january 6, 2019

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“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe” ~ Unknown

 

one

 

I said I was busy last year and here’s more proof. I finally got to meet rental niece Cassie’s second-born, Ellie Rose. She turned one year old yesterday, a fellow Capricorn, and this morning, Cassie and Jeff had a birthday party for the big girl. It came as no surprise at all to find her completely adorable and fun. She was all decked out in her pink dress with matching silky underpants and rosie cheeks. Big brother Grier helped with her cake and her cousins helped with her presents. She enjoyed eating the wrapping paper almost as much as she enjoyed her incredible cake from Servatii Pastry & Deli. I think she had a great time. I know I did. Even though it took a year to meet her, she was totally worth the wait. It won’t be another year before I see her again. I look forward to watching her grow.

 

mama and one

 

four

may 22, 2018

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“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.” ~ Unknown

 

date night #1

 

Cassie dropped me a note asking if I’d snapped any pix of her and hubby Jeff at the wedding. She was having so much fun that she forgot to take a pic of them on their night out. They’ve got a toddler and an infant now, and date nights like the one they had for the wedding are super rare. Naturally, I didn’t pop-off the typical couple photos of them, but hopefully I caught enough of their happy to count. In case I haven’t mentioned how cool The Whitehouse’s are, let me rectify that. They’re way cool. Plus, they’re sweet as the day is long with the most beautiful babies imaginable. It’s always a pleasure to be in their company.

 

date night #2

march 12, 2017

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“Don’t promise when you’re happy.
Don’t reply when you’re angry.
And don’t decide when you’re sad. ”
~ Unknown

 

cousins

 

I joined the Yelton sisters at the family cemetery in Burlington, KY to view their father’s recently placed headstone. Beautiful day as it was, bone chilling wind made short work of our visit. We drove to Pam Yelton Bick’s in Milford where we were joined by most of the remaining family. The cousin count has nearly doubled in the least two years. It was a hoot with these little ones around. The boys are both walking, running actually, so there was loads of fun to be had on the floor while the girls oooo’ed and awwwww’ed and compared hair bows. I’m awfully lucky they let me hang out and watch their babies grow up.

november 16, 2015

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“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” ~ Pema Chödrön

 

baby blue eyes
baby blue eyes

 

If baby Grier hadn’t brought us all together Saturday, rental nephew Brett’s birthday would have. Brett’s son, Jackson, aka “Cincinnati Red” has not been quick to warm up to the camera as you can see. Despite aunt Cassie’s coaxing of a smile, he was having none of it. In Jackson’s defense, however, he hasn’t seen enough of me to really understand what’s going on. I’ve noticed how little kids reach a point of aggravation with cameras at a fairly early stage. You may recall my photographing Riley Morrow every month during his first year. I can see his progression from fascination to annoyance from one month to the next. It started around his seventh month and he hasn’t gotten over it yet. He’s three and a half now, just a few months older than Jackson.

 

one for each year
one for each year

 

Besides, there was daddy’s birthday cake waiting to have its candles blown out. Who’s got time for pictures when there’s ice cream cake? I’ll tell you what, Jackson is so stinkin’ adorable you just want to squeeze him and never let go. And after he had a bite of the icing he said, “De-lish-ous” in the most adorable voice. Every heart in the room melted with joy and every voice rang out with laughter. It was an unforgettable moment.

 

blood brothers
blood brothers

 

At the end of the day Jackson kissed his new cousin Grier goodbye. If this picture doesn’t warm your heart you don’t have a heart to warm. These two handsome boys are going to either love me or hate me when it’s all said and done. Then again, most people in the outhouse probably feel the same way. <insert smiley face> I’ll be keeping my camera charged. It’s just what I do.

november 14, 2015

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There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
~ Buddha

 

cousins
cousins

 

Meet Grier Ryan Whitehouse. Today, he’s nine days old. He spent two and a half hours being passed from person to person to person all while being photographed. He took it all in stride. He’s pictured above with second cousin (first cousin once removed) Connor Barnes.

 

grandson #2
grandson #2

 

Grier is my rent-a-great-nephew, son of rental niece Cassie and RNIL Jeff Whitehouse. He is the second grandson of rental sister Pam Bick and husband Joe. His great aunt Stacy Yelton and I got to meet him for the first time this afternoon. He is, of course, as beautiful as I expected he would be.

 

for scale
for scale

 

Grier is small. His facial features are chiseled, quite unlike other infants I’ve seen. His nose, lips, and chin are so perfectly formed I can see him as an adult already. His hair is thicker than most adults and shiny like silk. He is sweet natured and calm, not grumpy at all (unless he’s hungry, but adults are like that, too). I’m pretty sure if he could have stayed awake he would have conversed with us fully. Cassie said he was born talking instead of crying.

 

in the fold
in the fold

 

Grier has brought so much love to a family that just ten months ago lost a member. He is a healer. As true a blessing as ever there was. I look forward to watching him grow up. I’ll keep my camera at the ready.

august 2, 2015

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“A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret.”
~ Unknown

 

something old for someone new
something old for someone new

 

Cassie and Jeff Whitehouse had the second of four baby showers today. Her grandmother Bick saved the best for last, giving the couple the knitted sweater specially made for Cassie’s father 64 years ago when he was born. What a treasure to be gifted. It leaves one speechless, really, as you can see.

 

the queens of cool
the queens of cool

 

Cassie’s aunties Katie and Stacy were awfully thrilled for the expecting couple, and tickled pink to see one another, too. Stacy and her sisters, Kelly and Pam (grandma) were equally happy to be together. My rental sisters are always a joy to be with, and the occasion of a newborn now just months away from making his big appearance is thrilling for everyone.

 

we three
we three

 

I always thought giving a handmade gift was special, like Mrs. Bick’s little sweater. For me, all I have to give are my photographs. I show up at holidays and birthdays and bridal showers and weddings, or sometimes just a casual dinner out, camera in hand, and shoot. The photographs become the thing I can give to someone I love. Something that might help them remember a moment in their life that was, hopefully, full of love and kindness. When I look at these beautiful, smiling friends here in the outhouse, I know they’re really with me on this journey; truly present and participatory without effort. I want to be a good person doing good things, and I truly appreciate every opportunity I have to be better, and to share what little I can. Today offered just such an opportunity. I remain forever grateful to my rental family for that.

 

the grandmothers
the grandmothers

january 18, 2015

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“Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet.”
~ Sarah Louise Delany

 

Ryan
Ryan Paul Bick: October 27, 1985 – January 17, 2015

 

This is my rent-a-nephew, Ryan Bick (left) at his sister’s wedding in 2013 to Jeff Whitehouse (right). Ryan passed away last night unexpectedly. He was young. He was handsome and smart and talented. He was loved. If you’ve ever wanted to do something, but you’ve been putting it off for whatever reason, stop the procrastination now. We’re not promised tomorrow. Go live your life to its fullest with loving kindness and mercy to everyone. Ryan will back me up on this, I guarantee it. Godspeed, Ryan. Thanks for letting me be part of your family.

november 1, 2014

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“We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.”
~ Olin Miller

 

into the light
into the light

 

I spent the day helping Crystal Heis photograph a wedding. She’s a real pro at this stuff. She knows how to pose people, and how to make them look their best. She even knows how to make an impromptu boutonniere when necessary. All her hard work makes my role fun and easy. I’m the camera off to the side; the camera that gets to go find fun stuff to shoot because I’m not busy herding cats like she is, which is essentially what it’s like when photographing large groups ready for an adult beverage.

 

This photograph is from Cassie and Jeff Whitehouse’s wedding in 2013. It was my second wedding with Crystal. I was both a guest and a photographer as Cassie is the daughter of my Rental Sister, Pam Bick. That makes her my Rental Niece. Cassie married one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met. It was a gorgeous wedding for two of my favorite people, and to get to photograph their special day with my bestie Crystal made it all the sweeter. I wouldn’t do weddings with anyone else but Crystal. She’s just that awesome, like Cassie and Jeff.

february 17, 2013

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Words and thoughts concerning compassionate action that are not put into practice are like beautiful flowers that are colorful but have no fragrance.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

the long run
the long run

They didn’t know at their 8th grade dance that it would be over 20 years before they married, but that’s what’s going to happen in June. Further still, Cassie Bick and Jeff Whitehouse will share an anniversary with her paternal grandparents who are still together after more than 60 years. For some, love can be a long journey to find, and a longer journey to keep. When I saw their picture from that sweet pubescent dance, all I heard were Eagles’ lyrics: “People talkin’ about us, they got nothin’ else to do/ when it all comes down we will still come through/ In the long run.” Love is really all that matters.

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