Spring is just around the corner and for photographers of every kind, that means the business is picking up. I'm so excited for all of the newborns, babies, and families I'll be photographing in the coming months, and I'm sure you're all looking forward to reading about something other than my adventures with my kids! However, I must admit, I do enjoy the slower season that winter brings. I've enjoyed this time of turning my camera towards the beautiful, everyday moments in my own home.
This last week of calm has been so precious to me. I ended up submitting 3 different photos to the Life in 52 lifestyle photography challenge this week.
First, my husband decided to take Bug out for a special daddy-daughter dinner for some one on one time. She was SO EXCITED. She asked me to help her pick out the perfect dress and to style her hair in a bun. My heart could have exploded with love that day.
Later in the week, Bug wanted some arts and crafts time. She received a kit for Christmas to create and decorate stepping stones. She's been begging to make one and we finally had everything we needed to get it done this week. After it dried and we took it out of the mold, Bug got started painting the stone. When Bubba saw her, he came to me with his little, chubby toddler hands out saying, "Mommy, me paint too!"
I poured a few colors of washable paint onto a paper plate and gave him a small paint brush and a piece of paper. The house was blissfully peaceful for a solid half an hour while they created their masterpieces.
I'll admit we don't paint around here often. It's so cumbersome to cover the table and pull out all the supplies and, of course, clean up afterwards. However, every time we do something creative and messy, it brings such happiness and calm that I end up thinking to myself, "We really should do this more often."
Maybe my goal this spring will be to find the time to make more messes.
See more from the Life in 52 challenge here.
I love photos. I mean I know that sounds obvious because I'm a photographer, but I really do! I've hired photographers for many occasions - both big and small - in the past because it's a service that I value.
We've been in our new house for 6 months now, and I'm still struggling to decide what to hang on my living room walls. I have this one big blank wall that would be perfect for a gallery wall. The problem is I'm going through years of photos trying to decide which ones to display.
As I was sifting through photos, I came across a few from a breastfeeding session I had done when Bug was a little chubby baby. They are photos I cherish.
I had to wean Bug almost as soon as she turned 2 years old. She was only nursing once at night before bed by that point, but it was still bittersweet. My husband and I were ready for another baby, but in order to be treated by the fertility specialist and begin medications necessary for me to conceive, I had to stop breastfeeding. I ended that sweet part of my relationship with my precious girl so that we could add another little love to our family.
As I sat fondly looking through these photos, I realized I don't have any nursing photos with Bubba! I have one photo in the hospital from his first latch, but that's it. I really wanted to take a moment to document this time with him too.
He turned two in January, and he really only nurses maybe 3 times a day now. People who say that moms who nurse toddlers are only doing it for themselves have clearly never nursed a toddler. My son likes to point out and name my facial features while he nurses:
Let me tell you... little toddler fingers getting shoved in my eyes and nose are not exactly my idea of a good time.
There are days when I'm so over nursing him, and I just want to be done. There are days that he only wants me, but I'm so touched out, I could scream.
However... I love being the calm in his crazy. I honestly don't know how much longer we'll go on nursing. There's a chance he's my last baby, so I'm not going to rush him. I will sit and snuggle and nurse... and I will count it all joy.
See more of my photos from the Life in 52 photography challenge here.
Being a birth photographer means I get to celebrate birthdays a lot. It's obvious that each new life that enters this world will have a major impact on the family he or she is born into; however, we don't often stop to think about the ripple effect this baby will have on the future. The person he will grow up to be; the career she will one day choose; the friendships and relationships formed.
Today, we're throwing it back to a birth that happened four and a half years before I was even born, but it changed the trajectory of my life forever. This week we celebrated my husband's birthday. When we got married, I started the tradition of baking a cake for him on his birthday every year. Some years, he requested a specific type of cake (German chocolate cake). Other years, I found a recipe I thought he would love (cookies and cream cheesecake).
When my daughter was two years old, she started joining the fun. She has been helping me pick the cake and icing colors ever since.
This year we made a chocolate chip cookie cake with blue icing and heart sprinkles.
In this week's Life in 52 photo, Bug is explaining that she chose heart sprinkles because "hearts mean love" and she loves him so much!
It's hard to believe that only weeks ago I was posting my first Life in 52 post about our record snow fall here in Charleston. Although it's technically still winter, we had beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the upper 70s all week.
It. Has. Been. Glorious.
You'll often hear people complaining about the heat and humidity here in Charleston, SC. I've been known to grumble and complain on occasion myself (mostly during the 2 summers when I was pregnant), but I wouldn't trade it to live anywhere else.
I've only experienced real snow that actually stuck to the ground 3 or 4 times in my life. Because it's such a rare occurrence, it's always so exciting and fun.... for about 2 days. After that, I'm OVER IT. Maybe if I lived somewhere where snow was more common, I wouldn't feel that way because we'd be better equipped to handle the snow. However, I just don't enjoy the cold weather. My already dry skin becomes downright painful, and all I want to do is stay inside and eat all the unhealthy comfort food I can find.
I guess it's a good thing the cold weather usually only lasts a short time around here. We usually have beach appropriate weather from February until November - and there's no such thing as too many beach days.
I took my kids to the beach for the first time in 2018 this week. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision. We checked the forecast - 0% chance of rain. Perfect. I loaded the kids and our beach cart in my minivan and headed to Isle of Palms. When we arrived, it was raining. So much for that 0%.
Little pop-up rain storms are very common, so I knew to just wait it out. I had packed plenty of snacks for the kids, so I kept them satiated with food for about 10 or 15 minutes until the rain passed. After that, the sun was back and the weather was PERFECT.
The water was still a little too chilly to play in, but that didn't stop Bug. She repeatedly ran back and forth to the water filling buckets for the moat around her sand castle. Bubba excitedly ran towards the water once, but as soon as that cold water touched his toes, he cried and ran the other way. He was much happier sitting in the sand, digging holes, and burying his toys.
I didn't bring my "big girl camera" to the beach that day. I just wanted to enjoy the sand and the sun with my babies without always looking for that perfect shot. However, you can't NOT document the first beach day of the year! This week's lifestyle photography challenge photo is actually just an iPhone photo. Not my most professional or artistic work, but a photo I treasure just the same.
I had imagined photos of my little valentines making crafts for week 7 of the Life in 52 lifestyle photography challenge. I could already see their sweet faces celebrating the day of love. However, this week has been heavy - weighed down by sadness and worry.
A heartbreaking death in my husband's family.
A little girl close to my daughter's age was abducted after her mother was brutally beaten not all that far from where we live. Miraculously, she was found safe, but we all know those stories don't often end that way. Plus, the fear and trauma that family will struggle with for years to come is unimaginable.
Another school shooting not long after I registered my sweet girl for school next year.
My mama heart is weary. I'm anxious and unsure how to navigate this future where my babies will move farther and farther out into this frightening world and away from my bubble of protection. Do I prepare her for the darkness that exists in our fallen world? How do I do that without tarnishing her kind, tender spirit of which this world so desperately needs more? How do I find that balance?
I know I'm not the only mother lost in these worries. I can't decide if it's comforting or frustrating that no one else seems to know the answer to these questions either.
So I tiptoe in to watch her sleep, and find her resting peacefully with her hands clasped as if in prayer. My cup runneth over and for just a moment, my heart is at peace.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know we sold our house last summer and built a new one. We love our new house, but there's been one part that I haven't enjoyed.
It's a relatively new neighborhood, and they started building on the lot next door pretty much as soon as we moved in. It's been 5 whole months of large trucks blocking our driveway, loud tools, and music blaring all day. Our new neighbors are set to move in very soon, and I can't WAIT.
My son, however, sees things a little differently than I do. He is OBSESSED with trucks and tractors and machinery. We even worked that love into his 2 year photos. When one of these large vehicles comes to work at the house next door, Bubba runs all over the house to find the window with the best view. Once he finds it, he will sit there - just watching - while they work. Every once in a while, someone will notice him watching and honk and wave. It's pretty much the highlight of his little toddler life.
This week, a cement truck came to pour the driveway next door and parked right in front of our house. I figured it was most likely the last time he would get to watch this, so I let him sit on top of the train table in the playroom and watch as long as he wanted.
This week has been pretty slow here in my family. Some people might think that's boring, but I embrace slow weeks. Working to build a business with two kids at home rarely provides truly relaxed weeks.
The weather here in Charleston, SC has been tolerable. A little chilly for my taste but not terribly cold. I've enjoyed time with my kids and husband, managed to get my house back into some order, and even found the time to take in a couple of online business classes. This week has been a blessing.
I will admit that my photography challenge photo from this week wasn't entirely candid. My daughter received one of those ribbon wands for Christmas (or was it her birthday? I don't really remember), and she's been trying to twirl it around the house for weeks. Unfortunately, she struggles to find an area in our house where her ribbon doesn't get wrapped around a doorknob, a dog, or a little brother.
Yesterday, as we were going out to the backyard to play, I saw the ribbon wand discarded in a tangled mess on the floor of our living room. I suggested to my daughter that she might have more luck twirling the ribbon outside where there were no obstacles. I grabbed my camera, untangled her ribbon, and waited.
It was a little windy yesterday. She actually got herself wrapped in ribbon a couple of times, but that never stopped her from twirling...
See more posts from the Life in 52 challenge here.
We only have two seasons here in Charleston, SC. We have the summer, which actually takes up 3/4 of the year and is always very hot and very humid. The other 1/4 of the year, we have an unpredictable collection of the other three seasons.
Just a few short weeks ago, we had more snow accumulation than we had seen here in Charleston in decades. This week, we had beautiful, mild days with temperatures in the upper 60s.
I take advantage of these days as much as possible because you never know when the temperature will drop and the cold weather will return.
This week, my kids spent some time on our back patio drawing with sidewalk chalk. I took my camera out with me just in case some photography inspiration hit.
As I sat watching my kids, I found myself fascinated by Bug's hands. You see, Bug was a CHUNKY baby. She had rolls inside of her rolls. You'd never know it now though. She's tall for her age and lean. There's not a single chubby roll left on her. There's something about her hands though. They aren't chubby, but they still seem so small - a reminder of how little she is still. Covered in stamps from dance class earlier that day and adorned with two snap bracelets left over from her little brother's birthday party, she was the perfect picture of my quirky little fairy.
Then, of course, Bubba came running through barefoot, jeans covered in a rainbow of chalk dust. He was every bit my wild, messy boy.
I couldn't just pick one, so I submitted both photos to the project this week. I've really enjoyed this challenge so far. It's been fun forcing myself to look outside of traditional portrait opportunities. I'm looking forward to what next week has in store - both from my camera and the weather.
See more posts from the Life in 52 challenge here.
I love milestone portrait sessions. It's so fun to photograph these little ones as they grow. Out of the different milestone options, I think 6 month sessions are my favorite. Babies this age are often starting to sit up on their own and their little personalities really start to shine through. Plus, they make the BEST faces!
If you remember this little guy's 3 month milestone session, you'll see that his parents decided to keep the baby suspenders theme going. I was certainly not disappointed. I adore baby suspenders and I'm sure you can see why!
Photographers will often tell you that their most difficult subjects are their own children. I am no exception. My daughter loves having her photo taken; however, she doesn't want to listen to my directions and posing suggestions. She has her own ideas that don't always photograph well.
My son is difficult in a different way altogether. His 2nd birthday was this week, and I wanted to have a little photo session with him as I do with my children every year. Toddlers can be challenging to photograph anyway, but at least with clients, they are curious about the silly lady with the black box in front of her face. Getting them to look at me and my camera isn't too difficult. My own son is so accustomed to my camera being out that he probably views it as an extension of my arm. He doesn't care to look at the camera because he's just not that curious about it.
I knew I needed to go with a more lifestyle photography type of session. There's no way I was going to get him to sit still for more traditional portraits. He absolutely loves tractors and trucks and anything with wheels, so I really wanted to find a place in Charleston, SC that fit that theme. I originally planned to take him to where my husband works for his family's business because they have tractors and a backhoe. The timing and weather just never worked out for that though. I then remembered that the company where my husband's work buys their tractors is only minutes from my house. I asked my husband if he thought they would let me take our son's portraits there. He was confident they would and recommended a few employees to seek out when I got there.
The next day, after dropping my daughter off at school, we headed over to see the tractors. Not only did this wonderful company allow me to take Bubba's portraits there, but they also gifted him with a little toy tractor. He was in HEAVEN. He made this face and said, "WOW!" more times than I can count.
We wandered around for quite a while just letting him explore to his heart's content. I occasionally posed him a little or said something silly to get his attention and make him laugh. For the most part though, I just followed him around and captured his adventures.
These photos also worked out perfectly for Week 3 in the Life in 52 challenge. I edited this photo in both black and white and color but couldn't decide which I liked more. I posted both on my Facebook page and asked for opinions. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of COLOR.
See more of my photos from the Life in 52 challenge here.