A little boy and his momma | Cleveland Family Photographer Tess Smith Photography

Monday, April 30, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

It's a girl!

I'm so excited for my sweet friend, Liz! She's pregnant for the third time and for the first time expecting a girl! I can't wait to meet her, Liz!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Clara | Cleveland Newborn Photographer | Tess Smith Photography

This job is hard work. It's time consuming. It's exhausting. It's full of mundane tasks like emailing and phone calling and sitting in front of a computer for hours upon hours when I'd rather be playing with the kids.  It's rough being a one woman show. But it has it's many rewards. And snuggling sweet little newborns is certainly one of them. What an incredible joy to be able to photograph such tremendous moments.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life is Exhausting | Tess Smith Cleveland Lifestyle Photographer

(Sweet Clara)

 I AM TIRED. SO TIRED. Today I am going to breath. Go for a walk with the kids and play in the dirt. I need a day of rest. I encourage all of you to relax and enjoy this beautiful day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

My dogs | Tess Smith Photography

(Felicity and Holly, on Holly's last day.)

My husband and I were engaged around Thanksgiving in 2004. Shortly after our engagement I casually mentioned the idea of getting a dog. So we casually went to the APL to see if there were any good faces. We walked around the shelter 5 or 6 times and saw nothing that really peeked our interest. My heart was hurting for all those sad puppy faces so I told Mike, "How about just one more walk around, we might find one".  We walked around and checked out every kennel and for some reason she just appeared on our last trip. She was CUTE. A big  white boxer with a giant patch over one eye who was already a year old. It was love at first sight for me. Mike said no. I said please. He said no. So we kept walking.  Somehow this sweet girl busted out of her kennel (should have been a sign of her "vivacious personality") and ran up to greet us. She wagged her littel nub of a tail and bounced round at our feet.  I told Mike it was fate and he laughed but she chose us. She wanted us. And I desperately wanted her. We signed the papers and took her home. My big white crazy boxer was faithful to me. She slept at me feet and followed me from room to room. She'd sit at my feet or by my side. She missed me when I was gone and greeted me with an exciteable little nub of a tail when I came home. She followed us to every apartment and every home. She graciously and excitedly welcomed each of our children with such a beautiful tender heart. She was crazy & exciteable and calm & loving all in one. She's let my babies climb all over her, sit on top of her, tug on her ears and play dress up. She'd snuggle up next to us during story time and coloring. She had a gentle heart and was meant for maybe not all children... but certainly meant for mine. She was the perfect first dog for them.

Shortly before Christmas this year, my sweet Holly dog became very ill. It seemed she woke up one morning looking a bit off and as the day progressed everything made a turn for the worse. A few days before,  I had casually been joking about the life expectancy of a boxer to some neighbors and how she was nearing "that age" but I laughed it off and mentioned that my old girl wasn't going anywhere. She was healthy and vibrant and full of joy. (So much "joy" that she'd piddle at your feet if you happened to stop by for a visit.) When I called the vet to explain her symptoms they asked me to bring her in right away. I couldn't handle hearing any sort of bad news and one of us had to stay with the kids so I sent Mike. He was sent home with  special instructions and a procedure for us to follow for 5 days. He said it didn't sound good but the vet seemed "hopeful". I knew that my sweet girl was in pain, but we agreed to try it. We were to limit her water intake and monitor her bathroom habits. I stayed up the entire night with her stroking her soft ears, rubbing her tummy,  and telling her I wasn't quite ready to let go. She responded by snuggling in my lap and crying. If you've ever heard a dog cry you know how awful that sound is. When she wasn't crying she was pacing the house and restless. She had lost all interest in food. All she could think about was drinking water. She'd run to every known water source in desperation. She was pawing and whining at the toilet bowls. Her body had stopped processing the water she was taking in and immediately after she drank she urinated.  I called the vet the next morning and told her there was no way I could wait for 5 full days. I needed answers and we were ready for the next step.  She had developed a tumor in her pituitary gland that was incurable. Nothing we could do would save her or even make her comfortable. Holly was put down a few weeks before Christmas. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. She was MY girl. My sweet Holly girl. She layed in my lap in a small room as she took her last puppy breath. It was hard. Really hard. I sobbed. SOBBED. But it had to be done. If we didn't put her down she would have died on her own in a matter of days and those days would have been painful. I feel so badly for anyone else who has to go through that descison. I've had pets pass away before but putting down MY dog was harder than anything. Ever. My dog was in pain. Real pain. And it was awful. And I knew that. But I kept thinking... "What if we're wrong. What if she's fine and we're just over-thinking this. What if, what if, what if..." I'm so beyond words with the emotions our family felt. A dog is so special. They give us so much comfort. They're our best friends and hold all our secrets with no judgement. They truly are man's best friend. I'm thankful for my time with her. I'm thankful my husband took a chance on a crazy dog that broke out of her kennel at the APL that day.I'm thankful for the years, the memories, and the trust she gave me. And most of all, I'm thankful that I was strong enough (barely) to make the final decision to put her down when she needed me to.

We spent the next week really missing our pup. It's funny how you miss just the routine. Getting up to let them out, feeding, snuggling, playing catch... All of it. I felt a big void.  We came home from being out and there weren't any nose prints on the glass of our front windows. Heartache. I'd drop something on the floor and call out for her to "come" and she wasn't there. Heartache. I'd sit on the couch with a book a blanket and a cozy spot for to snuggle in. Heartache. Dogs are our companions and I was missing mine like crazy. Every little reminder of her not being there stung. It's just a dog. I know. I get it. I've probably said it a million times. She was JUST A DOG. But until you've experienced it... you just don't know. Until it's your dog that you've invested the time, love, and energy into... You just don't know. I started searching the web for puppies. The kids were anxious to bring home a new friend but I was hesitant. I needed to heal a bit. Holly was my girl and  I needed some time to get over her. But I looked for them, for my kids. We decided to search for another Boxer. We're Boxer people. We know their risks, we know their life expectancy, we know their temperment, but still. We're Boxer people. So I searched and searched. I found a few in our area who had puppies available and expected litters. I wanted to wait. Again, my little heart needed to heal. I called a few people and asked them questions. And then I found Laymani Boxers.

Laymani is... amazing. I spoke with Denise for close to 3 hours that day. What inteded to be a quick 5 minute conversation turned into something so much more. She had some expected litters in the Spring, but she also had a sweet 12 week old girl who needed a home. I assured her I wasn't quite ready but somehow later that day I found myself picking up my daughter from school and excitedly telling her and the other 2 that  we're going to pick up our new puppy. The kids were packed in the car with snacks and a full arsenal of puppy gear. We drove in total of 7 hours that night to meet our new pup. She was calm, and so little, and loved my children instantly. It was an odd feeling. I loved seeing my kids excited about a puppy. We brought her home that night. She slept in my lap the whole drive home. I smelled her fresh puppy shampoo and rubbed her ears. We stayed up late that night and played with her until she tuckered out.

Bianca has been in our home for a few months. She is LIVELY. I've forgotten how much work a puppy is. She is sweet. She is loving. She is trainable. She can sit, lay down, shake, crawl, and roll over on command. She's filled our home with all the regular puppy sounds and sometimes smells. (I don't know what it is about Boxers, but MAN do they have some stank farts!! She's pretty good at clearing a room. She even astounds herself at times. )

I'm happy to announce our new puppy Bianca. She's now 6 months old. We love her. All of us. There are certainly days that I miss my Holly girl but I think she'd approve of the new pup.

(Bianca, sitting at my desk NOT helping me edit photo's.)

(Bianca, Good Sit.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A little boy and his momma | Cleveland Family Photographer Tess Smith Photography

There's just something to beautiful about the love a momma has for her boy. And the love that boy has for his momma. It's a beautiful thing.

Boys | Cleveland Area Family and Child Photographer