Sweet Team

I always wondered what it would be like to have an "OLDER" brother.

Being the oldest, I'm just in the position of "firstborn"...

It's kind of nice now...(in my old age) that my brother & I are in the same "season of life" and therefore, it sometimes is nice to lean on him as an older brother at times...

This little man is a big brother to his little sis...and you can see the way she adores him...watches every little move he makes...

And yet, she brings her own little "energy" to the table as well...

They make a sweet little team!

It was fun to meet up with this family, as this dad's parents were our first "young married" leaders in our church (back in the day)...

I had just gotten married, and moved away from the home I'd always known, as well as my church family...his parents welcomed my hubby & I with open arms and continued such great counsel and support in the early years of our marriage.

So thankful for them all...










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Hello Again!!!

It's the last day of November!!!  I can't even believe we made it!
Well, I can believe it but it felt like we might not survive there at the end.  

Fall is hectic for everyone, however, for someone who is rather right-brained to begin with, I heap more trouble upon myself with my lack of organization...so in time crunches, I usually make matters worse with my haphazardness...

So, add in the girls' sports, homework help, lots of photo sessions and lots of editing, on top of the regular stuff like grocery shopping, housework, and making dinner, well...things just got a little crazy there towards the end of the fall season...(let's just not mention the fact that I haven't even been to the mall since August, so Christmas shopping is wayyyyy behind schedule)

We've started to look to Thanksgiving as our "YAY, We Survived Fall!" celebration and we just stay home...we hunker down, do puzzles and eat lots of food for the long weekend!

Can I tell you how good it felt to just be able to sit and read books with my girls, finish my middle girl's bedroom decor (3 months late)...we just sat and painted her canvases...my hubby took care of the Thanksgiving feast and the girls did their magic on the table settings!  

Saturday, we headed to the tree farm (in the rain & cold) and chopped down our tree!!

I'm excited to get back to blogging about families and photography...and I'll be announcing a SNAPSHOP that I'm planning to host after the first of the new year!

What are you favorite family traditions??? I'd love to hear!!!








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SMILE!

She's a typical "baby" of the family.  With that comes a lot of laughter and joy and crazy and household shenanigans...

It brings adventure and risk taking and most of the time getting to do things wayyyyy earlier than your big sisters ever got to!

However, it also means, sometimes...that you can tend to be a tad more clingy to Mommy...(or maybe Mommy is a tad more clingy to baby???)  Whatever the case, doing things independently, facing challenges and difficulties can sometimes be built up in one's mind to be a bit scarier than the reality.  
That said, we had a dentist appointment today to check on my Little Munchkin's permanent front teeth that she whacked back in October.  

Things have calmed down a bit.  She started using regular utensils about a week and a half ago.  The front teeth aren't wiggly anymore, but the gums are still a tad swollen.  She does "feel" pain, but, if you read the above prefaced account, you'll understand why the extensive "tests" that could have been done were not accomplished today.

We were able to get teeth cleaned and being the good mom that I am, I held her down so that the dentist could do what absolutely needed to be done...but fear is still a huge factor in her head right now.

So far, the prognosis looks fairly good.  The teeth are not discolored, they are staying put in position, and she can eat normally.  What is still not known is the state of the nerves inside the teeth.  

All in all, it was a good visit and we felt positively about it.  

She's still dealing with fear and is extremely cautious about eating (and running and playground equipment, etc) Unless the teeth start to discolor or she experiences continued pain, they are fine with waiting the regular 6 months in order to see her again. If any of those things happen, at any time...now, 3 months from now or 30 years from now, it would likely mean root canals for both teeth.

I want to thank you all for your cards, sincere messages, kind remarks, and most importantly your heart felt prayers!  We know that in comparison to all the "BAD" that happens in this world, this incident was extremely minuscule...but, we do have Someone that cares even about the tiny sparrows, so I'm confident that my little one's fear & teeth are important to Him too!


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EDITING

I saw a photograph the other day that made me laugh!

photo cred: Cole's Classroom

I know that my clients do not believe this and that they understand the time & energy put into not just a photo session, but the emailing & scheduling & editing & posting sneak peeks & instagramming & loading galleries & answering questions & fielding phone calls...all the while keeping costs down because I don't hire sitters, nor charge extravagant amounts for prints, and many other things that just go on in a normal "small business" environment.

Because I have a lengthy line up of sessions to edit, I'm going to choose to sacrifice my online presence for a bit, with regards to blogging.  I do understand that this has the potential to be detrimental to my business, but I also value my clients that continue to come back to me year after year.  I have blogged nearly everyday (give or take 1-2 hectic weeks where I missed a day) for almost 3 months. I'm going to cut it down to 2-3 times a week at present until I get my galleries uploaded.

Thank you for your support and for continuing to check in here...I head for a re-check up on my youngest regarding her accident earlier in October, this Thursday.  I'll be posting an update at that time.

Looking forward to a wonderful holiday season!  Please be sure to continue to follow on Facebook and Instagram until I am able to get back to blogging consistently again in a couple weeks.

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Parenting is REAL

Some of you may know that my firstborn is on her school trip this week...very far from home!

She's been away from home before...to camp, or grandparents house...but, it's 8th grade now and now begins the official "letting go"...this maturing...coming into one's own...steady rise to independence...

Ugh, I knew it was coming...it's what we've been "training" for all these years...

And there is definitely a part of me that is SUPER EXCITED...because she's becoming a young adult, and I'm watching her struggle her way to conclusions, making up her own mind...

yet, she'll always be my little girl :)

The school is going ABOVE AND BEYOND the call of duty this week...Technology is bothersome at times, but it's been a simple joy this week.  It's not part of the payment plan, not even included in the trip at all, we aren't entitled to it and they aren't required to do so...but the teachers are posting pictures via social media so that parents can be flies on the wall...some teachers are more tech savvy than others, but it matters not...just knowing they are there safe, learning and enjoying themselves as a whole...the little snippets I get of my girl are these sweet bonuses, icing on the cake if you will :)

We text each other each morning once she gets on the bus and then she'll give a goodnight text or maybe check in on her sisters during the day...but all in all, I just want her to be IN the moment there...because, let's face it, this is big thing in her life right now..it's a milestone (not to mention celebrating your birthday in the Nation's Capital)

This parenting thing is REAL...sometimes I pinch myself thinking that I've been entrusted with these lives...For the first 18 years of their lives, their dad & I have this incredible responsibility to discipline, guide, hold back, push forward, demonstrate respect, exemplify integrity, chip away at their selfishness and at the same time build up their confidence...to show them the value of WHO they are lies not in what they do or who they know or what they look like, but rather in the Who they belong to and the heart & soul of their being.

I've met way over 100 new families in the past years doing photography...everyone in different seasons of life...all giving it everything they've got...it truly is the most important "job" we'll ever have!!!

Each year, I am amazed at this family as well...not just the respect & obedience they get from their boys, but the genuine enjoyment they get from being together...it's not a hassle, nor do the kids come begrudgingly... (I'm sure there are times for those things...we ARE all human, and noone is perfect ;) ) but, my experiences with them over the years have always been pleasant and fun!








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Happy Birthday to my Firstborn

She entered the world crying...
and then she colic-cried for the next year or so after that ;) 

Although with that rocky entrance, came such memories that I cherish...the moments that were peaceful & giggly were celebrated & vividly remembered!!

She's much like me, in that she often lives in "extremes"...Ups are AWESOME and Downs feel like the end of the world.  

But, with that comes a fierceness...a determination...

She is intensely loyal and constantly desires to see the good in others, even when she has been hurt.
She LOVES with such compassion that tears are only a moment away.
She gets her "justice" gene from me as well...ever the rule follower...and she suffers dismay when she is faced with people that doubt her words, when she knows no other way than to be honest.

Her room isn't the the most organized, but she always has a "project" in the works...
She can be extremely hard on herself and her self-expectations are sky-high...
She is learning confidence and decision-making...she's finding out what she believes & why...

She is my lovely firstborn...

I do not love her because of her grades or her kindness or her popularity...nor because of her athletic abilities or her musical talents...I wouldn't love her any less or more if she excelled or won contests or if she failed...

she does not make me proud for WHAT she does or what she has or hasn't accomplished...

SHE IS A GIFT!

Just HER...just her being WHO she is...

she made me a MOM for the very first time...

She is not perfect and I wouldn't want her to be...

I'm not looking for THINGS or accomplishments on which to brag...

Infact, if I'm being transparent, I'm perfectly fine with her struggling at times...it makes her more empathetic and able to relate to others...it hurts...it hurts me too...but, I know these things make her stronger...

and her heart...OH her heart...

On this celebration day of her birth...

I celebrate the beauty that she is on the inside...
I celebrate the mistakes and the oops...
I celebrate the wins and the achievements...
I celebrate the excitement...
I celebrate the tears...

I celebrate this lovely girl that I get to call my daughter!

Happy Birthday Love!!!






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Let's Discuss Homework...

I didn't have the best algebra I teacher...

he probably shouldn't have been a middle a school teacher...

maybe not teaching kids at all...

maybe it would have suited him better to work with just numbers...where he didn't have to explain ALL THE THINGS and have to manage all the middle school boys shooting spit wads at him all day long...

now, I'm not here to bash my MS teacher, I'm just setting the stage for my life now and what has brought me to this lovely point of lamenting once again...

I get it...this new math is superb, wonderful, the new IN thing that will help our children think and understand and become the next President of the United States...

these are GOOD things, people..GOOD things...but it does not negate the fact that this 4.0 Math Minor has NO CLUE HOW TO HELP HER DAUGHTER WITH MATH HOMEWORK! It doesn't help that not only was I poorly instructed on what is now considered the "wrong way" to teach math, but it means that I'm just struggling to figuring out if I'm allowed to use the variable X in any explanation or if I should just draw pictures....

I, for one, would welcome parent classes on math for the NEW generation of students...

Currently I use KHAN academy...it's a great resource if you haven't discovered it yet...

I basicaly type in the lesson title of whatever it is the girls are studying in math and then get a quick little video tutorial before I proceed to bang my head against the counter with frustration at my lack of understanding...

but it's all good...

all good...

NOW...my FRENCH teacher was tres magnifique...

oh, how I loved French class...I loved the sound of the language...

I only wish that I wasn't so shy back then...

yes, you read that right...

I was shy...

I haven't always been the "center of attention, look at me I'm awesome, who-can-be-the-loudest-person-in-the-room" person that you see before you today...

40 years will do that to a person...

makes you a little gutsy to say the least...

And therefore, this is the reason why I have no qualms helping my daughter study Spanish...

LOUDLY, I might add...

In the kitchen for ALL to hear!!!

I don't know what I'm saying, but I love saying it...and say it I will...I will sing it, I will let the lilt of my voice soothe my offspring with their mother's helpful attempts...

it sounds a little French-ish, Spanish-y with some American drawl at the end...

it's lovely...

just trust me on this...

we sat for a few hours working on math and Spanish homework...oh the joys of being on THIS end of the homework...I don't envy her one bit...I paid my dues back then...I've cried my own buckets of tears over assignments that have no bearing on what I'm feeding my daughters for dinner tonight NOR what shoes I will wear tomorrow, but CRY I did...because back then, those assignments and tests were the END ALL!

Quite funny what time does to a person...and age...and a reality check...

I am excited for seniors, though...they have made it through ALL THE THINGS in high school...they may have suffered through Algebra and listened their way through Spanish or any other language (except German, I mean come on...that one I just can't bring myself to say it's "pretty"...you are hacking up things to make a sound!)

As you get older you start to prioritize and recognize what things matter most, what you are going to fight hard for and what you are ultimately going to let go, because let's face it...the TRUTH is you CAN'T have it all...but, you CAN LOVE what you HAVE! and LOVE IT WELL....

Justine has been instilled with a perspective on life that others haven't been fortunate enough to obtain...she has a compassion and sensitivity to things that others may feel awkward around...and yet, she has also been shown determination and dedication...

You will see by her images that her skin is flawless...her eyes sparkle with confidence...her smile is knowing & genuine...

She is a treasure!

Please enjoy a few snapshots from our time together...











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The best way to contact me is either through Facebook Messaging or emailing me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com

I can't wait to hear from you!
"Teach us to number our days, (savor the moments) so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" ~Psalm 90:12

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