Archive for Dec 2010

Out with the old….?

December 31, 2010

Not too long ago, I asked what those of you who visit here often would like to see on the blog in addition to recent sessions.  Your responses varied a bit, but when it comes down to it there were basically two specific themes: photo tips and more personal stuff about the goings on in my little world. Well, I have been writing and re-writing this blog post in my head all day. It’s New Years Eve. The last day of 2010. And as everyone is looking toward what’s to come in 2011, there are undoubtedly millions of resolutions being made. Of course, this means the pressure was on for me to decide on my own resolution.

Naturally, I couldn’t choose just one. Lucky for me I am a big list maker. And while I love the thought of a fresh slate as the new year begins, I think it is important for all of us to remember that just because we are beginning a new year, it does not mean that the things that we did or the experiences we had will not have some impact on the choices we make in 2011. So yeah, bring in the new year, but I will certainly be building, learning and growing from the old one. And while we’re at it, let’s make a list of what we have to look forward to.

I love lists.

In 2011, I will:

  • forgive myself if I happen to fall short of a goal
  • learn to be more organized in both my family life and my business life
  • work hard to shorten turn-around times
  • do my best to blog twice a day (one business-related, one personal)
  • will blog those requested photo tips bi-weekly. That being said, I am certainly no expert, but you asked for it so you are gonna get it.
  • finally get around to working on my WWII project* more to come on that
  • dream big and work hard

This list seems a bit short after it is all typed out, and I am sure I could sit here and add sub-notes to each topic. But for now, these are a few of the things I am challenging myself to work toward in 2011. Baby steps.

These thoughts seem pretty simple, and they may be, but there was certainly a lot of back and forth as to what direction this year should take me in.  For those of you who know me personally, you already know a bit of the story.  And for those who don’t, I will explain. *Here’s that personal stuff you were looking for;) Remember how, I said that our experiences in 2010 would have an impact on our choices in 2011?
The end of this past October, the funding for my husband’s position at work ran out. I was so angry. But not with my husband. With our government. With the military.  My husband is in the Maine Army National Guard and it was his active duty position that ended. Not a civilian position. One for a soldier.  I could not understand how this man, this soldier, who is so dedicated to serving his country and supporting his family could have this happen to him.  He had just begun his 19th year of service and just re-enlisted for an additional three years. He began his military career at the age of 17 in the United States Marine Corps, and after six years of service transferred to the National Guard. He has not once failed a Physical Fitness Test and scores Expert during shooting tests on the range. While serving a year long deployment in Iraq, he earned a Bronze Star for performing the duties of an E6 while only an E5. During this deployment, he missed almost the entire first year of our son’s life and lost his roommate to an IED. He was promoted to E6 upon return and has now made his way to an E7 and continues to serve during drill weekends and never complains to his family when the going gets tough. How could our government allow military funding to “just run out”? It was maddening. It is maddening.
The stability we had was just pulled right out from underneath us. And to add to the stress, Christmas was right around the corner. What was next? What were we supposed to do now? We are not the type to ask for a handout and were humbled by the generosity of strangers and the Maine Army National Guard’s Family Program that helped more than they will ever know to make this Christmas just plain amazing for our family. This- this is what Christmas is really about. And one day, I will do everything in my power to give just as much, if not more, back. But my story doesn’t end here.
See, while my husband has applied for at least a dozen jobs and interviewed for a few positions, he just hasn’t had the right kind of luck yet. But like a true soldier, he is not giving up. He hates having to rely on uneployment, and unemployment still doesn’t even come close to paying our bills. I knew that he had been raised with the notion that the man in the family is the bread winner, so I can only imagine that he feels like he failed us. He has not failed us. He is still here. Still searching. And he just folded three loads of laundry. No small feat in a household of six. How many husbands do that?
My first reaction was that I would just go out and get a job. But then what if he found something too? I didn’t want to commit to a company and then leave just because my husband made more money at his job.  I didn’t want to do that to an employer and neither of us like the idea of putting our kids in daycare. Just yesterday, I printed out an application. Neatly printed my name. And then thought, what the hell am I doing? Have I learned anything in the past year? I have a business. I have a job.
With that business and that job is a dream. A big dream. So for whatever reason my husband is unemployed, this is not the time to turn my back on my dreams.  If anything, this is the time to really build my business into what I dream it to be. And while I may not reach every goal I set in 2011, I will aim high with my head and my heart full of pride. I cannot fail. There are some very important little people relying on me to make this work.
This seems like a perfect place to end this post, but there is one last thing I just have to share. It might seem silly, but the coincidence is just too crazy not to mention.  I have this Daily Horoscope app loaded on my phone and I read it from time to time for a little fun.  I did not read today’s little tidbit until after I told my husband of my resolution to take that leap and dream big. But just before I sat down to put all these thoughts out there for the world to see, I did read it. And I know I made the right decision:
Leo.

Friday Dec 31 2010

Simple. old-fashioned hard work and determination will be your key to success in 2011. Leo. There will be no magic formulas, no secret weapons, no mystical powers required ro achieve what you are hoping for in the New year. As long as you pursue your goals with passion and true commitment the force will be with you. Don’t hesitate to be bold and to explore ideas that you were afraid to take on in the past. This will be a year of innovation, foward-thinking, and exciting changes.

Here’s to determination, being bold and exploring ideas. Here’s to forward-thinking and exciting changes. Here’s to 2010 being what it was. And here’s to 2011 being anything and everything I want it to be.
Happy New Year.

 

The Middle.

I think I may have short changed Christy on her part one just slightly.  While she loved her images and all, she made sure to casually mention that she really loves the stories that go along with my blog posts.  So, no worries Christy, as we get into the meat and potatoes of your day I’ll try and be a bit more wordy:)

A girl dreams of her perfect day and the moment her dad takes that first step with her toward her new path in life. And well, seriously…can her dad be any cuter?

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

During the video interviews their friends conducted before the ceremony, there was definitely a lot of emotion as Christy and Duke both poured their hearts out to one another.  A bit of laughter with a lot of love and a side of happy tears.  There was no doubt those tears would be flowing once again as Christy made her big entrance…

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

…and yep, the mix of laughter and tears continued throughout their vows.  Even Duke’s big, tough brothers sobbed silently in the back of the room as each of their parents stood adoringly to the sides of the bride and groom.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

Christy and Duke planned their wedding to not only be non-traditional, but to include all of their guests in as many aspects of their day as possible.  And the lighting of the unity candle was no exception.  Christine, wife of officiant/best friend Jason, has the most incredibly amazing vocal talent you have ever heard. And during a rendition of Unchained Melody that would make Simon Cowell weep, the guests one by one lit their own single candles that would in the end contribute to the united flame.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

The intimate casualness of this wedding fit Christy and Duke’s personalities perfectly.  While there were some great silly moments during the repetition of the vows, my favorite had to be during the blanket ceremony. “This is the blanket ceremony. It is a Polish tradition, because Lepkowski is a Polish name. Obviously.” -Jason, officiant. (Christy’s maiden name is Lepkowski).

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

After all that emotion, it was time to seal the deal. With a kiss that could make your mother blush.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

Just after the ceremony, guests headed to cocktail hour in the lounge while the bride and groom took a moment to catch their breaths and sign the marriage license.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

Christy and Duke had really wanted a few photos outside. But the sun had set, there was snow on the ground and it was 20 degrees. Meh, no problem…it was getting warm in there anyway. We grabbed just a few shots outside and then headed back in for a few more.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

P.S. What do the under 21 guests do during cocktail hour? Play video games, of course.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

Now, I don’t usually share too many family group shots on the blog since they don’t tend to be as creative as some other shots. But there was no way I could not share a few from this set.  This family just really knew how to live in the moment, be silly and truly enjoy being together.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

Now when I first met Christy and Duke, I had asked them what was going to make their wedding extra special to them.  The answer: It is going to be a weekend long party. Awesome. More to come on that in Part 3.

It is obvious that Christy and Duke truly live in the moment. And when you are a little girl dreaming of your prince charming, it is important that you find a man who really makes you kick up your heels…

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

…can make you feel like your whole world is spinning…

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

…and really sweeps you off your feet.

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 2)

What is more fun than seeing some of the cutest kids on the planet decked out in their holiday clothes and crazy with anticipation for the big guy to deliver the goods? Well, photographing them in all their excitement and holiday craze of course. That and giggling a bit as the adults are worried that the kids just “won’t cooperate for nice pictures.”  After all, with a 4-year-old and 3 two-year-olds, there is no way I would ever be able to pull it off (love me a challenge). And bBoy, do I love watching the doubt on the grown-up faces and then delivering a blog like this. I mean really, I have some cute kids (we all do right), but these four definitely rank pretty high up on the scale with the most unique and amazing personalities to boot. Ready to meet them?

Roman.

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

Gabriel.

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

Yeah, they are some handsome brothers.

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

And then there’s Christopher…his second session in front of my lens:)

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

…and finally Sutton.

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

Adorable, right?

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

Well, it gets even better.  This little session was setup right in the midst of their family Christmas party. And just as we were admiring the shimmering lights of the tree….

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

…the big guy himself popped in for a short visit!

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

There was little hesitation from the boys before they hopped up on Santa’s knee…

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

…but Miss Sutton was just not having it.  She despised the thought so much that she wouldn’t even sit in that same rocking chair after he left! A little time with her favorite froggy and a hug from Gabe and her spirits were lifted again in no time.

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

Oh, and before I forget….look what Santa brought with him. Mmmmmm….gingerbread men:)

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

As we wrap up this blog post, I want to wish everyone the happiest of holidays.  May you be filled with holiday spirit…

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

…and remember that no matter what or who you believe in, the important thing is that you have something to believe in.

 Roman + Gabriel + Christopher + Sutton ....and Santa too!

Since this is the holiday season and all, I think I’ll make this one last. Yeah, this wedding was designed to be a weekend long party. And it was exactly that. So, we’re just gonna make this one last a little longer and bring it to you in three parts. Beginning. Middle. And end.

Let’s get started, shall we? And for just this once (mostly because Santa is hogging all the elves this year and I have a billion gifts left to wrap), I’ll let the photos tell the story.

Beginning…

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

  Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

  Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

 

 Christy + Duke: happily ever after (part 1)

Jamie: creating life

December 21, 2010

It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing to witness a mother throughout her pregnancy. For those women who have never experienced the feeling of another human being growing within their expanding belly, and for men who must stand in awe at a woman’s ability to create an entire human being….there is nothing like this experience.  Of course, we all see and hear the birth stories, but over the months leading up to the birth there are definitely a million more stories. Stories of funky food cravings, mood swings, exhaustion, sleepless nights when you cannot find that perfect sleeping position…oh, and the day you realize you can’t just “suck in your belly” The day you pull your truck into a tight parking space, opening the door careful not to mar the paint of a neighboring vehicle. You are certain you can manage and slide out gingerly between the truck door and the interior of your vehicle. And….yeah, that’s as far as you get.  There is no getting out. Or back in. You pray to God that no one is watching. Fight back the tears of embarassment. And the laughter of the ridiculousness of the situation…for then someone would really think you are crazy. Yes, this does happen…and did. For those of us who have been there and are moms, we pride ourselves on being experts and dishing out advice learned from our own experiences.

So ladies, if one day you find yourself expecting and my BFF tells you her best advice: Find a bigger parking spot. Take it.

I have also hoped someday Jamie would have children of her own, and now I am just so anxious to meet the little guy. Jamie, of course can’t wait to meet him either and really would love her other body back.  In the meantime, I could only dream that my belly ever looked as beautiful as this.

 Jamie: creating life

This session was a shower gift from me, and I could not have been more excited to finally shoot it.  This post is coming just one day after Jamie’s due date, so we are now just overwhelmed with anticipation for the little guy’s big debut.

Sessions with Jamie are always a blast. Mostly because we are comfortable with each other and she’ll do pretty much whatever I ask her to. Daddy happened to be around for this one, and we made him join in the fun a little too.

 Jamie: creating life

This next image was created during an assignment for class, but I just loved the texture and feel of it so much that I had to include it in the blog:)

 Jamie: creating life

And, I will leave you all with one last beauty.  Yes, I know the hands in the shape of a heart around the belly button is a bit overdone by now. But yeah, it is still full of love and in high contrast black and white, it ended up being a favorite from this session.

 Jamie: creating life

Jamie and Rod, I am so blessed to call you my friends. Rod, thank you for coming into Jamie’s life (for the second time) and Jamie, I know you are going to be an amazing mommy. And if there are any times you have your doubts, you have some pretty great mommy friends who’ve got your back!

To Baylee, I know it can sometimes be hard to add a new member to your family, but I am sure you will come to love your little brother more than any big sister on this earth has ever loved their little brother.  He might drive you crazy sometimes, but one day he is going to be a bigger, tougher boy who won’t ever let anyone mess with his sister.

I love you all and wish nothing but the most precious of memories to be made <3

Alright, it’s about time I got some bloggy goodness going again.  Things have been quite stressful in this household, but Christmas is coming followed by the freshness of a new year and hopes for new beginnings are finally begin to lift our spirits.

And speaking of lifting spirits, the dreaded Monday morning has come again. So this Monday’s silliness comes straight from my last wedding of the year.  I couldn’t have asked for a better bride, groom, officiant and guests to bring so much fun, spontaneity and laughter to the ocassion.

Before the ceremony, Duke just had to show off part of his wedding gift from Christy…okay, I may  have had some small part in suggesting this:)

 Monday Sillies: courtesy of The Johnson Wedding

And what could be more fantastic than having your best friend not as your best man, but as your officiant. Not only that, but making this his first wedding to officiate! Well, how ’bout your best friend/officiant helping you to dance the night away and then attempting a dip gone terribly wrong?

No worries, nothing a short visit to the bar couldn’t fix;) 

 Monday Sillies: courtesy of The Johnson Wedding

Stay tuned for more from Christy and Duke’s beautiful Rangeley Inn wedding in the next few days!