Monday, December 30, 2013

A Final Farewell

For anyone who has ever loved a pet, you know it's a love unlike any other relationship you have. It's unconditional, it's uncomplicated and it's totally pure.  My sweet girl, Indy, has had my heart from the moment I first laid eyes on her. She was teeny and dirty and it was pretty clear someone had dumped her or kicked her out.  I found her outside of a bar/restaurant called Pockets.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I headed there after the fireworks on the 4th of July in 1998.  We were on his Enduro motorcycle and as soon as he cut the engine to park, I heard this awful crying.  My ears perked up and I headed in the direction of what sounded like a kitty in trouble.  No one was going to distract me, not even my boyfriend who was doing his best to get my attention. You see, my birthday was on June 5th and when I blew out my candles that year, I made a wish that I would have (or perhaps find) a kitty within 30 days. One day shy of that, my sweet orange tabby entered my life. We named her Indy, short for Independence since we found her on the 4th of July.  It was a bit of time before she fully became mine (and I became hers) as I had to take her to the humane society the next day and then convince Kevin we should adopt her.  However, I knew we were meant for each other from the very beginning.

This sweet girl was the best kitty I could have ever hoped for. She would wrap the pads of her paws around one of my fingers to hold hands, lift her paws to be picked up, kiss down my nose in the morning and pull my face towards her if I wasn't getting up quickly enough or sleeping in too long. She talked to me all the time and I think, on occasion, I forgot she wasn't really speaking English, even though I'm sure she completely understood me and I completely understood her.  She head butted me whenever I fed her with me leaning down by the counter top and her coming up to meet me.

Over the past couple of weeks, as much as I didn't want to see it, she began a pretty steep decline in her health.  She'd had kidney disease for awhile and arthritis as well. She all but stopped eating and dropped so much weight.  I knew in my heart the end was near.  However, I didn't realize it was going to be as soon as it was.  I could have kept her going longer on fluids and meds but that wasn't going to  change the other 2 conditions she had working against her and prolonging her life would have been for me, not her. I was hoping we had another week but it wasn't to be.  She was no longer herself and was clearly uncomfortable, wanting to eat but not able to, wanting to sleep but not able to do that either.  I had to admit, it was time.

Fifteen and a half years later, from that very first day, here we are.  It's truly one of my saddest days ever with one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.  But, it was one made out of intended to stop her from any more pain or discomfort.  A friend of mine, Tonya Whitlock, gave me a wonderful gift by honoring my request for her to come over and take some photos of me and my furry baby, as well as with the kids on her last day with us.  I will cherish these forever and Indy will forever be in my heart.

Until we meet again my sweet, sweet girl....

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Traditions

We all love Christmas in our house.  My husband goes all out with the decorating and we've created a few great traditions that we do each year.  One of them is to watch The Polar Express on Christmas Eve (we don't watch it any other time of year), eat popcorn and drink hot chocolate.  It's such a perfect night for that movie and I love it more each year!

The other tradition we do is make sugar cookies from scratch and decorate them. It's honestly gotten much easier as the years go by and the kids have gotten older.  :)  And, I finally remember to buy the bands to put around the rolling pin to keep the dough an even thickness as it gets rolled out.  Yay!  The cookies came out the best they ever have this year.

 Getting started...

I love how the dough looks as we create more cookies!

Lots and lots of options for our cookies.

Daddy came home in time to get in on the action.

Probably the best cookies we've ever made.

Our full set up.  Each year, our supplies increase and we have more options for decorating!

The first spoonful of frosting.

Trees are my favorite shape to many options for ornaments and snow!

Ta da! They look good and were quite yummy too!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

All week long, the weather forecast didn't look too promising for Halloween.  I heard many comments of 100% chance from other moms throughout the week.  It did, indeed, start last night. Every time I looked out the window, there was rain.  I even took an umbrella to the grocery store with me (to buy our candy at very last minutes) and I really dislike umbrellas.    When it was time for the kids to arrive home on the bus, I met them with umbrellas as well.  I asked if they were reconsidering trick or treating because of the rain and they barely missed a beat in saying, "Of course not!". Plans had been set to meet their friends in the cul de sac at 4:35-4:40pm and that was that. After a few pictures to make me happy, it was time.

When we headed out, it was still raining and they each took umbrellas. I was balancing an umbrella over my head and essentially shooting one-handed.  :)  Amazingly enough, it slowly turned into a slight drizzle and eventually stopped altogether. We even had a few moments of sun!  I was thrilled as I wanted to capture this Halloween on my camera - as I try to do every year. This one was a big change though.  While they didn't mind if we tagged along, they clearly didn't need us there.  My husband and I hung out for awhile, ended up taking their umbrellas for them and headed home before they were done.  I did manage to get a handful of shots though.

Getting started...

Ready to go!

Mr. Potter

Can't waste a minute!

Happily on to the next house!

Check out our sun!

Across the street while we hang back and watch.

Running, running, running

Midpoint photos at a friend's house

My awesome Mom, who offers to come over and hand out candy every year!

Ms. Granger

The black caped gang.

Time to sort the loot!

Surveying what she got and what she plans to trade.

The crown jewel - Nerds - in the middle.  This shot shows a mere fraction of what they brought home.

Until next year....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A First! Vintage Couch Session.

This session was so fun for me, not only because the family was fabulous but also because we did something I've never done before.  When the mom contacted me to take photos of her family, she said she'd seen cool images in other places of families sitting on vintage couches. As luck would have it, I own a vintage couch and so the decision was made to use it during our session!

There is a spot I've been eyeing for over a year that I thought would be a great place to do a family photo session. It was an even better spot, as it turned out, for a vintage couch shoot as it allowed me to get the truck very close to our location and not have to carry the couch too far.

The day was gorgeous and the fall colors had finally arrived. We had lots of fun and captured many wonderful images. Here is a Sneak Peek!

I'm not sure they could look any more fabulous if they tried!

He was so full of giggles.  I LOVE it when that happens!

Such a sweet moment!

Thanks for asking me to capture these moments for you and for giving me the opportunity to try out something new.  Enjoy the rest of this gorgeous season!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A sweet, new addition

I love getting to photograph a family more than once and seeing how the kids grow and change. This was our second session together, with one major change. There are now THREE little girls in the family, instead of just two.  The newest addition made her appearance just a couple of short months ago.  What a sweet, little nugget with two older sisters who clearly adore her.  Mom and Dad could not look happier.
She's so very observant, just hanging out taking it all in.

Pure adoration!

So happy!

So, this is one of my favorite shots of the whole session. We all cracked up, including Mom. What a face!

Few things make me happier than a red barn in the background.  What a beautiful family!

One final "bonus" sneak that wasn't on Facebook. Who could resist a shot of just the girls with their really cool boots?  I might have to go out and buy my own pair. :)

Thank you for asking me to capture these images. I loved every second of it!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Today I photographed a wedding...

....but a very non-traditional one, as you can see. My daughter and her friend spent a couple of hours today setting up this very special wedding between the kitty and puppy. Or rather, I should say, the cat and the dog if they are old enough to get married! Lots of thought went into the preparations, including a ring bearer, a flower girl, an officiant and matching rings.

The ceremony is underway as the puppy ring bearer delivers the rings.

A bird's eye view of the wedding.

The flower girl horse, making her way down the aisle, as she tosses Rainbow Loom rubber bands, representing beautiful flowers.

They did it! (note the matching wedding bands).
Wishing the furry couple years and years of happiness!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Take pictures. Lots of them.

I love taking pictures.  I should, since that's what I've chosen to do for a living and I'm truly passionate about it.  But, when I say take pictures, I don't necessarily mean professional ones (though doing that from time to time is definitely good too!  But that's a different post for another time).  I mean take pictures of the every day.  Capture life as it's happening. It doesn't matter if you have a point and shoot or a big fancy camera or if you just use your iphone.  Whatever it is, capture those moments - those things that make up your life, big or small. Gather the moments, digitally or on film, that make up your life.  Someday, your loved ones will look back at those images to get a picture of your life and relive all of those moments with a smile. Even if your house is messy - take the pictures!

While I normally try to post my best shots these days (because of what I do), I have a ton of normal, every day photos in my iphoto library and in print in my closet.  As I was going through some of these to post for this blog entry, they made me smile. I'm not looking at them for composition or lighting or color or anything like that. It's just the moments I want to see. And in some cases, I want to see the people who are no longer here with us on Earth.

Today, I attended a beautiful memorial service for a woman who touched many, many lives. I didn't know her very well but for the times I was in her presence, her spirit was strong and positive and very welcoming. I truly wished I had known her better.  During the service, there were 3 different slide shows set to moving and emotional songs. As I watched it, I kept thinking, "Wow. She really lived. What a beautiful life." The photo montages were filled with silly moments, travel, family gatherings, touching moments - life as it  happened. And I loved every second.  It was a good reminder to just snap away during the every day because everything is fleeting. It was also a good reminder to really live - share your life, hug, snuggle, tell the people you love just how you feel.  You won't regret having the photos but you may very well regret having never taken the picture.

Whether you print them out and organize them into beautiful books or just keep them on your computer (but please oh please oh please make sure they are backed up!) take the pictures!  So, sometime in the next couple of days, grab a camera and capture some moments that show who you are, who your family is, what life looks like right now.  AND - make sure you hand the camera to other people so you can be in a few shots, as well, with proof that YOU really did exist in your family.  (a challenge for all moms - professional photographer or not).

So go.  Take a few pictures. Today. And next week. And so on. You'll be happy you did!