ashlee | senior

i have known ashlee’s mom, angelee, since she was my sister’s college roommate a “few” years ago, so it is strange to think that ashlee is about the same age as her mama when i met her! ashlee looks so much like her mom too… Between angelee, my sister, and myself, ashlee is the only girl out of 11 kids. crazy!!

we had the best time hitting up the west bottoms and james a reed wildlife area for her senior pictures. both locations were the prettiest i have ever see them.

good lord, we got thirsty!!

i love when i can get moms to pose with their senior. this is one of the last photo sessions you will have with your “baby,” so soak it all up!

congratulations ashlee!

mia | baby

just because i don’t want her to feel left out, here are a few images from mia’s first year. mia participated in our baby plan, so i got to see her every couple of months for photo sessions. i looked forward to every single one – mia has such a beautiful soul already. she is a kind little girl and so cuddly!! here is a sampling from her first year, including her cake smash storyboard!

kaiden | baby

i always look forward to photos with this family! not only do i love the parents, but the 2 kids are pretty close to perfect. kaiden is only 4 months old, but how adorable is his sweet face? he hasn’t exactly fallen in love with me YET, but he still made the cutest expressions for his photos. don’t even get me started on his sister…okay, i will tell you anyway… she is the sweetest little girl! she lets me hug her and cuddle her, and i have just fallen in love with her! i am so happy i get to photograph kaiden for his entire first year. there is no bigger complement for me than families who return every year and trust me with their babies. thank you!

how you doin’?

parker | senior

the first time i photographed parker, he was about 5 years old. it was also the first time i met his mom and dad, and little did i know how much i would love this family! they are just good people who are an absolute crack-up to be around, and parker is all-around great. (i base my judgement of people solely on how they participate in photo shoots) – parker has always been my perfect “client.” he doesn’t complain, he has manners, and he laughs at my dumb jokes – the trifecta.

for his senior pics, part II (we did a part I in the fall), we headed out to the west bottoms and wandered around. every time i go down there, it is different these days. i love that the area is coming back to life, although i tend to gravitate to the torn down areas for photos!

this year was the year we have talked about for 13 years – his senior pictures year. i put an incredible amount of pressure on myself to make great photos when i love the family so much. i was also able to convince parker’s parents (and fur-sister) to participate…i always love when i can get a family photo (or at least the parents) during the senior session because there is a proudness in parents’ faces that is so obvious. i always love those images (and so do the parents).

congratulations, parker!! your FAVORITE photographer is incredibly proud of you! ūüėČ

the frederiksens | siblings

when we scheduled this photo session, i knew it was going to be a blast. our families spend most of the summer together at baseball tournaments, and our boys are so similar. it is nice having a friend who understands my kids’ quirks. ūüėČ anyway, i knew we were going to be cracking up this entire photo session, and i was absolutely right. the youngest boy is an athlete and very used to being coached, so he did everything i asked in perfect form. his older brother is brilliant and also made for a stage, so he interpreted everything i asked and adapted it with his own flair. i love this session so much because it shows the boys’ personalities, and it also shows that our photo sessions don’t have to be “social media perfect” to be absolutely perfect. every time i look at these images i smile because they are real and true.

the beisly family

This family is truly one we should all strive to be like. They are always laughing together and the love they have for each other is huge. Not many kids would willingly attend a photo shoot on a frigid day and smile through the whole event. I was cracking up the whole time because they are so funny! As a newly-single mom, michelle has had to reforge her path and restructure her family dynamic. As a close witness to this, I am here to say she has succeeded. I love when i get to be around this group, and I am so happy for them!

chloe+greg | engaged!

these two are just fun. chloe is always smiling and laughing, and greg is always ready to go along with her. i love being around them. somehow, we chose the hottest day of the year for photos, but luckily greg is a sweater too, so we were both dripping sweat together. TMI? ūüėČ their dog, isabella, was perfect. she smiled, she posed, she chased her ball – everything i want when a pup comes to a photo session. their wedding is just about a month away, and i can’t wait to see all the fun they have planned!!

liam & evelyn | family portraits

this little family is one of my favorites! i have known the mama, ashley, since she was a teen-ager, but we used to share a mom. riddle me that, batman. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†actually, her mom was my step-mom for many years, and i attribute my scrambled eggs culinary skills to her. ashley and i decided to call ourselves “psuedo-sisters.”

i suppose that means liam is my psuedo-nephew and evelyn is my psuedo-niece. woohoo! liam is turning 3 (obviously), and this little guy has the sweetest little voice you have ever heard. i could listen to him chit chat all day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


miss evelyn has the prettiest face and the biggest eyes. i am going to need her to slow down because she is going to be bigger than liam soon, and that is just going to make for some awkward pictures.  heehee

liam and i share a love for thomas trains, so i was geeky-excited that he brought his collection for pictures. my boys loved thomas, and i still have a huge bin full of the engines. i am not sure i will ever be able to part with them. i loved seeing how much liam loved his!

our photo session was great, and even daddy matt joined in. we got some great shots, and i am already looking forward to evelyn’s next milestone photoshoot – sitting up by herself! ¬† ¬† ¬†-w

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Miranda

I have put off writing this post because it’s going to be a sad one.  The ending of the story hurts my heart, but I really want to tell it. In December, I was asked by Parenting Children with Special Needs magazine if I would be able to photograph a family for an upcoming
cover story. I am always super happy when I am asked to do these photo sessions, so of course I said yes. When I found out who the family was, I was even more excited than usual.  The family was the Williams family, and the special little girl was Miranda.

I have known the Williams family since before they were even a¬†family as I have known the mom, Michelle, since we were on the younger end of being teenagers. I knew Michelle when we played violin together in the Raytown High School orchestra, and she was ‚Äúmy ride‚ÄĚ to¬†school for several years until I learned to drive. I¬†remember sitting on my deck with her when she told me she was having her first baby, Trent, and I remember thinking she was¬†the strongest friend I had because she went to school, worked, and was¬†a mom all at the same time.

As time does, we drifted into our own worlds, but we crossed paths a lot through the years. Michelle married Randy and they had a daughter, Miranda. I even started seeing them at my kids’ school because Miranda and my boys went to the same school. I remember seeing Michelle and Miranda at the school carnival one year, and Miranda looked so cute in pigtails with little bows on them. Shortly after that carnival, I found out that Miranda had been diagnosed with a disease. I am not going to pretend I know what the disease is all about, but it’s a mitochondrial disorder called MERRF, and there is no cure.

Fast forward several years, and here we are with me being asked to photograph Miranda and her family for the magazine. We had initially thought we would do the photo session in December, but Miranda had a bought with pneumonia and the poor girl was in the hospital for weeks. She finally made it home in January, and I drove to their house on a super cold and rainy Sunday to set up my traveling studio at her house.

I brought a couple backdrops with me, my lights, and an assistant, Amy. Miranda has quite the teen-ager pad set up in the basement.  She has two brightly colored rooms to herself, and they are both covered in posters and pictures. Amy and I got all set up while Miranda hung out with her cousins and two aides. These two aides must be angels sent directly to Miranda. Both of them doted on her, and never lost focus of keeping Miranda happy and safe.

Miranda was just a few days shy of 15 years old on this day. Even though she spends a lot of time in a wheelchair and isn’t super verbal anymore, Miranda is still as sassy and spunky as every teenage girl i have ever met!

This girl has bright red hair and loves her make up! She was wearing the prettiest lip color ever that day, and I learned all about her LipSense addiction. The funniest thing happened when Michelle walked in and Miranda saw her lip color. Miranda started pointing to Michelle and seemed somewhat agitated. As it turns out, Michelle was wearing Miranda’s LipSense, and Miranda totally knew! I was cracking up!

For our first set of photos,Miranda sat in her wheelchair, and I posed her Mom, Dad, and Trent around her. After some family shots, I asked Trent to sit on the arm of the wheelchair next to Miranda. I should have done this pose earlier because Miranda lit up. Her entire face was smiling ‚Äď this girl loves her brother. I found outthat Trent has been helping take care of Miranda, and it was clear to me that she loves it. How special is it that these two siblings get to spend so much time together?

Miranda was only able to whisper on the day of our photos. Her disorder has weakened her vocal chords, so it’s a huge struggle for her to speak. She does a lot of communication with her eyes and with her smile. I definitely picked up on her language by the end of our session.

I also quickly found out that Miranda is a daddy‚Äôs girl ‚Äď she loved when we sat her on the floor for some shots of her leaning on her d
addy. We added in her mom and brother as well, and we were able to get a series of family images sitting on the floor. Most of Miranda’s smiles happened when her two awesome aides were behind me squishing slime into a small canister so it made farting sound. We were all laughing!

I guess I should mention that Miranda has a cart of machines that follows her bright pink¬†wheelchair everywhere she goes. At one point during the photo session, somebody mis-stepped and landed on part of her ventilator and broke it. I was completely impressed when Michelle immediately took control and explained to Miranda‚Äôs nurse where the spare parts were.¬† The two of them got the machine fixed fairly swiftly, but I was honestly pretty panicked that Miranda would have no air. The girl just sat there calmly and waited for them to fix her vent. That‚Äôs how you know when a person completely trusts another ‚Äď Miranda never panicked because she knew her mom had the situation under control.

After about 90 minutes, we finished up the photo session. I came home and got to work prettying up the images we had made. I loved working on them, and was sending sneaks over to Michelle on facebook. I was literally so happy that I was able to make these images for her. I think Miranda had a good time too, and that is always important to me as well.

The magazine came out about a month or so later, and as usual, I was completely proud to see my photograph on the cover. I was extra happy that it was a photograph of my friend and her family.  A couple weeks after the article debuted, Miranda’s doctors told her family that it was time for hospice care. Miranda’s body was too tired to fight any more. When I heard the news, I was just so sad. I have seen hundreds of photos on facebook showing friends and family coming to see Miranda and say good-bye. It seems like all day long during this week, a stream of photos of friends and family with Miranda takes over my feed. I love it.

I started writing this blog last week, but I could never finish it because I would just get sad. Last night, though, I read the news that made me even sadder. Yesterday, on Easter morning, Miranda smiled her last good-bye. I will never understand why little children have to take on these massive diseases, and I will never understand why a parent has to say to good-bye to their baby. Like I said at the beginning, there is no happy ending to this story. I am happy, though, I was able to make these photos for Michelle and Randy and Trent and all the family and friends who love Miranda. She will be missed by so many people, and I hope her photos can bring a peace to those who love her.

baby alyvia | newborn

i got to meet this sweet angel recently for her newborn photo session. she is just delicious! i fell in love the moment i saw her.  when she arrived with her mama and daddy, her mom let me feed her.  i was in baby heaven. once she finished her bottle, we headed out into the studio to begin photos.  i had several sets planned for a sleeping baby, but alyvia was afraid she would miss the party, so she kept her eyes wide open.

we moved to plan b, and i started posing her in some nice awake poses. ¬†i do like to get a nice family shot with the baby awake, so alyvia was a perfect model for that.i thought after we got some family shots, alyvia would be exhausted…i was wrong. ¬†ūüôā

it took us over an hour to get herto sleep. ¬†luckily, alyvia’s parents are way cool, so i had a fun time getting to really know them. ¬†her poor daddy was so sleepy that at one point we looked over and he was totally asleep in the chair. poor guy.

we finally got alyvia to close her eyes, and once she gave in to sleep, i was in “go mode.” we were able to get a bunch of gorgeous shots of her, and she slept right through it. ¬†success!

alyvia was so well-behaved that i convinced her parents to stay an extra hour so i could get more photos of her. i think starvation had set in for chris by the time i finished. we kept talking about what restaurant they were going to head to. (they talked about mexican food so much that i had to get some chips and salsa for myself that night too!)

it was a great photo session, and i am definitely looking forward to more with this family. ¬†i promise the next one won’t take as long! thanks for being so cooperative, chris and aveon, and of course, baby alyvia!!