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     Because I had three boys, I was absolutely convinced I would not have a baby girl.  But, by the grace of God, we were blessed with Adley Rose this past October.  I’m so thrilled to create memories with my baby girl and to hopefully start some traditions that will carry on to her children. Last Sunday was hopefully the start of a new tradition….
Adley was dedicated to the Lord wearing the same gown that I wore 33 years ago.  The gown was handmade  by my talented God Mother, Deb Heath, and had been hiding in my mother’s closet for this wonderful moment! If the Lord chooses to bless Adley one day with a daughter, I’m hoping she will want to carry on this tradition and have her wear it as well.  And I’m praying that one day, when I am long gone, my dress will still be worn by my beautiful great, great, great grandchildren at their dedication.

Here I am, slouched ever so wonderfully in my Grandma Webster’s couch
 and….here is Adley in my gown and bonnet (and gold ring I wore as well)…
isn’t she precious?! ….or is it just my mommy goggles?!

 My God mother put so much detail into the dress…so talented!

The other day I was browsing facebook, when a post from an old Mops (mothers of preschoolers) friend caught my attention. Crystal was selling organic, heart shaped lotion bars to aid in raising money to adopt a child from Ukraine. I was just about ready to order several bars when God laid it on my heart to do more….I needed to tell their story to the world (or at least as many people as I could!!)

 Adoption has never been something that I’ve been called to do, but seeing Crystal and her family’s passion for their son that they haven’t even met, makes me bubble up inside and get teary eyed.  Crystal and her husband, Garth have three biological children, but knew in their hearts that their family wasn’t quite complete. On her blog, Crystal says, “There were literally nights in the last five years where I would wake up with tears trailing down my face, climb out of bed, prostrate myself on the floor and PRAY for MY CHILD that I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was out there. Were they warm, were they fed? This is what was plaguing my mind.”  

Crystal and her family have a specific seven year old boy they want so badly to be theirs, but unfortunately in Ukraine, they will not know who they will adopt  until they get there. They trust in the Lord to provide them with the son they desperately love, but are ready with open arms to embrace any child.  After spending an hour with them at their home on Saturday, I would want them to adopt me! Seriously, just take a look, you will fall in love with them too!




I knew adoption was expensive, but I really had no idea how expensive. Crystal and her family have to raise around $27,000 to bring home their son (that’s definitely not chump change!).  To help with this expense, Crystal has been making heart shaped lotions and selling them to friends and family.  The lotion comes in a beautiful little tin with the words, “God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:6”  They are $6 dollars each and can be ordered through Crystal’s Etsy shop here. The ingredients are: organic beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, jojoba oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, bergamot essential oil, lavender essential oil, ylang ylang oil, and vitamin E (yep, all organic!)

Before I left Crystal’s house, her daughter Claire was carrying around a cute, wooden box. Claire has been doing chores and saving all of her money to put in her “adoption box”. She even donated her money she received from the tooth fairy!! If a child can have such a big heart…can’t we? Please consider helping out the Sponseller family, I know you will be blessed…and a little boy will find his way home!

You can read more about their adventure and donate directly to them on Crystal’s Blog, openheartsopenhands.blogspot.com

When I was little, I never thought about my grandparent’s getting older, I just assumed they would be around forever. I remember looking at my grandma’s senior picture and thinking she looked like a movie star. I would imagine her in an old black and white t.v. show dancing with Fred Astaire.  I was her first granddaughter….she did anything for me (yes, I was spoiled).  Some of my best memories as a child were being at my grandma’s house. She would make me the best grilled ham and cheese sandwiches…and to this day, I still can’t seem to make one like she did. She hugged me, loved me, and watched me grow…all the while, she was growing older too. 
(wasn’t she stunning?)

me sitting on my grandma’s lap at seaworld
me sporting some braces while loving on my grandma
When I was in fifth grade, my grandpa passed away, and it changed all of our lives. My grandma got her license (yep, you read that right, she never drove until after he passed away). I’ll never forget the little white car she drove….very slowly (she was the classic old lady driver stereotype). Later, when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, her life (and my family’s) took another turn. Her hand started to shake, her fork would clink against her plate, her head started to bobble from side to side…it was hard for me to watch her not be able to control her movements. She would get frustrated at herself. Of course, as only family can, I would joke around with her and say she should work at a lemonade shakeup stand.

my grandma supporting me at a pageant….I was robbed of first place by the way, haaa

Time has a way of moving on whether we are ready for it or not.  It seemed like one day my grandma was living in her home, able to take care of herself, then the next moment she was moving in with my parents because it wasn’t safe for her to be alone. It was hard for her to say goodbye to her home, but she did it. My parent’s moved their bedroom upstairs and made my grandma a nice little living area….her new home. This past year, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Because of her age, we didn’t think she would (or should) do chemo, but the doctor said if she didn’t, she would have other complications that would be painful and ultimately lead to her death.  She did several rounds of chemo. She lost her hair. She looks so fragile.  During the last few weeks, I’ve had to take care of my grandma in ways that I never thought I would have to. I don’t want to remember my grandma like this….I want to remember the strong woman that took care of me, that held me on her lap and sang me to sleep…but I know, I will look back and cherish these times, even though they are hard.

my grandma resting in her chair
a picture of my grandpa that sits on her dresser…
Her wig. It’s itchy, so she usually just wears a little beanie
Her precious moments that she has collected since I was a little girl…I’m pretty sure she has almost every one ever made….ever, seriously…ever, lol
Her hair is starting to grow back now….
Her holding my baby girl (on the left) and my niece….and showing off her beanie. 
I love you grandma, you mean the world to me and you will never know how much you have impacted my life. You took care of me and now, I will take care of you. You will always be my mimi….

 I believe the things we go through, whether good or bad, are to help others know God more. Unfortunately, when it’s “the bad” you have to go through, it sucks…big time.  I’ve been wanting to share a bit of my story with you for awhile, but didn’t quite know how. As I thought about it, what better way is there to show emotion and provoke thought than through photography?

I’m pretty sure every woman on this earth has struggled with her body image…but to some, body image is a demon that sucks the life right out of them. That was me….and unfortunately, it still has it’s dirty claws in my mind to this day.  I don’t really know what triggered my body issues, but I started dieting in 7th grade and it escalated to bulimia (or as I referred to myself, a “lazy anorexic”) in college. Although, I have a relatively “healthy” relationship with food now, I still have a daily battle with my mirror. Some days I win, some days the mirror wins. Anyone who struggles with an eating disorder or body image issues (or any issue for that matter), knows that it can feel like there are heavy chains binding you. You feel so lonely..and tired…tired of fighting the same thoughts over and over again. You know God’s truth about you in your heart, but it can’t seem to make it’s way to your mind.

….you feel like a prisoner to your own thoughts.

You can only see lies in the mirror. Lies that say you are useless,  pathetic, and fat…..no one will ever really love you. 
But you have the power, through God, to change the words that stare back at you in the mirror…
You are God’s child and it’s your choice to ignore the demons that are filling your head with rubbish
God sees you differently than you see yourself. If you spend time with Him, you will start to see yourself in a different way too. 
 Don’t let your chains bind you. Pray daily that God will give you the strength to see how amazingly, beautiful you are. 
model: Chelsea Miller
Sometimes when the mirror is winning, I think of this song and start doing some fist pumps at the mirror….yeah, that’s right, I’m the boss.
(video from you tube…)

It was October 23rd, I was going in for what I hoped would be my last o.b. appointment.  I had a feeling my body wasn’t showing any signs of going into labor, so I wasn’t too surprised when the nurse practitioner said I was only 1cm dilated.  I figured I would come back in a few more days and see if there was any progress, but my doctor informed me that she would be going out of town and  she wanted me to be induced…that night!   My third son was a cesarean (because he turned sideways at the last minute and wouldn’t budge), so I had my hopes set on doing a v-bac (a vaginal birth after a cesarean).  Because of the risk of uterine rupture during a v-back, it’s not the best thing to induce, so I started to freak out. Would the pitocin be too much for my uterus? What if I died or my baby died? Was it worth it, just because I didn’t want to have another c-section?? Ahhh, I was so conflicted. The nurse called the hospital to arrange my induction and they told her they were ready for me right then…..right then! Unprepared and alone, I drove across the street to Dupont Hospital and went up to the birthing center. I called Ricky at his work and told him what was going on and asked him if this was the right thing to do. The nurses assured me they would take good care of me and I gave the situation over to God.  Ricky came as soon as he could (after stopping at home and getting the hosptial bags…and some of my makeup of course).  I started pitocin around noon and went through about six hours of contractions before I got an epidural.  Let me just say, I’m all for moms who go natural, but I love me a good epidural! I was progressing, but very slowly; I thought it would be sometime the next day before I met my precious baby boy or girl. I called my photographer (the talented Janelle from Happinest Photography) to let her know that it would most likely be awhile and I’d keep her updated. It wasn’t too long before I felt like I should be checked and sure enough, I went from a 4 to an 8 in just a few hours…I called Janelle and she came as fast as she could.  Once Janelle was in the room, I gave two small pushes and the baby was out (11:45 p.m.)!!  I couldn’t wait to see what the sex of the baby was (since I have three boys, of course I wanted a girl, but the most important thing to me was a healthy baby).  The expression of the nurse told me it was a girl before I even saw her!  As soon as they said, “it’s a girl!”,  the tears started pouring…I couldn’t believe it, it was like a dream. A baby girl…A GIRL!!  Adley Rose is perfect in every way, I’m so blessed. I feel great, and am beyond happy that I had a successful v-bac.  Now I just have to keep reminding myself it took me nine months to gain fifty pounds and it’s going to take more than two weeks to lose it!!

my momma taking a pic of her granddaughter..

My lovely friend Lindsay came over today and snapped a few pics of Adley with me and the family….

and of course I had to take some pics of my baby girl!!