The Splechta Family Blog

Christmas Fears | Christmas Blessings | My Christmas Gift | The Splechta Family Blog

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I'm not sure how many of you may have followed along with the unexpected and scary events of this year's holiday season for my family... So as my husband and I sat with our girls this Christmas morning, watching them unwrap presents, I thought to myself how grateful, humbled and blessed I feel to have two healthy children to spend our holidays with.

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Our little one Emma was struck with an unexpected dangerously high fever just a day before Christmas Eve that woke me up in the middle of the night as I felt her endure her first febrile seizure ever (and ours first to witness as parents). It was terrifying. We could not lower the fever and soon after I was scurrying across the parking lot of Coral Springs Medical Center carrying my baby that could barely keep her eyes open into the Emergency room. 

My baby girl fighting off 105 fever with me in the ER

My baby girl fighting off 105 fever with me in the ER

In that moment, all the frustrations of parenthood, all the misbehaviors of my children - siblings constantly arguing with each other and me being the referee, the messy home that I can never keep up with, the insecurities of me being way behind on my fitness regimen, literally all of it and more melted away.

I wondered as I carried my child into the ER and sat in the room riddled with nurses who all had intensely serious faces, a doctor with probing questions, catheter, IV hep-lock, fluids, blood draws, x-rays,  is she going to live?

Fast forward a few hours, strong dose of antibiotics, motrin, and a doctor getting called in for a second opinion to review blood work, diagnosis, scans, I literally burst out sobbing when he said he will let Emma spend Christmas at home with her family. I shook his hand with so much gratitude, embarrassed for my tears, thanking him, thanking the nurses for being our super heroes, leaving the ER with the biggest smile of my life on my face.

So maybe it will make sense to you that the gratitude just did not stop coming...

I told my December birth clients, both due near Christmas, "nothing would make me happier and more honored than to spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with you."

Me with one of south Florida's most amazing hospital midwives, Courtney McMillian of Boca Midwifery after one of my December client's birth

Me with one of south Florida's most amazing hospital midwives, Courtney McMillian of Boca Midwifery after one of my December client's birth

Me with one of my amazing December clients after her birth

Me with one of my amazing December clients after her birth

I am not the most religious person on this earth, but I am spiritual, and I do believe that it was my complete and utter surrender of my holidays to give to my December birth families, that really was whole-hearted, no agenda, just sheer, utter love for these incredible two women who I feel to this day are my sisters, this small sacrifice that saved our family in some spiritual ways...  

You see...

My sisters flew in for the holidays, I had not seen one of them and her children and husband in a year. My sisters are my best friends. It is so hard to have them continents away all year. 

I walked in last night on Christmas Eve to my parents house, seeing everyone for the first time. Although everyone had been there for days, this is the first time I was seeing them. 

I was attending the most beautiful birth for my second December birth client just a few days prior, then the entire ER world-topple-over moment for us with our youngest, and now I was seeing everyone for the first time.

Tears lined my eyes as I looked on the faces of my two nieces and my nephew, who were just babies, and now all three look like young adults, on the brink of high school.

My nephew dressed up as Santa Claus and brought in presents for my children, and this year my oldest was 5 years old and her eyes dazzled that Santa came to see her, to hug her, to tell her that she is important, that he'll bring more presents to her house when everyone is asleep. The gratitude and childhood, innocent joy she had enjoying the gifts he brought her last night, and the absolutely, over the top ecstatic joy and laughter that came from her and my youngest who could enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us, I have never seen anything quite so mesmerizing in my life.

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And this morning, with my hand over my mouth, in wonder, surprised at all the blessings just raining upon us, the life of my children, the togetherness of my family, I realized I want to do something extraordinary and giving.

So in the spirit of this especially emotional Christmas that has tugged at my heart strings, I will gift a film to the next family who reserves a birth photography story with me for 2018.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2018 to everyone, from my family to yours! 

Wishing you Love, Light, Laughter, Joy, Success, Financial Stability and Many, Many Blessings in 2018!!

Yours Truly,


Prepping to Leave my Family and Hold Space for a Birth Client | The Splechta Family Blog

Most people wouldn't realize it, but I actually have my birth clients communicate very meticulously with me through out their 3rd trimester leading into the beginning stages of labor, called early labor. 

When I meet a birth family for the first time, I reassure them that if they contact me to notify me that early labor might be happening, I won't leave my house and jet straight for them. (I like to play an unobtrusive role in my clients birth stories and wait until they are in the active stages of labor, when things are more intense). But when my clients notify me that they think labor may have started, it does afford me is the opportunity to plan my family's life out for the next 24 - 48 hours while I am away. I could potentially be away from my family and with my birth client anywhere from three to ten hours, and traveling, and I like to be prepared.

Usually this is what our kitchen counter looks like, when my client has a slower paced labor and I have a heads up that sometime in the next day or two, I will be needed.

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Both of my girls, ages 5 and 2, go to preschool five days a week. And although I have an amazing partner who wears both mom and dad hats when I am away from home, I can't help but give him a hand, throwing in what I know to be the girls favorite snacks throughout the day at school.

The fact of the matter is, our house is never squeaky clean.

I think I managed to get things tidied up in time for my daughters 5th birthday, but usually, theres piles of laundry here and there, and unwashed tupperware containers from yesterdays lunches.

But one thing is for sure, I always always make sure we are stocked to the brim with extras of everything, in case we run out and I am not at home, our girls will always have their go - to's on hand.

I figured out very early on as a mom, that everyone is happy to help as long as they are appreciated.

That includes partners and spouses too.

They could use a little nudge in the right direction through appreciate of their hard work.

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Beautiful Disaster, the Mom Life

It starts with my husband about to leave work so I text him "DO NOT CALL ME RIGHT NOW I am cleaning a major mess!!"


I had a plan to have dirty hands for quite a while, probably the length of his drive home from work, so answering the phone with dirty hands was definitely off the table.

Husband: "oh jeez what is it? is something of mine broken?"

me: no answer

Meanwhile I am sticking kids in the tub, rinsing off a screaming toddler who so does not like water.

I go to their carpeted bedroom across the hall from the tub, with my fullest package of seventh generation baby wipes, and spend thirty minutes scrubbing green POOP out of the carpet.

Someone had the brilliant idea to disrobe themselves including their poop-filled pull-up and explore, and stomp, and smear.

Meanwhile kids drain the tub and fill it with COLD water. I forget I left the a/c at 74. I look up and see my little blue-lipped eskimo toddler standing in the tub, complete with chattering teeth, welping out"maaaaa-meeee" I feverishly run across the hall to the tub, immediately swaddle her in three towels in record time while she's still chattering, as my husband walks in from work, I fill him in, he says, you need to get the towels off and do skin to skin. and somehow, just somehow I did not want to forget this ridiculous afternoon so I ran and got the camera as he looked at me like I'm crazy.


Homeschooling, the beginning | The Splechta Family Blog

I am about to set out on an uncharted ocean with my 4 year old. There are no definitive decisions that we've made, so we can turn back or change our minds any time, any day. And I am prepared for that. Because I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. But as always, we've had to allow Kate's upbringing to be child-led. None of our friends advice during my pregnancy with Kate and during her infancy, then toddlerhood ever applied. We felt confused and uncertain of everything. Wondering why her sleeping habits, her eating habits, behavior, personality, none of it seemed to align with anything we had learned or heard about with childhood. We often joked that she came from another planet. 

It took us a while to figure out that gentle attachment parenting was what Kate needed as an infant and toddler. Not by our choice. We had all the measures setup for what moms often refer to as mainstream parenting. We were preparing to be mainstream parents. Kate wouldn't have it any other way, and made life impossible, unless we kangaroo'd her 24/7.

On and off we dealt with our own emotions of confusion and frustration as we entered new chapters of her life unable to relate to other parents, feeling alone, feeling like failures. 

There would be months where we'd feel optimistic and positive that we have a unique child and we embrace her differences.

Then there would be months where'd we'd hear that friends toddlers slept through the night, or only woke up once or twice (meanwhile we were still getting up with Kate every 45 to 60 minutes well into her 18 months of age) that we'd be faced with feelings of discouragement.

As she grew older, and her communication skills expanded, we found that a lot of our problems dissipated as she finally conquered her frustrations of not being able to communicate her needs with us.

But other frustrations followed, such as night terrors that consist of 1 hour of her screaming in half awake / half asleep mode, and no amount of comforting or reassuring or environmental changes can take her out of this, only patient waiting from 60 minutes of screaming. We've learned some of the things that feed the night terrors, and we stay away from them. 

Now that Kate is 4 years, 3 months of age, she is quite the fascinating, knowledge-absorbing creature.

She is insightful, brilliant, creative, artistic, musical little human.

So here I dive into something I am terrified of failing at but also excited. I hope to nourish her desire to learn, in a child-led approach.

Day One.

On our first day we spontaneously focused on the letter E

We cooked eggs together

We talked about her baby sister Emma

We learned about Elephants and Eagles

What I discovered:

She was quickly discouraged if she felt like something was too hard. So I went with the flow and focused on things she excelled in.

She got distracted, so I focused on topics and mediums that would interest her. 

And then there was the elephant question:

Me: Kate, what do you think elephants eat?

Kate: they eat sand

Me: Actually, they eat leaves.

Kate: No, they eat sand mommy.

Me: Kate, they don't eat sand, sand isn't for eating. They eat green leaves, like giraffes.

Kate: Let's go to the zoo and see the elephants and then we will know what they eat.

Me: I'm telling you Kate, they eat leaves.

Kate: No, Mommy, I'm telling YOU. Let's go to the zoo, see the elephants, and then we will know what they eat. 

So then I just had to pull up a youtube video showing elephants eating leaves off trees. 

Thursday, we plan on making a jungle project with all our favorite things that start with E!

And we have a gardening project for our yard this week too! (If we get to it)

Tonight, she brought me a paper she had drawn and written on. She wrote: 

She remembered from this morning when we spelled out her baby sister's name on the refrigerator that #1 Emma Starts with an E

#2 that she has LOTS of M's in her name :)

and a small victory.... that she was inspired to attempt to write Emma's name on her own and share it with me.

That last part made me gulp in my throat and almost cry of joy :)

Great first day!

Please wish us luck, and I invite you to feel free to leave any comments below with suggestions on our first attempt at introducing homeschooling at home! Thank you!

Missing our Home Already | Moving Pains | THE Splechta Family Blog

I might cry!!!!!


I'm already missing our home... in two weeks we have to say goodbye to the only place my girls have ever known as home. we will be in a new home, with new adventures and fresh paint for tiny dirty hands... but while we pack, we are gonna play and laugh so hard we can't breathe... moving is bittersweet.


Message about your Family Documentary! Booking March through September 2017!


My Favorite Family Photo

We are in the middle of moving right now. I realized this morning that I only have 2 weeks left to pack our 5 years of life as a family alone!

I'm freaking out a bit!

Just before we started packing, I took this family photo of us on Thanksgiving. We were about to go to my parents house and I grabbed my tripod and we went out into the street in front of our apartment and did a 10 minute family shoot.

This amazing artwork is my favorite photograph of our family of four from the entire 16 months that Emma has been part of our family!

Well she'll be 16 months in 9 days. wow!

This has been our home for 5 years. It is all the kids know as their home, and it has become so special to us.

I'm so happy that our 'goodbye' is always going to be remembered with this. I can't wait to hang it up in my new home! 

It's never too late to go back and print images from your sessions in the past. But it can be really hard to find the time. Make sure you contact me by Monday, December 19th with the prints you want for grandparents and godparents for the holidays! 



I can't believe I've been a mom for 4 years. 

Birthing day.

Birth day. 

This little kid is not a baby anymore. She's a kid! And she is incredible.

The older she gets, the more I realize she's a mini-me. Everything about her from her hair to her fiery personality, her stubbornness, her determination and her big heart, she's a little me. I never realized but I have so much about life to learn from her. 

Happy Birthday to my magical, mystical, brilliant creature. <3 

Thank you to our wonderful friends for making this day so special for Kate and for us. Our friendships grow older every year and become ever more special. You are like family to us now. You brought joy and fullness to Kate's birthday today. We're so glad and thankful we could spend today with you. Thank you for picking up my camera and including me in this day :) That means more than I can ever express.

I hope that 2017 brings more time spent with all of you!

Happy 3rd Birthday to my baby girl Kate : personal | splechta family | mama of two | life after cesarean

Kate Lily Splechta.

Born November 7th. The year of the dragon.

Kate is my free spirited, wild child. She loves to run barefoot through dirt and chase boys. She loves super heroes, defeating bad guys, being a princess and rescuing other princesses. She is kind to babies, animals and considerate of all peoples feelings and gets worried when someone is hurt or sad. She is lost in her own world most of the time. She loves dressing up and she loves running around naked. She is the definition of happiness and freedom. She made me a mother and changed my life, and I adore her. She's my best friend.

We did that one REALLY BIG 1st Birthday party for our first daughter when she turned one, you know: booked pavilion, custom birthday cake, birthday outfit from Gymboree, hand made invites, all that jazz! It was FUN! and sweet and we love all the memories we made. But my goodness, it was exhausting! We spent her 2nd birthday just the 3 of us at Magic Kingdom.

This year, for Kate's 3rd birthday, we wanted to make sure Kate still felt special and excited despite us having a new baby and being pretty tired, and still trying to find out way into a family of 4. We wanted to keep it low key, and we thought hanging out with her best buddies at the park would be just as great as a planned party. The only thing we did plan was to bring a cake!

This low key get together just turned into the best birthday party somehow all the planets aligned and we just went with the flow of the morning/early afternoon. I don't think I've ever seen Kate as happy & excited as she was today. She was excited to see her little buddies, she was so joyful because we literally had no expectations, so it was super laid back and FUN! The baby slept nearly the entire time happily in Mike's arms.

I get joyful tears! I'd love every weekend to be exactly like today was. Hanging out with great friends in good weather, watching our kids having the time of their lives, without a single care in the world. Even some women riding their horses stopped by the edge of the playground to let the kids pet the horses.

I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate the life of this amazing little person who made us parents. 

Paulina Splechta, Birth & Breastfeeding Motherhood Photographer in Boca Raton, FL