Lake Tahoe + My Family | Personal

"i can't help feeling, 
we could have had it all."
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It's no secret that we've had deep sadness in our family this year.  My mom left behind her seven kids and husband in January, and our second kid left behind his mom, dad and brother in May.  But it's also no secret: we have had a dream-like year.  Caleb, Rowdy and I eat all three meals together nearly every day.  We both have more steady work this year than we've both had in years.  We have traveled more this year (after having a baby) than we have any other year of our life.  We've made great progress on our home in Oklahoma.  We've spent significant months with both sides of the family, even though they live 1500 miles apart.  We've been able to enjoy our healthy, weird, sweet, curious son learn and develop a personality. We haven't been away from each other for a single night.  The blessing of these things is not missed on me, and I'm sure life will not continue to be quite like this.  In fact, it could be drastically different one day.  But today?  My whole self will sing a thankful song, and then we'll swim in the blue.
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(Lake Tahoe was my mother's childhood summer hang-out.  The house her parent's bought when she was two is about 45 minutes from the lake.  I heard stories and saw pictures of long, hot 1960's days, colorful umbrellas against the mountain horizon, and small blonde girls jumping off rocks.  Once my mom had children she brought us back as often as she could.  This trip was Rowdy's first time to this heritage-place.  We went with my two sisters, one brother, and Uncle Scott.  There is power in place.)
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“Every place is given its character by certain patterns of events that keep on happening there…
The more living patterns there are in a place - a room, a building, a lake, or a town -
 the more it comes to life as an entity, the more it glows, 
the more it has that self-maintaining fire which is the quality without a name.”  
Christopher Alexander -- The Timeless Way of Building


Mamas + Cubs | Portraits

inspired by huffington post's recent publishing of ken heyman's photographs of mothers.  an idea like this had been in my brain-idea-bin for a while, and this finally gave me the motivation to follow through with it.

Dear mama and mama-figures (whoever you may be),
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Thank you for your hips...
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... your cheeks,
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... your forearms and the crook above your elbow.
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Thank you for your time,
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... (your night-time
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... and your day-time) -- for a lifetime.
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Thank you for monster socks,
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for lots of yummy yogurt because it's my favorite and makes me nice and chubby,
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... and for your patience.
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Thank you for loving me even more now than you did then...
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Thank you for calm,
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and for your exhausted,
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for your proud,
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and for all that you've memorized; for all only you know.
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Thank you for confidence,
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thank you for fluffy towels,
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and thank you for being so brave.
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Thank you for sharing your house with me,
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...your humor with me,
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...your body with me.
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Thank you for helping me learn life basics,
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keeping me safe,
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and also clean (the best you can).
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You are comfort. photo mamas_and_cubs_im_kristen126of42.jpg
You are the last of the day.
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You are where I say good-bye.
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You are a queen without a crown.
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You are reinforcement, "You can do it!," and proof that: your joy is my joy.
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You make me feel like I am the apple of your eye.
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You are "I will never let you go"...
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... and a shoulder to rest on.
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All the "up-up!"s, "hold you?"s, "one more story?"...
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... and attention to little and long ideas don't go forgotten.  Maybe unnoticed, but never forgotten.
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You are beauty. (And a total weirdo)
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You are strong.  (And you cry the best sadness.)
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You are hope.  (Even when I'm not with you.) photo mamas_and_cubs_im_kristen114of42.jpg
Thank you for every wrinkle, ache, heartburn, cramp, nap, car ride, prenatal vitamin, hug, lunch, tear, vote of confidence, high-five, eye-contact, long night, laugh, iPhone picture, cheer from the stand, Christmas gift, stretch mark, sip of water after bedtime, coupon-cut, back rub, conversation and moment.
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With as much heart as you've given me,
Your cub.

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to book your own i'm kristen family session, 
especially in the maryland/virginia/dc, new york/boston, or oklahoma to dallas areas
(i'll also be traveling around southern california + the lake tahoe/nevada areas in coming months.)