Rebecca Clair Photography

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Posts tagged family
Great Expectations: A Tale of Two Donuts (and a Few Tips for Happier Toddler Sessions) {Kansas City Family Photography}
 Kansas City family photographer toddler eating a donut Cider Hill Family Orchard

Let me tell you a little story about expectations vs. reality with a toddler.

Last week, on one of those gloomy, rainy days we’ve had lately, I ran out to the grocery store with Ethan to grab one quick thing that I had forgotten during our normal grocery trip (because now that we have a second car, we can do that!) While we were there, I decided to pick up a donut for us to share, a special rainy day treat.

Here’s how I imagined we would enjoy it:

We would come home from our errand, snuggle up together while the rain fell softly against the window, and share a sweet blueberry donut treat together.

Here’s how it actually went down:

Ethan cried and yelled “Dono! Dono! Donooo!” the entire car ride home. He ate his portion of the donut at the table in about 30 seconds. And then proceeded to cry, “Dono! Dono!” again, until naptime.  Not exactly the sweet moment together that I’d imagined!

Why do I share this with you? Because I get it. I get the frustration of planning something fun, only to have your toddler melt down. And I get the disappointment of booking a photo session and having your toddler frown and refuse to sit down or look at the camera. Toddlers are hard to predict and often have strong opinions of what they do or don’t want to do. It can make picture day a little stressful for you and them.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few tips for setting up a session that’s fun for your toddler (and therefore fun for you, too!)

1) Loosen your expectations. I know Pinterest is full of cute poses and ideas and we can try a few of them, but don’t push too hard if your toddler isn’t into it! I find that we get happier, more genuine photos when we follow your toddlers lead. If they just want to cuddle in your lap, go with it! These moments won’t last forever and you’ll be glad you captured them. If they don’t want to let go of their favorite toy, let them keep it. You’ll look back at these photos and remember the season when they were inseparable from it. Do they just want to run around with sticks? Jump into the game and chase them! We can totally capture that, too!

2) Bring a favorite toy or book. Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or car? Do they ask you to read Brown Bear, Brown Bear every single night? Bring those along! They can help your child feel more comfortable in a new place, with a stranger, and we can catch some photos that capture these beloved pieces of their childhood.

3) Bring a snack or treat. I’m not necessarily advocating for bribing your child (but maybe just a little?), but it’s no secret that a fun treat can often quickly turn around a toddler’s mood! My only suggestion is to bring something that you don’t mind being in the photos since I won’t be photoshopping those out (you may find that cookies are cuter than cereal bars and fresh fruit is cuter than an applesauce pouch!) and don’t bring something messy unless you’re willing to embrace the mess of the moment!

4) Play together. I know that sometimes you want just one good picture where you’re looking at the camera and smiling (the kind that the grandparents will hang on their fridge) and I always try to get at least one of those. But most of the session I want to focus on you enjoying being together. Snuggle your child. Tickle them. Toss them in the air. Spin them around. Explore with them. As you focus on spending quality time with them and having fun together, I’ll focus on catching the sweetest, authentic photos, too.

Despite my rainy day treat backfiring, we had a little bit of donut redemption at Cider Hill Family Orchard’s Apple Blossom Festival this weekend. After we took a wagon ride through the orchard, we sat together on a bench, a warm bag of donuts crinkling in our hands and cinnamon sugar coating our fingers, watching a fire and munching on the BEST apple cider donuts (and then we wandered around the orchard, fed ducks, splashed sticks in the pond, and swung on a swing!). It wasn’t the same rainy day snuggles that I’d imagined last week, but it was a sweet family moment I’ll cherish.

Spring Snow Day: A Saturday Morning in Photos {Kansas City Lifestyle Family Photography}
 Kansas City, MO lifestyle family photographer spring flowers in the snow winter family photography

Remember how I was gushing the other day about the early spring weather when I announced my spring mini sessions? Well, I may have spoken too soon because winter rushed back in full force this weekend! By March I’m usually over winter and ready for spring, so I may have grumbled a bit about the return to frigid temperatures and gray skies.

But then we woke up Saturday to soft snow flurries outside our windows. We took advantage of a leisurely morning to make blueberry pancakes together (I let Ethan “help”, which resulted in a floury mess but a happy toddler). And then we all took a walk outside in the snow. We didn’t walk far – just down the block and around to the alley that runs behind our house – but even that small distance was full of wonder and adventure for my toddler, who has seen very little snow yet in his life. It reminded me of why I was so excited for winter this year, because of the chance to watch him experience snow for the first time.  And the way the snow clung to every branch and leaf and early spring flower filled me with wonder and gratitude as well.

These were simple moments. Cooking together. A simple breakfast. A short walk around the block. But I love these images I caught that day, precisely because they capture those simple moments of this unique season in our family. Someday Ethan won’t make such a mess when we cook together. Someday he won’t need help climbing down the front steps. Someday he won’t fit that adorable yellow hat (seriously, it’s my favorite!) Someday  he’ll be too heavy to carry in my arms. And someday he will balk when I try to kiss his cheek. But for now, this is our life, both the sweet and the chaotic. And I’m determined to document it so when that day comes, I can remember and treasure this season.

How about you? Did you enjoy the spring snow this weekend?

A Perfect Fall Saturday: Apple Picking and Picnic {Platte City Family Photography}

I love family traditions. In the midst of changing seasons (both natural seasons and seasons of life), I appreciate the stability and sense of belonging that comes with those traditions, the sense of anticipation they bring as each season or holiday rolls around again.

Over the past several years we have established the tradition of picking apples each autumn, always with friends and ideally followed by a picnic. I thought we had missed our chance this year when the orchard we had been going to announced that their season was over. I found another orchard with one more weekend of apple picking, though, and so we went this weekend.

We arrived in the chilly morning, shortly after the orchard opened for the day. Armed with our baskets, we trooped out to back portion of the orchard (past roaming chickens), to the few remaining trees still laden with apples. There were a lot of kids in our group -- five between all of us -- and I enjoyed watching their delight as they plopped apples into their baskets and swung them around while the littlest ones (including our Ethan) bounced in carriers on their mother's fronts.

After we filled our baskets and paid for our apples, we spread blankets under a large tree in the corner of the property for a picnic. I had baked homemade bread and chocolate cookies to bring, along with cheese, olives, and an apple kale salad, and another friend brought chicken. We feasted on these and then visited for a while afterwards before we all went our separate ways. It combined some of my favorite things -- sunshine, autumn, picnics, friends, and fellowship around good food -- for a perfect fall Saturday.

So Loved: Hadley Jane {Lees Summit Newborn Photography}

When I first met Hadley Jane, she was nestled asleep in her mother’s arms, just barely a week old and so tiny. I was immediately struck by her head full of vibrant red hair.

We – her mother, father, grandmother, and I – all gathered together in the nursery that Hadley’s parents had carefully prepared for her coming. Her mother had laid out a variety of lacey headbands for the session on the dresser that had been passed down in her family, now refinished and filled with Hadley’s tiny clothes. In the afternoon sun, I spent some time capturing this new little family’s love for each other, apparent in the way they naturally snuggled together in a peaceful quiet of the room.