As I look back at the pictures from 2006, I am amazed at how much M & E have grown in a year. As two year olds, they are taller than their Christmas stockings. And E finally has hair which is curly. She also got her glasses right before the holidays. They are best friends, love each other dearly and still do.
I very clearly remember going to a photography studio at the mall for our holiday photo. It was a triumph to get there with two 17 month old toddlers. First the photographer was late. Then his first comment to us was how hard it is to photograph 17 month olds so the pictures probably wouldn't be very good. That might not have been the best way to start our portrait session! This was literally the only photo that was good.
Here are the few that I took at home. I love how the kids have each other's stockings.
I can tell it is the holiday season, because I have our holiday cards from 2004 through 2015 displayed. I love seeing how my kids have grown and honestly, how my photography skills have improved! Getting lost in the hustle and bustle is just too easy this time of year, so take a moment to look back at your previous family portraits too!
2004 was M & E's first Christmas. They were showered with gifts and love, even though they didn't quite know what was going on since they were only five months old. So little! From a photography perspective, I believe my father in law took this picture and Paul did all of the photo editing. I didn't even know how to use photoshop back then!
When families live around the country, it can be hard to get everyone together. But when a new grandchild is born, families gather. Welcome to the world little one, and welcome to your loving, extended family of grandma, uncles, aunt and cousins.
This little one holds a special place in my heart. Maybe because she calls me "Mrs. B" and her blue hair bow has an L on it so I could borrow it sometime. Her dads are loving, caring, hilarious parents and neighbors. So happy to call you friends!
As you gather with your family, be sure to snap a few pictures. Or call me to come and help you create portraits. Celebrating family is wonderful for our children as they see us all together.
My youngest child lost one of his front teeth last week. I remember when my older kiddos had cute, toothless grins. How can my little one be losing teeth already? When kids get their adult teeth, they look so, well, grown up!
So I did what any photographer would do- I took lots of pictures of his new grin. I teased him that we would have to take pictures again when he loses the other front tooth. (I'm wiggling that one because I LOVE toothless grins!) Once this little boy gets going, he makes hilarious faces and often incorporates costumes.
Of course I photographed my older children too. My daughter always has her long hair pulled into a ponytail. I bribed her to let me photograph her with her hair down. You can see her many emotions about this idea.
And my first born. I didn't have to bribe him. His smile radiates warmth and fills me with love.
I hope you are enjoying your summer. And if you are celebrating a lost tooth or another special moment in your family, contact me to schedule a portrait session. I can bribe the kids, make Mom look great, all in a short enough session time for Dad. Win-Win!
I have loved writing letters to my children this year. Without the monthly blog circle deadlines, I know I wouldn't have written so many! It was a wonderful reminder to count my blessings in my kids. For this holiday month, my letter is to all three of them. To see last month's letter to M and E, click here.
Dear M, E & E,
I love all three of you so much my heart bursts open every day. And then there are moments in these days when we are all so frustrated with each other. We all have scowling faces and stomping feet. With years and years of practice, I hide my feelings pretty well. But I am learning to be more open and true to myself. When I can take a step out of our frustrating moments, I am happy that you are expressing your love as well as your anger. My hope and focus is to help all of us communicate our feelings better, with honesty and love, and less yelling and kicking!
As I look back over 2013, I see so many wonderful changes in all of you. M, you have had the biggest physical changes. You started wearing glasses in the spring and got your braces on this summer. E, you have grown in your relationships with your friends at school. You enjoy adventures at lunch recess and supporting each other at school. E, you are really coming into your own. You are learning so much in your Junior Kindergarten class and you have volunteered for leadership roles.
I am proud of all three of you. Merry Christmas M, E and E! I love you!
With only two months left in the year (and three kids), I decided to write this month's letter to my big kids, my twins, the ones who made me a mom.
Dear M & E,
I knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that there were two of you in there. I just had a feeling. Nana, your grandmother and my mom, is a twin so it runs in the family. When Daddy and I first saw two beating hearts on the ultrasound, we were excited, nervous, thrilled, and scared. It suddenly hit us that we would need to buy two of everything- car seats, cribs, high chairs. The two of you have always been best friends and I think that will continue. You have a special relationship since you have known each other since the beginning, with unwritten rules on how to play together and how to get along. I love that you are so close. And yet I rarely use the word twins to call you by name. I'll say my big kids, but not twins. While your twin relationship is so important, I also want you to know that you are individual people. And I think you have figured that out too. You are in the same classroom at school. At conferences, you teacher asked me if you got along. She said that you never talk to each other in class. I laughed because I can't imagine that! But I think you have found that it works for you at school.
You have both started playing new instruments: E on the violin and M on the cello. It is fantastic to hear you play together. Daddy and I were so proud of you when you decided to perform at your school's International Night. Plus it was a fun joke that you were playing "Dutch Dance", even though we aren't Dutch! Playing together is adding to your closeness because you can't just go your own tempo in a duet. You have to both listen to the other person and play your part.
I love you two so very much. With your enthusiasm, devotion to your family and dedication to your school work, you inspire and encourage me every day. Thanks for being awesome kiddos!!
It was a warm summer evening. Rain was threatening and we actually felt a few drops, but that didn't stop Trish, Tim and their kids from celebrating how much they love each other. Before we knew it, the sun was back out and it was a beautiful evening.
There are so many ways in which Trish and Tim are proud of C and J- sports accomplishments, gaining confidence and becoming great kiddos.
Families are busy with kids in elementary school. But this is a great age to have fun and embrace them while they can still jump into your arms.
Fifteen years ago, Trish and Tim stood here on their wedding day. They vowed to love each other through good times and bad. There are days when busy-ness can get in the way, but their love unites them and makes them a beautiful, strong couple.
I love providing my muses a space to share, love, remember and embrace. As much as these portraits are for Trish and Tim, they are also for C and J. They see how much their parents love them and love each other. Trish and Tim have photos from when the kids were toddlers. Now C and J are old enough to really participate and have fun with their parents in these portraits.
The year seems to be flying by and I am already on my third letter to my younger son E. He is five now and is really becoming his own self. To read my previous letter to him, click here.
You started a Junior Kindergarten class this fall at the Catholic Church. It is a great program. You are working on your letters, learning songs, sign language, Spanish and about the Bible. A few weeks ago, you told me that you prayed for me at school. You knew that I had hurt my foot and you prayed that it would feel better soon. I love that you were thinking of me! Last week the two JK classes had a prayer service and you were a speaker. When you were practicing, you said that you were surprised how loud your voice was through the microphone. You were very proud of your role and spoke your line very well.
When I started taking your pictures for this letter, you immediately put your hands together and told me that is how you pray. Then you did lots of big jumps for me!
You continue to be a sweet boy. I love you so very much kiddo!
The blog circle continues and I am excited to link to Jessie this month. Like me, she's an engineer turned photographer and she creates amazing portraits. I have learned a lot from Jessie and I miss her now that she lives across the country. I'm glad we can keep in touch online and through our blogs.