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Bike riding

At the end of yesterday's heavy post, I promised some images from a recent baby portrait shoot.  And while I'm not quite ready to share those yet, I would love to show off our kids!  As I mentioned yesterday, Kyla started riding her bike with no training wheels and she is having a blast!  We owe a lot of the credit of this new feat to the incredible Prince Lionheart balance bike!  If you have kids that need to learn to ride a bike, ditch the training wheels and use this for a little while and you'll be good to go!  Our girls have been doing laps in the house (since it's been freezing outside) on this bike for the past few weeks and Sarah got Kyla up on her real bike Sunday with no trouble at all. So on Monday morning, Sarah and I took the kids to the high school track for a few laps and Kyla is proud to brag that she rode an entire mile before we were all about frozen and came home to thaw.  Avery and Zach joined in the fun, too.  Here are our three amazing kiddos having a blast on a chilly January morning!

Charlottesville wedding photographer

Kyla is so proud of herself!  Notice the missing teeth!  I've had to yank 4 out of her mouth so far.  That is one part of parenthood no book can quite prepare you for!  Yuck.

Here's Avery sporting the balance bike.  She managed two laps around the track pushing along on her feet!  She's doing great on the balance bike and will likely be up on her real bike before too long.

Zach pretty much has a good time anywhere we go!

Thanks for checking out the family!  We feel truly blessed these days as our kids get older and take new steps towards independence.  Enjoy the rest of your week!

PS - You might just see us at the track more often once the weather warms up.  We realized while we were out there that we could bring along the jogging stroller and actually run laps TOGETHER while the girls ride bikes.  We haven't been able to exercise together in forever!

PPS - Zach started saying "Dadadada" today.  Love that little guy.

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The importance of this job

This has been the longest I've gone without a blog entry in a long time!  These past two weeks have been very full of editing images and designing wedding albums.  It's also been full of life - Zach turned 7 months old and is a constant joy in our household with his experimental noises and new tricks.  Kyla (almost 7) started riding her bike with no training wheels.  And Avery (4) constantly amazes us with her keen perception and sense of humor.  We also celebrated my grandmother's 80th birthday with my entire family and we began making plans for a summer vacation!  We also found out that our fourth recent wedding client in the past 2 years is pregnant!  I also had the opportunity to photograph newborn twins as well as another 3-month-old baby. As I sat down to work on an album tonight, I found my mind in a different place.  I'm usually good at shaking distracting thoughts when a job needs to be done, but not tonight.  I'm in the mood to write.  Most of the time when I think of being a photographer, I imagine all the happy moments I get to capture.  I imagine the wedding portraits we create hanging on the walls of a couple's home as they celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.  I picture a mother someday glancing at newborn portraits we took of her baby that is now off at college.  I love this job and I am constantly blown away at the opportunities we are entrusted with to document the most special moments of people's lives.

A new thought hit me, however, last night when I received an email from one of our 2009 clients.  She had just given birth to their first baby not much more than a week ago and she was writing to tell me that her father had just passed away.  I immediately knew the broad range of emotions and was whisked away to 2006 when my mother passed away two weeks before our daughter Avery was born.  There are few broader spectrums of emotions that a person can experience in life, in my opinion, than to experience a birth and a death in such a short amount of time.

The new thought that hit me last night was how deeply important a job I have as a photographer.  This new mom wanted to know if she could order some prints of her father from her wedding to have on display at the funeral this weekend.  Of course I could arrange that, and I did.  But as I worked out the details, I was struck with a sense of gratitude that perhaps something I created might serve as a source of comfort for people I've never met.  Perhaps it would not have struck me this way, but this was actually our second wedding client who had recently lost a loved one whom we had photographed at their recent wedding.  I hope that I don't have any more requests like this in the near future, but you'd better believe that I have a renewed perspective on the importance of our role in our clients' lives.  We're capturing special moments in people's lives that will never happen again.  We're creating images that will spark memories and evoke emotion quite possibly for generations to come.  Maybe I'm reading into this too deeply and thank you if you've made it this far.  Maybe I should be editing right now, but this is where my mind and my heart are - I just needed to get this out.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite images from our wedding.  Here I am as a young kid with geeky glasses almost 10 years ago dancing with my mom.  I miss her like crazy, but I'm so thankful that Russ captured this image because it is exactly how I will always remember her! 

PS - Tune in soon for some cute pictures of a baby!  Everyone will need some cheering up after this post!

PPS - If you made it this far, seriously, thank you for reading.  I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Our 2010 Family Christmas Card

Maybe this is lame.  Maybe this is the greatest idea ever.  Who knows?  Either way, we decided to go a different route on our family Christmas card this year.  Our close friends and family might reply with, "Oh yeah, I remember when those guys used to send a card!"  So maybe we're not the best at getting them out, but we're always well-intentioned!   Time just has a way of slipping by on us.  So this year, we created a family Christmas website!  Each family member gets a page to update the world on the latest and greatest.  After all, this is the first year in a long time that we aren't either moving, having a baby, or contemplating a possible move overseas!  We're staying put for a while much to the relief of our families!  On our "card," each family member also gets a small slide-show to show off some favorite pictures of the year.  One of my favorite parts, too, is that there's a spot where you can even leave comments as a sort of guestbook via facebook on our Christmas card.  Perhaps this is the future of Christmas cards!  Well, I kind of hope it isn't because I love seeing the back of our kitchen door get filled up as we tape up the cards and pictures we receive from family and friends as Christmas gets closer! At any rate, we hope you enjoy our "card."  Click on the picture below to check it out.  We'll be posting some best-of 2010 posts here in the near future, so stay tuned and stay warm!  I hear rumors that there might be snow this week...

PS - I rode my bike this morning and I thought my face was going to freeze off.

PPS - Even though we got a million inches of snow last year, I really hope we get some more!  I love a good snow day...or 10.

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Today, Sarah had a fund raising get-together for Birth Matters Virginia in Richmond at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.   Our girls spent the afternoon with their grandparents at the Children's Museum eating popcorn and brownies while we headed off to meet new people and enjoy an afternoon together with just Zach.  We had a great time snacking, sipping coffee, and talking with people from all over the state.  I got some one-on-one time with Zach, too, which is a rarity since the girls love being near him so much.  Zach and I found the quiet reading room in the library there and he took a nice long nap on my shoulder.  I tried my hardest to not fall asleep since I'm not the most graceful sleeper (picture head back and mouth open with a high chance of snoring)!  I also took a few minutes to wander the gorgeous grounds around the property and I seriously wish I would have had more time!  I haven't been there in about 7 years and so much has changed.  If you're in the RVA area and are looking for something to do, this place is amazing.  I would absolutely love to photograph a wedding there someday!  We'll certainly have to take the girls back there in the spring to see the gardens in full bloom!

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Happy Birthday Sarah!

Thursday was Sarah's birthday!  She's an amazing woman who somehow manages to balance a crazy amount of things.  She's been my biggest support and loudest cheerleader for the past 12ish years, and for that I am so grateful!

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All three on my own!

In January of this year, Sarah embarked on a whole new journey.  She enrolled in school to be a midwife!  I'm so proud of her for pursuing this dream and she is working incredibly hard with the academic part of her education.  She's been a doula for several years now and will soon be jumping into clinical work learning how to actually deliver babies.  Wild!  In the meantime, she's been going to Richmond for skills training sessions.  A few weeks ago, she took off to learn how to draw blood!  I was very happy to volunteer to keep the three kids while she did that so she didn't have to practice on me!  (I'm a fainter!) I've kept the kids on my own a bunch before (including a 2.5 week stint when the girls were 2 and 4 while Sarah traveled overseas!), but this was the longest I had been on my own with the girls and Zach who is not the most thrilled with the idea of being gone from Mom for so long.  We survived just fine, however, and I even managed to get them all out on a few errands and to our neighborhood park.  Here's one of my favorite images from our time together!  I think this will have to soon become a huge canvas print for our living room!

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Halloween Fairies

We have quite a few images from the past few weeks with our family to share.  It's been a crazy-busy month, but we managed to squeeze in some good family fun as well!  Here are our two favorite fairies on Halloween!  Sarah and I dove into making the girls' costumes this year.  Growing up in a house of boys, I can honestly say that this was my first experience making fairy wings and wands!

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