Michele Kats Photography » Michele Kats Photography

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Are powerful.

They can hurt.

They can heal.
They can make you smile

They can make you cry.

I try to teach my kids to be careful of what they say because once you say it you can’t take it back.
I wish I had taken my own advice.

But I did not.

I tripped.
Tripped over my own vulnerability.

And I fell hard.

Right to the ground.

Skinned knees and all.

Once the words escaped from my emotions

I knew.

I knew they were out there.

I knew I couldn’t take them back.
And I said shit.

Well I said more than that, something I’ll never ever

To hurt someone with words because we are hurt or scared is so

And I did that.

Those who know me know im not like that –

I don’t react in the negative –

I’m even tempered


Patient most of the time

And an optimist

But also human.

And my humanness got in the
way of my logic .

Yes we are not perfect

But none the less it just was
not nice how I reacted.

And I thought about it .

About the times in my
life I have seen someone retaliate from something deep

or get upset over
what someone thinks is nonsense

No matter how deep or superficially wounded,

It’s just that, a wound.

And we are human

And we are flawed.
And sometimes we are judged because of it .

Because of our poor

And sometimes there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

So we cry, or we meditate through it

Sometimes we do both.

We try and forgive ourselves

And when that does not work

We call our life lines-
Mine just happens to be a select friend or two and my father .

So I called my dad .

I was upset.

And his advice.

Was this.

And I quote

“Michele- we all make mistakes-and we all say things at one point or
another we probably should not have said .

but I promise you .

And here’s my favorite line from him that day –

“Michele I promise you  …..You didn’t fuck up your fate kid. “

I began to sob.

Because that’s how it felt.
He knows me so well.

He also said .

Michele , the Next time you get
upset because it will happen, at some point in your life – we all get upset
sometimes , let’s try and use a word that’s more lady like ok? I kind of
chuckled in between sobs.

I was so disappointed .

Disappointed In

And that just plain old sucks.

That feeling of knowing better
but reacting.

Reacting . Without communicating.

And remembering that we
are still so flawed.

And that progress verse perfection is where most of us
are at.

I know I am.


Which reminds me of a line from a
deepak chopra book I’m reading.

” In a deeper sense what you call flaws are
really just the scars of hurts and wounds accumulated over a lifetime. ”



it’s ok if we get upset over something that may seem irrelevant to someone

But to remember it’s not the emotion

it’s in the delivery .

honestly my delivery sucked.

So next time it happens to me where I misread
something or my feelings are hurt

and like my father said im sure it will

I’ll communicate .

even when I feel vulnerable.

and I’ll put
myself out there .

And I’ll use ladylike words.

And with kindness and
humility I’ll express my feelings –

During – not after.

And forgiveness
will show up and fate will move forward and kindness will prevail.

And with that and a little bit of luck at the end I’ll get the same mirrored back to me…


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Did you ever have an image in your head of something you wanted to do –

thinking that it would be the perfect way to make a family memory ?

Well I certainly did.

somewhere over these past few years I developed this idyllic moment in my mind of my kids and I on a sleigh, being pulled by horses through snow covered forest,twinkle lights , snow glistening…

– you get it right ?

Riding through the snow
On a one horse opened sleigh
All the fields we go laughing all the way .

You get the vision right ?
Yeah something like that .

So imagine my smile when I spotted an ad for sleigh rides through a farm in the mountains.

We were headed up there for some family time, some winter sports, and yup making memories.

So I call…

I get this woman on the phone and I book the sleigh ride –

I’m super excited and can’t wait to do it.
I don’t ask my usual million questions because how much is there to know?

Snow – sled- horse- perfection.

Although at the end of the conversation I did say –

Are there lights along the way ?

Her reply- oh gosh yes the way is lit by the light of the moon.

that didn’t sit so well with me but.. I figured..
Screw it.
Don’t be so cautious – michele
Live a little –

Which is kinda funny because I’m not overly cautious by nature –

but as a mom I know at times I over do it.

I know I hover –

I over protect –

I evaluate and reevaluate –

I’m a germa phobe –

I fear “the virus” seriously I fear it-

and I call it “the virus”

The dreaded stomach virus has wreaked havoc and caused serious anxiety for me with my kids so I try and protect them as much as I can from “the virus”

I even whisper it when I say it.
“The virus”

I kid you not.

I feel like if I don’t say it too loud the universe won’t hear it .

I sanitize them –

I bleach their sheets so much they disintegrate – and get holes in them

Target loves me.

I make them hold their breath in an elevator

& not touch the handrails



I teeter on craziness with them .

I know it – and half the battle is knowing it

so don’t judge.

I try to keep them safe just like all of you

just maybe I do it in slightly different ways

And then catch myself & I try and find a spot in my soul that says.. Ok you made the best choice – they need to learn a bit on their own and your there to catch them ..

Fast forward a few days and it’s the day of the sleigh ride.

did i mention its a night ride? well its a night ride.
It was 5′ outside

I kid you not.

It was freaking freezing.

I hate the cold.


I loathe it.


This is my vision, so again I go with it.

My kids are almost looking at me in horror as I bundle them up so much all you can see is their eyes. And then I put snow goggles on them so basically there’s nothing exposed.

My lovely outspoken last child, my daughter slides the scarf down and says –

“Mom are you serious ? Are we really doing this? ”

Right away both boys chime in and say – this is what mommy chose – we got to pick something on this trip and this is what she picked so yes we are doing it.

We pile in the car
Drive the to the farm

we pull up – and it looks abandoned.

Seriously run down

Almost junkyard like.

But that does not scare me

I love vintage –

I’m convincing myself that…

this is More American pickers less Sanford and son .

They look at me and I fake smile –
And I say

” come on guys this is going to be beautiful . ”

We get out.

In the distance you hear this chain rumbling -& out of nowhere comes this huge dirty white dog.

Remember cujo?

Yeah I do too-

It was cujos third removed cousin I’m convinced of it .

so I scream get back in the car !

We get back in the car

My heart is beating,

I start to sweat,

Sign number 1.

My instinct are saying.

Go the hell home

But I don’t . A guy comes out grabs the beast & assures us from the sliver of a crack that I open the window that he will lock up . Mr. Buttercup.

So we get out.

We go inside the barn /shack/outhouse/falling apart structure/
Whatever it is.

A baby lamb comes running to us. I find out it’s 6 days old.

My daughter screams mom it’s bleeding !
I look down and the thing is bleeding from her bottom. I said omg this baby lamb is bleeding.
The pleasant teenager behind the desk said . It’s a goat mam . Ughh she called me mam – I roll my eyes . it’s a goat mam and we cut off its tail a few minutes ago – don’t worry – it’ll stop soon

Sign #2-
Go the hell home

I carry on.
I ignore the bleeding baby livestock hovering around our feet &
I say we are checking in for the sleigh ride .

One adult
3 children .

She said how old is he ? Pointing to my oldest I say

One adult 3 children –

She says it’s 22$ for adults 10 for children

Great -I say – 1 adult 3 children .

At this point The baby lamb goat whatever pees right next to my daughters feet –

Did I mention we were inside ? Yeah so this thing pees – I’m semi arguing with this teenager because she tells me adults are 11 and over – I said again

ok 3 kids one adult .

I feel like rain man at this point except rain man doesn’t tell little white lies and I just did because my son is 11 but I figure really ? 12 more dollars because he’s a few months older than their so called child cut off.

My middle guy opens his mouth and says mom he’s 11.

I ignore him.

Mom , but he’s 11 .

I ignore him again.

Mom can you hear me ? He’s ..

And my oldest pushes him out of the way . Clearly he gets it. We are trying to save a few dollars and really at this point is a few months really that big of a deal ?

So I look at my middle guy who’s giving me the “you always tell us to tell the truth look ”

and so I I say feeling defeated and totally being held accountable I say to the teenage girl – he’s 11.


.I now pay full price for my 11 year old .

I hand her my card .

Oh I’m sorry mam — I grimace – she looks shocked – ( I secretly think to myself you just wait twiggy until someone calls you mam )

mam it says your debit card is not working – to call the bank . & I remember my debit card has a spending per day limit – and since we did ski lift tickets ferry ride gas food etc we hit that limit –

Sign #3 to get the hell out of here –

I ignore it – I pay cash

We get on the sleigh – horses are beautiful – and big.

We wrap ourselves in blankets and huddle up –

It’s starting to happen –

the vision I had in my head –

It’s coming together

Other families join the festivities and I think hmm this is going to be ok- I’m not alone In Taking my 3 kids through the woods at night w complete strange men driving a sleigh .

It’s dark – really dark – I look up to find the light of the moon as the lady said but —

There’s a storm coming –

There’s no light from the moon –

There is no moon-

There’s not even a god damn star –

You guessed it

sign 4-

Bail now I think before it’s too late —

I don’t bail because I’m determined to make this memory to find something good —

I’m a glass half full kinda girl —

Before we start moving

My daughter wants to sit as close to the horses as she can – we are up in the front of the sleigh.

We Can barely see a thing –


My view .

You guessed it –

Is …

A horses ass .

A big horses ass ..

Two actually

Two big horses asses.

I just sigh ..

We start moving .

The guy whose driving the sleigh says –

Horses sweat too so we may take a few breaks along the way and Jim’s belly has been acting up so we are going to take it slow.

Jim’s the horse.

Who’s ass is directly in front of us

A mere 2-3 feet tops in front of us.

Freaking sign 5.

I just shake my head in complete defeat .

We go – we move – and then

I look at my kids – my heart smiles we may not be looking at twinkling lights or glistening snow but we are together – under a blanket . Us. Them . Me. Together .

I took a breath in, I sighed with happiness that all was right in our world just at that moment.


I was finally present, like really present in the moment. not  care in the world just soaking in this fraction of time with those I love most in the world.

And then

it happened.

Jim the horse –

well he certainly did have some belly issues .

he starts to lift his tail I know what’s coming –

my poor kids don’t have a clue – so Jim the horse a rather explosive bowel movement and has gas so loud it sounds like a bomb is going off.

The smell – omg I almost vomited I begin to gag –

I yell – seriously I yell


Hold your breath.

Don’t breathe

Put your head under the blanket .

The other people on the sled must have thought I was nuts – they began to whisper – I heard the word flat lander but at the moment didn’t know what the hell it meant & honestly I could care less

Id be damned if we were going to be “exposed”

horse germ or not it’s a germ right ?

My kids of course think this is the funniest thing that has ever happened. We are two feet from a horses ass that is having explosive diarrhea !!!

And it happens over & over along our what seemed like a billion acre sleigh ride.

They are hysterical

I am horrified

The fn’ing horse .

Has “the virus” .

What are the god damn odds of that happening..

And right then I’m reminded that we are guided by a source higher than ourselves , & sometimes things don’t work out as we expect & even though one of my kids best memories from this trip included bowel movements and fouls smelling gas issues.  – it’s the feeling behind it.

No pun intended.

It’s the small moments, the ones you can never plan,

Not that I would ever plan that experience !

But someday when they are telling this story to their children and their children’s children they won’t remember the idyllic moment we were on the slopes for the first time together , or how I navigated unpaved mountain roads to get us here , they will remember Jim, the horse that had diarrhea & they will laugh uncontrollably like they did the other night .. And I’ll smile because they are smiling and I’ll laugh because they are laughing and I’ll give them my “schpeel” about how sometimes the universe has other ideas for our perfect expectations , and the it’s not the details it’s the feeling and how important it is to be present in the moment for you never know what the present has planned for us!

So there you have it.

I’m a flat lander, virus phobic over sanitizing momma of 3 who made one of our best family memories by being present with my children  on a farm in a sleigh in 5’degrees somewhere in the mountains & I wouldn’t have it any other way !

which is what inspired our chalkboard weekly family quote from our home to yours!!

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  • Roya - OMG OMG OMG so this is what happened OMG did you ever see the Seinfeld episode with ‘Rusty’ the horse and Kramer was driving!?!?!? this is so like that… goes to show you try soooo hard… and still the universe has other plans. but your kids cracking up and you all sharing a good family laugh was worth it.

    next time learn from sign #3. LOLOLReplyCancel

Lucky number 5.

that’s a saying.

i swear it is

and this kid , well he is it.

hes #5.

yup, you read that right.


as in there are four older siblings.

big family. I know.

meant to be that big? well there’s a funny little story behind this one.

his momma and daddy decided after many many long converstaion that they were done at 4.

you might remember their gender reveal session we did for baby #4?

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gender reveal |michele kats photography

Gosh that was a fun day!

fast forward .. oh not that long 😉

and over coffee one morning my sweet cousin told me something that I almost choked on my coffee and then we did this shoot!! …



Now let me retrace my steps here.

yes i was shocked.

yes I was surprised.

yes i was over the moon happy.

but to be honest and I’m only saying this because they said to share the ” real story”  and the real story is…


drum roll please ….

they decided that they were not going to have any more children,

and they decided that he would take care of the last step in making that happen…

snip snip.


I only laugh because hes my cousin

he’s family and I can tease him like that.

so thats what they did.

he went in for the procedure .

the big V.

hes a good man.



and they thought it was wrap.

she gave away her maternity clothes,

she gave away her baby things.

she cried a little to be done with that chapter of her life.

she made peace with it.

or so she thought.

then she got the “virus”

she was not feeling so well.

mmmm hmmmmm..

you guessed it

9 days later she found out that someone,


some higher power call it God,

call it the universe

call it whatever you want..

there was another story written in the stars for this family

and it began with lucky number 5.

Welcome to the World Sweet baby J!!!

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how sweet is he? and oh how he is loved….. I did a little research n the number 5 and this is what I found…

The number 5 is the most dynamic and energetic of all the single-digit numbers,
and is extremely independent in mind and soul.

which fits him perfectly. he had a plan and here he is.

I just know he will do amazing things, how could he not,

by the time he was one hour old he already taught us that just because you think your life is going to go a certain way, sometimes just sometimes, it turns out better than you ever could imagine.  <3


much love .. <3



Everywhere .

There are walls.

I would live outside if I could.

If there was no mosquitos,
no snakes,

and no cold .

I would live outside .

I think I might have mentioned my love for the outdoors before.

I’m slightly claustrophobic.
Not sure when it started.
Maybe it’s when I got locked in an elevator with my mother in law.

That was years ago.

Maybe it started before that.

Regardless of when – it’s here.
It’s part of me.
It’s not a bad thing.
Just every now and then I need to open a window in the winter,

Or get outside of a store,

Or remind myself I’m never ever going to Howe caverns again. Ever.

You know the little things.

So with wanting more open space I decided it would be a great idea to take down
a wall in my home.

A wall that separates the kitchen from the living room.

A wall that in my head prevents conversation , prevents interaction , prevents
family bonding.
So one fine rainy Sunday .

There it went.

the wall came down.

bit by bit .

piece by piece,
And then.
We saw it.
Gas lines.
Water lines.
Electric lines.
And I thought
Now what are we going to do?

So I listened to all the experts telling me what to do.

By experts I mean the people who invade my space just when I need some.

And love me the best in the world.
They each had their own idea.
I had mine.
Gas lines
Electric lines
Water lines had other ideas.

So I did what any rational person would do.

I made coffee.

I sat and stared at the wall that was now not coming all the way down and I
tried to think of a plan.


I poured a second cup of coffee .

Because again that’s what normal people do right ?
They use coffee to fix problems.

And it came to us.

I always talk about open shelving, I always say how much I love it in a kitchen.

I pinned far too many pins with it ,yet never had a space to use it.
Well now.
Guess what .
I do.

I  have a wall that came down 3/4 of the way and the other part now will have open shelving.


Sometimes things don’t go as planned.

And sometimes things turn out better than you ever could have imagined.

Finding something positive in the negative, the silver lining, the good side of things…

Sometimes it gets the better of me, sometimes it doesn’t.

like on this summer night in North Carolina.

I was determined to take a few pictures of my daughter at the beach.

I had found this vintage dress in a shop and was dying to use it on her.

I rarely post images of my kids although my middle schools son is now asking to be photographed for our middle school moody campaign so look for him soon.


getting back to Miss Sassafrass.

I wanted to do a few with her at sunset in this dress..

My  girl was not having it.

It really is hard to photograph your own kids sometimes.

She pouted, she whined, she stamped her feet.

She whined some more.

I almost started to cry I was so frustrated.

the light was going down.

it was our last night there and I really really wanted things to go my way.


They didn’t.

metaphorically speaking,  there was another wall.

A wall between my daughter and my self and my vision that I had for this little bit of a session that was in my head.

A big freaking wall with a 6 year old pouting and whining and stamping her feet in front of it.

So I looked at my middle guy who is usually the voice of reason and he just raised his eyebrows at me as if to say.

“Really mom?  You know what to do. ”

So I took a breath and I let go of my expectations for this romanticized session I had in my head and I said to my daughter.

Ok Girlie.

you got me.

I’m letting it go.

Im throwing it up to the universe.

She looked at me as if to say what the heck are you talking about.

and I said

“You know how I always say to you and your brothers about how things don’t always go as planned,

and how sometimes we get disappointed because it did not go the way we wanted it to,

and how its ok to feel that for a minute or two…

but then what does mommy always say to do?’

She looked at me and said.

“Find something that makes you happy.”

EXACTLY. my girl…

and then she did this.
Laila blogPINIMAGEShe found her happy.


I got the best shot  that describes her.


So go on….

dance baby dance.











  • studioroya - great blog post… walls physically and mentally are getting torn down bit by bit…. opening up all over the place. you are so poetic. what a great shot of this kid. Yep it’s all her alright!! you captured that spirit just like she intended all along.ReplyCancel

Middle school..

I remember it well.

Except then we called it ” Junior High”

I was not a fan. At all.

It was just a hard time for me.

I was trapped somewhere between a little girl, and a young adult.

I was feeling my oats one minute than crying the next.

Hormones took their toll and I was just trying to get my footing..

In junior high or middle school as we now know it, lots of elementary schools get together and there a ton of fresh new faces.

That’s when I realized the dynamics of friendship.

That’s where I got my heart broke for the first time.

That’s where I realized the meaning of the word  popular.

That’s when I realized I did not like that word so much.

That’s where I wrote poems, and song lyrics.

That’s where I also met one of my very best friends that I just sat down and had coffee with last week after way too many years of missing each other.

Its also where I made friends with the jocks and the artsy crowd, the dirties, well… that’s what we we called them then … I guess now they’d be called the hipsters…It’s where I began to group people into categories by what they were into, what I didn’t realize then was we were all the same inside, but that took maturity and years to understand.

It’s where I first began to discover myself..  and began to understand I was not all butterflies and rainbows.

I had an edgy side.

I had a funny side.

I had a bitchy side.

I had a sad side.

I had an artsy side.

I had so many gosh darn sides I was like a prism.

and most days I couldn’t wait to get home to my safe little world..

where my neighborhood friends knew my name, where my mom was waiting with cookies and my adorable little doggie was wagging her tail at me.

You know the innocence of child hood things you look back on now and miss.

But then I was too cool to see it, or at least I pretended to be too cool for junior high school.

It was a hell of a time, some I’m happy to remember… others moments I wish I could forget.

What I can tell you is that I wish I had known then what I know now, that beauty truly does come from within and that no matter what damn category you are grouped in you are no better or worse than the next person, we are all just trying to do our best with what we know.

and categories, or labels well… they suck.

and they mean shit.

society can be cruel.

but we can be much crueler to ourselves.

we put so much pressure on ourselves and I believe it starts in middle school, at least it did for me.

so fast forward a few years ..

yup, just a few 😉  and here we are in 2014.

I’m out of junior high.

I am an adult,  a grown woman with three amazing kids and a life that I love.

and no matter if I was the cheerleader, or the art girl, or the best damn hand ball player EVA…which I really really was 🙂

ALL  that matters as you get older is that you LOVE who you are. Really LOVE  yourself.

It does not mean shit what anyone else thinks of you.

and I am here to tell all of the young adults out there that ..



and that you are so much more than you think you are right now.

and if you don’t feel it well that’s where I come in.

I’m going to show you.

Through my lens I am going to bring out your soul.

Your beautiful amazing magnificent soul!!!!  

Through our “Middle School Moody Series.”  

Its a brand new session we are now offering.. 

It truly feels like a calling for me at this stage of my career and I am so happy to launch……

A campaign for discovering self  confidence, self love, and  freedom to not only be exactly who you are but to celebrate it! 

we are going to show all of your sides during your photo session,  your happy, your funny, and even your moody!

and the best part is we have partnered up with a really awesome clothing boutique… House Of Bleu .


So once you book your ” Middle School Moody Session ” with us you will be set up with a designer at House of Bleu which is located at 106 West Broadway Port Jefferson Village to fully stylize your outfit, your accessories and find your own unique look!!!
They like myself, believe in bringing out inner beauty, strength and individuality. They, just like me, had a vision and they followed it.

Together we are encouraging all of you to do the same. To discover your own self confidence, self love, and freedom. For you to see the beauty that is within all of you. To feel amazing at a very difficult time of transition while becoming  who you aspire to be.

I am super excited to share with you a few images from some recent ” middle school moody sessions” ..





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I am so very grateful for all of you who inspire me every day to learn, grow, and to continue on my journey…


Please reach out to book your session, as we only have a limited number of spots available.  631.576.6445 or email us at connect@michelekats.com



  • Jennifer - You are absolutely beautiful. Love you my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Renneisen - Hi again! I love the Moody in Middle School series! I’d love to book that with you in addition a family series… Thanks!ReplyCancel