March 27, 2018
Back in November when we traveled to Guatemala we rolled around the idea of having a family photo session with the amazing Daniel Lopez Perez Photography done, and the closer the trip got the more we put if off thinking that maybe we just didn’t have enough of time in our trip to do it. Anyway one day (very close to the departure of our trip) I got back from a shoot and Hugo informed me that he had booked our session. (One of the many things I love about Hugo, he always knows when to step in and just go for it!)
We could not have been more happy that we decided to go with our gut and make time for these photos. Daniel & Melissa were amazing to work with, seriously do yourself a favor and GO stalk their work. 😉 Our session was so fun, and they made everyone feel so comfortable, and really captured the genuine silliness of our Tomas Tribe. When we received our gallery I literally cried. No joke, ugly cried, because these photos mean so much to us.
Hugo’s family was not able to be at our wedding. At the time we were so full of joy to be getting married, and so hopeful that they would be granted visa’s to attend our wedding, that we did not give it much thought. However the narrative turned out differently then we would have hoped, and although we live-streamed the day and they ate celebratory pizza’s in honor of it, those memories are one’s we still wish we could have shared with them.
These photos are literally the first professional photos we’ve had taken all together. In fact I think they may be the first professional family portraits Hugo’s family has EVER had taken together, which makes them extra meaningful. When we started our relationship we were well aware of the fact that one of us would probably not be living near our family, and although that is something we have to live with, we’ve tried to very intentional at staying connected to our family living in Guatemala even though they live thousands of miles away from us. Today we’re sharing a bunch of photos from our most recently family photo session, and a few of the ways we stayed connected with our family that lives far away from us. Enjoy!
- Group Messaging
Technology is amazing! Seriously, we are so grateful that we live in an age where we can call and chat with each other at any moment. Like some families have a group text running all the time, we keep in contact through the Facebook messenger group chat. We use this to stay in contact about our daily lives, send photos/videos, and those silly little GIF things.
This messaging is super casual, and some days we chat more then others, but it does allow us to share in the little details of each others lives since we don’t see each other on a daily basis (even if we’re pretty much only sending photos of Gloria and Layla) 😉 We’ve definitely noticed it’s easier to feel connected to people in your life if you have some type of daily interaction as to opposed only catching up weeks at a time.
- Intentional Travel
When we got married we had a goal of visiting Hugo’s family in Guatemala at least once a year, and since that time a little less then five years ago, we have visited them around ten times! Which obviously is way more then our original goal.
We came to realize that, we personally wanted to make going to see family a priority over potentially using those resources in other ways, even if that meant we needed to prolong other goals we have. Yet we have seen God’s faithfulness and provision. We can’t even begin to express what a blessing it has been for us to be able to travel to see family as much as we have. And we are not planning on stopping, in fact we are working towards spending entire winters down there!
- Quality Time While We’re Together
When we’re visiting family we do our best to spend quality time together. Hugo’s family is so sweet, and often will schedule their vacations around our trips, so that we get to spend even MORE time together. (They’re the BEST!) We avoid “packing” our trips with lots of extras that don’t include family. This past year we were even able to go on a little vacation all together, which is a dream come true for us. A few days by the lake together allowed us to create some beautiful memories and soak in that solid quality time.
Side Note : We’ve also introduced our family to all the games we love like Catan, Ticket to Ride, Dice, and “Up and Down the River”. Hugo’s family is a competitive bunch, and it always results in lots of laughs or some kind of conflict resolution. I mean who needs therapy when you have board games?!?! 😉 Their motto is, “It’s not a good game if it doesn’t end with someone crying.”
- Weekly Phone/Video Calls
Once a week (sometimes more) we touch base via phone. These phone calls allow us to hear each other, and share more then just a few messages here and there. (Also helps me and Gloria practice our Spanish. 😉 ) We get to hear each other laugh and pray, and it’s always a cherished part of our week.
It’s amazing too, we’re able to use wifi calling, and literally don’t have to spend a dime. Years ago international calling was crazy expensive, and now we literally can talk for free!
- Embrace those awful “Good-Byes”
When we were dating long distance every time we were together and had to say good-bye to each other it felt like part of our hearts were being ripped out our chest. When we got married we thought we’d never have to face those feelings again, however that was not at all true. Saying good-bye to family after being together is always a tear-jerker, and we have determined that those feelings aren’t ones we want to just “brush under the rug.” We allow ourselves to feel that sadness, because ultimately we believe it’s part of “loving well.” It motivates us to continue to work hard so that we can continue to visit each other.
We hope you all enjoyed looking through these images of our family, and hearing a little bit about how we stayed connect to them. How do you stay connect to your family living near or far?!? We’d love to hear what ways you are able to do this in your life?!?