Great Book Options for Bedtime Stories

If you've hung around my blog for any amount of time, you know that I LOVE to read...

as in...

I love it so much, I make my hubby put on CLOSED CAPTIONING while watching a movie just so I can READ while watching!

My love affair with books began in 5th grade when my teacher, Mrs. Stefanopolous, challenged us to read 50 novels throughout the school year. I felt it was an impossible challenge because 1) our school didn't have a library, and being just outside of Detroit, there weren't any libraries necessarily close by either 2) we only had 1 car, so my mom couldn't get somewhere before dinner to find me books

But somehow, we did it...

My teacher brought in boxes of books for us to choose from and I don't know where else I found them...I remember asking neighbors or people from church if they had any books...and boy did I get a plethera of genres that year!

My love continued into adulthood and I did everything I could to pass it onto my children.  

I started "reading" to them while I was pregnant...I'd just read outloud whatever book I happened to be reading...and from the moment I brought them home, I began reading books to them every morning and every night...and in those first years, all throughout the day as well.

While pregnant with my second daughter, I started recording myself reading some of my eldest's favorite books...(this was the era of the tape recorder) So, I taught my 2 year old how to work my old boom box and put my recorded cassette tapes into baggies with the books. So during the times that I would be busy with baby, she could choose a book and have "mommy" read it aloud to her. 

As my girls got older, and the age spans started to spread out, sometimes A and I would take turns and/or split up the reading duties, especially if the older girls were into a particular novel, but my youngest just wanted her same familiar stories...

Once my eldest reached high school, I have to admit that the bedtime read alouds finally started to come to a close with her...but were replaced with conversation and sharing...

However, just last year, we all read through The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane together again. It's just FUN to get lost in a story...I just have a hard time stopping at the chapters and putting it away until the next night...Too often, I'm found hiding in a corner after having stole the book because I couldn't wait to read to the end...

I understand that finding a novel that fits all age categories is difficult...

So, for a while and especially during the holiday times when theme & topical books are all around our home, it's rather fun to go back to those old "PICTURE BOOKS"...

They are quick reads, and though they "seem" to be for "babies", sometimes the content, vocabulary and flow of the book actually hits the mark for all my girls' age groups. 

Reading together with our kids does some pretty amazing things...

1. It's TIME with YOU that they really crave...And, now having a teenager, I can tell you that all that time spent together translates into conversation and mom/daughter time that just evolved naturally.

2. Have I mentioned the app OVERDRIVE  It's AHHHmazing!  You can listen to books all the time...and as a former teacher AND a mom, I can guarantee that, by listening to others read aloud, a child's reading skills improve.  They hear the language and fluency from your mouth...they start to make connections between books and real life.  It's really quite remarkable!

3. It gives them new perspectives. As a parent while reading, I sometimes interject my own comments or thoughts or exclamations to the novel...in turn, my girls learn how to compare & contrast...they learn how to pull out the important "stuff" and focus on character development. They've learned about different cultures and historical events through fictional stories...they've learned about alliteration and even sarcasm :)


And so...

I thought I'd share some of my tried and true favorite PICTURE books titles...

These are super short reads for perhaps more of the preschool to upper elementary aged kids.  These are some of our favorites...ones they asked me to read over and over again...sometimes because of the illustrations...sometimes because the humor...often because of the "voices" I did to make a story come alive...

Title and author are listed below...

I'd LOVE to hear if YOU have any favorites that I should try as well...
leave a comment below!!! 

Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle dude: If you want to be deemed the COOLEST elementary parent read aloud person in school, you MUST get this book!  It's ridiculously funny and appeals to adults & children alike! And you also must use "valley girl" voices :)

Chester: I'm not sure why I like this so much...maybe it's that subtle sarcasm and sass from a cat...I think it just makes me giggly!

The Gruffalo: THIS is my all time favorite!  Because after you read the book you can actually watch a little video  of it too!!! I love the repetition of this book.  I actually photocopied the pages and adhered them to felt for a felt board story when my youngest was little.  She memorized the entire book and could retell it on the flannel board :) You can watch here :) It is precious and again, you MUST do the voices to make it totally worthwhile!

Big Week for Little Mouse I got lost in the illustrations of this book...it's all made from clay and 3D materials...It's a quaint little read and one my girls all loved.

Llama, Llama Red Pajama: Repetition is so key at a young age...they not only learn to retell stories, but they start to recognize letters and sounds...I love how my girls related to the stories I read to them, how they made connections to their own lives and also recognized good choices & poor choices...even with silly story books!

Bedtime for Bear: oh goodness, this one comes a close 2nd to the Gruffalo...and you've got to do the voices too..I loved this story of a bear and a mouse.  It's one of those stories that adults will love too! I love all of Bonny Becker's bear books...they are must reads for sure!

Bear Snores On: Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman are a dynamic duo with this Bear series...it's not only a wonderful, feel good read, but the illustrations hit a home run too!

Elephant and Piggie: Mo Willems is just fantastic!  I love the Pigeon books too..but Elephant & Piggie quickly became a favorite for my youngest because she was able to start picking out words and reading these at a very young age and STILL able to grasp the story line.  These are great books that won't get boring to read over and over again.

Falling for Rapunzel:  This is another elementary classroom type read aloud...it's one where the subtle sarcasm and "cool funny" is actually hilarious...and it makes the kids feel super awesome because they figured out the "joke"

Blueberries for Sal: this book is very old...and illustrations are in black and white...and it would seem at first glance, perhaps not worth the effort...but, I tell you, as a former teacher...the higher level language and story line, with age appropriate content is wonderful...it holds the attention of little ones while still going "longer" in the read...This is an oldie but a goody!






Read more...

A New Friend...a Kindred Spirit

I walked in and recognized her immediately.


This "friend" that I already called "friend" 
and we had never met in person.

She has been a cheerleader to me though...she has followed me on social media, texted, messaged, commented...ohhhhh, just constantly speakin' my love language!

She's a fellow photographer...a momtographer turned pro...a lover of happy...a seeker of stories...

We both knew that we'd "click" (see what I did there?) when we met...and we were not disappointed.


We met at 9:30am for a quaint breakfast...

the next time we looked at the clock it was nearly 1:30pm

Where do 4 hours go? 

For us, they were lost upon God stories and homestead antics...they were swallowed up in relating parenting and business goofs...they faded into the background of our laughter and even tears!

Amanda (of Amanda Estep Photography) is a gem...she's a rare find...

I appreciated her candidness...I was inspired by her dreams...I coveted her grace-filled spirit...

I may not be as "old" as some, but I'm older than others...and so my over 40 years have given me some semblance of knowledge...and the one thing I've learned (and continue to appreciate) is that this world could use more "grace"...grace givers to be exact because, lord knows, we need it...

I don't think there was ever a time in my life that I thought I necessarily had it all together...
but, at the same time, I do remember having very strong opinions (and sometimes still do) about certain things...whether it be social interaction etiquette or friendship expectations...

these notions like to rear their heads when I feel wronged or when I feel the need to prove my point...when I want to "feel" superior to someone else or show that I'm quite capable with my way of doing things...

and yet...

I have learned that so often, I am moreso called to lay aside my own pride and my own "assumptions" in order to show grace and forgiveness to others... (do not think I have this mastered...I do not...)

In the short time I spent with Amanda, it is evident to me that this life lesson is not lost on her...

she comes to the table in humility, vulnerability and this incredibly generous spirit...it doesn't mean that she doesn't have ideas (she's got loads of them) but, it means that she sees such value in others and gives them such dignity, by just taking the focus off of "self"...

Goodness...and this is just the ahhhmazing-ness of her person...

We haven't even touched on her TALENT yet...

She specializes in newborn photography...and I've followed her for at least a year or so...

During this "behind the scenes" time...she has struggled, made mistakes, picked herself back up again, relied on strength from others and her faith, even in times when grace wasn't always offered to her...

she has taught herself a challenging skill...she has honed her craft...

To be a "posing" newborn photographer takes an incredible amount of patience, but also consistency and understanding of specific lighting and colors of light...it's tricky, but she is mastering each step along the way...

I've watched her work transition into the most beautiful displays of art, and yet, capture the precious newness of her wee subjects...

She & her husband have moved their little family to a homestead/farm out in the middle of what she deems "nowhere"...where they are slowly surrounding themselves with ducks and chickens and pigs and soon to come cattle & horses and the dreams continue...

It's an experience to visit her...to be welcomed to her studio and take a breath of fresh air...

I'll be meeting up with her again very soon...and I can't wait!

You can check out her newborn photography and follow her on Instagram HERE :) 







Read more...

SENIOR SESSION: Ellie

Ellie was my last Fall Senior for the Class of 2017. To say that she ended my season on a high note is an understatement.  This girl is not only beautiful...with her sparkle eyes and flawless skin...but, she has traveled a road that few her age have traveled successfully.  She is brave and determined.  I appreciate her spunk, her gumption and when she laughs, it lights up the room! 

I love that probably the first thing you notice when you meet Ellie is her colored hair...

It's a subtle statement, that not only gives a little insight to her personality, but also allows both herself and others a moment or two to catch their breath when meeting for the first time...

It's funny how simple things can sometimes give you this little social advantage and present yourself in a brave and new way. 

I still love scrolling through her pictures...her simplicity and timeless beauty.










Read more...

FAMILY SESSION: all kinds of happy

Do you remember the song from Sesame Street?

That one sung by Bob about the "people in your neighborhood"?

I think beyond the fact that it takes different jobs and personalities to make up a functioning and efficient environment/lifestyle...The song was focusing on the idea of COMMUNITY...

to be surrounded by YOUR PEOPLE...

I'm reading a book entitled Tribes by Seth Godin

I like this idea of Tribes...probably because I've always had it inside me...this desire to BELONG...to be KNOWN, to be LOVED...

As a child it was an immaturity, a needy void that I sought to fill through people-pleasing and trying to do everything right!

A Tribe, in it's basic sense, is a group of people connected to one another, 
to a leader, 
to an idea...
and they have a shared interest and a way to communicate.

As I've grown and traveled through different seasons of life, I do still have that desire to belong, but I suppose I am more choosy...it's not that I don't want to be sharpened or have differing opinions with others than "grow me"...but rather, I want to belong to a group that have the same goals, values...they see the most important things in life the same way that I do...

again, we may differ on practical things or ways of attaining those goals...but, the VISION is still the same...

I look at my photography clients as part of my tribe...

you all become MY PEOPLE!!!

The families that I get to interact with are all shooting for the same things that I value...
the memories, the meaningful, the captured HAPPY...

because life is too short, too complicated, too filled with unknowns NOT to stop and be so, so thankful for the NOW, 
for the relationships right in front of you...

This family came to me for the first time last year, and they are the epitome of the type of "tribe" that I envision us all being in. 

They laugh, tickle, giggle...swing, cuddle, squeeze...wear their shades, jump up and down...

This sweet gal ADORES her "job" as Momma...and her hubby adores her...

I love their natural ease with one another and in turn, I love to watch their teamwork with their boys.  

These are the people in MY neighborhood...the people that I want to meet each day!!!

















Read more...

Snapshop MENTORING...Special BONUS!

I've had a camera in my hand from the time I graduated high school to present. 

I didn't always know how to use it however...

I did what everyone did...

Put the camera up to my face, pointed it, told the people to say "cheese" and shot the picture...

Oh, as time went on I tried to be "fancy"...

I even got so "risky" as to put VASELINE ON MY LENS so that I could get the blur in the background!!!  

DO NOT EVER DO THIS...

I mean it!

------

I'd like for you to look through the following sets of pictures...

I know that my kids are going to be cute no matter what...and there isn't something innately "wrong" with any of the images...

But...

if you had to choose...

if you had to pick one, in the set, that seemed to "speak" a little louder...tell a wisp of a story in and of itself...

Could you determine which one?

I'll bet that it's not difficult...

go on and take a look...





Now, remember...there isn't anything "wrong" persay, with any of the images...

but, I want my pictures to stand alone...I want people to look at my pictures and see the essence of my kids and not be distracted by
clutter,
 dullness, 
poor lighting, 
shadows, 
blurry action, 
etc. etc...

It took some time to sort of "reprogram" the typical way of taking pictures, that we all fall prey to...

You don't get a "license" to operate a camera...you just purchase one and off you go...

Obviously, as the years have passed, the technology has gotten better...and with better equipment there is definitely a level of better quality...

However, I'm a firm believer that a BIG part of taking GREAT pictures, is being able to already SEE them around you, before you even take the shot...

and then...

knowing LIGHT LAWS and how light can change your entire set up
having an arsenal of FRAMING tools in your back pocket that easily capture what you envision
understanding the BASICS of camera operation to make your camera do what you want instead of letting it make decisions for you

It's almost like solving an math problem, and being able to discern which equation to use, which theorem to apply in order to get the correct answer...

I'm a lover of STORIES...
and they do say that "a picture is WORTH a thousand words"

I LOVE being a photographer...I love being able to capture family relationships and personality quirks of children...

BUT...

I'm NOT WITH YOU 24/7...

All the REALLY COOL stuff happens while YOU are on watch...

As a former teacher...as a mom...as a photographer...
you combine all these "professions" and it's no wonder I have a passion for teaching others how to get incredible pictures of their children!!!

You can watch the promo video HERE
You can read all the info on Snapshops HERE

but, before you do, I want you to know...

From May-July I'm offering a special bonus with my mentoring sessions...

It's always fun to have a FRIEND come with you to learn something new...SO...
If you bring a friend to your mentoring session, you each receive a $20 DISCOUNT
if you bring TWO friends, you each receive a $40 DISCOUNT

(mentor sessions cap off at 3 participants)

Contact me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com to set up your time soon...

Summer is the perfect opportunity to hone your skills and reprogram from the old way so that you are empowered and confident when the First Day of School rolls around...

AND THAT'S NOT ALL...

When you participate in a CT PhotoMemories Snapshop MENTORING session, you get a special invitation to a PRIVATE FB group: Snapshop Grads

In this group, I do LIVE Q and A times, Video Tutorials, and photo challenges so that you can continue your learning BEYOND just our mentor session...and you are surrounded with nearly 100 other Snapshop Grad members there to encourage and help you in your journey as well! 

PLUS...

I'm in the process of recording hours of video & slideshow footage in an online venue to distribute to those unable to attend a mentoring session in person...however, once these videos are complete, you will have FIRST TIME ACCESS to them...as a special thank you and therefore have constant access to all that you've learned!!!

Let's get you on your way!
ctphotomemories@gmail.com 



Read more...

8 TIPS to becoming a Successful Momtographer

The word "momtographer" sometimes gets a bad rap...

It CAN mean a hobbyist trying to charge a lot of money to take pictures that aren't all that frame worthy to begin with...

and as a professional photographer, I understand the laments...

but, my heart is in a different place and therefore, my definition of a MOMTOGRAPHER may be a bit different...



Here's what I know...

When I set out to take family pictures, my goal is LIFESTYLE photography...it's my job to find those personalities and capture them in the 30-45 minutes that I have...to create EMOTION and IMAGERY...Because I tend to "think in story", I envision that I'm shooting the cover shot for the story of their life...I need to wrap the essence of who they are, all the love, all the relationship into images that become the cover shots...

And while I take pride in my work and I love it and I have my OWN family portraits taken each year to document our "cover story"...

it's the 24/7 that makes the actual narrative...this is called DOCUMENTARY photography.

It's the insignificant, mundane moments that make up the everyday...
It's in THOSE pages that character is built, memories are made, and authenticity shines...

And since I don't live with all of my clients...duh...
I'm not there to capture THOSE things...

So to all the MOMS out there...the ones that long to DOCUMENT life...to hang onto every fleeting moment...to those that are realizing that graduation is just around the corner...to those that are already having a hard time remembering what your oldest sounded like as a 3 year old...

this is for you!!!

Here are some TIPS to start your OWN journey to becoming an amazing MOMtographer...a Mom to captures those everyday moments in beautiful and inspiring ways...that make your children beg to see the back of your camera and they get excited when a new family album is delivered...to the moms that want their images to stand out from all the same old obligatory albums from every vacation or choir concert...

And after you read these tips, I can promise you that by scheduling a Snapshop Mentoring Session, you'll have gotten 7 of the 8 already well on your way!


1. Keep Learning: I understand that TIME is a commodity. I never feel like I have enough of it, but I do find that I somehow am able to MAKE time for the things that really matter.  For me, that is making sure that I'm doing all I can to continue to improve my abilities, to stretch myself, to allow failure, but strive for success!

2. Carve out Time to Shoot: Sometimes this may mean focusing on composition with just your iPhone at the ready instead of the "big" camera...and THAT'S OKAY!  Because, truly, a HUGE part of taking incredible pictures, is being able to SEE them around AND practicing correctly using the light that is available AND having a handful of framing tools in your mind's eye to make sure you are capturing a moment just the right way! The goal is to keep doing it...

CRAZY tidbit about yours truly: When I had my first typing class as a freshman in highschool, like on a REAL typewriter...I used to "practice" on my fingers...tapping my fingers to my thumbs to "type" out sentences or conversations that I was having with others...YES, I looked ridiculous as a 14 year old "typing" on my fingers, but by golly, I became a FAST typist because I was always aware of words and how they needed to be typed out...TRANSFER TO PHOTOGRAPHY: be mindful and practice as much as you can and you WILL see a change!

3. Learn LIGHT: This is a BIGGIE because light can make or break an image...it makes a picture look dark, dull and flat OR it can cause eyes to twinkle...it can make skin look green, or make an entire image POP...Knowing light laws and understanding how it coincides with where to stand in relation to your subject is half the battle.

4. Understand Composition and have framing tools in your stockpile: There are some basic "frame up" tools that you can always have in your back pocket, but it's also great to really learn what & how the eye is drawn to a photo...understand focal points & negative space and how those aspects affect the "emotion" of a photo.

5.Always think in terms of STORY and elements for capturing the CHAPTERS of your child's life. You can't execute a PLAN if you don't have a plan to begin with...If you are just haphazardly throwing your camera up at the last second to get shots, then you will only get "lucky" once in awhile with your images...IF you want your images to make a statement...to make those Facebook Albums "tell a story" and get your families & friends to ooooh and ahhh over your pictures, then you must have a plan in mind...photo albums are mundane & boring if it's basically the same shot over and over again with just a change of scenery...be purposeful in your mindset of how to capture the story elements of your life!

6. Embrace your Style & have FUN: If you go onto Instagram and follow just 3 photographers, each one's grid will be significantly different from the other...because we ALL have our own set of glasses through which we see life...be sure to embrace YOURS!

7. Make your "know how" match your camera's capabilities so that you get the MOST out of your investment. This is why I developed Mentoring Snapshops in the first place! I see so many people with those big DSLR cameras and they are using a pop up flash and their dial is still on Auto...YES, the prints will be a tad better than an iPhone print, but, for the amount of money you invested in that camera, don't you want to use it to its fullest capacity to the get the shots it's actually capable of taking?  I'm not saying that you have to become a mathematician and know how to take apart and put back together your camera...HOWEVER, once you understand the Exposure Triangle and how to control your focal points and how to maneuver your lighting & settings, it changes everything about your photography and the images that you can capture!

8. Learn to EDIT and PRINT, PRINT, PRINT: Once you sign up for a Mentoring Snapshop Session you get to join the private Facebook Group: Snapshop Grads I offer tutorials and Q & A videos which help with editing and what to do with your images once you capture them...It's a community of Momtographers that all want the same thing: to take GREAT pictures of their KIDS!

Contact me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com to set up a time for Snapshop Mentor Session today!

Read more...

CUFriday

I remember stepping foot on Cedarville College's campus 25 years ago...

I remember this incredible excitement bubbling inside...Of course I was crazy nervous and scared...I had NO IDEA what "college life" was going to be like...I did not know what the academic expectations would be or who I would meet...but oh I had dreams...

And I remember just taking a deep breath and exhaling...

Ahhhhh

This was where I belonged...

I KNOW that everyone is different, everyone has a different expectation, a different idea, a different STORY...

but for MY story...

My college experience was a new beginning

I was beginning to finally SEE how all the things in my past were fitting together and setting me on my future journey...

To this day, I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to attend CU and participate in crazy amounts of activities, clubs, teams and just plain FUN during my years there.

I think one of the things that we are trying to impart to our girls as it pertains to college is that, you need to determine where you truly believe you belong and where you ought to go...We don't want them choosing a college based on what everyone else is doing, or even what mom & dad would like...this is the beginning of THEIR future and they need to be informed and make these decisions based on what they know thus far about themselves...I struggled with this...I took the expectations of my parents, of my classmates, of myself and applied to schools that weren't really my fit.  I was scared of financial difficulties, prestige, and making a "wrong" choice. These are things that have to be discussed & thought about...but, it's not a popularity contest, nor do I believe it is about a name on a degree (I know many will disagree with me on this...but again, this is MY experience and MY story...and the impact college had in my life had little to do with the degree I received, and more about the experience in which I lived..and it changed me, and set me on a course that I didn't know existed before)

Secondly, (and I wholeheartedly believe this) your college experience is what you make it...Both A and I hit the campus running...we actively pursued opportunities...whether it was clubs, ministry teams, job opportunities...whether it was friend groups, intramural sports, or outside campus endeavors...we had to have the gumption to try All.The.Things! 

I came to Cedarville rather shy and timid...but, I determined that this was a new beginning, a clean slate...a place where I felt safe & belonged...and so, I took risks, I branched outside of myself...and bit by bit, my confidence grew...

it doesn't mean I didn't have set backs...

for heavens sake, my "dream" was to make a traveling vocal team and marry the lead singer...

ummmm....well....let's just say God had better plans!

During the first week or so, I tried out for every traveling team...and yet, when they placed me on the Puppet Team, instead of the singing team, it wasn't disappointment that struck my heart, but rather, this crazy knowing that this "road" I was on, this "plan" was actually bigger than I understood and I was just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other...

I also think that when you live life, in an attitude of gratitude...the "changes" in your plans, don't feel so "negative" or disappointing...because you are just grateful for where you are and where you are headed...(this is only pertaining to the slight changes of plans with regards to college and the topic at hand....I would never equate "change of plans" to monumental or devastating events that sometimes befall us)

It feels like, in our community, that once you hit highschool people start asking you "what are you going to be? what will you major in, in college?" and for a 14 or 15 year old, this is intimidating and incredibly pressure filled...heck, it causes anxiety in SENIORS for heaven's sake...not to mention parents who are just trying to navigate the high school waters and helping to save for the future of college...we don't have it all together just yet!!!

Therefore, it was our goal to expose our eldest, as she is finishing up her first year of HS, to other career pursuits outside the ones that are "typical" (teaching, law, medicine & professional athlete)

Our Alma mater has a program called CU Friday where they welcome underclassmen to explore the college, to hear from current students, current staff and alumni...to walk the campus like a regular campus tour, but OUR FAVORITE part, was the student fair where ALL the departments in which you could major were set up at tables for you to come explore.  We walked the floor and asked them specifically, "Okay, if I pursued this major, what happens at the end of 4 years?" "What specific job would I apply for?" 

This was perfect for our girl and I so wish they would have had it open for a longer period of time because it was fascinating to be introduced to all these incredible areas of study and potential career paths...

We'll probably go on a "real college visit" to the ville when she's older, but this was a perfect "try out the waters" day for us...She has already taken the "plan" online test to determine her areas of interest and potential career paths that "might" suit her.  We weren't surprised by some of the ones that showed up in her results, but it was also great to talk through what those specific career paths would entail...with regards to schooling and even potential job opportunities in the future...

I say all this so that you understand the premise for which we traveled to Cedarville last Friday...

And then there was the "other" side of this trip :)

The parts of the trip that had nothing to do with actual "college visit" are what made the icing on the cake for me!

Perry and I met at the ville and I can honestly tell you I have no recollection of the meeting...or how it all got started...I think when you get to college though, and you are pursuing like-minded people, they are easier to find and being in that close-knit environment, relationships form quickly. 

We often referred to each other via our last names...we could be found making a ruckus, painting our faces, watching movies, being loud, having deep talks, and living our college experience to the fullest.  She was (and still is) a huge part of my story...the way she lived life out loud and loved Jesus and got out of the box was my inspiration...and in wanting to be "like" her, she just helped me be more of the ME I was destined to be...


She was a year ahead of me and had her own established group of friends...and yet, she & I became so, so close..We even traveled to Australia together on a mission trip where that bond grew even deeper. We lamented over "boys" and family dynamics, future careers and even debated theology.

And so, when we were recently texting and decided to introduce our daughters to our alma mater on the same day...all I can say was when I walked into the Dixon Ministry Center and saw her (which I hadn't for about 15 years)...our hug caused the flood gates to open...so much was wrapped up in that reconnection...Together we had weathered heartache, disappointment, death, exhaustion, excitement, surprise...extreme emotions and difficult circumstances as friends, journeying together before we were even 21 years old! It is true that in life, if you allow people in, if you are open & honest with yourself & others...it may be painful, it may cause some to walk away...but for those that don't...these are the friendships that last a lifetime...

We both were trying to pull it together before our daughters thought us completely off the deep end...and before long the stories were flying...we walked next to each other, watching our daughters walk ahead of us during the campus tour...It was surreal...remembering being in those same spots, some 25 years earlier...and seeing how far we had come...knowing that our girls would one day have their own experiences to create...

We were able to see my RD from my first year, who also happened to become my trusted counselor during my Senior year, after my sister had died. Kim, who has a heart for people and chooses to speak truth into them, is a breath of fresh air everytime I see her...I felt like my heart just kept growing as it continued to be filled at each campus tour stop...

We met up with Chief, the former director of our Campus Activity Board, for coffee once the schedule was complete for the day...this man who was probably one of the most influential persons in my husband's life outside of his father.  We learned selflessness, generosity and accountability at the hands of this gregarious & kind man.  These qualities were impressed upon Anthony and he continues them and have become a part of who he is today...

To say that our time in college was life-changing, is probably an understatement...

I'm so very grateful and my hope/prayer for all of my girls is that they'll have similar experiences...with not only academics, but friendships, adventures and mentoring that will last a lifetime, no matter where they choose to attend university!





Read more...

FAMILY SESSIONS 2017

Spring is HERE!

Oh my heavens, the SUNSHINE...the FRESH AIR...
I am soooo ready for this!!!

Is anyone else ready to wear their white capris and sweaters?

I'm totally old school when it comes to wearing white in the Spring...
call it my bible belt upbringing, but this Sunday marks the cut off date...and you better believe they are getting a fresh ironing...

With that sunshine also comes a new chapter in the STORY of  YOUR family!

I'm not sure about you, but I'm finding out that the older my daughters get, the ridiculously more hectic our schedules become...

Because of this, I'm discovering that my time can be rather limited, especially when we eventually get around to the Fall Season...

In an effort to accommodate as many schedules and "weather detours" that may be thrown at us in this Ohio suburb...I'd like to encourage you to consider the potential of a Spring or Summer Family Session!  

The lighting is fantastic...the trees are a beautiful backdrop and if you are family that typically goes for the Autumn time frame for photos, this is fantastic way to change things up AND potentially free up that upcoming "frenzied fall"

You can sign up NOW to receive all the information on schedule & pricing for 
Family Sessions in 2017! (there have been a few changes)

I promise, it's just a sign up to get your FREE downloadable Session Guide! I won't be bombarding you with a ton of emails, except to let you know when my schedule is being sent out for Fall or if there are specific changes or special promos being offered. 

During the Spring/Summer, I try to accommodate all schedules, so I keep my Spring/Summer very flexible (weekdays and weekends). 

During the Fall, my time is more structured and only specific dates/times/locations will be available...that schedule typically comes out at the end of August.






Read more...

SENIOR SESSION: Zoe Class of 2017

She's a creative...
 
So you can imagine that we got along famously!!!
 
She had her own ideas of location and how she saw herself...how she envisioned this particular chapter of her story...
 
I envied her confidence at her age...
 
I'm not saying that she has it all figured out, but she's not afraid to live outside of the box...to take risks and stand confidently in the talents that she's been given...
 
It was a pleasure to spend time with her and to hear her verbalize her imaginative ideas out loud.
 
There is a level of trepidation when one has a creative mind...
 
I wish I could adequately explain how my crazy brain thinks sometimes...
 
it feels so full of ideas and grandiose plans that the excitement can't help but bubble to the surface...and at the same time, I can sometimes lack the skill to work at the details that make it all come to fruition. 
 
Not every "creative" is like this...
 
I've heard some call themselves Nerdy Creatives...which basically means they received a double portion of imagination and analytical thinking...
 
I suppose it also has to do with how much time you take to invest in developing those portions of our personalities that need extra attention.
 
I believe Zoe has a good portion of both "brain characteristics" and so it takes that level of confidence and adventurous spirit (and beautiful support from family & friends) to go out and begin to dabble in the waters of something new & exciting...out of the norm...to see where it leads...
 
I have no doubt that she will find herself in the midst of so many options and exciting adventures that she'll not be lost on options, but rather choosing what suits her best!
 
Congrats Zoe!  I'm excited to watch your journey!
 










Read more...

SENIOR SESSION: Tara Class of 2017

The countdown has begun...

I guess it began awhile ago, but we are so, so close to the finish line now...

In little over one month, all those Senior guys and gals that I met this past Summer & Fall will be graduating and stepping out on their own...It's daunting, this knowledge that at the ripe age of 18, they will make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives...

You've heard me tell of my own daughters and how I see that "finish line" ever looming...Tune in Friday for my first I believe of many tales of college visits and my thoughts surrounding the experience...

I took Tara's brother's senior pictures...I remember well his gentle kindness, within a strong exterior...Tara carries herself in a similar way, with strength and confidence. 

She too, has had to travel through some very difficult waters...I sometimes marvel at the character of those that have had to carry grief...it is not for the faint of heart...

Tara seems to pour herself into her dance, into her passions...and as books are to me, there is a beautiful comfort in things that seem to mesh with our being as no other things can...

I look forward to seeing all that Tara becomes...She is a natural beauty with high ideals and a tenacity that will carry her..

Congrats!!!











Read more...

Blog Archive

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

  © Blogger template Shush by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP