notes from courtney

I am blessed to have four children, and with my first two I worked hard to capture all their milestones. It was easy to do so. They’re separated by three years, giving me plenty of time to plan. And then our last two came in quick succession – 10.5 months apart to be exact. We tacked on building a house and moving in that time, too, so THAT was just a bundle of fun!

Needless to say, I’ve not been the best at those milestone moments lately. Enter the beautifully talented Sara Rose.

My youngest two are adopted; they’re full biological siblings and they fill our home with joy and excitement and never-ending entertainment. I’ve been wanting to get both their photos taken at the same time to send to their birth mother, but the idea of wrangling two toddlers for one photo session seemed beyond impossible. Sara laughed and told me she would love to do this, and that it wouldn’t be a problem. To be honest, I didn’t feel like it would be too successful but of course, she proved me wrong.

My husband’s family is in the golf business, and it’s a place where my children feel very comfortable, so I was fortunate to have this option for our session. I absolutely love this image of them walking hand in hand. Because of the closeness in their ages, they fight hard, but then they love hard. As they’ve moved from baby age to toddler age, they play together more and more, so capturing this moment of them being together, walking side by side, takes my breath away.

This one makes me laugh, my little girl cupping her brother’s face in her hands. It may look tender, but I believe she was giving him instructions, or perhaps bossing him around. She has been mothered and fussed over by her older two sisters, so it’s only natural that she turn and do the same thing to her little brother! He follows her around often, doing what she tells him to do. And then sometimes he doesn’t, and that’s when she’ll come in and cup his face like this to ‘correct’ him. :) It always gives me a laugh!

We were able to get several pictures of each by themselves, which I LOVE. While I celebrate them as siblings, I also have to remind myself that they are individuals, and known not just as a set. My little girl is a big-time animal lover, and the Scottish black-faced sheep that roam the course are a favorite of hers. If she could feed the sheep every day, I think she would gladly do so! She is my wild and rambunctious girl, but animals seem to have a calming effect on her. This is an image I will treasure forever.

My husband’s absolute number one hobby is golf. He was raised on the course, played collegiately, and gets out there to play whenever he gets the chance (which is few and far between these days with all the children at home!). My husband has joked that when our three older girls are teenagers and in the midst of all the drama that comes with it, he will happily grab our son and escape the home to play golf. Those boys have to stick together! Even if our son doesn’t play, I know my husband is grateful for him and for the time they can spend together.

No matter what happens in life, I am grateful these two have one another. The bond they share as biological siblings is important, and something that no one will be able to take away. Adoption brings up lots of feelings, and not all good, so I am thankful they will have one another to go through life together. And I’m thankful these moments were captured. If I were to give any family of small children advice, it’s take the time. Invest in some images while they’re this age. Because you won’t remember these moments and they will be gone in a flash. Thank you Sara!

>>> If you missed any of the sweet notes from my amazing moms, hope you’ll take a peek today : Note From Amy, Notes From Jess, Notes From Michelle, Notes From Jill! Love, SR

FL:R

notes from jill

Dear Sara:

Where do I even start?  Eva will be 7 years old later this summer and my first shoot with you was maternity pictures when I was pregnant with her.

It’s fun to see where we started …

and where we are now …

 

And how you have grown and how we have grown and it has been incredible doing it together.

I think back to several years ago when my friend Renee shared your website with me and we agreed we should file it away for a day when we have kids.  If I remember correctly it was at a time in our life where getting pregnant just was not happening.  It was a struggle for a little while.  I have so many friends who have had infertility struggles and loss and I know our experience nowhere compares to their pain, but for a little while, I wasn’t sure we would be able to have children.  Our fertility specialist even encouraged us to start researching fertility clinics and thinking about invitro.  It was a road I didn’t want to go down – no one does – but I was thankful to hear there were options.  Then we got pregnant – unexpected, out of the blue.  When we had our newborn session with Eva, I remember watching the slideshow at least 20 times…the wonderful pictures, the sweet song, and thinking about how blessed we were.  Three kids later, every session is still so different and so fun.  I love how the kids view you too – Sara comes to play!  Oh and she might take a picture or two while we’re playing.  And no matter what, you never appear to be tired or frustrated and you always have a Plan B, C, and D when weather, kids behaviors, etc take us in a different direction.  You just go with it and you encourage me to do the same.  We trust you!  And occasionally you tell the kids to go play so you can capture just Seth and I.  I love that!

We have peed on you, spit up on you, shown you attitudes and tears.  You’ve walked into a messy house with a tired family.  You’ve watched us bribe our kids with candy.   You’ve sang “Jesus Loves Me” right along with us countless times. You are so patient, so kind and you never judge!  You just keep on going…smiling, laughing, playing, pulling out all the stops to get those sweet pictures that we love so much!  Our conversation picks up right where it left off last time we saw you… you ask about my Mom, our jobs, school…  You KNOW us.  And you let us know you too… how much you love your husband and your boys…your friends… And those are a few of the many reasons you are so good at what you do.

So I loved this last session.  This was our 3rd newborn shoot with you and I always find myself thinking the morning of…WHY do I do shoots with a 5 day old!?  We are tired, we are adjusting, I have some extra pounds, the house is a mess.  But we do it and as I look through the pictures I am SO THANKFUL for each moment that you captured …even the pictures where we don’t look perfect…ESPECIALLY the pictures where we don’t look perfect.  Because we aren’t.  I love those photos where the wind has messed up our hair, or where the kids are looking in the opposite direction… or when they are holding rocks and sticks or pulling each other’s hair or trying to run off.  You don’t delete those pictures.  You give them to us because they ARE us.  When my kids look at these when they are older, they wont see the messyhair, tired eyes, or extra pounds.  They will see the love and the fun and I hope they see in their Mommy and Daddy’s eyes how truly blessed we know we are.

Everett completes our family and I love that he’s just hanging out in a basket behind our house in our latest shoot.   I love the kids playing in the creek and I love having our house…the only house our kids have known…in the background of the pictures.  In the spirit of doing something a little different I thought I would show you how I use the pictures in my rooms.  I love the old and the new shoots and I love staring at framed photographs and thinking back to that particular time in our lives.  All of this below is because of you and to me, this is priceless.  These are our memories, our love and our happiness.  For that, and for you, I am forever grateful!  xoxo

Would you love to read more from this series and wonderful moms? Visit Note from Amy, Notes from Jess, and Notes from Michelle. Love, SR

FL:R

Notes from Michelle

Sara,

As always, your photos are such a treasure to me. I can’t believe how much Daphne has grown in the past year. And how much Matt and I have grown as well.   Our time with you is always spent with such ease and you are a master of capturing life in all circumstances.  I told you once that I had finally figured out your secret to amazing photos – that you didn’t take the with a camera, but with your heart.~  Your sweet spirit comes through in every image you send us and I am grateful for each one. I pray Daphne cherishes these photos one day as much as I do now and she’ll in turn realize how immensely important it is to capture these days of our lives.

You’re the best. Don’t make me continue, because I know we’ll both start crying…

Love, Michelle

Like many moms, I’m sure of it, our phones and cameras are full of pictures of others – our children playing & laughing, our husbands doing silly things, our dogs being cute and mischievous  – but hardly ever any pictures of ourselves. So this photo – this is why I cherish the ones you take – where I’m on the other side.  Little moments captured that would never be captured any other times on our own. As a first time mom, I find myself saying the cliché’ phrase “I never knew I could instantly have a love like I do for my child” – but oh, it’s so true!   As we’re approaching 1 year, our time has become even more busy, and messy and loud – more than ever before – and this photo reminds me so much of the quiet moments.  The rare moments when Daphne is still. The moments when I can count the wrinkles on her hands. The moments when I can memorize the shape and curve of her eyes.  The moments I don’t ever want to fade from my memory, because they are flashing by so quickly…

These two pictures make my heart smile because my hope is that Daphne will always want to hold my hand. That she’ll always want to walk with me, no matter how big she grows or how old she gets.  And goodness, I want her to know that I will always walk with her – no matter where life leads her. Always always.

 

Laughing. We laugh. A lot.  Not a day has gone by that we don’t smile – and laugh.  What a reminder I see in this photo that there are always reasons to laugh.  I am so thankful for those giggles – and the silent laughs – where things are just so joyful that a sound doesn’t even come out.  These are the moments that I remember that it doesn’t matter how clean our house is, or how much laundry is piled on the couch to put away, or how long our ‘to do’ list is – laughing just makes all those things disappear and reminds me how important little moments like these are.

I’m not physically in these pictures – but they are images of my whole world. Our growing old pup, Ruby Sue, was in our lives for 9 years before Daphne came along. Although it seems that the gray hairs have come on so quickly in the last year, she has rolled with our big life changes and even shares a kiss, now and then, with Daphne – and Daphne adores her.  That gentle man is the love of my life and I acknowledge the blessing I have been given every day to share these precious days with him.  Daphne is so, so lucky to have him as her daddy. I smile imagining all the moments he will share with her in the future – the football and basketball games, sneaky early Saturday morning trips for donuts, and swimming in the deep end way before she’s big enough. Big adventures are on the horizon and I’m blessed to have a front row seat to witness it.

Want to read more from amazing moms, visit Note from Amy + Notes from Jess. Love, SR

FL:R

Notes from Jess

(LOVE)
I dreamed my entire life of having a family. Of having little girls. I always knew I’d be head over heels for them but little did I know how endless that love would truly be. A love deeper than I could ever imagine. A love that grows stronger every day. A love that fills our hearts to the fullest. And Sara, you never fail to capture it: the sweet LOVE that binds our little family of four. For that we are blessed.

(LAUGHTER)
It is not always easy having little ones, being a parent, or balancing life in this crazy busy world. But we do try to make the most of every day. To live every day to fullest. And to keep our days as full of happiness, smiles, and laughter as we can. From babies’ first smiles to toddler giggles, you have been there for so much of the LAUGHTER through the years, and never fail to capture the perfect moments of the two sweetest smiles we will ever know. For that we are forever grateful.

(MILESTONES)
You never really understand how fast it truly goes until you have kids of your own. I can’t even keep count of how many times I have wished that time could just slow down. Oh how we love these moments with our little ones and of all the stages they’ve gone through. From holding our two girls for the first time, to beginning to sit, to learning to crawl and walk, to becoming little girls who love to sing, dance, and play, Sara, you’ve been there through it all. And you’ve captured so many of the MILESTONES that go by in the blink of an eye but we hope to hold on to for forever. For that we thank you.

(MEMORIES)
All of the LOVE. All of the LAUGHTER. All of the MILESTONES. Many of our favorite moments captured in photo. Many of our best MEMORIES saved forever. Sara, we are blessed to have you in our families’ life, are forever grateful for each and every session we have had will continue to have with you, and simply thank you for being a part of us and for being you!

FL:R

Note from Amy

Sara,
Thank you for including me in the blog post. I feel like I could write a million words about you and your time with my family, but really all I need to say is “Thank You.” In a world where there is so much hustle and bustle, you seem to “set the circus down” for an hour or so each time you are here. From almost being rained out, to having a fussy baby, to having a friend stop by, you managed it all so well and with such grace.
I find my phone full of candid shots of my boys, but not a single one of me and the boys. That is why this picture of the four of us is so special to me. I envision this picture framed by my bedside forever and when I am old and grey, I hope my boys look at it and think of all the fun they had at this age. They will have no clue what all went into getting them all dressed and behaving:)

I also love the picture of the three of them together because I think it accurately depicts each of their personalities perfectly. James is free-spirited, Harrison is being the rigid, over-attentive older brother and Mac…well he is just holding on for dear life! I love this picture and love that is has all of my boys just being themselves.

I love the family photo for just that…it is a family photo….no hoops to jump through, no balloons or crazy backgrounds…just us….in our yard, our most favorite place and where a lot of good times have been had and there will be many more memories to make I am sure.

I added this picture of the boys running to me…because, really, I feel like even though I am dressed up and their hair is combed and there is no slime on their clothes, it still captured what we do each day….play and have fun. I feel that they are always grabbing up to me:) wether it be for food, guidance, money…whatever-I love that they run to me… and poor Kent is just standing back in the background….he is always behind the scenes and never gets enough credit! that is all I need in life…for them to love me and want to be with me. I know that sounds cliche, but after long days at work and stressful situations, we love to go outside and play and deep down that is when Kent and I am the happiest..just watching them be boys…and I feel that no matter what is going on in the world, as long as they know we here for them and that they can run to us….we are good.

And of course, I included James picture on hole #5. This is where it all started for me and you and our friendship. Without getting too emotional, I remember having booked you for James’ newborn session having never met you. I then I cancelled you because I was scared to death to bring my baby home and honestly, didn’t want anyone to see us at that time. We were keeping everything bottled in and scared to even come out of the house. I have no clue when I rescheduled you, or if I even did…or if you just showed up….I just remember crying when I introduced you to James and you sat at my kitchen table and drank a cup of coffee. You listened to me ramble on and on about the “hows and whys” of what just happened. At some point you took Harrison up to hole #2 and took the most precious picture of him that I will cherish that forever…he had been totally pushed aside during all the chaos of his little brother. He was so happy to just have someone to play with him. And then somehow, because you are a great photographer and a mom of boys, you managed to talk me into taking some pictures with James. You told me that I would regret it if I didn’t….I don’t think I was even dressed to take pictures…and now I wouldn’t trade those newborn pictures for anything in this world. Somedays when I get bummed out or get a bad report or just get scared for James’ future, I can look at those pictures and then look at the picture of him on hole #5…5 years of prayers, love, research, time and just letting him be him…and this is the shot you got….it is perfect. He is happy, care-free, smiling for ear to “BIG new ear” and I just look at him and it puts everything in perspective and makes every thing ok…

Well, that went on forever…I am sorry to just ramble….I am not even going to edit what I wrote, because honestly, I just needed to write some of that. Whew! I hope you have enjoyed being with us these past 5 years as much as we have enjoyed getting to know you. You are the only photographer that Kent has ever taken off work for….by the way!

We love you and your work…and look forward to seeing you again in the fall.

Amy

FL:R

emma is one

When your baby, the true BABY of the family turns ONE…you let her shine! 99% of my shoots are all about the entire family (which I LOVE), but can I admit this morning that I think sometimes it’s good to just let your baby have their day. Let them have their own shoot, even if it’s a mini one, to be the star.

I absolutely loved meeting this sweet little baby sister of two of my favorites. One year flies, doesn’t it? Happy 1st birthday (soon), Emma! You brought me so much joy last week.

Love, SR

FL:R

treasures

I love to tell stories when I share my sweet friends and their beautiful sessions, but just for today….I am going to sum it up quickly.

Treasures. These photos and this family. Treasures. Celebrating the beautiful Shelby Mae at 8 months.

Love, SR

FL:R