learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

My Boy! Warning: Picture heavy!

One thing that grieves me is how hard it is for me to capture my silly boy in a picture. I do take a lot of goofy photos of him but I rarely get that elusive connection between boy and camera. It’s hard to explain. Last year, I tried taking J to a studio for pictures just before we started to learn about the possibility of autism. It was an epic fail all around. He hated it, I hated it, it was just a mess.

And then, this year, we met Laura.

Laura owns her own business, Family Tree Photography. She also “gets it”. She has an intimate understanding of how to work with children with special needs and not only treats them beautifully but helps show the world their amazing personalities. I met Laura through 4 Paws for Ability and count myself very blessed to have found her!

A few weeks ago she had an opening for a mini-session in Sandwich, MA. I jumped on the opportunity and it was one of the best things I could have done for both myself and J. I am getting all misty just writing this! Without further adieu, here’s J-bear in all his awesomeness!

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J and Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty deserves her own post!


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I hate getting my picture taken but LOVE this one of us.


And he’s off again!



This is the very face he makes when he comes out to greet me after therapy! I love it!


Monkey Toes and Miss Kitty


Okay Mom, enough pictures in this post!

To say I am overwhelmed by these pictures is an understatement. That’s my son. My sweet, silly, curious, wonderful boy and I love it more than I can say when the world can see that. Thank you for this precious opportunity and gift, Laura!



  1. Janice

    I’m so glad you met Laura – she has given you such a gift capturing the very essence that is your beautiful boy.

    I hope you’re able to get all the photos….. I don’t know how you would begin to choose.

    Miss Kitty did an awesome job & appeared an integral participant part of the shoot.

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. Janice

    • mamabear

      Laura truly is amazing. If you’re curious about her 4 Paws story her family’s page, 4 Paws for Zachary, is in the sidebar. She is a few years ahead of me on this journey and her insight is invaluable. We are definitely going to get a few prints of these and maybe just rotate through them on the walls because… wow. They’re just so very him.

      And it would not be life with J if Miss Kitty wasn’t there. She (and his stuffed yellow lab) are like my other children given that we have to take them almost everywhere. I am grateful that even when he’s grown I have this perfect view of my right now child to keep forever.

  2. Catherine

    I love love love the pictures! You guys look incredible and Laura did a great job of capturing Jacob and Miss kitty : )

    • mamabear

      He would not let Miss Kitty go that day so of course she stole the show 😉 Thank you! I am so excited about these pictures it is unreal.

  3. maryanne @ mama smiles

    Great people photography is all about connecting and putting people at ease, I think. So glad you got these great pictures!

    • mamabear

      Thank you for the comment! Laura truly has that gift. This was our first time catching up face to face and she put J and I immediately at ease. J even allowed for hugs and contact, which is exceedingly rare with new people.

      • Laura

        I LOOOOVED meeting you and little Mr. J. And I’m so glad it was worth the trek down here to our neck of the woods. He was a dream to photograph – as most of my little special guys are. It’s always a pleasure to give parents who have had unpleasant studio experiences in the past a real capture of who their children are. Not the cheese smile that they do in front of your camera – but the real smile they give you every day. I think we got that at our session and I’m so thrilled to give that to you 🙂

        • mamabear

          We had SUCH A BLAST! That drive was worth every mile and we’d do it again in a heartbeat. He’s a good traveler when it comes to car journeys so it’s no trouble at all. We’re both very, very lucky to have met you! I wasn’t joking, I’d truly given up on getting nice photos of my little guy but when you had an opening I was all over that like white on rice. So grateful that it happened and now my walls will be so beautiful with J-bear smiles 😀

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