It was a beautiful but chilly evening, much colder than I had anticipated when I met up with this darling girl and her mother. All of the days leading up to this one had been warm and sunny, calling for short sleeves and flip-flops. But true to its nature, Montana showed us that spring here is a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs with regard to the temperature and sunshine. Sure enough, the afternoon had grown chillier and the mountains were shrouded in misty clouds, beautiful and gray and low, hiding all of the snow-covered peaks. So we got this sweet munchkin bundled up in a cozy cashmere sweater, fantastic tulle skirt, awesome brown boots, and a warm beanie hat. We were ready to go on a walk among the towering evergreens and silver sagebrush. So, walk we did, and I got to spend a lovely bit of an evening with this precious little girl and her stunning mama. xoxo
The simple beauty of parents and their children — this is something that makes my throat tighten and my heart swell. I relish the moments during which parents quietly speak to their little ones, reassuring them, laughing with them, delighting in the quirky things they say, loving them, hugging them. When our children are little, they’re so full of love that they touch our cheeks, grab us around the legs, jump on our backs, and tell us they love us without holding anything back. We’re lucky that the times have changed enough in the past 30 years, that expressing emotion as we get older is more accepted than it was during our parents’ generation. As my own girls have gotten older, they still let me hug them in public, they still snuggle with me, tell me that they love me, they still kiss me on the cheek, and I am forever grateful for their uninhibited expressions of joy and love. ( That’s not to say that they haven’t learned to express frustration or anger with me; of course they have — if they hadn’t, I would have failed them. Above all, our children have to learn to communicate to thrive in their own lives and relationships.)
Walking around with this beautiful mama and her little one, I was struck by the deep connection they share and the way in which their souls are connected. Like the image on Mariah’s arm depicting the gentle and infinite love of a mother, there is something so peaceful and accepting in this mother-daughter relationship. It’s hard to explain everything that I see when I take pictures, for they aren’t just pictures to me. These are small stories of a few moments in a person’s life, and the glimpses I get to see are a gift — a lovely, wonderful gift. Sometimes those moments make me laugh when I go back through the images, and other times they have the ability to move me to tears. Sometimes I want to write pages about what each session means to me, but then I find that the words have deserted me, and it seems to me that the images do a better job of storytelling anyway. Today, suffice it to say, that the time spent with this pair was one of those gifts that is tucked into my heart.
ps: To read about Mariah’s own interweaving of vintage style, personality, and motherhood, check out her post on The Ma Books at http://the-mabooks.com/2015/06/on-mother-daughter-style.html.
Connection. How I love the way he’s looking at her, that soft gentle eye, that great big head, the neck curved in such a careful beautiful way. He knows that she’s small — he trusts her, and she him.
In the coming months, I’m excited to say that I’ll be working on some personal projects, creatively inspired and driven to fulfill and challenge that part of me that craves the artistic side of portraiture, and I’m so excited to be teaming up with my friend Molly McGearty, owner of Fawn and Co., in this process. Anyone who knows Molly knows that she has a fantastic sense of style, and between the two of us, we’re going to have some fun with the visions we’ve dreamed up. As we all know, it’s no secret that Bozeman has some of the most beautiful natural backdrops to offer, and so we’ll be working on creative projects that showcase children’s photography in a beautiful, natural, and fun way. These projects will be ongoing for quite some time, but for now, here’s a beautiful image from one of our sessions last week. More to come soon!
Inspiration comes in many forms — a fantastic song, an unusual painting, the way an author says something that speaks to your heart, a powerful quote, the smile on your daughter’s face, a poignant image…….the list goes on. This winter, every day, I have been incredibly inspired by Montana’s natural beauty, by our landscape and the pale colors of the sky and although it’s been too long ago now, the heavy falling snow. And of course, it goes without saying, that I am constantly, always, and forever inspired by my daughters.
On one of those incredibly serene wintry days, my younger daughter and I went to play outside for a bit.
Everything was quiet down by the river, except the occasional gurgle of water flowing under the ice. It felt magical. I remember when I was a child (growing up not in Montana, but in South Carolina, mind you), and I would wake up in the middle of the night and look outside and see the moonlight falling across our yard, and I would be utterly convinced that it had snowed – I wished so hard for that magical snow to appear – but it was South Carolina, and that just didn’t happen very often. The three or four times that it did happen, I was ready to bounce off the walls and couldn’t wait to go out into it. Snow was sugar coated magic for me. It was the essence of wonder and joy cast into a perfect frozen flake. And that’s what my daughter and I felt the day that we went down to the river, the day she was my own little snow queen. It was magic. xo
“The Bozeman 3 is a non-profit supporting Gallatin Valley children diagnosed with cancer.
Inspired by 3 Kids … 3 Different Cancers … United by Home”
What would you do if your child became ill, lethargic, started having unexplained aches and pains? What would you do if you found out the reason for those aches and pains and fevers was what we all dread — cancer with a capital “C”? Would you cry, would you rage, would you hold your little one that much more tightly? I would. And I would do whatever it took to save my child from this ravaging disease.
If you haven’t already met them, these beautiful children are the inspiration for The Bozeman Three, a non-profit group which was inspired by these three little people you see here, and by their fights against cancer. Sadly, Bozeman has more than three children fighting cancer, and the goal of this group is to support all Gallatin Valley families who have children fighting cancer.
These children are amazing, as are their families, and I was truly honored to spend some time with them several days ago. Since the day we took these, my little friend Allistaire has relapsed and her family awaits news of how to proceed.
Allistaire is fighting Leukemia, and has been fighting it much of her young life. Allistaire was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) on December 10th, 2011, when she was only 21 months old. She is now 4-and-a-half, and I adore her. She was in a “fragile remission” and has only just a few days ago relapsed and gone back to Seattle. To say that it’s not fair and that it’s heartbreaking is an understatement. To really understand more, you can read her mom’s blog: www.conglomerationofjoy.com. Allistaire’s mom is an amazingly talented writer and is incredibly honest and powerful with her words.
Stellablue is “a stage IV, diffuse anaplastic, Wilms tumor survivor. She was diagnosed at the age of 4, and has been through more medical procedures than most people will experience in a lifetime. Stellablue has a rare version of Wilms Tumor, and her prognosis is not so great,” as quoted from her father Andy on his page to help fund research for Wilms tumor patients. To learn more, you can read Stellablue’s story and look at the research goals here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/we-can-support-promising-new-wilms-tumor-research.
Caden was diagnosed with “Stage 4, High Risk Neuroblastoma, a solid tumor cancer of immature cells within the sympathetic nervous system; it is difficult to treat.” He was diagnosed just before his 4th birthday; he is now six years old. He too has been through chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and clinical trials in search of a cure. To read more about Caden’s fight, you can visit: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/cadenshrauger/mystory.
These children are beautiful, wonderful, happy, and vibrant little people. My most fervent hope is that there are treatments for them and for all of the other children fighting cancer. Pediatric cancer research accounts for less than 5% of all cancer research, and among that 5%, ALL of the pediatric cancers must be divided. Let’s hope that gets better. If you can donate to cancer research, please consider it. As always, do your own research into the organizations so that you’re informed if you’re going to donate.
Another important way you can give is to donate blood. Today, right now, Allistaire and other children like her need blood. Please, please, please consider donating blood as soon as possible. If you are in Montana, you can get on United Blood Services website and set up an appointment in your area. Afraid of needles? Just imagine what these three and their families have gone through, and I’ll bet you can set your fear aside.
Thank you for stopping by and for supporting these lovely little ones! xo
This beautiful couple recently welcomed their newest addition, a sweet baby girl. It was a pleasure and an honor to photograph them again, and it was such a treat to see how their little red-headed son had grown and changed since his newborn session only a year-and-a-half ago. What an incredibly wonderful family — I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this session and hope you enjoy looking at them!
“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”
These are the kinds of days that make us want to keep our children young forever — carefree, beautiful, effortless, and fun. Memories are made of this.