A look back on 2016( and 2015 )

2016 has been a year of many amazing memories, exciting travels, weddings close to my heart and great new experiences as a mom.

I’m excited for what 2017 will bring as I continue to observe my little one’s adventures,
and I much look forward to every single wedding I have coming up this year. 2017 will be my 10th summer documenting weddings. I am humbled to see how much I’ve grown since summer 2008 and stoked to realize how excited I am about this coming year.

If you’re planning on getting married in the near future I’d be really honored that you consider me documenting your wedding and I’d love to get to know you.
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Some years ago I started filling in this questionnaire about the year that has passed, as a way to reflect back on the the most memorable moments. You can find the first post about 2013 and 2014 > HERE.

So I thought of doing it again. And here it is. My 2015 (written in January 2016) and 2016.

Maria Hedengren Photography

Spring 2015. Images by Dragos Ludusan. www.be-light.ro

1. Did you do anything this year that you have not done before ?

2016: I photographed a Scottish wedding. I traveled to Kenya. While there, I fished my own octopus, grilled it and ate it. (Sadly, I only managed to catch one). I photographed a couple on a desert dune.

2015: I had a baby.
I probably did a lot more other things for the first time in 2015, but nothing compares to having a baby.

2. Did you keep any of your New Year’s resolutions ?

2016: ugh.. not that many. But I did cook a lot more this year, something I mentioned in 2014 as “could have done better”.

2015: My main 2015 goal was to spend more time with my siblings, and I’d say I’ve done that. Yet there is always room for more :)

3. Did someone you know get children ?

2016: My sister!!! Baby Ionatan <3 Also, welcome baby Ellinor, Amos and Hilde (whom I look forward to meet!)

2015: Many of my couples got babies this year as well and it has been so heartwarming to meet them.

4. Did someone close to you die ?

2016: My grandmother. It still pains me that I did not get to attend her funeral, nor have I yet had the chance to visit her grave.

2015: Not that I can think of. But my family’s dog passed away about the same time April was born..

5. What countries did you visit ?

2016: Germany, Norway, Romania, France, Kenya, U.K (Scotland!) and Estonia.

2015: Romania, France, Sweden, Estonia and Germany. And Lapland if that counts :)

6. Is there anything you lacked in 2015 that you want in 2016 ?

2016: Family holiday at the beach. With warm water. Underline that. Because we were in Normandie this summer, and it was gorgeous, breathtaking, perfect, but oh, so cold water.
And attending Way Up North.

2015: A bigger apartment. Date nights.

Maria Hedengren Photography

Our 2016 vacation in Normandie


7. What date will you always remember ?

2016: 14/15 September.
We moved to a bigger apartment. So much excitement in the air, April being stoked over the new place. We brought in the last boxes around 9pm, then set up mattresses on the floor and the travel cot for April. And she fell asleep right away with so much happiness surrounding her. Two hours later our best friends were on their way to the maternity hospital having their 2nd baby, and I spent the night and following day taking care of their youngest and anticipating the arrival of baby Ellinor.

2015: Valentine’s day.
I never liked Valentine’s day. I thought of it as a made-up American holiday with the main purpose being selling chocolates, post cards and movie tickets. In Finland 14th of February has a different meaning, it celebrates Friendship. But from now on, I will always celebrate April on Valentine’s day.

8. What is the best thing that happened to you during the past year ?

2016: Moving: more work space for me, April having her own room, and a separate guest room!!

2015: 14th of February 2015 our daughter was born: April Ioana Linnea.
April. She is like spring to us: fresh, pure, full of life. And a new beginning for our family.
Ioana, After my sister @ioanatoader, who spent a week with us when April was born.
The meaning of the name “God is gracious” describes just how we feel about the perfect birthing experience we had with her.
Linnea, an old Swedish name, and April’s great grandmother who was born on the same day.

9. What was your biggest mistake ?

2015: I didn’t make time to blog my work.

10. What was your best buy ?

2016: Fujifilm camera. And taking April to ZooParc de Beauval.

2015: Family photo albums.
And the Baby Bjorn baby carrier. Before the age of 1 April traveled with me on 19 flights. Couldn’t have managed without it.

11. What did you spend most money on?

2016: Flights and Schleich animals.

2015: Baby clothes. Seriously addicting.

12. What made you really happy ?

2016: The weekend I spent in Stuttgart with April. Stina and Daniel’s wedding. Our new home.

2015: April. She brights my life every single day in a way I never thought possible.

13. Have you been sick or hurt ?

2016: No. I’m so thankful!

2015: Not at all. It has been a healthy year.

14. What songs or artists will make you think about 2013 ?

2016: Bä Bä Vita Lamm – April wants me to sing this to her all the time.

2015: Over the Rainbow

15. Felt better or worse this year than you did in the previous year ?

2016: This year has been more challenging.

2015: Better! This year has been awesome!

16. Is there something you wish you spent more time on ?

2016: Sleeping. Blogging. Travel. Hanging out with my sister.

2015: Praying.

17. Is there something you wish you spent less time on ?

2016: Facebook. And simply my phone. This is going to be my 2017 resolution.

2015: I can’t think of anything.

18. How was your Christmas ?

2016: Rainy. I miss a good snowy Christmas. Also, if I may just mention how much April enjoyed the Christmas play.

2015: Cozy. 8 years married and this was the first Christmas that Rufus and I put up a Christmas tree!

19. Were you in love ?

2016: I’m in love with my family!

2015: Yes!! An abundance of love.

20. Which program has been the best thing on TV ?

2016: Mad Men season 7. Outlander. Petit Ours Brun. G.O.T. Extras.

2015: Downton Abbey. And Big Bang Theory. House of Cards.

21. What was the best movie you saw this year ?

2016: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

2015: Gone Girl. Imitation Game.

22. What was the best book you read this year ?

2016: The Parenting Book. Knacka På!

2015: I did not read any book this year.

23. What was the best food experience ?

2016: Corbie & CheipSvartå Manor on Rufus’ birthday.

2015: We spent the days before the New Year in Tallinn and ate at some very good restaurants every day.

Maria Hedengren Photography

Spring 2016 adventures with April


24. Did you wish for something you got ?

2016: Yes. To meet more of my wedding clients’ new babies.
And, a couple shoot in a desert.

2015: Yes.
An awesome delivery experience.
A winter shoot in Lapland.

25. Did you wish for something that you did NOT get ?

2016: Warm beach holiday with Rufus and April. To spend Christmas with my siblings.

2015: More sleep?

26. The family you most appreciated this year.

2016: Ylva and Kristian, my in-laws. It warms my heart to see April hanging out with them.

2015: April’s godparents who babysat in times of need, Craig and Moa who were such a support and inspiration in raising April.

27. What did you do on your birthday ?

2016: 30 this year. Big party.

2015: I went to this awesome photography conference in Stockholm – Way Up North, together with a group.

28. Who were the best people that you met ?

2016: Anca’s family me and April spent a weekend with in Stuttgart in February.

2015: Sam + Diana who dared to spend Easter with us when April was only 1 month old.

29. How would you describe your fashion style ?

2016: Comfortable. Practical. Stylish mom and daughter.

2015: Fashion?!

30. What made you feel good ?

2016: Starting my thesis (yes, it is finally happening!), a project in Kenya’s coast. And every single memory with April. Fishing for octopus.

2015: Awesome clients.

31. What celebrity did you most fancy?

2016: I’m going to mention Alan Rickman because his death at the beginning of this year was a sad day.

2015: Benedict Cumberbatch

32. Who did you miss ?

2016: My dad. Feels like I did not see much of him this year. Also Iuke and Crina.

2015: Generally being closer to my family.

33. What was your best month ?

2016: Hard to choose.
February: travels to Kenya and Germany.
July: Adventures in France
September: Scotland wedding and new home.

2015: December: April’s first Christmas.

34. Is there anything you could have done better ?

2016: Been more humble.

2015: Kept in touch.

35. How will next year be different from this ?

2016: 2017 will be awesome. I’m looking forward to April speaking more and more. And so many cool projects ahead. And the urban planning project in Malindi, Kenya.
For the photography side, I’m listening to stories more and more. The more I grow in my work, the more I realize how, really, the most important thing is the story behind it all, connection, and feelings that come from the heart.

2015: My 2014 focused much on the new baby, but next year it will be lots of weddings again.

Image of Rufus and me by Radu Benjamin. http://www.radubenjamin.com/

Image of Rufus and me by Radu Benjamin. http://www.radubenjamin.com/

decor1This post is so personal, I’d appreciate to hear from you (preferably here).
Don’t feel shy to leave a comment, maybe answer one of the questions you liked the most from your perspective – I’d love to know how your 2016 has been!

/maria.

  • Thomas Blake said:

    What a wonderful year. Hope 2017 is good to you.

  • Linus said:

    Interesting reflections Mariah. Have a great 2017!

  • Rob said:

    I'm with you on spending less time on my phone, that's my thing i want to do way less of this year!!! I hope it goes well for you :)

  • You had a great one, this year also is going to be awesome ! :D

  • Ioana Istrate said:

    raspund si eu la intrebarea 33: aprilie. cu Maria si April venite doua saptamani la mine acasa, mancatul de cirese, mersul la piata in baby bjorn cu April, iaurtul spoit pe scaun de April, Ionatan infasurat in calut de mare de catre Maria. my best month.

  • Monica - I never would have guessed I'd start choosing best animations 2 years ago. And yes, the guest room is waiting for guests.

  • Diana - Yes, such precious times for us <3 Thank you for daring to come spend Easter with strangers who just had a baby :)

  • Monica said:

    Maria, I simply love how starting with 2016 you have animation series among best things on TV 💛.
    That separate guest room sounds tempting 😎.
    PS - I always enjoy reading your annually 👀 backs.

  • Diana said:

    We were the best people you met in 2015? I am truly deeply honoured! We had such a wonderful time with all 3 of you! This year is our turn now :) Missing your wonderful little family!

  • Albert Palmer said:

    So many great moments and memories! Here's to you 2017 Mariah!