Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Here We Come

People always say that those first holidays are rough after you lose someone---it’s almost a cliché. I should have expected it but I hadn’t---so I felt a bit blindsided by my emotions on my first Thanksgiving without my mom. Last year we were in Chicago and helped my parents host 30 people---that's just my siblings and their children and that still wasn’t all of us. This year’s Thanksgiving was decidedly quieter and it was lovely, but it was also incredibly sad.

I’m torn between wishing we were going to be in Chicago this Christmas so we could be with my dad and my brothers and sisters,----and  being grateful that we won’t be because by being far away, I can pretend that she is still there, baking Irish Brack for everyone, with seven-layer-cookies in the oven, her holiday village all set up and Andrea Bocelli in the background. It doesn't matter if it’s been years since she was able to bake those raisin-filled cakes; I can still imagine her healthy and getting so excited for her annual Christmas Eve gathering of grandchildren.

Xmas printLeft to Right: That’s me in braids, with our basset hound Wilma in front of us, John, Karen, Eileen, Elizabeth, and Erin. Maybe 1977?

I’m grateful for the magic my mom created for us every Christmas as kids. I’m grateful that Aidan’s and Nolan’s first Christmases were celebrated in Chicago. I’m grateful my brother Kevin and sister Elizabeth flew in last Christmas, making the holiday so special for Mom. I’m grateful for the memories and the traditions, new and old, that make my mom part of our holidays.

In case you too are finding the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, from what was to what is, a bit harder than normal this year, or I've depressed you with my time-out from baby posts, here’s a few things to make you smile:

1. Turkey Tunes.  Jimmy Fallon’s rendition of We Are the Champions was the hit of the Macy’s Parade with my boys, and they loved his holiday version of all their pop favorites even more.

2. Cookie Monster Humor

3. Tara Whitney’s Elf Bernard

I adore Tara Whitney in general, and her Bernard is much more original than the Elf on a Shelf phenomenon.  Her post from 2010 may be what made me think an Elf on a Shelf would be a good gift for my friend Angie. Christmas isn’t Angie’s favorite to begin with, and then I gave her one more thing to add to her to-do list---because a Christmas elf is more planning, more work.  We joked about it this fall, and I realized I made a classic gift mistake---giving something I wanted so much that I couldn't imagine another person not wanting. So I ordered this cheaper elf for our family: The Elf on the Shelf: Plushee Pals 19 Inch Elf Light Skin---and I’m putting Aidan in charge of his magic.  Tara’s version is lovely and I’ll be lifting lots of her ideas.

I know you don’t like to post comments (because I see how many people visit here and don’t leave comments!) but I’d still like to hear how you are planning to add some magic to your holiday this year.
If you missed the Tiny Prints Cyber Monday 30% Sitewide Sale, they extended it for another two days. You can still get a great deal on Christmas cardsHanukkah cardsholiday party invitationscustom photo gifts...everything on their site is on sale until the end of today  November 29. Just use the promo code CB12 when you checkout to get 30% off your entire order.

We just got our cards in the mail yesterday---now the challenge is to carve out time to write them! I really do like the quality of Tiny Prints cards. Their site is super easy to use and you can personalize everything by writing your own text, uploading pictures, and making everything uniquely you.

If you miss today's 30% deal, I believe this weekend the promotion will continue as 25% off sitewide with the code: WKDSALE1112  That's only good Friday through Sunday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunday Gratitude #10

In case you haven’t heard, there’s been a slight population explosion in Moab this month. Which is my way of telling you I am behind…in editing, in posting, in every area of my life. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t give thanks, especially in this week dedicated to gratitude and the giving of thanks.


1. For this hilarious five year old who makes every day an adventure. Last Friday he carried a lantern around Old City Park in celebration of Martinmas, and warmed my heart with his singing. I didn’t bring my camera, but he was just as much a superhero there.


2. I’m grateful for my marriage and for Brian. I had a much needed girls weekend in Prescott after my trip to Chicago that had been on the calendar for two years, but which I debated cancelling given my recent time away. Brian never fails to encourage me though, and I had three great days of amazing food, even better conversation, and inspiration for every area of my life. The boys had an amazing weekend with their dad who, despite feeling sick, managed to pull off their Ghostbuster ensemble for the annual Walling Halloween party!

3. I’m grateful for old friends. I celebrated my 43rd birthday this month, and so enjoyed being pampered for a day by the boys. I also relished being thought of by old friends. A dear friend from high school sent a sunflower card and my boys were amazed to hear they were a favorite even back then. A phone chat from New Zealand was the best gift I could ask for from Annabelle, who I guess after eight years is now an old friend rather than a new one! And Angie, my soul-sister, sent these dishtowels that crack me up every time I look at them:


Angie has a way of working “When Harry Met Sally”, her favorite movie, into almost any conversation, so I hear this exchange every time I use one:


Thank you, Nora, for a lifetime of great lines.

4. I’m grateful to all who serve our country.

2012 11 12_1440 Flags on Veteran's day

Veteran’s Day was also my mom’s 69th birthday. It was an emotional day, made even more so by the beautiful tribute to all veterans that Aidan’s class participated in at City Hall that day. When I talked to my dad that night, he had gone to visit Mom’s gravesite with my brothers John and Marty and my sister Elizabeth. At lunch they realized that the only non-veteran at the table was Elizabeth’s five year old daughter, as all four of them served in the military. I am so grateful for their service, as well as our brother Kevin’s, who is currently serving in the Navy.

5. These messy-haired, book-obsessed boys who also happen to be amazing brothers.

2012 11 11_1586

This is a SOOC (straight out of the camera) shot of a common scene in our house. I had to shoot it from behind otherwise I would have broken the spell and gotten a bunch of funny faces instead. Having three boys means lots of loud moments, messy moments, all-together too silly moments, but there are also these magical moments, when I find Aidan reading to Sean and Nolan and I feel grateful for every moment we have.

If you stop by and actually read through this, I’d love to hear what you’re feeling especially grateful for this week.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Koy & Kyler: Moab Twins

I only spent a couple hours with Koy and Kyler, and they were as sweet and cooperative as could be, but I walked away completely in awe of all parents of twins.

©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

Is there anything as cute as newborn twins?

©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

These guys did not want to miss out on any of the action so they hardly slept despite being so very new to the world. When they did close their eyes though, you could see they were used to snuggling in with each other. I don’t know how parents manage it, but at the same time---what a gift to your child! To go through life with a buddy who was been with you since the womb.

©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

Koy and Kyler are not Mama’s first boys---she already had two “helpers” who were so sweet, I couldn’t help turning my camera on them for a bit.

©Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

I’m curious to see if Koy and Kyler with have the same blue eyes and light hair as their big brothers someday. I want to thank Connie Wilson for connecting me with Koy and Kyler’s mama. I loved getting the chance to photograph these identically beautiful boys!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Holiday Cards and Newborn Announcements with Tiny Prints

I’m thrilled to be working with Tiny Prints as an affiliate this holiday season.  For the past 10 years I’ve ordered my family cards through Shutterfly, where I also store all my personal photos, but I’ve turned over so many friends’ favorites and seen Tiny Prints on the back. Now Shutterfly and Tiny Prints have joined together, offering even more options and better deals.

If you do print an image I’ve taken for your family on your holiday cards, I’d appreciate you using the my Tiny Prints storefront link on the sidebar (or via any Tiny Print offer on my site) so that my copyright might be included on the back of your card.  You’ll also find several of my favorite Tiny Print designs shown there, and I can even upload your image of choice to their site for you if you like.

To celebrate, here’s the latest Tiny Prints deal---10 free holiday cards with your order, through 11/13/2912.

If you are planning to use Shutterfly, you can also find them by clicking on the storefront link below. At the very top of the next screen, you’ll see Shutterfly listed as well as Tiny Prints and their other brands, Treat and Wedding Divas. For a limited time, the code HOLIDAY will give you 40% off your card order at Shutterfly!

Moab Newborn: Beautiful Brynlee

Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab, Utah

My apologies to anyone waiting for a sneak peek of their photo shoot. November and December are always a busy time, but especially so this year in Moab. For some reason, more babies are due during these two months than any other season. I still hope to post here at least weekly, but preparing galleries takes precedence.

However I had to take some time (specifically from sleep, as posting and a four-year-old do not mix well) to introduce Brynlee. The above photo may be my very favorite from this year. I wish I had taken even more of her laying in that pink satin blanket, but I was afraid she would slip right out of it.

Deirdre O. Keating Photography, Moab Utah

Brynlee is beautiful and sweet photos of her day-old beauty were easy to capture. My weakness though are for the parent shots. Dad was fighting a flu, Mom had just given birth for goodness sake, but even more than their natural good looks, I believe their love for each other and the new child they had just welcomed come through in these photographs.

Deirdre O. Keating Photography Moab Utah

Deirdre O. Keating Photography Moab Utah

My bias in newborn photography comes from the point of the view of the child---which of these five photos do you think she’ll value the most 20, 30, or 43 years from now?

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