Family, Lifestyle, Personal

Family Documentary Photography | Oak Park, IL | December 2020

Family of four in matching pajamas in front of a Christmas tree
Hi, I'm Kristen!
I'm an award-winning senior portrait and family photographer based out of Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area. I love sunshine, cacti, chocolate chips, and a great cup of tea - but most of all I love photographing joyful clients. :)
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Classy and comfortable senior portraits!
Relaxed and easy family portraits. and stunning artwork
Family of four in matching pajamas in front of a Christmas tree

Welcome to December 2020’s blog! This month was spent trying out a variety of new holiday traditions to keep the mood festive and bright. Come see what we got up to!

Man holding out Day 1 goodies from Whittard's tea advent calendar, and a boy with raspberries on his fingers

On the first day of Christmas- er, on the first day of December, my true love sur-pris-ed me…with Whittard’s chocolate and teeeeeea. For real, I had plans back in November to get both the hot chocolate and tea advent calendars from our favorite fancy tea supplier, Whittard’s of Chelsea, but the hot chocolate calendar sold out promptly. This sneaky guy got one the instant it came back in stock and surprised me!

Son: “I don’t really like the salt in my salted caramel hot chocolate.”

Dad: “So I can drink it?”

Son: “we-ellll, I *do* like the caramel part, so no.”

Happy baby on a rainbow blanket under a christmas tree chewing on a blue soft ornament

Our baby turned 8 months old! She was way more interested in pulling ornaments off the tree and chewing on them than she was in smiling.

Young boy decorating gingerbread men

We gave gingerbread decorating a try courtesy of Brown Cow Ice Cream in Forest Park…

Christmas tree bokeh

Playing around with bokeh on my recently-acquired 35 mm lens!

Christmas colored light bokeh
Happy baby on a wood floor with rainbows in her hair

It’s a little hard to see, but the sun is shining in through the window and making rainbows in her hair. 🙂 This month she is making strides with army crawling faster and faster, and doing side-planks. She’s sitting up but it’s a little wobbly!

Baby chewing on a piece of bread with a silly expression

Giving whole wheat-oatmeal bread a try. Broccoli and strawberries are big hits!

Smiling four-year-old boy and baby wearing a bonnet
Baby chewing on a Starbucks coffee tumbler, and chewing on a power cord

Chewing on mom’s tea cup and trying but not succeeding in chewing on Dad’s phone charger.

Pandemic family selfie with masks, and a happy baby

Pandemic selfie walk! We were going to go to the grocery store to get a tiny Christmas tree to put in our son’s room to surprise him, but then discovered they’d sold out weeks ago. The walk in the sunshine was still great!

Baby poking her head up over the side of the crib

The morning wakeup view.

Happy baby with curls playing in an activity saucer

Supervising from her activity saucer as Mom and Dad work on her new room…

Baby looking up at artificial snow in wonder

Admiring artificial biodegradeable snow!!

young boy playing with artificial snow

He was so excited – “when I come home from school I get to play with the fake snow!!”

young boy blowing artificial snow
Happy young boy and baby with one giant hair curl
Walking the labyrinth at First United Oak Park on Winter Solstice

On Winter Solstice we went to the First United Church of Oak Park to walk the labyrinth!

Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple at night, and First United Church of Oak Park with illuminated stained glass

The Frank Lloyd Wright Unity Temple is right across the street and it’s always lit up beautifully – as is the First United Church!

Father and son investigating a Buche de Noel from Pastry Revival Bakery in Oak Park, IL

Admiring our Solstice treat – a Buche de Noel from Pastry Revival Bakery! It was SO good. Backstory – for his birthday my son asked for a “woodchipper cake” – and even after clarification (“I want a woodchipper made of candy on top of the cake, shooting sawdust into a trailer”) it was *ahem* decided that an underwater theme was a better cake choice. HOWEVER, he wouldn’t stop asking me where his woodchipper cake was. So when I saw that Pastry Revival was making Buches de Noel I was happy to present to my son a cake that “you have to pretend you’re a woodchipper when you eat.”

I should probably mention that my son loves to watch arborists, hence the woodchipper fascination.

Family pictures next to the Christmas tree

Decked out in new matching pajamas – yet another new-to-us tradition to try out!

Family of four in matching pajamas in front of a Christmas tree

Why yes, the camera *is* balanced on top of a big plastic tub of ornaments for this shot.

Young boy sitting in front of a Christmas tree, and a baby in a Christmas box in front of the Christmas tree
Brother and baby sister in a box in front of the Christmas tree
Young boy in front of the Christmas tree, and then looking at it over the stair rail
Dad reading kids a story in front of the Christmas tree


Happy baby in a box in front of the Christmas tree
Baby in a box in front of a Christmas tree chewing on a plush reindeer

I have a tradition – of taking a photo of the kid(s) every year in front of the tree, more recently with the addition of “Greendolph, the green-nosed reindeer.” For the very first iteration back in 2016 we put our son in this box because he was so little he couldn’t sit upright, so this year my sister sent us the box from California for our daughter’s picture. Thank you for paying the postage to support my ridiculousness, sis!!

Baby sister in a box reaching out for big brother...and then chewing on his sleeve

Awww so cute, she wants to give big brother a hug! – Wait, never mind, she just wanted to chew on his sleeve.

Christmas tree bokeh; and a young boy and baby sister reading by the light of the Christmas tree

Christmas morning, hanging out under the tree.

Baby's first christmas, ripping and eating tissue paper

Baby’s first Christmas! The tissue paper was one of the biggest hits.

Assorted scenes from Christmas morning

Assorted scenes from Christmas morning – reading with dad, fancy sweater, checking out the new ball pit, NEW GARBAGE TRUCK TOY (this will be garbage truck #3; garbage trucks are cooler than woodchippers), and posing in my new sweater that is so personally on-brand for me: a hedgehog in a tea cup.

Millenium Park art glass installation and Pritzker ampitheater

On a gloriously sunny day after Christmas we ventured out to Millenium and Maggie Daley Parks in downtown Chicago with the goal of watching skaters on the ribbon ice skating path!

We saw beautiful art glass installations and this really neat amphitheater…

Lurie Garden in the winter, and Cloud Gate at Millennium Park in Chicago

Lurie Garden (which was beautiful in winter but I can only imagine how gorgeous it must be in the growing season!! Tons of native flowers here!), and the bean.

Assorted views from Maggie Daley Park in Chicago in the winter

Watching skaters….and a little slice of native plantings right in the heart of downtown. Finally, a view across Lake Michigan – you can see all the way to Indiana!! haha!

Thanks for joining me – catch up with us next month!!

Kristen Hazelton is an Oak Park, IL (Chicago, IL metro area) and Livermore, CA (San Francisco East Bay Area) senior, family, and engagement photographer. She occasionally photographs in San Diego, CA, Tucson, AZ, and Seattle, WA. You can inquire about your own photoshoot here!

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