Photo sessions to reopen during COVID — Tacoma Family Photographer

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted us all and I truly hope this message finds you healthy and secure. I know how hard it is to be home with kids, working, homeschooling, house chores and projects all while trying to nurture our mental and physical health.

We all have a strong desire to get back to the new normal slowly and safely. I anticipate that I can start photographing families soon. And by soon, I mean June 1st!

THE OFFICIAL WORD IS THAT PHOTOGRAPHERS CAN START OPERATING AGAIN ONCE WE ENTER PHASE 2 OF THE WASHINGTON REOPEN PLAN!

If you have already booked a session between June 1st-September 1st you can assume that we won’t need to reschedule. I highly encourage those of you that love fall sessions to consider taking a summer spot just in case the virus spikes again in September. My annual Holiday Tree Minis will likely be scheduled for late summer/early fall. I’ll be sending out a newsletter to all my VIPs for first pick at time slots then posting to my Facebook and Instagram.

Only you know how much family portraits mean to you. Don’t miss the opportunity to capture your photos this year. The best part? Your holiday photos will be done wayyyyy ahead of time!

SAFETY WILL BE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY! HERE IS WHAT WE PLAN TO DO TO MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY STAYS HEALTHY:

I will be wearing a mask to all outdoor Family Photography Sessions. For Newborn Sessions, I’ll wear a mask and gloves.

If I or ANYONE in my household has been sick in any way within a two-week span of your session date, I’ll contact you to reschedule. I ask that you do the same. I promise to make room for all rescheduling needs.

I will practice extreme hygiene and minimize touching you and your family during the session.

I will use longer focal length lenses so we can stay six feet away as much as possible which will still allow us to capture images that seem like we are closer.

I will schedule one photo session a day.

Family Photography is an investment in your family. It is an absolute privilege to be able to capture your family and I don’t take that privilege lightly ESPECIALLY after this crisis. This global experience has really shined a light on what matters: our loved ones. And after that, maybe toilet paper.


 

Tate – Tacoma Senior Photographer

note: 9/11 TW

Oh, 2020 Seniors. I’m so sorry your final year in school has been disrupted. You had so much excitement and positivity going into this year. You were planning your graduation and celebration parties. Senior prom was coming up and you just got the courage to ask your date. Maybe you got your first job to save some money for college or to move out. But now you’re finishing school from home, Facetiming your friends, making the best Tik Tok videos.

I can say I almost know how you feel. I was entering my senior year in 2001 when two airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers and another into the Pentagon. You weren’t born yet. America entered a war that year and has lasted your entire life. It feels like we’re going to hell in a handbasket. The world might have always been this way, and maybe we’ve grown up and gained a little more perspective. I don’t know, I’m a Millenial. But I hope after all this is over and we’re able to be close to our friends and family, that we will have learned something. That we heal and become more compassionate and understanding and take care of each other. I hope for your sake and for the world’s sake.


This is Tate. We’re cousins, I think? (The generation tree confuses me a bit.) Tate has a beautiful spirit and a smile that can brighten any room he walks into no matter how big the room is. There’s a lot of serious in some of these photos, because of course. But when I pulled out the corny jokes, Tate humored me by laughing at them. I appreciate that.

We visited a few colorful spots of downtown Tacoma to match Tate’s colorful personality.

My hope for Tate and the Class of 2020:
Don’t let this pandemic squash your enthusiasm for life and the future. Before turning 18, you have already fought climate change and gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, brown and black people’s lives, and countless other causes. Stay strong, stay bold, but take rests when you need to. You ARE our future and have the power. I’ll be fighting with you the whole way.


 

 

 

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.”

 

 

Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 2 – PNW Family Photographer

Day 2 of the Tree Farm Mini-Session was just as great as Day 1! These sweet families braved the frosty air and celebrated each other with love. May you all have a joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year! 💖💖💖

Thank you for spending your day with me and my camera!

Rachelle & Lee Maternity – Seattle Family & Maternity Photographer

There is a single word to describe this family: STRONG. They are strong in their love, faith, friendship, passion, and bodies.

Rachelle was about 30 weeks pregnant when we had our shoot. With TWINS! I took her, Lee and their daughter Averie all over Discovery Park in Seattle. Our plan was to hike down to the lighthouse but I underestimated the difficulty of the hike and how long it would take to get there. Despite missing the lighthouse, I appreciated how enthusiastic and spirited they were about our 3-and-a-half hour session! Averie especially. She happily filled up on the gummy bears I brought.

Rachelle is my nearly-cousin. My uncle and her mother were long-time sweethearts whose paths kept crossing at various times in their lives but never at the right time. They still very much love each other… which means I have a few girl cousins!

This lovely family now has two more beautiful, healthy babies: boy Waylon & girl Charlie. Congratulations to their family!

 

Hurley Family – Tacoma Family Photographer

You’ve probably met someone and instantly thought “I want to be their friend!” Right? That’s how I felt when I first met Mike Hurley. Then I met his family.
“Now I totally have to be friends with all of them and I really hope our kids can be friends, too!” I said to my husband. It’s a good thing my girls get along with their kids and that they like homemade tacos. 😉

For our session, the kids and their dads braved the rain and cold last October for a shoot under the trees at Point Defiance Park. Once we were nearly frozen to the bone, we moved up the street to grab some hot cocoa at the Antique Sandwich Company. That place has pockets of beautiful light. We squeezed and scrunched and balanced on the stairwell not caring about the people watching. It was as if it were only me and the five of them in the whole place. Then we climbed the tall stairs to the only private window in the building for some sweet moments of Mike and Tony together, then of the twins. I had an image in my head of the little brother and sister and I was actually able to create it! These are my happy moments.

I have never met more loving, kind, funny, REAL and happy people. All of them. I truly mean it and I hope it shows in my photos of the Hurleys. There’s so much more I’d love to tell you about this little family because they have so much heart and so much history…but theirs is not my story to tell. You’ll just have to see as much as you can in our session.