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 

December Snow in OKC

December Snow in OKC

I tend to think it’s a pretty big compliment when a photographer asks you to photograph their family, so when this sweet photographer reached out to me, I was more than happy to have a snow session with her! I was actually going to be out in the snow for just a few minutes anyways, with my own two littles at about the same time she was hoping, so it was fun to get to be out there with this beautiful family, even for five minutes! In that short time, I think I captured over 40 images, and honestly I pretty much loved them all! Snow + a Child’s Innocence + a Really Fashion Coordinated Family = Yes Please! Below is just a sneak peek, but you can tell we had fun! 

Not only did I get to meet a new to me local photographer, but I also got to experiment with a matte, grain look on t these images since this Mama preferred that look to my usual natural, purist type style…and I am okay with that! I love how these turned out and it pulled me out of my normal comfort zone. Note: I am not big on presets, y’all!! I honestly enjoy hand editing and there hasn’t been a single image I’ve EVER produced that I didn’t hand edit to some degree. Even in the early days, when I bought not so great (to my style) presets, and used them and then tried to fix them, LOL!  I’m sure many would think that’s silly, but it’s just how I am. Each photo and each photo session speaks differently to me, so although my editing style isn’t 100% one way, I hope the images are still speaking to you too! 

Oh! And, my new photographer friend is Tori Rice, and you can find her work at Tori Rice Photography!

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! 

Golden Hour Mini

Golden Hour Mini

How I loved seeing this sweet family again this year! Last year, my friend, client, and realtor, Kat Kosmala with ERA in Oklahoma City did an amazing Client Appreciation event, and that is where I initially took this family’s pictures. They were, and still are, so kind, and let me know how much the photographs meant to them. This year, this Mama got a hold of me and requested a Fall, Golden Hour session, which of course is something I love to do and do often. Since she really only wanted a couple of pictures, I decided that we could do a Mini Session as long as we stayed on this side of town to squeeze her in, and remembered the field that I was able to do my family’s pictures at two weeks prior which had a beautiful, open shot to the golden sun. Y’all, she drove from Edmond for my photography…what a compliment!! Unfortunately, it had become *a tad* more bare in that short time…but I’m so grateful my client didn’t mind at all! She commented on how beautiful the light was, so I’ll call it a win — and of course her sweet children brightened the place up even more! Just take a quick peek at how gorgeous this session was!! Oh, and we had one pretty sleepy little guy to start, but it didn’t take long for him to warm up and essentially start modeling for me! Loved seeing both of their personalities shine in our session together. And I’m thankful I made a new military mama friend!! 

xx, Shelby 

I’m not sure what I was doing exactly, but whatever it was…this sweet girl seemed to LOVE it!!! What an absolute sweetheart! 

I couldn’t love this Mama anymore …she got the picture above as part of her order, and my heart was thrilled! THIS is what I want to remember of my babies, and so glad she does too!! 

By the end of this session, I swear I had a model on my hands!! He did such an awesome job…sleepy and all!! And yes, if you have kids (or really even husbands…) and you have a session with me, I’ll make sure you do two things: 1) BRIBE. Yep. I said it. Bribe them!!! and 2) REWARD them!!! Most adults have a hard time with pictures for more than a few minutes, and kids are no different! Let them know it’s supposed to be fun, and then reward them after!! 

For more awesome parenting tips, just follow me, HAHAHAHAHA! But really, the bribes work! 

Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

Celebrating TWO…and my First Home-Water Birth

It’s hard for me to imagine, but this time two years ago, I was barely recovering from having my first HOME Water Birth Story session! Yes, me. I was recovering…from photographing it! To say this birth was eventful would be a huge understatement, as this birth was filled with so much peace, joy, love…and also worry, pain, and uncertainty. Our strong Mommy undoubtedly passed her strength and spirit to her incredible, brave, princess fighter, and through some tears and quite literally a “labor of love,” I watched as this life was brought Earth side. We started at my clients’ home, fairly late in the evening, maybe around 9 pm, but ended up at OU Children’s sometime well after midnight. Thankfully, God had His hand over this family the whole time, and I could not have been more thankful to be a small part of their amazing journey while growing their sweet family. Through the joys of having social media and especially Facebook, I have been able to watch this precious little one grow into now a beautiful little “wildflower” as her Mommy likes to say. I’m sharing today as I think of this child often, and am so thankful for her life and that I was able to witness the beginning of it. With the COVID pandemic taking over our ability to do normal, daily tasks, including various types of photography over the past several months, I have missed being able to meet and document our world’s newest blessings. And this birth was so very special to me, so sharing my love for Births and this Birth Story just seemed natural. 

Here are a couple of images from this special child’s amazing Birth Story, as captured through my lens. I love every image from this Birth Story. Documenting this time is truly an honor for me. To be there, in the room, present with Mom, Dad, the medical team, and of course, God, who makes this miracle happen. I’ve been questioned before about how I can document “births.” “Aren’t they…umm…”  … LET ME STOP YOU THERE. Births are beautiful. They are part of everyone’s story, and documenting the details couldn’t be more fulfilling to my soul. If you can’t see beauty in these images, my guess is that you have some preconceived notion of what you think birth is like, and not what it actually is. Because…just look at these! BEAUTIFUL. GOD. MIRACLES. 

Happiest of Birthdays to you, Eden! Thankful to have been among the first to meet you!

                             

 

xx, 

Shelby 

 

Blogging Again? …. Maybe

Blogging Again?  …. Maybe

Hi! 

I get it. It’s been a while. In fact, unbeknownst to me until this very moment, it’s been a YEAR since I’ve last posted! Where has the time gone? 

Well, here’s a bit of an update. And possibly why it should matter.

Last April, 2018, my husband was deployed and was gone for 374 days! Crazy, right? Well, in that time, I was taking care of our two kiddos, ensuring that we attended all of our end of school events, enjoying our summer vacation…and then the craziness of our school schedule returned! Seriously, I have two kids, but the amount of extracurricular activities they enjoy is insane. Karate (x2, two days a week, and one was on the tournament team last year), piano (x2), gymnastics (competition team, 2 times a week, and then meets), band, archery, golf, academic team…and I’m confident I’m missing something! And, I love it. I love watching my children grow in their chosen activities, whether they are “good” at them or not! That said, I was left with little time for “me” (my undeniably bad health issues) and my photography growth. 

Fast forward through his return in May of 2019, and my husband came home, we went to Europe on a Disney Cruise (AMAZING! I’ll post pictures one day…and maybe even do a blog post!), and….then he moved to Washington DC. He was home 1.5 months total between his return and his departure. Have I mentioned lately how much I <<LOVE>> the Air Force? Note the sarcasm. And, although *some* time away is nice – because, let’s be honest, the running joke with our friends is that the pain in my neck is actually a long-term chronic illness called “being married” – working on a second year without a partner in the home to help me raise our kids, to help with things like home maintenance and bills, and to just be there for each other and to enjoy each other has been difficult. Manageable, thanks to an amazing tribe of friends, but nonetheless, difficult. I actually really love and adore my husband, and he’s my other half. It’s pretty tedious going through life without half of yourself. I miss him. But right now, this is our calling – him to be there for the Air Force and his country, and for me to be here for our children. 

I’m pretty verbose, and condensing anything is rather tedious for me! So, to sum up, it’s been a long year and a half or so, and thank goodness I’ve received a swift kick in the caboose from some AMAZING friends! MY TRIBE! I’ll discuss my tribe more later and the significance of me being able to say that, so be prepared for that upcoming post. So, even though I’ve not done nearly as many sessions as I’d like over the last year (still grateful for each and every client who enjoys working with me for my style and vision), and even though I’ve lost some confidence in myself because of this, they won’t let me continue the negative self-talk. In fact, I have at least four friends literally on a mission to help me in any way they can (life, health, kids…all the things) but for this post’s purpose, they’ve been steering me back on course with my photography goals. And although I’m afraid of failure, they have faith in me. And with that…here I am. Blogging for the first time in a year. 

What’s in store for my clients? New sessions, in studio! Up next…Fall Sessions, Halloween themed sessions, and …Christmas! 

What could be better than all that? Christmas WITH Santa! It’s totally happening! 

Want a sneak peek?  

I thought so! Check it out! 

 

 

The Harry Potter-Themed VP Campaign

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I know, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been back to share some of what’s going on with my family and with my photography! Things have been a little busy around here, and truth be told, that’s a good thing.

I’m jumping back in to sharing with a few personal images that I thought would be fun and hopefully a little inspiring for your children. My Sweet Caroline is amazing, intelligent, funny, and talented. That said, she’s also *very* shy. I guess I should say that she has been very shy…over the course of the last two to three years, I’ve seen this child blossom in front of my very eyes. She’s been trying new things (karate, karate tournaments, school dances, joining school clubs, etc), and she’s learning to excel in all of them. Not to say she started out amazing in these things, and I dare say she may never actually “dance” for you or anyone else. Ever. But…she went to a dance, twice. THAT’S HUGE, PEOPLE! Here’s proof! Two of these are social butterflies that I am so thankful are in my daughter’s life!

Well, the new school year started, and with that came every Mother’s fear of the dreaded years in “middle school.” Let’s be honest, I know of no one who thought those years were great. But, as with most things with a blanket statement like that, my kid has proven otherwise. She came home from her first day at Brink Jr. High and she said she “LOVED IT!” She commented that she loves the freedom that comes from her teachers instilling more independent procedures for them, that the teachers talk to them like they aren’t small children, and that they are actually challenging her. It may help that she’s chosen (on her own…because this Mommy is still a little nervous about pushing her too hard at this level) all Pre-AP courses, and one course that even already counts for high school (Pre AP Algebra I). Y’all, it’s crazy hearing the teacher say in orientation that we need to know that this is High School level work and expectations. She’s still my BABY! Right? Okay, so maybe not, but in my heart she is, and the last thing I want to do is put too much pressure on her – in 7th Grade. But my Bug welcomed it. And though it has proven challenging (YAY!! She’s actually *truly* LEARNING new concepts for the first time since being in Oklahoma) she’s enjoying it and hasn’t wanted to back out of any of it.

When my historically *shy* child came to me telling (not asking) me that she was going to run and campaign for Vice President (the highest she can run for in this school at her grade level) I was a bit shocked. And proud. VERY PROUD. I understand the difficulty it is for her to be up in front of people (most of us have that fear…but for her, multiply that by like a zillion), and she knew she’d have to give a campaign speech – in front of her classmates. Remember, she’s a military kid – she moves around and has only been here for two years. I imagined some of the kids being here their whole lives and feeling more comfortable with being in front of their friends (though, it’s a huge school for anyone!). Anyways, she and I brainstormed things that she could do her campaign around, and there are a few things in this world she LOVES. 1) Reading 2) Reading Harry Potter 3) Reading. And if there’s a fourth, maybe watching Harry Potter. Soooooo, as someone who isn’t *as* in to all of the HP fanatical stuff, I asked if there were things that she could build a campaign around. She immediately came up with a few slogans, and then after hanging out with one of her closest friends, they came up with all of the ideas for her posters and all of the slogans, and even part of her speech!!! She was really excited. A few days later, with the help of two friends, she got her posters finished, her posters put up in the school, and her speech was given. And, I did some praying. I did a lot of praying. Is that silly?

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I’d love to say that my little girl won the Vice Presidency, but alas, the democratic process spoke, and the candidate that was essentially pegged to win, won. He had a crazy awesome speech, and is very well known and liked by all (I was also informed that the cheerleaders would all vote for him…because he’s cute). We were pretty sure this would happen, but I didn’t know how my daughter would handle it. She did great – she congratulated him, and she was happy to know she’d still be in Student Council as a “Senator.” And that she saved her *good* ideas for being able to share them herself at meetings. That girl has a very level (and clever) head on her shoulders!!!

Here are some of the pictures that she took for her Harry Potter-Themed Campaign for Vice President. I couldn’t be more proud of her – and I am so excited to see where her life takes her! Oh! I should add that she was thrilled to find out that her ideas were completely original and not already on Pinterest!! Originality and creativity for the win!

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This one might be my favorite, though I really like the Sorting Hat one above, too!
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We also had a really good lesson on product placement during her campaign…

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This may not have been the best poster for this particular location 🙂
Am I the only one who thinks that?!

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Anyways, thank you ALL so much for reading this, and for those of you who cheered my girl on and who pray for her on a regular basis…thank you. I don’t have enough words, but she’s a huge blessing in my life, and I already know she is one to others too. She’s come so far, and each day I see more of her personality coming through. I know a lot of people struggle with their children having some issues or different-abilities…just as mine do. God has so much more in store for them and for all of us — we just have to trust Him and the path that he sets us on with our babies.

Blessings,

Shelby

 

 

 

Valentine’s Fun – 2017

Oh my heart!! When my neighbor and sweet friend came by to see if I could help out with some super Valentine’s Day pictures in the studio, I was pumped! She had some awesome ideas, and I think the images capture how fun their family is! 

Seriously, is she not the COOLEST (and sweetest!!) Mom?! I absolutely love how much the kids enjoyed having fun with Mommy, and how much she enjoyed it too! 

 

{D} Family : Newborn Session – Twins!

{D} Family : Newborn Session – Twins!

Seriously, how beautiful…to be blessed with two healthy babies, one boy, one girl?!

This family is absolutely precious — just look at these images! You know, I had someone comment on one of the Facebook previews about their Dad proudly serving…actually, while Daddy is proud of his babies and his wife…in this case, the Mommy is the one serving. That’s right — a toddler at home and the Military Momma taking care of these precious littles AND doing her thing at work while serving our country too! Amazing, loving, and beautiful family. Such an honor to meet them, and I know the sacrifices this family is making. It’s not easy, but with that much love, they make it look like it is!

In talking with Mommy, we decided an at home, candid lifestyle session with a few posed images would work best for their family. I call this realistic expectations! With a toddler at home and two newborn babes, although I know it can be done, I think having the best of both portraiture and lifestyle is the way to go!

Also, if you are interested in seeing their maternity session, you can find it HERE

This one is a must share!! LOVE!
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Proudly showing off what Mommy is up to here in Montgomery, Alabama.
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Perfection…
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I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a prouder Big Brother!
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Daddy has his hands full of love…
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Quite possibly, one of my all time favorite lifestyle captures.
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I adore this one so much! Look at those precious faces!
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Gorgeous
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I might have been a little too giddy about capturing this one! Look at those smiles!
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Pure love…and you can feel it!
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One final image to round out this amazing family newborn session!

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Mommy & Me – {B&L}

Melt. My. Heart. 

Seriously, Mommy & Me Sessions melt my heart in general (and what I’d have given to have more photographs like these with my littles!) but from the moment I met this little guy and his Mommy, I was smitten! First, I’ll always fall for a guy who meets me and starts giving me presents. Rocks, pebbles, weeds…I’m game…and, I still have this guy’s little gifts! Then, when my little subjects are so excited about a session with me they start posing and getting ready with smiles before we get to the actual venue…sold! Between his cute personality, those blue eyes, and his Mommy’s super sweet kindness…it was a wonderful session at Will Roger’s Park! This venue is pretty wonderful for family pictures, and you can tell that’s true by how many photographers are always out there! But, even on a busy day, we can always find some little nooks and open spaces, blooming flowers and even some trees to enjoy. I love the sweet moments and interactions with this Mommy-Son duo…

All sessions should end with a memorable face like this one!!! And, I LOVE that Mommy decided to add this one to her order…I totally would have too!! Truly an expression worth holding on too…they grow out of this way too fast! 

^^^^ This little one also ended our session at his car, with a kiss on my hand. Seriously…Mommy better watch out for this heartbreaker! 

And, standard with recent sessions, I decided to try my hand at a cute collage…I LOVE IT!!