“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…
“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
“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?
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
― Anais Nin
After an exceptionally busy Fall season (thank you, my amazing clients!), I find that it is necessary to scale back & carve out time for myself. Alone time is crucial & needed, but time with close friends is equally important. These things act as a sort of reset button on my life & I am always grateful that I am able to make myself a priority, even if only for a moment.
Are you making yourself a priority? What are some ways that you do this?
Last night, I was able to share an amazing meal with some friends, made possible by the amazing Melissa Elsmo. My only regret is that there wasn’t room at the table for more friends…
Not only was I able to spend time catching up with some of my favorite people, but I got to do so while eating and drinking a fantastic meal.
As has been stated before, I’m not a food photographer, but I absolutely had to document the meal so I could share with everyone.
So…enjoy these images…and block some time on your calendar to do the things that make you happy. You’ll never regret doing it.
What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Are you printing your photos or do they sit on a hard drive, thumb drive, or some other storage device that could (and will) fail you at some point? I often wonder why clients only want digital files...seeing images on a screen can’t even come close to looking at them on display (framed, canvas, block, or book...). There are so many reasons to love digital photography, but this is one of the reasons that I don’t love it.
I daydream about going back to shooting film exclusively, so that giving my clients beautiful prints, instead of files, is the end result. Somehow, handing over digital files makes me feel like I haven’t finished the job. I’ve left clients hanging...
To me, photography has always been about the whole process, as opposed to the sum of its parts. If I don’t have a tangible, beautiful print in my hands...what do I have? What was the point?
Are you printing your images? If not, what keeps you from doing so?
In an effort to get more beautiful prints into the hands of my wonderful clients, I’m running a print promo. The promotion is good until the end of the year. Details below:
20% off any orders of $100 or more using code: 20off100
30% off any orders of $300 or more using code: 30off300
If your gallery is no longer active but you would like to take advantage of this offer, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: To receive prints prior to our holiday closing, local orders must be received by December 7. For orders that need to be shipped outside of the Oak Park/Chicago area, orders must be received by November 30.
The fine print: This offer applies to a la carte prints and print products only. Cannot be applied to digital files, print/file packages, or sessions. Cannot be applied to previous purchases. Any orders placed after the delivery deadline of December 7 will be processed and delivered after we reopen on January 7.
“Everything turns, rotates, spins, circles, loops, pulsates, resonates, and repeats.”
― Suzy Kassem
October is the busiest month for most family photographers. It can feel a bit overwhelming, at times, but when you finally reach the (almost) end, the relief is EPIC.
I have 3 more sessions to finish up the month and MANY sessions to edit, so I’ll keep this brief.
If you haven’t already scheduled your session for fall, I have bad news…you may have missed it. This week, the colors are finally bursting & in a few days, they will all be on the ground (sad trombone), plus…I am booked until December.
So, maybe you can schedule a winter session?
Enjoy the beautiful day!
“The best stories are like the best burgers: big, juicy, and messy.”
― A.D. Posey
Photo sessions can be hard for little people.
Let’s be honest...they can be hard for big people!
The most important thing that I want to tell my clients is: Relax. It’s only photos. We will make it through and everything will be fine. We may not get the “perfect” smile, but we will get what’s real and that is worth so much more than “perfection”.
I would argue that the real stuff IS perfection.
When we look back on our photos, we should have a sense of being there. We should be transported to that time and remember how hard or funny or sad or chaotic it was. It should fill us up and help us see how far we’ve come.
This is the real stuff. This is the good stuff.
click on an image to enlarge & scroll through entire gallery