A few months ago I had the pleasure (seriously, it was such a joy!) of taking photos of my friend Heather’s parents and all six of their beautiful, energetic grandkids. It was a dream job because they just wanted me to shoot fly-on-the-wall-style and capture the special relationships that Grandma and Papa have with each of their little ones. As much as I enjoy a good posed photo, there’s nothing quite like catching those priceless moments in between…and with six kids under six, there were priceless moments galore!
Here are some of my favorite images from the day:
I’m pretty sure I won the jackpot in the in-law lottery.
John comes from an amazing family full of loving, caring, hilarious people who made me feel like a member of their tribe from day one. This is his sister Jamie’s family and I’m so thrilled that John and I not only consider them to be our family but also our really good friends. Needless to say, anytime I can get them in front of my camera to document different phases of their lives, I am more than happy to do it! We took these photos back in August at golden hour and I am so excited to finally be sharing them:
At least once a week, I drop Briar off with one of her grandparents and jump in the car (by myself! ahhhhh!) to spend the day working with Amy in her studio. As much as I love being able to work from home and stay with Briar, I NEED this day to get out of the house, have inspiring conversations with one of my favorite creative people, and feel like a productive member of society again. I know I’ve said this before, but seriously: I had no idea how hard it would be to balance work and baby. Not only is it tricky in terms of finding the time to get assignments completed while still giving Briar my undivided attention, but it’s incredibly draining on me mentally and emotionally.
However, I’ve discovered that all of these stresses are relieved and put into perspective by doing one simple thing: working outside the house once a week. It really is as easy as that. Also, as if mental health wasn’t incentive enough to brave traffic on the 405, I work with Amy on Thursdays, which means that two of my favorite podcasts (The Lively Show and One Part Podcast) release their latest episode that morning. Thursday are OFFICIALLY my favorite.
As I uploaded a bunch of recent images onto my computer last night, I was overcome with joy. I am so grateful to have these simple moments — the ones that are so fleeting yet so powerful — captured forever.
I often wonder if John and I are doing enough as Briar’s parents. Are we setting a good example? Are we showing her enough love? Are we giving her all the tools she needs to flourish and thrive? And worst of all, are we looking at our phones too much?! I’m constantly evaluating and reevaluating all the ways the two of us can better our parenting skills.
But then I see these images and I know we’re doing just fine. I see the joy and wonder on Briar’s face. I see the unconditional love in my eyes. I see how John would move heaven and earth for the sake of his daughter. These photos reaffirm everything for me. We are doing just fine.
My mind currently resides in Babyland Central.
If I’m not feeding, changing, bathing, playing with, dressing, rocking, or carrying Briar around, then I am most certainly thinking about any one of those activities. I’ve been warned many times that the baby stage flies, and my goodness, truer words have never been spoken. Briar will be six months (!!) in a week and half and I feel so fortunate to have had her early newborn days (which I can barely remember at this point!) captured forever, thanks to La Rousse Photo.
That’s why I was so thrilled to be able to take these photos of my sister-in-law and my niece. Baby Luna has already changed so much since then, but I can attest that the bond she shares with her mama grows stronger and stronger everyday.
I’ve always been reluctant to call myself a “photographer” for a myriad of bogus reasons (“I didn’t major in photography” or “I don’t have this or that lens” or best of all, “I’m not good enough”), but ironically, it’s the one creative medium that makes me incredibly happy, EVERY SINGLE TIME. I love everything about it, from the conceptualizing to the shooting to the editing to the sharing. I’ve been toying with the idea of pursuing photography as my main gig for quite some time, but I haven’t had the confidence to really go for it. That is, until now.
So when my friend + fellow blogger Heather asked me to shoot food photos for her amazing recipe posts, I gladly agreed. Food is a tricky subject to capture; not only do you have to get the lighting and the composition just right, but you have to make it look appetizing…no easy feat! Needless to say, it’s been an exciting creative challenge for the both of us, as Heather works her magic in the kitchen and I work mine near the window with the best natural light.
(I can attest that these recipes are incredible. In fact, I even made Heather’s green chile corn casserole (shown above) for Thanksgiving!)
There’s something about having a baby that has forced me to truly reevaluate everything in my life, from the to the way I drive to the words that I say to the way I can support my little family while still being a stay-at-home-mom. I’ve been in need of a change of pace for quite some time and Briar has been the perfect catalyst for pushing me to make things happen. Plus, I figure, if I can capture babies and food (two tricky subjects) with a moderate level of success, I can capture anything, right? (Ha!) ;)
Photo by Sorella Muse
After a crazy month of being gone every single weekend, John and I have created a self-imposed rule that we are going to stay as local as possible until this baby of ours decides to make an appearance. We have grand plans of:
– Learning how to install the car seat properly.
– Marathoning Veep.
– Cleaning out the garage. And the closets. And the cabinets. And everywhere else in our house.
– Picking up the remaining items on our list (namely the Ergo!).
– Marveling at how ridiculously dark my hair is and how unbelievably swollen my feet have become! (What is happening?!)
– Feeling the baby kick (I know I’m going to miss this so much!).
– Rereading all of our notes from the baby classes we recently took.
– Sleeping some more.
– Trying to convince ourselves that we are ready to take care of a tiny human.
– Decorating + redecorating the nursery AT LEAST five more times.
– Packing our hospital bag (any essentials I need to bring, moms?).
– Taking the last few weekly bump shots.
– Writing more letters to our daughter.
– Enjoying every minute of time as a twosome. After ten years together, we are so ready to bring another person into the mix!
– Did I mention we will be sleeping?
My idea of the perfect party involves breakfast food, a laidback atmosphere, a fun outfit, and great company. Thanks to my good friend Val and my amazing mom, my second baby shower fit all those criteria and then some. Aside from the awesome theme (desert bunny for the win!), I think that my most favorite part of all was that Val made this event a mother / daughter celebration. Even though my friends and I still see each other fairly often, seldom do we get to spend time together with our precious moms in tow. It was such a great way to bring everyone into the mix and celebrate the next generation of moms + daughters!
Gorgeous tablescapes and a chance for me to put my wedding glassware to use again!
A black and white striped skirted onesie?! You’re too good to me, Janelle.
I was also the lucky recipient of so many incredible handmade gifts that my daughter and I will treasure for years.
Bunny garland, hand-dyed cheesecloth, and painted desert plants! DIY elements never go unnoticed by me.
Trying to stay cool in the shade. (Again, whose idea was it to have a summer baby? ;))
My wonderful mom, my amazing Espinoza family, and my gigantic 35 week bump. I never realized just how pregnant I look until I went through all my baby shower photos over the past two weekends…WHOA THERE.
I was so caught up in the moment that I failed to take all of the photos that I wanted to get, but this is one I will always cherish. I’ve grown up with a tight group of nine girls and learned so much about the mother / daughter relationship as a result. I can say that all ten moms (including my own!) are the epitome of unconditional love and selflessness. If I can be HALF as good at motherhood as they are, my daughter will be one lucky gal.
Invitation designed by JayAdores
Despite the fact that my heartburn has reached a whole new level of crazy and my feet + ankles (okay, kankles) have grown about four sizes overnight, I feel completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude for all of my closest friends and family members. This past weekend marked my second baby shower and much like the last, it’s hard for me to articulate just how special it is to be surrounded by loved ones who already have such a vested interest in Baby Espinoza without ever having met her…! I received some incredible gifts, but truly (and as cliche as it sounds), the best gift of all was the presence of so many of my favorite people packed into my parents’ backyard on a warm Sunday afternoon. Having a baby really is the best. Heartburn, fat feet, and all.
P.S. More photos to come!