I did a double take when I saw our NYE party gear.
2018 . . . . . 2018?!
Do you ever do that? Have those moments where you stop and step outside the moment, observing it, turning it over in your mind’s eye the way you’d look over a snow globe found at a curiosity shop, the way you’d watch a movie, the way you’d idly gaze at strangers playing catch in a park? I remember distinctly when 2018 seemed futuristic. I remember wondering where this old(er) version of myself would be. What my life would be like.
And here we are. I am that old(er) version of myself. And my life is pretty damn awesome.
2017 was a growth year for me. Some years we grow, some years we bloom, and last year was a whole lotta growth. We faced a lot of difficult decisions. Those big LIFE decisions that adults are in charge of making. Occasionally I wondered who decided I was adulty enough to be in charge of these big adult decisions. And then I realized that no one is ever really this mythical “ADULT” that we all envision people older than us are. That even my parents, the infallible, untouchable, perfect, bigger-than-life role models they are (that’s not even tongue in cheek y’all. My parents are the best EVAH) are also just people who might still wonder who ever decided THEY were adulty enough to make the choices they have to make. And that at every age, we’re all just doing the best we can with whatever decision making guidance we have embraced for ourselves.
So anyway. I’m sure you’re wondering what all this is about.
Almost exactly three years ago, my husband and I faced a big decision. He’d gotten an outstanding job offer in New Hampshire, and we were done with Texas for the time being. We are adventurers, experience seekers, and quite frankly, we knew there was more to this big wide world than what we–or our kids–were getting in Texas. The original deal was for us to move to New Hampshire for 3-4 years and then come back to start a new Texas office for the company. It was a safe, round-trip ticket to a new adventure. We jumped.
And we landed somewhere amazing. It would be a whole other blog post to tell you about all the incredible things we’ve found in this state, but suffice it to say that this state fits us. It is quiet and laid back and gives us infinitely more time outside than we got in Texas. It is close to beaches and mountains and big fabulous cities. It is green and it smells like pine. When the time came last spring for my husband’s company to start the conversations about locations for the Texas office, shockingly, it sent me into a funk. And we realized that we weren’t ready to leave. That our life here is the life we really wanted for us and for our kids’ childhood memories.
So growth experience number one: We’ve decided we aren’t moving back to Texas.
Oh, but wait. There’s more.
Part of our experience here is that my husband travels for work a whole.lot.more than we’d expected. On the one hand, this doesn’t suck because we have a lot of fun money with which to travel and go have those adventures and experiences we love so much. But on the other hand, it sucks a whole lot. Because, you know, he’s gone.
And when he’s here? The last thing I want to do is go work.
Being a family photographer is one of the most joyful things I’ve ever gotten an opportunity to do. But the nature of the job is that I’m working when clients’ kids aren’t in school and parents aren’t at work. That is . . . nights and weekends.
And I don’t want to work nights and weekends. I can’t really work nights anyway, since I never know when my husband will be here to stay with the kids or if I’ll have to haul them along to sessions with me (yes, I’ve done this. It is less than ideal.). And weekends? We so want that to be our family time. When Dad is home, our kids want and need to have our family unit time. Together. I want and need that.
After literally months and months of soul searching and exploring options and weighing pros and cons and doing it all again, the solution I keep coming back to is to take a break from photography for a bit. Maybe a year. Maybe more. Maybe forever. I really don’t know. What I do know is that 2018 will be the year I stop burning my candle at both ends. It will be the year I catch up on my kids’ baby pictures. It will be the year I finish my library inventory. It will be the year we have down time . . . or at least free time to fill up with adventures and experiences together. I don’t do down time all that well. 😉 Maybe I’ll find time to get back to writing. Maybe I’ll sell nature prints or stock photos. Maybe I’ll do something totally new and different.
The “maybe” is both scary and exhilarating to me. It’s uncertainty but also possibility. I’ve never, in all my working life, not had an income. But maybe this is the year of reinvention. Of focusing on what makes my soul happy. On what makes my family’s soul happy.
There are so many other things that are part of this conversation, it would be impossible to communicate them all in such a one-directional post. But what I want to make sure to end with is this: when I think back on the six years (!!!!) I’ve been a family photographer, there is still one overarching reaction. I’m absolutely humbled that you all chose me to capture these moments for you. The preservation of moments–the freezing of time–is so vital to our memories and our hearts. I’ve taken photos for families that are all they have left of certain family members, and the fact that *I* helped freeze those moments of joy for them is one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever given the world.
Thank you, happy souls, for the support and the overwhelming love you’ve shown me all these years. It’s been my honor.
This family was among the first friends we made in New Hampshire, and I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy lucky for us that was. For starters, they are life-long New Englanders, so that whole OMG-I’m-scared-I-don’t-know-what-snow-is-or-even-what-a-furnace-is frantic feeling that we maaaay have been feeling that first fall and winter was easily and quickly assuaged, with a hearty dose of amusement on all sides. Not only did they teach us how to dress children appropriately for school in single-digit temps, but they have been our skiing buddies, our hiking buddies, our game night buddies, and our hang-out-grilling-and-letting-the-kids-run-amok buddies.
They roll with the crazy of life with littles with levity and are firm believers in the benefits of self-care. They even have a standing once-a-week date night so that they can stay connected on a personal level. (What?! So brilliant!)
So basically they have life pretty much figured out. They’re good people to befriend and learn from. 😉
And their super photogenic, hilarious, fun-loving kids make me look awesome as a photographer. So that’s also a plus.
You can tell just from looking at them that they laugh a lot and they love a lot, and if those aren’t the best things in life, I don’t know what is.
vW family, we are wicked lucky to call y’all friends. (<– look at that fusion!) Hope you love your sneak peek!
I don’t usually shoot events, but when this sweet momma asked if I would photograph her daughter’s first birthday party, I couldn’t say no! She’s one of my photography students, and I loved the idea of spending some time with her and her sweet family, capturing memories of one of life’s biggest milestones. That’s what lifestyle and documentary photography is all about, right??
Just as I was hoping, it was a huge family affair. This sweet baby girl is SO lucky to be growing up in a family where she is SO loved by SO many! The decor, the fun, and the overflowing sense of love and community made this one party I won’t forget soon.
Also, a cake-smash cake that is bigger than her face is my favorite thing evah!
C family, it was my honor and delight getting to help you document this amazing celebration! I hope you love your sneak peek! <3
There were so many things about this session that took my breath away.
For starters, that this tiny, squishy peanut is now a smiling, rolling, charm-the-socks-off-everyone SIX MONTH OLD (of course now he’s probably seven months old already and OMG! TIME! SO FAST!).
And in that six months he’s not only gotten sooooo big and mastered the whole smiling-rolling-charming-of-socks thing, but he’s also had heart surgery. Had and recovered from heart surgery. Thrived after heart surgery. Dominated the whole heart surgery thing.
I tell you what, this kid has shown more strength and joy in his six months than some people do in their whole lives.
His mom and I were laughing about the ups and downs of motherhood, and she laughed about how his first cold made her panic. “I figured, if I’ve seen him through heart sugery, I can handle anything,” she said, “but that first cold made me totally lose my mind!” Isn’t parenthood something? Because every single day you have to go in with the strength and the will to handle what life throws at you, and you do what you have to do to take care of your baby. Whether that thing is heart surgery or a first cold. It’s all new and it’s all terrifying and just because you handled the former like a boss doesn’t mean the latter won’t totally scare you also.
But you know what? Somewhere along the way you find your parenthood legs. You realize you do have the strength and the will to get through every day and do what needs doing.
And that’s kind of what kids do, too. They just don’t know it. They face what life throws at them, and they keep their smiles throughout it all.
Will and strength. This kiddo’s got it, and so do Mom and Dad. Congrats on your first six months!!
E family, it was so wonderful getting to see y’all again and to see how Will has grown! I hope you love your sneak peek!
Photographs, as a means of preserving memories, are important. I think if you’ve found your way to my blog, you and I can probably readily agree on that. 😉 But if you want to take that line of thought further, consider . . . what memories are we preserving? And for whom are we preserving them?
I spend a lot of time pondering these questions, and I hope my answers guide the final product that I provide for my clients. I contend that the most important memories aren’t necessarily the giant milestones, but the quiet moments. The daily routines. The familiar habits that you think may last forever and then, one day, realize are distant memories. The loved ones in our lives. That one, that’s the most important.
As a mother, I crave these frozen moments in time. I have a physical need to capture these moments in the lives of my children and keep them, in a fashion, forever young. So yes, photographs are a preservation for me. For my clients. For parents. For adults.
But also. Kids aren’t the only ones who grow up. Capturing children with their loved ones is important for the adults, but oh so very important for the children as well. Photographs with grandparents. Moments preserved with parents. Seeing, forever, how very loved they are by everyone who surrounds them is perhaps the most important gift we can give our kids as they grow. Getting family in the frame with the kids is the very best gift photography can provide.
I was so, so happy when this family scheduled their session around a visit from Grandma. At home. In their space. With their people. Capturing not only the broken arm, the end of the era of bottles, the trampoline, the tether ball they fill their childhood days with, but also the laughter with Grandma, the snuggles from Mom, the love that shines out of Dad’s eyes
Family photographs. Best. things. ever. So very glad I get to create such wonderful memories for my job.
C family, as always, it is my pleasure and honor to capture these family memories for you! I hope you love your sneak peek!