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Mean Girls; Raising Compassionate Daughters

Raising a Compassionate Daughter in today’s world of Cyber-space is quite the challenge.

At bath time I notice my daughter studying her seven year old figure in the mirror. She turns herself from side-to-side attempting to straighten her posture & suck in her belly.

Momma?‘ she hesitates… ‘When will my belly go away? The girls at recess were teasing me…’

All at once, my past and her future flashed before me.

Girls are just plain mean.

I was the naive little girl who inevitably walked right into the traps other girls set for me.

In 8th grade, one of the most popular girls in school suffered an embarrassing break-up. The boy LOUDLY made the announcement to everyone just before the first bell.

I was under the impression this girl was my best friend. After all, she lived down the block and she was the first ‘friend’ I’d made when I moved in with my dad. 

Empathetic to her plight, I slipped a hand-written note into her locker just before lunch.

The note thoughtfully pointed out the reasons why the boy was an idiot before I began gushing about why she deserved someone better. Then I decorated the page with colorful hearts, flowers and swirly’s- making it extra special.

At lunch, everyone was buzzing. It seemed a lot of fingers were pointed in my direction and I felt like all eyes were on me as one of the popular boys approached my table.

He took a seat across from me and took a piece of paper out of his pocket.  I immediately recognized my own handwriting as he carefully unfolded the page and laid it in front of me.

embarrassed cartoon girl with red cheeks

Heat rushed to my cheeks, I swallowed hard trying to suppress the tears.

“What’s this all about, ehe?’  he pretended to be concerned but his words were empty.

“There are copies making the rounds all over school! You know… everyone thinks you are in love with Michelle?”

I was mortified.

It was just two weeks before summer break and I was the laughing stock of the school. I imagined this is all anyone would be talking about over the summer. Conversations at the beach would be centered around the silly little girl who was stupid enough to think Michelle was her best friend. Ha. Ha. Ha.

But the other children did forget quickly.

Within a week, their minds were racing towards summer vacation. Everyone went back to being children and eventually the humiliation took a back seat in my brain as well. No one seemed to remember the following year and I moved onward.

The internet doesn’t easily forget.

Fortunately, my mortifying event took place during the days of dial-up internet.

Thankfully Facebook and Instagram were non-existent so it wasn’t yet common practice to take a photo and immediately post online.

‘Regardless of age, women of all walks are drawn together into a posse by their very need for constant reinforcement.’

While mean girls who prey upon the less popular have always existed; today cyber bullying is vicious and it’s leading to teen suicide in alarming rates. This is something that needs to be combated early. We need to teach our daughters to be better.

Together we can Change the Standard for Social Media

While social media is still a relatively new concept to my generation- kids today are growing up with direct access to all of their peers. We are just beginning to understand the overall arching impact this will have on our children.

We all do it… slip into that ‘mean girl’ mentality when we feel insecure or threatened. It’s easy enough to pick someone else apart in an effort to feel better about ourselves. ‘Insecurity breeds hostility and contempt.'(3)

educate together we can change

Today we have direct access to hurt feelings and destroy someone’s self confidence by simply hitting the return button.

‘Being bullied by a mean girl is a kind of social torment that often exists without parents and teachers even noticing. Social media has given mean girls an entirely new avenue to harm others. In addition to in-person bullying, mean girls also engage in cyberbullying.’ (1)

Facing personal insecurities and finding your own tribe without putting others down.

At my age, I am still insecure in some situations but I manage to force my way through the doors… I put on a smile and fake the confidence necessary to get to the other side of the room. This is a requirement in my profession. When I am wearing my camera, I don’t think twice about entering a room.

My camera gives me the confidence to enter any social circle and take control. I often employ this confidence when I enter a room without my camera. I attempt to smile and make eye contact with others, nodding to acknowledge their exisistance.

I use this same technique when I take my daughter to the playground.

While other parents are aggressively typing on their phones in an effort to avoid eye-contact, I go the opposite route. I smile and engage with their children

This isn’t always easy, especially for those whom have anxiety in social situations. It’s important to learn coping mechanisms and ease into a social dynamic that might make you uncomfortable.

Five Ways to Help your Child 

As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there’s plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it. Here are some tips:

Talk about your own experiences: Share your own experiences of school — cliques have been around for a long time!

Help put rejection in perspective: Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings — and how quickly things can change.

Shed some light on social dynamics: Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.

Find stories they can relate to: Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations. For school-age kids, books like “Blubber” by Judy Blume illustrate how quickly cliques can change. Older kids and teens might relate to movies such as “Mean Girls,” “Angus,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Clueless.”

Foster out-of-school friendships: Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren’t already) — art class, sports, martial arts, horse riding, language study — any activity that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn new skills.

*(excerpt from: Helping kids Cope with Cliques- Kid’s Health)

 

  1. Signs of A Mean Girl
  2. Dealing with Mean Women
  3. The Psychology of Mean Girl Cliques

 

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  • Adrienne - Thank you Brynn!! I have some big ideas about leading us towards a different kind of interaction online. I appreciate your comment and for reading 🙂

  • Brynn - I love what you wrote here, and agree it’s so important to consider how social media makes every bad thing seem SO much worse to a kid…hope your sweet girl is feeling over the teasing!

Just Like Riding a Bike

The training wheels didn’t come off my bike until I was almost ten.

My brother, David, decided I was far too old for training wheels; therefore he enlisted his best friend, Barclay, to convince me to give up my ‘baby wheels’.

They cornered me after church one Sunday afternoon, determination in their eyes.

“I can’t do it! I shook my head, crying fat crocodile tears.

I was afraid of failure.

Terrified of embarrassing myself, I panicked at the thought of removing my safety gear. I doubted my ability to balance without the support of my extra wheels. What if I couldn’t achieve the goal and disappointed my brother? What if I crashed?

What if I got hurt?

The fact that I was almost ten, refusing to simply TRY to ride without training wheels was unacceptable in my brother’s mind. He was resolute, refusing to take ‘NO’ for an answer.

My brother was an entrepreneur early in life.

David is an extrovert. He has always been brave and involved himself in a wide variety of extra-curricular’s in high school. He made friends easily and was acknowledged within every social circle.

Without any encouragement, he started his own paper route when he was 12 and launched his first business when he was just a teenager.

Did he truly believe his first business at 16 would be a success? Doubtful… perhaps he was faking all of that confidence but not once did he fail to try. He took initiative.

And he took risks.

From where I stood, my brother never failed.

Now that I am an adult I know this isn’t true. Of course he missed a few steps along the way. But looking back, I can only recall the things he achieved. 

That’s the point, though, isn’t it?

Even then, he pushed me to try something I was afraid of doing.

That Sunday afternoon they ran alongside my bike, guiding me through the church parking lot. They cheered me on, building up my confidence. Before long I was soaring! I was experiencing a newfound freedom that comes with conquering your fears.

Conquering my Fears…

For the last couple of years, I’ve only dipped me toes into the waters of social media. It’s been hard to find my voice and determine how I wanted to proceed into this new arena.

If you take a step back, it’s easier to see the bigger picture.

We are social creatures and we NEED others to help lift us up and move us forward. Let’s make social media have THAT purpose!

It looks so perfect on the outside

The cold, hard truth is that social media gets us focusing on the outside success of other people while simultaneously obsessing over our own failures!

With instant access to everyone you’ve EVER known, I can easily get ‘sucked in’ only to find myself an hour later wishing I had a new car or a puppy or that cool thing-a-ma-gig…

This never ending cycle gets us scrambling to document every mediocre detail of life and this contributes to our feelings of inadequacy. And it isn’t healthy for children to begin feeling inadequate by kindergarten!

I want to help forge a new way to interact online. Create online communities.

So here I am, pouring my words onto a blank screen choosing to move forward in positive and productive way. Social media is not a place to openly air your grievances or chastise others.

It should be a place to share, support and learn from one another. Knowledge is power and it’s right here at our fingertips!

So here I am hoping on the social media bicycle. I am blogging again, telling stories with words. Pushing forward into uncharted territory.

I’m ready to feel like I did that day on my bike… flying free, watching the ground beneath me drop away. Zooming forward into a brand new day.

Until Next Time,

Learning from Failure

At some point, I simply stopped writing.

My inner critic stood in my way. Her voice, harsh and painful, speaking to me my darkest fears.

Every time I sat down to write, she immediately began criticizing my efforts reminding me of my failures. The last year was one of the hardest of my life and my inner critic shut me down. I struggled to accept a truth: my marriage had failed.

But that did not mean I was a failure. Some things are bound to fail. Sometimes, it’s truly the best thing to happen.

For a while, creative endeavors that once fed my soul, seemed impossible to complete. I was running but with no sense of direction. Every time I sat to pour out the words, I remained still silently recounting my fears.  My inner critic paralyzed my ability to move forward; for a little while, she won.

Failure leads to the Greatest Success.

This is a hard concept to grasp when in the throws of a major life crisis. We operate on survival mode maintaining our daily lives.

I maintained a sense of ‘normalcy‘ for my daughter when her father moved out. He wasn’t around much anyway. His new career in law enforcement had him working all hours and when he wasn’t working, he was asleep or who knows where… It was hard to accept, but I knew I needed more than what I was getting.

The situation had to change.

Our daughter was quickly turning from clumsy toddler, to an independent thinking child. The tension in the air was palpable and she was always encouraging ‘family hugs‘.  But we hadn’t functioned as a team in almost a decade and whatever we once were together had long ago disappeared.

When he said he was moving out, I found myself beginning the journey into remembering who I was and the dreams I once had. I needed time to mourn the death of one dream and time to welcome another.

Accept failure then MOVE forward

I’ve spent the last year re-evaluating before stepping into the future. My harsh inner critic, still stands there, reminding me of all those times I’ve failed, telling me I am still that scared little girl who’s afraid to take a chance on herself.

But I am pushing forward, taking deep breaths and starting again.

I am not defined by others. I will no longer Justify, Apologize, Defend or Explain my actions. I am an artist. I am a mother. I am determined; therefore, this is not the end of my story. This is just the beginning. 

‘Try and fail but never fail to try.’ -Steven Kaggwa

***

Four tips to help push forward after failure

I poured through some websites online to grab a few gems as I worked through this process. I found this by Charles Franklin via www.mindofawinner.com.

  • Acceptance: Don’t sugarcoat failure. It feels like crap and it should. Don’t deny or ignore the feelings you have on failing. They are key in motivating you to try again or try differently. Give yourself some time for your brain to process what happened.
  • Control: Take stock of what you have left. Not every failure is final, nor is every final complete. Take a minute to see what failure actually means to you in this moment. Realize that your meaning of failure will change with time, but address any urgent issues or questions you have now.
  • Trust: Believe in your brain. Failure only has the meaning we ascribe to. In other words, the fact that you didn’t get that client, that business, or that relationship doesn’t mean you failed. We tell our brain that we failed. Because we are the person that defines failure, we can also redefine if we allow our brains to do its work of asking questions and seeking answers.
  • Lean In. Wonder about your failure. Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher and author, offers a very unique way to understand failure in her book, “Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better”. In that book, Chordon suggests that we deal with the uncertainty of fear with questions. Failure doesn’t tell you what will happen the next minute, next hour, or the next year. It can only tell what happened before. Because of that, your failure does not impact what can happen next. Take some time to wonder, “What does this mean?” and see what comes to mind.

These four observations represent a pathway from failure to lesson.

We first have to accept what’s going on, control what he have left, using that control to build trust and wonder. It was that process, unintentionally, while trying to redefine myself from scratch. Learning that it was OK for me to take some time to redefine my failure into a lesson gave me the insight I needed to actually learn from my failures.

We’ll all failed in life… in SOME form or another. When reviewing these failures, what did you learn about yourself? Was your process going from failure to learning the same or did you encounter something different?

Failure can be the road to self discovery if you ask questions!

Until Next Time-

This Years HOT Wedding Trends

Hottest Wedding Trends this Year

I paid a visit to Craig Sole, floral designer & artist extraordinaire, last week to discuss the latest wedding trends. I was surprised to learn that a new shade of pink is making headlines this year and the color black is coming back in unexpected ways.

Flashy is classy!

Craig tells me, ‘Beading, sequins, shimmer & shine. Everything that sparkles is in for 2018!’ But it can be easy to go overboard on the sparkles. Adding a glint here and there will be an excellent way to show off for your wedding photographs but include it in the right doses. Craig also pointed out that rose gold is on the hot list for next year!

The truth is I’ve had several trendsetter brides throughout the last 15 years. But after my discussion with Craig, I took to the internet to compare our conversation to what the industry is buzzing about. As our wedding schedules fill with couples for the 2018 wedding season, it’s exciting to see all of these ideas come to life!

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She opened the door, exasperated carrying a naked baby on her hip.

I followed her up the stairs to find the master bed covered with random articles of clothing. There were fancy dresses alongside jeans and t-shirts. It was a mismatch of epic proportions!

‘I didn’t know where to start… The baby had a blow out and it happened on my favorite dress! How do other people make this look so effortless?’

I gave her a wink and pulled a few items from the bed. ‘Ha!? Girl, please! Everyone else is faking it! We only show our BEST selves on Facebook. Don’t buy into all of that.’ 

‘Today, the photographs we take? They won’t be ‘just pictures’ where you smile and look perfect- they will be moments we create right now. Years from now, they will be your memories. So don’t let a little poop ruin your day!”

What do I wear on my Photoshoot??

If you are the type to have anxiety over choosing just the right look, you are NOT alone! Everyone has a little trouble planning for their first photoshoot. It is difficult knowing exactly what to expect.

If you follow a few simple rules, this part is easy! I’ve put together some guidelines to help prepare for your next photo session.

Initial Thoughts:

Ok, let’s start with the easy answer. Keep it Simple! Select something you feel comfortable, confident and beautiful wearing! Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Darker colors have a slimming effect; however light clothing provides a fresh, lighter look.
  • Prints and patterns should be avoided UNLESS… used in small doses or as a splash of color.
  • Avoid sleeveless clothing and short pants. (Think hairy man legs in your photos. Ya? No!)
  • Accessories can add flair but don’t over do it!
  • If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean.
  • Get a hair cut at least a week prior to your shoot.

When in doubt, choose comfort

You don’t want to be tugging at your pants or readjusting your top because it doesn’t fit quite right! Therefore it is important to wear something that fits you well. Choose something that flatters your figure and you are bound to beam with confidence.

Heels might look great but it’s smart to bring along another pair of comfy shoes. They don’t necessarily have to ‘look great’ but it’s something you’ll want if your feet are anything like mine!

My feet always ache, even after a bunionectomy! Thus my comfy go-to shoes are my Ariat work boots with custom insoles. Yup. That’s how I roll these days.

AFTER you’ve chosen what YOU will wear, then it’s time to make decisions for everyone else. Easy right?

amaples-seperator-blog-page

Choosing Colors for the Family

It’s best to use the design theory: Rule of three . Simply put, choose two colors that work well together and add a third as a splash of color! Personally I love applying this rule to creamy whites & ivory’s with a splash of color. Once you have your color palette to three colors, the rest is easy!

Vary your use of color by opting for a different fabrics with varying textures. Look at how each texture absorbs or reflects light. Pair with accessories that add bits of color and personality.

Solid colors or small simple prints work best.

Typically, only children should wear small prints while the adults stick to solid colors. If you want to incorporate plaids, bright colors and patterns- just tone it down by layering with a neutral jacket or sweater.

Stick within a tonal range:

  • Pastels (pinks and blues)
  • Primary colors (red and blue)
  • Earth tones (navy, tan, burgundy, or green)

You can safely add cream, whites and ivory to any color combination.

Preparing Family for a LARGE Family Group Photo

Large family reunion type groups need special consideration. If you are the lucky person organizing for this, determine if your family is more formal or casual.

It is important all family members know the “theme” of the photo. If one family comes in suits and dresses and another comes in jeans and T-shirts, it might look a bit odd. Women will often be seated, so be certain skirts cover knees and are comfortably loose.

Again, keep things simple!

  1. Give them three colors
  2. Encourage variety in fabrics
  3. Suggest jeans or khaki’s
  4. NO shorts & NO sleeveless

COUPLES & INDIVIDUAL PORTRAITS

Simplify– choose clothing without a lot of detail- it will distract from the portrait.   Couples should coordinate their clothing together, following the same rules.

Keep in mind where the portrait will be taken.  If you are planning a shoot in the park, green would probably not be the best color.  Choose something that will add to the scenery.  Adversely- neutral colors, earth tones & whites can look fantastic on the beach at sunset!  If we are shooting at one of KC’s many fountains, decide before the shoot if you want to get wet.

Choosing Clothing for CHILDREN

Soft colors and pastels work well for babies & toddler. Although truthfully, chubby cheeks, budda bellies, stubby fat fingers & toes are some of my favorite things that define children as children. I don’t like to complicate things

Avoid large animal characters or logos! Your clothes shouldn’t take away from the photograph and large logos are almost always photo-shopped out later. I often take shoes off children because I like to photograph their toes.

If you go with something dressy, bring dress shoes and socks to match.  I often suggest simple sun dresses for girls and khakis for boys.  When photographing groups of children, I suggest coordinating their outfits together.

It’s a good idea to bring a favorite toy or something that can keep their attention.  Keep in mind this shoot is about bringing out the personality in your child and if they enjoy reading or playing catch think about incorporating those things in the shoot.

Tips to Remember:

  • Ladies remember to lipstick and powder.
  • Men don’t forget to bring a belt.
  • If you need a haircut, have it done at least a week before so that it has time to look natural
  • Don’t be afraid to mix it up to make your portraits unique- For instance, if you have a fun dress for your little girl (as seen below), select colors within the outfit to dress the rest of the family.

For more ideas, visit our Pinterest Page with things to get you inspired!

Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Finding the Perfect Wedding Photographer

It’s important to find the right photographer for YOU & your new spouse. The answer to this question is different for every couple. After 15 years documenting couples from engagement to raising children, I’ve learned many things from watching families grow and evolve.

Which brings me back to choosing the right photographer.

Photographers can be broken down into two basic categories: Amateur vs. Professional. The major divide will be the photographer’s education & time spend behind the camera.  I suggest hiring a professional who’s survived at least 5 years in the wedding industry. Nationwide markets vary considerably; however in the Midwest you should expect to pay between $3000- $5000 for a professional.

If you can’t afford a pro photographer, check out the local art scene. It is possible to find a budding artist who doesn’t yet know what they are worth! But don’t expect too much if you ask a friend just got a ‘nice’ camera & takes good pics with their iphone.  

Remember the old addage: ‘The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price.’

Your wedding photographs will be one of the lasting tangible things from your wedding day and your images will reflect your experience. Skilled photographers know how to be there at just the right moment without getting in the way.

Your friend with the nice camera… well, they might just step on your veil as you walk down the aisle. (True story!)

What to expect when Hiring a Professional Photographer

There are a few basic things we expect when hiring a professional to provide a service.  

We expect a professional to be able answer questions about their craft. They should be knowledgeable about industry standards and clarify expectations about their process.

For instance, when you have a leaky faucet you google search for a plumber. You expect your plumber will utilize his education and experience in his field to determine your problem.  Then you expect the plumber to fix the problem without being told how to proceed.

A seasoned wedding photographer will solve problems that arise without being told what to do or what to photograph. We remain silent observers moving throughout your wedding day and interacting when required. We will quickly solving lighting scenarios and creating light when necessary, constantly thinking ahead to select the perfect lens for the next scene.

Lasting industry professional are the ones who abide by certain standards and ethics. Ultimately, your professional will deliver what they’ve promised on time and exceed your expectations.

What about Style?

With lots of buzz making the rounds to define wedding photographers, it can be hard to determine what ‘style’ is right for you. Spend some time finding photographs that resonate with you. Try not to be swept away by gimmicks or flashy websites.  Instead search for images that make you feel something. The mark of a great photographer is one you can connect with through their imagery.

When your wedding day finally rolls around, it’s best to trust the professionals you’ve hired to run the day. Unless you think you’d enjoy running around in a wedding dress directing people?

I assure you, it’s not an ideal way to spend such a momentous day in your life!

Searching for the ONE

Ultimately the web will lead you to your answer and by this point, I’m certain you’ve already googled ‘wedding photographer’ and been overwhelmed by the search results! We live in an age of instant gratification where digital imagery fills our screens and lives.

The digital revolution created a surge of amateur photographers in every industry but particularly in the wedding industry. The discerning bride will look through hundreds of websites while planning her wedding. Statistically, more than HALF of those websites will lead to individuals who’ve been in business less than 3 years! Those aren’t very good odds! The Knot comes up first in search results and it’s loaded with lots to look through.

You should fall in love with your photographer.

_____

Adrienne Maples is an internationally award winning photographer with 15 years experience photographing families and public figures throughout the world. She studied fine art photography at the Savannah College of Art & Design, launching her studio just before obtaining her B.F.A.

A pioneer in the wedding industry, Adrienne broke from the once traditional approach to photographing weddings: ‘F8 and be there’. She worked her early weddings with film and a medium format camera. Today she receives international acclaim for her artistic approach to wedding photography.

Adrienne currently resides in Overland Park, the burbs of Kansas City. When she’s not behind a camera, you can find her enjoying impromptu dance parties with her daughter or teaching Pete-the-dog new tricks. In her spare time she does normal things like singing Bohemian Rhapsody or perfecting her evil laugh.

Preparing for Newborn Portraits

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Photographing newborns is a learned skill and it’s not as easy at it might look.

Despite all of my years studying photography and working with people, I was lost the first time I worked with a newborn. Working with newborn babies to create artistic portraits is a learned skill and an art all its own!

I’ll admit, I went through a bit of trial and error before I achieved the look I wanted for my newborn portraits. I wasn’t completely comfortable handling newborn babies until after having my own. It is a talent achieved by handling lot of tiny babies and patience, always plenty of patience.

You are tired, frustrated and anxious just after giving birth making it hard to want photos. Don’t let THAT keep you from having these first moments documented.

‘Don’t take any photos of me! I look terrible. I couldn’t get it together this morning!?!’

Try not to worry about that.

It’s a vulnerable time and I get it.  I can’t remember a more stressful time in my life than the first few days after giving birth! Ugh. I didn’t look or feel like myself. The last thing I wanted to do was leave the house.  (That’s ok, I can come to you!)  I felt Gross. Fat. TIRED…. so tired…

I’ve been there and I know exactly how you feel.  I utilize beautiful lighting, creative posing, and the ART of photography to creatively include you in the photographs.  Just snuggle your new little bundle & I will work around the mess.


Photographs are like magic… using lighting & creativity I look for the perfect moments to tell your beautiful story.  And if you’ve already met me, you KNOW you are going to be entertained.

I will share with you my life experiences & assure you this happens to everyone!  The photos we create as we chat & soothe your baby.. those photos will become a memory you’ll never regret!  I realize this more with every passing year.  The photos I have taken are now forever remembered ‘moments’ in a family’s history.  Heirloom works of art that will be special to the children that have yet to be born.

What will happen during your newborn portraits session?

‘Oh no.. it’s happening!’ The new mom exclaims frantically as she uses her hand to shield mustard yellow poop from running onto my spotless, ivory couch.  It’s only spotless because it frequently gets cleaned by me & my good friend Oxy-Clean.  I’ve removed the many stains of childhood plenty of times.  It was recently attacked by a toddler with a red crayon and before that, another baby girl who couldn’t hang on to her lunch.

You see, this is common place.  It happens almost every time.

Kids are messy. Life is messy.

I am prepared for these things to happen.  You’ve JUST had a baby & we will work around your newborn!  You will probably nurse your new baby several times… and change them several times.  But the best thing about a single photograph is the power to freeze ‘a moment’… lock that moment down… so that the in-between no longer matters.

Keep reading to see my tips on preparing for your newborn portrait session. 

Ready to Book your newborn portraits?!

neborn-preparing-beautiful-baby-portraitsStudio Session in Overland Park

(Newborn studio sessions provide plenty of time to allow you to nurse, change diapers, RELAX while Adrienne snuggles your infant!)

  1. Throw your props, outfits,  and stuffed animals into a clothes basket.  We’ll go through this when you arrive and I will help determine several things we can use to add personal touches to your newborn portraits.
  2. Dress your baby in something comfortable to make the trip as we start with a mostly naked baby.
  3. TRY NOT TO STRESS about your session. It’s your job to RELAX.  Adrienne will do the hard work (except for nursing- which brings the next point!)
  4. Be prepared to nurse or feed a bottle or two… or three.  In the early days, you’re little one will eat often!  If you are nursing, wear something that will be easy to get on & off. BE comfortable.
  5. Bring props! Anything goes- fun hats, blankets, anything with texture, neat boxes, baskets… anything your baby will fit inside! Think Creatively! Adrienne will take a look at what you bring & make decisions about what will work for your session.
  6. The studio will be very warm in preparation for your session, dress in layers so you don’t get too hot!
  7. Studio sessions are typically faster than home sessions but newborns don’t always cooperate.
  8. If this is your first baby, it will take you longer than expected to leave the house! Give yourself an extra half hour!

Home Session {We come to you!}  (sessions starting at $750)

  1. DO NOT clean the house!! Adrienne will be moving things around to find the perfect spot with great light. You’ve just had a baby- just relax & she’ll handle the rest.
  2. Warm it up! Newborns sleep better when they are warm.
  3. Have props & outfits ready. Anything goes- fun hats, blankets, anything with texture, neat boxes, baskets… anything your baby will fit inside! Think Creatively!
  4. Don’t worry about where the shoot will take place. Adrienne looks through your home and props to find the perfect combinations to create unique newborn portraits.
  5. Home sessions are relaxed & fun. Adrienne puts together several creative scenes for your newborn & gets a variety of shots within each artistic set.

    newborn-feet-overland-park-newborn-photographynewborn-artistic-portraits

The Birth of Arden; Birth Photography

I CANT DO THIS!‘ she exclaimed through pursed lips.

Ashley clenched her hands around the bed rails as she writhed with each contraction, now only moments apart.  Her husband & partner since high school chemistry, Chris, stood in solidarity softly rubbing her back.

‘Yes! She is complete this time.’ The nurse looked up at the clock.

‘The doctor is on her way, just hold on. She will be here in a few minutes.’

Very quickly the room filled with women in pink scrubs and blue gloves. Tables with medical tools were rolled in and the room buzzed with a different kind of energy.

‘I CANT… I CANT ..’ Ashley’s voice dropped off as another contraction stole her breath away.

‘Yes you can, you’ve done it three times before-‘  the nurse reassured. “Just keep breathing.’

It’s hard to communicate while in the throws of labor.

Just ask any mom who’s been at a ‘TEN’ before.

You have little control over your body’s natural instinct to push. It feels impossible to wait when you are hit with a contraction. The pressure is so intense your body tells you to push with all of your might.

‘I CANT!!!’ she yells out in between contractions.

This was the third time I have attended a birth for this family. While each subsequent births happened relatively fast with little agony to the birthing mother, this one was different. She was in far more pain than any time prior and this time she felt intense pressure on just one side. It was clear that the epidural wasn’t as effective but in addition Arden was sunny side up, attempting to push her hand out first.

Ashley felt little control over ‘waiting’.  Yet somehow she managed.

When the doctor arrived, Ashley let her body take over. With one contraction the doctor flipped the baby and with the next, Ashley gave one great big push.

Arden arrived at 1:04 pm.

The relief washed over her and tears streamed down her face. Her body shook uncontrollably as Arden was placed on her mother’s chest. Chris quickly brushed away a tear and leaned over his wife to inspect their newest baby girl.

In this moment, time stood still. I looked on through my lens, pushing back my own emotional response. I found myself in agony, holding my breath while Ashley waited to push. I’ve been capturing their lives for the last ten years. Through marriage, five pregnancies and the birth of the pair’s four daughters, Ryann, Elsie, Thea and now Arden.

It’s hard not getting emotional behind my camera as I watch their lives unfold.

On Saturday, Grammy & Pops picked up the beautiful blond trio eager to meet their little sister.

It was a big day.

meeting baby sister

The girls started at the salon before taking the trip from Topeka to Overland Park. The stumbled in the hospital room wide eyed, nervous but excited to see the newest face in their family. Ryann & Elsie debated over who would get to hold her first, while Thea made her rounds exploring.

Ashley is a vibrant mom of three, now four, beautiful blond girls. Let’s hope one of them is into sports!

Want more, check out the birth of Elsie.

See the family grow throughout the years.

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  • Adrienne - Thank you! I’m so blessed to know this family.

  • Cheryl - Sweet post. You captured the emotions for sure. Beautiful moment. 

  • Adrienne - This week was full of happy moments with the Jenks Family! We’ll be back next week with her newborn photos!!

Adventures in Delousing

A New Year’s Adventure in DeLousing

The girl cutting my daughter’s hair called me over. She parted her hair to show me the bugs crawling on her scalp. Repulsed, I instinctively picked two of the buggers, squishing them between my fingers.

‘Uhm, you can’t start treatment now..’  The girl cast her eyes towards the lobby full of others waiting for their own hair cut. I instantly regretted my decision to ‘start a profile’ with Great Clips.

‘Oh, right. Yes. Of course. I am so sorry..’

I bit my lip. My mind began to race. LICE?!?! How did this happen? I felt ashamed and completely shocked.

This was NOT how I intended to spend the New Year.

I had no clue my child had head lice; furthermore, I didn’t know she had given them to me!

Calculating from the stages of her infestation, she’d been exposed at least 2 weeks prior. She complained of an ‘itchy head’ which I attributed to switching shampoos. Or perhaps she was having an allergic reaction or a winter dry scalp. I never went through her hair closely enough. and I didn’t know what the ‘Nits’ looked like.

The only visible sign was a spotty rash she developed on the back of her neck, presumably from bites?

My poor baby eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I turned back to the girl who was keeping her composure far better than I.

‘Sorry again.. just freaking out a little bit. It’s my first time, ya know… with this. What do I do?’ I asked, forgetting for a moment about the internet.

The girl mumbled a few things but my head was already racing forward.

How was she exposed to Lice?

We didn’t know anyone who had lice and I hadn’t heard any reports from school. But as in my situation, we hadn’t a clue what was brewing. We could have exposed friends over the holidays, so I sent out a text message so everyone could be on the lookout.

I recall getting Lice as a child and the fear my hair would be cut off! I could swear I was exposed while trying on hats at the local Wal-Mart….

At the elementary school, kids throw their coats together on the playground at recess. They hang them close together and before this incident, my girl would trade hats with friends.

NO MORE SHARING HATS!!

This is an opportunity to educate myself, my daughter and others.

This is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It can happen to anyone. We talked about the situation as I dutifully gathered research. I  informed my daughter of everything we were doing and why. I wanted her to be prepared to talk confidently about it when she returned to school.

How we Treated for Lice

 

Never a fan of chemicals if they can be avoided, I chose to go with advice from another mom. She was a trusted source who’d dealt with Lice before and she was able to provide me with a first hand review of how she’d gotten rid of Lice on multiple occasions.

Over-the-counter chemical shampoo’s will NOT kill the eggs.  The only sure way to eradicate is by destroying their eggs. After reviewing the most popular solutions, it was clear to me the only way to get rid of the problem was to remove every single egg, strand by strand.

You Must RE-TREAT  a week later! Any Nits you miss will hatch in 6-9 days. The Nymph will be ready to reproduce within 7 days of hatching; therefore, you must treat again 13-16 days after the first treatment.

Supplies Needed

  • Treatment (check for allergies before using- I started with a more natural approach and used Listerine before going for the stronger stuff. Those allergic to Ragweed will have adverse reactions when using the major brand of Lice Shampoo.)
  • Shower Cap
  • Spray Bottle
  • Nit Comb
  • Regular Comb or Pick
  • Alligator clamps

I used the alligator clamps to separate out sections of hair. Then I spritzed each section with Listerine, covering her head with a shower cap. We sat around in shower caps for 2 hours before rinsing out with warm water. The Listerine is has a cooling, antiseptic property. I found it helped with itchy bites.

It appeared to paralyze and eventually kill the adult louse.

But of course, it’s not FDA approved and they know everything. So take this information at your own risk.

The only tried and tested way to get rid of the problem to REMOVE the problem. Every louse, every egg needs to be removed. All towels, bedding and clothing needs to be laundered HOT and dried for at least 30 minutes. Which means a LOT of mother daughter bonding time as I tirelessly comb through section by section of hair.

Transmission

  • Commonly spread in winter hitching a ride when kids hang hoodies and coats together at school.
  • Head to head contact is a sure win for transmission.
  • At home, if you are sharing pillows or a bed with someone who has lice- all sheets, blankets, pillows need to be washed on HOT and dried for at least 30 minutes. Stuffed animals should be bagged and put away for 48 hours.
  • I was a victim too. But I caught them in the early stages. I frequently apply coconut oil and tea tree oil to my hair. These two natural hair treatments deter the little buggers from taking up residence.

Prevention

Encourage children to keep their hats, scarves and coats in their backpacks. While treating for this problem, I’ve made certain my daughter keeps everything in her backpack at school.

Use a Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Use coconut oil to condition hair once or twice a month. Let the coconut oil soak into warm, wet hair and leave it overnight.  Rinse in the morning with hot water before shampooing.

Fast Facts about Lice

  1. Lice can not survive more than 48 hours off their human host.
  2. They crawl; it’s a myth that they have wings and jump.
  3. One bug can lay 4-6 eggs (nits) per day. These will hatch in about a week.
  4. Newly hatched nymphs take about 7 days to mature.
  5. Head Lice are specific to humans- no worries about your furry friends.

RESOURCES

More Lice Facts Here

20 Ways to Kill Head Lice

Natural Remedies to Gid Rid of Head Lice

Life Cycle of Lice

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The family photographer becomes part of the story.

This time, I learned the exciting news from an excited grandmother Facebook!  I’ve known Ashley & Chris since they got engaged and I was there when they said ‘I do.’  And this made it all the more exciting to learn the couple had settled temporarily in Overland Park.

Documenting this family grow and change is a joy unlike anything I prepared for in school.

Ashley has great visual style. She studied graphic arts in school & has a wonderful sense of design.  After having so much fun designing all of the stationary & paper goods from her own wedding, she began creating her own collections of stationary to inspire others Something You Design.

When I sought out to provide my artistic talents to others, I had no idea that I would become PART of something much bigger than myself.

Each time I arrive to photograph this growing family, I feel right at home. The oldest, Ryann, often writes letters that I can give my own daughter. Elsie now insists on kissing me on the check before I leave and Thea.. well she’s two. She alternates between hugs and trying to get me to chase her.

When I photograph Ashley pregnant, I strive to make each portrait different from the last. This is what I came up with when she was pregnant with her second, Elsie. (maternity photography)

And this is when she was pregnant with Thea. (maternity photographer)

Just months before the newest sister arrives, the girls came to my Overland Park Photography studio. We told the story of who the girls are before their little sister arrives. Family photography can be fun for everyone when you choose the right photographer!

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  • Birth Photography Overland Park Kansas - Fine Art Photographer - […] See the family grow throughout the years. […]

  • Adrienne - I think she did that stenciling herself!?

  • Jennifer - I love the baby’s nursery. The curtains are spectacular and the wall stenciling is amazing. My favorite picture is the one with the ultrasound picture out front. Adorable and great for documenting a time line too. I also really like the one where Ashley is by the curtains in the nursery.

  • Michelle Guzman - What a great maternity session. So sweet.

  • Adrienne - Love your blog Ashley! So fun! http://thedomesticwannabe.blogspot.com/

  • Ashley - Adrienne-

    The pictures look wonderful! Thank you so much for taking them. It was great seeing you this weekend, and I look forward to seeing you throughout the next year!!!

    I posted a few of the pictures on my personal blog. If you want to peak over there the website is thedomesticwannabe.blogspot.com.

    THANKS!!! Ashley

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