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LIFESTYLE

BABY BEN

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BABY BEN

NEWBORN SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

Everything is better with Ben.  

His new, little life has magnified yours in every unimaginable way.    

Your happy home?  Happier.

Your perfect family of two?  Full and familiar with three.

And love as you knew it?

Knew nothing before Ben.

  

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THE PLANT SHOPPE FAMILY

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THE PLANT SHOPPE FAMILY

LIFESTYLE SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND CHILD AND FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER.THE PLANT SHOPPE. 

Starting and sustaining a small business is not for the weak.

Neither is becoming a parent to a premature baby.

Both are so fragile and in need of continuous care.  Absence of attention to any vital detail could be detrimental, sinking the chance of success.

Or survival. 

Sales, expenses, and profits.   Weight, temperature, and heart rate.  Every day, multiple assessments are taken to measure for growth, and every day, you pray for any improvement.  Even the smallest of signs.      

Baby steps.

The toughest part of all? The part you’re convinced just might break you?  Waiting.  You’re forced to be at the mercy of time, and being patient suddenly seems impossible.     

And there’s no one more knowing of all of this than Jen of The Plant Shoppe and Chad of Bent On Creativity

When Memphis’ birthday came 10 weeks early, the uncharted waters were rough and dark.  Overwhelming.  The NICU became your new normal while the hours at the shop were unusual and sometimes, unknown.  The shift in priorities was absolutely necessary, but just when your strength started to waver, you became aware that you’re far from alone in this fight.  

Gift by gift, the grace washed in.  Promises of prayers poured in while sympathetic customers or strangers who simply loved succulents offered up good vibes and patient understanding.  Local small shops bared big hearts by joining forces, raising funds and donating sales in support of one of their own in the most selfless style. 

Oklahoma City rallied for your boy, your world, and proved there’s no greater community with compassion more genuine than ours.

So here’s to Jen, Chad, Memphis, and the city founded on fellowship.

This is community.

This is OKC.

And this, a true labor of love.

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BABY MERRICK

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BABY MERRICK

NEWBORN SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Isn’t life fun(ny)?

After months of anticipation and hours of labor, it takes just one second of seeing your infant to feel a love so deep and heavy it aches. 

During what you’d probably agree to be the happiest season of your life, you find yourself on the edge of every emotion and only a simple mishap away from a full-blown breakdown.

It was in those first days when he was mostly asleep that you felt the deepest deprivation of sleep physically possible.  

And then, before you can say ‘maternity leave', you’re standing in your closet holding your 12-week old and trying, through blurring tears, to see your wardrobe options for your impending return to work. 

How is it fair that the most delicate and sentimental stage is over before you realize it, yet you were barely awake to remember it?

One too many details from those days are buried under a fuzzy fog of forgetfulness.  The difference, though, is every soft touch, tiny sound, and sweet smell are easily recovered when you reminisce through these pictures. 

Your child is young for awhile, a toddler for a fast few years, and somehow, only a newborn for days. DAYS.

 But best off all? He's yours. 

For forever. 

Just like these photos. 


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SANTA BABY

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SANTA BABY

MATERNITY LIFESTYLE SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER

I would lay awake at night, giddy with magical excitement only children experience, straining my ears for hints of jingle bells and wondering when Santa and his reindeer would arrive on the roof. For the most part I thought I was well-behaved, with the exception of one year. I bawled behind the Christmas tree, crying so hard my parents were unable to understand my apology, but they reassured me I indeed was not getting a stocking full of coal. (Shoo! Close call.) Every Christmas Eve, I would fight my heavy eyelids. I would hazily drift off to dreamland with thoughts of remote control cars and soccer cleats, only to bolt awake in panic of missing Santa.  I knew giving in to sleep would make morning come sooner, but the anticipation of every child’s favorite day of the year kept my mind racing.

With only weeks remaining in her pregnancy, sleep is probably evading Reagan, too. Not because of a cheery, bearded man bearing gifts or a hungry, needy newborn (yet), but because of your spinning thoughts and wandering worries knowing labor is nearing. ‘But now is the time to catch up on sleep’, they say. How? When you’re weeks away from meeting your first child, your nervousness causes restlessness. Your mind jumps from thought to thought, rather than sheep to sheep, spinning your emotions into a bundle of excitement, impatience, butterflies and nerves.

Before crawling into bed (just to wrestle sleep), I would carefully choose the perfectly baked ginger cookies and stack them on Santa’s plate while Mom and Dad poured milk into a Welch’s jelly jar my sisters and I used as drinking glasses.  (My favorite one with the purple dinosaurs etched on the side, worn and nearly translucent with years of use.) I would memorize the placement of the cookies and make note of any minimal crumbs so when morning came, I’d know if Santa really did eat the cookies.

With a due date of December 25th, you ignore the negative murmurs of December birthdays and happily imagine the holiday season a year from now.  With one year of parenthood under your belt and a successful 1st birthday party complete, tiny toddler fingers will be 'helping' you hook plush ornaments on the tree and footed Christmas jammies will teeter at your feet while tugging on your flannels. Leftover birthday cake will be left by the fireplace for Santa instead of cookies, and without meaning to, a new tradition will begin.

At days break, I'd shoot up out of a slumber, upset that I fell asleep and slept through Santa's visit AGAIN. Eager to wake up the entire household, I’d start with my sisters who were in twin beds next to my makeshift bunk of carefully stacked couch cushions. It was our sibling tradition to sleep together on Christmas Eve, a memory I didn't fully appreciate until I grew older and recognized that as the baby of our family, my sisters continued the spirit of Santa solely for my sake. (If you ask them, I believed foreverrrrrrrr. Y’all, 12 years isn’t forever. I mean, 6. I totally meant 6.) We’d make our way downstairs as a family, me leading the way, bounding down the steps and skipping as many as physically possible.  I'd round the corner to a twinkling tree, stretched stockings, stripes and plaids and snowmen wrapping paper, and best of all, the unwrapped gift straight from Santa's workshop.  If not for the animated Christmas spirit of my nieces and nephews, I’d have to rely entirely on my own imagination to see the true essence of a child on Christmas morning. It absolutely is the most wonderful time of the year.

Deep down, you know it’s time. Still, you’ll probably time a few more contractions before waking Kyle from his deep slumber. In between the worsening pain, your excitement and fear will be replaced with a mental check list: hospital bag, CHECK; boppy pillow, CHECK; iPhone charger , CHECK; text photographer, CHECK!  Hours of wavering labor, genuine support from the nurses, multiple check-ins from your doctor and endless encouragement from Kyle, the anxiousness to meet your firstborn child is an emotional whirlwind.   It will be forever before you forget your tears of pain and joy and being completely overcome with a feeling that has yet to be defined when the Doctor raises up your baby and gleefully shouts, "It's a -------- !"

...To Be Continued...

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BABY G

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BABY G

MATERNITY LIFESTYLE SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER

Waiting has never tested your patience more than now. And waiting the rest of this out feels beyond the bounds of conceivable.

Speaking of conceiving...

Your heart raced, your bottom lip – chewed - waiting for the test results.

Those two minutes felt as long as a red light in a hurry.  It was clearly positive, but you barely believed it.

The first appointment available to confirm those two lines was weeks out, so you waited.

Surrounded by quiet murmurs, mothers, and antsy, older-sibling toddlers, you waited for your name to be called to see the monochromatic screen of your tiny miracle.

Congratulatory hugs and necessary small talk from the doc only delayed the impending ultrasound you've been anticipating.  It's not denial, nor disbelief.  It's the proof you can stare at, hold, and fall in love with.  You've seen a hundred sonogram photos shared to Facebook and loaded on Instagram, but unless it's your black and white lima bean, it's just another photo.

You waited, your heart beat frozen in time, while the cold wand slowly searched for your baby's heartbeat.

And then, *WOM WOM WOM WOM WOM*

No sound sweeter to your ears, your tears didn't wait to fall.

Nor did the rush of emotions, the reach for your husband's clammy hand, or the relief that amazing muffled sound draped over you.

Now you can cling to the comfort provided by the ultrasound.  YOUR ultrasound.  You finally understand the excitement that comes with sharing the one-dimensional, blurry, cone-shaped photo of your baby.

You knew this chapter of your lives needed to be remembered and savored in the familiar warmth of your home.  Life as you know it with your 3 fur-kids is winding down, and soon, they’ll have a sweet tiny baby brother? sister? to sniff, lick, and most of all, protect.

So before the remaining wait is filled with registries, baby showers and choosing paint swatches for the nursery, photos to share your early Christmas gift must be made.   Years from now, you'll pull one of these Christmas card photos out of a dusty box from the attic and tell your little one, "We knew you were in there and we couldn't wait to tell the world."

You waited to witness your little life.

You waited to floor your families with news of the addition.

You waited to shock your sisterhood of friends.

And now?

You wait to meet your little wonder.

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