On Being a Full Time Photographer {except not really}

Last week when I shared how busy things were, I had no idea that I was just in the midst of it. With 7 more sessions this past week (half of which were booked with less than 48 hour notice), I am getting a taste of what it would look like to be a full time photographer. And it’s awesome. I love it. :) On any given day over the past two weeks I have been contacted by someone to set up a session, I have been brainstorming ideas for sessions (poses, backgrounds, themes, etc), I have been out there photographing people, and I have been editing photos. It has been crazy busy on top of normal life busy-ness. But it has been a wonderful busy. :)

the photographerChristopher comes with me on all the sessions that he can which is a whole other post for another day because he is all kinds of awesome. He snapped this pic of me working on Saturday. :)

However. I miss you guys. I miss writing here. I miss reading about your lives. I’m catching snippets on Facebook and Instagram, but missing the bigger stories. I’d like to say that I’ll catch up this week, but let’s be real: I still have 6 sessions to edit (and 4 more coming up to plan, photograph, and edit… plus however many more short notice ones come up). And my family will all be arriving here in Memphis on Wednesday for Thanksgiving. Which I am SUPER excited about! But of course it means I won’t be online much. So who knows… hopefully next week I’ll be caught up enough to catch up on you guys’ lives! I haven’t forgotten about this space or any of you! But until then… Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope you spend the day surrounded with people you love! :)
Love Rach

Busy busy busy

This time of year (fall/Christmas) my photography business really kicks up a notch. I had 9 sessions on the books for this past week alone (two sessions got moved to this coming week due to rain, but still!). In a few minutes I’m headed out to another session. It is an awesome sort of busy. When I deposited the photography money I’ve made this past week into our bank Christopher told me to just let him know when I was ready for him to retire. ;) That won’t be happening any time soon, but it has been fun to pursue my photography. :)

john chesterA lady took this photo of me doing SR photos for her son this past Friday. It was like 35 degrees and SO COLD! But the photos look amazing. :)

Anyway, for those of you who have been asking where I’ve been – this is where. :) Still normal busy (church, friends, kids we mentor, nannying, etc), but add in so many photo sessions and unfortunately I’m not as present with blog writing/reading. I’ve missed hearing what you guys have been up to! I am making a point this week to catch up on some blog reading, but until I get to it… tell me what you’ve been up to! Are you getting excited about Thanksgiving & Christmas coming up?

Love Rach

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Thanks for all of your support on our sad news earlier this week! We appreciate all the kind words and prayers. I will definitely keep you guys updated once we have a surgery date.

I’m all kinds of behind in blogging about all the things that were happening in our life during the week I was blogging about the tv show renovation. So today I want to share something special that our family did a couple of weeks ago. :)

walk to end alzheimer's

To support my father-in-law, who has early onset vascular dementia, Christopher and I decided to join the Walk to End Alzheimer’s this year. We made up a team name (Team Victory, naturally) and set our fund raising goal at $200 on our webpage. Thanks to the generosity of a lot of people who love my parents-in-law, our team raised $540. My mother-in-law cried when she saw how many people had donated on their behalf. She’s a sweet soul, that lady. She is the primary care giver for my father-in-law right now and so often she feels so alone. She has a great church family where she lives, but neither of her kids live in town. Which is a big part of why we try to visit them often.

all of us

Some of our Memphis friends have gotten to know my parents-in-law over the years so to support our family, they came out and walked with us too. Jacob & Courtney on the far left and Lyndal & Brodie on the far right. Christopher and I are in the middle with his parents.  It meant so much to us to that the same sweet friends who have been walking beside us figuratively during this process and being such a great support to us, were there literally walking beside us on that freezing cold morning. :)

flowers

At the beginning of the walk everyone gets a certain color flower based on their relationship with Alzheimer’s (care giver, supporter, afflicted, or lost someone) and writes the name of the person they know who is/was affected by Alzheimer’s. The flowers are “planted” in a garden while you walk and when you return you can take yours if you like. It’s bitter sweet seeing things like this. It breaks my heart to see how many of the flowers represented people who have lost loved ones to Alzheimer’s. But it’s also amazing to see the number of people who were care-takers and supporters of people with this disease. My mother-in-law continues to amaze me by the way she cares for my father-in-law during this time.

Have you been part of a walk/5k/marathon/etc for a cause you really cared about?

Love Rach

Sad news in our world…

Remember way back in September when I mentioned that Christopher had injured his knee playing in a basketball tournament? Well, the day he injured it, there was a physical therapist present who checked out his knee and told him that it was probably fine, but to rest for a couple of weeks and that if it didn’t get better to come in and see him (or another PT). Christopher rested his knee carefully, but it never got better. So he went to see a PT. They checked the knee again and told him to do some stretches/exercises and if the swelling/pain didn’t go away then he would need to see an Orthopedic doctor. Well, sure enough, he ended up having to see the Ortho doc. Who did an MRI. And we got the results back a week ago today.

christopher basketball(that’s him shooting there… or… flying… or something. either way, he scored!)

My sweet husband has torn his ACL & Meniscus. Which means he will have to have surgery on his knee.

christopher basketball

Long before Christopher and I started dating he has always played basketball regularly. When we started dating he was playing 2 hours a day in the afternoon, and then also for his social club as well as for an intramural team. Literally every day, he played a minimum of 2 hours of basketball and on some days he played 4-5. He just loves the sport. Even as an adult he still plays basketball every day over his lunch hour and he plays in as many tournaments as he can. And you guys, he is so good. I know, I know… you’re thinking that I’m just a biased wife, but it’s the truth and anyone who’s seen him play will vouch for the fact that he is a beast on the court. Nearly always he is one of the best (if not the best) player on the court. Partially it’s natural ability and hand-eye coordination (he’s pretty great at nearly every sport he tries), but with basketball specifically so much of his talent is from hours and hours of practice over the years.

christopher basketball

And ever since I can remember, he has always been afraid of tearing his ACL. It’s such a common injury among athletes and we’ve known several people who’ve done it. He sprained his ankle a couple of times in college and he was the worst about giving it time to heal. He would often re-injure it before it had a chance to heal properly the first time because he was so impatient to get back out on the court. Well, instead of the 6 weeks a sprained ankle takes to heal up, a torn ACL takes close to a year to heal properly. A year, you guys. So he has always been scared to death of this particular type of injury. And now he has one.

christopher basketball

He hasn’t played basketball since he injured his knee 2 months ago. This is the longest he has gone without playing basketball since he was a kid (before he started playing regularly). And he won’t be likely to get to play again for a minimum of 6 months from the time of the surgery (and up to a year or more depending on how PT goes). I have been completely amazed at his attitude, though. In college when he would sprain his ankle and not be able to play for a couple of weeks he would be so down about it. Understandably so because it’s something he loves. But he has handled this with such grace. I’m pretty sure I’d be throwing a huge fit and pity party if I had to give up something I loved for a year. But he’s taking it for what it is and brainstorming other ways to exercise that he might also enjoy (like swimming which he used to love).

teaching abby to shoot(Christopher teaching my sister Abby to shoot 5 years ago)

When I tell people that living life with Christopher makes me a better person this is such a good example of why. He handles himself with such self control and grace. Yes, he is sad about it, but he doesn’t dwell on that. He let himself grieve for the loss of basketball for about a day. And then he moved on. There’s nothing he can do about it and being upset about it won’t change things. But you better believe that we will be praying for the speediest recovery EVER from this surgery once it happens. ;)

rach and topher(us in college before one of his basketball games -spring 2008- yes, his hair is in a bunch of tiny pony tails… I used to do that for him before every big game. He called it his good luck charm :) )

As we’ve been talking about this over the past week there are a couple of things we are thankful for. We are thankful for basketball and how it has been such a fun part of Christopher’s life (and will be again someday!). We are thankful the injury isn’t worse. We are thankful that there are doctors and surgeries to fix this. And we are thankful to have the financial means (and insurance!) to pay for this. So yes, it is sad news. I don’t want to minimize that. This will change so much of Christopher’s life over the next year. And ours together as well (especially while he is on crutches and unable to drive). But in the big picture… it’ll be okay. It’s just another bump along the road of life.

- Have you ever torn your ACL or known someone who did? 
- Have you ever had to give up a favorite sport/activity for a long period of time?
Love Rach

A whirlwind trip to Ohio

Saturday morning we woke up at 4:30am and were sitting on a plane by 6am. We flew up, up and away to Chicago and then on to Columbus, Ohio. We returned home at midnight last night. It was certainly a whirlwind trip without much sleep, but it was absolutely wonderful! So why were we in Columbus, Ohio, you might ask? Well, my oldest sister lives in the Czech Republic with her husband and two children and they are currently in Ohio for a business trip so we flew up to see them!

rach and melissa and kidsMy sister Melissa and I holding her two kiddos. I’ve got Katarina and Melissa’s holding Marek.

rach with katkaThat’s my niece, Katka. She’s about to turn 7 going on 17. She’s clever and sweet. Also, she loves Starbucks and has a regular drink (vanilla steamer, thankyouverymuch) which makes her a pretty cool 7 year old in my book. ;)

marek and christopherMarek was attached to Christopher about 24/7. Really, whenever Katka wasn’t climbing on him, Marek was there. They both love their uncle Christopher. And I mean, I can see why. He’s pretty much my favorite too. ;)

ohio state uniWhile we were in Columbus we visited the Ohio State campus. Christopher wanted to see the Buckeyes field so we walked through an open gate, past several people who smiled at us, and walked into the stadium. We took a few pictures and then turned around to walk back and found out that the gate we had walked in was now padlocked. O_O Thankfully we found the locker room and there was a very friendly, very understanding man who let us out, haha! We began to worry that we’d accidently kidnapped our nephew (Melissa, Matus, and Katka hadn’t walked in with us). It makes for a good story, though. ;)

playgroundWe played on the playground (yes, Katka managed to convince us both that we needed to slide down the slide with her… it’s entirely possible that I got stuck halfway down, ha!). We sat in a couple of coffee shops. We played dolls and trucks and ran around in circles. We ate good food (my brother-in-law makes delicious salmon!). We talked a lot. It was a wonderful weekend. :)

katka and marekI even did a little mini photo session with them on Sunday afternoon. There is something about black & white that just seems so perfect for family photos. :)

melissa's famYes, yes, that black and white… I love it! :) My sister Melissa, her husband Matus, and their two kiddos Katarina and Marek. :)

us with the kidsChristopher and I with our niece and nephew. We sure do love these kiddos! :)

We had a fabulous weekend in Columbus even if it was a short one. The weather was perfect, the city was gorgeous (especially the German Village where we spent most our time), the changing leaves were brilliant, and best of all the company was wonderful. :) So glad we got to see my sister’s family!

Love Rach

Bricks in the Wall {Fix It & Finish It}

Okay friends, this post is my attempt to wrap up the end of our Fix It & Finish It updates. No doubt I will mention it again in the future, but I think it’s probably time to move on to all the other things that have been happening with us lately. :) But first! My final (for now) Fix It & Finish It post! For those of you who didn’t get to see the episode, I wanted to share some of my favorite moments. :)

fix it and finish it (1)Christopher and I explaining to Antonio why we don’t use this room and what our vision for it is. {of course he already knows all of this, but we needed to say it for the cameras}

fix it and finish it (2)“Meeting” Dave, the builder for our project. Except that we had previously met Dave a couple of weeks before when he came to get measurements for the project. Here he is explaining the game plan to us (which is essentially: smash wall).

fix it and finish it (3)Christopher taking the wall out. #BEAST

fix it and finish it (4)Christopher still working hard on the wall. They didn’t air it in the episode, but I spent a good chunk of time tearing down drywall. I promise I wasn’t totally useless, haha! (also, you can totally see Christopher’s mic here!)

fix it and finish it (5)Sharing a laugh with Antonio (telling him how glad I am to see this wall come down!). Also, excuse my crazy hair. That’s what I get for constantly removing my mask to talk on camera to having to put it back on to tear out dry wall. ;)

fix it and finish it (7)You can barely see him, but that’s Christopher in there swinging away and knocking out the wall! Again I say… #beast :)

fix it and finish it (8)Jumping through the HOLE IN MY HOUSE! Directly from inside the house to our back yard. I was (clearly) super excited! :D

fix it and finish it (9)In Christopher’s words, “See the doorway I’ve made for you.” :) I love that we both have our arms up – clearly we were super pumped!

And then the emotional part… the BIG REVEAL! Where we get to see the room for the first time. This was the only thing all day long that they only filmed once. So these are our genuine reactions to seeing everything for the first time. :)

fix it and finish it (10)We were so overwhelmed by everything they had done for us that it was hard to believe that this moment was actually happening. It felt so surreal. Just before we had come home for the big reveal we were talking about how amazing all of this was. That Fix It & Finish It chose us. That a local Memphis builder (Dave Moore) was willing to donate his time, crew, labor, and supplies to renovate this room. That a local Memphis designer (Ashley Toney) was willing to donate her time, expertise, and furniture to complete the space. You guys, they were not paid to do this. It was a gift to us. So with that in mind, you can see why we were so overwhelmed. All of this… was a gift to us.

fix it and finish it (11)Christopher: “There’s a patio…” You guys, if you haven’t seen the Big Reveal clip… watch it just for this moment. I love how he says it. It’s not the words, but the depth of emotion behind them. And just how excited we both are. :)

fix it and finish it (12)Both of us just completely overwhelmed and grateful. Definitely an emotional moment.

In case you missed any of these posts, here there are from the beginning:

Fix It & Finish It
A Humbling Experience
Well… We were on TV today…
Oreo sees the new room!
Behind the Scenes Look at Filming a TV Show

Love Rach

Behind the Scenes Look at Filming a TV Show (Fix It & Finish It)

Back in August I shared a little bit of the Behind the Scenes of our day with Fix It & Finish It, but I couldn’t share a lot of the details or anything that might end up on the show. So now that the show has aired I can finally share with you a little more in depth behind-the-scenes look! :)

rach and christopher with lauren (fix it & finish it)

First up, I have to tell you guys about Lauren. She was the associate producer of the show and she was the bomb dot com. The other producer (Collin) was also very friendly – really everyone was nice to us, haha! But Lauren holds a special place in our hearts. She really had a way about her that helped put us at ease during our interviews. Well, as much “at ease” as you can feel with the camera crew hovering about, ha!

To give you an idea of how the interviews looked, I’m going to share a clip with you guys. You can see that Lauren is standing right beside the camera guy and asking us the questions. We are supposed to maintain eye contact with her (never looking directly into the camera). And we have to answer in full sentences because her questions won’t be aired – just our responses.

As you can hear from Lauren, I did indeed hit the wall with the sledgehammer a couple of times (and tore down a lot of the drywall) so don’t let the fact that they didn’t air any of that fool you into thinking I just stood idly by. ;) Though I mean… I did enjoy watching Christopher go all beast on the wall and rip it out. :)

fix it and finish itThis is us working on the home owners’ project in the backyard. ‘Cause you know, it’s totally normal to have three different camera angles and two sound guys making sure they record every thing we do and say. ;)

fix it and finish itMore of us working on the home owner’s project with Ashley (the designer)

fix it and finish itYuuuup… there’s a hole in the side of my  house… but oh man, we were SO excited to go from INSIDE our house directly into the backyard!

fix it and finish itAnd up goes the door! As a behind the scenes note… nearly every single thing we did during the day, we had to do at least 3 times (sometimes more) just to be sure that they got every angle shot and word spoken that they needed to record. So they actually had to put up and take down this door three times just to be sure they got it all. Yikes!

fix it and finish itAs a staging note… Ever notice how books always match the room in these home renovation shows? That’s all thanks to covers put on them! The staging crew spent lots of time covering our books in neutrals and blues so they would match the room. :)

And finally, here’s a real look at what happens behind the scenes during an actual filming. This is our third take of walking in the door and greeting Antonio just before the Big Reveal!

I love that this video gives you a little bit of a better idea of how things went. Pretty much everything was a slow process of multiple takes and angles. The only thing the entire day that we did only once was the big reveal after we walked into the room. That was a one take deal so there is always a lot of pressure to make sure it’s perfect.

What’s funny is that at the very end of our Big Reveal, Christopher and I are quietly sitting on the couch, holding hands and whispering to each other about how happy we are… and then all the sudden someone yells “CUT!” and it’s all over. I nearly jumped out of my skin, haha! It was a fun process, though! And I’m glad I could share a little bit of it with you.

Nearly all of these photos and videos are thanks to Brandon Toney (the husband of our designer). He was there documenting the day which was awesome because I wasn’t able to do it. So thanks to Brandon! :) Last post on Fix It & Finish It coming up soon!

Love Rach