2022 Holiday Photo Shoot

We were supposed to get some quick holiday photos last week. The day before our appointment, the kids were still under the weather. I made the call to our photographer and asked if we could either reschedule the session or put the money toward our future appointment for Ella’s birthday pictures. She graciously said that we could move the session to this week if that worked.

I wasn’t sure if this was a possibility because these were what she called “mini sessions.” Basically, it is an abbreviated session of about 15 minutes. For one fee, you get the session and all of the digital photos from the session. It was a really sweet deal and I am glad that she was able to move our appointment.

We’ve been to her studio more than once. When I walked in for our session, I was very impressed with what they did. They literally created an entire room right there. It was the perfect backdrop and the photos were just beautiful.

When we did Andrew’s first birthday pictures in October, Beth’s (our photographer) dog was in the studio. Roxie. Ella remembered her name! When we walked in this week, Ella was on the look out for Roxie. She asked, “Where’s Roxie?!” Beth was so impressed that Ella remembered the dog’s name and told her that she was upstairs sleeping (which seemed to be an acceptable answer).

Our plan was to just get pictures of the kids. Sam and I knew that there was always the possibility of Beth getting us in photos, too. So we both wore sweaters and were prepared to jump in. I’m glad we were ready, as she took family photos right from the get go.

There were so many great photos that were taken. The best of them will go on the Christmas card (if we have time to get them done).

Beth is SO fast! I swear, Ella just doesn’t like to sit still for pictures anymore. She is always on the go. The fact that she was still able to get pictures where it looks like she is sitting still just amazes me! She wasn’t on the couch for long.

You might be able to tell that she isn’t sitting still in the above picture. I was really trying to hold her in one spot for this and a couple other shots in the pose.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this pose, but I really do. I may or may not have needed help getting back up after this pose.

Beth made sure to grab a few solo pictures of each kid. Ella loved the wagon.

Andrew in this little sled is SO cute!!

I think Beth took about 20 pictures of the two of them in the wagon. Most of them probably looked like Ella was choking Andrew, but there were a couple that really came out cute.

The thing that I was very happy about was that Beth got a photo of just Sam and I together. In all the time we have been together, we never really had a “professional” photo taken of us. We had a friend take some engagement photos of us to announce to friends and family that we were getting married. That friend takes photos for fun and she doesn’t own a studio or anything. They came out great and we loved them, but that was almost 5 years ago.

Beth was able to snap a couple of us before the kids were hanging around at our feet. I am sure she had to crop the kids out of the bottom of the photo, but I just love this picture.

Thank you to Beth at Enjoy the View Photography for once again capturing some wonderful photos!

The holidays have always been special to me. I am so very lucky to have such an amazing family to share them with. What do I want for Christmas? Nothing. I already have the greatest gift in the world – my family!

Holiday Grief

The song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but for some, it isn’t. Some are dealing with grief and the loss of a loved one and I tend to think that the holidays make that grief a bit more difficult than it already is.

I have written about death and grief before. In reflecting on events of the past few days and past few months, I was moved to revisit an old blog and write again on the subjects.

Back in August, a classmate passed away from Covid-19. This week, one of my dearest friend’s brother passed away. Both were under 55.

In a previous blog, I wrote: I understand that death is a part of life.  I am reminded of a quote from my psychology class that said, “The hardest part of losing someone isn’t having to say goodbye, but rather learning to live without them – always having to fill the void, the emptiness that’s left inside your heart when they go.”  This is so true.  Leo Buscaglia said, “Death is a challenge.  It tells us not to waste time.”  Also true.  Bruce Lee, who died at the young age of 32, said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” 

That blog was written after another friend of mine passed away unexpectedly at 47. I talk about how precious time is and how death and time often tie together. I mention in that blog that “life” also ties in with time and death. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.” That quote was written on the band room announcement grease board some 33 years ago by our band director, Tom Shaner and it will always remain with me.

Every year, I would look forward to the Shaner’s Christmas card. They often would share photos and a yearly recap. Tom would always scribble a little note off to the side of the card to me and sign it “TRoy.” Tom passed away a couple days before Christmas last year. Today, the Shaner Christmas letter arrived, this time with a hand written note from his wife. She continues to grieve, as do the rest of his family.

At the end of her letter, she included a quote that I have never seen before, but found to be absolutely perfect. I wanted to share it here because I know many others who are grieving this holiday season. The quote reads: “When we lose someone we love, we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.” (Unknown)

That quote is SO VERY TRUE! It can apply to someone who you have lost recently or many years ago. It also ties in with the last quote I used in my previous blog about life, death, and time. The blog reads: The late author Terry Pratchett says this: “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.”  

Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one or friend who has passed away recently, or a long time ago – every time you think of them there are ripples. Every story you tell, there are ripples. Every smile they bring to your face, there are ripples. They live on and their love lives on – and the ripples continue….