Lillian and the Avocado – Fox Fotography – Jacksonville Family Photographer

Our little lady tried solid food for the first time yesterday! We opted for avocado mixed with milk, and despite her first initial impression of sitting in the Bumbo with a spoon being put in her mouth, she really did like it. I can’t believe she’s six months old already. There’s a delicate balance between savoring this time that she’s little and wishing so much for her to be through the two year time frame her neurologists have said we need to get through before she can be off the anti-seizure medication. In the meantime, we just live. And we eat avocado.

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Announcing Christmas Mini Sessions at Boone Park – Fox Fotography – Jacksonville Family Photographer

christmas-mini-flyer

 

That’s right! We’ve set aside Saturday, December 10th for a limited number of Christmas mini sessions in the park! All of the proceeds will be going toward Lillian’s medical bills from her hospital stay at the beginning of the month. As anyone who’s ever been in the hospital knows, it gets very expensive very quickly, and insurance never seems to cover as much as you hope it will.

Our brave little lady before her MRI at Wolfson.

 

We’re already more than halfway booked for the morning, and we will open up afternoon slots as soon as the morning is booked. Right now, we still have these slots open:

8:30 AM
9:00 AM
10:00 AM

The session runs 20 minutes and includes 5 edited digital files with a print release, so you can send our holiday cards, make cute gifts, or my personal favorite option – print and hang up in your own home. There’s a $50 deposit to secure your spot, and the balance of $100 is due the day of the session.

We’ll be at Boone Park on the side that’s less busy, but feel free to mosey over to the new playground after your session and wear out the kids for the day!

Can’t make the 10th? Comment below, and let me know. I might be opening up a second date, if enough people express an interest.

Thank you so much for supporting our family!

The Foxes

P.S. Here are a few photos we’ve done at Boone Park in the past.

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A Personal Note.

You may have noticed we kind of dropped off the face of the Earth there for a while. It was completely intentional. Six months ago, our second child Lillian was born, and we made the decision to completely step away from the full-time photography business. It was hard to let go, but then there were so many things that came up along the way that really validated our decision. It became a lot easier for me to focus on just being a mom, rather than stressing myself out over running a business while adjusting to the crazy life of having two small children.

Life started to finally settle down. Both kids were napping at the same time. I was able to accomplish cooking dinner most evenings. The pregnancy weight was finally starting to budge off the scales. And then almost two weeks ago, our beautiful, healthy daughter had not one but two seizures. It was the scariest experience of our lives. After several days at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the pediatric neurologists clinically diagnosed her with epilepsy. What does that mean? Well, it means she’s had more than one seizure, and the only way they can really treat it is by considering it epilepsy. It’s been an extremely difficult time for us, because of the unknown nature of this diagnosis and what it may or may not mean. There are so many variables, and even though the specialists tell you it’s very likely she will never have another one, no one can tell you everything will be fine. All you can do is take things one day at a time and pray and keep living.

This past weekend, I was starting to feel the intense anxiety of the situation build up inside. “You need an outlet,” Justin said. I’ve taken up a lot of things lately, but there are few chances for me to really take time for myself and decompress. When you go through something like what we went through, it’s very hard to not just constantly stare at your child to make sure they’re okay and still breathing. Every single move rattles you. Each day, I’m trying to remind my brain to trust that God is in control and knows what He’s doing.

So here I am, trying to find my outlet. Here I am trying to find my new normal. There’s a song that’s over 10 years old that I used to listen to during my senior year of high school by the band Switchfoot called “Dare You to Move.” It came on today, as I drove across town for the first time by myself with the kids since Lillian’s seizures. We’ve been having someone sit in the backseat beside her everywhere we go, just to make sure she doesn’t have another episode.

The words came on…

I dare you to move,
Dare you to move
Dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.

I dare you to move,
Dare you to move
Like today never happened, today never happened before.

It’s very easy for me to shut myself down, to try and preserve our health and safety so much that we end up living in some sort of bubble. This is me, picking myself up off the floor, choosing to move and choosing to focus on today – rather than live in fear that the days past will happen again. That doesn’t mean I won’t be vigilant, by any means. It just means I choose to be fully engaged in today, because today will soon be gone. And fear only denies us of the joys of living today.

I hope this encourages you with whatever you may be going through.

Rachel

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Because I fail at blogging regularly

To say this post has been a long time coming would be a total understatement. Life has been totally crazy, with Justin working at an internship every single weekend and working his normal job during the week. And you know, me being pregnant and Jonah becoming more and more of a little boy who wants to play, learn and explore. To cap it all off, we also had a month of renovations being done in our main bathroom that literally finished the same day I reached 37 weeks in my pregnancy. If they hadn’t been totally necessary repairs, we would’ve waited for a more convenient time, but plumbing leaks in older homes are no joke, guys.

So much has happened, and so much is still yet to come, I can barely wrap my mind around it. Baby 2 is due in 10 days! It feels like I’ve been pregnant FOREVER, and at this point, I can’t tell you how ready I am for this sweet little one to make his or her debut earthside. Slowly but surely, everything on the to-do list is getting checked off. The nursery is complete. The car seats are installed. We have a functional bathroom. Jonah’s room has been rearranged to include all his toys, and my office has taken a new place in the back of the house with the dogs. It looks cute, but man, it smells like dog back there. Side note, if I can interest anyone in a smelly dog or in grooming my dogs…

But before baby arrives, Justin graduates from UNF on Friday! Seriously, this has been such a long journey. He has literally been in classes part-time since a year or so after we got married, and this December is our 10-year anniversary. You do the math. I am so proud of him for sticking to his goal and getting his bachelor’s degree. It’s definitely been a team effort, but I am so happy to have this time in our lives almost officially past us.

Somewhere along the way of doing life every day, I definitely realized that this time of our lives while our children are so young and need so much of us, it only made sense to say no to a lot of other things. Originally, we were just taking off 2016 from weddings, and I’m seriously so glad we made that choice. There is absolutely no way we could have gotten through the past four months of Justin working literally every single day AND done weddings. Fortunately, it’s been a really healthy and uneventful pregnancy for me this time around with only a few of the usual symptoms, but guys, I am tired. And Justin is too. We’ve both been going pretty nonstop, and have really only had the past two weekends of actually spending time together as a family.

I was telling a good friend just yesterday that it’s been a real struggle trying to keep up with everything that needs to be done. Anxiety is something I’ve had to work through often, and while I think it’s important to have a positive attitude, it’s almost just as important to be real, especially in a world with everyone posting happy Instagram and Facebook photos that often make us feel like we must be doing something wrong. All of our close friends in the industry know that we’ve taken a step back from weddings, and I just want to express that taking a step away from something that stands between us and our time with our growing family is a good thing. There is so much freedom in choosing who you are going to spend your time with and making them a priority. This time in our lives just wasn’t meant to be spent photoshopping the ever-present double chin that we ALL have from time to time. Seriously, guys. If I have to come to terms with it, so do you. 😉

So yeah, that’s my clever way of telling you all that we aren’t doing weddings anymore. Period. It’s just too much trying to balance everything, and in the words of George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life…”

“I want to live, Clarence!”

I’m still planning on doing smaller sessions after baby is no longer a newbie, but honestly, we’re just going to take it one day at a time. I’m not going to pretend to know what the future holds and give you my five-year plan, because I don’t even know my five-day plan. I’m not even sure what I’m making for dinner tonight. I’m just grateful that God has blessed us with a great job for Justin and ALMOST two little people to love and take care of. And that’s my focus right now.

Amazing photo by 8.08 Photography.

Hope Noles Hodges - So proud and excited for your perfect and precious little family!! I will keep ya’ll in my prayers for a smooth birth and transition into life with 2 littles. What you are doing is something so many people forget to do in life and I admire you so much for putting your family first!!

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Megan, Kellen & Baby Elise! – Fox Fotography – Jacksonville Family Photographer

Earlier this week, I had the joy of meeting Megan, Kellen and their brand new baby girl Elise! These three were referred to me by another sweet client, Jessica, so I was really excited to meet them. Sweet baby Elise was an absolute angel during the session, letting us put her in so many outfits and sleeping at just the right times, and I’m going to credit Megan and Kellen for that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen first-time parents who knew just what to do anytime their new baby fussed, but these two were on point. I’ve been a mom for 16 months now, and I learned some tips for baby 2 from them, like slightly jiggling the baby while shushing instead of trying to rock quite so much. I’m tucking that one away for a few months from now!

I had a great time capturing some sweet moments of this new family, and I could hardly wait to post a few favorites. Megan and Kellen, congratulations on your new little family, and thank you for trusting me with capturing such a special time!

Much love,
Rachel

Cole Smith - She is so precious! Beautiful family!

Fran Mishler - Dear Megan, These photos of you the baby and Kellen are so amazing. There is so much love in each photo it makes me want to laugh or cry. i’m so happy that you had a girl to keep the strong McKibben line going. My mother’s mom was a McKibben and she raised 2 little girls all alone during the depression after her husband died. It was a time when women didnt’ work, but she managed and kept her family together. We are all so much stronger than we realize. I’m sure Elise will have that strength as well. I can’t wait to see her. You guys are welcome anytime,especially if Kellen has business in the area. Again, these photos are amazing and you will cherish them forever. Love, Aunt Fran

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