Caitlin + Loren’s – Haiku Mill Wedding, Maui HI / Published Martha Stewart!

It was pure joy shooting this wedding in the first place and then when Martha Stewart Weddings wanted to feature it, I died and went to wedding photography heaven.

It was featured in their 2013 Special Fall Issue. You can also see more images and read some details on their destination wedding here.

After announcing my family’s move to the island of Kauai this coming August, I thought the timing was finally right to share some of my favorite images from this island wedding.

Big thanks to the Haiku Mill for providing such a breathtaking venue. And of course lots of love to Caitlin and Loren for trusting me to document such a beautiful day.

Getting married? I would love to photograph it. Starting August 2014 I will still be shooting in California and beyond but will be Hawaii local. Email me at info@rachelthurston.com or call 310-251-9159

Hope Springs Resort + Joshua Tree

If only we could celebrate our anniversary every month.

For our 5yr we spent two nights swimming in our favorite mineral pools at Hope Springs Resort in Desert Hot Springs (near Palm Springs).

Not a care in the world except soaking, sunning and making life plans. Kind of felt like we were dating again. It was nice.

We spent just a few hours at Joshua Tree to watch the sunset on our anniversary and while we sat in a rock-nest we found we recommitted for another 5yrs. Glad that was the decision we came to. So grateful that amidst the ups and downs of life and marriage we both want to work at it, fight for it, improve it and be grateful for it.

Love you Grant.

(all shot with the contax 645 on Kodak ektar film)

11 Months

Every morning when you wake, we bring you into me and we sleep-eat together.

Sister comes in and joins the fun…which usually includes lots of climbing all over a half asleep mom who just wants 5 more mins to keep her eyes closed.

Those curls! Also, sis really wants you to keep that crown on.

Our sweet pickle checking out the sun.

We had the sweetest conversation after she was a little sad when I tried to fix the blinds.

You love playing in sissy’s room. With the kitchen, dollhouse…you two also do a lot of hugging, pulling, wrestling…

You walking around with that broom. Once you started walking we immediately started making you do chores.

You adore “helping” load or unload dishes.

You insist on having your own spoon while you eat so you can practice feeding yourself. Brilliant much?

Off to Disneyland with fake sleeping and lots of smiles.

This is when sister yells “WE’RE HERE!” Which happens about three minutes after we leave our house.

Double Bugaboo Donkey. Heaven.

We break a lot of rules..like taking our kids down the escalator strapped into their stroller. Shh. Don’t tell.

Unimpressed waiting for another tram. Everyone was oohing and ahhing over you two.

We actually don’t have shoes for you yet. Barefoot at Disney. Pretty adorable.

That face. 

You and Novs doing what you do. I love her picking you up..no matter what we say it happens 30, 000 times a day.

I love pineapple ice cream mom!

Love your Daddy but are always reaching for the one and only Mama.

Boy kissing boy..you trying to eat all my dole float.

Monkeys!!

You climbed up the bench almost throwing yourself over the fence to the ducks. Love all your hands lined up.

If you are reading this and frequent Disney and have never stopped by the Silhouette Studio, do it! So affordable and the artist cuts by hands, with scissors! I was so impressed. I am in love with these profiles.

Mom and Dad took turns riding the new Big Thunder Mountain and then we hit up the Tiki Room (which you two go nutz over)…a fun couple of hours and then heading home.

Leaving around lunchtime means run run running to the car with no one else around.

Tired bubbas fell asleep for naps in about three seconds.

A few hours later, groggy you awake and ready for a snack. You rarely wake up smiley. 

Outside time!! And if you haven’t noticed yet Mom, Nova and Fairbanks all have 4 (yes thats right) 4 outfit changes throughout the course of the day. Dad only 2. Crazy but normal.

You love being outside. I love watching you be outside. Plus this photo kills me dead.

Checking out the neighbors puppies but got nervous and held on to Dad’s neck. Cute.

Love snuggling and feeding you in the hammock. I felt so happy in these moments.

My boys. Heartthrobs.

Big thanks to your Dad for getting shots of me with you two. 

After-meal cleanup needs a hose.

You love water and you always beg for bath time.

For you and your sister from the time you are newborns, after bath time I snuggle you up in a towels and we watch ourselves in the mirror while I sing to you and we just hangout in love. It’s probably my favorite time of the day.

Getting out all of our last bits of energy before bedtime. You like to wander around the house.

You and sis love jumping in your crib every night. Wild animals.

Stories, playtime in Nov’s room. I rubbed lavender on both your tootsies and then bedtime.

We feed together with white noise and your fan and then once you’re ready I snuggle you up in your bed. I feel so blessed to get to spend everyday caring for you and loving you like I do.

You are walking!!

You were taking a few steps at a time last month and standing for long stretches…but then March 16th after I had been gone for the weekend (shooting a wedding for Martha Stewart) you started and didn’t stop.

Your dad called me into Nova’s room and said you had just walked from the kitchen to her bed. We flipped on our phones to record video and you proceeded to walk the whole length of the room to me!! Bravo!!! It was so fun!

If you fall, you can stand up again and start walking without even holding on to anything!

I love it when my kids start walking, because leading up to that time, you want to so bad! It’s frustrating to not be able to move the way you want.

We have never practiced moving with our babies. Any physical progress you make is self-initiated. We just trust you to develop in the timeframe that feels best for you. Baby led growing. We never had “tummy time”…Just always made sense that you would roll onto your belly when you were ready.

I have always felt that clothes and shoes are a little pointless for babies…but now that you are walking I might need to protect your feet on occasion.

This month you have also started trying to put lids on things and fit things together.

We have these big lego blocks that you like to put together and then take apart.

You are eating eating eating. But you do like to feed yourself.

I bought these reusable squeezy pouches that have been heaven sent. We can fill them with all sorts of things, applesauce, yogurt, cream of wheat and you can feed yourself without having to be spoon fed.

You are also a green smoothie champ. Makes me tremendously happy to see you swallow down leafy greens.

You have also started sleeping longer and longer stretches through the night and now are pretty much sleeping through the entire night.

I know this should make me say “YIPPEE” but if I am being honest I always get a little sad when my babies start sleeping through the night. I know it’s twisted. Of course getting longer stretches of sleep makes me feel like a new woman but it is just another reminder of your first year ending and I am sappy and sentimental.

We still breastfeed on demand but I know that is changing because when I have been away from you and pump, the quantity is different. Just proof that you are getting lots of nutrients from other sources now.

Your dad and I went away to Palm Springs for two night to celebrate our 5yr wedding anniversary. It was the first time we had left you without either one of us at home. It was a big deal. Grandma Thurston flew in to love you guys up. I can tell you had a great time….but it was pretty magical when we walked in the front door and your face lit up.

Your smiley eyes are laser beams of joy.

We were at the beach last night as a family and at one point dad wrapped a towel around you while I was holding you and you just looked at both of us with those laser beam eyes and the three of us experienced a super duper in love moment.

You are all about water, playing with the water table, crawling around in the grass and dirt.

If you hear the bathtub filling up you beeline it to the bathroom and make it very clear that you want in.

But as soon as you are done you are done. Its fun watching you be fairly decisive. If you are done taking a bath, you know it. If you want a drink and not a cracker, it’s clear. You want mom and not dad, there is no mistaking that one.

You always prefer me. NEVER gets old. Best self esteem boost. Makes me forget about all the extra weight I have to lose and the bra-less outfit I have been sporting all day. When you reach for me I am a super model.

You and Nova have started to play really well with each other. Give and take, giggles, wrestling. I think stuff will start to get really fun once you are able to run with her.

She still needs to work on not pulling you or forcing you to do things….but she does have good ideas, so I can’t really blame her. Like in the tub she wants you to lean back on her so she can be Mr. Nathan, the swim teacher, and you can be the student. “Kick kick kick” she says. She also likes to tell you “It’s OK, it’s tear-free, bubbas”, when you are getting your hair rinsed.

Today after you woke up she brought her blankie to you and asked if you wanted it. Super sweet.

Yesterday she was playing in mud in the backyard and as soon as she heard you peep on the monitor she was begging for me to get you so you could play in the mud with her. “Will we just wash his jammies after?” “No I will just take them off, so he can get dirty with you”. “ OK!! Go get him!!”

We obviously go to Disneyland all the time since we live so close we met up last week with cousins that were in town. It was the first time you were a little scared on pirates. You didn’t want to face out but wanted me to hold you close and be cheek to cheek. Adorbs.

Bubbas, Bubs, Bubbies….seem to be the nicknames of choice although does on occasion call you “princess baby brother”…so maybe that counts? When I go to get you after you wake up I always call you “Zu Zus”. You have to be there.

I am in the middle of trying to make some fun birthday plans for your 1st. Although you know every age is my favorite I am always so excited to celebrate milestones with you.

I did the same with Novs, but for your 11 month shoot I wanted to show what your day looks like. These are the types of images I know I will treasure so much. I wanted it to be a somewhat normal day and believe it or not going to Disneyland is a normal occurrence for us. I struggled wanted to shoot this with film but wanting to post while you were still 11mos so digital won. They aren’t perfect but I love them so.

I will eat you alive my yummy nummy yummy boy.

 

xo-

Mom

 

Kate’s Birth

She came in the middle of the night. Swinging down from the stars like so many babies do.

Her mama was ready and proved it by bringing me to tears. She spoke with a light southern accent and wept when she finally had sweet kate in her arms.

I am convinced there is nothing more attractive than a partner supporting a birthing mother. Especially when the birthing mother is delivering natural, with just her body and her mind. He supported and loved and never left her side. He did everything he could to be there with her. Once his baby girl was born one of the first things he did was touch her skin and rub some of the vernix on his crows feet. I mean, come on. I was in love.

And so was that family with each other. Three brothers and their baby sister.

When you are invited (paid even!) to witness a baby entering the world, you know life is pretty great. I feel lucky. So so lucky.

(midwife to star swinging babies: Lindsey Meehleis from OC Midwifery. She delivered Fairbanks and I adore her)

10 Months

I can’t lie…your 10th month flew by. Before I knew it you were 11 months and then almost one.

I knew before you and your sister were even born that I wanted to really document the best I could the thoughts and feelings and images of your first year. I knew it would be hard to keep up once you got older but that first year is so formative. I wanted these monthly synopses to really focus on the transition we as a family had once you were here in the flesh. I want you to be able to look back, and while reading, know without a doubt what an integral part you are of our family. I want you to know that from the very beginning nothing mattered more to me than the responsibility of caring for you. Listening to you. Knowing you.

Some people think that because you are so young and won’t “remember” that things like your birth or your first year may not affect you all that much. But that is wrong. Incorrect. I believe with all my heart and mind that you were smart and aware before you were even born. Capable of thinking, feeling and internalizing all of it. I know that so much of what has happened in the last 10 months has formed little connections in your mind.

If this journaling does nothing else I hope it tells you this: You Matter.

You are loved beyond any words I have to describe love. You are a thought in my mind constantly. Every part of you makes me swell with pride and happiness. The moments when you stand on your own or take your first couple of steps (which you did this month!) and the moments when we get through something challenging…like a long night of teething or a weekend when we had to be apart while I worked. Growing with you is what I am doing. When you point at a bird for the first time, something in me changes too. When you copy my sounds and we sing together, something happens that can’t be reversed.  Little connections you and I are making. Bonding us closer and closer to one another.

My hope is this bonding will help us through the experiences that are sure to come that will rock us. The moments when there is hurt or fear. We can rely on each other for strength and for comfort. We can KNOW that we are secure. That is why I am doing this. Proof.

This month I want to share a couple of songs I have written for you.

I know my days are limited where you will want to lay in my arms being soothed by me.

Feeding you and holding you before you go down for naps or bedtime are some of my most treasured moments.

The lights are dim, the sounds are calming and I stroke your hair and touch your cheek while my arms hold you tight.

When you were younger and these moments where longer, I did on occasion read on my phone while you feed but this month I stopped doing that. I just look at you and meditate.

This month while I hold you and sing to you, you have started watching me while I do this. Really watching me. I can tell you recognize the words. Your bright little eyes light up and watch me as I sing my feelings.

I wrote your lullaby the day your cousin Charlie was born driving back from the hospital. The lyrics and melody just came in a matter of minutes.

Fairbanks Mitchell Porter the first

We wanted you here, then you came to earth

Hugging, kissing and giggling too

Fairbanks, your Mama loves you.

I love you, I love you I’ll sing it to the sky

I love you, I love you as I look into your eyes

Run with me through this meadow

Baby hold my hand

Fairbanks, your mama’s favorite little man.

(alternate ending: Run with me through this meadow, throw your arms round me tight. Fairbanks, with you here, everything is right).

 

This other song I wrote while you were only a month or so. We had just finished eating and you were lying on my legs.

I just love you so much

I just wanted you to know

I never will leave you

I’ll go wherever you go

I love you more than one

I love you more than two

You could count forever and it would still be too few

I just love you so much

I just wanted you to know…

 

Over and over we sing these songs, in varying ways. Your sister has them memorized and sometimes will break out in “I just love you so much!!!!”

And we do!  Happy 10 months to my sweet, climby, on the verge of walking boy.

I am so happy you are mine.

xo-

Mom

 

Grandma Henriksen

 

My grandparents built this house and all of my mother’s childhood memories of home are here.

Pine Tree Drive.

My grandparents have 9 children. My grandma gave birth 9 times.

One of those babies never made it home from the hospital, my Aunt April.

The whole family would sit at the big family table for dinner.

My Grandpa used to tell us he liked doing dishes…as he hummed melodies and tried to flick us with dish towels.

The main bathroom upstairs had a laundry shoot. We weren’t suppose to go down it, so we all did.

My Grandma kept her lipstick in the cupboard. I would open up the tube and take sniffs because I liked the smell of grown-up stuff.

They also had a toothbrush for every single one of their grandkids. I am pretty sure they have 44 grandkids (but I lose count).

They had, what felt like, hundreds of music boxes. The wood chopping one was my favorite.

There are always orangecicles in the garage freezer.

Poppies always bloom in the spring.

I had sleepovers with my cousins there. My Grandma would put us to bed with warm milk and leave surprises under our pillows.

Bacon and cantaloupe will always remind me of breakfast in their house. Floating pancakes too.

The tin of goldfish never runs dry.

When I was in the basement laundry room staring at that wallpaper I always kind of felt like I had gotten into a time machine.

We reenacted the nativity on Christmas Eves in the downstairs family room.

We watched The Littlest Angel on the TV.

Heartbroken, after getting divorced, I moved into that basement. I would cry myself to sleep feeling comforted by the fact that my mom had slept in that same room as a child and used the same bathroom. One Sunday morning while I was living there I climbed into bed with my Grandma and we watched Music and the Spoken Word and I asked her all about what it was like to give birth to her babies. I asked her how she felt after my Grandpa died. She missed him and so did I. I am grateful I had that morning.

A lot of these images won’t make sense to everyone…but that’s OK. They make sense to me and probably to my cousins.

Happy 90th birthday to my sweet amazing maternal Grandmother. Thank you for saying that every age is your favorite and that life just keeps getting better and better. Thank you for giving us our daughter’s middle name. Thank you for talking nonstop about Fiji and prophets. Thank you for being such a bright happy spot in my life. Thank you loving me and letting me know I matter to you when so many people do. When I am one on one with you I always feel like the favorite. That’s what makes you magic.

Grandma Mary Lou

I constantly have a running list of things I want to photograph burning a hole in my mind. It never gets smaller. No matter how many things I finish shooting on the list, another one jumps on, making it the never ending list of ideas.

For months, years really, one of the items on my list has been to photograph both of my grandmothers in the spaces they live in. Details of the homes that hold so many memories and feelings for me and I know other members of the family. The way it feels to see the front door. The shapes and colors and light that holds everything in place.

I know how special it is to have had such an amazing relationship with both of my grandmothers. And to have them both living while I start my own family is a treasure. One that I don’t want to waste. So finally this last September I was able to squeeze in a few hours between other shoots to visit them in their homes and finally make these shoots happen. I would have liked days photographing each of them, but with a newborn and toddler at home one precious hour is what I had.

This is my Grandmother Mary Lou. We call her “Gram”.

Before she lived here, her parents lived here. I would visit my Grandma and Grandpa Great on Sundays. We would run up to the phone to dial to be buzzed in. Then up the elevator to 7th heaven (and when you leave you go down to _elL). The elevator would open and the door to the apartment would always be opened and smiley wrinkly people would be waiting for you. When my Great Grandparents passed away and after my Grandfather Thurston passed away, my Grandma moved back from La Jolla, California. She had lived there with my grandfather for 15yrs. She moved back into this gorgeous condo overlooking the Salt Lake valley, adding another layer to the memories the space holds.

She grew up on Oahu and I love being able to see “Hawaii” when I am in her space. Most of the floral artwork in her home was done by her niece Jenny Jenkins Christensen. She is barefoot most of the time she is home. I love this, as my number one life goal is to never have to wear shoes.

Oh how I love this women. She has always been the best listener and still to this day can remember by name my childhood friends. She always stayed up to date on all the relationships I was in and in her heart of heart has always wanted happiness and love for each of her grandchildren. She is one of the most accepting women I know. She loves everyone and never once in my life have I felt less loved by her, even when I have made dumb mistakes. She loves me the same, even with my flaws. I grew up loving to shop with her at the naval bases. She taught me the art of making an “eggy with a hat on top”. The beds in her guest bedroom always had those bumpy mattress pads. She has always had a thing for Elvis and we would watch Blue Hawaii with her as we slept at the foot of her bed.

Her and my Grandpa had 3 kids (my father is the oldest). During the first 15yrs of their marriage he was gone for 7 of those while he served in the Marines. She moved with him and her family all over the world. 7yrs away from her husband….raising kids on her own and having to make new friends every couple of years. So so impressive.

I could go on and on about how wonderful she is and how much she means to me. She loves family and photos and being with us. And I love being with her. I feel so grateful to have had so many one on one moments with her and she has deeply blessed my life. I hope one day I have a granddaughter that feels the way about me that I feel for her.

Gram, thank you for letting me take some photos of you and your home. Thank you for creating a space I have always felt comfortable and welcome in. I love you so much.

 

 

 

 

 

9 Months

What an amazing month of loving you it has been.

I keep telling your dad, in an almost panic, that you are almost 1 and he keeps reminding me to ease up and let you just be the age you are. So I did. I tried my best to just let you be 9 months this whole month.

I know how quickly all of this baby stuff passes so I am taking every opportunity to slow down and “see” you.

An extra 10 seconds in the tub letting myself be fully present and only thinking about all of your delicious pudgy parts.

When I feed you before sleep, I am putting away my smart phone and just looking at you in silence as your eyes get heavier and heavier.

When I rock you and your wrap your body around mine, I walk over to the mirror in your room so I can watch us sway and move. I want to see you small in my arms.

I am crushing hard on your light brown curls that gather on the back of your head.

I am loving you doing things for reactions and waiting for them. You throw yourself spread eagle on the couch or sisters bed and then wait, with a twinkle in your eyes, for one of us to tickle you or come in for a wrestle.

We were driving back from Costco late one night and you were hungry and ready for bed and so understandably a little sad. I found this little toy and put it in my mouth and and spit in out over and over and you laughed SO hard. It doesn’t take much for me to get a sweet little grin or even a belly laugh.

Lots of amazing balance with your strong legs and amazing strength.

Your favorite game is climbing on the small rocking chair and standing on it while rocking it back and forth. At first when I saw you doing this I was terrified…but now you can climb up and climb off with ease.

I even saw you back off the couch by yourself this last week.

I also watched you pull yourself up the front of your crib. I need to video that as proof.

It’s so nice for you to feel so confident moving. I am so happy for you that you have that freedom and the choice of where you want to go and when.

We have never used a baby gate with you and try to just keep the house safe so you can explore away.

You love eating but always want me to top you off when you are done.

We have branched out and let you try and eat all sorts of things this month. Blueberries, cottage cheese, asparagus, bread, pasta. You are really good about trying it all but still prefer nursing. Which is fine by me. I am happy to nurse on demand. Works for us.

You do use a straw and sippy as well which kills me when you do because it makes you look so grown up.

You are more interested in books and I love reading the animal one to you where you touch fur. You are so curious.

It’s been a wild month because you had fevers twice. Which was NOT cool and scared your poor old mom.

The first time it was for 3 days and you were miserable. I even contemplated taking you to the ER because I was so freaked out. Taking medicine is hard for you but you were brave and let us help you. All I could do was hold you and feed you and be there for you. It’s in those moments that I really feel like this is what parenting is all about. Helping you. Loving you. And not wanting to do anything but that. I feel so blessed that I get to be the one to soothe you when you feel miserable. My love for you feels so fierce in those moments.

In the end you had roseola and survived. To my delight! You must always survive. Okay dokey?

Starting to feel like I need to dress you more.

I really think I am the type of mom that should be raising my babies in a tropical paradise because clothes and especially restrictive clothes seem utterly unnecessary for babies. But I can’t help but feel the social pressure to have jeans for you..or maybe a pair of shoes. I can’t believe your mom is such a hippie.

You found the slide and the swing and giggle and giggle when you are on them.

I still wear you a lot in the carrier..but not as much. You want to move so much now that to wear you we must be on the go.

Sleeping has changed. You rarely sleep in bed with me anymore. Your stretches are longer and longer and you really are just starting to sleep better with more space from me. Sad face but it’s OK. I can’t lie and say that the 8.5hrs of straight sleep you gave me last night wasn’t incredible.

Calling you Buh Buh’s a lot. Sister calls you that too. So cute.

She talks a lot about keeping you safe. “I’ll protect him mom” as she hovers over you while you climb off her mattress on the floor.

She keeps telling me she wants alone time with you and wants you two to play alone in her room with the door closed. I have to explain to her that you are still a little baby and I need to see what you are up to. I am just so glad you two have each other.

She loves coming in to your room when you wake up. Copying my sing songy voice as we greet you. “ A da zoozies!” “A da my zoozie baby!” I actually say these things to you and she copies. It’s some weird baby greeting language that has developed for you and your sister. Dad thinks I am a crazy baby lady (and I am).

My favorite is watching you with pure glee up on your one knee, bouncing and clapping your hands.

And you crawling around the house looking for me saying “ Mamamamamama…” will never ever get old. You reach for me and I reach for you.

You talk a lot to me. About this and about that.

You have also started laying in my arms while you are tired and just looking at me while I sing to you. Almost like you are singing yourself to sleep. I am you and you are me.

I am obsessed with the fact that we are so close. So connected. So intertwined.

You are yourself but not quite like another person. You kind of feel like one of my body parts. Other moms get this, right?

Such a fun fun fun happy age.

Hands down my favorite development this month was the attachment you formed to your blankie. Without fail, everytime we go to pick you up out of your crib you are holding one of the silky corners. Nova was never this way with a blanket and I am loving watching you form opinions about what you like and don’t like.

You have also started laying on my shoulder when you are tired. Almost like a hug.

I have to remind myself that I like every stage you are at the best. So far this one wins.

This month I wanted your photos to be about your relationships with each member of your family. We are all so attached and connected to each other and I want to remember what that looked like.

Today you gave me a kiss out of the blue. Ahhhhhh!!!

We are all so madly in love with you Fairbanks. So thankful for my sweet boy

xxoo- Mom

Morgan + Brock’s Engagements

Yep. It’s true. I get to shoot these two on their wedding day in June. Lucky me.

The weather will look slighty different which may make me a little sad since this was so fun to shoot in. The upside to snow is, gorgeous. The downside, numb body parts. We shot all these frames in about 30mins and that was plenty of time. I think any longer and Morgan might have turned in to Anna in that Frozen lake scene (frozen ice sculpture).

While editing these I keep thinking about how much I really love shooting couples.

Thank you two for making my trip to Utah complete with a snowy photoshoot. Lets flip it on it’s head in June and frolic through some flowers!

Esther + Jacob’s Wedding- Los Angeles, CA

Never going to be mad about a rainy day wedding. Perfectly diffused light..people huddled together for warmth..Can you say romantic? Then add a super rad couple who is up for anything and great photographic moments are bound to happen.

I don’t usually post group shots..but I had to post that one. It just kind of summed up the feeling of the whole day.

I was in love with all those drenched umbrellas and Jacob’s shy little smile. What a sweet guy. Esther was an absolute goddess…but I really expected no less. She is pure gold. Can’t wait for them to fill a house with LOADS of cute babies.

Congratulations you two!! Thank you so much for getting soaked with me.

(and in case you were wondering, that is a rope swing:))

 

(shot on contax 645 with portra 400 and a classic canon 5d)

 

 

 

The Stanley Family- San Francisco, CA

If you haven’t heard about the blog Say Yes To Hoboken, or the stylish author, Liz…then you have been living under a rock. You must check it out.

I am friends with Jared and Liz from the days when we were all happily living in New York City. It was so nice to be able to photograph these first moments for them as a family of four and get to catch up on each others lives.

It was such a lovely couple of hours. Pretty soft light, late afternoon snuggly energy and a newborn baby that was itty. How sweet are both of their kids?

Thank you so much for letting me glimpse inside your home during such a special time.

Check out Liz’s post on our shoot here.

Cathleen + Josh’s Wedding- Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles

This is the first wedding I have ever shot on a Tuesday afternoon.

I shot for 2hrs, at a wedding that had 9 guest (10 including me), on a tuesday afternoon. I was pretty much in wedding photography heaven.

It’s not that I don’t love big weddings. Big weddings have magic that is all their own…but super small weddings are harder to come by and you end up swimming in intimacy, which is my favorite place to swim.

Cathleen and Josh, you were a delight to shoot. It was hard keeping it together while both your eyes welled with tears during your vows and I loved our photoshoot adventure around Little Toyko after the ceremony. THANK YOU for having me be there and for sending me home with a delicious box of food.

So much love for both of your sweet families.

Ceremony and Tea at the Chado Tea Room, Downtown Los Angeles.

(Shot with a Contax 645 and Canon e0s3 on portra 400, 160 and trix 400)

2013

Big thanks to Elise Capener for getting these shots of my little family.

I can’t lie and say 2013 has been a walk in the park (although we did walk to quite a few parks). It was a miraculous year with Fairbanks joining the team but also a super challenging one for some personal reasons. What?! There are things I don’t share online? I know, shocker.

What I do know is I love my family more than I ever knew I  could. I would do anything for them.

My goal for 2014 is to think of them more and myself less. Serve them better, love them more. I have a feeling if I do that it will work out to my benefit as well.

(and maybe I could blog more???)

Happy New Year!

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8 Months

As we near the end of your 8th month I am amazed at how much you have matured.

We had a doctors appt for you this last week and as you layed there on the table in your little diaper and teething necklace…I had to take a minute and really take in how much you have grown.

The way you even look at me is different.

You are starting to say so much more with your eyes.

And you have gotten so vocal! Yelling, blabbering. Your dad calls it “motor boating” because you make these little spuddering lip noises all the time.

Heartthrob.

You reach for me with your arms. I scoop you up.

This last week I was in NYC for work and stuff and was away from you guys for 2 nights. While I was away it’s like you turned a new leaf as far as eating and sleeping.

You now gladly eat solids and beg for them. Pears, apples, any steamed veggies. You love doing it yourself and are so good at it.

Today I watched as you figured out how to drink water from a sippy cup.

Today was also the day that you finally made it into the fireplace. I was cleaning in the kitchen and you got awfully quiet in the family room. I checked on you and sure enough you have surpassed our pillow blockade and your little hand was in ash.

At 8 months how do you know not to make a sound if you don’t want to be caught?

Sister is bonkers for you.

She loves feeding you and asks all the time if she can help.

She also claps for you when you eat food saying in her mockery mom voice, “Good job bu buhs!! Good eating!!”.

Sister also likes to be on choking patrol. “Baby brother can’t play with my tiny turtle, he’ll choke on it”. That’s right Novs. It is our job as your family to keep you safe.

She loves making you laugh or smile. She will ask if she can bounce your foot and then jump up and down while holding on to your foot in our arms. It never fails to make you grin.

You like to fall asleep on your own now. I still feed you right before but our time together is shorter. True it has free’d up hours of my day but I watch you on the monitor and wonder if I shouldn’t come in and have you sleep in my arms.

As much time as soothing a baby to sleep takes, I value it so much. It is the one time when it is just you and me. And it only lasts while you are a baby.

You love to stroke my arm or talk to me now as we relax and eat together.

I love you so much, I feel like crying even typing how it feels to have those special quiet moments with you.

You love pushing our little chairs around the house walking behind them.

You like climbing up steps.

You LOVE the bath. Seriously nutsos for bathtime. And so daring. Giving me a heart attack always wanting to crawl into the deep end.

You have the sweetest 4 teeth with more on the way. Your hair is getting longer and lighter with little curls.

If one of us shakes our head at you, you will mimick and shake back.

If I laugh you will laugh back.

If I smile you smile.

You love watching and learning about the world around you.

The other day in the car Nova was yelling at you, “brother don’t look out the window, look at me!!”

You want nothing to do with the blender but can’t get enough of the recycling bin.

Right now your favorite toys are the wooden stick that we use to lock the sliding door, paper and anything that sister doesn’t want you to touch.

Oh!!! and you LOVE doors. Prying open, slamming…you especially love the little kitchen because there are loads of doors just your size for you to slam and open, slam and open.

I try to read you books but all you want to do is eat them.

You still love the nuzzle game. “uhhhhhhhhhh…get you get you get you!!” as I nuzzle and kiss your neck. I love pulling back during this game to get a look at your face. Your eyes shine and you have the look of pure contentment and happiness as you wait for your attention.

Oh to be a baby.

It’s impossible for these words or photos to really explain how I feel for you…but I am going to keep trying.

Loving you feels so incredible.

xxoo- Mom

7 Months

My little buddy

I am writing this so much later in the month than I usually do. Typically I write these near the first part of the month..and this is at the end. Which I kind of don’t mind. I get to look back through your 7th month and write a little bit about what has already happened. A true update on what your 7th month was like.

I’ll just start by saying it was pretty great.

I have this strange feeling you will be walking before 12mos. BUT I could be totally wrong. That is your decision. You are just already pushing stuff around the house, like the laundry basket or play cars, walking behind them.

You crawl FAST. Pull yourself up to standing. Walk around furniture and started this fun thing this month where you stand only lightly holding on with one hand. It’s pretty fun to watch.

You fall. A lot. But we are there to catch you or almost catch you every time you do.

I wonder if there is any correlation with head bumps and intelligence (I kid).. Because you probably bump your head 10 times a day. You have so much you want to do and CAN do there is really no way to stop it. You are a force and we are mere spectators.

You are such a sweet sweet boy.

Constantly smiling at me and looking for me.

You crawl towards me saying “ma ma ma ma”.

The other morning you woke up on me with, I kid you not, bedhead.

Your hair is getting longer and your sweaty morning bedhead kills me.

You sleep so hot and often I find a little wet spot on the sheets from where your head was. New nickname “heater head”.

You have 4 teeth in already and it hasn’t been the easiest road.

Lots of teeth and teething mean lots of needing to chew.

We are trying to eat but you have preferences. You don’t want to be spoon fed. You like to hold whole foods like a half a banana, cooked broccoli, a green bean. You are a big boy and can do things on your own.

Except when it comes to sleeping.

You’ve been loving napping or trying to nap on me all day long.

Kind of hard to have happen when sister needs me too. The having two kids thing is sometimes tricky.

You are a great BFeeder but like to do it in a dark quiet room alone with me. You will watch the door until dad and sister are completely out and the door is closed. Then on occasion you will only take a couple sips and then want to get down, look around or, your favorite thing is playing with the curtains while you are still on my lap. You will turn towards them with a giant grin on your face waiting for me to give you attention for wanting to play with them. “You sneaky baby!! Babies aren’t supposed to play with curtains! Excuse me, we are supposed to be eating!!”.

It’s the little things.

We busted out Dad’s old baby clothes and I died and went to cute heaven when you put on his light blue sweatsuit from the 70s. So fun.

Your poor nails get so long and sharp and then you scratch your face up.

You rub your eyes and your ears when you are sleepy and your little nails get you. Makes it look like you are getting in fights.

You smile ear to ear when sister gives you so much attention first thing in the mornings. She coos at you imitating the way I do.

You like to play with anything she touches. She has her moments when she loves sharing with you and times when she doesn’t want you to touch anything she is playing with.

She has started picking you up and carrying you to us. The look on your face as she does this is priceless. It says, “Mom, is this really happening?”.

She likes to “help” you move..but pushing, pulling. We are teaching Nova to let you move on your own. She’s ready for her playmate to be a bit bigger. That doesn’t mean you get permission to grow up any faster mister.

I keep reminding myself lately that this is all temporary. All the hard day in and day out work and more importantly all of the amazing day in and day out.

I wont be tired forever. You won’t be teething forever. I won’t have all this extra baby weight forever. You won’t let me hold you while you sleep forever.

I’m trying to be in the moment. Dirty dishes, in our jammies and my two babies crawling all over me.

I feel grateful. Thankful. My life is composed of eating schedules, naps, soothing, tickling and lots of kissing and hugging and being close…so close to you and your sister.

Your dad and I are crazy about you two. We are out of this world tired and out of this world in love.

I know I will look back with fondness on the time in my life when our worlds revolved around this simple home life.

Love you so much buh buhs, buddy, sweet boy, baby brother, Fairbanks.

Thank you for making my days so filled with love and purpose.

xxoo-Mom