It’s funny how different seasons of life can bring more than you’ve ever dreamed of in the most unexpected ways. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would be saying goodbye to my photography business at this point in my life, I would have laughed maniacally at such a preposterous statement. This was what I wanted to do forever. This was my biggest dream and passion and I had created such a romance with it. I had a set plan and a notebook full of dreams and ideas that would all come to fruition by the time I was 30. Then, life happened.
My husband and I have embarked on so much in our 3 years of marriage, and it’s been a whirlwind. I’ve held down two jobs at the same time for a while now, Zach is now in his 4th and last year of medical school, and as of March, we have the light of our lives, baby Luke. It has hit me like a ton of bricks that this time in our history is so precious and sacred, and while it’s unpredictable and sometimes stressful, we only get to live in this season once. Being a mom is transformative in so many ways, and I have never been more happy, empowered, and full of love. Our growing family is my greatest adventure, and I want to cherish every moment while I can. I’ve grown to stop dwelling on the “what-ifs” and uncertainty about various aspects of our life, and instead, be more grateful for the hidden blessings that have come our way, often because of the chaotic moments. I find myself meditating on the Serenity Prayer often, and it has offered such peace in my heart. Long story short, I’ve reached a point of wanting to simplify a lot of things in my life and enjoy the ride while I can.
I originally decided to take the year of 2014 off of photography to focus on adjusting to motherhood while still being a devoted employee at my full-time day job. I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect throughout this transition which has guided me to make the difficult decision to close the door on Kris Boevers Photography indefinitely.
Maybe I’ll come back in a year, or two, or never. God only knows. I do know that if I come back, it will be when I feel that I can really devote the time and energy my clients deserve, and when I feel that I can really invest in the time to make it everything I’ve dreamed about. It’s strange to feel so at peace with this decision that I never thought I would make, but I feel that it’s the right one for this season of life. When you know, you know, right? I still plan to blog about our family adventures occasionally, and know that I’m not giving up photography, just the business. That being said, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to you all.
Friends, I can’t even begin to express my love and gratitude for all of you who have invested in me the past several years and trusted me with the honor of capturing your biggest and most precious life moments. It has been one of the most surprising, touching, and rewarding experiences of my life, and on top of that, I was able to pursue a real passion of mine. What started as a hobby was able to translate into something truly wonderful and successful that filled me with so much joy. I’ve met so many incredible people in this endeavor, and although I was just the photographer who took photos of you and your families every so often, I can’t express just how much I’ve enjoyed being a part of your family histories. Whether it was your engagement, wedding, pregnancy, kids, families, or all of the above, I genuinely thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s an adventure I will always hold close to my heart and all of you have enriched my soul more than you know.
So, thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for investing in me. Thank you for transforming my life.
In honor of Mother’s Day weekend, I want to share Luke’s birth story that documents the day I became a mother. It’s a day I will never forget, and I salute all the sweet mommas out there who have all endured the magic and insanity of child bearing that comes in many forms. May we always remember that no matter how differently we choose to raise our children, we all have the most important thing in common; we have an indescribable and fierce love for our babies that only mothers can understand. We’re in this together.
To my momma, thank you for giving me an incredible example of what a great mother and mom looks like. I cherish our friendship more than you’ll ever know. You are beautiful in every way one can be beautiful. Thank you for showing my sister and me how to love boldly and unconditionally.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
I went about my normal work day and was getting everything ready for my maternity leave. My last day at work would be the next day. That afternoon, I posted on my blog the letter I wrote to Luke last April, before he was conceived. I had originally planned to post it sometime the following week, but I got the sudden urge to go ahead and publish the post. An hour after posting it (around 3:00 p.m.), I was wrapping up a meeting in my office, and when I walked to the door to see the guy out of my office, I felt a huge gush of fluid. It just kept coming. My pants were soaked. There was no doubt in my mind that my water had broken. I panicked. I kept my composure long enough to see the guy out of my office, but as soon as he left, I grabbed my keys and phone and ran to the bathroom, still gushing and still freaking out. OU was on spring break, so luckily no one was around to witness this comical event. I called Zach from the bathroom stall and the conversation was short and sweet. Zach: “Hello?” Me: “Hey honey. So, my water broke.” Zach: (pause) “I’m on my way”. End of conversation. I was shaking. I wanted to cry because I wasn’t prepared for this. I was only 38 weeks and thought I had at least another week or two to get ready! Besides, I was only dilated to a 1 as of the day before and was prepared to go overdue. I tried to breathe and stay calm, and I prayed. Ready or not, this was happening, and what a joy! I grabbed my things, tied a sweater around my waist to conceal my soaked jeans, and waddled across Boyd Street in Norman to my car. At this point, I wasn’t having any contractions. However, all logic went out the window, and I thought I had to walk slow and barely move my hips for fear the baby would fall out. Again, ALL logic went out the window. I’ve never wanted to get home so quickly, but of course, I got stuck behind a train on the way. I called my office to let them know that I wouldn’t be in the next day, then called the triage station at Children’s Hospital, and they told me I needed to come in right away. After a few more phone calls to Zach, my mom, and sister, I met Zach at home and we scrambled to pack our things (which we hadn’t done yet). I showered, Zach packed Scout’s (our dog) things and loaded the car, and we were on our way! Was this really happening today?! Still no contractions at this point, which was crazy to me. I always envisioned that my labor would start with contractions at home. Moreover, I never thought my water would break outside the hospital setting. Our “plans” were already changing so much, but it was ok. We got to the hospital around 5:00 p.m. and they checked me 3 times to make sure that it was indeed my water that broke (of course it was). They finally admitted us, and contractions started around 6:30 p.m. This was a relief since I was informed that once your water breaks, the baby usually needs to be delivered within 24 hours. We wanted a natural birth, and while I went into this process with low/realistic expectations that anything can happen and plans can change, I certainly wasn’t prepared for the now real possibility of a C-section and any other complications that could occur in the meantime. My best friend Kacie met us at the Triage room and we walked over to the labor suites. My blood pressure was high when we first got to the hospital because of the excitement/stress, but resolved itself within a couple of hours as I relaxed and accepted the turn of events. Contractions were very manageable for the rest of the night, but while they were longer, stronger and more frequent, I still wasn’t dilating past a 1. The midwife recommended that we use a Foley bulb to help progress dilation, and I complied. It was very uncomfortable, but it got me to a 3. By midnight, things still weren’t progressing, even though contractions were getting more painful. I did my best to stay mentally and emotionally calm, and Zach talked me through every contraction, giving me constant encouraging affirmations.
Friday, March 21, 2014
I labored all through the night, and Zach was the most amazing coach. He did everything we learned in our Bradley Method classes, and fought through his fatigue to be there for me. Contractions were getting stronger and more painful, but I couldn’t stay awake between them. I was torn. I knew that I could help things progress if I powered through and walked around/tried different exercises, but my body was demanding rest, which ended up being what I needed later to compensate for Zach’s exhaustion. It was a tiring routine of me dozing off while Zach helped me try different means of natural induction, then waking up for a contraction in which Zach coached me through. I was constantly having to scale the same mountain, but Zach kept me on track. It didn’t leave much time at all in the meantime for Zach to take care of himself via eating, resting, or taking bathroom breaks. Needless to say, he sacrificed a lot to take care of me during these rough overnight hours. He kept encouraging me to visualize sitting at home as a family after all of this was over… holding our cooing and beautiful son. He kept telling me he loved me and was proud of me. It was exactly what I needed for motivation to press on. Around 4:00 a.m., the midwife recommended I go on a Pitocin drip to get things moving. While I wanted to avoid Pitocin, I wanted to deliver Luke sooner than later to avoid complications. We agreed that we needed to do it. They started with 2 drops and contractions got very painful very fast. I was starting to doubt my ability to deliver naturally and was starting to verbalize it to Zach, which was discouraging for both of us. This stage was harder than I expected as the Pitocin took the pain to an entirely new level. At one point, I remember desperately yelling out, “Honey, it hurts so bad! I can’t do this!” Even more discouraging was the fact that Luke was having late decelerations (his heart rate was dropping after each contraction, a sign of fetal distress), which meant that we needed something to happen fast, or else a C-section was inevitable. With Zach being medically minded, this greatly concerned him, but he remained my partner and continued to cheer me on, even though I know he wanted me to get an epidural to help with the pain. We pressed on though, and along with putting me on oxygen for the baby and hooking him up to fetal monitors, they increased the Pitocin to 4 drops. My body was not a fan of this, as proven by uncontrollable shaking and a brief vomiting spell. Things went into overdrive at this point. I was only dilated to a 6, but during these contractions, by body (not me) was starting to push. The nurse and Zach were both telling me to stop pushing, and they didn’t understand that I was not voluntarily doing anything. My body was doing all of the work. It was so painful, and we were so exhausted from laboring through the night. Finally, the midwife came in since I was insisting that my body was doing the pushing, and alas! I had dilated from a 6 to a 10 in 20 minutes. WHOA. My body then started to push HARD to the point of me thinking I might burst from the pressure. This was the most difficult part for me, as I felt like I had no control over anything. I couldn’t even catch a breath between pushing, and I was making the most ungodly noises with each push that not even I recognized. The midwife was updating us on the progress, and I remember completely doubting her when she said we had one more push to go. It was such a blur, but after about 30 minutes of pushing, the most amazing thing happened. Luke Zachary Smith was born at 8:44 a.m., weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long. Time stood still. We did it. All of the pain and exhaustion immediately went away as soon as the midwife handed me our son. I was FINALLY holding our son. This sweet baby I had been praying over for so long was in my arms. I could see what he looked like. I could hear his cry. I could feel him breathe. This miracle that I carried for 9 months was real and perfect. Zach and I looked at each other both shocked and relieved, and I felt like the world stood still. I didn’t know what was going on around me and I didn’t care. I was in heaven. I’ve never felt such an overwhelming love. We REALLY did it. Our baby boy had arrived, we were both healthy, and we did it naturally. Together. I couldn’t have done it without my incredible, patient, loving and handsome husband, and it brought us closer in a way I never thought possible. People tried to tell us how amazing this moment would be, and we finally understood.
I looked down at our sweet babe and wondered how people can doubt the existence of God. The gift of life is an absolute miracle, and I praise Jesus for allowing us to be this baby boy’s parents. We get to have a front row seat to witness Luke experience everything for the first time as he grows with the magic that comes with childhood wonder. What an unbelievable and undeserved blessing. “Luke” is said to mean “light” or “bringer of light”, and that is exactly what he is. Life has just begun, not only for Luke, but for his mom and dad who adore him more than words can say, and whose lives are much brighter because of his arrival.
Sweet child of mine, we are going to have so much fun together.
(Photos courtesy of my bestie, Kacie)
As Zach and I prepare for the arrival of our sweet boy, Luke, I’ve been reflecting on the past year and the roller coaster we’ve been on throughout this pregnancy. For a quick recap of some of the obstacles we’ve faced the past nine months; I battled all-day “morning” sickness from weeks 8-19, my family lost my precious Uncle Jerry to pancreatic cancer, my sweet cousin Layton to a sudden and turbulent battle with Leukemia, and most recently, my childhood pup and best buddy, Daisy. It’s been a wild ride of emotions to say the least, but there have been many blessings along the way as well, including the incredible outpouring of support and excitement from our family and friends. The more we reflect, the more we thank God for the timing of this baby… he has already brought us so much joy and an unbelievable amount of hope. All in all, I have been blessed to have had a wonderful pregnancy, and we are anxious to meet our son any day now! I wanted to share the first letter I wrote to our unborn child, which was written 2 1/2 months before we found out we were pregnant. I want to remember this precious time forever.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
This may be strange, but I feel the need and desire to write this letter to you today. You see, after this week, your daddy and I are going to put your life in God’s hands and hope that He decides that it’s your time to start cookin’! We have talked about you so much already sweet baby… our hopes for your life, our fears, our excitement, even our doubts that we will be good parents. We are both terrified and thrilled! We know that you could happen at any time, or it could take a while. Either way, we trust God’s timing completely, and either way, know that you are already a part of our lives. We have been praying for you since your dad and I first started talking about kids while we were dating. We would laugh and cry about our future family as we would sit up late dreaming and talking about our future together… God has shown us time and time again how His timing is perfect and His plans are GOOD, even in the face of tragedy and hard times. Things always work out the way they are supposed to, and I have to keep reminding myself of this as we begin this journey of bringing you into the world.
There is no way of knowing when God wants us to meet you, but in this strange/exciting/scary/exhilarating time of uncertainty, there are a few things I am certain of sweet baby, hence why I am writing this to you now…
- God is good, all the time.
- Your daddy is the most wonderful and caring man I know and he will be the best dad and father to you. You have hit the jackpot with him as your dad. He will make you laugh and feel love EVERY SINGLE DAY. Of this, I am completely certain…
- You will belong to an incredible family of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. They will teach you how to love, fight, and how to always be there for each other. They will love you unconditionally.
- You will have a second family full of incredible friends your dad and I have been blessed to have in our lives. They will all be like aunts and uncles to you, and they will teach you so much about life and what it means to truly embrace the people you love.
- I will make mistakes as a mother. We will fight. You will be annoyed by me. I will say things I don’t really mean at times. There will be many days that you won’t want anything to do with me. All of this will happen, but I’m certain of this; you are my child, my baby, my world. There is NOTHING I won’t do for you. I will hold you when you’re people break your heart, take care of you when you’re sick, laugh and play with you, fight for you, and I will ALWAYS be there for you… NO MATTER WHAT. There is no earthly person in the entire world who will love you more than me, because no matter what, I will always be your momma, and I praise God for that sweet gift. You are mine, and I am yours precious baby… forever and ever.
- Last thing, and most important. Your dad and I have no clue what we are doing, but we are going to do our absolute best to raise you to be an astounding human being. While this may sound like a lot of pressure, know that our biggest expectation of you is to thrive as the person God created you to be, in whatever form that may be. Some advice to achieve that? Be adventurous. Be curious. Be humble. Be confident in your own skin. Be strong in your faith and know why you believe what you believe. Ask questions. Take risks. Dream big. Be patient. Work hard. Be kind and share your light with others. Don’t take life too seriously. Know that it’s ok to cry. If you fall, get up and try again. Love others for who they are, even if they think and act differently than you. And most importantly, put your faith and trust in God, even when you don’t want to. We will fumble and have many times when we’re unsure how to direct you, and that’s ok, because there will be many times where only you can and should direct your path. Just know that our intentions are good and we will never stop supporting and loving you unconditionally. We already love you so much. You are wanted and will always be wanted by us. We are your champions and you are ours.
We don’t know what will happen or when you’ll arrive, but we know it’s all part of God’s amazing grace. We can’t fully prepare for you, but we are ready baby, ready for this journey to begin.
Know how ridiculously loved you already are.
This post is insanely overdue (as are most of my posts), but I can’t help but smile when I think about these two! Aaron and PJ are a match made in heaven! PJ is one of my very best friends and former roommate. During my time living with her, I learned what an amazing and unique spirit she has. This lady loves to love, and there aren’t many people in this world that can hold a candle to her compassion and ability to embrace people. When someone in her life is hurting, she physically and emotionally hurts with them. While this behavior seemed strange to me at first, I grew to envy it, as it’s simply a sign of what a huge heart she has. I’ve lost count of how many times I have laughed and cried with her, and I hold her friendship so dear to my heart. She is one of my sisters and always will be. All that being said, she deserves the absolute best in this world, especially in a man. Aaron IS that man. It brings so much joy to my heart to see my friend so happy with this guy who looks at her like she hung the moon. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it (thanks pregnancy hormones…) and I will treasure the time I got to capture their relationship with these photos! They got married last month and I couldn’t be happier for these two love birds! Enjoy a few favorites from their engagement session.