Baby Oliver and Company

This in-home session was one which I thoroughly enjoyed, not just because it included a break for bacon and eggs and coffee with a perfect splash of H&H, but because these sweet peeps were so focused on each other and pleasantly “unaware” of me as I photographed them. Shawn and Dana invited me in to their home and made me feel totally at ease and comfortable. They allowed me to work the way that I love, documenting their affection for each other and their swoon-worthy love for their little Oli in a very natural and unassuming way.

As we were nearing the end of our session, Dana shared with me that they had not been able to snap a photo of Oli smiling, and they were really wanting to share an image with her parents of they’re sweet, smiley boy. Mama sat baby Oliver up on her lap, and we made it our mission to capture some some smiles. Daddy pulled out the baby talk, goofy faces, silly songs, hand gestures – “the works”, and he managed to make baby and mama smile.

These folks are smitten with their little boy, and they are enjoying every minute with him.

 

My Family, Experiencing Sorrow and Peace

We mourned the passing of my aunt this last month. With all the sadness that it brought, my family also experience the love of God in a profound way. Below is the speech that my 10-year-old cousin wrote and read on the day her “Mommy Loren” was buried”:

“Thank you all for being here today. My name is Sophia Wambaa. We are all gathered here today to celebrate Mommy Loren’s life. She was always there for my gamily and I, babysitting me and my other 3 siblings. Whenever she smiled, whatever room she was in got a little brighter. One fond memory of mine is how Mommy Loren would celebrate her birthday every month each year. At the rate she went, I couldn’t even tell how old she was!
She was like a second mother to us. She loved us so much that she got up every morning to pick us up so my mom could go to work. For those who were very close to Mommy Loren, you know she loved getting her mack massaged. If you were in close proximity to Mommy Loren, you would most likely be asked to rub her back. Mommy Loren loved to travel, and she even went on a couple of adventures with us. During some of our travels she held a giant snake around her neck and even kissed a giraffe! Oh, by the way, have you ever heard of Mommy Loren’s “Famous Chicken Soup”? It’s very simple: thrown in chicken, veggies and canned broth. The secret? She never cooked it! Another memory that we all shared was how we all would visit her at the library where she worked. She let us play on the computers, read and check out movies to watch at Mamita’s house.
I will always love her. Her memory will live forever and I will always cherish her for the rest of my life. May God bless you all.”

The day my aunt passed away, I wrote a letter to the young ladies in my church describing my family’s experience at the hospital.  Here is an excerpt from that letter”

Along with that, the Lord also gave me a better understanding of Philippians 4:7 ”the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. To “transcend” understanding is to surpass or go beyond the limits of understanding. The verse is talking about a “peace” that just does not make sense to us – our minds cannot comprehend it, and this was exactly what I saw that my family experienced on Monday. In the midst of immense of pain and sadness, there was peace and tranquility. Julie, who lost her mom, said to me just a few hours later that she felt peace, because she knows that her mom is home. I could see it in her face and in Charlie’s face and hermana Tita’s and everyone – there was sadness, but there was a spirit of peace that just does not make sense, because how can you be so sad and have peace at the same time? It was truly amazing to see this peace (that is not of this world) in my family – it is true and tangible evidence that there is a God who is greater than all of our fears and sorrows.  Someone that Ben and I saw later that day asked us “is the family devastated?”, and I responded, “No”, because “devastated” means “destroyed”, and we are not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Moody Morning Maternity Session at Venice Beach

Andrew and Corey met me for a Maternity session on a perfectly overcast morning in Venice with their son, Salty.  Salty is expecting a baby sister, and he is super stoked about it. Corey had not had any maternity images done when she was pregnant with Salty, so she was aching to have some beautiful bump images this time around, as well as some portraits of the three of them as they expect their new little darlin’. Andrew is a lifeguard at the Venice Breakwater, so it was only fitting that we shoot on the beach, and Salty takes right after his dad – it’s possible that they are even more comfortable in water than on land.

This session was very sweet for me.  Andrew and I have known each other since childhood, and he’ll be happy to tell you that I was the genius who taught him how to tie his shoes. (He still uses my double loop method.) Seeing his as a father and hearing him call Salty “Son”; those moments were precious and dear.  This is a special special family, and I so look forward to seeing and photographing them in August, when 3 have become 4.