Sarasota Florida Family Photographer | In Home Family Photojournalism Storytelling Documentary Photographer | On location and beach vacation photography » Jessica Thomason is a storytelling lifestyle photographer specializing in family photojournalism or documentary style family sessions in home or on location. Serving Southwest and Central Florida - Sarasota + Anna Maria Island + Orlando or Disney area

On the very last day of summer it occurred to us that our lives were out of control and so we attempted to create a schedule and start a new routine.

This is a look at our lives right now – always in some kind of in between transitional stage where we don’t know if we’re coming or going. I look at the girls and think “they’re just babies” and also “they’re so big!” and it seems impossible but both of those statements are true.

When these pictures were taken just 8 days ago I could not have been more ready for Isla to start school. Summer was dragging on and we were out of fun adventures (namely money and energy). But now I’m blogging while Cora plays in the laundry baskets and counting down the hours until I can pick Isla up from TK. Parenthood is so so strange.

Here is a look at a day in our life right about now.

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I’ve been lazy about shooting and even lazier about sharing this summer. But if you can’t be lazy over the summer when can you be?

We’ve done a ton of swimming (which I would say is pretty thoroughly documented)… we’ve also done a ton of lounging around the house during thunderstorms which is far less documented. But trust me, there was a ton of doing nothing too. And working. And eating. And drinking margaritas. Just use your imagination.

Here is what the more fun parts of summer looked like… ClickinWalk in Orlando, a trip to Disney that was too hot to bother documenting (I made it as far as the monorail and then called it a day pretty soon after that), pool meet ups with Lauren and Parker, sticky afternoons at the park (to behest this probably only happened once – it’s way to hot to be outside if there isn’t a body of water involved), a couple staycations on Gulf coast, fireworks, laundry, cake, and finally some photos in the pool where Isla spent at least 50% of her waking hours (at least it feels that way).

Summer hasn’t seemed special in a long time because when you have a job and your kid goes to year-round preschool nothing really changes in June except it gets even hotter. But this year Isla stayed home for the summer and we experienced the full fledged summer experience for the first time since we were in school ourselves. And it was hot, and crazy, and stressful, and relaxing and just as magical as it was monotonous. How is it possible that those two things can be so similar?

In the moment I hated 99.9% of everything I shot… but even with just a few weeks distance, I can already appreciate these photos for what they are. Little miracles. Miracles because I have two healthy children, lots of time to spend with them, and proof in the form of snapshots. Some better than others, but every single one a perfect representation of life in that dichotomous moment.
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As many times as I’ve been to Disney (not just with my own family but with other families as well) you might think it gets boring or feels the same every single time. So many things about the Disney experience really are universal in nature – the unforgiving Florida sun, the long lines, the squeals of young children and the nostalgia of adults (aka kids at heart). But within each Disney experience I find a unique perspective exists – the family dynamic really shines when you’re on vacation!

Now I’ve always said there is no family on earth that can remain “well behaved” for an entire Disney session. Even the most composed of families seem to have some sort of breakdown before the day is through — and to be honest I really look forward to it! I mean what is cuter than a meltdown on a carousel or a Mickey Mouse ice cream covered screaming face?! But Staci’s family is so laid back and her girls are just so (I’m trying to think of another word but all I can come up with is) chill. They get along basically all the time. Now Staci may claim this isn’t true – and maybe they don’t get along ALL the time. But they got along for 8 consecutive hours which is close enough! 😛

This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that this sweet family of four had a major bonus otherwise known as GRANDPARENTS on their trip! Ahhh no Disney trip is complete without the blessing of those two extraordinary people who love you and your kids and don’t mind sitting with your stroller so you don’t have to walk half a mile to park it and haul your bags onto Big Thunder Mountain. Trust me, this is a big deal! Grandparents are a must-have at Disney and Staci and Brad are so lucky that Eva and Maggie have some amazing ones!

Staci, it was so much fun photographing your awesome little crew for the day! I hope these little glimpses of your experience bring back memories of your vacation in the best way possible! <32016-05-01_0001.jpg
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Just like the start to every other DITL I’ve shot for my family, I woke up not feeling up to the task. But this time I really couldn’t back out because I’m currently in the middle of teaching The Documentary Approach over at Click Photo School (formerly CM University) — and this week’s lesson? How to shoot a DITL for your family!

Lately I’ve been staying up too late and sleeping in too long and struggling to juggle teaching, working pretty darn close to full time and being world’s okay-est mom. (I can’t claim credit to that awesome title – I saw that on a bumper sticker and have had my eyes peeled for one every since). The free time I used to have before Cora was born has all but vanished. Isla is difficult – oh so difficult. Every single thing is a struggle from getting dressed to flossing teeth to eating food that isn’t named after a cartoon character. Cora is much more easy going but she’s still there, needing more than I have to give most of the time. And I love both of these girls so much — I worry that I’m too stressed and that they can feel it. I try to be present but I’m on my phone too much. I try to keep my patience but it’s hard. So, so hard. Our house isn’t what I want it to be. And I keep saying we’ll do this or that to fix it up and it never happens and instead of pretending it’s going to get better anytime soon I’m starting to resign myself to the idea that maybe this is just my life for the next 4 to 5 years.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Not by a long shot. We are all together most weekends and Brett drives to Starbucks every single morning and brings me coffee. And every morning he asks if I want it now or if he should put it in the fridge. And every morning I say “just let me have a sip and put it in the fridge… I’ll be up in a second”. An hour later I find my coffee and then go looking for signs of life. Now in all fairness Brett gets to go to bed in a luxurious king size where he will get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep while I struggle to keep Isla content on one side of me (she demands to be held which is precious but also my shoulder is constantly feeling out of socket) while nursing Cora to sleep on the other side. All while sleeping on a fold out bed because Isla thinks it’s the best thing ever that a couch can turn into a bed. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world – honestly. But I don’t think I’ve been fully asleep since early 2011.

This particular day was a pretty typical one for us on a weekend. Hanging around the house a bit, a trip to the park, dropped off the car for a good detail, up to the outlet mall and home after dark. Lots of good old boring stuff in the middle – my personal favorite. I noticed something was really different about this day in the life – Brett and I have to divide and conquer a lot. So not as much of us together, doing the same thing at the same time. I stay in the car while he runs into Publix with Isla. I follow in the blue car with kids while he drops off the Highlander at the car wash. He edits video for me while I keep the kids out of trouble.

Sometimes it’s hard to capture a frazzled life when you’re in the thick of it. But I hope these pictures bring back memories of what this stage was like in a really honest way. I hope I remember how much Isla loved her sister,  how Cora looked like a drunk leprechaun trying to take her first few steps, how much those weekends around the house really recharged my spirit, and how even though we feel like we’re in survival mode most of the time, Brett and I are doing okay-er than ever.

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