Desiree' Valdovinos: Dancer

Dance is all about creating lines with the body as if it were a sculpture or piece of art - it is about placement and grace combined. It requires drive, dedication, persistence, and pristine focus on attention and detail. Desiree' Valdovinos is a Seattle dancer of 18 years, primarily trained in ballet. She has danced professionally with Anaheim Ballet. Desiree' wanted some shots done for her portfolio and chose the perfect sunset location. She is incredible and makes the "grace and placement" part seem effortless.

Mia's Baptism Photoshoot

"To be loved, be lovable" is what her fortune said. Easy peasy for this girl.

"7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. 8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives. 9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for [she] shall know the name by which he is called; for [she] shall be called by the name of Christ." Mosiah 5:5-7, Book of Mormon

This adorable girl was recently baptized. Congratulations, Mia! I am so happy for you. You radiate love and goodness to everyone who surrounds you, and you spread happiness to those you may not even know. (There are a few 3-year olds especially who look up to you and if you are who they aspire to be the moms of those girls will have little worries.) 

Thank you for being a smart, sweet, and confident you. 


Baby N's Birth Story

*This was written the night of the delivery.

I did not even deliver this piece of perfection, and after almost 10 hours I am still on an emotional high. Megan triumphed over intense pain and anguish, listening to exactly what her body needed, to bring her precious babe safely earthside. There are so many elements to baby Ns birth story that I want to remember; I hope I can adequately express in words my thoughts and feelings of the day.

This sounds insane, but for days leading up to baby's due date I was a wreck. I didn't want to forget a battery, forget my camera!, mess up my settings on the camera, or break my camera. And, every time my phone rang or a text came through, I felt I was back in high school waiting for "the boy" to call. Each time I would think, "Is it Megan?! Is she having her baby?!" And then when it wasn't I'd be a little disappointed.

The day of eviction finally came, as she refers to it. Wednesday, July 27th in the morning, the Pitocin was started. I received multiple texts updating me as to her progress and when I might arrive. She had progressed from a 4 to a 7 quickly so I called my babysitter who arrived at my house in a flash. I dropped all the girls off at the park and headed quickly to the hospital. After receiving directions to the labor and delivery wing I arrived at the front desk. In that same instant I received the text, "9.5 cm come when you can!" 

When I walked in the door to room 213 I couldn't hold back the tears. Nervousness, anxiety, and excitement conjoined and I had to pull myself together before presenting myself to the one who was actually allowed all of those emotions that day! Megan greeted me with a huge smile on her face and bright eyes. She waved. Nurses were scrambling around her, my emotions calmed, and I was able to sit back and watch the events unfold through my lens.

Shortly after my arrival the doctor came in - a gentle yet bold presence. He commanded a sort of confidence that he would take care of Megan and her baby and all would be well.

I'll not forget Brett's tenderness as he literally watched over, held, and instructed Megan through the whole process; he never left her side. When baby crowned the nurses said, "Wait 'til you see her hair!" Megan asked, transcending all of the pain of contractions and pushing and discomfort, "Does she have hair?!" You could hear in her shaky voice the excitement that she was finally about to lay eyes on the one who had been growing inside her for 9 months (and one week). She asked for a mirror, which Brett held. With one hand Megan held her oxygen mask. With the other she would alternate adjusting the mirror to see baby and holding Brett's free hand. Megan's nurse was new, but she was kind and encouraging. She softly gave instructions to guide Megan through the birthing process: letting her know when to breathe, how to breathe, when to push, how to push. She led her through the gauntlet as the doctor guided baby's head and body safely down. Baby girl's head had been a bit turned which had her heart rate low, and which made it all the more difficult to push her out

After about 20 minutes their perfectly perfect baby girl came: 12:57 pm. 7 pounds 10 ounces. 20.5 inches long. The doctor had her in his lap and was suctioning her mouth and nose. Megan couldn't see her and asked, "Why isn't she crying?" Brett replied, "She's crying" calming thoughts that would be any mom's darkest worry. Baby girl came out chewing on her cord and as soon as the doctor pulled it away she yelped out. Megan was trying hard to see her - peering forward to catch her first glimpse. Megan reached out pointing and asked, "Is she alive?" Once again Brett's positive and reassuring voice responded, "Yes, she's alive. She's fine." These questions gave way to deepest fears that could, and rightly so, be the result of such horrific pregnancies - after all she had endured, through what would seem endless days turned endless nights of free falling into the bottomless pit that is hyperemesis gravidarum, nothing could go amiss now. 

Baby girl was calm, calm, calm, lying there while everyone wiped her down. She finally started making more noise and when they put her in Megan's arms, and that mama full of tears streaming down her cheeks snuggled her up, she calmed. She was bright-eyed and slowly waving her arms. She starred sweetly at her parents for an hour. 

Megan endured three intrauterine sweeps which were necessary to get all of the placenta out of her body. Once all of the pregnancy and delivery terrors were over, the room regained its peaceful composure, and a mom and a dad were left with no greater task than to swoon over every inch of their newest addition. 

Megan didn't let that baby go. She kept her close and kept her tight. She asked Brett to take a picture, to which Brett happily obliged. Megan asked for another and he did. When she asked for another he said, "I did. I got a picture." Megan, completely smitten and pointing directly at baby's beautiful face, "No, right here; her face is so cute right now." There are two photos - of the 760 that I took - that are my favorites. One is found below: Megan pulling herself across the bed, craning her neck, in an effort to keep her eyes locked on her baby girl. For me it pours out all of the emotion of a mama who is so in love with her baby she will fight-to-the-death to keep that baby happy and healthy.

And now the part that brings me back to tears every time: I left the hospital feeling love more deeply, feeling gratitude more profoundly, than I ever have before. Watching Brett love Megan so much, and helping her through all of the discomfort, cheering her on so she could get through it faster!, gave me deep feelings of love and gratitude for my own husband. I could see Tyler helping me in those same ways while I gave birth to our two girls. In the actual moments of birthing it's impossible to see! But watching Brett tend to Megan by spoon feeding her ice chips, tenderly reminding her to put on her oxygen mask, and carefully wiping her tears, infused in me a sense of gratitude for my own partner, and for all the men I know who so purposefully, and deliberately, care for their partners in the same way.

As time goes on, and as I learn to love my companion as he is, right now, not for who I think he should be, I am filled with confidence and joy and gratitude and appreciation beyond what I thought capable of feeling. My heart becomes more fluttery and I look forward to every new day with him.

Also, I am in greater awe at what a masterpiece the human body is. A woman just bore a child. I never loved my body more than after I had given birth to my first baby. I thought it was a masterpiece. I was in no rush to change it or make it different. I was the most happy and content in my own skin, and so proud of what it, and what I, had done that nothing else mattered. As I grow and mature those feelings continue to grow, and I felt those same feelings again today, only exponentially greater, after watching Megan deliver her baby - a baby her own body had created.

Congratulations Brett, Megan, and family. She is absolutely perfect in every way. 

A 1st Birthday Pool Party

Isaac's First Birthday Party was so well planned! I absolutely loved how mom and dad got to sit back and enjoy every minute of the party: photos were taken care of, food was ready, decor was up! It was party time and the laughter and chatter were proof of the fabulous day it was! They swam and ate and spent all their time with their baby and with their company. Happy Birthday, Isaac - you are a whole one year young!

Free Scoop Day

Cupcake Royale used to have my favorite ice cream: Salted Caramel Cupcake. But now by some freaky turn of events I prefer cake over ice cream--I can't believe I just typed that. They were "sold out" of my fav so I mostly sat back to enjoy the girls enjoying their ice cream--they loved having three bowls and three cones in front of them. I loved sitting back watching through a lens. After we cleaned up, Annie walked past the jars of sprinkles right to the stacks of cones on the other side of the counter, which are conveniently placed at the exact level of little eyes and little hands. She didn't mind at all and grabbed a small stack! Then we ran out the door. On the way to the car I asked them if i could take their picture by the flowers to which they happily obliged (gasp!) and then had a ball cracking up at each other. I wish I would have kicked it into video mode because that laugh of Kate's - where she can't breathe - is one of the sweetest sounds this earth has ever known.

I am crazy about the photos of the girls cracking up so hard they couldn't stand up straight. Of course no one else knows what's funny! That is what sister life is all about--a lifetime of secrets that will never be shared. To watch these sisters strengthen a bond that will last into the eternities is happiness on the highest level.