During the last few days of 2016, I thought a lot about my life during the year. So many experiences and feelings, the significance of which could easily be forgotten if I don’t take the time to remember them and how they affected me. I may eventually add photos and more links to this post. It’s mostly for me, and I’m publishing it now in “done is better than perfect” fashion, because I don’t want it to become a permanent draft. If you decide to read, I hope there will be a little something you’ll take from it.
The year started off with some very special family photo shoots and births.
I upgraded my 2009 MacBook Pro’s hard drive and replaced the battery. I did. I can take the back off off my computer now like a pro.
We had our most difficult year financially, and experienced some scary times. Four years of self-employment have taken their toll on our bank accounts. Not a place I expected to be in my late 30s. I’m grateful for these challenges because they have shown us what our priorities are, how little we really need, how valuable our time together is, and so many other things.
We had an amazing two week family vacation in April. We had plans to meet my parents (from Montana) in Florida to visit my Grandma. We weren’t sure if we would be able to go because of money. And we were able to make it work, thanks to some good planning and the generosity of family and friends. We went to Gettysburg, stayed with my high school friend in Maryland (Thank you, Holly!), spent a day in DC, visited Jamestown Settlement, spent a few days in North Carolina at my aunt’s vacation condo (Thank you, Aunt Donna!), stayed with Paul’s aunt and her family in Jacksonville and Orlando (Thank you, Aunt Cherry and Alycia!) and then stayed at a wonderful Airbnb house with my mom and dad (Thank you guys!!!), explored Vero Beach with them, and spent time with my Grandma and Grandpa. It was such a special trip. We’ve learned since having kids how important travel and time away are, and how little the quality of the experience has to do with the amount of money spent.
I joined Spectrum Inspired and photographed two families who have children with autism.
My Grandma Pat died. In her last days of this life, she was surrounded by her 9 children and their partners, 28 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. She told us, “It’s been a wonderful experience.” I gained additional respect and appreciation for my family members, and desire for long-term community. I held her hand and thought of the similarities to birth, of divine timing, and saw the beauty in women being together during times of transition.
My parents were here and we spent time in the park where they met 45 years ago, and my kids now play. We cherish our time with them and wish we lived closer to each other.
We enjoyed months of picking raspberries from our garden.
We stayed with friends at their cabin in the Catskills fourth of July weekend.
I participated in Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project.
I went to doula training.
I took over the Birthphotographers.com Facebook page for a week.
Friendships became another a year stronger.
I had a really fun summer with the boys. I’m glad we didn’t put them in camp.
We enjoyed New Jersey’s nature centers and hiking trails and libraries.
In August we took an awesome family road trip to Phoenicia, NY, Vermont and Maine.
We camped in the Poconos Labor Day weekend, went to a tricky tray fundraiser at the campground, and won a camping trip to take in 2017.
Jasper broke his arm.
Xander started second grade. Jasper started full time preschool. I was ready for it and he was, too. I needed the work time. And I’m so so so incredibly grateful for all the time I was able to spend with him before he started school, and the time I have to spend with him now during the hours when he’s not at school.
We camped in New Jersey in October.
I took a video course and learned how to create family films.
I spent many days working with Emily at her house. We motivate and inspire each other. Having a friend who understands so many of my personal and professional challenges and successes is such a gift.
Fall was super busy with photography. I met my income goals for September and October. I photographed so many wonderful families. The percentage of shoots that I consider “ideal clients/ideal shoots” continues to increase. People who value what I do and why I do it are finding me. I LOVE my work.
Photos from a birth I photographed went viral. (Huffington Post, People)
For the second half of December, I really honored my needs for rest, enough time to myself, and keeping things simple. We had a very special Christmas and spent the last week of the year enjoying our family time together.
It was a good year.