Hey y’all! I wasn’t sure if I’d be making another post this year after Christmas Eve. But I can’t help it. The ideal opportunity presented itself when we traveled to Chicago to visit Paul’s family for Christmas. Because my perfect mother in law (who I am not technically legally related to because I’m technically not married) gave me the perfect gift.

Laura is a scrapbooker supreme. She makes amazing things out of paper with her bare hands that would blow your mind. Things she’s made for me include:

  • Halloween advent haunted house (that’s a thing!)
  • Christmas house that contains a recipe book
  • Reversible season blocks (only way cuter than that Pinterest crap)
  • So many beautiful handmade scrapbooks and calendars

And I’ve only known this woman for five years! She is the best.

When we arrived in Chicago on Wednesday, we had been driving for a day and a half. The previous night we stayed in Saint Louis after a 10 hour day of driving with two crazy boys. Getting to Paul’s parents’ house always feels good but it was particularly sweet this week. We made this trip two years ago as well. My baby was two months old. It was a great trip, because it gave us the opportunity to spend some real quality time with our Chicago family. Not to mention celebrate one of my favourite holidays with them – Christmas!

We planned to have “Christmas morning” Chicago-style the morning after we arrived. On Wednesday night, Laura could barely keep her excitement about my present to herself. She told me out of all the presents, she was most excited to give me mine – well, now I was definitely intrigued!

It definitely lived up to the hype.

When I pulled it out of the box, I saw what looked like an old-fashioned camera. And my logo and business name on the lens! I knew from experience that this was Laura’s amazing craftsmanship and attention to detail. A closer look revealed even more awesome details. The back of the camera had a latch, and inside was the best surprise at all.

Inside was a little photo book full of rememberances of my first year in business. MY PHOTOS. A year’s worth hand picked by my mother in law and commemorated in a beautiful booklet. I felt so touched as I pulled out each one to see which images she’d picked. The best part – the images can be switched out or added to.  Laura suggested it would be perfect to leave out for all to see once I have a studio, and I definitely agree!

The reason this gift means so much to me, is that it represents one of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. I end this year looking back at all of the photos I’ve taken, the techniques I’ve learned, the sacrifices I’ve made, the nights I lost sleep, the decisions I’ve made, the plans I’ve made, the dream I’m finally achieving. It’s an incredible feeling, and this book is the perfect little physical representation of it, that I can hold in my hands.

Laura, thank you for such a beautiful gift and for being such a wonderful presence in my life. You are such a fantastic Yaya to my boys and we love you so much!

To everyone who has helped me in the last year .. this includes everyone who has let me photograph them, listened to me talk or vent or  brainstorm, watched my kids, given me photography-related gifts or advice, recommended me to a friend, shared my posts and photos, and just generally supported me in more ways than I knew was possible: THANK YOU. I WOULD NOT BE HERE WITHOUT YOU AND I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

I hope you all have as fantastic a new year as I’m planning to have. See you in 2018.

Love,

Michelle

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