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  • Writer's pictureShelbi Bailey

"It's your birthday and I'll cry if I want to..."

That song always reminds me of my sisters. When we were younger, my sisters and I would always watch John Hughes movies together. I can't remember if that song was in Babysitters Club, Andie's favorite movie, or Sixteen Candles, my favorite movie. Either way, I'm feeling it this week! No, it's not my birthday, but this Saturday is my angel baby's birthday. My sweet "Hammerin' Hank" would have been 3 this year. Every year the weeks leading up to his birthday are difficult. Then the week of his birthday I am a disaster. Then his birthday is here, and it's just another day. The world keeps spinning. Everyone just lives their regular lives. It is a weird feeling. I usually just have a nice little cry and then I go on a date with Andy. It's simple and sweet and just what I like. In preparation for the disaster that my emotion's will be this week, I am already laying out the perfect game plan. On the docket for today: Arrival. This is one of my favorite movies depicting child loss. I won't give the ending away, but the major theme is: "If you knew this would happen, would you still make the same choices." My answer is 1000 times, yes! (More on this coming up in his birthday post...) I will have a good cry during nap time. Fold some laundry and edit some pictures.

Sharing this picture in black and white because I don't want to ruin their Christmas card, but trust me: It was perfect!

Speaking of pictures! Last week was incredible! The weather was windy, but I had 2 families on the docket and I wasn't going to let them down! Miracle of miracles, Tuesday the wind laid low for 30 minutes, which was just long enough for me to get the Schuester's family photos in. The sun had dipped behind the clouds and I was so nervous we wouldn't catch that glow before it became too cold for Finn, but the sun came out for 10 minutes and I got it! It was so perfect! Wednesday, I knew I would have another family photo shoot coming up so I edited 3 photo shoots in one night. I'd spent a lot of time on each of them already, but it can be a few days long process editing photos. I like to come back to the photos after my first round of edits so that I can be sure that in the excitement of the photo shoot I had my colors right. OK, enough photography talk. Basically, it was a lot to attempt in one night, but it felt great sending those out. It was a definite W-I-N. On top of my photography schedule, I had decided that I was going to winterize our screen porch. If you live in Wyoming, you know that screened porches are ridiculous. It is cold in Cheyenne for at least 6 months of the year. Rendering that screen porch useless. It's so much extra square footage. So, I really wanted it to be useable. 3 days and $150 of vinyl, bubble wrap, double sided tape (and a few swear words when it felt impossible) later, our porch is useable! I had to borrow a heater from my parents, but it works great. I brought our cute patio furniture into there and am planning on hanging a swing or a hammock for the kids on the other side of the room. It is the biggest room in the house and has the highest ceilings. It feels like the sky is the limits. Saturday, I had planned a photo shoot for the warmth. Of course, the closer we got to the day of the photo shoot the closer a winter storm blew in! I was so nervous! Sweet Janelle had bid on my photo shoot in a fundraiser to help a family whose son had cancer. (If you're interested, go check out Kyle Dory's story. It is incredible!) We had planned this photo shoot since April. So, I really wanted it to go well. Another added stress, for Janelle, was the fact that she'd just had a baby one week ago!! The day of the photo shoot we made a last minute change to move up the time that we'd meet to try to beat out the storm. This turned out to be great thinking on Janelle's part, because we got to the location and the weather was perfect! Just a light breeze, but it was in the 60's still so we were in good shape. There were no leaves anymore because the freeze had stripped the trees, but I found a spot next to a creek that had perfect light. I love how the creek bounced the light up to create a little glow on the back of their heads and in the prairie grass around them. Usually I have Laramie clients meet me halfway to do pictures at Vedauwoo because I love it so much, but I'd forgotten to ask Janelle. This turned out to be a perfect mistake because as the afternoon wore on, it became so cold. It is always a few degrees cooler and way windier at Vedauwoo. Theres no way we could have gotten the same quality or quantity of photos if we had taken her babies to windy Vedauwoo. They are the sweetest and bravest and best family for just trusting me and driving an hour over the pass for their pictures. And, I LOVE them!

Poor Kara! It was so much wind for a tiny baby so used to her nice cozy womb! ha!

I love little toes! Kara is so sweet. Even when we were bugging her with endless poses and that dang wind, she never cried. She just gritted her gums and gave us the stink eye. What a sweetheart!

Friday, Andy and all of his friends bought the new Call of Duty. If you don't know anything about video games, this is the first time they've created a game where XBOX and PlayStation users can play against each other. I consider myself a cool wife, so I told Andy he could get it to play with his friends. As an extrovert, it's really hard for me to say no to anything that provides socialization. haha! He played a lot and giggled like crazy over the dumbest jokes. I was dying, but I love it. Sunday night they even let me join their group for a few rounds and I got 10 kills! (total, spread over 3 rounds.) So, I'm not the best addition, but 5 years ago I learned how to play "EXO Zombies", which took our relationship to a new level. So, I have no doubt I'll be destroying his kill count in no time. (I swear, I'm not a psycho... Only in this insane video game!) Last week was full of triumphs. I faced a lot of challenges in my business, but I am so proud of how everything turned out. This week I have 4 major goals. 1. Finish editing the Simpson Family photos. I have already sent off 15 "sneak peak" photos, as is typical with a SBP photoshoot. I love sharing a little sneak peak so that both parties can see that everything went well! I took 550 photos, I've edited 50, sent off 15. This week I need to cull (get rid of the yucky eyes closed pictures) that number down to about 200, edit my favorites from that amount and then hopefully I'll be able to pair down to at least 150 photos. I've had a rough time holding back lately. 2. Follow a strict diet. I'll be the first to admit that I HATE dieting. I think it's terrible and sets a terrible example for Ellie and Ben of self love. That said, my blood tests came back and I have high cholesterol. So, Andy and I have decided together to switch to eating a mostly pescatarian diet. We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Our religion has a strict diet code called the Word of Wisdom, but I've never really followed it well beyond just not drinking Coffee or Alcohol. Taking on a Pescatarian diet is closer to that diet, so I'm interested to see how this affects us spiritually as well as physically. Since we lost Henry I've thought a lot about creating "Zion" in our home. When I am in the peace of the Temple I feel closer to Henry. I feel so happy! I'd love to have that feeling in our home. For me, and for our children that we are raising on Earth. I want them to always think fondly of our home. To those who keep the Word of Wisdom, the Lord promised:

“All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

“And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

“And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

“And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them” (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18–21). As an exhausted mother, those promises sound great! I'll update you on how they go later if I survive the first few weeks! 3. I am going to kick butt on Titan's senior pictures! Titan is a handsome gent whose mom hired me for his prom pictures last year. It is supposed to be cold on Saturday, but it doesn't look like it's supposed to be windy. So, I feel good about it! 4. Finally, I want to allow myself to grieve fully this week. Grief is a beautiful and a scary thing. It is scary and tough to feel so sad and sometimes angry. But, those feelings aren't bad. They are an outward expression of love for my baby that is gone. Sometimes grief feels happy. Sometimes it looks like crying happy tears of gratitude. Sometimes it looks like sobbing through the opening scene of my favorite movie. Mostly, it just looks like love. A love that is so hard to understand even as I am living it. Saturday, is Henry's birthday. I will be doing Titan's photo shoot and then going on a nice date with Andy. It will be a day full of all of my favorite things. My family, photography and a date. It's going to be an emotional week, but a good one!

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