I must admit, I have had a certain amount of anxiety as I’ve thought about what to post for my 2011 review. How do I accurately summarize these past 12 months? How could I even begin to do this year justice through words/photos? This task seems insurmountable in more ways than one but I have promised myself that I will write to my heart’s content because I know a year from now I will look back and appreciate that I took the time to look back at this past year. 2011 has been one amazing year for me and yet, those words don’t even begin to scratch the surface.
2011 changed me.
I am generally a person who is in good spirits and kicking off 2011 was no exception. I had closed the doors to 2010 – one of my more difficult, challenging, which way is up? years. In 2010, it felt like my heart was cracked into big, heavy pieces and I was desperately trying to find a way, and quickly, to sew them back together. I was still very much a happy person but I struggled because at the end of the day, I didn’t feel like me. Something was off. I was scared to believe in myself and worried that harnessing any potential I had was selfish.
As hard as 2010 was, I am so grateful for that year. 2010 planted the seeds for my dreams to take flight in 2011.
January was good to me. I ran my first full marathon in Disney World with my big sister, Beth, and looking back now at these photos, my heart beams with pride. I see a Caitlin that was ready. I was ready and finally open to big and exciting changes in my life. I’ve said it before but signing up to run my first marathon was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Training during Sept ’10-January ’11 not only made me stronger physically but it taught me 1) I am not my fears and 2) My potential is huge. Yours is too, ya know? You reading this right now. Don’t doubt how powerful you are for a second.
[2011 is the year I decided I am worth it.]
February kicked off with a storm. No really – we had a terrible ice storm the first week of February here in Indianapolis. I went to grab my Raybans that I had left in my car overnight and much like a piece of ice, the lid cracked off of the case. It was nuts and ridiculous. I began photographing babies more in February and fell in love. Photographing babies is a beautiful, sometimes very time consuming (though I wouldn’t trade it for anything) thing. Capturing babies can be a bit of a waiting game but it is a style of photography that robbed a small corner of my heart. My sweet nephew, Noah, was grow-grow-growing in Makenzie’s tummy. The excitement of adding a baby to the Sullivan clan was so very high. Not to mention my parents were becoming grandparents for the first time! I couldn’t wait to see my big brother, David, as a Dad and I had no idea at this time how in love we’d be with that bun in the oven…
[Here my nerdy science lab teacher of a Mother (love you, Mama!) was gifting Dave and Makenzie with one of Noah’s first Halloween costumes – a spacesuit. Welcome to the Sullivan’s, Makenzie! We’ve got a lot of nerd in us! I love the excitement here.]
[Sweet baby Hudson]
[A tiny passage I wrote last February on my old blog that I love:]
[I AM post]
February also happens to be the month I decided to do Making Brands Happen with Lara Casey, Emily Ley and Cathy Olson. This was the game changer if there ever was one. Ever since I had been to Making Things Happen in November of 2010, I had wanted to take a leap. I knew my branding wasn’t doing my work justice. In fact, everything about my brand at the time (in my opinion) said I was too scared to stand out. My gut was telling me that it was the time to rebrand. I took a leap of faith and every day another stair appears. God is good and my future is bright!
[One of many questions I answered during my rebranding process and oh how my heart sings to revisit this now!]
March brought spring and the promise of sunshine. I continued to work on my rebranding while simultaneously working on myself. I learned pretty quickly on that rebranding is no walk in the park but if you take the time to dig deep and ask yourself some of the harder questions, you hard work will shine through and speak to your ideal client. For many reasons, March turned my world around.
[I made this video of David, Makenzie and little baby Noah who was just months away from joining us. I’ve explored video several times in 2011 and while I will be quick to admit I am no expert, it is nice to have an outlet outside of photography once in a while to explore and stay inspired. This video still gives me goosebumps and I’ll cherish it forever.]
[I also took their maternity photos.]
[And wrote my sweet nephew a letter…]
You have any idea how much of a blessing you are already in my life? Over the weekend, B and I went to see your parents new place. We saw your nursery in it’s most beginning stage. Books, stuffed Donald Duck and Mickey, baby clothes and little baby shoes…all waiting for you to arrive. Your mama showed us your very first pair of swimming trunks. They’re the size of my thigh, Noah! You are going to be so tiny and perfect.
A couple of things..
Always be good to your mama. She loves you like no one else ever will.
Your dad is honestly one of the smartest guys I know. Learn as much as you can from him. Soak every ounce of him in. And if you ever get in trouble with him, just get the man a 100 grand. He loves those!
You can never say I Love You enough.
Fall is the best season, Christmas is the greatest holiday and George is the coolest Beatle…
..SO many people are anxiously awaiting your arrival. Won’t be long little guy. Can’t wait to squeeze you and love all on you.
All my heart little Noah,
xxxo Aunt Caity
I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention that I watched a sweet little babe named Ripley a couple times a week starting late March and on into late May. This little guy makes my heart happy and I so loved our weekly dates and cuddles.
April can aptly be summed up by the following.
April brought so much excitement and a daily, heaping dose of the best kind of butterflies in my tummy. The kind that makes you excited to jump out of bed in the morning. Between MBH meetings/consults, baby Noah coming soon, butterflies galore in my tummy, seeing Lil Wayne & Nicki Minaj in concert (one of my favorite 2011 memories), I was FIRED UP. I was beginning to see my new brand come to life and I could see my confidence in myself growing. Better yet, thanks to Lara, Emily, the MTH community, my family, my wonderful friends, a special someone and finally myself (!!), I began believing in my worth. I photographed lots of happiness this month.
[Lisa + Dustin’s engagement shoot took place in CHI – crossed that off my 2011 goal list.]
May. Ahh yes – the month this world became a better place. My nephew Noah arrived and I fell in love. My brother became a Dad and I became an Aunt for the first time. I had the honor of being in the delivery room to document baby Noah’s birth. He arrived on 5/19/2011 at 4:26 PM, weighing 7 lbs 5 in and was 20 inches long. A serious bundle of love!
[I also made this video of his birth.]
[Have you met my mother before? We adore her. I made this video of her and us kids (I’ve got 3 older siblings!) for Mother’s Day.]
June and July are one big blur. They were the first summer months and things really started to pick up. I photographed many happy faces…
[My nephew Noah’s newborn photos]
[I will tell you only that these photos make me blush 🙂 ]
[My sister and I made this video to celebrate life. Every day is reason to celebrate.]
I was still chugging along with my brand. Emily, Lara and I had put together my new brand board which is the foundation on which my new brand was built. We were in the process of pulling together finals details for my launch and web presence. There were many hours spent gathering images, resizing for the web, preparing posts for my new blog, writing, more writing, shooting in between and keeping up with my business. These months were tiring but I grew so very much and was more excited than ever to launch my new brand. We set a date to launch: August 8th.
[From a post I wrote on my old blog in July, weeks before I launched.]
Sidenote: July also happens to be the month in which I saw Bon Iver from the 3rd row at the Murat. Hands down, one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen and one of the best nights I can remember from 2011.
Oh August, you were so kind. August was my launch month and such a proud moment in time for me. When I began the rebranding process in February, I admittedly didn’t quite understand what I was getting myself into. To rebrand so that it will be worthwhile in the end, the process takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. By the time August came around and I launched, I was over the moon. Truly.
[A new blog and site that match my heart.]
[A bright and colorful brand that makes my heart and my work sing.]
[From my launch post. God is so good!]
I was so thrilled to share a styled shoot that was a collaboration of many talents: April Foster, Lisa Moyer aka The Cupcake Girl, Kiralee Hubbard of Eyemax and Danielle Klotz of Pink Poppy Ink. This was some of my favorite work of 2011.
Greetings, September! The month I turned a quarter century old.
I would have thought turning 25 would have been a little more scary. 25 is a no doubt a milestone birthday. After 25, the only big birthdays left are 30, 40, 50 and well..you get the picture. I had the most amazing birthday celebration with friends and family. I am happier than ever at 25 and ready and willing for all that is to come!
(photo taken by the wonderful Amanda Wilcher)
September was also the month I started training for my second marathon and spearheaded B.R.A.V.E. – Biking & Running for the Advancement of Vision and Education. I knew that when I signed up to run my second marathon (which is in just 9 days, by the way!!) that I wanted to run for a cause. I have teamed up with Kyle and we are raising money for the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. All proceeds are going directly to the ISBVI to help purchase technology and assistive devices for their students. It has been awesome to have a reason and cause outside of my own to run for this time around. You can donate in my name to B.R.A.V.E. by following this link…
There was a lot of photo making in September & October.
And on to more photo making in October – one of the busiest months of the year for any photographer.
Every photo comes with a story and so many other moments. It is near impossible for me to pick favorites when narrowing down images from my year as there are literally thousands where these came from. Suffice it to say, I love my clients in a big way.
November came and I was in full holiday swing. My parents 37th wedding anniversary was the 8th. I promised myself at the beginning of the year that I would take videos and photos for them. I was thrilled with the end results.
[I also made a video of my parents. Albeit rough around the edges, I wouldn’t trade it for a second.]
And finally, between November & December, I have been working on slowing down. 2011 has been one busy year for me and while I wouldn’t trade it for even a second, I look forward to taking these next few months of winter to recenter and refocus. To come back to the Caitlin I want to be in the morning when I awake and at night when I slip into bed. These past two months have been about pulling together my final weeks of marathon training and FAMILY.
[Noah is changing by the day. Here we are together on Christmas morning! I love him to the stars.]
And as 2011 comes to a close, I am thankful beyond words. I have grown so much as a person over the year. There have been many blessings this past year. There are people in my life that remind me every day God is good and they color my life. I am so grateful.I’ve tripped and fallen but 2011 has shown me more than any other time in my life that these times truly make me stronger, smarter and more ready than ever to greet each day with a smile on my face and warm and giving heart.
While I am sad to see 2011 go, I am ready for 2012 – for it’s challenges, it’s surprises and all of it’s opportunity. Here’s to knocking 2012 out of the park!
Thank you for taking a trip down memory lane with me. It means the world to share in this exciting time in my life with you all.
ALL MY HEART,