Amy B Photography

Packing Your Hospital Go-Bag

With six kids, we have our fair share of ER visits in a year. While we currently live in Germany and experience different health care than the U.S., this idea might be helpful even during these pandemic times, no matter where you are in the world. A simple trip to the ER can sometimes take a long time or it can end up with an overnight stay (or ten).

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In Germany, we joke that a trip to the ER means a 5-night sleepover. In some ways, it is true but it is actually is a wonderful thing. Our experience has always been that of thorough doctors, plenty of testing and hearing our concerns through. Many of our trips to the ER (because in our experience, there is no urgent care like in the states), if they had happened in the states, would have been completed in a few hours with a follow up recommended as we were sent home. Here, we often hear “we want to keep you overnight for observation and we will let you know tomorrow what we think is best”. Even having my tonsils removed as an adult required a 5 days stay because they choose to monitor your recovering and make sure everything is going well.

Came to the ER at 6pm and finally getting a bed at 2 am.

So in late February, before the pandemic was an actual pandemic when my 10-month-old had a 104.2 fever and was lethargic, we headed to the ER but we brought a Go Bag with us. It was a good thing because (based on his symptoms and further testing) we waited for five hours in the ER before being admitted and were locked down without warning, in the hospital for three days without being able to even leave our room or have any visitors! A few friends of mine wanted me to share what we packed in the bag, in case they found themselves in a similar situation, so here we are.

The hospital room we most recently called home for three days.

Please keep in mind, this is what we came up with but it can be adjusted to whatever you think you might need for a 1-5 day stay. Yes, this is not “enough” by most standards to last you five days but you will be surprised what you can survive on with even this small bag of goodness.

Whenever we head to the hospital, we take a bag like this with us. Usually, just a backpack that I can easily carry with a baby in tow and it has just enough to pass the hours or prepare us for a sleepover. Let’s unpack!

Snacks

I put this first because it is IMPORTANT! I overpack snacks in my bag, because hospital snacks are expensive, hangry is a real thing and personally, because German hospital food is another level if you are used to American style hospital food. In this case, when we weren't even allowed to leave our room, it was so helpful to have snacks in my bag.

When you are in a waiting room for five hours, having snacks on hand is also so helpful! When you have a toddler that gets hungry in between the three provided meals each day, snacks are a lifesaver. When German hospitals only give you a tray with two slices of meat, two hard crust rolls, and maybe a fruit or vinegar-soaked veggie as a side, you appreciate your own snacks. I know hospital food is oft complained about and I am thankful for anything we are given, but German hospital food is hilarious! I always eat it and it always tastes better than it looks but that first sight is always a letdown. ;P Let me just say it makes me thankful for American hospital food!

The photo above right has a milky way bar that was added by a sweet nurse during our time of quarantine and I greatly appreciated her kind gesture!

Clothes

I pack clothes according to what I know I will be able to wear for a long time and the items I will want to change often. A few pairs of my comfiest undergarments, a few pairs of socks, one heavier sweatshirt (with a hood so I can cover my ears if needed), two pairs of comfy leggings, and a few clean shirts I know I will be comfortable in. People in Germany dress a bit fancier than in the US and you don’t often see Athleisure wear unless the person is actually participating in sports. I don’t wish to stand out as an American here so the clothes I pack for comfort are also ones I would feel comfortable wearing as I leave the hospital. Not because I am self-conscious or care what others think but because I appreciate the country I live in and try to be culturally respectful/fit in as best I can.

Think about odd details as you pack. This sounds silly but I never pack grey shirts because they will show sweat easier. I never pack white shirts because they will show all the food I drop on myself. I pack clothes that don’t lose shape as I wear them because it can be a long time before you get to change/shower. I pack sports bras instead of underwire because comfort is key. I also bring a pair of flip flops or slippers (not shown) to wear around the room so my feet don’t hurt on the hard floor.

For kids, see the section below on how I pack for their needs.

Entertainment

It is easy to get bored in the hospital or while you wait. Here are a few ideas to keep you and your mind busy.

1. A Book – I recommend a paperback that you don’t mind getting rid of once you are finished because it can be such a gift to find a good book at the hospital. Since we are in Germany, there is a little to no chance of an English book being left for us to read BUT the paperback option is lighter to carry. During our last hospital stay, I was able to read this fantastic book on Italian events in World War II.

2. Journal & Pen – Even if just to tear out pages for your kid to draw on, it helps. Taking notes of your stay, writing down your feelings, making lists of things you want to remember or do when you get out, or doodling…a journal can be a great way to get your feelings out. It is also a great way of remembering a time in your life that might be difficult or worth recording. These are my favorite journals and I swear I have one in every color!!

For us, it was a valuable time for me to write down my feelings about being unexpectedly locked-down in a hospital with my five other kids at home and my husband on a work trip in the states. It was a safe spot for my fears to leave my brain and place to document the one-on-one time with my boy twin that I so rarely get. It was my end of the day dump for the burdens I had carried for the day and I am so thankful to have had it.

3. Book Light – If you have to share a room (which is quite common in Germany), these are very helpful. I used it when my baby was asleep by 8 since I wasn’t quite tired yet and it gave off the perfect light for me to read and him to be able to sleep.

4. Chapstick – Can never find one when I need it and I feel like my lips always seem more chapped during a hospital stay.

5. iPad – We keep ours loaded with tv shows and some games for times like these. In our experience at various German hospitals, there isn’t free Wifi (or any Wifi) and it helped to have stuff downloaded when we couldn’t rely on Netflix.

6. Multi-Port Charging Plug – The one pictured is 220v (Euro spec) but you can find a 110v here that works the same. When I needed to charge my iPad and phone at the same time, this was helpful.

7. Longer charging cables – Because the outlets are often in inconvenient places, these 10 ft cables give you plenty of flexibility with your iPhone.

8. White Noise App – We use this free app for white noise and I recommend having one on your device because there is so much noise in a hospital. The white noise app has a variety of very specific sound options (Brown Noise is my jam) that can help drown out the noisy activity of the workers and other guests.

9. To keep my cords organized, I used a hair clip on one and a hairband on the other. I don’t know about you ladies, but I am ALWAYS in need of a hair thing and this is the perfect double duty…until I have to use it of course! ;P

Hygiene

Since we love to travel, I keep this thing packed and ready to go at all times, just in case we want to take off on an impromptu overnight. I don’t wear much makeup and I let my curly hair air dry so my shower bag might look different than yours but here are some must-haves from our experience.

1. Shampoo/Conditioner for you and baby soap for multi-purpose use to clean you and your child if you are staying together. I keep mine in these silicone travel containers that are lightweight and flexible.

2. Small spray bottle of water for a quick freshen up of yours or your kid’s hair. Not required but so helpful for my curly hair.

3. Deodorant – You know you will start to stink!

4. Sample and Hotel Freebies – These are great for this bag because, if you are like me, you forget to pack them on trips and they take up so little space! I keep the q-tips, cotton balls, sewing kit and a shower cap in my bag because they are the perfect size for a short stay.

5. Makeup basics – I wear eyeliner and face moisturizer daily but that is it. I bought a second eyeliner to keep in this bag permanently and put some of my face lotion in a tiny jar because it is just the right amount for a weekend. I put some foundation, cheek tint and mascara in there as well because sometimes, you feel like a dumpster fire and a little touch up goes a long way to making you feel better, even if no one but your nurses will be seeing you that day.

6. Sewing Kit – I use the free ones I find at hotels and have only had to use them a few times but I was thankful for the safety pin or needle I needed it.

7. Teeth Care – Toothbrush for me (and my baby), toothpaste, floss, and not pictured and little travel mouthwash.

8. First Aid – Assorted bandaid sizes, blister pads, tweezers, and alcohol wipes. See my first aid kit in this post for more.

9. Razor – Because the ability to shave might be a luxury but it goes a long way to helping you feel better!

10. Nail Polish – I keep it in there more for a travel situation (my daughter and I always want to paint our toes when we go on vacation for some reason) but this last stay, after trying to keep my toddler entertained all day long in a tiny room, I enjoyed having a quiet minute on the bathroom floor painting my nails and pretending like the other side of the door was an oceanfront balcony! I also have an individual use nail polish remover pad to take off the old paint before my new treatment!

11. Feminine care – Include at least two days worth of your heaviest day because that would be the luck! It’s not always easy to find these and if you are like us, the language barrier can make it quite the story. I had a bloody nose in a German hospital and there was a miscommunication when I asked for tissues. She brought me a tampon instead of kleenex! ;P

12. The bag – To carry this all, I prefer the bag with a hook on it so I can hang it in the area I will be staying. Only once have we had a private bathroom and rarely is there a place to set it down so the hook has come in handy for keeping it all open on the go!

For Kids

Packing for the kids seems a little tricky but they really need very little to be entertained and cared for outside of normal diaper bag essentials. These are some things my toddler twins personally love that made the time pass by and brought them some comfort. We made use of the clean bedpan for sorting cars (see photo at the bottom), rubber gloves for balloon games and tongue depressors for playing golf with our cars. You can get really creative when you need to.

1. Fave baby/stuffie – This is something that might not be required but was for sure help when the baby needed a distraction or comforting. It was also a great toy to play with when we were trying to stay entertained.

2. An old burp rag – We don’t use them for spit up anymore but I can tell you they are VERY helpful a variety of things. Impromptu face mask/covering, snot rag, barf cleaner-upper, diaper changing pad, pretend blanket for stuffie, hide-n-seek curtain, etc. My suggestion is you pick one of these things listed and use it for only that. ;P

3. Diapers – We love Hello Bello Diapers and you can get a $15 credit by using our link! Bring at least 6 diapers. Trust me. If you do get admitted, they will usually provide diapers. If they don’t, phone a friend for a drive-by diaper delivery!

4. Fave small toys and a zipper pouch to keep them in. The pouch can also provide tons of entertainment but mostly it gives you a sense of NOT being chaotic with trying to find toys all over in your bag.

5. Books. Favorite books, books with lots to see, and books you can wipe off easily. One or two are good and kids love the repetition of reading their fave books!

6. A change of clothes AND a pair of pajamas Especially if your baby is vomiting or will need IV fluids, bring at least both if not one or two more. They always feel much better in a fresh outfit after a long time in a strange place. Make sure you do not forget socks and a sweatshirt for them, in case you feel chilly.

7. Favorite Blanket (see below, right): Wrapping them up in it is so comforting to them as it is like a warm hug. You can see how happy he is!

8. A Microfiber Towel: (not shown) Folds up nice and compact, dries fast and is helpful if they don’t have towels to share. Again, not a common situation but has happened to us on two of our overnights so it was nice to have it in our bag.

Extra Helpers

These are things I keep in my purse but I thought worth mentioning in case you didn’t also carry around weapons and 20-pound power bricks!

1. Reusable bag – Preferably one that folds up nice and small! Useful for putting dirty laundry in or carting home unexpected items you acquire during your stay.

2. MultiTool – It’s just always a good idea.

3. Headphones – Since I shared the room (this time with my toddler but other times with strangers) it is the polite thing to do and also keeps you able to listen to music or audiobooks.

4. Powerbrick – We keep ours charged up at all times and this beast is heavy but allows for 3 to 4 full charges of my phone/iPad. Very helpful if you are in a waiting room or can’t find an outlet.

Poor little guy had to be hooked up to his IV drip and didn’t understand why!

As I said before, our stay experience is not representative of all German hospital stays. While we were in lock-down, they allowed my family to pack a bag and drop it off with the staff at the hospital who then brought it into our room. That second bag had much more stuff to accommodate what we were told was a minimum week stay in the hospital but the bag you see packed above was really all that we needed.

Playing with his cars and the bed pan! CLEAN bed pan.

I hope this helped you prepare for the what-ifs of your next trip to the ER! I pray you don’t need to use it but what a blessing to have ready if you need to! Even if you can’t keep the bag packed at all times, having some of it on hand with a list to remind yourself (when you are in a rush and worrying about whatever is taking you to the hospital) of what you will need to throw in will greatly help you! Be well friends!

Let’s All Be Well

I asked my thirteen-year-old to build a rainbow. Something big that we could display in our front window that would hopefully bring a smile to someone’s face as they pass by. What he made took my breath away!

He used a technique called ‘greebling’ where you add small Lego pieces to a larger Lego surface to add texture and depth. It creates this fun iSpy game as you try to see what details make up the solid color!

Do you see all the fun pieces? I spy with my little eye a banana, a crab, a flipper, some legs, a cupcake wrapper and a leaf!

It took him about four hours total to build and honestly, the longest time was spent locating the colors needed out of our giant mixed bins. He and the brothers are now set on sorting all the colors! I made a Pinterest Board for them to start looking for ideas.

I am so proud of him and his creativity! There were many punches thrown (excited ones), giggles and “NO YOU DID NOT?!!”s yelled when I saw the big reveal! It is a true masterpiece and I never want to take it apart!

Stories From Here

Memory keeping has always been a passion of mine. I have a wide variety of ways that, when I am dead and gone, will be a mess of treasures for my family to find. Journals here, photos there, random ticket stubs with notes on the back or polaroid photos of times gone by. Even as a little girl, I remember thinking that there was just SO much of life I wanted to tape in a book or capture in a jar to save forever!

I have tried ALL kinds of memory keeping thru the years. From taping things down in a book to ordering a printed book online, I LOVE having photos and stories saved to return to! But through all these trial memory tests, I learned one very important thing:

The memory won’t keep if I don’t keep it.

This sounds simple enough but I realized it doesn’t matter HOW I keep it, just that I DO keep it. If I don’t write down what my child said or print that special photo, there is a good chance that memory will fade and possibly disappear. There are too many amazing things we have lived, too many hard moments we have learned from and so much beauty that I don’t want to forget. In some ways, I feel I owe it to my family to preserve!

Do you think Ann Frank imagined the world reading her diaries? Or Abraham Lincoln thinking his letters were being shared with anyone but the intended recipient? Can you imagine the people who carved out symbols and characters on a giant stone 2000 years ago knew that their efforts would forward language studies as we know it?! We have no IDEA the power our stories might be able to carry into future generations!

Consider the times we are in now. I don’t know about you but I am seeing things I never expected in my social media news feed. Weddings held with face masks with people standing eerily far from each other, videos of humans fighting over butt wipes, and stories of generosity and love during so much death and sickness. The ENTIRE WORLD is going thru the same thing and the same time and we are all still a bit shocked and unsure of how to handle it.

Even still, I want to savor this. I want to remember those painful moments that made me shudder because it makes those joyous moments mean SO. much. more! I want to be moved to my CORE in empathy and hurt for fellow man but also be moved to tears and laughter over the wonders of the human spirit! I want to see God working in the hearts of His people, coming near to them in suffering and being the X that marks the spot on their journeys through this.

I want to keep this all and treasure it in my heart. Because it seems scary or overwhelming or beautiful or boring but it is all ours. Ours to take and make it into something that can remember, that can teach future generations, that can comfort or inspire. Just like those Goonies kids in the well…It is OUR time! And I want to save it.

My dearest friend Lauren has a class called Stories From Here starting April 7th that teaches us how to preserve and share our stories from exactly where we are. Even quarantine! It isn’t difficult or homework heavy! The class teaches you how to take great photos, what to look for in your day and how to save it in a way that you can actually use later!

I am not one to take online classes like this but this one has me SO stoked! She teaches us how to take the daily life we have, see the goodness and pain, document it all and squeeze the ever-loving goodness out of what is our new normal! I loved watching her do this a few years ago in Korea and this is the PERFECT time to reintroduce it!!

Want to join us? Check it out here to see all the amazing ways she sets us up for success! Sign up with the code “AmyB” to save 10% on the class! It begins on April 7th but she has some great and easy ideas to help prepare you for how to start looking for what to document. Check it out and join today!!

Bonus: I scrolled through my phone to see some screenshots of things I have saved that remind me of what life looks like now. It may seem trivial and unimportant, but I know I will want to remember these things year from now or help my younger kids solidify their memories of what they grew up thru. Check these images out and go take a few of your own? Whether you join the class or not (BUT YOU SHOULD!), these are photos worth taking!

Thought provoking ads that are serious but make us giggle.
Our pantry and fridge views for our family of eight.
School with toddler twins and the mess that is our schoolroom.
News that caught my attention.
Spending more time on these things.
Comforting Scripture to meditate on as I consider how I respond to others during this time.
What I have been learning about lately: preparing for a garden!
Memes. All the memes to keep a smile on our face when things feel unsmiley at times.

Thanks for taking a peek at my new normal and how I chose to document it. You can follow me on Instagram at AdventuringWithAmyB to see more of our daily stories and adventures!

storms in the night

©Amy B Photography 2019
Worry woke me up at 1 am. Not just a fleeting thought but the most intense worry I have ever felt. It was a fullness in my chest. It burned and tingled in my nerve endings. I flopped around trying to rid myself of it as it was consuming. But God…

I know that fear is not of the Lord, so I prayed. I was worried about one specific thing and in the moment, it confused me. I know that fear is not of the Lord but I also know that we are convicted about different things at different times and in that moment, it was hard to tell the difference.

I don’t want to give more power to my fear by reviving it here but to give you an idea… the fear was pouring it’s hot salt in my most open and visible wounds of the day. It was about my child and his future and all the things I can never control. And in my cries to the Lord, telling Him that I KNOW this is not of Him, my fears were replaced…one. By. One. In only a way that God can do.

I pushed my burden towards God. I know it was in my mind but if it weren’t the middle of the night and if my sleeping husband wasn’t there looking like a mound of things I could push, I would have physically slid *something* off my bed as if I was actually shoveling my problems into the Lord’s open hands.

And I slept. Because God provides. When I woke again at 4 am, immediately remembering my pain, I had to get out of bed and fill that dark space with hope. As a creative, I journal and write out thoughts to process them. My journal and my Bible live side-by-side and it was exactly the dynamic duo I needed this worrisome morn.

I have a hard time remembering where things are in the Bible so I googled “bible verses worry” and found a site that listed 30. Being a paper & ink kinda girl, I looked each one up (context is important) and wrote down the ones that whispered loudest to me. I like to make lists when the chaos is swirling in my brain. This list felt like an anchor for my spinning thoughts, bringing me down with a soft thud and halting me in the middle of my self-created storm. Peace.

I sought the Lord and He answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Prov 34:4

Do you have any verses you can add to my list?

Waking Out of A Blog Nap

Has it really been two years since I last posted?  Is anyone even still here?  It’s pretty embarassing and I kinda don’t know how to behave!  But I have been avoiding this void long enough.  Taking an uncomfortable step towards correction sooooo…just to update you, the last two years have brought about a lot of change:

We moved from Korea to Germany with a stop in Hawaii and Seattle over the summer of 17.

©Amy B Photography 2019

Once in Germany by late summer of 2017, it took us a few months to find a home but we finally settled, found a vehicle and were blessed/surprised by the addition of twins to our family in 2018!

Image ©Jada Tarver

We are still homeschooling.  We are still living in Germany.  We are still traveling and loving the chaos our party of 8 brings.  But all of this means that this is a season of life where I have to set my photography business aside.   One of the beautiful blessings of having a business I can set down and pick back up is that I can practice on my own family in the downtime!

©Amy B Photography 2019

So, if you are still here, thank you!  If you are new here, welcome!  I have some big changes I want to make around here as I dream about what our future might hold, but for now, can I just share my life and learning and travels with you?  Leave a comment below to say hi and let me know you are here?  Thanks friends!  I have big plans for this space but I am working on it slowly as time allows!

 

Our Team

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

I hear a lot of families or couples talk about how they are a team.  Even my husband and I say something along those lines every now and again.  But this family?  They are truly livin’ the team!  Meet my beautiful friend, Melanie, and her precious family.  I met her at a stage in life when she had three kids under three and five kids total.  Her husband is her biggest supporter (all the heart eyes for how he loves her!) and they truly, honestly, to the very CORE of their being, run their family as a team.  No I’s.

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T’s job has him working long hours and traveling for weeks at a time, leaving Melanie and the kids home (in Korea) to handle life.  I can honestly say, I have never met a more chill, patient and REAL mom beside M!  Her kids are so respectful and kind, she is just all quiet and collected and if there were family championships…the would take home the trophy every year!

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

Their boys even have nicknames like Big Champ!  It truly is #goals to watch them interact and live as a whole, moving and fully operational being.  Along with making sure to have one on one or specail time with each child…

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

These two fully recognize the importance of staying strong together…and for the family.  They seem to take date nights once a week and their Instagrams will make you barf rainbows of envious joy as you watch them traipse around the city, just enjoying each other’s company!

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They are both so strong, so gentle and so loving independently AND together.  They seriously are an amazing team to know!

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Melanie is a homeschooling Mama who loves Jesus and wears her heart on her sleeve.  When she says something, she means it.  She loves hard and she lives loyal.  She has been there for me through some stressful situations, she has shared her beautiful life with me over Korean BBQ and she has just listened to me while I word vomit about life and parenting and who even knows what else.

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

And her people?  There is just such joy among them!  They are a family that TRULY loves, both each other and those around them.  At times when others might cast judgment or be critical, they look for the good!

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

Can you tell I am just so proud to know them?  That I am so thankful T found me on Instagram and Melanie stalked me on social media so that when we FINALLY met face to face (after months of planning and talking online) it was like I was hugging a long time friend!

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

Thank you Melanie and family, for trusting me with your friendship and photo session.  Your patience through my move, your love and support the entire time we were in Korea together and your giggles on school days carried me through!  I pray so often for your family, that you will be kept safe in Korea but more importantly….that you will follow us to Europe!  ;P  Thanks for raising amazing human beings, for sharing Jesus with everyone you meet and for loving us despite all of our ridiculousness!  Your team is the VIP and we are so thankful for you!
©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul South Korea

How She Creates

Big news guys!!  You can hear all the ridiculous things I think about photography over on the current podcast of How She Creates!!  My dearest friend Lauren (check out her amazing website for inspiration on ALL things creative!) and I had a good chat about taking photos of everyday life, adventures and being in the moment!  We had such a blast and yes, I still hate to listen to my own voice!

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On the podcast, we talk about many things and I just wanted to share some photos that correspond with what we are talking about.  If you look at these without listening in, you might wonder what the heck this collection of photos are doing together but I just wanted to give you that extra layer of podcasting: a visual reference.  Is that breaking all podcast rules?!  Like I said, I am new to this casting of pods world!

In the episode, I talked about taking photos of real life and practicing ALL. THE. TIME.  The photo of my boys unloading groceries is a good example of this.  I take photos of ANYTHING that tickles my fancy and in that moment, I loved seeing them so excited over our weekly haul!  I hope they are always so thankful for the blessing of fresh groceries.

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We also discussed the importance of learning from people you admire.  The photo above is by one of my FAVORITE photographers ever (and get this…it isn’t even her full-time job!  She is just that amazing!!) named Mimi Inglin.  I learn so much from her about working with kids, posing, how to use light and being spontaneous with a family when we have our sessions.

The photo below is by Benj Haich and is what I was referencing when I talked about the couples session.  I kinda geeked out over having a session with him and will NEVER forgive myself for being such a fangirl dork but, I am forever in love with the images he created for us!  It was so neat to see his free-lensing techniques, how he worked with us using far less direction that other sessions I have been a part of and how the different the images came out versus what I thought he was capturing.  He is so ridiculously talented and I am so thankful for what I learned from our session with him.

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Taking photos in public, where others laugh at you, is totally my jam.  All the awkward stares and you just gotta own it!
©Amy B Photography 2016 - Seoul, South Korea

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This photo was a sly shot I took while traveling through Rome with my kids.  It happened in a hot second and I can still feel so much of that cathedral when I look at this image.  I also threw on a couple extra shots of people that I have interacted with in my travels so you can get an idea for what I meant.  Having photos like these really allow me to savor that time spent in another culture, watching normal life happen around me and being able to stand witness to its beauty.  And thankfully, if you are traveling abroad or in your own city, there will almost always be people for you to meet and photograph along the way!

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When I talk about photographing on the sly, this is the image I mentioned.  They had just gotten in a huge fight and I was “forcing” them to apologize when this moment happened.  By not bringing the camera up to my face (but instead holding it at my waist), I felt like I was allowed in on an intimacy that might have been lost had they known they were under watch.  Also I just made a rhyme and that is important for my free style rapping career someday.

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Find the light!  This is that legendary selfie we took where we truly are living our best life in front of a Korean “Rite Aid”.  The light from their main window was better than any luminous phone case!

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When Lauren asked about how I include my kids, I wanted you to see these.  We love to watch them explore and learn, so many times, these are the types of shots we get.

©Amy B Photography 2013 - Hohenzollern Castle Germany

I also talked about making sure to get the whole scene AND the details.  There is such a story told when those images are brought together in things like photo books and blog posts.

©Amy B Photography 2013 - Frejus, France

I also talked about being aware of what is going on around you.  The colors, the motion, the age, the smells, the people, the weather…details and landscapes together bring you RIGHT back to those places and moments you loved so dearly!

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I also talked about images from my cheapo digital camera.  This shot of my dad and daughter was taken in a dark hotel room with the cheapest digital camera I have ever owned.  The light from the window was perfection and it is proof that sometimes great images can be taken with equipment that isn’t considered pro.

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That dirty clothes photo I mentioned?  I swear to you it was not posed but found EXACTLY like this!  Oh the memories of winter play when I see this!  Just capture life.  No matter how boring it might be to others…it has such meaning to you and yours!

Thanks so much for listening to me ramble on and on about something that I love so much!  Please make sure to leave feedback for Lauren on the How She Creates podcast so they can continue to put out good work!!  You guys are the best!!

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just BE with them

©Amy B Photography 2017

Once upon a time, I followed this crazy, creative beauty on Instagram.  She is wicked talented, has like a million followers and posts the most beautiful, inspirational things!  After I moved to Seoul, I suddenly recognized the settings in her photos as places I was newly exploring… and then discovered WE LIVED IN THE SAME CITY!!  I timidly reached out to see if maybe she might want to I dunno… maybe meet up but INSTANTLY regretted it because I was worried she might murder me.  That happens right?!  Interweb scams and she isn’t really who she says she is and BOOM.  I’m dead because I went all fangirl over this chic that paints cool things!

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Turns out she wasn’t a psycho (I’m alive to tell the tale!), we both hoard scrapbook supplies (and swear we have EXACT plans for them) and our blood types are mexican food.  People think we are sisters, I fell stupid in love with her and even tho neither of us live in Korea anymore and still live thousands of miles apart, we are still bosom buddies AND I GET TO SEE HER IN 15 DAYS!  Plus she (SHE: the goddess of all things creative) asked ME to photograph her and her husband in their Korean world before they moved?!  What a treasure!

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They live in UAE now but it was such a treat to see Korea through her eyes!  Seriously, go back through her instafeed and check out her photos!  And then go to the current images to see her new part of the world through her eyes!

She and her fox of a husband love to laugh, travel, eat, adventure and stare deeply into each other’s eyes…so we all got along well!  How stinking cute are they?!

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One of the many things I love about these two is how they can totally BE wherever they are.  They notice lights and sounds, smells and textures….they just soak in whatever is beautiful around them and SHINE it back out!  They love the Lord fiercly, each other deeply, and friends genuinely.  I love hearing how they speak about others behind their backs with the kindest words and how they both really do look for the greatest things in other human beings.  Being around them just makes you want to be a better person and make awesome things!  They are just good feelings all around!

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Mr Man was such a blast to work with!  He had this “smolder” that he perfected and he laughed at all my stupid jokes!  I love how he loves my friend and supports her in all of her creative endeavors!  Real keeper, this guy!

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I am SO thankful (and incredibly honored) that these two would consider me for even a moment of their time!  They are just as delicious in real life as they are in these images and I can’t believe I wasted 35 years of my life NOT knowing them!  Follow us both on instagram (hers and mine) because, in just 15 days, much mayhem will ensue when she COMES TO GERMANY TO SEE ME!!

©Amy B Photography 2017

Like I said, Lauren is a maven of all trades and literally everything she touches is a success!  Below are just a few of the places where she REALLY shines and you need to check it ALL out!  Fun fact: I played my “friend card” and get to be on a podcast of hers at How She Creates!!  I will post about it when it aires later this month but for now, if you want to be inspired in your creativity, check out her first season of podcasts!

So thankful for her friendship and how it spans the globe!!  Thankful that we took a chance on each other (and basically our lives) to meet up.  I am thankful for all the meals we have shared, the laughs we have had and the amazing window light for selfies we have found.

Follow her.  For real.

She makes life a whole TON more beautiful!

©Amy B Photography 2017

Find her at her own website (with all her amazing creativeness), her amazing podcasts at How She Creates, and full-time time venture at Get Messy Art Journal.

That Sisterly Love

©Amy B Photography 2017

It been a long time since I have written but a little update for you: we have moved from Korea and are enroute to Germany, with a month long lay-over through the states!  While I am so excited about this big move, I am even more thankful for the amazing families (like this fabulous bunch) that hired me in the final weeks before our move.  They have waited SO patiently while I work through all the chaos of moving nearly all the way around the world!  They have waited an obscene amount of time for their photos and have been SO sweet and patient!

So to start off the sharing, I want you to meet this precious family!  We had such a blast on our session, exploring and being silly for their last week in Korea.  I grew up with brothers so I don’t know what a sisterly relationship really looks like, but…these two made me a bit green with envy!  They had so much fun together!!

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I love it when my families ask to have a culturally relevant photo shoot to document that specific time of life.  I love taking kids to explore a place they have never been!  I love love LOVE getting to know these amazing families!  We may only get a few hours together but I always leave so happy and excited about our time!

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What a beautiful family, amiright?

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I mean, seriously.  Look at these people?!  How can you not feel the love?!!  Big sis was cracking me up with her super serious face as she (MULTIPLE TIMES) shoved her finger in her sis’ nose!

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Thank you so much BW family!  I am so thankful that you trusted me with your images AND for your INSANE patience/grace through my eternal move!  Thank you for sharing your evening with me, for exploring a new-to-you location and for all the forest games and whimsy!  Best of luck in your new city and I will never forget the giggles we shared!

©Amy B Photography 2017

She's Always Brighter

©Amy B Photography 2017

Meet Caitlin!  She has a smile that can light up the world and loves the Lord with her beautiful heart of gold!  While I have only known her a short while, and this is going to sound super creepy, I feel like I know so much ABOUT her from watching her at church and interacting with her family.  I remember one of the first things I ever noticed about her, as she sat in the pew in front of me, was how gently and sweet she played with her little sister’s hair or how she softly scratched her back during the service.  I prayed that my kids would love their siblings the same way and was just so impressed by her tender actions.

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It is so easy to see how much she cares for others by how she spends her time!  Mission trips, volunteering around the community and spending time with kids younger than her, she seems to always be helping others!  I have heard her mom talk about her giant heart and care for others and it just makes me so proud to know such a kind person!  She loves her friends, worries about their futures and has a great relationship with seemingly everyone she meets!

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Aside from just being an incredibly caring human being, she loves to sing and can really belt it out!  I didn’t make her sing during our session (you are welcome Caitlin!) but I do love watching her perform on Sunday mornings with her friend at the piano.

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Thank you, Caitlin!  Thank you for choosing me to photograph this special time in your life!  I had SO much fun wandering around Seoul with you!  You were such a good sport and I love how you smiled that big, beautiful smile the whole time!  Your kind heart, your thankful spirit and the way you love the Lord is so infectious and we are all better for getting to know you!  Congratulations on your graduation and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!!

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