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Mabel Mai and The Big Flip are going on The Katie Couric Show!!!!

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It is an exciting time for the Wan-Rees family and for The Big Flip! On May 22nd, 2013, sweet Mabel Mai was born and we were lucky to have the opportunity to document what day 5 looked like for this family of 6…

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And now for the Katie Couric part…. on Tuesday, June 11th, Mabel Mai is going to New York, with her parents and The Big Flip, to tell Katie Couric what it is like to be in a modern family with a breadwinning mom and a stay-at-home dad. We are crazy excited for this amazing family and for the opportunity to share our documentary project with the Nation.

To find out how you can watch the Wan-Rees family on national television and to learn more about the The Big Flip click here: http://bigflipdocumentary.com/action

who wins your bread…

I was eight months pregnant with my son when Izzy Chan asked me if I would help her document the increasing trend of women becoming the primary breadwinners of their families.

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She had statistics and facts for this new role reversal that painted a pretty dismal outlook.

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As the primary breadwinners of our own households, we were not satisfied by the statistics so we wanted to learn more.

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We wanted to hear from real families…

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From both sides of the story…

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From real dads, husbands, men…

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And from real moms, wives, women…

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Who have very real needs, dreams, responsibilities…

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And that lead us to Bonnie and Chip and their family of five, soon to be six…

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We spent a Sunday…

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And a Monday morning…

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…following these two around, asking questions, listening and watching.

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We have just gotten started and already we have learned a lot from the Wan-Rees family, and from the other five families we have followed.

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Our goal is to share how real families are making it work in the Modern Home Front, so we can all learn how to move through these new gender, family, cultural changes as successfully as possible.

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So we are currently in the middle of editing a sneak peek of their story, to help us raise money so we can go back…

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And capture the next chapter of their story…

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To (hopefully) be continued soon.

You can follow our adventures on the ‘The Big Flip: Stories from the Modern Home Front’ here: https://www.facebook.com/BigFlipDocumentary and here: http://bigflipdocumentary.com/

the most beautiful home birth I almost saw…

If you asked me how my home birth was, you would not hear me say, “My home birth was beautiful.”

Instead I very honestly would tell you, “It was extremely long, incredibly painful and very, very messy. I can understand why drugs were invented and why people take them.”

Between endless hours of back-breaking contractions, I kept repeating, “This is ridiculous. How can there be 7 billion people on the planet.”

I couldn’t see why anyone would voluntarily choose to do this more than once in their lifetime, let alone 7 billion times.

People told me eventually I would forget and the hormones would win again, but I refused to believe that I could ever forget what that day felt like. And I announced that I was quite happy with one.

Yet here I am, one year and 5 months later, just like everyone said, wondering… if, maybe, should we?

So I was excited when Rose sent me an email asking if I would photograph the birth of their second baby girl, who would be born at home some time in March. It would be a good test. How would it feel to see someone else go through labor? And what was a home birth like the second time around?

I was also excited because I have never seen a human being born. I have seen cows, sheep, and dogs… but not a human (I had my eyes closed the whole time during HAH’s birth.)

And I got a small taste of what it must feel like for doctors and midwives. For once in my life, I had my cell phone almost always charged and I almost always knew where it was. And at gatherings with friends, I would announce, “I can’t drink tonight, I’m on call.”

But then it didn’t happen. The due date came and went. I started filling up my calendar. I had photo shoots scheduled every day. Arann got sick, so I was working all day and on solo parenting duty at night. Until finally at the end of day two of photographing flowers in SF, I got the texts:

4:12pm “I think we are in early labor, midwife is coming over. Will text again.”

4:57 “Come now!!”

I was in San Francisco.

The family was in Oakland.

For those of you not from the Bay Area, 5pm on a Thursday means… Fat chance.

I only had to drive 10.5 miles.

It took me one hour.

When I finally arrived at the house, Rose’s mother let me in and said, “The baby was just born, come on in.”

And this is what I saw…

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While I was disappointed to have missed the birth, it was probably for the best because I got to experience all of the joy and none of the work. Which means I can confidently say that it was the most beautiful home birth, I almost saw.

Thank you, Rose and Jonathan, for inviting me to be a part of this amazing moment in your lives. It was such an incredible honor and I am so excited for your family. And, as Rose said to me after the birth of HAH, “Have fun falling in love.”

Wait for it…

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Seana first contacted me on November 10th about family photos. We had three or four scheduled dates to meet but each time it just didn’t work out… thanks to conflicting holiday schedules, bad weather, the flu, and even an epic battle with poison oak. But we didn’t give up. We waited until schedules calmed down, the weather was just right, the poison oak went away and everyone one was feeling healthy, relaxed and ready to play…

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Thank you for not giving up, Seana.

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It was so worth the wait.

the best present ever…

After spending the month of November buying a house, remodeling, moving, photographing families and sending out photos for other people’s Christmas presents… it was time for me to think about my own Christmas presents.

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But I was feeling unmotivated, broke and out of time (we only had 18 days in our new home before our annual Christmas pilgrimage to Carbondale, Illinois.)

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But there is no place under my Grandfather’s Christmas tree for excuses.

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My Grandfather purchased and wrapped 100 gifts this year, so I had to get my act together quickly.

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Luckily my family likes my photos, so often times prints become my default gift. But this year I wanted to be more creative.

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And then it occurred to me… my mom gave me a baby book after Harper was born, which she very sweetly (and repetitively) encouraged me to use, reminding me that these days go so fast and that if I don’t write these memories down I will forget.

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But the baby book, although super cute and exactly the one I chose, was not inspiring me. Every time I sat down to work on it I would get stuck on family history I didn’t know or on an irrelevant question that I didn’t care about.

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And the thought of making one more scrapbook (I was a scrapbooking fool in high school, before scrapbooking was a verb) that would fall apart in 10 years… did not appeal to me.

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So I decided to make my own baby book that I would give to our parents and to Arann. Several 4:30am nights and 240 pages later, here it is…

 

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Watching my mom and Arann open their copies and flip through the pages on Christmas was the best present ever.

No warm-up necessary this year…

This was the third year in a row that I photographed Jasmine and her parents

…which, I learned, makes for a very comfortable and very action-packed photo shoot.

No warm-up time necessary this year, Little Miss Jasmine was ready to go…

And so was I… after spending 72 continuous hours working on getting our new house ready for us to move in to it this week! It is totally chaotic and insane what we are trying to do in such a short amount of time… so this one hour photo shoot, in this perfect location (which happens to be conveniently in my new backyard,) with these ready and willing models… was exactly the boost I needed tonight to keep me going.
And hopefully the next blog post I write will be from my desk, in my new office, in our very own house! Eeeeeeeeeee….. wish us luck!

it is all about people…

I may photograph food, products, events, and flowers… but for me, it is all about the people. So I get excited when family portrait season comes around and families invite me in to their homes for an hour, or even better, for an afternoon, and I get to play…

I enjoy it so much that every time I am at a family photo shoot I usually have to remind myself that it is time to put down the camera and go home. And when I do eventually leave, I feel honored to have been invited in to the homes of these families and to document what their lives are like at this moment… and I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to call this my job.

This is what’s going on at our house these days…

It has been awhile since my last post, so I thought I’d at least share what we are working on…

In addition to learning how to grab our toes, roll-over, fly, drool, and laugh… we are also working on my new website.

Because now that we have this parenting thing figured out (as demonstrated in photo above)…

…it is time to get back to work again. New website link coming soon.

One Street, Four Families and Me…

Last year I was lucky to photograph this cute family

And that cute family showed their photos to this cute family…

And that cute family showed their photos to this cute family…

And to this cute family…

And because all of these cute families live on the same cute street in the East Bay, this year one of the mothers offered to help organize schedules so I could come back and photograph all of the cute families on the same day.

So that is what we did.

And here are some of my favorites from our marathon photography day on that sunny Saturday in November…


Thank you, Rachel, for suggesting the Clover Drive photography day. And thank you, Kim, for coordinating all of the schedules. I had lots of fun with each of your families and I really hope to see you all again next year.



Introducing… Harper Albi Harris

Born at our home on October 14th at 12:20 am.

Named after my most favorite grandparents, who taught me the importance and value of family.

(photo taken by the talented Jude Mooney.)

He is only three weeks old and I am still completely blown away by it all…

By the fact that he was once inside of me.

By how absolutely amazing women are.

By seeing my son bundled in my husband’s arms.

By the love we have received from our incredible community.

By the multitude of faces…

…one creature can make…

…in a matter of seconds.


By my mom.

By my dog, who sat quietly with me during the whole (very long) birth.

And by this new person…

…who is making me fall in love…

…a little bit more…

….every day.

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