Jen, Matt, Wyatt and Peyton spent a warm and cheerful sunset with me at the Mapes View Dairy Farm in New Berlin, PA for some spirited and family centered pictures to update their family tree. From the warm and golden toned sunset, to the bright green of the corn-field, all the way to through to the firefly lit night and sparkler handed kids, the farm land family photos are something I will never forget.
With their busy farm life schedule, fairs, home renovations, and co-parenting the kiddos with their mom, family photos have been one of the last things on anyone's mind. When opportunity for photos fell in their laps, and Jen pounced. New photos would be the perfect accents for the newly painted walls and she knew I would work with her to find the perfect style to fit their updated home décor.
Jen and I discussed portraits of the kids and the family when we had previously met at our awesome salon, Top Notch Salon. She knew the hardest part would be selling Matt, he is not a huge fan of pictures of himself (we can't figure out why I mean look at that guy).
While meeting with them both during the consultation to plan out the perfect session, style, and types of products they may be interested in to add to their home, I learned so much about this adorable and wonderful family.
There is Peyton, very much a Daddy's girl, lover of horses, and a farm girl through and through. When I met her, she brought out all of her horses, their brushes, saddles, and even a little stable for them! She sat under the table using the bench as the show area, just playing away, with her imagination. Even though we went to the farm to do the photos she was not going to let that stop her from having a horse, she brought a stick pony along, and spent the first half racing her brother Wyatt all over the hay field on her "horse". Being the younger child certainly is not going to stop her from doing anything, if anyone else is doing it, she will too, from climbing trees, to sweeping feed for the cows just like Grammpa.
Not to be forgotten is her brother, Wyatt. If Matt let him, this kiddo would own a zoo, so being a future farmer is perfect profession for him. Now when you talk to him, be sure to let him know you understand he is going to be a DAIRY farmer, this is very important. Now, in classic sibling style, Wyatt had to show me everything he loved: his little farm animal collection with his favorite cows and bulls, his hermit crabs, his cats, his rock collection, and his art skills. His favorite animal bounces back and forth between cows and pigs, and at the West End Fair, where his calf won best in show, he got so excited when he found out there were pigs he tried to take his cow with him to go see (Jen made sure the calf got taken care of first).
We have already established Matt is a pretty good looking guy, so my biggest question was why the reluctance against being in the picture. Well, just like everyone else who grew up in the time of colored film and 1 hour photo drops, Matt's mom loved her camera. His thoughts on pictures were heavily in the realm of "stop, pose, cheese, click", remembering the experience. As we talked more I learned of his father's passing, and how he appreciated having all those photos of him and his dad. This is when he started to think about how he wanted not just to have pictures of his growing children to look at and remember this fun and non-stop time in their lives, but also have something for them to look at later in life as well. In fact, Matt was the one who came up with updating the family tree, and making sure Jen had some space and joined in.
While Jen may have her hands full working at the family dairy farm, managing the small zoo at home (I didn't mention the turtle, pony, or husky they own), she is beyond grateful for her blessing. Matt is such a catch, renovating around the house, talking about family (is he dropping hints?), and even jumping in to help with the farm work after a full day work. But enough about Matt. The first time I met Jen, I had to bring my spastic duck in to the vet where she worked, because she fought a cat (and Jen didn't laugh at me when I said a had a duck!) She is giving and caring and always supporting in the Mifflinburg community. Every charity event and local fair and festival, I would run in to her. What I love most about her though is her absolute passion for what she does. She speaks all over PA about the dairy industry and farming, promotes education by giving tours of her farm and letting families and kids see where there milk comes from, and just being genuine when people ask questions which she lives every day.
Jen and Matt, thank you so much for letting me have a glimpse into the lives of your wonderful family. I love the family tree we created and I hope as your family continues to grow you add on and continue capturing the spirit of each of you. Keep talking about family, and let me know when its time to take some engagement photos.