The Long and Short of It

The short of it is that starting this month the Where The Boys Are project will be back to posting on the last day of the month through October. We've decided that the project will go silent November and December to create more space for our families.


The truth is that I'm never good at keeping it short.

The truth is my life got crazy unbalanced this summer and I did not honor my commitment to this project. And guess what, I'm telling myself that is OK. Sometimes, something has to give. Well, maybe a whole lot of somethings have to give.

I could give you all the details but the heart of it is that it doesn't matter. I think we all find ourselves unbalanced at one time or another. And the "thing" that puts us there will be unique to each our lives.

What is relevant is that last year my eyes were opened to my truth. I was giving my time and energy to a lot of noise and stealing from the essential. So, when I choose a guiding word, aka One Little Word, for 2017 I choose Nourish or perhaps it choose me.

And so I sat in the quiet over the holidays and discerned what I was going to nourish in this one precious life I've been given. My health, my love, my boys and personal family documentation are the buckets I will be filling this year.

I recently came across this old photograph. It was early 2005 and I was a brand new mother on her first day back to work. And while I don't shoot film anymore or with flash for that matter I still believe above all else that documenting our lives matters.

This boy is now twelve and it's not as easy to just plop down in front of him with my camera.

I think whether you are raising a boy or girl it gets harder as they get older to come into their space with a camera. But just because it gets harder doesn't decrease the importance. If anything, it exponentially increases because the moments you do capture are precious. This is certainly one of the truths that put personal family documentation at the top of my priority list for 2017.

Where The Boys Are fundamentally aligns with what matters most to me. I am fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing community of mothers that believe the same. We have made the choice collectively to come back to this project and be all in. We look forward to seeing you on the 31st.

Monica

Eleven | Behind the Scenes With Nina Callow

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Nina Callow. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


I’ve been taking some time lately - back to "school" and learning loads on a photography course in London. Its been amazing, the tutors have been inspirational and I’ve met some lovely new people too. I’ve been taken so far out of my comfort zone on so many occasions, but, you know what, its been ok and I actually enjoyed asking strangers if I can take their pictures- even if initially horrified at the idea! 6 weeks ago, we were set a photo journalism task by the wonderful Emily Stein – and here Emily, is mine.... 

Eleven - oh my – Eleven when did that happen? Eleven is so old, Eleven is senior school and I’m not old enough to have a child at senior school....am I?  

Eleven can be so stroppy, Eleven knows everything, Eleven, - don’t mess with Eleven unless your happy to have a stand off that you’re just not going to win, and yet, Eleven is turning into such a lovely young man, Eleven is quite sensitive to his brothers, a little arm round, guiding them in the right direction, and a rota of who can sleep in Eleven’s new queen sized bed!  Eleven suddenly says good morning to our neighbors, and moves out of the way to let an adult pass, holds a door open, and doesn’t need to be reminded anymore about his pleases and his thankyous

This year has been huge! At 11 you’ve changed schools, off you went, the only one from your primary school, to your new secondary school a bus ride away. Bus passes, mobile phones, PE kit as big as you are, and don’t even mention the rucksack so full of books that looks like you may topple backwards at any moment. 

Off you trot, every morning, after your very early wake up call, to the bus, phone in hand – running some times to meet your friends. I can see you now, sitting up the top (we could never make it up the top you, me and your two brothers –before the bus driver half killed us by pulling away too fast!) but now your just you – you can ride the top of that bus, just as you’ve always wanted. And by the end of the day, your home looking a little disheveled, tie all crooked, shirt hanging out and so stroppy sometimes – tired from the new things you’ve learnt that day.

Eleven is a challenge, a daily battle of frustration and ups and downs, good and bad, a learning curve for all. So here is to the Eleveness of being Eleven and all that this holds for us all.... 

Mind Spinning Life | Behind the Scenes with Susan Keller

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Susan Keller. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit her individual page here


Something really BIG happened this year. My firstborn left home and began his freshman year of college.  I’m still not totally sure how this happened, because I’m only 24 years old.  Heh, so I guess two big things happened; in addition to the College Kid leaving, I also turned 48 seemingly overnight.  Please bear with me through this stream-of-consciousness string of events; truth be told, my mind still spins with it all.  (Note: I passed this post by my son first so that he could defend or amend as he saw fit.  His additions are in bold.)

We are a roadtripping family.  And very occasionally we hop on a plane to do our travels.  I take pictures (duh).  Lots of pictures.  And, I actually print them.  I have a few piles of them, here and there.  A couple months back, my dad picked up my coffee table pile and was looking through them all.  His comment at the end of his perusal was something to the effect of, “You all have traveled, all together, a lot. I can’t remember a single time my whole family (he was one of five siblings) got in a car together and went somewhere.”  (btw, here’s m’dad, way back in his little whippersnapper days).

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As Dad’s quiet statement washed over me, I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and awareness of the preciousness of our many travels.  Gone - for the moment anyway -  were all the memories of vomit (in the car, in the countryside, in the hotel rooms), peeing in the car, and grumpy company.  Speaking of grumpy company … meet my firstborn:

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This is my kid who used to mock teenagers and their weird ways.  And then he turned 12.75 years old, and he became that moody-broody teenager that he’d previously mocked.  For the next [approximately … I mean, it’s not like I actually kept track … no, I take that back, I tracked closely … exactly] 3.75 years he tried, off and on, to wrap our entire family in his big, gloomy, black blanket.  Which made roadtripping, all together all the time, in one confined-car-space … interesting.  Ahem.  That big gloomy blanket seemed especially overwrought the year we drove from SoCal up to WA and hit Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Yellowstone NP, Grand Tetons NP, fishing streams, and a buffalo reserve all along the way.  Notice that my beloved oldest son is decidedly missing from most of my family pictures from that trip.

 

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He briefly made an appearance below, because he was intent on photographing Natiri in her element (remember when McDonalds distributed the Avatar action figures? We stopped at so many stinkin’ McD’s on this trip to complete our “collection”).  You know why my firstborn son is missing from so many photos on that trip?  Because he stayed in the car. Despite the heat. Despite the amazingness of where we were. He stayed. In the car.  He said that he wanted to be able to make the claim that he had officially taken his last steps on national park land.  Oh yeah, that was a proud parent moment.  We’ll tell that story on his wedding day.  (I wonder if his future wife will be an outdoor adventurer?  Wouldn’t that be funny??)  It's spelled Neytiri, but if you want to retain the misspelling to show your total indifference towards Avatar, that works.

 

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He kept to his word next time we visited Joshua Tree NP - almost.  The bacon bbq-ing on the insanely cold morning did lure him out momentarily.

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And here in Yosemite he mostly stayed in the car.  My littlest (who’s wearing a straw hat he bought at the dollar store to keep the rain off his head!) threw snowballs at him anyway.  In my defense, I was reading Michael Crichton’s Prey at the time, which was a bit of a page turner and also had a much more impressive page count than anything I’m accustomed to reading as a “smart” college student (currently trying to get through Slaughterhouse Five).

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Kauai’s magicalness lures out even the most stubborn of us.  Sometimes he joined us, sometimes he stayed back at the house.

By our Washington DC “homeschool/educational field trip”, the gloomy blanket was finally retired (whew!), and some of our destinations were those of his choosing…

And there was no way any one of the boys was going to forsake the quad-ing on the sand dunes roadtrip …

Which brings me, more or less, to the days just before my firstborn left us for college.  ‘Twas time to do his senior pictures, and I was letting him choose his location.  Go ahead, guess where he picked?  Joshua Tree NP.  Irony, right?  You may have nudged me a little in that direction to start (hmm, I remember offering a super cool cave on the beach), and I may have agreed to it with the same shruggish “uhhh, sure” I use to answer every open-ended question, but you can call it a promising change.

And on moving day, as he was unpacking everything he’d brought with him (which wasn’t much) to inhabit his teeny-tiny dorm room, guess whom I saw set up on his desk?  Natiri.  Alack and alas, she had to spend a lot of lonely days completely by herself on that desk, in part due to the teeny-tininess of the space and to my habit of never sleeping.  I resolve to spend a lot more time with poor, neglected Neytiri next semester – not really.

And just like that, we stepped into a whole new normal.  College Kid and Natiri 100 miles from home. And roadtrips with four of us, not five.  And when I do my unconscious head counts (when does that ever stop?!?), I’m still one short. Honestly, it all still feels a little weird.

The Ultimate American Vacation | Behind the Scenes with Amanda Caves

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Amanda Caves. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit her individual page here


Disney World.

The ultimate American vacation.

We'd always said that we would take the boys ONCE and only once; when they were old enough to remember. They were ages four and six on this trip, and I know it's something they will always remember. Three out of the four of us had never been to Disney world, so it was definitely a trip of a lifetime. We surprised the boys the morning we left, and they were over the moon.

Obviously, Disney World with boys is not quite the same as Disney World with girls, and there were many times during the trip that I was thankful that we were able to skip the insane lines to meet the princesses, the whole glittery makeover experience, and the wearing of Halloween-esque poofy dresses in the 90 degree heat. With that said, I must tell you that Wilder's favorite part of Disney World was "The Little Nermaid Ride" as he called it. He even met Ariel, who mistakenly wrote "To Robert" in his autograph book because he either didn't speak clearly enough, or she couldn't quite believe someone would name their child Wilder.

Despite the heat, the lines, and the amazingly crappy food (keeping it real here), we had an amazing time.

Queen of the House | Behind the Scenes with Erika Ray

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Erika Ray. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit her individual page here


Growing up, I never once dreamed or even gave causal thought to Motherhood.  I didn’t think about the number of kids, their gender, or crafted a name list.  I was void of that fantasy.  But when the sticks turned pink, I had one wish. 

Please.  Please let this baby be a boy. 

Please.  Please let this second baby be a boy.

I knew I was well suited to what I believed boys would bring.  I’m good with those stereotypes.  Gas?  Bring it.  Potty talk?  Hell, yes.  Possible threats of a Princess Phase?  Oh sweet Lord, no.  Pulling up ponytails?  Lock me up. 

But I also had an incredibly selfish thought (I’m selfish).  I felt that being a boy Mom meant they would eventually need me less than a daughter.  Eventually, I’d go back to semi-non Motherhoodness.  I was ridiculous.  You never undo Motherhood.  But I still stand by my statement: eventually they wouldn’t need me as much as a daughter. 

I’m standing on the edge of my words.  And I’m not sure it feels as fantastic as I had thought.  Sometimes my naïve words make me dizzy with regret for having uttered them.  The boys are at an age where I’m not needed as much.  That independence does feel amazing.  I encourage it.  I adore that they don’t need me in the mornings.  They can do their homework without much help.  They don’t need me to pick out clothes and they definitely don’t need help getting dressed.  But…

The boys could play video games for hours and my husband can easily pick up a remote and play along.  Could I?  Sure.  But my interest is there for about 2 minutes.  The three of them could discuss superheroes until they’ve run out of villains and alter egos.  I can happily watch a three man wrestling match from my couch.  Do I want to tap in?  Nope. 

Am I jealous of my husband’s relationship with his sons?  No.  Jealous is probably the wrong word.  Sometimes I feel left out.  It isn’t because they don’t ask or sneak off without me.  It’s because I’m not a boy.  It’s because I’m the only woman in the house.  It’s just different and sometimes it feels lonely.

I tried to explain this to my husband the other day.  It wasn’t an easy conversation because I was asking him to understand something so counter-intuitive. “Imagine if you had to deal with Princesses all day long?” I asked.  “You don’t even like Princesses, Erika!” he truthful responded. “Why don’t you play video games with us…”  That’s not the point.  I’m always bending to something that is completely out of my nature. Being the opposite sex parent is just difficult because it’s OPPOSITE.  And that’s something he will never need to understand.

I was starting to feel bad about my new lonely feelings.  It felt very non-maternal and almost too selfish even for me.  I asked my mother-in-law this weekend if she ever felt like this as the only woman in the house.  “Of course.  That’s why I read a lot of books.  Plus I also got to feel like the Queen of the house,” she told me.

I have plenty of hobbies and I’ve always felt like the most badass Queen of the house.  But it felt fantastic to feel normal and that other Boy Moms experienced this loneliness.  I don’t anticipate these feelings to last long.  It’s my first brush with them.  Just like everything I’ve learned by parenting the opposite sex, these feelings will become my most beautiful normal.  Lonely will be replaced by a greater Independence.  Something that I desperately wanted.  Something I would never trade.  It will become my version of Motherhood as a Boy mom. 

The only type of Mom I ever wanted to be.

OK, Ready, Smile!! | Behind the Scenes with Anna Bein

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Anna Bein. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


Having a photography-obsessed mother can’t be easy for most children. Especially if you’re an only child! My obsession began when I became a momma and my insatiable appetite to capture my son doing what he does has never gone away. In fact it gets stronger all the time.

He never really has been one to sit and smile for the camera. It used to drive me nuts. I’d have my camera ready to take a photo when we were out and about just like my dad did when we were kids. I’d get him to sit down in front of the (insert statue, famous landmark or special place name here), “ok, ready, smile!” thinking that’s what you do. That’s the way photos were always taken of us when we were growing up and I wanted to get those special moments captured on film for the next generation to have. This quickly led to frustration because every single time I’d get some weird hand over his face, or a karate chop complete with sound effects. What was I doing wrong? Why didn’t he like to have his picture taken? I guess it was only about a year ago that I actually realised that he’s never going to sit still for me and I needed to get the upper hand and figure out how to capture my little man without the attention being on taking the photo. 

Several photography classes later and armed with more knowledge, I think I have it sorted. I started using my photography to document and tell stories, rather than just ‘capture the perfect shot’.  I realised that when I just aimed to use my camera to tell a story that it finally fell into place.  I was now finding myself lying on the ground as he was playing quietly with his cars or Lego. Or hiding around the corner behind a wall in my hallway ready with my camera aimed to capture him as he threw himself onto the lounge pretending to be Superman. Having a boy, I had to get creative and by creative I mean come up with ways to use my camera as a prop rather than think of ways to bribe him to sit still. It’s been binoculars, a gun, a pirate’s spyglass…you name it, I’ve tried it!  This was it. This was my perfect shot. As soon as I had it sorted a whole new photography world opened up for me.

I suddenly realised that there’s no rules or magic formulas to get ‘that shot’. The perfect shot is the one that speaks to you. The one that brings back memories of a special place or time. The one that reminds you of their cheeky little smiles, their tears or their monster face used to try and scare you. It’s the one that makes you laugh, smile or remember fondly a time from the past. When I look back now at each and every image I’ve captured of his short 5 years, I remember the story and to me that’s what counts, not that he smiled for me and looked at the camera. 

The Beach | Behind the Scenes with Amy Drucker

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Amy Drucker. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


There were nine plus years separating the births of my two boys and, at the beginning, the logistics of their age difference was more or less a non-issue. Seven years later, however, they each have defined schedules and (widely varied) personal preferences. Add that to the schedules of two working parents, and our days are a jigsaw puzzle of carpools and bus times and work appointments, and not everybody gets everything they need every day. We all make sacrifices, however begrudgingly, and hardly a day goes by where our schedules are in concert with each other. But throughout the year the chaos is punctuated with traditions that pull us together for a moment and give us a chance to catch our collective breath.

An annual pilgrimage to The Beach finds us on the same wavelength for one blissful week each August. Time moves at an entirely different pace there—nobody has an agenda and we are never late for anything. The boys reconnect and I fill up on whatever that Energy is that powers me through the following months. Images from these visits decorate the walls of our home and jars of sand and tiny beach treasures on bedside tables provide small reminders. Even Squibby The Cat bears the name of our favored beach.

Looking through images from summers past I am both transported through time and stopped in my tracks. Nothing changes but everything is different. 

Imperfect Christmases Past (aka before I knew what I was doing with a camera) | Behind the Scenes with Melanie Louette

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Melanie Louette. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


I’ve been trying these past months to do a major cleanup of old files, photos and general useless saved stuff on my computer over many years, filing a zillion photos into a somewhat more organized fashion.

What an arduous task.

There are hidden files in every nook and cranny and as I go through them, I’m finding it hard to let go of even the really bad ones.  Because I can’t retake these photos, the ones I shot before I had a clue what I was doing with a camera. Before I had a clue about aperture or shutter speed.  I don’t like having regrets about anything much- for the most part, I find it to be a colossal waste of energy.  But there is one thing I do actually regret, and that is not having stellar photos of my children when they were little and cute, and there was so much missed opportunity for those perfect shots.  I envy many of the scrapbookers and photographers I know of today, who take such amazing portraits of their little ones, while I sit here and delete yet another shot with scary red eyes and garish flash.

As I go through these one by one, I realize that it isn’t so much about the quality of the photograph as it is the memory it holds for you. And that even though my photos from years past are less than stellar, they are precious to me because they show my boys evolution from babies to young men. I love every single one of them for the memory I have when I look at them. Everyone tells you to hold onto every minute because if you blink or close your eyes or don't pay attention, those little chubby feet suddenly turn into giant sized 11's. The once joyously offered smile and cries of “Mom, take my picture!" turn into scowls when the camera is pointed their way. Sorry to burst that bubble but it’s so, so true. Take those cute pics now. It all goes soooo fast.

What I’ve learned form this exercise is that we need to hang onto those blurry pics we shoot on Christmas morning, even though you’re tempted to delete them. Because they’re precious and real and a moment in time - they’re those imperfectly perfect moments that will never come again. 

In Search of “The Perfect Photo”, The Teenage Edition | Behind the Scenes with Linda Barber

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Linda Barber. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


I remember when my kids were babies. It was so easy to take photos of them. Those adorable little cherubs, smiling when I smiled, looking so natural and happy.

And then those babies became teenagers. Well, two out of three became teens, but the last one thinks he’s one.

Now, every time the camera comes out, they hide, duck, look away. Or the worst transgression of all: they make funny faces. We are talking Calvin-level funny faces (just search for “calvin and hobbes funny face photos”, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.) 

All these crazy face photos used to drive me, well, crazy. Like yelling-steam-coming-out-of-my-ears-crazy. Which then in turn made them dislike having their photos taken even more. As a scrapbooker, I’ve cringed when thinking of all the pages I haven’t been able to create because I couldn’t capture a single good photo of many special occasions.

As I was brooding over all the terrible photos I’ve taken lately (“lately” equals about 5-ish years), it occurred to me that in order to keep what I have left of my sanity, I needed a different approach. Here’s my a-ha moment: “funny-face” is a just phase in their lives. A phase, that while not that cute, will continue to be photographed and documented because that’s my life —never perfect, but always (well, almost always) worth remembering.

Some day, they will act natural in front of the camera again. I’m praying it’s not that far in the future. Meanwhile, I’m hoping they’ll cut me some slack, and let me capture a gem every now and then.

Next weekend, we are taking our family Christmas card photo. Wish me luck!

Ps:

1. Most of these photos haven’t been edited because, I mean, they are what they are. Most are from my phone, grainy, and with poor white balance. Keeping it real, friends!

2. Yes, the oldest is usually the perpetrator.

3. No, the kids don’t know I’ve posted these photos online. Revenge can be so sweet

Now and Forever | Behind The Scenes With Janielle Granstaff

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Janielle Granstaff. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


It’s mornings like these when I am reminded of the purpose and the beauty of it all.  To wake you up and watch the day begin at a place where beginning, middle and end have no meaning.  Where they are one and the same.  Where the definition of time as we call it gets jumbled up and merges with the definition of now and forever. 

We come as we are, you still in your pajamas, and we bundle up with blankets and love on a cool cloudy morning in the early fall. 

And suddenly the fog lifts, and again I can see beyond the clutter of our lives- the one  imposed by routine. And I tell myself…this is how I want life to feel for you now and forever. Uninhibited, free. Like a cool crisp fall morning at the beach in your pajamas.

The Beauty of Boys | Behind the Scenes with Ann Woodard

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Ann Woodard. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here

Wanted to say here Happy Homecoming Day to Ann and her family!!!! After an almost 9 month deployment her husband is home!! Thank you to the Woodard family for your service and sacrifice for this country. 

Ann Woodard, Photographer


To my boys:

Seeing the beauty that is you: the way the light wraps your skin and fluffs your hair, how your soft but so strong boy bodies bend, twist, reach.  Warm, brown, sand-coated like a sugar cookie.  Playing, dancing, climbing, laughing.  This is how it feels to love you both. 

What I Know | Behind the Scenes with Heather Reagan

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Heather Reagan. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


As a girl, I grew up in a world filled with dresses, princess movies and dolls.  And when I pictured my own kids some day, I pictured the same.  It’s what I knew.

But then I was blessed with two amazing boys and instead of all things pink, my world filled up with cars, wrestling, messes & an overflow of sound effects.  I never realized just how fun all of these things are (OK, maybe not all of the sound effects, but most of it is pretty cool).

And while I may not be able to convince them to watch The Little Mermaid or any of my favorite Disney movies on our movie nights, I now know some pretty awesome things.  Like the names of all the cars from the Cars movie, how to make some pretty amazing forts (I had some practice with these as a kid, but it’s definitely been ramped up to a new level) and how to make a ball maze using only boxes and toilet paper rolls.  I’m learning how to make Lego creations that shoot things (water, fire, it really doesn’t matter as long as they have a super fun sound effect), how to navigate soccer practices and the best way to jump off the couch.

Our house is filled up with the sounds of hammering, trains whizzing around the tracks and lots of giggles.  It’s not unusual to see a ball randomly fly by or to nearly miss stepping over the lines of cars that frequent our living room floor.

A house full of boys is crazy and loud and I wouldn’t trade it for all the princess movies in the world.  Not even The Little Mermaid.  Boys kind of rock and I may just be learning a few fun sound effects myself.

The Best Anecdote | Behind the Scene with Krista Resnick

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Krista Resnick. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

Dr. Seuss

 

This has become a popular saying over the past few years, and as cliché as it might be; it couldn’t be any further from the truth. 

Around a year ago, I found myself in a place where I never would have imagined.  I was craving the past, yearning for what once was.  I was missing the times with the boys when they needed me, when I felt like I had a purpose. 

Picking up my camera and documenting our every day life, every single day for an entire year was the best anecdote I could have ever given myself. 

I began to see my life through a different lens and I began to see the beauty in the mundane.  I waited in anticipation to capture something routine, or something new, a new hobby or passion that one of the boys had taken up. Something as simple as our Sundae on Sunday routine, or maybe even the two weeklong phase of when the boys HAD to take a bath every single day after school.  I documented dance parties on front of our boat, band concerts, and requests for mac and cheese when they were home from school sick, making homemade ice cream; teenagers first time driving our boat, or just my middle son’s quirky, hysterical personality.   

It made me realize that the little details of the everyday really do add up to something bigger, something more.   I now have 365 images-not all of them are worth a lot of praise or accolades-but they are worth their weight in gold to me.  They are moments that I will never get back, but I have them documented on film. 

Was the project at time exhausting? Absolutely, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. They are magnificent moments, captured in time and I am no longer grieving the once was, but happy that those moments happened at all and that I can enjoy them over and over because I was willing to stop, slow down and take in the moment. 

The Quiet Moments | Behind the Scene with Cate Wnek

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Cate Wnek. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


A broad range of intense feelings that keep my two boys close. Rivalry, disappointment, frustration, empathy, consolation, adoration, awe, and of course love. As I photograph my two children to document their lives together, I capture all of these wavy emotions and energized play, but the ones I treasure most are the moments in between. The quiet ones. where they are just together, side by side. Not really saying or doing anything for just a second. Briefly frozen and lost in their thoughts. These fleeting pauses are rare of course. Usually they are moving quickly, making quite a raucous. Maybe they will remember these moments in addition to all the others.

Don't Forget the Details | Behind the Scenes with Amy Lancaster

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Amy Lancaster. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


I first picked up a camera to capture their childhood, as millions of other mothers do across the World.  But as the years have flown by it has become so much more, I want to remember EVERYTHING.  From the ice cream faces, to their favourite ‘catch me’ games on the swing.  The time we made Super Ted to the gatekeeping duties when we visit their Grandparents in France - nothing out of the ordinary, but looking back at these particular images brings back all the memories of that day and that exact moment.

The details, for me, are just as important as the everyday activities.  It captures their little personality, and freezes a tiny portion of that in time.  The things, that in 20 years could be a forgotten.  The little things.  The flowers and gifts they pick me from the garden, the way my youngest has to hold on to the label on his comforter (and the fact that at 4 and a half, he still uses his comforter every single day!), the crazy dress sense, the chubby fingers.  I’m scared to forget it all, and even now, looking back at images from just a few months ago there are moments and details that have been forgotten, but all been brought back from a single image.

I often wonder, had I not taken up photography, would I have been as passionate about capturing these little details?  And the honest answer is, probably not.  Sure, I would have captured that day trip to the beach or walk to the park, likely with a couple of iPhone shots.  But, I know for sure I wouldn’t have been thinking about the little things.  

I’d have likely taken a snapshot at some point of my son with his comforter, but I wouldn’t have even thought about capturing his little fingers rubbing the label, as he does every single day.  I would have assumed it would stay etched in my memory forever.  And there is a chance it would have, but that is not a chance I am willing to take!  So I captured that!  Preserved it forever.

The details are there, if you look for them - the quirky things that make your child who they are, the things that as they grow will change and be gone forever.  Don’t let them be forgotten, capture them.  And do it now, before it’s too late.

‘Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes,

but when you look back, everything is different’

~ C.S. Lewis

Boys on Film | Behind the Scenes with Abbi Ottman

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Abbi Ottman. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


One of my favorite ways to document life with our boys is on film.  There is something so organic and raw about the photos, and I love that it forces me to slow down and think about each shot.  It also allows me to really be in the moment with them, instead of getting wrapped up in shooting.  

Each time we leave the house and I know I'll possibly want to capture our activities, I grab one of my 35mm film cameras.  The bonus of this is that they're light weight, and if one should happen to get lost or broken I won't be out a huge chunk of money.  It's fun to use different cameras and film stocks and be able to achieve a variety of results.  I know the photos will likely be grainy or less than perfect, and that I won't have a whole roll of keepers.  But when scan day comes and I see our life on film, I get excited reliving the moments I shot and seeing the ones that turned out.

If I'm shooting something important that I know I for sure don't want to miss, I use my "big girl" digital camera and shoot to my heart's content, and enjoy culling and editing the images.  But film has worked its way into a special place in my life.

Documenting Out & About | Behind the Scene with Sarah Roberts

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Sarah Roberts. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


Wherever I take my boys, my camera comes too! Not my best camera though, I have an old back-up camera with an old 50mm f1.8 lens attached to it permanently. I would be sad but not heartbroken if this got damaged during our adventures, not like I would if my good camera and 50mm f1.4 lens got damaged lol! This camera has had a few knocks but is ideal for use out and about as I can’t guarantee it surviving sometimes lol!!

At first, I was apprehensive and a bit embarrassed about getting my camera out in a public place like a shop for example…but now it has become the norm. If I get approached to ask what I am doing, I simply reply 'I am documenting my boys lives for them, and for me'. It is more important for me to capture their lives now and not to worry what people think about it.

As a photographer mum I take my boys out of the norm, for example, I would probably not of bothered to take them to the beach late evening just to capture them playing on the warm sand in the sunset with the tide chasing them up the beach. It was naughty of me keeping my 3 year old up till late at night but it is the holidays and my boys loved it! My eldest two played together (they usually fight) and my youngest was running around collecting shells. They lay on the beach with the still warm sand beneath them, smiling together. A precious memory to treasure of them happy, but most importantly together. Childhood is so magical with no worries – I want them to feel this happiness forever, as one day they will be grown men and all the worries that comes with adulthood. I captured this moment for them, and for me. Time goes past so fast and these little things are easily forgotten. 

Whatever life faces them in the future, no one can take away their memories of childhood, I am just there to document it for them.

Documenting Everything for My Boys & Me | Behind the Scene with Antonieta Esis

 

This post is part of a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Antonieta Esis. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


I have a rule at home: always to have my camera ready! I do not take pictures every day but there are moments and little things that are important to me like the things my boys do and live each and every day.

I've always said that my passion for photography began when I had my boys, they are my inspiration and I'm here for them.

This summer has been very special…

As a mother of boys is very easy to know that our home can be a complete mess most of the days:  clothes, legos, toy cars, super heroes, shoes, water guns, star wars masks, etc. everywhere… and a pile of dirty laundry that never ends.

 For long time, my boys were asking to bring a dog home; for one reason or another we always had an excuse not get one. With two boys sometimes there is not a lot free time: school and after-school activities, dentist appointments, park time, etc.. How could we possibly bring a dog?

 So finally this summer we decided to bring a dog into the family, and we did  find "Rocky" our puppy, a rescued dog!.

 Now I am sure we did it at the right time, as a mother is wonderful to see how the boys loved Rocky from the first day, they talk to him as if he was a baby, even if he breaks something (as a toy) my oldest son says “he did not want to do it mom, he is a baby” and he is right, I feel that now I have 3 children.

 I'm sure this will be a summer they will never forget.

 Here are some images of “my boys with Rocky”.

A Day in the Life | Behind the Scene with Monica McNeill

 

This is the first in a series of behind the scene posts authored by the Where The Boys regular contributors. This is our opportunity to share with you the very best of us and our different perspectives on mothering / capturing / documenting our sons. Our hope is that in these posts you find encouragement and inspiration in your journey of celebrating your son(s). 

Today's post is brought to you by Monica McNeill. To get to know the author better and connect with their work visit their individual page here


In December, I celebrate a decade of mothering boys. The one truth that has remained throughout these years is that change is inevitable and I always cherish the small, inconsequential details more than the monumental milestones. It all changes so fast. 

When asked what I wanted to do on Mother's Day I responded that I wanted to document our day, our very normal, everyday life which really is anything but ordinary. Working full time outside the home with weekends full of activity means we are rarely "just at home". This day, this day was my unicorn and I wanted to capture it.

I hope this series of images inspires you to document a day in your life. Here are five tips to keep this project manageable : 

  • Memory card empty and battery charged
  • One lens for the day
    • I used the 24 mm f/1.4L II USM because I can always get closer by moving my feet. I love this lens because I can be in the scene and still have enough perspective to capture it. 
  • Just keep shooting
    • Even when you think nothing is happening shoot anyway. It's in the culling of images afterwards that you determine what is a keeper with the perspective of the full day. 
  • Variety is key
    • Keep things interesting by taking wide, close, and detailed photographs. When you put them all together they will create movement. 
  • Remotes are awesome
    • Hands down the best investment I have ever made is my $20 remote. Using it allows me to be in at least some of the photographs to provide evidence that I do exist. 

Documenting your day can be a big commitment but as long as you keep the camera by your side and just keep shooting the magic will come in the end when you see it all together. If documenting a full day seems like too much start with a time of day - morning, afternoon, evening - or document a routine like getting ready for bed. 

Looking back at these images I already see several details that have already changed. The intent of this project is to create a time capsule of life to hold on to these details.

So what exactly does one do with all these images? I believe in the power of the printed picture and my plan is to create a coffee table book with these images. I will be sure to share when I have it in my hands.

Please ask any questions you may have in the comments. If you are inspired to take on this project we would love to see. 

Documenting a "Day In The Life" is a concept first introduced to me by Ali Edwards. I encourage you to explore the wealth of information she shares here

Monica