Viewing entries tagged
kids photography

DEAR MOMS

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DEAR MOMS

OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND CHILD AND FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER.CALVERT'S PLANT GREENHOUSE 

We drove 2,000 miles in a minivan to the midcoast of Maine.

Just me, her, and a map made of paper with only the highways we needed highlighted.

For three full days we drove, only exiting every 4 hours for gasoline and Gatorade.  I remember the mini-cooler of meals wedged between us for easy access, white knuckling my way through the blinding rains in Virginia, and power walking the parking lot together before crawling into the hard hotel bed.    

It was the summer of 2006, and no other memories with my Mom have surpassed it since.  

That trek was truly a trip for two, with no phones or Facebook to interfere with what was growing into the most effortless friendship that's only richer today.  When I think back to those days, I wish I had more than words to share the details I do remember.  Details that I would have Instagrammed today.  Details I wish I had proof of, like selfies in the front seat while I spoon-fed her yogurt, or the East coast exits with nothing but a shoddy shack to fill up - our approach hesitant yet hysterical - to the single pump that was so sluggish we had nothing but time to wait for the dreaded dirty wooden bathroom key.

Why am I telling this 10 year old story?  Because the story is all we have.  

So no matter the moment - road trips with your mom, Saturday morning cereal with your son, or growing your new hobby of greenery and gardening with your girls - it's all about the kinship.  Make note of it - snap it, selfie it, print it - just do more than only remember it.  

Those memories with my Mom are rooted in my heart, but oh how I wish they were also in my hands. 

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WARRENS LIFE WITHIN

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WARRENS LIFE WITHIN

IN-HOME LIFESTYLE SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND FAMILY & CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHER

“We had our second date here," she said. “It was in the bathroom I stared in disbelief at those two little pink lines and then paced these floors while counting contractions.”

“Kate took her first steps here.”

Home.

So many pieces of our lives happen at home, adding up to an entire collection of memories we’ll remember well past our childhood. It’s ultimately the environment where you’ll raise your children and help embed their favorite pastimes of hide-n-seek, blanket forts, and messes that stretch across the entire kitchen.

These memories from home are what live on long even after you’ve moved.

How many years ago was it when you arrived home, sunburnt and happy, to congratulatory cards and wedding gifts piled high on the kitchen table? Sadly and far too quickly, the honeymoon was over, but it felt SO good to finally be home. Together.

Home is where your marriage would begin, blossom, and eventually grow into your family.

What do you remember most about your firstborn?  Is it the song you whispered as you paced the living room floors in the dark hours of night, bouncing her back to sleep in your arms? Or maybe it’s the rocker in the corner of the bedroom where you stared for hours, mesmerized, and memorized every feature of your baby.

Unbeknownst to visitors, the middle couch cushion has been flipped over to hide spilled juice. The walls, which acted as crutches to your teetering one year old, have been repainted in areas to cover those tot-sized fingerprints. Outside, your driveway is a museum of chalk art that will take many rains to fade the rainbow-colored dust.

Your home is your haven for laughter and for tears. It’s your refuge for anger, grief, arguments and make-ups.

Your home is alive with life and growth.

Realize it. Remember it.  Get proof of it. 

Because guess what your kids will relate home with?

You.

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FAMILY OF 7 AT KAISERS

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FAMILY OF 7 AT KAISERS

MIDTOWN OKC SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND FAMILY & CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHER

“Wow. You really have your hands full.” How many times have you heard this not-so-clever comment from the stranger at your favorite restaurant or even in the cereal aisle of Target? (I hear grocery shopping alone happens too rare these days.)  All you wanted was a dish-free evening out with your family or some dang lucky charms (because, MARSHMALLOWS), but not without being noticed first. You’re left awkwardly haha-ing with a stranger, tongue-tied and slightly baffled.

I mean, let’s get real for a minute. Do they expect you to say “I know, right? Who signed me up for this?!” I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt - their intentions are likely harmless - and it's probably just a little slip of innocent honesty.

Oh, how I bet Tyler and Nichole have become so immune to this, though.

The strangers who just can’t help but blurt that opinionated comment apparently don’t have children. Whether you have 1 child or 19, you chose that wonderful path of raising children, just as they probably chose not to.

To each his own, amiright?

Before I give up understanding this for parents everywhere, can anyone tell me what it even means? Does it appear to them that you don’t have it under control? Maybe they missed the moment when you were juggling that hot plate with a sippy cup of chocolate milk and searching for the missing yellow crayon under the table, all while paying attention to your daughter’s day at school. Or maybe the few minutes of disarray and dropped cereal boxes looked chaotic, but what they didn’t see was you in control of that so-called chaos.

Does this sound familiar, Tyler and Nichole? With every “it’s a girl!”, you’ve become well-adjusted to parenthood, so by now you’re experts at family outings and are only reminded of your large brood with kind compliments and curious stares.

Don’t get me wrong. Life with 5 girls probably isn’t always child’s play, but from the outside looking in? I'm all, "sign me up!" because this looks like a whole bunch of fun!

If you ever see these 7 Smith’s out, you’d probably gawk just a bit. Who wouldn’t, when Tyler is outnumbered by 6 beautiful females? How can you not peer into their family dynamic and imagine the fun they have when the array of their daughters begins with a well-mannered teenager all the way to a spunky toddler? On a few occasions, I witnessed the shy middle girls huddled together, giggling in their own little world. I was immediately sent reminiscing to the 90’s, huddled with my own sisters, recording cassette tapes of radio music and braiding friendship bracelets. I already know the bond these sisters create over the years will be undoubtedly tested but unshakably true.

It is so apparent to me that Tyler, Nichole, Taya, Livia, Ella, Liana and Vayda have the coolest kinship. It was obvious in Tyler and Taya’s playful banter, in Nichole’s bond with her baby, in Liana’s full personality and in Livia and Ella’s quick response to hold a hand, console and comfort their little sisters. And then when Mr. and Mrs. Smith had some time alone? Well, just see that for yourself…

Like parents everywhere, they probably have ‘those days’, but full hands?

Of course they’re full. Full of five healthy and bright daughters and all of the wonder and pride that parenthood presents.

SUNKISSED & FREE PHOTOGRAPHY FAMILY 2014
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THE BEST OF 2014

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THE BEST OF 2014

TOP PHOTOS OF 2014. OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND MATERNITY/NEWBORN/CHILDREN/FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

How?! How on Earth is it New Years Eve of 2014?

Somehow it is, just like somehow our busy days dragged on while our weekends flew by.

But WHAT.A.YEAR.

The real me wants to get really mushy with you and remind you how much this tiny speck of a business (in the grand scheme of things) means to me and how I can never, EVER thank you enough for hiring me, inquiring about a session, reading my blog, liking a post, hearting an INSTAGRAM photo or heck, even knowing Sunkissed & Free even exists, but even then I don't feel like that's sufficient enough.  Every day, this creative outlet for me continues because of YOU.  I promise you this: you'll never know how appreciative I am to be asked to tell your story.

And now, the best of 2014!

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And ending 2014 with two of my favorite of all favorites:

The kids who have my heart and call me Auntie, bellied up to the same ice cream counter where I grew up ordering single scoop sugar cones.

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And lastly, the photo I hope to take every few years.  Why?  To see him grow.  To see me grow.

2014

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2008

The Beginning

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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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WARREN FAMILY PARTY OF FOUR

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WARREN FAMILY PARTY OF FOUR

FAMILY SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND FAMILY/MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER

I can't help but wonder what their next chapter will feel like. Things will change, I assume.  Quiet cuddles and coffee will turn to full hands, effectively multi-tasking toddler toys and newborn feedings.

Schedules will be adjusted, bottles will be juggled with sippy cups, and nap times will be nonnegotiable.  Some days,  you'll dominate.  Other days?  When Will walks in from work, you'll having nothing left in you but tears of relief, frustration, weariness and defeat.

The first few weeks will be an emotional blur,  but don't ever forget how fast time flies.

Savor the wait without the rush.  Until it's time to turn the page, keep bottling up the memories of today and tomorrow's party of three.

As for you, Kate?

You're just merely months away from meeting your lifelong best friend.

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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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SUNKISSED & FREE PHOTOGRAPHY /// Oklahoma City / children photography / family photography / oklahoma photography / maternity photography
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OFFICER RYAN

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OFFICER RYAN

CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHY.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND CHILD PHOTOGRAPHER

176. That's the average number of steps a toddler hops - leaps - runs - skips - stumbles per minute.

You guys, 176.  IN ONE MINUTE!

Which means I can easily tack on another reason Ryan is a rockstar toddler.  As sweaty and tired as I was playing with him, there's no way he sprints less than 500 steps a minute, with no two steps heading in the same direction. (My knees wanted to point that out.)

You think I'm kidding?

At 2.25 years old, Ryan's inquisitive nature and adventurous spirit flood his parent's heart with both love and exhaustion.

I've witnessed his momma's deep sighs of patience when every daily task begins with "no, I do it."  His giant yellow labs must miss the days of being fed instantly by mommy instead of tiny morsels-at-a-time by Ryan.

And anyone with talkative, carseat-age children can relate to their little one's stubborn hands insistent on clasping the carseat buckle first before you are allowed to tighten it.  The days of newborn bottles and bags delaying your daily errands slyly turns into self-dressing, shoes on the wrong feet, absentmindly crawling into the backseat, and becoming easily distracted by stale goldfish and a folded sticker that HAS TO BE unfolded, all while asking never ending questions.

Sometimes, you're really crunched for time (because, aren't we always? But then there's *those* days) and with your composure crumbling, you'd rather risk a fiery fit then waste an hour letting him attempt tasks he watches you do daily.

Mostly though,  you're amazed.  You're amazed that you used to cradle him in your arms.  The same baby who spewed mashed green beans at you is now putting words into sentences, and actually making sense.  You can carry on a conversation with your little buddy, and sometimes, it's not until he repeats a naughty word that you realize (after you look away and laugh) the world is his to learn, and you're his teacher.

So, on *those* days, the ones we're all allowed to claim, when he's right at your feet, pushing your buttons and persistent with curiosity, sometimes a deep breath isn't enough.  You're tired of the time outs.  You catch yourself checking the clock every hour, wishing for bedtime.  But then you're rocking him and remembering the time when his entire body fit perfectly across your chest, and even after a day full of battles that beat you down, you have nothing but a heart full of the deepest love you'll ever know, all to give to your little boy.

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Stank eye!  This kid.

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NEWBORN MASON

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NEWBORN MASON

NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

Second child?

BRING IT.

I imagine with your first child, you knew the exact week of gestation you were in, detailed to the very day. You first knew him as a blueberry, and later, an avocado. Even though at week 30 you may have been craving salty chips coated in warm, melted cheese, you knew your baby boy was the size of a head of lettuce. This time around? Your days are filled chasing your pant-less son down the hallway, pleading with him to exchange his toy truck for a lunch plate of crustless PB&J, halved grapes and a sippy cup half full of leftover morning milk.  Both of their due dates are concreted in your pregnancy brain, but this go around, your previous answer to "how far along are you?" is accidentally altered from "23 weeks, 3 days" to "ummmm, 25ish weeks…I think?"

It's more of a joy ride this time.  A roller coaster you've ridden before, knowing to brace yourself for the expected dips and turns.

Remember the overwhelming confusion you felt standing in the middle of Babies R Us 24 weeks into your first pregnancy? Holding the registry wand, the feeling of confinement sweeps over you as your eyes bulge at the white linoleum aisles stocked high with thousands of baby items, labeled in bright colors and recognizable (but the best?) name brands. All you knew is that you needed blue stuff with cars and trucks printed on it.

Call it the second baby syndrome, call it a greater knowledge of the true necessities, or call it confidence from experience, but with child #2 chillin’ in your belly? Registering was a breeze! You remember what worked, what didn’t, and awaiting a sibling at home are Hesston’s gently used big-ticket items. Besides the few things you can never have enough of (DIAPERS), being fully prepared with the necessities gives you time to peruse the shades of tiny, pink clothes in Target’s baby section. Pulling a 0-3 month smocked dress adorned in stitched flowers from the rack releases your second squeal of excitement. (The first escaped at your 20-week sonogram appointment – IT’S A GIRL!)

Her kicks and multiple rounds of hiccups may be familiar, but the curiosities of her characteristics still nibble at your daily thoughts. Will she be another miniature Daddy, a replica of her big brother, but in pink? Or will your daughter resemble you?  The rare quiet times at home (read: when Hesston is napping, amiright?) allow your mind to finally wander to your rounding belly (which, you noticed, made its appearance much sooner and quicker), wondering of her and awaiting her arrival, just as anxiously as your first child, but this time, versed in motherhood.

After 9 months of comparing your pregnancies, you became a mother for the second time. It was August 18th when you were finally able to see that yes, she looks just like you. Beautiful.

It wasn’t until close family and friends gathered in your room, whispering compliments on her full cheeks and perfect lips that you started to see similarities and find differences in Mason’s newborn face compared to Hesston’s, just a mere 2 years earlier. You can't help but see so much of Hesston in her almond-shaped eyes.

From her birth day on, her milestones will be marked. You’ll often catch yourself saying, “Remember the way Hesston first rolled over?” or “Hesston used to make that same, hilarious face!”

And so it begins, the joys of having two children.

But first, Mason’s paci just fell on the floor. Wash it thoroughly like you did Hesston’s?

Eh. A quick wipe with the corner of your t-shirt will do, right?

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FINEST FOURSOME

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FINEST FOURSOME

FAMILY SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND FAMILY & CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHER

So you’ve scheduled family pictures.

Maybe for the first time, in, oh… (an exaggerated) FOREVER?!

You have nerves.

For good reason?

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“I hope the weather is perfect. Will these outfits coordinate correctly? What if the kids are crazy loons and behave like wild animals?”

"WHAT IF MY FACE MELTS OFF BECAUSE IT’S 99% HUMIDITY OUT?!"

(Don’t fret. You’ll see shortly that none of their pretty faces melted off.)

Though I wish I could, I can’t always set the sun in a perfect, water-colored evening sky. (Or carry around an earth-sized humidifier, but that could be super useful.)

Is it necessary to shop store to store, exhausting every idea in search of that perfect Pinterest outfit you pinned 2 years ago? No. Now, pleated khaki pants and matching white tops are a thing of the 90’s (along with music videos, pagers, and my crush on every NSYNC band member), so for those who ask, I am eager to share recommendations regarding your wardrobe. But, honestly? The best outfits are those that complement each extraordinary personality of your crew (wild animals and all).

If I promised you there is no such thing as your child misbehaving with me, would you believe me?

Well, I promise.

Your biggest worry is my creative kindle.

I’m sorry Beyoncé, but in my world, kids run it. From the second their feet jump from the backseat on to the dusty gravel drive and look up at me, I’m anticipating their temperament. Will they be shy like Sloane, clinging to Daddy’s pants and peeking around his leg, measuring me from a safe distance? Or will I hear a tiny voice before the car door is even shut, like Harper’s free spirit and candid chatter?

The M&M candy bribe you charmed them with is our little secret enticement. I know Gram and Gramps have probably requested a family photo to share proudly on their wall. The one showing perfect posture, hands gently folded and everyone smiling their best smile. (Thanks to the M&M’s?) And I’ll get this shot for you. If not for this ordinary shot, my parents wouldn’t have the hilarious family photo from the 90’s to showcase my permed mullet. The perfect pose could be your new profile photo or the fresh update your office walls need. It’s necessary to your shoot and to your growing assortment of nostalgia.

But what I really love to gift you? Is WHO your child is. Children may be little, but their personalities are grand, and that combination is essential to my inspiration. Every child expresses a unique personality, owning it fully and parading it with no reason to restrict. (Are you smiling right now, imagining your child’s quiet wonder with weedy flowers or the way her eyes smile first?) She makes expressions that mimic her mommy and shares similar mannerisms with her Daddy. Isn’t their individual identity the best part of your children? The part of them that pushes your patience and melts your heart in the span of 2 minutes is what I cherish to give you.

See for yourself, but this family nailed it.  Nerves?

What nerves?

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SUNKISSED & FREE PHOTOGRAPHY FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY / CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHY / OKC / OKLAHOMA
SUNKISSED & FREE PHOTOGRAPHY FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY / CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHY / OKC / OKLAHOMA
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THE SUN CHASER

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THE SUN CHASER

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND MATERNITY/NEWBORN/CHILDREN/FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

I still eat string cheese the only way that's right: pull by pull.

At inconvenient times, a sudden urge to burst out in hysterical laughter bubbles up to my cheeks, and it takes all I have to behave.

My age and the bills addressed to me are proof I'm an adult, but all this time spent maturing to a life full of dependability and responsibility never stole the playful part of me.   Life is too swift, too fleeting, to do anything for the last time.  I refuse to be too old to play hide and seek.  I'll always drown my fro yo in sugary toppings, though I must report my visits to the fro yo bar are moderate. (I owe my health and the importance to keep it to my dual degree in kinesiology.)  And as long as it doesn't make my hands sticky (*shudder*), you can find me right in the mix of making mud pies, hunting for roly poly's, or packing a pail for a princess sand castle.

Among my nicknames and titles, the beloved of the bunch is "Auntie."

My fascination for photography stems not only from the art, but to remember what it feels like to lose all cares of today and tomorrow and explore the world from a child's perspective.  I love to be on their level, in their world, tip toeing right alongside their tyke-sized footsteps.  To create pieces of their nostalgia only deepens every sense of my own.

Your child is my sidekick, your kinship is my inspiration, and together, we're Sunkissed & Free. 

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SAWYER'S DEBUT

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SAWYER'S DEBUT

NEWBORN SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

July 7th came and went like morning sickness in the first trimester, so I texted her: “still pregnant?”

“yes…still pregnant!”

Almost a week later and after multiple jaunts out to the garden to harvest in the heavy heat of July, Lindsay found herself timing contractions.

She’s retelling Sawyer’s birthday to me from the rocking chair, only occasionally yawning. I couldn’t help but notice how relaxed she was, as if in her arms was her fourth child rather than her first.

His arrival was shared and Facebook family and friends exclaimed their congratulations, including myself. I finally get to meet my newest client!  Sawyer’s proud Daddy posted the first photos of Lindsay and Sawyer, him on her chest, her hospital gown bunching around his tiny body.

The iPhone snap halts time with her beaming down at her son for the first time, soaking him in, but I know that instant remained for nearly eternity.  She studied his every feature, unable to peel her eyes away from his eyes.

Eyes which are an exact replica of his daddy's.

As I clicked through Tyler's Facebook album dated July 13th (now a day that will never be just another day in his family), views of Lindsay and Sawyer fill the screen, along with a hospital scale documenting 7 lb 5 oz and nurse's in the background smiling as they check vitals and monitor the new mom.  I passed through the album, stopping with a smile at Sawyer's first selfie with his Dad, asleep and cradled snug against his pearl snap shirt.

I imagine Lindsay was once again enamored with her husband, this time in a new way.

Fifteen days later, I sat in their living room and gently positioned the little cowboy with his Momma by my side.  I couldn't help but think back to their maternity session, when they could only imagine whose genes would be undoubtedly duplicated.

Now they finally know.

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SAWYER

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SAWYER

Before long, the world will know.

Until then, we all wonder...

"Will dimples like hers dent each cheek of his, framing his first smile and each one thereafter?"

"Maybe his eyes will be the color of the caribbean ocean, just like his daddy's."

Lindsay's thoughts are consumed with intense curiosities and worries as she rounds the last curve of her maternity.

"Did I register for the best-rated sippy cups, toddler-tested for spill proof?"

"Am I prepared for my labor & delivery?"

"Was that a contraction?!"

Patiently, Lindsay describes (in her friendly Oklahoma drawl) passing the time waiting for Sawyer's arrival by picking squash and tomatoes from their backyard garden, mastering the maneuver around her belly to pull the sparse weeds between the rows of tomorrow's dinner.

By now in her pregnancy, she's learned to accept with a smile every tip, trick, and two-cents from friends and strangers alike who either have a baby, know a baby, or whose sisters' cousin's best friend just had a baby and deem it necessary to offer their own personal insight.  Smiling and nodding, the sometimes unsolicited guidance is either stored for safekeeping or left to forget, because if there's one thing she's learned in preparation for Sawyer, is that there's roughly 973 million ways to raise their child, with none being more right than the other.

"It's imperative you pack your hospital bag, like, yesterday!"

On it.

"You must sleep when your baby sleeps!"

Will do.

"Be sure to examine every poopy diaper like you're a guest star playing the lead investigator on CSI Miami!"

WAIT, WHAT?!

Some days, if not for his kicks and flips, you could almost forget you're carrying a real, live human inside of you.  He's growing, developing, and taking your traits, all from your growing bump.

At times, it doesn't feel real.  You easily confuse exhilaration with being terrified, often unsure of how you should feel, until euphoria hits:  You're going to be a Mommy!

Soon, your wailing, big (I've seen his sonograms - he's going to be a big'n!) baby boy will be in your arms.

I didn't have to ask Lindsay and Tyler if they are ready for their role.

It's obvious that these two?  Are so eager to raise their little cowboy.

So saddle up, relish the ride, and remember: life's a dance, and stumbling is allowed!

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WARREN, PARTY OF 3

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WARREN, PARTY OF 3

"We're going home!"

Attached to these often sleepily spoken words is a photo of a tiny baby, draped with nana's handmade pink blanket and enveloped by a 5-star safety rated infant carrier.  Dad assures she's snug and secure and then reassures one final time before nervously clenching the wheel (suddenly becoming apprehensive of his ability to drive) and leads his new family home.

Home.

Where you last left as an expectant mom, waking each day, restless, wondering if today was her birth day.

Where you thoroughly prepared for "it" and later, her, with a color-splashed nursery, furnished with newborn necessities and adorned with delicate details, like her name, announced on the wall in turquoise: KATE.  Those letters waited forever to belong to a new, flushed face.  Your anticipated first glance of her is when she's heaved onto your chest, tears falling from your matching green eyes, and you realized love at first sight?  Is real.

Home, where the journal of The Warrens, party of three, began.

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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC

The first night in your own bed is deeply rooted into your memory.  Staring down at your brand new bundle, too anxiously happy to rest yet too exhausted and nervous to let the opportunity to sleep slip by.  Each coo, cry, and kick jolts you awake, concerned, wondering if you even know what to do.

By day 8, your red brimmed eyes and drained body are surprising you at the capabilities they can achieve under broken segments of sleep.

At 2 weeks, you've cried your way up every hardship, exasperated and weepy, as well as coasted down every tender moment with infatuated eyes and tear-filled smiles.

September 17th comes during a 2:00am feeding, and suddenly, you notice her long feet fall off your lap, her cheeks have filled with plump, and she's already 3 months old.

At the same time you and Daddy whooped with wonder at her first gummy smile you willed her to slow down.  To stop growing.

The days you felt like a failure?  Those are the days you'll fail to forget.

Your paycheck may come in the form of snotty noses and ceaseless diaper changes, but you'll wholeheartedly agree the routine effort of raising your child is more gratifying than a yearly 3% raise.  (Plus, corporate benefit packages don't include toddler-sized arms hugged tightly around your neck.)

So many elements of your life are altered as she grows.  A year ago, leaving the house was a feat you celebrated, especially when you managed to accomplish one errand, which you carefully calculated to occur between her morning milk and her afternoon nap. (High five, Mom!)  Today, you still celebrate leaving the house, but now, snacks are your lifesaver as you coast the aisles of Target, successfully juggling her puffs container and your well-deserved, hard-earned coffee.  The second you're granted a window of opportunity, albeit short and harried, you make a break for it, but first, double and triple checking that Daddy's OK with daughter duty.  Minutes after arriving at the local coffee shop, giddy with girlfriends at your well-planned escape, you slowly fade out, antsy to get back home to Kate.

You have been banded together since well before her birth.  She's your companion, your playmate; you, her protector, her nurturer.  Always.  From today, at one year old, until roles are reversed and she's caring for you.

You know those rare, quiet times when you find yourself reminiscing back to her infant days? Each milestone she meets, each new recognizable word she babbles and each birthday she celebrates is when you realize, this age is THE BEST!

Heather, Will, happy birthday to your one year old!

SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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2014-06-13_0041SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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Comment

THE GERBERS

Comment

THE GERBERS

You don't look bored.  You look YOU.

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2014-05-30_0009

Don’t get me wrong, your smile that stretches from cheek to cheek, flaunting those bone white chiclets, is perfect, but your personality is beyond that smile. Your individuality is bubbling behind that smile, in a wild, giant laugh, just waiting to burst. Any second, your bass-playin’, beard growin’, Jesus lovin’ husband will make that face you love, and just like a Mentos dropped in a soda can, your guffaw explodes, bringing your whole family to a musical performance of laughs.

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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC

 See? You’re not like every other family.

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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC

Look at other’s family photos, and they stand still, nearing statue status, the children full of bribes posed with perfect (perfectly fake) cheeses, but not YOUR family.  Your family fills the frame, often overflowing it with bellyaches of laughter that fade to genuine smiles, the kind that begins in your eyes and spread all over.  Casually, Casey brushes his daughter's wispy hair off her forehead, and a tickled giggle escapes from her.  Stealing spontaneous kisses from your son is your specialty, but a groan and that goofy, wrinkled face of his?  That quirk is straight from you, his momma.

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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC
SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC

Speaking of Momma, it's time everyone saw you, too. And here you are, loudly and proudly making your appearance. The best part? It’s not a sorry selfie, requiring your arm to extend to go-go gadget length, angling the iPhone lens perfectly, while attempting to not chop off your kid’s foreheads, or worse, give your husband a fivehead. (Anyone else out there take 89 selfies, only to find one decent one?! No? Just me?)

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SUNKISSED & FREE FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY OKC