Mother’s Day in the time of COVID19 and enhanced community quarantine means Zoom calls and family photos posted on Facebook. It means social distance drive bys, and sending gifts through couriers. As the virus and circumstances of ECQ has shifted our celebrations to staying home, now we enjoy take out meal kits instead of going to restaurants for long social meals. We have adjusted to a new way of making birthdays, anniversaries, and family milestones memorable and fun. Just yesterday, when I was looking for my photos to post on social media in time for Mother’s Day, I immediately remembered our family photo shoot with Francis Perez.
Long Time Coming
Francis’ sister, Lesley, contacted me late last year to collaborate for some family portraits. Unfortunately, both our schedules were so packed at the end of the year, that we were only able to finally come together on January 12th, 2020.
Perhaps you also remember this day, because it was the same day that Taal Volcano erupted after being dormant for so many years.
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This Sunday, Mother Nature sent us a reminder just how little control we have over her. While our family was enjoying quality time and a portrait session with @iamfperez, we were checking our phones constantly to see if there were any updates about #TaalVolcano and her desire to erupt… • • • • • What were you doing when you realized what was happening in Tagaytay? Where were you? • • • • Thank you @happyandbusytravels for allowing me to repost your beautiful capture. Praying that everyone in the area has safely evacuated as we watch this little bit of history unfold.
But before I share his beautiful family portraits, please allow me to “journal” a bit of my simple Mother’s Day celebration, which took place yesterday.
For the past four years, my kids have been big enough (maybe even more than four years?) to come up with different ways they would like to honor me without much guidance from their dad. In fact, Gia, the ever present Ate, has always put forth a plan for her and her brothers to start my day simply. Maybe, breakfast in bed, a chocolate bouquet, or even a handwritten letter or card.
This year, one of my requests was for us to all get dressed for virtual worship so we can take a family photo afterwards. Thankfully, everyone obliged.
Checking IN and Check UPS
Because of lockdown, we have been having these family meetings to kind of center ourselves and check in on one another and our feelings during this time. It’s not been easy for the kids, and while I have enjoyed the luxury of waking up to my new found job of being a “homebody,” it, of course, has come with stresses as a family, we have not experienced before.
Checking in with each of the kids and Nino, has been helpful in keeping things running smoothly in the condo while we navigate these unusual circumstances in the time of COVID.
So on Sunday, while Nino was preparing a yummy lunch for us, and Gia was preparing and shooting the cake she made, I finally set to the laptop to find photos appropriate for posting and greeting my own mother on Facebook for Mother’s Day.
That’s when I remembered our delightfully easy shoot with Frances and his team.
Treats and More
Before I share the portraits that they were able to capture during our time together earlier this year, take a gander at this beautiful cake my daughter made for me with the ingredients that Healthy Options sent over in celebration of Mother’s Day.
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Healthier cake made especially for me by @gi.aventajado with the ingredients from @healthyoptionsph. @bobsredmill coconut flour makes this #MothersDay cake easier on my tummy. And the passion fruit mango curd was so delicious I could eat it straight out of the container! • • • • #healthyoptionsph #healthier #cake #mothersday #giabaked #freshlymade #freshlybaked #homemade #sweet #nottoosweet #shelovesme #giamynina #covidcooking
And these cream puffs that Gia made on Thursday when Bailey’s sent over a fun recipe for Creme Brulee for us to try.
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Mother’s Day treats are all for me! @gi.aventajado has perfected her pate choux which means that not only can she make gougeres for live segments, but she can also make them for delicious cream puffs filled with pastry cream that is perfect for #BaileysTreats. • • • • Once you have made your pate choux, (we preferred @marthastewart ‘s recipe) you can make the cream by warming all of the following ingredients in a sauce pan: • • • • 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter 1 cup milk 1 cup cream • • • • Once the butter is melted, make a slurry of: 1/4 cup water 1/4 cup cornstarch • • • • Add to the pot and continue to cook until it has thickened. • • • • Once thickened, pull off the heat and then add 2 Tbs Bailey’s Irish Cream. • • • • Once cream puffs have set, you can drizzle with chocolate (either white or dark works) or caramel.• • • • • You can also serve the pastry cream as a pudding topped with cinnamon whipped cream, or add sugar and torch for Creme Brulee. • • • • #creampuffs #creampuff #dessert #sweet #baileys #baileystreat #giabaked #yummy #yum #freshlybaked #baked #bake #cooking #ecq #mothersday #covidcooking #goodfood #good #food #food52 #feedfeed #foodporn #foodphotography #foodstagram #desserts #dessertporn #dessertsofinstagram
She really amazes me with the talent and courage she possesses in the kitchen to trying something new. She is so much more brave than I am, at trying new things in the kitchen.
Lucky for #TeamGellibean that she is so willing to share.
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Mother’s Day 2020. Each of these kiddos brings something bright and amazing and incredibly separate to our family. I’m grateful for each one, and I continue to learn from them every day. They are my greatest blessings. Thank you @manila.gent for making me a mom. We made some pretty amazing humans. • • • • #family #teamgellibean #gellibean #jbirdicusprime #miggymange #giamynina #familyfirst #myeverything #thankful #grateful #blessings #ThankYouLord #mom #momma #mama #momlife #mothersday #manila
So, after we worshipped, snapped a current photo, ate lunch, and greeted our other loved ones who we wanted to honor in different places, all around the world, I set out to find the photos, in my files, that I wanted to share.
Motherhood Prayers and Dreams
And because it’s Mother’s Day, I will start with this one.
So darn grateful.
These kids are my everything. I love watching them grow, watching them learn, and being there to cheer them on. I get to kiss their boo boos, hold their hands, and I enjoy being THEIR mom. When I was a little girl, I dreamt of becoming a wife and a mother. My imagination would enable me to get my kids off the school bus, at the corner, in our development, with warm chocolate chip cookies waiting for them in the kitchen with a cold glass of milk.
I wanted to be a soccer mom who attended my kids’ choral concerts. Envisioning myself to be the type of mom who they would also be able to confess their secrets to, because they trusted me with their hearts and their feelings. I recall dreaming of a time when they would all be out of diapers and able to fend for themselves in the kitchen, and honestly, I can’t believe how fast that time has come. (Did I really just say that I miss diapers?)
Now they are all so grown.
I am blessed that my kids know my parents in an intimate way. They have inside jokes, my dad lovingly calls Miguel, Mike, (he was named after my grandfather whom I was unable to meet) and my mom prepares their favorite dishes whenever they ask. My parents are a constant in my children’s lives and for this, I am grateful. I am thankful that we get to face time them from time to time so that everyone can continue to connect despite the miles that separate us.
Let the record show that I would not be a mother if it were not for this guy’s contribution and direct participation in our parenting journey.
We are not perfect parents.
But we are made perfect in His love for our children. Blessed four times over, we are doing our best to be present for our kids, to train them up properly, and lead them by example.
Can I get an Amen?
Francis Perez Photoshoots are Easy Peasy
Prior to the photo session with Francis, I prepared a list of different shots I wanted for our family. Francis also was really great at guiding us and suggesting what would look fun on camera and work for all the personalities involved.
Humor me for a second, and imagine a photo shoot with two seniors, a peri-menopausal momma, teens, and an 8 year old with Down Syndrome.
YES, he had his work cut out for him!
Love this shot.
I’m sure it is challenging for photographers every time they have this many people in a family portrait. I mean it can’t be easy, right?
During the shoot, our phones were all going off from notifications, we realized the natural lighting was starting to fade, and Maria had to step away from the shoot because of what was happening with Taal.
We also realized that the heat was starting to get to Gellibean and my parents.
Quick to Adjust and Accommodate
Moving to a cooler location was quick, easy, and took very little time for Francis and his team to set up the lights. Everyone adjusted and had costume changes while the kids who grabbed a quick bite to eat because, of course, Mama prepared snacks. (just like always.)
We were quick to receive photos from Francis after a little more than a week via email with downloadable photos from his website.
And to be honest, I was blown away.
Francis and his team, do more than just portraits.
They also cover events, they shoot weddings, and every other special occasion that we all look forward to after ECQ and the threat of COVID19 is over…
I’m already wondering, when the next time we will all be outside like we were on that warm January day just before Taal erupted…
Until then, I will sit by the window and enjoy the warm sun in the morning, and look at photos like these to hold us over until the next time we can all enjoy the outdoors…
If you would like to contact Francis you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.