Stella is One! | The G Family at Hartwood Acres Mansion

Stella is One! | The G Family at Hartwood Acres Mansion

"Before having a baby…”

Ah, the volumes of hubris I could fill with just that one prompt. Things like:

“Before having a baby I thought people who were late were being rude!”

“Before having a baby I didn’t understand why parents would let their child scream in a grocery store.”

“Before having a baby I didn’t understand why a person would only take one shower in a week.”

Don’t worry, I have since had a formal reckoning on all of these misconceptions. And since “before having a baby I actually had time to read entire blog posts” also fits here, I’ll get straight to the point: 

Before having a baby, I didn’t really understand the point of first birthday parties.

The L Family | Pittsburgh Fall Family Session

The L Family | Pittsburgh Fall Family Session

Melissa warned me ahead of time that family was a little loud and a little crazy. And I said: I sure hope so.

Because this is the kind of “crazy” I adore. The wild, frenetic, exuberant pace of children who are loved desperately and happy beyond imagination. The “crazy” that fuels curiosity and creates a safe space for self-discovery. Mamas, you know the kind of crazy. It is exhausting and exhilarating, and on your bad days can deplete what little energy you had left at the bottom of that cold cup of coffee. But on your good days— oh, on those good days—you find tiny moments to step back and marvel at the beautiful chaos and see it for what it is: a joyful childhood. 

Fall Sunset Family Session | Hartwood Acres Mansion

Fall Sunset Family Session | Hartwood Acres Mansion

“We’ve been meaning to get family pictures taken for…how old is he? 10 months? Yep— that’s how long!” Francesca told me, as we stepped out into the gorgeous garden at Hartwood Acres Mansion.

Before I became a parent, the idea that 10 whole months can just slip away from you seemed a little unbelievable. Even now, there are days that seem like they move in slow-motion, where we have infinite time to do all of the things we want (with the notable exception of “sleep"). 

Pittsburgh Family Session | Mellon Park Walled Garden

Pittsburgh Family Session | Mellon Park Walled Garden

Trust me— I know how much time, whining, wrangling, and bribing can go into getting the whole family on board with pictures. Historically, you’re used to having the announcement “we’re having family pictures taken!” met by groans and grimaces. Getting everyone dressed and out the door should be an Olympic sport, and by the time you’ve survived the car ride—keeping the kids up precariously close to bedtime so your photographer can shoot at “golden hour,” whatever that is— you’ve used up most of your snack bargaining chips. 

But I can promise you, you’re not going to regret it.