Thursday, January 31, 2019

December Family Sessions

I decided it was time to share more of these images from December's Mini Family Session Day. I just love all these people and the moments that I got to capture with them.

First up - The Johnson Family.
Neighbors turned friends and now in front of my camera.

Next up - The Salcido-Perez Family.
Their sweet little foster babe arrived just in time for their session!

And finally, Rebecca & Michael and their fun little crew!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Show up messy.

Last night my kitchen was pretty clean and tidy (much thanks to my husband and his nightly magic).
By 10:30am today it's not exactly looking so hot. Seriously. This is a glimpse. Our rental grout is not so cute, our cabinets are poorly painted, my dishes are a mess and I've got food in progress for a meal.

This morning's story time at the library led to some hang with a friend who is also now a mama of a 10 month old boy. We haven't seen each other in a long time and don't even know each other that well but we ran into each other and I invited her to come over to hang.

I knew my kitchen (and most of my home) were less than ready for a new visitor but I didn't really think twice. I love people and connecting and in this season that isn't always easy. So while I could have said, "Come over some time" so that I could prepare, I chose to say "Would you like to come over now?" and invite her into the reality. After all both of our babies were napped and fed so now was the time!

Honestly when she left I noticed things that needed attention and wondered if she noticed them too - the coffee grounds on the floor, the diapers that need taken to the trash, the post weekend trip unpacking explosions. She may have. But I think she gets it. We connected over the challenges and rhythms mom life has held for us in the past 10 months and I think we share some of the same struggles to manage it all. But even if she was nailing the tidy game I am not and that's ok. Sometimes my day doesn't allow it. Sometimes I choose to rest or connect with a friend or shower. But most of the time I am going to choose to invite people in and that includes the real. That's how we want our home to be. That's how we want to be as people. Open, welcoming, real. That is how our conversations were today and both of us left refreshed and grateful.

I don't say this to toot my horn at all. But maybe as some encouragement to show up where you are. Show up messy. Show up in progress. Connect with that friend even if you aren't in the best place emotionally. Invite people into your space even if it looks more like hoarders than fixer upper. Show up with your spouse even if wounds leave you guarded. Pitch that business idea to your boss or friend even if the details are up in the air.

I  read a quote on Instagram this week, "Their grass isn't greener, they are just using a filter."
It's easy to assume their kitchen is spotless, their marriage is without conflict, they are confident in their journey, they are patient with their kids... But we have to remember we never see the whole story. Don't let how their lives appear prevent you from living fully in the reality of yours. We all have our in progress areas and community thrives when authenticity matters more than perfection.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Moments into Memories - Client Print Guide

The hard part (hopefully the fun part) is over! Your session is complete.
But we're not done.

Time passes quickly and moments are fleeting. Digital is awesome but there are so many great ways to preserve your moments.

In our home we have fun collage prints, wood art, framed prints and photo books. But there are endless options to fit your style, home, creativity and more.
I am here to help choose and create art with you.

MEMORIES INTO ART || I would be glad to meet with you or plan a phone call to chat about your desires. Coffee, anyone? A great way to get started is to take a look at this inspiration guide. Maybe this gets the juices flowing. Or maybe you already know what you're longing for... Let's make it happen!

HOLIDAY CARDS || Can you believe it is that time of year? Take a look and choose you're favorite Christmas/Holiday card. Ordering is quick and easy and I take care of it all for you!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Blurry baby days and daily ponderings

Are the teeth coming in hurting him and disrupting sleep?
Does he need to drop a nap?
Is it separation anxiety?
Is he bored? Does he need different toys? More baby friends?
Does he need to eat more solids? But food before 1 is just for fun, right?
Will solids help him sleep through the night?
Does he enjoy the farmers market and other outings?

These and other questions like them roll through my head throughout my days lately. They sound so lame but this sweet little man can't fully tell me how he feels or what he needs. And so I wonder.. Is he ok? Are we meeting his needs? Am I  doing this right? I couldn't have anticipated these questions would consume much of my day or that I would "worry" about things like this. Turns out what I  thought I  knew about being a parent was actually nothing. There are so many things I thought I would or wouldn't do as a parent but you really have NO idea until you're in it. Parenthood has already humbled me in reminding me how little I  know about things. It's all a learn as you go  (parenthood, life, each season).

I am guessing I will look back and all these new mom questions/worries/anxieties will be long forgotten. But I  don't want to fully forget... so I  am writing them. One day I will be long past this season and problems of school struggles, friend drama
and future girlfriends will plague me. But today, these are the things that often feel "big".

So often once a season is over I look back and it's all a bit blurry.
Already (and I thought for sure I wouldn't do this) the newborn season is a blur.
How did we survive? How did we figure out those first hours/days/weeks?
Did he really just sleep all the time?
Was he really that tiny? Did he really fit in that?
Did I really worry about that?

What do you remember about the early days of baby life?
Are questions like these a vague memory of mom life past?

Sometimes you are a mystery, sweet Rainier. But you're also a joy, you bring new to our life daily and we love watching you grow in personality and life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Half Way Point

We're at seven months - this little cub of ours is seven months old.
We have survived 6 months of parenthood!

Tonight he's asleep early and my husband is at work late and I've decided it's time to write. This is my way to process and to look back later when all of this feels a bit like a blur. I    am way behind on this!

I am also feeling sentimental because he's getting his first two teeth.
Who knew I would stop in my tracks and get teary eyed upon this realization? It's just one of those "big milestones" in the beginning and I feel so excited he's growing and also a bit like "how is this happening?".

If I am honest I see fresh little babies and I feel mixed. Partially I feel a fondness to the sweet, sleepy, squishy, take 'em anywhere phase. But partially I feel a bit like, "oh man, that was rough and I am glad we made it out". It's weird how I have already forgotten a bit of the crazy of those beginning weeks but it also still feels fresh and a bit scary. I've said it here before but I just had no idea what bringing home a baby would really look like and the new mom anxieties met my inability to function on little sleep in a rough way. Normally Charles is the optimist and I am the realist but he was much more mentally prepared for the challenge than I was.

Some days I feel like such a pro (I'm not - I just feel so glad I know more than I knew on day one).
Some days I feel just as anxious about new phases and what lies ahead.
I pray safety and protection over him every night. I think God for each new day.
I sometimes lay awake anxious about future decisions and how we'll raise him.

I try my best to soak up each day. Ok, not every hour. Some are hard and I want them to pass by but God is inviting me into a simplicity and presence. He's been doing this for a while but it's different now. Having a baby is definitely not simple. Taking care of home, groceries, meals, a little human, a dog, being wife, friend, business owner... This whole season isn't simple but in this season of getting to be home with my baby I am doing my best to choose presence. And while getting through each day can be complicated; there is a simplicity to sitting on the floor and playing with the same toys, reading the same books, going on the same walks, working on the next nap and doing it all over again. I am here. Somedays those moments feel really long but I feel God inviting me to slow down, say yes to the moment I am in and not rush off the next idea, place or season.

So here we are. Half way to ONE.

He is working out his first two teeth.
He is sitting, working on crawling and wanting to be independent. I try to snuggle him but he mostly wants to move about.
We are learning new rhythms and how to bring him into the ones we've already got.
We are one week from our first plane flight.
We are watching him grow and learn about the world.
We recently took our second camping trip and it was MUCH better than the first.
He still loves the fan and when we ask him where it is, he looks up!
I love seeing the joy on Charles and Rainier's face when they reunite in the evening. Papa's love for this guy gets my heart every day.
I know everyone says this about their own but we think he is the cutest and talk about it all the time (who are we?).
We're learning more and more how to be a team in the parenthood thing.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Fall Photo Sessions | The Details

Whether you've never had professional photos taken or it's only been a few months - now is the perfect time! Why you ask?

Well, these limited sessions are a shorter (and cheaper) version of a full session experience and are only offered once a year. Plus..
  • Your family changes fast - it's always a good time to preserve the moments of this season.
  • Cooler weather and Fall vibes.
  • Just in time for your annual Christmas card.
  • Easy, simple and fun! 
  • Why not? Perfect for any occasion. 
They may be mini but you'll end up with much more than a family portrait. You'll have moments experienced with everyone together in front of the camera.
If you're interested, read on for the full details!

Fall Mini Photo Sessions  |  2018  |  $175
These prescheduled sessions happen just two days this Fall. 
Choose your session which includes a 15 minute photo experience, unlimited images captured, individualized editing and a private online gallery with 25+ downloadable images with print rights.
Plus you'll have access to professional printing and Holiday Card ordering to make this busy season simple!

Sunday, November 11: Hiltscher Trail  |  3:20p, 3:40p, 4p, 4:20p
Saturday, December 1: Panorama Trail |  3:10p, 3:30p, 3:50p, 4:10p

To snag your session fill out this quick form.
There is a $50 deposit to reserve your session. The remainder to be paid 48 hour prior to your session.
Times will be crossed out as they are taken.


 For Hiltscher trail think Fall foliage - trees - leaves. 

Panorama Trail is shrubbery - rustic warmth - trees. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

It Takes A Village

These words are from March 8th, 2018. Just a few weeks into our parenthood journey. Read on. Then read the new version below...

You've heard, "It Takes A Village" right? These words ring so true.

I am so, so grateful for the village in place who has supported, prayed for, celebrated and encouraged us in this whole journey! I love sharing life with people and this experience wouldn't be the same without those around us. However, this is hard too.

Leading up to Rainier's arrival we were so genuinely blessed by baby showers, random gift drop offs, questions about how we're doing, celebrations, prayers, offering of wisdom and encouragement and more.
Now that Rainier is here we've been so loved by calls and text, visits, meals that have gotten us through these first few weeks (these are such a gift), people who have reached out through phone/social media to offer support and genuinely ask about how we're doing and answer those "is this normal" question at all hours, grocery runs, sweet gifts, coffee delivery and more.

These things (and the people behind them) are so, so valuable to me. I have felt so supported and this has been so crucial to me in this time. But this is such a lesson for me. It is hard for me to accept all this help. I am pretty good at "doing things on my own" and in this season where people have gone above and beyond to support us I find myself challenged to fully accept all this love. I am experiencing the need for a village in such a real way and really allowing it is such a lesson. Anyone else feel me? I am finally feeling physically "back to normal" and it's tempting to "not need help" anymore. But it isn't really just about need is it? It is love, help and community playing out in it's finest form and that's not about need. Well, not just physical need. It is a mental and emotional need that is being met too. Sure, I could fight that I don't "need" in those ways but I do, and I am so grateful.

Is this hard for anyone else?
I shall do my best to fully receive.
Thank you for being a part of our village in this season and beyond.

UPDATED: 5/10/2018
I had no idea what was ahead and what my village would really mean to me. I am sure I still don't. But dang, my words are different now than what I typed above in early March. I am just now up for air and finding time, energy and desire for things like this; writing, processing, engaging.

So... In late March things took a turn. The short stents of sleep had created a wakeful pattern. So did the middle of the night hours spent browsing during feedings: social media, mom forums and blogs... "How often should my baby eat? What's the best sleep schedule? What happens if my baby gets sick?" and other random things you can find on the internet at all times. Everything from advice, funny stories to trauma. It turns out that stuff messes with you after a while.

Enter, insomnia. Things shifted and I just COULDN'T sleep. At all. My brain was going non stop from song lyrics, to random thoughts to baby fears. Or just being alert. I already got frustrated if I     couldn't sleep. Throw in a baby and a deep NEED for rest and I was getting all sorts of anxious. And then it grew. A few days in my body was depleted and I was discouraged. And soon my husband was going back to work. Enter more anxiety. How would I care for/hold/feed my baby? How would I  feed myself? How would I do this? So began tears, worry, fears, anxiety, loss of appetite, diarrhea (sorry, it't the truth) and being totally overwhelmed. I was really discouraged and feeling at a loss of how to do this mom thing. And I never really

Enter, My Village.

  • My Husband - Man, he has had to deal with a lot with me (and still is). I am hard on myself. I have worried a lot as a new mom. Me sleepless = total chaos. But he has been so encouraging, life giving, grace giving and my teammate. We now share the sleeplessness with shifts so we each get some dedicated rest. This has been such a gift and need. But also hard too. I miss him. 
  • Mom friends. Friends. Friends who are family - They appeared. They showed up. They check in. They relate. They share wisdom. They take walks with me. They pray for me. They held Rainier so I could get a nap. They brought coffee. They texted, called, messaged. They showed up via social media. They brought food. They have been present and I am so thankful. I even made a new mom friend in my neighborhood. We've got babies two weeks apart and sharing our journey has been such a gift. 
  • Family - Support has been huge. I am especially thankful for my Mom who has taken night shifts, done Costco runs, checked in, cleaned and much more. The gift of sleep without worry has been huge! Also, my sister in law who has a crew of kiddos and checks in and empathizes.
  • Jesus - For reals. "Thank Jesus" is thrown around a lot but in the most genuine way. I am so thankful. God has sustained us, nourished us, brought needed support and so presently journeys with us. It's easy for me to overlook Him as I search for help in this season but I have done my best to slow down and declare my needs and seek Him to bring comfort, encouragement and strength. I continue to remind myself to hand over my worry, anxiety and fear. Daily. This sounds like it'll be a lifelong journey in parenthood. But I also get to express deep thanks and joy.

So, dear friends. Whether it is the journey of parenthood or the many other things we navigate in life - find your village. Invite them in. Be honest. Share your needs. If you've read things here before you may know I think one of the worst things is to navigate life in isolation. That's not how were meant to live. Fiercely seek out those who can/will/do support you.

Thank you to the MANY who are my Village. I am immensely thankful to share in life with you and for your support in this season.