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Dear Baby Girl,

I can’t believe another year has gone by that I’ve photographed you in my wedding dress.  Some days seemed long, never ending, and other days seemed to fly by and I’m afraid that my memory will cease to remember the simple details of our days together. You know…the mundane parts of our day, like you wanting to buy lunch instead of pack, me yelling at you to brush your teeth, you yelling at me when I comb your hair too hard, and when we argue about what you will wear to school (heads up…you won that one, but I’m always going to win the brushing your teeth argument). When I sat down to write this, I had no idea what I really wanted to say, but then the Lord laid something on my heart.  Today at church, I was singing on the praise team and all of the sudden the words of a song overwhelmed me. I started to cry…in front of everyone. If you don’t know how hard it is to sing while crying, let me tell you..you simply can’t do it. Every time I started to sing again, my voice would crack and my chin would tremble…and it was because of these words: Christ alone, cornerstone. Weak made strong in the Savior’s love. Through the storm, He is Lord, Lord of all. When darkness seems to hide his face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, My anchor holds within the veil (Cornerstone by Hillsong Worship). These words may not mean much to you now, but I feel the Lord will use them to comfort you in the future. I was completely fine when I went to church, not much going on in my life (besides raising four kids), I don’t feel consumed with anything negative, no big storms I’m walking through, but for some reason, I felt the presence of God around me, reassuring me that He is the cornerstone, He is there through it all….the storms and the mundane. He is there in the moments I get frustrated when you cry about your socks not feeling right on your toes, He is there when I cook dinner for two hours and you tell me, “It’s delicious mommy.” He is there when I find a bottle of open honey in your dresser, He is there when we are cuddled in your bed reading New Hat (which you can read all by yourself now). He is there when….fill in the blank. The point is, no matter what you will walk through, He is there. He is your cornerstone, His grace and mercy are boundless. His love for you will never change, no matter what choices you make (and believe me, there will be some choices that you will most likely regret). If there was ever anyone that could possibly love and care for you more than mommy and daddy, it’s Jesus. Don’t lose sight of His light when you walk through difficulty and don’t lose sight of His light when you walk through the mundane tasks of everyday. I love you so much sweet girl,

Mommy

2019-09-20_0004.jpgAnd just for reference…look at how much you’ve grown the last four years….I’m not crying, you’re crying…(all four letters and pictures can be found under the personal tab on my blog)
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You guys!!!! This post has been a long time coming, I mean really, A LONG time. My new kitchen has been functional and pretty much done for over a year, I say pretty much done because it’s still not decorated the way I want it (think stools, rugs, books, amazing things the kids won’t ruin….) but if I wait until it’s “finished” I would never post it.  If you want to hear the journey my kitchen has been through, keep reading, if you are in a hurry and only came to see the pics…then simply scroll through.

Ricky and I bought our house not quite sixteen years ago (can you believe we will be married seventeen years this summer?!!) and it needed some work….ok, it needed a lot. We were just excited to be home owners and knew that each experience remodeling parts of the home would be well worth it. Since kitchens cost so much money to remodel, it took some time to get to it. This is what it looked like when we bought it. I mean..look at all of those patterns!! Whew, it really almost makes me vomit. It was small and had almost no cabinets. The stove was across the room, making cooking dinner a pain. We lived with it this way for a few years until I spilled an entire bottle of bright pink penicillin on the carpet…and a gallon of chocolate milk…then, it was definitely time to get a face lift. I’m pretty sure I started pulling up the carpet one day while Ricky was at work, then we had no choice but to keep going, lol.
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I didn’t get pics of what the first remodel looked like before we tore down a wall, but you can get the idea. We didn’t improve the kitchen too much, but we added a cheap laminate floor and laminate countertop to pacify me for awhile. I painted the paneling on the walls and still hated my kitchen, but at least there was no more carpet!! Oh and check out the stained ceiling panels…yummy. 2019-01-28_0018.jpg
This was where we took out a little wall. You see that chimney behind there? Well, my husband was adamant that it was not coming down (way too much work!!) So, like a good wife, I stood beside him in the kitchen every day as we silently looked at the space and tried to figure out the best floor plan (most people would have a plan before gutting the kitchen…but not us!) until one day he made up his mind that the chimney had to come down for us to maximize space……Eureka!!! It just had to be his idea. So on memorial day weekend, Ricky, his brother Joe, and I were on the roof throwing bricks into a dumpster…and eventually the entire chimney was out (all the way down to the basement!! Of course there was a huge hole in my boy’s room now, but we took care of that later).2019-01-28_0019.jpg
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2019-01-28_0021.jpgOnce the chimney was out, I was able to come up with a plan. I say me, but what I really mean is about four kitchen cabinet places. After months of going back and forth, we decided to go with Zach at Grabill Cabinets (he’s the best!). I knew I didn’t want any space above my cabinets, so unfortunately for my wallet, we went custom. Ricky is handy, so he did all the prep work and tiling which saved us some money….hallelujah! For the tile (which took me another four months to pick out…no joke…this was the most stressful thing in our marriage. I couldn’t make decisions and it caused a bit of tension. At least we only raised our voices once….possibly twice) we ended up going with porcelain tile from Italy. Yes….stinking Italy….I apparently thought I was made of money (no worries, we landed a deal at Jack Laurie for half the price another place was going to charge us, score!!) It’s one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. It has gray and browns that run through it, I really do love it. Then, for the backsplash, we ended up going with a marble tile from Eagle Tile. Sometimes I regret spending so much money on our remodel, but then I stand in it and change my mind. It totally calms me, and I’m so grateful we were able to do it. Of course there are many more things we’d like to change about our house, because let’s be honest, it’s not our dream home, but it’s certainly a home we dream in and that’s all that matters. I could go on forever about all of the remodeling process…but I think you are ready to see the pics right?!  And before you say, “Oh, another white kitchen….” Let me just say, I love me a nice dark stain, but my kitchen is still relatively small and I knew I wanted it to be bright…..and bright it is. I went with a dark wall and floor to ground it and I’m slowly working on adding in colors through decor…Enjoy!
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Dear Baby Girl,

Three years ago I had the brilliant idea to take your picture in my wedding dress every year until you were eighteen (or at least until you wouldn’t let me). You can click here to see the first year, and here to see the second year. Well, I had grand plans this past year for your photoshoot and drug my wedding dress along with us on our summer vacation thirteen hours away to Myrtle Beach, SC (yeah, I know I’m getting to the actual blog a few days into the new year, but that’s mom life for you). I had vivid day dreams about what your photo session would be like…the sandy beaches, the waves behind you, the sun falling on your hair perfectly…..but again, those were just day dreams and very VERY far from the reality that occurred. This is what actually happened on that hot, humid July day: You were sun burned under your eyes and super tired (I mean, why wouldn’t you be tired from swimming in the ocean all day?!). You absolutely hated the way the dress felt on you (you get it honestly, I had battles with my socks daily as a child and still do to this day…darn socks) and you were trying to pull the dress up to feel comfortable. The sun was blinding…I mean, we were both blind and squinty. I couldn’t see the back of my camera screen and you could barely keep your eyes open. Then there was the wind…..the strongest winds that made our eyes water and your hair blow everywhere…..and then of course the wind blew the sand in your eyes. I yelled at you because I had these wonderful visions in my mind and they were all going to crap, then you cried…. then my mom yelled at me for yelling at you and I wanted to cry. I couldn’t tell who the child was, you or me because I was throwing just as much of a fit as you were…so I grabbed you up out of the sand and hauled you to the van and said, “the heck with it…it is what it is”….And that my dear child, was your third photoshoot in my wedding dress. The crazy thing is, at the time I thought I didn’t get one good shot (at least not any that I wanted anyway) and I couldn’t even edit the images because the light was so flat and I had a terrible attitude….But, now looking at your images FIVE MONTHS later, I love them. No, they aren’t what I had hoped for, but they are of you in my wedding dress and isn’t that what I wanted in the first place? You see, sometimes in our life, we have plans and when things don’t go the way we’d like, we can get upset, confused, anxious, and even mean. We can only see what is in front of us at the moment and may not understand the reasons why things aren’t going according to our plan….but as time goes on, hopefully we see a new perspective on the situation. God seems to work this way a lot in my life…there have been so many times I don’t see how anything good can come from what is happening, but when my perspective changes from “why is this happening?” to “what do you want me to learn?” it makes a world of difference. So my prayer for you is that you can take a step back when things aren’t going the way you have in mind, ask God what He wants you to take away from the situation, change your attitude, and embrace the life in front of you. I love you sweet child,

Mom

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2019-01-02_0010.jpgI didn’t even edit out the clip holding up her dress…because..this is how it was 😉
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I’ve fallen in love….with paper. Yeah, I know what you are thinking, “What kind of crazy is she?”, but let me tell you, if you love invitations (of any kind!), you will fall in love with Basic Invite. Seriously, I’m not sure why the company decided to call themselves “basic”, when there is definitely nothing basic about them, they are all luxurious and can be customized to the hills people! I used Basic Invite for bridal shower invitations last summer, and boy were they stunning, I even got matching stickers for the envelopes to complete the look. But, today, I want to talk about maybe an overlooked invitation, especially for weddings…..it’s the rehearsal dinner invitation! First off, when you use a rehearsal invite, you look like you’ve got it all together and more importantly, it clarifies who is actually invited (you know you have a few people who assume they should be invited…crazy Aunt Sue).  Plus, if you keep up on wedding etiquette these days, sending rehearsal invitations are a big YES! Rehearsal dinners themselves are a great way for family members and friends to get acquainted before the big day (and they can chat about how awesome your invites are).

So what separates Basic Invite from every other online printing company? Well, I’m glad you asked….

Basic Invite has a bajillion colors to choose from (yes, bajillion is a word…maybe)! You can customize almost anything on the invites and best of all, you can see the changes in real time. There are over 180 different color options….this is simply amazing.

They have custom samples so you can have it sent to you before you place a large order. Who wants to order over a hundred invitations and “hope” they are just right? No one.

Not only are there a bajillion colors for the invites, there are over 40 colors of envelopes! And no one is going to die from licking envelopes like George’s girlfriend on Seinfeld (I just dated myself), because all of the envelopes are peel and seal…..also amazing.

Basic Invite has over 800 wedding invitation sets…sets! Which means you can get everything from save the dates, wedding invitations, enclosure cards, wedding menus, programs, and thank you cards that match!

Don’t want to address all those envelopes by hand? Basic Invite has a FREE address collection service. Simply share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing….um yes!

And let’s just say the words…rose gold and foil printing…..yes, times two!

Not only can you get the most beautiful custom wedding invitations online, but you can also get a FREE wedding website!  The sites are mobile friendly and super easy to customize and use.

And, the best for last, I’ve partnered up with Basic Invite to give you a 20% discount and FREE shipping!! Just use code: NICOLEMOREHEAD at checkout.

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Here are a few quick samples of some rehearsal invitations.
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Dear Baby Girl,

Last year I took your pictures in my wedding dress and said I wanted to do it every year…well, I finally got around to it (a bit late, ok, almost seven months late, but it’s still 2017, so that technically counts as a year). Looking back on my last letter (which you can find here), I can’t believe how much you have grown. I wrote how I wanted God’s voice to be louder than the world and what it tells you, and that’s still my prayer for you….because, trust me, the world is very loud right now!!… so loud that it’s almost impossible to hear anything else. But, that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I want to ask for your forgiveness. Forgiveness for ever putting my own insecurities on you. The other day, after I combed your hair, you ruffled it up when you changed your shirt, and you looked at me with sadness and asked, “Is my hair still beautiful momma?”, as if I would suddenly not love you if it was messed up. It broke my heart. I thought, “Why does this sweet child even care what her hair looks like?”  And then it hit me…it was because of me. You see, it’s not just my job to try and teach you how to love and serve other people, it’s my job to try and make sure I show you how to love yourself, without the need of approval from others. Yes, of course, we all want approval from others, in fact, one of my love languages is words of affirmation, but my desire for you is that you know you were fearfully and wonderfully made and that you love yourself the way God loves you.   I don’t do this well, it’s one of my biggest weaknesses. I doubt myself, I pick apart my body, I complain about things, I let others’ opinions of me influence my decisions….and there you are silently watching, even if I don’t think you are. I tell you you are creative and kind, and in my next breath I tell myself, “If I could just have this or do this or look like this (fill in the blank)…then I would love myself”.  And what stinks about the whole thing is that I know the truth.  I know God loves me and my worth comes from Him, not from losing five pounds or buying the newest shade of lipstick… and I’m truly sorry for not being a better example. Please know I’m trying…and I will try harder, because I don’t want your love for yourself to ever waiver, I want it to shine through in everything you do. You are such a free spirit and I’m so very grateful God let me be your mommy. Love you always,

Mom

 

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