I am excited about this year. It's a new decade, and it promises for fresh beginnings! And that is all things to be excited for!

One thing I have found myself thinking of a lot these past couple of weeks is family and change. You can't get around either of those two things, and you shouldn't try to either. I luck out in many ways, not least of which is that  I love my family endlessly and am extremely close to my parents, brothers and their families. I know that this is not a common thing, and not something to take advantage of, because life has a funny way of changing things up when you least expect it. I have been making sure I treasure them more in the past couple of weeks.

And now, I have been to two funerals in the past month, and have another to go to this week. They are all family that has passed, but not family that I was close to in the recent years. My husband's grandfather passed, and in retrospect, we should have gone and played cribbage with him more in the last year of his life. My Uncle John passed, and while I was never close to him (my aunt and him were separated my entire life), I was once much closer with his kids, my 8 cousins. I hadn't seen most of them since my aunt was alive almost 8 years ago. And most recently, my husband's Uncle Tom has passed. I had only met him for the first time at Pete's grandfathers funeral a couple of weeks past and that is sad, because Pete and I have been together almost 9 years, and there has been plenty of times we could have made the time to meet, but never had the chance to.These are all people that in one way have shaped myself or my loved ones, and they are gone. May they rest in peace.

I spend so much of my time cherishing and valuing the process of love and marriage through documenting weddings, but don't normally stop to think of many of the people who are here and I might not see... unless there is a wedding, or a funeral.  It's sad that life is so busy that it is that hard to connect to people that aren't in your daily circle. I am making it my new years intention (not using resolution, because then it is almost for sure doomed to failure) to reconnect and make more  family a priority in my life. My immediate family is there and high in the ranks of importance in my life, so my extended should be too.

Through all of this, my mom and I went down to Portland in the week before Christmas to visit family and see my cousin's new baby girl Simone (which you can see pictures of here), but more importantly so that my mom could see her sister who she hadn't seen in a couple of years. My mom is 10 years younger than her sister Jan, and was shocked to hear that Jan was in an assisted living home in Vancouver, WA. We decided that it was past time to go and see her and to surprise her for Christmas. Jan is suffering from dementia, so it was important to make this trip and spend sometime with a loved one we had lost track of.

Jan was in tears when we arrived and we spent a couple hours visiting along with my cousin Jody who came up too. Seeing my mom and her sister together and sharing stories from their childhood and the years since, helped me realize how important it is that people stay connected and the love you have for someone is known. Because, change comes way too soon, and you never know when it is the last time you might be able to spend with this person.

My intention is to cherish the people I love. Because that is what life is about to me. Life, love and all the little things.

Here are some shots from our time with Jan. I love this first picture...

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