I became friends with Sarah through a class at our gym. At first I knew her as the blonde with the killer work ethic that always outran me. 🙂 Over time I got to know her as a loving mother of three, thriving in her growing business, who doesn’t let this life stage thwart her fun or her goals. And then, even for people that I know pretty well, spending a few hours photographing them in real time, with their kids, when it’s 100 degrees and there are snuggles and also tantrums, this always deepens my love for them. There were so many moments of affection between Sean and Sarah and their girls. I felt like I often feel, that I walked away with a handful of collected treasures. Moments of comforting a child, or a little laugh between parents that goes unregistered, but these little moments are what make up the life of their family.
I’ll start with a photo that I love to get- the entire family in one intentionally composed frame, with everyone doing their own natural thing. A truly frozen snapshot in time.
I’m so glad I finally got to photograph you guys! Much love.
One of my favorite girls turned seven last week! Happy Mermaid-waterslide-baloon-fight birthday sweet Violet! I love your laugh and your dance moves and the way you make friends so easily. These Schollas know how to throw a fun party!
I have had the delight of getting to know Morgan over the past few years as she has been my hair colorist at Lumine Salon. She is a remarkable listener who remembers everything about my kids, makes me feel great about myself, and always makes me laugh. She is a kind, sincere soul with a radiant smile and a beautiful heart.
Morgan and Chris knew that they wanted to get married, but he was going to surprise her with a proposal, so I was so excited on one of my salon visits, when I first saw a ring on her hand! And I was so honored that she would ask me to photograph her intimate ceremony in the park where Chris asked her to marry him.
Chris, I loved getting to know you through being a part of your wedding day. I can see that your goodness matches her goodness. Many Blessings you two, and thanks for asking me! Some of my favorites from the day:
Morgan’s nice was so sweet and snuggly with her while she was getting ready
Morgan and her best friend since high school, Lexie
Morgan’s sister surprised her by attaching photos of her late grandpa and good friend so that they would be with her in spirit
Chris’ older brother gives him a hug before everyone left for the ceremony
Introducing baby Finley, the sweet little one that made the Fergusons into a family of five. I got to meet and photograph Finley on a quiet morning when big sister Annabelle was at school, and Dad, Matt was at work, so I got some special time getting to know middle brother, Greyson as well. He was so attentive and involved with his little sister, and I’m thinking that they are going to have a really special bond.
Here is a peek at Finley, and also a look back at a few shoots we’ve done along the way:
Greyson was under the weather and feverish and needed lots of love from mom
I was amazed at watching Sarah handle the juggle of a newborn and a toddler with grace and patience and attentive love
I liked the way Greyson set up his dinosaur to watch the dinosaur movie with him.
I met the Daltons for the first time this month, as they were adjusting to life with two kids under two, newly relocated to Kansas City. When I asked Megan about what life looks like these days, she said that everyone wakes up early, and the whole family often ends up in their bedroom, and that she loves those times. She said she loves her son Porter’s contagious giggle. I loved seeing the way Megan is so caring and affectionate with her kids. Little touches that she might not even be aware of that communicate consistent love to them. I loved seeing how baby Hensley stares at her dad’s face when he’s holding her, and she tries to mimic his expression. I loved seeing Megan and Drew exchange lots of glances in between all of the funny and chaotic moments. Thank you Daltons for letting me into your life to capture a little window of time!
Here are a few of my favorites:
Kristin has been one of my very dearest friends in life. We have known each other since middle school volleyball. It’s indescribably good to have friendships that span from the awkward years of puberty to the rich and difficult years of parenthood. I love these three Zenders. Here is a look at some favorites from my time with Kristin, Matt, and Franny. And click the links for a look back too…pre-baby, newborn, 6 months, and 1 year
I love getting to photograph families multiple times a year, and I get to do this most often when recording a baby’s first year milestones. The One year birthday party is a culmination of a whirlwind of a year, and it’s fitting to throw a party with family, and not only get cute pictures of the baby tasting cake for the first time, but being together to mark the fact that you’ve made it!
Here is a peek into the celebration of sweet Lucy. It’s been such a honor to get to record your family this year, Robbens!
And just for fun, here is a look back to Lucy as a newborn.
My son Dean turned four last week. We had a big party for him with a marching band (he loves drums) and friends from preschool, but the whole thing turned out to be a little overwhelming for him. I was occupied comforting him and entertaining the kids, so I didn’t shoot any photos at all, which of course is a huge bummer for me. Thankfully we had a beautiful sunny day on his actual birthday, so that I could take a few pictures to record this window in time. I love you my Dean! Four is going to be a good year!
waiting for his surprise gift
I’ve always loved Kelsey and Joe for more than the fact that they’re a really good time, and they have great taste in music and food and design. They are smart and opinionated. They are brave and have overcome things that a lot of people couldn’t have handled as well. So I was interested in the back story when Kelsey showed me their new tattoos. She and Joe gave me the most beautiful and personal answer about why they got these tattoos in this season of becoming a family. Here is their story, and then be sure to scroll through the whole post to see their beautiful daughter and the way that they look at her. I’ll start with the photo, and the story below it:
Joe and I have been talking about getting tattoos for as long as I can remember. We had a general idea of what the meaning of each tattoo would be but we let time inspire us.
As many of the women in my life, I have been faced with adversity in many phases of my journey. When Frances was born, as much joy and love she gave me, she had her challenges. The first 4-5 months were a struggle for both of us. Several hospitalizations, home health services, and multiple doctor visits due to feeding issues, her and I, with of course the active participation of Joe, persevered. She is a different baby today, which is reflected in these photographs, who worked hard to correct her issues on her own when many ignored one of her underlying issues. This tiny, amazing human persisted. I also persisted, not just in this example but throughout many in life. just like others.
I work in D.C. where things are very political, especially in my line of work. When I showed up for my first work trip since maternity leave, my boss gave me a bracelet with the quote “Nevertheless, she persisted.” and the sentiment that I, we, had been through a lot. And that was it. It was my sign. I didn’t just want it on a cuff, I wanted it on my body forever. While I know the quote was bread out of politics, it was my truth and more importantly, Frances’.
Just as Kelsey mentioned, I was waiting for inspiration. Little did I know that I already had it, Kelsey’s just gave me the nudge. My tattoo is comprised of three important dates.
My first date is my sobriety date. Sobriety for me was a journey, and still is to this day. I felt I owed it to myself and my family to remember the struggles in order to continue pushing forward. Seeing the date makes me proud and fortunate. Proud for obvious reasons, and fortunate because it was the first start to my wonderful new family.
My second date is our wedding date. Our wedding was nothing short of amazing. We decided to get married in our favorite town—Estes Park. In 2013, a few days prior to our celebration the “500 year flood” ruined the city and people’s lives. But, it decided to let us have our special moment on a special Friday with special people. It’s a time I’ll never forget. Right, Becca (wink, wink)?
Lastly (for now), my third day is Frances’ birth date, August 26, 2017. My life changed forever the moment I first looked her in the eyes. She’s my light. She makes me appreciate Kelsey that much more. She make me appreciate myself that much more. She’s brought our extended family closer together. She’s a game changer and playing with her one day in February finally put me into a position to get the tattoo. She completed my circle.
I like to look at the dates and think what could’ve been. Without one, the other two lose meaning. The path hits a roadblock and can’t tie it together. Without sobriety. I have no family. And without my family I don’t have Frances.
I photographed Cat and Brett’s wedding several years ago, so I was so excited to spend some time with them again and meet their two extraordinary daughters, Charlotte and Caroline. These girls have more sparkles in their eyes than the average kid, probably due to how loved they are. Thank you for sharing your family with me. Love you Iliffs.