“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
To the mamas who are stronger than they think…
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
To the mamas who are stronger than they think…
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving.”
― Pablo Neruda
I had the pleasure of documenting a 50th Anniversary celebration last night and even though I promised that I would only be blogging about mamas during May, I’m going to share a few images from yesterday.
To be fair, the bride is a mama x3 and a grandmother x8, so it still works!
“When you feel neglected, think of the female salmon, who lays 3,000,000 eggs but no one remembers her on Mother's Day”
― Sam Ewing
This quote makes me laugh out loud…or LOL, as the kids say (geez…I’m old).
Today is the 1 day of the year when we are to celebrate moms. They are the people who literally bring us into the world…givers of life. They are usually the first to wipe our asses, wipe our tears, clean up all our messes, and then eventually teach us to do these things for ourselves.
Looking back, I don’t know how good of a job I did to celebrate my own mom. I probably made cards or crappy gifts, but I don’t recall it being a big to-do in our home. My memory is shit though, so hopefully I’m just misremembering. My mom would probably say that I’m misremembering, but that’s because she is too nice to say that we were self-centered assholes (to our faces, at least).
Because I’m surrounded by amazing mamas, I know that too often this day is a disappointment. I hear so many stories and they can all be summed up by this:
We don’t feel special. We don’t feel thought of or appreciated. We hope for a magical or, at the very least, semi-planned day.
Year after year, we feel let down by it all. Our feelings are hurt because it wasn’t what we expected it to be.
There are tons of places where you can read about the mental load that mother’s carry and so we hope that on this one day…JUST FOR TODAY…that we won’t have to plan & help execute the day to celebrate ourselves.
I’m going to propose a radical idea.
Ask for what your want and BE SPECIFIC…I know this loosely falls under “planning our day” but hear me out…
Even though my family has always had cards, flowers, and gifts for me, I’m often left feeling underappreciated. I’ve struggled with this and found myself feeling all the things from anger to sadness to guilt.
This year, I decided to go a different direction. I actually told my husband what I wanted and I was very specific:
let me sleep in. anything past 7am is considered a win.
make breakfast tacos & please do so before 10am so I don’t get hangry. PS: clean up your kitchen mess…
no obligatory gifts that feel forced. I can tell when you went out the night before & panic shopped.
if you must gift me something, a gift of experience is preferred. A massage, pedicure, or even a couple of hours alone would be delightful. Bonus: that last one doesn’t cost a thing!
So far he has stayed the course. I slept in and then I had delicious breakfast tacos. I got a few handmade cards and a beautiful handmade gift from Oliver (a ceramic replica of our home), and a gift card for a spa day.
And now all 3 of them are leaving the house…
To all the mamas, caregivers, and aunties out there…may you feel appreciated and loved today and ALL THE DAYS ❤️
“So how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead, that it is such a large part of what it means to be human?
I'm not sure. That's my answer: I'm not sure.”
― Anne Lamott
To the mamas whose kids are grown and raising children of their own…
“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway... let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.”
― C. JoyBell C
To the mamas just starting out and the mamas who’ve been doing it for years…
is pure radiance.
she is the sun
i can touch
― Sanober Khan
To the tough mamas who make it look easy…
“[Kids] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
― Jim Henson
We live in a world full of “perfect” Facebook families, Instagram worthy photos of siblings who never fight and only ever get along in their perfectly curated, camera ready homes, and holiday cards that rival the royal family/Kardashians (take your pick).
Sorry, but nobody is buying your picture perfect life! We’re onto you!
I don’t know about you, but I’m always relieved to see photos of shit getting real.
I like to see messy, chaotic, funny, silly, sad, happy, frustrated, skinned knees, real tears…all of the things that come with life.
When I look through old photo albums, I prefer the candid moments over the curated moments because it helps me remember that moment. It transports me to another time and that is a beautiful thing.
That’s something that never happens when I look at the “fantasy” version of family photos: Everyone dressed impeccably. No hair out of place. Not a blemish to be found. All eyes on the camera and pained smiles across everyone’s lips (especially mom, because she has been threatening everyone within an inch of their lives).
My hope for all of the amazing people who hire me is that they are able to relax & enjoy the ride. I want them to know that we will get that “perfect” photo, but that they need to be flexible in what their definition of "perfect” is.
Also, bribes are a perfectly legit tool to keep in your bag of tricks! ( I almost always have lollipops to offer up)
Will everyone be looking at the camera? Maybe, but I can’t guarantee it. Will everyone have a smile on their face? Possibly, but I never force people to smile. I have tricks & sometimes they work, but not always!
What I will promise you: I will be there to document your family in this moment. When you look back on the images, they will make you smile, laugh, cry, or maybe all 3.
If this isn’t the reaction you have, I may not be the photographer for you…but, I hope I am.
I love being invited into the chaos and being part of these milestones.
I’d love to tell your story too…(you can book sessions here)
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”
― Debra Ginsberg
To all the Super Moms, doing all the things…
“I am a mother and mothers don’t have the luxury of falling apart in front of their children, even when they are afraid, even when their children are adults.”
― Kristin Hannah
To all the mamas who get shit done & keep on doing it, over and over again…
Interested in booking a session for yourself or someone that you adore?
A limited number of Summer & Fall Mini Sessions are available…book now!
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
― Washington Irving
Here’s to one of my favorite mamas…
“Children are knives, my mother once said. They don’t mean to, but they cut. And yet we cling to them, don’t we, we clasp them until the blood flows.”
― Joanne Harris
Tough as a mother…
(Interested in booking a session? Find dates & times here: Booking Calendar)
“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
― Jodi Picoult
For May, I’m going to TRY to post a blog every day. Except for yesterday…I already missed that one…
I’ll only be sharing photos of mamas this month.
31 days of mom. Or, 30…
Let’s celebrate mother’s, shall we?
Starting with the gorgeous Q family…can you handle all the beautiful in this family?
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust
Last June, my youngest child graduated from preschool. As exciting as that moment was, it was also the end of an era. We had been part of The Day Nursery family for the better part of 7 years and that was coming to an end.
Bittersweet. That’s the word…as cliché as it is.
I’ve mentioned, on many occasions, how grateful we are to The Day Nursery. Not only for the care and nurturing of our boys, but for the friendships that were made while our children attended.
Though we’ve gone in different directions...some at different schools and some moved even further away, many of us still get together regularly. We even got to spend the day with some of our MOST favorite people, The Terrell family, while we were in Texas this past December. We came from Chicago & they came from Boston to reunite for a day in Greenville, TX!
And it all started at The Day Nursery…
Even though I no longer have children enrolled at The Day Nursery, I still get to go back on occasion. Sometimes for work and sometimes for pleasure (mixed with a little work).
This past Saturday, I was able to enjoy a night out at a Pop-Up Event hosted by The Day Nursery.
One weekend a year, The Day Nursery is transformed into a fictional world from a children's book, and local chef and Day Nursery supporter, Melissa Elsmo (assisted by a small army of passionate folks) creates a magical meal to follow the theme.
This year’s Pop-Up was inspired by “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. it was a delicious meal that followed Peter’s adventures through his neighborhood after the first snowfall of the season.
The event serves 60 guests over two nights and takes a team of people, who all volunteer their time and talent to make it happen. This annual pop-up event raises funds that are crucial to The Day Nursery and the children who attend.
If you’ve never had a chance to experience one of these events, I highly encourage it!
“He told his mother all about his adventures while she took off his wet socks. And he thought and thought and thought about them.” -Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day
“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
― Donna Ball
Do me a favor and stop what you're doing (I know you just started reading this blog & now I'm asking you to stop reading...stick with me...or not?).
Take a look around your home and your Facebook/Instagram pages.
When you look through the images that tell your story, how do they make you feel?
Here's a better question: When your kids are older and they look back on these same photos (I hope you printed them...), how will it make them feel? Will the story make sense or will there be huge gaps?
For somebody who takes up so much space in our hearts and lives, moms are suspiciously absent from our photos.
When you look through the photos in your home and on your social media accounts, how many include mom? My hope is that mom is in a lot of photos, but realistically, mom doesn't make too many appearances. I'm sure there are a million reasons why, including the fact that mom is usually the one behind the camera.
"So when all is said and done, if I can’t do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are."-Allison Tate
I think that quote pretty much sums up how I feel about mamas getting in the frame. Do yourself a favor and read the whole piece. It's a quick read, but maybe it will help give you the nudge you've been needing!
The Mom Stays in the Picture
I always try to make sure that my sessions include a few frames with just mom & kids, but I also offer a few mini sessions during the year that are only for mothers & kids. Any of the portrait sessions I offer can be Motherhood sessions, but since mom's tend to prioritize everyone but themselves, I like to give you the option to do something that is only for YOU. It's in the title, so it's just for MOM! Maybe you hadn't considered it before or maybe you just needed "permission"...
Whatever reason you've been using for not being in photos, can we agree that there is a huge reason why you need to put that aside & get in the frame?
Our kids need to be able to see that we were there...we are/were part of the story. Part of their story.
So, whether you want to book a session that's especially for you or you want to book a regular session, just make sure that you grab a few frames with just you and the kids or just YOU. Why not?
Session date: April 27 & 28
Exact location to be determined as the date approaches.
If you'd like to book a Motherhood Mini, follow this booking link
(Motherhood session dates are not available on my regular booking calendar)
Motherhood sessions are for moms & kids only!
“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.”
― Marty Rubin
Every year it happens…March arrives and I’m certain that the ground will thaw and flowers will bloom and trees will once again be covered in green. By the time April rolls around, I start to feel a little defeated and I become desperate for warmer days and sunshine.
Everyday, I think “Today is the day. It has to feel like Spring. We NEED Spring.”
Finally, when we reach May, I forget how horrible and long the winter was.
Is it May yet? I would love to fast forward to May & be done with winter for now. Pretty please?
The next best thing that I can do is prepare for Spring’s arrival: plant seeds indoors and watch them pop out of their soil, plan for summer camp and maybe plan a few getaways.
Some of my clients are planning big things for Spring/Summer as well: I’ve got a couple of weddings booked, several corporate headshot events, and high school graduations.
Speaking of high school graduations…
My niece, who lives in Texas, recently came to visit & we spent a couple of days shooting her Senior portraits. You wouldn’t really know it by looking at her, but it felt very much like winter while we were shooting. On the plus side, the sun did come out…so…it could have felt worse, right?
How do you stay upbeat during these last months/days of winter? What are your plans?
Last year's headshot event was so much fun that I decided to schedule another one!
Due to time constraints, there are only 6 spots available that include professional makeup. Grab your spot NOW…Sara Jean is a magician!
Here's the details:
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Location: Amy’s Winehouse, 7235 Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park, IL
All paid sessions include a glass of wine and charcuterie...but you should definitely stick around afterward to mingle. (Additional food & wine will be available for purchase)
Fine Print: Each session will last 5-10 minutes and includes 1 image, fully edited* and delivered in color and black & white (2 total files). If you book a session with professional makeup, please arrive 30 minutes prior to your booked session. Within 2 weeks of your session, you will receive a password protected online gallery from which you can choose your favorite image. Additional files are available for purchase.
*Editing includes: color correction, exposure, light skin smoothing, and stray hair removal. Editing that goes beyond that will incur additional fees.
Send me an email if you have further questions: firstname.lastname@example.org