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Jan

Giving It Your All

This amazing girl Kayla. Her coach. This story.  
 
I heard Kayla's story last year and it has stuck with me... Her fighting spirit, determination and desire to press on has inspired me more then I can put into words. Her coach's unwaivering belief in her, his encouragement and him being there time after time is beyond moving.  
 
Just like Kayla, my incredible stepdad Anthony has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for over the past decade and loss use of his legs long ago. But I see in him the same fighting spirit Kayla has as he goes through his everyday. He refuses to give up and stop living life to the fullest. Anthony has been and always will be my hero. The cure for this awful disease can't come soon enough!  
 
Kayla's remarkable story has left a mark on my heart forever, and so I share it with you.  
 
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Jan

10 Months

I'm not even going to try and pretend that going into his room to get him in the morning isn't my favorite part of every day. I mean, you can't beat the instant HUGE toothless smile on his face when he sees me peaking in the nursery door. Bed head never looked so cute and my heart never seems not to melt instantly. I try not to hold it against him that when he sees me he says Dadda... we're still working on "Beautiful Amazing Mama." We're almost there... sorta. ;) Lots of hugs and snuggles after I reach in and pull him out of his crib sets my heart and focus for the day. I give him a squeeze and tell him to stop growing up so fast! 
 
Days that start with Greyson are the best kind. 

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Jan

Constantly And Continually

One person who has always believed in me is this guy. Chris is my hubby, my best friend, my soul mate, the father of my son, my love. He constantly and continually believes in me something fierce. At the times when I am weary, overwhelmed, and feeling less then confident, he is there cheering me on and telling me that I CAN do it. He walks along side me encouraging me and reminding me to look back to see how far I've come. He has believed in me during the times that I doubted it was possible. And the times I reached goals and accomplished those things that were once just daydreams, he has been there to celebrate and remind me that he always knew I could do it.  
 
Plain and simple, believing in ourselves isn't always easy. Sometimes it's plain 'ol hard. We see hurdles, struggles, mountains, and impossibilities. We focus on our imperfections and weaknesses and give them more weight then we ever should. But believing in ourselves is air in our lungs and gives us guts to DO. We have to get to that place where we know deep down inside we have what it takes to TRY and are worth it. We may fail or we may succeed but we need to believe in who we are and what we are capable of. And having someone else believe in us is wind under our wings. They encourage us to take that next step, remind us that we can do it, give us that boost to pick ourselves up after a fall and be a fresh breeze in our sails. Having people that believe in us is such a beautiful gift. And to have more of those kinds of people in the world, we must be that person to someone else, in a big or small way. 
 
So grateful for this guy who believes in me day in and day out! Love this photo from 9 years ago when we were dating! :)

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Jan

Chris' Grandpa

On Friday we celebrated his 94th birthday and just days later we mourn the loss of Chris' amazing Grandpa... But we will continue to celebrate his incredible life! And what a life it was. He served his country in World War II and later worked hard as an entrepreneur taking over his father's barber shop in Jackson Heights. He married Grandma over 60 years ago, the kindest soul, and had three amazing daughters, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, including Greyson.  
 
Grandpa will always hold a very special place in my heart. He was as sweet as they come and could eat more cake then anyone I have ever seen. Literally. Not to mention he strongly believed in eating cookies and pastries for breakfast - that's my kind of guy! : ) His love for his family, his unforgettable sense of humor, and his stories will never be forgotten. He will always be deeply loved and remembered. 
 
Today, we celebrate and remember his incredible life and what a blessing he was to all of us. This photo was my last time with Grandpa, saying goodbye to him this past Christmas and promising to make him more peanut butter balls! 

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Dec

The Word is Brave

The first week of each year tends to be a time for reflection for me.... Sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and my journal to look back at the past year. To go through the list of things I set out to do 12 months ago and see what I actually did. The things I did that were planned and those that weren't. To see what worked and what didn't. As I sit down in this treasured window of silence while Greyson naps and think about this past year, I honestly think OMA-GOODNESS! This year was one for the books. It was one of the most beautiful, challenging, and amazing years of my story so far. This year we brought LIFE into the world. I mean, if that doesn't trump all the other things I did or set out to do this year and my years prior I don't know what does!  
 
And while I feel more like a tired exhausted runner stumbling across the finish line this year with muddy sneakers instead of a well put together jogger with a sleek pony tail and clean white sneakers barely breaking a sweat, I wouldn't have it any other way. This year of life was so full. But this time last year, as I looked forward to 2014, I was brimming with excitement but also had a lot of fear. I was about to embark on an adventure through the unknown. Those "what ifs" flooded my mind at night as I would stare at the ceiling trying to fall asleep. What if the baby comes and I have no idea what I'm doing? What if I can't run our photography business and take care of a newborn at the same time? What if I can't manage both? What will my days look like and be filled with? How will I make time for everything? What if I let people down? How can I prepare for the unknown challenges I am going to face? Truth is, there was no real way to prepare. I just needed to go through it and figure it out day after day, one foot in front of the other, living and loving the journey and trusting that God was in control. 
 
Someone asked me the other day what my "word" was for 2015 - that one word that would be the spirit of the 12 months ahead. I couldn't believe it, but I knew what my word was right away. I had to laugh thinking that of all the words and of all the times in my life, this would be my word. But it had been on my heart for a while, and I knew that it was it. My word for 2015 is BRAVE. Yes, brave.  
 
This year, I am setting goals that scare the heck out of me. I am going to do things where I may succeed or I may fail, but I won't know until I try. I'm going to be stepping out of my comfort zone in big ways and do things that I know going into them will keep me awake staring at my ceiling night after night. And i'm going to embrace that. I'm going to take chances and risks, because after all they are the BFFs of doing BIG things. I want to set out to do things that will cause me to be brave. To put aside what people may think and chase the dreams that I always thought were way bigger than to dream for myself. I want to teach Greyson even now not just with words but with actions, how to dream big dreams and to persevere. And to be brave again and again. This year I am going into 2015 with a heart overflowing with a gratefulness for the blessings of the last year and filled with a bravery to DO the big-scary-seemingly-impossible-may-fall-on-my-face things. Because in the end, it will be worth it, successful or not. 
 
A little throw back to this time last year... 5.5 months pregnant in Punta Cana to shoot one of our amazing couples destination weddings! :)

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