Sunday, May 20, 2012

Welcome Little One

I think my client and friend Marianne, who is a Douala said it best-
"....there's just something about sharing space with a newborn...."

I was asked by friend and long time photo clients Melissa and husband Brian to be present to photograph the birth of their daughter and I jumped at the chance!  Not only have I always wanted to photograph a birth- but I adore this family and couldn't wait to welcome Allie.

Melissa and Brian chose to have a home birth again. 
I have only experienced hospital births and surgical interventions myself... so this was a 180* turn from what I had experienced with my own children.  And while I know that some folks would argue the laundry list of safety concerns in home vs. hospital births... I have to say- this was a pretty amazing experience....
{who am I kidding- this was hands down- aside from giving birth to my own kids- one of the coolest moments of my life!}

If you would like to see a great documentary on the homebirth process and have access to Netflix check out
or you can go to their website here:

I had the privilege of helping to support my friend  along with her husband and Douala for several hours of extremely intense back labor.  We laughed, we cried, we woo-sahhhh'd and we breathed very, very intensely in an effort to deliver in a totally safe, comfortable and drug free environment.

I'm not going to lie....In general- pregnancy and childbirth are not for the faint of heart- it's hard work.
Going into the labor and delivery part of it sans ANY medication or intervention takes an incredible will and sense of a completely centered being..... Melissa gets my ROCK STAR award for keeping her cool and being very self aware in knowing what her body needed.

As a species- women have been delivering naturally for a million years- but it's really only been in the last  century and more specifically in the last 60 years where the shift to hospital births have become the ONLY expectancy in delivering babies.

It was amazing to me as night fell and began to progress and it was officially going to get down to time to deliver,  how softly the additional bodies quietly filtered in to the house to assist in their portion of the birthing process. 

I alternated roaming with my camera in hand and periodically holding Melissa when she needed my energy. 

And then......I had a bit of an out of body experience..... I could almost see the scene as if I was looking down from the ceiling.

I stood looking around at a room full of the seven of us women- and Brian (who was a total champ by the way in just doing whatever needed to be done) and I was struck by this intense sense of tribal "knowing".

All of these women who had labored themselves- and had helped countless women deliver their babies... all knowing that our bodies know what needs to be done- we just have to be patient. 

And just when you think you can't possibly keep going.... you can- and you do.

What a force- a huge warm ball of energy- it was so intense- and yet so calm.
{Her Douala, midwife and her midwife assistant were all wonderful}

I was thrilled to be asked to be present- and with their permission I am sharing some of the photos here.

Thanks guys- love you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The clock is ticking loud & clear....
The time is near
For Allie to be here!
I cannot wait to meet this baby girl-
AND I get to be there when she arrives!!!!!!
So enjoy a sneak~peek of Brayden & his pretty momma.
{and soon to arrive baby sister}

Stay tuned for my first L&D photos
Thank you ever so much T-fam for asking me
to be a part of your family and this most
magical time- love you guys!
xoxo Didi

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Birthday girl...

A few more shots of adorable birthday girl Randi.... you girls are done and your print order is in.... YAY!  More reasons to celebrate!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Birthday Babes

Wow- look who's FOUR!!! 
I can't EVEN believe that twins Sophie & Gavin are 4 years old already... seems like I was just taking their momma's baby-bump photos! 
They are soooo grown up now-
makes me giddy-happy and a bit sad all a the same time...
Love these two.....


Easter came and went quickly-  but we were able to catch a few sessions with the baby chicks before they went to live on my friend's parents farm... so many adorable faces... and the answer to the question,
"What's up?"

Sorry couldn't help myself.... baaaahaaaaa....


"Gabbi-Fabulous" It's a title we'd give any outfit our youngest daughter Gabrielle would come up with as a toddler because she has always L-to the, O.V.E. 'd to play dress up and usually the more sparkles and accessories....the better.... There is a steady stream of hilarious photos in our family scrapbooks as proof of this. 

Now that she's 10, tho- and always crazy busy with sports... it's more athletic apparel than anything else so it's a rare treat when we get to see her dressed up- weather it's for an event or to go and play with me and take photos.

She also has a knack for really rockin those old WWI & II era looks.  Hard to believe that this demure looking vintage lady is one of the more feared softball pitchers in the league!  Just one more thing that makes her so cool I guess....
The Miles family lost a rare jewel over Easter weekend.....
Big Daddy Ron's grandmother Bea passed away on ther 100th birthday weekend.
I loved sitting and listening to her stories over the last 12 years... oh the things those eyes have seen in a century of living....  I was given the task of creating & delivering her eulogy for her memorial....

Beatrice Miles was born April 8th, 1912 outside of Hallsville, (Harrison County) Texas to Frank Walker and Mary Jane (Helton) Walker. She was the 3rd of 10 children (1st born child of 7 of this union). Mary Jane brought a son Elzie and daughter Bessie Lee to her marriage to Frank Walker. Together they then had Beatrice, Gladys, Mildred, Gertrude, Bernice, Bonnie Cleo, Frank Jr. and Herman.

Bea’s large and diverse family could boast that they were the first African American family in the Hallsville/Marshall area to own a car! They were a family full of uniquely talented musicians, barbers, teachers, cooks and seamstresses.

After the tragic loss of her mother at age 10 ½, Beatrice left school to care for the 7 younger siblings while their father worked. She acquired the domestic life skills that would carry her through the rest of her many and varied working careers

To quote Thomas Edison,
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”

That was never the case with Beatrice…Opportunity was rarely missed and she was never a woman to shy away from hard work. Beatrice wore many hats growing up. She could butcher a hog, pick cotton, work in the fields, bake a cake, rock a baby and sew a dress- all in a day’s work.

She met and married John L. “Jack” Miles of Kilgore, Texas in April of 1930, (that marriage dissolved in 1949). They lived in a number of towns in the Harrison County area over the years including Hallsville, Marshall, Jefferson, Port Arthur, Philips and Borger to name a few. They had only one son together, John Leonard Miles Jr.

John-L was the light of her life and Bea worked hard to help produce a successful son on every level and assure that he received a proper education. And successful he was! John-L was the first African American student to graduate High School in Borger, TX. He went on to earn a B.A. at Bishop College in Marshall, TX and an MBA at Seattle University (Seattle, WA). He went on to teach and mentor inner-city youth as an administrator for the Seattle Public Schools for over 35 years.

As an adult and well past retirement age, Bea worked for nearly 4 decades for the L.R. “Babe” Spradling family of the Spradling Drilling Co. She was the head of domestic greatness for the Spradling family, overseeing all of the daily domestic operations and helping to raise two generations of their children.

Bea was always very generous and an extremely private woman. She was known to cook all night for her church and community but would refuse to accept recognition. She would rarely, if ever let a photo be taken of her. ( I was thrilled that she agreed to let me take the one above- and that... took months of begging)

Bea managed to create admirable success on little more than life skills and a 3rd grade education. She has always been an inspiration to those around her.

Bea was known to say, “It’s not how much you make or have in life - it’s how you manage it.”

She moved to Bellevue, WA in May of 2000 to be closer to her only son John-L and his family.

Bea is survived by her daughter-in-law Estella Miles, Grandsons John L. Miles III and Ronald G. Miles, Granddaughter Wanda E Miles, Great-Granddaughters Onika, Kendyl, Gabrielle and Kiana Miles all of the Greater Seattle area.

Bea’s storytelling and her famous sweet potato pies will be greatly missed.

Give 'em Hell G'ma... xoxo
So I have to apologize- we have been running soooo busy here lately that I have failed terribly at posting- there have been oodles of photos created and distributed- but just not blogged.  And  part of that distraction factor is our new house guests.....  Not really guests... more like residents.... and there here to stay.  Meet our snuggle-Puggles.... Mashall and Lily.  Not sure who adopted who first- but we sure love them.

Cake smash!

I was so excited to see sweet little Randi again- she's a big girl now-a whole year old and just as pretty as she can be!  We had all kinds of fun with mommy's healthy home-made cupcakes!  Those eyes just melt me....