Friday, June 28, 2013

The McKaig Family // Pennsylvania Family Portraits

Well, I won't give up on us
God knows I'm tough enough.
We've got a lot to learn.
God knows we're worth it.
I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

-Jason Mraz

Last week, my Uncle David and Aunt Lissa came to town from Florida, along with my two younger cousins Steven and Serra.  Oh man.  I was so excited.  This family has always held such a special spot in my heart, and I adore them.  I have been blessed to have seen Serra about once a year for the past three years (she was one of my first practice photo shots last year), and my Uncle Dave has been around a couple times too, but I had not seen Aunt Lissa and Steven since my wedding, five years ago.  And that was far too much time.  I missed them!

I really wanted to do a photoshoot with them, not only because they are beautiful and awesome, but because I wanted to show the love this family shares.  They have been through a lot in the past couple of years, many trials with house, jobs, family, stress…and have come through stronger than ever and looking at Jesus.  
(Back home, they also have my Aunt Lissa's adult son, Jesse, and their granddaughter, Aubrey.  We missed seeing them!  And yes, my Aunt is a grandma.  One of the most beautiful ones ever).

Before I get ahead of myself, lets start where I started this shoot: with my awesome cousins.  They are just so fun!  And while I know they have some sibling rivalry, as all siblings do, they really do love each other.

Steven is a skateboarder.  And I don't mean that he just jumps on a skateboard from time to time with his buddies.  No, he is sponsored by professional companies and competes and WINS competitions.  He is SO impressive!  And once I got over being terrified for his life, I really enjoyed watching him skate.  He is so devoted to what he does, and he obviously loves doing it.  And I know for a fact that he gets some of his daredevil streak from his dad :-).

Aside from being talented, Steven is a kind and caring guy.  My kids (who had never met him before) adored him.  When we walked into my parents house the first day they had arrived, I honestly was not sure how much my teenage cousin would want to interact with two toddlers.  And I could not blame him a bit!  But no, he gave me a sweet surprise from the start.  He walked right up to my son and gave him a high five, and my son would not leave his side every day since.  I am pretty sure Asher added "Steven" to his list of words in his one year old vocabulary before the week ended.  And he also spent tons of time playing with my three-year-old, teaching her to stand on the skateboard, and just being patient with her.  He is just all-around awesome!

And Serra.  Oh this dear girl.  I swear I would clone her and adopt her if I could.  She was my flower girl when she was a cute little eight-year-old, and always has a special place in my heart.  Now she is a teenager, and she is just as sweet as can be.  She is so caring and helpful; she loved playing with my kids, hanging out with us, and even just taking rides in the car looking at the countryside.  She has a heart that is so loving and she was so willing to share it with my family.  I loved how in a world where teenagers often need to be constantly entertained, she was content just to be with family.  She was so wonderful with my children.  And LOOK how gorgeous she is!

And she is a talented long boarder in her own right!  I had to totally ask the difference between a longboard and a skateboard.  And no, I could not tell you right now.  But I was impressed that SHE knew!

I think most of all, I was excited to photograph my Aunt and Uncle together.  They just get more and more precious.  When my Uncle arrived in Pennsylvania the day after my Aunt and cousins did, it actually was the first time they saw each other in weeks (his job takes him away a lot).  I loved watching Aunt Lissa all giddy with excitement at seeing her sweetheart.  It is such a blessing and encouragement to me to see a couple who has been married a while still so lovey dovey with each other.

Over the past few years, I have had to watch from afar as my Aunt and Uncle faced various trials, including a house fire and a job change that requires a lot of separation.  It hurts my heart to see them struggle.  But imagine my joy watching them so clearly show how strong their relationship is in spite of everything.  And my joy is even greater when I hear them give glory to God.  
("You have to get him kissing me on the forehead.  Nothing is sweeter than a kiss on the forehead").  

My Uncle is a committed and strong man who perseveres with all his might.  I admire him so much.  And my Aunt is a fiercely supportive and loving woman who would do anything for her family.  Every time I am with her, it is like no time has past, and I wish I could talk to and visit with her all the time.  

Sometimes as a photographer, I make my clients do crazy things like climb up steep hills covered in prickers to take photos under electrical lines (you should see my foot after walking through prickers!)  And the photos are even sweeter when I can sneak in some shots of a man helping his bride through those hills.  I think that sums up their relationship nicely.

This family is real.  They sometimes bicker, they sometimes struggle, but they always LOVE!  I loved bearing witness to it all.
Sometimes my daughter crashes photos.  She seriously jumped right in without saying a word to me.

I cannot express how much you all mean to me.  But hopefully, these words and photos made a small attempt.  I love you!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Baby Girl // Pennsylvania Newborn Photography

I've said it once and I will say it again; I love babies!  Newborn shoots are just so precious and wonderful.  I love observing the wonder, joy, and exhaustion that fills the faces of new parents.  I love the peace and trust in a sweet little baby.  This darling little girl was no exception.  I took SO many photos of her and her family, and it was so hard to choose which ones to put in this post…so there are going to be a lot.  You have been warned.

This little girl was blessed to be born into a family with a mommy and daddy and a big brother.  They all love her so much!

Being a new mom is such a joyful and terrifying thing at the same time.  But I think this momma is a natural.  And so very beautiful!

It was amazing and beautiful to see how calm and comfortable she was in daddy's arms.

This little dude's got the big brother thing under control.  He told me that he is going to protect his sister and teach her to be kind to other people.  I think she is in good hands.

Oh, little dreamer!

Eyes full of wonder, ready to discover the world.

Every moment with a new baby is so precious.  I want to remember every detail, and love helping other parents keep these details close to their hearts with these photos.

You are so blessed, baby girl!

May you always know the love that surrounds you.