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!

Day in the Life Session | DC Family Photography

For millions of commuters, the DC metro system is just another mode of transportation, but for Adam and Caleb, riding the metro is an adventure. And a pretty inexpensive one at that. So it made perfect sense to photograph their family taking a typical Saturday morning metro ride to a museum on the National Mall. I so enjoyed spending time with this family and capturing their sweet relationship.

Here are a few of my favorites from their session.

David Burke - Lovely work – so much prefer this sort of approach to family photography rather than everyone in a studio, on a white background, in a pyramid shape….

Briar Patch B&B Inn Wedding | Saule and Shawn

I love Saulé and Shawn’s story because it’s beautiful…and rare. Saulé and Shawn first met when they were just a couple of kids one summer on vacation. In a time before Facebook and email, they wrote letters to each other for several years. And then they lost touch. They reconnected in 2006 after Saulé found Shawn online…she still had the letters he wrote and the first gift he gave her.

Finally, on a cool day in November, they celebrated their marriage surrounded by family and friends at the whimsical Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast Inn in Middleburg, Virginia. It was one more sweet chapter in their story together…one of many more to come.

I so enjoyed capturing the moments of their day. Here are a few of my favorite photos from their wedding.

Tiffany - Gorgeous work!

Nancy - What great photos to capture their ongoing story. There are so many good ones, but I especially like the one with the mother in focus watching her daughter get married. Her face says SO much. Also, the last one by the fence is just beautiful.

Shawn - Great work Mary! I love them!!