This year, Brian and I had the privilege of hosting Thanksgiving for the Powell family! This was something I had wanted to be able to do for a long time, but we’ve never really had the kitchen space to accommodate all the cooks. This year, the family decided to keep things minimal as Brian’s mother continues with chemotherapy, and as just about every household was in the midst of busy seasons of life. So it finally worked out that our home was the place to host Thanksgiving!
Even though we were keeping food dishes simple, I knew I wanted to set a lovely table for everyone. If you don’t know, table settings are a bit of a big deal in my family (the Reynolds family), and my mom even owns her own business renting out vintage china for events! My mother graciously let me borrow some mix-and-match white plates and napkins from her “bridal” collection. I used simple, cheap, gold chargers from Hobby Lobby instead of place-mats, and our existing silverware. And for the centerpiece, I just used an assortment of different-sized square and rectangular vases with floating candles along with these funky, mod gold teal-light holders from, of all places, Wal Mart!
And of course, I had to throw in a little eucalyptus garland for a pop of color, also from Hobby Lobby. I love the look of eucalyptus, but unfortunately, we cannot have real eucalyptus in the house as it can be a trigger for Avonlea’s seizures! Crazy, right?
Lastly, our house has a sweet, arched opening from the living room into the dining room, which we adorned with a lush greenery garland (from, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby). I loved looking in at the dining room table through that archway!
Of course a lot of things went awry, as they tend to do on major family holidays. The napkins never got pressed before they were folded, we forgot to get out the wine-glasses until after we were already loading our plates up with food, and I completely conked out and fell asleep about 17 minutes after dinner was over, because I’d stayed up so late the night before, cleaning! Lesson learned from my first time hosting Thanksgiving: clean earlier in the week to spare my energy to enjoy more time with family on the actual holiday 😉 Start placing your bets now as to whether or not I’ll actually do it!
Enjoy a few of our favorite photos of our Thanksgiving table!
As many of you know, Brian’s brother, Steven, tragically died very unexpectedly a little over a month ago. During the week following Steven’s passing, we spent a lot of time looking through old photos we’d taken of him as we were tasked with providing photos for his memorial service. As we were looking through so many sessions where Steven made an appearance in our images, we came across these portraits we captured of him with his beautiful wife, Callie, about a month before their son Simon was born. We’d only just discovered we were pregnant with Avonlea one day before taking these photos, and with all of the major life-changes that ensued for us following this session, we never actually got around to posting these photos! But we feel like the world just needs to see them, so we’re posting them now. Gosh, we miss Steven… He was such an amazing soul, redeemed by Christ as was abundantly evident through his life! We hope that posting some of these images every now and again will remind many of us to cherish each moment we are blessed to have with our loved ones. Our tomorrows are never promised…
Please continue to keep our family in your thoughts and prayers, especially Steven’s wife and son, Callie and Simon (1 year old). We praise God for the 25 years Steven’s family was given with him, and we look forward to the day when we’ll see him again.
Wow… Looking back on this and our last several blog-posts, it blows our minds how bad we were about blogging this past fall! Sorrry, everyone, for depriving you all from this ADORABLE family/lifestyle session of Brian’s brother, Kevin, and Kevin’s sweet little family!
We met Kevin, our sister-in-law, Beth, and our two incredibly cute nieces, Olivia (4) and Isabella (2, 1/5) in a field the day before Thanksgiving at sunset to try to accomplish that which, until that day, had not been accomplished before: capture some really amazing images of the four of them as a family! Ever since Bella was born, Kevin and Beth’s lives have been pretty jam-packed! Shortly after Bella was born 16 weeks early at 15.5 oz and was kept in the hospital for the first 4 months of her life, Olivia was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. So… they’ve been a little busy : )
Isabella, who goes by “Bella,” is just a little natural in front of the camera. Girl knows how to “work it,” and pose and smile! She has a big heart, which is just so full that very often she needs to let out a good squeal. So precious and adorable in photographs!
Before Olivia’s autism was confirmed, we’d tried a few times to take more formal portraits of her and didn’t do so hot. Not to say, at all, that Olivia didn’t do well in front of the camera- Brian and I just had no idea that taking photos of Olivia would need to be approached in a slightly different way than would photographing a child without autism. Because of her brilliant scientific mind and her passionate love for her family, she likes to be the one taking photos and telling people to “say cheese” if ever she lays eyes on a camera. She loves to experiment, figure out what all of the buttons do and see the immediate fruition of creating a photograph ; ) We did a little research beforehand this time, and discovered that there are actually photographers out there who’s sole subjects are children with special needs, because it is such a specialized demand. We read up and found out more about how to capture Olivia’s strengths and her sweet spirit on-camera in a more autism-compatible way, and the session went beautifully!
These images are a series we’re totally proud of, celebrating these girls’ curiosity and enthusiasm for life and the love within their family. They were a blast to capture! Check out a few of our favorites from Kevin, Beth, Olivia and Isabella’s family/lifestyle session!