If you’d like to read about how we came into being a Kansas City based photography family, or even how we came up with our name, this post in my old blog lays it out nicely. But if you really want to know who is behind OrangePeel, you need to meet my family.
This is Colette Promise; she’s our youngest…and certainly most pampered! You can call her Cookie. She’s the nativity baby I’ve always dreamt about. She overcame her fair share of odds to join our family and our boys love her like it’s their only job in the world. God has used her to heal broken parts of me with every one of her smiles. Toothless, bald and squirmy – and more beautiful than any of us could have imagined.
This is Peter Elliott. He’s our middle child. If you want to tick him off, call him Peter Pan – but he will gladly answer to Stinky Pete. There are two photos of him simply because his personality cannot be captured in just one – it is way too big! He’s the kind of kid who has no idea how hilarious he is. His heart is so soft and compassionate that I fear the heartbreak he’ll experience in this life, but he shows me everyday how forgiving and resilient he is built. He has a care-free air about him that will leave every adult in his presence longing for the best days of their childhood. Thinking of how sweet, deep and complex his heart is will bring me to tears in no time. He is truly a gift to this world.
This is Truett. I really struggled choosing a photo to best represent him. This is certainly not the best photo (in technical quality) I have of him, but it is the truest to who he is. He’s our sponge. He LOVES a good game of chess or checkers. At the ripe age of 4 years old, he taught me how to play backgammon. His favorite Christmas present to date is his calculator. Yes, you read that correctly. His love to learn surpasses most adults I know…and it keeps me humble as a mother! Beyond his intellect, there is a dedication to the truth that is rooted deep in his soul. His spiritual depth has left me breathless and searching the Word for answers when he is hungry for what is real in this world. He and I have grown up together in more ways than I’ll ever be able to put into words. This little boy, I am sure, will grow to be a great man.
This is my guy, Tyler. He is (without a doubt) God’s best for my life. I think it’s safe to say I’m addicted to him. He is the most attractive nerd I’ve ever met, and I find it crazy hot that he has been known to watch Apollo 13 with his HP calculator. You know…to be sure that they’re not just making up all those calculations. I’m fairly confident that he is the only person on this planet capable of loving me as crazily as he does. He sees good in me when I cannot even look at myself in the mirror. When I am unkind, he pushes through and shows me I am better than the sum of my actions. When I lazily ask him to flip the light switch that happens to be on my side of the bedroom, he never grumbles. He keeps the batteries in my toothbrush charged for me, folks! On top of the incredible husband he is, he’s a rock-star dad! These kids take a trip over the moon every day when he comes home. There is not a person on this planet that can make them light up as brightly as he does. All that to say…OrangePeel would not be possible without him.
And then there is me. Kami Dawn Van Slyke. Passionate. Pain in the rump. Love you ’till you can’t stand it. Intense. Opinionated. Kinda snotty at times (without even realizing it). Terribly insecure. A specialist at over-sharing. Crazy in love with God. A redeemed, healed and changed woman. A lover of Carmex (there is no substitute). Owner of countless pairs of cheap shoes (and I mean like $3/pair). Scourer of clearance racks. I am without make up about 90% of the time. Driving with my windows down and the A/C cranked is something I love to do in the summer. RARELY will I pass up an opportunity to eat brownies…not a brownie…but brownies. It doesn’t take much for me to get lost in a book, bu it’s taken some hard lessons for me to find what is most important in life – memories and hope. Being a wife and mother will always top my list of the greatest, most challenging and most refining honors of my life. I am walking evidence that God finds it worth His time to love the most stubborn of people. I plan on using my lifetime to walk with Him.
Our family is far too “…fearfully and wonderfully made…” to be summed up in a few paragraphs. If you come back and visit enough, I’m sure you’ll feel a part of our family in no time.