Memories Captured Spring 2013

Twice a year, we set a date with our favorite photographer.

I try to coordinate outfits and spend a lot longer than I normally do on hair and make up. We leave behind stained shirts and toddler snack crumbs and capture our family as we are in that moment in time.

I thought about skipping the spring session this year, but my husband insisted.

I’m oh-so-glad he did.

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I love seeing ourselves through someone else’s eyes and capturing these fleeting moments when my son is little and we are young. I love that these pictures capture my son’s defiance and cuteness, because it’s a perfect reflection of who he is at this age; charming and infuriating and adorable all at once. And I realize, with bittersweet certainty, that my sweet little boy is all of a sudden not so little.

Linking up with my absolutely positively very favorite blog link up that only happens twice a year, Memories Captured with Galit Breen of These Little Waves and Alison of Writing Wishing. What beautiful memories have you captured lately?

 

Pictures courtesy of Amy Robinson at Amy Robinson Photography in Richmond, VA.

 

Valentines and Memories

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today, I am linking up with my very favorite link up, Memories Captured, which encourages us each month to capture the moments that catch our hearts and hold our memories. This will be the last Memories Captured link up until June, so instead of sharing just one memory with you, I want to share a few of my recent favorites.

Most of my heart belongs to this sweet little boy who I am honored to make memories with daily. I absolutely adore this most recent picture of him that I just captured Tuesday. At three-and-a-half years old, this little guy is mischievous and sweet all at the same time, and I think this exactly captures his current complexities.

(And the love between a boy and his ice cream.)

A boy and his ice cream

Then there’s this one from January, when just enough snow came to Richmond to build a small snowman and bring this grin to my sweet boy:

playing in the snow

I adore this picture of my son and I riding a children’s train during a weekend afternoon winter visit to an outdoor mall.

Mommy and Noah

And this very rare occasion of a date night at the beginning of January, when my husband and I went to dinner and a movie for the first date we had been on in 6 months.

date night

So this Valentine’s Day, I am cherishing these recent memories and so many memories from the past, and thinking about all of the amazing people that may not be in these pictures, but are always in my heart.

I did something a little crazy for Valentine’s Day this year…I entered a boudoir photography contest and have been selected as a finalist. If you would like to vote for me I can promise I will reward you with a probably hilarious story of how embarrassing it was to take intimate pictures. Voting ends February 14th at 5 pm PST. Thank you!

Update: February 15th: Thank you so much to all of you who voted for me! I did not win, but another one of the deserving finalists did. Thank you again for helping me try to make that silly little idea a reality! Maybe one day…. :)

Christmas Moments

Time is rushing by, as it tends to do.

There are still presents to be gotten and wrapped, cookies to bake and stockings to fill.

I feel so very far behind this year, though I am normally such an organized person.

But this year, instead of letting the stress of my a-bit-behind schedule throw me, I’m taking in moments.

Moments of meals eaten in a Christmas filled dining room.

Moments of salt dough ornament making.

And couch cuddles by the tree.

Moments of neighbor gifts delivered by a sweet toddler.

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Moments of excitement as the mail comes each day filled with beautiful Christmas cards of those we love.

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Moments of stockings hung by the stairs and Santa pictures with little ones.

I know we will all be stepping away from our computers soon to enjoy our last minute shopping and never-long enough family time.

But I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

From our family to yours,

 

(This is a video of my son’s Christmas performance at school. I pixelated it to protect the privacy of the children. But how can you resist those sweet little voices? Enjoy!)

Merry Christmas video

 

Choosing Memories

We had spent the day getting ready.

Which means I spent hours on make-up and hair in between fixing toddler snacks and playing trains and putting on toddler shows.

We fought about putting on shoes and “please don’t spill milk on your shirt” and “please stop messing up your hair Mommy just brushed it.”

We struggled all day, just the toddler and I.

The husband changed out of scrubs into street clothes and met us at the park straight from work.

We were rushed.

We were tired.

We were all drained.

The toddler had a case of the “I don’t want tos” and screamed and fought and kicked and would not smile.

We begged and pleaded in between rushed and whispered how were your days and looks of desperation.

We bribed with ice cream and even resorted to a scolding.

It was a disaster.

But then our amazing photographer managed to capture these:

My beautiful boy

My sweet family

Fall leaves

The way we were when we were still in our twenties and he was still three

An afternoon in the park (I think this is my favorite)

A silly face

Some of the historic beauty of Richmond(We are right in front of the famous St. John’s Church in Richmond, VA where Patrick Henry gave his “give me liberty of give me death” speech. The sign behind us is noting the historical site.)

A family of three

And so I hope that many years into the future when I see these pictures I will not remember the tired Mommy or the fighting toddler or the rushing over from work husband.

I will choose to remember the beauty of our little family, at that moment in time.

When he was still little, and we were still in this busied, crazy, beautiful stage of life.

*The amazing photographer that manages to make our little family look beautiful is Amy Robinson of Amy Robinson Photography. If you are in the Richmond area, check out her website or Facebook page to book a session!*

 

October 5th

I remember the day vividly. Of course I do.

Over time, its events have transpired into a movie in my mind, playing on a continuous reel that occasionally makes its way to the forefront. In it, I am watching myself as though I wasn’t a part of it, as though it wasn’t me living those moments.

I see myself as I get the news, as I cry, as I process.

I remember all the details; even the blurry ones.

So on the morning of October 5th this year, I was transported back to that day ten years prior, the day my Dad passed away.

There was my mind made movie, playing all morning as I recalled those things that I already know so well; the events of the day that changed everything.

This October 5th, I woke up in sobs and let the tears stain my pillow as the toddler slept peacefully beside me.

The anniversary of this loss is hard every year, but ten years seems so significant. Ten years. A decade. A milestone.

I miss him everyday. I grieve all of the momentous things he has missed in my life. College graduation. My wedding. Meeting my son.

But there is so much I have missed seeing of him. The way he would have loved seeing the Phillies win the World Series in 2008. The way he would have loved the historical election where Obama became President. All of the Christmas presents I missed getting to see him open and Father’s Days we never got to celebrate. Getting to see him be a granddad.

He is forever a part of me. I see it every time I look in the mirror as his eyes stare back at me. I hear him every time the Beatles song “Imagine” is played, even all of the bad cover bands. I feel him every time I say my son’s full name, because we gave our son my Dad’s name, Richard, as a middle name. I smile every time I pass a chess set, or watch my son play soccer, or stare into my son’s eyes, because, luckily, he has those same big eyes, too.

Yes, I remember that day. But I remember so much more of him as my father and I missed so much more of him in these ten years since he has been gone.

So on October 5th, rather than transporting myself back to that day, I let my mind movie play and I let my tears fall. Then I got my little boy dressed and we had a play date at the Botanical Gardens, surrounding ourselves with butterflies and flowers.

And then I think my family gave each other the greatest gift; we gave each other a weekend of each other.

Leaving the husband and toddler at home, my mom, sister, brother and I went away for a weekend to Charlottesville, VA. We immersed ourselves in laughter and conversation, scenery and adventure, and no shortage of extravagant food.

Nothing will change the significance of the loss, the way his presence is missed daily, the way my heart grieves eternally for the man that I was lucky enough to have as my father.

But this year, on this tenth year of the day we lost my father, we celebrated my Dad with love and laughter, just the four of us.

I know for certain that there were still five of us there.

“Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

Spending time with my family, remembering and celebrating my Dad who helped create it.

My Dad

Five Years of Marriage

Five years ago, I woke up in a hotel room next to my sister and my two best friends. My other best girl friends were sharing the room next to us.

I spent my morning giggling with my girl friends. I took a leisurely shower and then had my hair and make up done in our room. I remember the make up artist saying, “You are so calm! You could do this everyday!”

I felt calm. I felt good. I was excited and happy and surrounded by the people I loved. I was ready.

After a calm day of getting beautiful, we headed to the event location.

I put on a white dress.

I sipped some champagne.

We took some pictures.

And then I got married.

As my mother in law would later describe it, my wedding was 98 % perfect.

And it was.

We had an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception. We danced the night away and I was in the midst of so many people who had shaped my life.

In five years we have lived in three places, celebrated a graduation and worked multiple jobs, become parents (to cats and a baby), and endured many ups and downs.

Five years changes a lot of things.

But nothing will ever change the fondness on which I look back on my wedding day and reflect on the beauty and excitement that the promise of that beginning held.

So, today, my husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage with a massage, dinner, and a night in a fancy Richmond hotel.

Cheers to celebrations, beginnings, and the accomplishment of five years of life intertwined with the life of another.