I hope your Christmas (or the holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year) is filled with family, good food, and happy memories!
I LOVE taking pictures of my kids... normally. They last for about 3.5467 minutes and then they are over it. While we were in San Diego for Thanksgiving we took pictures of all of the cousins in Christmas jammies for my mom's Christmas card. They turned out really cute despite me breaking into a cold sweat and needing a bottle of Excedrin after corralling 10 kids and 2 dogs for about an hour (felt like 10!). It was a good refresher on why I do NOT take pictures of families. I'm not brave enough! I so admire photographers who do, though!
P.S. One of these kiddos had BRRRRIGHT purple hair for the picture and I changed it! Can you guess who it was???
I have been lucky enough to learn from a LOT of amazing photographers like Heidi Hope, Jean Smith, Spanki Mills, Courtney Dailey, Leah Remillet, and Kelli France. This workshop with Sarah Lane (owner of Studio Twelve) was nothing less than wonderful. It was enlightening and reassuring to know that I am doing what I love. She walked me through some things I struggle with and we ended the day with a shoot with 6 Napa Valley high school seniors from her Class of 2016 Model Team.
I honestly can't even express how much I love Christmas! The snow. The songs. The GLITTER! The sharing and giving. The decorations. All of it! But honestly, what I love most is that it really is the time of year that we can choose to focus on the birth of our Savior. May this Christmas bring you and yours health and happiness. Remember to count all of your blessings... I know that sometimes they are hard to see.
I cannot properly express how thankful I am for these cuties and their amazing daddy. My life would be a waste without them. Thank you for making me whole. I couldn't love you 4 more! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! P.S. Thank you Aspen for the not too shabby backdrop.
Boots: Lillie Avenue
This little girl, our little caboose, has got THE most contagious personality. She is so funny (on purpose!), silly, smart, a dancing-queen, a singing-princess, smart-alecky, compassionate, and such a great sister and our baby girl! I just want to freeze her!! I have to breathe into a brown paper bag every time I think about her leaving me for the big, bad world of kindergarten next year!! (Insert me doing the ugly cry <here>.) This child holds my heart. P.S. Her last day of preschool is taking place as we speak! :(
There are not words to express my love and admiration for this little man. He is courageous, sweet, brave, smart, silly, funny, and an amazing brother and son. Not a day goes by that Bryan and I don't thank our Father in Heaven for allowing this sweet boy to continue living here on earth with us. We would be lost without him. This Friday will mark the last day of his long, LONG, LOOOOONG fight against Leukemia. I remember blogging about this every step of the way when he first got sick. I would use my blog as a form of therapy. I could get stuff off my chest. I remember blogging that he would nearly be 9 when he would be done with his treatment. And now here we are… he's almost done with his treatment… almost done with cancer… almost done with third grade… and almost 9. Carter, you have touched so many lives throughout the last 3 years, two months, and 5 days. It has been a rewarding journey in so many ways but one I pray you will never have to relive.
I'm sure I'm not the first mom out there that has nearly gone gray looking at what should be a toddling, drooling baby and realizing that said baby is now running, talking up a storm, has opinions (more than you care to hear), and is turning 4 years old. My baby just turned 4. And, yes, I know that I'll blink and she will be getting married. So, I've chosen not to blink. :)
A few weeks ago we decided to break in the backyard fireplace and make some gooey S'mores. The kids absolutely loved them! Who doesn't love a throw back to your childhood, am I right? I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures with my "real" camera since I all too often just pull my iPhone out of my pocket and use that. (I blame Instagram!)
I want to make sure that I remember to capture these little moments. The details of these day to day activities WILL eventually go away. My kids will grow up. The cute little dimples are their knuckles will someday get wrinkles. Comforting the bad dreams in the middle of the night will turn to them rolling over and falling back to sleep on their own.
Because of this, my New Year's Resolution was to pull out the big guns and try to take more pictures of my sweet family; no matter the background; no matter the light.
On a fairly warm Sunday afternoon our little family went on a beautiful nature walk at Cherry Creek State Park in Denver. It was just beautiful. We saw all kinda of things like a "beach" (a lake), fish bones, deer tracks, rolie polies, and lots of other things that would entertain kiddos for hours. With our favorite family past time being exploring beautiful Colorado, it was great to see a completely new park we haven't been able to enjoy yet.
This picture of my sweet three year old just makes me giggle. She has such a skip in her step. It's just so her... she has such a big, fun personality.
Carter got baptized on Saturday! In our church we wait until the ripe old age of 8 to get baptized. The reasoning is that by 8 we recognize the difference between right and wrong and are ready to make those choices on our own. I remember when he was diagnosed when he was just past 5 1/2. We were trying to explain to him how long his treatment would be. We told him when he was baptized he would almost be done. Turns out we were off by a year but that's ok. :) The important thing is that the baptism is here which at that time, sitting on the hospital bed with my very sick son, it felt like this day would NEVER come!
I'm back! I know... can you even believe it? It's been a LONG time coming but my new website and blog are up and going without a million bugs and WITH my old blogs. I can't believe how hard it was to get everything back to how I wanted it. (That's a whole other story I won't go into right now...)
Anyways, it's great timing because today is Carter's TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! I canNOT believe that it's been TWO entire years since I got this horrific phone call. It all seems like a dream now. It seems like it happened yesterday and like it happened a lifetime ago at the same time. Our lives have changed so drastically. It's been two entire years since I have gone to sleep NOT worrying about my son's health. It's been two entire years since Bryan and I have NOT talked about childhood cancer. It's been two entire years since we haven't had daily concern about how this is affecting our daughters. It's been two entire years since we took our little, tiny seemingly healthy boy into the hospital thinking about how on earth we were going to explain to him that he had cancer... and wondering how much detail to give him, not sure if he would grow up to tell people about his experience.
I can say, without a shadow of a doubt that our family is stronger because of what we have been through. We rely heavily on each other (we rely even on the girls, believe it or not). We rely more heavily on faith. Without our knowledge of eternal families and angels and prayer, I think I'd be much more of a wreck than I currently am.
There are still days (frequently) that I cry because of what Carter is going through. I don't know that it will ever get "easy". Most of the time we are use to what we are going through. Sometimes, we are even grateful. And always we are at peace with it.
In the past year Carter has been hospitalized three times. (One time we were on vacation in Utah!!) He has had countless shots, tons of X-Rays, several Priesthood blessings (including one from President Uchtdorf!!), had his chemo held more than I like to think about, had numerous G.I. issues, had a bit of a rough summer, and has struggled through Maintenance, when most children thrive.
But, all that being said, he is doing great. His attitude is amazing. He deals with his lot with maturity and peace. He loves going to chemo and never complains about taking his nightly oral chemo. We are all use to his steroid cheeks and the ever changing side-affects. We thank our Father in Heaven every day for our health, including Carter's, because as I have said a million times before, it could be SO much worse. He WILL beat this. Next May I will write a post that is titled "Carter is Officially Cancer Free!!" and I CANNOT wait for that day to come! He's such a fighter and God truly chose wisely when he gave him this trial.
Seems only appropriate that he got to spend the day down at the clinic getting his big monthly dose of chemo today, on his two year mark. We took the kids to breakfast to celebrate and tonight we will have spaghetti and donuts, as he has requested. :)