Today is my first day in a new decade. HELLO THIRTY! I’m embracing the new age and feeling good that I’m on the young side of a decade rather than being on the older side. 😉
When I reflect back on my 20s, my heart feels overwhelmingly grateful. It was such a sweet experience writing up this blog post and finding old photos on our hard drive. It was difficult to summarize ten years of life… so much happened! I am thankful for photos and big life events that help organize time!
In 2009, I turned 20. I was two years into college at UCF and spent the year learning, student teaching, meeting new friends, serving in my sorority and dating my high school boyfriend long distance. Later that same year, David got down on one knee and proposed to me in front of the Disney fireworks. Best surprise ever!
In 2010, I turned 21 and had too much fun drinking my first martinis that night. David and I spent one last year at different schools until our crazy exciting May of 2011. He graduated with his EE degree (electrical engineering) at UF the first weekend in May, I graduated the next weekend with my EE degree (elementary education) at UCF, and then we got married at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market on Friday the 13th. I was 21 and David was 22. We jumped on a cruise ship for our honeymoon and then road tripped out to Fort Collins, Colorado for David’s summer internship. It was a wonderful summer of hiking, exploring, and enjoying being newlyweds.
In 2011, I turned 22 and started my career… I was finally a Kindergarten teacher!! I was hired at a wonderful school in Gainesville and spent that year teaching my babies and learning what it really meant to run a classroom. Lesson plans consumed that Fall and lots of Gator football. We somehow saved enough money that year to backpack Europe for six epic weeks that summer. I fell in love with Zermatt Switzerland, Barcelona, and Florence.
In 2012, I turned 23 and continued teaching Kindergarten at my school in Gainesville. I was starting to get the hang of teaching and being responsible for the safety and academic success of 20 five-year olds. Around this time, photography was still a hobby and I did a handful of low-cost sessions and weddings for friends. I had the opportunity to second shoot for a local photographer at a few weddings and I learned so much from her.
In 2013, I turned 24 and David and I had just embarked on a new adventure. David graduated with his Master’s degree from UF, we said goodbye to Gainesville and we moved the contents of our one-bedroom apartment to Tampa! David started a new full-time job and I started teaching at a title-one school in Tampa. We enjoyed meeting new people, finding a new church, and exploring the West side of Florida. My photography started to pick up and I was booking more weddings of my own. It was so much fun to create images for both friends and new clients!
In 2014, David’s job took us to New York City for 6 months. I took a hiatus from teaching to join David on this adventure (so glad I did!). I turned 25 in August and I remember enjoying a delicious dinner in Chelsea Market and walking the High Line at sunset. I was hired at the sweetest preschool within walking distance of our apartment. I worked in the nursery and played with babies all day. It was so great! We took advantage of living in the Northeast during the Fall and explored so many beautiful places that season. We even got to photograph a beautiful Fall wedding in New York and a snowy wedding in Albany. On the second half of being 25, David’s job took us to Milan, Italy for five months. We secured our visas and embraced our Italiano life! Every weekend was packed with trains and planes and exploring new countries around Europe.
In July 2015, my stepdad’s health rapidly declined and he sadly passed away at the age of 65. He had bravely been battling prostate cancer for the past seven years and my mom had been his amazing caregiver and advocate. I turned 26 a few weeks later and started teaching again at a new school in Tampa. I had the best team of teachers and immediately felt welcome. It was a sweet school year with a handful of learning experiences. It was also full of photo sessions, including lots of weddings all over Florida. That same year, my Dad unexpectedly passed away at the age of 54. It was a really hard season and brought on new challenges but it brought my family closer together, and I’m thankful for that. David and I were ready to branch out of our one-bedroom apartment life and we started house hunting. We browsed a ton of houses online, narrowed down our search, found a great realtor, toured a house in May, loved it, put in an offer same day and it was accepted! We moved into our first house two months later.
In 2016, I celebrated my golden birthday – I turned 27 on the 27th! It was a great birthday filled with family and friends. Around this time, David and I were ready to start trying for a baby. Our family had experienced loss the past year and we started to realize that life is short and unpredictable. I also started teaching at another new school in Tampa. I was co-teaching with the sweetest teacher at a wonderful school close to home. It turned out to be my best school year yet. At the end of October, David and I were elated to find out we were expecting our first baby. We were 27 and had been together since we were 16… we were ready to grow our family! In April, when I was very pregnant, David had an accident where he fell about 8 feet onto concrete. Scariest moment ever. He fractured his back and shoulder but praise the Lord, he was able to walk (in a back brace and shoulder sling) out of the hospital a few days later. A little while later, David’s start up company that he had been working on during spare hours for the past two years, received funding and we decided it was time for him to leave his job and pursue his new company full time. I was six weeks away from having our first baby and David left his stable job… which turned out to be the best thing ever. David now worked from home and had autonomy over his work.
In August 2017, I turned 28 and had resigned from teaching after 5 years in the classroom. I packed up my teaching supplies and focused on being a stay at home mom to my new baby– raising, nurturing and nursing James, and on my photography business. I joined a local Mom’s club and met so many supportive women and still do weekly play dates with our new friends. Around this time, my business grew in family and newborn sessions and weddings started to decrease. It was a natural transition towards more family photography.
In 2018, shortly before my 29th birthday, James turned one and my mom experienced a sudden ruptured brain aneurysm that landed her in the neuro ICU for almost a month. James and I spent a lot of time in Orlando caring for her for the next six months. It was a hard, overwhelming season but it was full of learning experiences and family time. James was a champ and happily went along for the journey. After the 2018 holidays, life started to get more stable. David and I were ready to try for another baby. About five months later, we found out we were pregnant again, right around our eight-year wedding anniversary. Our second baby will join us in January 2020. We’ll find out if this sweet babe is a boy or girl in a few weeks!
That leads us here… August 27, 2019. I turn 30 today with a growing baby in my belly, a growing toddler napping in his crib, a safe and comfortable home, a kind and supportive family, a handsome husband working as CTO of his thriving company, and a photography business that I love. What a decade it’s been. So many adventures filled with beautiful, surreal moments mixed with challenging, sad experiences. Looking forward to what the next decade will bring. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would be raising my champagne glass and cheers-ing to my 30s! Instead, here’s my lime la croix – clink! Cheers to a new decade!!