CAPTURING THE MAGIC OF CHILDHOOD

I’m about to launch into telling you about my thoughts of Halloween, but first, to those of you who have just stumbled in and know little about me, and why I write – I’m hoping this blog, these images, help you to think about what you love about your neighborhood. What memories do you want to collect? Can I help you collect them?

So, a mom-confessional time.

I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. But my neighborhood is conspiring to pull me more towards the love side. Can I talk about what I hate first? Basically I’m a grumpy grinch who doesn’t feel like shelling out cash for my kids to have sparkly new Halloween outfits every year (in fact, I usually hit Target two days after Halloween, load up on 70% off Halloween clearance to give to the kids for their November birthdays and Christmas). I hate the mounds of candy and how it makes me anxious about obesity and wastefulness and what cavities. I hate having to basically designate an entire day to dealing with costume angst, begging, schlepping through a neighborhood, and sugar crashes.

But what is pulling me into the love side? When I step behind the lens and start looking and seeing the magic that we are creating. The memories.  The year my 2nd kid made a Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy, people!) costume out of Amazon brown paper packaging. The year my oldest, in new teendom, won a costume contest by tying keys to his shoes and going as “low key.” The piling of candy into categories and massive candy swaps (with any trade having to be authorized and approved by an adult to keep the olders from scamming their younger sisters). The inventiveness, the cackling, the pride and sheer joy. Even the crashes seem so perfectly part of childhood when I stoop down to see things from their eyes.

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EVERYDAY LIFE

So a careful observer would note that I haven’t been blogging. For like a year.

This is not disconnected from an emotional space I was in last fall – I think a lot of us were there. I started this specific blog post in early fall. I wrote about how I loved the leaves, the fall, the inspirations of nature and sudden beauty. It was a plea to tell those of you who were inquiring about foliage and holiday card shots, to tell you that even though there is yes beauty in nature, that there is something more. I wrote:

Don’t get me wrong – I love love love the fall, the leaves, the inspirations of nature and the sudden beauty.

There is an internal conflict, because I know I can get you the smile and pose shot – I know you will look beautiful and will fit right into a Gap catalogue. But I also still genuinely believe – your every day is beautiful.

And then November elections hit. And really, man, I just still don’t have words to explain how yucky it feels to me, to be self promoting on Facebook when there are real people, hurting real feelings. Like, I can’t post photos of cute puppies and my happy family without feeling something inauthentic.  Because I was sad. Sad about the election, sad about my youngest going to full day kindergarten (leaving me alone for such massively long stretches after 13 years of being a stay-at-home mom with a part time photo gig), a little melancholic about turning 40 and time passing. My business partner had her own crises, but those are not mine to tell! So anyhow, I stopped blogging.

I didn’t stop taking photos. I did reflect a little about whether June Day Photo was what I was supposed to be doing with my time. But what I came back to was yes. That yes, the core of this post is true. That even if the world around is yucky, and not everything in your life is perfect, there are still beautiful moments in your every day lives – and in mine – that drive the passion of my photography. That’s what I want to do with my life.

So here’s my family, one lazy Saturday. One year ago.

 

I woke up to the girls building a blanket fort right outside my bedroom door.  It is super sweet to wake up to the chatter of happy voices (don’t get me wrong, that DOESN’T happen every day!).  These photos are peekaboo outside the tent and then a few when I peaked under the blanket.

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FIRST HOUSES AND FIRST BABES

This mom came to me knowing that her nursing days were probably coming to a close, and she wanted to capture the moment.  She was also prepping her house to be on the market (the first house that she and her her husband bought!  Where they brought home their first baby!).  As I processed her photos, and thought about these momentous moments – first houses being on the market, end of the season of breastfeeding your firstborn – Whoosh – waves of nostalgia for me.  Also – a reaffirmation about my passion for what I call “Nourish” sessions – there is just something magical when someone lets me into this private, quiet moment and lets me capture it for them.  And it’s fleeting!  It really needs to be captured before it’s just a memory.

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EVERYDAY BEAUTIFUL & SPECIAL DAY BEAUTIFUL

So you know those time hops on facebook, where you see something a year ago? I’m going to blog today in a similar vein. This photo was a year ago today:

Lifestyle

 

Do you ever feel so frazzled from parenting or chronic sleep deprivation that you really can’t see the beautiful moment in front of you?

A year ago I was honestly in a little bit of a photography slump. When I first started taking photos of my family, ten years ago, I carried my camera (yes, my huge ol’ Canon Rebel DSLR) EVERYWHERE – took photos of Every. Single. Moment. Was so in love with both my family and a new found artistic passion, that I really almost never left home without my camera. Fast forward ten years, and here is the morning my oldest was 11 and graduating from 5th grade.

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YOUR BABY IS NOW A BIG SISTER

So here is another everyday beautiful gallery of photos – meaning not quite full official session – just me visiting with a new friend and deciding to bring my camera along because my new friend has a ten-day-old newborn and honestly, I just can’t not take new baby photos, I love newborns so much.  I was getting some major flashbacks, because this baby is number four for this family – and since I have four, I remember very vividly the days when my own number four came home.

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MONARCH SCHOOL OF DANCE

I’m happy to announce a partnership with new local dance studio – Monarch School of Dance – located in the gorgeous Perkins Center for the Arts, Collingswood, New Jersey – it’s a happy hop (my girls skip happily and chatter about their dance moves) from my home and perfect for my daughters in so many ways. I seriously love that it’s in the center of town, in a beautiful, sunlit space with lofty ceilings and gorgeous hardwood floors. Even more happy now that I’ve had some peeks at several instructors – I feel like we are in such good hands. The instructors have all seemed so good at giving instruction that is cheerfully age appropriate, and yet also solid, challenging dance instruction. They really hit everything I’ve been looking for in dance classes!

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STICK WARS AND ASSORTED EXPLORATIONS

Do you know how sometimes, your everyday routine can just get so tedious, so tiresome, that your body and mind are just screaming for a break? Spring break just couldn’t come soon enough for me! We were thankful to be able to hitch onto our grandparent’s farm, and to invite friends to spend some of the time with us. That meant tire swinging, stream explorations, stick wars, reading and quiet times, campfires, and shirtless-tractor-tire-king-of-the-mountain. It gave me both a break from routine, and some extra time to spend with the kids in a fresh setting. A new setting jumpstarts my photography brain too, which was getting into it’s own winter rut. I loved having an extended time to look for the emotions of childhood: the joys, the silliness, competition, the sadnesses.

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EASTER TRADITIONS

As a parent and photographer, there are certain rhythms of life that I love to photograph – and some of that is in how I look to capture the rituals of our yearly calendar. Right now, that is Spring. Spring means lots of things. The end of hibernation. Warm weather and changing to short sleeves and bare feet. Obvious things like picking dandelions and running through green grass, collecting cherry blossoms. Another is Easter – As a Christian this means to me a reflection on life, and life that is birthed after hardship, sorrow, darkness, injustice.

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BLUSTERY AFTERNOON IN PHILLY

As I am busy with processing and photoshoots for other people, in the background I worry that I will lose the passion of my first photography love – taking photos of my own kids!  I’m committing this spring to make sure that doesn’t happen.  I will take pictures of my own freakin’ kids gosh darn it! And hopefully you’ll enjoy the window into our world.

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