grateful

i woke up thanksgiving morning early, with my baby. the house was still and a touch cold. i was grateful when the heat kicked on and the warm air swirled from a nearby vent sweatering my chilled toes. i snuggled my baby and considered everything in my life i am grateful for:

the basic needs of life: shelter, food, clothing, and companionship and the means to provide it all.

healthy children that bless my life every day.

a husband who loves me more than the air he breaths.

parents whose sacrifices and love are so profound.

a sister who always spells understanding and comfort.

my photography and tutoring and the validation and accomplishment they both give me.

my freedoms.

great neighbors, who care.

and my friends who are present, even when i am not.

i am grateful for the constants and the things and people i know will always be there when i need them, and i hope they know i will always be here for them too.

i am especially thankful for the people that come into my life at certain times to show me a certain love or a certain support.

my girlfriend shannon is one of those people.

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before we moved to our new house shannon and i were neighbors and were in close contact. we had so much in common that it was obvious we were going to make great friends! shannon is the type of friend who gives so much without expecting in return. she used to make me meals when i was sick, pick up prescriptions if she was headed to the store before me, and would watch gunnar whenever she was available. she listened when we were together and i was consumed with something, made me think of  a different perspective when i had tunnel vision, and showed compassion and understanding when my heart was hurting or life was making me feel spent. i tried to do all i could so she would know i cared about her too. the allurement of a large house and a little bit of a backyard moved us away from our neighborhood and good neighbors like shannon and brian.

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the day we moved in fact, these two were there with moving-dolly and all. shannon was like 8 months pregnant even with their 2nd, but she made things happen to be there for her friends. brian made countless trips with jaren to get all of the boxes and furniture moved from point a to point b. they are good, good people. it was a bittersweet move for us. we were moving farther away from good friends, but were moving to more space which was a good choice for our growing family. i knew shannon and i would stay in touch, and we did. our conversations would ebb and flow, and she was usually the one to call me first (i am just not good at that), but she understood and was happy to talk when i returned the call. we kept in touch through email and text and met up for special events when we could. we teased them about moving out by us; we dreamed of how great it would be to live close to their family again.

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two years later we got a call that they were moving.

two streets down from us.

we still can’t believe it, and feel so grateful to have our friends back as neighbors.

the move was a total blessing in our lives. we are so grateful for them and all they do to love and support our little family. shortly after they moved jaren got word that he was going to be commuting one and a half hours to work each day. three hours total. our perfect plan of him being home by 4:00 so i could get to work was spoiled. we felt anxious at what we were going to do to be able to make things happen. shannon stepped up and offered to help with our children. i don’t know if i will ever be able to thank her fully or properly for this sacrifice and gift. i hope she knows i am here for her too, and that i am so appreciative. i hope she knows that i admire her selflessness and kind heart. i hope she knows i think she is wonderful.

she is also the talent behind my first giveaway. she has offered to make countless invitations and cards for birthdays, thank you’s, showers, etc. and she does it because she wants to help, not to get anything in return. i am so grateful for that. she is so creative and takes any idea and spins it into something so distinctive and inventive!!

another plug for her and her little business: if you are in need of anything gift related or of some fun decorating ideas, ANYTHING, check out her blog and get in touch; she is so amazingly talented; I am blown away with what she creates and how she sees things. run to her blog and enlist her help for all your holiday and gift giving needs!

 a few photographs. just for her.

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i love to see her husband interact with their children. he is such a good dad!! seriously, out of all the fathers i know, he is one of two that i think could stay home with their children and actually juggle it all. my son loves to spend time at their home because he, brian, (shan too, but you know what I mean shan..:)) is such a fun person. he jumps on the trampoline, kicks that ball around or throws pitches, actually plays geo-tracks instead of sending them off to play by themselves, and he is full of compassion and kindness. traits that i know most fathers have but don’t show readily. brian does, and i am grateful for that influence on my children’s lives when they are present in his home.

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i am grateful for friends for gunnar to have over; friends for gunnar to play little league with and grow up with.

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it was shannon’s idea to bring the lollipops to the shoot! it was perfect, another testament to her creativity and consideration. they were just what her boys needed for a little incentive and i think they made for some really great moments:

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little brother says while eyeing his big bro’s lolly:

“once i am done with mine, i will eat yours.” ;)

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i am so grateful for these friends. they needed to be back in our lives right now. i am so grateful that the plan of their life is intersecting once again with ours.

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shannon, may you always feel how grateful i am for you; may you always know i am a friend to you too. thank you for everything you do for me on a weekly/daily basis; a thousand thank you’s isn’t enough. brian, may you always be the father who gives his time to his children and the neighbor kids too. ;) brae and tanner, may you always feel loved when you are at our home (and may you have a sister to love someday too! ;)

we love you guys. thank you for being such present friends and loved ones in our life.

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an announcement

i am running around like a crazy lady trying to get us organized for our travels, but i can’t stop thinking about someone.

remember this beautiful mom?

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remember her story? 

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a healthy baby girl, baby ruby, was born yesterday. 8lbs 6oz; i’d say that’s healthy enough.

i am emotional thinking about it all.

congratulations to amy, shane, and reese.

and welcome, to ruby.

your greatest holiday gift arrived before the holidays. i am so happy for all of you. can’t wait to meet her. much love, kj

 

sweet feet AND the giveaway winner!!

just something sweet from the homefront. i hate to wake a sleeping baby, but we had to leave the other day for some errands. this is how i found her when i came to wake her up. she was in such a deep sleep the camera clicking didn’t even rouse her.

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sweet baby. i wanted to jump in her crib and snuggle up to her, she looked so peaceful and, well, comfy.

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i love you larkee. you make every day better.

and i am about to make one very special person’s day/evening GREAT!

it’s time to announce the winner of my first ever giveaway!!

first, thank you to everyone who participated by leaving comments on all the stroller striders mini-posts. everything you said was so thoughtful. i appreciated it and i know they did too.

second, i want to thank my girlfriend shannon of stampin’ sentiments for making such a gracious donation. i contacted her when i told her i wanted to do a giveaway. i told her the basics: i wanted the colors to connect with my branding, i wanted it to be festive, and i wanted to be make the receiver feel happy. i saw the wheels in her head start working; she took my thoughts and totally ran with them, and i was so impressed with the outcome. i also loved her energy and enthusiasm for the project. it was cool to work with her because she was as excited about it as i was. she is amazingly talented, ultra creative, and will take even the simplest of ideas and turn them into something truly noteworthy.  if you are looking for some fun holiday ideas, or gift ideas (not necessarily holiday related) in general, she’s your girl; contact her through her website immediately to get going on some really distinctive and original gifts. she can customize any thought you might have and will be great to work with! 

shannon, thank you so much for working with me on this endeavor; i am so happy with how everything turned out! you did such an excellent job and i can’t wait for our next project…what will it be? ;) thank you again for all your hard work, support, and interest in me; i am grateful for you!

she made all of this, and this is all the winner is getting. (plus a little extra something; keep reading…)

first a little snowman soup for those up-and coming chilly winter nights:

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some holiday treats in this cute little candy dish. (i loved this; i want one of my own!!)

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some peppermint bark in a festive mug:

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a plate for christmas cookies:

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not too shabby:

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i loved how everything was kamee june pink and green, and how it was still festive and holiday-ish. i was so thrilled with how everything turned out; i had no doubt it would be fantastic!

and our winner also is receiving a complimentary portrait session with me. all of this and some camera time too. now that’s a giveaway. ;)

with out further ado…

diana radoi

come on down! your the first contestant to win a kamee june giveaway!!!

STREAMERS SHOOTING! BALLOONS FALLING! SPARKLERS CRACKING!!!! FANS APPLAUDING!

congratulations, diana!!!  

send me an email at kamee@kameejune.com (or scroll to the top, click on contact, and fire me off a shout out!) so i can get your address to send you your winnings and also so we can set up a shoot. ;)

so excited to kick the holidays off this week and with this giveaway. thanks again to everyone; i look forward to hearing from you diana!!

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lollipop, lollipop… :a sneak peek

it only took two lollipops to make some magic:

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and dad was no sucker; he snuggled right up to his delicious lollie too:

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more to come from this sweet family that i am so grateful for.

cheers, kj

p.s. i will be announcing the winner of the giveaway soon too; stay tuned. happy weekend!!

 

eskimo kisses: what love looks like

when gunnar was little, i used to, like most mommies, give him kisses at bedtime. (i still give him kisses; i kiss him whenever i can.) after reading innumerable stories, and squezzing his cute little frame i would lean into his darling face and say, “eskimo kisses?” then we would eskimo kiss. “butterfly kisses?” i would flutter my lashes on his cheeks, provoking a giggle seared to my memory. and then i would say, “mommy kisses!!!!!!” and i would smoother his face, cheeks, head, and lips with mommy kisses. i hope it made him feel special and loved.

i hope he feels special and loved every. single. day.

i hope that home, jaren and i, are always safety for our kids. i hope they grow up knowing we are their major defenders, protectors, and dream builders. i hope they always feel understood and accepted. and i hope gunnar always lets me kiss him.

the love a parent feels for a child is untranslatable. to really understand that capacity to love you have to have children. until then it can only be observed. it can still be a powerful experience, one that leaves and indelible mark on your memory.

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carlos and sandra are making a home for their children based on love, respect, compassion, and joy. they were a pleasure to photograph and spend a little time with. i also love how their relationships and the love they have for one another translates to portraiture. 

this is what loving a child looks like:

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this is what being loved looks like:

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i think it’s so neat to see daughters with strong relationships with their fathers. it’s so important and so endearing to see daddy’s that fall in love for a second time with their little girls.

how could you not fall in love with this one?

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carlos was super playful with her; it was easy to see she felt so safe with him. the first guy to break this little lady’s heart might be broken in half himself by lena’s daddy! ;)

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and sweet baby antonio. such a gift to this family and this life. what mellow looks like:

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some love from me to sandra; this was the image she really wanted:

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and a few more of a love-ly family.

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this is what mommy and daddy kisses look like:

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sandra, carlos, lena, and antonio, may you always be as close to each other as you were the day we took these photographs. may you always be willing to give kisses, in any form, and in any numeric amount! ;) may you know i think you are outstanding parents doing the best you can to raise and love your children.

thank you for the opportunity to photograph such sweet moments. xoxo kj

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ps the giveaway drawing is officially closed. i will be selecting our winner and showcasing the spoils this weekend. thanks to everyone who left some love. it was fun “meeting” some blog readers. thanks for leaving some love and encouragement; i appreciate you all so much!! happy friday! cheers, kj

 

may there be “mini” more moments with the striders

this will conclude my mini posts for my mini holiday sessions with the stroller strider families. i enjoyed myself so much and hope to have more opportunities to spend time with these women, their children, and their families. thanks again for the opportunity; you are all such beautiful and wonderful people.

that also means this is the last chance to enter my giveaway. you enter by leaving some love in the comment section. the first person to comment automatically goes in, then i will draw someone at random to go in the mix as well. i will not accept any more names after i post something new, so get your comments in; things are rolling pretty fast on the ole’ blog these days!! i plan to choose a winner and post all the spoils this weekend!! i can’t wait to share what’s been up my sleeve.

i also can’t wait to share these.

another edible child. and his disposition is just as edible as his sweet appearance. 

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his entire family was to die for actually. photographing them was an absolute pleasure. they love each other so much and it was sweet to be a part of that, even for just a moment.

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maybe my favorite? i don’t know, it was so hard to choose with this little team, they are just so adorable together and so photogenic and in the moment.

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this couldn’t be more perfect. it shares so much about two people who are so in love:

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and to finish it off a little sister

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so, so loved by two brothers.

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it’s always interesting to watch kids interact with each other. these two brothers were duking it out at who got to be closest to baby sister. 

everyone had a chance to be close to her in the end.

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i hope they stay this close; little sisters need big brothers to watch out for them, and offer a shoulder when things get all dramatic and tough. ;)

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to all the stroller striders, may your holidays be blessed and filled with family, friends, and fond memories. thank you a thousand times over for inviting me to be a part of your celebrations this year. hope to see you in the spring with some little chicks and maybe a few bunnies.

much love, kj

GO GO GO!! Make your comments! This is your last chance! ;)

 

more “mini’s”: get your comments in, to win!

there is only one more chance after this to be entered into the drawing for my first give-away.  it is going to be perfect for the holidays with a little bit of kamee june flair. my super talented friend, more to come of her, is custom designing the prize. eeeekkkkk! i am stoked!! so, you know the rules. first one to comment is automatically in the drawing, then i will randomly select a name from the rest to go into the mix. leave these families some love! they deserve it!!

remember the gold digger from the sneak peek? here he is again! this was pre-digging. i chased him around trying to get his pictures; he kept me entertained though with stories and songs. i do wish i had time to share more; their gallery is full of great images with so much character.

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his lovely and attentive parents:

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a super sweet and very kind family:

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this little guy is turning one soon, and he is soooooooooo big:

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his brother should be in magazines. a: look at him b: almost every frame he was looking at me and smiling. no kidding.

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their parents, who hesitated to take any together, but i am so glad they did. it’s super important to remember the original team:

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and one of the family. i chose this one because of what i said previously, in almost every frame, even the family ones, almost everyone is looking at the camera, rare, we all know. that’s why i chose this one, because it was different from all the rest: only one was looking at the camera. i think it’s great!!

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thanks again for the opportunity to meet you and photograph your awesome families! kj

a matter of style: the way it is right now

i recently read an article in my professional photographer magazine about the importance for photographers to first, have a brand and be consistent with it, and second have a style that is defined, so when clients ask, “what’s your style?” the photographer can quickly share his/her philosophy. i think the majority of photographers i know, and the ones i admire from afar, share their style, not necessarily through words, although they could, but through the images they project to the world, through their blogs, facebook, tweets, published articles, and any other form of multi-media communication. i am sure that when it comes down to it, clients book because of what they see and how they feel when they see whatever it is they are seeing. ;)

without my camera, i am an observer of life. i notice things and am intrigued by them; they create a personal response in me on some level. i make note of them and then recall those feelings later when i am writing or trying to create something special. with my camera my goal is much the same: to create an emotional response of some kind for my client and my observers: a smile, a laugh, a remembrance, a feeling of gratititude, a nod of approval, a sense of renewed love, a head shake of amazement, a jaw drop, sometimes, perhaps, a tear of joy.  i capture all my observations while i am shooting naturally: natural light, natural posing, natural smiles, natural-you. i basically, in essence want to photograph the current “look” of my subject. i want that look to reflect where they are, at this moment in their life so when they look back on these images they will remember, right now. i want the feelings to ripple, to continue, and to be felt like when they first saw them and when they look back on them in three, five , even ten years.

like i said, most clients are going to book because they like what they see and how it makes them feel. anytime i book a session, i feel humbled knowing that my pictures have touched someone so much that they want to have something similar of themselves or their families in their homes. i also feel encouraged and excited when other photographers book me. it is a bit intimidating, but also validating because that photographer appreciates my style, and that feels good.

kristy, wife, mother to three (it used to be three under three, but the eldest just turned three. so now it’s ages three and under. ;)), homemaker, fashionnista extraordinaire, good friend, kind person with an energetic heart and spirit, gifted photographer, small business owner, and over all amazing human-being made my day when she got in touch with me for photographs.

can you see why?

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i knew it was going to be incredible shooting her. 

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and her amazing sense of style, her grace, and her RAD sassy attitude!

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i also knew she was going to be accompanied by her man, who happens to be quite a looker himself.

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couple those looks with a british accent. that’s lucky. kristy gets to look and listen to that every day. he is also a very nice man who loves his wife and family more than anything; that in itself makes him very cool!!  

i think i am going to send jaren to british accent school, tomorrow.

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i knew from our first correspondence they were going to be just what i wanted to photograph. and i also knew their feelings for each other would translate well with the observations i wanted to make of them.

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they are so in love. it’s palpable.

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they are playful and sweet, sincere and real.

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i also knew they would have their littles in tow. and i know from following kristy’s blog and from meeting these babies in person that they are as enchantingly beautiful as their parents. 

rowan: curious big brother

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sarah: adorable middle child

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shelby: baby divine

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mark and i were discussing how busy their life is right now. of course it is, three babies all heading in a different direction. sitting still, in the same place for longer that a few seconds? tricky.

i really like this image. it made me think of how shelby probably thinks of things sometimes when she is observing the world around her.

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mark said something though that i appreciate and feel relates with the message of this post, “that’s the way it is right now.” i smiled and agreed, because he and kristy “get it.” the “perfect” picture with everyone looking and smiling at the camera can be achieved, every single time, but in the case of this family it wouldn’t be a reflection of their current “look”. which doesn’t mean that were they are right now isn’t wonderful and sweet and a really good place to be in. it just means that right now they are perfectly imperfect. and i love it!

i love this image. i love how it translates love, family, and personality. i also love how that’s where rowan chose to sit and we didn’t push it, how he wanted to be a part of things but at his own distance. i love how the girls are snuggled, and how by this time they had given up on their boots and kristy and mark were content with bare-footed babes. and i love that they didn’t worry about wardrobe or getting rowan right up against them snuggled and smiling, but that they embraced the moment. i also love what this will speak volumes to their children years from now: you came from a tender home of love, from two parents who loved each other more than anything else in the world, and who loved you and your distinct personalities just as much.

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and the expressions here are so priceless. 

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their current look is one of busy-ness; that comes with the territory, but it is also one of joy, laughter, happiness, and really cool clothes. ;)

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right now, they are a little family, making memories for each other, and at the end of the day, looking at the camera or not, that’s what matters.

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and that’s the way they are, right now.

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kristy, mark, rowan, sarah, and shelby, may you always enjoy the present, no matter how crazy it may feel. thank you again, from my heart, for this opportunity to have such an emotional response with a family, outside my own. i loved every minute and am so inspired by the way you live your life, raise your babies, and love each other. thanks for allowing me to observe true love, healthy and happy babies enjoying their childhood, and a family whose “look” is so genuine and beautiful. much love, kj

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