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I feel so lucky to know this gorgeous mama personally

I met Leilonie on Halloween while out Trick-o-treating in the neighborhood.  They had recently moved in down the street and I figured it was a good opportunity to introduce myself and welcome her to the neighborhood.   Right in the middle of our introductions I realized she was pregnant and I think I interrupted her with an "OOOH!!!  You're pregnant!  That's awesome!  When are you due?  I'm a maternity photographer - come over and hang out and let's do pictures!"  said of course, all in one breath with no room for her to answer.  I think that was probably the moment she knew we'd be friends forever.  LOL  Anyways, a month went by and I didn't hear anything from her.  Being a busy mom to an almost two year old and a momboss, working out of her home with her Seattle based employer was keeping her busy, so I pinged her again to see if she just wanted to get together, no photos just coffee and chit chat and oh, wouldn't it be fun for our girls to play?  I'm definitely not as confident in myself or my work as I might seem and sooo many things go through my head as much as I try to not let them.  I was worried I came on too strong, been too friendly, you know?  but no, she was just busy and we finally found a morning to have a coffee/play date with the kiddos.  It was awesome - we found we had so much in common; isn't it so great when you click with a neighbor?  While she was over, I hesitantly brought up pictures to her again.  Because seriously, she's GORGEOUS and had the cutest baby bump ever.  So I showed her my work, my gown collection and had her playing dressup before our tea cups were empty.

 

We had to reschedule due to weather - the ice storm really did a number on our property - and finally found another date.  And she was 38 weeks and ready to pop.  Day of, and it is absolutely POURING rain.  We just kept repeating "it will stop, it will stop" as Laurel did her hair and makeup.  Her hair curled in the tightest little ringlets, makeup done and ready to go, the rain had slowed to more of a mist/drizzle.  We ran to the van, and loaded up.  By the time we got to Birch Bay, all the hairspray in the world couldn't keep her curls as tight as they'd been.  But the rain had stopped out there, the sun was hidden behind amazing stormy clouds, and the wind was whipping around us.  It might have taken the curl out, but her hair was AMAZING all the way through.   And she gets some of my biggest ever cudos for standing in the freezing wind, by the water, in January, with only a thin gown on.   I am still just absolutely in love with how her images turned out.  We even got them published on Beauty and Lifestyle Magazine - blmommy.com!

Later I asked Leilonie to fill out a questionnaire for me to share a bit about herself with you dear reader (because if you've made it this far, we're on those terms and I love your face).

Leilonie's Q&A

When you realized you were pregnant, what was your first reaction and how did you tell your significant other?

When I realized I was pregnant, my first reaction was shock. We were trying to get pregnant, but needed medical interventions to do so. We got pregnant much quicker than I imagined we would, so I was overjoyed. I was so excited that I didn't plan an elaborate surprise announcement for my husband. I ran outside and told him right away!

Did you have any unusual food cravings?

I remember having a craving for sour, chewy candy.

What did you like/dislike about being pregnant?

I liked feeling the baby's movements and seeing her little fists and feet kick my tummy! I disliked the swelling ankles and feet.

Can you share your labor and delivery story with us?

My labor was my second and easier than my first. I was in labor for 10 hours, delivering with the aid of two midwives and several AMAZING nurses. I managed to get through the first 5 hours without the aid of drugs or anesthetics. After a lack of progress, I decided on an epidural. I was able to relax and enjoy the thought of eventually holding my sweet baby girl. My husband was by my side the entire time giving me the support and encouragement I needed. Our little girl was healthy and beautiful!

Do you have any advice, tips, tricks, or something you wish you’d done differently during your pregnancy or L&D that you’d like to share?

Take time to treat yourself during pregnancy if you can. Get your nails done, get the prenatal massage, all of the things. You won't have nearly as much time to enjoy those things after baby is born. You're doing hard work carrying a human being in your womb - you're worth it!

How did you choose your child’s name and what is one name that was close, but didn’t make the cut?

We decided on our baby's name at the last minute. It was a name that I'd always liked, but had never imagined it as a child's name. We chose my mother-in-law's middle name as her middle name because she's been such an amazing woman and grandmother to our first born.

What trait, physical or otherwise, do you wish your child has inherited from you?

I hope she inherits my patience and calm demeanor. I hope she inherits my husband's sense of humor!

What has been your favorite part of seeing your baby grow so far?

I've enjoyed watching my baby's personality develop. She's quick to smile and laugh and loves playing and babbling. She also starting to look a lot like me as a baby, which is pretty fun!

If you were stranded with your kids, what are three things you’d hope you had on hand

Food, water, and an iPad with an unlimited battery!

What kids show do you wish you could eliminate so that no parent would ever have to sit through it again?

Llama Llama (on Netflix. That llama is a brat, but my two-year-old loves the show...)

Is there a food you think is really gross but you make your kids eat anyways because it’s good for them?

Not really. I like almost all foods! And I don't have a picky eater, so I don't have to make her eat anything (yet!).

If there was one mom duty you wish you never had to do again, what would it be?

Diaper duty (once a kid is eating regular food and it's like grown-up poop) and potty training. I've seen/handled  more poop than I ever imagined I'd see...

Tell us about one funny experience you’ve had with your new baby

I've been trying to get her adjusted to bottle feeding. She's pretty aware of the difference between breast and bottle. She literally spits out the bottle nipple and laughs at me when I giver her a bottle! She's not having it.

What are you most looking forward to in the next year?

I'm looking forward to watching my girls grow and interact more. I can already tell that they love each other so much!