» Family Photographer Mary Schannen serving Dallas Texas and surrounding areas.

Minimizing, selling excess stuff, donating to charity, cleaning, organizing, getting ready for the big ‘piano move’ and on with my new life.  Will run out finally to get some errands done today now that I’m freed up a bit.

Got my boys the apparent ‘in’ shoes yesterday.  The big boys across the street wear them, and I just thought they were cute – so I asked their mom where she got them, and my kids needed new sneakers.  Conveniently, there was an outlet down the street that sold them.   When we got home, my boys of course exclaimed to the big, ‘cool’ boys across the street that they got these new sneakers – and to my surprise, the boys (from across the street) were so excited about that and exclaimed that they got skate shoes – completely lifted the confidence level of my boys to a new height!  (surprised that mikey’s confidence could get any higher!)  Out on their scooters they went with their new shoes -and bam – all of a sudden mikey is doing jumps (almost – but not too shabby for a five year old!)

Waiting for their ride for school this morning, all excited about wearing their new shoes to school.  They actually did a pose for the camera.  🙂


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Well, I pretty much told you about my plan not to do photography for profit before I happen to mention it to my husband.  (Ooops -:)  Well – I had a good idea that he wouldn’t mind – he has always supported my decisions, and of course he prefers me to be a mom first over anything else.  So, that’s the plan.  I have a few more sessions that I will gladly do, then will take on sessions only if I am able to and will have all creative license.  I’ve tended to create more dynamic pieces that way – The published work (or soon to be published that is) and the work that has tended to be more popular, was born from an idea or a candid moment that I either saw at the time .  Rarely was it a basic portrait (although, I do love those too).

Well, in other Schannen news, we have a 1920 baby grand Steinway Duo-Art player piano that I have inherited from my grandparents.  I’ve always treasured this piano, and every house that we have moved into had to have a space to accommodate the piano.   The house we are in currently has a downstairs office with two story ceilings and no built-in’s, so we decided to make that room the ‘music’ room.  I do not play, I took lessons when I was younger and have a musical background, so I know the basics.  However, in the last 6-7 years or so that we have had the piano in our possession, it has sat there, with the occasional sounds of children playing the keys or my mother when she visits will play a tune here or there.  It’s old, in need of restoration, and the the lid would come down on the kids fingers occasionally when they played with the keys (ouch!).  So I put a painter’s tape on it to keep the lid up.  It won’t hurt the piano, and more importantly, it won’t come down on little kid’s fingers!  Not attractive, but who cares for now.  lol

For the last three years that we have had this ‘music’ room, with double french doors off the entry way, the doors were mostly shut, decorated with all sorts of formal art, mirrors, antique furniture (also inherited from my grandparents) and lately it’s been a holding place for all of my items that I will be removing from this house – either selling or  donating (I’m becoming a minimalist, but that’s a whole different topic and will be glad to share once I’m in a position to do so).   My kids have  never really showed any interest in lessons, and quite honestly, between all the sports, having the house on the market last year, and my trying to develop and cultivate photography and a business, there just was not enough time.  So the poor piano sat there, collecting dust, serving as a holding place for excess clutter, used as a prop for the occasional photo,  patiently waiting for someone to revive it and bring it back the glorious  life it once had.

Sentimentality is in my nature, so I would not give it up.  Some kindhearted friends and chats with my husband had put thoughts into our heads of not keeping it – at least not in this house.  I would have family take it.  Therefore my husband would have an office.  He has to occasionally work from home, especially during tax season, and the laptop with the mounds of paper on our kitchen table is not exactly ideal.

After my epiphany yesterday when I decided to change my priorities (thank you for long talks with a very good friend and my mother), I felt that I had more clarity and a sense of calm.  I’ve been working on my house for the last few months – organizing, making it functional, uncluttered, easier to live in, and using it to it’s fullest potential.   I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment – why did I not ever think of this before?  Move the piano to the living room! My grandparents had it in their living area, my parents have one in their living room.   At first, it appeared that it would not fit, or be a big monster sitting in the most awkward place.   I measured, visualized, moved furniture, more visualization, brought neighbors and friends in for their opinions – AND – I think it may work!  Finally!  We can celebrate this beautiful instrument as for what it’s meant to be – a treasure that will provide music, beauty, memories, tradition for our family for many years.   We can actually ENJOY the piano!

Will be looking into piano lessons very soon.

It may appear that this post should be titled ‘ the piano’ or something similar.  However, it’s all cyclical.  Now that my priorities are on the right track, I can focus on the important things.  Living our lives to their fullest. Staying calm, happy, healthy, enjoying and appreciating what we have, and Breathing Better.


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  • Mary Schannen - Thank you Melinda and Mom. Can’t wait to take photos of the kids playing in the living room!

  • Susan Monaghan - Hi Mary, How lovely, everything. – my parents got that piano in 1957 — at the time they had decided we were to have piano lessons so they (hired I guess) the future piano teacher, Freida Bell, to go to Concord, NH to an estate auction – with a price in mind. She came back with the piano – at a little higher price – I remember her playing it for my parents just after it was in the house. So, just wanted you to know that before it was in Dallas and Hanover, it was in Concord !
    Beautiful pictures of the keyboard –

  • Melinda - Love this post Mary and your beautiful pictures. You are truly an artist and your breathing room will give your creativity a space to flourish!

My boys.   The reason I picked up my first SLR, and then decided to make the investment, then the huge learning curve, more investments, workshop after workshop, hours of practice, studying, seminars, forums, did I mention (more equipment investments?)….it’s been a wild ride.   As much as I love photography, learning, practicing, creating,  I need to focus on what is important in life right now and that is my family.  My #1 job is, always was, and will always be to be the best mom I could be to my two beautiful boys and a good wife to my husband (who by the way is one of the best dads out there and I love him so much)  It breaks my heart when my boys refer to me as ‘in her office working’.  They are only young once and I need to be there for them.

I will continue to blog, photograph what I love and create photographic art – MY way!  Not as a means to make money, but to fulfill my desires to create art and document my family. My terms, My art, My time.  I have to be a little selfish right now and I apologize for that.  In a few years, once the babies are a little older, maybe I will work more for a profit.  Not right now though.  It has to be about my family.

I will continue to take sessions, but on a very limited basis.  You may contact me for details and  availability.


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  • Ginny Felch - Mary…when such beautiful images come straight from the heart, it’s really important to stay tuned to what makes your heart sing! Sometimes the ego comes in and moves one away from modest and true “work” or creations. I so admire you for paying attention to those voices inside. Your love for your boys, your family and your life just shines through your imagery.

    Thank you for all you have done for and with me!

    Love, Ginny

  • Ginny Felch - Mary…when such beautiful images come straight from the heart, it’s really important to stay tuned to what makes your heart sing! Sometimes the ego comes in and moves one away from modest and true “work” or creations. I so admire you for paying attention to those voices inside. Your love for your boys, your family and your life just shines through your imagery.

    Thank you for all you have done for and with me!

    Love, Ginny

  • JodyM - Mary, I LOVE this post and it’s something I’ve been struggling with too. Seriously–I can’t believe how much this sounds like me. I’m thinking of doing the same. I’m trying to figure out how can I shoot just for the love of it. I really don’t want to just take any session. I also adore these photos. Your boys are so sweet. BTW, I have very similar butterfly nets.

One of my favorite families and am just overjoyed for them that they will be having another!  Little Jack has the most beautiful blue eyes and such a bubbly personality!  He certainly keeps mom and dad running!  Mom is so beautiful and certainly had that glow.  Grandma came and we had a good time in the park – with an all time fav – Cheerios of course.  I had fun and can’t wait to see them again in May.  🙂

You can see how much Jack has change – HERE are his newborn shots, HERE he is at 4 months,  and HERE he is at nine months.  LOVE!

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  • Melinda - Beautiful Session Mary!

I love living in Texas.  The temperature was supposed to hit 90 this past weekend (it almost did- was in the mid 80’s).   Since it’s Tax season, my husband works around the clock.  Our community pool was not open yet, so I took out the back yard water toys.  We had a good amount of neighborhood kids here this weekend (mostly rough and tumble type boys) , so I needed to be the responsible parent watching all the kids vs. taking photos.  But then most left, and this sweet girl came over to play.  Girls are so different than boys.  They still ran and had lots of fun, but much quieter and calmer.  I took this opportunity to practice some of my mid day back light shooting with natural reflectors (Thank you DETRA).

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  • Adriana - – Jenny these are all so beautiful. What an amgainzly gorgeous mom-to-be. The setting and the processing is like something out of a fairy tail. LOVE theme all (but especially the second one down with all the negative space)!

  • Brooke - Mary, these are gorgeous photos!! The lighting and compositions are great, and I love the moments you captured! Your subjects look very natural, without the phony smiles and poses that so often are typical of their ages. My hat is off to you!!

  • Susan Monaghan - Mary, these are beautiful photographs

  • Susan Monaghan - Beautiful photos !

Well – I’m a little embarrassed to say, but yet happy also, that my five year old has NO self esteem issues!  Often referring to himself as ‘King Michael’ in soccer and, occasionally the ‘I look Awesome’ announcement resonates through the house after getting dressed in his favorite super hero shirt and when his hair is just so,  (I’m cringing wondering if we have another Pauly D on our hands….).  My mother is visiting from Montclair NJ this week, so we went to the mall a couple of times and he’s not yet too old for the merry go round, (thankfully).   Mikey did his usual thing -waving to the crowd,  destined for royalty, or that he just wants to be a parade.  In light that the Royal Wedding is in a month,  I decided to post this little video of our merry go round ventures and my son’s ‘awesomeness‘ , with appropriate music of course.

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Little Girls are just so special.  Perhaps it’s because I have two boys, but I just adore the whimsical nature to their play.  And their mother is just so beautiful!  She’ll have her hands full, but I certainly can not wait to meet her next princess.  Her girls just worship her – it’s so evident.  We had fun in the fields and the sun was glorious.  One thing about Texas is that you can have some beautiful outdoor shoots in February!

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  • JodyM - The light, texture, and colors in this session are just beautiful. They remind me of a painting. Love your style Mary!

  • jen carver - absolutely stunning mary!

  • kimia - so so lovely.

  • Melinda - Beautiful session Mary!

  • Erica Peerenboom - Wow! These are wonderful! Fantastic light you had. 🙂

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