My *Snow* Babies

My *Snow* Babies

SNOW!! It actually SNOWED in Oklahoma, and it wasn’t ICE! It’s a Christmas miracle…well, for many Oklahomans, it really was! The kids were out of school for two days – which is a little weird now because they now have Virtual School Days instead of Snow Days. In any case, it meant more time with my kiddos, snow time, hot chocolate, and of course…snow pictures (and video…)! It actually worked out super well because I was also able to have a fellow photographer’s session right after this! Actually, in the moments before she came (and even while waiting for my daughter to finish her orthodontist appointment) I took some test shots. I don’t care how seasoned you are as a photographer, I truly believe you ALWAYS need to check your settings. And, when photographing another photographer…hello, pressure! I wanted to nail the session for sure! Seriously, I did check out my settings a couple times, and also wrapped my camera gear up in plastic so it wouldn’t get all wet. But really, I think I nailed the settings, y’all. What people don’t realize is there are SO MANY WAYS to set your camera up to take the pictures YOU want. Not setting it on auto and hoping for the best, but actually setting your camera up for successful pictures. For instance, in these images, we have beautiful bokeh (foreground and background!), which I love, check. Gorgeous falling snow, check. Perfect exposure, check. Perfect subjects, check, check! Oh, and they are super sharp! I edited these with a matte, grain look, but in camera and without even without editing, they focus is nailed. Love it when all the things come together as I want them to. But it wouldn’t happen without practice and knowing my camera, and my lenses. 

Oh, and apparently this week, we are looking to get more snow in the area – still crossing fingers – so I decided I’d get these up and share these now so I can take new ones in a few days! Snow is so so beautiful to photograph. And so are my babies, so putting the two together make this mama’s heart melt! 

xx, Shelby 

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – 6 Month Update

Renew: My 2020 Personal Journey to Wellness – 6 Month Update

How has it already been six months? Actually, it’s been over 6 months, by about a week. 
If you are new to coming to my page, or if it’s the first time hearing about this, I’ll share a summary. In late May 2020, I had a breast explant surgery – yep, I voluntarily got rid of some toxic bags that I now know factually were making me sick. So, so very sick. I won’t lie and say I’m miraculously completely healed, and to be clear, that was never my expectation. I wanted to feel ANY amount, even 10% better, and know for certain that I had done everything in my power to feel better. I have an autoimmune disease aside from what I now know to be Breast Implant Illness, so I think I went in to surgery with realistic expectations. 

If you’re wondering why I’d share this on a photography page, well, it’s really just somewhat cathartic for me to share! Also, it’s that this has the most reach of people who may be affected by #BII. I want people to know my story. I want women and men alike to understand the possible consequences of breast implants. I want women to know that they are NOT alone! If you have breast implants, saline or silicone, and you are having issues with fatigue, joint pain, brain fog…it might be worth looking in to. Please don’t misunderstand and think that you WILL get #BII or that I think all implants cause this in everyone. I know plenty of women who have implants (I almost used to think I was a rare unicorn amongst my friends, but alas, lots of us have or have had them). I know plenty who don’t have any of these issues. I also know plenty who don’t think some of their similar issues could be related to #BII. But…it might be. And even if those types of issues aren’t something you are experiencing, know that my particular body is now and will be permanently “deformed” from the implants. Yes, you read that correctly. Permanently deformed. My ribs, like the individual ribs that were under the weight of the implants, are now concave. My ribs are misshapen. Maybe that’s why it was hard to get a full breath of air for so long. In any case, I did ask my surgeon if this thought was accurate (that my ribs are now concave) and he said that it was in fact true that the weight can alter the ribs. Again, not something I expect happens to everyone, but be aware of it. And just so we are all clear, I did not have abnormally large implants! I went from a “barely A” cup to a B, and through pregnancy and aging, went to a full B/small C. So about 300 cc of fluid, I believe. Maybe a pound of implants? But over 17+ years, the damage was still done. Anyways, here’s the 6 month post op update on my symptoms (very similar to the 3 month update): 

InflammationImproved 30+%
Joint Pain – Improved 30+%
AnxietyImproved (not sure on %, because this was a particularly stressful month)
Difficulty ConcentratingSlight improvement – 15%
Memory LossThis one I’m not sure on. Still not great, but that’s been the same since I was about 18
Brain FogImproved!! 50% 
Hair LossImprovedHair growth visible, looks healthier  — I’ve had some additional hair loss since the third month, but not like it was a year ago)
DepressionDefinitely an improvement. 
Mood SwingsNot sure, but I feel confident it’s improved. 
Shortness of BreathBETTER!! Improved 80% or more! I had no idea that my breaths had become so, so shallow. Just days after surgery, I could FEEL myself breathing deeper. Even if nothing else changed, this would have been worth it!!! 
Weight GainNot sure. Some weight loss since surgery, but I also did a juice cleanse for five days about a month ago. Unfortunately, I followed that up with a month of Starbucks and eating out. Sooo…between that and the stress, I did lose weight, but it fluctuates, and though less weight than before surgery, I’m not sure how much is from just that. 

Chronic Fatigue – SO MUCH BETTER!! Probably 50%. Yes, I still get tired doing menial daily tasks, but what I haven’t done is lay in bed all day pretty much since maybe a week after surgery. Are there days I want/need a nap? Yes. But it’s not daily anymore, and even better, I’m able to exercise and walk without becoming short of breath and tired. I already know that my quality of life has been forever changed. 

And here’s what I really wanted to share below. Pictures of what my Move, Exercise and Stand rings (Apple Watch app) used to look like compared to the last few months. I’m hardly the same person. It’s AMAZING what I’ve been able to accomplish while NOT spending 4-6 hours in bed, daily. I don’t care what anyone says. I know those toxic bags were NOT good for me. The data speaks for itself. Before those things were out, I could barely move, let alone exercise for 5 minutes, much less over 30 minutes. They are just some random screen shots from my phone, but almost any month before May 2020 will look similar to the November 2019/January 2020 shots. I actually did work out quite a bit in July, and then took some time off with the infamous move that didn’t happen since I was concentrating on … packing for that same move! Ha! And while I’m thinking about it – my pain. I don’t have post surgery breast pain. I DID have pain prior to the surgery (although was assured from my general physician it wasn’t my implants). But really, everything is back to normal for the most part (very rarely some tenderness, but that may be hormonal or something…it doesn’t feel like it’s a post-surgical pain at all). 

I still fear that I’ll regress somehow and maybe that this is all temporary, and my body will reset it’s immune system. I dread the day I ruin my streak of working out daily, knowing that it’ll make me feel like I failed. I know that isn’t true, but I still worry. I’m so very sad for the “me” that I was for so long, but so thankful for the me that I’ve discovered since the surgery. The difference has been life changing. I’ll also mention that of course I have bad days! I don’t necessarily like my body’s new appearance in the way that I probably should. But, I’m accepting it. Some days are harder than others, and I expect that’ll always be the case. I still know I made the right choice, for me. 

If you have any questions about #BII, please contact me. I’ve had numerous friends or friends of friends (or even some strangers!) contact me in regards to their health issues. I’m no expert, but I’m a completely open book and can walk you through what I went through, and how I found my explant surgeon, Dr. Derek Shadid. You can also see previous posts regarding #BII here: One Week Post Op  2 Month Post Op3 Month Post Op and Journey to Wellness – Pre-Op


I may or may not have thrown in the last picture to gloat to my friend, Shelby, just a little. 🙂 
I was proud of myself though for doing a competition and it just happened to be that I  beat him! 

xx, Shelby

Oh yes…I updated my headshots!! 
Taken on October 31st, so about 5 months post op. Feeling AND looking healthy! 

Birge Family – Deployment Homecoming

It’s May. To be specific, here in the United States, it’s May 7th. I say that with the knowledge that currently, so many service members are on the other side of the world, in different time zones, in different climates and vastly different environments. And I am grateful.

I am grateful for families like the Birge Family who went without a husband and a father present in the home for months; and thankfully back in March, he returned to his family, with their arms opened wide for him. I don’t take these words lightly — I know he was always there for them as he could be. But I also know firsthand the struggles that come with being military spouse with babies in the home. Having that extra set of hands is a huge blessing, and I know he would have been there in a heartbeat if he could have. But, you see, he is part of our military, and he had a greater calling, to sacrificially serve his country. And he, like so many others, has done this so well, and still let his loved ones at home know how much he misses them.
Now, this family has been amazing. As military members, as clients, as fellow military spouses…sweet Ebilene and I just clicked! I’m so thankful for not only her cheerful, supportive attitude and presence amongst other spouses and service members, but also for her huge heart and patience. Spouses like this keep the military community running on energy, love, and commitment…not just to the country, but to one another. Our service members are amazing for all that they do, but one would be amiss to miss the work of the ones they leave behind. 

As this family has been super gracious about things that have been going on here on my family’s Homefront, I decided I had to thank her in one of the only ways I think I can…which is going a bit above and beyond, just as she has for so many in her company. If you have a couple minutes, check out this beautiful video, created specifically for the Birge Family to document this beautiful time for them! 

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice! 

Blessings Always,

~Shelby 

{D} Family : Maternity Session – Twins!

I am going to let this beautiful maternity session speak for itself…the only regret that I have is that I haven’t posted this amazing photo session sooner! It’s been in my Drafts folder for so long, but today’s the day to share this with the world! I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year (about 11 months since we were both back in Montgomery at this maternity session), but I’m actually excited to share since I truly want my focus to be on maternity, birth and newborn one day, and that’s a perfect way to share with my local followers here in Oklahoma City!

I am so thankful that this Mom & Dad trusted me to do both the Maternity and Newborn sessions of these sweet and beautiful twins! I cannot think of anything more beautiful than photographing these precious moments! Clearly, I had a difficult time choosing a few images…all of them are so, so beautiful!

I haven’t officially posted it yet, but when it’s published, you can find their newborn session HERE

She is stunning…the epitome of a glowing Mom, in love with her babies.

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Such a special and beautiful family connection…I loved every moment of this session. Truly.
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I love when my clients incorporate personal items that are special to them in our sessions.
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I am always a happy photographer when I get moments like this, in addition to a gorgeous, natural sun flare! Makes my photographer heart happy!
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This family is so excited to welcome their sweet new babies, and look at Big Brother!
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If you’ve ever had a session with me…you know you have to be prepared to kiss at least a couple times!
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I adore this moment…
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Absolutely precious! 
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I love everything about this!!!
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I can hardly wait to share the newborn session with you all! I’ll leave you with with this stunning moment…and hope to get those babies up linked here soon as well.
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To my GORGEOUS client and her family…THANK YOU!!! I am so thankful you took a chance with me to capture these moments!

{C} Family – Newborn Session

{C} Family – Newborn Session

Oooh…this sweet baby girl’s newborn session has been waiting to be blogged for quite some time, but I was trying to do a little something different and special for this one! I’ve recently started adding photo videos to my sessions and this one was the perfect session to practice on!

I loved every moment of this casual in-home newborn session … and I’m fairly certain it’ll be easy to see why! This precious little one was a dream to work with (as was her gorgeous Mommy and siblings!) and we had some amazing light to work with in this home too. Enjoy!

 

Sweet Baby {J} – Newborn

Sweet Baby {J} – Newborn

Oh my goodness. First, I’m not certain there is a sweeter family out there! I am so thankful to have met this gorgeous Mommy and her handsome boys through a referral from another amazing family and client! I can honestly say I have the best clients (now friends!!) and I’m so grateful that I get to be the one to capture these priceless memories for them! What a blessing. I was welcomed into this sweet family’s home, and I was very impressed with how well they had this sweet little guy’s schedule down perfectly! I always knew how much time I would have to get certain shots and when we needed to break, which was awesome. I loved that Dad was involved and happy to be loving on his sweet son just as much as mom, and that you can see it in his face. It’s such a beautiful time, and I love knowing that these parents are soaking in every second!

We had to incorporate some soccer…

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THAT FACE!!! Oh my goodness…he’s adorable! Which reminds me, I need to visit this little guy soon!

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Now, I’m not saying you “can’t” capture these without a professional photographer, but I do think that these precious detailed captures with Mom are worth considering hiring one…just sayin’. And by the look of his sweet face, I think Baby {J} agrees with me!

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I try to remind my clients to have something to “size” baby with…for 3, 6, 9 and 12 month pictures, but then yearly. It’s always a precious memory – believe it or not, after 9 … oh, 10 (TEN) years of Motherhood (this week…my oldest turned 10!)  you forget a bit how little they really were. And although I would LOVE to do these milestone images for your families, what’s most important is that they get done. Even in the crib with a quick cell picture (although I slightly cringe at saying that!)…it’s better to do a few a year than not to have them! But really…I don’t mind doing these too. Because cell phone pictures as priceless memories really just don’t do the memories justice!

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For the love. Look at this gorgeous family!

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Someone knows he’s loved, but Daddy and Grandma, too!

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I may have done a few more images than usual in this blog post…but seriously. Look at that face! I couldn’t help myself!

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Thank you so much, M, C and J for letting me capture these first images of your beautiful family together, in your home. I’ll always treasure that time with you, and I hope you do as well!

HUGS!