Social media has trained many of us to yearn for the perfect shot, one that will show our friends, family, and followers how picture perfect our family is. Let's fight that urge and instead take the kinds of holiday photographs our families will be thankful for, for many years to come.
Once again, I was asking myself "Wouldn't it be nice?".
The idea was a little nutty, and it wasn't what we originally planned, but why not?
7 years before, we had asked ourselves that very same question. We had bought our house in Rock Hall, Maryland as a place to get away on the weekends and to go on our yearly vacation. We had taken a leap and dreamed big when we made that purchase. Owning a second house, a vacation home, was never in our plans. At the time, I was working full-time as a mechanical engineer and he was a corporate fraud investigator. We were living the suburban dream in Howard County, Maryland in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area.
The problem was I grew up in a small town, and this country girl came alive when surrounded by great, big expanses of green fields and blue skies. Add in the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, and I was home. And so was my husband. As it was, we were spending our spare time on the other side of the bridge whenever we had the chance. Wouldn't it be nice to buy a getaway home on the Eastern Shore?
Every time I ask myself "Wouldn't it be nice?" I do myself a favor, and make it happen.
When you think of families that own vacation homes, you wouldn't have thought of ours. To make this dream of ours come true, we worked hard to make more money and to spend less of it. We bought a fixer upper that we could afford, and we worked hard to renovate it and make it ours.
Sacrifices were made for us to buy our getaway home in our dream town.
As proud owners of a charming, little vacation home on Maryland's Eastern Shore, we had made our dream come true. Just around the time we completed the renovations, our oldest child was born. That was a little over 6 years ago. Soon after, we welcomed her little brother into the family. Our weekends were spent on the Chesapeake Bay, toting our little ones to the beach, riding them around Rock Hall in our bike trailer, hiking our favorite trails on Eastern Neck Island, and eating ice cream sundaes at Durding's Store.
Our weekends grew longer and longer and we were spending less and less time in our home in the suburbs. We were racking up EZ-Pass tolls as we zoomed back and forth over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge several times each week. Our house in the suburbs became the place we stayed as we earned income, while our Rock Hall house became our home.
In Rock Hall, our family came alive.
Sometime last year, after one of our weekends in Rock Hall, I asked my husband:
"Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in Rock Hall full-time?"
And we both knew what happens when I ask "Wouldn't it be nice?". Our house in the suburbs went on the market, I gave up my comfortable engineering job, and he made a big career change. We worked hard to make it happen, and we were living full-time in Rock Hall by June of 2015.
Today, as we meet new people and they ask about where we are from, they always say the same thing. "Wow, that's a big change. How do you like it here?" And each time, we tell them the same thing. We love the laid back Eastern Shore lifestyle and the small town community of Rock Hall. As a family, we're able to do more of what we love, together. We're slowing down and we're spending more time outside by the water. Just recently, we ended one of our weeks with an evening of crabbing.
This country girl and her family are home.
It's that time again! Head on over to the next stop in the 5 on 5 blog circle, and see how Hannah Nielsen, Portland documentary family photographer, tells a story in just 5 images.
Grandparents, and the unique and powerful relationship they have with their grandchildren, hold a special place in my heart.
Sunday was Grandparents Day, and it got me thinking. So many of my most cherished childhood memories revolve around my grandparents: learning to make peach dumplings with my Grandmom, opening gifts together on Christmas morning with my Mom-Mom, and starting each day of our Ocean City vacations over breakfast with my Grandpop. There are so many more, but those are some of my very favorite memories with my grandparents. Unfortunately, my Pop-Pop passed away when I was 2 years old so I only remember the stories I've been told about him.
When my children grow up, I want their memory banks to be full of moments spent with their grandparents.
It's always been a priority to me as a parent to make sure my children have close relationships with their grandparents. I want my parents to have an instrumental role in my kids' lives, and that's the main reason why my husband and I choose to remain in Maryland within driving distance from our parents' homes. We are born travelers and love the idea of experiencing more of the world, but those adventures will have to be limited to vacations for now.
We spend holidays with the grandparents as well as birthdays, but even more special to me, are the little ordinary, everyday moments we spend with them in between all of those big holiday celebrations.
My two swim in their pools in the summer, play with their collection of pennies during visits, set the table for our dinners, make dumplings when peaches are in season, play the piano and other various instruments with gusto, and the list goes on.
I pull out my camera and record these moments for my kids so, years from now, my kids will have proof of what their grandparents' love looked like, really truly looked like.
On this particular day, they played a board game with their Mom-Mom. My Mom was visiting and both kids were vying for her attention. My girl wanted to play a game with her and my son just wanted to be near her. At the start of the game, he was happy playing his own game next to them. Not surprisingly, he ended up joining in on the action, on Mom-Mom's lap.
Not only did I get out my camera to record all of that, I also wanted to make sure I never forget how my Mom and my little girl like to tease each other now. When my daughter was itty bitty, she didn't know how to take a joke. Over the years, my Mom has made it her mission to correct that. Today, we can credit Mom-Mom for teaching our girl how to tease and to talk smack. In this case, whoever was currently winning the game would taunt the one falling behind.
As a family storytelling photographer, I'm a legacy recorder.
I make authentic photographs, full of heart and emotion, helping sentimental families keep a connection with their past.
Click here and contact me if you want me to be your family's historian.
I belong to a blog circle called 5 on 5. We're a group of lifestyle and documentary family photographers who believe in telling stories with our photography. It is our heart to record real life as it happens. There is beauty to be found in every single moment after all.
On the 5th of every month, we will each blog 5 images that tell a story. You can see my story from last month here.
Last week, the kids and I went to visit their grandparents for one last dip in their swimming pool before school began earlier this week. Fortunately, they live within driving distance from us here in Maryland. It's so important to my husband and I that our kids have a close relationship with our parents, and vice versa.
Like most families, ours has spent a significant portion of our summer at the pool. Our children are complete fish, and they were excited to show Nona and Jagee their new skills in the pool.
Our littlest, at four, started to swim without his vest this summer as well as jump in the deep end and swim underwater. And my girl has spent most of her summer underwater, just like I did when I was her age. They were both eager to test out their new goggles Nona and Jagee gave them that day.
And what's an afternoon in the pool without super soakers?
Now it's time to head on over to the next stop in the 5 on 5 blog circle. Check out the blog of Jenny Bowers, Southern Michigan documentary family photographer.