I love the challenge of choosing one photo from every month in the last year to sum up the entirety of 2016, so here’s a blog review! As a photographer who takes so many thousands of photos throughout each year, it’s really hard picking just twelve. While last year was full of photos of Vincas and me, this year I doubt you’ll be surprised to see our little pip, Povi, stealing the lime light. Suffice it to say, it’s hard remembering what our lives were like before this kid came tumbling into our world. These photo are not necessarily the most perfect of photos – they just remind me of what that particular month was like: the challenges we faced, the adventures we experienced, the meaningful relationships present in our lives, and the specific joys found during that specific time period. They’re not a beginning or an end, but just snapshots of a meaningful life.
You might think this is just a photograph of a room. A cute room, but still just a room. But it wasn’t just a room. It was all the excitement and hopes and fears and joys of being eight months pregnant and nesting like crazy. Everything in that room was touched a million times as I straightened and cleaned and put it together. The idea of a baby IN that room was almost unbelievable. Maybe not the most exciting of photos in of itself, but…to be fair…I wasn’t doing much shooting in January. Just nesting like crazy.
Our last real date together before the baby arrived. Our Due Date date. Strolling around in the warmth of the Garfield Park Conservatory was the perfect way to spend that day together. I remember how shocked random strangers looked when they asked me when I was due and I eagerly burst out, “TODAY!”
I had convinced myself that I would go into labor early, so I wasn’t expecting a little March baby. I’m so in love with all the images our wonderful newborn photographer, Anna Sodziak, took. Looking back at them, I can’t get over Povi’s chubby little cheeks, his tiny fingers, or his rosebud mouth.
I cheated a bit with this photo, because Vincas actually graduated at the beginning of May, but I had to include it because HE FINALLY GRADUATED! To give you an idea of how much he truly accomplished during his four years of dental school (besides, you know, becoming a dentist!), he also met me a few weeks before his first year began, proposed to me during his second year, married me during his third year, and became a dad during his fourth year. Pretty darn tootin good.
The pure bliss of a well-deserved vacation. This image is one of my favorite images I’ve ever taken of Vincas and Povi. The wet sand reflecting the sky, the gorgeous blues and softs pinks of the dusky sky, and the way Vincas is protectively cupping Povi’s sleeping head against his chest all make my heart explode with happiness.
One of my favorite parts of this first year of parenthood has been watching Vincas slip into this amazing dad role. He’s sweet and gentle, so attentive, and gets so much joy out of his relationship with Povi. When Povi was about six months old, Vincas once turned to me in amazement and said, “I can’t believe how HAPPY Povi is every time I see him! He actually LIKES me! I never expected that. It’s like having a dog who eagerly rushes to the door every time I get home, but even better because I’ve never had a dog who likes me that much!” ?
I miss Povi’s poofy hair days. We snapped this photo on the way to a Fourth of July Party. It was a sticky hot and muggy sort of day and Vincas and I were being a bit snappish with each other, but by the time we walked back from the party our moods had lightened with the cooler evening air and I remember holding hands and thinking life was pretty perfect.
Most of Povi’s first meal ended up on his face, rather than in his mouth, but the joy was palpable regardless. I couldn’t help laughing at all the giggly sounds Vincas was making and Povi was repeating. I might have taken about a dozen snapchats in five minutes.
This was the first day there was a hint of cold in the air and I vastly under-packed for our trip to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. I was cold, Povi was probably a little cold, I didn’t bring either of us a snack, and I forgot his water bottle, too. But it was still a lovely outing with friends.
Our first trick ‘r treating experience as parents. Friends and family came over and sat next to our stoop with us. We were all popping candy occasionally in our mouths as we handed treats out to the kids. Afterwards, we wandered the neighborhood and collected treats ourselves, beer glasses nestled in our strollers. Other parents toasted us with their own adult beverages as they passed and I felt very much a parent.
Family. Is there anything sweeter? This photo became all the more precious when I found out my second niece or nephew was already snug in his or her mama’s belly when this photo was taken. The next time we’re all together, so many new adventures (Us moving! Viktorija and Drew having lived in Alaska! A new baby joining the family!) will have happened. I’m both eager for 2017, and sad to see so many other chapters come to a close.
The sweetest sister photo you ever did see. I love these women so much and was so glad to have finished the year off with them. <3