Thank you 2015

The last day of the year!

And what a year it has been...

We weathered some accidents, middle school, redistricting, orthodontists and travel...we enjoyed camp, school trips, family game nights, soccer, tennis and exercise...

I think 2015 can rank up there again with another one of my favorite years!

And with over 160 sessions, it's been a BLAST with photography! I've met the most incredible families & seniors...such hope, laughter, excitement, anticipation,  and JOY! The REAL, the MOMENTS, the STORIES and all the HAPPY made this year incredible!

I will be honest that every year I struggle with anticipation and nervousness.  It seems the whole country is inundated with photographers...you can have your pick of the litter...and I worry...I worry that I won't produce even better quality images than I did the year before...I fear that I will let people down...and my heart, oh my heart, it just wants to turn reality into a precious "stand still" moment for families!

I know what I feel like when I look back at old photos of my daughters, my family, my friends...it takes me back in time and I want to crawl inside the picture to relive it...Do you remember that scene from Mary Poppins where Burt shows them his chalk drawings and then they all jump in?  Oh, if I could truly do that!!!

As I perused through all my sessions this year, I remembered the talks and the goofiness...I remembered the days it was super cold and other days that we were sweating...I remembered the moments where the snake slithered across the top of my bare foot, and the special "gifts" I received from little ones that I've watched grow before my very eyes...

If I put every single image in this slideshow, you'd be watching forever...so, watch and see if your family made the cut :)  I'm working on a "favorite" gallery again for the new year...be watching for an opportunity to win a special gift from me!!!

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Merry Christmas 2015

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And the Winner is...

Look at all these amazing cards I received in the mail...


Each one representing a family that I was privileged to interact with, laugh and run around with...share stories and make memories...capturing relationships, hugs & smiles...

It is a joy to serve these families, to learn from them, to interact with them...I am blessed beyond measure!

These cards hang in my home all through the Christmas season...I think of all the extended family & friends that will see those same faces and smile, and share some joy in the relationship!

I had my husband choose from the pile because I had looked through them all so much that I knew the feel of each card...I had devoured all the little tidbits of information of the sweet little ones that I had spent time over this past year...

The deadline was today, so that I could get the "gift" to the winner before Christmas day!



And so...


You all know who you are...Email me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com and let me know whether you'd like a little Starbucks gift card, or if you'd like to choose one of my 8 x 10 handpainted canvases.  I'll send either one your way on Monday at the post office!

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Hobbies and Such

I'm not sure if it's a blessing or a curse...

I come by it honestly though...

My dad started out in photography before I was born...he then switched into karate...then bows/arrows...then shooting...then sailing...then race car driving...then scuba diving...

Do you see a trend here?

And believe me, my brother and I experienced ALL of his hobbies...I learned to shoot when I was 6 years old, I got my first pair of deck shoes somewhere in my later elementary years...my brother and I also learned kicks and self-defense while my grandmother's oldies records were playing in the background...I even got in my dad's race car at one point in time...I drew the line at scuba though...

but, back to the point...

the trend...is the never ending rotation of "hobbies" or "projects" to be working on...

My husband has definitely helped me to learn how to hone in on one and learn it well for a long time (aka photography)...but, it's right around November/December time frame that my brain is about ready to explode because it needs to explore other creative outlets...

In years past it has involved sewing Narnia dresses or app pillows for my teenage daughter...it's been chalk drawings or portrait painting...I did some card making and also learned how to transfer photos onto wood...

this year it was canvas painting and wreath making...None of which I am an expert, but it's more about the process and just creating something new!

I finished canvas #5 last evening and now I'm ready to start something else...something new...and so, I'll begin sewing this afternoon once I get my grocery shopping finished! My brain tends to go on overload until Christmas day...and then once the excitement and hubbub is over, I am finally able to relax and it's about that time that I've got a stack of books just waiting for me to dive in!

I'm not sure if I have a favorite...I'd love to know which one YOU like best!!





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Hello Again...Again :)

I shared in an earlier post a little about our family traditions as we started the Advent Season. 
I know many will shake their heads at what I'm about to share...my closest friends & family will think I'm crazy...but, 
here's the thing, 
I NEVER imagined this life that I now lead.  

My husband will tell you it's EXACTLY what he pictured, but me?  nope...I couldn't have dreamed this up...

I know that sounds ridiculous to some, or maybe it sounds like I'm just trying too hard, but, my reality is that I didn't envision all this.  There is a lot in my lifetime that I didn't envision or ask for...and when events occurred and pathways crossed, my future reality became something that I could never have foreseen for myself. 

Why do I mention all this for a simple post about decorating a tree and cousin time pajamas?

Because Advent is also a time of reflection and hope and holding close the things that matter most...it's a time for incredible thankfulness for the gift of LIFE!

I have to remind myself of this...often...I tend to be extreme in my thinking and I have a battle with my mind daily...obsessing over silly things and NOT focusing on fleeting moments that really ARE most important! My brain works backwards sometimes.

And so, I want to remind myself to be so grateful for my family, my home, the traditions we make...our family is unique, just as every family is unique...I want my girls to recognize that and LOVE that too...not comparing or wishing for more, for an easy road, but, to know that no matter what they envision for their future (or can't even imagine yet) There is something & someOne worth the HOPE!

We chopped down that tree and drove it home in the rain.  It took overnight to dry out so that we could bring it into the house.  It was a tad shorter this year than our typical, but it meant that the girls were able to reach to the top to hang ornaments!



Anthony's sister travels in from down south and Nana gets matching PJs for everyone. Then they beg Uncle Anthony to throw pillows on them from the loft!

I'm thankful for these times together...for pure "IN THE MOMENT" memories! 






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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I grew up with an artificial tree.  I don't think I ever remember chopping one down?  I could be mistaken, but I only remember putting 3 pieces together of the tree and then my mom trying to string lights and my brother & I fighting over the "throwing of the tinsel"

When Anthony & I got married, and I moved myself down south, when our first Christmas rolled around, he woke me early on the first weekend of December so that we could traipse around his cousin's tree farm to find the "perfect tree" that we would then "saw down".  

This quickly became our continued tradition, to which we share to this day, with our girls as well. 

I've never considered doing family pictures on a tree farm, because, I suppose it felt like "sacred" ground and a place that was just held for the "chopping down of the tree"

However, this year, I decided to try something different...my style isn't particularly into props and such, but capturing togetherness & personality...to show FAMILY in their essence, no matter the location!  

I was excited to bring this family to my "special place"...a few weeks before we were to head there ourselves to locate another Canaan Fir tree for our living room.  

We met this family at fish fry, believe it or not, over the Easter holidays last year.  We've kept in touch over social media and WALA, here we are meeting up for family pictures!  

This sweet Momma to all boys has parented & trained them well.  They are kind & considerate, well-mannered & obedient...and yet, they nearly scared the pants off me with their antics & dad's flying them so high into the sky!!!

These are the moments that memories are made of...the togetherness times that you can look back on and smell the trees, feel the late fall chill in the air and hear the laughter in their voices.  

There is so, so much going on in our world...so many things of which we have absolutely NO control.  And so often, I will admit, I feel helpless...
We are coming up on the "most wonderful time of the year" and there has been so much fear, heartache, frustration, confusion in our world...

Someone told me recently, "If you can't control it, do be controlled BY it"...rather, in response, you pour into the things that you can impact, model, invest in...

This is what these pictures represent to me...

an investment...a lifelong investment of time, energy, guidance, modeling, heart to hearts, acceptance, safety, playfulness, finding joy, showing love...

Make your moments count this Christmas season...












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Libby: Senior Session

I met lots of Seniors this past year. In the past, I have found my niche' with families and chasing little ones around a park while making goofy noises and getting giggles...but, intermixed, it has a wonderful reprieve to meet with these seniors that have moved well beyond the need for a photographer to perform crazy dance moves or blow raspberries while balancing stuffed animals on her head!

And for that, I am thankful!

It has been a pleasure meeting these young adults that are on the precipice of a huge journey...you can see the anticipation in their eyes...their excitement for the future, but mixed with a tad of trepidation knowing they embark on their own.

Libby is beautiful inside & out. She's natural and real.  I appreciated and truly valued her desire to just BE herself..."what you see is what you get" and it is lovely!

Often, arriving at the last year of your k-12 school experience, you realize the significant roles that individuals have played in your life as well.  Sometimes these are siblings or teachers and yes, definitely parents...but, more often than not, it's a "friend" (or friendS) that have impacted your participation, your motivation, your involvement at school.  I love when Seniors choose to include those that mean the most to them during a senior session.  Libby wanted to share this experience with her close-knit group of girlfriends...and I think you'll see that it was very much worth it!

Congratulations Libby!  I have no doubt that your heart will continue to positively impact anyone you meet and your determination & drive will take you to the top!







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Fly Away Farm

This is what we did this weekend! My husband worked the Christmas Tree Farm, while my middle girl & I snapped some pictures! We love our cousins, the owners of Fly Away Farm. It's a tradition each year to cut down our tree, visit with our family, drink hot cocoa, eat some cookies, pet the dogs...Check off another tradition in our journey through Advent this month!

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How can I reach you?

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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