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The Cat’s outta the bag: Babydale is named

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be glory forever. Amen.”
Romans 11:36

Well. It’s done. Babydale has a name.

This is like the most nerve-wracking, permanent, and crazy thing I think you do as a parent.  Whatever I choose identifies her as _________.
You can put any word in there: female, smart, stupid, adventurous, talented, quiet, etc…

Names, whether our parents realize it or not, IDENTIFY us.

I didn’t realize this until Middle School. Whenever teachers had us do a family tree project and research our name and all that, I thought I had the most boring and unoriginal name because of its meaning: Beloved. I thought, “Really?! Why can’t I have something cool?!”
Then, in Middle School, when most everyone struggles with self-identity and embracing physical changes, it hit me. Beloved. That is one of the most endearing and treasured names that God, Himself calls us in His word. We are His, His Beloved. This completely rocked my identity and thinking about my name. Every time someone called my name, I heard, “Beloved”. This has followed me since and has empowered me to look beyond looks, beyond emotion, beyond mistakes of my own and see my worth to the God of the Universe. My name played a huge part in this transformation. I bet my mama didn’t think about that when she named me that. But I’m glad she did.

So… Babydale’s name… Andrew and I had a boy name. It was easy. And if Babydale pops out as a surprise boy, well… he’s named.
We had a list of girl options and narrowed to a few, but was really having a hard time deciding. After a couple of weeks of trying out some of the names, one stuck. One encapsulated what Babydale has been and will always be to us and our family… stick with me, just a little more…

(Obligatory photo of dogs saying, “Get to the point, mom.”)

In June of this year, my father chose to leave our family, to continue a life with a woman from his workplace. This has been devastating to all of us. Immediately, I began questioning why the Lord would have this in our lives at this time. But this, nor any other trial in life makes God’s love, peace, understanding and comfort any less evident or sweeter, in fact, it throws out all the crap and makes me realize my dependence on Him. He is good, faithful and constant even when us and others aren’t. There has been nothing on earth that we could have asked for that would show us God’s goodness than this little bundle of joy that we’ve yet to lay eyes on. Babydale’s name came about from two name selections we had on our list and the inspiration of the meaning from this scripture…

“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me…
to preach the good news to the poor,
He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted,

to proclaim freedom to the captives…
…to comfort those who mourn…
to give them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord,
that HE may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1-3

Truth is, I’ve heard and read that verse a million times in the last 5 years. It is the life-verse for our former church & their ministries placed in a highly troubled place in Memphis. This wasn’t new. But what WAS new was what stuck out this time: beauty for ashes.
In the midst of all the turmoil, hurt and what feels like everything burning and crumbling around us, she was there, our little evidence of beauty.
Two names we had chosen meant just that when put together. So, I give you Babydale’s name: Layla Phoenix Dale.

We loved “Layla” for a while. Yes, partly due to the Derek & the Dominos (Eric Clapton) song. Andrew and I love music, is that a secret? Didn’t think so. Music is what brought Andrew to Memphis and playing music is what brought us together. It just fit. Phoenix was a name we had chosen for a boy and when it came down to it, after this verse at this time in our life, bringing the two together was perfect.

Already, every time I say her name I am reminded that she is a an example of the beauty that comes out of the trials in this life.
She is our “beauty that is rising from these ashes” and I hope more than anything, she grows up understanding how amazing she has already been to us at this point. I pray she grows to be a “planting of the Lord, that HE may be glorified.”

Lastly, I leave you with a song. A song that has been an encouragement and is really one of the only ways I can really express how great God has been in all of this. I’m sure my neighbors are getting tired of me singing it for months straight now. But, I really hope that you see HIS goodness, HIS plan, HIS love, HIS provision, HIS grace in all this. This is nothing of our own. Without God this process would be impossible.
He knew exactly what He was doing, bringing little Layla into our lives at this time and none other. I know it’s SOO cheesy to post a youtube song, seriously, I usually roll my eyes and move along. But just give it a listen, k? K.

Verse 2:
“Beauty rises from the ashes
sorrow turns to gladness
when our God is near.
You speak light into our darkness
you heal the broken-hearted
you wipe away our tears.

You’re amazing God! You’re amazing God!
You can bear the weight of every heavy heart
You can heal the pain, you can clean the stain
You can turn our tears into songs of praise
You’re amazing God!”

Hannah - I love that song!!
And I know that you don’t need anyone’s approval for the name- but I LOVE her name!
Thanks for sharing the process and the verses. I love you and am praying for you Dales!

Brionne - Oh, Amy! What a BEAUTIFUL name! I am so sorry for the hurt that you and your family have been going through this past year. I will be praying for you all to overcome the turmoil and find peace in HIM and in that precious little piece of Heaven that is patiently waiting to shower you with love. <3

Ashley (Murphy) Mullen - Amy,
I have loved reading these posts about your new little one. I love her name! I’m also expecting a new little girl, our second child, in less than two weeks. I’ll be praying for you and Andrew as you begin this new journey! It’s so exciting and rewarding.
My heart is breaking for your family. Tears came to my eyes when I read about your dad. I’ll be lifting you up in prayer during this difficult time.

Auntie - AW! perfection.

Jennifer Weaver - Amy, what two beautiful souls you and Andrew have. What a perfect name you have chosen to give your daughter. Thank you for opening your heart to us all!

Teresa Strobel - Lovely. simply Lovely.

Clarissa Sidhom - Oh Amy! I’m tearing up over this post- thank you for sharing your heart and your story. I am so happy for you two (three) and I can’t wait to see how beautiful Layla is going to be!

Beth (aka the G'ma) - I can’t wait to see her precious face and recall how children are the glue that connects us! LOVE…LOVE…LOVE being part of a family!

Catching Up Part 1

Andrew and I are so blessed and thankful for all the support and joy that has been shared with us! We are really excited about little miss babydale! I haven’t written too much as work has been crazy busy. But I’ve had several people to tell me to write more. Sooo… I’m gonna try and write some catching up stuff this week. First we will start with a review of the First Trimester.


These first few months have been a crazy change. I was so blessed (mamas out there, please don’t kill me) to have a mild first trimester. I didn’t have anything except quick fatigue, getting hot really quickly, and a motion-sick feeling when I didn’t eat for a while or got too hot. It was crazy how quickly my energy was drained. All I kept thinking was, “I hate to throw up; I’m not gonna do it; you’re not gonna make me.” I’m not a throw-it-up-and-feel-better kind of a girl. It debilitates me for a few hours to throw up just once. I’m sooo thankful for God’s mercy that only a few times did the weakness and dizziness put me in bed for a little while.

Now… being pregnant for the first time and having work to do. I have the opportunity to celebrate and cover the greatest days and times of people’s lives. And honestly, that is one thing that got me through the first trimester: being joyful and giving all I could to my fabulous couples and clients. I was constantly amazed that when I had a shoot or a wedding, I was pumped with adrenaline and as long as I had some fruit and protein with me, I felt unstoppable. Now the day(s) after… oh my gosh… it was the WORST feeling I’ve ever had in my life: Hormone/adrenaline crash hangover. Wow. But I am so thankful to have awesome couples and clients that I love and would work my butt off for, even through pure, extreme, slap-yo-face-inside-out exhaustion.

Anna & Nick were my first 2012 couple to tell and I waited until after the wedding was over to tell them. I didn’t want them to worry about me! When I told them, they were so happy for us and then Nick said, “If you had told us beforehand, I would have never let you run and roll around like you did today!” See, guys?! That’s why I didn’t tell you! And I did it all anyway, so get over it. 😛

(Me lookin’ a hot-mess with the beautiful Anna and Nick.)


Every pregnant woman has cravings, right? Well, mine haven’t been too crazy… I don’t think. Since my gluten-free diet, I actually crave more healthy things. But what has amazed me more is that when I’m healthy and in tune with my body, my body tells me exactly what I need. It’s awesome to see the correlation between what I strongly crave and how babydale is developing. And I don’t mean just a one time craving, I’m talking “I will eat heaven and earth naked in order to find me some ________.”
i.e. RED MEAT: when my blood was multiplying to grow babydale. CARROTS when babydale’s eyes were developing.

Here’s some other things I’ve really strongly craved for more than a week at a time thus far:

Ok, ok… if you know me at all you won’t be surprised to see tomatoes or pickles on there, but mustard? I know. Seriously. One night Andrew asked me, “What do you want for dinner?” (Cause you KNOW you can’t PLAN your dinners because the preggers you won’t want it by the time it’s ready, you gotta just wing-it.) The only thing I could say was “MUSTARD. I DON’T CARE HOW I EAT IT, BUT FIND SOME WAY TO GET IT IN MY BELLY.” So, we had hamburgers and I dipped my hamburger patty in a crazy amount of mustard and it was the best thing ever.

Now aversions, I haven’t had many strong long-term aversions but there have been a few. Chicken was the first one. It was so bad that you couldn’t even SAY the word “Chicken” around me. It was referred to as “pollo”, “yard bird”, and “cluck-cluck” for almost three complete months. Eggs, raw meat and pork joined the list for a little while. The worst one?!? Smoked anything. That means BBQ. I know, I lost my Memphian-is. Any smoke smell or tasting STILL, five months in, is nearly impossible for me to choke. This needs to change and change quickly. We are getting a Central BBQ RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM OUR HOUSE and I will die if I can’t go eat there because of the smell. ::sigh::


Nothing in the first trimester. Don’t even ask for a picture. Kind of sad. I know it’s typical, but STILL… You find out you’re preggers and you want to LOOK IT INSTANTLY!! I had thought about walking around with a basketball in my shirt, but wouldn’t that be awkward if the indentation of “Spalding” was showing through my shirt?



Twila M. Kolberg - Amy I could’ve written this about my first trimester! Hahaha. I am the SAME way about getting sick and I think my determination not to throw up got me through without a single incident. =P And I had a serious chicken aversion too. But my the end of my first trimester I was breaking out the maternity jeans lol – don’t worry, it will happen soon enough! =)

the results are in

More than half of friends and family thought we were having a boy. Secretly, I thought babydale was a boy.
Well, after a positive ID, we are having a GIRL!!!!!!

(Here is babydale without her Platypus costume on. She is kicking me or the ultrasound technician. I’m not sure which. We’ll say the tech.)

I was nervous that babydale wouldn’t be in a good position to tell for sure; I just knew she’d try and hide from us. When we started the ultrasound, she was in the perfect position for her profile. I guess she has already been listening to some of my pointers while I’m shooting.  As the technician pushed around, babydale twisted and turned. We saw every angle of her! Her heart with the four chambers were just a-pumpin’ so smoothly, her kidneys, legs, face, brain, spine, feet, booty, and she even waved to us with her little stick-figure looking arm and hand. It was absolutely INCREDIBLE!

I wanted to cry all over the place but didn’t want to get my stomach all going with that deep-awkward-cry-thing, so I maintained my composure. Still, a little tear slowly rolled down my right cheek but inside I just wanted to bust out screaming and dancing! I just couldn’t believe this little beautiful girl was really growing inside me. Wow. What a miracle.

We had a wonderful celebration with family and friends over the last couple of days and I am so thankful to be surrounded by such sweet and loving people. Babydale has a sea of love coming her way, I hope she’s ready for it!

Drea - So exciting!! it is a miracle to have children. Congrats Amy!

Brionne - So beautiful, Amy. I am getting all teared up just reading this. You and Andrew are going to be amazing parents! So super excited for you two!

lisa - yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! congrats to you both! Amy you will be the best mama!!!

Stacey - ADALEable! Haha! So excited for you guys! You’re right, she is already very loved!

Owen - I will give you $5,000 to name your child Dale.

the heartbeat

8 June 2012 – Went today to hear the heartbeat and was suppose to have another ultrasound. Apparently at this point is when little one begins looking more human-like and less platypus-like. 😉

Plans changed a bit with my appointment and I had to go to a different office and they forgot to order the ultrasound. So unfortunately, I walked away with no updated picture of babydale. But we heard the heartbeat and it was incredible. One of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard.

Kari - COngrats!!! Y’all are so cute!!!!! Can’t wait to see baby Dale!