Thursday, March 26, 2015

california vacation: beach edition

We recently got back from an amazing family vacation in southern California.  We met up with Bart's brother Bret, his wife Charise and their three kids who we hadn't seen for over a year.  We rented a condo together so we could spend the entire week catching up with each other, watching the kids play with their cousins, and do a lot of fun things.  
While we were there, we went to the beach several times.  The first time we went was a little chilly, and we hadn't checked into the condo yet, so we told the kids they were not allowed to get wet.  We did make it out with everyone (mostly) dry, but kids have to see just how close they can get to being submerged in the ocean and still stay dry, amiright? 
This is Newport Beach, one of my favorite places in the world.  I have a lot of memories of going there with my family growing up, and we took the boys there two years ago, so lots of good memories and feelings came flooding back as we walked along.

Everly loved the beach as well, can't you tell?

In one of the little restaurants along the beach the kids saw these beautiful birds, and dared each other to touch them.  Kade won.
Later that week, we went back to Newport beach on a much warmer afternoon, with every intention of letting the kids get wet.  And get wet they did.  These three boys (Ky, Kade, and their cousin Cooper) got right in, and played out in the waves for a very long time.  It was so fun to watch them have a great time!

At first, Krew had no interest in the water, but loved playing in the sand.
 Later, he changed his mind and went out to play in the little waves with his daddy.  It wasn't very long before he face planted into the the water, and I thought for sure he was going to be upset.  But he jumped right up and kept splashing.  He has since told everyone who asks about our trip that he tasted the ocean, and that it is SALTY!

 I didn't get much more than my big toe wet, because I spent most of the time holding a sleeping baby.  But snuggling my sleeping baby at the beach, while watching my husband and boys play in the water, and visiting with my sister-in-law, watching the sun go down, while in southern California?  Ain't nothin' wrong with that!

Is it time to go back yet??!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

baby girl's newborn photos

Aaaaahhhhh!  It has taken me so long to finish editing Everly's newborn photos.  Partly because I have been busy taking care of the beautiful baby pictured below, and partly a whole lot of emotional reasons.  It seemed like every time I sat down to edit these pictures, I was flooded with so many emotions, that I couldn't continue.  Every time I look at these pictures, I am reminded how I was feeling when they were taken.  The first several were taken the very first day we brought her home from the hospital.  I was so relieved to finally have her home, yet I hadn't fully processed everything that had happened during the previous nine days while she was in the NICU.  I was tired, emotional and physically, and as I tried to be the new momma and the photographer all at once, I became a little overwhelmed.  I had already cried over the fact that we may have missed our perfect newborn photo window.  I always try to take newborn photos in the first 7 days after the baby is born, and we brought her home on day 9.  This may sound so trivial, but over the past several years, as I studied photography, and each time I took photos of a tiny new baby girl, I dreamed about what it would be like to take pictures of my own daughter some day.  As her delivery date drew near, I planned and prepped and dreamed of all the magical photos I was finally going to take of my very own tiny princess.  
As I started to take her pictures, only hours after we were finally able to bring her home, I was filled with so much joy and happiness.  She was perfect.  She calmly looked at the camera, she slept soundly and let me pose her.  She may not have been as mold-able as I would have liked, but it didn't matter.  My dream of dressing up and photographing my baby girl had come true.
Another challenge I faced when editing these pictures, which made me stop more than once, was knowing how much to edit them.  It is so clear in many of the pictures with her eyes open, just how yellow her eyes were.  
A large part of me wanted to photoshop the yellow out so that when someone looks at these pictures, their first thought isn't, wow her eyes are so yellow, and they just see the beautiful baby.  In the end, I decided to leave them just as they are, because that is the truth.  These beautiful yellow eyes, and the orange-toned skin in many of the pictures,  help tell her story.

These 38 heel pricks also tell part of her story.  It's going to be a long time before I can look at that photo and not feel a lump in my throat for what my tiny, brand new baby had to go through those first 9 days.  

The blanket that Everly is laying on in the next series of photos was my baby blanket.  As in the blanket that my grandma made me when I was born, and the blanket that was on my bed for most of my childhood.  The edges are tattered and torn from being loved, and my heart swells looking at these pictures of my own baby girl with my cherished baby blanket.

I love taking pictures of babies in their rooms.  I worked so hard on making Everly's room perfect, and since this is a place she will spend a lot of time as she grows up, it will be fun to see how she changes.

Now I've got to fill all those frames with these pictures I finally finished!

I'm so happy that despite the struggles (both real and imagined) with getting these newborn photos, that I have them to look at and remember not only what Everly looked like when she was tiny and new, but also how much I loved her already.  I will cherish these photos forever.