First Year, Sixteen Firsts

Hey guys! The end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 have been a bit crazy for us–the holidays are hectic enough on their own, but throw in moving and TWO toddlers (who have birthdays around this time, too!), and you have a recipe for chaos. Potty training is tough!

Even though we’re halfway through January, it’s never too late to reflect on the past year. We wanted to share our reflections with everyone. Thanks for being there for us!

2017 was our first year as partners, and of course, with that comes many other firsts. Strap in for our top 16:

    1.    Kickstarting a photography business is a surreal experience! It seems like it’s been forever since we met at ASU, but it’s already been TWO years since we graduated. Wowza! Time’s really flown by, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Being mombies (mom zombies!) made it hard to really pursue our passion for photography during 2016, but coming together as business partners this year has really made a difference in our lives.

    2.    Tristan had his first birthday! Winnie the Pooh would have been proud of his first Pooh-themed party, even without real honey there. This lil’ guy was lucky, getting THREE cakes (the cashier even recognized us and asked “back again?” — we laughed and said “yeah!”) instead of just one–to be honest, we were a little jealous of him. He had his small cake-smash cake (he poked at it a bit, and didn’t really get it until his daddy smashed his hands into it… a lightbulb went off, and you could see it on his face), and once he got going he didn’t stop ‘til half his face was covered in it. Boy, did he have a blast! Even with cleanup, we were glad to see him loving his first birthday. Tristan’s second cake was small, too, because we wanted an intimate family celebration: parents, grandparents, and the birthday boy on the day itself. He loved that cake, too, and his eyes lit up when he saw his third cake for family and friends. All of them were Pooh-themed, and he loved ‘em! His second birthday was just a few days ago, and it was a lot quieter, with only one Thomas the Tank Engine cake… but he celebrated with his little buddies and had a great time.

    3.    Damien turned two, but had his first birthday party! At his dinosaur-themed shindig, he had all of his little friends and their parents with him, and we couldn’t decide what was the best part: the candles or the presents! He surprised his mom when he blew out all the candles on his own–Allison didn’t know when he learned to do it! It was definitely a Proud Mommy Moment for Allison, along with Damien’s glee at tearing open the presents, especially when he screamed out “OH COOL!!” at a few. It was adorable; the best reaction ever!

    4.    Wander Back attended its first bridal expo as vendors! The beginning of the year had its bumps, what with figuring out the odds and ends of learning to be business partners (it’s a lot tougher than you’d think!), but this first bridal expo in the beginning of 2017 was definitely a high note. It wasn’t our only expo, either: with each one we went to during the year, we improved our presentation, and with it, our knowledge. If you compared us now to the beginning of 2017, you’d think we were a totally different duo! We’re grateful to have been able to attend these expos, not just for the experience, but for the many amazing couples we got to meet during them. We’re super excited to see them again this year for their weddings!

    5.    We also had our first bodybuilding session! There’s not a single word we could use to describe the experience as a whole–it’s so different from wedding and lifestyle photography. Bodybuilding is completely different, and the sessions were exciting, but nerve-wracking too. It forced us out of our comfort zones, but that’s the best part about being creatives: we have to expand our horizons and be able to alter our artistic vision to make ourselves better artists and photographers. That isn’t to say that the session was completely serious all the time… we had a little photobomber from a cute cat that kept walking through our setup. It was hilarious, and the lil’ guy made us feel a lot more at ease. We couldn’t be more proud of the results–check ‘em out!

    6.    You know how we mentioned potty training up top? Boy, it’s a roller coaster. Both Tristan and Damien are at that age. We don’t know about the rest of you, but we have never spent so much time in the bathroom every day! There are so many ups and downs to training, from excitement about the my-size-toilet to meltdowns over not wanting to try. You never know what response you’ll get at that age! One thing’s for certain, though: we’ll never do it during the holidays again. Poor guys had such an uncertain schedule because of it, but they’re finally getting the hang of it!

    7.    Tristan started school! He loves it–every time he gets dropped off, he either barely pays attention, or shoves Joanne out of the classroom and tells her “bye”! It’s too cute–he’s such a funny kid! His teachers are super impressed with how well he handles getting dropped off at school: only one meltdown! Not half bad, we’d say!

    8.    Tristan had his first wedding experiences: plural. Heck, he’s attended more weddings in his first year of life than Joanne did in her first 20 years! With relatives on both sides of the family, he got to meet a lot of people, and had such a blast at each event. Gotta say, chasing after a toddler when in heels is the best way to learn how to wear high heels, that’s for sure!

(Photo Credit: Tristan – He wants to be a photographer like his mom!)

    9.    We had our first out-of-town trips together! Because we were so busy during school, we never had the chance to travel together, but now we’ve been able to see the majority of Arizona in just one year. The long drives were perfect to learn all about each other on a personal basis (Allison LOVES cake, and Joanne’s all about cookies-and-cream anything!), and we got to see the boys both on their best behavior and in their most trying moments. With busy schedules and heavy workloads, these long drives were the best way for us to catch up with each other and really grow as friends instead of just business partners.

    10.    Allison and her husband Ken celebrated their first anniversary as a married couple! With the anniversary being on Halloween, we decided to stay home, making a romantic night out of a movie, pizza, and mimosas. Maybe next year we’ll go out, but with the move looming, multiple schedule changes, and a hectic new business beginning, a night in sounded perfect.

 (Photo Credit: Davin Lavikka of Lavikka Photography)

    11.    Okay, just kidding–we take it back. We did go out a little: Damien got to go trick-or-treating for the first time! He was the tiniest little dinosaur, and had a blast collecting candy. He was adorable, and you know that he wanted to really dig into his role and devour the candy just like a T-Rex would! Can you imagine a tiny dino running from house to house with that cute tail swaying as he went? Oh my lanta, the cuteness of that! 

    12.    Allison had her first Colorado trip, for a small honeymoon with Ken. Food and drink were the main draw, but exploring the area was just as great. One place we went was a natural history museum, and it was amazing! Between seeing snow (since Phoenix doesn’t get much… or any at all!), exploring Colorado, and having some great food and drink, it was an amazing trip. Our hotel had an indoor pool that overlooked a snow-covered roof, and it helped make everything feel that much more special, coming from Phoenix. It was gorgeous!

    13.    We had our first anniversary as business partners. We wanted to celebrate, but between birthdays, the holidays, Allison’s move, and our daily responsibilities, we decided to celebrate in spirit instead of in person. It doesn’t make it any less special, though–we’ve both grown and learned so much as moms, as artists/photographers, as partners, and as business owners. We can’t wait to see what year two has in store!

    14.    Speaking of learning as business owners, we designed our first logo. This was so exciting! Unlike some of our friends, we didn’t start our business fresh out of college: we became moms first. Most people consider that the ultimate marker of adulthood, but making the logo felt like the cherry on top of the adulthood sundae, making us feel like we’re finally out of the college/student phase of life. It’s AMAZING to have a logo that fits the both of us and our lives so perfectly!

    15.    Allison had her first fabric-dyeing experience. Joanne had done it before, but it had been years, so she forgot… which made for an amazing learning/re-learning experience! Allison watched YouTube tutorials, and Joanne looked up her college notes on fabric dye, and we took over Joanne’s entire kitchen, bathroom, and living room floor. Luckily, it came out perfect, and with no permanent mess! Who says we can’t do it all?

    16.    Christmas. Goodness gracious, Christmas. Both of us hosted for the first time, and to make it even more hectic, Allison moved just a week before the holiday and Damien’s birthday took place during the packing process! Getting a new home set up for the perfect family Christmas in just a few days was scary, but Allison did it and felt like a hero–she made it look easy! Joanne had a challenge, too: fitting 15 people in her cozy townhouse. With some creativity, she managed it–and impressed her mom, who was concerned about it! Christmas was a huge success, and definitely helped to top a great 2017.

It’s been a busy year, hasn’t it? Year one left some dang high standards for year two, that’s for sure! Thank you to everyone who helped make this year so amazing, and thank you for believing in us–cheers to 2018!

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