There is no one alive who is youer than you…

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

                                   ~Dr. Seuss

Ten years.

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Double digits. 

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It’s hard to believe we went from this:

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To this:

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and now, 

this

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Guitar Hero is your favorite right now. 

Throw in a little Lynard Skynard

and Metalica, 

making you one heck of a musical nut.  

Minecraft takes a close backseat, as does Youtube videos. 

5th grade isn’t going to know what hit it. 

I love you through the universe, and beyond the stars. 

I hope the next decade is just as wonderful as this one has been. 

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Facing the negative, in myself, from others.

I’ve lived with criticism my entire life. I would say it stemmed from my over critical mother who made it very plain to me that I wasn’t something I planned in her life, to the way I colored in a coloring book, did my hair, or even my choice in clothing. Nothing was ever good enough. Even now, in my adult life, her critical eyes point out that my laundry isn’t white enough, my weight isn’t low enough, or my time isn’t as precious as hers.

Yet, I digress.

I started photography in 1999. I had a lovely film SLR that took beautiful pictures of my sweet baby boy. My goal wasn’t to become a professional, but to every now and then, have a picture of my kids that wasn’t just your run of the mill snapshot. A picture that made me smile a little bigger, make my heart beat a little faster and a picture that could catapult me back to that exact time that I had captured, remembering my chubby baby and his sweet toothless grin.

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A couple of years ago I got my current DSLR. A little Canon Rebel XS EOS. It makes me very happy. With this camera I completed a 365 project, where I took one picture every day for an entire year. I am self taught, I have read countless hours of blog after blog, learning what f-stop meant, what IOS was, what speed I should shoot to capture a running child and what it meant for “noise” to be in a picture when clearly it makes no sound.  I have taken thousands of pictures and messed up millions of times.

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My first real shoot was of my then, 8 yr old Wyatt. I loved every picture I took of him that day. I still fought with the critical voice in my head telling me, that it wasn’t good enough. My family and friends seemed to love the pictures and that was a boost to my confidence to help me take my next step.

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My brothers engagement pictures!

I was so excited that he and his precious fiancee wanted me to take their pictures. We trekked out on a very hot summer day and went from location to location working on some of my favorite photos to date.

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After taking my brothers pictures, I purchased lightroom and watched video after video, read article after article, on how to understand the bones of the editing program. I’m still so new to it, but I like what I can produce with it. I’m not a photoshop person. I’m not going to be able to make you look like something you are not. That’s not the point of photography. I want to capture a genuine smile, a laugh that comes from your soul, the look a man has for the love of his life, or the careful touch of a mother and her newborn.

061-2baby Jack, and Jake 033-3 baby Jack, and Jake 167-3As time past,  I had more and more people telling me that I should consider taking up photography as a profession and not as something that I do as a hobby. I really wasn’t sure people would want to pay me to take their pictures. I started a Facebook page, got a few likes and posted some of my favorite pictures so potential clients could see what my work looks like.  I got a few bites. Enough to keep my fire burning and make me want to continue on.

My self criticism knows no bounds. I am constantly questioning my work, wondering if it is different, not just run of the mill. I like natural light, I love a good sunflare, and my favorite pictures are the pictures that weren’t meant to be. My favorites are the pictures that most photographers think are meant for the trash bin.

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Let me give you a definition.

Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

I accept constructive criticism. Humbly.  What I think is often forgotten about this type of help is a positive force balances a negative one.  We all learn this way. We can help each other grow and change, but not with nothing but negative comments.

What it boils down to is this.  I’m human. When someone is critical of my work it stings. However just as in life, I am a work in progress. I am a sponge for knowledge and I will continue to educate myself to further my art.  Photography should be a community of people who help each other learn grow and change. Photographers shouldn’t belittle you with a negative because your work isn’t what fits into their frame.  My work is no more cliche than the next person.

My clients love the work I have produced for them. I am in the business of putting a smile on someones face and creating a memory for them. I will never be done learning. There is always something new to learn. I am proud of the work I have created, even with a little part of me always ever so critical and I won’t let someones negativity hold me back.

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When you think you are ripe, you are rotten. It’s only when you know you are green that you can grow” ~G. T. 

Moving forward.

Just like that.

You were no longer a baby,  no longer connected to the last of something that tied you into the same category as your sister.

We’ve heard this before, (especially at dinner time) “I’m not a baby, don’t feed me like a baby.”

Yet you still held tightly to that tiny piece of babyhood by not letting go of the pacifier.

Anytime you were tired you would find that paci, get your blanket and come snuggle with me.

I love the snuggle time. I know these days are limited. There is no way I could get your 12 yr old brother to snuggle with me. He is too cool for that.

I love the smell of your hair as your head lays on my shoulder.

I love how you are still tiny enough to fit in the crook of my arm.

The other night you went to bed without your beloved paci. I didn’t even notice until I was on the way to bed myself. There, sitting on the counter, was one of the only two pacis you have left. I know the other one was in a basket in the kitchen, but this blue one sat all alone on the counter in the dark.

I knew that at some point during the night I would hear, “Mom, I can’t find my paci.”

But I didn’t. You never stumbled into my room at 3am wanting to snuggle after a bad dream, and I never heard you utter a word about the paci.

The next  morning, you woke bright and early and never looked back. When I asked you about it, you simply said, “I”m not a baby anymore. I don’t need it.”

And just like that. You weren’t.

You let go of that last bit of babyhood, and you did it on your own terms.

I know the “experts” say that a child shouldn’t have a paci after about a year.

I also know that your brother Wyatt let go of his on his own as well and it was a beautiful transition as well.

I will always say that letting a child let go of something they hold a particular attachment to on their own terms is the best way to go.

No child has ever taken their pacifier to college .

I’m loving watching you grow right now.

I love seeing you letting go and moving forward.

I wish I could handle is as beautifully as you do.

 

 

In the blink of an eye.

With every child we have

I am in awe every time another birthday rolls around.

and Rhett’s birthday was no exception.

I can’t believe that he is 5.

it seems like just yesterday he was:

just a newborn.

Then like that he was:

no longer a newborn.

One Year had past.

He was a walking bundle of soft squishy love.

He only had 2 teeth

and a smile that could

make the Grinch’s heart grow 10 times bigger!

Then this happened:

He was 2.

As you can see all those teeth he was missing

came in full force and he didn’t complain,

not one time.

Rhett never experienced

The terrible 2’s.

He went through

the terriffic twos!

Yet another year flew by

we welcomed a baby sister and Rhett welcomed:

Being 3!

Rhett has now come into his own

big time.

He has mastered being the typical

Little brother,

and the potty.

His favorite past time was stomping his feet and throwing a tantrum

but he was the best big brother to his baby sister.

He could fetch a diaper like a pro,

and still try to play his brothers DS.

Another year flew out of our window leaving in it’s place

a million memories of Rhett at the age of 3.

Then:

He turned 4!

Being 4 years old means you are no longer looked at like a baby

but more as a big boy.

You can tell a mean knock, knock joke and

pronounce “Orange Juice”

like “Are-Gen-juice”

You have always loved taking your brothers to school and this was the year that Rhett was finally able to attend.

How he has blossomed!

I never thought for one second

that Rhett wouldn’t thrive.

He is so bubbly and personable

you can’t not like him.

Rhett became a playmate for Wyatt this past summer

where they bonded over Legos and

Mario.

Rhett still wakes in the middle of the night to come snuggle with his mama.

Most night I don’t mind at all.

And like I’ve said throughout this entire post:

The year flew by.

Now:

He is 5 years old today!

Rhett told me this morning as soon as he laid eyes on me

“Mom! It’s my birthday today!”

He also said as we walked out the door headed to school,

“Mom, don’t you dare tell Mrs. Harper it’s my birthday,

I’ll do that.”

So I said,

“Yes Sir Mr. 5 year old!”

He is spunky and handsome,

wild and sneaky.

He has a mad passion for all things Mario,

but still has a soft spot for his Mama.

I love this handsome little rascal to the moon and beyond.

He is going to break some hearts one day.

He is already breaking mine

by growing up too fast.

What a ride.

October 7, 1999

1:34pm

8lbs 15ozs

22in.

On this day 12 years ago

You stole my heart.

As soon as you took your first breath,

I knew you would do great things.

You had to have been the prettiest baby I’d ever seen, what, with your dark skin and hair

looking just like your daddy.

I have always heard people say,

time goes by too fast.

As a child I thought they were crazy.

It took forever for Christmas to get here, my birthday too,

Time?

It was slow.

But now?

Time Flies.

I finally get it.

It seems like it was just yesterday that you were having your first birthday

and here we are

celebrating your 12th.

I’m so proud of you.

My, almost-a-teenager-but-not-quite-yet.

You strive for excellence

and succeed.

I know you will move on to bigger things

GRAND things.

I thank God for allowing me to join you on your  journey.

So far?

It has been a crazy beautiful ride.

Happy Birthday

Christopher Peyton.

A Touch of Light…

I have entered photo contests before.

No surprise I love them and I love seeing other photographers work.

When I saw what this weeks challenge was on I Heart Face

I knew exactly what picture I would use.

I was so honored that my brother wanted me to do his engagement pictures

even though I’m just starting out,

and that they shared such a beautiful part of themselves with me.

I love this one because it is so romantic,

yet playful.

The light makes the picture seem like something from a dream.

Letting go, easier at 4 than at 32.

You woke early this morning even though it took you for-ev-er to go to sleep last night.

I know you were excited.

Our conversation this morning was mostly one sided as you jabbered away.

“Mom, mom, today I go to school. Can I wear my backpack?What is for breakfast?Please can I have goldfish bread for my sandwich?Good morning Wyatt, I SAID GOOD MORNING WYATT!!!!Mom Wyatt won’t say good morning. you have to be nice at school and say hey and good morning and you have to take a nap and don’t say dirty words and Mom am I going to play on the playground can I put on my shoes now?can we eat breakfast now, can I have orange juice?

I almost cried walking you to your class, but I didn’t want to seem like a big baby while you were being such a big boy.

As we got into your classroom you began to put away your thing and never looked back. I could have left right then and you would have been fine. I guess I stayed a little longer for myself as I wondered how you would do opening your juice at lunch, (even though we practiced it before) and if you would forget to eat because you are just taking it all in.

I left the class while you sat on the carpet with your teacher and classmates and I knew you would be fine. All along its me I’m worried about, and sure that is a little selfish, but you have been with me at home for 4 years. sometimes it’s harder for me to let go.