If you follow my instagram, you may have heard about my journey into film. I had been dying to learn film for years and years, but ever the perfectionist I was too timid to try (#lifestory). After some encouragement from fellow photographers who understood the medium at The Family Narrative retreat, I bit the bullet and just started shooting and learning. I am so so glad I did. It has been life giving in ways that I did not foresee artistically and personally.
Someday soon I’d like to share those initial rolls of film with you. They are jam packed with my day to day life and moments with friends and are very specially to me. However, I really wanted to try client-type work on film so I set up a session with a new mom, Mallory, and her adorable little lady, Nova. The result was magic, and I am so proud of what we created together. I have other sessions I’ve been working on and dreaming up, but for now I’d love to share with you my first newborn session on film. Enjoy!
My Darling Poppy June,
In the days leading up to your first birthday, I was stricken with a severe case of bittersweet sentiment. How could you be one already?! Didn’t you just make your debut on this earth? Truth be told, your first 6 months were a bit of a blur. I don’t want to rehash all of the things so I’ll just summarize and say, it was tough. Really tough. Maybe a stronger mother wouldn’t have been as affected as I was, but I guess that doesn’t really matter because I am your mom. All of the good, and all of the bad. Your mom.
Let me tell you about you. You are our supreme snuggler. I mean it. No one can snuggle like you can. At a very young age, you would wrap your tiny arms around our necks for hugs. You pretty much solely napped being held until you were around 7 months old despite our best efforts. And even now you love to lay your head on my chest, or crawl up to my legs while I’m doing dishes or getting ready and give a big hug and a pat, pat, pat. And before you lay down to sleep, I’ll hold you in my arms, sway back and forth, and sing you a song. It’s one of my favorite things I get to do in my day. And you don’t like to just cuddle with people. You love all soft things: stuffed animals, blankets, towels, scarves, my shirt. If it’s soft, you grab it and rub it on your cheek.
You eat more than I would imagine to be physically possible for your young age. I’m trying to think if you have a favorite, but nothing is coming to mind because you pretty much eat everything. However, we learned you are not a fan of cake at your birthday party. There was no convincing you; I even tried the next day. Nope. You were not having it. You’ve recently started to point to things that you want which is pretty cute, and would be even cuter if it wasn’t followed by your shrillish banshee cry you use to get our attention.
You love music. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind; you’re an equal opportunist. We’ll be driving in the car, and we’ll hear you clap, clap, clapping to songs you like. Or you’ll become a conductor having your arms out and bouncing when the music moves you. And when you’re crying in the car, 9 times out of 10, if I put on the Sinatra XM station, you’ll stop crying. No other station, just old Blue Eyes. Man, oh man, was that a blessing to figure out. You particularly like it when they play Barbara Streisand. You must be a sucker for schmaltzy singers.
While you are a smiley baby, you aren’t much for laughing. I can count on 2 hands how many times you’ve laughed or giggled, but when you do it lights up my whole world. When you get excited about something you scrunch up your nose and stick out your lips, and breathe in and out of your nose really fast. We call it your bulldog face. I’ve never seen a baby do that before, and I think it’s the cutest dang thing in the world.
A blessing and a curse at times, I am your favorite. You love your mama to the moon and back. When you’re upset, no one else will do. Obviously, I love how much you love me, but when you were at your most challenging self, it felt like the weight of your well being was on my shoulders. The older you get the more and more drawn you are to your dad and your sister. Just the other day you saw Dad’s car pull into the driveway, and you were bouncing your whole body up and down out of excitement. You sure know how to be adorable. And obviously whatever Isla is doing is exactly what you want to be doing.
I could keep going and going, because there is nothing in this world that I love more than my family. I hold all of those special memories close to my heart, and I look forward to all the more memories to hold dear.
P.S. Some pictures from your special day.
New life restores my soul.
That is one of the many reasons why I love newborn lifestyle sessions. The miracle of life can be seen on the faces of everyone in the family. A beaming father. A glowing mother. An adoring sister. How lucky am I that my job consists of me stopping, observing, and capturing love?
Enjoy viewing this adorable family in their first days as a family of four.
Fellow photographer and Wichita Mom’s Blog contributor, Erin Kata asked me if I would be willing to shoot a nursing session with her and her newest addition, Lincoln for her most recent post for WMB. I’ve never done a nursing shoot before and was excited to try my hand at it. Pure magic happened.
The sky was overcast with beautiful dramatic clouds which seemed fitting for a nursing shoot. Isn’t breastfeeding a beautiful yet stormy part of motherhood? And that hat. With that baby. And Erin, your lips! Holy cow, woman! Obviously, I enjoyed myself on this shoot.
Photography is definitely my most tapped into artistic expression. There are so many variables to work with, some within your control and some outside of it. For some people that may sound daunting, but I find the times that there are areas I cannot control or mold are the times I get the most creative.
Case in point: Lifestyle shoots. I simply love them. No sit here and smile at the camera (not that there is anything wrong with that). No. It’s interactive, meaningful, and engaging. It reminds me of when I used to shoot weddings. The best parts were when I was capturing the essence of the day. Now I get to do that with families. Capture their essence. Their vibe. Their emotions. It’s energizing.
Shooting with the Paulys was an absolute delight. They are a straight forward family who are who they are. Laid back, blunt, warm, and tender. I love that. And I LOVED this shoot. Enjoy.
I thoroughly believe people are put into your life when you most need them. Kruze and her outstandingly wonderful momma were that to me this past year. Not only did I get the privilege of watching this newborn baby grow into her spunky one-year-old self, but I grew a friendship with a strong lady who supported me during a particularly rough year (more on that later).
I had every intention of sharing Kruze’s monthly photos are she grew, but as mentioned previously, this year was not exactly what I expected. So instead, here are the fabulously fun pictures from her one year session where she shared the camera with her doting family. Enjoy.
My Darling Girls,
Another month goes by with endless opportunities to learn and grow, and I’m mostly talking about myself. Between 2 colds and a bout of food poisoning, I feel like I’ve been in constant recovery. I’ve also learned that once a perfectionist always a perfectionist, and so I’ve been working on that not running and ruining my life. Those tendencies towards perfectionism sneak into my life from time to time, and I don’t even notice it most of the time because it’s such second nature. The good news is that when I realize that I’m going down that path again, I can try to pull in the reigns and calm down a bit which really helps me mentally and emotionally. So here’s looking to you January, let’s make it an even better month.
Spunk Nugget (i.e. Isla Rose),
You are so very spunky, full of sass and life and as stubborn and strong willed as yours truly. We’re still in the same mode we’ve been in: easy-to-get-along days and everything-is-a-fight days. There really only seems to be hot and cold, but I guess that’s life with a toddler. Not helping this situation is the double ear infection and two teeth you have coming in. Poor baby, I can’t blame you for being a little pissy.
You’ve been getting into everything you’re not supposed to lately. You practically gave the babysitter a heart attack when she thought she lost you, but you had just found your way into the garage. Every morning you now get out of your bed, open your door, and come find us. You then announce, “I got out my bed.” You then shrug your shoulders and give the most adorable little giggle like it was the most unusual thing to happen as of late.
The Christmas lights, Polar Express, Christmas movies, there is just so much to love about Christmas time! You’ve been to see the lights at Rhema in Tulsa and at Botanica here in Wichita. You met Santa 3 times, and you got to ride on the Polar Express (I was so sad, because I had to miss out on this). You like to point out the stockings on the mantel and for some reason always ask, “I eat them?” So very random and so very funny. It’s true what they say, the Christmas magic is stirred in your heart when you see your children’s eye light up with the wonder of the season.
Your flavors of this month are frozen blueberries (pronounced “boobies”), pretend play (which I adore), helping us in the kitchen, and singing “jingle bells, jingle bells, HEY!”
Pop Nugget (i.e. Penelope June),
Happy 3 months, baby! You are 100% a different baby, and the whole household is thrilled! Your presence feels so much more like you were when you were first born. There is a calmness and awareness about you that I just love. When you smile, it starts in your eyes and then washes over your whole face. Your eyes squint and you bashfully turn your head to the side. I live for those smiles.
You also love a good conversation. Your voice starts off small and soft and a few minutes in your inflections are boisterous and completely adorable. Getting to chat with you makes my days so much brighter. Just these small glimpses of your personality are so thrilling to experience. They remind me of what I loved about Isla’s first year: the miracle of the growth and development of a person! That is no small miracle!
You are incredibly strong and rock tummy time like it’s nothing. You’ve rolled over from your tummy to your back a handful of times, but it’s almost always accidental. You’ve started to be much more active while rolling around on your blanket, more kicking and bopping around. You love this play mat that has a mirror right above you and a keyboard at your feet to kick. It has some toys that hang down, and you’ve started to bat at them. You’re quite focused when your working at reaching for the toys; I love seeing the wheels in your head turn.
Thank the good Lord above, you have been sleeping so well 95% of the time at night. We’ve had a few nights you’ve slept a full 12 hours even! Nap times during the day tend to be pretty short, but I don’t have to fight you for them most of the time and you’re not grumpy when you’re awake so I’ll take it. Something special we’ve done lately is take a nap together while Isla is sleeping. Not only has it been nice for this sick mama to get a nap in, but those warm, sleepy snuggles are what dreams are made of.
I love you girlies. Until next time…
My Darling Girls,
My goal (and no promises as life does happen) is to write a letter to the two of you every month. I did an okay job of that with your first year, Isla, but not such a great job on your second. You just celebrated your 2nd birthday, and, Poppy, you just turned 1 month old so this seems just as good of a time as ever to start.
Isla Rose you are fun and frustrating at this age (more fun some days, more frustrating others), and I’m learning a thing or two about growing my patience. You have been the best big sister to Poppy, very loving and caring, and I have a feeling that once Poppy can interact with you more you’ll be in heaven. It is hard for you to learn to share Mommy and Daddy, and so we have some behavioral things we’re working on… but you are only two so you’re very much just acting your age.
You have so many things you love right now. You love your family, and often times we’ll go through a “role call” if you will where you ask where everyone is at any given point in time. You are your mother’s daughter because you love to color, paint, and create (when you say, “I made that” my heart warms and tears come to my eyes). You are always going a million miles a minute. When you’re awake, you’re BUSY… jumping and dancing. It’s pretty dang cute. You’ve been on a big Mary Poppins kick; you could watch it over and over without losing interest. With that has come lots of singing, and you have such a sweet little voice (and surprisingly good pitch). You also love Daniel Tiger and Curious George.
You also love to talk…. all day long… often times the same thing over and over again. Right now some of those phrases are:
“I like that/I don’t likey”
“I lub boo”
One of my favorite moments leading up to your birthday was the week of your birthday. You knew that for your birthday you would get cake (you’re a big fan), and one day you started singing “happy birthday to me…. cake?” Your dad and I laughed so hard, because my child, your humor and delivery are on point.
We love you so much Isla Rose, and I look forward to seeing you grow even more this year.
Poppy, oh my darling girl, you are WORK. When you sleep, you tend to sleep like an angel, but GETTING you to sleep sometimes takes an act of God. You’ve had a lot of issues spitting up and with food sensitivities so there have been periods of time when you are so uncomfortable. When you would be awake, sometimes you would just scream. It broke my heart (and my spirit a bit to be honest). We also just found out that one of your nasal passages isn’t full open (actually, it’s practically closed) which makes you sound perpetually congested. The doctor said that it’s open enough to not need surgery, but closed enough that if you get sick we’ll have to watch you like a hawk to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen. Scary stuff, so we’ll pray our hardest and try our best to keep you away from illnesses this year. It’ll grow as you grow which is good news though.
You ARE growing like a weed though! Since you were born, you gained almost a pound a week! You have easily filled out your 0-3 month clothing no problem, unlike your older sister who grew much slower. Your face is so round, and your body is so squishy. I just love giving you kisses and cuddling with you during Isla’s naptime. Since sleep is very hit or miss with you, you’re a pretty sleepy babe. Every once in awhile we’ll get some tummy time in, and if we’re lucky (and you’re feeling well) a few sweet smiles.
We love you sweet girl. I hope you start feeling better soon, and I can’t wait to see your little personality grow…. and to get some more sleep (#keepingitreal).
This little boy and his parents… where to begin? I am so grateful for them. It has been such a thrill to shoot MJ’s newborn pictures, as well at his 6 month, and now his 1 year! MJ is a happy, sweet boy who I love being around, and his parents are just as sweet and wonderful as he is.
It’ll take you all of 5 seconds to realize that my job as their photographer is pretty dang easy. They are happy, genuine, loving people who also happen to look like models. Darn my luck, right? It was about 100% humidity out when we took these pictures, and you would never know it looking at them.
More than that, they are clients who have turned into friends, and for that I am even more grateful. Let’s do this again soon, shall we?
There really isn’t anything better than a brand new baby, and I’m talking brand, brand new. Baby Collins was only 3 days old when we had our lifestyle newborn session, and she couldn’t have been any more precious. So sleepy and cuddly. So pink and tiny.
And one of the absolute highlights on this session was watching Nicole with her children. Talk about a mother at ease. Her peaceful, loving energy towards not only her newest addition, but also her two oldest boys was refreshing and simply inspiring. I hope that I can provide such an outpouring of love to my growing family the way she does.