Welcome To Wonderland

Here it is – a sample of the outcome of a fun project I have been dreaming up with my artist friend Tegwyn Deforest, since we collaborated on our Wild & Lost shoot last year. I wanted our children to visit Wonderland and have a Mad Tea Party with my favorite creatures and characters from this bizarre and cherished story. This of course demanded a lot of my costumer, and my own creative set design, but we rose to the challenge! We have so much fun cultivating imagination in our kids and ourselves. This particular literary moment is such a great thing to encapsulate a portion of childhood. The crazed Hatter and Hare are perpetually at tea-time, with clocks frozen and time still. There is no way to pause time and keep our children from growing up, but epic photos certainly help freeze their essence and savor it just a bit longer. Enjoy a trip down the rabbit hole with the maddest, zaniest, cutest, creature-children I’ve seen yet, featuring our very non-pro children (who I am immensely proud of) as Alice, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, March Hare & Mad Hatter. And, may you lose yourself on the border of imagination and complete madness.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the cat: “we’re all mad here.”
– Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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Hailee: 2017

Oh man – tis the season for important changes and transitions! I would be remiss if I went through all of June without a special shout out to this awesome HS grad. Miss Hailee – I wish you all the things! I am excited to hear about your Duck adventures and feel so honored to have documented this time in your life. You are standing at one life precipice, and the journey to the the next may seem daunting. May you find hope, joy, love, answers, and better questions. I’m a fan!

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Bernabe + Adriana

I love all the little moments in weddings I am privy to that maybe your average wedding-goer doesn’t notice. I love that most men who wear bow ties are trying to tie them for the first time and have to hunt for someone that knows how to do it because YouTube tutorials aren’t cutting it. I love the look on the groom’s face when he sees his bride come down the aisle (even if they have had a first sight, this moment is still priceless). I love the gentle, awkward way the father of the bride (or other important giver-awayer) hands off the lovely bride then backs away, unsure how to navigate the train of the dress because it wasn’t there in rehearsal. I love the moment the rings go on and both bride and groom pause to twirl them, experiencing the weight for the first time. I love the looks of elation, and an unspoken, “This is it! We did it!” After the vows and right before that first kiss.

Bernabe and Adriana – your day had all these elements, plus some others that were firsts for me! I love that no matter what, there is always something YOU-nique about a wedding. I had never experience a live mariachi band playing the choruses during a Catholic service. This was one of the most beautiful and breathtaking things I’ve ever experienced in a wedding ceremony. I never knew about your amazing reception location, tucked secretly in the hills of unincorporated Riverside/Perris. I loved that Bernabe’s suit was navy and that Adriana was so elegantly bedazzled. I also love that very quickly it became clear what is important to the two of you: family, friends, faith, food, and each other. Thank you so much for having us out for this amazing day!

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Rene + Karen {Wedding}

Rene & Karen – I thought about waiting until your 1 year anniversary to post this, but I just can’t wait any longer. Your wedding was so lovely and the two of you have such an easy, natural way together… I just wanted to finally share these with the world. Thanks for having me there for your special day!

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Team Dove

Weddings are… the best! I love being with people on one of the most exciting, important days of their lives. This wedding was extra special and amazing as I spent several years in Joelle’s life before this special day. I’m always in awe of the different ways people come together. Joelle & Nathan, it blessed me to no end to be a part of your wedding. I can’t even believe that we all got to do a swanky, southern, exciting NOLA plantation house wedding. It was gorgeous in every way…. like a beautiful dream. Thank you for being AMAZING and for having me be this one small part.

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Reading For Kicks

While I’m capable of being a thought-out planner, I find that some of the best things happen spontaneously – when you try something in a general direction and just see what happens. I took my boys to the Lunar fest last year and we stumbled upon a Karate dojo offering free training in exchange for reading. What?!? I was sure there was some sort of catch. I had looked into martial arts lessons of all types and in despair surrendered to the belief that they were out of my budget, especially for three kids. But there they were – insisting that I wouldn’t pay a cent. So -we had to check it out. And – let me tell you – it’s REAL! My boys and I are one year in and we love our dojo! Sensei Will has been teaching Shotokan Karate for years and founded this visionary program to encourage people to become disciplined athletes as well as habitual readers. He was quickly joined by Sensei Kenny and Sensei Phil and together they have trained dozens of people in Shotokan. The quality of the training does not suffer due to it’s non-existent cost. Instead, those who have stuck with it the longest have truly earned their belts— no paying to test here. I have had the great privilege of looking up to these advanced belts over the past year and recently had the opportunity to convince them to come “play” photoshoot with me. You can tell from the photos that these guys know their stuff. If you want to join us, look up more info: readingforkicks.org.

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The Taynton 5

It’s a good thing you can’t see me because there’s no way I’ll get through this post without getting a bit teary. For whatever reason – I know some of the coolest people in the universe. I have several close friends who have expanded their families through adoption in the last couple years – all for different reasons, but with the common desire to father the fatherless, to make a permanent home and family for a child who has none. After much waiting, the Tayntons recently became the official forever home of Marc! There’s much I could say about the huge need for healthy families to foster and adopt kids with a range of abilities, past hurts, and potential… but I think I’ll just let these photos do the talking. Thanks Pete & Mary for candidly sharing the good, bad and ugly of this process and for being the best parents for all three of your kids! (Also – on a less mushy note…. how fun is it to take pics when one of your kids is a legit acrobat? :))

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