My Simple Hello sessions are my very favorite to document, especially with first time parents.
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She was welcomed into this world on Valentine's Day, which is fitting if you knew just how much she is loved.
Real. Life. The way it is...and the way you'll want to remember it.
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.
HOSPITAL SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER.INTEGRIS
His arrival may have been a whirlwind, but the hours after overflowed with grace & gratitude that danced around the room along with his welcoming crew.
He will be a newborn through the seasons, but only this new for what seems like seconds.
He was brand new and barely 8 pounds, but you trusted me to hold him, my hands to comfort him, and my vision to turn his delicate details into artistry.
Weeks earlier, though swollen and spent and almost full-term, you relied on me to reveal your beauty amid this swift season of motherhood.
And then, when you feared chaos and crying (because, TODDLERS), you counted on me to connect your crew among your pack of personalities.
Your favorite parts of the past year: PRESERVED.
By choosing me, you trusted me, and sharing your story frame by frame is a privilege you'll never see me take for granted.
HOSPITAL SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER
Little and new at just 19 hours old. Meet Jovie Dale.
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.
Just like these photos.
HOSPITAL SESSION.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER
You'll remember the labor and enduring every level of pain. But will you remember those simple scenes in the overwhelming hours that follow?
Like the way his yawns unfold all 7lbs into a lengthy, satisfying stretch. Or how his legs, so long and delicate, fall naturally into place as if he's still nested in your womb.
Please don't ever forget the hesitation behind your toddler's eyes as she approaches you and baby sister, completely unsure but still eager to discover her new role.
Though worn out and on the mend, you'll never know how beautiful you beam as you look at them, looking at her.
Ticks of time will race by in slow motion.
It's in those first fresh hours you'll be high on happiness, but also, weary with exhaustion, leaving little energy to hold on to those slipping, sweet moments. So as you're trying to tread above trial and error, will you take the time to pause and preserve these fleeting moments?
New mom on the block?
You do not want to overlook this.
Seasoned in motherhood?
It's a lively rush of 48 hours, isn't it?
The beginning of your child's story is days away from being born.
Do you want to be both the author and the illustrator?
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.
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!
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.
And lastly, the photo I hope to take every few years. Why? To see him grow. To see me grow.
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...
NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHY.OKLAHOMA CITY/EDMOND NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER
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?
Ahhh, sweet, sweet Parker. I remember this session (photographed back in June!) like it was yesterday. I walked into Brittany and Trevor's house and was immediately greeted by their happy, hyper, attention-seeking pup, Brewski. I gave him some love before I beelined to the living room where I found 9-day new Parker sound asleep in his rocker. He was perfect. I remember his pink lips pursed slightly and his round, soft cheeks resting against his blanket. I watched as Trevor stood over Parker's rocker, still in awe of his brand new, first-born son. As I set up, I watched Brittany carefully take him from his rocker into her arms, nervously yet naturally. If either of them were watching me as I watched them, they would have seen me smiling ear to ear at their love for Parker. Life is so beautiful!
After getting a few shots of Brittany and Trevor cuddling on the couch with their new babe, Parker let me wrap, bundle, and position him any way I pleased. I loved detailing every bit of his fresh, flawless, newborn features.
Brittany also mentioned an antique airplane prop that she wanted to try if Parker allowed. Needless to say, Parker slept through his entire first 'flight.' :)
Trevor and Parker enjoyed some time together in his masculine yet gorgeous man room. Brittany did a great job decorating it! I love these next few images of musician Daddy and his rockstar son.
It is such a pleasure to be the one chosen to help document the transition into parenthood. Even parents who are welcoming their 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th child have this deep, honest love in their eyes and the wonderment is beautiful to witness.