwhelmingly grateful to my doctors and family for getting me through the 14 or so hours of labor and helping me bring Oliver into the world healthy.  The biggest surprise to me that I was filled with an overwhelming, awe inspiring love unlike anything I had ever known, but it was for my husband.


I went into the hospital the night before so that I could get induced.  It was two weeks before my due date, and my blood pressure was so high they wanted to just get the baby out of me.  From the time we went into the hospital until the time Oliver was born, Jimmy never left my side. In my head there were five major things I was afraid of, and Jimmy and I got through them all together.  I would love to discuss those with anyone who knows me personally or wants more information, but I will spare you the exact details here :).

After I got the epidural, I was unable to move the lower half of my body.  Jimmy took over positioning my legs and back.  At points I got so tired I couldn't speak, and he spoke for me.  I have had one pillow my entire life.  I feel like I was a fairly easy patient, but every time I got flipped from side to side I needed that pillow and smell of home right next to my face.  Jimmy did it every time without asking.  When It came time for Oliver to actually be born, Jimmy was right there.  He helped me the entire time.  I was afraid that during the birth I would get annoyed or bothered by people who were trying to help me, but I did not.  Every time I needed help or reassurance, I just looked at Jimmy, and he was the strength that got me through.  There is no doubt in my mind that God gave him to me to be my life partner.  That day we became a team.


During the days and weeks after Oliver was born, I learned to never doubt Jimmy.  When things got hard I knew he would be there with me.  When I cannot speak for myself, I can trust him to speak for me.  I never realized that someone could love me in that way before, or that I could rely on someone so completely.  It was the biggest and most delightful surprise of childbirth.

During the first few weeks of Oliver's life, I kept waiting to feel this love for my baby that would move mountains and blow my mind, but if I'm being 100% honest I was scared and tired.  I had no idea if I was doing the right thing or if he would make it through his first few days at home, and he was a fat healthy baby!  I just felt such overwhelming pressure to keep this child we created alive, and I didn't really let the joy in right away.


That joy came for me the first time he held my finger, stopped crying when I hugged him, fell asleep in my arms, and cuddled with us in bed.  It came slower than I expected, but when I started feeling that love it blew me away.  The first time Oliver smiled when he saw me I thought my heart would explode.

You Will Never Be Your Pre-baby Self Again, and that's OK!

This one took me by surprise, because I was pretty pleased with pre-baby Blayne.  I had a husband I loved, an unbelievable family, and friends I was thankful for every single day.  Life was great!  This is also hard to explain, but I am not the most important person in my life anymore, and that blindsided me.  I know it shouldn't have because it's a fairly easy concept to grasp, but like the love of my child, I didn't really get it before I met him.

For the first few months of his life I really struggled with the feeling that I would never again be able to enjoy things that I was passionate about before he was born.  Examples: Cooking, shopping for clothes, going to the movies, working out, hanging out with friends, going on trips or to concerts with Jimmy, and drinking ice cold beer. (I'm very serious about all of those things)

As time passed I figured out ways to incorporate all of those things back into my life, but none of them were the same.  Examples...



Cooking.  I love cooking.  LOVE IT.  Before Oliver I would spend hours finding things online I wanted to make, and then go after work and spend a tremendous amount of time at the grocery store finding everything I needed.  If we ate at 9 or 10 it didn't matter... we had no children.  For the first few months I did not cook at all, and it depressed me that I lost such a major part of my life.  Jimmy discovered Garnish & Gather, a company that delivers a meal and everything you need to make it to a local drop off site.  Now I get to cook once or twice a week and it only takes 30 minutes!  I still get the joy of cooking, but's its totally different.

Hanging out with friends and drinking Ice Cold Beer.

Before Oliver I loved meeting my friends for happy hour or throwing big parties at my house where I could get everyone together.  I loved being the hostess and making big plans.  Now I can't meet for happy hour because the nanny leaves at three.  It's impossible to hide all the baby stuff, and I lacked the energy to get the house into party shape.  At first I was really sad about losing those things.


I've wanted to start a company softball team ever since we started Beacham & Company, but somehow I waited until I was three months postpartum to actually do it.  I've had the best time setting up the team and organizing the games, and for one hour a week I get to drink beer, hang out with my friends, and focus on something other than being a mom, which has been a Godsend.  It's hard to think about anything else when the shortstop is hurling a ball your way, and it's just the break I need.  I get to go back into being a mom with my energy restored and refocused after just an hour or so break.

I've been able to reinvent the way I do all the things I love, but nothing is the same as it used to be, and I've learned to embrace that.

This Moment Will Never Happen Again, So enjoy it Now.

My friend Ginny has recently been posting a lot on Facebook about the "Busy Trap," or people who just overstuff their lives and don't have time to enjoy things.   Before I had Oliver, I was busy!  I had houses to shoot, friends to see, movies to watch (I like to see all the Academy Award Nominated movies), drinks to drink, and music to hear.  When people asked me how I was, I think my answer usually led people to think I was just very very busy, and I was.  Now that I'm a mom, I force myself to slow down and savor these moments while they last.  It's not to say that I do not feel stressed, or tired, or angry or even sad sometimes, but I am able to remind myself to let go of the small stuff and savor these very very important moments.


Even if I have more children, I will never again have the luxury of laying on the couch with my one baby and watching him sleep, so I try to do it every day.IMG_6065

I will never again get to watch my family fawn over their first nephew or grandchild.




God willing, we will not always be a family for three, but this is my life right now, and I want to enjoy and remember every moment of it.


For any of my friends out there who plan on becoming moms, let me encourage you with all my heart.  It's the best thing you will ever do.

Thank you all for your continued support.  You have no idea how much it means to me.

I'm a mom!

9 months after promising to "write more often," I'm back on the blog!  Here's a quick update in pictures. IMG_5315

Checking into the hospital- 5/12/14


My first time holding our child, Rodney "Oliver" Macauley. 5/13/14IMG_5326

Hanging out at Northside Hospital.



First cuddle with Uncle Rod, who Oliver was named after.


Sunday morning yawns with dad in the old house (we moved!).IMG_5555

Maternity leave mornings with mom in the new house!


Afternoon naps on the couch. IMG_5721

Our first plane ride to get to Oliver's Godfather's wedding!


Matching shirts - heading to the Saturday morning farmers market.


3 month old napping on mommy.


Miami vice time in NC.


Family photo at Alys Beach.IMG_6159

Boat ride on Lake Tahoe.IMG_6222


Happy morning smiles in his favorite chair.IMG_6281

Celebrating dad's new job at Delta.


Learning how to roll over and snooze on his side in mom and dad's bed.



Learning to reach for things and grab them...  even mom's hair.IMG_6354

Solid foods.


Almost sleeping through the night!

I really do promise to be more dedicated.  So much happens every day...



Winter Blues and Kitchen News ;)



This time of the year is hard.  Sorry, but it is.  After the build up and craziness of the holidays, January is a bit of a let down.  Not to mention these arctic temperatures we have in Atlanta.  Burrrr!  I remember this lull last year.  We were planning for the wedding in April, which seemed so far away last January!  Jimmy especially gets a little down this time of year.  He lives for the Spring, and in January that seems like an eternity.  Plus he still has to get through Valentines, which I think is hard for all men.  This year I made it easy by calling him and telling him specifically what restaurant I wanted to go to (Gunshow), and when I wanted to go.  Nice wife... apparently pregnancy makes me VERY specific about what I want to eat.


On the plus side, we had a fantastic trip to Jackson Hole!  I was slightly disappointed in the whole spa experience only because I did not get to lay on my stomach as I had hoped.  There was a wedge pillow on top of the table with a hole in it for my stomach, but my stomach is so big (you know I just loved typing that phrase), that I felt like I couldn't breathe.  I lasted for about five minuted before I gave up and laid on my side.  Pregnant lady problems.   On the plus side the food was FANTASTIC!  Fresh green kale juice every morning and all the gluten free toast I could eat, which was a lot.  I'm craving toast with jam these days... I heard it keeps you thin ;).  Mom and I did, indeed, catch up on some movies, and we watched several episodes of the Price is Right :)  The photo above is from the last day when we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain for lunch (chili and a baked potato).  The baby went too, as you can see.

Speaking of the baby, he is a papaya this week.

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I don't like papayas because I think they smell/taste like feet.  The first time I ever tasted papaya was about 5 years ago when my family went to Cabo.  We stopped by the grocery store where there was a BIG BIG sale of papayas, so even though we had never tasted papayas we thought, "when in Rome..."

My brother decided to use all these papayas up in a margarita... you know, just get really Mexican with it.  He was so excited when he served them!


Turns out the reason there was a BIG BIG sale on papayas was they were all rotten.  Hence the feet taste.   It was the nastiest tasting margarita I've ever had, and I vowed to avoid papayas forever... or so I thought.


On the last day of our honeymoon in Thailand, Jimmy and I decided to treat ourselves to spa services in the room.  Jimmy smartly ordered a massage, and I got a facial.  About halfway through the facial they wrapped my face in gauze and started painting that gauze with cold fruit goo, which seemed fine.  About 30 seconds later I noticed a horrible smell... like feet.  I was laying there wondering what in the world that smell could be.  Was it me?  Was it the facial giver?  Ahhhh  papaya!  My old enemy.  I laid there for 15 minutes breathing through my mouth vowing, "never again"... and now there's one in my stomach!  Yea!

I've made it through papaya week by trying to picture what baby Macauley will look like, which is how I found these adorable pictures of Jimmy.




Yep.  The faster I can get my hands on one of those the better... even if it means the baby has to be a papaya for a week.  By the by, I know I'm biased, but can you BELIEVE how cute that baby is?!?!?!

Speaking of passing time, I've also been taking some photos.  Last week I shot 634 Carriage Way for Glennis Beacham.  It had one of the best kitchens I've seen in a long time.  Jimmy and I have actually been looking for houses ourselves recently, and when it comes down to it the kitchen may just be the most important room in a house.  I know when I'm at home I spend at least 40-50% of my time in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning or getting some sort of snack (that's a recent addition).  Jimmy and I have a tiny kitchen right now, but we still both try to be in there at the same time... me cutting up veggies and him stirring soup, just talking about our day.  I know that was a bit of a tangent, but it's been on my mind with all the houses we've been seeing.  I really don't even have to see the rest of the house, I can judge it all by the kitchen.  That's why I was so struck by how beautiful this kitchen was!  Wouldn't it be the prefect place to hang out with your family and get ready for dinner or make brunch on Saturday.... one can dream.

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Pregnancy Gratitudes- Jackson Hole- 3955 Northside Drive

Notice anything different?  I have a new look here at This Photographer's Life.  You know they say "change is good," and it was time to freshen things up a bit.  This is a much more modern layout and allows the reader to navigate the site more quickly.  Please let me know what you think! Tomorrow we are headed to Jackson Hole, so I wanted to get in a quick update.  This trip will be much different than the legendary trip two years ago where I lied about my skiing abilities.

Ski trip

This year there will be much less skiing/falling, beer drinking and hot tubing.  Beer drinking and hot tubing are my two favorite parts of ski trips, so I'm a little bummed.  I'm sure it's fine for some people to ski while pregnant, but not me.  I'm actually fine headed down the hill, but I've been know to fall doing stupid things like standing in line. So coordinated.

ski trip 2

I am scheduled for two spa treatments.  Prenatal massages are the best things going.  This will be my second (I am also getting a facial to combat pregnancy breakouts), and it cannot come soon enough.  Luckily Glennis is going to Jackson and doesn't ski, so we will get a lot of mother-daughter time, which I assume will be spent in the movie theater.  I also plan on taking full advantage of ski-related food like chili and hot chocolate.  Lastly, Jimmy got a new ski helmet, so there is a lot to celebrate.  Have you seen the old one from 1993 (see above)? Bowling ball.

Baby update.


The baby is a banana this week, which is uber depressing.  Going from a cantaloupe to a banana  makes no sense to me, but it has to do with hitting the 20th week and beginning to count the legs, which were not counted previously...  blah blah blah, I want that baby to get bigger, not skinnier.  Nobody likes a skinny banana baby.

Here is a quick list of things Pregnant Blayne is thankful for:

1. Pregnant Friends

Friends who are pregnant are THE BEST whilst pregnant.  They keep you from losing your mind.  The strangest stuff happens to your body while you are pregnant.  Example; a few nights ago I woke up and both legs had gone numb, which was surprising to say the least. Pregnant/alone/hypochondriac Blayne would have convinced herself she was starting down a road to paralysis and called the doctor, but instead I woke up and texted my slightly further along pregnant friend Callie something like, "strangest thing happened last night... woke up and couldn't feel either leg!!!!"  After a few minutes she wrote back, "yea, happens all the time, no big deal."  Thus a panic attack/trip to the hospital/call to the doctor was completely averted.  If you are pregnant, my advice to you is to get some pregnant friends ASAP.  Can't live without them.

2. A Pregnancy Pillow

Charlotte Pillow

I'm not going to go into this one so much because it's just obvious.  If you are pregnant it's your best friend.  Get one.  I am actually the proud owner of two (thank you Lex), and I use the both... unless Jimmy or Charlotte steals one, which happens surprisingly often.  See Charlotte, that little pillow thief. (Above she took over a head pillow, not a pregnancy pillow, but you get the idea)

3. A good pair of Jeans.

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I bought this pair of jeans at A Pea in the Pod when I was about 2 months pregnant (don't judge... I've dreamt my whole life of an elastic waistband).  Now, before you go judging me about how expensive they are, let me tell you, I've worn them every single day except for 5, and the only reason I didn't wear them those days is because they HAD to be washed.   By the end of this pregnancy, these jeans will have cost about $1.50 per day, which is my best pregnancy investment to date.  The sales lady at a A Pea in the Pod told me this was the most popular seller because the jean has a little elastic in it, which makes it easier to move.

4. The parent exchange group on Facebook.

If you live in Buckhead, there is a group called "The Buckhead Brookhaven Parent Exchange" that my friend Meredith asked me to join.  It's a group of moms in the area who sell used children's clothes/furniture/toys that they don't need.  So far I've bought a pregnancy pillow, bouncy chair, pack and play, and a glider for a grand total of $105... now that's a savings you can funnel right back into a good pair of maternity jeans. ;)

5. A good pregnancy blog.

I like two.

Rabit Stew - this cute girl wrote a week by week account of her pregnancy and delivery.  I love reading it every week.  She's funny and real and has the nerve to write about stuff that I don't...

Pregnant Chicken - Funny writer who reviews everything pregnancy and baby related.  I like.

And now...

Somebody buy this house. Glennis Beacham has it listed, and it's one of my very favorites.  3955 Northside Drive.  It's the perfect place to raise a family.  There is a huge front yard, an even bigger back yard with beautiful gardens, screened-in porch, massive family room and a studio space on the third floor!  See?  Perfect.



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Have a great week everybody!  I'll think of you from my massage bed.  Not.

- Blayne Macauley

20 Weeks. A Cantaloupe!

Happy New Year everybody!  Jimmy, Mom and I just got back from Northside where we got the 20 week ultrasound. :) Half way finished.  The baby is as big as cantaloupe.  I didn't actually believe that until we went in today.  They were moving that ultrasound wand all over my belly.  Last time they kept it pretty limited to right below my belly button, but this time they were everywhere with it!


In case you have no idea what that picture is (I won't judge you), it's the baby laying on his back,  one of his hands is up by his chin, and he is looking at you.  I know he still looks a little bit like an alien, but that's a face!   The doctor said he is perfect, and we don't have to go back until 28 weeks.  Honestly, I would look at him every day if I could.  There is a certain amount of, "is he ok in there?" running through my head, and looking at an ultrasound is the only thing that really makes me feel better.  Hopefully that's normal.

Once again the baby made it VERY clear that he's a boy.  It's like he wants there to be no question in our minds...  like many men I know :)


Jimmy, his grandma, and me over Christmas.

People keep asking me how I'm feeling...

I basically just feel huge.  It's such a strange sensation to watch the numbers on the scale continue to rise after a lifetime of trying to get them to go lower.  Anytime anyone says anything to me about how big I am I have to fight off tears.  I know that's stupid since I am incredibly lucky to be pregnant, and I wouldn't want it any other way.  I also know it's really shallow, but I'm just being honest.  It's hard.  I also blame it on hormones to make myself feel better. ;)

I stepped on the scale on New Years Day and almost fainted.  I thought, "but I haven't even done anything to make that happen," but that's not 100% true.  I actually went into this holiday season with a certain amount of, "well I'm going to get fat anyway, so I might as well have that cookie."  Maybe not the best approach, but it sure tasted nice.

The upside to being much bigger is that I can feel the baby!  It is without a doubt the best feeling in the entire world.  Forget back scratches or massages, NOTHING is better than having a live baby move around inside of you.  He started two weeks before Christmas with a HUGE summersault.  There was no easing into it.  There were no "butterfly wings" or "popping bubbles" like the book said.  It was just...  Boom.  "Here I am mom!"  There was no doubt what it was.


He likes to practice his dancing/tumbling the most at night with Charlotte sitting on my stomach, so I have found myself getting into position nightly just so I can let him do his thing.  It's the best part of my day.  It's also lead to me binge watching tv (not helpful with the whole weight gain thing, but totally worth it).


To combat negative effects of laying around waiting for the baby to move/eating oranges in the bed, I've been swimming a good bit.  I've always loved to swim.  It's my favorite form of exercise and how I got into "wedding shape."  The first few times I went after I found out about being pregnant were awkward.  I kept getting the hiccups, and people noticed!  The last month swimming has saved me.  Putting on a speedo and getting in the water makes me feel super skinny!  I promise!  It's the only part of my day where my legs and back don't hurt.  Sometimes I just hang out in the water and walk around just to get that feeling.  If you're pregnant and haven't tried it, I cannot recommend it enough!

Baby 2

For Christmas I gave Jimmy these onsies and tennis shoes so that the baby can keep up his dancing/tumbling routine as soon as he gets here, and also so that nobody will ever forget who his daddy is.



Happy New Year everybody!  I hope it's your best yet!

Blayne Macauley

We're Having a Baby :)

Jimmy and I are so lucky to announce we are having a baby boy!!  He will be here May 25th (hopefully), which means I am 17 weeks pregnant . Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 2.53.11 PM

I wasn't going to blog about it at all.  I feel like it's such a private event, and I just wasn't sure I felt like writing about it.  I was at a Christmas party Saturday night and saw a lot of people I had not seen in a while.  They all asked me if I was ever going to blog again.  I can't really explain why I stopped for a while... I think I just needed a break.  I was exhausted from the wedding, and then was wrapped up in the newlywed life (which consists of happily gaining back a few pounds and drinking whatever I wanted-- wine, vodka, miami vices...), and then before I knew it I was pregnant! ;)  Jimmy and I realize how amazingly fortunate we are, and we are both thankful for that every day.  Anyway, at the Christmas party I realized it wasn't fair to keep you guys out of the loop.  We have been through so much together.  Figuring out my job, becoming a photographer, meeting Jimmy, getting engaged, and finally getting married.  It doesn't seem fair to stop right at the good part!  Thus, a pregnancy blog...


To bring you up to speed I will answer a few commonly asked questions.

1. Are you excited to be pregnant?

Yes!  I'm more excited than I've ever been for anything in my life.  In fact... I'm pretty sure every decision I've ever made has been leading to this point.  It's everything I've ever wanted.  I am absolutely thrilled and thankful and excited.  I am not even that nervous, which I think is strange.  I'm just excited and can't wait for him to get here.

2. Is Jimmy excited?

Yes!  Jimmy was really hoping for a boy.  Now they can do all kinds of boy stuff together... like trains (Jimmy's favorite).  Jimmy is going to be a great dad, and he's been a very supportive husband... even when I've been throwing a fit.  It's the hormones, I swear.

3. How do you feel?

Fat.  I feel fat.  And my legs and back hurt.  Do I care?  Not really.  Yes, I very much enjoyed having a waist, and I hope to see it again some day soon, but as for now I'm enjoying the finer things in life... like frozen waffles.

4. What are you craving?

Oranges, orange juice, pineapples, ketchup, bbq sauce, salad, hummus, waffles (real and frozen), and hot tea.  I am actually a little disappointed that I haven't had any wild cravings at all.  I was sort of looking forward to that.  The strangest thing is that I normally crave Mexican food and french fries, but I haven't had much of a taste for them... which blows my mind.  About once a week I try some fries just to see if I like them.  They are ok, but I never crave them.  Yesterday, just to say that I ate something crazy while pregnant, I dipped a french fry in chocolate sauce.  It was pretty good, but tasted less like heaven and more like a french fry dipped in chocolate sauce.  I'm basically  a boring old pregnant lady with no good food stories.

5. Is the baby's room ready?

No, but it is cleaned out and empty.  The baby's room used to be my closet, which is actually a spare bedroom.  To get ready for him I got rid of half my clothes and shoes, which, other than carrying him around inside me for 10 months, I feel is the greatest sacrifice I could make for my child.  You think I'm kidding.

6. Are your parents excited?

Are they excited?  Are you kidding?  I've never seen a more excited group of adults.  He will be the first grandchild on both sides, so I'm sure he will be spoiled.  Yes.  They are all very very excited.

7. Do you know the name?

Yes, and we aren't telling.

8. Have you felt him move?

Yes.  On Friday he kicked me and turned over.  It was the best feeling in the world.  I wish he would start moving around more, although the doctor warned me against that. He said as soon as I start feeling him I will feel him all the time because he is a VERY active child.  I think he gets it from his daddy.  At our 12 week appointment he was dancing all around in my stomach.  If you've seen Jimmy dance you know it came straight from him. Great, now I will have two of them on my hands.  Better clear out the living room for a father/son dance party.

9. Does Charlotte know?

She does.  She likes to sleep right on the baby and protect him.  It's cute, except when she gets alarmed and kicks me in the stomach/the baby in the face.


For those of you who are into that sort of thing, here's a picture of our very active son.  Isn't he beautiful?