End of 2020! I remember feeling emotionally drained as this month included a lot of transitions, long work hours and hard conversations. I’m thankful for pictures, because while I felt grief, I can see these images from my phone and be taken back to all of the memories that I want to hold on to. I think it’s important to grieve the losses in 2020, but I also think it’s even more important to avoid amnesia towards the gains. God knows we are forgetful, so I think photography is a gift to us. It helps posture our hearts toward the good memories, his faithfulness.
December is known to be the busiest month for a photographer. It is full to the brim with deadlines, mini sessions, Christmas card requests and print orders. On top of the regular assignments I had this month, Ashley and I worked tirelessly on a brand new website. There were a LOT of late nights, where 3am was more familiar to me than I’d like to admit. I spent a lot of time at Doxa Coffee to get some quiet, uninterrupted website work time.
December marked 10 years in business for us! We celebrated with a session giveaway, 10 surprise egg rolls at my doorstep, Starbucks coffee to online friends, and a surprise celebratory dinner/prayer night with the MP team. You can read more about our ten years here.
This was Tori’s last month in town and it creeped up on us way too soon. The kids took advantage of all the quality time.
Ethan got to build his first gingerbread house with her.
It was a very challenging month, as I tried to navigate more work hours and home life. To be honest, I felt no balance, because it was just survival mode. Not the way I wanted to feel during the holiday season, but I took a week off at the end of the month to be present and catch up on all the uninterrupted quality time.
I found an old disposable camera in my office! It feels so nostalgic with all of the grain.
Mid-month, we traveled to West Palm and spent time with my parents and Wayne’s. If you ever need a good recommendation for a Cuban restaurant, you NEED to visit Don Ramon. As a Molliner household staple, it is always a dinner plan while I’m in South Florida. Both my parents and Wayne’s have become close friends during the quarantine, so we all got to hang out and look at the lights. Selah was in awe!
The first wedding we shot this month was of Wayne’s high school youth leader’s daughter. I remember meeting her when she was a young teenager and I was engaged to Wayne… 10 years ago! It was so special to see familiar faces that were guests at our own wedding.
We returned home and got to have some more quality time with Baby Benji. It was really cute to see Ethan extend his helper role to the baby. As for Selah, well she is obsessed. She spent the whole time touching him to check if he was real.
Savannah, from The Shindig Co, asked me to photograph some of her holiday tablescapes to showcase different Christmas table themes. It was so fun to just focus on shooting details!
The final wedding of 2020! Kim and I traveled to Ocala to photograph a romantic southern affair at the Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club.
The below image was one of my favorite memories with Ethan this month. I took a little work break and pretended to be pirates with him, searching for treasure in our backyard. The only requirement to our playtime was that we had to carry out a weird accent. It was hilarious hearing Ethan’s little voice with an accent yelling, “Ay, ay captain!”
I was trying to soak as much as I could in, knowing my time with them was going to look a lot different come 2021.
Alex graduated from PTA school this month! We celebrated with a small get together with our quarantine crew and my parents. We picked up his favorite chicken tenders from PDQ and added them to home-made salads. It was kind of an ode to the beginning of his college career, when all he ate was chicken tenders. Since then he has graduated to more elaborate meals.
We bought a tree one week before Christmas. It wasn’t ideal, but at least we only paid $20 for it! We started a new tradition of eating at Waffle House before heading back to the house with our tree. The food wasn’t spectacular, but we just loved the feeling of eating at a diner-style restaurant with the kids as a holiday tradition.
Tori’s birthday was celebrated with a field day at Depot Park. We were outside for hours being silly and throwing the frisbee/football around. Then we ended the night at our house for some sushi and quality time.
Christmas Eve was spent in our Christmas PJs… all day! We made pancakes, baked and decorated sugar cookies, painted homemade ornaments for the tree and watched Christmas movies. It was so restful, that we all took a nap at one point!
A favorite memory was with a neighbor whose generosity left me in tears. We spent all of Christmas Eve preoccupied with making memories together, that we completely forgot to go grocery shopping for breakfast on Christmas morning. This was our FIRST Christmas at our house and we were hosting my parents. By the time we remembered to grab food, the stores had closed early. A neighbor of mine randomly texted me about how the storm had blown her inflatable manger decoration into my yard. Since we were already texting, I asked her if her chickens had laid any extra eggs, because we didn’t go grocery shopping for breakfast. Kind of a bold ask, but also, we had nothing. In the pouring rain, her son came over with a bag full of different meats and eggs. She texted me, “It was meant to be that our inflatable manger flew into your yard. Merry Christmas!” Thank You, Jesus.
That night, we went over to Wayne’s family’s property for a fire and gift exchange. I grew up always celebrating birthdays and holidays with both my mom’s side and dad’s side under one roof. I know that’s not common in the least, but this year, I got to experience that tradition with my family and Wayne’s. It was the first time our families joined.
We started construction in the sunroom about one year ago. Between Wayne’s last year of school, a licensing exam, work, kids… and everything in between, work in that room was on a break. This month, we hired some help to get us closer to the end of the project. Look at how it started and where we are at now!
End of an era. Tori was moving away for school, so we all squeezed some last minute quality time with her. Her and I had a picnic coffee/empanada date at a field and cried and laughed together. Then later she celebrated her final day of nannying the kids with a trip to the butterfly museum and a picnic.
Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” 2020 was one of the hardest years of our lives, but even in dry land, I will tell of His stories of abundant faithfulness. There is so much good to recount.