Mother’s Name: Laurel Dickison
How has motherhood changed you as a woman?
Becoming a mother changed almost everything about me, I feel like my heart grew ten sizes overnight! Aside from doing absolutely everything I can to make sure my little girl has the best of the best in every area, I’m also taking better care of myself. Knowing that someone else is almost completely dependent on you changes your mindset about a lot of things. I’m very on top of my health so I can be here for her as long as I can. I eat better so she can eat better. I listen to clean music so she can listen to clean music. I get outside more so she can get fresh air. I watch less television so she won’t want to. I research constantly about what I can be doing for her to help her learn and grow. I don’t even use chemicals to clean my house anymore – all for her! Becoming a mother has made me selfless in so many areas when it comes to my little baby. And it’s because I want to.
Tell us a little about your family?
My husband, Jeff, and I met at a small group almost seven years ago. He was fresh out of college and I was in no state to start a relationship with anyone. But he was persistent and after being friends for a while, he told me he was going to marry me some day if I was up for it. Turns out I was, because we were married a year and a half later. After checking off some big ‘to-do’ items before we started our own family, we found out we were pregnant three years into our marriage! It’s just the three of us for now but we’re planning on expanding our happiness with more babies when Vivi is a little older.
What is one family tradition you have raised your children with?
Both of our families are big on traditions and, surprisingly, even have a few of the same! Jeff and I both have grandfathers that are great woodsmiths and each made a cradle for their own children/grand children that are still being passed down. So ViviAnn got to sleep in two cradles that all of her cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents slept in as babies. One day, I hope she gets to use them for her children as well.
Favorite family vacation?
Surprisingly, even though Viv is only 8 months old, we’ve been on several family vacations already. My favorite has to be when she was just three weeks old though. We packed our new born in to the car and drove almost 900 miles to the Idaho/Wyoming border for my sides family reunion. It took over 15 hours total, making room in the schedule to stop every three hours for a diaper change and to nurse. We were there only two days, but getting to introduce her as the youngest member of the family, that has grown to over 150, was absolutely worth it. She even got a prize! We won’t have another one for five years but I can’t wait to take her back.
What advice would you give new mothers about raising children?
The best advice I got is definitely what I’ll be sharing: Do what feels right. There are so many ways to parent and everyone says their way is the only way to go. This, of course, is completely overwhelming to new mommies. Do you breastfeed? Use formula? Co-sleep? Keep a schedule? Let them cry it out at bed time? How about making your own baby food? I got so much advice starting from the moment we announced my pregnancy. Most of it was welcomed and made me think of things I never thought before but my own mother told me to just do what felt right. This includes a lot of trial and error, so be kind to yourself. The most important thing is that your baby has YOU. Everything else will sort itself out.
What are your beauty must-haves as a mom?
I’m absolutely in love with anything that helps me feel pretty the fastest. I don’t have a whole lot of time to primp (shocking, I know). Right now I’d say I don’t go a day without my favorite perfume, mascara, and dry shampoo. Even if I haven’t showered or done my hair or have anything semi-cute to wear, those three things can instantly make me feel beautiful. A cute baby on the hip definitely helps, too!
Kind words about your photographer?
I’ve known Rachel since she was 8 years old. She has been, and still is, one of my baby sisters best friends. That’s probably why I contacted her to do my maternity photos at the very start. I was a little nervous since I hadn’t seen her in a few years, but when we got together, it was like no time had passed at all. My husband swears she’s the most likable photographer he’s ever worked with – and he had never met her so that’s a completely unbiased opinion! Rachel will have you laughing, feeling like you’ve modeled your whole life, and those insecurities you might have? Forget about them. She’ll make you feel like the most beautiful creature she’s ever seen. She’s also done Vivi’s newborn shoot, and the ‘mommy & me’ shoot, seen here, since then. As long as Rachel is still behind her camera, I’ll never use another photographer. I have absolutely no reason to.
“I’m Rachel! I’m a life loving, photo obsessed, twenty-something photographer based out of Seattle, WA. Although I have transitioned to photographing weddings, I still have such a deep love for portraits and capturing these special moments – especially with little ones! I got married in January of 2015 and can’t wait until I get to call myself a momma. But for now, I am focusing on my business and creating a solid foundation for myself, my husband, (and future children) to stand on! I strive to capture moments in the most authentic and beautiful way. Telling your story is as important to me as telling my own!”