The Zimmerman Family & their movie night under the stars…

kelsie, the mama of this family and i had been planning this shoot for months and months.  the shoot was to take place on her and her hubby’s 10th wedding anniversary and it would be in celebration of not only the two of them but of their precious family and being just as giddy as they were all those years back.  the vision was for it to be a camp out under the stars, all cuddled up together, watching home movies playing on an old 8mm projector.  it took a lot of collaborating between the two of us (and a lot of other help from the men in our lives with the set-up and dragging all our favorite vintage stuff into the grove – thank you!) and it all came together.  once it was all ready, we didn’t have to force the kids to smile for the camera… they jumped right in that tent and rolled around and we couldn’t barely get them out!  the longer we stayed, the more fun it was… they danced in the late afternoon sun, daddy played his grandma’s ukelele and his guitar and had the whole family singing, and then when the lights got low we lit the lanterns, turned on the movie projector, got out the popcorn and they all curled up in that fancy tent and watched until there wasn’t hardly any light left in the sky.  my favorite part was how sad we all were to pack everything up and take it all down!  it is rare that when a shoot it over that no one want to leave (especially the kids) but we all were having so much fun that we wished we could have actually camped out right there.   so, happy anniversary you love birds and thank you so much for giving me the honor of being a part of this wonderful celebration.  i’m thinking we may need to celebrate this more often than every 10 years.  😉

Posted in * Family Sessions, * Themed Sessions, Children | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Missing Jarren & sharing HOPE.

you may remember precious 4 year old jarren and his family from this shoot.  sadly, jarren got his angel wings seven weeks after this session on november 1st at 2:32 am, taking his final breath in his daddy’s arms.  today would have been jarren’s 5th birthday.  not a day goes by that his face does not come to my mind but the pain his parents are experiencing is unimaginable to me.  heather, jarren’s mom wrote just after his passing in her web journal,

“jarren fought his battle with the monster called cancer for 18 months.  almost half his life.  as much as it hurts, there is a sense of relief for him knowing that he will no longer know pain ever again.  NO child should ever have to endure what he and so many other children have been and continue to go through.  no.  it’s not fair and I don’t know why.  i may never.  it’s not my job to ask ‘why?’ but you better believe i will when i get to heaven!  i just know that we trust the Lord and KNOW that he has a plan.” another thing that heather wrote the following week continues to echo in my heart ever since, “as Christian parents, what is our ultimate goal for our children?  to raise them to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and for them to get to heaven.  mission accomplished.  God continues to give us strength.”

i am so very blessed to be able to now live life alongside the donatini family and they have forever changed the way i view my life, my children, my role as a photographer, the world and each and every passing, precious moment that we are given on this earth.

they established the bumblebee foundation in memory of jarren.  the mission of the foundation is to share hope with pediatric cancer families.  this is a little bit about the foundation (taken from their website):

“who we are:  established in 2011, the bumblebee foundation is a non-profit 501c3 that was founded in memory of jarren donatini, who was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) at the age of three. during his 18 month battle with cancer jarren touched the lives of many and showed others about the meaning of true love, faith, and courage.

what we do:  the costs and emotional stress for families of pediatric cancer patients can be overwhelming. it is our goal to assist families with not only financial support for things like unpaid medical bills, time off from work, gas, etc. but also to support basic needs like meals, transportation and other services. additionally, we feel it is important to support the entire well-being of the family, by sharing hope, and seeking to provide comfort via spiritual needs and/or counseling.”

i hope you will join me in supporting this amazing family’s foundation financially and in prayer!  you can visit the their website for more information.  also, if you happen to live in the thousand oaks area, you can come support the bumblebee foundation by eating at wood ranch bbq in moorpark today from 11am-9:30pm (a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the foundation) all in honor of jarren’s birthday.  click here for info and to download the flyer if you will be attending.  we will be there, too!

below is a photo i took today(with a little drawing help on the paper from my gracie).  on the day of my photo shoot with jarren we bonded over skittles.  he was very shy at first but a belly full of skittles sure warmed him up and i was lucky enough to see the smiles his mama had told me all about.  he fed me every color but the green ones, those were his favorite.  every time i see a pack of skittles i always save him the green ones.   :)



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wildflower. mother. wife. believer. artist. farmer. writer. dreamer.

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