The Birth of Arden; Birth Photography
I CANT DO THIS!‘ she exclaimed through pursed lips.
Ashley clenched her hands around the bed rails as she writhed with each contraction, now only moments apart. Her husband & partner since high school chemistry, Chris, stood in solidarity softly rubbing her back.
‘Yes! She is complete this time.’ The nurse looked up at the clock.
‘The doctor is on her way, just hold on. She will be here in a few minutes.’
Very quickly the room filled with women in pink scrubs and blue gloves. Tables with medical tools were rolled in and the room buzzed with a different kind of energy.
‘I CANT… I CANT ..’ Ashley’s voice dropped off as another contraction stole her breath away.
‘Yes you can, you’ve done it three times before-‘ the nurse reassured. “Just keep breathing.’
It’s hard to communicate while in the throws of labor.
Just ask any mom who’s been at a ‘TEN’ before.
You have little control over your body’s natural instinct to push. It feels impossible to wait when you are hit with a contraction. The pressure is so intense your body tells you to push with all of your might.
‘I CANT!!!’ she yells out in between contractions.
This was the third time I have attended a birth for this family. While each subsequent births happened relatively fast with little agony to the birthing mother, this one was different. She was in far more pain than any time prior and this time she felt intense pressure on just one side. It was clear that the epidural wasn’t as effective but in addition Arden was sunny side up, attempting to push her hand out first.
Ashley felt little control over ‘waiting’. Yet somehow she managed.
When the doctor arrived, Ashley let her body take over. With one contraction the doctor flipped the baby and with the next, Ashley gave one great big push.
Arden arrived at 1:04 pm.
The relief washed over her and tears streamed down her face. Her body shook uncontrollably as Arden was placed on her mother’s chest. Chris quickly brushed away a tear and leaned over his wife to inspect their newest baby girl.
In this moment, time stood still. I looked on through my lens, pushing back my own emotional response. I found myself in agony, holding my breath while Ashley waited to push. I’ve been capturing their lives for the last ten years. Through marriage, five pregnancies and the birth of the pair’s four daughters, Ryann, Elsie, Thea and now Arden.
It’s hard not getting emotional behind my camera as I watch their lives unfold.
It was a big day.
The girls started at the salon before taking the trip from Topeka to Overland Park. The stumbled in the hospital room wide eyed, nervous but excited to see the newest face in their family. Ryann & Elsie debated over who would get to hold her first, while Thea made her rounds exploring.
Ashley is a vibrant mom of three, now four, beautiful blond girls. Let’s hope one of them is into sports!
Want more, check out the birth of Elsie.
See the family grow throughout the years.
A New Year’s Adventure in DeLousing
The girl cutting my daughter’s hair called me over. She parted her hair to show me the bugs crawling on her scalp. Repulsed, I instinctively picked two of the buggers, squishing them between my fingers.
‘Uhm, you can’t start treatment now..’ The girl cast her eyes towards the lobby full of others waiting for their own hair cut. I instantly regretted my decision to ‘start a profile’ with Great Clips.
‘Oh, right. Yes. Of course. I am so sorry..’
I bit my lip. My mind began to race. LICE?!?! How did this happen? I felt ashamed and completely shocked.
This was NOT how I intended to spend the New Year.
I had no clue my child had head lice; furthermore, I didn’t know she had given them to me!
Calculating from the stages of her infestation, she’d been exposed at least 2 weeks prior. She complained of an ‘itchy head’ which I attributed to switching shampoos. Or perhaps she was having an allergic reaction or a winter dry scalp. I never went through her hair closely enough. and I didn’t know what the ‘Nits’ looked like.
The only visible sign was a spotty rash she developed on the back of her neck, presumably from bites?
My poor baby eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I turned back to the girl who was keeping her composure far better than I.
‘Sorry again.. just freaking out a little bit. It’s my first time, ya know… with this. What do I do?’ I asked, forgetting for a moment about the internet.
The girl mumbled a few things but my head was already racing forward.
How was she exposed to Lice?
We didn’t know anyone who had lice and I hadn’t heard any reports from school. But as in my situation, we hadn’t a clue what was brewing. We could have exposed friends over the holidays, so I sent out a text message so everyone could be on the lookout.
I recall getting Lice as a child and the fear my hair would be cut off! I could swear I was exposed while trying on hats at the local Wal-Mart….
At the elementary school, kids throw their coats together on the playground at recess. They hang them close together and before this incident, my girl would trade hats with friends.
NO MORE SHARING HATS!!
This is an opportunity to educate myself, my daughter and others.
This is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It can happen to anyone. We talked about the situation as I dutifully gathered research. I informed my daughter of everything we were doing and why. I wanted her to be prepared to talk confidently about it when she returned to school.
How we Treated for Lice
Never a fan of chemicals if they can be avoided, I chose to go with advice from another mom. She was a trusted source who’d dealt with Lice before and she was able to provide me with a first hand review of how she’d gotten rid of Lice on multiple occasions.
Over-the-counter chemical shampoo’s will NOT kill the eggs. The only sure way to eradicate is by destroying their eggs. After reviewing the most popular solutions, it was clear to me the only way to get rid of the problem was to remove every single egg, strand by strand.
You Must RE-TREAT a week later! Any Nits you miss will hatch in 6-9 days. The Nymph will be ready to reproduce within 7 days of hatching; therefore, you must treat again 13-16 days after the first treatment.
- Treatment (check for allergies before using- I started with a more natural approach and used Listerine before going for the stronger stuff. Those allergic to Ragweed will have adverse reactions when using the major brand of Lice Shampoo.)
- Shower Cap
- Spray Bottle
- Nit Comb
- Regular Comb or Pick
- Alligator clamps
I used the alligator clamps to separate out sections of hair. Then I spritzed each section with Listerine, covering her head with a shower cap. We sat around in shower caps for 2 hours before rinsing out with warm water. The Listerine is has a cooling, antiseptic property. I found it helped with itchy bites.
It appeared to paralyze and eventually kill the adult louse.
But of course, it’s not FDA approved and they know everything. So take this information at your own risk.
The only tried and tested way to get rid of the problem to REMOVE the problem. Every louse, every egg needs to be removed. All towels, bedding and clothing needs to be laundered HOT and dried for at least 30 minutes. Which means a LOT of mother daughter bonding time as I tirelessly comb through section by section of hair.
- Commonly spread in winter hitching a ride when kids hang hoodies and coats together at school.
- Head to head contact is a sure win for transmission.
- At home, if you are sharing pillows or a bed with someone who has lice- all sheets, blankets, pillows need to be washed on HOT and dried for at least 30 minutes. Stuffed animals should be bagged and put away for 48 hours.
- I was a victim too. But I caught them in the early stages. I frequently apply coconut oil and tea tree oil to my hair. These two natural hair treatments deter the little buggers from taking up residence.
Encourage children to keep their hats, scarves and coats in their backpacks. While treating for this problem, I’ve made certain my daughter keeps everything in her backpack at school.
Use a Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
Use coconut oil to condition hair once or twice a month. Let the coconut oil soak into warm, wet hair and leave it overnight. Rinse in the morning with hot water before shampooing.
Fast Facts about Lice
- Lice can not survive more than 48 hours off their human host.
- They crawl; it’s a myth that they have wings and jump.
- One bug can lay 4-6 eggs (nits) per day. These will hatch in about a week.
- Newly hatched nymphs take about 7 days to mature.
- Head Lice are specific to humans- no worries about your furry friends.
The family photographer becomes part of the story.
This time, I learned the exciting news from an excited grandmother Facebook! I’ve known Ashley & Chris since they got engaged and I was there when they said ‘I do.’ And this made it all the more exciting to learn the couple had settled temporarily in Overland Park.
Documenting this family grow and change is a joy unlike anything I prepared for in school.
Ashley has great visual style. She studied graphic arts in school & has a wonderful sense of design. After having so much fun designing all of the stationary & paper goods from her own wedding, she began creating her own collections of stationary to inspire others Something You Design.
When I sought out to provide my artistic talents to others, I had no idea that I would become PART of something much bigger than myself.
Each time I arrive to photograph this growing family, I feel right at home. The oldest, Ryann, often writes letters that I can give my own daughter. Elsie now insists on kissing me on the check before I leave and Thea.. well she’s two. She alternates between hugs and trying to get me to chase her.
When I photograph Ashley pregnant, I strive to make each portrait different from the last. This is what I came up with when she was pregnant with her second, Elsie. (maternity photography)
And this is when she was pregnant with Thea. (maternity photographer)
Just months before the newest sister arrives, the girls came to my Overland Park Photography studio. We told the story of who the girls are before their little sister arrives. Family photography can be fun for everyone when you choose the right photographer!
My Transition to Cleaner Beauty Products
Confession time, I have a few bad habits. Until this year, Blistek could be found in every room of my home, every pocket, every drawer. So yeah… I used it more than recommended. I remember carrying tubes of it in middle school! Liberally applying it throughout the day. I also remember the rumors: ‘just how much lip stick does a women eat in her lifetime‘…
I began to wonder… How much Blistek have I eaten in my lifetime?
Of course, “we don’t know exactly how much lipstick a woman swallows in a lifetime; however ingredients in cosmetics are a serious issue and it’s important to know how much lipstick gets into the body.’ But don’t believe any random ‘study’ you run across. ‘Those numbers should come from scientific studies.” FutureDerm
I re-read the label. Blistek is NOT recommended to use ‘more than 3-4 times a day. If symptoms last more than 7 days you are advised to call a doctor.’
Sheesh!! Call Poison Control?
Who actually lives by the advice on the label? Especially when it comes to a seemingly harmless product like chapstick, right?
I’ve traded my toxic tubes for a new obsession; Peppermint Lip Conditioner by BeautyCounter. It feels better than the former. I don’t need to use it as often and overall my lips are less dry.
Oh yeah- the product is clean- no toxic ingredients or manufactured chemicals for me to swallow.
My ‘Go To’ Daily Products
In the morning, I use the Charcoal Bar to wash my face before applying a Nourishing Day Cream . (**If you want to start with one moisturizers, I find the day cream to be much lighter than the night cream. It’s my personal preference for daily use.)
After my moisturizer absorbs, I apply the Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation in Porcelain and begin my daily make-up routine.
Btw: I use the Peppermint lip conditioner ALL DAY LONG!
Charcoal Bar ; (Item# 3027) The Charcoal Cleansing Bar detoxifies and absorbs impurities in your skin without drying it out, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion. Made with antioxidant-rich, organic green tea and hydrating organic coconut oil, the gentle formula can be used daily on your face and body.
Nourishing Day Cream ( Item# 1014); Lock in moisture throughout the day with a lightweight yet hydrating face cream. Easily absorbed and never greasy, the unscented formula contains a mix of organic coconut oil, safflower oil, and aloe to provide nourishing hydration, plus antioxidant-rich acai to protect against dry skin.
Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation; (Item#2310 ) A game-changing Tint Skin Foundation; this lightweight, creamy foundation cares for your skin. The formula goes on seamlessly and blends effortlessly to cover imperfections and even skin tone. And hyaluronic acid, a natural moisture magnet, promotes smoother-looking skin, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Nourishing Cream Cleanser (Item#1012) This gentle yet super-effective exfoliating cleanser sweeps away impurities to uncover fresh, radiant skin. Non-abrasive jojoba beads help slough off dry skin, while organic coconut oil and aloe soothe and hydrate.
Nourishing Night Cream; (Item #1015) A hydrating night cream that nourishes skin while you sleep. Organic coconut oil and aloe hydrate while geranium and green tea protect against dryness.
Rejuvenating Eye Cream (Item#1116 ) Reduce puffiness and diminish the appearance of fine lines and dark circles with this soothing formula, made with skin-conditioning wild algae and caffeine.
89% of women reported under-eye puffiness was reduced and fine lines were diminished. (Results based on independent, 8-week, 28-subject, single-blind clinical and consumer perception study.)
My Additional Recommended Products
Brightening Collection (Item#7140 ) A collection of targeted treatments formulated with safer ingredients to enhance your daily skin care regimen. Infused with multi-source vitamin C complex, the Beautycounter+ Brightening Collection reawakens dull skin and boosts radiance. Antioxidant-rich vitamin C helps reduce the appearance of age spots for a brighter, more even complexion. My Personal Favorite, Brightening Oil No.1
Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage (Item#2355); This tinted moisturizer leaves a luminous glow. This Moisturizing Coverage SPF 20 provides lightweight, sheer hydration that evens skin tone while protecting the skin from sun damage. Black currant, peony flower root extract, and vitamin C reduce the appearance of age spots and enhance skin brightness, while sodium hyaluronate promotes firmer, smoother-looking skin.
Want to learn more about Clean Beauty?
What is Clean Beauty?
Jeopardy was a big deal with my grandparents. We sat together with them anxiously watching, ready to pounce on ANY attempt to answer before my grandfather. He was rarely stumped and I was always looking for an opportunity to prove I was as smart as my brother. Then came the day that Alex Trebek asked, ‘This organ is the largest and protects the human body on a grandeur scale than any other…’
In an instant I was up and shouting, ‘SKIN, it’s the skin!! The skin is the largest organ on our bodies!’
My brother smiled incredulously at me; ‘Way to go sis!’
I am hoping on day Alex Trebek points to the category ‘CLEAN BEAUTY’ with a line of questioning about toxic chemicals. The truth is there is a great need for more awareness about what we are exposing ourselves to with products we use daily. The US only bans 11 ingredients from beauty products,while the EU bans a staggering number of more than 1,400.
Why is this a big deal?
We must look at the larger picture here. Our bodies have the ability to remove toxic things; however over time the cumulative effects of the build-up of toxins can affect how we regulate hormones and other normal functions. You find Endocrine disruptors in a variety of beauty products from body wash to the Aveeno lotion I once used regularly. (Now I use coconut oil for everything!)
Women are particularly vulnerable to substances that interfere with hormone production especially during phases of reproductive development, pregnancy and adolescence. Without using toxin-free products on our children and instilling knowledge in them about toxic additives, our daughters will be using products that may one day interfere with her ability to have a child of her own.
Our Children Deserve Better; We ALL deserve better
Did you know that the average teenage girl is using more than 13 products on her body each and every day (deodorant, perfume, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, face lotion, eye lotion, foundation, powder lipstick, eye shadow, blush, concealer…) ?!
But chances are that in this day and age, she isn’t reading the label and makes her choices from advertising and friend’s recommendations. She’s studying for her next final and the list of ‘toxic things to avoid’ aren’t on her radar. We need to teach ALL women to avoid products that will impair their hormones especially our daughters.
‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.’ – Maya Angelou
Let’s do better together. It won’t happen overnight.
You must be patient and forgive yourself on a daily basis but I am on a journey to a toxic free life, will you join me?
This assortment of chemicals added to our personal use products can contribute to premature aging as well as a variety of health problems.
I’ve chosen Beauty Counter Products for myself and my daughter and I’m joining the movement for clean and safe products. Beauty Counter Corporation is lobbying congress to update their law about ingredients in our products. There has not been a major piece of legislation to regulate ingredients in personal care and beauty products since 1938. Think of all the things our scientists have learned since 1938!
In conclusion, making informed decisions through education is the key for us, our friends and our children.
Photography Lighting, When Natural Light Won’t Do
The day we planned to shoot the December issue of Simply KC Magazine, I awoke to dark November skies. No sun was evident behind the thick cover of clouds. But in photography lighting is the key between great and mediocre. On a dark November day I chose to make my own light.
As we began setting up, a light mist began showered us with yet another element with which to contend. Shooting on-location at the Midland Christmas Tree Farm, I put together a couple of lights and made some magic happen!
(My gear: Canon 580 Ex Flash through white umbrella, Travel light diffused with softbox which was plugged into an outlet powered by my vehicle, pocket wizards to remotely trigger flash.)
A lot of the information below will be photo-speak. Feel free to skip. The simple recipe is calculate the ambient exposure and add light as needed. Use light modifiers to adjust specifications of light- amount, intensity, direction. Simple enough, right?
First things first, Adjust your ISO
I used the sun and calculated the ambient light as my main source of light. Two other lights were used as additional fill. First, I needed to determine ISO and shutter speed. If you are shooting with an SLR camera (Single Lens Reflex) your shutter speed must sync when your lights fire. This is typically 250 or less so I start with a low ISO between 200-400. Meter the area to determine your corresponding F-stop with a shutter speed of 200. You might need to adjust your ISO to find an F-stop that works for your shot.
My SLR Canon syncs with flash at 200- so my target ISO was one that would yield a 200/second shutter speed. On this particular day, my camera was set at ISO 250 most of the time. My shutter speed was 200 @ f4.5-6.3 (depending on the shot).
- *Tip: Shooting slower than 200, and you’ll subject yourself to camera shake or movement when shooting people. You must shoot fast enough to FREEZE any movement.
Balance Shutter Speed and F-Stop
Once you’ve balanced the ambient light and found your settings, it’s time to add your light!
- ISO-: Your camera’s sensitivity to light. The lower the number, the less sensitive.
- Shutter Speed: The duration of the exposure, how long the ‘film’ is exposed to light.
- F-Stop: Controls the amount of light that is let into the camera which corresponds to your depth of field.
Add Your Own Light
So here’s what I determined the best solution. I added a soft box to the front of my subject to provide even soft light on her face. Behind her, just hidden out of sight of the tree, I chose to use a back light (flash unit shooting through umbrella) to light the back of my subject. You can see the light hitting the the face of the stylist as well as the ladies in the background. This helped separate mt model from the trees and provided depth in my frame.
Add one more thing to the complexity of lighting and that, my friend, is modifiers! Whether you are using a soft box, bare bulb, grids, barn doors, umbrellas, etc., each modifier will achieve different results. They are designed to allow further control over the intensity, direction of light and ultimately the mood of the photograph. Use them wisely!
Decorating for Halloween
It’s mid- October, and you are either one of those parents who checked off ‘ Halloween Decorating’ October first or you’re like me scrabbling two weeks shy of the holiday!
After repeated pleas from my daughter, I knew I needed to make an attempt to decorate. Decorating for Halloween doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming! It should be a fun way to start celebrating the holidays with your families.
This is actually the first year I’ve expended any energy into Halloween decor. But my daughter will be 7 next year and she is doesn’t want to be left out.
I put together a few easy decorating tips for Halloween on the cheap. Even though the month of October is half over, there is still plenty of time to throw up a few spooky decorations and have your child giggling with glee.
We used the plant hanger to start our own Halloween basket. It’s currently home to a few tiny pumpkins but as my daughter creates her own Halloween crafts, we’ve been adding to it.
Cheap Tips & Tricks for Haunting your House
If you didn’t purchase any decor last year after Halloween (this is the best time to stock up for next
year!) then it’s off to the dollar store for your spooky decor needs! For less than $20 bucks, I compiled everything I needed to ‘spook’ up the house and please my first grader.
- Spiderweb bushes. These are easy to do but the trick is NOT trimming the bushes prior. This makes it easy to create creepy spiderwebs and this stuff is so sticky, you’ll probably just want to trim up the bushes the first of November for easy clean up.
- Haunted Caution tape. This is an easy fix. Wrap it around your bushes, staple it to the house or wrap up your child like a mummy! (kidding) The brightly colored tape adds some pops from the road and can complete the look.
- Pumpkins. Yes, everywhere you go there are pumpkins this time of year! While I know I’ll be making that one necessary trip to the pumpkin patch, I bought my giant pumpkins from Aldi for $2.35 each! Inevitably we’ll carve them up or perhaps paint faces on them but for less than $3 each, we could create a pumpkin family!
- Bone Yard. I didn’t grab any ‘random bones’ from the dollar store. At the time, I didn’t understand how I could use the bones. But then I saw someone with a bone yard display! The bones were scattered throughout their yard and a few creepy skeletons were crawling without legs! I felt that might be a little much for my little girl (or perhaps just me).
- Spooky Printouts. If you’re more ambitious that I was and choose to continue decorating the inside your home, spooky faces are easy and cheap to print on your own.
What ideas did you come up with this Halloween? Any great tips you’d like to share???
There are plenty of Halloween Craft ideas online. Here are a few we are going to check out:
The Girl Scouts put these Flying bat Pinata’s together.
Party City has some fun ideas for parties, including GIANT spiders.
Kansas City Wedding at the Madrid Theater
I’m fairly certain I cried when Annie called. In fact, I know I cried and I’m pretty sure she was crying too. She was recently engaged and calling to check dates for her Kansas City wedding for October.
Quickly the conversation changed to who’d stolen her heart?
Her voice squeaked when told about the love she’d found with Paddy. She’d taken her time, found a true friend and companion. Life rewarded her with true love. They found themselves better together than apart.
Annie is Everything that Sparkles
Paddy & I met while shooting engagement photographs for the pair. We met up at the Nelson-Atkins Museum to talk about life, love and the friendship they had come to find with one another.
While we spoke at length, neither of them mentioned how accomplished they are in their own unique ways?! Annie is an incredible dancer, teacher & inspiration to young girls. In Paddy she found a similar soul. They are a positive influence to all who surround them; yet they remain quiet about their personal achievements and charity work.
I discovered the depths of their souls during the wedding reception. Annie’s father proudly spoke from his heart about the daughter he’d raised and the strong woman she had become. The best man bragged on his younger brother, the groom. The room was filled with love and I found myself sharing in pride for this amazing union.
Needless to say, all of these things are important for the making of a trendsetter and Annie is indeed a trendsetter! One I would be happy for my daughter to emulate.
This Kansas City Wedding was chocked full of wedding tends predicted for next year!
If you pay attention to the details, you’ll notice that Annie hit the mark for a few of the top wedding trends for next year.
She chose a combination of ROSE GOLD tones and a sweet MILLENNIAL pink for her bridesmaid gowns. These colors were influential in setting the tone throughout the wedding day. Add some sparkle a lot of love and you get a glittery, glam GORGEOUS affair!!
Then it was off to the Madrid Theater on Main Street for the reception. I enjoy the majestic old theaters in town. They are definitely magical; however, they are no easy feat to light! It typically requires 3-4 professional lights set up throughout the theater to appropriately record the action.
In the wedding photographs below, the bride and groom are entering the reception and enjoying a toast by the bride’s father.
**For those interested in the lighting logistics, I have a light behind the couple (you can see it going off in the first shot). This light separates them from the black curtain on the stage. Another light was set up in the balcony to provide a soft global light throughout the room. The third was set on the lower level, opposite of the stage to light the other side of the room.
My final light was a mobile flash my assistant carries on a pole. This is used to provide light on the fly to fill in shadows as I follow action around the room.
Whew! Totally worth it for these moments below!!
Of course, I did some googling when I got home to find out more about Paddy & his golf tricks…. You should check him out too. He is pretty awesome & gave golf a new meaning to me!
Kansas City Wedding Professionals who made a perfect wedding day:
Karyn Brooke; Sidelines Floral, Custom Floral Art Design
The Madrid Theater, Kansas City Wedding Reception
St. Michael’s Cathedral, Leawood Church
Adrienne Maples PhotoStudios, Overland Park Photographer
Wedding Trends for Next Year
The wedding industry is buzzing with wedding trends and Fall activity. Every Fall we are quickly slammed with everything 2017. The theories on what will be hot NEXT year was already the topic of much discussion this summer.
I paid a visit to Craig Sole, floral designer & artist extraordinaire, last week to discuss the latest wedding trends. I was surprised to learn that a new shade of pink is making headlines for next year and the color black is coming back in unexpected ways.
Flashy is classy!
Craig tells me, ‘Beading, sequins, shimmer & shine. Everything that sparkles is in for 2018!’ But it can be easy to go overboard on the sparkles. Adding a glint here and there will be an excellent way to show off for your wedding photographs but include it in the right doses. Craig also pointed out that rose gold is on the hot list for next year!
The truth is I’ve had several trendsetter brides throughout the last 15 years. But after my discussion with Craig, I took to the internet to compare our conversation to what the industry is buzzing about. As our wedding schedules fill with couples for the 2018 wedding season, it’s exciting to see all of these ideas come to life!
Destination Wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
By the time July arrived, I was well aware I needed a vacation. A mere break from everything life has thrown my way over the last year. In fact, we all needed a vacation. Apparently Alice was the only one who knew this last summer.
I took her call last September. It was late in the afternoon and was watching the evening light quietly slip away. My cell buzzed and the screen flashed with a picture of my ‘little’ cousin, Alice.
Of course, she is about a foot taller than I am these days but once upon a time I was her ‘big’ cousin. In those days, she thought I hung the moon. At Thanksgiving, she’d quickly jump to the seat beside me eagerly listening to whatever I had to say.
I miss those days but I am incredibly proud of the woman she has become. More than just beautiful, she is brilliant in every possible way.
We hadn’t spoken in a while but I knew instantly she had some exciting news. In true Alice fashion, she attempted to ask my about my life and how things were going.
‘Spit it out girl!’ I demanded, ‘He finally popped the question, didn’t he?’
And her calculated response (which I heard involved more than a few tears):
‘OK, yes. Let’s do this!’
She began to tell me she wanted a destination wedding in Mexico on her mom and dad’s anniversary … July 2nd. They’ll invite their closest friends, all the Rugby guys and their wives, of course.
“That’s so exciting Alice!!” I tried to act excited about Mexico. But I wasn’t initially thrilled with the idea. I instantly began to think about the complications.
“Mexico? In July? You know it’s gonna be hot, right?” I wasn’t the first or the last person that would ask her this question over the course of the year.
Alice was right.
She’d thought everything through and she wanted a destination wedding. She wanted everyone she loved together, not just for the day. She wanted everyone to have time to get to know each other; for family and friends to become one over the course of the celebration.
Sometimes we all need a break. Just time away from the everyday grind in order to get our minds back to what really matters. I’ve had a trying year, thus far, with lots of daily challenges and new adversities to overcome. Life happens to us all and sometimes we need someone like Alice to remind us to take some time for ourselves.