Jecca Lynn Photography: Blog https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Jecca Lynn Photography JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/img/s/v-12/u226580244-o663931502-50.jpg Jecca Lynn Photography: Blog https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog 120 80 2019 365 - Week 21 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---week-21 Memorial Day weekend marks the wind-down to the school year. Aly is SO ready for summer break. 

Here's week 21!

 

 

142/365:  Kidpik

Just when I thought she couldn't love her quarterly Kidpik delivery more, they add reading material! She read the new magazine cover to cover before looking at the clothes.

 

 

143/365:  First Project

Her first ever school project is finished! She chose to do it on the habitats of Adélie penguins.

"Not just ANY penguins. ADÉLIES!"

We refrained from taking over and doing it for her because we didn't want to set the precedent that parents "help" (read: "do it all") with school projects. We gave suggestions. Some she took, some she scoffed at. I helped a little with the Spanish, but just a little. This project is all her (right down to the pink poster board!) and we are so proud.

 

 

144/365:  ABA at the Mall

This was a "community outing" day with our ABA therapy team. We work on safety (not wandering off), social skills (having a conversation), and coping skills during trigger events (hand dryers in public restrooms or conflict/emotions in books). 

 

 

145/365:  DIY Face Mask

We decided that Saturday would be a Mommy/Aly "spa day". We did a DIY face mask from her new Kidpik magazine, along with a foot soak, pedicures, and makeup.

 

 

 

146/365: Mancala

After church, Aly and I played lots of board games and painted our fingernails. It was a nice change from having to rush out to social playgroup.

 

 

147/365:  Memorial Day

We celebrated our day off by staying in pj's all day, trying new BBQ chicken and air-fried okra recipes, and playing UNO.

 

 

148/365:  Quiet Day

After a long holiday weekend of keeping Aly entertained, it was nice to have a day to myself to edit LOTS of personal photos. Sometimes momma needs quiet time.

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---week-21 Thu, 30 May 2019 22:31:00 GMT
Forgeron Family | Spectrum Inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/forgeron-family-spectrum-inspired I had the privilege of meeting the Forgeron family at their home for Eva's Spectrum Inspired session and was greeted immediately by 5-year-old Eva and spunky 3-year-old Lily. The girls were both curious about my camera and said "cheeeeeese!" to get me to take their photo, then asked to see what I got right away. I could tell that this was going to be a fun and energetic time together!

 

 

Little brother, 1-year-old Seamus, joined the fun once he was finished with his snack and, oh my word what a ham! He is a cutie pie and he knows it!

 

I let the girls show me their room, then we tried to play one of the family's favorite games but there was just too much excitement! So we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to the backyard for some bubbles and water play! 

 

Once Eva was done with the pool, she made it VERY clear that she was ready to go back inside and get dried off. I love how she verbally and clearly expresses herself and her parents are doing an amazing job encouraging her communication skills! The girls had been promised cookies at the end of the session and while they enjoyed their tasty treats, Seamus showed off how he can almost walk!

 

I could have spent all day hanging out with this sweet family, but before I knew it, our time was up. 

 

It is my honor to introduce you to Eva and her family through my photographs, and to share their story in the words of mom, Emily:

"My daughter Eva is 5 years old - my first baby. She’s absolutely a little beauty with bright, blue eyes, rosy cheeks and gorgeous, wavy, long curls. She’s playful, mischievous, sweet, set in her ways, intelligent, and quirky. I look at her and I see so much potential but I know she has it way tougher than most kids her age. Eva is on the autism spectrum, diagnosed a few months before her third birthday. 

Two years ago I was fairly uneducated about the signs of autism, though looking back she was developing on track when I ran through all the checklists. But I wonder if I somehow missed something. The summer before her third birthday unexplained meltdowns began, repetitive runs down our house hallway ensued and a lot of jumping in place were the norm, and I soon learned about the term echolalia when Eva would bring phrases and conversations up over again and again out of context. Soon we had her evaluated and when she was diagnosed it was very devastating for me, not knowing what challenges we would be facing and how this would change the life I envisioned for my oldest daughter. 

It has been a long road - some days were very difficult and some days are still very challenging but she is working hard and I’ve become a better mom and parent because of her diagnosis. I’m dedicated to helping her make her way. I’ve become more patient. I celebrate the small victories and put things in better perspective, counting my many blessings. Shortly after she turned three, we began therapies - ABA, speech and OT - and she is making tremendous progress, though there is still a lot of work ahead. I see the rewards of her therapies and my education - parent training - often. Today she attends TK in a general education classroom with an aide supporting her and loves going to school. She also attends a social skills playgroup on the weekends and has made new friends. I’ve learned to live in the present and count my blessings. My daughter has autism but she is more than that. It doesn’t define her. Autism surely makes life harder for her but I will do everything in my power to help her learn, grow and be the best she can be. And in turn I’m working on myself to be her mom who supports her, does her best to understand her, comforts her, fights for what she needs and has her corner - always. I’m so proud of who she is and will continue to support her in any and every way that I can."

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness documentary session family happy in home family session memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/forgeron-family-spectrum-inspired Tue, 28 May 2019 23:23:45 GMT
The Sextons | A Homecoming Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/the-sextons-a-homecoming-story When Ashley contacted me about capturing her husband Justin's homecoming, it was 4 days before (totally normal for homecomings) and I was deathly sick in bed with bronchitis. However, I had faith that with rest and meds I would heal in time, so I let her know that I would be honored to capture the event. I am so incredibly thankful I did, because after 6 months apart, their 4-year-old daughter Savannah had the BEST reaction to daddy's arrival!

We had about an hour after arriving on base to find the airstrip and get to where we needed to be. This gave Savannah time to color, have a snack, and dance around with little American flags before the plane landed. This was the perfect amount of time to get the wiggles out but not too much time for her to get bored.

 

Ashley is SUCH a good momma!

 

Savannah proudly showed off the sign that she had made for daddy that morning. It truly was the best day EVER!

Oops just a little leftover paint from making daddy's sign.

 

The moment she spotted her daddy, Savannah could not contain her joy! She screamed and jumped up and down and ran for the gate, almost knocking him over. Best. Reaction. EVER!

 

That face!!

 

Never letting him go again.

 

His whole world.

 

Pure joy.

 

Home at last.

 

"Squeeze daddy!"

 

"Is that your bag, daddy? I got it!" 

 

After all the excitement of the big arrival, I love to see this look of peace wash over a family's faces.

He's back.

He's safe.

They are together again and all is back as it should be.

 

When we got back to the car, Savannah wanted to make sure daddy got a good look at the sign she made for him. He said something like, "This is the BEST sign I have EVER seen!" and she visibly swelled with pride.

 

While deployed, Justin was able to pick up a special gift for his daughter. After he put it around her little neck, she said, "I never want to take it off!"

 

It truly was an honor being a part of the Sexton family's special day. As I am typing this blog on Memorial Day, I am remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and were unable to reunite with their loved ones. These images are precious, but what they represent (time away from loved ones and a willingness to serve for our freedom) is the most precious gift of all. Justin Sexton, thank you so much for your service, sir. And welcome home.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer documentary session family happy memories military homecoming military homecoming photography san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego homecoming photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego military homecoming san diego military homecoming photographer San Diego photographer together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/the-sextons-a-homecoming-story Mon, 27 May 2019 20:53:56 GMT
2019 365 - Week 20 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---week-20 This week was quite eventful but very very good. I recovered from the last few days of a nasty bout of bronchitis. As soon as I was feeling better, I got to document two very special sessions before it started raining again for several days.

Here are the images from week 20:

 

 

135/365:  Library Books

While I lay sick in bed, Chris took Aly to the library and she was so excited to share her selections with me. She had me sit on the couch and listen to her read her books.

 

 

136/365:  Sick Bed Snuggles

Both my girls joined me for snuggles while I recovered from a nasty sickness. This bronchitis was no joke, ya'll.

 

 

137/365:  Homecoming Joy

I had the honor of welcoming home a serviceman from deployment alongside his amazing wife and adorable daughter. This family was the SWEETEST and I am so thankful they entrusted me to capture these special memories. I will definitely blog this session later; there are so many fun images to tell the whole story from this amazing reunion!

 

 

138/365:  Spectrum Inspired Eva

Eva's Spectrum Inspired session will get its own blog post later. She is the sweetest kiddo and I had a super fun afternoon with her and her awesome family!

 

 

139/365:  Another Rainy Day

Just when we thought the rain was done for the season, it wasn't. Several more cold, rainy days settled over us.

 

 

140/365:  Knock Them Down

We had a break in the rain during Aly's ABA session and she played in the backyard with her therapist a little. We are constantly working on Aly's flexibility in play, so the therapist came up with a different way to play with these blocks from a huge Jenga-like game. Aly loved setting them up like Dominoes and smiled super big every time she knocked them down.

 

 

141/365:  Spontaneous Sea World Visit

We decided to take Aly to Sea World straight from school pick up. Because we can.
It was sprinkling off and on, but we stuck to the indoor exhibits like the penguins and belugas. 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer documentary session family happy homecoming homecoming photographer memories military homecoming military homecoming photographer photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer Sea World San Diego spectrum inspired together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---week-20 Fri, 24 May 2019 03:52:08 GMT
2019 365 - Weeks 18 and 19 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---weeks-18-and-19 Ok yeah I am 2 whole weeks behind. 

Yikes.

But in my defense, I was VERY sick and dealing with acceptance of my infertility. So that's been a lot.

And I have continued to shoot every day. 

So here's weeks 18 and 19 of this therapeutic project. Thanks for sticking with me in this journey!

 

 

121/365:  Matching Game

This girl DOMINATES in the matching game. We seriously can't beat her and have accepted it.

 

 

122/365:  New Shoes

She has grown out of her old shoes and inherited new ones from a friend but those are too big. So we went shopping for "interim shoes". This is her happy place. The girl's first word was "shoe", after all.

 

 

123/365:  Animal Shelter

Her Daisy troop used some of their cookie money to donate supplies to a local animal shelter and while we were there, we got a tour of the facility and put together some fun enrichment items for the dogs. They girls LOVED it!

 

 

124/365:  Giant Centipede

Chris found this creature in our driveway and I was as disgusted as Aly was delighted.

 

 

125/365:  Tiny Dancer

She donned an old dance costume of her auntie's and put on a special performance for us. But first, she needed help buckling her shoes.

 

I loved this moment and this light, but I almost didn't share the photo because of the clutter.

 

But this is real life. I want to document every detail. The pretty light and special moment between daddy and daughter amongst the daily clutter.

 

Looking closely, I see:

Bins with items that are fodder for our upcoming yard sale.

Little sticky notes that Aly used to label all of the 3D shapes she could find (cylinder, sphere, cube, etc) because that's what she was learning about in school that week.

Piles and piles of books because Aly prefers those to TV.

 

This is real life, and I intend to document it. Shattering the sham of the perfect. Capturing the beauty and the chaos.


 

 

 

126/365:  Crafting

Aly wanted to make a special craft for Nana for Mother's Day. She was very purposeful in picking out her favorite color to use in her bracelet.

 

 

127/365:  Letting Go

This was the day I found out our 3rd and final IUI attempt failed. This was our last go at fertility treatment. We had decided that after 3 attempts we would accept God's will for our family. 

We would accept that He gave us our one miracle without medical intervention or scientific explanation.

We would accept that our family of 3 would stay only 3.

We would accept that we are not to raise siblings as we always talked about since we started dating.

We would accept that we are not to perfect our "man-on-man" defense as we always joked about.

I will be ok with that. I will be happy.

But this day. It just hurt to hear (and feel) a very loud "NO" to our prayers of another baby. 

I sat on Aly's bed, hugged her favorite blanket, and sobbed another prayer:

"Please, please, just take the desire away now. Help me let go."

 

 

 

128/365:  Yesterday and Today

After the previous day's discovery and feelings, I decided to change the letter board that I pass every day. To encourage myself to move on. Look forward. It helped a little. But this day still saw a lot of tears.

 

 

129/365:  Fort Building

Thank God for these two. Chris' reaction to our fertility news was, "Ok. I'll just spoil Aly." So he went to the baby consignment shop to discuss unloading our baby gear and while there, picked up a couple of things for his girl, including a blanket fort construction set.

 

 

 

130/365:  Muffins with Mom

The Friday before Mother's Day (also known as "Dia de los Madres"), Aly's school celebrated by providing a yummy breakfast for all the kiddos and mommas. We sat with several of the girls from her Daisy troop. It was good to see friendly faces.

 

 

131/365:  Never Far Away

We made another fort structure Aly just wanted to hang out there all day. Lollipop seemed worried that her tiny human was going to disappear forever, so she didn't stray to far away from the entrance, where she could at least keep an eye on Aly's toes.

 

 

132/365:  Mother's Day

I was so spoiled on Mother's Day this year! Aly made me an awesome card, picked out a beautiful bouquet of flowers (with my favorite hydrangeas), and chose a thoughtful gift of reusable Starbucks cups for me. There were several other gifts and of course my awesome hubby made a delicious meal, but this card makes me smile whenever I see it.

 

 

133/365:  Saying Goodbye

We took all of our baby gear out of storage and set it up to make sure it was all still in working order so we could bless another family that could use it. 

This swing kept us sane. Some days it was the only way to keep Aly calm. Looking at it, it seemed the penguin was cheerfully waving good-bye.

God, this is hard.

 

 

 

134/365:  Penguin Project


Aly was assigned a project to finish out the last couple of weeks of school. She was to choose an animal to research, answer some questions about it, and complete a poster or diorama to present in class. She chose to research Adélie penguins and daddy helped her find a couple of library books about them. My baby is growing up so fast.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session family memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---weeks-18-and-19 Fri, 17 May 2019 21:17:11 GMT
2019 365 - Week 17 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---week-17 This week was crazy! I am starting to feel like I say that more often than not...

Oh, well, on to week 17!

 

114/365:  Marble Run

"Mommy will you play in my room with me?" 

How can I say no?

 

 

115/365:  A Night to Remember Set-Up

Aly came along for her first A Night to Remember portrait studio set-up. She was a willing (albeit silly) model for me.

 

 

116/365:  A Night to Remember

I can't share the photos I took at the A Night to Remember prom but here is another one of my little model and favorite assistant.

 

 

117/365:  Mini Session

I had a super fun and active mini session with the cutest little two-year-old. It was so awesome to meet new clients again! This is truly my happy place.

 

 

118/365:  Baskin Robbins

This poor little nugget had a tough day at social group therapy. When Chris picked her up, she had just had an 18-minute-long meltdown triggered by the hand dryers in the public restroom. Exhausted and drained, she asked for ice cream and we happily obliged.

 

 

119/365:  Lolli

Poor Lolli girl had tummy issues and I felt almost as horrible and helpless as when Aly gets sick. I am becoming so freaking attached to this pup.

 

 

120/365:  Science Experiment

Her favorite books have to do with science or math. One of her aunties gave her a big book filled with at-home science experiments for Christmas and she will randomly choose one, hunt down the tools required, and ask for help if the book suggests she needs it. This day was a test on hot vs cold air density.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism awareness chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer documentary session family happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/5/2019-365---week-17 Sat, 04 May 2019 04:10:21 GMT
2019 365 - Week 16 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-16 Holiday, anniversary, and sickness, oh my!

Here's week 16!

 

 

107/365:  Little Stylist

She got out all of her play makeup and set up shop. She said that it was an Easter Sale and that she would do makeup for free. Unless we wanted her to apply Vaseline or our own lipgloss. Then she charged a penny.

But after she was done, she rewarded her first time customers with a "gift card" that we could "use next time". I love my little entrepreneur!

 

 

108/365:  Wildflowers

We have the tenacious little yellow wildflowers blooming just on the other side of our backyard fence.  They are still going strong, even as the rest of the Supe Bloom wanes.

 

 

109/365:  Roomba

This is pretty much the only way my floors get clean. I will mop after it maybe once a month, when I have time.

 

 

110/365:  Easter Picnic

We were thrilled that Chris' station decided to do an Easter Picnic again this year! It is always a fun time and Aly still loves hugging the Easter bunny and hunting eggs.

 

 

111/365:  Easter Dress

I don't think I have ever bought my child an Easter dress. Her Nana always finds something super girly and frilly to send. And Aly always looks forward to Easter when she can wear it and try out the twirling capabilities. 

 

 

112/365:  13 Years

It's hard to believe we have been married 13 years. Seems like just last week we were teasing each other on the band field and I was insisting this Luongo guy bugged me. 

I mean, we still tease each other and he still bugs me, but...turns out he's also a pretty good guy who never forgets to bring us flowers on special occasions.  Here's to many more.

 

 

113/365:  Family Date

We decided to celebrate our anniversary by going on a "family date" to one of our favorite restaurants, SEA180 Costal Tavern. Whenever we have a special date night here, we say how much we want to bring Aly. So, on this night, we finally did. She behaved so well and ate almost all of her meal (both BIG victories!) so we rewarded her by staying out a little late and walking on the beach.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session Easter family happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-16 Fri, 26 Apr 2019 16:19:53 GMT
2019 365 - Week 15 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-15 I'm ok, really! Just running behind on blogging but man oh man, my computer is running lightening fast now!! Happy momma! Getting caught up now which brings us to week 15!

 

100/365:  Lollipop at the Vet

Lollipop had a bit of a knot in her back so we took her to the vet to get checked out. We have had pets with similar knots that turned out to be cancerous so we were understandably nervous for our baby pup. Thankfully, it turned out to just be a little infection at the injection site from her recent vaccinations.  All she needed was a round of antibiotics (aka natural peanut butter twice a day for ten days!) and she is good as new! Look at that happy face! She does not mind the attention she gets at the vet's office! Such a ham!

 

 

101/365:  Sugar

When Chris and I went on a date to the Sugar Factory recently, we picked up a little rubber ducky for Aly. She LOVES this thing and appropriately named it Sugar.

 

 

102/365:  Donuts with Dad

Our PTO does a great job putting together fun little events to bring families together. This morning was a "Donuts with Dad" breakfast before school started. Aly was so excited and couldn't wait to sit down to take a bite!

 

 

103/365:  Day at the Ballet

We attended the ballet with Aly's Girl Scout Troop. The girls had a lot of fun and loved being dressed up. Aly had a bit of a meltdown at curtain call due to the noise (she HATES loud applause and I couldn't get her ear defenders on in the dark), but she snapped out of it when I gave her the choice of going home or going out to dinner at a fun new restaurant with the girls. She chose going out to eat which was AMAZING for a couple of reasons:

1) She used to hate going to new places to eat. The only sit-down restaurant she would tolerate for any period of time was Chili's. She knew the menu. She knew the atmosphere. She knew what to expect. Now, she still loves Chili's and requests it often, BUT, she has started requesting to try new restaurants which is so fun and exciting!

2) She was clearly overwhelmed but was able to get to a quieter spot in the lobby and stem for a little bit. This allowed her to get herself calm enough to not only request a preferred activity, but also to recognize how to behave appropriately in order to enjoy it. The whole coping process took around 5-7 minutes, which is significantly better than the 20-30 minutes that it used to take her to calm down in similar situations.

 

 

104/365:  Magnaformer Tower

Typically, Magnaformers are a solitary toy, but we have developed a game to play with them to help her with kind words. She will choose a figure from the booklet and guide us to create it with just her words; we aren't allowed to see the picture and she is not allowed to touch the pieces. It is very challenging but is a great exercise in patience for her. 

 

 

105/365:  Making Mac and Cheese

Daddy decided to show her how to make her own mac and cheese for dinner. She was nervous, but once he explained to her how microwaves work, she became more confident.

 

 

106/365:  Decorating Easter Eggs

It's that time of year and this girl is egg-crazy lately. She was very excited to make pretty Easter eggs to enjoy for her breakfasts for the next week.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer documentary session Easter family happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-15 Mon, 22 Apr 2019 18:16:39 GMT
2019 365 - Week 14 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-14 Well this week's blog is a bit late (like a week late), but I am still shooting every day. It's the editing that is giving me problems, but my computer is getting a new SSD and RAM tomorrow so hopefully that will help speed things up!!

 

Without further ado, here is week 14!

 

 

92/365:  Sea World on Spring Break

We took Nana to Sea World during her Spring Break trip. It was fairly crowded, but the weather was great and we had a fun time taking Nana to exhibits that she hasn't seen before. The sea turtles and sharks were an especially big hit.

 

 

93/365:  Chill Day with Nana

We decided to take it easy and recover from the previous day's trip to Sea World. Nana also babysat Aly so that Chris and I could go out on a much-needed date night. 

 

 

94/365:  Adventure with Nana

The plan for the day was to go find wildflowers, but what we found was even better! A pretty, secluded little stream running alongside the trail that we chose. Aly had fun splashing in the water and I was SO thankful I brought along an extra outfit for her.

 

 

95/365:  Trampoline Time

Her Nana won't always be able to join her on the trampoline. So happy that we have these memories to look back and remember when she was able to say "yes" and jump in with her koala socks.

 

 

96/365:  Earth Day Event

Aly's Girl Scout Troop is working on completing one of their petal patches, which involves learning how to use their resources wisely. It just so happened that we were able to attend a local Earth Day event to learn more about taking care of our planet. Aly had fun but she said it was "overwhelming" because of all the people and activities. I am so proud of her for using her words and coping skills to avoid having a meltdown.

 

 

97/365:  Super Hero

Nana left on a Sunday, which is a crazy busy day for us. We attended church and social therapy group and then came home for some relaxing trampoline time. Repetitive movement, especially swinging and jumping, helps to counteract the effects of being overwhelmed. Days like today, when she had a lot of activity and feelings, usually leads to behaviors. However, jumping on the trampoline seems to make her feel calm and in control. This thing was the best investment ever.

 

 

98 and 99/365:  Zoo Field Trip

 

Aly's second field trip with her Kindergarten class was to the San Diego Zoo. The 6 Girl Scouts split from the rest of the class and did their own thing with their momma chaperones. This was another overwhelming day for Aly but I am so proud of her for using her coping skills and staying flexible. It made for a fun day.

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer documentary session family field trip happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer san diego zoo spectrum inspired together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-14 Mon, 15 Apr 2019 18:00:55 GMT
2019 365 - Week 13 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-13 Week 13 saw a lot of resting and recuperating from strep throat. And, once Aly was feeling better, Nana came back for another visit. 

 

 

85/365:  Quiet Time with Daddy

This was her first full day on antibiotics for strep so she was still feeling puny. She really just wanted to play puzzle games on her iPad and rest in bed, but started to get lonely in the afternoon and asked Daddy to snuggle with her. They then took turns working on puzzles together.

 

 

86/365:  Story Time

When I ask her to pick out a story to read at bed time, this is the type of book she chooses. On this night, I asked if I could please pick out an actual story to read. She said I could. Then she said that I had to read it to myself so that she could read her science book in peace.

 

 

87/365:  Snail Sanctuary

It was starting to feel like Spring outside and she was finally feeling like herself again so she went outside to play. Or build a "snail house" for her slimy little friends.

 

 

88/365:  Helper with a Hammer

Chris and I were each working on last minute chores in preparation for Nana's visit and we gave her a choice of helping Daddy in the backyard or helping Mommy hang pictures upstairs. She chose to use her tools and help me. Her little pink hammer is basically the cutest thing ever.

 

 

89/365:  Nana has Landed

This was a very busy day; beginning with swim lessons in the morning, a birthday party right after, then home for dinner with a couple of special guests: Auntie Steph and NANA!!! She wasted no time in showing Nana her new trampoline. And Nana jumped right in.

 

 

90/365:  Custom Artwork

After social group therapy we went to have dinner at Auntie Steph and Uncle Paul's newly updated house. One of our favorite features is this chalk wall in their kitchen. They told Aly that she could draw a picture of whatever she wanted and, of course, she chose the solar system. Not only that, but she treated us to a lecture about each planet.

 

 

91/365:  New Store

We went shopping at the mall with Nana and were curious about the new store that replaced Build-a-Bear. BAB was one of Aly's favorite places to go in and wander around, but I think she liked this place even better! It has lots of pretty gem stones and yoga paraphernalia, which is all her jam!!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session family memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/4/2019-365---week-13 Wed, 03 Apr 2019 23:18:23 GMT
2019 365 - Week 12 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-12 Spring break begins with a bang as Aly comes down with strep throat. Week 12 was not kind to us, but we found a couple of bright moments. It's what we do.

 

 

78/365:  Lollipop's Bench

Lollipop loves to find sunny spots in the yard and lay there soaking up the rays. Her favorite spot is this old bench that we have had for a few years. She has made it her own, occasionally chewing on it, but mostly just using it for sun bathing.

 

 

79/365:  Bead Craft

Aly has been into making these little bead crafts lately. She will carefully plan out the design (including little faces) and once finished, will proudly show me and have me iron her creation so that she can keep it and play with it.

 

 

80/365:  Sick Day Donuts

She woke up with a fever of 102.7, so no school for her. However, when daddy asked her if she wanted anything special for breakfast, she shyly asked for donuts. So off we went, a jacket over her pj's, crocks on her feet, and tangles in her hair, to Krispy Kreme where she carefully picked out her favorites.

 

 

81/365:  Sick Day Couch Time

Another day, another fever. She missed the last day of school before Spring Break and spent it laying on the couch watching TV (which she rarely chooses to do). Lollipop was never far away.

 

 

82/365:  Trampoline

I got a deal on a used trampoline and we all worked together to figure out the puzzle of constructing it. Aly's fever was down from almost 103 to around 100 and she was feeling more like herself so I let her jump on her new treasure.

 

 

83/365:  "Planket" Fort

She had another low fever in the morning and we skipped church and social group, which I am thankful we did. She asked Chris to help her build a "planket" fort (fort made with pillows AND blankets) and she snuggled inside watching TV. Later, as I was doing laundry upstairs, she would pull the blankets on top of herself and fall asleep on the floor because her fever spiked again.

 

 

84/365:  Strep

After 4 days of fever, it was time to take her to the doctor. Sure enough, our girl was diagnosed with strep throat and is prescribed antibiotics for 10 days. Hello, Spring Break!

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-12 Wed, 27 Mar 2019 04:20:45 GMT
2019 365 - Week 11 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-11 Ok I am super behind in this week's post. Short school days, slow computer issues, and a sick kiddo will do that to a deadline that you set for yourself.

Oh, well...at least I am still shooting every day! And so we press on...

To week 11!

 

 

71/365:  Hair Curling

With the elementary school daddy-daughter dance fast approaching, I purchased a new curling wand to make Aly's hair special for her big night. She was very nervous about a hot thing coming so near to her head and said she "didn't want to be like a fried egg". So we convinced her (read: bribed her with M&M's) to a practice run. As she saw the curls develop in her hair, she stood taller and her face lit up with delight!

 

 

72/365:  La Jolla Sea Lions

I had a session in La Jolla and was astonished at the amount of sea lions laying around. There were so many and so close! As the light faded after the session, we walked around a little and I snapped a couple of photos of these loud creatures.

 

 

73/365:  Sunshine

The rain had stopped long enough for the ground to dry up and it even felt a bit warm outside. My little Cali girl kicked off her shoes, asked for a beach towel, and donned her sunglasses to soak in the sun.

 

 

74/365:  Daddy-Daughter Dance

My heart melted as these two headed out to their first daddy-daughter dance. Chris got emotional, saying, "So this is our first dance. And some day we'll have our last dance. And I'll have to give her away."

Not ready yet. Not yet. 

So glad I will have these photos to look back on when that time does come.

 

 

75/365:  Swim Lessons Week 2

She does not stop smiling during swim lessons. She gives it her all and loves every single second.

 

 

76/365:  Frosty Outside

Our Sunday morning routine involves stopping by Wendy's on the way home from church. We grab something for an early lunch so that she can go to ABA social group therapy. Sometimes, she eats her lunch in the car on the way home from church and then has time to slowly enjoy her frosty treat. That was the case on this day, when she decided to lounge in her camping chair and soak in the sunshine as she leisurely ate her frosty.

 

 

77/365:  Solar System

She woke early, before school, to create our solar system out of toys. While the globe represents the sun, Earth is a small sea turtle snow globe, and, if you look closely you can see the moon on the other side of it, in the form of a small snowman eraser. Then, between Mars and Jupiter, is the asteroid belt (a bookmark). Saturn's rings are represented by her stethoscope. The solar system is completed by Pluto in the form of a NASA golfball. She then had me join her to stand on her bed, looked down on her creation, and said, "Look, mom, now it's like we are astronauts floating in space!" I love this kid and her amazing brain.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) chula vista child photographer chula vista family photographer chula vista photographer documentary session family happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer together ymca https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-11 Sun, 24 Mar 2019 04:10:49 GMT
2019 365 - Week 10 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-10 Week 10 brought brief glimpses of sunshine (in between torrential downpours and absolutely chilly weather) and Aly keeps asking if Spring is EVER going to get here.

 

64/365:  Self and Match

Every evening we complete Aly's self and match, a therapy tool where she reflects on the day and whether she met her appropriate behavior goals. This gives her the opportunity to be more aware of her actions throughout the day and make good choices in the moment so that she can earn a reward at the end of the day.

 

 

65/365:  Busy Schedule

This little chart on our refrigerator keeps me sane. Color coded and arranged according to dates and times, it keeps us on track throughout our busy weeks.

 

 

66/365:  Bike Riding

For a few months, we thought we would be going on a family trip back to a place where she would need to know how to ride a bike to get around. So we challenged her to get good enough to use this mode of transportation at a sprawling family resort. Those plans fell through, but this girl blew us away and is more confident on a bike than we could have hoped for. Now, to get her as confident with swimming for our new family vacation plans...

 

 

67/365:  Molecular Snack

She requested grapes, marshmallows, and toothpicks so that she could make sulfur dioxide molecules. Then she ate them.

 

 

68/365:  Swim Lessons Begin

She was BESIDE HERSELF with excitement to start swim lessons again. It didn't matter that it was mostly cloudy and 57 degrees outside.

 

 

69/365:  Waiting

 

She came home from social group determined to do some gardening. The only seeds I could find came in kits with these cute little pots, which was fine with her. She carefully planted and patiently waited for her little babies to sprout for the rest of the day.

 

 

70/365:  Swim Lessons...Bonus

Monday was crazy busy with running errands and dealing with camera/computer issues, so I wasn't able to get a shot on this day. So here's a bonus from Saturday's swim lesson. This was the last image I took and as you can see, she was smiling up until the very end.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness documentary session happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-10 Wed, 13 Mar 2019 06:32:48 GMT
2019 365 - Week 9 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-9 Better late than never! I am continuing to shoot every day but with a crazy weekend (Chris going out of town and Aly being sick, missing 2 days of school) I lost a lot of editing/posting time.

You'll see a lot of Lollipop and friends this week, because they made me smile while hubby was out of town for my birthday.

And without further ado, week 9...

 

57/365:  New Old School Desk

I picked up a new prop on this day (well, I sent Chris to pick it up) and Aly immediately claimed it to do her homework. I was capturing the details of the vintage desk as Aly sat in it, when I realized Lollipop was watching her tiny human intently. She was perfectly framed between the desk and her girl, so I knew this was the shot I wanted for this day.

 

 

58/365:  Pinky Ball

Lollipop is not big into doggy toys. This was something that we struggled with at first, trying every chewy, toss ball/rope, and treat-stuffed plaything that the pet stores had in stock. She wanted nothing to do with any of it at first. Slowly, she warmed up to one of the toys The Barking Lot gave us when we adopted her: a spotted, fuzzy, squeaky ball; which we named "Stinky Ball"...because, well. It's a fuzzy dog toy that got repeatedly left outside. Yuck.

Anyway, Stinky Ball is getting unbearably gross and no longer squeaks which makes it less appealing to our girl. So we went to the pet store to see if they had anything comparable. Thankfully, buried in a bin by the checkout, we found these obnoxiously bright fuzzy squeaky balls and got a deal on 2. Our sweet girl took to this one immediately and we have dubbed it "Pinky Ball".

 

 

59/365:  Super

Read this title sarcastically. This was my birthday. Chris flew to Florida to attend his grandmother's funeral. Aly stayed home sick from school. This photo was taken after she had stacked up all of our kitchen stools (which were outside because I was cleaning the floors) and climbed on top of them. With a cape on, of course. 

Super.

 

 

60/365:  Sick

The sickness reached its peak and she snuggled in bed reading most of the day.

 

 

61/365: Rays of Sunshine

Aly was finally feeling better and was fever-free so a friend came over to play (and her sweet momma brought dinner and a cake to celebrate my birthday)! These ladies are absolute rays of sunshine and I will forever be thankful to the Girl Scouts for bringing us into each other's lives.

 

 

62/365:  The Girls

Aly was invited to a birthday party for one of her Girl Scout friends. I dropped her off to be watched by the other mommas while I picked Chris up from the airport. When I came back the Girl Scout troop was happy to pose for a few photos for me. This photo so perfectly captures their sweet, spunky personalities and I absolutely adore it.

And then there's Aly. Oy.

 

 

63/365:  Nanny Dog

Sweet Lollipop knows her place. While she ADORES Chris, she watches over Aly like it is her actual JOB. I love this little tank of a doggo so much.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/3/2019-365---week-9 Fri, 08 Mar 2019 04:39:02 GMT
2019 365 - Week 8 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-8 Week 8 was nothing too remarkable. Back to daily routines and only one cookie booth. Upcoming events had me feeling sort of "blah" this week and I think the images reflect that. But I had a couple of ideas for upcoming Jecca Lynn Photography sessions so I have those promos to look forward to!

 

 

50/365:  Hello Coffee Maker

As much as we LOVED our time in Big Bear, the one thing our little cabin room was missing was a coffee maker. I brought instant coffee packets and there was a microwave, but if you are a coffee drinker you know that is NOT the same thing. It was so good to get home to my coffee maker!

 

 

51/365:  Playing in the Foyer

When she wants to play with a bouncy rubber ball, she goes into the foyer, shuts the barn door leading the the living room, and bounces to her heart's content. There are high ceilings, nothing breakable, and it is in a different room from where momma works.

 

 

52/365:  Math Book

She found a math book at the library written by Danica McKellar (yes; Winnie from The Wonder Years!). She LOVES this book.

I hate math. But I love her. So I play the math games and encourage her to soak it all in.

 

 

53/365:  Jump for Heart

Her elementary school had a jump rope fundraiser so she has been feverishly practicing in the backyard. For the longest time, she couldn't get the whole-body coordination down, but suddenly on this day she was jump-roping like a pro!

 

 

54/365:  Starbucks Cookie Booth

We signed up for a cookie booth at one of the local Starbucks on this day. It was the BEST booth location yet. There was a courtyard which gave us plenty of space to set up and room for the girls to dance around. Plenty of restaurants and shops meant plenty of customers, but not an overwhelming amount.

Oh, and there was coffee (and kids hot chocolate)!

 

 

55/365:  Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Sundays are actually pretty busy for us. Chris comes home from work and goes right to sleep.

Lollipop gets put out in her doghouse (she gets lonely and bored when left alone inside and has been known to shred doors and baseboards).

Aly and I go to church then swing by Wendy's to grab lunch on the way home. We wake Chris up and he takes her to social group therapy for a couple of hours while I get some chores done to prepare for the week.

Lollipop lays on the couch, roams the backyard, and comes to me for the occasional head pat.

When they get home we finally relax together and have dinner. This shot was taken after the girls got up from the couch (notice the dust floating in the air) and Lollipop watched as Aly skipped away to have her dinner.

 

 

 

56/365:  Tough Day

We have a chart that her ABA therapists introduced to help her with certain behaviors called a "Self and Match". At the end of each day, Aly rates herself on certain behaviors with a smiley or frowny face and then we do the same and she gets extra points if our answers match hers. It's a good way to not only encourage socially acceptable behaviors, but also to make her more aware of her own actions.

A couple of behaviors have been an issue in her classroom, so we have asked her teacher to help us rate her at the end of the school day. On this particular day, Aly's Self and Match chart was not in her backpack when she went to retrieve it for her chat with the teacher. She became upset because this disrupted her routine. But she cheered up with the promise of ice cream with sprinkles and a cherry.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-8 Wed, 27 Feb 2019 01:40:45 GMT
2019 365 - Week 7 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-7 Week 7!  

I am posting a day late, but that trip up to Big Bear was WORTH IT!

 

43/365:  Banana Nut Bread

This girl loves banana nut bread, just like her Nana makes. She asks to help me bake it so she can snitch pecans.

 

 

44/365:  Mincing Garlic

We were making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner; one of Aly's favorite dishes currently. Normally, we use garlic powder in the meatballs, but she saw one of the new kitchen tools that we recently purchased from Sur la Table and wanted to use it to easily peel some garlic cloves. Then she watched VERY closely while daddy showed her how to perfectly mince the cloves. 

 

 

45/365:  Sweet Face

The more I get to know this sweet girl's personality, the more I love her. She looks like a tough little tank, but inside is a heart of gold. Just look at those warm brown eyes...they melt me.

 

 

46/365:  Cozy Hollow Lodge

We decided to take advantage of her 4-day weekend (and Chris' ability to get those same 4 days off work!!) to go on an adventure up to Big Bear.  After she worked a 2-hour cookie booth and he snagged a quick nap, we packed the car and started driving.  We arrived to the lodge just after 8pm in the middle of a snow storm, started a fire in the fireplace, and fed her a dinner cobbled together from the bags of food we brought.

 

 

47/365:  Big Bear

We woke up early to find a snow-covered winter wonderland.  She absolutely could not wait to start playing in the powder.  Chris found a cheap sled, a nearby park, and we played in the cold until we couldn't feel our fingers or faces anymore.

 

 

48/365:  Snow Play

Our second full day in Big Bear brought more snow play.  Aly was determined to build a snowman so we helped her make a big pile of the white stuff on one of the lodge's picnic tables.  We worked together to bring her dream to life.

 

 

 

49/365:  Goodbye Big Bear

Our adventure came to an end and we packed the car and raced home to pick Lollipop up from her stay at the vet.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) Big Bear Cozy Hollow Lodge documentary session family happy memories photo a day project 365 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego photographer together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-7 Wed, 20 Feb 2019 20:34:14 GMT
2019 365 - Week 6 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-6 This week was CRAZY! And I am officially late posting. But SUPER proud of myself for continuing to shoot every day.

Even when I didn't really feel like it.

Even when I had no inspiration.

Even when I was exhausted to the point of tears.

And even when I could not possibly think of a new angle on yet ANOTHER cookie booth.

I know I will be grateful for these photos when I look back on them in the future. And so, another week is done. Week 6...

 

 

36/365:  Rain Dance

The rain continues. But she's got a new umbrella and cute boots. And the promise of a Spring super bloom. So for now, she'll dance.

 

 

37/365:  Foggy Mirror

My little artist. Her latest medium is the condensation on her bathroom mirror. She was so upset when this masterpiece disappeared but cheered up when I reminded her I was taking photos.

 

 

38/365:  Filling the Bird Feeder

Lately she has been telling me that she is glad we moved to a house with birds because she likes listening to their songs. On this day, she eagerly helped daddy refill the bird feeder so that her little friends would have plenty to eat.

 

 

39/365:  School Cookie Booth

These girls stayed after school to sell cookies and had so much fun representing the Girl Scouts to their classmates and teachers.

 

 

40/365:  Girl Scout Doll

She insisted on bringing her doll to the cookie booth on this day. And wore her hair to match. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

 

 

41/365:  Walmart Cookie Booth

These two girls tackled a tough cookie booth spot with brave faces and cheerful attitudes. They truly are future leaders. And earned their ice cream treat afterwards.

 

 

42/365:  ABA Painting 

Aly's ABA therapists have been focusing a lot on her social communication lately, having her choose activities to do and then gently guiding her through age-appropriate conversations, along with working on flexibility and coping skills.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) ABA therapy autism awareness Daisy Girl Scout dancing in the rain documentary session family Girl Scout cookies Girl Scouts Girl Scouts of San Diego memories rainy day san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-6 Wed, 13 Feb 2019 08:52:27 GMT
2019 365 - Week 5 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-5 Week 5 - Hello, February!

This week involved a lot of rain outside and a lot of personal stress. I am determined to continue see this project through, as it helps me process events and feelings, even if it does nothing to attract new clients  or "followers".

 

29/365:  Robot Research

She received a robot for Christmas; one of the 4 things she asked for specifically. On this day, she gave it one command after another, meticulously recording  what each command made the robot do. 

 

 

30/365:  Day Off

Chris works hard at night. On his days off, he helps me with chores around the house, but also takes some time for himself to relax and unwind. One of his favorite ways to unwind is to watch a "silly show" and snuggle with his dog.

 

 

31/365:  Play Date with Daddy

Three days a week, she has in-home ABA therapy immediately after school, until dinnertime. On her "off" days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) she craves attention from Mommy and Daddy. On this day, Daddy accepted her invitation for a "play date" and she was THRILLED.

 

 

32/365:  Morning Routine

Mornings are hectic. But I am determined to be in more photos this year and to capture even the most mundane of our moments. On this day, I set my camera up on the tripod and preserved a few frames of how I do her hair every school morning.

 

 

33/365:  Rainy Day Face

Aly went with me to run an errand at the bank on this morning, then we went to the library to return her books (and check out more, of course!). After the library, I meant to drop the bag of library books at the car and then take my special girl out for a special lunch. Unfortunately, I was rushing because of the rainy weather and tossed my purse into the car instead. It wasn't until after I locked the door behind me when I realized what I had done and that I had stranded us at the mall with nothing but library books and (thankfully) my cell phone. While I called Chris to wake him up and come rescue us, Aly tried to break into the car with anything flat she could find, then tried to run off to notify "the police" (mall security). I am so glad she was by my side. 

 

 

34/365:  Church on Super Bowl Sunday

They had special activities for the kiddos at church for Super Bowl Sunday. After church, Chris and Aly rested while I did a few chores, then we all went out and hustled some Girl Scout cookies to neighbors who were watching the big game. This was a very good day.

 

 

35/365:  Learning About Kilauea

New PBS Specials are for Aly what new Disney movies are for any other kid. On this day, we watched the new NOVA, "Kilauea: Hawai'i on Fire". She asks questions that just amaze us. Of course, she was worried that the volcano would reach us because "Hawai'i is a state, and we live in the United States". So we got out her globe and showed her how far away Hawai'i is. Then we did some research to answer her question, "I know that igneous rocks are created by volcanos and geodes are igneous rocks. How does a volcano form geodes?" Long story short: we now refer to geodes as "Volcano farts".

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session family memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/2/2019-365---week-5 Tue, 05 Feb 2019 22:56:47 GMT
2019 365 - Week 4 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-4 Here's week 4! Oh, what a week! Aly is thriving with a regular school schedule and Girl Scout cookies have taken over our house!

 

22/365:  Girl Scout

 

We hosted the Girl Scout cookie kickoff party at our house and I took the girls' headshots in their tunics. They are all so sweet and I am thrilled that Aly has a wonderful group of girls to grow with as sisters. I am maybe more thrilled that all their moms are freaking awesome! We share goals and responsibilities for this little Daisy troop and it feels like having one of those "tribes" that I hear so much about.

 

 

23/365:  Smart Games

She loves playing this new game with us. Usually she will watch us flounder with a few pieces before brushing our hands aside, saying "I've got it", and promptly putting the rest into place with little hesitation.

 

 

24/365:  Real Stethoscope

We were planning to take Aly to get her hair cut after school but Chris suffered a back spasm and we had to take him to urgent care. Aly was her usual charming, inquisitive self; asking the doctor questions until he showed her how his stethoscope worked. She was so enthralled that he brought another one for her to keep for herself. 

 

 

25/365:  100th Day of School

The morning light is so pretty during school drop off so I decided to try taking some photos of Aly lined up with her classmates. However, this was the 100th day of school and the kids were so excited that no line ever formed. Aly's friend and Girl Scout sister usually stands close to her during morning drop-off since they both get to school fairly early. I love how this image captures Aly's manic frolicking while her sweet friend stands close by, waiting for her to pause and talk to her.

 

 

26/365:  Book Store

Aly and I had a mommy-daughter day at the mall. We (finally) got her hair cut, went shopping for Auntie's birthday, had lunch, and browsed the book store. She could hang out here all day.

 

 

27/365:  Sunset Silhouette

I have been waiting to try photos like this for a very long time. I am hooked!

 

 

28/365:  Cookie Season

Girl Scout cookie season has begun again! She came home from school to piles of cookies, ready to be sold, and was so excited that we began canvassing the neighborhood while her ABA therapist was still with us. She sold out of her Samoas inventory in one day.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) documentary session family memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-4 Wed, 30 Jan 2019 04:40:49 GMT
2019 365 - Week 3 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-3 Week 3 is here!

We got back into our school routine this week and it was so good for all of us. Aly thrives on routine and I am able to get a lot done while she is in school during the day, which allows me to be a better, more present momma when she gets home.

 

 

15/365:  Homework Time

Her first day back to school brought her home with a skip in her step and a smile on her face. She said she was SO happy to have homework again!

 

 

16/365:  Sewing Box

Growing up, my mom had a sewing table in her room and was a whiz and mending clothes. Not only that, but she made amazing costumes. I do not share her gift, but am slowly learning how to mend our clothes by hand and have a new sewing machine that I am determined to learn how to use, if only to make a special quilt out of Aly's old baby clothes. On this day, I sat down to mend a pile of clothes and organized all the thread in my collection. The afternoon light made the colors look so pretty and shiny that I had to capture it. This spot reminds me of my momma.

 

 

17/365:  Dentist Waiting Room Aly's dentist has a super cute little waiting room, decorated with mermaids and pirates. I wanted to capture how Aly kicks off her shoes, snuggles with a mermaid stuffy on the bench, and reads a book quietly to herself while waiting for her appointment.

 

18/365:   Raindrops on Poinsettia

We had several days of rain and I left our holiday poinsettia out to be watered. When I came home from dropping Aly off at school on this day, the rain had stopped but water droplets shimmered like diamonds on the petals. 

 

 

19/365:  Playdate with an Old Friend 

Aly's best friend from Preschool called her up a couple of weeks before this day and invited her to a playdate at his house. Of course, his mother and I were happy to schedule one so they could see each other again. These two were in the same classroom for two years and became close. He has significant mobility issues, but Aly is patient and gentle with him, always running back to hold his hand as he walks. It was nice to see them together again.

 

 

20/365:  Playing Outside Finally, a nice day to play outside! This was the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr Day so social group was cancelled for the holiday. Instead, I played games with her and even got some practice with the wireless trigger on my new camera.

 

 

21/365:  Lookout Our sweet Lollipop dog is so great at keeping an eye out for us. I climbed the hill to try to get a better view of the sunset, but she followed me and so diligently kept a lookout by my side that I was struck by her gentle loyalty and strength and captured this instead.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) family happy memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-3 Wed, 23 Jan 2019 06:51:11 GMT
2019 365 - Week 2 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-2 Time for week 2!

This was our last week of winter break from school and things should get much busier and more interesting after this. I feel like all we did this week was hang around the house in our pj's!

Here's the shots from the week:

 

 

8/365:  Bubble Bath

She loves taking bubble baths. What 6 year old doesn't? This is her happy place. On really tough emotional or over-stimulated days, she will ask for a bath to calm down and (most of the time), we accommodate.

 

 

9/365:  Snuggle Puppy

Lollipop has begun sleeping in Aly's bed more and more. It hasn't been every night, but definitely more often and with less begging and bribery. The tiny human could not be happier and these two seem to be bonding even more.

 

 

10/365:  "5 Little Mushrooms"

She loves raspberries. Mostly because she can stick them on her fingers, call them little mushrooms, and count them down as she eats them. "5 little mushrooms. 4 little mushrooms. 3 little mushrooms. 2 little mushrooms. 1 little mushroom. 0 little mushrooms."

 

 

11/365:  Sea World with a Friend

One of Aly's school/Girl Scout friends also has a Sea World pass and we visited the park together on this day. Aly had a BLAST and did very well practicing flexibility, taking turns, and making conversation; all important social skills that she has been working on in therapy.

 

 

12/365:  A Study in Orange

It was an orange treat kind of a day. One kind in the morning from mommy. Another kind after dinner from daddy.  She enjoyed both.

 

 

13/365:  Laser Toy

Lollipop isn't really into toys. She doesn't chase balls. Chew toys get ignored. But, she LOVES chasing bubbles out side with Aly. For Christmas, we wanted to get something for her that she could play with inside, preferably with Aly. When we had a cat, we had a laser pointer that she LOVED chasing, and we never would have thought to get one for our dog. However, my sister's dog goes nuts for a good laser chase so we thought we would give it a go. Jackpot.

 

 

14/365:  Rainy Day Blanket Play

It was a rainy day in San Diego, and the last day of winter break before she went back to Kindergarten. I decided to have a little fun playing in the only pocket of light coming into the house, by the big sliding glass doors. I grabbed my Mee-Maw's old, hand-crocheted yellow blanket, threw it over our heads, and started snapping. Lollipop came over to investigate (and lick our toes!) and the giggles ensued! 

 

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) memories photo a day project 365 project 365 week 2 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-2 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 05:19:14 GMT
2019 365 - Week 1 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-1 Hi friends!!

I am so so excited to tackle another 365 project, during which I will take AT LEAST one photo a day for the entire year! The last time I did this was in 2015 and I learned a lot.

First, I learned that I LOVE documenting real, every day moments. Details and emotions are my JAM. If you want a session like this for your family, contact me and I would love to make that happen for you!

Second, I learned that posting a photo every single day all year is very cumbersome. After a while, I started sifting through and posting my photos once a week. So I am starting out that way from the beginning this year. And I am adding a blog post to present each week's photos. Yay!

So here's week 1...

 

 

1/365:  Goodbye, Nana

Nana (my momma) was here for Aly's birthday and Christmas. We dropped her off at the airport on January 1st. A couple of nights before this, as Nana was tucking her in to bed, Aly told her, "You are not going home in a couple of days. You are staying here with me". They had a 10-minute long conversation about how Nana has to go home to go back to work to which Aly offered all the money in her piggy banks to keep her here. The bond these two have is something special.

 

 

2/365:  DogMan

Aly was introduced to the DogMan books by her older cousin, Caleb, when we went to Florida during Fall break. We have been thinking about getting them for her ever since but haven't been able to find them or justify buying them. On this day, I randomly checked a local Facebook buy/sell group and saw that a friend happened to be selling her son's collection of DogMan books for a great deal! I messaged her and picked them up while running errands that day and Aly obsessively read them, cover to cover, over and over again for the rest of the week.

 

 

3/365:  Chris' 40th Birthday

Aly wanted to do something special for her daddy's 40th birthday. So instead of baking a cake from a box or choosing one at the store, she picked a recipe from one of her Sesame Street cook books:  Big Bird's Orange Chiffon Cake. This was NOT a simple recipe, but SO worth it!! The birthday boy loved it and said he felt so special.

 

 

4/365:  Tropical Chillin'

Aly was feeling very tropical on this sunny winter day. She got herself a cup of water, made an umbrella out of a straw and paper, then garnished with an orange wedge. She donned her sunglasses, took her drink outside, and there I found her, watching the birds flit around the bushes.

 

 

5/365:  Spa Day

Aly requested a mother-daughter spa day. We went all out, making our own moisturizing face scrub, doing each other's hair, playing with makeup, and finally, pedicures.

 

 

6/365:  Sleepy Face

When Aly has a bad dream on nights that daddy is at work, she comes in to sleep with me. On this morning, the light coming in through my bedroom window was so pretty on her sweet, sleepy face and I realized that she wouldn't always want or need my snuggles in the middle of the night. I had to capture this memory to preserve the light, the softness of her loveys, her sleepy little smile, and tangled hair spilling over the pillow case. These nights are exhausting and make it hard to wake up the next morning (we skipped church on this day), but I will miss the snuggles in the future.

 

 

7/365:  Sea World

This year, we decided to forego our usual zoo passes in favor of Sea World annual passes. This image perfectly sums up our first visit of the year:  Hair pulled back in a messy bun because it kept falling into the touch pools, face full of wonder as she soaks in all the information around her, 48" wristband that she proudly showed off after FINALLY measuring tall enough to ride the Manta roller coaster, and new little sea turtle friend that she purchased with the last of her Christmas money because the sea turtle exhibit was her favorite from the day.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) family memories photo a day project 365 project 365 week 1 san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer San Diego photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2019/1/2019-365---week-1 Tue, 08 Jan 2019 21:26:05 GMT
DeGuzman Family | Spectrum Inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2018/9/deguzman-family-spectrum-inspired Aiden's happy place is the water, so we decided to meet at the beach for his session. He was hesitant to get in the water in his regular clothes at first, but once we showed him how much fun it was, he had a blast! 

It is my honor to introduce you to Aiden and his family through my photographs, and to share their story in the words of mom, Emily:

"On August 30, 2011, my life changed forever. My beautiful baby boy Aiden was born into this world, not knowing that he would actually bring me and his brothers into his own beautiful world. When Aiden was 1 it seemed like he was meeting all his mile stones, he even said a few words and interacted so well! At age 2 I noticed he had started to regress... My baby barely made eye contact, minimal speech, would hand flap to the point where he was perfusely sweating. I would find him awake at night hand flapping to a blank screen TV sweating, looking so restless and sometimes crying at the same time. I knew something wasn't right. We began speech therapy and even with everything I presented and disclosed to the psychologist, speech therapists, they insisted since he was so "calm and cooperative" and made great eye contact with his Mom only that it was too soon to diagnose him. At age 4 I took him to the school district, who again only wanted to focus on speech therapy and didn't want to focus on his other behaviors. I fought for my son and went to seek help through Rady Children's Hospital who completed a 4 hour psychology assessment and Aiden was officially diagnosed with ASD, global developmental delay at 4 years old . My 4 year old boy was functioning at an 18 month year old level. My initial reaction was to stay strong for my little boy and push through this journey! Another part of me of course began to worry about a million things like what happen's if I'm no longer around, who's going to take care of my son, my son can barely talk how can he speak up for himself, how will he tell me anything if something is wrong?

Aiden is now 6 going on 7 this August 2018. He has 2 brothers who he loves very much and is very dependent on. Aiden follows Aaron (his younger brother who is 5 years old) and copies everything he does! He always asks for reassurance and just loves being around him, which of course can be a good and a bad thing. We are currently working on Aiden not being so dependent on the youngest sibling , because it can be very exhausting for my young one and also we want to teach Aiden to be more independent. It 's to the point where Aaron will speak for Aiden and Aiden can not make a decision without inquiring with Aaron first.

 

My oldest son who is 12 years old absolutely adores his youngest brothers and has this special bond with Aiden. Sometimes it's hard to hear questions, statements from my oldest son like "Mom, I'm worried about Aiden. Kids are mean and I don't want him to get bullied." or "Mom do you ever think Aiden will go to college and play a sport?"

 

Aiden has exceeded everyone's expectations. He is now fully potty trained, talking more than ever, can speak for himself, still hand flaps and has his little rituals and specific ways he likes things, but that's my boy! If it's not hurting anyone or himself, who cares about all the unique special rituals and things he loves to do to comfort himself. He still has his days, some are way harder than others, but through this journey my family and I have learned patience, understanding, and lots and lots of LOVE. I couldn't have done it without his wonderful teachers, coaches, therapists, grandparents, friends and family that love Aiden unconditionally and have supported us through this beautiful journey. Aiden, you are loved."


 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness beach photos family family beach photos happy imperial beach memories san diego beach photos san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2018/9/deguzman-family-spectrum-inspired Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:41:37 GMT
Bradley Family | Spectrum Inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2018/7/bradley-family-spectrum-inspired When I walked into the Bradley home for their Spectrum Inspired session, I had an open mind. I have a child of my own with Autism, but I know that she is not a representative of the community as a whole.

After all, if you have met one person on the spectrum, you have met ONE person on the spectrum.

Even with keeping an open mind and being prepared for anything, 3-year-old Brooklyn still managed to surprise me in the most beautiful ways. She was finishing a snack when I arrived and I let her quietly eat and watch a cartoon while I sat next to her so that she could get used to me being there. After she finished her snack, though, she came to LIFE! She pointed to my camera, giggling and dancing around the kitchen, engaging with me even more than her twin brother, Britton, who took just a little while longer to warm up to me. 

 

The family played with toys together then went outside to splash in their wading pool in the backyard, where we got just the right amount of muddy and messy!

 

Then back inside for cuddles and before I knew it, our time was up.

It is my honor to introduce you to Brooklyn and her family through my photographs, and to share their story in the words of mom, Jessica:

"At about a year and a half of age, it was hard not to compare certain milestones between the twins. Our son had a Speech delay, later diagnosed with Speech Apraxia, but other than that was hitting milestone after milestone. My husband was the first person to bring up that we should have Brooklyn evaluated but I wasn’t quite ready to hear it. Right before Brooklyn turned 2 I determined we needed to go through with an evaluation process after ruling out low iron levels. 

Before beginning therapy (speech, OT, ABA and developmental pre-K) Brooklyn was a totally different little girl. She wouldn’t interact with anyone including myself and my husband. She would stay to herself all day long. She had(s) severe feeding issues. She was still only eating baby food at 2 years old along with her crunchy snacks. She didn’t talk or babble. She wouldn’t bring us toys to play with her or to show us. She would only put toys in her mouth. She wouldn’t ever look anyone in the eye or face. She wouldn’t respond to her name. She only wanted my husband or myself when it came to bed or nap time. She never let us know when she was hungry or thirsty, tired or wet. She would have multiple meltdowns daily, the first time she ever did it scared us to the point we took her to the ER because we were unsure of what was happening because she was acting like she was in physical horrible pain. Her sleep was erratic and nonexistent. She would fall asleep at 2, 4 or 6am and run on an hour or two hours of sleep a night, running on pure adrenaline the rest of the day. 

When Brooklyn started therapy it’s like her world opened up before her. She blossomed into our little girl and came out of her shell. Within days of her starting therapy she started bringing us toys. She wanted to interact. Then months brought us eye contact, playing with toys appropriately, and imaginative play! She began to babble and what we call babble with intent. It sounds like she was having full blown babble conversations. And then came some occasional pop out words. Hopefully we will get her voice more as therapy continues. Her meltdowns decreased to maybe one a week. And then she started eating some solid foods. No more baby food! About a year into therapy she started sleeping. It was a game changer! As soon as she started getting sleep it’s like her world became more clear and a haze lifted from her eyes. She became more aware, she was happier, more easy going, more relaxed. 

Our journey is still early but the progress that we as a family and her as an individual have made in such a short time has been extraordinary. Our little nugget amazes us every single day. She is such a light in our lives and in this world."

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness family happy memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2018/7/bradley-family-spectrum-inspired Tue, 31 Jul 2018 23:30:17 GMT
Her Beautiful Mind - 2 Years Later https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2018/4/her-beautiful-mind---2-years-later Her Beautiful Mind…2 Years Later

In April of 2016, we were still reeling from having just received our 3-year-old daughter’s diagnosis of Mild Autism. The process was stressful (to say the least) and I shared a little about it in a blog post (you can find that post here).

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

It has been 2 years since this crazy, scary, beautiful journey started. Our lives have changed. Of course they have. When you hear the word "Autism" with regards to your baby, you know life will never be the same.

But.

We had no idea exactly how. No idea. It simply isn't possible.

Autism is a spectrum, so if you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism. You hear this word, and your mind goes to the worse-case scenario. The "what if's" consume you. Then you get a little more information. Start working through your child's specific needs. And I mean working. This isn't easy. Neuro typical kids have school and maybe a couple of extracurricular activities. ASD kiddos have those things, too. Plus therapies, social groups, and IEP meetings. 

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Speaking of therapies, before Autism enters your life, you don't know what therapies are involved. We had never heard about ABA therapy before. Never thought of speech therapy as being a thing kids on the spectrum would need. Occupational therapy is necessary for many kiddos, too (and although Aly currently does not receive it, she may need it in the future; it's another option that needs further research and exploration for her specific needs). We didn't know there were inclusion preschool classrooms. We didn't know about any of the resources available. A lot of phone calls, meetings, and questions had to (and still do) take place in order to determine the best course of action for our girl.

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So, here is a glimpse at how the last 2 years have gone for us. My prayer is that it will give you insight into our lives with ASD, as well as, some hope if you are at the beginning of your own journey. 

 

 

1 Year Post-Diagnosis

April of 2017 was a period of reflection for me, as I looked back on our progress over the past year. In some ways, it felt like we just found out about her diagnosis. In other ways, I was amazed by how much has happened and far she had come in just 12 short months. We were able to focus so much more on her strengths. Her Preschool teachers adored her (still do!) and told us positive things about her several times a week. Here are some favorites (because they are our favorite things about her, too, and it is nice to know she had teachers who see who she is):

“She can read!”

“We can explain things to her. We can talk to her almost like she is an adult.”

“We love her imagination! She is so much fun!”

“Oh, yes; we keep the rocks she brings to us. We have a little rock collection here for her.”

(Because she is teaching herself Spanish and Sign Language) “By the time she is 10, she’ll be speaking several languages. Maybe even Russian. We can see her being a UN Interpreter when she grows up.”

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The first year after her diagnosis was a busy year. But when looking back, she won’t remember it the same way her daddy and I do. She remembers the special weekend in Julian, her awesome teachers and school friends, going to Sea World with her friend Willow, apple picking, many visits to the zoo, her first camping trip, and spending time with her Auntie and Uncle in snowy Big Bear. These are the things she still talks about. And that is our goal for her moving forward. To focus on the good.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

2 Years Post-Diagnosis

Now, April of 2018, we are focused.

Focused on the “wins” of each day.

I am focused on her future as well as my own.

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We are no longer fearful, but we know we need to keep our eye on the prize.

She has CRUSHED every goal set for her in the last 2 years of Preschool, so next year she will head to Kindergarten. While she will still have an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and appropriate accommodations for her specific needs, she will be in a typical General Education classroom.

With all neuro-typical classmates and a Gen Ed teacher.

I go through moments of nervousness, but our school district is a good one. I have faith in our partnership with them and I have faith in her abilities.

 

Mixed Emotions

We still have moments of denial. She is so high-functioning that sometimes we forget and get frustrated, thinking she is being disrespectful.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

It helps to pay attention during therapy times to see how they deal with her meltdowns and other behaviors. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

It also helps to remind ourselves that she is an inherently GOOD kid and if she is exhibiting a “bad” behavior, she may be having a tough time and we then have to exercise our own flexibility and open-mindedness to discover the cause. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography   Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography  

The anger, fear, and frustration we felt at the journey leading up to her diagnosis is fading. It was scary when we were told she was not progressing in her first Preschool and we would have to find a program that better fit her needs. It was frustrating because we didn’t know what those “needs” were yet. Now we just have to deal with IEP’s, making sure we advocate for accommodations she needs at home at at school, and insurance battles.

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I know, in my head, that the way things were handled at her first preschool was the best for Aly because it made us jump on the situation and handle it as quickly as we could. They knew something was up and that they weren’t equipped to handle her differences.

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In my heart, though, it’s like I have PTSD. Aly was hand-picked by last year’s teachers to be in this year’s “4-year inclusion” classroom for her final year of Preschool. This means that, she is in a General Education classroom where the majority of kiddos are neurotypical, while Aly and only a handful of others have IEPs and individual pull-out services (Aly receives 30 minutes a week of Speech/communication therapy).

Her teachers were so excited. I was, too, but when they said the words “General Education”, had an unexpected reaction.

My eyes filled with tears.

I dug my fingers into my husband’s leg.

Flash-backs of incident reports and phone calls to come pick up my daughter for kicking, biting, and repetitive behaviors filled my mind.

Despite my trust in the teacher sitting across from me, and despite my excitement going into the meeting, I became terrified.

But, I kept telling myself that she will be in the same school, right across the hall from the Special Education teachers who know her very well. I kept telling myself that she has come so far since that first year of Preschool. I kept telling myself to be still and know that God has got this. I really should hang a pretty sign that says “Psalm 46:10” somewhere prominent in my home…at least until she graduates from high school… Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Everything has turned out great. She is a leader in her Preschool class. Other kids look up to her because she is so smart and can read to them. She is able to see last year’s teacher every day. This teacher has become a cherished friend because she gave me hope. And she has cheered us on as we received the news that Aly will be able to go to her school of residence in a Gen Ed Kinder class next year.

I still feel anxious.

I still get that PTSD-like panic when I think about it. Tears well. Heart beats faster.

I am still human.

But.

I have faith in my girl. She can do this.

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Feeling thankful

Regardless of all the other emotions we feel, above all, we are thankful.

  • Still for friends who have walked this road before us and have invaluable insight and provide suggestions for what to ask for, how to phrase requests, and how to get the help she needs.
  • For amazing teachers.
    • As mentioned before, her teachers LOVE her. They truly see who she is and encourage her personal development into the strong, independent, amazing little lady that we know her to be. I pray that we continue to have kind-hearted, encouraging teachers for our girl.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

  • IEPs (Individual Education Plan)
    • When she was first placed in the 3-year inclusion classroom, we met with several professional educators and specialists to set up her initial IEP with goals that they felt were necessary for her to progress and succeed in the classroom. One year later, we sat with her new teachers and speech therapist to discuss her progress. To our delight, we learned that she had met all of her initial goals and they were somewhat stumped on what goals to set for her in the upcoming year. It was determined that classroom-specific communication behaviors (waiting her turn to speak, raising her hand, sitting still at her desk and in circle time) would be the main focus of her final year of Preschool as she is prepared to transition into Kindergarten. During this final year, she has excelled at all of her IEP goals and just needs to focus on overcoming her stutter and socializing with peers.

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  • For ABA progress. Aly began in-home ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy in October 2016. She has therapy 10 hours a week and since starting therapy, she has had several different therapists due to insurance issues and conflicting schedules. One therapist in particular, however, stayed with us from the very beginning and was an amazing catalyst toward Aly’s progress. She had an incredible rapport with our girl and pushed her limits so that she could learn and grow. She recently decided to leave the ABA company to pursue a full time career elsewhere, but she happily agreed to babysit Aly for us once a month. It is such a blessing to still have her in our lives.

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  • For extra programs like More Than Words and ABA playgroup
    • More Than Words – Shortly after her diagnosis, we were told about a parents-only program called More Than Words, which is a 2.5 month program designed to teach caregivers how to communicate and connect with kiddos on the spectrum or with verbal delays. While Aly is VERY verbal, we were still able to learn ways to communicate more effectively.

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  • ABA playgroup – One of Aly’s biggest goals with therapy and her school IEP continues to be social interaction (and all that it entails; eye contact, flexibility in play, etc). So part of her therapy hours are spent in a social playgroup on Sundays, where we drop Aly off with a few age-appropriate peers and one therapist per child. Play is facilitated and the kiddos are encouraged to interact with each other.       

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Things are different than they were 2 years ago.

Aly is thriving in school. 

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She has a best friend with whom she bonded immediately in gymnastics class. Although, no longer in gymnastics class, the girls are now in the same Girl Scout troop and LOVE participating in this new activity together.

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While she makes progress in most of her goals, new challenges continue to pop up. For example, she has started to develop a stutter. It doesn’t seem to bother her or slow her down, but the Speech therapist at her school has continued to work with her on this specific problem. It was actually sort of a blessing because I was nervous about her losing her IEP going into Kinder but because of her Speech needs, she was able to keep it (and I was able to easily add accommodations to it that I would like to see met in the classroom).

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We moved to a new house with a yard and fulfilled our promise of getting a dog for our girl. Although a (mostly) untrained adopted rescue, this pup has been a calming influence on Aly.

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Regarding the symptoms (which can be found at https://autism.lovetoknow.com/Symptoms_of_Mild_Autism) covered in my first blog:

  • Avoidance of eye contact - She is still working on at least looking at the person she is talking to, if only briefly, so that that individual knows she is speaking to him/her. This is an ongoing program in her ABA therapy.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

  • Staring at others - She no longer awkwardly stares at others, but instead will try to engage with them. For example,
    • If someone is hurt/crying, she goes over to comfort them.
    • If someone is acting angry, she says “it’s ok” and/or draws a picture for them.
    • If someone is exhibiting behavior that she doesn’t understand, she asks a trusted adult what it means.

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  • Intolerance for changes in routine - Routines are still very important to her, but she is learning to be more flexible. No longer to we have to sing Twinkle Twinkle when brushing teeth. We have learned to give her ample and specific warning if a routine needs to change: “Ok, Aly, we are going to church at night tonight, which means we need to get a bath before dinner.” If the whys and hows are carefully explained to her, she does a much better job coping.

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  • Difficulty starting or maintaining social interactions - She has worked very hard at starting and maintaining social interactions. These are very important to her. She wants friends. She wants to be invited to parties. She wants to be included. And she knows what it takes to get there. She will now tell herself on the way to somewhere like the park or school, “I will tell everyone that I am 5 years old and a Girl Scout.” She will then go up to every individual and tell them exactly that: “Hi! I’m Aly. Or you can call me Alyssa. I’m 5 years old. And I’m a Girl Scout.” We are still working on sticking around to hear the other person’s reaction or if they have any follow up questions.

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  • Difficulty taking turns talking (dominates conversations) - Aly still dominates conversations and it is a big goal for us to work on. She will interrupt. She will insist on talking on the phone to whomever we are talking to (even if it is the car repair guy or vet’s office). She will tantrum if she is unable to finish her sentence because she is told to “wait”, “be patient”, or “you can’t speak to Auto Zone right now”.

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  • Difficulty reading other people's body language - She has made it her mission to study body language to learn what people are feeling. But happiness is still easiest to read, so one of her favorite things to do is tell jokes to make people laugh. And then she will ask why that joke was or wasn’t funny. She has even started making up jokes of her own. It has been incredible watching her turn this symptom into one of her most likeable strengths.

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  • Advanced language skills for her age - A few short months after my original blog post, Aly learned to read. At 3.5 years old. Reading anything you put in front of her. No; she had not “memorized” every book and greeting card in every store there is. She was truly reading. And it astonished everyone she met.

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  • Talking a lot about certain topics with which she has a preoccupation - She still obsesses over certain subjects. Currently, it is Star Wars and anything science-related (bugs, plants, light and optics, etc). Oh. And she REALLY likes pink.

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  • Verbalizing internal thoughts - She doesn’t verbalize her internal thoughts in the same way as she used to. Instead of a verbal stream-of-consciousness, she will just blurt out what she is thinking, even if she is interrupting a completely different conversation:
    • “Hi, Miss Leah, how are you?” “Good, thanks! How was--“ Aly: “I was a turtle before!” (referring to pretend play she had been doing that morning)

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  • Hypersensitivity to lights, textures, taste, noises, and other stimuli  - When I wrote my first blog post, her hypersensitivity to certain stimuli was just beginning to emerge. She is still sensitive to loud noises, although she has learned to just cover her ears and she is ok. She also doesn’t like to wash her hands with warm water, bathe in cold water, or eat warm food.

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My Muse – Leading Me to Become Spectrum Inspired

My amazing girl has inspired me to capture moments as they happen, for our own family as well as for my clients. We were blessed to move into a new home with room for a studio so that I can continue to photograph posed newborns and first-year milestone sessions because I LOVE them, but family sessions receive a documentary-style approach. I have always been a fan of this style and follow many photographers with similar artistry. During our journey over the last 2 years, I found the group Spectrum Inspired, which is an organization that connects families who have been touched by Autism with photographers to do free lifestyle/documentary style photo sessions for them.

I became obsessed with this group and promised myself that one day I would work up the courage to apply to be a photographer. At the end of 2017, I finally did it and was accepted!  

I am so excited to be able to give back to my local community in such a profound way. Images of my kiddo being herself are (obviously) near and dear to my heart and I know other families will cherish them the same way.

Incidentally, if you are a family that has been affected by Autism, you can apply to be considered for a free Spectrum Inspired session.

Filling out the application will give the organization information to help them get to know your family. Once accepted, you will be put in contact with a local SI photographer to discuss the details of your session.

About Spectrum Inspired

The SI blog – see examples of sessions 

Apply for a Session 

Join the tribe – Facebook Group for Families 

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism awareness family memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego photographer spectrum inspired https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2018/4/her-beautiful-mind---2-years-later Wed, 04 Apr 2018 22:00:00 GMT
Baby AJ's Newborn Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/9/baby-ajs-newborn-story I photographed baby AJ's older sister as a newborn a little less than 2 years ago. Since she was one of my more challenging little clients (she didn't like to sleep...or be put down...but I got some adorable photos of her awake!), I was expecting something similar from her younger brother. So, I brought an assistant along to help things go smoother.

Bree and AJSiblings...so similar yet SO different

In the end, he was one of the BEST babies have ever worked with! I seriously wanted to keep him. My lovely assistant said, "Good thing this wasn't my first ever newborn session! I would have been tricked into thinking they were all this easy!"

Momma and Her BabiesCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Sweet SiblingsCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography All-American BabyCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Super BabyCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Little HunkCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Perfect TacoCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Navy FroggyCopyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) Chula Vista baby photographer Chula Vista children photographer Chula Vista family photographer Chula Vista newborn photographer Chula Vista photographer San Diego photographer newborn photographer newborn posing san diego baby photographer san diego children photographer san diego family photographer san diego newborn photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/9/baby-ajs-newborn-story Sat, 17 Sep 2016 13:25:00 GMT
AJ's First 48 Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/5/ajs-first-48-story You know what's awesome? 

Clients who return to me to take perfectly posed, classic, beautiful, custom photographs of their 2nd baby.

You know what's even more awesome?

When those clients also invite me into their hospital room less than 48 hours after baby is born to document those first precious moments as they happen.

No posing necessary.

Yes, baby AJ also had a posed newborn session (I will blog it next).

But.

These moments are MEMORIES.

And now they will never fade.

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Simultaneous diaper changing. This is life with 2 under 2. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

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"Help, pwease!" Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

She's a smart cookie. Like her momma. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Fresh, LONG feet and toes. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

His favorite place in the world. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) San Diego family photographer San Diego photographer chula vista baby photographer chula vista family photographer chula vista lifestyle photographer chula vista newborn photographer chula vista photographer documentary session family fresh 48 session fresh baby hospital photos hospital session memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego newborn photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/5/ajs-first-48-story Sun, 29 May 2016 16:30:00 GMT
Baby Grayson's Newborn Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/4/baby-graysons-newborn-story The second I found out my sister was pregnant was the same second she found out she was pregnant. In that second (or maybe shortly after the shock wore off that my baby sister was having a baby), I started planning her baby's newborn session. Her favorite color (green), her favorite animal (owls), even her favorite movie (Les Miserables) flashed through my mind and set-ups began to take shape.  Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Last month, I was able to travel to Colorado Springs to meet and photograph my brand-new nephew, Grayson Lee. This handsome guy was so good for me (probably because I am his favorite Auntie)! And I was super happy to get a lot of behind-the-scenes photos from my mom and sister while I worked. He did every set-up I had planned without complaint.

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Well, he pee'd on his mommy A LOT...which was just quality entertainment...but then he settled down and was a perfect angel for her.

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And he didn't like to be on his back very much, even though I had a couple of super cute set-ups planned...he let us know that he would cooperate only if we gave him a snack first.

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In the end, his session was amazing and I am so blessed to have been able to snuggle him and take his photos.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) San Diego photographer baby photos family newborn newborn photography newborn photos newborn posing newborn session san diego baby photographer san diego children photographer san diego family photographer san diego newborn photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/4/baby-graysons-newborn-story Fri, 15 Apr 2016 14:30:00 GMT
Her Beautiful Mind https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/4/her-beautiful-mind Before I begin, I just want to warn you that this will be long and it is very personal. 

 

Last week, my inquisitive, intelligent, loving, energetic, beautiful 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Mild Autism. 

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This was not a total shock to us because we have been going through a lot of evaluations and work with various organizations to get support (I will get into that more later), so we were mostly prepared for it, but it was still not easy to hear. In fact, in some ways I think I am still in denial and I know I have a lot to learn.

 

I believe it is important to share our story because...

 

I care about raising awareness. After all, April is Autism Awareness Month.

 

Autism looks different for nearly everyone with the disorder. There are several traits that psychologists look for and if an individual has some of them, they are diagnosed with "Autism Spectrum Disorder". Aly falls in the mild end of the spectrum, which means that, while she is extremely "high-functioning", she exhibits the following symptoms (these symptoms are listed and discussed in further detail here):

 

Avoidance of eye contact - For Aly, this looks like fleeting eye contact only when I BEG her to PLEASE look at my eyes and listen to me. She glances at me for a split second then looks away as she continues to listen.

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Staring at others - I thought this was completely normal for toddlers, but during her evaluation, I was asked if she does this. Turns out, it is one of the symptoms she exhibits.

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Intolerance for changes in routine - This is a BIG one for Aly. She thrives on her routines and can do quite well when we go on vacation or to a friend's house ONLY if we stick to her routines. For example, her teeth brushing routine looks like this:

 

Mommy or daddy brushes teeth while singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Aly has a turn to brush her own teeth while Mommy or Daddy sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"

Aly uses a specific cup to swish and spit TWICE.

 

If any of these steps are skipped (even when she sees Mommy or Daddy brushing our teeth), she corrects us and makes sure it is done right.

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Difficulty starting or maintaining social interactions - In a classroom setting, it is difficult for her to ask a specific person for help. She will struggle with a task for a while before holding up the object she is working with and quietly announce "Need help". On a neighborhood playground, she will go up to other children and say, "Hi, my name is Aly", but seems unsure how to proceed from there. She might follow the kids around, she might join in their game (if invited), or she might just walk away after introducing herself. 

 

"...people with classic autism refrain from engaging in social situations, but mildly autistic people will seek social activities and want make friends with others. The challenge is that they just may not know how to do it." - Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC

 

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Difficulty taking turns talking (dominates conversations) - I thought this was another toddler thing, too, but she tries to get involved in a conversation by talking over those who are already speaking. It seems quite rude, but it's just that she currently lacks the social skills to recognize the need to take turns in a conversation.

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Difficulty reading other people's body language - She recognizes a change in body language or facial expressions, but she doesn't know what it means. We have been working on this at home and now she constantly asks, "Mommy, what you feeling?". I am very careful to describe my emotion in a factual way and explain why I am having that emotion. If it is anything other than "Happy", she tends to grab my face to make me smile because she knows that smiling=happy, and my sweet girl likes people to be happy.

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Advanced language skills for her age - She has always been a loquacious child, happily chattering away to no one in particular. She loves to quote books, TV shows, and movies and it has always been fairly easy to understand her.

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Talking a lot about certain topics with which she has a preoccupation - This changes up a lot, but sometimes it's all about dinosaurs (specifically, Dinosaur Train). Currently, its about My Little Ponies; how many there are, their cutie marks, what they like to do, what colors they are, etc.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

 

Verbalizing internal thoughts - When she gets going, her verbal stream of consciousness can last for quite a while. It doesn't always make total sense (because is the verbalization of the thoughts of a 3-year-old), but it makes life interesting and fun.

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Hypersensitivity to lights, textures, taste, noises, and other stimuli - This one is slowly emerging, as she has decided she doesn't like tags on the back of her shirts. She also covers her ears at "loud" everyday noises (toilet flushing, garage door opening, water going down the bathtub drain).

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I care about giving hope to others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

 

Aly's story began in December 2015, when it became clear that she was having issues with progressing and being successful in her preschool. After a few months of adjusting her schedule and speaking with the teachers and administration, we were told that it was necessary to pull her out of the school she loved and start the process of figuring out what program would be best for her. 

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Guys, this was SO HARD. I cried a lot. I questioned my abilities as a mother. I questioned the motives of the school. 

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All of that heartache was not really necessary. We didn't understand the timing involved with going through the process of school district evaluations and getting her diagnosed. It turns out, the abrupt decision from the administration was the best thing for her. 

 

I was able to call the school district and get her in to be evaluated for a new preschool, which she started at the beginning of March. 

 

I was able to push the local Regional Center to get her in for a psychological evaluation at the end of March...Ok, I may have called them 3-4 times and got turned down at first but finally called on the verge of tears and they agreed to get us in...You do what you have to do and follow your Momma Bear instincts.

 

I care about parenting my amazing little girl as best as I can.

 

That includes building a community of supportive, loving people who understand her.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

That includes being a strong mommy who shares her burdens. Sharing my burdens means I have enough strength to take on another form to fill out, another therapy, another day of "Mommy, what you feeling?", another tantrum.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

That includes setting an example for my daughter that coping in a healthy way is important. For me, coping means taking photos and blogging.

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If you have a problem with me sharing this, I don't care.

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I don't care if you haven't done your research enough to know that children with this disorder should know that they have it in order to become successful adults. (But, if you wish to educate yourself, you can find an excellent article here.)

 

"They have to have the expectation that autism is a challenge, not an excuse, to meet the basic standard demands that we all meet every day...High-functioning adults with autism knew they were different. It made a huge difference if they looked at this as a challenge for integrating, rather than being separate or different from others who are their age, it made a big difference."  - Bill Jensen, Ph.D.

 

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

I don't care if you think I should parent my child differently based on what you think you would do in my situation.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

I don't care if you stop following me right now.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

This applies to everyone; friends, family, and followers.

 

That being said, I have some AMAZING friends who have been through the local school system and similar psychological evaluations. These ladies have been invaluable resources as I try to navigate through the legalities and red tape. They have supported us in every way, from talking me through my next steps in order to avoid unnecessary delays, to praying with us, to babysitting Aly while we attend meetings and parent therapies. Erin and Christy, I love you girls and thank God for putting you in our lives. 

 

At the end of the day, I want to do everything I can for my daughter to be successful. I am faithful that God can get us through anything, as long as we do our part to fight the good fight.

 

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

 

Her daddy and I have a lot of fight left in us. And so does she.

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) autism autism awareness autism awareness month autism symptoms family personal story san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/4/her-beautiful-mind Thu, 07 Apr 2016 15:53:35 GMT
Fields' Maternity Short Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/3/fields-maternity-story When the Fields contacted me to book a newborn session for baby boy #2, I knew right away that I was going to like them as clients, but I had no idea how much until their mini session! They are super relaxed, open to my preferred "documentary-style" photos, and, oh my goodness, their 2-year-old son Grant is sweet toddler PERFECTION. He was calm, followed direction (as much as a 2-year-old is able), and has the most perfectly angelic little face...oh, and that gorgeous red hair!! Seriously! I literally can not wait to hang out with them again at their newborn session in a few weeks!

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So, when clients book a newborn session with me, I think it is important to offer a free mini maternity session before baby arrives. I do this for a couple of reasons...

To capture the beauty and strength of the expecting momma-to-be.

No matter what your style, you are growing a new life and there is nothing more beautiful than that. It is my goal to help you celebrate that with your photos.

Document the final stages of the family as it is before new baby arrives.

The Fields' world revolves around their first son and I loved watching them with him and capturing their connection as a family of three.

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Get to know the family a bit before the very lengthy in-home newborn session.

This way, we can establish a connection so that I am not just a stranger with a camera and TONS of equipment/props coming into your home to work with your brand-new baby for several hours.

By the end of their mini session, the Fields felt comfortable enough with me to suggest that I take their photo as they made a wish together as a family. This led to my favorite image of the session:

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) Balboa Park Balboa Park family Balboa Park maternity San Diego photographer family happy maternity maternity session memories san diego baby photographer san diego children photographer san diego family photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/3/fields-maternity-story Mon, 28 Mar 2016 14:30:00 GMT
Bujold Homecoming Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/bujold-homecoming-story Taking photos for a family on their loved ones' homecoming day from deployment is an honor for me. It also usually means meeting clients off-base beforehand at a parking lot or their home and riding in with them, as I don't have access to get on base by myself. For the Bujolds, I met momma and her girls at their home before the sun was up, which gave me the opportunity to hang out, take photos as they got ready, and join them for doughnuts. I LOVE my job!

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography As we pulled onto the base, the sun started to come up, which gave me some GORGEOUS light to play with as I documented their waiting.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Speaking of waiting, these kids were SO cute!! Big sister Riley is an outgoing, nurturing, amazing little leader among the group. Little sister Piper is loved by all, taking cuddles and smiles wherever she can.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography As the arrival time drew nearer, the Navy band began playing and it became a dance party for the kiddos, making the last bit of waiting a little easier.

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When the ship started to pull in, we got the disappointing news that, while my client and her littles would be allowed down the pier to greet their sailor, I wouldn't be able to join them. So, I snagged a spot right up front to get a great view of the ship as it pulled slowly in.

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After it was docked and I had taken as many photos as was possible, I moved over to the entrance to the pier to wait for the Bujolds to reappear as a complete family. When they did, momma was calling to me and waving me over to where they were being interviewed by a TV news crew. 

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography After the news interview, it was finally time to get a couple of quick family photos in front of the ship and head home! Daddy hopped in the backseat with his girls and it was so heartwarming watching him play peekaboo, tickle, and proudly stare at them after 7 months apart. Welcome home, sailor!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) San Diego photographer documentary session family happy memories navy homecoming san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego homecoming photographer san diego lifestyle photographer together https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/bujold-homecoming-story Mon, 29 Feb 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Baby Piper's 3-month Milestone Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/baby-pipers-3-month-milestone-story Baby Piper was THE BEST newborn and her session 3 months ago was so amazing that I was able to do a couple of extra set-ups and poses! Her momma booked my Grow With Me 3 package, plus a maternity session (full newborn and all-inclusive one-year sessions, plus 3-, 6-, and 9-month mini-milestone sessions), so I get to watch this sweet girl grow during her entire first year!

 

3-month Milestones

Milestone sessions are short and sweet, with the focus being on baby's emerging personality and accomplishments (milestones). There are three major 3-month milestones that I like to try to capture, all of which little Piper has mastered:

Starting to be more comfortable with tummy-time 

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Grabbing toes

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Smiling

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Planning the Session

For Piper's session, I wanted to bring back the bunny lovie from Mary's Knittin and "B is for Bunny" hat. Since I doubted the newborn-size hat would still fit her, I custom ordered one in every size KNOTS offers! I am ready for this set-up for each of her milestone sessions now!

Another thing I like to do for milestone sessions is have the parents choose one or two special or "impractical but cute" outfits for their little one to be photographed in. However, Piper's momma is as practical as they come so instead of frilly, she'll-never-wear-these-in-real-life dresses, we got a bunch of "naked" (diaper-only) baby shots, as well as, some with simple headbands. This matches momma's style much more and I am a sucker for these simpler shots, as well!

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The one "outfit" that momma did want little Piper photographed in was footie PJ's that were given to her and her older sister by their grandma. Oh, my goodness, these girls were so precious in their matching PJ's!! I wanted to snuggle with them all day!

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HAIR

For those of you who remember Piper's newborn session...YES; her hair is still amazing!! I think we may get it in pigtails before her first birthday!

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Awesome Big Sister

Piper has been blessed with an awesome big sister in Izzy. This girl is an eager helper and absolutely in love with her baby sis!

Teething Already - Impatient to grow up!

At 3 months old, it seems Piper is already trying to break out some chompers! It is a little early, but not unheard of. This precocious little one also prefers to be sitting upright, even though she is nowhere near developmentally ready to do so on her own. I can't wait to see what she has accomplished at her 6-month milestone session!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) 3 month 3 month milestone session 3 months old San Diego photographer milestone milestone session san diego baby photographer san diego children photographer san diego family photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/baby-pipers-3-month-milestone-story Mon, 22 Feb 2016 15:30:00 GMT
The Taylor's Pregnancy Announcement Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/the-taylors-pregnancy-announcement-story Hey friends! Remember my homecoming clients from a few months ago?? Well, the cat is out of the bag and I am SO excited to finally share their adorable pregnancy announcement story!!

When Heaven initially messaged me with, "Heyyy Jessica I've got something I'm hoping you can help me out with!" I confess I got a little nervous. All photographers do, when past clients come back with a message like that. You start thinking, "Oh, shoot, did they lose their disc?? Do they want something re-edited? WHAT IS WRONG?"

Sad, but true. We photographers are neurotic like that...No reflection on the clients themselves; in fact, Heaven is one of my absolute favorites! We just want our clients to be happy and usually after a gallery is delivered, as the old saying goes, "No news is good news." Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography But...when she replied with a cell phone pic of her and hubby and a positive pregnancy test, I felt like I could fly!! They were able to get pregnant pretty much as soon as he returned from deployment and wanted me to take announcement photos to surprise friends and family! She had it all planned out...she wanted to break the news on Valentine's Day and wanted "not the typical" announcement pictures. To be specific, she wanted to use their personal love story of "high school sweethearts" as a theme. Pinterest pictures were tossed around and I found a local high school that was open-air (and the administration was amenable).

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography I LOVED this adorable session! These two lovebirds met in high school track and have already been through a long deployment and cross-country move during their marriage. I am so excited to have been invited along to help celebrate the next chapter of their story! Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) San Diego photographer baby shoes deployment baby family happy high school sweethearts high school sweethearts pregnancy announcement pregnancy pregnancy announcement san diego family photographer track shoes https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/the-taylors-pregnancy-announcement-story Mon, 15 Feb 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Baby Spencer's 6-month Milestone Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/baby-spencers-6-month-milestone-story Baby Spencer was such a beautiful newborn and I LOVED her sweet session 6 months ago! Her momma and daddy booked me for a mini maternity session and newborn session, and discussed the possibility of future sessions, but nothing was decided at the time. Which is understandable, because once a new baby arrives, it's difficult to decide whether or not you want to shower, eat, or nap when you have a free 5 minutes...let alone, whether you want photos done every 3 months!

They Grow So Fast

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I received the email Spencer's momma asking to "upgrade" to a Grow With Me 3 package (full newborn and all-inclusive one-year sessions, plus 3-, 6-, and 9-month mini-milestone sessions). Even though they had missed out on the 3-month session, I smiled SO BIG. What she said in her email is so true and EXACTLY why I offer these packages!

"We didn't realize how much she would change/grow the first year...Anyway (Daddy) said he really wanted to get some more pictures while she is small..."

YES.

6-month Milestones

Milestone sessions are short and sweet, with the focus being on baby's emerging personality and accomplishments (milestones). There are three major 6-month milestones that I like to try to capture, all of which little Spencer has mastered:

Starting to sit assisted (soon to be sitting on her own) 

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Rolling over (she is a pro!)

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Straight arms during tummy time (working on those crawling muscles)

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Planning the Session

For Spencer's mini session, her momma and I decided it would be fun to "revamp" one of her newborn photos, with the same pearl-and-lace headband and a strand of pearls (PSA: the pearls were NEVER wrapped around Spencer's neck and we NEVER left her unsupervised with them...safety first!). Once again, she ROCKED it and I am excited to continue to watch her grow in this set up!

Another thing I like to do for milestone sessions is have the parents choose one or two special or "impractical but cute" outfits for their little one to be photographed in. Parents, you know the ones: the frilly dresses (with buttons all the way down the back), the dry-clean- or hand-wash-only suits or rompers that you were gifted or were given as a hand-me-down, or just a sentimental outfit that you really want to see baby wear but never had an occasion and he/she is going to grow out of it soon...

​Spencer's momma had a couple of sweet dresses for her to wear for her session and luckily, they PERFECTLY matched a couple of the larger/stretchy/adjustable headbands I had bought for her newborn session. I couldn't be more thrilled for another opportunity to see these on her!

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Hangry

So, the morning of her session, little Spencer decided she needed a bit more breakfast before her photo could be taken...Momma said her daughter already takes after her because she gets "hangry", too. So funny! (No; we didn't make her wait long...we quickly snapped a few crying/serious photos in this set-up and then gave her two bottles.)

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Bonus: I got to snuggle baby Spencer and feed her a bottle until she dozed off in my arms. Day. Made.

From there, we decided to let daddy hold her for a couple of minutes while she woke up and got used to the idea of having a camera in her face. After that, she was her happy self again!

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Loving to Kick

This kiddo is going to keep her momma and daddy busy; I can tell! She LOVES to kick those long legs! It was a challenge to snap a photo of her sweet little toes with all the kicking going on, but it was worth waiting until she took a break!

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Happy Girl

Usually, 6-month-olds are a little harder to get them to crack a smile because of "stranger danger" starting to kick in and they are just wanting to stare and figure things out. But, this girl would grin (and crinkle up her little button nose!) whenever we made a "buzzing" sound with our lips. I am sure in a few weeks she will start trying to practice making that sound herself! I can't wait to see what else she can accomplish in 3 more months!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) 6 month milestone session 6 month photos 6 months old San Diego photographer family grow with me session happy happy baby in home session milestone milestone session mobile studio san diego baby photographer san diego children photographer san diego family photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/baby-spencers-6-month-milestone-story Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Baby Jacob's First Birthday Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/baby-jacobs-first-birthday-story I have said it before and I will say it again: I LOVE one-year-olds! YES; they are a LOT of work for photographers to chase around (especially if they have just discovered the magic of walking!), but they are so dang fun! At this age, little ones have so much to offer a session, if you don't mind doing the work, which I absolutely don't!

Choosing the Location

When Jacob's momma sent me a photo of his dapper little outfit for the session, I knew what location would be perfect: Old Poway Park. With its rustic railroad charm and wide open grassy spaces, I knew this location had to be the one for his special day!

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Golden Light

Upon arrival to the park, I was blown away by the gorgeous golden light filtering down from the late afternoon sun. I knew it would add a little something special to the session. We are so spoiled to live in beautiful Southern California!

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Ballin'

On her contract, Jacob's momma noted that he loves all kinds of sports balls. So, I brought all of my small sports ball props: football, baseball (and bat), soccer ball, and basketball. When they arrived for their session, the birthday boy lit up like Christmas when he saw that basketball! At only one year of age, he is already working on his dribble and passing game! Very impressive!

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

On The Move

Speaking of impressive, this kid can MOVE! He has mastered walking (and running) and boy, did he make us work! I left the session sweaty and muddy, but it was worth it for shots like these! Plus, I got to know a sweet little boy on his first birthday...what could be better than that??

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) San Diego photographer baby photography birthday boy family family photography first birthday first birthday photos happy happy birthday old poway park one year old san diego baby photographer san diego children photographer san diego family photographer https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/2/baby-jacobs-first-birthday-story Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Grier Homecoming Story https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/grier-homecoming-story Perhaps the most well-known type of documentary sessions that I offer are my "Homecoming Stories". I love that I get to be there during this very happy day when a family is reunited and becomes whole again after months apart. It is truly an honor to be chosen to capture these special memories our men and women in uniform.  Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

For the Grier family's session, we arrived on base over 2 hours early because we kept getting new information about the flight getting bumped up, thought traffic was going to be worse than it was, etc. I didn't mind it because it gave me a chance to get to know this spunky momma and her two incredibly sweet kiddos. While we waited, we collected rocks in the parking lot, played, hugged, talked, and laughed.  Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

As time went on, we watched two other flights arrive at the terminal, and each time the little ones' eyes would light up as they looked to us and said, "Is that my daddy's plane??" Then came crushing looks of disappointment when we told them, "No, not yet. But soon." Oh, the heartache in those beautiful brown eyes!  Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

But finally, we were told that their ETA was 15 minutes. Those were the longest 15 minutes!! Momma and her littles looked to the sky in hopes that they would catch a glimpse of his plane. They strained to see down the runway, anticipating...they held their breath as it finally pulled into view, stopped...doors open...

And finally, he was spotted. There was a moment when time seemed to stand still. Momma's face lit up as she pointed, telling her babies that their daddy was here! "He is home! See? There he is!" Their little faces looked wary as they searched the uniformed faces de-boarding the plane...could it be? Is he really finally here?  Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

When they finally saw their daddy, they couldn't wait for him to get past the gate. After a 4 month deployment, nothing could hold them back. They raced to him, held on tight, and seemed to never want to let go. Even Momma had to wait her turn. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Oh, and those smiles.​ Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

 

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) San Diego photographer documentary session family happy homecoming homecoming story memories navy homecoming navy homecoming photos reunited san diego san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego homecoming photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego photographer together together again uniform welcome home https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/grier-homecoming-story Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Documentary Session Inspiration Series: Big Girl Bed https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/documentary-session-inspiration-series-1-big-girl-bed So, as I have been thinking, working on, and talking about the transition to family documentary photography, it occurred to me that it may be difficult to imagine what a documentary session will look like. The traditional posed portrait session is so engrained in us as what a photo session *should* be. So, as often as I can, I will use some of the "mini documentary sessions" from my 2015 365 project to give you a little inspiration. This is to show possibilities of what we can do for your documentary session. As you will see, they are endless!

In August of 2015, we finally moved our big two-and-a-half-year-old out of her crib/toddler bed and into a "big girl" bed that she picked out from IKEA.

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

It has a canopy and can be flipped over to become a loft bed (when she gets a little older and better with handling ladders).

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Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography She had a blast helping her daddy build it. This girl loves using tools and making sure daddy is doing things right.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) IKEA bed big girl bed build daddy's girl daddy's helper documentary session girl power help inspiration memories san diego children photographer san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego photographer together tools https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/documentary-session-inspiration-series-1-big-girl-bed Mon, 18 Jan 2016 15:30:00 GMT
Priorities https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/priorities Friends, please allow me to be real and transparent with you for a moment. 

This year is going to be tough for my family. Our little girl is going through behavioral evaluations, therapy, and changing preschool schedules due to her unique needs. Also, we have also been trying for baby #2 for over 2 years now and I am currently looking into infertility treatments. We have a lot going on and I need to prioritize accordingly. I have been praying, meditating, soul searching, researching, and discussing what this will mean for my business, and here is what I have decided.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Posed family sessions will be very limited (read: pretty much non-existent except for *maybe* a couple of days of scheduled holiday mini-sessions) and I plan to put more of an emphasis on unposed documentary sessions. They feel more authentic to me and as I focus on the moments and details of my life that are most important, I want to help clients do the same. I want to offer some sort of product to help my clients display their documentary photos (custom album or gallery wall), but I haven't nailed down the specifics yet. When I do, I'll make a big announcement and with all of the changes to my pricing structure. I am working hard behind the scenes to get all of this set up as soon as possible while also maintaining the high levels of quality that I pride myself on offering my clients.

Once the new pricing structure set up, you can expect it to be fairly permanent, as I don't have the heart for posed portrait sessions any more. Documentary or "day in the life" sessions are where my business is heading, and I am super excited about that!

However, one of my biggest goals for my business was (and still is) to specialize in birth photography. All last year, I had it listed as one of the services I offer, with no inquiries. That is fine; building a name for yourself in a specialized field like this takes time and I wasn't really marketing it much...plus, births require a LOT of time being on-call and able to drop everything and go at a moments notice, not to mention the time spent photographing the birth itself. So, I have decided to pull away from birth photography for right now. It is still listed on my price list, but I have to be very selective in how many of these that I take on (in other words, only 1 or 2 a year). My family needs me more than I need to be a birth photographer. In the future, when my kiddo is older, I will definitely add it back to my services that I offer because I LOVE photographing births. But at the moment I just can't justify being on call for a client when we are going through so much as a family.

However, I am able to offer an alternative. I am calling them "Fresh 48" sessions. I'll come visit you within the first 48 hours of baby being born, to capture your first precious hours together. Think of friends and family meeting new baby, you and your partner cuddling, sweet brand-new baby details, even bonding while nursing! These beautiful documentary-style photos will look great in a lovely album or on the wall in the nursery. I would love to help you capture the memories of your first couple of days together, when your exhausted, sleep-deprived brain may not be able to!

Not to mention, of course, those beautiful, customized, posed newborn sessions! My absolute fave! I can keep doing those as much as I like because they can be scheduled any time during the first couple of weeks of your sweet baby's life which, if you plan ahead, gives my family plenty of time to make arrangements so they can be without momma for a few hours!

Again, I am still working behind the scenes to finalize pricing, packages, products, etc. I know these changes will better serve my wonderful clients, as well as, allow me to be there for my little family. Thanks for taking the time to read this, friends, and for your support and understanding during the difficult months ahead.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) authentic birth documentary photographer family newborn newborn photographer priorities san diego documentary photographer san diego family photographer san diego lifestyle photographer san diego newborn photographer san diego photographer transparent https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/priorities Mon, 11 Jan 2016 15:30:00 GMT
2015 Project 365 https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/2015-project-365 At the beginning of 2015, I resolved to begin a 365 photo project. I wanted more photos of my family, but I had also just acquired a new (to me) full frame camera and needed to force myself to learn how to use it.  Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Many fellow photogs warned me how difficult it would be to complete a 365, and I heard many stories about 365's that were started and abandoned halfway through, so I decided to reward myself with an album if I finished it. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

So, I began. It started out easy enough; I have a super cute little girl that I could just photograph all day...how hard could that be?

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

Turns out, very hard. Not only does life get in the way of shooting and editing, but some days I just got a creative block and couldn't get past it. A very supportive hubby helped me in those situations.

Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

After a while, I think I began to sub-consciously combat these creative blocks by over-shooting on days when I did have camera in my hand. This over-shooting led to several developments in my photography that I am excited to share with you and use to rebrand my little business:

My "photo a day" was turning into mini documentary-style sessions. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography

What is a documentary-style session, you ask? Well, simply put, it's when a photographer documents an activity without providing direction. It is capturing authentic emotions, details, and actions that truly make you, you. It's capturing real love, real passion, real joy, real connection, all in the moment, without worrying about whether everyone is smiling, looking at the camera. At the time, however, I was just getting caught up in the beautiful details of our daily lives as I feverishly and obsessively tried to fulfill my 365-photo resolution to myself. Then, when I sat down to choose one photo for my daily project, I would be overwhelmed with 50, 100, 150+ photos to choose from. But, here's the thing...

I actually LOVED it. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Without realizing it, I was transforming, finding my voice, awaking my passion, and igniting my soul. As corny and cliche as that sounds, I truly loved EVERYTHING that I was learning about myself and my craft. The overwhelming amount of personal photos, coupled with my paid client sessions, forced me to streamline my editing somehow. Client sessions still got most of my time and attention, but in order to keep up with the demand of the 365, I streamlined the editing of those photos and ended up loving them even more. It wasn't just because they were (mostly) photos of my loved ones. They had depth, light, emotion, connection...everything that you could want in a photo of your family. They were even getting a great response from my followers on social media...people who don't know me or my family personally, but felt a connection to us through my photographs. However, as time continued to go on and I fell more and more in love with my personal photos, I realized something else...

My paid client sessions were NOTHING like them. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Sure, every once in a while, I would sneak in an unposed daddy or mommy photo in between newborn set ups. Or snap some photos of families walking from one location to another, or turn and grab a photo of mommy and baby laughing together. But, for the most part, I was focused on posing everyone perfectly, making sure I was following the "rules" of posing, etc etc. While that has been fine, it isn't ME. I need to follow my heart and document the moments that matter and the connections that are real. I guess what I am trying to say is...

I want to tell YOUR story. Copyright: Jecca Lynn Photography Over the next couple of months, I will be working to rebrand my business toward the documentary style sessions. I will still offer posed newborn sessions because I LOVE them, but everything else will focus on telling a story through my lens. A big announcement will happen once I have everything ready to roll out, but this is a little insight to the "why" before it all happens. I am so excited for this next chapter and I look forward to capturing these amazing moments and memories for my clients! 

Jecca Lynn Photography:  You create the memories. I capture them.

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) 365 project San Diego San Diego documentary photographer San Diego family photographer San Diego lifestyle photographer San Diego photographer connection documentary photography documentary style sessions emotions family photos finding my voice kids memories passion photographer relationships https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2016/1/2015-project-365 Mon, 04 Jan 2016 17:30:00 GMT
Baby M First Birthday in the Park https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/6/baby-m-first-birthday-in-the-park Hello again friends!  It has been a while because I got quite busy with shoots, learning, editing, and my own sick little baby.  Such is life, but I am back to the blog with baby M's session.

With each post I write, I want to focus on what I have learned and what was unique about the session.  With this blue eyed, copper-haired little dude, the lesson was simple:  Prepare for each session, but STAY FLEXIBLE, especially when a one-year-old is involved!  Of course, I already knew this, but this busy, serious little man helped remind me.  

As with any new location, I visited Old Poway Park before the scheduled day to scout it out and brainstorm ideas for posing.  There were so many great rocks, cool trees, and amazing old buildings to whet my creative appetite, not to mention the railroad tracks!!  I was in love with the location and could not wait to snap away with my adorable little subject the following day!

The day of the shoot, little man immediately showed me who was boss when I tried to set him up next to an old building with AMAZING wood paneling.  He wanted nothing to do with the balloons I brought and instead seemed mesmerized by a big truck close by.  I shook off the initial panic ("Oh, man I was so excited about this old building and the shot I had in my head is SO NOT going to happen!!) and snapped his adorable reaction instead.

After that little reality check, I went with the flow and let him dictate how the session went, with a little help from mom and dad.  The holding hands one-year photo is always a favorite of mine, and this one was no exception!  How cute is this??!

After letting him run around with mom and dad for a couple of minutes, it was time to get on the train tracks.  Because, well, it's a boy. And train tracks.  So another awesome family photo happened.

Halfway through the session, momma changed him from dapper little man to blue-eyed Batman, complete with cape!  Oh, my, the cuteness!!

 

Throughout the session, although he gave me lots of personality, he was stingy with the smiles.  I could tell momma was getting a tad flustered because, well, what mom doesn't want perfect smiley photos of their little one?  So, with him on a big boulder, mom tickling, and dad behind me saying "so big!" we got the BIG smiles momma was hoping for!  My heart melted and I left the session with a smile almost as big as his!

 

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) Old Poway Park San Diego photographer blue eyes boy first birthday railroad tracks red hair train tracks https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/6/baby-m-first-birthday-in-the-park Sun, 08 Jun 2014 20:42:02 GMT
W Family Maternity https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/4/w-family-maternity When I fell in love with newborn photography, for some reason I never thought about maternity.  I just love snuggling babies so much that there was not room for anything else in my mind/heart.  However, when my former colleague approached me about doing her maternity AND newborn portraits, I said, "Makes sense. I'll give it a shot!"  Since she and her husband are so laid-back, I was not too nervous about learning with them as my models.  I would be lying, however, if I said I didn't put any preparation or thought into their session.  

I spoke with fellow photographers who I know have done maternity sessions to get their advice.  I also researched the couple's chosen location (the historic Presidio Park in San Diego) and even visited the day before their session to see what spots around the park I would want to use.  Unfortunately, I had my own toddler with me and the park was not stroller-friendly so, I was not able to scout as much as the park as I would have liked.  This meant that, location-wise, I pretty much winged it the day of the shoot.  That was ok, though, because the light was beautiful and I had collected a list of several poses to try that fit their personality.  They had also come prepared with props for me to "play" with.  Oh, I had so much fun with the tiny baby shoes and sonogram photo!!  

While editing, I found myself tearing up more than once.  A truly special moment of the editing experience:  My hubby peeking over my shoulder and commenting, "That was a fun time in our lives..."

Katrina and Chris, thank you so much for allowing me to capture a glimpse of your pregnancy experience!  After your sweet boy arrives, life will never be the same!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/4/w-family-maternity Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:52:26 GMT
Sweet Baby S (Mar 02, 2014) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/4/sweet-baby-s-mar-02-2014 I know I've mentioned this before, but I LOVE 1-year-old sessions.  Yes, they are easy in that, 1-year-olds look cute in pretty much any light, outfit, situation, setting, etc.  Also, you can get them to look at you for at least a split-second and usually can squeeze out a smile (with mom or dad's assistance).  However, they are also a CHALLENGE, especially if you, like me, only bring a 50mm to an outdoor session, because this means you are guaranteed to get a workout, chasing after the darling little birthday child to get the best possible framing.  

I have GOT to get a new lens.

Anyway, the other challenge is to find your own style, and, while a lot of that can come from editing, most of it comes from how you view the world.  Every photographer sees things differently.  It's what makes our work stand out.  What I want people, especially parents, to notice about my style, is that I work to capture the unique personality of each child.  I take pride in the shots that I get which show who this small person is right now, what interests them, any looks that they use to express themselves, and how they interact with their environment.  Yes, I have my own fresh, bright style, but I want people to notice that each session looks different because every child's personality IS different.

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of photographing a sweet little Valentine's Day baby for his first birthday.  Knowing that he was not yet walking, I came prepared with an adorable little toddler chair that I snagged from my mentor (have I mentioned how AWESOME she is???  Heather Martin, you're an angel!  <3), a couple of little rugs, and, of course, balloons!  The little guy looked so adorable sitting in the chair, but only sat still long enough for me to snag a few shots.  After that, in true 1-year-old fashion, he wanted to explore!  What was quite unusual and special about this sweetie pie (aside from his RIDICULOUS good looks), was the fact that, whenever I picked him up to reposition him (away from the wet grass, back into the shade, etc), he snuggled into my arms and just wanted to settle in for a good cuddle.  I melted every time!!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/4/sweet-baby-s-mar-02-2014 Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:31:02 GMT
Newborn Baby E (Feb 19, 2014) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/3/newborn-baby-e-feb-19-2014 I'm one of those people who always had a dream but never talked about it because I didn't think it would ever, ever happen, so, I thought, what's the point?  I have a feeling there are more people out there than are willing to admit, because, as I know from experience, why admit it if it's never going to happen??

I'm here to tell you, IT CAN HAPPEN.

I know this because my unspoken dream was to become a photographer.  Every time I saw a photographer either in real life, or on TV, or on a movie, or even described in a book, a deep down secret part of me sighed wistfully and wished that could somehow, someway be me.  As you may know from reading my previous posts, when my daughter was born, I quit my 8-5 desk job to become a stay-at-home mom, which led to me picking up my camera and LEARNING to use it.  During my year of self-study, I devoured photography blogs and scoured the internet for inspiration.  My Pinterest boards filled with how-tos and tutorials.  My Facebook feed was overtaken by photographers from different areas of focus, but one area in particular began to emerge as a favorite of mine:  Newborns and babies.  I couldn't get enough of the details, the sleepy faces, the carefully placed hands, the simplistic styling, and oh, those TOES!!  I didn't just want to learn more; I NEEDED to know HOW to do that!!  Sure, I've photographed 1-year-olds.  They are SO FUN, but also super easy...very little posing, minimal props, easy to make look at you and smile...but newborns, I acknowledged, required me to study and step outside of my comfort zone to ask for help.

So I did.  And finally, with the help of an AMAZING mentor, I recently had my first newborn photo shoot.  Baby E's name means "industrious leader", which is so appropriate for my first newborn session!!  She was born 4.5 weeks early to friends of mine who graciously allowed me to photograph her once she was medically cleared.  She was so tiny a joy to work with!  I hope hers is the first of many, many more newborn sessions to come!!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/3/newborn-baby-e-feb-19-2014 Tue, 25 Mar 2014 01:02:17 GMT
Sophia's First Birthday (Dec 13, 2013) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/3/sophias-first-birthday-dec-13-2013 As soon as I published my website, I immediately had two friends contact me, wanting me to take their babies' first birthday photos.  Excited (and nervous), I began scoping out sites for my first session with an adorably active little girl named Sophia.  Since we originally met Sophia and her mommy in baby sign language classes, we knew we live close to each other.  Sophia's mommy was going to drive over to my neighborhood for the session, so I was able to choose the perfect location:  A little park across the street from my house.  To prepare, I took my daughter over the day before Sophia's session to scope out places in the park that were baby-friendly (read:  no trash or doggy "presents") and had plenty of good light.  

I was so happy I did!  

When I first walked over to the park, I was looking at it with a different eye than my usual "oh, isn't this a lovely day".  As a discerning photographer, I was searching for a place with open shade (better light and good for baby's skin) that also had a good backdrop (no construction, parked cars, etc).  It was a little overwhelming and I had my hubby walk around the park one time with baby so I could check things out from baby-friendly angles.  It didn't take long to figure it out, however, and I finally placed my little one in a couple of great locations!  Whew!  One hurdle down...

Then, once I found a couple of good locations in the park to place my little model, I started snapping away to determine which settings to start with on my camera.  This became increasingly frustrating as, no matter what I tried (bump the ISO?, lower the aperture?,  increase shutter speed?, etc...), the photos were washed out, blue-tinted, and awful!  My baby was losing her patience the closer it got to nap time, so I decided to go home, check the photos on a computer (read:  with a bigger screen and out of the glare of the sun), and regroup.  Two things made me feel MUCH better once I did:  One, I saw that it was pretty easy to adjust the temperature of the photos, which fixed the bluish cast.  Two, I remembered that my camera's white balance was still set at "incandescent" from when I was playing with Christmas lights photos a couple of days before.  After I had a "d'oh!" moment and let my hubby laugh at my mistake (it's good for him to be reminded every once in a while that I'm not ALWAYS perfect), I felt much better and far more prepared for Sophia's session.

Finally, the day arrived when it was time to go meet baby Sophia and her mommy at the park for her session.  Sophia was well rested, but since she slept in the car on the way over and a little in the parking lot, it took a some time for her to wake up and become active.  This was PERFECT, because I was familiar with just how active this little girl could be and I took advantage of the sleepy lull to snap some cute photos of her sitting calmly.

Once she truly woke up and became her usual rambunctious self (you would be, too, if you had recently discovered the joy of walking!), it was more of a workout to keep up with her than I am used to with my own little crawler!  It also meant that the top of her curly-haired little head became exposed to more sunlight than I had seen when I practiced with Aly, so while her adorable curls needed one exposure, her toothy grin needed another.  Hmm…turns out, black and white fixed these near-hopeless (light-wise) but precious (expressions-wise) images!

One final lesson that I learned during my photo shoot with baby Sophia:  Reflective balloons and photography don't really mix.  As if I didn't already have enough going on, running around trying to keep up with a toddler, maximizing my use of light, and trying to make sure the background wasn't goofy, I also noticed that I could SEE myself in the big, silver balloons that I was naive enough to bring for the birthday girl.  Unfortunately, one image came out PERFECT except for the fact that you could see me clear as day, laying on the ground, camera in hand, in the reflection of a balloon.  I cracked open my Photoshop book (I only recently acquired the program and haven't learned to use it…yet!) and quickly taught myself how to get rid of the unsightly blemish (myself stretched out on the ground in a balloon's reflection).  Now, I can look back at the original image and laugh, not only at my naiveté for the choice of silver balloons, but also at the positions I get into in order to capture the perfect image!  

So, it all worked out in the end; even with a new location, technical difficulties (read:  camera-user error!), sleepy baby, and reflective props.  After all, balloons + mirrored surfaces + crazy mommy/photographer antics = VERY happy baby (and super-cute photos!!).

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/3/sophias-first-birthday-dec-13-2013 Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:03:41 GMT
Learning and Loving It (Dec. 9, 2013) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/3/learning-and-loving-it-dec-9-2013 After college, I worked in higher education student services for 7 years. During that time, I helped adult college students (either in technical programs or online) who had dreams of bettering their lives.  Students who were struggling often told me that they were missing out on precious moments with their loved ones since they used every free moment outside of work to study and earn a degree.  I would talk through their obstacles, helping them determine the best path to move forward.  It was emotionally exhausting and usually thankless work, but I enjoyed it and felt like I made a difference in people's lives.

As much as I loved helping people in this way, I, too, felt I was missing something.  A creative outlet, yes, but I wanted more than that.  Inspired by my students’ lamentations, as well as a beautiful (and rapidly growing!) new daughter, I quit my job (yikes!), picked up my barely-touched DSLR, and started combing the internet for tutorials.  The most important lesson I've learned is this:  Photographers NEVER stop learning.  Got that, college students?  After graduation, KEEP GOING in your quest for knowledge.  Whether in your field or hobby or whatever, KEEP IT UP!  Ok, that's my soapbox for the day...

The point is, I was encouraged by the fact that while there is definitely a difference between a photo hobbyist and a professional (one gets paid…duh), even the pros are constantly learning, working to improve, move with the times, etc…

I like that.  

I am definitely a perfectionist and if I feel that there is a "ceiling" or "terminal" whatever to reach, I will NEVER feel that I am good enough.  Just part of my personality.  But, if I know that CONSTANT growth and learning is part of the gig, I'm all in!  That's one of the things I liked about working in higher education; there were always new studies coming out about student services, etc; always something to learn and improve upon.  Unfortunately, there was little in the way of creativity, and that's where my camera comes in. 

While I inherited my love of photography from my mom (she ALWAYS has her camera attached to her face!), I have always had this unspoken desire to take it a step further by learning more about the art (what techniques produce what effect, how light plays a part, what settings to use, etc).  So, here I am…Nikon D5100 in hand, and a brand-new "nifty" 50mm firmly in place (I have aspirations of becoming a newborn/growing baby photographer and from what I gather, this is the best tool for the job!), shooting wherever, whenever I can, making adjustments, playing with settings, looking at light at different times of day (my husband thinks I'm crazy; I'm always randomly looking at the light coming in our big living room window, then glance at the clock to note what time of day the light is like that), trying a photo with/without flash, studying a new blog post, article, or photo session every day or two, and loving every minute of it!

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JeccaLynnPhoto@gmail.com (Jecca Lynn Photography) https://www.jeccalynnphoto.com/blog/2014/3/learning-and-loving-it-dec-9-2013 Mon, 17 Mar 2014 05:55:36 GMT