Intellectually, I knew that my two kids would be different, that they would be their own people with their own interests and anxieties and passions. So, I KNEW that. But actually watching those differences manifest themselves is shocking and fascinating in equal measure. For instance, Juniper, our 3 year-old, can’t stand to get her face wet. It’s not that she’s timid—she’s a bulldog in social situations—but she’s…cautious about certain things. Water being one of those things. Amity…not so much.
About a month ago, we took our first ever full-fledged family vacation. We packed Juni and Hammy and half the house into the minivan and headed to Georgetown, SC. It was a revealing trip for too many reasons to list here, but one of the most interesting takeaways from our time on the beach was that Juni is a little concerned about the ocean, while Hammy wants to be IN the ocean. Now. She would get smacked right in the face by a wave and laugh. When we tried to take her out of the water, she’d struggle free of our grip and scamper back to the water, obviously outraged that we’d tried to remove her in the first place.
You can see pretty much the same thing in these pictures. We didn’t really feel like taking the girls to the local water park, so we just plugged in the sprinkler and set them free. Juni would either run away from the water or finagle things so she wouldn’t get her face wet; Hammy was happy to stand 2 inches away from the sprinkler and take all jets full in the face. The girls are so young, only 1 and 3, so I know I’ll be noticing more and more of these ways they’re so similar and so different, but these past few months, during which Hammy has really started to show her personality, have been eye-opening. Hope you enjoy!
About ten days before I was slated to take my first official family-of-four vacation, my older daughter got sick. Really sick. First, Juniper started complaining that her throat hurt, and in the beginning, my husband and I just sort of shrugged it off. By that time, both Juniper and Amity, our one year-old, had been sick nearly constantly since February, and we both assumed this was just another summer cold, the kind of thing that lasts three or four days and then fades away. But this wasn’t that. Soon, Juniper began telling us that her belly hurt, too. And that she had to pee every five seconds—and this is not an exaggeration. For days, she would tell us she had to pee again WHILE she was still peeing. Over the next seven days, we spent hour upon hour in the bathroom, tried to take the edge off Juniper’s throat pain with over the counter meds, and visited the doctor’s office four times. During three of those visits, they did throat swabs, and finally, on the third try, her test came back positive for strep.
Only it wasn’t just any old strep. This was that sneaking, horrifying variety of strep that infests not only the throat, but also the other delicate membranes of the body. That explained the constant need to go to the bathroom, the achy belly, and scariest of all, the completely aberrant behavior caused by the swelling of her brain’s lining. Juniper couldn’t sleep. She was paranoid. She suffered from debilitating separation anxiety. She didn’t want to eat and would fly into sudden rages we’d never seen before. My husband and I were terrified for her.
By day three of the antibiotics, we started to get our girl back a little bit, and all of us were able to get a little more sleep. A few days later, we were scheduled to leave for the beach, and after some debate, we decided to keep our plans and go. I’m so glad we did; although the sailing wasn’t exactly serene the entire time, all of us, and Juniper in particular, did a lot of healing that week.
The house I’d rented was in Georgetown, SC, not too far from the waterfront. We left Charlotte as early as we could and made it to our rental by early afternoon. After a frenzied unpacking and setting-up session, we confronted the biggest question of the week—would Juniper sleep? Turns out, she did, and much better than either of us had anticipated. Over the next seven days, we shared the house with two close sets of friends, and the week culminated with Juniper’s 3rd birthday, which she got to spend with her best friend, Maisie.
The highlights from our trip were many. I turned off work for a week. I slept. I got to watch my two little girls playing on the beach, and to photograph them doing so. We took long, leisurely walks around the neighborhood, most of which were pleasantly interrupted at the midway point by a visit to one of the waterfront bars, and all of which ended with a glass of wine and full-blast air conditioning. For a week, I stepped out of my everyday life and into the shoes of someone who could focus fully on parenting, experiencing, and relaxing. It was wonderful, and it was exhausting.
And now I’m home, and I’m happy to be back into the swing of things. Most of all, I’m so grateful for how far Juniper has come in her recovery from her illness.
I hope you like the pictures of my people. They’re my heart, and these photos mean the world to me as a mother.
These past couple of years have been an adventure, and that’s putting it mildly. In July of 2014, after 4 years of infertility struggles, my husband and I welcomed Juniper into our lives. In April of 2016, Amity arrived. In the years that preceded the births of my daughters, I worked, I beaded, I read, I watched movies, I cooked, I spent time with friends, and on and on. For those of you with children, you already know where this is headed.
Having babies is hard. It’s an immersive experience, a consuming state of existence. For the first six weeks of a baby’s life, she needs so much attention. Feeding, rocking, changing, putting down, and repeat. After those first six weeks, things get a little easier, but incrementally. At this point, a year into Amity’s young life and almost three into Juniper’s, I’m just starting to see the light. Amity is sleeping well, giggling at the funny faces her sister makes, and eating like a horse. We’re lucky. But the reason we’re lucky is that my husband and I work hard–incredibly hard–at parenting. Having this chance to be a mom is both the greatest blessing and the most difficult challenge of my life. It’s one I welcome, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit that having two tiny humans at home can redefine the way my time is apportioned.
If you’ve read this far, I just want to say this, and I’ll be both honest and blunt: thank you. Thank you for sticking with me these last few years, as I’ve figured out how to balance my career against my growing family. Thank you for trusting me to capture images of your families; for maintaining your relationships with me; for entrusting me with the enormous honor of chronicling your lives and the lives of the people you love the most. I do what I do because of how this profession allows me to connect to my clients. All of you mean the world to me, and more than anything, I want for you to know that these last couple of years, which have been both incredibly challenging and indescribably rewarding, have only increased my passion for what I do.
As I approach my 41st birthday in mid-June and my 9th wedding anniversary in July, I feel a renewed enthusiasm and commitment to my craft, to my family, and to my life as a whole. This–this current moment in my life–is the best part so far, and I can’t wait to share with you this wonderful feeling of vitality, creativity, and passion.
So again: thank you. Thank you for hiring me. Thank you for allowing me into your families. Thank you for giving me the chance to do this job I love so much.
These people are my whole world.
I am happily donating my photography services this Saturday night in support of my friend, Lynn, who lost her sister, Melissa, to a life long battle with an eating disorder that ultimately claimed Melissa’s life. I am honored to participate in such a special night that will hopefully raise boo coos of money for the Hope Scholarship which provides financial support to those battling eating disorders who can not afford the treatment they so desperately need. Read more about Lynn’s story below. Hope to see you there!
Enjoy 4 Wine Tastings, Music, and Cuisine Sampling from 15 of Charlotte’s Best Restaurant/Markets, Yummy Desserts from Amelie’s and Edible Art and Delicious Magnolia Coffee! All of this as you move through 4 Exquisite Art Galleries in the Myers Park & Selwyn area of Charlotte. There is even a special ‘Lip & Sip’ stop along the way and after crawl shopping this year!
SIP & SAVOUR Myers Park Gallery Crawl is mostly about Saving Lives! All event proceeds benefit Melissa’s Voice Foundation and the HOPE Scholarship funding eating disorder treatment. Help bring a voice to those battling eating disorders! Help raise awareness….Help raise much needed funds to help those in need of costly treatment….Help save a friend!
Cost is $35.00
Includes-Art, Cuisine, Wine, Champagne, Music
Get Tickets: http://
6:00 PM — Check in at Allison Sprock Fine Art for Crawl Map & Directions
6:00 — 8:00 PM Allison Sprock Fine Art
6:00 — 8:00PM Providence Gallery & Bond Street Wine & Jeffre Scott ‘Lip & Sip’
7:00 — 9:00 PM McColl Fine Art
7:30 — 10:00 PM Shain Gallery
Last year’s SIP & SAVOUR event was a sellout with over 400 attendees! So….Reserve your tickets today! It’s a Great Girls Night, A Great Date! It’s a Great Solo Night Out! No matter, it is just a Great Night!
EVENT WILL GO ON ~ RAIN OR SHINE!!!!
For those of you who know my sweet Mark, you know that I am one of the lucky ones. I am married to a man who prioritizes my happiness, often over his own. He truly is the best partner a girl could ever hope for. Did I mention he has a fantastic head of hair and is a genius in the kitchen!?! Yep, I totally scored–which makes me feel terrible about how hard I made that darling boy work to find me the perfect wedding ring.
After a little over two years of dating, Mark decided to propose. He knew I wasn’t a diamond solitaire kind of girl, not because I didn’t think they were lovely, but because I am always using my hands–whether digging in the dirt, jamming my hand in my camera bag to fetch something, or just clumsily whacking my hand into a wall as I am walking by–and I didn’t want a ring I had to be extra careful with. I have always loved bold jewelry and, as far as rings go, the bigger the better. My fave ring is a knuckle to knuckle turquoise number that Mark bought for me on our first trip to see his folks in Spain. He knew he needed to find something unique for me that could stand up next to that chunker. He turned to my sister Ashley for assistance. She was sure they would find the perfect ring at Perry’s Southpark. After almost an hour of looking without finding a winner, the sales lady brought out a new ring to show them. It was a nature inspired, wrap-style band set asymmetrically with sapphires and diamonds. Mark was sure he had found my ring and Ashley, who is never shy, held in her objections–at least for a few days after the ring was bought and paid for. Then she called Mark in tears, apologizing and finally blurting out “you bought the wrong ring!” Mark can’t tolerate a crying woman so he offered to consider any alternative options, just as long as she would stop crying. Ashley pointed him in the direction of an online retailer of estate jewelry. He fell in love with an antique diamond and emerald beauty from the 1890’s and Ashley, thankfully, agreed it was the ring for me.
Not sure what to do with the first ring now, Mark decided he would employ both rings for the proposal. I am a keenly observant person and, according to Mark, quite difficult to surprise. When we had discussed getting engaged, the only rule I threw out was for Mark to not propose to me in a restaurant. Any other proposal plan would be just fine, I just didn’t want to be the couple in the restaurant that strangers were clapping for. However, in order to surprise me, Mark had to go ahead and do the one thing I would never expect–propose in a restaurant–a brewery, in fact. Romantic right? It actually was… We were in Bangor, Maine between Christmas and New Years. It was a random trip, the kind that just reeked of an engagement, so I was on my tip toes the whole time thinking it could happen at any moment. That is, any moment except the night of the blizzard. No major plans for the evening. We were just going to walk from our charmingly creepy room at the St. Charles Inn to the brewery down the road. We held hands as we walked and savored the silence of the heavy snowfall. I was relaxed. There’s no way it was happening THAT night.
As we enjoyed our first beers in the empty barroom, Mark said to me, “So I would like to give you that gift I didn’t want to give you at Christmas.” Okay, I thought, this can’t be it. He just has a gift for me. But then he slid a ring box across the table and sat back nonchalantly in his chair, just staring at me. Oh, crap. Is this it? Is this MY proposal? He was still just sitting there, so I opened the box to find the sapphire and diamond ring inside. He was STILL just sitting there. Maybe this was just a belated Christmas gift–I needed to react. It really WAS beautiful. Not really my style, but BEAUTIFUL. I took the ring out and slid in on my finger. As I looked up to thank him…he was gone. I looked all around, only to discover him on his knees, beside my chair, with ANOTHER ring, crying and mumbling something about marrying him. YES!! I was so confused, but YES!! He got me good. Sneaky devil. The only person in the bar to clap for us was our waitress, and I was just fine with that. Mark explained the ring story and said I could consider either ring my engagement ring. I chose the one he proposed with.
By the time the wedding rolled around in July, we learned that my beloved antique ring was a little too delicate for everyday wear. In seven short months, we had to have one of the emeralds replaced twice. We needed an everyday ring for the wedding band and I would wear the engagement ring on my right hand. How European, right? I found a very wide, fine silver band on Etsy.com that had a pressed cottonwood leaf in it. Perfect; or at least it seemed perfect until, a few months after the wedding, wearing the oh-so-wide band everyday gave me a wicked case of dermatitis. Ah jeez. 1st ring wasn’t me, 2nd ring was too delicate, 3rd ring didn’t breathe… what’s a girl to do? Mark and I talked about it and, with his full support, he agreed to let me take ring #1 back to Perry’s, explain my ridiculous story and see if they could do anything for me. After they quit laughing, they kindly offered to return ring #1 for full credit (WHAT?!?) towards another ring in the store. Yep. Ring #4. I picked out the perfect wide band with lace-like open diamond work. It was sparkly without being delicate and it looked amazing next to my other big rings. It made the perfect first anniversary gift.
So I wonder, with our fifth anniversary coming up in the summer, do you think I can talk my sweet hubs into ring #5? Doubtful. Mark, just in case you are considering it, I think a pave set eternity ring would look just perfect next to my band. Or maybe a claw set, I cant decide. No? Okay….