childhood unplugged

As summer approaches we spend more and more time in the backyard, and cooling down in the pool is essential in the Florida sun.  From games like sharks + minnows or marco/polo to driving down to get the most lacrosse balls from the bottom of the pool, the boys entertain each other for hours in the pool and I couldn’t be more grateful.  I am so happy that they have each other and that they play so well together.  Of course there is the occasional tiff here and there but overall there are more shrieks of joy and fun than anything else.

One of their favorite pool time activities are full on dance contests with music blaring… Massi is master of the robot while Giac is more into interpretive dance based on the lyrics and if he knows the song well he pretty much acts the whole thing out.  Looking forward to much for backyard fun as we roll into summer!

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Take a moment to view the work of the other Childhood Unplugged photographers by clicking here.  Also you can follow us on Instagram @childhoodunplugged and use our hashtag #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured!  We all thank you for your constant support and encourage you to be part of the childhood unplugged movement!

 

the truth infertility hurts

The truth is infertility hurts.  I believe whole heartedly that it will happen again for me, I have to believe it if not month after month I wouldn’t be pushing forward and trying again.  And when someone tells me I am not being positive enough or putting it out into the universe I want to tell them to go fuck themselves because I have put it out there so many times in so many ways and believed with every ounce I have but after years and YEARS of getting so close I can see the reality and then loosing it, there are times that it’s hard to believe.  But I still do, no matter how sad I feel or how much it hurts, I still believe.

The question that was posed to me recently was when is it positive thinking and when is it obsession.  I don’t doubt that there are moments my desire is obsessive, the times when my boobs start to hurt more than normal or I feel something different and I find myself at 1am on some forum looking for some other woman to say they had the same symptoms and is now 6 months pregnant and everything is fine.  It isn’t healthy and I am aware of that and at 1am I actually can hear the voice in my heard telling me to turn it off and go to sleep but I just want to find someone to tell me what I want to hear.  And then a few days later I get my first of what will be many negative tests and that woman I found was the exception not the norm.  But one day I could be the exception, it happens, it happened to her.

The other day I read a post on Instagram and it set me off, someone I don’t know being grateful for the third child they asked the universe for and shortly there after received.  My jealously growing quickly like Jack’s beanstalk and unable to handle the pain – I just cried.  When will it be my turn?  For a short while I considered running from Instagram altogether, so I didn’t have to see any more beautiful newborn babies in their mother’s thankful arms.  But I don’t run.  I don’t hide.  I believe. Because believing has got me this far.

I might have my moments but who doesn’t, right? The truth is that life isn’t easy, and everyone has struggles, I have had plenty, but I have always ALWAYS turned to my art and my creativity to push forward.  I find a way, sometimes obvious in nature and other times cryptic, but I put my message out there, if even only for myself.  So I will keep on doing it, because if nothing else I have to wipe my tears long enough to snap the picture.

Snow storms, old school Nintendo, board games, Easter eggs and to top it off a birthday celebration…. we sure know how to have fun in the mountains! A full house with dear friends is always a good recipe for fun and this week will be one to remember.  Here we spent a week in Snowmass, Colorado for Spring Break with the children!

music “It Don’t Get Better Than This” by Royal Deluxe (licensed through Musicbed)

 

childhood unplugged

Our weeks in Colorado are some of my favorite memories with my boys and I hope that when they grow up they too will look back on them with fondness.  Staying unplugged proves to be easy in the mountains, with days full of skiing, snowball fights and s’mores everyone plays hard and passes out when the day ends.  Sometimes there are little naps in the afternoon, because skiing can take it out of them.  And the cold too, as we are use to warm weather and pull out the coats when it hits the lows 60s in Miami, so the snow and the wind chill and the extra dry air that immediately chaps all our lips has never been something we get use to!

This year I couldn’t believe what good skiers my boys are becoming, with the little guy graduating to poles half way through the trip! Both of them skiing blues and by the end of the trip we could ski with them no problem.  Especially Massi, he was even making shot and tight turns down blues by the end, and quickly.  It is amazing to see how much they learn in such a short period of time.  I don’t remember learning how to ski, I don’t remember it being frustrating or difficult, and I hope the same for them, because it is something I so enjoy as an adult and I am happy we are on the way to passing that along.

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Take a moment to view the work of the other Childhood Unplugged photographers by clicking here.  Also you can follow us on Instagram @childhoodunplugged and use our hashtag #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured!  We all thank you for your constant support and encourage you to be part of the childhood unplugged movement!

 

 

infertility

carolyn_mara it’s #internationalwomensday| and I’m feeling less than. had one of those mornings where the tears flowed freely and the pain seemed like it wouldn’t end. I’ve wanted another child for almost five years now, I don’t talk about the negative test after negative test, or the miscarriages after positive ones, for fear of judgement for wanting another, or for perspective from those who think they understand but don’t. and this afternoon I pulled myself together, grabbed a sweet friend and went to an empty house to spend an hour creating. my images have always been my voice but today, following @sharonmckeeman lead over on @childhoodunplugged I decided to share my words as well.


For many years I have struggled with infertility and used my art as a way to soothe the pain.  I never said “I am screaming because the pregnancy test is negative” but none the less I may have taken an image of myself screaming into a pillow and said it was a bad day.  Millions of women struggle but somehow I had so much guilt for wanting another child.  I have two beautiful, kind, loving, well behaved boys and I love them with everything I have but still I want another.  I am trying to learn to separate the feelings, because I want another doesn’t make me ungrateful for what I have… maybe it is just so good I want more of it. It has been a looooong road of miscarriages followed by failed fertility treatments followed by getting pregnant on my own again and miscarrying.  From western medicine to eastern medicine (which was responsible for the last pregnancy) I have tried it all.  I have gotten as healthy as possible, started running, doing more yoga, oh also I got Cize dance DVDs for fun.  I am, again, in a place of frustration and confusion but with every major meltdown, as I had yesterday, come a new plan and new hope.  I am renewed and rejuvenated by the outpouring of love on my Instagram post and I am most certainly thankful that I opened up.

To see the comments by the many many women who shared their stories or offered their support please visit my post HERE.

 

Every year in the spring I devote one Childhood Unplugged shoot to taking the “red chair pictures” something that I have done with my boys since they were just weeks old.  As a way to measure their growth I sat them on the red chair and photographed them each month for their first year of life and then on their birthdays ever since, it is a tradition that I love and am happy to have them to look back on and see how they have changed.  To see 2015 click HERE and for 2014 click HERE.  This year we did the images but also added a little video to the mix!

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Also this month I decided to video and photograph the boys under the sheets.  I had re-watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind after years of not seeing it but had always remembered the shots on the bed and under the sheets.  Visually I loved it and used it as my inspiration. Also, for the video, I wanted to show the growth of the boys and was incredibly inspired by Ashley Jennet’s recent video (you can see it HERE, and you should watch!) where she asked her son a series of questions.  It reminded me of some of the videos I used to do way back when the boys were young (you can see 6 month old Giac and 2 and a half year old Massi HERE) and motivated me to do it again!

childhood unplugged

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Take a moment to view the work of the other Childhood Unplugged photographers by clicking here.  Also you can follow us on Instagram @childhoodunplugged and use our hashtag #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured!  We all thank you for your constant support and encourage you to be part of the childhood unplugged movement!

I don’t use my big camera enough with my children.  Thankfully I do Childhood Unplugged and am forced to pull it out once a month but besides that I only do for art work stuff.  And I find my iPhone pretty handy dandy so I use that, but I want to force myself to shoot more.  Even if it is just 5 frames and then I put it away.  So we went to Palm Beach for the night and when we woke up in the morning we walked to the beach a time I would normally never bring the big camera… because the sun is way too bright and the sand is well, sandy and I had the boys, BUT I decided to embrace my new idea and just shoot a few frames.  I think I took about 24 pictures (aka a roll of film, even though yes this is digital) and here are the best five.  They aren’t spectacular but they are our morning and I am grateful I did it.

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audrey blake breheney

My everyday art are my iPhone images and my gallery is my Instagram feed.  I have never pretended to one of those photographers who is sharing my real life all the time, instead I am journaling my feelings which most of the time come out as conceptualized shots that I imagine, plan and shoot.  I am my main subject, my children join in sometimes both because I ask them and sometimes because they ask me, and my dog shows up or my house or ever so occasionally my husband.  But the images I make day in and out aren’t screaming to be placed in a frame on the shelf, although actually I would do that.  And when I pull out my big camera to shoot I am never in the shots, it is just my boys, so every once and a while I wish that I had a good family portrait.  Lucky for me I have pretty talented friends all over the country, so when I my dear friend, Bedtime Stories photographer, Audrey Blake Breheney came in town I got just what I had hoped for a beautiful real life family portrait.

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Jam sessions seem to be happening more and more in our house and it makes me so so happy!  Massi loves playing on his guitar and while he is learning to read music and play songs note by note he is also experimenting with cords, something he has yet to learn in his lessons.  When Giacomo joins in for a little dancing it always turns into entertainment so this time I thought I would capture it so we can always remember.

I always wanted to play the guitar, even took it in college for a semester, but it hurt my fingers and I wasn’t any good.  When my son asked for a guitar when we turned five and showed an interest in playing I was obviously very excited.  My father and brother both play as does Jim’s father so even though we didn’t get the music gene from our fathers hopefully it was passed down to our children!  They both take lessons, one guitar and the other piano, and seem to like it.  Especially Massi.  My fingers are crossed that he continues, because a boy showing up at college with his guitar is pretty cool!

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Take a moment to view the work of the other Childhood Unplugged photographers by clicking here.  Also you can follow us on Instagram @childhoodunplugged and use our hashtag #childhoodunplugged for a chance to be featured!  We all thank you for your constant support and encourage you to be part of the childhood unplugged movement!

 

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I was having a pretty bad day when an email came into my inbox from none other than Instagram.  One of the guys who ran the WHP was writing to tell me week after week he had come to notice, and like, what I had been creating and he was wondering if I was interested in being interviewed about my process. Um…. YES!  I’m not gonna lie, I was really really excited.  It felt good to be noticed for the work I had been doing and also it was nice to hear that there were a small group of people that looked at all the submissions each week.

When we talked he explained that he and another person spent their Mondays reviewing every single submission.  And when we talked about people I had seen and loved their work I was surprised to hear that he always knew who I was talking about and would respond with something like – oh ya that was great but what about what they did this other week.  It showed me how what I once thought was this big company with no face actually had not only a face but a beating heart.  So if you too have hopes of an Instagram feature then taking creative images for the WHP might be the way to get there.  I had been submitting shots for almost exactly a year, week after week without fail, when I was contacted.  So keep on shooting, and submitting!!

To read the article Instagram posted on their blog click HERE or to see the feature on the Instagram feed click HERE.  And to see more of my Instagram images you can always visit my feed HERE.