Anna turns 13!

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There’s something about this girl that made me a Mama. She’s always had a great personality, and she’s always been a bit stubborn and has certainly challenged us several times in her life. But lately she’s just a little different, she’s more calm, she’s more patient, she’s helpful and a good listener. She’s excelling in school, she’s becoming the most amazing big sister and she makes me laugh nearly every single day.

She’s just becoming more….selfless.

I can remember when she was just four months old, looking at her and talking to her and thinking “she has so much personality, she makes me want to have ten babies just to see what they’ll all be like!” (little did I know I was pregnant with baby #2, whoopsie!)

I don’t dread her teenage years. I can’t wait to experience them with her. I know not every moment is going to be pretty but I can’t wait to parent her through them…I know she’s going to do amazing things. Of course I sat down with Anna the night before her birthday to ask her a few very important questions:

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Hi Anna. Hi.

What’s tomorrow? My birthday.

And how old will you be? Thirteen.

You’re telling me, that tomorrow, you’ll be a teenager? YES.

And are you pretty excited about that? Yes. Why? I don’t know, maybe because I’ll get to do more.

What grade are you in? 7th

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This is your first year in middle school, do you enjoy it? meh. What do you like about it? I don’t know, maybe my friends.

Do you have a favorite class? Yes, band, because it’s fun and awesome.

And do you enjoy choir? Yes, it’s fun. Do you notice a difference between choir 6th grade and 7th grade choir? Yes, one, now choir is a period and not an after school activity. You actually get graded on your performances and you take tests

What a some things that will be new to you now that you’re going to be 13? I get to start wearing a little bit of makeup, I get to have data on my phone and I think Harper will love me more.

What are some things that interest you right now? Well, I’ve decided to learn swedish on my own and I still love geography and weather.

Do you love having a little sister? Yes, because she likes to climb on me and she loves me and I like it when she wants me and I like to play with her.

What do you like about Clara? She’s funny and cute.

What do you like most Eli? He’s smart and he’s funny and cute.

What do you like most about Noah? He’s smart and funny and nice.

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Do you enjoy the five days when you’re both the same age? I guess, it feels like any other day.

Do you have any crushes? No. well, yes, Evan Peters and Harry Styles.

What’s your favorite vegetable? I like corn, cooked carrots, green beans and peas.

What’s your favorite fruit? APPLES.

What’s your favorite meal? Pasta

What are your favorite things in life? Food, Jenna and music.

Who are your best friends? Emily Case, Mady, Cordie, Angela, Kelly, Emma Kitchen and Julia.

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What’s your favorite book right now? That’s hard, that’s not a good question. It really isn’t.

How many books do you read per month? 7

How were grades this grading period? Good, I got all As and Bs and made Principal’s Honor Roll.

What do you love about your Mother? She’s awesome, nice, pretty, funny and the best Mom ever.

Do you like that you are the one who made me a Mom? Yes. Because it’s an accomplishment, I should get a medal for it.

And finally, what words of advice do you have for your younger siblings as they navigate through life? Listen to your mother, listen in school and sleep.

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Noah turns 12!

DSC02978 A few days after losing James and Jake, I remember sitting on the couch in my living room. I believe I was with my sisters and my mom and I know I was very upset. Tears fell relentlessly down my cheeks. I remember this beautiful four year old, crawling onto the couch, into my lap and facing me, he wiped my tears and said “I got you, Mama.”  He laid his head on my shoulder.

At that moment, this boy taught me that simple words and simple gestures, and the power of just following your heart, can provide comfort beyond measure to a grieving heart. I learned this from a four year old boy.

Noah is wise. He’s patient. He is a teacher. He is a thinker. He understands the value of family. He is loyal. He is brave.

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This past year, Noah played baseball. His first at bat of the season and this boy walks up, and turns around and breaks down. He was yelling at me. He was yelling at his Dad. “I DON’T WANT TO DO IT. I CAN’T DO IT. PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME BAT.” Mind you, this boy NEVER yells at anyone, let alone his parents. The fence stood between us. The umpire was watching, his coach was next to him, both teams stared. I pointed my finger at him and quietly said “you are going to bat and you are going to bat right now. We don’t walk away from things because we are scared.” I turned around and sat down and he walked up to the plate, tears in his eyes and he walked.

It was the most amazing walk I had ever seen in my life. Later, he went to bat again and he hit the ball but was out at first, but what a thrill.

And at the end of the game, the coach gave him the game ball. He received the game ball four times this year. For great plays, for great hits and for being a great kid.

This boy teaches me. He makes me better. He is such a wonderful gift.

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Last night, I asked him some questions for our annual birthday interview, it’s hard to believe this was our 8 birthday interview.

Hi Noah.  Hi

So, what’s new?  I’m turning twelve tomorrow.

Oh, wow, that’s exciting. Are you excited?  Yeah.

What are you plans?  I’m going to school, which will be boring but fun and I’m going to Industrial Revolution and open a few gifts and eat cake.

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What’s your favorite thing about school right now?  uhhhh…lunch because I get a break from all of the extra school work that I have to do from being abset for four weeks.

And what’s your favorite subject? Math.

Do you actually enjoy math?  No, I just like numbers.

And who are your best friends? Ethan, Aaron, Joel and Conner

What’s your favorite thing to do with them? Play games outside, we usually make up games.

Do you like winter?  Kinda, because well, when it’s snows, it’s the best and I don’t like that it’s so cold and we can’t go outside a lot.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the warmer months? I like tag or basketball or riding my bike.

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What’s your favorite game on the ipad right now? Minecraft, Clash of Clans and watching you tube video about Minecraft. I like the commentary.

What’s your favorite color? Orange.

What’s your favorite thing about Eli? He’s funny and he likes to play games with me most of the time. Do you like that he’s your brother? Yes, because I like having a little brother.

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What’s your favorite thing about Anna? She’s really funny and smart.

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What’s your favorite thing about Clara? She’s friendly and cuddly and soft.

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What’s your favorite thing about Harper? She’s so cuddly and soft and pretty and rough.

What’s your favorite thing about your Mama? That she doesn’t give up on he dream of photography and when something bad happens she doesn’t give up and she always doesn’t quit.

What do you want to be when you get older? Maybe a chef.

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What’s your favorite meal? Lasagna, mostaccioli, chili, naked burritos, chicken tortilla soup, chicken noodle soup. spaghetti and pizza.

What’s your favorite book? Holes by Louis Sachar

Do you have a favorite sport? Basketball, I like shooting baskets.

If you could spend an entire day doing what you wanted, what would you do? Playing outside with all of the sport equipment that I wanted.

Are you a happy fellow? Yes.

What makes you happy? My family, my friends, my hobbies and food.

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 Noah and Clara

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Stillmary - January 21, 2016 - 11:36 pm

Great post! Amazing pictures! Precious interview!

Clara turns four

I can remember how soft her skin was. She laid with me in the recovery room after my c-section, I can remember her skin, her warmth, the angel kiss on her forehead. I can remember being so exhausted but feeling like a child on Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to introduce her to her siblings. I couldn’t wait to sit up and really examine this girl. My Clara.

When Clara laughs, my heart breaks. I don’t know how else to explain it, I realize it sounds morbid but it’s really not. It’s just beautiful. She has this smile that is so big and so real, and I swear her eyes twinkle, I’m not kidding you, they twinkle. And those twinkly eyes look at mine with that giant, radiant, genuine smile. And then my heart shatters. It aches. Every time she smiles this way I think “this is it, this is the most beautiful moment of my life…” And then it happens again and again and I realize quickly that really this just makes me so lucky to get all of these beautiful moments from this beautiful child.

Don’t get me wrong…Clara is stubborn and she yells and she doesn’t like to eat tacos or tomatoes, she’s like any other child, but she’s my baby. And she always will be, even when she insists that she’s not a baby, but she’s my baby and I love that she’s mine.

As I’ve done with all of my children since they turned three, I interviewed Clara the night before her birthday. This girl is such a character. She sat on the bed with me and answered my questions but really she just wanted to play with the dog but after much REFOCUSING, she answered my questions. Some of her answers made me laugh so hard, which made her laugh so hard…there was a lot of eye twinkling going on…

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Hi Clara. Hi mama.

What is tomorrow? it’s my birthday.

How old are you going to be? 4

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Are you a little excited or a lot excited? A LOT.

What are you going to do tomorrow on your birthday? I’m go to preschool, I’m going to the orchard, I’m going to get apples and pumpkins.

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What do you want for your birthday? a vacuum cleaner, a bouncy house and a yo-yo.

Who do you love? I love mom and grandma and Windy, Anna and Oma.

And what is your favorite color? Pink

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What is your favorite food? macaroni n cheese

What is your favorite fruit? apples

What is your favorite vegetable? mushrooms, green peppers and pizza.

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What is your favorite animal? um…a camel.

What is your favorite thing to play? House.

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Why do you love Anna so much? cause she takes care of me, she kisses me and hugs and throws me.

Why do you love Noah so much? cause he plays with me.

Why do you love Eli so much? Cause he plays house with me and Minecraft

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What is your favorite sport? Um…Wipeout

And what is your favorite bug? a bee

And why do you love your mama? cause mama gets harper out and she plays with me with ipads and plays with me. And sings to me before bed.

What is your favorite song? We are Young. (glee version)

How much do you love your Mama? um a lot, bigger than a camel.

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Rance-Brindley Engagement | Northwest Indiana Natural Light Photographer

I’m slowly entering into the world of engagement sessions and…WEDDINGS. :gasp: I know, right? I’m not looking to book a million weddings, just two a year…those who want something special, capturing moments and details and not filled with a ton of posed shots, filled with only natural light, that’s what I want to deliver to a new couple. And for 2016, I’m halfway to my goal!

But engagement sessions, well, those I could do every day. They’re special and fun, especially when one of the subjects is also one of your assistants. Meet Jessica and her fiance Ryon. And quickly fall in love with this perfect session.
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Kosinski Family | Northwest Indiana Family Natural Light Photographer

My first morning in Seattle consisted of Starbucks and photographing this gorgeous family. It’s one of my favorite things that two of the families I was able to photograph during my work trip to Washington were families I had photographed on multiple occasions in Indiana. So, it was basically like a fun reunion for me.

For this session, we opted for a more “lifestyle” session, walking the streets in the city they now call home.

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