2.0 Round 2 Day 11: Baby Bumps and Best Friends

Uhg! I’m sorry, I know I told you I’m shooting for 3 posts a week and here it’s been 6 days since the last one. It has been a busy week for me. I had 2 photography clients and lots of computer work to go through the photos. Since I generally use my 5 am to 6:20 am time to work on the computer or blog or whatever, (you know, so I can concentrate without the kids needing me for a million things and so I can get my morning coffee in ) I had to put the blog writing aside to work on photos. However, I’m glad to be able to report I have yet to miss a day’s workout and I’m already seeing changes that I’m really hoping the scale will reflect this time around. We shall see on day 15, right?

The air has turned positively balmy here as my favorite season moves in for it’s short stay. If I had it my way, it would be Fall forever! I got to put on my boots and 3/4 sleeves to shoot a maternity session for a special lady, she was my first client back in the day, before I was even interested in being a photographer. 3 years ago she saw something in my snap shots of my kids that even I didn’t see at the time and asked me if I would take maternity pictures of her first pregnancy. Now, with a much better camera and a lot more experience, I was able to help her capture her third pregnancy and got to see how her sweet family has grown.

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My other client this week was my best friend, visiting me on her way to a business meeting from out of state. We both hated it when I moved away and were so glad to have a little sleep over the other night after not seeing each other in person for a year. Maria is extra special because she is actually the one who first told me about Bikini Body Mommy and would have recruited me for an accountability partner if I hadn’t been pregnant with my 3rd. She did an amazing job and transformed her body doing the challenge and was the biggest inspiration, planting the seeds to get me ready to start for real back in January. Of course, she would be my accountability partner now if not for her own 3rd pregnancy. She is due in November which gives her enough time, hopefully, to get in on 3.0 and we will finally be doing the challenges together.

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I can’t think of anything more spectacular than getting outside into the fall air to photograph gorgeous baby bumps. I definitely have a great job. 🙂

Stay active, my friends. Keep pushing it. Don’t let busy schedules or life get in the way of your 20 minutes. Speaking from experience, I know it’s tough, last week I was out all day Saturday and had to take my rest day and do day 6. You can do it!  I believe in you. 🙂

 

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Bikini Body Mommy, a movement led by Briana Christine, and you can find out more at http://www.bikinibodymommy.com

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Memories in Time

I was thinking about something this morning. People who really know me know that I’m all about taking pictures. I mean, not just during the Holidays or special occasions, I take pictures almost every day. I take pictures of random, ordinary moments, sometimes just a quick snap shot, sometimes taking it to the picture editor and embellishing it a little. I post many to Facebook, but there are some that just sit on my computer for a while until I finally decide I’m ok with deleting them or I move them to a named folder to keep for good. My friends and family have varying degrees of the opinion that I’m “picture crazy”, and others who are more of an acquaintance might think I’m silly, annoying, or even a little self-absorbed.

Well, you have to understand my history to understand my pictures.

I was born in the 80’s, into a world of Polaroids, long before the digital age. It wasn’t nearly as easy or as cheap to take and keep pictures around as it is today. You had to keep the photos in album books if they were going to stay nice, and film and books cost money and you had to keep buying them. To get a good portrait shot, you had to pay a photographer and pay for copies of those photos, and then you had to buy frames and all that. This, of course evolved a little, but pretty much was the norm until the very late 90’s, early 2000. Needless to say, my parents having 3 kids at that time, and 8 by the time it was all said and done, had better things to spend money on.

In addition, when I was 9, my family moved from a big, normal house into a tiny 31 foot travel trailer to travel west and begin a new life of adventure and pioneering. (Long story for a different day.) We had to down size to the very barest of minimals to fit us all in. After giving precious items to friends and family, many things just had to be pitched, including a lot of photos. It sounds harsh, but my mom did what she had to do and a drawer full of pictures and Polaroids that had never made it into albums had to be thrown away. I remember she cried while those memories went into the trash. Baby pictures, birthdays, family snap shots – all gone. To this day, I have no pictures of myself as a baby except for the few that my aunt has shared from the ones she kept. Sometimes, and Facebook has been a great thing in this respect, a long-lost memory surfaces as a very old picture is scanned and shared by family or friends that my mom reconnected with in the past few years. It is rare, though.

Between that time and the years we lived in Colorado and then Kentucky, disposable cameras were cheap and made it much easier to take pictures, but developing still cost money, and after moving so much, we learned to travel light and we didn’t take many pictures that have survived. There is a small handful that each of my sisters and my mom have, pictures my dad hand-picked before he died of the cabin he built and the years in Colorado.

Then, in 2005, I moved out on my own and was introduced to a world of rapidly evolving digital cameras and camera phones. I was young and single, so I had very little incentive to take pictures for a little while, but then I got married, a year later we were pregnant with the first grandchild on Hubby’s side and moving a thousand miles away to Colorado to open our first restaurant. My mom in law bought me my very first, very own digital camera. Suddenly, pictures were so easy to take, and storing them on our new laptop was incredibly easy too. No more developing charges, bulky photo albums, and any “bad shots” could easily be deleted. It was life changing.

But the biggest piece of this puzzle fell into place later that year, the reason why I like to capture so many ordinary moments.

Many who have read this blog and followed it even a little know that in 2008 we lost our first baby girl to a surprise and mystery condition she was born with. She lived 17 days, all of them in a NICU unit, and while I took pictures and a few videos, I did not realize she would die and how many memories I would not make. I didn’t take nearly enough pictures, and even if I had, there would be none of the ordinary moments we take for granted. There were no pictures of her first bath, her first time getting dressed up for church, her first steps, her first birthday, her first day of school, and there certainly weren’t any every day moments to remember and smile over. What’s worse is that the time I did spend with her is missing huge chunks in my memory. I have blocked out most of the traumatic days of her in the NICU laying in pain, unable to be held by us, a blur of doctors and medicine and sterilization. Those are the only memories she is part of and many of them are lost.

We were blessed, by surprise no less, the following year with our rainbow baby Faith. From about half way through that pregnancy (the point where I begin to remember life again, the months directly after Skye died are almost completely gone, I vaguely remember very little, clips here and there) I had decided that no matter the outcome, I was not going to wait to spend time with her. I was going to make memories and make the most of her time with me, whether that was days or years. I talked to her all the time, just as you would a friend, when she was in my belly. I told her what I was doing, how things looked, my hopes, my fears, why I was doing a certain chore and how. Someone watching me would have pegged me as insane, walking around the house talking to “nobody” about needing to do the dishes and why one brand of soap was better than another.

I took pictures of my pregnant belly, but I really began taking pictures when Faith was born and I just never stopped. Over the past 3 years the picture-taking has really evolved as I found fabulous free picture editing sites to fix flaws and enhance the mood of the shot, add frames, etc. and Facebook has been invaluable for storing my pictures in albums. In fact, after my first computer crashed, I learned a valuable lesson. I lost even more of the few precious memories I had, pictures of Skye, on my old laptop, and would have been utterly devastated if I had not put pictures on Facebook and videos on YouTube. So yeah, I post A LOT of pictures on Facebook and my friends may or may not think I’m a little obsessed, but I don’t care. I know that several times I have needed to download them back off the web to have them.

Memories friends, you can’t buy those. They are priceless.

Just a Fall day at the park with my girl.

 

Every time I snap a picture of this little girl loving life, I think of another little girl who is not here. She never got the chance to go down the slide.

 

Another every day memory. One day she’ll be grown up and this picture will be all I have. I don’t take it for granted.

 

 

Capture Your Grief: Preparing For My Journey

I have recently been invited via my wonderful child loss support network to embark on a 31 day journey with a project called “Capture Your Grief”. (Here is the website with information: http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/2012/09/capture-your-grief-this-october-2012-for-pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-month.html )

The basic idea is to take a photograph, one for every day in the month of October which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, using a list of subjects for guidelines, then post and share my photos with short captions, like a daily photo challenge. I thought that with something like this, making it into a daily blog challenge would be helpful so that I could adequately catalog my journey with the emotions and thoughts behind each photograph.

I’m not sure why it seems I’m so much more “into grief” 4 years after my daughter died than I was that first year. Maybe I have matured enough to know this is healthy, maybe it is the loss support system I finally found early in 2012 that has helped me really open up, maybe it is that the numbness is finally gone and I can do this, or maybe it is having lost my dad early this year that has reopened my grieving on a deeper level for my daughter, or my wish to share her with the world, or my current pregnancy has my emotions cattywompus, or the fact that it’s “that time of year” when all the hard anniversaries are happening (she actually spent most of her life in the month of October and this is the month she died in, one of her 2 funeral services was actually held on October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.) or a combination of all of these. At any rate, when I saw Carly Marie’s invitation to embark on this journey with other loss moms and dads, I knew I needed to do this.

I would be honored if you would join me in the month of October as I share this little mini journey through my grief. You may subscribe by email to this blog so you don’t miss a post, but I’ll also be posting on Facebook for my friends there. See you all on October 1st.