Meet the Family! Welcome 2021

We’re starting the year off with a welcome post.  Welcoming the family that is.  I wanted to share a little bit about the crew that’s running around while I’m making Insta-stories or editing your wedding photos.  Brett and I have 3 beautiful children. Ollie is the oldest, and we have twin boys Hayden & Brendan.  The boys are our special kiddos, both being completely deaf.  Brendan also has ASD (autism spectrum disorder) so he’s extra awesome! It’s a lot, I’ll be totally honest with you. However, I know if you ask me or Brett, we wouldn’t have it any other way.  Our family brings so much joy to those around us, and I’m so happy that I am finally getting to share more about them with you all.

Let me just start by saying that this is our story, not everyone’s. We made decisions based on what was best for us, and we’re learning as we go.  We had Ollie and thought she was a handful.  Little did we know that we’d be adding 2 boys who would turn our lives upside down within weeks of being earthside.  I remember the day I found out I was having twins, it was a total shock.  I really just thought I had missed realizing I was pregnant  by a few more weeks, based on how I already had a little bump going! I went in to my appointment to get a due date and make sure that I was indeed pregnant, but when I had my bloodwork done they sent me in for a sonogram! Apparently my HCG levels were VERY HIGH. Well within a few moments I’d see that’s because there were two babies in there.  I left still unsure how the heck we were going to do this, and after surprising Brett with the news, I moved onto telling the grandparents.  The news was well received, lots of screaming and wide eyes. I loved it.

The pregnancy had moments of ups and downs, and being transparent with you all I hated being pregnant.  I just didn’t have that connection to this beautiful moment with myself.  I knew that after they were born I was done having children, and felt that it was a good time to stop. Did you know that after having multiples, your chance of conceiving multiples again doubles?!? I didn’t but when I found out-whew no way.

Having twins with a 2 year old running around was a CHALLENGE. We wondered if Ollie would be ok when she realized she wasn’t the only one who needed attention.  If you’ve ever seen Ollie you’ll know that she has a presence about her and she definitely enjoys attention.  But once they were here and she got to see them and hold them, she just sort of fell into this amazing role of the big sister.  She hasn’t left it since, even though there are moments she cannot stand having little brothers.

Now- I don’t want to get into the world of having deaf children and bore you all with statistics and big words, but it’s a really big part of my life so I feel it’s only necessary to touch on it. Hayden and Brendan are both profoundly deaf. They don’t hear anything.  Brett and I are both hearing people, no deafness in our families.  We both however, have siblings who are special needs and so we were used to that kind of situation.  This is where the story gets less than smiles and rainbows. The moment the boys failed their first hearing test, I knew something was off.  They didn’t cry the same way Ollie did.  People would come in the room and they wouldn’t startle or wake up.  When they did cry, it felt different. After 3 tests in the hospital (1 a week after we were home), we were sent to another hospital for an evaluation.  This day was probably the best and worst day of my life, and thinking about it will 100% bring tears to my eyes.  They had electrodes hooked up to the boys heads, covered in them.  One at a time, we sat in a soundproof room, getting each boy to go to sleep and this test began.  It played noises and sent signals to the nerve that connects sound to the brain.  The moment I heard the noise from the signal and my babies lay there still asleep, I knew. They couldn’t hear it.  It was a matter of minutes but it felt like years just whipped by.  I saw everything that would be so different. Will they be able to talk? Will they make friends? Will they get married and have children of their own? I held back the worst pain I’ve felt while the doctor talked to us about options and a plan and more appointments, but I silently sobbed the entire way home. Here we are 5 years later, and I’d love to tell my past self just how great it all is. We are an ASL/English bilingual family, and Hayden is the poster child of what it can be like to live in a hearing family that supports deafness.  We had to take a different approach once we found out that Brendan was autistic, but he’s chugging along at his own pace, and he’s much smarter than I am I think.

Having family photos taken is an experience for this family.  Obviously I could take them myself, but if you have children you know its much easier having someone else direct your kids.  Insert my amazing friends Jess & Abbey.  They both knew about my family before I even asked for family photos.  They knew the struggles that we faced, knew how hard it was some days to get them to do the simplest of tasks.  They understood when the time came that there were certain things we couldn’t go, places we couldn’t go, and that there was no way they’d get a photo of all 5 of us looking and smiling at the camera.  It was ok though, because I don’t want those photos.  I want photos of us; who we are and how we love as a family.  We’re silly and play, run jump and laugh. We have tickle fights and wrestle in the yard. That’s what I want captured, and that’s what my friends give me every time.  I’ve had the pleasure of having Abbey take our family photos the last 2 years.  I cannot wait for this year’s session and I will 100% be making plans to come back to Erie so she can continue to do them fore us. Unless she wants to move her own family to Northern Virginia with us?

Here we are friends- The Zenewicz Family. It’s nice to meet you, and I hope these make you smile as much as they make us.

**These 2 sessions are both by Abbey Lynn Photography.  I’m sharing 2019 first, then 2020. Also- go check Abbey out if you’re looking for newborn photos because I had her do them of one of our cats and WOW YES. Just trust me.

There you have it.  A very long blog post to start 2021, but probably the most important blog post I’ve ever written in my life.  This is my family, the reason I drink so many margs and laugh so loud. They are the ones who celebrate each new couple booking with me, point out how beautiful my couples are, laugh when I come out of my editing hole looking like a gremlin, and love me.  Thank you for letting me share them with you all.

January 6, 2021

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