Photo by: Jonathan Canlas
Happy New Year!
I always love a new year. A fresh start, new energy and goals always makes me happy. It was so nice to take a two- week break at home with Chase and Jude. We were due for the much needed quality time as a family. This year kicked our ass. I say that gratefully and with a full heart. I did a lot of self reflecting back on 2013 and we accomplished a ton. As always, we had some of our favorite moments, sweet milestones, as well as heartache and sadness. I’m thankful for every day.
Cole Collective and RollinsCole launched last February and, with much success, both have been wonderful. Finding my love for film again has been so inspiring and keeps my heart bright. I met many new clients who I call my friends. I also attended a wonderful workshop called Film Is Not Dead with Jonathan Canlas. It was life changing and I met some of the sweetest photographers who are now my friends.
RollinsCole has been one of the best life experiences I have ever had. Having a business partner was so new to both Mackenzie and me. I truly believe there is only one person in this world I was meant to partner with, and that is Kenz. We joke that we’re married because, like any successful and happy relationship, you have to be honest, have trust, communicate and love no matter what. We are constantly learning from each other. After launching in February, I traveled to NYC (four times!), New Orleans, Seattle, Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was an adventure; an amazing yet hard one. Jude was sick every three weeks until just this September. He was hospitalized at Dell Children’s Medical Center again in April and diagnosed with asthma. He currently sees a great specialist in Austin and the steroid he takes has kept his asthma in check for several months. We are feeling super thankful.
My heart continues to ache for my sweet friend and former photography student Danielle. Dani had been my student since 2010 and she lit up my world in ways I’ll never be able to explain. I believed in her and she believed in me. As I taught Dani, I realized how much I loved teaching children the art of photography. God called her home this September, and I now carry her in my heart forever. She was a true gift to me.
Chase, Jude and I took our first family vacation together this past November. We went to New Orleans and had an fun time. That city has so many entertaining things to do with kids, and Chase and I enjoyed eating our way through Nola and spending quality time together. We were subject models for the FIND NOLA workshop and had some family portraits taken by Jonathan Canlas. As a family photographer with a busy family life, I can see how hard it is to plan a time very year to have family portraits taken, but it is so important and so worth it. I will cherish these portraits for years to come, and I know Jude will to one day.
We started the year off with Jude turning two. I was a little emotional about this birthday; maybe because I realized how independent he’s become. I know this age and year will be nothing but fun, loving and, if you know Jude, challenging. He is my sunshine in every way. He teaches Chase and me patience, love and admiration. Jude is so unique and I love it so much. He is obsessed with leaves and textures. At his two-year appointment this week he didn’t shed a tear getting his blood drawn or receiving shots, but screamed bloody murder when the nurse put a band aid on him. He loves the word “no” and shaking his head. His recent obsession is the alphabet and numbers. It may take an entire hour for him to eat any meal because it’s always on his terms when it comes to food. He makes us laugh every single day. My sweet and beautiful friend Brittany Dawson took these gorgeous photos of Jude and I on his actual birthday. They make me so happy to look at. It’s such a treat seeing portraits of my son taken by another photographer.
As this year begins anew, I am feeling happy and inspired. I love to set new goals. This year I’m focusing on happiness, loving (always), my body and soul, forgiveness and balance. For the last five years I’ve had these huge career goals set and I’ve always met them. This year I feel content and happy in my career. I’m taking a slight step back and focusing on myself. I truly feel that you have to love yourself and be a happy person in order to love others as much as you can. Life is so short and so fragile.
I’m leaving for Guatemala on January 25th for a personal project. I’m looking forward to this experience. I’m forever grateful for my village and family that always takes such good care of Jude while I’m gone. It’s so difficult to leave him, but I feel a calling for this, and I look forward to sharing pictures of the experience soon.
I want to wish you all love and joy this year. I always hear my mother say, “Remember to smile at others.” You never know who may need it.
xo – Mel
Brittany Dawson Photography
Jonathan Canlas Brittany Dawson PhotographyJonathan CanlasBrittany Dawson PhotographyJonathan Canlas