virginia beach family photos

I’m Martina, hotmess mama and author of Shell and Olive. Married to my best friend and rock, Ed Michael (EM). Together we have two boys, Sebastian and Theo, and a sweet little girl who will join our crew this June!
Our lives are far from perfect, but through the grace of God, it’s been the most amazing adventure.

Why Shell and Olive:

The Shell: The sea shell is filled with symbolism. Two main symbols being, Our Lady and our Baptism.
When EM and I married, he was an atheist (albeit a baptized one). It was through that baptism which we were able to marry in the Church. Then, several family members gifted us beautiful silver shells as wedding gifts, not knowing the meaning it would later have in our lives, as this Easter (2017) EM will be confirmed as a Catholic.
Mama Mary played a huge role in his conversion, praying the rosary and countless novenas – she helped lead him to her Son!

Here’s a link to the novena which we first prayed together, our go to when we need help. It has never failed us.
54 Day Rosary Novena It’s a PDF so you can easily save it to your phone and pull it up when needed!

On a more basic level, both EM and I grew up in beach towns – his hometown being where we currently live.

The Olive: “But I am like an olive tree growing in God’s house, and I can count on His love forever and ever.” Psalms 52:8.
Need I say more? No, but I will.
I’m Italian – Tuscan to be specific and my childhood summers were filled with not only shells from the Italian shore, but olive trees a plenty. The beauty of those trees was something that always filled my soul with peace. So, when it came time to get married, we had olive branches wrapped around our wedding cake. The olive branch is a symbol of peace, the coming together of two different people, an atheist and a Catholic. Through that peace a pretty amazing family has grown like a tree in God’s house; and no matter what trials we may face, we know we can count on His love forever.

So welcome to my little space. My shell and my olive.

Photography Credit: Courtney Timms of Courtney Timms Photography