December 31, 2013

2013... where did it go?!

I know it's cliche, but holy cow, 2013 absolutely flew by. Here's where my husband Opie, who's 8 years my elder, would pipe in to say, "Just wait a few years. It only goes faster." I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to say that sort of thing until you're at least 50-years-old AND you're 20+ years older than the person you're addressing, but what do I know? I'm just a whipper-snapper.

So what all happened this year? I graduated with my Bachelor's degree from UT Dallas, finally. I was named the "Best Family Photographer" in North Dallas & Park Cities by Living Magazine's readers. My husband and I traveled to Seattle in May to meet our niece for the first time. Said niece's adoption was finalized in December. I began volunteering my photography skills for the National Psoriasis Foundation. My parents and several close friends all moved out of state within about two weeks of each other during the summer. I did a photography trade with a friend, and got new portraits of Opie and me for the first time since our wedding four years earlier. I finally turned our spare bedroom into my home office, so that my husband's and my conflicting work styles are no longer battling it out in one confined space. I re-started my garden after foundation repair at the end of last year's growing season undid all my hard work. I posted about 9,000,000 photos of my great danes on Instagram, because obviously. I became an Offbeat Bride Vendor, and was featured on their blog yesterday. I came on full time in my role as the Head of Photography for Earthbound in June, while also working every other moment of the day on this business. That last sentence sums up where most of this year's time and energy went.

In 2013, I photographed 10 weddings, 34 portrait sessions, and 5 parties/events, if my quick count is correct. Add to that quite a few 10-14 hour days on set at Earthbound apparel or home decor shoots, as well as the daily, low-key, in-house product photography, and that's a whole lot of time spent with camera in hand! Not to mention the many, many hours of planning and post-processing that goes on behind the scenes, whether for my own business or for the other. It's been a busy year, but also a rewarding year full of personal growth. I look forward to meeting the challenges of 2014.

Here are a few photos of me in action this year, to round out the post:

I'll soon be recapping my favorite photos from 2013's shoots, so check back over the next few days!

December 22, 2013

Eden: Officially Part of the Family

I got a call on Friday with big news: my niece Eden is officially part of the family! Her adoption was finalized at the courthouse that afternoon, after coming home to Washington state with my sister and brother-in-law this time last year from Thailand. She's been called by a nickname rather than her given name for most of her life, and opted to choose a new name for herself. Friday was the day that new name became official: Eden, followed by her Thai surname as a middle name, and my sister and brother-in-law's surname as her new surname. We still call her by her Thai nickname some within the family, but I'm doing my best to remember to refer to her as Eden when talking about her outside the home, since that's the name she chose for herself.

I guess maybe it's unusual for adopted children to choose their own name at any point in the adoption process. Of course, Eden isn't so much an adopted child as she is an adopted teenager, so it makes perfect sense. I think she chose a beautiful name. Can you imagine what you would have chosen if given the chance to choose a new name for yourself as a teenager? She did well.

The adoption being finalized marks another big milestone: we can finally publicly share photos that include her face. Of course I still got her parents' permission, but I can finally share these photos I took of Eden back in May during my trip up to Washington to meet her for the first time! While my nephew Connor was at physical therapy with my sister, Eden and I adventured off on our own for a mini portrait session. Like many a teenage girl, Eden really likes having her photo taken, so it was the perfect opportunity for us to spend time together. I felt especially honored to be the very first person that Eden spent time alone with other than her parents since arriving in the United States. No pressure...

Welcome to the family, Eden! I loved meeting you in May, and I look forward to seeing you again and again for, well, forever! Uncle Opie and I are so proud and happy to call you our niece.

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