Full arms, full hearts | Seattle family photographer

Right now, in the middle of winter, it is dark and gloomy. The rain is falling and pouring down the street in little rivers making this late summer day feel like a distant memory. There was ash falling from the sky and our mid-morning shoot had a hazy red tint due to the smoke in the air, but these two smiley six-month-olds didn't mind a bit. 

I have had the pleasure of working with several sets of twins and I am always impressed with the level of teamwork their parents display. Their arms are full of babies and stuff; juggling bottles, strollers, diaper bags, dog leashes, and extra outfits, but their words to each other are kind and encouraging and they are spoken with humble hearts and smiling faces. What lucky babies to grow up in the strong arms of these kind parents. 

My own 2017

I should have written this post weeks ago, as 2017 recaps are so last year (ha) but there are a lot of things I should have done two weeks ago and I'm still working on those things as well as Tuesday's to-do list (#momlife). So, I'm just going to do it now, cross it off of my list, and count it as a win. 

I struggled with work/life balance this year, and every time I thought of grabbing my camera to take pictures of my family, it felt like going to work. So I bought a different, much smaller and lighter camera to take on family adventures; something that would do a good job with photos, but wouldn't take up a lot of physical or mental space in our time together. 

My goal in photographing my family this year was to take pictures that capture the essence of our experience together. Something that, when I look at it, moves me to a feeling. Remembering the things we were doing, the laughter and/or tears (or often both) that accompanied the experience, and the way our relationships grew or changed because of those times together.  

I want to look at a picture of my kids and SEE my kids. Not just their likeness, but their spirit. 

Here are a few of my favorites from our time together in 2017. Time spent in our new house, at the beach, in the woods, and everywhere in between. These pictures and memories that accompany them will be cherished forever. 

A morning with the Davis family | Seattle family photographer

I have been taking pictures of the Davis family since little Etta was six months old. She has always been a beautiful, happy girl, and it is a shoot I look forward to every year. Her family just moved to a new (to them) neighborhood in Seattle so we decided to do the shoot at their home, on their block, and at the beach park they visit nearly every day. 

Last year, Etta was a little timid during their photo shoot. This year, she greeted me at the door with a smile, showed me her new room, and cried when the shoot was over. What a difference a year makes! 

We got a lot of beautiful pictures during our shoot, but my favorite is the one of Etta wrapped up in her mom's arms. Etta's dad had been chasing her and she ran giggling and screaming straight to her mom's open arms. Arms that closed around to protect and embrace. Arms that feel like home to Etta.

Etta's mom closed her eyes and smiled for just a moment. Enjoying the weight of her daughter against her chest. The feeling of home in her arms. 

2017 in the rearview | Seattle family photographer

What a year. As I went through all of my pictures from 2017 to pick out a few favorites for this post, I was reminded of all of the families I met, the time we spent together, and the beautiful memories we shared. 

What a gift it is, to be invited into your lives to capture these moments. It is my pleasure. 

This fall | Seattle Family Photographer

It happens every year. Fall comes, business ramps up, and I am completely overwhelmed by weekend photo shoots and late night editing marathons. 

Actually, shooting and editing are not really overwhelming, it's trying to get through my busy season in addition to being a stay-at-home-mom to three beautiful and crazy little girls that really sends me over the edge. 

My girls are now almost six, four, and eighteen months. Norah went to kindergarten this fall, Vivienne started at a new preschool, and Emory started running around town like she owns the place. 

They would drive me nuts all week long when I would try to squeeze in a few minutes of editing in between shuttling one to school, putting one down for a nap, making one a snack, and answering a million "why" questions from the three of them. And then I would miss them like crazy all weekend and I would constantly harass my husband (Superdad) to send me photos of everything they were doing while I was away shooting. 

I feel like it's a constant struggle to achieve a healthy work/life balance (does that even exist?!) and it feels impossible to work through my busy season while also loving my family well. I let the dishes sit in the sink and the laundry pile up, I ordered takeout too often and let the kids watch too many episodes of Wild Kratts, and sometimes I let them go to bed without saying goodnight because I didn't want to stop working long enough to climb two flights of stairs to deliver their hugs and kisses. 

Worst Mom Ever. 

But. We made it through. And I even remembered to block my calendar in the midst of the chaos for Vivienne's birthday so I could throw her a party. A unicorn volcano birthday party complete with a paper mache volcano science experiment and homemade exploding volcano cake. 

Does this earn me an upgrade to Best Mom Ever? 

So. The last three months have been a blur, but things are slowing down and now I am looking forward to going back through the shoots I did this fall and sharing some of my favorites. I'll start with this family - in the perfect late afternoon fall light, laughing and playing through the entire shoot. These beautiful moments and pictures are the reason why I do what I do. All of the crazy is worth it to me to deliver images and memories like these.