I love this project more each month. March was full of birthdays, baseball and crazy weather extremes. We made lots of great memories - see what we have been up to.
My mom and I have started a new tradition. For quite some time she has been telling me that she wants us to spend more time together. As a full time working mom and 2 little boys time is not something I have in abundance. However, creating memories with her and finding that time is important to me. So for her birthday last year I purchased a cookie decorating class for us at Sur La Table. I have never taken a cooking class there, or anywhere for that matter.
We had so much fun that I decided for Christmas I would find another class for us to go to. She has mentioned several times that she would like to learn to make Macarons. While scrolling through the classes I saw a Valentine Macaron class and thought it would perfect for our next morning together.
I picked her as usual and we headed to a little breakfast place where she had pancakes and I had a mimosa. It is the perfect start to a mother daughter adventure. After that we headed on over to Sur La Table to get started. I have to admit, I was nervous, I didn't know much about macarons. I had seen them before, but I had actually never even tasted one. What I did know is that they are hard to make.
Now I know my way around the kitchen. I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination and I am not a star baker so I was worried about these finicky little cookies.
Macarons are pretty basic when it comes to ingredients. The cookies themselves only require almond flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, a little white sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar. Then you add whatever gel coloring you like (never liquid coloring). Seems very basic and easy, right?
WRONG! These little cookies are so fickle that you have to actually WEIGH all of your ingredients instead of measuring them as you do with most recipes. We had to measure things down to the gram. There is very little wiggle room if you want them to rise and have the little feet (scalloped edges). There is a lot of hand stirring required. There is a specific pattern suggested for that stirring and the consistency has to be just perfect.
Just when we thought it was good - nope more stirring. At least my arm got a workout that day.
Now our macarons would have been a complete disaster if it wasn't for our magnificent teacher, Sabrina. She used to make these little creations all day every day - God bless her. She is a macaron expert! She made me believe right from the beginning that I was going to succeed. See how the batter has to fall off of the spoon just right to know its ready for the piping?
The tricky part is not over once you have the perfect batter. NOPE! Then you have to pipe them just the right way. You have to have the right pressure and the right speed. That's right if you push to hard or too fast you're ruined. Basically your macarons live or die right here at this step.
Once our pink hearts were in the oven. we moved on to some green tea macarons - a staple in the macaron world.
Now once your macarons have cooled then you get to pipe in the yummy sweet center. On this day we filled our hearts with champagne icing and it was GOOD! Believe me these little cookies will definitely satisfy anyone's sweet tooth.
We had an amazing time together and most of all we made great memories. I am happy to say we even came home with some awesome looking (and tasting) macarons. My boys (the two little and daddy) certainly all approved when I brought my goodies home. I can't wait to decide what class we take next!
What's the big deal about a second? Not much happens in such a short amount of time.
There are so many little moments I do not want to forget but my mind and heart simply aren't enough to hold these treasures forever. I will surely forget that sweet toddler voice as it fades into distant memories. I will struggle to recall that precious chubby face as it grows into a man. I will be unable to open my heart in a way that allows my precious boys to see and hear the memories for themselves as they prepare to welcome their own little ones.
For this and many other reasons as 2017 approached I decided it was a priority to start a video project. I am extremely dedicated to documenting our days with pictures that show our "real" and our everyday. Yet, I wanted more - I wanted to hear and relive those memories. I didn't want to just tell stories to my grandchildren, I wanted to preserve these moments in a way that allowed me to really share them.
I am only in my second month of this project but it is already so near and dear to my heart and I cherish the sights and sounds I have already preserved. My typical Saturday starts at 6:30 am when my 5 year old comes bounding into our room a total ball of energy and they end around 11:00 with some quiet moments on the couch with the love of my life. That means I am surrounded by my "now" for 17 hours. That means I have 61,200 seconds of memories to try and hold onto. Now let me say not all of those memories are sweet and happy, some are maddening and loud. There is fighting, tears, timeouts and exhaustion but there is also joy, love, tenderness and giggles. I want to cherish them all.
This project has taught me that every second can be beautiful and special. That's amazing to imagine isn't it? I mean most of us don't give a second thought to just a second - how much can happen in a second? Well this project has made me slow down - see the seconds - appreciate the mundane - and I am glad I have found a way to preserve them. It reminds me to stay present and soak it in.
So here it is..... The Beauty of a Second | February Edition. Enjoy and thanks for watching.
Every year Jon and I save some vacation days for the holidays. I love to spend a little staycay with my family during that special time of the year. This year we were home together for about 12 days. There were ups and downs, laughter and tears but I cherish this time with my family tucked away in our home spending time together.
This year I took a film class and have started including short films into my documentary packages. I knew I definitely wanted to document on film some highlights of our time together. Here is a little sneak into our holidays together with family and friends.
Happy New Year and may all your dreams come true in 2017.
Smith Holiday Traditions | Family Photographer | Holly Springs NC
I had the pleasure of spending a morning with the Lively family as October drew to a close. This is the most adorable little family. Their home is filled with laughter. Mom has the best out loud laugh ever. You can just feel the joy in their home.
They have two precious little girls, Clara and Charlie. Charlie just turned one and Clara is a little ball of personality. She it outgoing and very articulate - when I arrived she and dad, Matt, were watching The Little Mermaid and were having a very in depth conversation about things. It was adorable. You can hear some of it in the Moments in Motion video below.
Besides being a beautiful family, Megan's home is just as gorgeous and so the session was a dream to shoot. I love the Livelys - I have photographed their family on several occasions. I love that they let me just come on in and do my thing.
Thank you Livelys for being so awesome.
As the momma of 2 boys myself, I certainly felt at home with this family. The energy and excitement reminded me of my own little family.
We met at the park on a beautiful fall afternoon for an adventure filled time of bubbles, football and leaves. Oh and that gorgeous golden sun that fall is famous for.
Mom told me that the family often plays flag football - I am so glad the boys will have these precious memories to look back on when they have their own kids.
This family is full of fun and love. You can tell they are a family that plays together often. I was shocked that not one time did those two boys fight or argue. Mom and dad are obviously doing it right! I even got to witness a few "mommy's boys" moments toward the end and it made me smile knowing those moments are so very special when they happen. Those little arms around a mommy's neck are worth more than any amount of gold.
Here are some of the moments from our time together.
Thank you Kimberly and Michael (and Lucas and Landon!) and for inviting me on your adventure.
I would love to document your moments. Let's chat.
It takes a village. I don't know if I used to believe in that..... you know back before I had children and I thought I knew everything.
Now I believe it with every fiber of my being. I could not do life without my husband, my parents and all my family. I use the word family not to mean those that are related to us my blood but those that are with us, for us ...... those that know us..... really know us. The mommas that lift me up and know my heartaches, my struggles, my fears and reassure me everyday that I am not ruining my children and making all the wrong decisions.
When we moved to our current "hood" we wanted a community, some friends a bigger house and a nice pool. What we got was family..... so much more than I could have imagined.
I am surrounded my amazing mommas and daddies finding their way just like us.
I can pick up the phone and within minutes have help if I need it or a friend to laugh with, cry with or just drink wine with. It is amazing. These people know us, they get us and their kids are just as crazy as ours.
These mommas love my children as if they were their own. Our children cover a wide span of ages, but just like us, they love each other, watch out for one another and age doesn't seem to matter. From the smallest to the oldest they are a family as well.
Many nights I find my home is the gathering place. A place where crafts are made, laughter is heard, kids can be seen chasing round and round the kitchen island and where magical movies are made. It is a place they are welcome and safe. Nothing makes me happier than when my house is packed and loud and my heart is full.
As many of you know I have recently finished my first film class. I am super excited about the ways it is going to expand my storytelling for clients..... and myself. I have been practicing relentlessly and spending loads of time checking out the films of more experienced storytellers.
One of my favorite short film artists that shoots with her DSLR (aka fancy camera) like me is Francesca Russell from New York. While she is light years ahead of me - she has been doing this for a while, I love that she practices on her own littles ...... just like me. Her website is full of fun photos and videos of her own kids. Let's be honest, they are right there begging us to practice on them :)
She did a video of her own children that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. It had a dreamy whimsical magic about it that drew me in. I knew immediately I wanted to create a similar video for my own children.
After finishing my class it was one of the first things on my list to create as a gift to myself. So off to the store I went for a bubble machine - which was a necessity for this Moments in Motion story. Now I want to share it with you.
It seems as each new season approaches I am ready for it, tired of the last..... I'm waiting for it.... excited about it! (except winter - I really don't like winter) Around the beginning of September every year, as football starts and the pools all close, I am ready for boots, leggings and my big sweaters. Bring on the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
There is nothing like crisp days, golden light and the excitement fall always brings with it. It is a magical and romantic time. There are so many fun traditions that fall brings: trips to local farms to pick apples, pumpkins and mums; Halloween costumes, pumpkin carving, playing in giant piles of leaves and marshmallows by the fire pit, red wine on the back porch wrapped in a blanket... see why I just love fall?
To celebrate the season with you, I am offering a special Short Story Session documenting one of your family's "Fall Fun." This special session will on be available Saturdays and Sundays during the weekend of October 8-9; October 14-15 and November 5-6.
Short Story Sessions take place at a location of your choice and document candid moments with your family or friends.
FALL STORYTELLING SESSION | $275
- 1.5 hours of shooting on location for up to 5 people
- Your favorite 15 images provided in both high resolution digital files suitable for printing, and also as web-optimized files (watermarked for sharing)
FALL STORY IN MOTION | $325
- 1.5 hours of shooting on location filming
- A 3-4 minutes family film, downloadable and sharable via Vimeo. Also provided to client on USB.
- Includes fully licensed music.
For examples of the Story in Motion visit my film gallery.
Let's tell your fall story! Contact me today to book a session - slots are filling up quickly.
Happy Fall Y'all!!!!