Another Birthday…Another Family Photo

Normally I don’t put up too much about our family on my blog, but in this case…just can’t help it. 😉 Ella recently had her 5th birthday and although I don’t do too much for birthdays, this year I decided to go allllll out for the little one (photos coming soon!). She’s been on the earth for 5 years now and there are a lot of milestones to be celebrated, and mourned, in honor of these years. Five years. Wow. WOW! It seems like yesterday that we realized I was pregnant, jumping up and down with the surprising news (we went to Italy for a vacation and brought back a souvenir we weren’t expecting….must have been something in the wine ;-)) And now that she is 5 she is no longer our little baby. 🙁 She is no longer an energetic toddler. 🙁 Any damage we do to her from this point forward will be remembered by her. Bummer. “They” say the first 5 years is when you have the most amount of influence on absolutely everything in her world. Now the influences will start to come from friends, foes, teachers and well…everything and everyone. Scary.

As much as I will miss the feel of the teeny baby in my arms and the toddler that I could swear someone fed chocolate and a Red Bull behind my back, I’m really looking forward to the girl that will “ohhh” and “awww” with me over a pair of Italian pumps, watch old movies and cry along side me, look forward to school shopping as much as I do and beg me to take her to get her nails done. 😉 Oh we’ll still dive into chocolate ice cream cones together and play with baby dolls, play a great round of Chutes and Ladders, and I will still get all misty and sloppy when I see her give her daddy a mugga mugga (that’s what you call it when you rub your noses together). I guess the point is no matter what comes next I welcome it with eyes wide open. She’ll always be my little girl. Next up: kindergarten, best friends, sleepovers and maybe even an addiction to the Jonas Brothers (good Lord I hope not).

A special Thank You to our good friend Annie O’Neill for taking the time to document us for another year. 🙂

That’s my girl. 🙂

Christmas with the Craigs

Top of the day-after-all-the-Christmas-hullaballoo to you! I hope all of you had a spectacular holiday. 🙂 I have complained about the cold since November but waking up to a white Christmas was simply wonderful.

This year was a particularly wonderful year for the Craig household as our daughter finally reached the age where her adorable little head could truly wrap itself around all the meanings of Christmas. We talked about baby Jesus, Santa, giving without expecting to receive…we made trips just to see Christmas lights, we visited all kinds of malls just to see decorations, we saw Santa countless times and spent days decorating our home with three (yep…I said it…three…) Christmas trees. Every moment was absolutely spectacular to experience with an almost 5 yr. old. 🙂 I happen to be a ginormous fan of Christmas so having a child to share it all with is just…FUN! So FUN! The “oooohs!”,  the “aaaaahhs!”, the hundreds of moments with mouth hanging to the ground and eyes popping out of the head. Love.It.All.

And then last night my loving and doting husband, John, said to me, “Love, do you realize you created the perfect Christmas for all of us?” And then I got to lay in bed and snuggle with my Love as he described each step of the past 2 months and everything we got to do as a family in the name of Christmas: the gatherings, the shopping, the Santa visits, the food, the THREE Christmas trees, the caroling in our own living room with John playing the guitar while we all danced around like monkeys to The Apple Song (music and lyrics by John & Ella Craig)…and I simply sunk into every memory and let them all wrap themselves around me.

Every Christmas I see so many “Keep the Christ in Christmas” bumper stickers and hear story after story about how disappointed Jesus must be in all of us as he watches us shop till we drop with such fierceness that it actually, occasionally, causes death. Yes, death. For any of you that watch the news after each Black Friday, you know what I’m talking about. Yes, we over-consume, we over-fret, we overeat, we over-think, overindulge on so many levels and mostly we just plain overdo it all. But as I look back on the last 2 months I see all the of the most sugary-sweet moments I got to spend with both my husband and Ella. The moments Ella was shocked with delight over some-kind-of-Christmas something and the look of “Oh good golly I could just eat her up” shared between John and myself…priceless. And I realize, this is what Jesus would want: moments of love. Pure, yummy, delicious love. So although I don’t attend church on Christmas (the Big Guy and myself have an understanding: I don’t question His creation of the false sense of authority he has given to the male species, George Bush or the incredulous monthly installment of a menstrual cycle and He does the same for me regarding church attendance) I will take this moment to claim that we experienced a true sense of Spirit in this Christmas season. With each smile, hug, and statement of love. With each deep belly laugh, new discovery and addition of new traditions every year….we each show our likeness in Him.

So relax, hug each other a little harder, kiss each other a little longer and allow yourself that moment of over-love. It does a soul good. 😉

A New Addition to Our Home

Recently John and I have been looking to add a little color and dimension to our workspace in our home. Our inspiration for this area was to make it feel like we were in a coffee shop, since we (a) are addicted to coffee and (b) love that warm, trendy, “I’m-hipper-than-you” attitude that comes along with being a cool photographer madly working in a trendy, hopping, beatnik-style coffee bar (and what you don’t see in the photo below is that behind our desk is a couch and 2 comfy chairs to lounge in). Was that too much information? But I digress… 😉

Enter conversation I had with my dear dear and super talented friend, Rachael Ryan. Rachael is a sweet soul that has so much creativity inside of her it seems to seep from her oh-so stylish clothes that make me jealous every time I see her. Rachael owns an incredibly successful makeup artist business (with clients including ESPN and MTV…I know…jealous) but what many do not know about Rachael is that she is also a fantastically talented painter as well. Strewn all over the upper part of her loft are paintings in every size, color and shape (which I want to steal and hang on every wall in my home). So, we decided to ask Rachael to paint for us. For inspiration, Rachael and I took a long and in-depth walk through the Carnegie Museum of Art and after pointing out several paintings that caught my eye, Rachael painted the masterpiece you see below. Isn’t she gorgeous?? I will save you from my pointing out all the lovely tid bits of this painting that I could stare at for hours and simply allow you to enjoy it. John and I tend to gravitate toward more abstract art so this painting fits in well with our style. She is home. 🙂

Thank you Rachael for allowing us a peek into your artful soul. Looking forward to our next venture. 🙂

A Camping We Will Go…

So (hopefully) you probably noticed that I didn’t blog yesterday. Well, my awesome brother, Paul, took John, Ella and myself to his camp for a night because it’s Elk season, fall and just plain quiet in the middle of nowhere, which we don’t get too much. So a-camping we went! It.Was.Breathtaking. I can’t begin to describe the mountains, the leaves and the stillness of Mother Nature. It was short but it was fun. Paul took us to go find some Elk to see and hopefully hear bugle (this is what Elk do during mating season. The Elk that bugles the loudest and most often gets the girlies. ;-)) So over a hill we went and before our very eyes were over 150 Elk just hanging out in a field. Stunning. So John took a few photos and the photo below is one of our favs. The photo below that is a shot John got while out hiking with Paul. Another stunner! And the one below that is just because I’m a mom and a sister. 😉 That’s Ella with her Godfather and my brother, Paul, checking out the Elk.