Oh Christmas Tree

This year I wanted to do things as simple as possible and I was thinking we weren’t going to get a tree. But when we got home from Thanksgiving, we all agreed we needed one. I sent a picture of our tree to my mom today and she told me I’m so predictable. She knew all along I was just talk. Most likely she knows me better than I know myself:)

In past years we have gone to Lowes. We walk up and down the three or four aisles of trees until my husband just gives in me gets the tree I want. Seldom do we agree on Christmas trees;) This year I wanted the experience and today was really a pretty gorgeous day, so we tried out Shawnee Trail Tree Farm in Hudson, Ohio. We knew it was the place to be when we drove up to a completely full parking lot. In the first five minutes we found a tree that the hubby and I immediately agreed upon and then had fun perusing the rest of the time. Bonus,we ran into good friends who offered to take a picture of the four of us!

I’m sold. A tree farm is the way to go! And now that I finished all my Christmas shopping on the way home from Illinois (thank you, Amazon) and our tree is up, I’m ready to enjoy all the fun activities of the season with people I truly love.

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree…

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An Adoption Story: Samuel and Benjamin

Ben and Sammy were brought home to their forever family from China this past June. They are from different provinces of China and have their own individual upbringings through foster homes and foster families, but brought together to be brothers for life. I think it is so special they had each other to help make the transition a little easier.

When they arrived in the United States they did not speak any English, but I would have never known because when I arrived to their home 5 months later, they were speaking very clear English. They are homeschooled with their other brothers and sister and they seem to be right at home. Ben and Sammy were very energetic right from the start and I could tell they love being silly with their family. You will be able to see from the images below that they are loving life and having fun.

I’m thankful to have been connected with this family. At the beginning of 2015 I decided I wanted to help adoptive families by blessing them with family photos, but I wasn’t sure how to go about offering that. Then towards the end of January I got an email asking about doing ‘gotcha day’ pictures for these boys. While we didn’t do pictures right when they came home, it was clear waiting until these boys were more comfortable was the best plan. I actually  think it allowed me to capture their family dynamic and who they really are. Let me also point out how neat it is that these took place during National Adoption Month.

Ben and Sammy’s mom told me they are always looking at the old family photo hanging on the wall (they are not in it) and she can’t wait to get a new one up that includes them. I can’t wait for these boys to see their new family picture hanging on the wall and for it to be a reminder of the love our Heavenly Father has for each of them every time they look at it.

What a blessing it was for to meet this amazing family and hear their story. If you know of any newly adoptive families that could use some family photos, please send them my way.

 

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Lifestyle Photography: Jake is 6 months old

 

Many people have asked me what lifestyle photography is and how it is different from what I did before.  My style hasn’t changed a whole lot really, but the focus of my sessions has.  This session is a pretty great example of what a session is like.  A lifestyle session captures what a family is all about.  These sessions can still take place outdoors doing something a family loves, but since we are currently living in an ice tundra, we took these inside their beautiful home.  I love to capture a whole lot of interaction.  I provide some direction on where to go as far as light and scenery, but its not a lot of posing or creating backdrops. I am fine trying to recreate something a client saw on Pinterest every now and then, but I love it when they trust my eye and allow the creative process to happen naturally.  My desire is to give my clients images that are unique to them and their experience.

We started with Jake in his bedroom to capture him where he was comfortable and with toys he was familiar with. His room also had great light!  He had his mom and dad playing with him and comforting him when he just wasn’t into the camera being in his face anymore.  These are the moments I love the most because they are just real emotions and genuine smiles.  One of my favorite moments from this session was when Jake’s dad got on the floor with him to play.  I can just imagine looking back on these photos years down the road and cherishing the moments captured.  Jake is one adorable brown-eyed baby boy and there is no doubt that he has two parents that are over the moon about him.  Enjoy the sweetness!

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

This session is the most fun I have had in a while.  These boys were so excited to “play” baseball this past Monday morning and it was such a joy to watch them have a blast together. I just loved watching my boy come out of his shell and get down and dirty with his buddies.  And for me, it was a great reminder of the amazing mommies and friends I am surrounded by.  I’m so thankful for these friendships and I am so excited for the relationships these boys have with each other and will grow in the coming years. The shirts and hats these boys are wearing were made my talented friend, Mandy Skelly and the adorable cookies were made by her Aunt Martha Lander.  She shipped them to Ohio just for this fun occasion and the boys were crazy about them.  Nolan is still asking for more of those cookies.  I’m not sure if the boys enjoyed snack time or playing baseball more, but I’m pretty sure it was all a win in their books:)  Now please, enjoy some cuteness.

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Aurora, Ohio Lifestyle Newborn Session: Elliott

This session is why I love lifestyle photography so much.  Elliott was sound asleep in his momma’s arms when I arrived.  After a few family pictures I thought we were safe to go in and put our focus just on Elliott.  Well, he was just not having it.  Anytime he was put down, he would wiggle and cry and when mom would pick him back up, he would snuggle in and be right back to sleep.  His mom even fed him a couple more times throughout our session to try and calm him down, but as soon as he was laid down, he was not happy.  I love this because I have a snuggly boy of my own and I’m pretty sure I don’t have many pictures of him just snuggling into me because I was always the one taking the pictures.  We may not have gotten the most perfect curled up pose with his baby bum in the air, but that is okay because this is their story…an energetic big sister who sings and dances loudly all over the house, yet gentle and caring when she gets to hold her brother, and a sweet little nugget who just wants to be held and feel safe in his momma’s arms.  Nothing is more precious to me to capture.

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Akron, Ohio Newborn Session: Baby Jake

I’m so thankful for newborn sessions and the chance to get my baby fix:)  Jake is a such a sweetheart and it was clear his mommy and daddy love him so much.  They were so joyful and excited and I just loved hearing them gush over their baby boy the entire session.

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St. Joseph, Michigan Vacation: The Sines Family

Last weekend we headed off for vacation to St. Joseph, Michigan.  We were fortunate to share this trip with some amazing friends.  I love this family.  They are funny, serious, chaotic, sweet, real, and fun.  Life has been kind of a roller coaster for them the past two years, but I am loving watching how they have strapped in for the ride and take each moment as it comes at them, learning to laugh and have fun whatever comes their way.  They are such a beautiful family inside and out and we are so thankful to get to do life with them here in Ohio, in Michigan, or wherever the road may lead us next;)

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Colton is One!

Sweet Colton!  I loved spending time with this cutie and his parents.  Whenever Colton wasn’t quite into his session, his dad played music on his phone and this little boy started grooving every time.  I wish I had video of it because it was one of the funniest/cutest thing I have seen.  Enjoy some images from my time with this beautiful family.

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Something You Should Know

So many thoughts have been running through my head lately.  Life is so busy and no matter who you meet, every single person has their own bag of problems, time commitments and things that make them feel disconnected.  I have been thinking about how we were made for so much more than all of this.  If you are feeling pulled in many directions and worn out, please take a listen to my current favorite song.  Kari Jobe’s, “My Beloved” speaks right to my soul.  For me, its like a love song straight from God himself.  I need the reminder of these lyrics often.  I am incredibly loved by an amazing Heavenly Father.  We all are and He wants us to find rest in Him.  So, take 5 minutes and lock yourself in the bathroom and click the link below.  Let Him restore your soul. These pictures of my daughter are a reminder to me of how God sees, not only my beautiful girl, but also me.  I am His child, just as she is mine and if I can remember how much greater His love is for His children, far beyond what I feel for my precious ones; well, then that is enough to give my heart some peace.  Enjoy:)

https://jclaytorphotography.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/06-my-beloved.mp3

 

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Jeremy at Six-Months

 

I just can’t even begin to describe how photographing this little boy made me feel.  His cheeks, that smile, those beautiful eyes…and don’t even get me started on those leg rolls! I miss this stage.  I really do, but I am so thankful I can get a little bit of my baby fix through these sessions.

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This next picture kills me.  So mature and so tiny all at the same time.  He should have a pad of paper, a pen and some spectacles.

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And what little boy wouldn’t think its hilarious to punch his daddy in the face?   I love the pure joy on all of their faces.

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