the greenawald family

it's funny how life works sometimes.  i met my husband in college, like a lot of people do, and while we were there we each made a lot of friends.  some of them were mutual, and others weren't, simply because while a lot of our time overlapped, between different classes and jobs, a lot of our time did not.  at his on-campus job, my husband met a guy named jason, and in one of his classes, he met a girl named samantha.  eventually, samantha became jason's wife.  while i saw jason a handful of times if i happened to stop by the office, i never really got to know him or samantha, simply because life never really allowed us the time or opportunity to cross paths.

fast forward several years, and we found ourselves at the wedding of a mutual friend from college, seated at the same table with jason and sam.  we chatted, as you do at weddings, and discovered that they have a son around the same age as our youngest, and so we were quickly swapping toddler stories- who walked when and how, picky eating habits, terrible sleep patterns, all the parenting stuff.  we laughed and had a lovely time, and on our way home, i turned to my husband and told him that i couldn't believe i'd never had a chance to get to know these two people in college.  they do life so much like we do, and were such fun people to be around, i was sad i had missed the chance to build a friendship with them when they lived walking distance away, instead of an hour drive.

so, of course, i friended samantha on facebook as soon as i got home that night, and i've been enjoying her sweet, honest, funny, and completely relate-able posts about her life as a momma ever since.  

you can imagine how excited i was when she contacted me about doing a session for her and her family to document her growing bump before the arrival of baby number 2.  that meant spending an evening with this totally sweet, down to earth couple, while also getting to meet and play with their adorable toddler- all while taking pictures of them.  i was all-in before i could even finish reading her first message to me.

let me tell you what- the night did not disappoint.  we had a bit of a hiccup when we showed up to the Reading Public Museum and realized it's a hot spot for pokemon-go players (no exaggeration, there were people e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.) but we were able to find ourselves a quiet spot or two and then just let the little guy lead our evening.  the bond he has with his momma? incredible:

although his bond with his daddy was just as clear- and i suspect it's going to grow even stronger once baby sister comes on the scene ;)

they are truly a beautiful example of a family built on love for one another, and even though the weather was hot, and there was much toddler chasing, it was clear that this baby girl is going to be joining a family that knows the value of being together.

oh- and on our way back to the parking lot, we spotted an ice cream truck.  they decided to stop, and of course i asked if i could follow them around just a liiiiiiiiiittle bit longer.  any night that ends in ice cream is a good night :)

day 49

one thing i love most about having photography as a hobby is that every now and then, i'll see something that makes me drop everything i'm doing and run for my camera.  sometimes it's a patch of light or a reflection or a set of lines, but whatever it is, i love spotting an image in my surroundings and being able to catch it with my camera for others to see it the way i did.  

because of everything we've had going on in our home over the last few weeks, i've been a little too preoccupied to notice much of my environment beyond the space my children are occupying (and then it's mainly to make sure they're breathing and not causing any sort of irreversible damage).  this week though, i've had two moments where i saw light that stopped me in my tracks.  the first time was when i took this image a few days ago:

i walked into my bedroom to grab a sweatshirt, saw the light pouring in from the one open set of blinds, picked my jaw up off the floor, and then ran downstairs to grab one of my children to stick in the light.  of course, he thought it was a game where to win he had to crawl off the bed, so this was the best i could get, but i do love the rim light on his little profile.  and also, the flare.

and then the second time was today at my best's house.  we were in the middle of a conversation when i think i said something to the effect of "i'm sorry, i need to stick one of my kids in this light".  and then i started moving stuff out of the frame and bribing my children to sit for me since none of them were interested in playing on the stairs.  at least, not while the light was coming in so perfectly; later they were all over those stairs ;)  fortunately the little was still waking up from his car nap so i was able to distract him with toys long enough to capture the gorgeousness.  usually i really try to stick to being documentary when i shoot, especially for my 365, but sometimes i just can't help myself- every now and then, i let art trump authenticity.

day 8

it's been a challenging few photography days.  i've been way overshooting only to delete the vast majority of images i take, but i just can't seem to take any photos that i'm actually happy with.  today i didn't even pick up my camera until mid-afternoon, although i'm willing to partially blame that on our marathon of errands this morning.  as the light started stubbornly dimming around 2:30, as it does in the winter, i reluctantly pulled my camera out and figured i'd log one more "me" photo before the theme closes out tomorrow.

my most genuine smiles always happen when i'm watching my kiddos play :)

i wasn't going to set up for this one because i've taken so many photos of us on our couch that look just like this.  the only way they really differ is what we're doing on the couch (eating? sleeping?  throwing toys at our brothers?) and what items are cluttering the ledge behind.  but the truth is, a lot of our life happens on that couch.  it's where the kids wake up in the morning, and from naps in the afternoon.  it's where i drink my coffee at 5 am, and where my husband and i catch an hour of tv time together in the evenings.  it's where i spent countless hours nursing both my babies after we brought them home.  it's where we get them dressed and tie shoes, eat snack and read books.  this couch appears over and over in my photographs because it is used over and over in our lives.  it is the centerpiece of our home, and one day when it's gone, i'll look back on these images and smile as i remember all the love that was contained in it.

and, aside from all that lovely sentimental stuff above, i'm glad i set it up because shortly after i took that first solo selfie, this happened:

me, in my happiest of places.

i mean, what's not to love about that?


day 2

i had no real intention of writing a blog post today, but my kids are sleeping soundly (hooray!) and i have a pile of chores that needs to be procrastinated on a little longer before i can tackle them properly, so here i am.

the sun is shining with a brilliant brilliance today (see image 1 for proof), and it's appearance for the first time in 800 years (<--- only a slight exaggeration) has renewed my desire to be behind the lens.  

image 1: stuffed dinosaur, basking in the early morning sunshine

this is sort of ironic considering my interpretation of this week's theme involves me being in front of the lens (hello practice with the shutter remote), but at least i didn't have to force myself to pry my camera out of its bag this morning.  in fact, i had my camera set up in at least 5 different places this morning as we went about our normal saturday business.  it was nice to have some dramatic light to work with again, and it added an extra layer of (very welcome) challenge to the task of getting a documentary style image that included me.  

below is the most real, accurate, and honest photo i took this morning- that i came very close to not sharing because it's a photo of me first thing in the morning and, well, yikes.  buuuuut, this is what documentary photography is all about.  

this is me, as soon as i get downstairs, every morning.

in 20 years, my kids are going to look at this photo and (hopefully) laugh and say "oh yeah, remember how mom would always make her coffee as soon as we got downstairs every morning?"  and i'll look at it and say "oh my gosh, what was i thinking with those glasses?" and we'll remember.  we'll remember these mornings and these days of little sleep and lots of running feet and laughs and screams at 6 am like they were yesterday.  this photo will bring us back to what it was really like, and we'll smile as we look back and we'll be grateful for all we had when it was taken.  this photo is real life, and it's my life, and i'm thankful for it, even when it means messy hair and tired eyes and begging the coffee the brew just a little bit faster.

here's a few more documentary images from this morning that are a good representation of how my littlest has been glued to me since he weaned 10 days ago.  at one point after i stopped taking photos, i got up to use the bathroom and he had a full on meltdown.  i'm loving the extra snuggles with him, but i feel badly that he's having as much trouble with the transition as i am.

i also took a series of not-so documentary photos while i was taking advantage of the sunshine today, and even though only one of them turned out, i'm really glad i took it.

i asked my big to jump in the frame with me.  of course, he would only do it if i let him click the remote, but that made for a fun few minutes with him, and i'm fairly pleased with the result.  i don't have too many recent images of us together since he's not been much for snuggles lately, so having this one means a lot to me.

happy saturday everyone!


project 365.2, day 1

happy new year everyone!  welcome to my new little corner of the internet.  this space is (and let's be honest, will remain) a work in progress.  it took me a long time to decide that i even wanted to create this website to collect and display my work instead of remaining over at my original blog. but, a lot of prayer, soul-searching, and persuasion from those close to me helped me realize it was time to move onward and upward, so here i am :)

before i share any images, let me explain my plan for this year.  i've been kicking around for awhile how i wanted to proceed once i wrapped up my first project 365 following the bethadilly challenge.  while she's continuing on with new prompts this year, i've known for awhile now that i wanted to break away from doing a daily prompt.  while they were great last year to keep me focused and motivated, i want to have the freedom to start shooting whatever moves me so that i can work specifically on improving my documentary photography and shooting to tell a story.  the good news is, i'm not the only one who feels that way!  

over the course of the bethadilly challenge last year, this incredible community of women started to form over on instagram.  we created a facebook group to make communicating and staying in touch with one another a little more simple, and we quickly became one another's inspiration, motivation, and support system.  a few weeks ago,  a discussion started about how many members found daily shooting to be too difficult to maintain with day to day life, and so we formed our own project 52 for 2016.  one of our wonderful members took suggestions from the group and then created a list of 52 prompts- one for every week of the year- to help guide us as we continue shooting now that 2015 is over.  while many members have made it their goal to shoot at least one image a week, i have decided to continue shooting daily.  not only has it become habit for me to shoot every day, i also saw so much improvement within myself in so many different areas last year that i want to continue to use taking a photo a day as a tool for learning and growing as a photographer.

so, i'll be using our list of 52 prompts as my daily photography anchor this year.  i may occasionally wander over to bethadilly's prompts on days when inspiration is low, i'll be following along with the themes in my favorite facebook group that focuses on using different types of light when shooting, and i may even refer back to my own blog last year to re-take old prompts, but my starting point will always be our project 52.  my goal is to shoot and edit everyday, to share at least 1 image a day to my facebook page (because i have one of those now!) and instagram, and to blog here at least 3 times a week.

so, now that all that is out of the way, onto project 365, version 2.0 :)  the theme for week 1 is "me", so i'm using this as an opportunity to work on using my new remote instead of relying on the self-timer function.  i'm hoping to really improve on nailing focus (when i'm trying to achiever sharp focus, anyway!) and i'm looking forward to capturing some truly honest moments with my kids this week.