Modern Answer to the Snailmail Family Newsletter

Do you remember your mom writing holiday newsletters every year?  Do you remember reading the letters from her college roommates, following the lives of families you may never have met but felt you knew?

Fewer and fewer of those beloved newsletters arrive in the mail, thanks to social media, our busy lives, and the picture-perfect cards that so many of our friends and family seem to favor.

With that, some of the magic has been lost.  We've lost the chance to make a special connection around the holidays, to celebrate along with family and friends, and to share the accomplishments, changes and milestones that make up a year in the life of every family.

Our Portraits that Move team has come up with the answer.  Our Holiday Video Card lets you and your children talk about what happened over the whole year in your own words.

We're using modern ways to recapture traditional experiences of family, love, celebration and connection.  And our clients and their friends and families are loving it.

At the end of the day, the beauty of new technologies are that they offer us new ways to tell our stories.  The Portraits that Move Video Holiday Card is our cool, modern answer to snailmail family newsletter.  It is also a beautiful way to celebrate and remember a year in the life of your family.

Create your Portraits that Move Video Holiday Card

There is no better time to create your family's video holiday card.  The fall weather is gorgeous, and we are sure you have much news to share!  

Schedule your 90 minute holiday video film shoot on one of our two remaining days: Saturday, November 4, or Sunday, November 19.
 

My Challenge to You: Connect with Someone You Have Been Missing

Here on the blog, we have written about tips for staying connected and keeping in touch with your children while away on business travel.  As working parents, we understand how important it is to feel connected to our kids when we are away from home, and how much we treasure any and every moment of connection that we can carve out of hectic schedules.

connect with family work life balance portraits that move

What we have not discussed quite as often, are the challenges of connecting with extended family - from parents and siblings to grandparents, cousins, and treasured friends.  Our busy schedules at work and at home, along with the distance that often separates extended family, make connecting in a real way difficult.  At the same time, these difficulties reinforce for us just how important these people are in our lives and how much we want, and need, to commit to them.

Whether it's taking a vacation together, scheduling time for a phone call, or sharing photos and videos of our children - and our lives - on social media, we are committing to staying connected to our families in all forms, across generations, in spite of (and because of!) busy schedules, demands of work and children, and the distance that separates but does not break our bonds.   We are committed to helping you do the same. We want to make it easier for you to feel closeness and to be enveloped in the joy that our relationships with our loved ones provide. 

portraits that move challenge connect with family

Take a moment today to reach out to a family member or a close friend that you haven't connected with in awhile.  Share a story about your children, or better yet, let them share their own stories.  The pace of our lives will not slow down but our ability to connect is here and it's real.  Do it today- it will make your day, your week and your life better, I promise. 

 

What a Multigenerational Vacation Taught Me about the Past and the Future

We recently returned from a lovely two week vacation with my parents. It was incredible. We had amazing weather, the idyllic setting of Cape Cod, delicious food and many of the summer adventures and activities that one thinks of when they imagine a summer vacation filled our weeks.

cape cod multigen vacation

The best part of all, though, was spending that time with my parents. My family lives in Philadelphia and we see them frequently. Typically, though, it is just for a day here or a couple days there. This summer, we had the gift of more than two weeks.

My son and my parents have always been close, and I am so deeply grateful that we had this extended time together. It is in the small moments of this type of time and space that the most important memories are made. My son did enjoy the miniature golf games, ice cream and sailing adventures, but if you asked him about the highlights of his vacation, he would cite reading next to my father, making ice cream with my mom and playing catch in the pond with me.

multigenerational vacation grandfather grandson boat

And with these actions comes a deeper knowing, a relaxation, an ease and a closeness. It is also with this time and its ordinary conversations that the deeper reveals happen.

My parents spoke to my son about their childhoods and mine. They imparted quiet lessons to him and most of all they just enjoyed each other and loved each other.

Frank Bruni wrote an op-ed piece about this in the New York Times and he took the words out of my mouth.

multigenerational vacation grandmother mother son

While on this multigenerational vacation, I realized again how grateful I am for the technology we have and for our ability to document moments like these.

When my son grows up and thinks about this summer, we will have photos and videos to share, along with our memories. They are gifts that will keep on giving, they give my son and I the ability to return to the wisdom, the closeness and the love of his grandparents.  

Vacation Tips: Vacation is an Opportunity for Connection

When summer vacation time comes around there can be a sense of pressure to create an idyllic experience. When we think of summer getaways, we think of dining alfresco, swimming, long evenings, tons of play time, summer reading and many opportunities to soak up the delicious summer sun.

vacation tips

For many parents, this can feel a bit intense and it can be difficult to disconnect and relax. I find that once I have arrive at my vacation destination, it takes me several days to feel relaxed. My body organically has two modes, off and on and the in-between, is hard to come by, even when I am on vacation.

This year, I decided to push myself to disconnect. While admittedly, I had trouble refraining from social media, I did ignore my email (for the most part) and chose to focus on only things that brought me pleasure and joy.

cape cod family vacation

The result was incredible - my vacation has been filled with fun, laughs and closeness. Here are some tips for creating a vacation that is worth remembering:

  • Abandon the schedule:  I usually make a plan for myself everyday and this year, I had no plan, choosing to take each day as it came - it was fun and exciting
  • Listen to your body: I slept more on this vacation and ate only when I felt hungry. Maybe the slowing down allowed me to be more in tune with what my body needed, but the result was wonderful
  • Do things that make you uncomfortable, especially if your kids want you to: I spent a great deal of time swimming on this trip - something I don’t love doing - but my son asked me to and we had a lot of laughs
  • Allow for pure downtime: Although we did have adventures every day, we also spent some time, reading, resting, drawing and just chilling out. There are so many fun things to do in the summer, but vacation is about rest, not the pressure to experience.
waves cape cod vacation family

 

  • Unplug: This is the hardest and the most rewarding. I limited my son’s screen time (and my own) even more on this trip and although he protested, we found things to do and things that we both enjoyed and that brought us closer together.
  • Make it multi-generational: Having down time that includes grandparents can bring a richness to the trip. I have been lucky enough to share this trip with my parents and my son and I have treasured the time we have had together.

Vacations are about time. Time to just be together, to enjoy, to make memories and to be present. Savor the time and celebrate the memories you make.

Business Travel: How a Working Mom Can Stay Connected to Her Kids

I’ve been traveling a lot for business lately and I am reminded of how important it is to stay connected to our children when we are separated by distance and how lucky we are to have technology that allows us to do so. 

On my most recent trip to LA, my son and I took full advantage of Facetime, talking together once, and sometimes twice, a day.  It is by no means perfect, and can be difficult to get your child’s attention when you’re not in the same room together (then again, it can be difficult to get their attention when you are in the same room together).  But overall, I was so impressed by and appreciative of the way that Facetime helped us to connect while I was so far away.

Having an image and being able to look into someone’s eyes, makes it so much easier to connect with our kids.  While it can be hard to have a real conversation over the phone with my son, Facetime helped us to connect with and really listen to each other.  For him, at seven, the fact that it was digital and a little techy made it exciting and more fun than holding a phone to his ear.

More than any other time, these business trips have emphasized for me just how much of a role technology plays in keeping us connected and close.  So often, parents bemoan technology and the ways it can fragment, or separate and certainly, this can be true, but in this crazy pace of life, we really are fortunate to have this kind of technology in that it can also keep us together.


They Need to Know You Are OK

One thing I have realized as a working mom who travels is that our kids need to know that we are safe and comfortable when we are away from them.  My son needs to know that when I leave home I am not just out in the ether.  Anything that we can do to help our kids visualize where we are and how we are, anything that provides context for them, helps to ease their minds – and gets them excited about the adventure we are taking, the adventure we are sharing with them as best we can.

My colleague Rebecca sent her daughter daily photos from our set and snapped pictures of the airplane before we boarded all of our flights.  All of this helped her daughter to see that mom is not just away from, she is out doing, and she is happy to share that with her. 

I Facetimed my son from my hotel room every morning (in spite of the time difference that had me up before 5 am) and took him on a tour so he could see the desk where I was working and the view from my window. He could see what I see and know what I am doing.  We could share moments with each other.

We Need to Know They Are OK

The challenges of business travel for working moms are not limited to managing the emotions, and the expectations of our kids.  We need to feel anchored to our children, to know that they are safe and well and thriving.  Knowing this makes it easier to be fully present in our work. It provides us comfort and security. It is essential to the success of our work.

My son’s annual field day was held while I was away and I was struggling a bit, knowing I would miss it.  But his dad shot video of him jumping hurdles and playing with his friends and sent them to me.  He recorded my son’s messages to me.  I cherished all of it. 

The videos made me feel connected and helped me to feel confident that, no matter what, my son and I share a bond.  And that I can still celebrate in his joys, even when I’m not right there on the sidelines.