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Embrace The Movement

No matter what kind of industry you’re in, it feels great to work with people who trust and belive in you! I have watched this family grow and move through life since our Stroller Strides days. This is not their first session with me. I am proud to say that they happily give me their full confidence. This gives me a little more wiggle room to do what I do best–getting families to play games with each other to ensure great smiles and sweet moments.

For this family we have always chosen locations and activities that would suit the girls. They aren’t known for saying cheese and looking at the camera. Some people are bigger hams than others and that is no big deal. Some moms get lucky and get those kids who are born to pose. I have a niece who would run every time a camera was turned on. Other parents have kids that have trouble with eye contact. The trick is not to make them stay still. EMBRACE THE MOVEMENT!  

If you have those kids who won’t look at the camera, readjust your expectations and realize that the best photos are ones that may not include everyone looking and saying cheese. There is no greater memory than those made in childhood, playing with their parents.

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Can I bring the dog?

Can I bring the dog? This is one of the most asked questions I get! YES!! I have a dog, a pitbull mix I picked up from the pound. They really aren’t an issue for me, but you should always ask your photographer if this is ok with them. I am particularly happy to photograph your whole family because–and I don’t have to tell you this–they carry a part of your heart. I know how my kids feel about Sadie and how she feels about them. She’s a huge part of their childhood. How could we choose to ignore it.

With all of that said there are some things you must consider when including your family pet, and that is them. Lets start with the basics.

  1. Bring a leash, the one you always use or treat them to a new one that coordinates with your outfit. New environments can be overwhelming. We wouldn’t want your session to take a nose dive because Rex ran after a squirl and now you can’t get him back. This would bring tears.
  2. Water and a container they can drink from. Also for their best interests.
  3. Bags for messes. Do I need to explain? 

And now for the not so obvious…

  1. Treats. These can really help with getting your dog’s attention but work with your photographer on who should be holding it. They are a great tool but can be a complete distraction if not used appropriately.
  2. A resusable grocery bag for all the stuff. I recommend this whether you bring your dog or not. We need a place for keys, wallets, and other odds and ends. It’s also a good idea because we wouldn’t want to put your purse on the ground either.
  3. An extra person. Yes. Bring a “dog sitter.” This can be your best friend, your mom, or the kid from down the street. There will be moment where you don’t really want the dog in the photo and someone needs to hang on to them. Don’t count on your photographer doing it because she’s holding the camera still.

And finally, the thing you should consider most when decididng to bring Fido is the location. It can be somewhat limiting because not all parks and beaches allow for such company. So if you are good with your local choices then game on!

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Home is the Backyard

When you have little ones the easiest place for everyone to be together is at home. No packing, bags, strollers, or snacks to be packed. Just open the back door and go!

These three little girls were full of stories and giggles and fun. We started in the garden but quickly moved on to the deck with the bubble machine making a bit of magic of its own. Then dad stepped in. No need for a swing set because dad is ready for the challenge. It was a hot Sunday morning but that wasn’t slowing anyone down. I even got to jump into the games, and you know it was a great day when your photographer ends up on the bottom of a doggie pile.

I am also one of three girls with about the same age difference. I got a glimpse of what life was like for my mom on an emotional level while watching the hugs, shared secrets, and dancing. There is a lot about my mom that I couldn’t understand growing up. I learned a lot, as one does when you become a mother. And just when I think I understand who she is, life gives me another point of view. I wish for her to have had the opportunity to have photos like this. What a treasure that would be.

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Welcome Home USS Carl Vinson

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Oh, how painfully true that is. Homecomings are the true testament of it. 

Every military homecoming is different. Different in location, in crowds, in wait times, in family situation, in age of the kids, in who is coming home.

This one was different because, as big as these hugs were, they are a newly blended family. The kids are twelve years old and twins. When I walked up and met them the son was on an iPad. The daughter was at the craft table. I had some background on them as I do with all my families. I knew mom was excited. We kept in touch over the past month about all the details that must me ironed out. Hey, that’s Navy life. But what I didn’t know was how invested the kids were in their mother’s fianc√© until I saw it. Then it was painfully obvious how much he was missed. They kept inching forward, creeping over the crowd barriers as the sailors started spilling off the boat. Their excitement was a total surprise and a joyous one.

They were the first to see him and came at him fully charged, then barely let go to let anyone else have a turn to hug him. Mom was patient. But I knew that she was hanging back just to enjoy the show. Finally it was her turn but the kids still joined in. His sister and mom finally got a chance to say welcome home. It was their first homecoming to witness too. And he got to finally shake the hands of his brother-in-law that joined the family while he was on deployment. 

At one point I heard Dad’s sister lean over to mom and say, “I see what you mean about the kids.” I’m dying to know what she was referring to. It’s no secret that blended families with older kids can be tricky to maneuver.

This day gave me so much joy. It’s going to be a beautiful wedding!

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Toddler Life is Magical

These two kiddos went nonstop, and I was only too happy to try to keep up. Oh my stars, this was just one morning of fun! 

We started off the morning with some books and a light “game” of Chutes and Ladders. Classic, right? But then we went on and moved into the kids’ bedrooms. There we found tents, a much loved Daddy Doll, and out came the capes. Looking at the photos, I can still hear the sound of those bare feet hitting the wooden floor. There was just a small pocket of light in the dark hallway where I could catch the movement of the little girl’s delight in the mask.

Making the most of the morning, we all moved outside to the water table. This little guy with the hose was not going to disappoint. I think it was the highlight of his morning, or maybe it was the popsicle. After some swing time, we got back into the water. There was no shortage of squeals in the big beach ball sprinkler. No need to put bathing suits back on. Go big, or go home. 

And what’s not a toddler morning without bubbles and sidewalk chalk? 

I was so grateful for the opportunity to capture the magic of these days. My kids are now into sports and Minecraft. I fondly remember these days. They were a lot of work, but boy are they magical.

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