Tag Archives: birthday

Welcome to the 30 club!

What better way to welcome my sis-in-law into the 30 club than sharing all of her secrets and posting really embarrassing photos!  I’m totally kidding!  She keeps her secrets in her hair, so I could never find all of them any way 😉

I was 14 when I first met Ashley.  My first memory of her is standing in their living room with a red-headed child thrown on her hip.  Ashley probably weighed 90 pounds, and so did that child haha!  She was babysitting for their neighbors.  Nothing significant happened between the two of us on that day, but that will always be how I remember meeting her.  Here’s some of our first photos together…

Shannon and I were Seniors and Ashley was a Sophomore.  This was during spirit week and we were suppose to dress up in a blast from the past outfit.  Shannon looks hilarious!  He’ll probably kill me for this haha!  It’s funny how styles come back around, because I think I could wear my outfit in that photo now!

This next one is from my senior prom.  I think Ashley says it best, “we must be like fine wine!”

Now, I wouldn’t say Ashley and I hated each other, because that’s a very strong word.  Lets just say, we definitely were not scheduling two hour phone dates and running off to Vegas together for a girls weekend.  This lasted for a good 10 years!  I know that sounds crazy to not get along with someone for a whole decade, but it’s true!  We never had any big fights or anything crazy during those 10 years.  We were just young, catty, jealous girls.  We were so much alike back then.  In our individual family units we stood out and held our own, but together, we couldn’t find a room big enough to hold the both of us!  We often would show up to family events dressed alike.  I am an only child, and was also the girl in school that would lie to you when you asked where my outfit came from, because I didn’t want anyone to have the same clothes as me.  Having said that, you can understand how mad I would be when we showed up looking like twins!  The photo below is the best!  This was Christmas, and trust me, we had not discussed clothing together!

Here’s some other great photos of us dressed very similar to each other…it looks like we only did this with the color scheme of red, black, and white, but that’s just because I could only find these photos!  The photo directly below was at my 24th birthday/wedding engagement party.  Ashley’s holding the card I made asking her to be a bridesmaid in our wedding.  I kinda look like Minnie Mouse lol!

This next photo was taken at our annual Christmas cocktail party.  The ironic part of this photo is that the dress Ashley is wearing, I had the exact same one in black.  Thankfully, I hadn’t chosen to wear that one, but we still looked very similar.

I know you’re probably saying, but you girls look so happy together in all those photos.  Remember, I said that we didn’t hate each other.  We just didn’t make an effort to become friends outside of family events.  That’s why there aren’t a ton of photos of us together back then.

This next photo was the turning point in our relationship.  It’s not that it’s a great photo, because it definitely is not!  That night though, was significant to the relationship we have now.  From then on, we saw each other several times a week and for the first time we actually opened up to each other.  We spent many, many hours that summer talking about those 10 ugly years.  We’ve been very honest about it to each other and anyone who asks, which is why I feel ok to write this blog now.  We had an absolute blast together that summer!  In the end, we realized that clothing was a petty thing to argue about, among other things.  We left that summer not only as friends, but as sisters.

Now that I am a photographer, I see more in the photo below.  Look at how close our heads are together.  I always tell my clients the closer your bodies are the more connected you’ll look in the photo.  As you look at the photos further down, you’ll see just how connected we get.  Practically attached at the hip!

Here’s more of my favorite photos of us together from that awesome summer…

Please note we showed up this night wearing the same color dress, but thought it was “so freakin cuuuuute” instead of being annoyed by it!

Amy G!!!  She makes everyone happy, so I had to throw this one in!

We’ve now spent 7 good years together!  I’m beyond thankful that we repaired our relationship before she moved to Atlanta.  Life has dealt both of us several bad hands, but ultimately those low times are what drew us closer together.  We also believe that conflict is good.  I once listened to a pastor talk about conflict.  He said you absolutely can not avoid conflict in relationships.  There are no short cuts around it no matter how hard you try to avoid it.  He said, it’s what happens during that conflict that shapes the relationship.  It’s the people that ask questions of each other and really work through it, that in the end, up with a deeper more connected relationship.  That pastor is the cousin of Ashley’s fiancé.  Small world 🙂

I’m not proud of the person I’ve been in the past, but I am proud of the person sitting here writing this blog.  I’m also proud of Ashley.  I feel like I should insert the Drake song here lol!  Seriously, I am blessed to call her my friend and sister.  I also really love her fiancé, Doug!  I’m excited and honored to be a part of their future and make more happy memories together.  Although, we do welcome the hard memories too.  After all, those are what got us to this point.

I’m going to overload you with more photos now.  I’m a photographer, I can’t help it!

This photo was at Put In Bay during my bachelorette party.  Ashley made me the veil I’m wearing.  Maybe that was the start of Renee May Couture??

If you know us at all, you’ve heard us call each other Pussywillow (ash) and Poppycock (me).  That began as a joke while we were shopping for flowers for my wedding.  Below, she’s wearing the pussywillow halo I made her for to wear at our wedding rehearsal dinner.  Please note, our dresses are the same color!

Now, she’s holding her birthday present wrapped in pussywillow paper.

My personal fav is the pussywillow sweater she got me for Christmas!

In the photo below, I’m wearing a one-of-a-kind Renee May Couture original piece!

Us on my wedding day.

In the photo above, you can see Ashley’s holding a parasol.  That’s what I had my girls carry instead of bouquets.  That theme continued with the song we chose to walk into the reception to, Rihanna’s song Umbrella.  Now, anytime that song comes on you’ll hear a loud “AWE!” and everyone surrounds me and makes an umbrella with their hands.  See below!

The next photos were Ashely’s 28th birthday.  It was her first birthday in Atlanta away from family, so we all surprised her!  I think she looks surprised!

We are both wearing lace tops with similar colored skirt/shorts 🙂

This photo was a very special moment for all the sissies!  Ashley presented each of us with cards asking all of us to be her Matrons/Maid of Honor at her wedding! We were so excited we celebrated with cheerleading moves!

In November 2012, Ashley and I shared our first visit to Disney together!

Hanging with some Minions at Universal Studios!

Working on our Heisman pose!

Some of my fav photos of the two of us from our visit to Atlanta…

I want to end with family photos.  I love being a part of this family!  I’m sure you can see why 🙂

HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY ASHLEY RENEE’!  LOOK AT HOW AMAZING YOUR LIFE HAS ALREADY BEEN, I CAN’T EVEN WAIT TO SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS!  I’M WRITING IN SHOUTY CAPS SO YOU KNOW I MEAN BUSINESS!  HAVE AN AMAZING BIRTHDAY!  WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Poppycock + Pussywillow 4-EVA

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RIP Grandma

Twelve years ago, we said good-bye to the amazing woman I had the pleasure to call Grandma.  For a long time, I felt very cheated that she was taken from me at such a young age.  She was only 57 years old and I was 18.  The photo below was taken before my Senior prom in May of 2000.  A short 10 months later, she was gone.

 

Looking back, there were definite signs that something was wrong with her.  It wasn’t until February of 2001 that she received the cancer diagnosis.  On March 22, my mom’s birthday, we were all at the hospital with Grandma.  Family had travelled in from everywhere to say good-bye.  We all knew she would never come home.  Even though she could barely breathe or see, she insisted that we celebrate my mom’s birthday.  So, someone went to Dairy Queen and bought an ice cream cake, and Grandma actually took a bite of it.  Around 4 o’clock in the morning on March 23, we all stood gathered around her hospital bed as she took her last breath.

Everything I am, I owe to my Grandma.  I only have two regrets.  She was an amazing cook and seamstress.  Though I spent time with her doing both, I definitely didn’t inherit her expertise at these skills.  I can cook the bare minimum, and every time I sew, I smile at the thought of her laughing at me from Heaven at my inability to sew a straight line!  What I lack in those two areas, I more than make up for in others, and for that reason I know she is super proud of me!

Fast forward to present day, and though I of course am still sad at what today represents, I am also happy.  Three years ago today, my mom decided to turn March 23rd around and make it a happy day for us.  So, she ran away to Hollywood and got married!  Between loosing my Grandma and my Uncle Brian, I often thought I would loose my mom as well.  Thankfully, she married a man that is absolutely perfect for her.  She is just as funny as she ever was, and her smile tells you how happy she is.  Today, I’ll be travelling to Mansfield to spend some time with them to celebrate her birthday and also anniversary.

 

I no longer feel cheated for loosing her.  I often look at the younger generation and am disappointed at how much they take for granted.  I spent the majority of my time with my grandparents, and that is what shaped me to be the person I am today.  I have morals, values, compassion, goals.  I often try to picture my life if she were still here, and honestly, I don’t like what it may have been.  I was so attached to her, I’m not sure I would have ever left and became my own person.  I also am very thankful she wasn’t here to experience the tragic loss of Brian.  Something else I’m thankful for is that she had gotten to know Shannon, and really loved him.  I’m sure she knew he would take great care of me, and that’s why it was ok her to go on to a better place 🙂  So, today I’ll celebrate a life lived, not a life lost.  R.I.P Grandma gone but never forgotten

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Nicholas is ONE!

Yet another one of my kiddos just turned one!  Not only have I been photographing this little guy since he was in mama’s tummy, but I’ve known his parents for a long time.  Our photography journey together has taken us to really cool places.  They are HUGE Buckeye fans, so for their maternity session we used the outside of the stadium, Mirror Lake, and the Union.  For Nicholas’s 6 month session we actually went inside the Horseshoe for the photos!  Yes, on the field where the Buckeyes play!

The party theme was Sesame Street, so I ordered a super cute Cookie Monster tie from Etsy to use for the session.  He looked like such a regal gent in his oxford shirt and tie!  I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a cookie jar that said “cookies”.  Thankfully, mom found one on-line and had it shipped overnight.  With fingers crossed, it made it the day of the session!  I brought chewy chips ahoy cookies with me to use as a prop, and those cookies saved the day!  Nicholas loved them!  Along with the cookies, and mom performing a puppet show and squat jumps behind me, we got some great smiles!

I returned the next day for the actual birthday party to take some family photos with Grandma and Grandpa.  I also stayed to capture Nicholas opening presents and eating his cake.  He was not into being a model two days in a row, but once he was sat in his sweet car in-between Grandma and Grandpa, he was all smiles 🙂

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A Grandpa’s Love…

Today is my Grandpa’s birthday!!  He doesn’t even own a computer, so he’ll never see this post, but that’s ok.  We went home to Mansfield over the weekend to see him since I’ll only be able to talk to him on the phone today.  It makes me very sad that we aren’t closer distance wise anymore.  You see, my mom and I lived across the street from my Grandma and Grandpa.  I literally saw them everyday of my  life.  When my Grandma passed away, I even moved in with him for about a year.  When I finally moved back in with my mom, Shannon, who was just my awesome boyfriend back then, stayed the night with him every Friday and Saturday for about six months.

When we visited with him Saturday, he was telling us how he’ll occasionally stop into this ice cream shop and get a cone and eat it in the car.  My heart was literally broken hearing that.  Even though we are only one hour away from each other, it’s just too far to swing by and have ice cream together.  Which, when I was younger, we ate almost every night together.  Needless to say, he was my father figure.  If you have read “meet the sevens” on the website, you already know that we were married on my grandparents wedding anniversary, and my Grandpa gave me away.  I wanted to share a couple of my favorite photos from that special day.  My favorite is the one of us on the horse and carriage.  Doesn’t he look like Johnny Cash and Elvis!  I love it!  Since he gave me away, we had the whole carriage ride into the ceremony to be alone, and of course we talked about Grandma.  It was a very special moment for us.  The photo of us dancing was during the “father-daughter” dance.  I chose, Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days, by the Judds.  Yet another very special moment for us where once again we talked some about Grandma.

Even though I’m only 30, my Grandpa is the only grandparent I have left.  I don’t like this reality.  He just recently won a battle against cancer.  Which is great that he’s currently cancer free, but also makes it even more apparent that our time together will eventually come to an end.

Recently, one of my good friends lost her Grandpa.  He lived to be 90 years old, which is amazing, but anyone who has lost someone close to them knows that no matter the age or circumstance, it’s never easy to say goodbye.  He also was able to attend her wedding, which is a great memory for her to have.  I wanted to share my favorite photo from her special day in honor of her Grandpa.  Aren’t those smiles contagious!  RIP Bob Huston

For the record, I don’t intend to be Debbie downer when I write personal blogs.  I do, however, want anyone fortunate enough to have Grandparents to realize how precious time is with them.  Maybe you live too far away to see them often, but a phone call, email, letter, or whatever form of communication your Grandparent can use, will make their day.  If you live close enough to have an ice cream date together, that is what I would do!  I ordered that photo above on a plaque for my friend.  Below the photo, I put a quote, “A Grandpa is someone you never outgrow your need for…”  On that note, I’m going to call my own and see how his birthday is going!

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Fletch Man is ONE!

I am so sad that this little man is turning one.  I’ve been photographing him since he was inside mama’s belly, and then every three months after he was born.  His mom, Lindsay, always has super creative ideas for the sessions!  Poor Fletcher has had fake tattoos on his bottom, fake mustaches on his upper lip, and we even wrapped him in Christmas lights!  Needless to say, every session with this family has been a ton of fun, which is why I’m so sad.

Fletcher’s party theme will be Dr. Seuss, so we decided to base his photo session around that too.  All I brought was the backdrop and camera.  Lindsay supplied everything else, because most of it is decor for the party.  Isn’t that banner the cutest?!?  Lindsay made it!  She rocks!  We’ve photographed him in ties every session to keep up with the “old man” theme.  This time, we incorporated those red glasses and they just made the session perfect!

Lindsay is also my primary referral source!  Without her, I wouldn’t be near as successful!  Did I mention that she rocks??

Happy first birthday Fletch Man!

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