Amanda Joy Photography

The Bailey Kids | Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer

Children, Family, PortraitAmanda MohinaniComment

Being an aunt is an awesome thing - I get to snuggle, play, spoil and then leave them at home for their mother to sort out! :) These kids know me best with a big, black, "clicky" thing in front of my face and when I was visiting back in May we were able to venture outside for some birthday photos. Seriously, you guys... birthday photos are the best. :)

It's a big tradition in their family. Get dressed up, get your hair 'did, then wander around with Aunt Amanda while she tries to think of ways to make them giggle. 

But serious faces work just as well. :)

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And crazy faces... 

Then we drag mom into the yard (make up or no make up!) and make her snuggle too! 

It makes for wonderful birthdays. :)

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A day in the life of surgery | Legacy Lifestyle Photographer

Cancer, Legacy, PersonalAmanda Mohinani4 Comments

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a week ago that my dad had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in his abdomen. This was his fourth abdominal surgery to remove tumors in that area since his cancer diagnosis in 2009. Mom and dad have a team of phenomenal doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and we knew that dad was in good hands. 

The surgery was scheduled last minute, but I made the drive up to MN the night before... not because they really needed me, but because living seven hours away from my parents as they struggle through the valley of cancer has made my heart long to help in any way I can. Surgery days are long days... not just for doctors, but also for family who wait anxiously - slowly and repeatedly imagining every worst possibility. I knew mom would appreciate the familiar hand to hold. I'm so glad I was there. 

Surgery days are pretty familiar to us, but each one is a little bit different. A different building, a different schedule, a different set of nurses, a different hallway, a different length of waiting. 

I always bring my camera on these trips, and force myself to document the day. Not because it's exquisitely beautiful or photo-worthy, but because these photographs are snapshots of God's grace to us as a family. Celebrating life is not just about remembering the good times, but also the times of hardship and anxiety that we made it through. Those moments are worth holding on to. 

Oftentimes raising my camera to my eye in the midst of a tender moment is awkward and uncomfortable, but other times they produce a humorous moment of sweet relief. A chance to be silly and acknowledge that this medical world they live in can seem quite odd to outside eyes. (Especially robes that puff up with air and make you look like Baymax!)

Other times my mom is NOT interested. :)

After hours of waiting, the moment comes to say goodbye and we linger in our embraces. This is the awkward moment when I wish I wasn't a photographer with a loud camera, but I push my shutter knowing that these images of my parents' tenderness will be cherished for many years. 

And somehow stepping into my photographer box makes it easier to hold back the tears. 

We wave goodbye with anxious hearts, but so thankful that the process has finally begun. 

We take one last look at the empty chair that is still warm from the man in the silly Baymax suit and we head out to distract ourselves for as long as we can. 

Distraction usually takes place in the form of walking for mom and I, and we set out to explore the beautiful campus. 

Mom is so cute. :)

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After what seems an eternity, we hear that surgery was successful and we can see dad. 

He's alive and groggy, and after we enjoy a few moments of reunion, we settle into the familiar routine of fussing over dad. 

Mom puts on the hat of the Head Nurse who make All The Rules and you do not mess with her or else you will feel the wrath of Mama Bear. 

But don't be fooled. She's just so happy to see him. :)

The next day he's sitting up and walking down the hall and telling jokes to the nurses and I feel confident enough to head home... knowing that, once again, he's in good hands. 

Thankful for the courage and hope of my parents. :)

PS - If you want to stay updated with dad's progress, you can check out his CaringBridge page here. His cancer journey isn't over, but we're thankful that he's still healthy and still with us. 

 

Emily | Kansas City Lifestyle Photographer

PortraitAmanda MohinaniComment

On my MN trip a few weeks, I got to catch up with my friend Emily! Emily and I met when I did her senior photos back in 2011, and it was SO fun to see her again and see what she's been up to. 

Love her laugh!! 

She wanted to update her most recent photos, and I was only too happy to do a shoot with her!!

We got up pretty early to make this shoot happen, but when we found this little section of trees and purple flowers - IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! :)

Emily, you are so beautiful! 

Emily is in the National Guard, and she brought along her uniform so we could document this stage of her life. Doesn't she look SO intense? 

Thanks so much for contacting me about photos, Emily! It was so great to see you! :)

The Sjoberg Twins | Lifestyle family photographer

Children, Family, PortraitAmanda Mohinani1 Comment

Erik and Elizabeth are one of my absolute favorite couples to photograph. Their beautiful Blue Horse wedding in 2013 was SUCH a relaxing, memorable day and I enjoyed it so much! When I found out they pregnant with twin boys I think I literally squealed... and then secretly hoped that I'd be able to photograph their family someday. :) 

Well, my wish came true!! I was in MN a at the end of May and they invited me over to photograph their brand new baby boys - aren't they sweet??

Watching them hold and comfort their small little loves made my heart want to explode with happiness - they're such great parents! 

David and Emmet were such great little models... 

And the midday sun in their backyard was PERFECT for photos! 

Congratulations, Erik and Elizabeth! I'm so so happy for you guys, and I can't wait to see your sweet boys grow up! We love you! :)

Don and Alice | Kansas City Legacy Photographer

Legacy, PortraitAmanda MohinaniComment

It was her Grandma Alice's birthday, and I asked if I could tag along when Sara went to visit... You can learn so much from people who have been married for 67 years. Sara is really close with her grandparents and I loved getting the chance to just sit and be with them!!

Their home is full of memories and I found myself wondering what kinds of stories the walls were hiding... :)

Alice is a strong, compassionate, peppery (it's totally a word!) woman who loves her family fiercely. She did NOT like the idea of being photographed when she wasn't looking her best... but I convinced her that her life is worth celebrating no matter what she's wearing. :)

Don is a tough, sweet, flirtatious man, and there's always a twinkle in his eye! :)

Alice wasn't feeling well enough to go outside for pictures, so we just hung out inside and looked at old photo albums. 

Happy belated birthday, Alice! Thanks for letting me tag along to visit your grandparents, Sara!! :)