I did a thing yesterday: 

I realized something big. few things actually.

I came to a big realization about myself and I discovered a few new ways to help overcome it. I didn't imagine I would have this kind of a day when I woke up. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not usually an anxious person, but there are some times when big bad thoughts catch up with me and I start to second guess my career choices and the validity of them. Just as much I worry about staying present with my kids, the house chores, and helping my husband do whatever he needs to do to be happy.  I think I start to get that thing called "imposter syndrome" where I feel like I have no right doing what I'm doing and being who I'm being and that I'm faking everyone out around me and even myself. I love being a photographer so much that sometimes I question if I have my shit together enough to actually own my own business and do what I need to do to make it survive. Following all of these amazing photographers on Instagram and seeing their unbelievable photographs and the captions beneath them does not help. I lay awake in bed at 4:30am thinking Should I be working 9-5 somewhere to afford this passion and just do it on the side? Am I even good enough at it to make this my career? Do I deserve to have the luxury of daycare? And then my kids wake up. I really need exercise, I think... but that thought is quickly replaced with all the other things and all I can actually wish for is God, please let my kids be peaceful and compliant this morning... just until I drop them off, anyway. So instead of dressing in my gym clothes I throw on jeans, hustle to make them healthy lunches and snacks for school, try to remember to pack all the things and do my best to get everyone out the door without meltdowns. Then there's the home stuff. Making sure we have our staples, keeping the house clean, tending to the animals, and right now Christmas shopping. Christmas shopping, especially for the kids, is stressful for me because really I just want to throw away everything in sight. There's just so much crap in this house and all I want is a pristine, white, empty, minimal house like all of the beautiful, peaceful spaces I see on social media. But come on, for real.... I have about 18 more years until that can possibly happen. But no, wait, I'm impulsive and messy so I know so it's never really going to actually happen because I'm going to buy them more things (mostly thrifted toys because its the only way I can get them to behave at Savers) and then these things are going to fill all of the rooms of the house and it's just going to lead to more messes and more cleaning. And then there's work. I have three days per week when from 9-4:30 I can actually get to work on my business. I can't tell if it makes me happier or more stressed, but photography in itself brings me so much joy. I do have my own business and it's just me which is my favorite part, but it also means I wear a LOT of hats. I'm the owner, the photographer, I have a studio, I'm the salesperson, the retoucher, I answer all the calls and write all the emails, I do my own marketing and social media, bookkeeping, and the list goes on. Just reading that last sentence makes my head spin! Because I really wish that I could just shoot and forget about all of the other stuff. And the idea is to grow my business every year however that in itself seems like such a daunting pursuit. How in the heck can I take on more than I already do?? Sometimes it dawns on me that even if I didn't have my business I would never put down my camera. I'd still take just as many pictures as I do now, just of different things. Does that make it a better hobby than a career choice? Is my heart in it just a bit too much? I always wonder. On top of all of this, I'm also one of the biggest self sabotagers I know. I procrastinate, buy unnecessary things, and convince myself that unnecessary things need to be done. And you can probably see now why every once in a while I feel like I'm drowning. But doesn't everyone?

So yesterday after drop-off I headed to my favorite monthly networking group called "TuesdaysTogether" put on by Rising Tide Society. The website describes it as "A meetup on the second Tuesday of every month where creatives + entrepreneurs gather together for coffee and conversation. An open space for idea sharing and goal building. Separated by distance, but beautifully united by a shared desire to empower the creative economy." And it's just that. I'd been invited by Alexandra Beauregard of The Productivity Zone via Facebook for so long but always overlooked it... until one day a couple months ago. I decided to go and take my good friend/studio mate Jamie Bannon along with me. We were floored by how much we learned that first meeting and we couldn't wait until the next one. We have attended three now and are still very much in love with this network. I have learned so much and actually won a sweet deck of Affirmation cards from Abundant Affirmations from the last meeting! Yesterday's meeting was  Self Care. I didn't expect to take as much away from this particular topic because I really thought I did pretty well at taking care of myself; I try to make time to hang with friends when I can, I have daycare three days per week so I can get things done without kids in tow, and I like to think I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. Of course today's meeting floored me once again. We went around the group and took turns talking about what we do for ourselves while we're not taking care of everything else. One said read books, another said take my dog for a walk, another said journaling..We talked about what gets in the way of this time we need for ourselves and how we can make better choices to help keep those activities a priority. Because honestly, if you can't take care of yourself then how can you take care of anything/anyone else? Alexandra asked us what our Word or Phrase of the Year would be if we could have one. There were so many different answers; Arrow, Simplify, Thrive...  I told her this quote that I keep coming back to but I feel like I haven't lived up to: "Once you know better, do better," by Maya Angelou. I told the group of my impulsiveness in so many areas of my life and business and how I'm going to strive to do better with that. I feel like this is what therapy is like.

I left this meeting with so many thoughts going through my head. I am terrible at managing my time. I have total squirrel brain. I open my laptop and before I know it I have 10 tabs open and 10 activities started; 5 hours later I haven't finished one. I don't make time for exercise as much as I need to. I have so many books I want to read but can never find the time. I always tell my husband that I just need 4 more hours in the day. Alexandra told me about this book called 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam and told me I NEED to read it because I have more time than I think I do. I also started to think about what really makes me happy. I remember a time before kids when I worked in the corporate world and we rented an apartment, when Stella was a puppy and would drag me out at the ass crack of dawn on the coldest of days to go to the bathroom. I hated it before I got out there, but as soon as I touched the cold air and saw her excitement I felt alive and well and ready to start my day. It was a blessing in disguise and I realized I miss that time outside with her. I thought about how much I love to learn whether through classes, reading, or podcasts. I know it's an investment in my time and business, but it can be so hard to get to with everything else I have on my plate. I thought about how much better I work when my house is clean, and how much happier Dave is when he walks through the door and there's no mess, and how much better we are as a couple when we fill each other's  happy tanks. Corny, I know, but so true. And I realized how much I HATE to be stressed out and scrambling in the morning and how much of an impact is has on my kids. I don't want that for us anymore.

So I returned home from the meeting and without even thinking, I grabbed my dog's leash and harness, grabbed my head phones, turned on a business marketing podcast, and took that girl on a walk. I usually listen to podcasts while retouching but I end up getting distracted by 10 other things and not listening. Dog walks fell by the wayside a while ago because my business started, I had babies, and I said I don't have time. So I combined the two activities, got in an extra long walk, breathed in that fresh cold air, and Stella & I both got what we needed. I learned so much on that walk and was so pumped up by the time I got home that I continued listening to marketing podcasts and tidied my entire house within 45 minutes. I worked on my business, exercised, took care of my dog, and cleaned basically all at the same time. By the time my kids got home with Dave I was not frazzled and frustrated because I felt like nothing got done. I was ready to be present & play, and I was in a great mood. I decided that I'd prepare school lunches directly after dinner instead of running around like a mad woman the next morning trying to prepare healthful meals before taking them to school and stressing myself out before sitting down for work. I had a great night's sleep and awoke this morning feeling completely refreshed, cuddled with Sam on the couch before getting ready, got them to school extra early without any meltdowns (which I'm now convinced are a product of my own stress), and was ready to tackle my day.

My blog posts are few and far between these days, but they are sparked when I feel like something has made a big impact on my wellness and has me excited enough to tell you all about it. These TuesdaysTogether meetings have me like Whoa. I am so, so thankful that I took a leap and tried something new, even when everything in my mind told me I was too busy to stray from the norm. The norm wasn't good enough, and I wasn't even close to where I wanted (needed) to be. I still have a long way to go, personally and within my business, but I feel like I'm so much closer than I was before I started attending. My time is worth so much more than how I've been spending it, and now that I know better I'm going to do better. 

What do you do to take care of yourself? 

Are you making yourself a priority? 

How can you change things around to make it happen and lessen your stresses? 

And here's one from my new favorite podcast by Angie Lee:

What needs to happen right now for this (work, marriage, motherhood, LIFE) to be fun?

♥️ Happy holidays to you all ♥️

Thanks for reading!

Photo cred (top image) Ashley Enns for my favorite picture of me and my baby boy. Love you, girl!!

My girl Stella, below, on our walk today 🐾

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Allison Gray. Adventurous, an avid runner and Hash House Harrier, a dog lover, as good natured as they get, and super freakin' talented. I worked with Allison for the first time in 2017. When we met to get acquainted and talk about our approaching session, she humbly and simply told me that she was an artist. Weeks later, after that session, we went out for lunch and I got to know a bit more about her and what exactly she creates. "I paint pictures of peoples' pets," she told me. She started doing it as a side gig and opened an Etsy shop, but she hadn't anticipated just how much of a demand there would be for the kind of art she was making. Business boomed and her artwork became her full time gig. For an artist that's a huge accomplishment, and totally one she deserves.

This time around I approached Allison in hopes that she would let me come and observe/photograph her process as she works. This is not typically the kind of sessions I photograph, but that was the whole point. Sometimes, as an artist, you find the kind of inspiration you're craving by looking outside of the box. I typically do photograph people more than anything else, but usually my focus is on relationships between people. Relationships between parents and their children, among siblings, and womens' relationships with themselves and their bodies. I often find inspiration not by looking at photography magazines, but instead by looking at Vogue, magazines like Parenting, or even just watching movies. One of my best friends, Jamie Bannon of www.JamieBannon.com, is also a fellow photographer and we take our babes on walks together often. On our walks we do a lot of talking about photography and where our businesses are headed. Jamie and I are both very much inspired by real life and real events, much less by posed and completely controlled portrait sessions, and we talk about our love for documentary style sessions often. I feel like our walks are filled with very productive rants about what we love and hate about running a photography business and what is expected/demanded of us as photographers. I always come away from our walks with a reinforced appreciation for being able to run my own business; for getting to decide exactly what projects are worth time away from my family, and for only getting to do work that inspires me. Blogging is not one of those things that I would say I enjoy spending time on. I don't hate it, but not every session I photograph makes me want to run to the computer and sit there for hours writing about it. I did come to notice though that when I pick up extra projects for myself, those tend to be the ones that excite me the most and end up on my blog. I mostly pick these projects up only when time allows for it or if I feel like my photography could help heal someone going through a hardship. I decided that, regardless, I need to make more time for photography that inspires me and maybe even others. So now I will be picking one up once a month and you'll likely be reading all about each one on here.

This project in particular is my first monthly extracurricular and one that I really, really enjoyed photographing. Allison is an insanely talented artist and a pleasure to spend time with. Her dog Banjo, an adorable boxer who keeps her company around the clock, was the cherry on top!

You can find out a bit more about Allison here.
You can purchase her artwork on Etsy at GoGrayArtwork and on her website at www.gograyartwork.com 
Her artwork has been swooped up by Wayfair and Homegoods too!
Here are a few images from our session. Enjoy!

​About 3 years ago I had the honor of meeting and getting to know Justine Timbro (then, Spada.) She was about to be married to the love of her life, Jordan, and was as excited as could be to embark on their new journey together. About a year and a half ago, they welcomed their first baby girl Carmelina into their lives. Her pregnancy went smoothly, no hiccups, and their baby girl was and still is as perfect as ​baby girls get. Justine decided to open up a home daycare named Mama Bear Day Care and spend day in and day out with ​Carmelina. Twenty months later on April 25, 2018 they welcomed their second child, Lucas Leonard Timbro. After yet another smooth pregnancy they were incredibly excited to meet their little boy!

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​Just a few hours into his ​life I saw the Instagram post that he was here. I was so excited to see his adorable little picture pop up on my screen! This family is so incredibly sweet and although I hadn't yet met her husband or their baby girl I always enjoy seeing the photos Justine posts. Such a happy, beautiful family of faith. As I began to read the caption though I realized that ​Lucas and his family were in need of a really big real life miracle. Little Lucas was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck ​twice and ​some pretty big and scary things were happening inside his little body. His parents nor the doctors had ​any idea about any of it until now.

More...

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​This little guy was in need of lots of TLC, nevermind medical care. Justine and Jordan were completely shocked and incredibly scared. The relied on their faith and the doctors Hartford Hospital  to carry them through the first hours of Lucas' life. Then, another post.

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​Little Lucas was having his first of possibly many surgeries at one day old​; a tap would be put into his head so ​the doctors could start relieving the fluid ​from his brain.  The doctors diagnosed Lucas with "Hypernatremia” - which simply means that he has a high concentration of sodium levels in his blood. The doctors believe that this correlates with the pressure his pituitary gland was under when his brain had fluid built up, pre-shunt. Reading all of this, as a mother of two living babies and two angel babies, my heart broke for Justine and Jordan. I knew they were strong-- maybe among the strongest thanks to their faith-- but the fear and helplessness that a parent feels when their baby is in pain is unbearable and unimaginable​. Was he going to be okay?  What is baby Lucas going to have to endure throughout this journey? Would he be affected just for now, or for the rest of his life? The next day ​brought ​two more posts.

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​You can literally feel the hope and faith in his father's words. He and Justine were rooting for their baby boy with everything in the​m; LT would go home with them and he would thrive. They felt nothing but hope and thanks for the doctors and nurses surrounding them, helping them and Lucas through this ​tribulation. They thanked each one, and eachother, personally and publicly. ​Love and gratitude at its finest.

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I reached out to Justine the day after I saw her first post about Lucas. I wanted nothing more than to give her a huge, huge hug and console her. No words are the right words when the fate of a woman's child is at stake. The only thing I could possibly offer her that could make a difference, I felt, was photography. I offered to come to the hospital; I felt that sooner would be better ​just in case. ​But she had so much faith that he would be home soon so we decided that we would hold off until then. Two days shy of a month old little Lucas ​was discharged! He was finally going home.

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​Justine messaged me that same day to tell me the amazing news! We set a date for our session the next week ​and I was so excited to finally meet the rest of her family. When I arrived at their house the day of the session everyone was in great spirits, baby Lucas was peacefully napping ​on Jordan, and Jordan's mom was hanging with little Carmelina. There was such a lovely sense of peace and happiness in their home and we all had a great time just hanging out, talking, and photographing. ​Here are some of my favorites from our day together.

Lucas is home but the Timbro Family still has a long road of doctors visits and discoveries ahead of them. If you'd like to follow the Baby Lucas and the Timbro Family's progress, Jordan is on Instagram @Jordan_Timbro and Justine is @Justine_Timbro. They've created an account for baby Lucas and he is @Lucas_Timbro. #LTstrong is their hashtag.

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So this past Saturday was awesome. Just awesome.

Backstory: A couple months back, while attending the CTPPA annual Converge convention, I was so inspired by the speaker I was watching (Marie of www.fearlessandframed.com) that I decided to do an impromptu giveaway on Instagram for a Day in the Life Session. There are a few great things about giveaways: 1. You get to photograph in the way that you love to. Your rules, your style, your favorite kind of magic. 2. You get to make someone's day BIG TIME by giving them photographs they'll love forever and ever and ever. 3. If you're lucky, the winning family will allow you to share the photographs with the world and hopefully convince every mother and her partner that they, too, need their family to be photographed in this fashion. I think this giveaway session nailed those bullets dead on and I'm so in love with that.

So the winner of the giveaway was actually a high school friend named Heather. I explained to her that what I wanted to do was a Day in the Life documentary session with her family. I pointed her to a previous blog post of mine which would lay out all of the details, and just like that she was game! She got her family on board and this past Saturday was the big day.

I can't even put into words how nice and refreshing it is to spend time with such a nice family like Heather's out in their yard on a beautiful, sunny, 75 degree day. Her husband Matt is also from Southington and is just a few years older than us. The first time we worked together was in the studio a little over 4 years ago when their oldest daughter Cameron was just a newborn. Heather and Matt now have three beautiful, spunky, sweet children together and live near Roger's Orchards in the back side of Southington. When I arrived at their house, Matt was just getting home in his truck and Heather was getting the older two kiddos together to go out back with some bubbles. Their dog Bear met me at the front door along with their middle babe Matthew. I could tell Matthew was a little skeptical at first, but he quickly warmed up to me. Cameron and Matthew got their shoes on and ran out to the back patio where we spent a while blowing bubbles & playing on the swing set. Soon after, Dad came out to join us with baby Benjamin, who just woke up from a nap and was beaming with smiles! We caught up on old times, laughed about how much life has changed since starting families, and shared stories of common experiences as parents. When lunchtime hit, Matt threw some kielbasa on the grates of a great big stone fireplace he helped to build, and the family ate outside on the patio. I have to say, their kids are some of the better eaters I've seen! And any parent knows what a struggle mealtime can be, especially parents of  three young children. (#toddlersknowbest.) For the Kowals, though, it was a breeze and a pleasure. After lunchtime, everyone headed inside for a bit of jumping on the bed, followed by books and pre-naptime snuggles.

It’s incredibly enjoyable to be able to just hang out with a family and take pictures with them without the pressures of smiling, posing, and getting everyone to do the same thing at the same time. As a photographer you’re left open to capturing the magic that can only be seen in the details. The moments that, as parents, mean so much to us now and will especially in the future when our babies are grown and off to college. The secret expressions that happen when they’re not paying attention, the silliness when they catch you catching them, and even the shy bits they give us are all part of the beautiful innocence of childhood. And as the parent, when you’re busy lifting your children up into trees and fixing their bubbles, you don’t have enough hands to carry a camera and catch these moments yourself. If only you could just freeze time or press rewind. Well, that’s where I come in. I was there to catch these moments for Heather and Matt so they could leave the camera behind and focus on enjoying their little ones.

Thank you Heather & Matt for participating in the giveaway and letting me be a part of a day in your lives together. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them. Xo!

Enjoy the show & don't forget to turn the volume up!

To see more work, visit www.TinaShoots.com

and follow my instagram @tina_shoots.

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Each time I get a roll of film back is like waking up on Christmas morning all over again. Finally getting to see what I captured, even though I know I'll have a few terrible blinks, possibly some blurriness, light leaks, and superfluous grain. There’s nothing like it. It’s something you just can’t get while you’re shooting digital because no matter how hard you try, you’re just going to look at the back of the camera while you shoot because that’s the whole reason digital is so great. And if there’s a blink, heck… you’ve likely taken ten photos in one second anyway so one of them is bound to turn out fine. But film is something you take your time with; you perfect your exposure, you wait for the right moment, you anticipate movement, and then instead of snapping ten photos... you snap one, hope for the best, and move onto the next memory. Not only because film and developing are expensive these days, but because you want to make the most out of each print. Yes, I said print.

Back in middle school/early high school was when my parents made the switch from film to digital. My dad got us a digital camera we could play around with and encouraged us to use it. Besides while I was assisting them with weddings, I was just not into it. The element of surprise was what made photography so much fun for me. Plus I had a real affinity for disposable cameras, and at times I had 3 different ones going. I couldn’t wait to bring them to Walmart “One Hour Photo”, wait the hour, and then rip open the package of double prints to see what kinds of snaps were inside. Because I probably started taking photos on those cameras months prior and I had absolutely no idea what was going to be on them. I remember going to this party in high school and the cameras I had going ran out mid-party. This kid Josh left to run to the gas station and when he came back, he had what he needed plus two more disposable cameras for me. I nearly fell in love with him; I just looked at him in awe. It was as if he handed me diamond studs, or a BLT, or something equally as amazing. I still have the prints from those cameras today. I think my last hoorah with a film camera was in 2007 when my friend Lindsay and I went backpacking through Australia, for which my dad gave me an old automatic film camera with seven rolls to kill. Good times.

After that trip I started shooting weddings more often, turned completely to digital, and didn’t look back... until this past year. Digital really is amazing; it’s sharp, the exposures are beautiful, you can see your images instantly and start working on them right away. Once you have the necessary equipment, processing is virtually free and the post-processing options are endless. I picked up a film camera again toward the end of 2016. This time, it was a fully manual Nikkormat that my dad used to shoot weddings with back in the day. He let me borrow it, along with a 35mm lens, a 50, and a 70-200 with filters galore. This camera really, really made you stop and think before clicking that shutter.

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You have to manually expose for every picture and it has a split image rangefinder for focusing (see drawing) which means you have to look through the viewfinder and match up two sides of a scene in order to be in focus. Trying to capture a sharp picture of my kid running around using a rangefinder and 200 speed film is quite the challenge (a big reason I only use film for personal photography right now) but how the heck did my dad capture a bride and groom walking back up the aisle, or dancing, without lens blur? How the heck did he make sure all was in focus without having to shoot at f/8 all the time? I mean, he used this camera for professional wedding work as did many photographers in the 90s and earlier. It’s a trip to think about now that we have digital cameras with program modes and incredibly sharp auto focus.

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35mm, Kodak Portra 800

Nikon D800 DSLR Black and white Boudoir

Nikon D800 DSLR

Not only do I love film because it makes me slow down and really think before I snap, but film images also have this incredible depth that you just don’t see with digital. I used to love film simply because of the surprise each roll brought; now I love film because I actually know how to use a camera. I'm manually exposing for each image and the look I'm able to achieve is unparalleled. Even so, each time I send out a roll, I think things like, “Why do I spend the money on film and developing when I have an incredible digital camera and can develop those images for free?” or “Why do I bother gambling with bad exposures, the possibility of bad film, grain, and bad expressions when I will never miss a moment with digital?” It’s as if I feel guilt whenever I send out a roll of film, like, digital should be enough, why do I need to spend the money playing around with film? There’s a reason film is fading out and digital is everything these days. Then, my roll comes back and it gives me exactly the feeling I crave. It’s Christmas morning all over again. My love for shooting film is reaffirmed. The depth in the shadows is perfect, the lens blur is perfect, and there are virtually no repeat photos. Yeah, there might be movement in there because I had to bring my shutter speed down in order to let enough light in and I refuse to use a flash… but for some reason, movement within film images is less offensive to me than with digital. I can't get this stuff with digital right out of the camera; it's different. I pop a new roll in, and the adventure begins again.

My dad just gave me his old medium format twin reflex YashicaMat on Christmas, so that’s what I’ll be using in 2018. Looking forward to sharing some of those with you guys throughout the year!

Here are some of my favorite shots from 2017 taken with the Nikkormat 35mm.

Hammonasset Beach State Park Kodak Portra 800Sam on bike with glasses and Stella Sam and Dave at Hammonasset state park Kodak Portra 800Sam and Stella hug Kodak Portra 800Sam eating chex Kodak Portra 800Mia rolling out dough black and white filmBushnell Park Hartford Bench BW filmSam and Dave Jay Peak VT AirBNB, Kodak Portra 800Hartford CT Building BW filmSam at Panthorn Park Southington Kodak Portra 800Sam and Dave trying on Snowboard Christmas Morning Kodak Portra 800Sam on stairs at Jay Peak VT Kodak Portra 800Tree in Bushnell Park, Hartford CT Kodak Portra 800Jay Peak AirBNB Kodak Portra 800Sam eating Raisins on Christmas 2017 Kodak Portra 800Sam Brushing his teeth with Elmo in Bathroom, BW film

Wow, so my last post was over 3 months ago. I told myself that with this blog, this time around, I'd do better at actually putting something up consistently and I'm totally slacking... However I do have a few solid reasons. So much has gone down over the summer. Since June 1...

I think Dave and I both finally came to terms with expecting twin girls. At first we were super shocked and, well, pretty terrified thinking about having two newborns at the same time with a toddler at home. This also meant we needed bigger cars to fit three carseats, we should probably find that house in a quiet neighborhood before their arrival, and also that we were likely going to be on one income for a while so I could tend to not one, not two, but three under three.  Then... the excitement set in! We were having twin girls and wow, our lives were about to get a whole lot more interesting and my heart just began to grow on its own. Then, we found out some iffy/scary news. We found out our (then) 18 week twinnies were being affected by TTTS in utero and that we were going to need treatment. Because without treatment, the likelihood of neither making it was close to 100%, and with it they both had a 65% chance of making it and an 85% chance at least one would survive. We had to take multiple trips down to Philadelphia Children’s Hospital for treatment. The morning after laser ablation surgery left us with only one of their hearts beating. Our "donor" baby passed away due to insufficient nutrition from the placenta; whatever she was getting prior to the surgery was likely coming as support from her connection to the other baby but with the surgery that connection was cut off. We found out that if she passed away before the surgery, our surviving baby would likely have brain damage because of the toxins passed through the vessels so it was a good thing the connection was severed. We also found out that our surviving baby's heart was under stress and that she had a couple leaky valves and extra fluid around her heart, which has since resolved itself and is no longer an issue. This was all was followed by 3.5 weeks of strict bedrest and “light activity” until birth. Our survivor twin is now doing great, kickin’ away, and we hope she is able to keep cookin’ til 38-40 weeks! Lessons I learned from this experience: Loss is never easy, but it’s doable.... Don’t EVER tell someone who is grieving that “everything happens for a reason” because that is just about the last thing she wants to hear. You may have also just become the last person she wants to talk to.... Also, I learned that you have to be grateful every damn day for what you do have and don’t let anything get in the way of that.

Since then, we’ve also had a second litter of kittens bless our household… SURPRISE! Our stray Snickers went right back at it, and call us distracted, but we were pretty much blindsided by it. We were all like, "Oh Snickers, you're getting pretty round..." "Oh, Snickers why are you so lazy these days??" "Snix, you better not be preggo again"... Sure enough, she rolled over one day to let me feel her belly and that's when I realized there absolutely were more kittens coming and soon. That was the day before she had them. 5 more beautiful kittens, 8 more weeks of having 7 cats (...and a dog, and a toddler, and a huge pregnant belly), and within this time about 3 solid weeks of Dave being the only one able to scoop 7 cats’ worth of litter. Silver lining? They are cute as can be, they all have homes lined up, and (!!) two pairs will be going home together!! That makes me super happy <3

More [super exciting] news… I FINALLY opened my Etsy shop! I honestly never thought that would be one of my things. Since the news of twins started to sink in, though, I’ve had to really think about how my photography business needed to evolve to allow for income through the first hectic months/years of their lives. Opening an Etsy Shop to sell my photographs was one of my ideas, and to be honest it was very daunting to me. I love to shoot; I really don’t love the act of selling my work. I know the value of my sessions = the value I put on spending time with my family, so that comes easily to me (adding in materials, my equipment value, insurance, post-processing, and all that other photography jazz.) But the idea of working on and selling my work to be hung in the homes of others is a bit scary for me! It’s like I’m entering into a different realm of art. Over the last couple years though I pledged to myself that I would print and hang more of my work throughout my home, and boy have I gotten good at that (sorry to Dave, who has been put to work hanging everything.) Since then I’ve had family & friends ask me if I ever sell my work and said they’d totally purchase it if I did! Also, as a donation, I printed, matted and framed some pieces for a benefit held by CTPPA to raise money for domestic violence victims, and my piece from the Outer Banks sold within the first hour! At these points I really had no intention of selling my photographs, but those bits of encouragement definitely help the Etsy idea come to fruition. And I have to say, I’m diggin the feeling of having them out there.

A few of my favorites are below! Only 8 of each image will be released for sale, so not everybody and their neighbor can have the same print on their wall. Once that image has been selected by 8 buyers, it will be retired and replaced with a new piece of work. Each will be printed on Fine Art paper as 12x18 prints, ready for mounting and framing. Some of them have been worked over in Photoshop in a "waterdrop/watercolor-esque" manner. I chose these images based on it's what I personally would hang in my own home, so the collection is pretty personal to me. Some of them I've added my favorite quotes to as options for customization. If you're interested in any of these and have questions regarding customization, please just ask!

So among all of these things, an always active Sam, and doing some big-time nesting (yes, it’s definitely a thing, and it's on) I’m really just trying to juggle my actively creative mind with “taking it easy” until she's here. My official due date is Nov 13, though a very likely side effect of the surgery is preterm delivery. While sticking with these doctors’ orders of light activity has been one of the most difficult challenges mentally, I've physically been carrying a 38wk size belly since 16wks (moms, I know you're feeling for me) so I just keep reminding myself that I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. And after one pregnancy loss last year and then losing one of the twins 10 weeks ago, I’ve finally started allowing myself to get excited for this baby girl’s arrival. I think I’ve finally stopped guarding my heart from the possibility of completely losing this pregnancy, and celebration mode has begun! I’ve got an amazing husband, little crazy lovable Sam, and the most supportive family and friends a girl can ask for. I absolutely LOVE what I do, I'll never stop shooting, and even though I won't be able to take sessions for a bit, the camera will never be far from my hand for long.

Wish me luck! -T

The anticipation of this little guy's arrival was so exciting and so painful. Could he just be here already? Also, it's so amazing when your best friends join the parent club and they can finally see what a joy it is to have a little snuggle bug of their own. Not only that, but now they know why we've turned from "Where we going out tonight?!" friends into crazy sleep-deprived sympathizers. Now, they too, will have been transformed. (Muwahahah) JK  ...no, but really.

Congratulations to our best friends on their beautiful baby Jae. He's such a love!

Moving Slideshows in the photographer world are called "Fusion" shows. Short video clips are added into the slideshow to really add that extra element of connectivity and emotion. Don't get me wrong, the images alone are enough to melt you ...but they just don't say it all. When you see those little toes wiggle and that finger grasp onto your husband's hand, you'll get warm and fuzzy all over remembering how quickly your main squeeze became the best Dad ever. So much happens when your baby is growing up and it happens all too quickly. I'm speaking from experience as my own baby is about to be 2 years old. When he's approaching that milestone, it's almost hard to remember what he was like right after he came home from the hospital. A show like this will help you remember those tiny moments for a lifetime.

Questions or thoughts about Moving Slideshows? Don't hesitate to comment below or contact me!