Tag Archives: life

Because…

It’s time.  It’s time to focus my lens, to adjust the aperture a little lower to blur the background and focus in on the subject.  On Christmas day I pulled out my big professional camera for the first time since July to capture life.  As I looked through the viewfinder attempting to capture my 16 month-old amusement with the Christmas tree, it hit me.  I miss this.  Much to my surprise, at the sight of my camera the Little Monster immediately raced to the front of the tree, plopped himself down and gave me the cheesiest grin I have ever seen.

Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-1 Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-12

While I love living life on the other side of the camera (and appreciate the convenience of my iPhone camera), intentionly capturing the little details that tell our family stories seemed like a thing of the past. Then it really hit me, I’m a hypocrite!  Little-d-Tales {Photography & Design} LLC was created in January 2011 with the tagline “capturing the moments that tell the stories of your life.” I created the business to offer photojournalism specialty to lifestyle photography.  Back then I would combine my appreciation of writing (blogging) with the ability to capture photos to best tell the story.  My passion grew and so did my clientele.  I was capturing real life, little details that weren’t staged or scripted, helping tell the stories of who individuals were, the nuances in families, and amazing things happening in our communities.  Ironically something began to change, it became work.  A wise person once told me, “it’s important to follow your passion, but be careful you don’t kill it.” My passion began to wane and every session felt like more time away from family.

Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-13 Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-16 Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-18

Enjoying Life has not had a post since Spring of 2015.  There is not even a story or record that my youngest was even born on this blog.  The good news is I have still captured these moments.  But what happened in the past 2 years is I began to dread sitting down at the computer after a shoot to edit the photos.  I almost resented it. I took on fewer jobs and began to consider the end of Little-d-Tales {Photography & Design}.  Well Christmas solidified the decision and my last photo shoot for hire was December 26, 2016.

Thank you to my many clients who invited me into your homes, trusted me to capture the most amazing moments of your life both big and small.  For coming back time and time again.  I have stood beside you as you saw your future husband for the first time, holding your baby, watching you drip with sweat as you attempt to get your 1 year old  to sit and smile.  For learning to have a tissues as I capture your child’s senior photos, or M & M’s to entice the little ones.  For having grace to keep the shoot scheduled  to capture your family knowing that one of the chairs would now be empty.  Each shoot helped me grow into a better person, not just a better photographer. Being a natural light lifestyle photographer requires the technical and artistic skills to “make it happen.”  You gave me the confidence to take the helm of rowdy group of over 75 people. The business skills to manage financials and predict profit margins without knowing the depth of the job. As the business developed so did my IT skills, learning code and editing shortcuts and hardware needs to stay competitive in the market.  With each photo shoot you helped me see the world in a little different way.  Thank you. I am grateful for an awesome 5 year run at my own business.  It was exactly what I needed to be able to sit here today and say goodbye and be completely content with the decision.

I will continue to pull out my camera, hone my photography skills and admire amazing lighting.  Except my camera will be focused in this direction. Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-2

It is my hope that I will sit down and enjoy telling OUR stories again.  As our family closed the books on 2016, we did so with bittersweet hearts.  2016 marked several unforeseen milestones in our home and hearts.  While beautiful girl’s smile reminds us of the good, the “Love You” snowflake made by Little Man in the background was a memorial to our dog who unexpectedly died in November, along with several family members. Little Man placed the love you facing out so our “(loved ones) in heaven could read it.”  Our family is grateful for photos such as these so that in years to come we are still reminded to smile, to remember, and hold tight to the memories that created our 2016 family stories.

2016 closes the chapter on Little-d-Tales {Photography & Design} because…It’s time! Thank you for helping write this chapter of my life.  It has been a meaningful 5 years.

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Flow of Creativity, scarpbooking

Oh, I forgot

Dear Life,

I was awakened from a deep slumber at 1 AM by my daughter’s cry and mumbling of something troubling her.  I walked into her room, rubbed her back as I stated soothingly “Shh, it’s okay Mae.  Mommy’s here, it was just a dream.” In true EllaMae fashion still in a confused slumbering state, she wittingly replied “oh, I forgot” and peacefully fell back to sleep.

As I returned to my bed chuckling I thought about how often I have forgotten what life is really like.  This blog is one stunning example of that.  The vision of this blog and several other of my endeavors has been with the best intentions to document life…notice a few gaps.  My son is 5 and my daughter is 3, and baby 3 is on the way.  You know what I forgot about? When I was up every 2-3 hours a night to feed the kids.  How my son would beg for me to sleep with him throughout the night or lay with him until he fell asleep (he still appreciates it when I do). How my daughter would sing herself silly trying to avoid sleeping (still does) and we would come down into the living room and dance to Christina Perri playlist on pandora with all the lights off in the house. How I would often crawl into bed with my kids so they could calm me and help me relax on a night when sleep wasn’t on my side.  Or, how before I had children I was up often at 2 AM with trouble sleeping and I would then get creative and do a project only to be interrupted at 7 AM with the need to go to work…you know my real job.  I forgot how after the kids went to bed I would take to the computer in obligation to create my next post, plan my next social media strategy or edit a batch of clients proofs.  These all seem like fleeting memories now.  

Perhaps it’s me avoiding the guilt, or perhaps it’s simply a feeling of content.  I fall asleep each night with relatively low level of anxiety, I often have the luxury to put both of my children to bed, then come back hours later kiss their cheeks, watch them sleep, and encourage them to “dream big.” While I may stink at documenting and sharing our life stories of the past few years, it’s moments like tonight when I remember how much I really do enjoy life.

When I rolled over at 2:30 AM, still unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to crawl into my daughters single bed attempting to snuggle her along with her 3 pillows, 4 cozy blankets (these are all separate blankets she requires, not the actual bedding) Willy the orca, Diego the seal, and my daughter flailed out across the bed.  As I crawled under the covers the baseball from spring break vacation found it’s way into my thigh and I pressed my 25 week pregnant body into a sliver of available space.  (Are you getting this visual- sounds relaxing doesn’t it?) I rubbed her head streaking the hair away from her face and watched in admiration of this beautiful girl sleeping peacefully.  I placed my arm around her chest snuggling her in close.  I could feel her heart beating in her chest and the rhythm of her breathing slowly calm me.  She rolled from her side to her back and placed both hands behind her head.  I remembered both of my littles as babies would sleep with their hands behind their head.  I always appreciated that and recalled someone saying “that’s a sign they are content.” I always followed it up by saying “this is the life?!”

Thank you EllaMae, for reminding me at 1 AM that we have a pretty sweet life.  I sometimes forget those little things.

Love,
Mom 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Musings with Mae, Proud Parents

Mighty Mae: Reflection of 1-year

Dearest EllaMae (MaeMae),

12moCollage

A day as your mother is unpredictable, enlightening, adventurous, and sometime nerve-wracking.  You are a girl who is driven to do whatever she puts her mind to.  Your determination, sense of humor, and flexibility will serve you well, as you have already proven to have won the hearts of a few boys and one proud mom!  On the eve of your first birthday I reflect and capture the moments that have and will continue to shape our family story with EllaMae as the newest character.

The name EllaMae reminded me of a graceful, poignant, and sweet little girl.  Well, 1 for 3 ain’t bad I guess (Amazingly Sweet). Your personality and physique have drawn a different picture of you as a determined, head-strong, and less than delicate little princess.  Amazingly this “princess round-face” can light up a room and turns heads at locations throughout the city.  Your sincere eyes, vivacious smile and layers of love have friends, family (and even strangers) are drawn to your charismatic personality.  Your daycare friends have renamed you to “MaeMae” and the name has stuck.  Most recently, your curious and destructive nature have given you the title of “Mighty Mae.”

Having done the whole motherhood level 3 thing with your brother, I felt a bit more prepared this time.  As ignorance would have it, while you and your brother have some similarities, your differences will rival my plans.  You never took a Nuk, and no need for a mute button.  You were smart enough to know what was food, and what was just a hunk of plastic in your mouth.  As with eating there was really no reason to rely on others.  Taking things off people’s plates, spoons, or drinking from your brothers cup as needed are standard operating procedures in your manual.  Utensils are over-rated unless there is ice cream involved, in which case a few drips to the chin determine your plan of action.  Sitting (3 months), Crawling (6 months) walking (10 months), and now running, climbing all happened on a similar timeline.  However you have been able to stand from a sit without using your hands to brace or support you for quite some time.  A task many adults still struggle with.  You seem to have a considerable amount of coordination catching and balancing yourself despite obstacles that attempt to take you out at the knees.  Talented yes, although simply looking down on occasion might serve you well, or at least protect your shins from bruises!

Eating is a sport, as is riding the dog.  Both bring great joy.  Adding to the list pulling the recyclables out of the bin, climbing stairs while mom and dad aren’t looking, and bouncing to music are gaining momentum.  Most of all  you are a sincerely sweet, and entertaining little girl.  You have won the hearts and taught me lessons I didn’t know I was lacking.  You inspire me everyday to a better person, and recognize that fashion and hair accessories are over-rated.

So on this April 11th eve of 2013, I wish you many sweet dreams.  As we would typically sing (to the tune of hot-cross buns)

“EllaMae, EllaMae,
How are you, How are you?
Mommy Loves you so much, Mommy Loves you so much
Yes I do, Yes I do!

Dream big little one.
Love you more,

Mom 🙂

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Filed under Musings with Mae, Proud Parents

Writing our Life Story: the next chapter

There comes a point in your life when you feel fulfilled.  The first look at a newborn and the world around you goes still.  Your heart is forever changed in a way that you never thought possible. The life you imagined in your head for years, suddenly becomes a reality unraveling before your eyes. The nights of hanging with girlfriends, are somehow replaced by sleepless nights and early bedtime that you wouldn’t change for the world. You choose to spend 5 more minutes watching your child explore their world, over cleaning up the dishes after dinner.  The days of a clean house seem less important, and time spent watching your child’s 45 minute bath become more meaningful and enlightening each day. The moment you realize every tear, scratch, and sad moment felt by a child doubles in strength for a mother’s heart, is the moment you realize that you are living your life for something much bigger than yourself.

Balancing your life takes on a whole new meaning.  This past summer I charaded my way through a circus act, attempting to balance a professional life (working 50-60 hour work weeks), a creative life (getting my photography & blogging businesses off the ground), and a family life.  Now that the chaos has ended and there is 5 minutes to clear my head, I’m realizing that my job as a mother trumps all other opportunities in life.  In 10 years I  will not  be able to go back and watch my 18-month-old son grab onto the edge of the counter and swing like a trapeze artist. The life I have created could easily continue on each day with a majority of my time spent focused on the monotonous activities of daily life.  However starting in September I chose to take an active role in my life, focusing my efforts on what means the most to me, family.  While it’s certainly not feasible for our family to have me do this on a full-time basis, perhaps it has given light to how I focus my attention in daily life.

I have never regretted the life I have chosen.  I value each aspect to my life, and am grateful for the opportunities and challenges I have experienced.  My professional career is one filled with research, innovation, and teaching opportunities which fulfill my innate desire to learn and lead others.  My creative life is an opportunity for adventure, to follow a passion, a belief, and allow myself to be the creator and the decision-maker all in one.  What matters is how I choose to spend my time.  What if I chose to not go to church on a Sunday morning and instead spend one morning with the husband, son, dog and myself all huddled into one bed that is too – small for our growing family?  Would people judge me?  Most likely, but here’s where I get to choose how live my life.  What if I choose to take a walk with the family over cleaning the house?  Would people judge me- you might if you saw the constant disarray of our house lately.  What if I spend less time in small talk at work and focus on getting the work done so I can leave my work at work? Does this make me less dedicated than others who work beyond a standard work week? The point isn’t that I don’t care, it’s about choosing what is most important and dedicating the time to prove it.

You have not seen a blog post here since July.  Doesn’t mean I wasn’t interested, or didn’t try.  It means I arrive home at 5 PM to a happy and energetic little boy who steals my heart.  We choose to have a family dinner and then spend our last hour together as a family, before I nestle into bed with my little man at 7:30 PM. I watch eagerly as his eyelids grow heavy, how he wrestles to distract himself so he can avoid sleeping for just 5 more minutes, and eventually listen as his breaths grow deeper and soft hums replace the squeals of laughter heard less than an hour ago.  Saying goodnight is always a ritual including a kiss on the forehead enclosed with a whisper “Dream Big Little Man,” (which sometimes prompts him to raise his arm to shew away the strange feeling on his forehead).  Often times I return to repeat the same “Good Night” ritual as I head off to bed myself.  From 8 PM to 10 PM is my time to re-aquaint myself with my husband as it seem likes months since we sat down to a bowl of popcorn and a movie. Over the past month I felt less inclined to do what “needed to get done” and  replaced these activities with what “I want to do most.”

Being a mom is the most rewarding and exhausting thing I have experienced in my life.  In an effort to make things even more complicated and exciting we decided to add another member to our family.  Consider this our announcement…

Little Man will the add the title of “Big Bother” to his name come April of 2012, creating a whole new chapter in our life story.  I can choose to be a passenger in my life, or the driver.  With some unchartered territory up ahead, and new challenges coming our way, I have the opportunity to mold and shape the story of this adventure we call life!

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Foregiveness, Let's talk about me!, The Caleb Times

Seriously….

I’m alive.  Well kind of.  Between a vacation that should have been filmed with Chevy Chase, the ongoing therapy appointments to rehab my shoulder, a broken nose incident, and possibly the busiest summer at my “real job” added to the summer surge of photography shoots, I’m still breathing.

I opened my Google reader tonight and noticed the 1000+ unread posts. Whew.

With all that said there are big things in the making over here.
Starting Sunday, July 18th you can expect a whirlwind of activity.  Seriously, you are going to want to come back!

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Filed under Daily Grind, Random thoughts

Metaphorically Letting Go!

The title of my blog is Enjoy Life for a reason.  Since college it has been my motto- to enjoy each and every moment…don’t fret the little stuff, for it will all work out in the end.  The past few weeks I have spent many waking and sleeping moments admiring my all the intricate moments with my son Caleb and our newly formed family of 3 1/2 (Diesel is half human).  Meanwhile I was losing a friend.  In my moments of admiration and devotion to my family, her family was saying good-bye to a life filled with love, laughter and rigorous adventure.  Last Saturday night near the time I was putting Caleb to bed, Tracy’s family reflected on their wonderful time together as her spirit escaped her and she would reach her final resting place.  While her diagnosis was terminal, the news came of her death hit me like a sucker punch to the gut!

I have known of Tracy for a long time…her children were actively involved, her husband a Doctor in town, their family participated in many community events, in general they were always lending a hand.  They were the family that people admired from afar.  But during the fall of 2008, I got to know Tracy on a much deeper level.  To skip the details, I had a long-standing shoulder injury that was looking like would need surgery for repair.  Tracy was a Physical Therapist and prior to undergoing the knife, I thought I’d give her a try.  Without any farting around, she got straight to the point, the muscles holding my shoulder in place were so weak that essentially my shoulder was “falling” out with no support to get back into place.  Tracy stated it a bit differently “Heidi, I’m 50 years old and a heck of a lot stronger than you, so we need to beef it up and in the next 6 weeks (my next appointment with the orthopedic surgeon).”  And that she did…she pushed me (or rather “tortured” as she liked to call it) and each week I could feel myself getting stronger.  However, PT was more than just strengthening a loose shoulder, it was nearly an hour of sarcasm and stories that made me enjoy every minute!  Physical Therapy became the highlight of my day thanks to Tracy.

There are a many things that make Tracy stand out.  As I got to know Tracy, I recognized how inspirational she was.  She treated me not just as a patient on her schedule, but as a friend.  We shared stories of our animals- her selling a donkey on Craigslist and even how they acquired a donkey, to comparing notes about weddings (I just had my wedding 2 months before starting therapy and her daughter was married that same summer).  We both attended the same church so we swapped stories on who was who, and what was new in the world of faith.  We’d compare stories of having shorter husbands and dates that inevitably included a stop at Wal-Mart!  She encouraged adventure, so when I asked if it was okay for me to go skiing over Christmas break, she quickly replied I don’t see why not, if it doesn’t hurt go ahead…to which I responded “good, cause I was going to do it anyway, but thought I’d at least ask.”  We talked about music and teased the other therapists for their selections…turns out we had a common love of Bruce Springsteen.  But one thing was true time and time again…Tracy was real!  Someone who would share her thoughts, ideas, and practical jokes, as well as challenges and frustrations.   I graduated from Physical Therapy with flying colors.  I had made so much progress my right shoulder was now considerably stronger than the left.  I also found a friend and co-conspirator in Tracy.

A few weeks later, I threw my back out and being a new found believer in physical therapy I immediately requested a referral to return.  My first visit was not with Tracy, but after some assessment it was suggested I see her in future visits.  Apparently I had reached celebrity status in that office, because my first appointment with Tracy I walked back, and Tracy shouts: “hey everyone, Heidi’s here” to which everyone responded “Heidi”  like I was Norm walking into the bar on Cheers.

Tracy had a keen eye for detail that I neglected to mention earlier.  During one visit she noticed my cute shoes and pointed them out to others in the office.  Following that appointment it became routine  for her to immediately check out my shoes.  As I began my exercises during one appointment she pointed out her frightfully old-lady looking shoes.  Of course my response was “Tracy, those are hideous.”  Tracy’s response stirred unrest in me as she said “I know, but it’s kind of the mood I’m in.” She went on to share that the fungal or bacterial infection she’d been struggling with in her lung turned out to be cancer.   WTF.  Tracy was the epitome of health.  I may have even said those things aloud as the shock severed my body numb.  I tried to respond with sarcasm and humor as she played along.  She shared the time line from lung biopsy to sharing the news with their children.  While many would resort to self-pity and despair, her response was “Aren’t I lucky!”

In the coming weeks and months I would see them out and about and immediately point out my cute shoes.  In a card I received from Tracy,  she noted that she threw out those old-lady shoes, life was too short for ugly shoes!  Shortly thereafter at a Chamber of Commerce event I ran into her husband, and once again pointed out my cute shoes.  I asked him to share with Tracy that I had a new pair of cute shoes and wasn’t about to let her down.  His response was “well, here let me take a picture” promptly he pulled out his flip phone and snapped a shot of my shoes, bent down at floor level to get the perfect angle.  Each time I ran into her at church we would throw our feet up in the air and point out the cute shoes we were wearing. It didn’t matter that it might be the middle of a song it mattered that we were wearing cute shoes. So yesterday, as I shared my sorrow with her husband, he asked my shoe size…he thought it would be fitting for me to stop by and choose a few cute pairs.  Suddenly I felt Tracy smile and snicker a bit and it seemed okay.

Prior to the funeral yesterday, I held onto Caleb for several hours, recognizing that one week ago while I studying my new found love, the Rasor family was doing the same thing with their mom.  Trying to remember every detail, every memory, every laugh and cry that they could forever seal into their memories.  The circle of life seems so unfair to me.  When I finally laid my son down in the final minutes as I walked out the door I had to let go of him for an hour, but my memories of him would last a lifetime.  No matter how prepared we think we are, or how great the hands are that hold our loved ones near, letting go is the hardest part.

Tracy’s celebration of life was exactly that- a recount of the moments shared together with song and dance, pictures and laughter.  It was the most beautiful way to draw an end to her time on earth and by the standing room only in and around the church it was a true testament to what Tracy would want us to do…Enjoy Life!

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Filed under Deep thoughts

Losing the life race.

There are few moments in our lives when we stop to recognize the world around us. We hastily make our way through the day, scurrying to the next appointment or fretting to meet the next deadline.  Thankfully, pregnancy has given me an excuse to do just the opposite…SLOW DOWN.

Today was a rather gloomy and disheartening day as far as weather is concerned.  It was damp with a slight chill in the air, the kind that makes you yearn for a cozy place to cuddle up with a nice blanket….recognizing my desire to do nothing I let my head follow my heart tonight.  I arrived home with an hour of lightness to spare, and took the opportunity to take the dog out to my brother’s place to run with his cousin.  After an hour of muddy fun, we returned  and jumped at the opportunity to change into my comfies, slumped into an over-sized chair, cozied up with a fuzzy blanket and a book (Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie to be precise). It was my idea of heaven.

Before long I was engrossed in the book.  Our 80 lb. dog made my heart skip a beat when he decided to crawl up on my lap and nestle between my legs, occasionally nudging me for a few strokes or looking contentedly into space as his eyes grew heavy.  The storyline was a soft-hearted look at one man’s journey through faith. It didn’t take me long and I had over 50 pages under my belt, a sign of an easy read with a good storyline.  The now dark solemn house was lit with the spotlight that shone down on the book, making Diesel and I center stage. In this moment, time stood still and I could take in the gifts that I so often overlook.

I don’t know how much time had passed, but I found myself in a state of pure contentment.  Diesel had found a comfortable place warming my lap and now his head extended to my chest, as if the protector of baby and mom.  With each deep breath he took I felt time slow down. Baby kept me aware of “it’s” presence in my womb with an occasional nudge.  The peaceful moment caught me attention, as I read a line from the book that resonated within me (I’ll paraphrase for you)…

“The secret of happiness is to be satisfied, be grateful for what you have.  For the love you received and for what god has given you.”

As I reflect ahead to what craziness life will bring with a child, husband and full-time career, it seemed appropriate that right now I could experience a moment that I may need to remind myself of in the days, months and years that lie ahead.  Life is not a race I am eager to win.  As my own eyelids grew heavy and the dark night continued on, I began dreaming of the life that would be joining us in 3 short months….the nights that would be sleepless and conflicts that would be stressful…but also the joy of looking at the face of our own child and being grateful for the life that has been given to us.  As I drifted in and out of this dream I was reminded of the children’s book that I loved as a child, and even more as an adult- a mother throughout her son’s life picks him up in her lap while he sleeps and gently rocks him while singing…”I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be!”

What a life that will be?! A life filled with tiny, what may seem to be uneventful events, that will equate to years of happiness and fulfillment.  It is a life I am eagerly awaiting to live- not race through!

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Filed under Random thoughts