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It feels good to get back to some more personal blogging today, after spending most of our time lately sharing all of our recent shoots!  While I would love to stick to a specific weekly schedule (such a personal post on Monday, session photos on Tuesday, etc), it’s really important to us to blog and deliver our client’s images as quickly as possible…which is why we’ve focused on getting all of those posted rather than other content these past couple of weeks!  Today I want to talk to you about something kind of important to me…

When we bought our new house here in Georgia in late December, we knew that we were going to immediately begin remodeling – and we got to work pretty quickly right after the holidays.  We tore everything down to the studs, celebrating the entire time with grand visions dancing through our heads.  We know that this is going to be a long term home for us, a place for the boys to grow up with rooms of their own, a place for us to share meals with loved ones and to flourish as a family.  We had the water shut off.  We drew out plans for our kitchen and bathroom.  We ripped them out and put the toilet and old moldy bathtub out in the front lawn like trophies on the third day of work.  Our neighbors raised their eyebrows.  We blasted Pandora.  We danced and sang and swung sledgehammers.  And we told ourselves that we’d definitely be moving in within a couple of months.

Our bedroom closet (iPhone photo taken yesterday):

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And today we find ourselves at the end of April, with a lot of basic repair work done and drywall up in most of the rooms, but not a lot of other visual progress.  What we thought was going to take a couple of months is now looking like it’s going to take nearly half the year, and that’s if we’re lucky and can get it done before our really busy wedding and portrait season begins.  This past weekend was a rare free one for us, so we spent as much time as possible at the house working….and I found myself drifting into a familiar pattern.  “Once we get the house finished and move in things will be better, and the boys will be happier.”  “Once we get the house finished we’ll start cooking healthier meals.”  “Once we get the house finished we’ll have BBQs and campfires in the backyard all the time.”  “Once we get the house finished everything will be perfect…”

Those are familiar notions to me because I have never been good at living in the “now.”  What I am good at is setting big goals, and accomplishing huge tasks, and at always looking forward to the next thing on the horizon – the next challenge.  First it was…once I finish college and start my life out in the real world things will be better.  And then, once we’re out of the military, we’ll be happier.  And then, once we get married and get pregnant, our lives will be complete.  And then, once we have a second baby I’ll be happy.  And then, once I can quit my corporate job and do photography full time everything will be perfect.  And then, once we can sell our old house and move everything will be better.  It’s always the next thing that I’ve got my eye on.  It’s almost never today. 

Here’s the thing though….I realized this weekend that when I open the door of our new home, I don’t see the bare and unpainted sheets of drywall that Rick hung just last week.  I don’t see the piles of tools and screws and light fixtures and clutter splayed across the plywood subfloor.  I don’t see the shell of a bathroom with no walls or toilet or sink or tub.  I don’t see the missing cabinets in the kitchen, or how the island without a countertop has morphed into a messy workbench.  And as I walked in I literally found myself visualizing how the house is going to look once it’s done.  I could practically feel the new wood floors under my feet, and see the freshly painted kitchen cabinets paired with the perfect backsplash.  I walked by the bathroom and all I could see was a gleaming tile shower and my new whirlpool tub.  I walked into the boy’s room and I could visualize the blue walls, with the art station on the left side and bunk beds on the right.  And I came to a realization…this is what I always do!  When I wanted to leave my corporate job for full time photography, I could literally SEE what it was going to be like.  I could see it so clearly that I could feel what it was going to feel like, I could practically taste it.  I wanted it so bad that I got tunnel vision.

I stopped trying to enjoy and experience my everyday, because I was too focused on my someday.

It always feels like once we do “this” or “that” we’ll be happy, and we’ll finally be able to slow down and enjoy life more…but as soon as we accomplish one goal we immediately set our sights higher…and these days sometimes I hold my two boys in my arms and I almost can’t remember when it was that they got so big or smart or funny.  I want to live in the “now,” to enjoy and cherish every moment of this amazing life that we’ve built.  I really do.  And I’m getting better every day, but I’m not quite there yet….and one of my big goals for this year is to try to enjoy the moment more than I ever have before.  To stop thinking about what I need to be doing once I get to the studio for the day, or what major task needs to be completed this week, or what I might be missing on Facebook if I decide to go have a picnic with the boys on a Sunday afternoon.  I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us next, or how the house renovations go as we work through them, but this week I’m putting my effort into enjoying our house, and our business, and our family for what they are right now, in this very moment.  I hope you can find some time to do the same.  Love, A

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year since you joined our little family after two hours of easy and joyful labor.  So much has happened since that day in Snohomish, WA when your broad shoulders got stuck and you stubbornly made your exit without a peep.  Reading your birth story again this morning left me smiling and crying at the same time – what a beautiful day.  When we sold our house in the fall, as we drove away with you babbling happy noises from the backseat, my eyes welled up with tears as I thought about that little room where you and your brother were both born, and how we may never step foot in it again.  Giving birth to you and Dylan have been the best days of my life and the best things I have ever done…and I can’t believe that an entire year has passed.

I want to hold on to every single little piece of you while you’re this tiny little person.  That tuft of hair on the back of your head that simply can’t be tamed.  The way you walk little a little zombie, unsteady on your feet with your arms outstretched.  The way you snuggle into me with a giggle when you first wake up in the morning.  The way you refuse to wear shoes of any kind.  The grace you have with your big brother.   You big goofy grin that builds oh-so-slowly and then takes over your entire body and ends with a happy squeal.  That little bit of fat that you’ve had on the back of your neck since the day you were born.  Your fascination with exploring – with being outside unencumbered and with climbing anything in sight.  Your love for all kinds of food, and your bottomless pit of stomach that leaves us constantly worried that we’re overfeeding you.

A few weeks ago you simply decided to stop breastfeeding, and I wasn’t ready.  One morning we were snuggled up together enjoying nursing, and by that afternoon you were simply shaking your head in refusal and trying to open the refrigerator door instead.  I miss it so much every single day, and I know it’s just the first step of many that you’re going to take as you gain your independence and continue to grow into the perfect little man that you’re becoming.  You are so different than your big brother.  Such your own person.  You get upset when we try to help you up the stairs, but you need to be coddled when you fall down them…

You are 100% go-with-the-flow, I’ll hang out in my carseat all day on long drives and be happy, I still need you to rock me to sleep at night, the only word I say is “mama” and I say it a million times a day, I flirt with all the old ladies at the grocery store, happy little man.  You bring our family so much joy and love, and we are so thankful that you are ours.  Happy belated first birthday, Little Trev.

Love, Mama

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Tulip Festival Engagement Photos: Rick+Anna Photography

Whew – over the past couple of weeks we’ve had 7 engagement shoots and a wedding, and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get everything delivered super fast…and as we’ve finished everything up we’ve literally been saving this last engagement session from our recent trip as a reward for ourselves – it was our last shoot in Seattle before we came back to Atlanta for a few weeks and we are so excited to share it with you today!!!  Putting the final edits on this session was like eating a piece of delicious cake, or skipping through the Land of Oz, because it’s so colorful and fun!  We were all worried that the tulips out in the Skagit Valley were going to be gone before Katie+Casey’s engagement session, but we caught the tail end of them and it was absolutely beautiful…and as an added bonus they were much less crowded than they are during the peak of the season, so it couldn’t have worked out better!

Katie+Casey are the sweetest couple, we first met them back in November at the Ravishing Radish open house and we clicked immediately…and we waited until the spring to do their engagement photos because Casey actually proposed to Katie at the tulip festival – so the location was not only beautiful but very special to them, and we loved working with them in a place that holds such wonderful memories in their relationship.  Their outfits were also absolutely perfect for a spring shoot among the tulips – we love that they chose pastel pops of color that complimented their surroundings so well!

K+C – Thanks so much for a great afternoon, it was so fun to hang out with you guys and we can’t wait for your Farm Kitchen wedding later this year!

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UW Engagement Photos: Ashka+Siavash

We had the pleasure of meeting up with Ashka+Siavash about a week and a half ago in Seattle, and when they told us that they wanted to take engagement photos at the University of Washington where they met and fell in love we knew it was going to be special!  As we strolled the paths of the campus that morning, they told us their love story…how they had noticed each other right away when they first ended up in a class together, but how they had always chosen seats on opposite sides of the room because they were too shy to talk to each other.  Siavash could feel Ashka watching him from the other side of the room, but could never get up the nerve to speak to her, and over time they exchanged a few shy smiles and eventually ended up sitting side by side at the end of the year – so sweet!!  We decided to check out their old classroom during the shoot, and were absolutely thrilled when we walked into that room where their love story first began and found it unlocked and empty!  It was so special to take a few shots of them in that classroom where it all began – as well as a few locations around campus where they spent their days together while they were dating.

Ashka+Siavash, thank you SO much for the lovely morning that completely felt like a fun double date.  Thanks for being so great in front of our cameras, for being up for our crazy ideas, and for the wonderful brunch that followed our shoot.  We love you guys and can’t wait for your wedding in just a couple of months!!!  Love, R+A

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Carleton Farm Wedding, Lake Stevens, WA: Lana+Ashton

When Lana first met Ashton as a young girl at youth group, she had no idea what their future together would hold.  They became fast friends and over time that friendship began to transform into so much more, and even through the years and the military separations to follow their love has continued to grow deeper – and last weekend, as the rain poured down on the roof of the barn in a beautiful melody, they stood in front of their families and friends and promised each other forever.  Although the weather forecast predicted heavy rain throughout the entire day, we were able to sneak in some portraits after the ceremony before the downpour resumed – and one of our favorite moments of the day was when the barn doors were opened for their first dance and the guests literally let out a gasp as the beautiful sunset light poured through the barn….it was nothing short of magical.

One of the things that we loved most about Lana+Ashton’s wedding was that it was truly a labor of love, because Lana spent the last year handcrafting every single custom detail herself – so seeing it all come together in such a beautiful way was extra meaningful!

Lana+Ashton, we can’t thank you enough for the privilege of documenting your love and your beautiful wedding day!  Love, R+A

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Lana+Ashton chose to exchange love notes while they were getting ready, as well as their handwritten wedding vows.  We loved how personal and intimate this made their vows as they each read them quietly in their respective getting-ready rooms, rather than during their ceremony.

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Lana+Ashton shared a private prayer together before the ceremony, and he stayed blindfolded so that he would still see her for the first time as she came down the aisle…

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Right in the middle of their prayer, a huge gust of wind lifted Lana’s veil and it danced above their heads…

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  • April 20, 2015 - 4:37 pm

    Lorna - aww these are fabulous! I love all the details and the special moments you captured ♥️ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2015 - 10:31 pm

    Amy Willaford - Your photos came out lovely! The wedding was spectacular and I’m so glad that Lana will have these precious pictures to put that “exclamation point” on her special day’s memories! What a creative and fun wedding! Congratulations to the very happy couple.ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2015 - 10:52 pm

    Tiphanie Lynn Photography - Stunning Wedding, Stunning Bride and Stunning Couple……ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2015 - 11:04 pm

    Sareh Bess Photography - What a pretty wedding! I love all the handmade, lacy details. And the pictures of the couple praying before the ceremony with the blindfold brought tears to my eyes. Gorgeous work and lovely wedding!ReplyCancel

  • April 20, 2015 - 11:09 pm

    Marie C. Beliard-Ostensson - I LOVE IT!! So so pretty!!ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2015 - 12:44 am

    Debra Edgar - Wow! What a spectacular wedding! The love, the joy! Lovely!!!ReplyCancel

  • April 21, 2015 - 3:01 am

    Naarah Viloria - Thank Rick + Anna for putting up with all of our craziness that day. You two were superb! Just amazing! I absolutely love how the pictures turned out! They`re gorgeous [:ReplyCancel

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