Time flies. Have you noticed? Nearly three years ago this was me. This moment with my gorgeous Charlotte, only an hour or two old, is probably one of my favourite images of all time. Not because it's artistically brilliant, but in that moment, right there, I was in another realm of happiness, and this image reminds me of that every time I look at it. Time sped, and that tiny little girl grew quickly.
Same tiny girl, not quite so squishy anymore and who sometimes confuses which brush is for what purpose, still makes my heart sing. Only 18 months on from the previous image, and look at how much has changed. Every moment they're learning, growing, and experiencing life. I cheer on their developments, I applaud every new achievement, and yet, these images are a time capsule for me. They transport me back to some of the most precious moments of my life. They are worth more to me than the family silver.
Now, I didn't come here to brag about how gorgeous my babies are (ok, well, maybe a little bit). I wanted to tell you that I'm going to be offering family/children portrait sessions for the months of June and July. You'll know that we don't usually shoot portraits anymore, simply because weddings are pretty well all consuming over the Summer period, so this is rather out of the ordinary.
I want to capture your family and children and the beautiful stages that they are in now. Don't wait to loose those extra 5kg, or when the baby can walk, or when your toddler will follow instructions, because before you know it time has flown by. Sessions can be in your own home capturing the essence of your family at home, or outdoors where we can go run around and have some fun.
If you're keen to get more information, drop us an email at: email@example.com and we'll send you our prices and information. The photography session is $175, and packages for prints and canvases start at $300, with the $735 package setting you up for Christmas.
There will only be a limited amount of sessions available, and only in June and July.
Two weeks, three days and 11 hours. That's how long I've been missing you so far, Mum. I knew you were going to be leaving us, and I thought I was prepared. But I wasn't. I want to call you up and tell you how things went after you died, and then I remember that I can't. I'm fairly sure you don't get internet access where you are in Heaven, but just in case you can, this blog post is for you.
Your funeral was amazing, Mum. You would have been so proud of all of us eight kids, we all stood together and supported each other. It was a good thing you had so many of us, sharing the pain lightened the load.
We arranged 70 coloured helium balloons, one for each of your years, and we let them go as your coffin was lowered. I wish I had thought to tell you a couple of weeks ago that I was planning on doing that. You would have loved the colours.
Afterwards there were plenty of laughs. Not even a funeral could dampen our sense of fun with each other. You would have loved to have this photo of all of us, this doesn't happen often enough. Seems wrong to have a family photo without you in it though. I guess I'll just have to get used to it.
Now everyone has gone back home. Life is getting back to normal. But still I miss you. I'm holding onto those verses that talk about there being a time for everything, a time to laugh and a time to cry. I just figure this is the time to cry and that happiness shouldn't be too far down the track again.
Oh, and one more thing. I have your old bible. I know it was your most treasured possession. It's all loved and worn, written in, underlined and cried on. I love it. Thank you.
So we're all moving on, I guess, just as you'd want us to. I still wish that things were so different and that you were still here, but that doesn't seem to help anything.
So one final time, as I used to say when I would tuck you in at night "Love you much and mucher, Goodnight Ma".
It's been the most amazing journey, being with Mum these last nine months since her diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease. Watching her fade from a fit and healthy 70 year old, to holding her hand in the early hours of Tuesday morning when she finally took her last breath. It has been the most harrowing journey, and we're so blessed to have been able to share it with my precious Mum.
Tomorrow we say our final farewell to Mum, surrounded by family and friends, who have been nothing but fantastic during a gruelling week. I love you guys!
Thanks to everyone who has been patient with us as you wait for your photos or an email from us. We'll be back up and running real soon. We've also got some AMAZING weddings to blog when I get back home as well.
In the meantime, here's me and my gorgeous Mum last month.
Bye Mum, Love you. Miss you already xx
She was the third child in a brood of seven that took the long trip from Holland to Australia to start a new life. It wasn't too many years after they had settled in that baby number eight came along, another little sister (ME!) Annemiek loved that little critter from the start and would do as much of the mothering as she possibly could. Soon after I came along, our family became a travelling music band, and although I hardly knew what was going on, I was most definitely the cutest. (sorry guys, my blog, I can say whatever I want)
This was us performing in Amsterdam over 30 years ago. I was the teeny tiny one there and Annemiek is the one on the far right (as well as two other sisters and my Mum). These were the days when wearing matching clothes was hot, and you scored bonus points if they looked like curtains.
This is Annemiek now. Married to Robert for the last 25 odd years, they're great fun to be around. They've been performing music together as long as I can remember, although always in Australia. They're such great entertainers.
Annemiek and Robert moved to Nelson six months ago when Mum was first diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. And they'll be moving themselves and their music to Blenheim this Summer. *cue little sister happy dance*
Robert is the most amazing guitarist. And, as if that's not enough, he does some fantastic art too. Cartoony kind of stuff, with real personality. He's such a funny guy, the good kind of funny, not the strange kind.
They've called themselves MOODSWINGS, you can check them out at www.moodswings.co.nz. Go on, have a look. I think they're pretty darn awesome! There's more of these photos there too, as well as sound clips.
Their kids have all grown up and left home now, so all they've got left is this little fella.
It's allllll about the guitar.
Oh yes, not to forget Widdles, their dog. They love this dog so much that they actually flew him over from Australia! How's that for true love? I can't really blame them, Widdles is a pretty nice little dog.
So if you're around Blenheim this FRIDAY (29th) and SATURDAY (30th) evenings, Moodswings is performing at The Clubs of Marlborough. Stop on by, it'll be fun! The more the merrier!
We have a really old car. It's really getting past it's used by date. In fact, we feel like we've won the lotto every time it passes a Warrant of Fitness. It's really turned into a bit of a joke now, when we turn up to jobs in it. And yet we can't bare to spend thousands to replace it just yet, especially when a second 5D Mark II would be so much more fun to have. One day it will just stop going, and then our hand will be forced, but in the meantime, I'm turning up to your photo shoot in the dusty old Bluebird...
It got me to thinking though, it's so easy to become dissatisfied with life. Always wanting to 'Keep up with the Joneses' (for the record, those Joneses must be another family!) and get bigger and better things. When the things that are really important are not things at all.
"Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done. Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." (hands up, who remembers that old song?)
So here are just some of my blessings, growing up before my very eyes.
Sophie is about to turn 3.
With her baby sister Charlotte, about 9 months (give or take...) I know it's a little soft focus, but hey, I'm the Mum, so it's perfect to me!
Charlotte has teeth...
She always has that surprised look on her face!
Sam - the only boy.
Is it just me, or are my kids cuter than anybody else's? I'm pretty sure they are. Sorry y'all.
This is Gracie May Dovalaki Van Der Pepper Jones. (yes, that's her real name) She's mostly a blessing.... mostly.
There are still a couple of kids not in this post... older ones that aren't in a big hurry to pose, ha!
So there you have it, a quick update on my quickly growing brood.
There was nothing fun about Wednesday, not that my life HAS to be fun every day, but it helps. In fact, I was feeling like life was rather on top of me, photos needed sorting and editing, emails needed writing, kids needed loving and the housework needed some serious attention before one of us stuck to the floor for good. I figured I'd very much like to resign from something. I'm not even sure what it is I was wanting to resign from, except perhaps the housework, because, well, who lives for that? I didn't know where I would send the resignation letter to, so I just sucked it up and carried on, ignoring the floor that needed scrubbing and promising the kids that we'd do fun stuff some time soon...
At about 1am that morning we awoke to a scream and ran to our son's side to find that he was in the middle of a seizure. Pretty well the most scared I've ever been in my life, I called out "call 111!" After what seemed like about 75 hours he stopped shaking (ok, probably 1 minute?) and was totally unresponsive, but breathing. Suddenly something so simple, like my child breathing, became the most important thing in the world.
The ambulance took us to hospital where he would have another four seizures in the following 12 hours. No one knew what was wrong. He didn't have a temperature and wasn't sick before that. That afternoon we went via ambulance over to Nelson Hospital where he underwent every test known to man, CT Scan, MRI, Lumbar Puncture, you name it. Everything came back clear. Seems that nothing was wrong with him. Far out, sometimes NOTHING is rather terrifying. Although I was rather pleased we weren't looking at a brain tumour!
We stayed in hospital until the following Tuesday, as he slowly started to get back to normal, and then came home. Just like that, came home. No one could say what was wrong with Sam, and apart from being rather tired and missing several bits of his memory from the last year or so, he's all good. So we're none the wiser, but the whole episode sure did remind me about what's really important in life.
Thanks to everyone who has been patient with us the last couple of weeks, we've had to reschedule shoots, and keep people waiting that bit longer for their photos. Thank you all SO so much for your understanding. We're back into it now, trying hard to get caught up again.
And because I have to post SOME kind of photo - this is the ambulance at my house in the middle of the night. Although I only had my cell phone on me, I still took a photo (can't help being a photographer!)
Tomorrow I'll have some happier blog posts to share - so there's more pretty photos coming, promise!
Now back on the ground again! This was when we took a holiday in beautiful Golden Bay last month. This was inside one of the deep dark caves. That's me in holding the baby in the front pack, then my five other kids in front of me and brother and his fiance to the right. I love how we're all looking interested (totally unstaged btw) and it kind of looks like Kimberly is trying to get signal on her cellphone (although she's trying to take a picture too).
I found it really interesting when they turned the lights off, there was absolutely no light. Nothing at all your eyes could adjust to, just absolute darkness. Pretty freaky.