This Christmas of 2013, Les and I were blessed to have all our children (those by birth, those by bonds of matrimony or those by affection). We had all our grandchildren and my sister Janet “I travel the world while you never leave Gwinnett” Petzel and her family. I was jazzed to get the requisite group photo of the 22 of us but was too busy watching other family members cook. We were in no hurry to get the group pictures because we had so much time……. then like a medical horror movie, the dread virus struck.. There was absolutely no sign who would be next except the scaly pale green skin color that proceeded the virus by minutes. Christmas 2013 will forever stand out as the year of no Beard pictures—casual, posed, whatever. Moral of the story: Pictures FIRST.
Santa has not been seen in Gwinnett for a couple of weeks but before he went on his annual cruise he appeared at the ever amazing Boss Country Store where Ross and Janea Mooney from Loganville managed to pay him a visit with their one year old dogs Macy and Kiki who posed happily in spite of their doggish inability to say : “cheese”.
Doug Giacone, head football Coach at Mountain View High School, with some earlier years assisting Mickey Conn at Grayson, started this season with a new benchwarmer, newborn son Christopher. Cristina, wife of 5 years, is back at work doing sales for Georgia Pacific and she undeniably gives a glamorous face to new Motherhood but of course she has the moral support of Christopher’s best friend: 3 year old bulldog Louie.
My twin daughters and co-workers Meghan Schroder and Taryn Barnett are thrilled to have their oldest children Blake Schroder and Hayden Barnett at Grayson Elementary School. The young Moms have dove in as PTA President (Meghan) and PTA Treasurer (Taryn). When a cookbook was chosen as the big fundraiser for 2013-2014, it was natural to my daughters to include pictures of each recipe donor next to their recipe. My mouth dropped open when I saw the dramatic image of Mrs. Flynn, Kindergarten teacher. How many times as a young mother did I spend the day on a recipe only to have that exact feeling when I was done… Mrs. Flynn is also notable because her class has submitted the most recipes of any class for the cookbook with special dedication from her Aunt Brenda (a daily volunteer with her class) who personally submitted about 100 recipes.
Bobby Moeck is one of those lucky people who is passionate about his interests. He and wife Sara saw all four of their children: Melanie, Matt, Michael and Amanda graduate from Brookwood High School and Bobby continues his longtime passion of helping to coach Brookwood High School track and field. Bobby incorporated, Next Star, the family business, in 2000 and has 14 offices throughout the Gwinnett/Atlanta/Athens area. I look forward to photographing the company Christmas party each year and this year there was plenty to celebrate. On the right of the picture is daughter Melanie Moeck Altom and husband Dustin Altom, who recently moved to Atlanta from Texas and will present Bobby and Sara with their first grandchild this Spring. Shown on the left side of the group is Son Matt and his Fiancee/Brookwood Graduate Hope DiPrima. Amanda and Michael remain in college but work in the biz when their schedule permits. Whether working with athletic talent at Brookwood’s Hunter stadium or motivating his ever growing Next Star sales teams, Bobby Moeck puts his love of Coaching to use.
Developing a group of athletes through their teen years is no small feat so, once again, I am including a picture of Brookwood Head Wrestling Coach Chris Cicora, with his Seniors and assistant Coaches. Coach Cicora is heading into his 9th season as head coach and he and wife Leah welcomed daughter Delaney this year. When I first met Coach 9 years ago, he looked very, very young. Now almost a decade later, I have to admit—he still looks VERY, VERY young. And yes, swimming and diving are great ways to stay fit as is evidenced by the Seniors members of Mill Creek High School Swim and Dive team.
You can look at the picture of Ronnie and Tamara McCrary and know they are joyful people. I have had the pleasure of photographing them and their 3 sons for one reason or another for many years in many places. When they booked a session for family pictures, I was excited to “catch up”. Jeremiah, the “baby” of the family who I used to photograph at Grayson Methodist preschool sports is now a Sophomore at Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology. Middle son Cameron, graduated from Grayson High School several years back and is busy with college studies and Dad Ronnie is a teacher at South Gwinnett High School. Moral of the McCrary story: Faith, Family, Education AND Pictures.