Family Time in Lake Tahoe

It is 8am. I am sitting in my daughter's room on the rocking chair as she rests in her crib. She woke up very early today around 6am. She's already had breakfast then after she sat with me on the couch as I work to edit our photos from yesterday's beach time at Lake Tahoe. Now, we are back in her bedroom because she wants to rest in her crib which usually means tossing and turning and asking me questions...


"Mama?"

"Yes my love?"

"Where's daddy?"

"He went to work my love."

"What does that mean?"

(And so on and so forth...)


Last week was jam-packed for our family. Last Saturday, I went to Brentwood California to second shoot Jasmine and Johnny's wedding at Newberry Estate Vineyards with fellow photographer Ashley Baumgartner. I left Reno around 7:30am and was back home the next morning at 2:30am. My daughter spent the day with my sister and her family because my husband Jeff had to work overtime. Jeff took over baby duty after work and stayed up waiting for me to get home. He is amazing.


On the way there, I listened to Dave Ramsey's audiobook The Total Money Makeover and I'm so glad I did. It has been an eye-opener to handling finances properly which is very important for me to know as a wife, mom, and business owner. I definitely recommend this book to everyone regardless of your financial situation.


That Sunday, my family and I spent the day with friends at Bowers Mansion Pool to celebrate one of my daughter's friend's third birthday party. It was so much fun! Then the next day on Monday, I once again drove two and a half hours this time to Clarksburg for a wedding styled shoot at Silt Winery. Event designer and photographer Szu Designs along with event planner and coordinator Shawna put together a beautiful event for photographers and other creative vendors who cater to brides and grooms. I met a lot of awesome people and had a great time working with everyone. That day, my friend Christine was kind enough to watch my daughter for a few hours until my husband got off of work. We are very lucky to have such loving people in our circle.


Then on Wednesday, my attorney invited me to a business lunch meeting with BNI. It was definitely a full week but very productive! I love that my family and friends rally up to support me on my photography ventures. I am so blessed.


I intentionally scheduled the rest of the week for mommy and me time, so my daughter and I went to the library for Toddler Time and she also attended her weekly Preschool Steps class at Gymboree. The library also had an arts and crafts event which my daughter absolutely enjoyed.


This past weekend was a little more mellow than the last which I am so grateful for. Jeff and I sat down to discuss our finances. He is getting ready to have total knee replacement surgery for both knees, so we are tightening up our budget to save for the inevitable expensive medical bills plus to cover the time he is unable to work. We got rid of cable and sold many things around the house plus whatever I am making from my photography business is contributed to our emergency fund as well. About two months ago, unbeknownst to him, I started a campaign to raise funds for his surgery. He is a hardworking man and is one to be apologetic when asking for help, and I am too, but we have been waiting for a response from the VA for his medical coverage for over three years. This whole time I have watched him deal with the chronic nagging pain on his shoulders, feet, and knees. Even though he hardly ever says anything about his injuries, I am noticing a decline with his normally happy and positive temperament. He is suffering. And it is mentally and emotionally affecting him. He doesn't want to admit it but I know it. I am watching my strong husband struggle as if he is defeated. I am not having any of it. He is not defeated and I am on his team. Most days, he comes home after work with swollen knees and feet which I treat with massages and hot baths but it just isn't enough anymore. So, one morning, after he left for work I mustered up the courage to ask friends, family, and strangers (who have become our friends) to come together for our family. The goal was to raise $10,000 dollars. I was afraid because I thought it to be an impossible amount. But by the grace of God, we are surrounded by selfless loving people. His fundraising campaign was shared 150 times and 30 families financially contributed to raise $65 dollars OVER our goal... all in just TWO months!


Of course, I had to come clean to Jeff about the campaign. He was upset at first; he gave me the silent treatment but only for a few minutes. He told me he was embarassed and is upset with me for doing it without discussing with him first. I was apologetic but I knew that he knew we could use the help. The next few weeks after that, he was just silent. He had mixed emotions. He was grateful but still highly embarrassed. I understood where he was coming from but since then he has been much happier and is getting back to his normal self. He is hopeful again and is much more active with me and our daughter. I am so very grateful for everyone who came together for our family. I don't think you guys know how much you have positively affected our lives. You are giving a Marine his life back and I can tell you that it has strongly impacted us as a family. We are smiling again and making memories with our daughter... something he and I have always cherished since the day she was born. So, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU. Our hope for the future is that we are able to give back to families in need just like you did for us. We can't say it enough, thank you...


He is scheduled to have his surgery at the end of this year, so he is working really hard to shed some weight to assist in having a faster recovery time. A few weeks ago, we made a trip to RC Willey because at the beginning of the year we were scheduled to do a trade for our couch due to warranty issues. We never got to it, but finally had time to stop in so we traded our couch for a sofa bed. Since he will be unable to walk up and down the stairs to our bedroom, this is where he will be sleeping (and probably eating and living) following the weeks after his surgery.


We are making the most of his days off which is few and far between. He is still working overtime and he still comes home in pain but his mind is in a much better place knowing in a few months he will finally be treated properly. He is not excited about going under because he has a higher risk of getting staph infection since he has contracted it before but we are definitely hopeful that the surgery will have a positive outcome.


Last week was full of activities so this weekend was all about family time. We went to Lake Tahoe with no plans. It was a spontaneous trip and I'm really glad we decided to go. Our little Ella was very happy to be with her daddy and mommy... at one point she gave both of us a big hug and said "I love my family!"


Thank you to our friends and family for making it possible for me and my daughter to be able to enjoy the loving, happy, and fun husband and daddy that Jeff is. His birthday is coming up next month and there is no better gift than being able to enjoy each other before his surgery.


We are so dearly loved...















Kate Stapleton is a wedding photographer who values telling your story in a way that feels like you.

She creates images that are sincere, meaningful, and real.

Kate is based in Reno, Nevada and photographs weddings in the Reno-Tahoe area as well as destination weddings all over the world.

@KATESTAPLETONPHOTO
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