When Angela and I talked about what she wanted to do for her baby girl's newborn session, she mentioned documenting her first bath - and what a sweet and luxurious experience that babe got to enjoy! It was overcast and dark out that morning, but we made due with the light we had available. Things I love about this session: real life mom nursing while filling her bath, the look on big brother's face as he proudly holds his little sister, baby wearing (shout out to Solly Baby Wraps) and super-mom holding all three of her littles. Angela is one amazing mama and does SO much for her kids, all while going with the flow of things and working outside of the home as a nurse! So fun hanging with your family for the morning.
One thing I take for granted in the area we live are all of the local farms - and I LOVE photographing these awesome, hardworking folks on their own property. I was thrilled when Renee contacted me about doing a joint maternity session with her friend and farm partner, Becky, as they are both pregnant at the same time. They were such a fun bunch to hang out with and Renee's daughter has the best expressions and just too sweet. Thanks guys!
Sometimes babies come fast, and sometimes your birth photographer doesn't quite make it in time. This little girl let her mama wait until her due date (she has never made it to 40 weeks with her previous pregnancies) to make her grand entrance, but she flew into the world fast and furious. Angela is a good friend of mine and she works hard to stay fit, strong and healthy throughout her life, but she makes childbirth seem like no big deal. And I absolutely love that she left baby attached to the placenta until I arrived in order to preserve some memories of what she grew in her body and how it sustained new life.
There was still plenty to document in during the first few hours of sweet Lauren's life and I'm so glad that I was able to be there for it. It was especially fun to see how her big brothers loved on her and were involved in her birth, like getting the chance to cut her cord and general cuddling of their new little sister. If you have ever wondered what a home birth looks like after the baby is born, this is it!
Now that my oldest is in school, I am finding myself enjoying time with my two youngest both at home and exploring together. It was a dry day, so we headed out to Port Gamble to stop by the General Store for a treat, play on the playground, and walk among the Dahlia patches. I have been sharing more personal work on here lately, which has been a fun challenge for me to not only take more pictures of my family, but also to edit them! So often I just let them sit in a file on the computer or just edit a handful at a time.
One of our favorite hiking trips to take is out to the Olympic National Hot Springs near Port Angeles, WA. We went three years ago for the first time and this is our 2nd time as a family, third time as a couple visiting. The kids can handle the 4.4 (round trip) hike pretty well, and there are lots of fun spots along the trail to keep interest - bridges, small babbling waterfalls and brooks, rustic log bridges over ravines (which may have almost made my heart stop) and of course, the hot springs themselves. There are several pools, many of which offer plenty of privacy. We stopped in the first one, as it was the most accessible with a stroller (baby hung out in there while we soaked). The air was so brisk and the weather rainier than we expected, but the warm pools felt amazing and it was hard to get out to leave! We walked back soaking wet and cold, but it was worth it. Hope to make it out on another trip sometime soon!
There is a certain moment in the afternoon at our home where the light filters through the skylights and upstairs windows just right, creating a spotlight in one of my son's favorite places to sit and play. Many days go by where I don't use my camera to catch my moments in my family's day to day life, but it was handy and when I saw this moment, I grabbed it as quick as I could and sat down to snap a few images - I literally only had seconds before the moment passed, but I know I will cherish this image for a long time. I want to remember this sweet season of life forever and have already found myself grieving it's passing.
The rain and autumn chill is here in the PNW almost overnight. The Summer vacationers and visitors have drained out of our little beachside community and the town is quiet again. We love our beautiful summers here, but I am thankful for the shift in the season and treasure our evening family walks like nothing else. I hope my kids will remember these days as they grow, as I hold them tight in my chest.
I love to look through old photographs of when my children were younger. With a child (or two) on my knee, we will open up our box of photos and start to flip through them. My babies love to look at themselves as babies and are constantly asking, "Is this one me?" But you know what else they love to see? What their mama looked like before they could remember.
We love to take and share pictures of our kids. From the minute they are born, we are enamored with these little people and never want to forget those sweet moments that pass by so quickly.
Sometimes it is hard to think about being in pictures when we have just had a baby.
Our postpartum body feels squishy, weak, sore, different. We are tired - oh so tired - and recovering from the biggest task our bodies have ever been put to: growing and birthing a child. Whether naturally or via c-section, there is much healing to take place.
But those first weeks, there is nothing like them. The bonding and tender moments which take place can go by almost unnoticed. We don't even realize what it really looked like, what love there is in those tired eyes and exhausted bodies, when we care for and comfort our babies and big kids, too.
During that postpartum period, everything is so fresh and raw. Time almost stands still as you care for your babe and allow your amazing body, which brought forth life (how astounding is that, really?) to heal and reveal even more of its strength.
Mothers, this is a time in your life that you won't get back again and you and your children will treasure those pictures of you for years to come, and even more so as the years go by.
Maybe you will never hire a professional photographer in your lifetime - but please, let yourself be seen and remembered. Let your partner or spouse take those pictures. You will change and you won't be postpartum or knee-deep in rearing young children forever, but those images will be a reminder of your love and the places and seasons (good, hard, lonely, full) your family has been through forever.
Once in a while, I like to share my personal work here. We recently returned home from a weeklong family vacation to Bend, OR. I didn't take my camera out as much as I normally do, but one evening I walked with the kids around the resort we were staying at and snapped a few pictures. The air was hazy and thick with smoke from the wildfires all around most of the week, and it gave such an eerie feeling especially the evening I took these pictures. We had fun playing and exploring around Bend and finished out the week with a hike to Paulina Falls and the Obsidian Rock Flow trail up in the Deschutes National Forest.
I think the title might say it all, but this was one beautiful and special birth I was honored to document. Raven is my first repeat client and I was thrilled to be able to not only do her maternity pictures, but also document her birth story with her beautiful baby girl, who is almost one week old at typing this. I had plans of watching the eclipse with my family the morning she was born, but I ended up packing up shortly after it started and drove off to find Raven breathing through contractions in their sweet little cabin. Just about the time the eclipse hit it's peak, her contractions picked up and before we knew it, her water broke and baby Freya was making her way into the world fast! Birthed into the water in an outdoor tent made by her papa, this baby girl is loved so much.
Thank you Raven and Jon for letting me share your story and for allowing me the privilege of documenting this very special day. I don't normally share this many images when I post birth stories, but I couldn't help myself.
It was incredibly hard to choose between sharing color and b&w images, but even though it was a bright and sunny day and the light was gorgeous, I am drawn to the continuity in the b&w story. Please head on over to my Instagram account this week to see some of my favorite COLOR versions, as I will be sharing some individual images there.