Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Five! A Whole Hand!

Oh Sam.  You are five today.  Five years old.  I have no idea how on earth that is possible...

I have been thrilled to be a part of your life since, well, before you were even born.  I remember like it was yesterday the night that your mom told me you were on your way.  She swore me to secrecy because it was so early, but because I spent so much time with Spencer, she knew I'd figure it out before long.  I felt like I was holding on to golden information and it took everything I had to not spill the beans, but I didn't say a word.

I was at Will's (before Ben!) when your mom called me to tell me you were here.  She was so tired and awfully drugged, but she was so so happy to announce your arrival.  The next day, when she called to see if I could do some things at the house for her, I was on the phone when Spencer walked in to meet you for the first time at the hospital.  Before I hung up, I heard his little chubby-faced voice say "Mommy, where's the baby???" and I fell apart crying.

Spencer and I welcomed you home the next day with 29 light blue balloons, 1 orange one and 1 green one (Who knows why.  He was 4.  I went with it.).  We covered the house in posters and waited patiently for you to get there.

You were brought into the house and set down on the kitchen table in your carseat.  You were in my arms within about 30 seconds.  I was absolutely head over heels for you from the second I laid eyes on you.

Sam - you were a tough baby.  Colic and reflux and torticollis in your little neck.  When you were happy you were a complete joy.  When you were not happy - look out.  I can remember getting a call to please just come over and hold you one night, that you wouldn't stop screaming.  By the time I got there - of course - you were sound asleep.  Mommy wouldn't let me leave, though.  I sat in the chair in the corner of the bedroom for a couple of hours and just held you and watched you sleep.  (It is so funny - but I still remember that you were in a white terrycloth set of footed pjs that night that had a little yellow duck on the front.)

You were talking like an adult before anyone could blink.  It was always funny to me that as such a young baby you would request your own lullabies.  We'd sit in the dark as I would rock you and from behind that paci you would say "Becca, sing Sunshine.  Black Sheep please, Becca."  And if you were upset, you'd reach up and say "Becca hold you?  Becca hold you?" when you needed to be comforted.

I've been front and center for every one of your school programs at Knollwood and I can't believe that you only have one left.  I have a voicemail on my phone that refuse to delete of you singing "Five Little Ducks" from May of 2009.  I can't ever make myself delete that sweet little voice singing to me...

I've watched you turn 1, and 2, and 3, and 4....and now 5.  I can't believe it.

You've turned into such a fun little boy.  You love to wrestle and you are nuts about Spiderman.  You are very aware of all of the cute girls in your life and are already wondering which one of them you should marry.  You could live at the beach and you are already a natural on the soccer field.

You love hashbrowns like no one I've ever seen and can eat a grown adult under the table when it comes to chips and guacamole.  Your sweet blond curls make people melt and your eyes squint shut when you laugh your ever-infectious laugh.  You are about the cutest thing ever.

My life would be so very dull without you in it.  I love you to the moon and back, Sam Muller.  Happy Birthday!

Love, Becca

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy One Year!

Happy First Anniversary to Elizabeth and Nick!

So hard to believe it's already been that long.  
To be quite honest, I think I'm STILL tired from that whole weekend...

The whole wedding was like something out of a movie.  
And Elizabeth, as weird as you are, you found someone just as strange.
As the saying goes, there's a lid for every pot!  
He's pretty fun, too.

My friends had a great time, too.  They loved being a part of it!  (And so did Penny & Earl...) 

Dad had enough fun to finally land him in the running for some back surgery a few months later...

Here's to you!  Happy Anniversary!  I love you both!

(All photos by the wonderful Brian Mullins!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Farewell to 119 Claron Place

Tomorrow morning my mother, her two sisters, and all three of their husbands will travel to Lenoir to be there for the closing on Nanny and GanGan's house.  We are all thrilled that it has finally sold, after sitting empty and on the market for several years.

Of course, though, there is a part of me that is awfully sad to know that it will no longer be a place where our family will gather.  Now, really, we haven't all been there in years, as no one has lived there in quite some time, but it is still very final to have the keys handed over to someone else.  And I am a huge sentimental sap, so...

If I had to tell the new owners some things about that house and how special it is, here are a few things I would want them to know.

  • The full circle driveway is the best place in the world for learning to ride a bike.
  • If you close the door on the back hall closet too hard, the pictures on the wall in the den may just fall off.
  • You have to let the water upstairs run for a second when you turn it on - don't let the brown water scare you.
  • The sun porch is the best place ever for planning family vacations.
  • It's easiest to just throw the Christmas tree down the back hill every year when it's time for it to go out.
  • The faded spots all over the wall upstairs are because that was always the "Wall of Fame" for our family photos.
  • The best place to keep the front door key is in a dish on a piece of furniture in the foyer.  And a short, sharp, GanGan whistle-through-your-teeth and a wave while getting the key will let your visitors know that you are coming.
  • We don't know why on earth Nanny picked pink fixtures when they redid the bathroom.  We're sorry.
  • Turtles appear out of the woods from time to time and roam the driveway.  The pizza man needs to look out for them.
  • The lampposts outside look the best at Christmas if you wrap them in garland.
  • Try not to drive up on the metal that rims the driveway - it has been known to pop tires.
  • When putting on makeup in the vanity area, you should refer to this as "making a face".
  • You can fit A LOT of china in the hall closets.
  • Look out for deer.  They tend to be everywhere.
  • You'll have a great view of the cross on Hibriten Mountain at Easter on one side of the house and of the First Baptist steeple on the other.
  • It will shock you how many people you can fit in the dining room at one time for a family meal.
  • Don't close the door all the way in the bathroom off of the kitchen - you WILL get stuck in there.
  • A little blue carpet goes a long way.  And a lot of blue carpet goes a REALLY long way.
  • If you ever have to sleep on the floor in the big bedroom upstairs, you will be able to hear anyone who snores loudly in the master bedroom below.  Trust me.  (Coincidentally, the room behind the master is best referred to as the "snoring room".)
  • Automatic closet lights are a huge bummer when trying to play hide and seek.
  • The walls are not thick enough to muffle the screams of a 7-year-old having a tooth pulled upstairs.

Nanny and GanGan moved into this house before I was born, so it was the only place I ever knew of as their house.  I could list the memories made there for days.  Since we were the grandkids that didn't live in Lenoir, we spent countless, countless weekends there.  Santa and the Easter Bunny visited us there.  We watched Perry Como with them on the den floor and fell for GanGan's "Want to play a game?  It's called 52 card pick up!" every time.  Nanny sat in her chair in the den for hours and hours and hours and made gorgeous blankets and pillows and everything else.  GanGan would, for no apparent reason, pick up the phone and call Uncle John just to pick on or make fun of him and then promptly hang up and snicker to himself.

Their house hosted epic Christmas parties and wedding brunches and anniversary celebrations.  The girls played sleigh ride in the living room every single year.  A giant family portrait always hung between the windows in the dining room.  The sound of Nanny's humming and her feet tap-tap-tapping as she walked down the hallway was unmistakable.  GanGan came home from work for lunch every day and watched the market while he ate at the tiny little table in the kitchen.

I know I'm not the only one sad to know that this house is moving on.  None of us will ever forget all of the hilarious fun that has taken place there.  But I wish nothing but the best memories for the family moving in.

And I can't wait to see what color carpet they put in. :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Photos 2010

My Falls and Winters for the past few years have been packed full of taking lots and lots (and lots) of photos of children (young and grown) and entire families and dogs and everything in between.  I have an absolute blast with every single group, and I consider it a high honor to take these photos.  More often than not, these pictures either end up as Christmas gifts for loved ones or as Christmas Card photos (and in Winston-Salem, Christmas Cards, I quickly learned after moving back from college and entering the "real world", are do or die around here.  Insanity.  No pressure on me at all...)

But to think that these photos land in hundreds - or really total, thousands - of mailboxes and in an array of frames for moms and dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles as gifts is a REALLY big deal to me.  I am so incredibly humbled to be asked to step behind the camera and capture any of these folks.

I have learned that...a duck call will totally crack kids up (and me too, for that matter)...that noses turn red VERY quickly in cold weather so you have to work is a scary thing to shoot near a fountain...a lollipop can make anyone smile...there are some very interesting ways to shoot in the rain...I should really think to not wear heels to take pictures of insanely mobile toddlers...a suddenly injured and bleeding subject probably means we're done...just giving in and giving the baby the keys will make him/her much happier and won't really ruin the photo...grass stains will happen...bows are overrated...and dogs make things awfully interesting.   Just to name a few. :)

I, of course, can't share any of these until after Christmas has come and gone.  So, now, the wait is over.

Here is a personal favorite from every shoot I was able to cram in between football games and work and everything else this year.  Enjoy!

lexie & harris & prescott

poppy & banks & scout & piper & troupe

joanna & libby

hines & fletcher & spencer & sam


hattie & thomas

caroline & sophie & gabby & lulu

bradley & maggie

avery & walker & jack

lucy & alice

will & ford & jack

nora & vivi

dj & charlie & will


jack & will

mary lowe & james

henry & caroline & edwin


maggie & borden
will & ben

fletcher & finley

sam & spencer

amy & mary katherine & kelly

katie & jackson

emory & helen & jb
ginny & will & sally
ella & maggie

bram & vivi & nora

lula & joanna & annie & libby & holden & jd