A look back at 2019 {my life, a personal post}

Well, that’s it kids. 2019 was something. This is going to be a super personal post for me, I’m not gonna lie. This was a tough one for me. The first five months of the year were just like, 10,000 kicks in the gut personally. Work was great, but man. This post is going to be SUPER photo heavy, with a look back at the good and the bad.

My year started off a little bumpy- while I had this amazing solo trip to Maui planned, my daughter got really sick literally the day before I was supposed to fly out. Temps of 103, Urgent Care… double ear infection. Luckily, she responded well to antibiotics and I was able to go (with about 94385 pounds of guilt). My husband was going to be home, but I had also called in the troops. My mom came to Ohio from PA and took care of the girls. I crashed, and the next day the adventure took off.
Maui vacation, Aloha They have wild chicken, “moa fowl” just all over! It was so cute! And the ocean! And sunshine! And Molokini! And Kaho’olawe! AND THAT WAS THE FIRST DAY! There was some freaking out, after a call from my daughters but Deb- the friend I met and lived with on Island- slapped sense in to me, almost literally and I couldn’t love her more for it.

I got to see the blood moon from a beach on the north shore, I got to see black sand, crazy big waves that even still were nothing compared to the JAWS waves just a few miles east, I saw green sea turtles, and caught a really gorgeous silhouette of a family, a sailboat, and a sunset on the beach ❤


I got to see humpback whales play in the ocean, and rainbows EVERYWHERE. I got to see fossils in the making (the shell inside the coral!) and I learned so much about this island with so many thanks to Maui Mom and Dad, Jane and Fred ❤

I came home so happy… and sick. It may not seem like a big deal, but I hadn’t had so much as a cold since 2009. I got bronchitis, pneumonia AND FLU over a three month period. I felt like trash, then felt better, then a few days/ weeks later would be laid out again. It was not awesome and it prevented me from being able to work as much as I wanted- I wasn’t able to get Mommy and Me minis scheduled or planned and that bummed me out 😦 I know how hard it is for us moms to be IN the photo and it’s important to me to make sure to set aside time for my amazing moms.
Seriously, ten years. I vividly remember this cold- I was working as a bank teller while also doing photography very part time. I had volunteered to work the week of NYE that year, because my kids were little (only two at the time) and I knew I wouldn’t be doing anything. If I was working, then the other tellers who had asked for the days off, would be more likely to get that PTO.

When I was feeling well, I got to meet SO many new people and I tell you what, that is such a boost. Winter has always been tough for me to fill with sessions, because I didn’t have enough studio space to take much. That has all changed this year, thanks to my loving family who set me up with a great light system, a new backdrop company I’m working with who provides LARGE backdrops (watch for more model calls!), and a dear friend gifting me a newborn posing bag ❤  I obviously love my clients and getting to see them year after year is so special for me- getting to meet new families, new babies, new friends is the best thing for my heart.

In May, I noticed my fluffy beautiful kitty Martha was peeing blood. Mars had had UTI and IC issues for two years, but usually she got some meds and was back to her cuddly, sweet self shortly thereafter. I took her in on May 21st fully expecting to hear that she had lost weight because she just felt so junky.

That was not the case. The vet who was on duty that day was not the one I prefer… and he simply walked into the exam room without Mars and said, “It’s fatal. Sorry.” Nothing else. Just stood there looking at me. I said, “UTI isn’t fatal? What are you talking about?” He explained that Mars had a LOT of fluid in her abdomen and thought she had a fatal virus called FIP. I lost it. FIP is contagious and we have two other cats. He immediately backtracked and said he wasn’t sure, he could run more labs to confirm presence of virus…but the outcome would be the same, Martha could not survive. Beside Mars not eating as much as usual and peeing blood, her personality was no different. She showed no signs like you’d think you’d see for a dying pet. I demanded the labs be run and three days later she was negative for FIP, the vet was wrong. It was both good news and bad; good that we didn’t have to worry that Fiffy and Beep would also develop this deadly mutation to a virus (as none of the cats had been exposed to it) but bad because there was no answer as to why she had lost so much weight. He didn’t even address the UTI. They drew out some of the fluid in her belly, and her appetite came back- she had some snacks and wet food and water. She was her same purring, loving self. Sitting on my lap, tipping her chin up to my face, laying her head in my hands.
She seemed to be on an upswing, until May 27th. Late that night, I noticed she was leaking a lot of fluid, wasn’t able to stand very long, was very lethargic. It was bad. I didn’t expect her to live through the night, but she did survive. As soon as the vet’s office opened on the 28th, I called and told them she was suffering and it was time. They couldn’t see her until 4pm so I spent the entire day keeping her as comfortable as I could. Dribbling water into her mouth, petting her, telling her I loved her. She passed away in my arms at 415. She was nine years old. I am not over it.

I focused as much as I could on my summer families, and THANK YOU to every client who helped me smile and laugh, the friends who texted me back when I was so sad I couldn’t see straight and talked me through breakdowns and to all the people who understand that Martha wasn’t “just a cat”.  My orange and white kitty Beep gets a lot of screen time, but Mars was my fluffy booful.

We had *another* loss on Aug 14th- but this was a little more expected. Our Shiba Inu, Zoe Elizabeth passed away. She was 16, had been totally blind for over 13 years, was stone deaf, and had been showing signs of dementia. She was very much a loner- she couldn’t “dog” like other dogs due to her disabilities, and she spent nearly all of her time sleeping either in our laundry room or in front of our slider doors as seen here ❤ She did not like to be pet, or have physical attention given to her. She was a 13 pound pretty-to-look-at diva ❤
shiba inu
The summer months were beautiful despite the sadness in my heart. I shot a TON of film. I think I sent out something like 50 rolls of film this year. :O Beep (orange and white) and Fiffy (black and white) my cats feature HEAVILY in all my film photography. I included a couple of my family, and there was a lot more of that, but I really love skies on film, my kitties, and my neighborhood. In the first set, Beep is inside playing with me through the kitchen window. My cats are 100% inside cats, and Beep is *very* jealous that we bi-peds are allowed to come and go as we please.

I shot a roll of Ilford BW film and did a boudoir session with it, though my model asked I not share. Just as a quick heads up- if you allow me to shoot you as a model, *all* images may be shared; that’s the point of me offering less expensive (in some cases free) modeling sessions. At any rate, I super loved how the Ilford shot. I had shot Tmax BW before and loved that as well, but wanted to give the super popular Ilford a try. So so so creamy and gorgeous. The box speed was 400, but I rated it at 200 and on my model session used OCF (off camera flash). Loved it. I want to shoot more BW in 2020.

We spent a bit of time at the pool. We took time to visit the Sieberling Nature Realm. More cats. More my kids being weird….

I was also given 25+ rolls of “mystery film” by my cousin and her girlfriend! They brought me this film that would have otherwise been thrown away. I could not let that happen. I had no idea how it would shoot- it had only been stored in a file cabinet in an office building FROM 1998. But, film hangs on for a good long time and so far, only one roll has been damaged. And I’ve developed ten rolls? Something crazy like that : *) film photography, cleveland, fall, film
There are so many things I want for 2020. I want to be busy. I want to bring in more clients, and I’d love to spend more time photographing babies and milestones in my studio. I would like to find affordable, not located in my home studio space : *) I would love LOVE to shoot clients on film- the wait is a bit longer and the cost is a bit higher BUT there is something so, so gorgeous and classic about film. I want to make this a GOOD year. It’s looking like things *will* be good in 2020- I have already booked three weekends in January, a milestone for March, and a family session either when it snows but isn’t freezing or in May whichever comes first 😉 If your little one has a FEBRUARY birthday let’s book that cake smash NOW. We can shoot it in my studio OR I can bring my studio gear to your home! I can bring a backdrop or two, whatever you want. I’m working with a backdrop company now and have access to SO much more. You just let me know what you want, and if I can get something like it I will!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I know this has been heavy both emotionally and in photos but it feels good to get it all out. Thank you for keeping my chin up in 2019, and I cannot wait to see what we make together in 2020.

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