February 28, 2013

Highlights of Home

I think I don't post as much now that we're back in Salt Lake because the majority of the people I was writing for in Boston live here and are now a part of my everyday life. Nonetheless, here I am sharing some of the highlights that we've been enjoying since moving back to our hometown.

 The girls got big-girl beds! We took down their cribs for the move from Boston and never reassembled them! I completely dreaded this transition, but I think we've essentially got the hang of things. The girls LOVE their beds! They don't, however, like being made to stay in them instead of jumping around, playing with books and toys instead of sleeping. We're working on this.

Sophie wanted to help take her new bed upstairs!

My amazing hubby spent an afternoon getting these assembled. We bought bunk beds that don't need to be assembled that way (our girls are still too little for that, I'm afraid), and everything has worked out great with them so far!

 Of course, I heard giggles after having put these guys down for their nap. I came in and found this happening! The photographer in me naturally whipped out my camera to take a photo before scolding them and making sure they were separated for sleeping.

Being home has meant that the girls get to see their grandparents--a LOT! (These photos are with my parents, but we see Matt's family occasionally, and Jeff and Kathy about once a week.) Matt and I aren't complaining though, this awesome set up has worked out to where he and I get to go out on a date night 2-3 times each month. Oooooh my goodness, I so look forward to spending that alone time with my husband! Having twin toddlers drives me crazy in ways I'm not even aware of until all of the stress from parenting these energetic little ones leaves me literally breathless! I do love their sweet little faces though...

Olivia was barking at the "white dog" during a reading of Eric Carle's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" 

Grandpa must have made it through 3 or 4 of these Curious George stories before they lost interest! That's 3 or 4 more than I've ever managed with them!

Believe it or not, a huge factor in the enjoyment I derive from living in this area again is that I get to watch ALL of the Broncos games again! I no longer have to wait until the Patriots have a bye week or until Denver heads out to play some East Coast rival! Sophie sees a football game on (no matter who is playing) and shouts "Go Broncos!". Yep. I'm one proud mama!

The onset of having cereal for breakfast has been quite an event at our house. The girls love eating their cheerios! Hearing them shout for "seer-yul! seer-yul!" first thing in the morning is adorable--it's the perfect way to start the day!

Matt taught the girls how to drink the milk out of their bowls....oh boy.

The girls miss being able to play outside--when we lived in Boston we went to the park all the time! Now that we're here, granted, it has been an incredibly frigid winter, we just haven't made it out all that much. Besides the severe cold, we really don't have a good excuse especially  now that we have a playground on our townhouse's campus within walking distance! Yesterday was sunny/warm enough that I felt like if I bundled the girls up well enough we could head out for a good 20 minutes of play. They were THRILLED! 

The girls played on the curb surrounding the perimeter of the playground--leave it to them to find the one thing playgrounds didn't have in Boston! Sophie is hugging Olivia in this photo and it was taken a split second before Olivia figured out what was going on. Apparently she didn't want to be seen hugging her sister in public because she made it crystal clear that she wasn't having any of it!

Who knew that walking on a 5" piece of concrete could provide so much entertainment for these kids?!

It always amazes me how much my girls have grown in such a short amount of time! They seem so much older than they were even when we moved back in December. They are starting to come out of the Terrible Two's and be much more interactive, sweet, and verbal, although they are still the queen of tantrums. I do love this age though, and these guys make my day entertaining at the very least. I love their kissable cheeks and their beautiful eyes and the way the say "I wuuuv woo!" when I leave to go somewhere. Gah! Melts my heart!

February 12, 2013

Magic Hour Foundation

Oh where can I start? I feel like the only appropriate way to describe how I'm feeling right now is to explain how excited Olivia gets when she accomplishes something by herself. She stands up and looks at me and says "I dih-yit!" (I did it!) and then she hops up and down and bangs her hands together over and over again while shouting "yay! yay! I dih-yit!"

Her excitement is so pure and innocent and it's so real and she's so proud of herself. That's where I'm at right now. I'm so excited and so proud of myself--I have to share it with you all!

If we're friends on Facebook, you may have noticed me blowing up your news feed with something called Magic Hour Foundation. This is a national charity that pairs photographers with cancer patients and survivors and that allows them to have free photography sessions in order to make sure their memories are treasured for a lifetime. Last Saturday I submitted my application for consideration to participate with the charity as one of their photographers and this morning I received my acceptance email! I was ecstatic to say the very least! While the organization isn't incredibly selective about the photographers that are chosen, they do have several distinguishing criteria that a candidate must meet, and it's so rewarding to be acknowledged as a professional outside of your own mind. When someone who doesn't know you and only knows your work accepts you, you know you've made it! I've had this feeling a few times, lots when I book new clients who have come across my work without a referral from a previous client, and I definitely am feeling accomplished right now!

This is truly a perfect fit for me. Magic Hour Foundation provides sessions to patients who are children and adults, and this was something that was important for me. Most of you also know that I was invited to blog for the Huffington Post in their GenerationWhy section which focuses on how young adults face the experience of cancer (and as soon as I have my login you'll be hearing a lot from me there). Of course cancer is a terrible thing for anyone of any age to face, but I also have an incredibly special place in my heart for young adult cancer patients, as that is what my experience with the disease has been. I was so happy to have found this charity that would allow me to work with cancer patients of all ages.

All of you who read this blog know how much it means to me to be able to give back in this way. You all know my history with cancer and how it has affected my life. Sean always hoped that if his time here on earth was cut short that his story would live on and that those who loved him would find ways to keep the hope that he felt alive in whatever ways we can. And of course, I have Matt with me now, and if it weren't for his battle with cancer and his willingness to face and overcome the disease, I don't know where I'd be. As strange as it sounds, and as strange as it is to say it, my life has been blessed by cancer, and it's not a difficult thing for me to recognize this. Magic Hour Foundation is the perfect avenue for me since photography is what I love. A few months ago, while still in Boston, I was feeling that I wanted to start giving back to my local community and I struggled with finding a way to do this. I came to the decision that I wanted to start donating a few sessions each year to cancer patients and their families, and after looking into how to do this, I discovered that I was not the only one (thankfully!) who had come to this decision and that there were many organizations and charities that I could work with to provide this service to these deserving families. Even though I had found what I wanted to do, trying to accomplish it all right before our move to Salt Lake didn't seem like the right time, so I shelved it for a while until last weekend. I finally felt like I was settled again and in a place where I could start giving of myself. One application, 4 days, and 1 acceptance email later and here I am! What a blessing it is to be able to provide hope to these families in this way that I am able!