On The Side of the Road

Friday Favorites

I make no secret of the fact that autumn is my favorite season. I enjoy the crispness of winter, spring’s new beginning, and the beach is my happy place but fall just gets me with the colors and sense of coziness.

And the autumn wildflowers we have around here? Absolutely beautiful.

We may have to wait until along about December to see much change in the color of our foliage but autumn still puts on quite a show for us.

It has been said that autumn is more a season of the soul than of nature and I like that. I feel that. Spring feels like the whole earth is coming back to life. But fall…that feels like my soul is quieting down and preparing for rest in some sense.

The colors are warmer with a little bit darker hue.

And I love the wild tangle of flowers along the side of the road.

I have to agree with LM Montgomery, I am indeed so glad that I live in a world with Octobers. Aren’t you?

Throwback Thursday ~ Down Syndrome Awareness

throwback Thursday

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month and I wanted you to meet a little friend of mine who is rocking that extra chromosome.

Meet Jase.

His big sisters go to school with my kids so I’ve known his family for several years now but it actually wasn’t until about six years ago that I got to know his mama really. She was pregnant with Jase when her oldest daughter and my son were paired together on a school project. She was also just learning that the baby she was carrying possibly had down syndrome.

Everyone wants a happy and healthy baby and when you are facing the possibility that your baby might not be “healthy” it can be hard. But over the months I was privileged to watch Christi and her family not only come to terms with the diagnosis but to have a deep joy in the gift of their son. They navigated the uncertainty with grace and a deep faith that God was at work. Certainly there are challenges that come with that extra chromosome but Jase and his family rise to meet them every time.

I feel in love with him the first time I met him with those beautiful blue eyes and his red hair. Over the last five years I have been able to take his pictures on different occasions and I can honestly say it is a special delight every single time. His smile and sweet spunky personality just pulls you in.

One of the best things born out of Jase’s diagnosis has been the creation of Genes of Joy, a non profit organization whose goal is to establish a community rich in support for those families touched by DS, provide resources for those families, as well as to raise awareness about down syndrome. It has been wildly successful with an annual buddy walk and respite days that serve the community. They also provide baskets through local hospitals to the families of babies born with ds that are full of resources and contact information so they don’t have to feel overwhelmed or alone. How great is that?

It has been such a blessing to be a part of Jase’s life and to see how his family has leaned into his diagnosis and look for ways to help others who also walk this journey. There is joy and delight and an abundance of love and grace that spills over.

One of my favorite pictures of him.

Down syndrome will affect 1 in every 700 babies born in the United States. Children born with DS will go through all of the milestones typical to any child…they just meet them at a different pace. As adults with DS they have jobs, manage relationships and navigate life just like everyone else. They might have some additional things to cope with but with love and support from their families and communities they are just as important and contribute just as much to society as “normal” people.

Indeed us normal people are better off for having such resilient and determined friends in our lives.

Such a Doll

Little Ones

I love photographing children. I am fascinated by how their little minds work and I love it when they are free to just be themselves during a session. I had been wanting to photograph my friend’s granddaughter for months and I was so happy when we finally managed to make it happen.

We had talked about using apples in the pictures but when she got to my house her little autumn outfit was so adorable I just had grab the pumpkins off my porch. Isn’t she just the cutest?

I swapped out the pumpkins for apples while her Honey (don’t you love that grandmother name?) changed her outfit. She clearly enjoyed the pumpkins but she loved the apples.

I don’t usually go for prop heavy pictures but when photographing little people, especially when it is just them by themselves, it is nice to have something for them to interact with. Autumn lends itself really nicely to natural and colorful things to incorporate into the pictures without being too fussy.

I give very little direction and prefer to just photograph them doing what they do and enjoying themselves. Little Miss C looked like she could be selling apples. She clearly knows how to pick out the best ones!

She also loves to sing and dance so once she put on her chicken dress how could we not do the chicken dance or sing Old McDonald?

Her baby sister arrived a little bit sooner than expected which meant Miss C was spending a little bit more time hanging out with her Honey. Which is why I got to spend more time with her and she is full of such sweet spunk and it was just a delight to get her in front of my camera. I have known her mother for years and it is clear that this sweet little apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

She truly is a beautiful child and I cannot wait to see what an amazing young woman she becomes!

Hey, Hey, Hey Look Who Turned One

First Birthday

The blog was on a bit of a hiatus last week but we’re back and it looks like this week is shaping up to be toddler week. Some of the cutest little people will be featured the next few days and to get things started is my very own cutie patootie great nephew.

We met up last week and, despite the visible remnants of Hurricane Sally, downtown Pensacola did not disappoint as a background for his one year old portraits.

I love the steps of the TT Wentworth Museum and Korbin did too. Up and down and back up again, the concrete on little bare knees did not slow him down at all! And couldn’t you just eat up those chunky little thighs?

What really had me tickled was the way he would pose for me throughout our time together. He got to the top of the stairs and turned around after naturally framing himself as if to say, “Hey, I’m ready!”

We had pumpkins and some neat little one year old birthday boxes to use as props. Big brother even got in on the action and mama had a delicious birthday cake on hand that he thoroughly enjoyed.

Happy birthday, Korbin Cy! You bring so much joy to our family and we love you oodles and oodles!