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Isabel

Isabel. Izzy. Izzy Bizzy Bee. You are bright, like the sun. You have a beaming personality and an infectious laugh. People always comment on what a great laugh you have. It is a deep, belly, genuine laugh. You can’t help but smile when you hear it. You have thick, blonde hair, and stunning blue eyes. You are the chubbiest of your sisters, but you’re “average” (50th percentile) according to statistics of other children your age. I’ve always loved your baby rolls and your round, full face. When I was pregnant with you and Grace, I could always feel you move more. You reassured me that you were there, and that you were ok. It gave me a sense of relief and joy in a time full of anxiety. Grace didn’t move as much, and I worried about her. But you, you were always there. Thank you for that.

Because you were the more active baby, we felt that Isabel/”Izzy” was more fitting. You were also the bigger one, but ever so slightly. You only weighed 4 more ounces at birth. From the get-go, you were the easier twin. Your needs were simple: eat, diaper change, cuddle. I often felt guilty that I couldn’t give you more attention because you were competing with two other children. Your twin sister had acid reflux, which meant she felt a lot of pain and discomfort right after eating. You, on the other hand, did not. I was thankful to not have two babies with reflux, but it also meant that Grace needed much more attention to help ease the pain. 

You took to a lovey very quickly. Your lovey is a bunny that was given to you while in the hospital, and you needed it to comfort you when I didn’t have enough arms to meet everyone’s needs.  It is still your favorite today, and you can now say “bunny”. I had to go on Ebay and order an extra one (darn limited edition), which proved to be a lifesaver when it was left at grandma and grandpa’s house one evening. There were times when I was alone with the three of you at bedtime before daddy got home from work. It was a juggling act, and I was almost always crying and/or sweating by the end of the process. As soon as you would calm down, Grace would cry and get you upset again. This would go back and forth, round and round. Eventually, I had to put one of you in a separate room and shut the door. Otherwise, neither of you would go to sleep. I regret not getting hired help for those early evening hours when I was struggling to stay afloat. I was drowning, but instead of feeling sorry for myself, I felt sorry for all of you. Sorry that I couldn’t hold and sing to each one of you individually, sorry that I got so frustrated and couldn’t handle the crying anymore, sorry that you had to split the attention when I so badly wanted to give all of you my 100%. But instead, someone got 30% here, 21% here, 49% there. I remember also trying to potty train Harper at the time, which was incredibly stupid and premature. I would give her my phone to play with out of desperation, and when I could finally come back to her, I’d find that she’d peed on the chair. I didn’t even have a moment to take her to the potty. I was trying to do it all, and I was failing. Even though you were just a baby, I thank you for being patient. I wish each of you could experience being my one and only child so I could spoil you.

You are my child that is the most affectionate. You used to go to anybody and when they picked you up, you’d rest your head on their shoulder. It made everyone’s heart melt. You really enjoyed being held and rocked your first year of life, whereas Grace preferred to be laid down as soon as possible. You have since become more particular about your snuggles, but you definitely enjoy being held, sitting on laps, and giving hugs. You love to read books and cry at bedtime when it’s time to stop reading and go to sleep. Your vocabulary is astounding, and it seems you learn at least one or two new words a day. You can say apple, mommy, daddy, baby, cheese, water, dog, and many others. You make me laugh when you run because your arms are out at your sides, and it’s more of a skip/gallop. You especially love it when I tease “I’m gonna get you!” Although you are more vocal in the sense that you talk a lot more than Grace, you can also be very quiet. When you wake up from nap or in the morning, you’ll make little, barely audible noises. You are content just lying there until I come get you. Grace, on the other hand…I’ll leave that for her section.

You and Grace have been playing together more and more. I’ll find the two of you looking at books together, playing with toys in the basement, or getting into the cabinets. You’ll laugh at each other about God knows what, and you like to lay together on the floor when you drink your milk. Grace will usually pick the spot, and you’ll follow and lay down wherever she is. Sometimes you’ll drag the dog mat around, find a spot that you deem worthy, and lay down on that. You also play with Harper a good amount, but you hate sharing my lap with anyone, especially her. Sometimes she’ll want to read a story with us, and if she comes to sit on my lap with you, you’ll scream and cry. You are also this way about other toys and other children. If you’re in the wagon and another child tries to pull/push it, you scream. If I do it, you’re content. 

You, like your sisters, bring so much joy to my life. You are always making me laugh, and I can’t imagine how I ever lived without you. I love you, Izzy.

 

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Harper, Summer 2017

I wanted to break away from my usual blog posts and write something a little more personal...my three girls. I am constantly photographing them playing, and sometimes I wish I could stop being artsy and enjoy the moment. But I can't help it! I think, oh that would make for a great photo! Or, the lighting right now is perfect! My eldest was recently dancing in our backyard in her underwear, and I fear that if I don't photograph it, I'll one day forget about these carefree days and the magic of childhod. While I will spare her the embarrasment of putting those photos of her online, I will post some of my favorites from the summer this far.

You may notice a lot more black and white photos than color. This is because I simply adore black and white images. They speak to me so much more, and make me FEEL so much more. There is something so raw, unfiltered, timeless and real about black and white. It seems rare to find people other than photographers who share these opinions. But when I do, well, I've found a new soulmate! Ok, back to my children.

Harper is my first born. I was so ready, so excited, so....IMPATIENT. I wanted to have children ASAP. It was my goal and dream to be a mother. She was born the first week of January, and very shortly after her birth I started to recognize symptoms of postpartum depression. Depression and anxiety are things I have dealt with for many years, so I was aware that I could fall victim to these issues postpartum. I wanted to be a mom so badly, then when she was born I felt so ill equipped, isolated, overwhelmed, and scared. I was exhausted but I couldn't sleep. The pressure to breastfeed pushed me deeper into this dark hole. I didn't want to tell anyone for fear that my baby would be taken away, or that I would be deemed an unfit mother. It wasn't that I didn't love her, because I did, fiercly. I just didn't know how to handle those negative thoughts and waves of panic and sadness that rushed over me. I had taken anti-depressants pre-pregnancy, and I took it upon myself to start them again. Thank goodness I did, because I started to feel relief and normalcy shortly after. Nothing can prepare you for having a child, you are just thrown into it full force. People will tell you about functioning on little sleep, about endless diaper changes, about pumping, about hardly getting time to sit down and eat a meal. Despite being told all that, the reality of it still hits you like a wave. Eventually you adjust and it becomes part of life, but going from selfishness to selflessness is a difficult transition. I see the world so differently now that I have children. My interactions with people, with nature, with myself are all so vastly different, but in a good way. I fully recovered from PPD, but the experience was very grounding. And guess what? We had two more children...TWINS!

Before I get to my youngest babies, I would like to say more about Harper and what a positive influence she has been on my life, and what a kind soul she is. Even as a baby, Harper was very cautious. She had to assess a situation or person before deciding whether or not she wanted to be there. If there was too much stimulation or unfamiliarity, she would let you know. I started to wonder if there was something wrong because of how serious she was. But alas, I learned that it is just part of her personality. She takes a lot of time to warm up, even in school where she goes twice a week, and with friends that she plays with on a regular basis. Once she is comfortable, she'll let loose and have a great time. But, I always have to allow that extra time for her to adjust. Harper teeters beween being independent and wanting to be by my side every moment of the day. She is very much a mommy's girl, and goes through phases where only I can do things for her. While this gets exhausting, I know one day she may not want anything to do with me. In my opinion, Harper is an introvert. She enjoys going on errands or to the park, but she's also happy to stay home and play or watch a movie. I see a lot of myself in her, which could be why we connect like we do. I will often tell people that I feel sorry for her because we brought two newborns home when she was not yet two. It was a huge and difficult adjustment. When there isn't man on man coverage anymore, someone is going to get less attention. Because she wasn't a crying infant, oftentimes that meant she had to play alone, deal with interrupted story times, and not leave the house too often. Now she is 3 and a half and won't ever remember what it's like to not have siblings. I hope they grow closer and closer together, because sisterhood is so sacred. I love you so much, Harps. You've made me a better person. Thank you.

Next up, Isabel and Grace!

 

 

 

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Erin and Justin's Wedding

I have had the wonderful experience being what's known as a "second shooter" several times for two very talented photographers. It has given me a glimpse into what it takes to be a wedding photographer, which I have found is A LOT! It can be so many emotions rolled into one experience...exhilarating, fun, stressful, heart warming, and the list goes on. I don't think I've ever not cried during a ceremony, even though I had never met the couple before their big day. There is just something so special about bringing two families together to celebrate love, no matter how that love came to be or what it looks like. I genuinely enjoy being a second shooter, and I've developed some lasting relationships from these experiences. 

Erin and Justin's wedding was on April 1st, and they chose a 50's theme. I had a blast hanging out with the groomsmen while the main photographer (Chesney Louie Photography) was with the bride and bridesmaids. Erin and Justin were such a fun, down to earth couple, and their love for one another shone through. We did photos in several places in Downtown Denver before landing at The Soiled Dove for the ceremony and reception. Here is their big day from my point of view...enjoy!

 

 

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Amanda's Maternity Session

Amanda contacted me when she was about eight months pregnant to do her maternity photos. I got her in right away, not wanting to risk her going into labor early and missing this opportunity! Luckily, baby stayed put so we could capture some gorgeous belly photos. It was raining that day, but as  told Amanda, cloudy skies make for some great photos! I got Amanda a real floral crown from Fluorescence Flowers, and it turned out amazing!

Amanda has one son already, who is a talkative and sweet toddler. She is expecting her second son at the end of April. Check out her session below, which included a mixture of both outdoor and an indoor/intimate feel. 

 

 

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The DiEnno Family

Cara contacted me to do a mini session for herself, her husband Karl, and their soon to be one year old, Oskar. We picked a weekend in March and were able to catch some gorgeous light as the sun was setting. They were such a fun family to work with, and Oskar did a fabulous job! Babies and children in general burn out pretty quickly, so mini sessions are the best way to capture a mixture of fun and intimate moments. Oskar absolutely loved being thrown up into the air by his dad, and we were also able to get individual portraits and sweet moments with each parent. Check out some images from their session below!

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The Dulin Family

I did a family session for Lindsey, Wes, and their 6 month old, Raeleigh on a chilly March afternoon. They all did wonderfully considering the weather conditions weren't ideal, and we captured some wonderful family moments! Lindsey and Wes met in college at Florida State University, so we spent part of the session doing FSU photos! They were so much fun to work with and Raeleigh was so easy going and sweet! Check out their session below!

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The Aguilar Family

When Sienna contacted me about doing family photos as well as sibling photos, I jumped at the chance! Not only do I love family sessions, but I LOVE sibling photos! No matter what kind of a relationship you have with your sibling(s) growing up, you have a special bond that ties you together for life. I know having a sibling has had such a positive impact on my life, even though we didn't always get along as kids. I am so glad that I am able to provide siblings for my children as well, and it is so special to watch the love and closeness between them. 

Sienna and Peter have 2 year old Alice and 2 month old Sophia. I would like to stop here for a moment and ask, how cute are their names?! Alice was immediately friendly and chatty when I arrived, which makes my job so much easier. She was more than happy to have me take her photo, and one of the first things she wanted to do was read a story to her baby doll (cue the "awww's"). It was so fun and simple to capture her personality, and she did so well with her sister. We started with photos at their home and then moved to a park, and dividing up locations worked so well for this family session. I was able to get lifestyle/documentary photos in addition to posed family photos. I am so excited to share their session with you...enjoy!

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Kingston

It was a gorgeous spring day when I went to do Kingston's newborn photos. He was due at the end of March, but made his debut at the end of February instead. I was actually supposed to do maternity photos for his parents, Crystal and Chad, literally days before he was born! He clearly had other plans! 

Kingston is the first born to these lovely parents, who were clearly head over heels for him. They have a gorgeous home with bright, natural light in several rooms (a natural light photographer's dream!). His nursery was one of the best I've seen, beautifully decorated with his name, a slew of board books, and a cozy rocker.  He is such a lucky and loved baby! I hope you enjoy taking a peek into his new life as much as I enjoyed taking these photos!

 

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Mom Space

If you are a mom that breastfed for any length of time, you'll probably understand what it's like to pump. The dreaded pumping sessions are some of the worst parts of breastfeeding. Taking your top off or using a bra with two holes in it, you are a prisoner to the machine that sucks milk out of your breasts multiple times a day. To say you feel like a cow being milked is probably the most accurate description. Pumping means you are stuck to your chair, prisoner to your car, or even confined to a bathroom stall for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Needless to say, when the pumping journey is over, it is empowering, relieving, and exciting! I was inspired to do this photo shoot because of my pure hatred for my pump. While it served its purpose well, I was tempted to chuck it out the window the second I no longer needed it. 

During one of these moments where I fantasized about the ways in which I could destroy my pump, I remembered the scene in Office Space where they smash the defective copy machine in an open field. Each person has a go at hitting the copier with a bat, kicking it, and getting revenge on a machine that caused them so much agony. That was it! What if I could get a group of women together, all of whom had completed their pumping journeys, to ceremoniously smash a used pump "Office Space style"? It wasn't hard to find more than willing women in my twin mom's club who wanted to take part in this photo project. A breast pump is something that served us all well while we needed it, but when it was no longer needed, we were all ready to destroy it. 

At the end of the session, we decided to have a little "Kumbayah" moment, which felt appropriate. Now we are at peace. 

I'd like to end this by saying, "damn it feels good to be a gangsta"...

And if you have no idea what Office Space is, do the world a favor and watch it. Here's a link to the clip on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9wsjroVlu8

Did you pump? If you did, how did you feel about the experience?  Hate it? Tolerate it? Feel indifferent about the experience? Maybe you enjoyed it? Can you relate to these moms who participated in the photo project?

**Disclaimer: According to the FDA, a breast pump is for use by one person only (with the exception of multiple-use pumps). Therefore, the breast pump we used in this photo session had served its purpose. All parts that were destroyed were cleaned up and disposed of after the session was over.  

**I'm honored that this piece was published on Huffington Post Parents, Babble, Cafe Mom, FitPregnancy.com, The Bump, RedBook Magazine (online), Resignation Media/theberry.com, and even a website in Israel called MamaLeidig! There are many moms who thanked me for doing this photo project for various reasons, and much more came out of this experience than I ever could have imagined. The positive feedback definitely outweighed the bad, and I am so glad I was able to make this idea come to life with these incredible women.**

 

Meet the Moms

 

Andrea is a mom of twin girls. She pumped for 4 months during her 14 month breastfeeding journey. 

 

Megan is a mom to four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. She primarily nursed and occasionally pumped for her two eldest children. She nursed her twin girls for 15 months and also pumped for 14 of those months. 

Natalia is a mom of three boys. She nursed her eldest for 16 months and her twins for 17 months. She occasionally pumped for all three. 

Michelle is a mom to three boys. She pumped exclusively for her eldest for 13 months, and also pumped exclusively for her twins for 13 months. 

Sky is a mom to three girls. She nursed and pumped for 22 months with her eldest, and she pumped exclusively for 7 months for her twins. 

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Jack

I met 4 month old Jack and his mom, Carolyn on a Saturday afternoon. Jack took some time to warm up to me and eventually his mom was able to get some smiles out of him. He reminded me of my eldest daughter as a baby...so serious! In reality, they are just thinking really hard and assessing every detail of a new situation. Nothing wrong with that! 

Luckily, Jack's mom was my ideal client in that she was willing to try anything and go anywhere! While I did work on some posing with Jack, I mostly went for the documentary style photo shoot (eek, my favorite!). I timidly suggested (I say timidly because I really didn't know how Carolyn would feel about it) giving Jack a bath. Some of my favorite photos of my children are in the bathtub, so I thought we could capture some really sweet moments. I often look back and photos and am surprised at how quickly moments pass where we didn't even notice how magical it was. Call me corny, but I have the privilege of capturing facial expressions and emotions that you probably wouldn't notice otherwise. Lucky for me, Carolyn was on board with the bath idea (yay!)! 

Carolyn and I talked a lot about motherhood in general...how nothing can prepare you for it, and how bittersweet it can be. Bitter in that it rocks your world in terms of marriage, friendships (no more going to the bar with your kid-less friends, on to play dates), and your identity, both personally and professionally. But it is so sweet in that you created this tiny human that you love so much, and you suddenly cannot possibly imagine life without them. One of my favorite parts about photographing newborns or doing lifestyle/documentary sessions is that it gives me the opportunity to form relationships with other parents. I love it even more when the relationship continues outside the session! I am so thankful that I was able to connect with Carolyn and capture some of these fleeting moments with Jack. 

I am so excited to share these sweet moments between mother and son.