It’s funny how time flies. Here I am. I’ve been living in California now for 15 months, in my childhood bedroom. Today, we learned that we’ll be signing a lease for a new apartment tomorrow. And since I’ve come here, I’ve become a mother. of an 11 month old. Who acts like she’s two. How is it that we moved from NYC 2.5 years ago when I still feel like a New Yorker in my veins?? How is it that in 11 months, my baby went from being a helpless, fragile, needy little shrivelly package to a robust little girl, walking tentatively around the house as if by accident, fake laughing at all my bad jokes, pining over doggies, with a sense of humor revealing itself to be so similar to my own? Now take that, multiply it by years, and add more babies, life changes, loves of lives, and here we are. I hadn’t seen Jennifer since maybe high school graduation 13 YEARS AGO. What??? How did we get here? And still, how did we manage to do all this stuff before we met again?? She’s got two beautiful boys and a strapping husband. And they are an awesome family. I’m so grateful I got to take a peek into their lives, seeing that really tall girl with braces from junior high that I was such good friends with is now a mother (with great teeth!) of two handsome boys.
Category Archives: family
My dear Uma’s 3 month birthday was also Mother’s Day. On this day, she is no longer a newborn, but a baby. She smiles, she laughs, she coos and cries and yells and squeals. And I am SO GRATEFUL for her gift. I have a family that I love, that I long to spend time with. A husband who brings me breakfast in bed almost every day, who tells me every day that I’m a good mother, who sighs in adoration each time he looks upon the daughter we made together. Who makes me feel beautiful, even with my changed body and spirit. My hands are full, with feeding, holding, cuddling, burping, vomiting, and nonsensical conversations that I look forward to every day. My heart is full, too.
Happy Mother’s day, everyone. You earned it.
I never thought I’d have a baby who’d have blue eyes at any point in her life. We’ve roamed the aisles of Target together, and people ask if she’s mine because she’s so fair. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t shove food down my throat so I could return to her. So I could nurse her, touch her, smell her, hold her, and relish in the bond of motherhood. The feeling that a piece of your heart has exited your body, and is now drooling in your hair and turning your soul to fireworks with goofy, gummy smiles, shaking your core to shambles with cries of distress and frustration. Pieces of me, pieces of a man named Husbone, together created a living, breathing creature made from our love.
My mother loves to tell the story of how I would keep myself in check when I was a baby. She says I was 18 months old, and I was left alone in the TV room. I wasn’t allowed to watch TV, but I really, really wanted to turn it on. So I went up to the TV, and stared at the buttons which would make it turn on. I reached for them, and then pulled my hand away, saying to myself, simply, “no.” Over and over again, she spied me as the battle with myself wore on. I never turned on the TV. And to this day I admit, I’ve always had a problem breaking the rules, as much as I may long to. (Husbone has always been trying to get me to stand on the marble in the square by the Apple Store on 5th Avenue inNYC. It’s against the rules. I’ve yet to oblige him.)
She is 8 weeks old today.
She is at once growing up to fast, and a person I can’t remember life without. Her life flashes before my eyes every moment of the day, as her personality emerges. She’s talkative, smiley, easy going, and loud. She sleeps until 10 am every morning, and rolls out of bed after a 30 minute stretching session accompanied by lavish grunts and groans that could rival that of a grown man waking up the morning after a long hard day of work. She acts like a feral squirrel when she’s not getting enough milk from my breast. She rolls her little hands into fists and carries them close to her face when she’s unsure. She knits her brow a lot. The sun is too bright for her. And she really wants to learn to wiggle her tongue back and forth. And I wonder, who will she become? What of who she is now will persist? And what stories will I remember?
She’s been in quite a state today. Insatiable, demanding, pouty, squirmy. I relish her discoveries, for better or for worse. Uma Bean is emerging forth with each day that passes, and I don’t want to miss a second of it.
When I started shooting weddings, it was a revelation. Having been married myself, to a man I consider to be my soul mate, having struggle through high times and low times, through sickness and in health, through our own baggage and the complexities we add to each other, weddings are about more than a day to me. It’s about the promise of things to come. That the person you care about most in the world will always have your back, and you will always have theirs. To know what that truly means makes me a passionate photographer of peoples weddings.
And now, after 9 months of pregnancy, 86 hours of labor, and one very beautiful 9.5 lb baby later, to call photographing a birth a revelation feels an understatement. (btw if you are pregnant and due in april, Birth Photography is 1/2 off ;)) I’m very thankful to have made a new friend upon moving here to California, in Courtney and Erin (erinheartscourt.com). Courtney was about a month behind me in her pregnancy, and we made a deal on our first lady date that we would trade birth photography. Little did she know what she was in for on my end – but she was there to photograph the most intense part of our journey – in all it’s incredible, . As for her, she was (thankfully, as I regained my strength) 2 weeks overdue despite her efforts to evict the little one. She started her induction that morning, and progressed slowly and erratically. I got a text from Erin – they just broke her water, she’s at 4cm. Here I am, thinking it will be hours before they needed us, planning to go to dinner in Pasadena and wait for their call. I texted back something about heading out in an hour or two. The next text I got back said only, 7cm. Yipes! So Huz, Uma and I jumped in the car and raced to Pasadena – 40 minutes away. 8cm. I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to make it, and I think they might have thought the same. I jumped out of the car and left Huz to strap Uma to his chest, and raced to their room. She was at a 9 last time they checked and was feeling ready to push. One hour later from when I walked into the door, this little half Court and half Erin came into the world, purple and bloody, and a girl (they kept it a surprise!). Avellana. Avi. So amazing.
To be there with Courtney and Erin was so amazing. We haven’t known each other long, but to have been there for each other during these incredible times, to have photographed each other in these, the most passionately difficult and amazing experiences of our lives is a bond that I’ll always cherish. I’m so grateful Courtney’s given me the go ahead to share these images with you. They are my favorites. I can’t wait to get Uma and Avi together for their first lady date!
Watching a person’s brain grow right before your eyes is an incredible thing. Some of us remind ourselves as often as we can that life is a wonderous thing, but to actually see this new little human really WONDER at things is… well… wonderful! I’m watching her learn so much, but really, she’s teaching me a lot about life.
I had this moment, when I was 18 years old. I has spent the summer after high school in a drama program in Oxford, England. I was the youngest person in the program – never had I taken a sip of alcohol, kissed a boy (a straight one anyway – oh the adventures of being a theatre kid!), or really, looked up from the life in front of me to see much beyond my very nose. Something changed in me those 7 weeks in England, maybe it was being free from an oppressive home for the first time in my life (woo hoo! I could wear spaghetti strap tees! I had a cell phone! I was wholly UNSUPERVISED!), but something made me look. Up. It was like suddenly the sky burst open at the seams and I was swimming in the world. THE WORLD! Clouds and shards of sunlight and kind gestures from strangers, trees and birds and food and mountains all came careening toward me as if I had never lived! They say that when you fall in love, colors are more vivid, music more sweet, that you stop and smell the roses more. Well, I was falling in love with life. The veil of teenage I-know-everything and angst was lifted in a blast of freedom and I felt more alive than ever.
I returned home at the end of that summer. One day, I walked to the end of the drive way to get the mail, and I realized, after living here my whole life THAT I WAS SURROUNDED BY MOUNTAINS! WHAT??! I looked all around me, and thought, where did all these mountains come from!?! I stood at the end of the driveway, dumbfounded, for about an hour. I know. Ridiculous. I told this story to my Huz and his reaction was, your brain is strange. But that’s life when you live in a tunnel. Which honestly, I have the tendency to do.
That tendency doesn’t have to decide my fate. And I was reminded by that today, when this little half me/half Husbone looked down and discovered her feet. She just stared down at them, watching her toes flex and curl, for 30 minutes – a looooooong time when the span of your life stretches over a mere 7 weeks. You see, they had always been there, but she was too preoccupied with other things, like eating a lot, and growing her brain. I certainly don’t have the excuses that she does, but she doesn’t live in a tunnel. She lives in the wide open world, and I’m leaving my tunnel to join her there.