Posts Tagged ‘personal blog post’

Personal Post: “pictures of the summer to prove that it really existed”

Fingers crossed and saying my prayers for safe transit, I packed up the film I shot all summer long and shipped it out to be developed. When the package arrived, Ben and I sat in bed together and flipped through the prints, my heart exploding with every photo. This summer wasn’t just any summer, it was Juniper’s first summer, something I anticipated since that second pink line appeared 18+ months ago.

Part of the joy of parenthood is sharing the things you love with this new little person. It may be your 200th visit to the beach, but it’s the first time she’s felt sand in her toes, and it may be your annual camping trip at the usual spot, but it’s the first time she has woken up to the sunny pattern leaves make on the tent walls in the morning.

This summer was full of “Juniper’s firsts”, and part of that was sharing places with her that meant a lot to us growing up. We visited The Farm where she held a kitten and giggled when she touched a baby goat. We went camping at Peninsula State Park where she rode in a canoe and took naps in a cargo wagon. She ate fruit straight from the orchard, visited beaches, parks, and pools, and soaked up the summer sun right in our own backyard.

Every outing required more planning and packing than any previous summer (babies come with SO much stuff), but as anyone who has ever loved anyone knows, the joy of wonderful things is multiplied when you see someone you love experience that joy. And we are closing out the summer with a heart full of memories and a head full of stories to tell as she grows up.

It’s amazing how children can change how we experience our world. Everything is new again — just like magic.
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Photos above from 35 mm film scans July-September.
Blog title taken from song “People Take Pictures of Each Other” by The Kinks.
If you like this blog, check out The Family of Over-Celebrators and Summertime on Film.

Personal Post: why i need the pretty photos

New parenthood is chaotic. Between diapers, feedings, and that classic baby-vs-sleep showdown, it can be a lot. And that’s without considering our own basic needs. It’s a turbulent world and sometimes it just feels like a mess.

For me, new motherhood meant the grace of letting go. My make-up routine is down to the basics and usually done while eating breakfast, pumping, and chatting with a babbling Juniper bouncing in her jumperoo. My hair is 50% dry shampoo at this point and my house is pretty much a hilly landscape of clean laundry surrounded by rarely swept floors. This is motherhood. We are trying to keep up, we are getting by, and all the while our babies are growing up.

From this perspective, nine months in, I have to say there is beauty in the mess. Yes, there is struggle, there is worry, and sometimes we may even think we’ve hit our breaking point. But then we push past and realize we are stronger and more capable than we thought we were. And even in the hardest times, we can find beauty. It’s in the first smile of recognition after weeks of lost sleep. It’s in a quiet day when we can sit in the sunshine and enjoy the outdoors together. It’s in sharing something we love with them only to watch them love it too and make it all the more meaningful. It’s magic and beauty, amid the mess.

Time has gone quickly, and I find myself flipping through pictures and thinking about each stage of Juniper’s babyhood. What I’ve come to notice is that the way things looked is often not the way things felt. Like anyone, my first weeks were a jumble of recovery, hormones, and learning what my baby needed, but the overwhelming feelings were tenderness, awe, and love beyond love. When I look back, I want our pictures to show me what those early days felt rather than how they looked. The pictures from our first week should smell like Burts Bees and fresh laundry just like my little girl. They should feel like her fuzzy baby hair and the cool breezes of autumn, and sound like the noises she made while she nursed.

Our experiences of motherhood are what matter most – that’s the reason we take the picture. My messy house, ill-fitting postpartum clothes, and unwashed hair did not speak to those feelings; instead, my experience felt more like bright natural light, a hot shower, a fresh onesie, and a tidy nursery. So we paused and we made those images.

As Juniper grows, the struggles are different. Just like every working mom, I’m chasing the unicorn of work-life-balance, trying to keep up and still make memories of our first summer as a family. But the lesson is the same. My photos won’t show my messy desk stacked with to-do lists and half-full water glasses, or the towers of laundry… and that’s not being fake, that’s knowing what’s worth remembering. At nine months these days smell like banana pancakes, feel like wiggling baby toes, and sound like shrieking giggles as Ben chases Juniper up the stairs, and I can only hope that the images we’re making right now will feel exactly like that.


Photos above from Juniper’s first two weeks.

Personal Post: the gift of curiosity

Since it’s off season for us, I have yet to really try my hand at the artful act of balancing life and work. It’s an intimidating task and one with few examples to follow as my job doesn’t give me a 9-5 schedule or any difference in work and living space. This is both a blessing and a curse as it means I can work in my robe and pajamas (please don’t come knocking on my door unexpectedly), but I have to use my judgement to know when to call it quits, shutdown the computer, and turn off email notifications.

On the slow days I’ve been thinking about the kind of parent I will be. And although it’s likely I have little choice in the matter, I can’t help but consider what I want Juniper to receive from me beyond a warm house and a full belly. And it comes down to one thing: curiosity. The gift I most want to give to her is the ability to look at the world with an open heart and curious mind — exploring, daydreaming, wondering. Curiosity means probing into the things we take for granted and asking questions. It means walking off the path, getting dirty, and breaking rules.

Juniper comes from a long line of well-intentioned rule-breakers who are curious to their core. Curiosity leads to passion, and when people we care for love something with great passion, we learn to appreciate what they love because their loving it makes it special. There are a million things I want to share with our baby girl: hundreds of books I want to read, scores of cities I want to bring her to, and many acres of land I want us to explore. But whatever her interests, whether they overlap with mine or not, I hope to pass along this great gift. That way she can love whatever she wants to love and chase whatever she wants to chase, and curiosity will call her to dig deeper every time.
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Film Scans above from hikes in February 2017 at Cave Point, Newport State Park, Potawatomi State Park, and Whitefish Dunes in Door County.
In the top photo I am pregnant with baby Juniper but don’t know it yet. <3

Personal Post: when the new year means grace over goals

In my twenties I spent every new year setting elaborate resolutions. There were categories for the resolutions (adventures, skills, business achievements, etc) and every goal had to be set in measurable terms. I would write them down and exchange them with friends so we could keep each other accountable. [Type A? Who, me?] Every year was going to be my year. I was going to “hustle”, and “crush it”, and through the magic of goal-setting I was going to miraculously transform into my best self, finally reaching my greatest potential. Every year.

Then came 2016, and it was hard. There were many small challenges, but mostly, I spent the year coping with the miscarriage we experienced in spring. I was devastated. Never had I invested so much hope, and experienced such great loss. It was 12 months of just trying to keep my head above water. So when 2016 ended and it was time to write my 2017 resolutions, I came up dry. I didn’t want to jot down how many books I was going to read, or elaborate on a skill I was going to learn. I didn’t want to set arduous business goals or demand some new level of personal growth. I couldn’t get myself to write a single resolution because I spent 2016 learning how little control I have over the most important things.

I think sometimes we set resolutions – new year’s, or otherwise – believing we can bend the universe to our silly, human will. And as an introvert, I get it. There is nothing I want more than a great plan which falls into place as designed. But while we’re busy trying to figure out how to do more and be better, we ignore the grace that comes with understanding we can only work for so much. It’s goal-setting season again, and although I’m not casting resolutions aside as humanistic hogwash, I am examining my ambitions more carefully. There will be plenty of good and plenty of bad in my life, and I feel certain that the biggest of each will not be mine to choose.

So cheers to the year that brought us our beautiful baby girl, a blessing beyond measure. We are one year wiser, two months sleepier, and incredibly grateful for both goals to achieve and gifts that were never made to be earned.

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Top photo by Riverland Studios. Middle photo by KL Creative.

Personal Post: welcoming juniper violet

On October 18th we welcomed our baby girl, Juniper Violet, into the world. Over the past month we have been getting to know her – what she needs and how she expresses it – as well as what it means for us to be parents. It is such a miraculous thing to give birth; one day it was just the two of us and the next, we were responsible for this new life.

I was blessed with an easy pregnancy (if we can forget about that morning sickness part) so my weeks were still filled with camping, canoeing, travel, etc just at a slightly more cautious level than before. We photographed our last wedding only a week before she arrived (with backup plans in place of course). I loved that I had a partner with whom I could share my experiences, especially as I got further along and she would respond to touches, sounds, and food. Still, little swishes of movement across my belly and a baby out in the world – squirming, crying, and learning to eat – are two very different things. I remember lying in the hospital bed the night she was born, looking at her as she slept between us in the little plastic bassinet, thinking how is this possible?

One month later, the feeling of awe still comes over me in waves. There are good portions of my day where I am too busy to dwell on it – one feeding will stretch into the next (punctuated by diaper changes) and suddenly it’s the middle of the afternoon and I still haven’t showered. And in quiet moments, when I’m deep in work or writing (or Stranger Things, let’s be real), and it’s easy to forget that she is two feet away snoozing in her rocker, I’m too preoccupied to dwell on it. It’s as I unwrap her swaddle blankets at 3:00 am that it will hit me. She will let out little squawks, arch her back, stretch her arms, and open her eyes, and I will think, wow, this is my baby.

There are so many worthwhile experiences in life, and rather than feeling that parenthood has trumped them all, I just feel like it has made each of them more valuable. I am looking forward to sharing so many things with Juniper – imparting a love of art, music, travel, and the outdoors, as well as watching her discover things to love all her own. But for now, we’re immersing ourselves in this newborn stage and learning to be flexible beyond our expectations so we can appreciate it, mess and all.

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Photos by KP Photography http://www.kirstenpetersonphotography.com

You may also like:
Personal Post: Our Maternity Session
Personal Post: Loving a Baby After Losing a Baby
Personal Post: Baby on Board

Personal Post: our maternity photos

On Friday we hit our 38th week of pregnancy. The doctor says this little girl could arrive at any time now, which means I am editing photos like a maniac and Ben is cleaning the house like mad! It’s all very exciting and terrifying. How strange that one day you can be pregnant, carrying a squirmy little thing inside of you, and the next day you can be a parent.

As we go into our last weeks, days, or hours of this stage of the adventure, I wanted to share some photos from our maternity session with KL Creative at High Cliff Park. I imagined something boho and cozy and we are so excited to have these special images to cherish this milestone.

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Special thanks to:
Photographer – Kayla with KL Creative
Florist – Nichole with Petal Pusher

Personal Post: high tea baby shower at sepia chapel

For years, my mom and I had joint birthday parties with themes and costumes. They were always silly and elaborate with lots of homemade decorations and matching activities (like our Alice in Wonderland party where everyone played a round of flamingo croquet). It’s been a few years since those birthdays, but the excitement we experience over matching details, thrifting just the right pieces, and finding the matching paper suite, has not changed.

When the topic of my baby shower came up, both of us had the same idea without ever discussing it: high tea. We toured venues in the area, and Sepia Chapel was perfect. Gina completely understood our vision, and even offered up her grandmother’s wedding china so guests would have actual teacups and saucers. Planning went so smoothly with Gina coordinating all the linens, place-settings, and beverages, my mother-in-law working hard to make sandwiches and fruit cups, and my mom taking care of salads and all the beautiful desserts. In the week before the shower I picked up succulents and greens from Green Bay Floral, and, with the help of friends and family, every little thing was taken care of.

The shower was incredible. So many people were able to make it, even those who had a little drive to get there. We sipped tea, snacked on sweets and savories, played a few games, and chatted. Before gifts, my Grandma Claudia opened an outfit that would reveal the sex of our baby. Guesses from our guests came in nearly tied: 22/21 in favor of a boy, but Grandma was right (as she always is) and from the bag she unwrapped a tiny sailor dress that we picked up when we were in Maine. It’s a girl!

Thank you to everyone who came to the shower, for those who sent surprise gifts in the mail, and for the special people who care so much about us that they set aside time to help plan, purchase, make, and set-up all the things that made this shower so wonderful. I will be sure our babe knows how much she is already loved.

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Credits:

Sepia Chapel (venue) http://www.sepiachapel.com
Green Bay Floral (greens/succulents) http://www.greenbayfloral.net
Almond & Ivy (macarons) http://www.cakeandcookiellc.com
Ashley Viste (photos of me and some details)

Personal Post: loving a baby after losing a baby

Those of you who follow the blog closely may have noticed a gap in last year’s posts. When I write, I write from the heart – I share about sessions, travels, and thoughts on photography and life in general. But during those months there was only one thing on my mind, and it wasn’t something I was ready to share.

As most of our readers know, Ben and I are expecting a baby in October. I am seven months along and typing this blog as the baby flutters in my belly and I agonize over how much more water I should be drinking. I feel good and capable in my body – an incredible gift. This baby has given me a bigger reason to share what I had gathered up in my heart last year, and now I feel ready to talk about our first pregnancy.

In February of last year, Ben and I learned we were going to be parents. We were overjoyed and reveled in the magic of it all. We fantasized about baby moccasins and sharing the news with our families. I dreamt of nurseries and family traditions. It amazed me how much we loved that baby right from the start, surrounding it with our dreams for a future together.

But at our first ultrasound appointment, eight weeks into the pregnancy, the baby was small. We watched the heartbeat flutter on the screen like a tiny, flickering light, but the doctor said it was measuring at six weeks instead of eight. Two weeks later our little baby still hadn’t grown and our doctor confirmed what we had been hoping and praying against; that baby wouldn’t make it.

We shared the news with our closest family without ever having the opportunity to celebrate our initial joy. I sunk into depression. In my dreams each night I was still pregnant, and when I woke in the morning I felt empty. I had spent the past few months caring for my body with new purpose, seeing everything I consumed as fuel for the baby; so with the baby gone, treatment of my body bordered on destructive. There were complications to my miscarriage that resulted in a physical reminder for days, weeks, months. I couldn’t find myself or the things I was passionate about.

It was easy to feel alone in the loss because I couldn’t explain what I was feeling. There was no memorial service or official goodbye, just a slow, agonizing loss. Family and friends told me over and again “just because this happened once, doesn’t mean it will happen again”. They were trying to console what they imagined was worry about my future. It wasn’t worry; I wasn’t even in a place to consider my future. It was mourning. I was mourning the loss of that baby – that individual whom I already loved.

Months passed by and little by little I fell into my normal routines. Slowly I was able to find moments of joy and reflect with bittersweetness on the memories. There were still days when I couldn’t make it out of bed, but in between I was getting better. It was as though I was reassembling myself from old and new parts. The last feeling to fall into place was anticipation – something I thought I had lost for good.

And now, here we are. Almost exactly one year later we conceived this baby. Doctor appointments have us terrified, and the weeks between them are nearly intolerable. We guarded our hearts, yearning for that golden “12 week mark” and when we hit it, I was still fearful and newly desperate to make it to 20 weeks when we would see an ultrasound. People have asked why we waited so long to announce and why we adamantly held off on celebrating. This is why. When we made plans to announce our pregnancy, I already knew I couldn’t share news of this new life and find perfect joy in it without also sharing our history.

I know this perspective may be foreign to some (even those who have experienced similar circumstances), and I honestly believe there is no right or wrong way to feel about anything – especially something so complex as parenthood. I am simply writing my experience because I need it out in the world. We’ve shared with you our love and anticipation, but my heart yearned to honor our first baby as well.


Above photos taken by KL Creative at 20 weeks pregnant.
Read More: I am Thankful – Pain for Pain, Joy for Joy
See More from our Announcement Session: Baby On Board

Personal Post: baby on board

We’ve been keeping a secret, and it’s time to share! Ben and I are excited to announce we’re expecting a little one to join our family this fall! Baby Hock is due October 27, 2017. Big sister Pieper doesn’t seem to get it, but she’s thrilled about the midday naps!
Stay tuned for more.
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Photo session in Door County by Kayla LeBlanc of KL Creative.

Personal Post: turning 30 and celebrating with confetti

Maybe I’ve watched too much Sex and the City but turning 30 never scared me. I didn’t associate it with growing old, or needing to achieve some unreachable level of wisdom. Instead, my milestone aligns with goals as frivolous as thinking I might figure out how to dress better and cook actual meals (like meat that roasts in the oven – can you imagine?) It’s not as though “growing up” gives us some free pass to no longer think critically and use our actions to make a difference, it’s more that our experience shows us that there is no age when all our questions are answered. As it turns out, divine wisdom doesn’t come down on our birthdays to provide the certainty to feel like we “know what we’re doing” (or if it does, I haven’t hit that birthday yet).

Keeping our eyes high above daily life would mean overlooking our small achievements and disregarding little moments of feeling at peace with where we are at. That’s not how I want to live my life – pretending I’m too [smart, serious, high-minded] to enjoy whatever silly goal I have set or accomplished. Each, deserves recognition.

For me 30 means setting intentions (big and little) but also allowing myself the freedom and forgiveness to quit things that don’t work. It means taking chances that scare me, owning up to what I want, and making time to sit quietly with myself. Big ideas begin with small actions, and sometimes that’s as simple as better sharing the love you have for the people in your life or taking a break when your mind/body says you need it.

So I might not “know what I’m doing” but I can find bliss in the questions, and triumph in the tiny fractions of answers I stumble upon. In the meantime, I will break out the confetti and champagne for the littlest of achievements and I encourage you to do the same. Cheers!


Photos above ^^ taken with Jackie and Ashley, my elementary school buds and closest friends, by Riverland Studios in Charleston, SC. If you liked this post and want to read something similar, please check out Three Years of Marriage and I Still Do and Why We Need to Stop Comparing Ourselves.

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