August Carney Monthbook | Gainesville Family Photographer

There was a LOT of celebrating this month. Birthdays, babies, and GRADUATION. I have waited for this month for four long years! Wayne graduated with his Doctorate of Physical Therapy and just like that… school is over (forever). I am so thankful we have finally reached the end of this season, even if it may have felt like we were crawling to the finish line. It is DONE.

On top of Wayne’s graduation, I had a lot going on with work! This fall season began with a few passion projects, graduation sessions, family sessions, and an elopement. Pretty strong start!

I even got to try out a new mirrorless camera that I may be switching to! After trying it out with a recent couple, I practiced on Tori and the kiddos. I also got in front of the camera for a few shots and I am in LOVE.

My friend Emily celebrated her birthday this month and I coordinated a little dinner date together through Facetime! I was actually pretty proud of myself. I secretly got her Chipotle order, which was a challenge because I didn’t have her husband’s phone number. I found him on the only social network he’s on… LinkedIn! Through his help, I was able to coordinate for Uber Eats to deliver at the same time I would have my Chipotle (SF – Gainesville time). We caught up about all of the recent details of our lives and even talked upcoming Bachelor spoilers (we watched Bachelor when I celebrated my birthday with her in SF). Such a fun surprise and sweet quality time.

Tori and I continued to meet up for 6a breakfast and coffee. Lots of tearful conversations and heart to hearts before the sun was up!

I got to photograph an old client’s newest milestone. From engagement to baby’s first birthday!

A little COVID-style baby shower celebrating the upcoming arrival of a really special boy! Like many others, our first-time-parent friends, Dave and Ashley, have had to alter their plans (and expectations) a lot this season. While helping plan for their baby shower, it was important to honor and protect the parents and guests by coordinating a safe shower. While it took a little more creativity to make things safer during a pandemic, I genuinely think it was a success and our friends felt so loved! Here are some tips that worked for us:

1.) Plan for a small gathering. This shower was just for grandparents/siblings/us (Carneys). This shower had 12 adults. They had a drive-by shower for other guests to visit after our shower. Friends were allowed to drive by within a 2-hour block after the family shower.
2.) Plan for everyone being masked, including family.
3.) Have the baby shower gathering outside. Our friends bought a tent and set it up in the driveway. Tables that seated four guests were placed 6′ apart and were grouped by family. It was PERFECT and made a front lawn party feel more elevated.
4.) Catered food can be professionally prepared and handled safely. I was the server and wore gloves as the family members came up by the table. They had individual drinks for each of us.
5.) Have hand sanitizers out in different areas.
6.) Pass out individually packaged cupcakes.
7.) Set up a station for drive-by guests. One station to drop off gifts and another station for guests to chat with you, while everyone being masked. We made a little outdoor seating area with chairs 6′ apart so that they would be able to say more than a “hello.” Seating was sanitized between guests.
8.) Allow guests to go inside for some AC time (or just do what Wayne did and fan me with a big leaf, see below).
9.) If you want group pictures, plan ahead. This was one thing we didn’t plan ahead for! We attempted for a socially distant picture without masks, while holding our breath.
10.) Do your best and try your best. Any method will be criticized or could be better. The important thing is that you try your best and respect other people’s boundaries and efforts. Being critical isn’t as cute as being kind.

We are so happy for them! I genuinely feel like this way allowed them to give full attention to their drive-by friends, without compromising full attention to their family, since one was before the other.

COVID baby shower

The celebration continued with an early morning maternity session! I love watching these two get giddy for their boy. That’s the best way to describe them… genuinely GIDDY.

Media meetings + boba tea to get us out of the house.

work meetings

Wayne had his LAST PRACTICAL FOR SCHOOL… EVER! He performed it over Zoom in our back room with my brother Alex as his patient.

Our baby girl turned ONE! Our little family celebrated her by eating cupcakes together. I think Selah enjoyed hers a little too much, as she tried swallowing it whole. A new milestone for her was saying I love you! We heard it clear as day, but she tends to only say it to Tori now.

covid birthdays
birthdays during covid

In an attempt to add a routine/schedule for Ethan’s day and keep him stimulated, Ethan started Pre-K… at home! He is learning about caterpillars and butterflies, upper and lowercase letters, Spanish and simple adding. It’s about an hour and a half every day and he absolutely LOVES “school time.” It’s also been great to watch how his mind works and how proud he gets of himself when he says the right answers. We are learning the concept of trying again without frustration.

first day of pre k covid

Photographed a few invitation suites for Ciarra Claire‘s updated portfolio. GIVE ME ALL OF THE PRETTY PAPER! Below is the process of a flat lay for me. Ethan wants to tag along. The neighborhood cat wants to tag along. Layout all of my details. Style multiple times until I find the layout that I like. Shoot it in film.

Behind the scenes of a flatlay

Our team was a part of a small bridal session editorial and we got to do it right in my driveway. Vendors involved were given headshots right outside of my garage! Below are some of my Gainesville faves.
(left: Iron & Clay Flowers, right: Eunice Jin)

garage photoshoots
behind the scenes at a styled shoot

It was scorching hot and I forgot to wear sunscreen, but it was worth it!

garage photoshoots

C’monnn. This.

SO grateful to have a partner on this day for the coordinating, extra hand, and emotional support! It was a long day, but so much fun together.

A few graduation sessions this month at the University of Florida!

… but nothing compares to my favorite graduation session this month at the University of St Augustine.

Wayne is done! We are done! So many times this month I reflected on the things I could have done better throughout the trials of this season, but a friend gently reminded me that while I could have done things better in some areas, the Lord was with us. The important thing to us is that we tried to do our best alongside the Lord. The guilt behind “could have been better” was washed away after that. He is enough and I’ll celebrate that… and the fact that I’m married to DR. WAYNE CARNEY!

Since Wayne’s graduation ceremony was postponed and rescheduled as a virtual, at-home ceremony, he and his classmates raised enough support to coordinate a socially-distant, in-person “unofficial” ceremony! Even some of his professors showed up and made speeches, gave out awards, and hooded the graduates. A professor mentioned that this was the best graduation ceremony they have ever attended with a graduating class. I sat in the audience overwhelmed with emotions as I realized, “I am sitting through Wayne’s graduation ceremony! We are HERE.” This day happened to fall on the same day as our proposal anniversary! Here we are, ten years after we got engaged. Praise the Lord from whom ALL blessings flow.

COULD NOT HAVE REACHED THIS POINT WITHOUT THE HELP OF THESE PEOPLE… and a few others! Our whole quarancrew was able to make it!

Wayne’s parents generously gifted our little family a room at the hotel and we lived it up with room service and much-needed (short) beach time. This was our first night away since before the pandemic!

embassy suites family vacation

We spent the next day being tourists in St. Augustine with Wayne’s parents. Ethan’s favorite part of the weekend was looking at all of the different reptiles at Alligator Farm. I’m not a fan of large lizards, so I’m sticking to my favorite part being the graduation ceremony.

alligator alley

Afterward, we headed home and had a little party for Wayne with some of our quarantine crew. We had dinner together in the backroom, Wayne sipped on his expensive celebratory bourbon, ate a homemade peanut butter dessert, and played a couple of rounds of Bang! A perfect night for him.

The very next morning we went back to the beach with the same crew and spent the entire afternoon playing games at the beach. It was one of the best beach trips I’ve had. Even though the trip was super short and we had a basic lunch, it was such quality time with quality people. That’s all that matters! Plus, I usually spend my time laying out at the beach. This was the first time I didn’t layout and spent the entire time playing games! Before leaving town, we stopped by Ritas by the beach.

ritas ice cream trip

The weekend ended with a dinner date with Wayne in our back room. All of Wayne’s dearest people wrote him a letter stating things they were proud of him for and encouraging him for his future. I had a fat stack of letters and made all of these elaborate plans to decorate the room and hang a bunch of memories. I wasn’t able to get any alone time in the house or complete the project I wanted to do, so it fell through and I felt so defeated.

Wayne was praying before our meal and I just started sobbing because I was so disappointed in my plans falling through. Wayne, confused, asked me what was going on and I told him all about my plans. My sweet Wayne wiped my tears, thanked ME for the weekend/last four years, and reminded me that elaborate plans don’t serve him as much as the simple gestures, so this worked out better. I handed him the stack of surprise letters and I sat there next to my husband who was overcome with emotions at the love and support for him. This was the perfect ending.

Later that week, I photographed a magical little elopement after the rain.

COVID Elopement

And the very next day, I had a playdate with Gainesville florist, Iron & Clay Flowers. She had extra florals to play around with and asked me to do a shoot with her beauties. I AM ALWAYS DOWN. Look at this color combo!

Florist brand session

Since Wayne is done with school, his beloved skeleton, Arty, is finally gone from my office. It was always creepy looking through my office window from the street and seeing Arty stand there. Below on the left was my reaction to him moving and to the right was his departure.

A few BW selfies from the month with my favorite boy!

Selfies with a toddler

We are always looking for new ways to celebrate date nights during a pandemic, so we signed up for Hello Fresh. Not my favorite experience, because the food is a little simple for the price. The meat portions are TINY. Tinyyy. Regardless, it was nice to do something different together. One of the nights, Wayne came out of the room in his suit and asked me out (for another backroom date). We put on a mix we have together and cooked with our fancy clothes.

covid dating

Last, but certainly not least… MY NIECE WAS BORN! After ONE HOUR OF MY SISTER LABORING, Jemma Wren Young made her appearance into the world. That day was probably the most I’ve ever Facetimed one person in one day – 7 times. I couldn’t get enough!

new baby during covid

I love how this month marked new beginnings in a lot of areas. So much hope is found in the arrival of a new season and so much anticipation is behind the search for a new direction. May we try our best, but most importantly may we choose to do it all with the Lord’s leading and presence. Until next month!

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