Challenge Continues Photoshoot Edition….

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Number 24, a family photoshoot has been ticked off our ’30 before 30′ list! Knowing it would be near impossible to get both sides of the family together for one big photoshoot, we’re doing it in two halves; we completed the first half this weekend, the Jordan side. We got together with Scarlett’s Auntie, Uncle, Grandparents and Great Grandparent on her Dads side and spent an hour in a studio laughing together and getting some snaps taken.

We had a look at the result this week and inevitably after telling ourselves firmly that we cannot afford to, almost instantly fell for one of their ‘deals’ to capture some of the images as keepsakes (not to mention Christmas presents!).

But it wasn’t just about getting the pictures, after the shoot we all headed for lunch and as a family group spent most of the day catching up, chatting and laughing together; with less than an hours studio time that’s a whole day we wouldn’t have necessarily have spent all together like that. As sad as it is, life gets so busy, it’s essential to book in these times to have some quality time together.

In my Grandparents day, you spent every weekend with your family, you Sunday lunched together, you went to the shops together, you all lived on the same street. Today, people often live on the other side of the world from each other. Not trying to get away from one another but there’s a whole big wide world to explore and it’s much more accessible than it used to be! But days like Sunday always prove to me just how important family is, it’s a lifelong bond and a family is one that will always be there for you. I understand why people don’t get much time together, it’s the nature of our lifestyles these days but I do think it’s so important to make time to reconnect. Just because you don’t see them as often, doesn’t make those people any less important.

This message has been made even more poignant for me as my side of the family recently lost someone, my Auntie passed away recently and Friday we’ll be travelling to Manchester for the funeral. Life has been very busy with Scarlett, work and other things so we were so pleased to be able to introduce Scarlett to my Aunt last month at a one off family lunch, one we nearly weren’t able to make. We didn’t know at the time it was going to be the last time we saw her.

I know not all families are straightforward, there’s skeletons in every cupboard, and some people are family despite not sharing blood; whatever the circumstance, the message is the same. Life is busy but people are more important, relationships are more precious than busy schedules.

We’ve ticked one of the things off our list and come away with lasting memories of this time in our lives. My brother recently turned 21, I remember him being born like it was yesterday, before we know it Scarlett will be her own person and these days will be a distant memory. I’m often teased for how many pictures I take or how much I make of the small moments. But those small moments are what make life worth living, in years to come we will all look back and realise the small moments were in fact the big moments, and I for one certainly want to cherish them.

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Picture Perfect…

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Before I had a baby, when other friends posted hundreds of pictures of their children, (especially as babies, and usually in very similar poses to the photo posted five minutes previously) I was amongst the cynically minded. Yes they were very cute and all, but I don’t need to see a picture of them from every angle not doing anything specific so stop clogging up my news feed thank you very much.

In fact, cut to 9 months ago and I would have adamantly told you that I would never become one of those parents who constantly posted pictures of their baby, or even took hundreds in the first place.

Baby Scarlett was born 6 days ago and I have 112 photos of her on my phone…that’s nearly 20 a day, and as any parent will tell you, all she currently does is sleep, poop and cry, and we don’t take pictures when she cries or poops as a general rule. So essentially we have 20 pictures a day of her from slightly different angles…woops. Phone for you; it’s pot, asking for kettle..!

But I have come up with a theory. Having a baby has changed my life and my husband feels the same, we are ridiculously happy and feel love in a way we never have done before. We cannot believe how lucky we are to have this little miracle that we made together and we just can’t stop looking at her. There’s moments when you just get overwhelmed by how in love you are with that little baby, moments where they just look so perfect. And you’ll do anything to capture those moments, and keep them as long as possible. As soon as I became a Mum, I became suddenly aware of how fast time goes by and how quickly my baby girl will grow up, my husband and I have these precious moments for a very short amount of time. It feels as if the only possible way of having any control of keeping hold of those moments in any way is to photograph or video them. Enable ourselves to relive them.

I’m lucky in a way, I had a practise run which somewhat prepared me for how fast this time goes. My ‘baby’ brother (now 20!) is almost a decade younger than me and when he was born I was completely taken with him. I have felt maternally towards him most of his life and now, as I’ve mentioned before, he owns his own flat, has a stable job and is in a serious relationship. In a blink of an eye, he’s gone from being a toddler who would burst into giggles when I blew a raspberry at him, into an adult who would probably be less amused at the same tactic! I love looking back at pictures and videos from when he was a child although I certainly don’t have 20 photos per day from that time!

But it’s why I think it’s helped me cherish each moment in these early days when everyone warned that it’d be overwhelming and really rough to deal with. Soon, not only will she not need us trying to hug her every five minutes, she won’t want us to! And rightly so. As a small child, my brothers eyes uses to light up when I walked into the room, now his eyes light up when his girlfriend walks into the room; and that’s how it should be. And that’s how it will be with my baby girl. In fact, my brother now looks at Scarlett in a similar way I used to look at him, he is quite taken with her and as soon as he held her and had that quiet little smile on his face, I knew he was going to be a fantastic Uncle.

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(Pictured above, introductions are made between my little brother and I)

My husband and I are currently the most important people in our daughters life, but we will be replaced in time. Not in a sad way, in a natural way; we’ll still be important but it will hopefully show us we’ve done our jobs well as she develops other important relationships and one day has kids of her own, that she will then take 20 pictures a day of!

What I am saying (in an extremely long winded way..!) is that I now understand how easy it is to get carried away at all the picture taking and wanting to show them off to the whole world. It’s capturing this time, cherishing those moments. We have restricted ourselves (or at least really tried to!) to the number of uploads. But we’ll be keeping most of them to ourselves, in albums where people can see them if they’re interested, (in person, over a cup of tea to really stick it to social media!) instead of forcing them to see every angle of her face every half an hour in their newsfeed. But we are also going to try and reduce the number of pictures taken in the first place, the problem with it being so easy to take so many pictures is you spend more time looking at things through a lens rather than truly enjoying those moments in the first place!

So I suppose I can still be considered as leaning slightly on the cynical side when it comes to the ‘new parent over share’; but unlike before, I can now relate to it. After all, Scarlett does have the cutest little nose, and makes the most beautiful facial expressions whilst she’s sleeping, and…oh, have you seen a picture of her when she yawns..? Adorable…

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