Ali’s Family Life: A Photo Essay Series

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My children are 8 and 5 years old, pretty magical ages when I stop to appreciate it. They are old enough for adventures, conversations, and chapter books, but still young enough to climb in my lap and ask me to read that chapter book. 

It’s magical sometimes, but it’s also hard, frustrating, and anxiety-inducing. I don’t often stop long enough to appreciate this thing we are doing, so I am grateful Bridget Eldridge Photography was able to capture a few hours of our family life recently. She came to our house in NW DC to document a relaxed late summer afternoon. 

I love summer, and I am always so sad when it ends. I work part-time and was able to arrange my work schedule so I could still spend a lot of time with my children this summer.  We had some great adventures. After an exciting day at the pool or museum or playground, I like to come home and see if my generally very active children will actually sit still for a few hours and read or play boardgames.  


I grew up with two sisters, and the world of boys is kind of new territory for me. I know girls can be wild and boys can be calm … but I happen to be parenting two boys of the wild variety. There’s a lot of physicality and rough play, and I don’t know if I will ever get used to it.  There is so much brother-on-brother contact, like little kittens. And our parenting ends up employing a lot of horseplay and antics.

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Before our afternoon with Bridget, I told my children that a photographer would be coming over, but that we would just do “normal stuff” and let her take pictures. I asked them what they wanted to do. They quickly replied: “Well, of course we will go to the attic and play LEGO.” I laughed, because our attic playroom is not what I would call “photo ready.” At all. But I figured part of a real-life photo shoot should be letting someone in your real life. And my real life this summer was sometimes blanketed in LEGO. My feet hurt just looking at this second photo. 

I have a love-hate relationship with LEGO, probably like most of you with kids these ages. I love the creativity, engineering, and details in the LEGO sets. I hate trying to organize them. We’ve tried different things over the years and have (clearly) never really found a system that works. We can spend hours sorting them into boxes … but then they all come back out again when the boys want to play with them. My children like to be creative and do “master builder” projects with their LEGOs that aren’t built in a set. But apparently for their creative juices to flow, they need to spread the LEGOs out across the floor to really spark inspiration. 

 

I lured them out of the attic with a promise of ice cream on the front porch, a favorite treat on summer afternoons. 

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When we moved into our Crestwood rowhouse 3 years ago, one of the things I liked about it was the large front porch. I may have imagined us eating ice cream on it then, but what I did not realize is how much it would help us enjoy summer rain. Whenever it rains, one of my sons will say, “let’s go on the porch!” And then once you are on the porch, it’s not a big step from there to actually go in the rain.

On this afternoon, there was a freak flash hailstorm! A hailstorm is generally not considered “go outside and play” weather. But it is interesting weather! So we darted off the porch for a moment to inspect the hail.

The only thing better than running outside in a rainstorm is coming back inside to snuggle up and read during one. My older son is really into the Harry Potter books. I love these books and love reading them to him.

But y’all, sometimes I am tired. 

I am rarely on this side of a camera lens, and it’s pretty special to look at these photos and see a portrait of our exhausting, beautiful life at this phase — with its wrestling matches, ice cream chins, laughter, sighs, and LEGOs underfoot.

We hope you enjoy this photo essay series peeking into the lives of a few of our contributors. Photos for this series are by Bridget Eldridge Photography. Bridget specializes in capturing moments that show the love in the chaos, the humor in the frustrating, and the magic of the mundane. She is on a mission to celebrate moms by getting them in the frame and show them the amazing job they do everyday. To learn more, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Ali came to DC “for the summer” in 2000 and has been here ever since. She worked for more than a decade as an environment and energy reporter on Capitol Hill. After her second son was born, she took some time off to chase her children instead of lawmakers. She's now juggling both as a freelance reporter and mom of 2 active sons. Ali lives in NW DC with her husband, sons, and a rotating menagerie of foster animals from the Humane Rescue Alliance. She loves reveling in the awe and wonder of the ordinary with young children as a guide for a Montessori-inspired class at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Foggy Bottom. She also loves to explore DC on the family cargo bike. Likes: Long runs, pour-over coffee, theatre, nature, seasonable weather, and DC’s amazing array of free museums. Dislikes: Mosquitoes, mayonnaise, and change.