Hotel Le Meridien Wedding | Erin and Joe

As I edited the photos from Erin and Joe’s wedding in the last few weeks, I found myself smiling at my computer screen…a lot. It’s easy to see why, too. Erin and Joe’s wedding day was truly filled with joy–and no cold, wintry weather could take that away.

Surrounded by family and friends at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in DC, Erin and Joe exchanged vows and later celebrated at the snazzy Hotel Le Meridien in Arlington, VA. Their genuine love and affection is contagious, and all who call them friends are blessed. I so enjoyed capturing the joy of their day.

A big congratulations to Erin and Joe. Here are just a few of my favorite moments.

Dan Speicher - Beautiful work. Love that first shot!

Cours Dessin - Wonderful serie! well done.

Maryland Wedding Photography | Kaitlin and Phillipe

Before 2013 gets away with me, I want to share a lovely winter wedding I photographed at the end of 2012. Kaitlin and Phillipe met as kids in Sunday school at church, so they knew each other growing up. But their love and affection for each other really didn’t grow until they were older and reconnected over shared interests. Their wedding day was filled with joy and many sweet moments with their family and friends celebrating their marriage with them. It was a wonderful way for me to end last year’s wedding season.

Congratulations to Kaitlin and Phillipe. Here are a few of my favorite moments from their day.

Goodbye 2012 | Hello 2013

When I think about this past year, one rather silly image comes to mind. It’s a snapshot from a trip we took to Scotland several years ago–probably only funny to Americans–a rather polite traffic sign:

Changed Priorities Ahead.

That’s the sign I should have thought about when I wrote my “to do list” of 2012, days before Harriet was born. When I look through that list now, I can only laugh and smile at my naivety. Seriously. I have a good chuckle every time I think about it. And while I certainly accomplished a few of the minor goals (and the first big one of course!), it was not my focus last year. It wasn’t even on the radar.

Having a baby didn’t just add another dimension to my life. It changed my life. For the better, I believe, but not in all the ways I was expecting.

You see, my 2012 list should have looked a lot more like this:

1. Learn to survive on 3 hours of sleep.
2. Find joy in the little things, like getting out of my pajamas sometime before 5pm.
3. Expand my circle of Mommy friends–I’m going to need them.
4. Hold on to every moment…even the ones that are difficult…because this phase won’t last for long.
5. Slow down and just love on the little baby in my arms.
6. Realize my attitude doesn’t need to be tied to my circumstances.
7. Be willing to see where I need to grow.
8. Phone a friend, often.
9. Pray, pray, and pray some more.
10. Laugh everyday, as often as I can.
11. Dance to music in the living room, at 2am with a baby if need be.
12. Enjoy watching Jay be a great dad to Harriet.
13. Set an agenda for the day and watch it not happen.
14. Learn how to write a cohesive blog post when being interrupted every five…er..two minutes.
15. Begin to see what really matters…and that it’s not about me.
16. Learn to live with unpredictability.
17. Become an expert at taking phone pictures because that’s all I’ll have time for most days.
18. Discover the crockpot is my friend for easy meals.
19. Master the three-minute shower.
20. Recall all those nursery rhymes of yore and sing them off-key whenever need be.

Of course, don’t get me wrong–I’m still working on many of those “goals” even now. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to waking up at 3am (yes, it sometimes still happens), and there are many days I feel more like crying than laughing. But the laughing is so much more richer than it ever used to be. The joy is more than I could have imagined. I get a front-row seat at watching (and shaping) the growth and development of another person–someone who has their own personality and preferences. It’s an incredible journey of discovery, but it requires sacrifice. I have only just begun to appreciate what mothers and fathers do for their children (and am now realizing what my own mom did for me).

So, speaking of sacrifice, this blog has definitely taken a backseat for the time being. There was once I time I blogged most every day. And while there are some super moms out there who could possibly juggle it all, I’m not one of them. So I don’t blog every day. Instead, I focus on getting the essentials done first–providing good customer service to my clients and creating meaningful photos, albeit at a much slower pace.

Slowing down this last year in terms of photography has allowed me some much needed time to rejuvenate and assess where I want to go in the short-term with my business. While I continue to love my work, I realize my focus needs to shift a bit for the time-being. What does that mean practically? It means limiting the number of weddings I photograph and instead focus on doing more documentary family, children, and baby sessions. This also means updating my website to reflect my new focus.

While I was naive about what 2012 would entail for me, I’m very hopeful for what 2013 brings. I’m looking forward to trying some different things on this crazy journey called life. Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013.

Mike Chase - How cute Mary…. especially the pic with her holding the beads… I hope you don’t mind me mentioning some great baby photography tips I found on another photography blog recently, which really are useful and practical steps to take better pics. Just click on my name to find out what I mean:) Thanks again for brightening up my day!

Kerry - I haven’t sat down and read your blog in so long and I’ve always enjoyed it and the photographs so I had some time this morning and finally did. I’m so glad I did! This post spoke right to me. I hope you are loving DC!

Megan - What a refreshing post – and so true! Love to see how you’ve documented your first year with your little one with such fun and honesty.

Natalie - Love this, Mary :)

Corralling Cousins in Canada

Yes, I was going for an alliterative title for this post…but it’s also a good description of what you’re about to see. Last month Harriet and I visited my sister and her three boys up in Canada while her husband was traveling. It was no vacation with all the kids running around, but it was tons of fun to see the four cousins interact.

I mostly just took photos with my phone (too busy chasing kids!), but I did grab my camera for a few pictures. Here are some of my favorites. I can’t wait to get them all together again next week for Christmas!