To paraphrase Jon Lovett from Crooked Media, “WHAT A YEAR”
I’m going to say that with every emoji….
WHAT A YEAR 😀
WHAT A YEAR 🙂
WHAT A YEAR 😐
WHAT A YEAR 🙁
Yeah… feels about right. It’s more great than not great (but I’ll get into all of it) and I punctuate the memorable happy moments with amazing photos I get to capture of my two favorite people.
Let’s start off with my favorite moments (I was going to do 10 but I couldn’t edit that tightly…. Let’s get into it 🙂 )
Presented in chronological order starting with:
The Big E . West Springfield, MA . September 2016
This is Eddie going nose to nose with a sheep. I LOVE this photo so much it hangs over my couch, 30″ x 30″.
Pro Tip: Print your photos & print them BIG!!!
Cutler Park . Needham, MA . October 2016
I’m so fortunate that sometimes wedding clients become good friends. Audrey had Eli just a few days before I had Andy & Eddie. Playdates are super fun with these three boys!
Carving Our Election Pumpkin . Milford, MA . November 8, 2016
Oh those were simpler days…. 😐
But Eddie looks cute
Ice Castles . Lincoln, NH . January 2017
This is an all time favorite day. This photo is everything because parts of this day weren’t easy. I thought a friend was going to come with me but couldn’t make it. So I went myself. Eddie didn’t handle transitions well then and had a meltdown right out of the car after the long drive/nap up. I sat on the wet parking lot with him in my lap for probably 20 minutes until he calmed down. Luckily I had *just* purchased those backpacks with leashes and I kept Andy from running away from me. Once we got in they LOVED it. Including the ice slide – LOVED! For all of about a half hour and then we were popsicles and went to McDonalds to warm up. I love how happy they were here.
Bath Time . Milford, MA . January 2017
The night before their first haircut!! Somehow there’s a quiet, still moment in this set but the rest were LOTS of splashing in the tub
There was a lot of splashing and jumping.
We came here a few times in the past year but this one day I dressed them in their red superhero muscle sweatshirts – it’s Christmas color magic right here! They were marveling at the indoor rain misting from the greenhouse ceiling. We’ll have to revisit the campus when the new greenhouse gets built.
Springfield Museums . Springfield, MA . June 2017
On what would have been our long time babysitter’s last day (but luckily wasn’t) Camila joined us for a day trip to the Dr. Seuss Museum. She’s been watching the boys since they were 3 months old. I still can’t believe how strong she is, sometimes picking up both of them!
Fort Foster . Kittery, ME . June 2017
We got out for a few beach days this summer. I bravely trotted out into the shallow waves juggling sandy toddlers and a pro camera and it was all worth it.
even got in a selfie with Annie, my long time friend and mom of two boys
2018 goal: more fun selfies with friends!
Strawberry Picking at Nourse Farm . Westborough, MA . June 2017
This was an awesome day. My favorite of all the berry and fruit picking days. Next year I’m going to linger more to snack on freshly picked berries. That pumpkin bucket left over from Halloween 2016 is still kicking! I can’t believe it. Andy is toting along his favorite Hedgehog blanket.
Sadie Knox Spray Park . Westfield, MA . July 2017
There are so many photos from this day!! But I’ll narrow it down to this one. We visited Westfield for my Dad’s birthday and played at the same field that I used in my softball days .
Having twins means getting great moments where they’re synced up <3
Fort Foster . Kittery, ME . July 2017
Another beach day and I loved this moment playing in the treehouse. Andy was inside with a bunch of “big kids” and I waited outside in case anyone needed a Mom. Andy comes out to fill up on beach snacks (the only time when oreos seem like a good idea) and a “big kid” runs out after him… “Hey Boss!! What do you want us to do, Boss? What do you want us to do?” So Andy might have been running the show in there.
Davis Farmland . Sterling, MA . August 2017
Another outing with Camila to her favorite place, Davis Farmland. I loved this moment where we were taking a grape snack break and a goat hopped up on the bench to share with Eddie. He didn’t want to share but came back to give the goat a hug. That’s why I call him “Eddie Sweetheart”
And a bounce house is always fun!
Spectacle Island Ferry . Boston, MA . August 2017
Playing peek-a-boo and this look from Eddie just kills me. We’d spent a few hours on the beach at Spectacle Island with our friends Allana and Leo and this is our ferry ride back. It just so happened that this was the day of the eclipse. We were headed home by the time the eclipse happened but we’ll be sure to catch it in eight years.
Cars 3 Drive In Movie . Mendon, MA . August 2017
One down note of my summer was a car accident in June. Not serious, the boys weren’t in the car at the time but it did total my car. The upside was getting a new car…. something bigger and as it happens something perfect for Drive In movies! Before the summer nights got to be too cold we caught a movie, complete with a big bag of popcorn and blankets.
Uncle Scott & Aunt Naomi’s Wedding . Leavenworth, WA . September 2017
The best adventuring days were spent with our feet in the water while in Washington state. Lunchtime picnics on the river or hanging out at the lakeside cabin with the dogs at sunset. Not many photos from the wedding because that’s a good day to be off the clock 🙂
I love how Andy wanted to generously offer rocks to the dogs when all they wanted were sticks.
The ring bearer shirts with the names on the back were clutch for the rehearsal!
This is mostly how their outfits were suppose to look for the ceremony.
One of my all time favorite sequences ever was at the Seattle Art Museum. This is right next to the kids play area where we killed a few hours before our red eye flight and that included running laps in a space with remarkably good color, reflections and light.
Cold Spring Orchard . Belchertown, MA . September 2017
My second favorite fruit picking day was apples with Sarah!
Pumpkin Carving . Milford, MA . October 2017
No political statements this year. Just some messy pumpkin carving with some big boys.
Harborwalk . Boston, MA . October 2017
This day was another one where I realized how much these guys are at their best when they can just run. We spent about 15 minutes inside the New England Aquarium but enjoyed the outdoor spaces and food trucks much more. Whatever makes you happy guys!
I celebrate and reminisce on my current life because I have seen some major changes in the past year and a half. This won’t come as a surprise to most that follow me on social media but I haven’t explicitly shared that I am in fact divorced. A separation that started in June 2016, moved out in August 2016 and a divorce that was finalized in June 2017. It was unbearably hard and the details aren’t for light hearted sharing here… take me out for a long hike or drinks and I’ll candidly share.
I boldly thought I was going to bare all my raw emotions in a scathing facebook post right after the split or when I moved out or once I was settled into my new life. It never felt right. The pain of +9 year together and done, hurt like fucking hell at first and as I settled, so did the pain. Our divorce was an excruciating process. My ex would decide that on the day of the divorce, that was the right time to tell facebook – make it official for him and that still didn’t feel right to me.
I instead went for a hike with Chloe and booked a wedding… still need to work on my selfies.
Over time we got better at coparenting, communicating between households and settling into a post-divorce life. A few more balls to drop though… mid October 2017 my ex would tell me that Andy & Eddie were new big brothers! He and his girlfriend just had a baby. All of that was news to me. Luckily, in divorce you get to tap dozens of clear headed, thoughtful friends to cry with and they are ready to help you when life gets complicated again. It’s been a few weeks and I think I’ve hit my equilibrium again.
I share this because I walk into people’s lives as a photographer and expect them to open up to me, sometimes very quickly. I’ve always lived my life with as much openness as I could and the past few years have shielded people from a lot of the messy parts. People want to jump into the story when there’s a happy ending waiting for them, not when things are still in pieces.
Some people recognized a recently separated/divorcing “bat signal” of sorts from the summer of 2016… bits and pieces of thoughts that crept out of facebook and instagram posts. No surprise it was from other divorced people. A few asked me, “Steph, is it hard photographing weddings going through a divorce?”
Two days after “our last fight together” I shot a beautiful wedding…. you have to look. It’s an all time favorite!
I arrived early, as I do on wedding days and sat in my car when I parked in Boston and cried. I didn’t know if I could manage this task with the state of my personal life. Many deep breaths and I set off to do my job. Later that night guests would ask many many times for a selfie with me and I finally gave in (STILL have to work on those!). This is the sad, recently separated wedding photographer…. the thing is, in this moment I’m not. I’m exactly where I need to be.
Holding my camera, taking pictures is therapy for me. Whether it’s of my boys, for friends or clients. The best thing I can ever do for myself is to keep working, keep shooting, just keep busy. The days that I’m not working I can be Andy & Eddie’s mom or maybe even sleep in 🙂 ….see it’s not all bad
So when people ask me “Steph, is it hard photographing weddings going through a divorce?”
I say, “I’m following people’s happiness and I never stopped trying to find mine”
Life has been and will continue to be about what I can control and what I can’t control. The things I can control are how I can more effectively move my business forward, helping my little boys grow up into big boys, improve my physical and emotional health.
I started off with happy, silly photos and to finish I’d like to share a highlight reel of some of the silliest of our silliest moments.