Monday, May 7, 2018

March and April

My dog has mad balance skills and my daughter thinks it is hilarious! 
(No animals were harmed in the making of this photo. The blocks are foam and this adorable girl was heavily rewarded with dog treats after her amazing performance!)

Azure Bielefeldt
The current stage of my body, how I spend my days, my world - all wrapped up in one photograph.

In search of mom friends: Must enjoy drinking wine in their pj's during naptime. 

40weeks and 2 days pregnant with baby #2. Growing rather impatient!

Motherhood has been very difficult for me lately, so I am trying to heal this feeling of not being "enough" with selfportraits of motherhood ...for me and for my children

Family beach time

23 weeks

One girl, two girls, three girls! 

24 weeks

My heart is full. I can’t picture our family without you even though you’ve only been out in this world for a week. You bring so much joy into our lives and we are so incredibly blessed. Knowing that the only way to be able to hold you in my arms would be to have a c-section was a scary thought. But it was worth it. You are so worth it. I love you Caleb Brian Ellis. I am honored to be your mama. 

A glimpse at an early morning baking sessions just so we could have that special one-on-one time together.  
In the stillness and quiet of our home, we whispered while we stirred ingredients, sharing in smiles, quieted giggles, and closeness. Sometimes we watched our biscuits or muffins bake, taking in each extra minute of togetherness.
Moments like this are the treasures of my life and what I most want to remember. I hope he remembers them too.

I've been trying to really LIVE in the little moments with my son, and not have the camera attached to my face. A few times a week we take showers together, every time I say to myself "I need to take some photos of this, these are such special moments" and every time I say to myself "next time". But then the other night I realized how much we take those words for granted, next time. So I gave in and grabbed my camera and snapped only a few shots, these are what I hope to look back on when i'm old and grey, when my house is silent and empty and to feel those shower droplets on my shoulder, to look down and see my baby's little body playing in the water and to just remember in these moments are when I felt the most alive.

I was sitting there drinking my coffee and thought "this is a daily mundane moment that won't always be" and I grabbed a nearby laundry basket, flipped it upside down, put my camera on it, and took this ;) I love the way she is watching me here.

I was completely content being a 'boy mama' to these FOUR energetic, loud, messy boys... and then came this beautiful unexpected, unplanned surprise! We can't wait to meet baby GIRL in just over a week!

The natural power of breastfeeding is one of the greatest wonders of the world. It is about real love. It is about caring and celebrating the wondrous joy of nurturing a new life. It is about enjoying being a woman.

My love could not be more fierce for any of my children; adopted or biological. My heart could explode with how much I love these four.

Doing laundry in a top load washer at 40 weeks pregnant is not for the faint of heart!

Tricia Satorius

You are so worth it, my boy. 
I remember when I was in high school, I would say things like “I’m not ever going to have kids, I don’t want to wreck my body.” when my family would joke around about the future. That quickly changed after I got married. When I had my daughter, everyone was telling me that I don’t want to have a c-section. That it would be horrible and more painful than a vaginal birth, which scared me. So when I was able to give birth vaginally, I was at ease and excited to meet my baby girl. When I got pregnant with Caleb and learnt that he was not gaining weight and not progressing the way he should have been in my last few weeks of pregnancy, and the fact that he was breach, I knew I would have to have a c-section to get him out. And you know what... I wasn’t scared. I obviously didn’t want to have one if I didn’t have to, but if it meant getting him out safe and healthy, I’m all for it. We scheduled a c-section and when the day finally arrived, I was overflowing with so many emotions. I was anxious, excited, nervous, hungry, but I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared of the surgery, and I definitely wasn’t scared of wrecking my body. Because now I understood. I’m not wrecking my body... my body is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. I’m growing tiny humans. The birth may not have gone they way I wanted but, now that I have you, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the selflessness that motherhood is all about. I will wear this scar as a badge of honor and pride, because you my dear Caleb, are so incredibly worth it.

We took a family daytrip, a drive we have taken many times before. But this time, I noticed something new. As we sped past, I caught a glimpse of this artwork from road. I might have shocked my husband a little bit when I yelled "STOP THIS CAR!" but we circled back, and it was so worth it.

This might be my most favorite self portrait I have ever taken because it represents my first official photography project with my daughter. I was part of a ten-person team for a project called "The Traveling Dress" and this image is a behind the scenes look at what my daughter and I created during our time with the dress. This was a day I believe we will both remember forever. For her, it was exploring some new places with just her mom, without any siblings in tow. For me, it was seeing my beautiful girl in all of the innocence of a toddler, while catching a glimpse of the gorgeous woman she will become. More about the Traveling Dress Collective

It was my son's first time in the front seat of a shopping cart. The store was empty. And we really didn't have anywhere else to be. So a quick shopping trip to pick up eggs turned into a ridiculous amount of fun! These types of days of making unexpected memories are the days I treasure most.

This boy. He's my first. He's the most like me, in the good ways and bad ways. I could never list all the reasons I love him but the fact that he ALWAYS needs two hugs at bedtime and when it's quiet, maybe in the car or wherever, he always breaks the silence with "love you"... He's creeping in on 12. The oldest and kindest soul I know

Hold your babies tight and cherish every single moment you have with them. ANYTHING could happen in the blink of an eye.

Shannon Douglas
I know that the reality of my portrait may be hard for some to look at and I never want to cause any unnecessary pain. Recently, another mother in this group shared an image of her necklace that reminds her of her lost baby and it inspired me to photograph my whole motherhood story as well. As with most things, our family is not what it looks like from the surface. We are so lucky to have 4 healthy, vibrant children. We also have 3 children that were lost between 13-16 weeks. Two girls and a boy (these are their urns). Taking this self portrait was honestly hard yet it felt nice to be in a picture with them again. I miss them, I ache for them, I dream of holding them again. We have our rainbow baby here now and although her birth was healing after their deliveries, the void is still there. Sometimes the hurt feels good, it makes them real again. Life after miscarriage/ baby loss is hard, I struggle with the heaviness of it all but my hope is that my self portrait not only helps me feel connected to them again for a moment but that it helps other loss mothers know they aren't alone.

My hubby wanted me to come look at the pretty colors the sunset was making. We decided to play Peter Pan with self portraiture as well!

Live for the moments you can’t put into words.

Third trimester. Not to brag, but I haven't had a mood swing in like 7 minutes. 

I don't know who you'll be, but I know you'll be my everything.
23 weeks with our third boy.

For 9 months I was wearing pink glasses and was expecting to have a baby here surrounded by colourful flowers and beautiful butterflies. Then reality kicked me so hard, it still hurts!

The birth was way too long, breastfeeding way too painful for months. Husband works way too much, family is way too far. I am exhausted. And lonely. I talk all day but no one really answer. I am looking for unreal communication on social media, just to have the feeling someone cares about me. I worry every day. If I am good enough. If I can do this. Sometimes I am tired to play with him. To go for a walk. To speak. To smile. I am losing my patience. And a bit my personality. I still pretend most of the time that everything is fine. There are dark days. But then his smile changes everything. 
Do I want my life back before him? Not for a second!

Dorothy Thomas
This is my first post here. Today they told me my son likely has Autism Spectrum Disorder. I sat across from a child psychologist today as my son ran amok in his tiny office. It’s looking like it. You’re saying yes to a lot of these questions. He doesn’t have conversations. Does he always spin like that? Does he run back and forth a lot like that? I’d spent nearly a year and half in early intervention waiting for an answer. Praying he’d outgrow the delays. Praying the behaviors would stop. Praying and praying and praying. I love this boy so fiercely, so completely and so helplessly. I took this picture tonight because I want to remember this moment. To look back and see how far we’ve come. I pray that I’ll look back on today and smile. That I’ll see the lonely moment as the beginning of a beautiful journey. That we’ll all be stronger for it. That it won’t define or limit him. That I’ll carve out a place for him wherever we are. That I’ll go to war for him everyday. That I’ll be his safe space, his home base, his rock. I’ve got you baby. I’ve got you.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Jan-Feb Self Portraits

I am a mama of 3 wild ones! I love to document our days and their little details that make them up. This photo is just a real, raw look into my daily life. I want to capture the messy and dirty, along with the sweet and smiley.
Being a family of five, living in the UK with these small washers and dryers is a challenge at time! But I'm going to sit here and embrace it!

 Vanessa Barrow
Low light, low shutter speed, low cal, no sugars, no gluten ---hello, whole 30 challenge!

Feeding my 4th baby...and he will be my last. What a gift to have this special moment of motherhood captured between us. Nothing in the world compares to this baby-mommy bond...nothing.

In November 2016, under some bizarre circumstances, I discovered I had a 13 year old half sister... After living 25 years of my life as an only child, to say this news was a shock would be an understatement. I would come to find out that her mom had passed away from cancer that June and she was now living with her grandparents. The amount of emotions I felt that month, rocked me to my core. Here this girl was; my sister. 13 years old, having recently lost her mother and not knowing our father. I couldn't handle it, I had to be a part of her life.
Fast forward to August 2017 -- We took a trip to Colorado and I was able to meet my sister for the first time. I see so much of myself in her, it's crazy! We're both silly, tall, lanky, brown-haired, blue-eyed, animal-loving artists, with extensive Pokemon and Beanie Baby collections. I can't believe we shared the same last name, lived in the same town for ten years and we never knew one another existed! I haven't seen our dad in nearly twenty years and she hasn't seen him in nearly ten. Our dad might not be in our lives, but I'm so incredibly grateful that I get to be in her's.

The night before my oldest's first day of 1st grade. I took a photo of me carrying him to bed, before his first day of Kindergarten. I figured I'd continue the tradition, because one of these days, he'll be too big for me to carry.

Our husbands watched the kids, while we went out for dinner, margaritas, and a trip to Hobby Lobby. #bestdayever

Eight years ago, we found out we were going to be parents. After only dating for a month and teenagers at the time, our lives were about to change forever. We were scared of what the future might hold. The following day, my boyfriend showed up on my doorstep with flowers to celebrate our first Valentine's day. That's when I knew everything was going to be alright. One year later, that man proposed to me. And two years after that, we planned a spontaneous wedding at the courthouse, before he embarked on his career path to becoming an Air Traffic Controller. We now live in Texas, my husband is thriving in his ATC career, while I'm able to stay at home and raise our two amazing little boys. I could not have pictured a more perfect future.

Carra Rathbun Photography
It may not technically the greatest or the best light situation, etc.....but our kids LOVE our dance parties in the kitchen, so I wanted to document the times that we crank up the music and all go crazy. My 2018 goal was to be just to shoot unhindered by all the "rules" I try to follow. To shoot no matter if lighting was ideal or location was the best....I don't want to miss moments because I was waiting for the ideal.   Because moments always win

Holding the moment it all became real.

Rachael Ramirez
It's not exactly a self portrait because my then 9 year old took it, but he got a pic of me nursing in the pick up line at school while sewing his costume together. You can see his reflection. I forgot all about this until I was organizing old photos.

Snuggle Bunnies

Tonight, I took a relaxing bath alone.

Just kidding; I'm a mom.

But really, these are the moments that I never even used to consider capturing myself. I thought if I wanted to be in any of the photos, I would need to book a photo session with another photographer. But the thing is, these funny moments rarely happen when we have a visitor in our home. Tonight was kind of an experiment. I set up my gear so I would be prepared to capture the crazy that is the ordinary here. I am dealing with a clogged milk duct and was hoping a warm bath would help. I always try to slip into a bath alone, but it never turns out that way. I wanted to be ready in case that happened again. Sure enough, I began running the water and lots of little feet came scampering in; dog included. Moms really don't get a second of alone time while the kids are can be frustrating at times, but I sure do feel loved!

He is the King of Pancakes, but burns the eggs every single time. I am the Master of the Scramble, but my pancakes always end up undercooked in the middle. But between the two of us, we can make a yummy Sunday morning breakfast!

Natasha Thompson
So I photographed my own labor & delivery the other day. I thought it would be cool to capture birth progression & labor experience from the mothers perspective

I always pictured having a girl but life hasn't worked out that way. Instead, I've become a mom of boys. I'm growing to love the hand we've been dealt and if one day God decides to bless us with a daughter... well then great.... but right now, I think we'll be just fine without any daughters; my three sons are enough for me.

I am not a perfect mom, but one thing is for sure:
I can throw a damn good bubble bath tub party.

y daughter just turned ONE New Years Eve.  We have been exclusively breastfeeding for one whole year! We had ups and downs and it was WORK but we made it!  

To my son, Jameson Boone.
Mama went to see her therapist today. That therapist being known as Target.
My heart will never forget this day, the fun we had flying back and forth down the isle in front of my camera [that was strategically stashed away in a tower of diaper boxes] or the hilarious out takes I had from my weight making the front of the cart fly up- you thought that was pretty funny. I’m sure people who saw probably thought we were nuts, but that’s okay. I’d do anything with you. You are my best friend! Every time I look at this photo it makes my heart happy and puts a grin on my face. The way your hand is placed and you’re looking forward makes me imagine you saying, “alright mom, lets do this! Hereeee we gooo!"

My journey of motherhood; 3 healthy babies, this one a rainbow baby, 2 miscarriages, and all in 7 years.

Flew by myself for the first time with my three boys (4, 2, and 6mos). We had a 2.5 hour flight, a 2 hour layover, and then finished off our trip with a 13 hour flight from Vancouver to Taipei. I was so darn exhausted but so proud of myself that I felt like I needed to document!

"I am worthy to feel beautiful in this beautiful" We should always feel like this, but for some many, me included, it's not how we feel, especially after becoming mothers. So, on the rare days we do, even if right before getting ready for bed, absolutely take a moment to capture yourself feeling beautiful. Go back to that picture on the days you feel defeated. You are beautiful, mama!

I was never one of those girls that knew they wanted to be a mom.  In fact, I was pretty sure that I did not want to have kids.  I just never saw myself as a nurturing or maternal person.  I never got “baby fever” when all of my friends were having kids.  I was perfectly happy with my life with my husband and two dogs.  But then, I suffered a miscarriage in August 2016 and something shifted.  Losing that baby made me realize that maybe I did have all of those mommy qualities and feelings.  They must have just been hiding deep down inside me somewhere.  I believe that all things happen for a reason and that is how I was able to cope with my miscarriage.  I think that baby’s purpose was to make me learn some things about myself that I did not know existed. I got pregnant with Porter just 2 months later.  This baby boy is my world.  Looking into those big, beautiful, brown eyes everyday really puts into perspective what life is all about.

"mothering. is a poetry.

an articulate.
blinding. poetry.

when you pour him from your body.
that is a poetry.
when you wash. his. new body. in the kitchen sink.
that is a poetry.

when you calculate the distance from your house. and all the streets.

how long it will take him to arrive at his best friend’s home.

and return.


that is a strategic. poetry.
a navigation. the maverick’s poetry.
a poetry of architecture. careful craft.
a war captain’s. poetry.

you. have built a paradise.
he is a paradise.
sekyiwa is a paradise.
you are a paradise.

you. protect paradise.
protecting paradise. is a poetry..."

- afeni shakur

These kids, my kids, they run circles around me.    

I didn't want to jump in the shot. I hate the way I look right now and all my clothes just made me look like I need to lose 20 pounds. But I needed a good promo pic from some mini sessions and I wanted to show a mom with her babies. So business won out and look what we scored