Kris & Arie – Tacoma Couples Photographer

In honor of Pride Month! 🏳️‍🌈

You know how you just know you’ve met some super fun people within the first 2 minutes? That’s Kris and Arie. We had our session one gorgeous morning at Wright Park in Tacoma. They told me stories of how they first met each other and how their wedding on the Vashon Ferry went completely wrong and half of the people didn’t make it on the boat including their officiant. Which then inspired to Kris becoming ordained on her phone at a wedding just in case someone’s officiant fails to show at a friend’s wedding.

Sometimes you have these expectations of how things are going to be, but they often don’t go as planned. Kris and Arie shrug and go with the flow. (I had to do that too when a dog peed on my blanket in the middle of our session!)

We strolled through the sun-dappled park and grabbed a cup of coffee at Anthem. It was so chill. I felt like I was hanging out with some new friends!

Happy Pride, Kris and Arie! And Happy Pride to all folks celebrating this month! You are loved!


 

As a reminder: I do not accept or endorse any type of racism, sexism, religious discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, or any other form of discrimination. Also, I am body positive! My business and home is a safe place and I will love and accept you as long as your ideals do not discriminate against others.

Hatcher & Ngauamo Family — Tacoma Family Lifestyle Photographer

Last year, Gina found my post advertising for Modern School Portraits when she was working at a local preschool and looking for a new photographer. I’ve been their Picture Day photographer for two years and the school is now my biggest client. I’m so grateful that we connected!

Then earlier this year I sent out a model call looking for diverse Tacoma families to add to my portfolio and she responded with an exciting request. She and her husband, Moses, wanted to surprise their 6-year-old with some news. They had already told their daughter, Kayden, that they were expecting a baby in September… but what they didn’t tell her is how many babies! See if you can guess…

Gina brought the ultrasound pictures in an envelope and had Kayden open it during our session. Her reaction was priceless! I’m so glad I was there to document it!


She facepalmed when she found out all three are BOYS!

 

 

Coleman + Marshall Wedding — PNW Wedding Photographer

Early Spring of last year, Cameron messaged me on Facebook to ask me if I’d be the photographer for his wedding with Annie scheduled for October. They’re good friends of mine and our kids went to preschool together, so I couldn’t pass it up! “It’s going to be a surprise,” he said. “Annie doesn’t know about it.”

*record scratch* What?!

Cameron planned this gorgeous wedding with the help of his and Annie’s families and she had no idea until 5 minutes before she arrived at the venue. To a farm. By helicopter. He called it “Operation White Wedding” and he successfully pulled off one of the best surprises I’ve ever been a part of.

They had been planning to get married for a while. She even picked out a dress. Two dresses, actually. Sometime later in October, they were going to head to Mexico where they figured — or so Annie thought — that they’d tie the knot. Only that’s not what happened.

Cameron booked the venue at Willapa Hills Farm, the caterer, the photographer (moi), the officiant (a friend), the band (Annie’s sister’s former band), invited the guests, arranged for the flowers. All of it. And it was perfect.

That morning, they drove to Seattle where they hopped in a helicopter for a day date and a tour of the Puget Sound. But when they started flying south and couldn’t see the Sound, she started to wonder. At about 2:00pm, they flew over the Willapa Hills Farm where she saw a bunch of people below and that’s when he asked her:
“Do you want to get married? Now? Today?”
“What?!” she said. “I mean, yes! Wait… what?”

She recognized a few cars in the parking lot and then it hit her. OH, I’M GETTING MARRIED. TODAY!

The pilot landed the helicopter and Cameron helped her out. Their two kids ran to embrace them and they greeted their soon-to-be wedding guests. Everyone knew this for months, except for the bride.

She got ready in a small building off the side of the barn where her dress, shoes, makeup, hair, and Spanx were set for her. Yes, he even remembered the Spanx.

Annie’s brother on guitar and sister on violin played music as they walked down the aisle where Cameron and Annie said their vows in a clearing by the river surrounded by friends and family. The party continued with live music from Annie’s favorite band, dancing, amazing food and beer from a local brewery.

If anyone could have pulled off a surprise this fantastic, it was Cameron. And there’s no other bride who could have acceded with such grace as Annie. They make the perfect match.

 

Piper’s 1st Birthday Cake Smash — Tacoma Children’s Portrait Photographer

Oh, little Piper Ann. I seriously cannot believe it’s been a year since your mommy and daddy brought you home from Arizona.

For Piper’s 1st birthday session, the Mittleiders and I met at Wild Hearts Farm in the gorgeous white studio. Despite it being January, the studio was warm and cozy – perfect for cake smashing! We also got to use their vintage trailer and pop into Iggy, the huge, clear dome with a Papasan chair. The sun was shining which made it feel warm in there too.

It seems like we’ve been planning and waiting for this cake smash for a year… definitely a good thing! First birthdays are HUGE milestones, not just for the babe, but for mom and dad too. You made it! You survived a whole year together! You learned about each other and what it takes to be a family of 3 (or in the Mittleider’s case, 5 with their two Bostons). And you learned how to love each other. So what better way than to celebrate by getting messy in a tutu and stuffing your face with sweet buttercream and yummy cake?!

Kinda makes you want to go out and buy yourself a cake to stuff in your face right now, doesn’t it? If there wasn’t 8″ of snow outside right now, I definitely would!

 

Mittleider Newborn Documentary Session & Adoption Story – Seattle Family Photographer

Families created by adoption have a special place in my heart. I am adopted myself so I feel connected to these stories of children being united with their new parents. I love seeing the joy of families who were meant to be.

However, the steps parents must go through to adopt a child are lengthy onerous, terrifying and confusing. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, paperwork, money, interviews, more paperwork, background checks, FBI checks, home studies, autobiographies, finding the right match, and traveling. At the end of it all, a new chapter of parenthood begins when the baby or child comes home.

The Mittleiders went through all of that and finally, after a tedious 9 months, they were able to hold their baby in their arms.

Kathleen and Tyler went “live” as approved adoptive parents in April of 2017. Tyler has been a program manager for Microsoft for 10 years. Kathleen started as an Amazon program manager in July of 2017. Their employers were very understanding. They knew that the Mittleiders could get a phone call for a baby at any time and would have to take time off. The Mittleiders expected to wait between 18-24 months to be able to bring their baby home. The call came 9 months later.

“Nothing about adoption is easy,” Kathleen said. “If anyone tells you it is, they’re lying. The paperwork alone to go live is a herculean effort. It’s sort of a hurry up and wait process. You hurry to get all of your paperwork in and then you just…..wait. We had just started the process of renewing our homestudy when we got ‘the call’.”

Kathleen saw her phone ring at 3:30pm on Friday, January 5th but didn’t recognize the number so she let it go to voicemail. It was from the city where their adoption agency was located. She quickly put two and two together but by that time Tyler was getting the same phone call. He also didn’t answer the unknown number. Kathleen called the number back and was told that they were placed with a family wanting to give their child over for adoption and that the baby was due in just 3 days. But the agency told them not to travel until the mother was in labor so they spent that weekend shopping and filling their nursery with all the things they needed for a new baby. They had already decorated the baby’s room and had only a few essentials. Then they waited. One long week after the initial phone call they bought their plane tickets and traveled to Arizona where the birth family was living. They got to meet the birth mother and father and had dinner with them that night. The next day the mother was induced and the Mittleider’s daughter Piper was born.

They were able to hold their new baby daughter less than an hour after her birth. But the adoption process doesn’t end there. The birth parents have 72 hours to sign over their parental rights or they can keep the baby.

“Between birth and the 72 hours when they signed over their parental rights, they could have changed their minds,” Kathleen said. “And we had Piper at that point, we had her from when she was 40 minutes old. The thought that we could lose her was absolutely terrifying. I don’t think either of us slept. We knew her birth parents were confident in their decision to place Piper, but that didn’t take away our fear.”

Kathleen got the text from Piper’s birth father on the 16th at 7:46pm. It read, “We signed the consent forms, it’s official.”

“Both Tyler and I broke down into ugly tears. We could finally breathe, we could finally tell people. We could share her, and that was huge. We finally slept that night. We were a family.”

Once the birth parents signed the papers, the two states involved – Washington and Arizona – must agree to let the Mittleiders return to home. On January 19th, six days after Piper was born, Arizona approved Piper to go home, but Washington was still not ready for them.

They decided to drive to avoid flying during peak flu season and also to give Washington enough time to approve them crossing the state line. Finally, on January 23rd at 11:00am, they were able to leave Oregon and go home. The next challenge? Introducing this new human to their two Boston Terriers.

George and Winnie have differing opinions on the new baby. George adores his littlest sister with all of his little heart. Winnie is confused that there’s a new baby girl in the house and is frustrated that it isn’t her. The Mittleiders hope the girls will get along when Piper and Winnie are able to play together.

We had our session in their home about two weeks after Piper was born and just a few days after they all came home. Everyone was settling into their new roles and learning what it’s like to be a family of 5.

“As we approach her 1st birthday I think every day what it was like last year. How we told our friends and family – and how we truly believed it would take upwards of two years to become parents. And how different our actual story was,” Kathleen said. “It’s incredible to me. Piper’s birth mom became pregnant in April of 2017; the month we went active with our agency. It was just meant to be.”

 

 

Schmick Family – Olympia Family Photographer

When a car is part of a family, it’s only proper to include it in a family session.

Elisa, her husband Aaron, their 3-year-old daughter Lyla, Aaron’s Shelby Mustang and I met up at West Bay Park in Olympia for a family session. Elisa asked me if I could get some shots of them with Aaron’s new Mustang. I was a little hesitant only because I wish I had a different lens to fully capture the car and all it’s shininess. Despite only having a prime lens, it turned out pretty good! My goal was to photograph the people first. 🙂

 

Elisa is a super talented hair stylist at Glamour Salon in Tumwater, WA. She does AMAZING color work and is so sweet! Check out her website: Hair by Elisa Mae and follow her on Instagram @hairbyelisamae.