Truly Giving Thanks

This time last year feels like an entire lifetime ago. I said in our blog about our new son Finley that I’ve been amazed at how much someone can do on so little sleep. Well, I’m also blown away by how much we packed into this last year. We’ve been blessed with an embarrassment of riches in the supportive friends department. Thank you all for showing us so much love and grace around having our first child. Before, during and these first few weeks after Finley was born have been easier thanks to you. The outstanding friends awards go especially to the Minicks, the Pierce and Meade families. You guys have not only been our clients  but have gone above and beyond being our “village” with Finley. From gifts of maternity clothes and hand-me-downs for him, to meals, practical and light-hearted advice for Ryan and me, to wanting to hold Finley, giving lessons in baby-wearing, helping with pediatrician appointments … it is a MASSIVE list and you all have been wonderful.

The Minick family

The Pierce Family

The Meade Family

There aren’t enough words of love and gratitude for our families this thanksgiving season. When we married, our two clans joined, but we have reached a completely new place of unity through bringing Finley into the world. We love each of our parents for their patience, guidance and support, but we also love bearing witness to how much unadulterated joy they get from their new grandson.
We’re so thankful for our tribe and that also includes growing friendships. New, abiding and brilliant friends Bonnie and Amanda Walling from Charleston have become favorites in our lives. We photographed their engagement and wedding and what we all loved about each other during the preparation and the time together really stuck. Thank God. We were able to meet up with them for their one year anniversary and it was a blast.
Amanda Walling and Bonnie Hostetler On The Windfall outdoor Wedding West Jefferson NC

You guys know how much we love to travel, but outside of Merlefest and shoots in our gorgeous mountains (which feels like an escape, but is really our regional backyard), we stayed close to home. While we didn’t take any trips this year, we did make it to our local getaway spot – our campsite and cabin by the river in Sparta, NC. It’s the most peaceful place for us and we even managed to get there the weekend before Finley was born. I was trying to keep from going into labor. Ryan’s 40th Birthday was celebrated there with a camping weekend including six other families. It’s a pretty special memory.

We’re also grateful for new insights into what we do for a living. I attended a retreat this year that focused on photography and lighting techniques, and loved it. It too became a place where I found support, new friendships and a cohort of like-minded women.

Exposed Photography Workshop

And I’m thankful for my husband. Ryan took on a role of doing most everything single-handedly toward the end of my pregnancy and after Finley’s birth. As we kept serving photography clients, he was there in situations that normally are my domain alone. I’ve got a terrific partner in marriage, in business, in parenting and in life.

Finally, this Thanksgiving takes the headcount up by one…. one perfect little head. He won’t be making multiple trips to the buffet for stuffing or raiding the fridge for the midnight turkey sandwich, but we’ve grown as a family and we’re so grateful that this child is ours.

With my girl and one of my boys…

I would love to know what that new brain is cooking up and will keep wanting to know for the rest of my life, but this picture below makes me think of how we feel when we consider the gifts of this year: our family, our tireless friends, our clients, new experiences, new pals and a new little boy. You all make us smile.
Happy Thanksgiving and we’re sending you nothing but joy, health, contentment and your own sense of gratitude for the good stuff.

We love family portraits whether they are set in the studio, the great outdoors, a specific location like the mountains or high country, or on our property in our outdoor portrait garden. Pixels on Paper photographs, engagements and weddingsbrides, and special events and portraits  of all kinds in our Wilkesboro, NC studio. We would be honored to meet with you, learn about you and your family and be a part of taking special portraits that will become, we hope, family heirlooms.

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Meet the New Case – our newborn son

Well, it’s happening. A blog about our own child. I’d say “finally” but God’s timing is always perfect and if it had been any other way, Ryan and I wouldn’t be parents to Finley James Case. We’ve welcomed a son into our lives, our space, the 100+ year old home we fixed up, and absolutely into our hearts. “Into our hearts” is a phrase that can sound cheesy when you don’t have kids the way we didn’t until recently, but I soooooooooo get it now. It’s a feeling of completion, if that makes any sense. He’s ours in every way. We’re transformed because he’s here.
And it’s surreal too. Our lives are now riddled with surprises, joy, moments of “WHA???”, exhaustion and daily revelations. So, as we introduce the newest Case to you guys – our sweet followers, clients, supporters and friends – here’s a little bit about what’s been on my mind.

Pixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoI’m obsessed with his cheeks. I know, but I ask for no leniency, Judge! From the moment I could see them in the ultrasound pics, so plump and round, I was enamored. They’re even more adorable in person. Close runners up are his lips, fingers, toes… well everything. So there’s the love affair portion of this which is the vast majority of it when I intellectualize it.

But there’s the exhaustion too and it’s what we all think about with newborns: the absolute lack of sleep. We’ve learned how much a person can do with so little sleep. It’s astonishing, really, but I don’t want to make a habit out of it. I’m amazed at how quickly days turn to nights and the nights are so very very hard. But when he’s awake and serene – God help me, he’s perfect.

Pixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoWhat is not serene and perfect is postpartum depression. I thought about not mentioning it, but what is the point of sharing if I’m not going to be honest and forthright. It is a very real thing and the internal struggle of hormones, body, intellect while tired and wanting to remember who you were and who you now are is dicey. I’m still very emotional and my body hasn’t healed. I’m not yet able to do everything I was doing before and pick up life where it left off. I know I’m only 41, but I’m 41, you know? There are times when I feel that God is taking this opportunity to show me how little in control I actually am. And for a person that’s always strived for independence and perfection this is a situation where I can do neither. It’s a hard lesson. I know I’m growing, but the patience part is not easy. If you’ve been through it, I send you a hug in my mind. I get it. Thank God for perspective and knowing how to take the long view.Pixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoProfessionally, this session was a study in insight. We’ve been photographing babies for a long time and wanted to capture our own portraits of Finley. For once I felt what every Mom who comes into our studio with a newborn must feel. Anxiety when he cries and doesn’t cooperate, frustration when you are so close to having him settled for that perfect shot only to have him abruptly need to be fed; discouragement because you would think it would be easy to swaddle my own child… it’s harder. If anything, being a new Mom has helped me be a better newborn photographer rather than the other way around.Pixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoPixels On Paper Photography outdoor studio Newborn portrait photoRyan and I never thought we would see each other in these roles. It’s showing us sides of each other and our marriage that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The few hours (never sequential – ha!) that Finley is awake and alert are my favorite times of day these days. His eyes wander all around taking in every sight and sound. We are at the beginning and it’s crazy, but the Finley shaped hole in our lives was filled just in time and perfectly by this little dude.

Thank you for loving us. We know that that love extends to our son and it means more to us than we could ever express.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just bzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

We love family portraits whether they are set in the studio, the great outdoors, a specific location like the mountains or high country, or on our property in our outdoor portrait garden. Pixels on Paper photographs, engagements and weddingsbrides, and special events and portraits  of all kinds in our Wilkesboro, NC studio. We would be honored to meet with you, learn about you and your family and be a part of taking special portraits that will become, we hope, family heirlooms.

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“remind me what he looks like…”

A story that a friend shared with me that a chaplain once told her … sort of a parable – and a sweet one that comes to mind sometimes when I look down at my own son’s face – is about a little girl, aged 5, being told that she was going to be a big sister. No joy in Mudville for her, so to speak. She was not interested in the role or title of sister, not interested in a new companion, in sharing, in change and let her parents know it with her scowls and body English. She became disobedient and/or quiet and lost her own excitement about simple things. The couple hoped it would pass when the new baby arrived.

The baby was born – a little boy – and when the pair was introduced, she gazed at her little brother but wasn’t affectionate or warm. She mostly just stared at him.

 

Because the parents were trying to be good parents and had read books about siblings and parenting and the struggles that come with introducing a newborn to an established 5 year old with opinions and agendas, they kept an eye on her and were always careful to be near her when she was with her little brother. She never showed affection or interest; she was just watchful. She was always staring at him, they noticed. She never spoke to him.

One day, she asked her Mom and Dad if she could be alone with him in his crib, and warily they finally said yes. They cracked the door, though, so that they could watch her in case she decided to hurt him.
Anya Parry Newborn Portrait Photography photo
Through the crack in the door, they watched as she stood silently by his crib and gazed through the slats. Nothing happened for the first several minutes. Then she leaned in and they heard her say, “Hi, baby. Will you tell me what God looks like. I don’t remember.”I love this story and the idea that babies are heavenly makes perfect sense to me. But it’s also a reminder that when we are far from God, we sometimes forget His face and His love for us. It’s in those times that a perfect little creature is sent to remind us.

We love family portraits whether they are set in the studio, the great outdoors, a specific location like the mountains or high country, or on our property in our outdoor portrait garden. Pixels on Paper photographs, engagements and weddingsbrides, and special events and portraits  of all kinds in our Wilkesboro, NC studio. We would be honored to meet with you, learn about you and your family and be a part of taking special portraits that will become, we hope, family heirlooms.

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for the love of newborn babies

From the downiest bit of hair fluff that smells indescribably baby and yet something only J.R.R. Tolkien could describe – something elves or fairies make – to their feet that manage to wrap like rising pretzel dough – newborn babies are the closest thing to heaven. They are intoxicating, which is why you see mothers, aunts, grandmothers and countless others holding a newborn, then rolling their eyes into the back of their heads while sniffing and cuddling. You see a newborn being held, the head is supported, but mostly what they are doing is smelling that perfect newborn head scent of unadulterated yum.
Terpstra Newborn Baby Family Portrait PhotographyThe feet really are too much. There are wrinkles and ridiculously small nails and they twist and turn, based on how they were in utero, into impossible shapes that can fit in your mouth. Find a baby’s foot and maybe a little clarified butter (and a decoy) and you’ve got snack time.
Holden Gray Newborn Photography by Pixels On Paper Portrait Photography photo

What is he thinking about? Warmth? Peeing?
What I always think about is scale. It’s important to capture the beginning and it’s hard to miss the study in contract between his little head and his father’s hand supporting it… the size of his fist next to his father’s fingers. They’ll never be able to create that again and I love capturing it during that one moment.Mathis Newborn Photography, Family portrait photography by Wilkesboro NC Photographers Pixels On Paper photo

While we’re settling in with our own newborn masterpiece (forgive me, but he’s pretty perfect) and preparing for the holidays, I’m holding my newborn close and thinking of the newborns I’ve photographed, the exhausted parents who are in love with them, and how I know the time will fly. I’m wishing rest and peace for us all.

We love family portraits whether they are set in the studio, the great outdoors, a specific location like the mountains or high country, or on our property in our outdoor portrait garden. Pixels on Paper photographs, engagements and weddingsbrides, and special events and portraits  of all kinds in our Wilkesboro, NC studio. We would be honored to meet with you, learn about you and your family and be a part of taking special portraits that will become, we hope, family heirlooms.

88x31 lucy & glens valle crucis wedding photography | pixels on paper boone wedding photographers

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Christmas/Holiday Portrait Sessions : Don’t Forget to Book

If you haven’t already booked and are considering it, I’m hoping you’ll schedule your family’s holiday portrait session with us. This year, we are offering two options from which to choose. The first are the in-home documentary sessions just as we did last year. We shot several of these and we, and they, LOVED the experience. We’re excited to do it again this year. In-home sessions can be scheduled from the time that a family’s home is decorated (or being decorated) until December 10th.
Last year we spent time with the Minick family, the Hollands, the Pierce’s and others and it was better than we expected. If you’re decorating and think you want to go for it, I encourage you to. The Hollands were a perfect fit, because they decorated but were so relaxed and playful. They were all about games, food, decorating and allowing us to join in.


Studio sessions will be Friday-Sunday November 17th – December 10th.
We’re not changing our pricing for 2017! Here are the details:

For only $125, we will provide 5 digital images for families with up to 3 children. This includes the printing rights along with the option to purchase prints, cards, and gifts. Pets and additional children or family members are welcome for an additional $25.
Our fee is due when you make your reservation.
The Pixels’ studio is located at 1198 Curtis Bridge Rd. Wilkesboro NC 28697.
Call 336-990-0080 to reserve or email inquiries to mail@pixelsonpaper.net.

We love family portraits whether they are set in the studio, the great outdoors, a specific location like the mountains or high country, or on our property in our outdoor portrait garden. Pixels on Paper photographs, engagements and weddingsbrides, and special events and portraits  of all kinds in our Wilkesboro, NC studio. We would be honored to meet with you, learn about you and your family and be a part of taking special portraits that will become, we hope, family heirlooms.

88x31 lucy & glens valle crucis wedding photography | pixels on paper boone wedding photographers

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License

All photos are ©2017 Pixels On Paper. Do not copy, crop, or remove watermark.

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