Category: It's All About Me |It's All Personal

I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn and Family Photographer

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I can’t believe that I am celebrating 20 years of marriage.  It has been a lot of hard work to stay married this long, and it has also been pretty dam wonderful.

I often see posts in my Facebook feed people who proclaim they are lucky to have married their best friend.  I did not marry my best friend. I married the love of my life.

 

Whitney (46)Thank you Amanda Naylor Photography for this picture of me and the love of my life. 

Our relationship has very similar qualities I share in my relationships with my best friends, but he is my husband not my best friend (kind of like I am not your best friend I am your mom mindset that I have with my kids.) I think our partnership is a good one, but it does not serve the same purpose as my best friends.

With my best friends, I share a history. A history made up of surviving high school and college, dating and heartbreak, road trips and late night phone calls. I continue to make new friends that I don’t share the same history, but we still have our adventures and inside jokes and support for each other.  My best friends- old and new- are the ones that call bullshit on me. They get pedicures with me. We talk about girl stuff  like being a mom and a wife, and who you’d leave your husband for in your fantasy life . . . Ryan Reynolds I am patiently waiting for you.  They let me be myself because you can’t always be yourself in the real world. We complain about our husbands (and in some instances ex-husbands) and our children without the need to fix something because sometimes we just need to vent (outside of social media). And, they understand that we are all busy and we don’t have the energy for those late night phone calls right now. I know that if I needed them, I could call them and they’d be there for me no questions asked in a way that a friend would be there for you (because they know if I am asking for help that I honestly and truly need it.)

I love my husband unlike I love my best friends. We’ve experience a mutual growth through some significant life changes that I also share with my best friends, but in a totally different way. And, my husband and my best friends have navigated me through those changes in their own way. I feel so lucky that I have all of them in my life- my husband and my best friends.

May Your New Year Be Picture Perfect | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn & Family Photographer

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Looking forward to a fun and productive new year!  Every year, I take a little bit of time to evaluate what worked for me and what didn’t work for me.  I do this professionally and personally.  I don’t have a lot of complaints about 2014!  It was a year filled with loyal clients and new clients, too.  I had the honor of photographing lots and lots of new siblings this year.  Even though it was a great year, I have pinpointed a few areas that I could improve on not only for you, but also for myself.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the changes including sending out my first official newsletter in a couple of weeks!

I wish everyone a wonderful new year  . . . may it be picture perfect!  Lots of health & happiness, laughter & smiles, and hopefully a trip to see me!

 

Capture Life | Southern York County Pennsylvania Photographer

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It was just two weeks ago.

It was the anticipation and excitement of waiting for one friend to give birth.  And then, it was the relief and happiness to know that a beautiful little girl had arrived safely.  A very healthy, beautiful little girl.  It was rearranging the day’s schedule to go meet her and take pictures of her and congratulate her parents.  It was such happiness to meet a new life that was introduced to the world.

Then a couple days later, it was the heart-wrenching news that one of my good friends had lost her husband unexpectedly.  The sadness was so overwhelming.  I was sad that a man who I considered to be a friend was taken from this world, but my heart was aching for my good friend.  She is now a widow, and their children no longer have a father here on earth.   Time may heal all wounds, but the scars will always be there.  It is so incredibly sad.  I don’t really know how else to say it.   One of my friends said it so well, there are no words or enough hugs to take away the pain.

It was just one week ago.

Both of these friends told me how thankful they were to have had a session with recent pictures, but for very different reasons.  Sometimes, I don’t think I stop to think about what my pictures mean to other people.  I mean . . . I am just taking a picture, right? Nope.  I am doing so much more than just taking a picture.  I work very hard to try to capture personalities and genuine smiles.  I work very had to capture the emotions and connections in relationships.  Sometimes, it is easier said than done.  I may not find a cure for cancer or find a solution for world hunger, but I think I finally realize that what I do is important.  Because what I do is to capture life.  To capture a moment in time, a milestone, a memory.

Welcome to this big beautiful world little girl!  Sometimes it will knock you down, and sometimes is will break heart.  But is also has amazing triumphs and milestones.  It is filled with more love than hate even though sometimes it will make you wonder.  I hope you take the time to smell the roses.  I hope you remember that rainstorms bring blooming flowers, green grass and rainbows.  I hope you know that in the darkness of night that there are still stars, and every darkness has a dawn.  I wish for you a nurturing soul, and a forgiving heart.  I hope that leave people better than you found them.  I wish you love & I wish you happiness.

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Music To My Ears . . . Summer Vacation | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn & Family Photographer

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Today I am thankful that summer vacation is almost here. I enjoy when my kids are done the school year (don’t get me wrong I will be happy when it is time for them to return to school, too). I am lucky enough that my job allows me to be flexible with my time so I can do some fun things with them, and my oldest if fully capable of helping me out with the younger two. I love music. Last year, we made a playlist for the car for our adventures. An adventure is code for a day trip that will generally lead to me saying let’s take the back road and getting lost. Getting lost is my way of teaching my kids problem-solving and keeping their minds sharp over the summer (that’s a lie because the truth is I have a terrible sense of direction).   I still have the playlist saved, and I am hoping we either come up with a new list or we simply add to the existing list. These are just a few of my favorite songs from last year-

1. Bruises (Train)
2. Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty)
3. I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift)
4. Little Talks (Of Monsters and Men)
5. People Are Crazy (Billy Currington)
6. Boys ‘Round Here (Blake Shelton)
7. Pay Phone (Maroon Five)
8. Summer Girl (Jessica Andrews)

I can’t wait for some more adventures and more summer memories. I can’t wait to live in the moment for this summer and get lost. My oldest is in high school, and she’ll probably have a summer job next year. And before I know it she will be gone. And, the reality is that I know that I will redefine the summer vacation for where we are in life and they will still be great, but as with every new milestone in our family it is kind of sad, too.

Thankful Thursdays | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn and Family Photographer

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Today I am thankful for my inbox.  How sad would it be if I didn’t have anything that needed to be done and if no one else needed me to do something for them?  When I got my first job, I would be completely stressed out because I wanted my inbox to be empty.  There would be days that I’d see the bottom of the inbox and I would be giddy.  That lasted for only a couple minutes.  Then one day, my boss pulled me aside and said to me, “Your inbox will never be empty, and there will always be something on your to-do list.  It’s okay to have some things in your inbox and on your to-do list.  You can only do one thing at a time.  Just organize and prioritize and reevaluate.”  It was valuable piece of advice.  There are days when I think about everything that I need to accomplish, and I feel like I will never be able to make it all happen.  And, you know what?  I do make it happen.  I just stop myself.  Take that deep breath.  Then I organize and prioritize and reevaluate.  One task at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.  It is good to busy.  It means I have a full life.

Never Grow Up | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn & Family Photographer

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DISCLAIMER:  This has nothing to do with photography.  Last week was probably one of the most stressful weeks that I’ve had in a long time.  Don’t get me wrong I am probably stressed more often than not, but I try to take it all in stride.  Unfortunately, I was so stressed out about a particular situation that I had to make a hard decision last week.  The good news is that I didn’t have a lot of time to dwell on it.  I didn’t handle it with the utmost of grace, but I didn’t really feel like I had the option.  And, I think most of you know me well enough that I am a pretty reasonable, rational, patient person.  I didn’t go crazy-town, but I felt backed into a corner, and you know how things can go down when you feel like you are being backed in to a corner.  So now the deed is done, and the stress is gone.  I have no regrets about my decision, as a matter of fact I feel really good about the decision.  I am looking forward to a lot less stress in my life and moving forward.  Change is sometimes hard, but it is also necessary.  Looking forward to a brand new week!

Simple & Beautiful | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn & Family Photographer

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Easter Eggs

There are so many things in life that require our time and energy.  There is no possible way to do it all.  So, we must pick and choose what is important to us.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that the other things aren’t important to us, it’s just that somethings are just more important.  There is no right or wrong way .  I do crafty Martha Stewart type things because I want to do them.   I do not feel the societal pressures to do them and I am not showing off.  Okay, I may be showing off just a little bit.  But, here is the thing . . . I am not getting a new tattoo, I can’t sew or knit, I can’t run a marathon, and I don’t do Crossfit.  I think I am allowed to show off my latest creation with my friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

This week I naturally dyed some Easter eggs.  My kids have never been much about dying Easter eggs.  Now that they are older I asked them if they wanted to do it because I thought it might be fun do some naturally dyed eggs.  They were okay with it.  They were intrigued and asked lots of questions, but they didn’t really care about being part of the process.  Sometimes I have been known to strongly encourage my children to do things that I think they should do because that is what kids do.  Why?  If they don’t enjoy it I shouldn’t force them to do it.  It keeps life just a little bit happier and a little bit less crazy.   It wasn’t difficult, but it was a little time consuming.  I can’t explain what it was about the process that was so much fun for me and I loved the outcome.  It is kind of like store bought cookies are good, but homemade cookies are even better.  Maybe its the love that goes into it.

Happy Easter!!

 

My Birthday Tradition | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn and Family Photographer

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This is one of my all time favorite pictures of me and my Nanny.  She passed away a couple years ago.  I miss her.  I don’t have a lot of pictures of her, but I have tons of memories.  Quite a few of my favorite and most vivid childhood memories are of her.  This picture was taken just after my 1st birthday.  Speaking of birthdays . . . today is my birthday.  Every year on my birthday (or within a day or two) I take minute to think about my life.  I jot down some things about me and who I am right now.  I write one thing for each one of my years.  I’d like to say that it is only 39 things, but it is 42 things about me.  Some of them are funny and some not so funny and a little more serious (although I try not to take myself to seriously).  If you wanted to learn a little bit more about me . . . here it is.

 

Who I Am & What I Have Learned & What I Think

 [ after 42 years of life & 20 years of marriage ]

You are the only person who can define happiness for yourself.  And, no one is responsible for your happiness (or your misery) but you.  Own it.
A happy marriage is what you define as a couple.  It’s not a fairytale, it’s real life. 
I am a work in progress . . . hard hats and safety glasses required. 
Sometimes you just need to ask for what you want.
My husband (and my children) are not mind readers.
Be careful what you say and do (and who you say it to) because words can’t be unsaid and actions can’t be undone.  And, people who you trust will throw you under the bus to save themselves. 
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things you can do, but also it is the most important thing you can do for yourself. 
I don’t like RUDE people.  They will get the best of me every time. 
Every day I wake up and I want to be a better person. Some days I succeed.  Some days it is an epic fail.  I am grateful that there is always another day to try again.
“The days are long, but the years are short.”  Amen.
My husband will NEVER voluntarily clean a toilet, but when I need him to step up he is always there for me.  That’s okay because I will never voluntarily negotiate with a car salesman.
I like my alone time.  I mean I REALLY like my alone time.
I love sending thank you cards.  I want you to know that I appreciate the time and energy and money you spent on me, or that you’ve done something for me.  I want to take the time to let you know it.  But, it doesn’t bother me when I don’t get them. 
My high school friends are some of the most important people to me.  They probably don’t know it because I don’t see them all that often and we don’t talk on the phone.  It is just good to know that they are there if I need them.   
I don’t think there is a perfect parent.  My only hope is that my children grow up to productive members of society who find happiness and love (for themselves and others), and live gracefully in a world that is amazing and challenging.
I am a little silly.  I think that keeps me sane.  Sometimes I find it necessary to make my own fun.
I am never lost (literally and figuratively).  I am on an adventure.
I honestly do not care where we eat when we go out to dinner.   
Parenting is the hardest thing in the world.  I think that it gets harder and harder as they get older.  I miss the days when I could change a diaper and fix their problem.
I think the best things we can do for our kids is to let them fail.  Let them figure out how to fix their own problems and deal with their own issues.  But, it is the hardest thing in the world to let them fail and watch them struggle.  It builds character.
I hate participation trophies. 
It’s just life.  It is busy, it is chaotic, and it is stressful.  Isn’t everyone’s life?  My problems could be so much worse.  But, life is also fun, it is full of surprises, it is wonderful.
I am a horrible singer, but I love to sing.  I hardly ever know the words, but that doesn’t stop me.
I believe in second chances, but don’t ask me for a third chance.  I will forgive you, but I won’t forget.
I rarely have regrets.  But, I do have quite a few life lessons in my pocket.
I am not very good at balancing the things in my life. 
I love lists.
Sometimes I will go back and put things on my list from that day just so I can check them off. 
I iron my dollar bills that go through the washing machine and dryer.
I should put learning how to balance my life better on the list.
I spend too much money and I don’t save enough.
I believe you should be friendly with your neighbors, but you don’t necessarily have to be friends with your neighbors.
I almost always make my bed in the morning.  It sets the tone for my whole day.
I am stressed out if my kitchen is a mess (you would think that my family would know this about me by now.)
I believe in karma.
There are consequences and the punishment should fit the crime. 
I don’t believe higher education is the key to success.  Don’t get me wrong, I think education is important and it comes to us in so many ways whether it is a college, trade school, life experience, etc.  I think it is more about being an honest, hardworking person making smart decisions that make you successful. 
I believe you should never make it harder than it has to be.  Whatever happened to keeping it simple?
I love sweet tea, Oreos and peanut butter cups, flip flops or going barefoot, everything Fall, pictures, homemade chocolate chip cookies, chips and salsa, all kinds of music (well almost all kinds), romantic comedies and stupid comedies, inspirational quotes. 
I don’t think everyone needs to believe in God.  I just think you need to believe in something.  He has been good to me and He has been there for me.  But I know that just because you sit in the front pew at church every week, it doesn’t mean you are a good Christian or a good person. 
I love my children equally, but I do not love them the same.  They are individual human beings with different wants and needs which change as they grow older and older.
I hope that I have lots more livin’ to do, but when the time comes I hope that I “won’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words of Wisdom for Daughters | Southern York County Pennsylvania Newborn and Family Photographer

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Today I am thankful for some amazing fathers who took the time to write letters and books to their daughters about things they wanted their girls to know about the world.  What prompted this post?  I was watching the Today Show as I folded laundry.  A father, Dr. Kelly Flanagan, was featured on the show.  He wrote a letter to his daughter when he was in the make up aisle of a major retail store.  He saw words and phrases pertaining to beauty like brilliant strength, choose your dream, naked, infallible and age defying all of them in reference to physical beauty.  He took those same words and phrases and wrote something totally different.  It was still about being beautiful, but a different kind of beautiful.  I think I loved the last one on his list the most (although I loved them all) . . . . flawless beauty.  This is what he wrote “Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day.  May your  years be a preparation for that day.  May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people.  May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.”  How could I say that any better?

 

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And, as if this post isn’t long enough . . . it reminded me of a book that I discovered years ago that I absolutely love.  It is called “Boys Will Put You on a Pedestal Just to Look Up Your Dress” by Philip Van Muching.  It is a book he wrote to his girls after he was almost in an accident and it is all the advice he wanted them to know just in case.  It talks about Life, love, relationships and lots of other things including my favorite chapter was about tattoos.

Raising daughters is hard work (raising children is hard work) so it is nice to have these fathers impart their wisdom and their gift of the written word to help us out.

Balancing Basketball and All That Other Stuff | Southern York County Newborn and Family Photographer

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I love being a photographer and a small business owner because it gives me a lot of flexibility, but there are times that I miss my kids games and activities because most of them happen on the weekends.  And, it just so happens that a lot of people need their sessions on weekends.  The good thing is that answering emails, returning phone call, editing pictures, packaging orders, paying bills, and all that other stuff can be done during the week when they are at school.  Even though I can’t make it to everything, I try to balance work and family as best I can on the weekends.  Right now, it is basketball season and I have 2 kids playing travel basketball, so most of my weekends are spent in the studio and in the gym.  Just thought I would share a few of my own personal family pictures . . .

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