We’ve had a running joke for the last few years in this house, that on my 37th birthday the kids decorated my cake with an image of a bicycle and said “Surprise! We’re getting you a bike! And you get to help pick it out!” As the only member of my little tribe without a set of wheels, I was so excited. Before we knew it, summer was over, wedding season was in full gear, and we said, we’ll get the bike in the spring! Then it was spring again, and my 38th birthday, and the kids said, “We’l get you that bike for your birthday!” and I said, “oh no, that was LAST year’s present. I need an entirely new present this year.” And so the summer went again, weddings in full swing, and by fall we were singing the familiar tune of next spring! New bike!
We found ourselves in our new neighborhood, the perfect bike riding neighborhood, I might add, and I started the usual lament about no bike for mom. The responses have morphed into “We DID give you a bike, but it’s invisible, so you must have lost it somewhere” and “if you don’t BELIEVE in bikes, you’ll never SEE the bike”…funny, of course, but I’m still waving goodbye at the door while TK and the kids pedal away.
There’s another twist to the story. I had been on a great exercise and weight loss kick since the beginning of the year, and had started running (you Facebook friends may remember my posts after another installment of Couch to 5K, “ran for 5 minutes straight and I’m NOT dead!”) which led to terrible shin splints. In March I learned that my right leg had not a shin splint, but a tibial stress fracture, and words from the doc “No more running”. She advised that riding a bike would be a great alternative! YES! Wait. I don’t have a bike. Maybe I’ll ride at the gym….maybe I’ll actually go back to the gym….ugh…I hate the gym.
The weather has been TOASTY the last few days and we want to be outside ALL THE TIME. Sam and Jane have become such awesome little bike-riders, with more freedom than they’ve ever known, and my heart soars as I watch them fly by, without a care in the world.
Ah, to be a child in the summertime.
Things changed yesterday.
I picked up the kids after school and came home to start the familiar dance of homework-play-snack-let’s get ready for karate. I was upstairs gathering uniforms when Jane ran up and said, “Mom, you HAVE to come outside. There’s something huge growing in the backyard. Our little oasis in the back has the most beautiful things that continually surprise us as they start to bloom–roses, lilies of the valley, we even had a crop of scallions in the spring. So truly, it could have been ANYTHING. I came out back and found TK and the kids around my brand new bike. Silver and sleek, (with a little purple in there, because I’m girly, let’s face it) and a heavy duty basket in the front, because if we’re riding as a family there’s a solid chance I want to bring my camera. A husband who not only buys the bike, but makes sure that my camera has a safe home onboard is a keeper, wouldn’t you say? When I turned around to thank him with a kiss he said “Happy two-years-ago birthday!”
This morning, after dropping the kids at school, starting a little laundry, I did it. I took it out of the garage, walked it to the end of the driveway, and climbed on. Aside from the quick ride through the schoolyard last night with the kids cheering me on (“Look at you, mom! You’re doing a great job! You’re not falling at all!”) I had not taken a bike ride since I was about 20 years old.
The street was empty.
I took off, and stopped immediately. Had to adjust the seat.
Took off again.
Turn. OH CRAP, do I remember how to do this?? Yes. Ok. Turned.
Stop pedaling and glide.
Wind in my face.
Whooshing in my ears.
Hear the tick-tick-tick-tick-tick of the tires.
The unmistakable sound of summertime.
This is as close as I’ve been to carefree in a long time, and as close as I may ever get to flying.
I’m a child of summer again, with a smile from ear to ear.
Thanks, babe, for helping me remember what that feels like.
Do you know when you meet somebody and it’s like there’s a little tickle in your mind, like you know that person, even if you KNOW you’ve just met? That was how it started when I met Christin. Aside from our chats online and emails, we never met until the morning of the wedding. I remember walking in with my second shooter, Steph, remarking at how funny it was that I didn’t even know what she looked like! Then we met, and that tickle started…why did I feel like I knew her?? About an hour in, it dawned on me. Christin is ONE of those people that when you meet her, you are already GREAT friends. You realize that if you had known her as a little kid, you’d have played hopscotch together, you’d have swapped friendship bracelets, been pen pals when you were away at camp. But I didn’t get to meet her until her wedding day–which is truly my loss! No matter, though, I might not have swapped friendship bracelets with her, but I count her as my new old friend and I was SO honored to photograph her wedding day!
The same was true of Corey, when he met her. Thanks to the alphabet, they found themselves sitting next to each other in school…and the rest, as they say, is history!
We spent the morning in a conference room in the hotel, getting ready. This has been a recent trend I can TOTALLY get behind–snagging a conference room at your hotel means SO much more room for getting ready and being together! And I loved walking in and knowing exactly who those bridesmaids were!
When you spend all that time sitting in a chair, sometimes you need to stand up and stretch your legs. When standing isn’t an option, you do THIS:
If only I could recall what was so funny…but whatever it was, it had these girls in stitches!! one of my faves from the day!
It’s true. When you bring us in to shoot your wedding, there is a chance your wedding dress will hang from a tree. Consider yourself warned.
While I was finishing with the girls, Steph went to Corey’s room, where he and his guys were getting ready!
Love the simplicity and the light in this one…nice capture, Steph!
Christin is a school teacher, and I can only imagine how awesome she is. Watching her interact with her nieces and nephew, you can just tell that she has a real connection to the little people in her life. I am sure that makes her an incredible teacher, and will certainly make her an AWESOME mom!!
GORGEOUS mother of the bride!! Just gorgeous!!
These girls did one of the COOLEST things ever…they set this photo up and texted this photo to Corey as they were headed to the ceremony! Ten points to the bridesmaids!!
And we were off to the ceremony at the always amazing Rivermill at Dover Landing!
This is the 21st century, people. Some of us read vows directly from our iPhones.
After the ceremony ended, we dashed into the center of Dover for some quick pics in the late afternoon October sunlight…so beautiful!
TELL ME this isn’t one of the best looking bridal parties in the history of weddings…I mean, are you kidding me here??
Christin, you seriously knocked my socks off, you were SO beautiful!!
Yep, we totally did a group shot at the bar by the reception. And don’t worry, world, I got one too!!
Glowsticks for the super-fun first dance, and very appropriate for the song! Can you guess what it was?
The toasts were sweet and funny, and only interrupted once.
I am not sure I have ever been to a wedding where there was more dancing! The floor was PACKED from start to finish!! DJ Nate Downs knows how to keep the party hopping!!
And THEN…it was Paradise by the Dashboard Light. CLASSIC. And EVERYONE got in on the dancing!!
Christin and Corey, THANK YOU for bringing me along on the amazing ride that was your wedding day!! It will go down as an all-time favorite, and won’t forget how my cheeks hurt at the end of the day from smiling so much! I hope you enjoy your sneak peek and I can’t wait to show you the whole gallery in a few days!!
And just like that, she’s seven.
I’ve now had exactly seven birthdays to be ready and prepared for Jane’s big day. Seven times to remember that a birthday that comes 4 days after Christmas takes a little extra planning! Well, I never learn. I was still dashing out the night before for wrapping paper and my annual run to Claire’s for birthday bling. STILL. She bounded down the stairs as a 7 year old, ready for our traditional birthday breakfast. And of course, dancing.
Here’s how it works in this house. No matter the special occasion, kids wait on the steps until mom gets her camera ready. Sometimes they can talk dad into sitting too…
When I was a kid, my parents would put their Tom T Hall record on before we were awake, and blast the song “Your Birthday Is”. We carry on the tradition to this day, and I get a little spin around the kitchen with my babies a couple times a year!
Our plan was to go to the American Girl store for a birthday lunch with her friends and cousins, but a snowstorm on the way had us make a quick change of plans. The four of us headed to Launch, a trampoline park in Warwick. WHICH WAS AWESOME.
Bouncing with the birthday girl! from Sarah Kristiansen on Vimeo.
It took some persuading (read: “you ARE having your birthday photos taken, so put your hat on and GET OUTSIDE!”) but Jane finally got herself outside! The snow was just starting and she picked her new kitty hat to wear for the photos. I love seeing how she changes from year to year…and my heart aches a little and swells at the same time…
As the snow started to fall in earnest, we made some cupcakes that looked like snowballs! Added in some special candles from Grams and we got to the business of singing happy birthday to our girl. Who loved it. As you can see.
She then pronounced that since it was HER birthday, she decided that we were eating CUPCAKES for dinner. Which is exactly what we did!
Baby Jane, you continue to amaze us with your smarts, your sense of humor. We cherish each little love note you leave for us, each new song that you write. You are flighty and social, and you are loved by all who meet you. Happy birthday to the girl who lights up our lives! We love you so much, sweet child!
Sometimes there are weddings that come and go, and I look back and wonder how I could have spent the previous 12 hours working, when all I recall is having FUN. The kind of wedding where my face hurts from all the smiling. The kind of day that is completely rained out, but it doesn’t dampen any of the sunny spirits inside. That’s the day that Katie, Corey, and I had.
The early party of the day was nothing short of hysterical. I can’t tell you how many times that I said through my laughter “Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard THAT at a wedding!!” Katie’s mom was SO funny that I’d like to have her come along to all of my future weddings for the entertainment that she provides. Katie’s whole family is awesome. We realized early on that her veil was missing. The veil that she borrowed from her cousin (who was there doing all the girls’ makeup) was mysteriously and most certainly NOT in the bag with her gown. The wedding was on a Sunday, so of course the bridal salon was closed…but Katie’s younger brother and sister totally earned the MVP awards for tracking down the bridal salon owner on Facebook, messaging and calling information, and the veil arrived just in time! Love that!
Their wedding was at the amazing Wequasset Inn in Chatham. The grounds are so gorgeous and we didn’t get to see any of them. The rain kept us on the porch for photos, and as I was sorting through them, I couldn’t help notice how much fun everyone is having! That’s really such an amazing thing–I have so much respect for couples who take the rainy day in stride and don’t let it ruin the magic of their day. Plus, I think I am pretty hysterical. So that helps. They also opted for a first look…we got to meet up on the porch and look out at the rain while Katie and Corey snuggled and smooched. Have I mentioned how much I love first looks? World, wait until you see the pics. These two are crazy in love.
The dance floor was packed with people from start to finish…the party was ROCKING. Remember how I said I felt like I was partying all night?? And Katie’s niece Margaret was SO much fun….I absolutely loved both of these families. Donahues, Askews, let’s do it again soon, shall we? xo
Nothing like a little pre-wedding patty cake!
See what I mean? It was hysterical in there with these ladies!!
Gorgeous, Katie. GORGEOUS.
Walking up to her groom for the first look….I LOVE THIS MOMENT!
So awesome!!! One of my favorites!!
Rain? What rain? How could anyone notice with all the fun we are having?
favorite favorite FAVORITE.
Silliness = awesome.
ok, maybe we were sad about the rain for ONE second.
Meet Mags- world champion flower girl!!
Melissa, my second shooter, may have caught the candid of the night!!
Katie and Corey, I LOVED our day together. I feel like we were in the planning for so long, it was amazing to finally be there at the big day! I hope you loved your sneak peek, your gallery is coming shortly!! And world, leave them a little love in the comments!
One last little behind the scenes…just a little photographic proof of how funny I CLEARLY am.
“Today, I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth”
The famous line spoken by Lou Gherig, as he said goodbye to baseball, having been diagnosed with ALS.
And man, I’d like to walk up to him and punch him square in the face.
You see, my dear friend Charlie was diagnosed with ALS in February of last year, my friend Charlie, one of the good guys, with a lovely wife and two small boys. Lucky wasn’t the word that I would have chosen. The words I WOULD choose are not fit for this blog.
One word I would pick would be helpless. With the diagnosis of ALS, there is very little to do. No treatment protocol to slow the progress of the disease, just standby and wait, and angrily wonder why this fate befell such a man. Personally, I am fortunate–as a photographer, I had a skill that helped me be immediately helpful, as we planned a whole bunch of photo shoots while Charlie was feeling good. Helpful! I like that! We took a trip to Washington DC a few months later, and already we could see ALS starting to take its toll on our friend.
Many more outings and get-togethers with the Guenards have filled our calendar, Sam and Jane love being with Chauncey and Landry, and TK and I love being with Charlie and Winnie. Each time we are all together I take a mental photograph and store it away–because I know I’m going to need to remember these days. Again, Lou, I’m feeling lots of things, but luckiest isn’t it.
Charlie spends his days now in a spaceship-like wheelchair–it’s got a zillion buttons and I think Charlie is finding it easier to get around his house with it. But herein lies the problem. His house is NOT set up for a chair like this, and getting OUT of the house is a major struggle. What my friend needs is a handicap-accessible van, so that he can get out and spend some time at his favorite places–Bliss Ice Cream, Chapin Beach, the movie theater. He needs a new set of wheels, and his friends and family are set on helping him get them.
We are embarking on a series of fundraisers to help raise the money for the van–about $40,000. This Saturday we are going bowling! Come to Town Line Luxury Lanes in Malden from 12-4, get your bowling shoes on and have some fun with us! Here is a link to the Facebook event, but don’t feel like you can’t help if you can’t come on Saturday, here’s a link to where you can donate to the Champions for Charlie fund–or just drop me a note and I’ll hook you right up.
I know that many of you reading this don’t know Charlie. But I do. This man has integrity and character–not like people say in passing–it is how he lives his life. He is funny and sarcastic, and the love he has for his friends, family, and his rascal boys is fierce. His laughter is infectious, and his moral compass points true north. I thank my lucky stars that TK and Charlie became friends when they were little…because Charlie has a place in my heart that belonged to him from the moment I met him. So OK, Lou Gherig. I get it. Maybe I am indeed one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth…because I get to call Charlie my friend.
Please donate. Your generosity is greatly appreciated…and stay tuned for more fun events in the near future…and maybe I’ll see you on the lanes on Saturday!