It’s time to plan ahead and book your family pictures for later this fall NOW. Whitney Gossling Photography is donating $100 for each session booked in the month of September to the Amanda Riley Foundation. Go gold!
It’s 7:30am and I’m sitting at my kitchen table eating a slice of cheese pizza leftover from last night (Make A Wish Foundation built my nephew, Grant, an incredible playground in his back yard and last night was a little party / reveal for it – post on that later). Usually I come home from seminary and crawl back in bed in hopes of getting at least 30-45 minutes rest before Jude wakes up. But, this pizza is now inspiring me to blog. I have so many pictures, I ought to do something with them.
So spring is finally here! I have been very ready for it for a while. Our days are finally warming up and green is popping up everywhere. That has me pretty excited because last summer we had some perennials and bushes planted and, after a brown and dead winter, I am starting to see the green shoots come back up! I really shouldn’t take the credit because my mom and dad basically did all the work when they visited after Jude’s birth. My contribution was going to Grower’s Outlet and picking out what plants we wanted. Though this spring/summer since I’m not pregnant or recently out of surgery – I should be able to handle it.
This weather already inspired another trip to Grower’s Outlet and lots of weeding. Little Jude gets to spend that time with me outside, though he’s been a trooper about it. I often sit him in the grass with some of his hot wheels or hang his jumper in the doorway of the breezeway. He loves it!
James and I have been planning out our vegetable garden too. I am bound and determined to make it successful this year. The last two summers we have been in the middle of moves and it never happened. This year is our year! We are starting completely from scratch and it’s going to be a lot of work. There aren’t many flat areas around our house and, of course, there is no spot that is not 100% packed red Georgia clay. The abundance of deer and other critters also add the need for fencing or other protection. Luckily, my husband is awesome and enjoys working with his hands and figuring out projects. I am always amazed at the things he does. I’m the type of person that would jerry-rig something for a quick solution or “make do.” James is not. He’s all about exactness, measurements, efficiency, and quality. For example, if I’m going to hang something on the wall – I stand back and kind of eyeball where I want it and then hammer that nail in. Sometimes I end up making a couple holes before I get it where I want it. That drives James nuts. He would go get his measuring tape, this contraption that shoots a laser onto the wall for leveling, and a fancier wall mount for hanging pictures. It seems like too much work to me. Whatever though! He does everything well and likes doing it (or so it seems). So, I have no doubt that our raised beds will be top notch by the time he’s done. I can handle the planting and upkeep. He likes building, I like gardening – it works out well.
Just this week he decided to build a wall for a flower bed in our backyard where the slope makes everything muddy. He finished last night. I need to take a picture of the final deal once I plant all my pretty plants in it : ).
We love where we live, but it definitely was a “fixer upper” and we have had our work cut out for us. It’s ok though because looking back at what this place once was and comparing it to what it will be makes me excited. What a fulfilling feeling.
(We dog sat this last week for our friends, Matt & Laura. Though I had to laugh at the fact that pampered Duke did not like playing outside as much as we did. I blame Laura entirely lol!)
Jude had his first “play date” this last week. My friend, Ryan Phipps, moved to Georgia for the summer & her little babe is only a week younger than Jude. It was cute watching them. It was Jude’s first time really interacting with another person his size and age.
He is starting to get better with balance and can even stand on his own for about 3 seconds. I know that seems like nothing, but he’s a quick learner!
I’m very obsessed with watching James and Jude together. Once Jude is bigger it will only get better! I imagine he will follow James around all the time. They love each other and that melts my heart.
Here is one from last night… of this special little family of mine that I love so much … haha : )…
And so that I’m in at least one picture. Thank you, Summer! – Who came and hung out with us for an afternoon this week. …
I’m not the kind of mom that is ultra-protective and obsessive over everything. I don’t freak out when Jude swallows grass or sucks on a rock he just found (some people may shudder at that). His little toes and fingers have been nibbled and slobbered on by the donkeys on more than one occasion. It’s good for him! I’m also not an all-organic kind of mom. I don’t go out of my way to purchase the “dye free” children’s Tylenol. Or the “gentle” laundry detergent for babies. And we choose to vaccinate. So as far as parenting goes in this fast growing “granola” world – who knows where I rank.
BUT – I have recently realized that I’m going to be somewhat picky about what baby food I’m going to buy. Let’s be real, I don’t have time (or the best equipment) to whip up homemade baby food like some moms. I know it’s cheaper, but I’ve got a lot going on between early morning seminary each day with the youth at church (leaving my house by 5:40am each day – YAY!), taking care of Jude, making sure the animals get fed, staying on top of my photography business, trying to keep a “journal” for our family with my blog, laundry, keeping a clean house for my own sanity, cooking, grocery shopping, church responsibilities, catching up on sleep, spending time with my husband, etc… right now making baby food just isn’t on my list. Props to you parents who make that happen! Though I feel like I’ve found the next best thing.
A couple weeks ago, I ran to the store specifically for baby food. I was a little frustrated when half of the isle was cleared out of what I normally buy. Literally completely bare shelves. I saw the pretty little Beech-Nut jars with all of their fancy flavors and realized it was my only other option. I stocked up on some. Seeing that I am trying to keep a budget, but also want to feed my child good quality, I came home and compared. I never noticed that the baby food I bought before had additives and preservatives in it. Long story short – I’ve since switched over. I’m a little obsessed with the flavors, bright colors, and mostly – the simple ingredient list of JUST whatever it is. They taste awesome too – I always try whatever I give Jude & both texture and flavor are as though it came straight from a blender.
So, was I meaning for this to become a commercial? No. But now it kind of is. Haha. You’re welcome, Beech-Nut.
I love this sweet, happy boy! I also love how he finds and puts his pacifier in his mouth all on his own. Seven months is such a fun age. Though we are still waiting on teeth.
The month of February sped by for us. Little Jude turns seven months old today, and he has quite the personality! He sits up like a champ and likes standing up in our laps. I swear this little dude is going to skip crawling and go straight to walking. Though I’m hoping we can hold off on that for a while. This stage of sitting content surrounded by toys on the floor without being mobile is very ideal. Though he drools constantly, we’ve yet to see any teeth coming in. And he is at that stage where everything he handles goes straight to his mouth. He loves to eat all that we give him (other than peas – he gags when fed pureed peas), and his rolling thighs and many chins prove it.
Jude continues to be such a “chill” baby. He jabbers and smiles all day long. Fussiness really only happens if he’s hungry or tired. And boy does this little guy fight sleep! He likes his exersaucer and doorway jumper and absolutely loves being outside. James often will take him out there when he’s checking on the animals. Jude gets very excited when around animals, especially when he sees Kitty – he starts squawking and waving his arms around. When he gets the giggles, Jude stuffs his fists into his mouth. We think it’s because he likes the feel of the sound on his hands. Recently, he discovered smacking his lips and does it all the time. It’s really cute!
Ohmygoodness! I am a little obsessed with this giggle fit he had last week…
We have finally (this last week) decided to let Jude cry it out at night. He’s always gone to bed well, but has been waking up about two times at night – expecting a bottle once usually. It’s time we stopped that though, and did so cold turkey. It’s been so nice sleeping through the night since! Honestly, I’m not even really sure if he’s waking up and crying at night because early morning seminary makes me so tired. Regardless, I am loving the non-interrupted sleep.
Our winter weather has been super wack this year. Kind of like last year. Though we had a gorgeous foggy morning recently followed by a warm sunny day. Even though it’s super early, I really enjoy getting home around 7am and being up to see the mornings unfold. It’s usually the best time to take pictures anyhow. And then, go figure, there was snow when we got out of seminary today. Whatever to this weather!
. . . . .
James and I celebrated our third Valentine’s Day together this year. We take turns “being in charge of” Valentine’s Day and our Anniversary. This year it was his turn for V-Day (I get our anniversary), which is super awesome because I didn’t have to do a thing! Literally – not a thing is expected on my part. It’s a wonderful tradition.
James planned a great date for us. We started out the evening with a 90 minute couples massage in Athens at Urban Sanctuary Spa. It was fancy and relaxing and a little taste of heaven. Afterwards, we had dinner reservations at 5&10 – a classy white tablecloth dining experience in Athens. James and I were in heaven sampling a handful of dishes from their menu. We decided it was Southern food with a fancy French twists. Their Grapefruit Pudding Cake was to die for. But then again, so was their crisp, melt-in-your-mouth Carolina Trout and Pickled Shrimp and their Sorghum Glazed Pork Belly (that literally melted in my mouth). Ooooh…I’m making myself so hungry thinking about it right now. We would definitely go back! Great choices, James. He always plans the best dates, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.
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Hopefully spring comes soon. I’m looking forward to leafy trees and getting our garden going. Fingers crossed that this year we will finally be successful – no move or pregnancy in the mix should make it much more doable.
About a week ago, James and I were babysitting our nieces and nephews that live next door. The kids LOVE their Uncle James…especially the boys, who spend the majority of their time jumping on, rolling and wrestling with him. I’m always amused by little Baby Grant – who is 2 and a half – and will literally climb up and wrap his legs around James’ neck and come out unscathed when he’s tossed off onto the couch! It supports why his parents and family call him “monkey.” 🙂 The night was filled with giggles and endless energy and, of course, no one got to sleep until way past their bedtime.
A few days later, Father’s Day, the Gossling clan came over to celebrate the day together. The kids played and ran around, Grant included; though it was noticed that Grant would whine and say “ouch” whenever he was picked up. It seemed that maybe he had fallen and hurt a rib, his arm, or maybe his lymph nodes were a little swollen because he had been under the weather the day or so before.
June took Grant to the doctor for an x-ray to see what was wrong on Wednesday. The x-ray led to blood tests – which confirmed that Grant’s platelet count was entirely too low. The doctors informed June and Michael that this was an immediate concern for cancer and they needed to have him sent to the hospital right away for further testing.
I am astounded and humbled by how quickly a person’s life can change. And, in this case, it is far more than one person’s that has been changed forever.
Since the first doctor visit just this last Wednesday, the doctors have found a large mass on little Grant’s adrenal glands and another abnormality on the bone in his arm. At his age, Grant is now only the third case of high risk, stage 4 neuroblastoma admitted to the Aflac Cancer wing at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta this year.
Our hearts have been broken and constantly poured out in prayer since we’ve received the news. To try and put myself in June and Michael’s shoes is incomprehensible; though they say that the tremendous reaching out from hundreds in just the last couple of days has been a blessing to help lift the burden they now carry.
Grant was supposed to go into surgery for a biopsy this last Friday, but it was postponed until Monday due to a delay in him receiving blood in time. What a blessing that has been because it allowed a break from all of the testing and poking – to just breath… and better soak in all that has happened in such a short period of time. James and I were able to spend our afternoon with Grant, June, and Michael yesterday at the hospital.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle our visit. Walking through the wing to get to Grant’s room had me tearing up as I saw little babies in hospital gowns being pulled around in red wagons in the halls to some puppies that had been brought to cheer them up. Being able to see June and Michael finally since the news was calming and reassuring for me. For being in a more difficult place than I can imagine, they are both so faithful. Though they shared how heart wrenching it was each time they had to hold down their screaming baby for him to be “poked” or sedated for testing – they also spoke very positively and gratefully – – regarding the path that was paved leading up to this event, how they had been prepared, about how God has a plan, and about the flood of support, love, and prayers being offered up on their behalf. Visitors, comments, and love coming from family, friends, and strangers are keeping them strong in this rough time.
It really is incredible how little Grant is bringing people together and how good hearted the world is. You can read more details about it and Grant’s story with the daily little miracles/updates on his facebook page: Grace for Grant – it is kept up by his parents, Michael and June.
It was hard to see Grant in so much pain. He would cry as soon as June got up from his side in bed. He didn’t want anyone to touch him.
His body is weak and sore – they have a “Fall Risk” band around his ankle because even walking is not easy or even possible at this point.
I was impressed at how well he did when the nurse came in to check on him and give him more pain medications. He only fussed when they lifted his arm to take his temperature.
^^ even Spidey got his temperature taken ^^
Though the majority of the afternoon Grant was in pain and fussy – He allowed his favorite Uncle James to touch him and was able to get some smiles out of him, if only for a brief minute or two! These photos warm my heart…
Grant will go into surgery tomorrow. They will do a biopsy to confirm whether the stage 4 mass in his abdomen is mature or still immature and prone to rapid spreading. We are hoping it’s mature (which means it won’t be spreading quickly). If the tumor is a solid mass and easily removed, they’ll go ahead and take it out during surgery – but they said not to count on it. Though we already know Grant is high risk – these upcoming tests and biopsy will confirm exactly where all the cancer has spread and what types of treatments will be needed. Soon we will have more answers. Which also means that soon Michael and June will explain to their other three children (9, 7, and 4 years old) Grant’s situation. Up until now, they visit and know that Grant is “sick” but do not know the extent of it. They wanted to wait until more was confirmed. Using the “cancer” word will be hard because their beloved family dog currently has cancer and the kids all know that any day now he may be gone. When it rains – it pours …but God is always there.
^^ “hello?!?!” on the foot phone ^^
Neuroblastoma has no known cause – but starts in the nerves (usually around the adrenal glands) and can spread to the bones, skin, liver, etc. It is not very common – but occurs most often in young children/babies.
Julian is turning eight years old in July and making the wonderful step of baptism later this summer! I love his excitement and our fun session at the Atlanta LDS Temple last night. He was beaming while wearing his dad’s old missionary tag and insisted we use his well worn scriptures for the pictures. Adorable! I couldn’t resist already sharing a few on here as I was culling through and editing this afternoon.
This post is also found on my photography business’ website, but I am just obsessed with #1- this Boho photoshoot and #2 – Moving somewhere so beautiful that I couldn’t help but share it here too…
I am thrilled to announce that Whitney Gossling Photography is moving to Monroe, GA this summer! Living out in the country is, in my opinion, a perfectly inspiring location for a Georgia photographer. The scenery and lifestyle is absolutely beautiful and something I am looking forward to SO MUCH. I’m nothing but smiles when I think about it! To me, the surrounding open fields, adorable downtowns, cozy pastures, and hospitality – Those are nothing but southern! If I have a say (which I do), I will probably never leave Georgia.
Being in Monroe, I love that not only am I still shooting Atlanta Senior Portraits, but I am so very very close to Athens, Georgia. Unlike other Georgians, I have not spent much time in Athens. Some may say that’s a sin. I have at least been to one UGA football game though, so calm down! With Athens being much closer now, I am starting to unveil and discover its incredible southern flair and personality. Recently, I was able to explore the beauty of Athens, GA when shooting a Boho themed portrait session with University of Georgia student, Gabriella. Athens had so much to offer – I will definitely be going back soon!
In honor of her leaving today to spend her summer in Peru – here are a couple teasers from our session! …
I don’t need to say it, but Gabriella is gorgeous – and beautifully Boho! More from this session coming up soon…
In the meantime, if you live in Athens, Georgia and want to give me another great excuse to come that way, I would not complain!
Athens Georgia Photographer | Now booking Custom Portrait Sessions at $250 | Engagement Sessions $300
We may have had an ice storm and snowy winter weather in Atlanta just two days before, but the skies cleared and this day was nothing short of perfect for Lindsay & Todd – The new Mr. and Mrs. Greener!
Todd and Lindsay have a love that is so real and infectious. The way they looked and smiled into each other’s eyes all day long warmed my heart! I love being able to document true love and the beginning of such a wonderful journey for two people. It was apparent how perfect Lindsay and Todd are for each other and I wish them all the best in their adventures ahead.
That’s right, it snowed in Georgia! We usually average one snow per winter. This year’s came quick and did a lot of damage – as you may have heard in the news. We are lucky enough to live northeast of Atlanta, so when all the schools and businesses starting closing, we did not get stuck in the endless traffic jam on our way home.
So, outside of the city full of miles of abandoned vehicles that ran out of gas and are now stuck in the icy roads – and people stuck sleeping at the closest gas station or Target…. we were here, enjoying the “day-off”…
The kids loved the snow. The boys loved doing donuts on the 4-wheelers. We had to get creative in what was used to go “sledding”. Maybe it was a tad redneck… what would you expect? Though I’d say our snow day was a success. : ) Thank you, Gossling Farms!
I’ve been thinking about myself a lot lately. Not in a self-centered mentality, but in a “What do I want to do with my life?” kind of way.
I’ve noticed some patterns. Not all that I’m proud of, but I’m sure I am not alone:
1. I’m a perfectionist. If I’m going to do something – I have ridiculously high expectations of how it should turn out. Which is probably why I often just “dabble” because I’ll compare myself to “the ideal goal” and get frustrated.
2. I’m a day dreamer. I have visions of things I’d love to do – a person I’d love to become – things I’d love to learn and have time for. And I’ve always dreamed big!
3. If my heart’s not in something – I quit it. That can be viewed as good or bad. It explains why my college career lasted on-and-off over so many years with constant changes in my major. And why I never finished and still don’t have a degree. You know what though? I don’t regret it. I get bothered when I’m told that I will regret never finishing. But no, no I won’t. I learned a lot in college! I took enough classes across the board that I feel well-educated. What I WOULD regret is if I made myself miserable finishing my degree in something I realized I didn’t want to pursue. College made me pretty dang neurotic because I never felt like it’s where I belonged or what I actually wanted to do. I did not like feeling like I HAD to spend so much of my time, energy, and money doing something because it’s what I felt pressured to do or because it made others happy with my decisions…. I want to be HAPPY and PASSIONATE about MY decisions and the path I choose.
My whole life I always enjoyed art. Painting, drawing, doodles, crafting… CREATING was what I loved. I tried something new & took a film-developing photography class my Senior year in high school and LOVED it! Suddenly, I itched to take my dad’s old 35mm film camera with me everywhere I went. And I practically did. It became my dream to one day be good enough to own my own business doing what I loved.
Though… the art world is full of a lot of intensely passionate people – especially once I reached college levels. Sometimes their passion, drive, skill and unique creativity would scare me because I didn’t feel like I was on the same level; however, it was inspiring. Getting accepted into and being a part of the art departments at my University was terribly competitive. Seriously though – only being able to apply/submit your portfolio once a year and cross your fingers that you will be one of the dozen chosen out of hundreds of applicants… It was nothing short of disheartening.
I chose to focus on other things in my college studies – though the art-based classes were always my favorite. My parent’s surprised me and bought me my first Nikon SLR 35mm film camera for Christmas one year. I carried it everywhere and spent a lot of money on rolls of film! Paintbrushes, canvas, craft projects, and my drawers of developed negatives were what I loved far more than my school studies. I dreamed about but lacked the courage to do something great with my passion.
Skipping ahead – over the years I’ve had a handful of different jobs, life experiences involving travel, and many learning opportunities. I have met a variety of very different people and been inspired in many ways. I’ve gotten married and gained a companion that is a doer and 100% supportive and by my side. I honestly feel that because of him, I am starting to become the me I always dreamed of.
Apart from my husband, I cannot overlook certain people that have been placed in my path in the last couple of years. The tiny decision of who I chose to be our engagement photographer in 2012 has significantly impacted my life. I could go on about how that one decision randomly snow-balled into many great things, but for now, I just will focus on one. Lora Grady very quickly became a close friend of mine. We clicked & lucky for us, also shared similar interests. She taught me so much and motivated/pushed me to just START! Between her and my husband, I gained the courage to finally create my photography business despite my OCD of wanting everything perfect from the get-go. Everybody has to start somewhere. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in just 2013 because I decided to just start.
Now, it’s the beginning of 2014. I started making a list of my “Desires for the New Year” over the holidays and it looked like this:
I’d like to visit NYC
Having married into a family that gets everybody together frequently, I’d like to see all of my family together in one place for a change.
I’d like to have time to garden
I’d like to improve on meal planning and budgeting
I want to go on more dates with just my husband
I’d like to make more time to invest in my photography business
I’d like to work on my personal creative goals
I’d like to spend less time staring at a computer screen
I want to go on more walks
I want to finish a few paintings
I want to have time to enjoy reading books again
I want to send more snail mail
I want to be present for my family
In staring at my list, I thought to myself. Why aren’t these things happening now? My two big factors were…
#1 – I have a full-time day job where I stare at a screen all day.
#2 – I’m pregnant, so at this stage in the game, by the time I get home from work… I have no energy for much other than my pillow.
Making decisions has always been hard for me, but this time – It was surprisingly easy. Although I have been blessed with a great job, steady income, and excellent health insurance – I opted to give it up. WHOA – I know! I feel like lately I’ve been given many opportunities to learn, grow, and get help living my dream that I’d be dumb not to take the leap of faith to go for it. I need the time to make it happen. I’m ready to be my own boss and take charge of life.
So, even though we have a baby on the way and my current steady income/great health insurance/benefits would seem like the “wise” thing to stick with – I feel the opposite. I’ve put in the word and come the end of February, I will no longer be employed. Now is my time to REALLY start doing what I want to. Now is the time to get things going BEFORE my baby comes. I’m excited about the time I will have to invest in my business and passions. I’m blessed to have a supportive husband. It definitely will not be easy, but I have not felt better about such a decision.
Coming from someone who has been the QUEEN of procrastination, insecurity, and indecision – Just GET STARTED LIVING YOUR DREAM! Now is the time because “tomorrow” rarely comes. I am a firm believer that if you want something bad enough to work for it – it will be yours. Do not settle.