Archive for April, 2014

April 22, 2014
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I was lucky enough to photograph the too-cute-for-words Rosabelle a few weeks ago. Seriously, this little girl has the best facial expressions and the bluest eyes!!! Her mama, Mary, wanted to get some pictures of her at 9 months old before her first teeth pop through and she loses that “baby look.”

Speaking of Mary, we go WAY back. I can still vividly recall the days of playing with Barbie dolls in our bedrooms and pretending to be American girls in my backyard. We went to grade school and high school together, and although we lost touch after our UA days, I will always hold a special place in my heart for her and the memories we made.

So as you can imagine, it was extra special taking pictures for this sweet family! Rosabelle was full of smiles and was a good sport about leaving the headband and bow on her head. She loved the pearl necklace we gave her to wear, and found it to be the perfect teething toy! 😉 I love the stool that Mary had us incorporate into the shoot, as it has a rose on it for her name.

We headed upstairs to Rosebelle’s room after our session in front of the grey backdrop. (EVERYONE has been picking that one lately! I promise I have other choices, but can you blame them?! It’s a great one!) One of the main reasons I love photographing babies at their homes is because we can capture some great candids in their nurseries. Rosabelle loved sitting in her rocking chair, and was totally hamming it up in her crib. One of my personal favorites is of her gnawing on her crib rail. I think it totally captures the stage of life she’s in, and that’s the whole point of taking pictures.

Mary and Greg, thank you so much for thinking of me to take pictures of your sweet girl. You two make super cute babies! 🙂 I so appreciate all of your help during the session, and I could tell just in our one hour together that you are the perfect parents for her. I hope you enjoy the photos we got!

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April 17, 2014
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Trevor Vincent was born during the early morning hours on February 20th, 2014. He was welcomed with open arms by his wonderful mama (Jenny) and daddy (Mike). His two brothers, Tyler and Drew, were over the moon excited for their new baby brother! He fit right in, and seems to be adjusting well to life in a busy house of all boys.

I was so honored when Jenny asked me to take Trevor’s newborn photos. We had such fun with the backdrops and blankets that are typical of a newborn session. We also ventured to Mike and Jenny’s room for some more relaxed family pictures. I am so glad we did, as they are some of my favorites!

This little guy holds an extra special place in my heart, as he is part of our family. Jenny is my hubby’s cousin, so we get to see them often! Can I just take a moment to say how gorgeous Jenny is?! I WISH I looked like her while having a newborn at home. I love that new mama’s glow. 🙂

Thanks, Munafo family, for inviting me into your home during this special time in your life. Trevor is a cutie, and I know Tyler and Drew will continue to be wonderful big brothers. Enjoy those sweet boys of yours!

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April 11, 2014
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I first heard about Aidan through the “All in for Aidan” page on Facebook. He is a student in the district I teach in, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor in March of 2013. The community decked out in yellow to show that they were “all in” to support Aidan through his treatment. It was so heartwarming to see! I wanted to help in some way, and decided that I’d donate a photo session to this amazing family. I figured that they might appreciate having some photos taken during this season of life, as I’ve found it important to document it all: the up’s, down’s, and in-between’s.

We headed out to Sharon Woods this past fall, and I had a blast with Aidan and his family. They even brought along their new dog, Sadie! Everyone was a good sport, and we spent a lot of time at our session laughing. No matter what trial may be put in their path, they always manage to keep a positive attitude and remain so grateful for the support they’ve been shown. We made sure to take some pictures of Aidan with each parent (the first few photos), but also wanted to capture all the siblings with their parents as well. Since this was a fall photo session, they were wanting some family pictures to use for Christmas cards and to hang around their home!

I so loved meeting this amazing boy and his family. Life is all about attitude, and they have managed to keep their spirits high even through difficult circumstances. They are an inspiration for all of us; if they can be positive when faced with something as serious as a tumor, surely we can stay positive through the difficult times we’re handed! I will continue to keep Aidan in my prayers, and I ask that you do the same. His tumor is stable and hasn’t grown, which is great! Please pray that it collapses and goes away for good!!!

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Thanks again, Glass family, for allowing me to document this time in your life for you!

To learn more about Aidan and his story, feel free to check out the All in for Aidan page on Facebook!

April 03, 2014
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Five years ago, at about this time of year, I felt prompted to move from the apartment I was living in and purchase a house. Jason and I had just started dating, and my dad encouraged me that since the housing market was so low, it was a great time for me to go out on my own and buy. After looking at a few houses online, my friend Mandi suggested that I look into building in her neighborhood. As it turns out, it was actually cheaper to build a BRAND NEW house than it was to buy most pre-existing ones. During the whole process, I felt like I was falling right into God’s perfect plan for me. There was a lot just three doors down from my wonderful friends (the Sparks’), and I was able to build a beautiful new home that I could afford on my teaching salary. Really, the only thing I had to compromise on was a basement (for budget reasons), but I was young, single, and so excited to be out on my own I didn’t care. When I moved in, I had so much room that I didn’t know what to do with it all! I remember thinking how empty it looked, and the OCD in me was happy that everything had a perfect spot.

Fast forward to present day, and that house that was so roomy for one (well, two if you count Sadie!) is now home to my wonderful husband, two kids, and two dogs. Every cabinet is full, I use half our garage to store photography stuff, kids toys are everywhere, and we are maxed out in terms of space. I knew we’d have to move, but I didn’t know when that was going to be. Just like five years ago, God has been whispering to my heart the last few months. At first, He prompted me to list the lot Jason and I had bought about two years ago. It was the perfect lot, in a perfect neighborhood, in a great school community. His dad (a custom home builder) was going to build us our dream forever home. The idea of selling the lot made my heart hurt, and even more so, I knew it would devastate Jason. Yet after reviewing our finances and our decision for me to stay home for a few years with our kids, we came to the realization it was for the best. We couldn’t afford the house we were going to build for at least a few more years, and we were outgrowing our current home so quickly we didn’t think we could wait. So, we put it on the market to see what would happen, expecting it to sit for at least a few months. Well, it sold….in a week!

Next up was Jason’s Deer Park house that he lived in when we met. We decided that once the lot was gone, we were going to wait for our renter’s lease to run out and then list that. Once that house sold, we would think about listing our current home. I reached out to our fabulous renter and asked what her plans were, fully expecting her to say she wanted to move. She said she wanted to stay another year! We were so excited, as she really is the best tenant we could ever hope for.

After those two things fell into place, we decided to see what was out there in terms of a new house. We went out three different times with our awesome realtors to look at pre-exisiting homes in the areas we were interested in, and didn’t find anything to write home about. Either we loved the inside but hated the yard, loved the yard but would need to renovate the inside, or loved everything but it was way out of our budget. We wondered if we had made the right decision in selling our lot. Then one night, Jason suggested we go to the model home in our current neighborhood and inquire about some of their market homes. Somehow in that discussion, we ended up walking through a model home in another community and fell in LOVE with the Nicholas floor plan. Better yet? We could get the house we loved, with tons of upgrades, for less than we probably would’ve spent buying pre-exisiting and WAY less than what we would’ve spent building on our lot. We initially struggled with what to do, but in the end, we felt this was the direction God was calling us and we followed.

We signed the paperwork to build, and shortly after, listed our current home. It has been on the market for less than two weeks so far, and we’ve already had four showings and a successful Open House. We have gotten such great feedback from everything, and the people that saw it last night are coming again tomorrow. We are crossing our fingers that they make a good offer, but also that they are okay with us renting back from them for awhile! Our new house should be finished in mid-August, and so we may be living with my parents until then if need be.

Every step of the way, I have felt God’s hand working. I KNOW He wants us to move. I know that when I built this home, I never intended for it to hold a family of four, and of course knew it wouldn’t be my forever home. Yet the idea of moving is breaking my heart. So I decided to write a little letter to the new owners, whomever they may be. Of course they’ll probably never see it, but I just had to share my thoughts on this big life change for our family. So here goes…

To the new owner(s) of our home,

First off, let me tell you how lucky you are! We have loved this house, and it has been so good to us these past five years. We haven’t had any issues with it, and we love our neighborhood. So much so, in fact, that we are building here again!

I’m assuming that when you came for the showing you liked what you saw. I’m sure the kitchen caught your eye, and you could picture yourself on the back patio entertaining friends. You saw that the carpets were clean (you have NO idea what a feat this was with two kids and two dogs!), and that all of the bathroom fixtures were in good shape. I know what you saw, and I am so happy that you fell in love with our home. I want to focus the rest of this letter on what you DIDN’T see. Because there’s no way you could possibly know what this house has meant to my family and me by just visiting for a half hour.

Let’s start downstairs. That kitchen you saw that you loved so much? You didn’t see the hours it took for me to pick out just the right cabinet/laminate floor/counter top combo. I think I went to that design center at least three times to make sure I was happy with the finished product. Those long extended counters into the dining room that set our house apart? I got the idea from my best friend’s mom, and my wonderful father-in-law ordered and installed them. It was quite the afternoon project!

Into the backyard, you’ll see the huge patio that my father-in-law did with his concrete guy. At the time I wanted it to be big to fit a table, grill, and have plenty of room to entertain friends. Nowadays, it’s mainly used by my two kids on nice days. Did you see the playhouse? They love that thing. The patio is the perfect size for riding bikes on, too. Oh, and the fire pit and retaining wall? Let me tell you – THOSE were some PROJECTS! My hubby, dad, and father-in-law worked for who knows how many hours to make our backyard perfect. We joked that if a tornado were to come, that retaining wall would still be standing! Jason and I have had a lot of important conversations around that fire pit. While I was pregnant, we talked about what life would be like once our daughter was born. Later, we decided for me to stay home with our kids for awhile. That silly fire pit symbolizes a whole lot for me.

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Moving upstairs, you’ll see my daughter’s green room that my mom and I painted together. I was on my hands and knees with my big belly, but it felt so good to make that room a nursery for her. You probably noticed the wall art above her bed that says her name and “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I searched Etsy for hours trying to find the perfect thing to put above her bed! That bible verse struck home for me because she was not planned, but has proven to be the most perfect gift we could’ve ever hoped to receive! (Sorry for the awful picture! It’s all I could find that shows her name on the wall!)

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Our son’s room has a giant baseball painted on it. That was a Pinterest idea that my baseball-obsessed husband saw and made me promise to do! My poor mother got roped into duplicating it, and I think she did a great job. I love sitting in that room and rocking him to sleep while singing “You are my Sunshine.” He is the sweetest little guy, and quite the cuddler. He’s too young to say, but I’m pretty sure he loves his baseball room!

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The house you bought holds many special memories for me. We brought home both our babies there, and I can still remember where we set down their car seats for the first time. We got married while living in that house, and traveled through the many up’s and down’s that our first year of marriage had in store. We built our family there, and most every memory that’s worth remembering happened in that house.

Both our kids had their first bath in the kitchen sink. Our daughter loved watching the Kings Island fireworks from her bedroom window in the summer (yes, she was often still awake at 10:00…don’t judge! HA). Our son did the funniest “gorilla scoot” across our kitchen floor. Our kids had tea parties in the family room. They had dance parties in the loft. I found out I was pregnant in our master bathroom. I would curse the dogs for getting so darn muddy in the backyard. We opened Christmas presents, dyed Easter eggs, and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters there. We made that house a home, and you will never be able to see how much love those walls hold.

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I will cry the day we pack up and move out. I am crying now, writing this letter, just THINKING about the day we move out. I know God has led me to know it is time. It is time for our kids to have a basement to play in. It is time for a fourth bedroom so that we can potentially grow our family if that’s His plan. It is time for more space, and more memories in a new house. Yet I will always hold this one so close to my heart.

I encourage you to paint the walls in ways that fit your family. Hang up your own pictures. Invite friends over to sit on the patio. Make time for fire pit nights that might lead to deep conversation. Bring home babies, if that’s in your life plan. Tuck them into bed in those rooms, and sing them lullabies. Celebrate the holidays there, and most importantly, make your own memories there! Our time in that house is up, and now it is your turn to make the house your home.

Not to sound creepy, but know that we look forward to living down the street. When we go on walks or to the pool and pass your house, I will tell my kids, “Remember when we used to live there? That was such a great house!” I hope that they, too, will hold a special place in their hearts for our first house. More than anything, I hope that you will be blessed with the same joys in that home as we were!

Fondly,

Kristi

And now some pictures of our family in front of our new lot! Peyton is very excited for them to start digging the basement. Every time we go past it, she says, “They gotta dig a hole!”

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