Maya Laurent Photography
simple is beautiful
Life True to Myself

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“The most common regret of the dying was this: they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them.” – Donald Miller, Scary Close

I’ve been pretty silent on this blog since having Veda, with the exception of letters to our kids. There’s a number of factors that go into it…like having three kids takes up a lot of time, then throw in two entrepreneur parents and there’s even less time. However, I also think I’ve been hiding a bit. I watch everyone else on their blogs or their social media and think to myself, I’m not good enough. I don’t have anything important to say. I want to inspire women to rise up and step into things they feel led to, yet I have felt hidden in my own skin, trying to figure out what God’s doing within in me. But isn’t that what matters, that I am trying to figure it out? It will never be completely “figured out” but I do believe I can find peace for the stage I’m at and ask God to continue to reveal where he wants me. I need to be open to change.

I have hid the past year behind what I thought others expected of me. I have a super fun photography business and I thought others expected me to be featured on a popular blog, awarded in a popular magazine and continue to push myself to be more like the successful senior photographers out there. And then one high school senior said, “Maya, I don’t care about all that junk. I just love the way you made me feel at my session.” I was focusing on the wrong thing. I now have slowly stopped following other senior photographers, stopped comparing myself and doing things I thought others expected of me. And what swooped in…freedom, peace, openness for other things.

Then we decided to tackle something that always seemed to be nagging, our debt. We fell into the thinking that is so common…”we’ll just always have debt.” We realized always having debt held us back from being able to give or serve in ways God might call us to. So we both brainstormed ways to make extra money and Younique dropped in my lap after multiple friends held online parties. I signed up as a Presenter but then something kept saying to me, “You can’t sell makeup, you barely do your makeup now.” And then I heard, “You can’t inspire other women to change their life financially and empower them into more confidence.” And I believed it. A friend would ask what I was doing and I would laugh it off. I closed down again.

But this weird thing has happened as time has gone on. I now see how God is using Younique to help me continue on how strongly I want women to believe deep in their hearts that they are a beautiful, unique masterpiece God created. And they can do anything they put their mind to…and use it to change the world in their unique way.

I’ve hid behind the no-makeup thing for awhile, or the just a little bit of makeup routine. I’m not over the top now but I have no fear of putting on some fun eye shadow and bold lip color. It took me a bit as I asked my husband, is this too much makeup? His response was always positive telling me how much he loved it and I still sat in that stage of what others expected of me. I felt like they expected me to be more of a plain Maya, than a bold Maya.

And then I allowed in openness again. Somehow making videos showing ladies how to use makeup and taking selfies to show how much fun I’m having wearing red lips, has made me realize how God has created me. I have imperfections that he loves and sees them as perfect, because that’s the way he created me. He enjoys if I take delight in rocking a fun lip stick or trying something new. I’m sure he smiles as I encourage other women and help them see their beauty.

Then the other day as I took a selfie trying to show how long the lip stain lasted, I was holding my daughter who saw herself in the camera and immediately started smiling. Her nose gets all scrunched up and her big eyes get squinty as she shows her precious dimples. But then I noticed something. She wasn’t looking at herself, she was looking at me in the camera. She was watching her mom be more confident to do something fun and sharing that with other women. I want her to continue to see that.

Can we all be kinder to ourselves? Can we wake up each day and say to God, “I have the courage to do today the way you want, not the way others expect.” There is power in being open and approaching the world in this way. The world needs this of us…needs this of me.

Veda: 1 Year

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15 pounds, 9 ounces / 27 inches long

Veda,

It has been a whole YEAR since you entered our family. I have no clue where the time has gone! I know everyone says that for every birthday, but it’s so true…it has flown by. I feel like just yesterday I was praying in a hospital room that your heartbeat would even out so you could enter this world healthy. Now you are taking the world on with that smile!

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This past month has been one filled with a world of changes. You still aren’t crawling but you are scooting everywhere and fast. This brought about some new problems with having older brothers. You are way too interested in their LEGOs and there are some small pieces! We had to get out the baby gate and put it up in front of your brothers’ room to keep you out. The LEGOs are required to stay in so you can’t immediately put them in your mouth. You see, you are fast! The second you see something, you butt scoot laser fast to the object, and always test everything out first by putting it in your mouth. So for now, you’ll have to watch your brothers play with little-piece things from the view of the baby gate.

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Mornings are so fun with you! Every morning we are greeted with a smile. You can go from crying to smiling the second the door opens and you see one of us. The boys still love running into your room each morning to say hello and give you kisses. This past month held the last moments of breastfeeding you. I have been so thankful for that time with you even though it was hard to commit to the time to stick with it. I loved the way you’d look at me and stop and smile when I’d smile at you. I wasn’t a fan of you pulling my hair, slapping me or biting me! But it was worth it and I’ll miss it.

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I love this onesie you have that says, “And though she be little, she is fierce.” You are still such a little peanut but it is not holding you back from anything! You eat like crazy, actually better than your brothers at most meals! You can make a mess with a kitchen drawer like no one else and squeal with joy when we dance with you in our arms. No matter what size you are now, or end up later, remember you are fierce in a way that only God could have made you – completely, uniquely you.

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I think we just flat out scared you at your small first birthday get together. You gave all of us looks as we sang to you and were not sure what to think at all! You at least enjoyed the cake! And of course when it came to opening gifts, you wanted to play with the wrapping paper more than anything. It was so fun to celebrate in a way that you got to hang out with all the family who loves you so much.

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You are a happy summer baby for sure! You LOVE the water and could splash around all day long. I have to admit that it took me several tries before I got your swimsuit on right (apparently I am too used to just slipping on boys’ shorts). It is such a joy to watch you talk and giggle in the baby pool. We hope you like the lake water soon too!

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We are amazed at how you are starting to talk! This was not the case with your brothers at this age so at first we just chalked it up as you repeating the sounds we were making. Then you dropped several items in a row and kept saying “Uh Oh!” after each one. You know what you’re saying! Then you’d crawl up to Luna, touch her and say “dog.” I thought it was cute and we heard you say it a lot but thought you were just saying sounds. We figured out you knew what you were saying when we were outside and a dog barked and you said “dog, dog, dog.” Just today we were in the doctor’s office and there was a poster with a bunch of dogs. As the nurse was talking to me you kept pointing and saying “dog, dog.” The nurse stopped when she realized what you were doing and cheered for you, which you then clapped your hands together with a huge proud smile! So, dog is your first word!!!

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Our hearts grow each “yeah!” we say and you clap your hands together in excitement. We smile each time we say your name as you scoot across the floor and you stop just to look at us and smile. And we laugh quietly when we say “no, no, Veda” to you getting into something and you turn to flash us that dimple smile as if you weren’t doing anything wrong, while shaking your head no. (This won’t be funny later I’m sure). You are in an ever-changing state and we want to soak it all in. We love you beyond words sister.

Love you,

Momma & Daddy

Three Kids

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We’re almost a year into this three kids thing and I continue to catch myself saying “We’re still getting used to three kids.” But I speak the complete truth when I make this statement. For anyone who has more than one child, you can probably relate to the fact that no child is alike. We figured out what disciple worked for Zane and then Jude came along and rocked us with his strong-will nature. Hello new disciple and ways to deal with him! And then there’s Veda, who right now goes with the flow but we can already see some of that stubborn personality shining through, and you know what, she’ll probably deal with getting in trouble in a completely different way than both the boys.

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I’m thinking I am going to just keep saying we’re getting used to three kids because just when you think you have it “figured out,” you’re in a new stage. We have three kids at completely different life stages which involves a mixed bag and totally different emotions, new things to shock us that they know, learning cursive while the other is figuring out his letters and the other is scooting across the floor trying to get to the tiny, itsy bitsy LEGO pieces her brothers have left behind.

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Some days can be filled with frustration as we click on and off our mind to which child we’re dealing with as we encourage them, celebrate with them and figure out their embarrassment levels when we joke. Jude plays imaginary things all day but don’t dare call him anything but Jude…he gets extremely upset at this as he screams, “I’m just JUDE!” Joke with Zane that you let him sleep in too long and he’s missed the bus, and he starts to cry, saying how mean it is to joke about that. There’s our emotional guy. Let Veda sit in her seat for just seconds without food for her to start grabbing immediately, and you will hear complaints. Someone is already showing her lack of patience!

But then there are other days where each of them shines with the parts of their personality we can already see God is using. Jude grabs the sweeper out of my hands saying  ” I help you Mommy.” There’s our kiddo with a servant’s heart. Zane comes home from school with a sad face because someone at school was upset and he’s worried about them. There’s our caring, relationship based child. Veda smiles with her dimples and lights up the room…we’ll see as she develops if her ability to bring joy to others comes out even more.

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Each day I realize it’s a new day. Each day different, and thank heavens, because the same day always would be boring! Some days send me to bed being done as a Momma. Other days I go to bed with a knot in my throat because I just want to capture this stage and not let it go.

So I’m still getting used to three kids and I’ll make the claim now that I’ll always be adjusting. They are constantly changing, evolving and embracing who God has made them to be and we’re here to walk them through it…hard days and fun days.

Veda: 11 Months

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Veda,

Hi precious! Can it truly be that we have one month to go and you are one? I want to freeze time and bottle up this stage of giggles, smiles and cuddles. You still have that baby smell and way of snuggling your head into us when you’re getting tired. At the same time you’re starting to show your independence and your personality is coming alive. You’re maturing into the next stage and while I want to stop you from growing, I am loving watching you discover everything right now.

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You are still a butt scooter and have not yet decided to crawl. When we put you on your belly, you cry a lot and we don’t give into your stares/cries at us like we’re the most evil people on the planet to keep you on your stomach. You finally give up complaining and then will totally give in and rest your head on the floor like you’re going to sleep. It’s like something clicks when you do this and you get up on your knees, put your head on the floor and push yourself up into sitting position. You then get to where you want to go by scooting your butt around the floor. I think you’re stubborn and just want to do your own thing!

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The different faces you make right now are hilarious! You have your “O” face that cracks everyone up who sees it. You use your eyebrows you inherited from Daddy to show when you’re confused or mad and then that dimply smile makes everyone say, “Oh my gosh! She has dimples!!!” Your hair is slowly growing and you have all these little long hairs that stick up right in the back of  your head. It’s pretty cute!

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Your love for your brothers amazes me each day. You have two completely different relationships with them but this past month I feel like your time with Jude is beginning to change. Now that you can scoot to get to toys, you go right for whatever he is playing with. He’s learning what can be near you and what is not good for you to have in your mouth. You love his blocks and guys and depending on the day, he is pretty good at sharing with you. I love seeing you two play together as Jude talks to you in baby talk and giggles when you react.

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Luna is still your favorite thing in our house! She takes her spot on the floor next to you and almost always lays her head right in your lap or close enough that you can reach her. She puts up with your hair pulling, ear pulling and trying to get her collar off. You laugh and smile when Luna gives you kisses and always lean in for more. We’re so glad you’re comfortable with Luna and just adore how you two have become friends.

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This time of year is always a bit crazy for Mommy and Daddy. There’s lots of things to keep up with, photo shoots to head to and Daddy’s sketching non-stop. You are so go-with-the-flow that it makes it easier. You love to sit with Daddy at his desk as he works.  (Don’t worry in that photo…he’s sitting right there). You grab things so quickly that you’ll tab on the keyboard or grab Daddy’s pencil. You are very quick to grab everything and of course little pieces are your favorite. You also seem to find dog hair everywhere and try to put it in your mouth. Yuck!

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You were standing up on your own, with our help to get you there, and seemed so confident. And then you decided you were done with that trick! Now when we try to get you to stand up, you hold your legs straight out like a hanging monkey. Again, that stubbornness is showing through! We’ll keep working on it because we know you are capable of it. There’s not tricking us!

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As each day passes, I feel like I get to know a little bit more about you and see glimpses of the girl, and then woman, you’ll become. I remember all of the fears I had when I found out we were having a girl and while some remain, so many have faded away. I look into your eyes and see you have a fire in you already that God is going to ignite and take into this world. You’ll do things you didn’t even think you were capable of and you’ll be scared, excited and confused all at the same time. But remember, the love we have for you doesn’t even compare to the love HE has for you. I can’t imagine someone loving you more than us but it’s true! Remember that always sister!

Love you,

Momma & Daddy

Jude: 4 +5 Months

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Jude,

Oh buddy…how your personality continues to SHINE! You enter each day excited to take on what the world has to offer. Occasionally we get snugly Jude in the morning but most of the time it’s you wide-eyed with tons of energy!

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One of my favorite things about you is your ability to take a normal object and turn it into anything you can imagine. This goes for diaper boxes, a hole in a tree, a piece of paper rolled up to be a map or random things from around the house as treasure. You see things so differently and I love hearing what you’ve come up with. The downside is this turns you into a bit of a hoarder. I will think you are finally done playing with a piece of paper, only to find you in tears the next day because I threw it out and “it was so special to you.”

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You currently are testing the waters a bit with Veda. As she interacts more and moves a bit more, you are trying to see what will get her to react to you. Sometimes this is wonderful with laughter and smiles from you both and other times it takes on the form of you pinching her cheeks to see how hard you can squeeze until she cries. Ugh! Hopefully this is a phase and all survive with just a few scraps and bumps! Veda adores you even if she has a scratch from your finger nail. Now, let’s be gentle with her please!

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This month you’ve gotten the name writing thing down and want to write it everywhere. You decided to color and draw pictures for your grandparents the other day and wanted to write your name on the letter and take it out to the mail right away. You still love coloring and drawing. People are constantly telling us how much you enjoy both as you leave preschool or church.

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Since you are home more with Momma and Daddy as we try to get some work in, we have come up with a schedule for you of when it’s play time with one of us, individual time for you, reading time and when we do “homework,” working on your letters and numbers. You like being on a schedule way more than your brother and thrive off knowing what is next. This creates a schedule “monster” sometimes if we are off of it and you know it! You walk over to the schedule on the wall and ask “what’s next?” You also still don’t understand timing and so when we tell you something is tomorrow you ask “is today tomorrow or tonight tomorrow or today tonight?” You get so mad because it confuses you!

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You’re at that age where some days are a dream in parenting and other days I want the day to end quickly so I can see you sleeping peacefully and pretend like you’re calm all the time. You rush out each night and ask me to “tuck you up” and rub your hair. And then I remember your creativity and spark that we get to experience everyday and I’m thankful through it all.

Love you Juders!

Momma and Daddy

© Maya Laurent Photography