a 52 week photo project

a portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage

A man and his dog.  Rufus waits for him to walk in the door every day, and follows him around once he has.  The second he sits down Rufus curls up for the scratches and love he knows he is going to get.  But as much as Rufus loves his papa, my man loves his Rufus… they are so good for each other, makes me happy to see.

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a portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage

Today we celebrated Father’s Day.  This man is an incredible papa, a role he took on with fear but faced head on and so much better than he gives himself credit for.  Our boys adore him, light up when he walks in the door and hang on his every word.  Massi says he can’t wait til he is old enough to be a papa too (he better wait a long long while!) because he wants to be just like his papa.  If that doesn’t say something I don’t know what does.

a portrait a week a portrait a weeka portrait of my husband, once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage

As we walk the foreign landscape of the Icelandic countryside and I look at my husband, camera in hand, I realize – he doesn’t let me photograph him much. Here celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary, because we made it 10 long years (yay!) and it is something to celebrate.  People always say that marriage is tough and you have ups and downs, hills and valleys, but as a newly wed you are just so excited you found the one you don’t want to think about the tough stuff ahead.  There had been down moments already, and for me at least, I thought “there is nothing I can’t handle.”  The truth is that along the way there were things I didn’t think I could handle, things that got damn tough.  But looking back on it all, knowing what I know now, it was all worth it.  Because he is worth it.  And you know what, I am way stronger than I thought I was, and I am proud of that.

He has always supported my photography, encouraged me and loved what I’ve done… as long as he is not the man in front of the camera.  But some how, with less begging that I imagined before I asked, he has agreed to allow me to photograph him once a week, every week, for the 10th year of our marriage.  My very first 52 week project..

 

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Summer means later nights playing games, running around outside and anything else that keeps them busy and begging to not go to bed! First trip of the summer (to Texas to see grandparents) check! Looking forward to what is to come….

As summer begins mamma is playing too.  I haven’t traditionally been a black + white person but I intentionally took these shots with the idea of using Michelle Gardella’s Stormy Waters presets!  She makes it so easy, and I love the results!

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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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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)

 

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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!

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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!