My Everyday featuring ... Kristine Neeley

[#1] Share with us a snippet of your story. 
I'm from the Mid-Atlantic region, claiming both Maryland and Virginia as my stomping grounds. I've made the Nashville area home for the last ten years, after moving here to pursue studies and a career in music business. The rest of my story here doesn't follow much of a logical progression, but includes: graduating from Belmont (music business), marrying my college sweetheart, graduating with my master's from Vanderbilt (higher education), starting a photography business, working at Belmont, and eventually going full-time with my photography business. I fulfilled a lifelong dream when I became a mother to our sweet girl, Virginia, a little over one year ago. My life as her momma, my marriage, and my faith are at the core of who I am; with what margin is left I spend my time feeding my heart, mind, and body with my writing, my work as a photographer, a little bit of crafting, crossfitting and going on adventures!

[#2] What is your favorite part of the day with your little one[s]? 
Mornings with Virginia are, by far, my favorite. When I left my office job to be full-time at home with photography, mornings became so special to me. The routine and quietness of them; the newness of a day with so much potential. Now, with Virginia, they aren't nearly as quiet but by far the most "routine" time of our day. It's rare for us to leave the house until after she wakes up from her morning nap, so it's full of some sweet time at home and around the neighborhood - both of us usually in great moods, too. We stay in our pajamas, nurse, snuggle, read books and play in her nursery, sometimes go for a walk and then eventually get around to sharing breakfast together - which is our favorite meal of the day!

[#3] Name three Instagram MOMS who inspire you. 
@laraacasey - Lara Casey, @kristyjcarlson - Kristy Carlson,  @jennyhaas - Jenny Haas

[#4] What challenges have you faced in balancing motherhood and your passion for creativity?
Finding time to go beyond dreaming into the "doing" has been the hardest. We spent a good portion of Virginia's first year of life struggling with naps. She just didn't love day sleep the way a lot of babies are supposed to and in order to get her to sleep, it required a lot of work/time/energy from me to get her asleep and keep her that way. In hindsight, I am very thankful for the sleep I got at night and all of the time I spent snuggling with her during the day, but at the time, it seemed that all of that work/time/energy during the day was being diverted from what would have normally been spent working and being creative. When it actually came time to work I had nothing left to give but the task-minded "let's just get this done" part of myself, if even that. I was miserable; I almost gave up. A few months ago, Virginia became a dream napper, completely by her own accord, and just in time for my busy season. Now that I'm caught up on work, I'm trying to remember how to put "pen to paper" and dreams into action, while not getting too ahead of myself. I've learned what it looks like to have to make something your priority, no matter the cost, and I know that, Lord willing, future babies will change the landscape of my creativity even more. Finding small ways to implement those dreams is where I'm starting.

[#5] What are your staple go-to pieces from your closet this month?
I could live in skinny jeans or leggings and boots all year long, if the weather permitted, so I'm having a field day this time of year. Especially being in possibly the best shape of my life! A typical outfit for me on a normal day looks something like this: a comfy and fitted GAP sweatshirt, emerald green LOFT cords, and boots - Hunter's if it is or has been raining! Oh, and of course a baby in an Ergo; they're quite fashionable to wear, these days ;)

[#6] If you could give us a peek inside your home - what image would you share and why?
I'll share a picture of our master after I finished redecorating it at the beginning of my pregnancy. One of the things I was most determined to do in preparation for a baby was to take a space that should be a haven for my husband and me and make it so. And previous to this, it was so very not. Wrapping this up, I moved on to her nursery, which was a feat in itself and gets all the attention for it. But I just love this space and was grateful, especially in those early days of napping here with Virginia, to have it put together and reflective of our marriage.

[#7] Share a photo you wouldn't typically post on Instagram but depicts real life happenings.
There's not a lot I won't share on Instagram, honestly, probably to a fault. That said, this one was hard for me! But I was determined to find something I haven't shared already in some version. I'm quite flash-a-phobic (unless it's a picture of her sleeping in her crib!) so this one was never much of a favorite until this "assignment". Add to the whole flash issue her red eyes (yay for b&w), my sweaty armpits from this particularly eventful/stressful/crazy bathtime, my nursing bra showing, and my bangs that needed cutting like yesterday... and it was a "no-go" at the time. This time around, though, all I can see is that gorgeous smile of hers wrapped up in my arms and I wonder why I didn't share it in the first place.  
Be sure and follow @kristineneeley on Instagram! You can also keep up with the series by following @kelliandvanessa or #myeverydaymoms