halloween costumes

Backtracking a bit….I’m bound and determined to catch up on blogging.  I didn’t photograph my own kiddos too much during busy season 2014, but I did take a few.  I had the cutest little sea creatures on the block!

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The moment you realize you ate all the refried beans. He’s addicted y’all.

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Aaron is in the military and was deployed when his first two boys were this tiny and new.  He’s home this time and they are all soaking up every moment.  Having him home for the newborn age is a special time and one they definitely don’t take for granted.  Aaron, thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country.  Congratulations to all of you on the birth of your (oh so sweet) third son.

Feb 25, 2015
posted in Jonah, my family with  0  COMMENTS

Jonah turned two while we were camping in the fall so I used that opportunity to take his 2nd birthday photos.  This boy, he steals my heart in a million ways….jonah_second_birthday

He’s so much fun, so loving, so kind and has just been the easiest addition to our family.  I thought our family was complete.  I thought our fertility issues were too big to overcome.  I thought we were a family of 5.  Yet I can’t remember now what it feels like to not have him here.  It’s like he’s always been here.  It’s up in the air who adores him the most, we all soak him up every day.  He is so very loved….

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Easygoing?  Yes.  Definitely.  What a blessing that is….

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This last photo, it brings tears to my eyes.  I love them both so very much.  Seeing them love each other is just the best.  I grew up without my dad around and he died when I was 12.  My step dad and I had a decent, yet rocky at times, relationship.  He taught me a lot of things and brought good to my life, but it wasn’t a run to him loving type of relationship.  When I see this little boy run in to his daddy’s arms when he comes home from work, I get to live a little of that.  And it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen.  I’m so very blessed to get to witness the way they love.

Happy Birthday Jonah!

 

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Day 55 | 365 Project

Bedtime for my bookworm. He and my mom probably read 20+ books today. And he still had to sneak in one more right before bed.

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When I came home from a few errands tonight I spotted this scene. Duder and Taryn were arguing and Jase sent both to their rooms for a break from one another. For Duder, that meant a quick snooze before dinner.

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I have to gush over Ty for a minute.  I’m so proud of him.  He’s volunteered at Texas Humane Heroes for two years, putting in hundreds of volunteer hours.  Most weeks he’s showed up, wearing his green volunteer shirt, 3 to 4 days per week.  We asked him early on if he’d ever want to work there.  He was 16 then and his response impressed me so much.  He said no, because every penny that went to him as an employee was money that could go to the animals.  I was so proud of his answer.  He’s put in a lot of hard work over the last 2 years, caring for the animals, cleaning facilities, assisting with adoptions.  But at almost 18, its time for him to find work.  Being homeschooled gives him a super flexible schedule, that helps a lot.  He has a truck, needs gas money, etc.  He started putting in applications and then Texas Humane Heroes offered him a job as an Animal Care Coordinator.  He was so excited!  The place he knows and loves and has poured his heart in to.  So, he’s no longer sporting the green shirt.  Here’s the red shirt, baby!

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This session rounds out my 2014.  It was a last minute session for me during busy season and I’m so glad it worked out!  These photos were meant to celebrate his 100th day of life.  They were my 99th session of the year, how fun would it have been to have my 100th session during a 100th day celebrate.  I’m such a numbers nerd that drives me crazy lol.  But, I mean, for real, have you ever seen this level of sweet squish?!  I want to reach through the screen and pinch those cheeks.  And the rubber band wrists, forget about it, so cute!  I’ll confess that when I photograph 3 month old babes I secretly hope they will fall asleep at the end of their session.  The sleeping squishy baby photos are my favorite.

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I forgot to include this fun family in my mini session round up post.  Probably because it wasn’t very mini….big family, big love, big laughs.  When I’m a grown up, I want to be like this grandma.  She’s the fun one!  The one who danced behind me and acted a crazy fool to get the laughs.  And all the apples didn’t fall to far from the tree either!  So.much.fun.  I left with a stomach ache from laughing so hard being around them.  Unfortunately, it was the passing of a family member that made them realize they hadn’t had family photos taken in over a decade.  Photos become so incredibly valuable with a loss.  And I was honored to photograph this beautiful family so they will always have these moments together to treasure.  They reminded me why I love my job so much.

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A quick snap as these yahoos head on over to my mom’s house next door for their very first date night / sleep over.  This warms my heart.  Ty had weekly date nights with my mom when he was little and we lived around the corner from each other.  So many precious memories and it’s something these 3 have missed out on.  They get snacks, movies, sleeping bags and snuggles, we get quiet time.  Win win!

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Little Miss recently turned 2!  Can you believe it!  She’s so smart, spunky and fun!  It’s always awesome to catch up with a baby plan graduate!

I’m *finally* done editing these.  We took a big camping trip in the fall to celebrate Jason and Jonah’s birthdays.  Thankfully, my mom and Jason’s parents were able to make the trip.  Our last camping trip was a total blast so we were really looking forward to going again.  We made so many wonderful memories….stradtner_family_camping_trip_01

We stayed in different cabins during this trip because our usual ones were booked up.  It turned out to be a blessing because we had to drive down to the river and it was super easy access for my mom who had just had knee replacement surgery 2 weeks prior.  My favorite thing was sitting on the front porch first thing in the morning, with the kids piled on our laps in the rocking chairs, wrapped in blankets.  We were definitely thankful for beautiful weather – warm enough to swim during the day and cool enough to snuggle around the fire at night.  It was perfect.  The kids had fun playing in the river and spent hours skipping rocks.

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Taryn is constantly asking to go fishing.  Fishing with her grandpa is a dream come true for my girl.  We didn’t catch much but we sure had fun making memories and chasing lost bobbers.  Taryn would go fishing every single day if she could!

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Taryn wrote us wonderful stories to read around the fire.  And we sure enjoyed Jason’s mom and dad being just one cabin over.  Note to self:  buy more hammocks, my children battled over it and we definitely need more.

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The grandmothers planned some fun activities for the kids.  One was a spiderweb maze.  It was intended for Taryn and Jude but Jonah ended up being really, really, good at it.  Turns out being short is a benefit, ha!

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We also hit the state park.  The water was COLD and it took quite a while for all of us to get in.  The good news is that we were some of the only crazy people in there so the guys had the rope swing to themselves.  I had so much fun floating around with Jude shivering.

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And then….my baby had his last day of being 1.  So bittersweet.  I love this little boy so much.  He really is our happy little camper….

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And just like that – my baby is 2.  Time flies.  He had a wonderful birthday.  And somehow I managed to cook a grain free paleo cake in the woods.  And it was so good!  Next up was a scavenger hunt.  We broke up in to teams.

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After 5 days, we were all missing our own beds.  But we had to make one last trip to the river before heading home.  I think we could live on the river and be perfectly happy.  Oh!  And Taryn lost a tooth!

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Jonah loved his birthday gifts and spent so much time chasing his tractor on the porch.  We came home and I booked 2 camping trips for 2015.  It’s so great for our family to reconnect and spend time outdoors, away from technology.  I did a session with Jonah while we were there to celebrate his birthday – I’ll come share those next!!