How Many Snow Days

 

How Many Snow Days Does it Take to Lose Your Mind?
February 14, 2019

How many snow days does it take to lose your mind?  Well, that depends largely on the age and temperament of your children, how many of the normal household rules you are willing to break, and obviously the amount of wine and chocolate mama has on hand!

I’ve actually lost track of how many snow days we’ve had, which some may take as an indication that my mind is gone already (or that I’ve had too much wine).  But I know for sure that there have only been two weeks since Christmas when my children have been to school for the whole week, and my husband has been on three different work trips in the month of February alone.  So if my mind is intact at all, it’s hanging on by a thread.  And my home is most certainly a disaster zone for which I don’t think FEMA’s going to send relief. 

However, I take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one feeling this way, and I hope others will take comfort in seeing the carnage that has been my household this past month.  Happy Valentines Day everyone!  I am gifting myself a snow blower and a weekend in Florida – ironically, without my husband.  Have fun with the kids honey! 


Oh, Hello Again

 

Oh, Hello Again!
January 30, 2019

Seeing the same families year after year is one of my favorite things about being a photographer. My camera has introduced me to so many awesome families, and I’m not gonna lie- I get attached. So when I get that call from a family I’ve worked with in the past I have a hard time containing my excitement- Reunion Baby! I can’t wait to see how much the kids have grown and to find out what they are into these days. And even though the kids are bigger and more self sufficient, I am often struck by how their personalities stay pretty much the same. I love seeing slightly older faces wearing the same facial expressions year after year.

This past December I had a reunion with The Waggle Family. My eagerly anticipated visit was every bit as much fun as always. I mean, they live in a cheerful yellow house with a “Chez Waggle” sign on the front, need I say more? I adore this family!

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It had been almost two years since I’d done a documentary style session with this family, and while I was editing their photos I felt compelled to look back at their previous session. The present was so very clearly a reflection of the past- there were the same facial expressions I remembered from before and tell-tale similarities in their interactions.

The Waggles made cookies back in 2016 (left) and again in 2018 (right). This last time it was fun to see Mom sit down and engage in conversation. The girls are so much more independent now.

The Waggles made cookies back in 2016 (left) and again in 2018 (right). This last time it was fun to see Mom sit down and engage in conversation. The girls are so much more independent now.

She’s grown up quite a bit, but Big Sister still gets googly eyed at the sight of sugar!

She’s grown up quite a bit, but Big Sister still gets googly eyed at the sight of sugar!

And Little Sister still gets down right giddy!

And Little Sister still gets down right giddy!

Little Sister is still playing the piano and wearing her hair in a side braid. Her feet still don’t reach the pedals, but they are getting much closer. And Mom is able to be more of a passive observer now.

Little Sister is still playing the piano and wearing her hair in a side braid. Her feet still don’t reach the pedals, but they are getting much closer. And Mom is able to be more of a passive observer now.

Big Sister is still playing the violin (but not in a leotard this time). She’s playing in the orchestra at school too! I was excited to hear about that, and she made me laugh talking about how boring it was because most of the kids are just learning.

Big Sister is still playing the violin (but not in a leotard this time). She’s playing in the orchestra at school too! I was excited to hear about that, and she made me laugh talking about how boring it was because most of the kids are just learning.

 
Some of the things Big sister did in 2016 (left) she has outgrown. But in 2018 (right) Little Sister has happily filled that empty space.

Some of the things Big sister did in 2016 (left) she has outgrown. But in 2018 (right) Little Sister has happily filled that empty space.

They still spent lots of time together as a family, but it looks very different. In 2018 (right) the girls joke and make sarcastic comments with the parents in way they weren’t yet able to back in 2016 (left). I look forward to seeing what The Waggle family will look like in another two years.

They still spent lots of time together as a family, but it looks very different. In 2018 (right) the girls joke and make sarcastic comments with the parents in way they weren’t yet able to back in 2016 (left). I look forward to seeing what The Waggle family will look like in another two years.

Holiday Storytelling Sessions

 

Holiday Storytelling Sessions
October 11, 2018

The holiday season will be here before we know it. You might already be thinking about what gifts to get your loved ones or trying to figure out how to squeeze in all your favorite holiday activities. Well here’s an idea for you: Book a Storytelling Session and turn your favorite holiday tradition into the perfect holiday gift! There really isn’t anything better than remembering good times you shared with people you love.

In case the concept is a bit too abstract let me share my favorite holiday tradition, making Christmas cookies! It was my favorite as a child and it’s still my favorite now. Ironically, I don’t really like to eat Christmas cookies, but I love all the steps involved in making them - making the dough, rolling it out, cutting the cookies into a variety of shapes, baking them, making the icing, and finally decorating them. I love the creative process and I absolutely LOVE the mess. But the best part is talking and laughing with loved ones while making cookies. It’s a family event that I look forward to every year.

Now that I have my own family, I continue the tradition of making Christmas cookies. The first year I made cookies with Blithe, my oldest, she was two. It was a very messy, long process, but I let her be involved in every part of it. Most of the cookies were broken and coated in a pound of icing, but she was delighted. I love looking back at the photos of her from that year with the icing smeared all over her belly. I can still hear the laughter; she was so happy!

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A year later, as a three-year-old, she was always in costume. She was wearing a dress up tutu when it was time to make cookies, and I almost made her take it off… but then I changed my mind. I’m so glad I changed my mind! That is who she is, and I love that I can see that in the pictures now. As you can see, our dog was heavily involved in the clean up this particular year.

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When she turned four, I remember being impressed with how capable she was becoming. It was the first year that I was actually able to take pictures without getting flour and icing on my camera. She was actually doing the cookie thing by herself. And the cookies were no longer just covered in icing - she was making designs.

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Christmas 2017 was my first Christmas as a mother of two. And Blithe wanted the baby (Cadence) right up on the table so she could show her the whole Christmas cookie making process. I was overjoyed! One of my favorite traditions from childhood was now one of her favorite traditions, and she wanted to make sure it would be her baby sister’s favorite too.

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We will make Christmas cookies again this year. I cannot wait to see what kind of mess Cadence will make. And you can be sure there will be pictures, because these pictures of my girls loving my favorite holiday tradition make me happier than anything you could put under my Christmas Tree.

Book a storytelling session for your family this holiday season. We’ll put your photos into an album and wrap a bow around it. Now doesn’t that sound like the sweetest gift ever?

[Nature A + Nurture] vs. [Nature B + Nurture]

 

[Nature A + Nurture] vs. [Nature B + Nurture]
October 10, 2018

In social science there is this long standing nature vs. nurture debate. What plays a bigger role in a child’s personality and success in life, their genes or the environment they are raised in. It’s a complicated question and after having my second child I’m convinced there is no simple way to answer this question. I’ve given birth to two children. They are both girls with the same biological mother and father. They were raised in the same home, under the same circumstances, with the same expectations, and given the same love. And their personalities couldn’t be more different. It’s really pretty remarkable. My little one is really strong-willed and stubborn. People always comment on how much she looks like her big sister, and just about then, she lets out a high pitched screech to let you know she is a unique individual! And even though my hearing is taking a toll, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love them both just the way they are.

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Baby's Big Sister

 

Baby's Big Sister
April 17, 2018

The newest member of our family has gotten a lot of attention these last six months, but today I want to shine a light on her remarkable big sister.  

After a long day this past weekend, I put an exhausted baby to sleep a little earlier than usual.  I jumped at the opportunity to spend some quality time with my big girl.  We snuggled up together in mama and daddy’s bed and we read, talked, and sang songs until she fell asleep in my arms.  And while I was holding that big 5-year-old I spent some time reflecting on what these past few months have probably felt like to this new big sister.

My older daughter was my entire world for the better part of five years.  Everything revolved around what she was doing and what she needed.  All the love and affection I had to give was showered upon her.  Then one day she became a big sister and suddenly had to share all of that with her new sister.  All that attention cut in half overnight. 

It would be reasonable for a child to act out in frustration or show some resentment toward the new baby, but no.  This sweet big sister just opened up her heart to the newest member of our family.  She adores her baby sister and takes pride in her new role as a big sister.  While many kids would crave more attention, she willingly moves over and gives her sister time in the spotlight.  Naturally, there have been moments of disappointment when I could not be with her like I was in the pre-baby days, but she always finds understanding and compassion.  She has probably adjusted to the change better than both my husband and me.  It’s rather remarkable actually, because I know things could have gone so differently.

Maybe she is just wiser than we give her credit for.  She can see that she has gained so much more than she lost.  Now in addition to the love she gets from her parents she has a sister and a life-long friend.