We found out today that this little sweetie is going to be a big sister!!!!!! She is going to be amazing at it.
So as it would happen, my flight home from Boston had a layover in New Jersey-right about exactly when the hurricane was due to hit shore. I can’t make this stuff up. Though this time, after a nice flying tour of the midwest, I got home early! Boston was amazing like usual, and it reaffirms for me that I love shooting for NPO’s. Enjoy some of my Boston favorites:
baby girl is a senior! love, love, love her. She’s amazing.
That’s my favorite sassy face!
That’s the real smile. You should hear her wonderful (loud!) laugh that goes with it!
Daddy wants me to lock that one away…but Chloe and I like it!
They grow up f-a-s-t friends. Try to believe me!
I cannot promise you I will be a better blogger, can’t do that to myself right now with so much going on,
but I can tell you that is my intent. Cheers!
Lord, where do I start? February is always a hard month for me. I think it’s because I reside in Michigan. It’s cold here. Ironic that I was born in February don’t you think? If I had had some say in the matter I would have chosen to be born in a different month. Say August. Nobody asked me.
Ask any of my friends and they will say this past year has been especially interesting for me, and at times, trying. Ask those closest to me, and they will say this past year I have been especially interesting, and at times, trying. It is true. The experience of being in Haiti before, during, and after the earthquake did a number on me. Made me scared, fragile, vulnerable, insecure, guilt ridden (for surviving-yet again) and yet I became even more independent, strong, resourceful, and centered. And surprisingly, I also became angry. I have always operated from a place of happiness, so I was taken aback and knocked off center when this year I lost my patience over and over and over again.
When I finally ‘checked back in’ this week, if you will, I saw the downward spiral I was in- that is- looking backward with regret, holding onto my frustrations, and beating myself up for not doing more. I looked into the faces of those I love and I picked myself up and turned around. Well, ok, I am doing the work of it, but I’m doing it with help from my crew. It is not an easy thing to do, to look forward, to remain positive. I will get it wrong a lot. It makes me think of how our oldest son, Mikhail, used to put himself in time-out. He knew what he was doing, and he knew he would get in trouble, but he did it anyway, and took the consequences. That is what happens when you are self aware. I feel like I have been sitting in a time-out chair. I’m ready for you all to forgive me. But mostly I am ready to forgive myself. I can get out of the chair now. I am doing what I can. I am making a difference. I am loving those around me to the best of my ability. It is enough. If I can say one thing to help you, I would say be kinder to yourself.
Amazing things have happened this year as well. First and foremost, Mikhail got MARRIED!!! I am a Mother-in-law! I still can’t believe it some days. I don’t feel old enough to be a Mother-in-law. (Indeed, I’m not really old enough 😉 Mik & Sarah got married in November when he was home on leave. It was a small, private ceremony with only immediate family in attendance, and it was absolutely beautiful. One of the most lovely days of my life! We are so proud of him, and Sarah has been a wonderful addition to our family. It was a tough call for me but in the end I decided to leave my camera home during the ceremony and just be present with my family. It was worth it. Mik & Sarah are hoping to have a reception next summer. Which brings me to mention, Mik is on his first deployment with the NAVY, on the USS Bunker Hill, at last report, near Malaysia. What an interesting experience to be a NAVY Mom as well. Prior to this I knew almost no one in the service. it is fascinating, and I am embracing it, even though it requires learning a whole new language. You’ll have to forgive me if I slip into speaking in acronyms. The NAVY is very fond of them for some inexplicable reason.
My pride and joy. All 4 of them. And they’re all growing up and I know everyone told me but I really didn’t believe that would happen!
These guys are about as *happy* as any new parents could be, and with good reason. It was wonderful to photograph Bella at only a couple weeks old, and boy is she loved! Her parents had her nursery hand paintedBI0-122 by local artist Holly Goulet and it suits this beautiful baby girl. During their
074-676 session I also discovered a wedding bowl designed for them by local potter Betsy Ratzsch which you will see in some of her photos. For a sneak peek at Bella’s session look HERE.
I am taking advantage of an opportunity to help raise funds for Haiti. There is an amazing group of people running I have agreed to be a presenter in Detroit this Saturday!!! I am excited but also at a complete loss. Please understand- I have never been a public speaker, I hardly know what to say. The thing is, in this I am speaking for the people who do not have the voice to speak for themselves right now, and this is my calling. Of that I am sure. It was no mistake that I was there when the Earthquake happened, I have never doubted the trip- not even when we wondered if we would make it home. Haiti is on my mind daily and it is up to me to help spread the word of how to help. It is also up to you. My dear friend Theo said this to me when I returned from Africa, and was voicing my frustration with not being able to help enough. “Terri- Africa is a crisis, and you do what you would do in any crisis~ you do what you can” My friends, Haiti is a crisis. Do what you can.
I have had the hardest time getting back into the swing of things since I was in Haiti. I have been doing things like getting in the shower with my socks still on. It was good for me to finish up this session though, reminds me of all that is right in the world. I have to say, this little Caroline is absolutely lovely and has a beautiful personality to boot. Her parents are a joy as well, and nothing if not patient with me. Thanks guys, it was a pleasure working with you, all of you.
So you will not believe where I’ve been. I got on board with a team from Mission Possible, out of Findley Ohio, to document their work near Sainte Marc, Haiti. View more of my photos HERE. I had already accomplished 3 days of photographing their schools and church and I was alone in the girls dorm room sitting on my bed editing photos on my laptop when the Earthquake struck.
It was perfectly quiet outside and all of the sudden it sounded like a train was coming through. The whole building started shaking quite violently and at first I could not the second story room but the quake threw me back on the bed. I tried again and made it downstairs and outside where half of the team on the compound had gathered in the shagoon. All around us in the neighborhood people were just screaming. We were able to get online with the satellite internet and soon after realized the quake was severe. We were around 40 miles North of the epicenter. That night we unloaded the Mission’s medical storage room for drop off at the hospital north of us in Sainte Marc. The hospital was very grateful for the supplies and the head Dr. was purported to have only accepted the job a week prior! We experienced aftershocks for the next 24 hours, one of which I felt in the night and was quite strong I didn’t sleep much Wednesday morning we headed south to one of the Mission’s schools to check on their condition and I photographed several children and families as well as crumbled buildings along National Highway One, which leads from Port Au Prince through Sainte Marc. By Thursday the Mission had determined they needed to evacuate us. That was a tough call all the way around and we were sad to leave but did not have the proper training, supplies, or back-up to be of help after that and we did not wish to become liabilities for the rescue efforts. We drove West of Port Au Prince, about 4 miles from the capital, and were greeted with people walking with their belongings as well as truckloads of others, all fleeing the city. There were some gruesome sights along the way, only some of which I could bring myself to document. It took us most of the day to get to the Dominican Republic and we found a hotel in Barahona. We spent Friday morning at another school run by the mission and then went to the hospital where many Earthquake victims were arriving. The hospital system there is different and if you want supplies such as and IV or sheets, you have to supply that yourself. As many of the victims were alone or without cash for supplies we sent a team to purchase what supplies were currently needed. I documented that hospital as well.Friday afternoon a wonderful lunch was prepared for us by our Dominican hosts and afterward I burst into tears, I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I was getting to eat. Our flights were secured out of Santo Domingo on Saturday morning but it was not without great guilt that I left. I do have to say this- the people of Haiti were already the neediest people I have seen prior to the Earthquake. Now, they are desperate. Please do what you can and keep Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. They are good people, and people matter.