Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You

 

Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You
April 11, 2019

There is a magical place in my home.  It’s a little hide-away just for my girls.  Created to fulfill a 6-year-old’s birthday wish.  The tight space draws people close.  The twinkle lights illuminate the scary darkness.  And the words on the wall are empowering.  In this little cocoon my girls are safe.  They have restful nights and sweet dreams.  And I hope that when the time comes for them to emerge from this safe haven, they will take on the world with confidence.  They will be strong women- bold, brave, and true to themselves!     

Mom Guilt- Let It Go!

 

Mom Guilt- Let It Go!
March 20, 2019

My daughter loves gymnastics.  But this spring, I forgot to sign her up right when registration opened, and folks gobbled those slots up like drunk college kids eating 3am breakfast!  This meant I had to settle for a class that is really too late for our nightly routine.  Still, we are doing it! 

So today I took my oldest to gymnastics with little sister in tow.  Little sister made a new friend while we waited, who kindly shared her markers.  After an hour and half of watching, waiting, and the little one coloring every inch of her body, it was time to load two tired and hungry girls into the car.  I went through the Chick-fil-A drive through on the way home, and let the girls eat french fries in the car.  What happened when we got home was largely a blur.  I know there were suds in the bathtub and there was tooth paste on their tooth brushes.  Beyond that, it was so rushed I can’t really say how thoroughly clean anyone got. 

We didn’t make to bed on time, the remnants of Chick-fil-A are still on the table, and their dirty clothes are on the floor.  BUT there was a bed time story, songs, and some snuggles and I don’t feel bad about any of it.  Not even a little bit. My big girl got to go to gymnastics tonight, and my heart is full (and so is my wine glass)!  

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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?