Separate your liquids, please.

July 2006

My boyfriend (Jonathan) and I filled our backpacks up with nothing but a few perfectly rolled pairs of clothes (thanks Rick Steves) and a few baggies of trail mix. I was 20 years old and jetting off to Nice, France for a semester abroad. My ponytail-wearing boyfriend was headed to Tanzania, Africa to provide medical care to a small village. 

A few days before I was scheduled to leave Nice and backpack on my own throughout Europe, my mom told me I HAD to stay because I had a package coming from Jonathan all the way from Africa. My friends assumed it was a ring; a few even guessed it would be him. It wouldn't be him - I had these grand plans of seeing him for the first time when I landed, wearing my oh-so-French tunic dress and giant hat. Somehow my hair would have grown, lightened and look like those Pantene commercials and I would have grown a few inches in height and looked like a sophisticated 30-something Frenchwoman. 

July in southern France is hot and muggy. My dorm room had no A.C. and I was stuck in my room waiting for this mysterious package to arrive. Sitting there wearing barely anything, soaked in sweat, I heard a knock at my door. YES! This is my package! I opened it up and there stood Jonathan. Covered in sweat and dirt and panting from the heat, he was there. He had flown to Paris, trained overnight to Nice and had to navigate his way (long before google maps and Siri) through Nice to find my tiny dorm room - all while speaking zero French. 

My university congratulated us on our engagement and treated us to the fanciest dinner we'd ever eaten (It's still the fanciest) overlooking the Mediterranean. I politely corrected them; he was just my boyfriend, but I instantly assumed it was coming. I started day-dreaming about where he would propose. The Eiffel Tower? The Louvre? The Colleseum? On a gondola in Venice? Any of those places would be a dream. After our welcome champagne (perfect place #1) and incredibly romantic dinner (#2), we walked along the beach (#3), watching the locals kiss under the stars and break another baguette over a midnight dinner (#4). We finally made it back to my dorm where I quickly changed into my pj's since the proposal was obviously not happening tonight... I turned around and Jonathan was on his knee. In my cramped, sweaty and stale-air dorm, he was proposing and it couldn't have been more perfect. :) Except for the fact that he mixed up my shoe size with my ring size (I wear a size 10 shoe). After I put the ring around my wrist, he told me he had added himself (with the help of my detective mom) to my Europe itinerary, even down to sitting next to me on the plane. The next morning we left for 2 1/2 weeks of backpacking through Europe together. 

yada yada yada - We're in London. Now, this is where it gets interesting.

We had an 8am flight back home from Heathrow Airport, so being the frugal travelers we were (and still are), we slept in the airport. We found a comfortable little area with a few families also sleeping. At one point, I woke up and saw an armed guard - great! I felt really secure! About 2am, I woke up to a line of about 20 armed guards along the wall, all staring down a suspicious-looking fellow by himself (not sleeping and looking nervous) sitting with us. I turned to a dad who was also watching this go down (who's family was asleep) and asked him "this isn't normal, is it?" He, of course tells me no, but in typical dad fashion, tells me that he's sure it's totally fine. 

We get up at 5am, walk upstairs to the terminal to check in and see a line so long, it wraps around the walls. Airport security was everywhere and we were each given a clear plastic bag where we put all of our belongings, saving cash, our ticket and passport. Rumors were spreading like wildfire through the line until a woman turns to us and says "oh yeah, there are terrorists plotting to blow up a plane to Chicago". Jonathan and I looked at each other realizing that THAT is our plane. Fear set in immediately, but before we could cancel our flight, we were ushered through countless security checks and herded into our gate. It was like all the Lifetime movies that I had watched with my mom growing up. A group of young students traveling together, a young family, an old couple and our newly engaged selves. We watched the blaring TV in disbelief, reading IMMINENT attack in bright red letters, over and over again. We looked through the window and saw at least a dozen police and Airport personnel combing through every inch of our airplane. We sat and waited for what felt like 2 straight days (6 hours) before our plane was cleared and we finally boarded.

After 7 straight hours of panically praying over the Atlantic ocean, we touched done in Chicago, which is exactly when Jonathan started panicking. We sprinted through the Chicago airport to catch our connection only to find that only one of us had a seat. Naturally, I started crying obscenities at the gate crew and threw an 8 year old out of his seat on the plane, but I was NOT missing this flight. 

We landed in St. Louis 12 hours later, disheveled, exhausted and so thankful to be going home to a lazy afternoon on the couch. Jonathan's romantic nature couldn't stop him from surprising me with a limo that took us to an engagement party with our most favorite people - who had all waited and prayed for 12 straight hours. More excitement than we had planned for, but it's a story we'll never forget. 

And that, my friends, is why there was an airplane liquid ban.  

Hey, out there. It's me, Scarlett.

I'm really fickle. Always have been. 

I switched majors in college several times - I had the hardest time narrowing down my passions. At one point, for about 5 minutes, I decided on an International fashion major. When I walked into my first class wearing sweats, no makeup and a freshly-sweaty top knot, I knew I would never fit into that world. I finally settled on Medical Dietetics. I'm so glad I did - Mizzou has the best program and I loved working as a dietitian for six great years! 

My parents have owned their own business my whole life. They instilled the drive in me to be my own boss one day. Unfortunately, Jonathan, my smarter half, signed on for 100 years of schooling (he was becoming a doctor) so that meant I had to support us - I had to have a steady job with no room for error. Even in college, I knew I loved photography, but was far too scared to turn it into a career then. It wasn't until 2013 when Jonathan starting making a bit of an income, which allowed a little wiggle room for me to branch out. He bought me my first camera (Nikon 5100) and I practiced on as many people as I could that summer and fall. In January of 2014, I launched my business and quickly realized that I only wanted to focus on one thing. Me, being fickle, I couldn't - so I decided to specialize in both - newborn lifestyle and weddings. :) Scarlett Crews Photography was off and running and I was loving every minute of it. 

A lot has happened in these last three years. I've moved two states, gained a daughter/forever-snuggler and found myself questioning my long term goals, yet again. This time, it's a little harder - it's not just about me anymore.

I've spent the time to dig deep and ask myself what it is that makes ME happy. Sure, Jonathan and Everlie make me happier than anything in the World can, but what could I do to light that fire further? Was it still photography? Was it something else? When I back up and look at what makes life worth living, it's the memories we make and the impact we leave. There are too many selfies and not enough photographs of the ones we love doing what they love. Photography is still and will always be my passion, but now that I'm in my thirties, I have no interest in wasting time doing anything other than exactly what I want to do. Fight for our planet, support those who are unfairly treated, find my voice and teach my daughter to be a better person than I am. 

The question we all have to ask ourselves is "Am I doing something everyday to make ME happy?". Maybe that's a cup of coffee in the morning while reading the paper or it's pounding the pavement with Kanye West blaring in your ears (I'm the later, did you guess?). Whatever it is, it's our little moment of the day that is just for us.  

The 4th Trimester

They say that there are only 3 trimesters and 9 months required to sacrifice your body in order to have a baby. They act like it all ends with a rainbow and pot of gold on the first day of the 40th week. Somehow, you're supposed to walk away from your hospital room with a shiny new doll and all the pregnancy aches and pains behind you. It's not like that. 


Let me start by sharing my birth story - the short version. I had these grand plans of laboring at home on my due date, then I'd waddle into the hospital when I couldn't take the pain anymore. They'd tell me that I'm dilated to 6 or 7cm, promptly get an epidural and smooth sail the last few hours into an easy delivery.

The truth: 40weeks and 4 days - I labored at home until I couldn't take the pain anymore. I was contracting every 2-3 minutes, dry-heaving and feeling faint from the pain. It was 3am and we knew I would be pretty far along. Waiting to hear that I was nearing 7 or 8cm, she told me that I was 1cm - yes, ONE. Despite contracting every minute, I was no further along than I was one week before that. I mumbled something obscene to her and managed to walk the halls while simultaneously searching for the nearest trash can. After an hour of swearing that I'll yell at them if they try to send me home, I managed to dilate to 2cm (barely) and they let me stay. Within 1 hour of arriving into the delivery room, I had my epidural and began to smile. 
To be honest, I felt like a failure. I knew pain - I liked pain. I've smiled at the pain I felt when running marathons and triathlons. I thought for sure, that I'd be able to handle the pain of labor better than most. I felt weak. So many women I know rock out labor and delivery with no pain meds. Everyone's labor is different and some lucky people wake up to their water breaking, barely feel contractions and walk into the hospital dilated to 10 (I seriously know someone like that - so lucky).
By 5:30 that evening, after pushing a quick 15 minutes, they plopped a cheesy, brown-haired little girl onto my chest. Her eyes were wide open and ready to take on the world. 

The First 2 Weeks... 
Now, when people say "they've never felt a love so immediate when they first saw their child", I thought - oh, I can't wait for that feeling! When they placed her on my chest, I thought "holy crap - there really was a human inside of me" and "ok, now I have to take care of her, forever..". Then came all the questioning... I felt guilty at first. How could I be a good mom when I didn't fall in love with her at first sight like everyone else seems to do? Am I cut out for this? Can I do this?! The truth is, the next two weeks were HARD. I didn't realize how hard it would be. Sure, I knew I wouldn't sleep, but between the hormone changes, lack of sleep, physically trying to heal and learning that it's all on you (and your partner) to not only keep this human alive, but to make sure she's a positive light in this world. It's a lot to take in at the beginning. They call it "baby blues" and I felt it, for sure. Luckily, it only lasted an exhausting fourteen days. Postpartum depression affects up to 20% of new moms every year. A statistic that surprised me given how little it's talked about. Slowly, I felt better and soon I couldn't stop staring at my baby girl, I was getting used to sleeping in short bursts and I was looking forward to her tiny little milestones.

They forget to tell you about that ever-changing and exhausting fourth trimester. Be good to yourself and give yourself a lot of time to heal physically, emotionally and mentally. It's a huge (wonderful, but still huge) task you're undertaking. It's ok if you feel overwhelmed or scared or nervous about what's happening all at once. We all come out at the end with the same outlook - in love with our baby and so positive about the future, we all just get there in our own way.

Everlie Blum Crews | October 3, 2016 | 6lbs 9oz  

I'm pregnant. It's not as easy as I thought.

If pregnancy has taught me anything so far, it's the virtue of patience. You see, I have none. I started with none and I am also fairly neurotic and controlling at baseline. It all started when Jonathan and I decided we wanted to start a family. I decided exactly what month would be ideal to have the baby, given my job and our constant moving states and such. That was not only blown out the window, but she laughed in our faces. She's now due 2 months after arriving in a new state, not knowing anyone, and right in the middle of high-volume wedding season. Thanks for that. 

I swore I was going to be that adorable pregnant woman that somehow had smooth, glowing skin and was going to pass by all the symptoms that I've heard so many other pregnant women talk about. Um, no. Two words: varicose veins. They're here and they're gross. They're everywhere - every. where. I can't sit long without elevating my legs, for fear that my calves will explode from the pressure and gravity. They've spawn little spider veins to match, which I'm told, will likely not go away, and there are more that pop up almost daily. I have 50% more blood volume now and it's like it doesn't know where to go, so my veins are trying to force themselves to the outside.
I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open at 1:45pm, every day. I don't know how women do it with toddlers running around to keep up with. At least my dogs will oblige and snuggle with me while I nap. People laugh at me when I tell them I'm so tired, "oh, just wait" they say. That doesn't make me feel any better about the lack of sleep we are in for.
The stress is overwhelming! Feeling this amount of responsibility for a tiny human is enormous. So much can go wrong that it's a wonder how any of us actually have survived outside of the uterus. Luckily, we've convinced the doctors to let us have more ultrasounds to calm my nerves. :) 

We, women, are rockstars. Plain and simple. The symptoms I have had so far are nothing to complain about and I am so thankful for that. I've never been so proud of my body. I walk around carrying this badge of honor - my belly is happily expanding and I love it. I embrace stranger's oohs and aahhs and dare I say, I want more people to touch my bump! I love it - I'm so lucky to get to experience this! My runs might have turned into a shuffle and lifting usually ends with me staring at the TV while just holding weights, but I feel like a friggin' rockstar doing it. 

8 more weeks left.