February Daily Photos

As I pulled these together it struck me that I don't often feel like I do very much, but seeing a daily account of one month, which is typically the slowest of the year, I realize I need to give myself more credit. Whether its work (I know so many photographers who do a much higher volume than I do), or family (I'm always questioning if I'm spending enough time with the kids), or being engaged in the community and spending time with friends (definitely not as much as I'd like, but I do my best), its hard for me to feel like I'm giving enough of myself to any of those things, let alone all of them. I've been actively trying to enjoy each day, be present to the moment I'm in, and appreciate all the love that surrounds me. I hope that I'm giving that love back out into the world. 

January Daily Photos

This year I've decided to do a 365 project. I've never completed one though I have started one a couple of times. I've successfully made it through January and am already really glad that I have these photos documenting small, quiet moments, mostly around our home avoiding the coldest days of winter. I can tell that its going to be challenging for me to maintain interest on days when I don't have a new environment to stimulate my imagination, but I'm pushing myself through the days where I'm not feeling it because I know I'm going to love having this collection at the end of the year. 

I found that this first month there are some days that have way more than one photo, and I'm trying to work through a way to share my favorites without it being overkill for anyone else who might read this. I can't make myself cut it down any more than this, though. And ultimately this project is for me so I'm not gonna. ;) 

 Jan 1: My mom is a New Year's baby so we do brunch with her every year to celebrate. Ollie loves his Nana.

Jan 1: My mom is a New Year's baby so we do brunch with her every year to celebrate. Ollie loves his Nana.

 Jan 2: I love these tight shots of my kids staring straight in the camera. The lack of inhibitions of kids is magical.

Jan 2: I love these tight shots of my kids staring straight in the camera. The lack of inhibitions of kids is magical.

 Jan 3: Piano Trio

Jan 3: Piano Trio

 Jan 4: Back at Nana's house for some cousin time at the end of winter break.

Jan 4: Back at Nana's house for some cousin time at the end of winter break.

 Jan 5: Each Friday in 2018 I'm doing a collaborative photo project with two photographer friends where we each work from the same prompt. This Friday's prompt was Self Portrait. Later that day we went on a walk with our neighbor and their dog, Henry, who is one of the triplets' best friends. The light was gorgeous.

Jan 5: Each Friday in 2018 I'm doing a collaborative photo project with two photographer friends where we each work from the same prompt. This Friday's prompt was Self Portrait. Later that day we went on a walk with our neighbor and their dog, Henry, who is one of the triplets' best friends. The light was gorgeous.

 Jan 6: We went on a family hike at the Cedar Ridge Preserve. The kids made it 2.5 miles! Also, please note that my kids dress themselves 99% of the time.

Jan 6: We went on a family hike at the Cedar Ridge Preserve. The kids made it 2.5 miles! Also, please note that my kids dress themselves 99% of the time.

 Jan 7: A Sunday spent working in the garden, and a surprise art show when we went inside. 

Jan 7: A Sunday spent working in the garden, and a surprise art show when we went inside. 

 Jan 8: My little corner, complete with artwork from the previously mentioned art show.

Jan 8: My little corner, complete with artwork from the previously mentioned art show.

 Jan 9: Goodnight hugs.

Jan 9: Goodnight hugs.

 Jan 10: New camera day and my only willing participant.

Jan 10: New camera day and my only willing participant.

 Jan 11: After school painting. These kids draw or paint just about every day and I love seeing their skills develop and the fun they have with it.

Jan 11: After school painting. These kids draw or paint just about every day and I love seeing their skills develop and the fun they have with it.

 Jan 12: 52 Friday prompt - Free-lensing. Perfect way to highlight the missing teeth on Zoey.

Jan 12: 52 Friday prompt - Free-lensing. Perfect way to highlight the missing teeth on Zoey.

 Jan 13: Playing with atmosphere spray and afternoon light. 

Jan 13: Playing with atmosphere spray and afternoon light. 

 Jan 14: Family trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. The girls specifically asked to see the ancient art and of course Quinn had to dress for the occasion.

Jan 14: Family trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. The girls specifically asked to see the ancient art and of course Quinn had to dress for the occasion.

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 Jan 15: Hot Wheels 

Jan 15: Hot Wheels 

 Jan 16: Shared giggles over the Dog Man books. I love seeing them laugh together and building memories. I wonder if they'll laugh together like this when they're adults.

Jan 16: Shared giggles over the Dog Man books. I love seeing them laugh together and building memories. I wonder if they'll laugh together like this when they're adults.

 Jan 17: Shadow play for both of us.

Jan 17: Shadow play for both of us.

 Jan 18: We spent evenings in January reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before bed. 

Jan 18: We spent evenings in January reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before bed. 

 Jan 19: 52 Friday prompt - Window Light. I got my tattoo finished up that day and hadn't had time to do a photo before the appointment, so Stella the shop dog was my mostly-willing participant. She's a good girl. 

Jan 19: 52 Friday prompt - Window Light. I got my tattoo finished up that day and hadn't had time to do a photo before the appointment, so Stella the shop dog was my mostly-willing participant. She's a good girl. 

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 Jan 20: Zoey loves drawing and always adds a ton of detail and comes up with remarkably good compositions. This one in particular really struck me when I saw it. As each of the kids develops their own interests and skills I'm really getting an understanding of what veteran parents mean when they talk about being proud of each of their kids for who they are and just enjoying seeing them pursue their passions. I've seen her work really hard and intentionally get better at drawing and it makes me so proud of her.

Jan 20: Zoey loves drawing and always adds a ton of detail and comes up with remarkably good compositions. This one in particular really struck me when I saw it. As each of the kids develops their own interests and skills I'm really getting an understanding of what veteran parents mean when they talk about being proud of each of their kids for who they are and just enjoying seeing them pursue their passions. I've seen her work really hard and intentionally get better at drawing and it makes me so proud of her.

 Jan 21: Was feeling in a funk on this day, so I called my best friend and we took a walk and recharged. Thankful to have her in my life for the past fourteen years. She's a keeper.

Jan 21: Was feeling in a funk on this day, so I called my best friend and we took a walk and recharged. Thankful to have her in my life for the past fourteen years. She's a keeper.

 Jan 22: Transitioning into the period where the kids have space and secrets and conversations I'm not privy to. Its bittersweet. But, mostly sweet. Our next door neighbor is a good friend and playmate. I remember the older girls that lived next door to me when I was little and cherish the memories made with them. I'm thankful my kids have the same thing with some of our neighbors.

Jan 22: Transitioning into the period where the kids have space and secrets and conversations I'm not privy to. Its bittersweet. But, mostly sweet. Our next door neighbor is a good friend and playmate. I remember the older girls that lived next door to me when I was little and cherish the memories made with them. I'm thankful my kids have the same thing with some of our neighbors.

 Jan 23: We've fallen into a pattern of making up bedtime stories, and Justin is known for his Batman Stories™. "Tell us a Batman Story, Daddy! Make Batman have a baby! Make him save ducklings! Make him get married!"

Jan 23: We've fallen into a pattern of making up bedtime stories, and Justin is known for his Batman Stories™. "Tell us a Batman Story, Daddy! Make Batman have a baby! Make him save ducklings! Make him get married!"

 Jan 24: Little Quinnie and her bifocals and two front teeth that are just loose enough that they're popping out like little bunny teeth. 

Jan 24: Little Quinnie and her bifocals and two front teeth that are just loose enough that they're popping out like little bunny teeth. 

 Jan 25: This is my dad's birthday. The kids had been asking to go to the cemetery "to see Grandad" and I felt like they were ready, and I was ready to bring them. They had just turned five when he died and talking through death and loss with them at that age while I was doing my own mourning was really tough. I've never thought of visiting a cemetery as something to look forward to, but all three of them spent the whole week leading up to it saying they were "SO excited" to see Grandad at the cemetery. I made sure they knew he wouldn't really be there, and they said they understood, but they wanted to hug his tombstone and draw him pictures and bring flowers. They were all smiles. My heart broke with the sweet innocence of their joy and completely changed the way I thought about visiting the cemetery. I had a challenging relationship with my dad and have struggled through a lot of feelings at odds with each other. One thing I'm immensely grateful for is the love my kids are able to have for him despite the things that made it tough to be his daughter. I feel like I've honored him in that way and offered him forgiveness, and that gives me a lot of peace. 

Jan 25: This is my dad's birthday. The kids had been asking to go to the cemetery "to see Grandad" and I felt like they were ready, and I was ready to bring them. They had just turned five when he died and talking through death and loss with them at that age while I was doing my own mourning was really tough. I've never thought of visiting a cemetery as something to look forward to, but all three of them spent the whole week leading up to it saying they were "SO excited" to see Grandad at the cemetery. I made sure they knew he wouldn't really be there, and they said they understood, but they wanted to hug his tombstone and draw him pictures and bring flowers. They were all smiles. My heart broke with the sweet innocence of their joy and completely changed the way I thought about visiting the cemetery. I had a challenging relationship with my dad and have struggled through a lot of feelings at odds with each other. One thing I'm immensely grateful for is the love my kids are able to have for him despite the things that made it tough to be his daughter. I feel like I've honored him in that way and offered him forgiveness, and that gives me a lot of peace. 

 Jan 26: 52 Fridays prompt - Big Picture. I was on a plane to spend the weekend with one of my oldest and dearest friends in California, reading a book that came highly recommended, titled Gilead. When I got to this paragraph I started to cry and knew if I kept going it might get out of control, so I had to stop.    “I’d never have believed I’d see a wife of mine doting on a child of mine. It still amazes me every time I think of it. I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”   Each year of my adulthood, as life around me does what it does—ends—I keep re-learning that no day is guaranteed, that all we count on and sometimes foolishly take for granted, can be taken away in a moment. We aren’t promised time on this earth, nor time free from heartbreak. Its enough to make me question what I believe as I see friends and family get sick and lose their battles, and that’s not even considering the broader human suffering in the world, the depth of which takes my breath away when I let myself ponder it for more than a moment. It makes me question my purpose. If I’m living my life well, and worthy of the time I’ve been given. This passage, as I read it today, just wrecked me (in a good way). I thought of my parents, who tried for many years before having children, and were told they wouldn’t. My father, whose first child didn’t survive her childhood and whose ghost has had a significant impact on my life, though we won’t meet earthside. My father, who had a hard time mustering up the words for me, who is now gone as well, who lost his faith, but who I fully believe is the recipient of grace as much as you or I am. The grace given to me in the moment I read this passage was another moment of re-learning. God’s grace is infused in every word of our stories, from before we knew they were ours, and will continue long after we’re gone. Our very lives are gifts God has given to those who love us. We shouldn’t forget that in the midst of all our busy-ness.  

Jan 26: 52 Fridays prompt - Big Picture. I was on a plane to spend the weekend with one of my oldest and dearest friends in California, reading a book that came highly recommended, titled Gilead. When I got to this paragraph I started to cry and knew if I kept going it might get out of control, so I had to stop. 

“I’d never have believed I’d see a wife of mine doting on a child of mine. It still amazes me every time I think of it. I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”

Each year of my adulthood, as life around me does what it does—ends—I keep re-learning that no day is guaranteed, that all we count on and sometimes foolishly take for granted, can be taken away in a moment. We aren’t promised time on this earth, nor time free from heartbreak. Its enough to make me question what I believe as I see friends and family get sick and lose their battles, and that’s not even considering the broader human suffering in the world, the depth of which takes my breath away when I let myself ponder it for more than a moment. It makes me question my purpose. If I’m living my life well, and worthy of the time I’ve been given. This passage, as I read it today, just wrecked me (in a good way). I thought of my parents, who tried for many years before having children, and were told they wouldn’t. My father, whose first child didn’t survive her childhood and whose ghost has had a significant impact on my life, though we won’t meet earthside. My father, who had a hard time mustering up the words for me, who is now gone as well, who lost his faith, but who I fully believe is the recipient of grace as much as you or I am. The grace given to me in the moment I read this passage was another moment of re-learning. God’s grace is infused in every word of our stories, from before we knew they were ours, and will continue long after we’re gone. Our very lives are gifts God has given to those who love us. We shouldn’t forget that in the midst of all our busy-ness.
 

 Jan 27: Los Angeles City Hall. California I do love you.

Jan 27: Los Angeles City Hall. California I do love you.

 Jan 28: A sunrise hike on the Will Rogers trail with these lovebirds talking wedding plans and all the good stuff. So looking forward to their wedding weekend in May. Will be sharing LOADS more from their engagement session on my  wedding blog .

Jan 28: A sunrise hike on the Will Rogers trail with these lovebirds talking wedding plans and all the good stuff. So looking forward to their wedding weekend in May. Will be sharing LOADS more from their engagement session on my wedding blog.

 Jan 29: Unwilling participant.

Jan 29: Unwilling participant.

 Jan 30: Home again, home again.

Jan 30: Home again, home again.

 Jan 31: I did it! One month down!

Jan 31: I did it! One month down!

Best of 2017

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” 

This Kierkegaard quote describes my understanding of photography perfectly.

My job is to capture 1/1000th of a second of a laugh, a hug, a gaze from mother to child, before time barrels forward. After that shutter click there is now an object of relative permanence of that split second in time. As life goes on, we can look back at photos to make sense of our time and place, and the relationships we nurtured. Sometimes a simple photo can help heal wounded hearts, and help us understand ourselves and those around us with a bit more insight. Photographs of people with their loved ones have a way of reminding me how much light there is in the world when it feels dim. 

I hope you enjoy this collection—one from every family session I had in 2017. As I selected just a single image from all of these sessions I saw so many stories that I want to share, so I hope I will be better about putting those on the blog in the coming weeks. I'm proud of and thankful for this work. Thank you for looking. 

Oak Cliff Family Session

I met Molly and Helen and their parents on the Davis Street Espresso bus, which to be honest is where we've met most of the families we know in our neighborhood. Its a true community hub. Being a mom of triplets means when I spot other young multiples I feel an instant connection to what life is like for that family. After many overlapping coffee mornings we finally scheduled a session on that very bus and caught some of the magic that makes four year old twins so special. I also LOVE that the girls chose their own dresses for the session and went with their favorite super sheroes. Win-win!

We wrapped up the session at a new mural in the Bishop Arts District, painted by another friend of mine, the super talented Haylee Ryan in collaboration with Courtney Miles

 

Dallas Arts District Family Session

The Arts District that sits just between downtown and uptown Dallas is one of my favorite spots to explore. There's an endless variety of textures and colors to add interest to photos and I love seeing the way little ones interact with their surroundings. The Richters and I had done several sessions in a more natural setting, so for Ada's mid-year session we decided to mix it up a bit and I love how it turned out. 

Millie is 2

Any time a friend or acquaintance announces they're expecting a baby I quietly hope that I'll one day get to make family portraits for them. It just brings me so much joy to capture all of the little details and mannerisms unique to each family. The Joneses were no different, so when Michele reached out and asked me to do 2 year portraits of Millie I of course couldn't wait for our session. We wandered around one of my favorite spots in Dallas—Fair Park. Its such a fantastic location for family photos when the fair is not in town. The grounds are beautiful, the buildings are full of art deco details, and its easy to walk around with little ones since there aren't cars everywhere.

Millie was delightfully 2, following anything that caught her eye, squealing in delight at flowers and butterflies, and teasing her parents by running away from them just at the moment they were about to steal a kiss.

 

 

The Rogers Family

Oh my goodness guys this year is going by so quickly. I went to blog this session thinking it was from "a couple" months ago and it was in FEBRUARY. So you know, I'm just a little behind. o.O

I hope you enjoy this ridiculously adorable family as much as I do. Charlotte has taken on the role of big sister with more enthusiasm than I think I've ever seen in a kiddo. She LOVES her baby brother Duncan SO MUCH. Like she just. can't. stand. it. So all the kisses and hugs and squeezes you see in this session are all her, no prompting from the grown ups in the room who were more like "Make sure the baby can breathe!" So much life in this family, I'm happy to share their photos with you!

The Wheatley Family

Paul and Catherine welcomed their second daughter, Beatrice just before Christmas. I loved capturing their little family of four a couple months later. Winnie Kate has taken on her role as big sister brilliantly and had so much to tell me it was all I could do to remember to keep shooting in between her two year old serenades and stories. 

The Johnson Family

Sometimes sessions come together at the last minute when all the stars align, and this is one of those. In the midst of busy wedding season and Easter, I got an email from Tiffany asking if I had time for a quick session while her step-kids were still in town from their home in England. They were going back in just a few days. Oh and ps, there are six kids ranging from 2 months to 12 years old! Amazingly, our schedules worked out and I was able to grab some shots of this incredibly loving and sweet blended family at their juice shop (if you're in Oak Cliff, be sure to stop by, its delicious!). 

The hugs and kisses lavished on the babies warmed my heart, and the camaraderie between step-siblings was beautiful to witness. I haven't gotten to know this family too closely but after spending just 30 minutes together I have a feeling that these parents are certainly doing something right. I loved getting a glimpse of the personalities of all six kids and catching some candid moments in between posed shots (those are always my favorite).

p.s. You might notice one of the girls is visibly sad in several photos. Poor thing had a really bad headache while we were shooting, but with a couple of the kids going back to England, there was no way to reschedule. She was a dear and smiled sweetly as much as she could (especially when she got to hold her new baby sister). I wanted to capture the way her family loved on her in the moments in between because those moments are the ones that really make a family. I would much rather document those tender and real moments than gloss over them and pretend everything is perfect all the time. 

The Janmohamed Family

Brenda and I met in high school and have kept in touch over the years online through moves and jobs and kids even though we don't get to see each other in person that often. She had her identical twin girls, Ava and Izzie, just about 5 months before my triplets were born, and it has been such a nice point of connection for us over the past 6 years. We've talked about doing family photos for EVER and finally got together at the beginning of this year. Ava and Izzie are the silliest, most creative and generally awesome sisters who I can still not tell apart even though I have my own identical girls, so you'd think I'd have some special power to be able to, but not with these two. Their smiles are so infectious, they just bring so much life to these photos. I'm thrilled to finally be sharing them!
 

The Nourani-Duffy Family

I still have so many sessions to share from last year! This one is a favorite. Zahra and Neil have used me for their annual photos for the last couple of years and it is so fun to see Kamron grow from a little toddler to a worldly three year old (totally talked my ear off and had me laughing so hard this whole session). The Texas State fairgrounds are gorgeous in the spring and the art deco buildings provide so many fun backdrops. Between the scenery and Kamron's never-ending variety of facial expressions, this session was so tough to narrow down! 

Felix the Fighter

Felix entered the world suddenly, and frighteningly 3 months early. His birth brought waves of emotional memories to me as I thought of my own babies' time in the NICU and what a difficult season it was for our family. Thankfully, this little guy is as brilliant as his mom and dad and is now a giggly, chubby one year old. This session was done last May when he had been home from the hospital for just a few weeks. It was my pleasure to make these family portraits celebrating every minute that the Howards had been through to get to be home under one roof as a family of 3.