I am thinking back tonight to the first night I saw your sweet face. Photography is an amazing thing because I have this photo that your auntie took of the first time I saw you. Its so good that I have this photo to keep forever, because I don't know if I remember all that was going through my head at that exact moment. I do know that It seemed like forever waiting for you. I wanted to get to know you. Since I am a photographer I am a visual person, you will learn that about your momma. I like to see things, feel them, explore. This is how I learn. So when the amazing nurses that helped me bring you into this world laid you on my chest for the first time, it was the most overwhelming feeling. That is what I do remember, being overwhelmed. I was overcome with joy, excitement, relief, exhaustion. I think in that moment my instincts kicked in as well. I looked you over to make sure you were okay. Did you know that you didn't cry when you were first born? You were so inquisitive. You had your beautiful eyes wide open but you were silent. You were staring right at me which made me cry so hard because I had been thinking about what this day would be like for some time. I think I remember saying to myself "two eyes, a nose, two ears, two legs, toes, two arms and hands, fingers" I think this is something all mothers do? We are so careful and afraid when we are carrying babies in our belly. I was so careful to make sure I only did the best things so you could grow into the most healthy baby. I will cherish this photo forever because you are my first baby. I was 24 years old in this photo, I had just become a mommy a few seconds before this moment was frozen in time. I remember the anticipation when the doctors and nurses told me we were going to have a baby that day. I was so eager for you to arrive before Christmas so we could celebrate and show you off to all your family. Silly mommy, I was so aggravated that my body wasn't going into labor, in my mind you had to come before Christmas. So when we were admitted to the hospital it felt like a dream come true "I am finally going to see my baby's face" I thought to myself. I looked over at your daddy and said with tears in my eyes, a slight feeling of fear and nervousness in my voice "Honey, we are going to have a baby today, we are going to see our baby boy." He smiled at me with his calm demeanor like he always does "Yes honey, we are." This photo seems like just yesterday. I can't believe time is flying by so fast. Look at you now, you can sit up, crawl, pull yourself to standing by furniture, you can say "Dada," you have things you like and things you don't. Sometimes you are stubborn and determined like me but most times you are even tempered and easy going like your daddy. You love exploring like we do, you love food and trying new things. That first day of your life, even though my dream had come true, I still didn't know how amazing you truly would be. Maybe I still don't even know. Things are going to keep changing, you will continue to learn and grown and here I will be clicking away documenting every moment I can. Sometimes your daddy and I look at each other and go "Oh my goodness look at our baby, he is so big" Sometimes in the evening when you have fallen asleep in one of our laps or right between us in our bed, we look at each other and smile, we don't even need to say a word because we already know what the other is thinking. We just love you so much baby boy. -Alexa-
I think most of us, as parents, we want to give our child as many experiences to enrich their life as possible.
During this busy summer season here on Cape Cod my inbox is flooded. Portraits most evenings, weddings on weekends, processing and editing during the day. Sometimes I think to myself, this is exhausting, but I am also so thankful that I have loyal clients who keep me busy.
My clients are what make my business what it is, they are what make my passion into my profession. Now with a little baby on my hip all day things are different than they used to be. In the summers I used to go to the beach many days and stay up late editing all night. Well being a mommy this is in the past as many mothers know one could not go on like that. So my days are spent multi-tasking. Alternating the baby between play stations, highchair meal times, and nap times. Between all that i am editing, corresponding with clients, making phone calls and doing paperwork.
I take serious advantage of rainy days, knowing we wont be going outside so attempting to get some serious work done. Some days (as you saw from my previous post) its just one of those days and baby is in rare form and needs more cuddles and kisses work is put off a bit.
There is usually a point in most days where i decide enough work, lets go do something for us. Whether that is a walk in the stroller, pool time, beach trip, or maybe finger painting, we try and find something fun and enriching to do. The summer already seems nearly over and I am saying to myself "Am I getting him outside enough?" or sometimes "Is he bored today?" I am trying so very hard to balance working and family time.
I think this first summer being a mommy and balancing photography too has been a unique experience. Its going to still be a challenge, I will learn new things constantly. However over all I am so lucky, so fortunate and I feel blessed to have the people in my life who support me and help me along the way. Most of all I am so lucky to have my beautiful family <3 I look at these photos of my amazing partner in life and our son, it brings tears to my eyes. That right there is all I ever wanted. If we can be successful, make others happy with what we do, and love one another what else could we possibly want?
Who would believe the photos above are in the same day only but an hour or so apart? Very different scenes. So every once in a while we have... one of those days. I think that is the only word to describe it. Its perfectly normal for a baby to be cranky, I may not even know the underlying cause. Maybe he is teething, maybe his belly hurts, maybe he has a headache?
Well the day started off great! Augustus woke up at about 6am, that was okay because I was already up working on the computer. So we followed our morning routine a bit earlier than usual. Mommy even got to make fresh juice this morning, always a great start! So Augustus went down for his morning nap. He then got up about 45 minutes later, not a long nap but no problem. He had some yummy mangos, then we went outside to play in the garden. Augustus hungout in the shade playing with his toys and mommy went to work in the garden straightening it up for the seedlings.
After some time, as babies do, Augustus grew tired of playing and I knew it was time for another nap. So we packed up what we were doing and headed inside. This is where things got tricky. Silly boy was fighting his nap, HARD. Now, people reading should know, first of all I do not practice the "cry it out" method. I just personally feel as though there is something going on if my baby is fighting his naps which he usually routinely is ready for. I can't in good conscience ignore his crying which my body biologically is programmed to respond to! Anyways... I did all the usual things I do with him, we laid down and cuddled, he nursed but didn't want any part of that after a while. He was so tired but something was bothering him. Rubbing his eyes, turning from side to side, poor baby wanted so badly to sleep but just couldn't settle. So I decided I would let him sit on my lap and I would at least continue working on my website work I started early this morning. If he wont sleep then I can surely get some work done while he tires out and maybe he will fall asleep in my lap. Not this time haha, Augustus wanted no part of that. So now he wouldn't go down to sleep and I was wasting time and not getting work done that I so needed to do!
Whenever my baby boy gets uneasy like this it triggers this worry in me, like something is wrong and I don't know what it is. I get upset like I am neglecting something. Well I of course turned to my amazing man, amazing life partner, the love of my life, Augustus' daddy Jon :) He always knows how to deal with situations like this. So we began texting "Is he hot?" he asked, "No its not that bad in here, I have the fan on." I was getting panicky. Augustus was crying more and more it seemed and even the fail-proof tricks were not working to settle him.
So Jon finally texted "You should take him in the shower, cool him off." at that moment it seemed like a lot of work, to get into the shower then get out, towels, drying off, diapering, my hair being soaked and all over the place. I did not take that advice, I thought I could do something else. So we walked around, outside, back in, tried playing with some toys, even a wrapper to my cliff bar that I scarfed down as lunch. No time to cook with this fussy baby. All of those things worked maybe for a few moments but ultimately failed.
Then he finally just melted... he was on his last straw and so was I. He freaked out and cried really hard, and so I started tearing up too. "That is it" I thought to myself, "In the shower we go" So holding a screaming baby on my hip I got us ready turned on the shower. Miraculously the crying ceased. This baby was wiggling with excitement. We got in the shower and he was smiling. I literally was crying tears of joy, not because there was anything crazy wrong that I had corrected, but because my baby was so upset previously and now, giggling.
So I watched as my baby boy thoroughly relaxed and enjoyed the nice shower. The only thing I could think of as I wiped away my happy tears was "Wow Daddy sure knows his baby well" I should have taken his advice initially. I was sitting there thinking how much work it would be to do a shower right now and all the work I wanted to get done but I was not thinking about how great the shower would be for him. I sat there while Augustus reached for the shampoo bottles and laughed because I wouldn't let him reach them, I needed to think about him in that moment, not my work, not my website, but my baby. This is one of the lessons I learn daily when balancing working and being a mommy. All I can say is thank goodness for daddy.
So the photo on the right is Augustus asleep on my bed finally after his shower. He isnt even diapered mind you in this photo but I was absolutely not going to disturb him, he was so exhausted. Finally enjoying a nap by the fan wrapped in a towel, with his favorite blankie. Notice the bath toy from the shower still clenched in his hand as he snoozes.
Well now I am getting all the work done I wanted to do, I also painted my toes while I was at it! I figured I deserved it I guess for the stressful situation I was in about an hour ago! Haha! It's just one of those days but all is well now :)
Its getting warmer. Today was in the eighties! I decided Augustus and I deserved to go out and enjoy some of this beautiful weather after spending most of the day inside getting things done! Take a look at our beach day below! So glad we got some time in enjoying the sand, waves and sunshine before the tourists flood in after this coming weekend, the unofficial start to summer Memorial Day Weekend!!
I absolutely love how tranquil and beautiful the beach is. Listening to the sound of the waves just calms all my senses and gives me almost a reset. I feel like I can go tackle any task at home after hearing the ocean and having my toes in the sand for a while! Until our next adventure!
I have decided to take some video of my experiences as a mommy and a photographer. I want to share them with other mommies getting back to work after baby! Here is just a little introduction and a taste of what I will be posting! :) I was just messing around with taking videos of my (cranky) baby (who isn't usually like that by the way, you will see) ENJOY!
They say becoming a mother is one of the most rewarding events a mother can experience. I know this feeling now where I didn't before. Having our son was a huge challenge and something I will never forget. It was easy to think once he was born and I was holding him in my arms for the first time, that the biggest challenge was over. I had no idea of the other challenges that lay before me.
This is a more personal post than most of mine, but I thought it was appropriate to be honest. My photography isn't just my business, its my life. I like to think that I get to know my clients personally, capturing their memories and preserving these special moments in time forever. So sharing the experience I have been going through becoming a new mommy did not seem out of place.
So since our little angel was born both my darling fiance and I have been on a roller coaster of emotions and new experiences. Seeing our son for the first time was an emotional moment, going from just the two of us, to the three of us, a family, has been an adjustment. Its incredible how much attention and time someone so little can require. We are absolutely thrilled to be parents, and we could not be more in love with our little boy. I have always loved being around children and knew I wanted to be a mother, more specifically, a young mother. When I thought about having a family, I just always pictured my business fitting right into that scene flawlessly. I never thought it would be a challenge to do what I love and be a mother as well. This is after all, why I fought so hard to start my business, why I fought to do what I love.
Once home and settled with our baby, the challenges I did not foresee began. The recovery, postpartum, the sadness for no reason, the overwhelming feelings, not feeling like the woman I was before baby, trying to figure out how to do everything this small human needs. Learning each of his tiny cues, understanding his patterns, trying to be a mommy. Our son was born "underweight" as the pediatrician put it. As if we needed another thing to stress about, he was already born in the dead of winter and in cold and flu season. So nursing my sweet boy around the clock anytime he needed was imperative so that breastfeeding would be successful and he would gain. At this point I absolutely could not comprehend my business. Once we got into more of a routine, I began to think about my clients, photography, and what needed to be done for the upcoming year. This is where my stress and anxiety started. Between trying to get any amount of sleep, making sure I was successfully helping my son gain weight properly, and keeping up around my home, my photography was the last thing I could handle.
So as emails came flooding into my inbox, some previous clients I needed to correspond with and some new clients I needed to speak to about their photography needs, I began to feel like I was drowning. Trying to get into a nursing schedule with my new baby, starting to collect a stock of milk for when I booked photography jobs and couldn't be home to feed him, pediatrician appointments not to mention all the people who want to visit when you have a new baby, etc. Everyday keeping up with being a new mother and trying to get to all the needs of my business, it felt impossible. So one step at a time, I took care of my existing clients, and tried to get to the new clients. I certainly was not keeping up at the level I was around the same time the previous year. I never imagined feeling this way about my photography, I didn't expect it would be so difficult to get back into the swing of things.
On this journey, I have disappointed clients. I certainly did not intend to. For that, I apologize. I love my clients truly, I love what I do, I love making my clients happy. I felt like a failure. I still feel a twinge of shame and disappointment when I think about some of the angry comments I have received. However we must move on right? I have honestly tried very hard to please every one of those disgruntled clients and this year I am taking on less, I am not saying yes to every job but I am planning on being successful. I am going to make time for my baby and time for work. We are also house hunting for a new home to call our own. This should be very exciting.
I am still on this journey to finding myself again, to separating mommy and photographer. So how do you working mommies out there do it? How do you juggle being a business owner and giving your child the attention they need? Its definitely getting easier. As our beautiful boy gets into more of a routine, as we develop more of a schedule, I find it easier to take time for my business, and take time for me. Last year was the most successful year I have had yet, and I am looking forward to an even better year this year. Above all, I love being a mother and I am thoroughly looking forward to my adventures raising my little angel boy and being a photographer documenting all the awesome memories we will make! Nothing worth doing is easy. -Alexa-
Yepp, we are having a baby! What an amazing adventure!
I think its an incredible thing to think about the miracle of creating a little person with the person you choose to spend your life with! We could not be more excited to start this journey!
We found out that we are welcoming a little baby boy this December into our crazy, awesome world!
Augustus Lawrence Bolinder will be his name. As I am sure everyone can assume I cannot wait to take photos of this little precious bundle! What a joy I will have documenting the life of this little wonder!
It will be so interesting to see how our life changes, how every day is now centered around the care of this little blessing.
We cannot wait to meet you Baby Augustus!
Love your Mommy and Daddy!
Certain events in the recent past have been brought to my attention that being a young business owner is increasingly difficult and almost like fighting against a current.
I have owned my own business and been bringing it up from the ground since 2009. That was the year I graduated high school, so yes I have been creating this business of mine since the day I graduated, all through college, until the present.
I have been through all kinds of different situations that I have deemed preparation for owning this business and making it my life's work. I have stayed home on nights where all my friends are going out to edit my website and go through my portfolio. I have been ridiculed by both friends and family for staying on the computer for hours and hours perfecting my work. These are frustrating things to contend with when trying to make a successful business.
As a photographer with an office space at home, I have always "worked" from home. After a wedding for example, I will have somewhere between 1,500-2,500 photos to sort through and edit. That is no quick task. Apparently as I have heard it lately, it seems from an outside perspective, when I am editing a wedding all week, in my pj's & slippers, coffee in hand that I am doing "nothing." I guess I could understand how that may look to someone who leaves the house every morning to go to work and comes home at dinner time.
Another factor that makes particularly a self employed photographer look this way is flexibility of schedule. I have flexibility during the week to go visit family and do other things that other 9-5 working individuals do not have. So evidently it has been made to seem that I "do not work" or something of that same idea.
I cannot express how many times a family member I do not see often or an old friend says "Well, you aren't working full time are you?" That question is just a giant slap. I sometimes want to respond with "No I don't just work full time during the day, my work actually follows me home, its right in front of me when I am eating dinner or when I want to relax and watch a movie, I usually end up doing all that work instead, So I work ALL THE TIME not just FULL TIME" However, I don't typically respond like that, for I am not sure how many people would enjoy that response.
So this blog post is not to whine and moan about my work, because I LOVE my work. I enjoy creating memories for others so thoroughly that I wouldn't ever want to do anything else! I cannot wait to have my own family some day because then my career I have ever so diligently worked on will provide me the flexibility I will really need. I absolutely love being a photographer and I enjoy every part of my work from designing my website and business cards, taking photos of a beautiful family, to sending business holiday cards to my clients.
This post was created to let everyone in on the life of a business owner. Or more specifically the life of a young business owner. Take it easy on us, we are what people wish we would be, working hard at a young age. Yet still we get this constant critique, "Are you old enough to be a photographer?" or "Do you even work?" or "How much do you make?" How about something like "Wow how cool for you to own your own business at such a young age" Just give us a little respect. Take a look at my website and Facebook page if you want to know if I am working. I assure you there is enough material on there to convince you!
So from a young professional business owner, I wish you all a wonderful day!
This video is a perfect example of why I believe Taylor is a wonderful example for success!
So, I know this could be a bit off topic for a photographer to be talking about Taylor Swift. Just the same Taylor's newest album just came out on October 27th and I am yet again just baffled by her amazing talents. I just watched the video above today and I just thought what an amazing person, what amazing accomplishments.
In our world sometimes I feel as though the people in the spotlight, the people we address with such admiration, they often don't deserve it. Its very unsettling to me to watch young girls following the leads of "Miley Cyrus" or "Kesha" or any of these individuals singing about self destructive behavior and rebellious acts. Now don't get me wrong, I think there is something to be said for art, whatever form, of course. However, Miley in particular with the objectifying of her body and obvious unhealthy habits, preaching such behavior to other young viewers, that isn't something I agree with.
Now, something really interesting that I notice amongst all this craziness, is people like Miley and Kesha are deemed "Trend Setters" they get praise and acknowledgement. Where there are honest, true, selfless people trying to be good while they climb the ladder to successm they are being ridiculed constantly.
The rumors and torment that the media and society put Taylor Swift through continuously is simply absurd. She is an artist who does the work, she writes all her music and is an active participant in her own success and yet her attempts at love are plastered all over for the world to ridicule. Its truly UN-fair. Everyone has a right to search the world for someone else they love and understand. Someone as wonderful as her should be granted that right and should be left alone to discover herself and someone else that might be the right person to spend her life with.
I have had a soft spot in my heart for Taylor originally because of relating to her music. Her understanding for a teenage girl's troubles was so comforting to listen to. I have kept her in my heart for her goodness, her talent, her pure words and honest lyrics. However, I think the ultimate reason for my fondness of her is her example. She shows young women you CAN do things that haven't been done. You CAN be YOURSELF, you DON'T have to be someone you are not. Taylor shows with one of her new singles "shake it off" that even if people talk, it shouldn't ruin your time, you should continue to do good things and be who you are.
Taylor has donated millions to foundations and charities and made countless attempts to set up organizations and programs to make this world a better place. She is an advocate for the young people wanting to learn more about music, she is an advocate for the teenager struggling to be themselves under the pressure of other adolescents. Taylor has reached this success at the young age of 24 simply because she went out and got it, the amount of obstacles in her way has always been numerous, but she has prevailed.
The most amazing of all of this however, is how through all the ridicule and drama around her personal life and career, she has ALWAYS acted with grace, poise and elegance. She has never acted dramatically to anything anyone has said about her.
Taylor is my example for how success should be dealt with. So many people become successful and throw all morals and values out the window. When you love what you do, you need to make sure with whatever you gain you are humble. Taylor's music is evolving into something new all the time, she has grown from a young girl to a successful woman setting an amazing example for people to follow. I will always have her and her music as a reminder of what I should be. I think no matter what your profession you should always have respect for those who do it ever so gallantly, which in my eyes, Taylor does !
Self Portraits, or "selfies" society has affectionately called them. They are often negatively associated and linked with being full of yourself or narcissistic.
Ever since I was about 15 I started in an obsession with taking pictures of myself. I think most teenage girls go through this, especially in a day where we just click our camera app on our phones and there is our face looking back at us. Back in my day we had to maneuver our cameras backwards to capture a shot and if you did this enough then you could get a pretty decent shot, or there was always your self timer as well. Today it is all too easy to take a "selfie."
The thing with my self portrait phase was, that it never ended. I continue to once in a while enjoy updating my self portrait and experiment with different lighting and variables. I think a self portrait is so expressive of that person and what they think, what they love, and who they are.
For me, self portraits are a mark in time (like all photos are.) Certain portraits I had different color hair or I can tell I used a camera that I particularly favored at that time. It is a moment and memory.
But why take your own picture? Why not have someone else do it? From strictly a photographers point of view it helps to learn what its like to sit behind the camera and in the lighting and know what to do. I can better direct my models if I know what that position is like. From a personal point of view, I do not love being behind someone else's camera. I know weird right? Maybe because my lions mane of crazy hair can look particularly ridiculous when captured at odd angles. Maybe I just look at Pinterest self portraits all too often and I have a very specific idea of what I want. But whatever the reason, who doesn't like an awesome image to represent what they do?
So although I won't be calling my images "selfies" any time soon, I can appreciate expressing yourself with images that truly represent yourself.
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