This past week was starting like every other week in our life....Church. While getting ready for church, the phone ran as I was brushing my teeth I had a mouthful of toothpaste and my daughter says "It's Grandma, and you can't call her back!" So I grabbed the phone, rolling my eyes thinking, Oh great, what have my parents gotten themselves into this time? You see, they have a tendency to go on what I like to call "adventures", that usually wind up being some hilarious story that I would not even be able to make up if I tried! The last one involved an Arkansas mountain, them in their mustang...looking for a waterfall, on the previously mentioned mountain....on a trail, that we would think twice about taking our off-road Jeep down....so imagine what I was thinking when my daughter said "you can't call her back"
"The baby is coming" was the last thing I ever thought I would hear from my mom that morning...My niece was 27 weeks pregnant on that Sunday morning. WHAT? The baby, it's not time for the baby, it's too soon, surely not. Well, the baby was coming! We were out of the house within 10 minutes and on our way to the hospital that is about an hour away. We made that drive in record time! My parents were at the lake house and even farther away than I was, so off we went.
Addlee Grace was so excited to take on this big bad world that she made her appearance a little after 11:00 am, weighing in at 2 pounds 3 ounces and 14.25 inches long. I'm a great auntie...are you kidding me, a great aunt. I'm not old enough to be a great aunt! When we left the house, my camera was the very last thing on my mind , BUT something told to grab it as we rushed out of the house. I am so glad that I did, because my niece wanted me to take pictures of her new daughter before she was flown to the NICU another 2 hours away. Next to my own kids being born that was one of the most fantastic moments of my life...I was honored to do it. Capturing this little one and her momma meeting, and saying goodbye all in the same visit, was unimaginable...but I had been there, and I understood. At that moment I knew exactly what she was going through. I had lived it, and the fact that I could capture that moment for her....WOW!
I won't go into much detail of our ordeal here, and we didn't spend near as much time in the NICU as Addlee will, but we have no pictures to speak of from our daughters first few days of life, no happy pictures of the delivery room, no pictures of my husband cutting the cord...Honestly, the way that night went, I don't know if my husband even cut her cord... no pictures of me holding her for the first time, no pictures of her first bath...nothing. We have a few of her in the nursery after she born the next day, when they were trying to get her breathing under control, but that's it, and none of me holding her in the hospital she was born in. She was about 4 days old before we got that picture. I'm the photographer of the family, I'm behind the camera, that's how I like it. But my body had been through more trauma than an average birth and I was in no condition to take them myself, that is why I truly cherish those few pictures we do have.
So, when I was able to take just the few pictures of my niece and her baby, while she was saying hello and goodbye almost in the same breath, I was beyond honored. As helpless as I felt, I could do something for this sweet niece of mine who I have watched grow up, seen her have ups and downs in life, and witnessed her at her worst. But in that moment, I have never been more proud of her. She is strong, determined and courageous all rolled up into one. This was her moment, her defining moment as a mom, and she nailed it and is continuing to do so!! Everyday that goes by as she gets news about her newborn, she takes it in stride, with more grace than anyone could imagine!
This past week has been a roller coaster, I have prayed, cried, prayed some more, and cried again, only to not even know what I should pray for. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, and lean on God a whole lot sometimes. As the rest of my family would agree, have we ever done some leaning this week.
I am hoping to go see and spend some time with my niece this week. I most likely won't see the baby, and that's okay, after all had she been born on time, I wouldn't even be meeting her until sometime in November. If I am asked to take some photos of her, I will happily do so. I wish that I would of had someone capturing some of my moments while in the NICU. My great niece has a wonderful team of doctors and nurses around the clock, but my niece does not, other than the nurses in a NICU take really good care of their mommas. Her mom is there now, and her boyfriend is traveling back and forth when he can get away from his job. But the things that I remember from our NICU stay were very little and selfless acts, it was the shoulders that I cried on, and our pastor who came home early from Texas to come see us, the friends and family who prayed and took care of our son at home. I'm hoping to be her shoulder that she may not realize she even needs.
To say this past week has been a whirlwind would be an understatement, but that great niece of mine is a fighter!! She will do great things in her life.
"And though she be but little, she is fierce" -ShakespeareI saw a quote today that said "It's okay to be scared, being scared means you're about to do something really, really brave." I don't know who said it, but it was so fitting for this past week. I know you are scared but be brave little one for you have a world to conquer!
My Christmas break was nothing really to bark about, it basically went like this....one sick kid, Christmas Eve Party, another sick kid, Christmas Day, still sick kid, American Girl day picking out our first AG doll, sick mommy....yep that was pretty much it. The only one that didn't get sick in my house was the husband. I was totally out of commission for at least 4 days, but on day 4 I had something that I had to tend to....A PHOTO SHOOT!! One of my favorite things!! As sick as I had been there was no way I could, or would reschedule, due to a family that is spread out across the United States, and would be all together on one day. On a very frigid day in December, the wind stopped blowing (well a little anyway, and it was blocked by a building) and we were able to take advantage of the sun. Two baby boys, and six little guys makes for an amazing photo shoot.
Let me tell you these little guys were a hoot!!! I could have spent the entire afternoon with these boys, and their families. Here are a few of my favorites from the day.
Yes the sunglasses are real!!!
I hope the Fox Family enjoys their images as much I enjoyed them!!!
Today was an extra special day for me, not only was it the day of our little town's annual Fall Festival/Homecoming weekend, which my kids love, but it was also the day that I had the honor to take my niece, Kallen's senior pictures. A senior, really a senior. What happened to the sweet little red head that would melt our hearts with every smile that she graced us with. She has turned into quite the young lady...and I couldn't be more proud of all her accomplishments. It's hard to believe that in less than five short months this young lady will be eighteen.
If I could give you any advice for the future it would be to have the courage to grow up and become who you really are, and to always, always, always fight for what you know is right. You are an amazing young woman with a heart of gold, please never change that about yourself. One of the greatest pleasures I have had in my life is watching you grow up and become the person you are, and I can't wait to see what life brings you in the future. You truly are an amazing person Kallen and in the words of Johnny Cade from "The Outsiders", "Stay Gold" I love you more than you will ever know!!!
So, I have decided to wander into new territory...at least new for me. The world of newborn photography!!! To be honest, I didn't know if this was something that I wanted to do or not, because I was so nervous about handling someone's precious little miracle. I have had a couple opportunities over the past few week to photograph newborn, both being 5-7 days old. The only thing I can say about this experience is WOW!!! I absolutely love capturing these little creatures on camera. Am I fantastic at this?....No, not yet. Am I excited about what I am learning?....ABSOLUTELY!!! But I am learning, and it is something that I am so excited about learning about.
All that being said, My friend asks me a while back if I was doing newborns yet, because she has a cousin that had just had a baby the day before our conversation. I reluctantly told her that I was starting to do them, but I was by no means an expert at this and if they wanted the newborn smooshy look it might be best if they call someone more experienced in this than me. They wanted me to do them and I was up for the challenge. Four days later I was on my way to meet this little beauty.....
Oh my, she stole my heart!! She was the sweetest thing, and she sure was the little angel that all newborns should be. She restored my faith in taking photos of these tiny little angels. Of course the last few babies I have done, have all been perfect. Some awake, others not awake, but either way they all have been so much fun to meet. I have enjoyed all the friends I have made along the way by meeting their parents, and I look forward to meeting even more.
Blogging....everyone seems to be doing it, why can't I? I have gone back an forth on this subject several times over the past six months, and I couldn't ever decide if it was something that I wanted to do. I am a much better photographer than I am a writer, but I am also sometimes quite witty in the things that I say. So I figured what the heck, I'm going to give this whole blogging thing a go. My goal for blogging is to blog every session that I do, and tell something special about every single one of my clients. Because in all honesty every single one of my clients is special, and I truly do enjoy each and every one of you. Once I get this thing going, it should be a one stop shop....you will be able to view your proof in an online gallery, decide what you want to order, then order it straight from the gallery. It is a win-win for everyone.
I really am going to try to make this a fun place, that people want to come back and see what kind of trouble my latest antics have gotten me into today.
I was going to add a photo of myself, but I just realized I don't really have any decent ones, I always say I look better behind the camera....I'm going to work on that.
As I was going through a shelf in my office/extra bedroom tonight I found something quite interesting. A box of glitter....not just a couple bottles of glitter, a whole shoebox full. I have absolutely no idea where I got a box of glitter, and why I have a box of glitter. So I did what any normal sane person would do, I decided to break out my camera and have a little fun. Miss Karlee thought it was a grand idea, and was as always a willing subject. It took a few tries and me teaching her how to blow the glitter out of her hand without making a blow fish face, but I think we nailed it!!! We both had fun with this one, and I can't wait to try it out with some of favorite kiddos.