Sunday, February 22, 2015

investing in their hearts

I recently posted about the Valentine's lunch Mr. R and I had with our youngest daughters. After we ate, the girls' daddy went back to work. However, since the older kids were still off skiing, I had several hours to invest in strengthening my relationship with Hope (12) and Eliana (10). I knew the best way to do that was to create an afternoon of shared fun.

First, we made a stop at Hobby Lobby looking for props for a photo shoot. We spent about an hour slowly combing the aisles. This was great "girl time", and my daughters chattered away sharing their thoughts about what they saw at the giant craft store. I enjoyed getting to know the girls' maturing tastes on a whole new level.

Next we drove to the nearby college where their oldest siblings took music lessons for years. I learned during a maternity shoot I with did with Alison last summer that the two-story windows in the lobby of the music building make it a great photo studio. On this Friday afternoon the area was full of light and devoid of people. Perfect!

I started with some "serious" photos of each girl starting with Hope.

I couldn't help but take a picture of her cowgirl boots ~ new that morning. Hope was so happy to have them. She'd been dreaming of owning just such footwear for a long time. She must have told me "Thank you!" at least a dozen times that day for the boots.

I'd asked the girls to bring their favorite stuffed animal as a photo prop, and Hope chose "Brownie" an extra-large dog we gave her on her fourth birthday when she was still extra-small.

Eliana brought the big frog that sits atop her bed each day and sleeps with her at night. Her affectionate name for her favorite animal is Froggie.

Next I took a few pictures of Eliana by herself.

Those of you who know Eliana well will recognize the look on her face here as being very "her."

This little girl who was six when we adopted her is now nearly as tall as I am. We suspect she will be the tallest of the females in the family when she's full grown.

After we'd taken this handful of "serious" photos, we started trying some silly stuff. The result was just what I was hoping for ~ a great deal of laughter.

The girls modeled the latest in designer eye wear.

Then I pulled out another find from our shopping trip. For $3 we'd been able to purchase an entire roll of Valentine's-pink toile. Hope puzzled a bit over what to do with the first...

..but it didn't take long before the girls' imaginations took hold. They started wrapping each other...round and round and...

As they swaddled each other, the giggles continued.

Once they were gift-wrapped in the ribbon, they wanted to go outdoors to the long stretch of lawn just outside the college building...

...and the girls took off at a run.

Then they turned around and raced back toward me.

Eliana trailed the ribbon behind her,

then bunched it up for a new hat.

Hope got creative quickly and told Eliana that she wanted to make a bridal veil for her.

Hope's "bride" wore her adornment beautifully.

As the afternoon sun started to dip behind the horizon, I wanted to make sure that I got a serious photo of these two girls together. They are such close friends!

I'd recently read about sisters kissing one another in a photography book, so I asked Hope to give Eliana a smooch.

Eliana's facial expressions were...


Unexpectedly, Eliana turned on Hope with an equally exaggerated smooch.

Hope immediately wiped off the kiss while Eliana was seized with a fit of laughter.

We finished our Valentine's Day sister shoot by taking a peek at a fun piece of artwork we'd found on sale at Hobby Lobby. We're in the process of updating the girls' bedroom which they share with Faith. This large painting had the happy feeling of the bedspreads we'd already purchased. Taking this photo also allowed me to showcase Hope's beloved cowgirl boots again.

Although I will treasure these photos as the girls grow, the pictures weren't the point. My desire was to create an afternoon of fun that would bond the three of us for the years to come. Although our girls are just tweens right now, before we know it they will enter that season of teenage self-discovery... a time when a strong, loving parent-child relationship can make all the difference. God kindly provided just exactly what I had hoped for in that afternoon. 

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