My New Normal

Hello old friends!  It’s great to see you again.  My name is Drew and I used to blog over here on Mom*tog.  It’s been awhile.  And I have so many thoughts whirling around in my head.  It feels good to be typing away on my keyboard.

This Summer was crazy.  It was busy and loud and messy.  And did I say busy?  It was Brayden’s first real Summer.  In the past he just continued right into Summer Camp at his school.  However, this Summer he did four weeks of camps and was home the rest of the Summer.  It was hectic.  And I was counting down the days until school started.

And then school started.  And my house was so quiet.  And you may have seen me crying in bed with my dog repeating the lyrics to “All By Myself” over and over again in my head on Instagram.

You see, this is my first time in 6 1/2 years without a kid with me.  I get two glorious mornings to myself every week.  At first it was sad.  And quiet.  But, then I realized holy crap, I can get so much work done in 4 hours all by myself.  4 hours without someone needing to go to the bathroom or needing a snack or just screaming at me for no reason.  Sessions were edited.  Craft rooms were organized.  Emails were answered.  Toys bins were cleaned out.  I can now work out 5 mornings a week.  I can hear myself think.  I may have even watched a little daytime TV.

Don’t get me wrong.  I miss my kids.  But, the best thing about this new normal is I can appreciate them so much more when I am with them.  I can focus on helping Brayden with his homework rather than half focusing on him and half editing sessions or answering emails.  I can play with Kennedy on the mornings she’s home instead of letting the TV babysit her while I just get a few more things done.  In the past two weeks I have sat down at my computer out of habit when the kids are home and I have to remind myself that I don’t need to work.  It’s all done.

I really felt I balanced being a working mom really well up until this last year.  This last year was tough.  I don’t know if it is all the extracuricular activities.  Or the homework.  Or just that the kids are older.  I had always been such a good “singletasker”.  But, this year I was spread thin.  I was impatient and stressed.  And I know it’s only the second week into school, but I feel good.  I feel great.  I feel like I’m getting a little bit of me back with those two mornings a week.  And that’s cool.  Because I missed her.

*** Isn’t this schoolhouse crazy cute?  It’s not our school.  I wish it was our school.  We went on a day trip to Julian and I packed up the clothes and props for back to school pictures just in case I happened upon a cool location.  I like to take back to school pictures a few days before school begins.  Sure, I take a few pictures on the actual first day of school, but I would rather just be Mom than Mom*tog.  They are nervous.  I’m nervous.  It just works out better for everyone to get the fun pictures out of the way before the actual first day.

***Canon 5D Mark II, 50 1.2

This school was amazing, but it was in the absolute worst light.  The front was in direct sunlight as the sun was setting.  While I was waiting for the sun to set I took the kids to the side of the building for a few shots.  The second the sun wasn’t directly on the front of the school I started taking pictures there because we only had a few minutes before it got too dark.

F 2.0, 1/320, ISO 250

IMG_8180 copy IMG_8190 copy IMG_8206 copy

F 2.8, 1/200, ISO 500

I switched my aperture here to make sure I got both Kennedy and the chalkboard in focus.

IMG_8216 copy IMG_8225 copy

F 2.0, 1/320, ISO 250 IMG_8234 copy

F 2.8, 1/250, ISO 400 IMG_8249 copy IMG_8258 copy IMG_8266 copy IMG_8282 copy

F 2.8, 1/400, ISO 250 IMG_8307 copy IMG_8326 copy IMG_8365 copy IMG_8374 copy

F 2.8, 1/320, ISO 250

As the sun started to set and it was getting darker by the second I had to decrease my shutter speed to allow in more light.IMG_8388 copy IMG_8411 copy

F 2.8, 1/400, ISO 250

Can you tell someone was excited to start school?IMG_8426 copy IMG_8431 copy



  1. karen says

    Yes – that’s a cute school house and glad I checked your blog tonight to see this new post – always beautiful pictures! Glad you are feeling balanced and more you again. I have one morning a week to myself this year and am loving it too! Hope the kids have a great year!
    karen´s last blog post ..City Day – Naperville Family Photographer

  2. Evie Perez says

    These are so adorable!!! Cam you write a post about getting natural poses and expressions from your kids? I have a hard time photographing my son.

  3. Nicole says

    Lovely photos and sentiment! I love the idea of taking annual photos before the first day of school. My son just turned 1 and his first day seems so far away, but so close too. Time goes by quickly!
    Nicole´s last blog post ..Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

  4. Joana says

    these are absolutely amazing. Love the light and their faces! Do you use reflectors outside to take those pictures? It was dark and you did an incredible job.

  5. DrewB says

    Hi Joana! Thank you 🙂 Nope, no reflectors. That just sounds like too much work! I just try very hard to pay attention to lighting. This shoot was difficult because of the way the sun was setting, but once it did I had a nice soft light and the concrete helped to reflect the light onto their faces.