projectTEN :: April 2017

Just an ordinary Friday night around these parts. They don't look like they used to and they won't always look like this, and to me that's worth documenting.

Be sure to check out the rest of the talented women who are also doing projectTEN:

Katie Hall (web|fb) | Rae Barnes (web|IG) | Kaylene Bain (web|fb) | Laura Burkholder (web) | Erin Gregerson (web) | Cait Jensen (web|fb) | Paula Richwine (web|fb) | Parker Slaton (web) | Tori Stauffer  (web|fb) | Carolyn Woods (web|fb) |

Welcome :: Brayden

I got to meet this little peanut about two hours after he was born. I loved being able to document some of his first moments with his parents, meeting his big sister and grandparents. (You might remember big sister Avery from an in-home session earlier this year.) Those first moments can feel like such a blur as you get some distance from them (they definitely are for me at 3 and 5 years down the road) and I love how photos can take you right back to those sweet and emotion-filled times.

projectTEN :: March 2017

Around these parts the winter months have brought us 70 degree weather, snow, and everything in between.  So it seems right that this month's pictures should cover a little bit of everything.  Here's a glimpse into our everyday life lately - snow and hot chocolate parties, being stuck inside and enjoying warm days outside, and even a quick trip to the beach. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the talented women who are also doing projectTEN:

Katie Hall (web|fb) | Rae Barnes (web|IG) | Kaylene Bain (web|fb) | Laura Burkholder (web) | Erin Gregerson (web) | Cait Jensen (web|fb) | Paula Richwine (web|fb) | Parker Slaton (web) | Tori Stauffer  (web|fb) | Carolyn Woods (web|fb) |

Why You (and I) Should Take Those Photos Now

So here's the thing. I spent most of the last five years (and more) with a camera in my hand and rarely making an effort to get in photos. I'm really good at hating pictures of myself. It's a gift of mine, really. One that convinces me to stay behind the camera and hardly ever get in front of it, especially with my kids.  And it's taken me way too long to realize that that's silly. There's no way that I'm going to look back at these photos in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years and wish I hadn't taken them. Might I wish that my house was cleaner or that I had real clothes on instead of pajamas, or that I was 10 pounds lighter? Probably. But is it worth not having any pictures of entire seasons of my life? NOPE. I'm convinced that it will be worth it to have tangible memories of this season. This messy, crazy, chaotic season that is only here for a short time and as hard as it is to imagine right now, I think that someday I'll miss things about this season. My son's bedhead after a nap, the outfits my daughter puts together when I tell her to pick her own clothes out, the fact that some days I actually can stay in sweats all day. Things that pictures will help me remember. 

Here's the other thing. I'm living this life now. Maybe 5 years from now I'll be my dream weight and be wearing fashionable clothes/not sweats everyday (unlikely) and my house will look like a Pottery Barn advertisement (extremely unlikely). So then I'll take some more pictures and document the season I'm in then. But if I let those things stop me from taking pictures now, then I'll also miss out on having pictures of myself, however I look, with my 2-year-old and 5-year-old, and I won't have another chance to get them. 

So starting this year, I've challenged myself to get in a picture with my kids once a week. Sometimes it's phone selfies on the couch when we're all still in PJs (REAL LIFE), sometimes I set up my "real camera" to take pictures while we're doing something around the house, sometimes my superstar of a husband takes a picture for us. It doesn't have to be earth-shattering. It doesn't have to be one I instantly love or want to post on social media. But I know, beyond a doubt, that they will be some of my most treasured pictures down the road. I'm already surprised at how much I love having some snapshots that actually have me in them.

So my plea to you is to take those photos  - start taking selfies, ask your spouse, mom, friend, neighbor, stranger on the street to snap a photo of you with your kids, hire a professional to photograph you (I don't care if it's me or not, find someone whose work you love and who you trust to document your life). I'm convinced I won't regret doing all of those things and I don't believe you will either. 

projectTEN :: February 2017

This month I decided to choose one day to pick my camera up every hour and document life as it was happening in that moment. So I set an hourly timer on my phone and took my camera with my everywhere we went. I'll be honest, it wasn't my favorite thing in the moment - I love documenting everyday life for families but when I have to keep my "mom hat" on while trying to get photojournalistic pictures of my own kids, it's a little different. :)  It pushed me out of my comfort zone, especially when we were in places like Target and the library, but it was worth it to see the final product of our day in a nutshell. Enjoy a little slice of our 8:00 to 5:00 life on a Wednesday. 

And if you're new to the blog, check out the original projectTEN post here, or a gallery of all of my projectTEN posts to date here. I'm so honored to be doing this project alongside other women, check the end of the post for links to their sites.

Be sure to check out the rest of the talented women who are also doing projectTEN:

Katie Hall (web|fb) | Rae Barnes (web|IG) | Kaylene Bain (web|fb) | Laura Burkholder (web) | Erin Gregerson (web) | Cait Jensen (web|fb) | Paula Richwine (web|fb) | Parker Slaton (web) | Tori Stauffer  (web|fb) | Carolyn Woods (web|fb) |

A Morning with Claudia, Canon & Creed

This one is for all my fellow moms who work from home. If you just want to see pictures of some great people, go ahead and scroll down. If you want to see a glimpse of my heart and journey with photography through lots of awkward writing and run-on sentences, read on my friend.

I met Claudia last week (when I showed up at her front door with my camera).  I had a great time with her and her sweet sons, but the conversation she and I shared was what really nourished my soul. Honest questions and feelings about how hard it is to find that ever-elusive balance between motherhood and entrepreneurship. It's crazy for me to realize that I'm coming down the home stretch on what I believe (read hope and pray) will be the trickiest part of this journey, since our oldest starts kindergarten next year and I won't have two kids at home full-time. Having done this for five years hasn't made it any easier for me, and I have finally come to believe that whatever perfect balance I thought existed isn't reality for me. And that's OK. It's a journey that has challenged me immensely, forced me to find strength I didn't realize I had, made me face fears head on and slowly let go of the perfectionism that has driven me for as long as I can remember. It's been extremely hard but extremely rewarding too.

I'm moving into a different season with my family life and my business life, cutting back significantly on how much work I take on and shifting gears to focus on documentary sessions like this one. As I make this change, I find myself reflecting on the past few years. As hard as they have been, I want to remember them. They were years spent split between sitting at my computer and playing with my kids. As much as I tried to keep work and home life separate, that line was blurred on a daily basis. I have countless memories of editing with a baby on my lap or playing beside me on the floor, sitting at the table with my kids and emailing while they ate lunch, or working on album designs late at night while my husband and I binge-watched something on Netflix. Those lines blurred but we all survived it. I was able to work with lots of amazing clients and my husband and kids know that I love them fiercely, and to me that's a success. 

As I have reflected on this season, I am aware of a deep desire to tell these stories for other moms. To celebrate the chaos and the beauty of juggling a career from home and raising young kids. To give them visual evidence of the superstars they are, when the years go by and these days turn into a blur. 

This session with Claudia allowed me to do that and it was so sweet. Claudia and her husband have a real estate and design business - The Chris & Claude Co. - you're going to want to go to their website and drool over their work. I felt like I walked into  a magazine when I showed up at their house. With two small boys, her days consist of a lot of hands-on time with them, reading books, snuggling, playing. But she also has design work to do, and when everything works out just right, she gets to sit and sketch out room designs while her infant lays contently on the floor and her toddler colors beside her.  It means her sons get to look at paint swatches with her, her meeting notes might have crayon scribbles on them, and sometimes she has a kid (or two) on her lap and a sketch book beside her. She's in the midst of that lovely chaos I remember well, and it is really beautiful to me.

The day I was there, her oldest son had woken up much earlier than usual so it wasn't a morning when Claudia was able to do a lot of work, and that was just fine. I was able to document a cozy morning at home with Canon and Creed taking center stage and Claudia's design and sketch books making appearances here and there. To me that's the beauty of these sessions, it truly is all about celebrating real life, whatever that looks like in the moment. And I promise, those moments are worth remembering.

A Morning with the Vink Family

Saturday mornings together at home full of pedicures, movies, blowing bubbles and playing baseball in the backyard. I'm convinced these are the moments we'll want to remember most.

Vinks, a million thank yous for letting me crash your Saturday morning and making me feel right at home the minute I showed up. You guys are the real deal.