Wednesday, November 5, 2014

on being married one year.

We honeymooned at the beach (where else??), ate Lucky Charms for about two weeks straight (not to mention our leftover rainbow cake), and then got to do real life together, from the exciting Monday morning planning meetings to the half-asleep-scrambled-egg-making 3 o'clock mornings. We went crabbing with some of our favorite people (disastrous in the financial department, but wonderful in the boating around in the sunshine department) and spent most of the stunning autumn doing senior photo shoots and drinking Angry Orchard cider and watching Suits.

We drove to Seattle and stayed with friends in a TV-show worthy apartment in the city (brick and everything). We wrestled insurance and appointments and finally got traveling-overseas-vaccines, and then went on a mission trip to India, spent 24 hours in China, fell in love with every single beautiful child, miraculously did not get lice, took thousands of pictures. Had a snowflake-and-triumphantly-found-tree Christmas with a lot of brown paper and twine. I made burnt-yet-edible cinnamon rolls and the last and most magnificent gift was my dream boots that I'd never been able to find, let alone buy.

I cut my hair really short (the shortest it's ever been), and we went to the desert for a wedding (stayed in a trailer, watched movies, ate biscuits and gravy in the morning), and Denver, and northern Washington, and we watched a lot of tv shows and laughed really hard about absolutely nothing. We did a huge project on marriage (and learned how to work together, for better or worse), and we got up obscenely early most of the time for awhile, until he through his nasty work shirt into the fire and we launched on official, bonifide self-employment. When people ask what we do for work, we get to say we're wedding photographers, and that is such a magical thing to be able to say. 

We got really excited about good deal on a vacuum (he's a wizard), and we ate a lot of crusty bread and olive oil and baby pickles (so. many. baby. pickles.) We agonized over paint colors for months and finally painted our bedroom white (best decision ever). (Painting isn't always as romantic and dreamy as certain movies would have you believe just FYI. At least not until you both have a snack). 

We went to the beach with his cousin/friend and his wife and played bitter rounds of Monopoly and watched cartoons and ate amazing breakfasts. Went to the beach again with my whole family and reveled in/were overwhelmed by the sheer number of adorable nieces & nephews. 

We visited one of his brother's family in Coeur D'Alene, where we got obsessed with Tetris, couldn't wait to have our own baseball-playing boys, bought a new wedding ring for me (I lost the original one within the first few months--mostly a sentimental loss, since it was from a pawn shop--NOT the engagement ring), and saw an incredible number of old pickups and ate some of the best donuts ever.

We made a lot of plans and then canceled them all because we'd rather just hang out and watch movies and makeout and eat pizza. I never thought I would have this much fun hanging out with the same person day after day. 

We got snowed in for a few too-good-to-be-true days, and walked everywhere in the eery, beautiful, muted neighborhood (I got to wear my Christmas boots), ate an enormous amount of pancakes and bacon with some of the best people, all packed into our tiny tiny place, and sledded and made snow angels and snow ice cream and sat and watched the snow come down and make the trees movie-worthy. 

We went to our coffee shop (Singer Hill) way too often, to get mad (good-naturedly, usually) while playing cards, and sometimes he bought me a pastry, but usually we just got a decaf with refills, because we're poor newlyweds, after all. But I felt like we must be really rich because we could afford to get Redbox every once in awhile and go out to eat and even bought orange juice sometimes.

We haunted our Oregon City, poking around in musty antique shops or eating cupcakes/cinnamon rolls/cajun tots. Sometimes we went to the pet store to get emotional about the kittens and the puppies (okay, that's mostly just me), and toy with the idea of being responsible (and rich) enough to buy a fish. 

He brought me home red roses (usually just one, which is my favorite), and donuts and sundry food after his rabid grocery trips.

My yellowish kitchen was infiltrated with my red things all over the place. It made me happier than I ever thought I could get over my kitchen. I love my cookie jar and my rainbow mugs and my majestic shiny red kitchenaid and the sunshine when it pours in during the afternoon. And now I understand things like the relief and giddiness that comes with eating a meal that I didn't have to strategize and execute, having freezer meals, or getting a good deal on black beans.

We watched a lot of Looney Tunes while eating waffles. If we were lucky, we got to drink coffee together in the morning, which was the fondest craving of my soul before we got married. 

We locked ourselves out of our house, and climbed through the window, there was a beehive scare in our sketchy studio. 

We ate pie at Shari's (late at night, after shooting weddings), and an enormous amount of Starbucks breakfast sandwiches. Also, emergency-there-is-no-plans-for-dinner chorizo burritos from Super Torta. (Those things will wreck you). We went to Portland sometimes for fancy dinners, but mostly frequented the not-great restaurants in Oregon City. Some of the best date nights were the at-home ones with fondue or pasta and Fred Meyer desserts. 

We had a magical been-married-six-months celebration with mac and cheese, and too-soon picnics on the promenade, with rotisserie chicken and cheese and reading out loud.

We went to the beach with my whole family and held a lot of babies and wore a lot of top hats and explored our "grassy knoll". We flew to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to visit two more of his brothers and their families. Lived there for a few weeks and had raging head colds and played with two of the cutest children that were ever created. Lots of night Wii battles and cold cereal binging and bitter boys vs. girls Spades games. Experienced his family tradition of the Easter pinata.

Took a bus to New York City and ran around holding hands and eating too much amazing food. Hung out with some amazing people. 

I flew to Denver all alone to shoot a bridal shower, and missed him outrageously and he picked me up from the airport wearing his marvelous blue shirt. 

We watched a lot of movies with me laying in his lap (all three Lord of the Rings, epic long Chinese movie, etc), and stayed up much later than reasonable just laughing about nothing. 

He held me when I cried, every single time, and prayed with me when I was a wreck because of people I was hurting for or worried about or not trusting God with.

We had several different favorite people come over to talk about deep stuff and watch stupid movies and stay nights on our futon.

We ate a lot of chocolate muffins, juanita tortilla chips + fresh salsa, Totino's pizza (so cheap, so terrible, so good), turkey bacon (eventually got sick of it), bratwurst (not sick of it), english muffins, poached eggs, grocery store sushi, and homemade burritos.

We drove to Canada with Bethany and stayed with one of the greatest families ever and drove through stunning green countryside listening to 80's music (saw a bald eagle, (WHY WAS IT IN CANDA INSTEAD OF AMERICA? traitor),  lots of roadkill, and a naked man. Ate baguette in a field.

We went to Denver for another wedding, stayed with our basically-family people and bought a front-porch picnic with Mexican hot chocolate pudding and watched the crazy Colorado weather. Took a ton of pictures we accidentally deleted later. Drove away from a tornado-y thunderstorm, ate donuts.

We watched movies in the theater--lame, perfect, and unexpectedly tragic cathartic animated movies (How to Train Your Dragon 2 you are merciless). 

Went to family camp and had fires on the beach, deep hot tub conversations with friends, and a lot of s'mores. Explored scary rocky beach places. Came home and got the horrific flu plague simultaneously and letsjustsay sometimes it's difficult having a one-bathroom home. Had bonding times watching movies and trying valiantly to eat soup.

Tackled our few weddingless weeks of summer with a vengeance--campings trips, hiking to waterfalls, floating down the river at the slightest provocation with a slew of really awesome married people we love. He went on man-camping trips and I occasionally burst into tears the moment he left (hashtag codependent), watched Romeo and Juliet and bawled, stayed up til 2am blogging aaaand also weeping.

Got some vicious sunburns/tans, went to the amusement park and stayed on the ferris wheel for six rounds, had a harrowing rafting trip ended with burger-eating frenzy. Caught and ate (ish) crawdads and kind of liked them. Spent afternoons sharing our porch hammock dangerously and reading and snuggling each other within an inch of our lives.

He gave me a crazy-amazing 21st birthday--top secret folders, two days in Portland in a hotel, and eating at all of the amazing places I could imagine. (He even bought me a red dress ♥). We got to stay in two different resorts in one weekend for two amazing weddings--got addicted to cooking shows and ate powdered donuts in bed. 

We made it through almost all of the exciting, amazing brutality of Wedding Season, with all the learning curves of crazy work-load/working well together/still having time for each other. We repeatedly got reminded of our own wedding and why we married each other and holycow how emotional and beautiful weddings are.

And then we celebrated our anniversary in the most attractive way at the moment--staying home and watching movies and looking through every single one of our wedding photos, and eating gross food and good long islands at a nearby un-tested restaurant.

This year has been fuller and more perfect than I ever imagined. God gave us a ridiculous amount of blessings, and a completely unanticipated number of adventures together. Marriage is so, so much easier--and just more plain magical than I expected. Basically it's a lot of laughing and tickling and smooshy-face-hugs, with some crying and hugging it out and pre-dinner crises mixed in. I can't count the number of times I've looked at his beautiful all-mine face and just been floored by the fact that I have this--all this. There's nothing quite like a person that's half of you--that's home to you. Holding each other and laughing uncontrollably together is maybe the best thing Jesus has ever given me. This first year has been an unimaginable blessing.

But at the same time, it's been probably the most full of seeing the hurt and brokenness in the world. Horrible news stories and gut-wrenching phone calls and tragedies in lives around us that seem impossible to know how to process. It makes me cling even tighter to this amazing best-friend-for-life--he reminds me of truth and God's goodness when I can't see it. I could never have imagined the amount of happiness I'd have right now--but I also could never have imagined the amount of serious-for-real-yuckiness in the world around me. Often simultaneously with this absurdly undeserved happiness, has been some of the hardest struggles I've had with trust in God and belief in His goodness, as brokenness and darkness hurts people around me.

It's even more difficult, I've found, for me to trust God when I feel like He's not fixing things and healing things and protecting the people I love to the death. But despite my arrogance in not trusting him, and not believing in His sovereignty and goodness, he has been so, so gentle with me. And my husband has been a reminder of that, because his patient and persistent and gentle love doesn't waver, even when I try to run away or don't believe him or am so eyeballs-deep in my sin that I can't see truth.

                                                   first and last photo from one-year-anniversary photo shoot with the beautiful Lucia.

This year has been incredible, once-in-a-lifetime--a first-year-of-marriage to hold tight to when things are harder and more complicated. Easy in all the ways I didn't expect and impossible in all the ways I never imagined. God is teaching me so much about questions that we don't get the answers to right when we want them (or even until we see his face), about struggling through fear and helplessness. about bring-you-to-your-knees blessings and beauty.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

so we're wedding photographers

As you may recall, I married a for-real wedding photographer, thus fulfilling my fondest wish/most unrealistic dream of getting to be a husband + wife wedding photographer team. The very first wedding we shot together was before we really knew each other ("strictly professional") (hah!), the second one was a friend's wedding and he asked me to dance at the end of the night, and since then, we've shot at least 21 more weddings together.

And now it's been almost an entire year since our wedding and we've gone from winter projects and engagement and senior shoots to the slowly-starting wedding season in the spring (with plenty of time for vacations!) to the full-blown, hardly-a-moment-for-anything-else summer season. August has been CRAZY. As well as record-hot for mild old Oregon. 

we're obsessed with central oregon weddings, like this incredible desert wedding last November. freezing cold, bonfire, floating lanterns, and trailers for all of the guests (and us!) to stay in. the best.

We're wedding nerds. We really are. We know way too much about every intricacy of a wedding day, and have an alarming amount of conversations about our favorite kind of bridal gown, bouquet, vows, and hairstyles.

It's such a crazy thing to be able to be a part of a couples' best-day-ever, and get a window into their always-unique relationship, families, and friends. We always get too attached (Peter in a less weeping-during-the-ceremony kind of way).

We're getting better and better at working together--something which is not always a piece of cake, especially with how high-stress weddings can be. Thankfully, I married someone who deals with stress like a boss. So that helps. Things like differing work ethics (his is exceptional... mine is howshallisay--weak), figuring out who does what for post-processing, publishing, etc.

We're in more and more of a groove, and I love having more and more of a system. I'll help cull and reply to emails, do all hand-writing related activities :), write for the blog, do most of the facebook stuff, and the increasing list of little post-wedding things we have to do. By the way: linkage. Our site, Peter Mahar Photography and our facebook page!

Some favorites from the most of the weddings we've shot since getting married:

denver, colorado in january. this family is the best. we shot their second daughter's wedding in June, and are shooting their third daughter's next month!

eastern washington. roadtrip adventure + amazing people + crazy weather.

vancouver, BC. I had no idea that Canada was so stunning. sheesh.

denver again! 

we'd always wanted to shoot this guy's wedding. (a friend of Peter's, who incidentally teased him about me from the very beginning.) :)

our friend-since-forever married a girl from pennsylvania short notice on a tuesday because he's a pilot and their original wedding date wasn't going to work anymore. it ended up being incredible aaand also the hardest week ever possibly because we did three weddings in five days. 

(it's always a plus to get to shoot a wedding that your CUTER THAN ANYTHING nephew is at.)

a rare actually portland wedding for old friends. 

quirky venue that made us all nostalgic for our wedding!

...also with a photo booth. contrary to facebook rumors, this is a wig I'm wearing. 

bend, oregon. one of the most emotional + breathtaking weddings I've ever seen. bride & groom completely in love and never able to stop crying.

two friends we both grew up with--the kind of friends you match-make from infancy but never to each other and then all of a sudden bam--they get together and of course they're perfect for each other. (she can handle his bizarre and hilarious behavior).

(all three of my brothers were groomsmen which was the coolest.)

sunriver, oregon. got to stay at the resort and stay up late watching cooking shows in bed. ♥

sisters, oregon. fell in love with the utterly adorable couple and we got to stay in the most incredible room we've ever seen. (guys, water for the giant tub came from the ceiling.)

hood river, oregon. she's an olympic skier and the mountain view was stunning. came home sunburnt with a beer-soaked shoe. a grand time was had by all.

I can't even describe what an outrageous blessing it is to get to work alongside my main squeeze. Top seven reasons it's the bomb:
1. we're married, we get to photograph people getting married. it's bonding and reminding and emotional.
2. he's my favorite photographer and I get to learn his ways.
3. we get to hang out like, a lot. we both have time off at the same time, we both work at the same time, we both get to work at home in our pajamas at the same time, we both distract each other from actually working...
4. I understand what he does for a living (unlike an engineer or a mathematician or something). we can relate about things, not to mention all the shared experiences of the goodbadandtheugly of wedding days. and we get to brainstorm together.
5. he's the hardest dang worker I've ever seen, and I get lots of character building from becoming more like him. he wins at all the really hard, businessy, numbery, rubber-meets-the-road parts of the business. a wedding day is stressful and exhausting (especially when it's a 12 hour + day of shooting), and I couldn't do it without someone as hard-working and magical as him. plus he knows that foot rubs are more valuable after coming home from a wedding than being handed a million dollars.
6. it's exciting. you never know when you might completely bomb, or when you might the most amazing inquiry or review or booked wedding that sends you over the moon.
7. he's super sexy in a vest & tie.