Saturday, July 26, 2014

Behind the Camera

This summer I've had the opportunity to do several photo sessions for friends. I love every minute of it. I don't get nervous anymore and always leave feeling completely energized. I love this creative outlet. I love getting out of the house for a couple of hours and making kids giggle. I do charge for my time but I don't charge very much and I generally leave it up to the family to pay me what is a comfortable amount for them. I realize I have a whole lot to learn still, so if you're a professional, please know that I know these aren't technically perfect by any means. But I love having something to learn about and grow and develop in at this stage of my life. It's so fulfilling and satisfying when so many days with young children can feel a bit monotonous.
I love shooting this family. I don't know many other people that are as full of joy as my friend Katie. She brings me laughter and encourages me every time I'm with her. Theirs was the first "real" photo shoot I ever did a couple of years ago. I barely even knew how to work my camera in Auto mode then. Its fun to compare my progress. (I also reeeeally liked the filters in those days. ;)

They were announcing their adoption, a little boy from China, so we shot some with a globe. Of course I started crying when she told me because adoption always makes me cry these days.

 Little girls are SO much fun to take pictures of!
I did this next session for an old friend I hadn't seen in a few years. We didn't have any sunshine and the thunder was threatening but I think we got some good ones despite the cloudy weather. I loved my friend's blue dress against the green. 

This little girl cracked me up. Classic first-born; very serious and very worried about everyone's safety at all times. It was fun to try to coax a giggle from her.
This next shoot was for a friend's little boy's first birthday. One year old boys are just as challenging to shoot as you might imagine. It was pouring rain all day so we were pretty limited to the front porch. I've learned not to wear nice clothes on shoots because I had no choice but to be right down on the wet, muddy porch. There are all sorts of things about photography that I wouldn't have anticipated! Like how sore my legs are the next day from all the crouching. We shot family photos and then I stayed and photographed the party. 

The funny thing was, he never even ate any of the cake. He just played in it. Big brother came in to make sure it didn't go to waste.

This last newborn session was crazy hard but so much fun. My friend's boys are exactly like mine. In other words, sitting still for pictures isn't their idea of fun. Wrestling, punching and making fart noises, is, however, their idea of fun. Thankfully I have a whole lot of practice getting little boys to follow my instructions and to crack a smile. I really loved working with them because I just felt right at home. The newborn, however, was totally not having any of it. It took a really long time to get him to stop screaming his head off every time we laid him down. Lesson learned. Newborn shoots take a whole lot of patience. And time. (And these are completely unedited, straight out of the camera. I just need to crop a few before I give them back.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just keep swimming

I think this is the longest I've been away from this space. It makes me a little sad. You can blame it partly on the Braverman family who's keeping me company most nights via Netflix and partly on sheer exhaustion and mental fogginess. And I've gotten so far behind, I don't even know where to begin. It's kinda like when my house gets so messy I tend to just do nothing, which helps zero times. And by nothing I mean wander around aimlessly and occasionally throw an article of clothing from the pile on the bed to the pile on the floor and maybe toss a random Lego toward the other pile of random Legos. Focus and drive are not things that come easily to me. Take right now for instance. Am I talking about blogging? Parenting? Cleaning my house? I have no idea.
Moving right along. (As if we were actually going anywhere.) This phase of my life is called Survival. With a capital S. I hate survival mode and the guilt it induces, particularly since this survival mode has been going on for the better part of a year. When does it stop being survival mode and turn into just all around crappy parenting? Don't answer that. Or do, if you were ever in survival mode for a full year. You see, I have a lot of things working against me. An incredibly difficult season of marriage (we're working towards normalcy but it's a slow process), a husband who travels approximately a third of the time, living by a public pond with my three monkeys (ie: they can't ever go out to play alone.), a very very active and impulsive seven year old, a four year old who's recently reverted to very difficult behaviors and a two year old who cries. A LOT. But! And it's a big but. I have something far greater working for me. And that is the power of Jesus Christ. If I didn't have his grace and hope, I would surely be in a loony bin by now. Or there's a strong chance one or more of my children would not still be alive. (I kid. I think.) So I keep on plugging along, clinging to the hope that He will pull me through. And receiving so many blessings along the way from sweet friends He's recently placed in my life. I want to love like some of my friends have shown love to me.
I have several things I want to blog about-- Bennett's 7th birthday, my first solo road-trip with all three boys to my parents' in Memphis, 4th of July...but for now I'll just throw a few cute pics up here and call it a blog post. These are unedited, straight out of the camera, because it's past midnight (per usual) and I'm just going for finished, not perfection.
Bennett has always been tough to reign in due to his extremely high level of activity and lack of focus. (Wonder where he got that?) But he's always been my easiest emotionally. Up through year five, he was pretty much always happy (besides that torturous transition into being three years old). Not much could get him down. The boy exudes joy. But year six and now seven have brought lots of pouting and grouchiness and sometimes outright tantrums. Its so hard because you just want to yell at him, "Your life will never get easier than this right here. EVER. So quit pouting and enjoy every blasted minute of it!" But that probably wouldn't be very effective. So I make it a priority to end the day reading aloud to him, just him and me. It tends to redeem whatever went wrong and the day ends on a really good note. That hopefully outweighs all the other sour notes.
We were making a lot of ground with Dawson's behavior but it has severely reverted lately. Its exhausting and heartbreaking and sometimes I fee like calling my husband and asking him to quit his job so he doesn't have to travel anymore. But then somehow I make it to bedtime again and the quiet night air refreshes my spirit. 
Last night before bed he said, "How do the sun and moon go up and down and up and down and get to China?" I had him repeat his question a couple of times and then did my best to explain how the moon gets to China.  
Oh, my sweet baby Channing Jude. How does one tiny human person evoke such extreme emotions in such a short span? I go from steam coming out the ears, cursing in my brain one minute to giving you butterfly kisses over and over the next minute wherever you ask me to (I always laugh when you want one in your hair). You scream the loudest and you giggle the hardest. You are such a mystery to me still, with your extreme stubbornness, your cautious and shy nature and your tender heart. I'm hoping that the more you learn to speak, the less you'll feel the need to scream and cry. My saving grace is that, unlike your brothers at that age, you haven't learned to climb out of your crib yet. I'm keeping you in there as long as possible. But the bad news is, you're nearly ready to drop your nap since some days you don't fall asleep at all and you're having a really hard time falling asleep at night. 

I'm not sure the point of this late night ramble but to say I'm here. Surviving. Breathing deep most of the time and asking for forgiveness when I don't. The moment I take my eyes off of Jesus is the moment I feel like I'm drowning. I'll end with this quote from my Streams in the Desert devotional I keep re-reading, hoping it'll sink in fully at some point: