The Best of 2019—Marie Masse’s Tiny Stories

January 2019

We did what we swore we never would: we bought a house that stretched our finances to where we don’t have the money to make this house a home.

We don’t like the inside of our home. Most days, it’s fine. We moved here for the nature, not for the house itself. Some days, the outdated decor and mismatch everything drive me CRAZY. The story I tell myself is that we’re poor people trying to live a rich life or something. #lie

Dave made this coat hanger / sign for us. The kids use it for their coats + backpacks (it’s hung at their level). Even though I loathe the wallpaper and the blue paint on the bottom half and a bunch of other things you don’t see… this has added some sweetness to our home.

Documenting Family Stories

February 2019

Levi has been doing jumps from his bike. He’s wearing Kendall’s helmet here, because he couldn’t be bothered to remember where his was (or go to the garage to get it… I forget). He wanted me to photograph him. He wanted to record the height he was getting. This mattered to him and me noticing what mattered to him makes my heart sing <3

March 2019

Levi and his tools. Have you ever met a 5 year old who is free to roam the woods with a handsaw & cutters? We trust him.

April 2019

At this point, the kids do showers / baths separate. It wasn’t always this way. They used to climb into our giant jacuzzi tub at our Michigan house and play together. I felt the passing of time when I saw this moment and thought of an old bath photo of both of them together than hangs on my wall.

May 2019

It’s Levi’s pride & joy to get out there and get his hands dirty. He asks almost daily, “Can we go out and work?” or “Can we have a fire?”

Already, at 7, Kendall would rather be doing anything BUT being out here.

On this day, she worked a little, and when I saw this I smiled at the thought of their childhood memories being filled with “working” around the land.

June 2019

My heart doesn’t feel a strong pull to this photo right now. For me, it was just another day. I took this photo out of obligation to the Day in the Life I’d been photographing. Getting them off the bus is a part of our daily life. I go down to the bus stop about 2:30 and wait 10 minutes for them to arrive. It’s been my time to switch from creative / work to MOM. I get the mail, catch up on Voxer, and gather my babies into the vehicle to drive up to the house. I have a feeling I’ll miss this one day.

July 2019

I couldn’t choose just one for this month. July is usually the month that holds the most photos. I love the 4th of July here in the U.S. I love the heat and the green. I love our Michigan trips and Dave’s birthday too.

This first photo has a story behind it. Dave is pulling out the cabin neighbor’s lawn (dock) ornament of a little boy that used to have a fishing pole. First of all, when Levi was 2 or 3, he’d be on my parents dock yelling, “Boy! Boy!” Then —- silence — “Why he not talk to me?” Levi would ask. OMG. It was the cutest.

So last year, there was a tornado that went through and the dock dumped the “boy” into the water. We decided to fish it out and were all dying. We couldn’t stop laughing. I’ll share more from this in another thread.

I realized how unique this scene is to my dad. We’ve been fishing with my kids before. I have many fishing photos, but this was the first where my dad was like, “Here, Levi, hold these up.” This is the true outdoorsmen photo. I have a photo without my dad, but the fact that my dad set this up is what made this so sweet. I think it’s a Michigan / generational / outdoorsmen thing.

Many french braids were braided in this cabin through the years. There’s no air conditioning, so the summers get hot & humid… no point in doing your hair. My mom has always been the one who does the french braids… I still can’t do it.

I felt a pull to throw Dave a surprise birthday party this year… even though it was just the 4 of us. We made A TON of food, set up a dance floor under twinkly lights, went for a night swim and watched a movie outside on the deck. This photo represents the stark contrast for the love I have for this home compared to January’s photo.

August 2019

My baby started Kindergarten this year. Need I say more? The baby era has truly left the Masse household.

September 2019

We got a puppy! His name is Tripp. Levi is our wild, loud, animated one. To see his gentle side with Tripp has been beautiful. He slows down for Tripp.

October 2019
iPhone. 

I walked the Pledge the Pink Breast Cancer walk with my friend, Bailey. We’ve been friends since first grade! She lives in California, so we rarely see each other, but do talk a couple times each month.

This trip was extra special, because we rented a house altogether—my family of 4, her, her husband and they’re boys, but also her in-laws, her stepmom, and another walker from our team. I’ve known her family and even her husband’s family now for so many years that it felt like a family reunion <3

November 2019

We’re in a season of whining, “Tripp NEVER puts his head on my side. I always get his butt. [Kendall / Levi] never lets me pet Tripp.” 

Oh good grief.

December 2019

I used to visit my Auntie Deb & Uncle Gary in Ohio. They lived about 4-5 hours south of us, so my mom and Auntie Deb would often meet halfway, so that I could stay with them for a long weekend or so. I don’t see her much, but she’s one person in my life who continues to show up… even when I don’t always show up. She sends cards to my kids for most holidays, every birthday and even milestones like back-to-school. This year, she sent us an ice cream sundae bar!

She texted me, and said, “There’s a package coming your way… just make sure you have ice cream.”

Um… ok.

So, Christmas Eve lunch looked like THIS:


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How to Preserve Your Family Stories and Memories in Photographs | Documentary Family Photography

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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  • Oh wow! How long has it been since one of your posts popped up in my feed!? Your kiddos are huge 😮(when I first started following you Levi was just a babe!!)I love this series and your words so much!

    • Awwww thank you, Kirsten!! I know, I really got away from sharing there for awhile, but it’s feeling fun to share again 🙂 I hope you’re well! <3

  • Reading December 2019 brought tears to my eyes. I love you, have always been proud of you & am still always here for you!
    ❤️ Auntie Deb