every once and again i come back to this cathartic space. it’s been a long time since i’ve had the time and mind-space alone to write, but… it’s new years day, my husband is in new orleans at a football game, my kids are both sleeping by 9PM (hallelujah!) and i just finished my first mandala. so, i mean, 2015 and i are off to a pretty solid start. when i found out jesse would be out of town for new years i was initially sad, then seconds later very excited for him, and then seconds after that, relishing in the thoughts of all the alone time that might provide me. i actually laughed while typing that because it’s been nothing less than a shit show without him around and i miss him fiercely. however, the stars did align tonight and i got to play with some old christmas flowers and think about the new year (which is my favorite holiday because new beginnings — whether in moments, days, months, or years — are totally my jam). it was so glorious. and if the kids don’t wake up on cue after this sentence i might even take a bubble bath!
hm… i’ve been doing a lot of thinking these past couple of days. mostly about how moms who do it all on their own are superheroes and how much i’ve come to rely on the balance that my husband provides in our home. my mind traveling at warp speeds and filled with ideas and thoughts and happiness and sadness and comparison and contentment and peace and frustration and feeling lonely and smothered and joyful and tired and allllll the things. all at once. and then his mind which seems, next to my own, calm and simple and thoughtful and peaceful and mostly for all the things my mind works to hold, he gives them a soft place to land. and i think we needed these couple of days apart for me to see that. because you know when you’re so used to the way something works that you just kind of… dare i say, take it for granted? i was totally doing that. it’s so amazing how a shift in perspective, just putting your same exact life in a different light, changes your whole wide world. i’ve been feeling a whole lot of gratitude.
so, a new year! i haven’t taken any time to think on what happened, or what i did well or could have done better, or want to do differently in the new year… yet. i did however make a flipagram in which i took 1 and a half minutes to go through my instagram photos from the past year, choose my favorites, and make a 15 second movie that shows 64 of my favorite moments from the past year. it was fun to see our last year summed up in the blink of an eye. vaughn turning one, us planting our first real garden, our family vacation to the beach, me and jesse’s four year anniversary, the day we decided it would be a good choice to jump out of a plane, the sad but peaceful night that we sprinkled my granny’s ashes into the ocean at sunset, zoe’s first day of first grade, her sixth birthday, the day she learned to ride a bike, me and zoe’s skyline drive adventure, our first family camping trip, halloween, our trip to nashville and the glorious bowl of tortilla soup at mas tacos that i dream about daily, christmas, and the bubbling sense of awe i felt looking at my children this holiday season… i felt pretty accomplished after looking back at that, turned the tv on at 11:55 to watch the ball drop, kissed my babies sleeping on either side of me at midnight, and passed out with a belly full of hibachi food. it was great. but i did feel like something was missing (not just my snuggly husband) but because i love reflection, i love being grateful for where we’ve come and where we’re going, and living with intention is something that is important to me. the mandala thing… i have no idea how to make a real mandala but every time i see one it gives me chills. i imagine the person doing it, sitting there all quiet and placing each little gift from nature… creating lines and symmetry and asymmetry and beauty and a circle and balance and perfect imperfection and breathing and moving and changing and this just seemed like the most peaceful visual meditation that ever was. and so i told myself that on new year’s eve i’d do that, and i didn’t. but tonight… i did! and man, it was. it really was everything i hoped it’d be and i snapped a quick photo and then came here to reflect and write and promised myself not to analyze it too much… to really breathe in the imperfection of it and of life, literally and metaphorically, and be okay with it. in all aspects.
i’m not a big resolution-er because, well, mostly because i’m sure i’ll forget the list in a matter of weeks and then feel like crap about how i never finish anything and yada yada. so i don’t usually go there. but i do like to create themes to help with my overall intention in my walk through life. and each new year seems an appropriate time to look at the themes that arose in the previous year, send them love, keep what works, get rid of what doesn’t, and create some new spaces for whatever i feel needs attention. like i said, i have given this zero thought other than what’s popped up in my mind in the past couple of days which is — self care, stillness, and resistance. just those three, really, and so i’m going to allow some space for them to grow and find the essence of them — here and now.
self care. well, if i’m being completely honest, i suck at this one. i think it’s a typical mom plight, right? you take care of your kids and your family and with the very, very little time that’s left for yourself, you try to keep up with friendships, you eat cookies so many warm cookies with a giant glass of milk, or sleep. maybe that’s just me. anyhow, it just keeps coming up for me that i can’t take great care of the people i love without taking care of myself first. it’s a pretty basic concept i think i’ve been learning since i was a little kid, reinforced by the “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others” analogy. but man, that’s tough for me. balance, and especially in that sense, has always been a struggle for me. so this year, i want to try to take better care of myself. sleep well, shower (big goals here!), change out of yoga pants more, at healthy, do things that fuel my mind, body, and spirit — so that i can love and create and grow alongside the people i love the most from a FULL place, and not a half full place. and to that end, i did scale way, WAY back on work this past year (because self care came up for me last year around this time too) and i have to say, i’m pretty proud of myself for the progress i’ve made there. i was stretching myself entirely too thin, taking on way too much, and working until 2AM so many nights. it wasn’t good for any of us and i can honestly say, aside from a couple late nights by choice, i went to bed with my husband most every night (a lot of the time shortly after our kids, we’re party animals), and felt pretty good about my workload and deadlines and boundaries. blogging was definitely an area in which i fell off the bandwagon, but i had to prioritize and manage my time effectively and what ended up being the priority to me was: being present and feeling full and creative for the sessions and weddings that i took on, taking the time to edit thoroughly and true to my style, and delivering the final product by or before the date that i promised. because that is what i chose to focus on, facebooking and blogging photos had to be knocked to the end of that list. there are things about sharing more of my work that i miss and i still need work on finding the balance there, but i can really say that i enjoyed all the time i spent working this year, and that is so meaningful to me.
stillness. again… a rarity but something that is so essential to my actual existence and peace of mind. i HAVE to get better about this. i think the mandala thing is a perfect expression of that and especially creating them out of nature finds. i think this calls for a resolution (oh boy) to make one a month for the next year. i made this first one out of leftover flowers from the night we hosted my family from christmas, but i’d like to walk and breathe and gather things and then create them. i’m totally doing that. just to get back into the rhythm of seeing beauty, breathing, admiring, creating, balancing. last year i think i vowed to have 5 silent minutes alone each day, now that was freaking hilarious. any mom can high five me about the fact that i totally set myself up for failure on that one. but one nature mandala a month this year… that’s totally do-able, right?
resistance! this is huge. so, i do this thing where… something isn’t working, i’m struggling, fighting against the current, and the stubborn part of me won’t let go and ride the wave. no, i just keep trying to change the reality. exhibit a: last night we agreed to go out to dinner with some friends. the dinner reservation was at 8:30, 35 minutes from my house. typically, i would say there’s no way in hell i’m taking my kids to dinner past bedtime, that’s a rookie mistake. but vaughn took a really long late-afternoon nap and i knew he’d be up super late anyway and it was one of zoe’s best friends and both her and her friend were looking at me with those eyes and anyway, i totally said yes. one things leads to another, it takes forever to get sat, and we don’t get home till 11:30. this wasn’t an issue at all because zoe passed out in the car, vaughn chatted it up with me the whole way home and then fell asleep as soon as we hit the bed, i still watched the ball drop, and no major catastrophes ensued, plus it was a great time. BUT, when they woke up with the sun i said to myself, self, we will take a family nap after lunch. it will be glorious. we will all sleep for three hours and 2015 will be a year of miracles. however, i set up all these expectations in my head (how have i still not learned that expectations are at the core of all things gone terribly wrong?) and then they came crumbling soooo far down. it’s comical now that i think about it, actually. but, to make a long story short, i texted my best friend something along the lines of many crying and sleeping emoji’s and expressing my desperation for a nap and she said “tell them it’s national nap day! whoever sleeps gets a prize!” so i immediately shout this and zoe totally bites, saying, “well i’m winning that! GOODNIGHT!” andddd then, vaughn accidentally kicked zoe in the face with all his restless squirming, he on purpose threw a book at my head, she was crying, he was whining at me, i was frustrated and so frickin tired and despite all of this, i kept trying to force this glorious family nap that i had in my head. all of the sudden, this explosion happened in my mind that basically said: GIVE IT THE F UP. i proclaimed that we were done, we all got clothes on, and headed out the door. i had no idea where we were going, but food is always a good start to anything to we began there. we ended up making pit stops by some nostalgic places zoe felt like revisiting (her preschool drop off line, a museum she read about in school, etc.) and then ended up at the park. it was SO MUCH BETTER than the stupid nap i had in my head and then vaughn passed out instantly and effortlessly in the car on the ride home. there were so many smiles and laughter and a good game of tag and in that little bit of silence on the way home i made a vow to myself: this year i want to stop creating expectations and then trying to force things that aren’t organically working. change my perspective. switch things up. go outside. have an adventure. lean into discomfort and go outside of my comfort zone. when i look back at 2014, that’s when and where ALL of my favorite memories were made. so i will carry that intention into this new year and when i feel myself digging my heels in and going toe to toe with my children, or my husband, or myself… i’m going to let it go. pick a different wave, and ride it to a new adventure.
all in all, i’m so extremely grateful for all the things that 2014 has been for our family and for my business. having two kids has proved to be different in a big way than having one, but i never imagined how beautifully our hearts can expand. it has been a joy to experience and i love nothing more than to be truly present with my family. i have made it my work this year to focus more on the adventure of parenting and rejoicing in where the next step is leading rather than being sad for the one that has passed. also, to follow my own inner voice rather than comparing myself to others, and know deeply that i know our family in a way that only i can, and choosing my actions and reactions from that centered place. in my photography, i want to stay true to my passion of telling stories authentically and with reverence for the importance of every single life that i’m invited into. i do not take that lightly and i feel so incredibly honored that the way i see the world resonates with the special people that choose me to tell their love stories. in that spirit, i give nothing but gratitude to the year we just kissed goodbye and welcome the next one with open arms. each and every person that i come in contact with is important, meaningful, beautiful, and holds a valuable perspective and story, my intention is to take the time to see and hear it, and in some cases, tell it. i have loved and will continue to love seeking the good in all things around and within me. i hope that 2014 was good to you all and that 2015 is even better. let’s look out together with eyes of adventure and endless love. many wishes of peace and abundance to you all and happy, happy new year! xo
katie + jon’s romantic winter celebration was so incredible! katie made the MOST beautiful bride and it was just the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and celebrate such an important day. christmastime is katie’s favorite time of the year, so it was fitting and so lovely to have all of their favorite people gathered to bring in this new season of their lives together. i am officially in love with winter weddings, they have such a unique feel! katie and jon, i wish you nothing but the best in this new journey as husband and wife! enjoy it all! xo.
Dress: Justin Alexander from Blush Bridal
Flowers: Affordable Arrangements
Venue/Caterer: Country Club of Fairfax
Planner/coordinator: Christina (Tina) Doody, Love and Honey
Videographer: Erin Sellers
Band: Out of Town Blues
Hair Stylist: Brittany Leith, Shear Image Salon
Make-up Artist: Danielle Chelena