Michelle Sullivan Photography // Orange County Wedding and Senior Portrait Photographer bio picture

    Hi! Welcome to Michelle Sullivan Photography! We are a husband and wife wedding and portrait photography team serving Orange County, California and the world =)
    I believe that we are all created in the image of God, and that means that we are all works of art!
    Please have a look around and if you see something you like please leave some love in the form of a comment, or a pin to pinterest =) Don't forget to follow me on instagram and facebook too!

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Littlest Warrior Apparel // Special Needs and Down Syndrome T-shirts for kids // Welcome to Holland

Hey Everyone! I’m starting a t-shirt line for babies and kids with special needs inspired by my littlest warrior! Please follow me on Instagram! A couple of my best sellers are The Be Kind ASL tee and the Chromosomally Enhanced tee

down syndrome tshirt, special needs tshirt, holland story, welcome to holland


The Holland Tour Guide tee was inspired by the Welcome To Holland story by Emily Perl Kingsley:

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

down syndrome tshirt, special needs tshirt, holland story, welcome to holland
down syndrome tshirt, special needs tshirt, holland story, welcome to holland
down syndrome tshirt, special needs tshirt, holland story, welcome to holland

Visit my store on Storenvy  Tags: down syndrome t-shirts, chromosomally enhanced, special needs t-shirts, down syndrome, welcome to holland, holland story, asl t-shirt,

Our New Kitchen

We discovered a leak in our kitchen at the beginning of the year and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because insurance covered it and we were able to get a new kitchen!

semihandmade cabinet doors

Cabinets: Ikea

Cabinet Doors: Semihandmade

Island:  Ikea

Drawer and Cabinet Pulls: My Knobs (haha!)

Faucet: Delta

Sink: Ikea

Range Hood: Ikea

Table: Planter Table (similar)

Chairs: Amazon

Chandelier: George Nelson Bubble Lamp

Medalion: Home Depot

Cutting Board: Sean Woolsey

Side Board: custom

Round Mirror: Target

Hume Lake Christian Camp vs. Forest Home Christian Camp

Hume Lake Christian Camp vs. Forest Home Christian Camp

Every summer for the last 6 years we’ve gone with friends to Hume Lake, and for the first time ever I went to Forest Home. We love Hume Lake and every time a friend suggested I try Forest Home I thought that I didn’t need to go because I go to Hume instead. BUT this year I went to both camps and I am so glad I did! There are pro’s and con’s to both so I thought I would highlight them here :)

We’ve never gone to an actual retreat at Hume, but we rent a cabin from one of the many lease holders who have cabins on the camp grounds. Booking a cabin is always an adventure. The rules are that you call (many are elderly) or email (some are starting to add this option) on January 1st. The bummer about this is many cabin owners don’t follow this rule and many of the cabins are already booked on 1/1 already. Other cabin owners don’t return your call or email for several days or weeks. Another option is to stay at the lodge on campus. These book up, but you can usually find a last minute cancelation. The lodge is a bit more expensive but it comes with perks like food in the cafeteria and boat rentals. I feel like the best way to go is to find a cabin because you can share it with another family so it cuts costs considerably. We usually find a cabin for around $900 for the week so it ends ups only being $450. Another plus about renting a cabin is having a full kitchen. You can bring all your food for the week – there is a small grocery store on the campgrounds but it’s limited and very expensive. One thing we do every year that I love is shared meals with the group of friends we go with – each cabin makes a meal to share one night of the week. If enough families go you end up only cooking one or two nights!

hume lake

Another great thing about Hume is the beautiful scenery- it’s breathtaking! The lake is super close and accessible. You can rent boats and stand up paddles boards or jump on the Blob. They also have a high ropes course and paintball (available once per week for a fee).

For the most part our group keeps to ourselves – we plan daily activities for our group like hanging out on the lake or pool, disc golf, hiking adventures or small day trips to see other areas nearby. Also, if we want to, we are able to see some of the awesome camp activities they have for the hundreds of campers that come each week – like the bike jump, Kajavi (sp?) Can Can, and the belly flop contest. Guests of the campground are allowed to enter the belly flop contest too – Gretta entered this year and got 2nd place!

We are able to attend the Bible studies that Hume Lake offers, but we never have. We always go to church on Sunday morning and child care is free. They also offer childcare (for a fee – around $15 for a 3 hour session) during the week from birth through 6th grade, but it fills up super fast! This year they implemented a new online registration and there are several bugs they need to work out. They overbooked one of the preschool classes by 10 kids and the website is super hard to navigate. Plus there is no waiting list in the case of cancellations. We were super disappointed because getting a break from our kids is always a plus haha!

THEN I went to Forest Home and let me say that their child care is off the hook! They have childcare every morning from 9-12 and it never books up!  There is always room for your child! Plus they are beyond accommodating for kids with special needs – you can put your child in any class you feel comfortable with – I first put Eli with the non-walkers because he can’t walk yet, but then I decided to move him to the toddler class. They didn’t bat an eyelash. THEN at night a wonderful teen (or two) called a CCA (Childcare Assistant) comes to your room from 7:15-11pm to watch your kids for you! And this is included in the camp price! HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!! You can do whatever you want during this time – you can go to the awesome bible studies and worship they have every morning and night led by a different pastor and worship leader each week. You can get a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, you can get a milkshake at the snack shop with friends. One night I went zipping in the dark – so scary but so fun!!!

forest home

Another amazing thing about Forest Home is the meals – I never once had to cook a meal! Three meals a day are included and they had a great variety of food. They were super sensitive to food allergies and had options for everyone. I was able to eat every meal (if you know me and all my restrictions you know this is a miracle!) All I had to do was ask for the gluten free option for Eli and I and a helpful staff member would bring it out to me and it was always super good!

forest home

Forest Home also had several options for fun activities like the Zipline,  Sky Trail and the Slingshot Swing, pool, lake activities like the Blob, and a splash pad for the little ones.

forest home

At night they have fun activities like Glow Zumba, A Lip Sync Musical (adorable and put on by all the staff members), and smores around the campfire.

forest home

So I would say that if you are looking for a camp where you can be less structured and plan your own activities, if you don’t mind the drive (6 hours from Orange County), Hume is your place.

But if you are looking for something close by (only an hour from Orange County), very structured with several activities already planned with guaranteed childcare, Forest Home is where it’s at :)

Down Syndrome Awareness Month 2015

Today is the last day of October which means it’s also the last day of 2015 Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It’s only fitting that I share some pictures I got this month with some amazing Chromosomally Enhanced kids (including Eli) and their awesome families.

If I can do one thing on my blog, I hope that it’s helping a scared woman who just got a down syndrome diagnosis for her unborn baby. I want her to look at these pictures and know that there is so much joy waiting for her. I want her to know that in no way are these kids burdens. These kids have made us all better people and our lives are so much richer because of them. And the friends you meet will become family :)

And please watch this amazing video. It’s Sunflower’s adoption story and it’s so beautiful:


October 31, 2015 - 6:08 pm

Gina Hollens - I’m balling this is so beautiful and Sunflowers adoption story is so wonderful… Congrats!!!

How do siblings of kids with special needs feel? by Daphne Sullivan

Do you ever wonder how siblings of kids with special needs feel? Sometimes I wonder how the girls have processed everything that has happened over the last two years.  Sometimes we talk about it, but this morning I found out how Daphne is feeling when I opened my computer.  I found the following essay and I couldn’t be more proud:

   March 15th, 2014 was the day that my life changed forever. For months and months my family, friends, teachers and many more people  stressed over this very moment. It was in July of 2013 when we found out my mom was pregnant, with her 4th child. Being the oldest I had gone through having siblings before, I thought I was prepared but nothing could prepare me for what was coming. Right after my 14th birthday in October my mom went for her 20 week ultrasound, and she knew something was wrong right away. The next day we got news that would change our lives forever. My baby brother had a plethora of serious health issues, he was missing a part of his heart, the crux, and he had something called “double bubble” also known as Duodenal Artesia, which pretty much means his intestines would need surgery soon after he was born, and to top it all off he has Down Syndrome.

After months of fearing the unknown, stress, a pre-term labor scare and preparation, the day was finally here. My parents drove to St. Josephs hospital early that morning. Soon after my grandparents came to pick my sisters and I up. I spent the whole day texting my dad “how many centimeters dilated is she?” and “what’s happening now?”. Before he was born I did some research on giving birth to a child with a heart defect and I knew what questions to ask.  We got to the hospital and waited in a cold, brightly lit hospital hallway. I sat there with my sisters, Gretta and Roxanne, my grandparents on both my mom and dads side, my dad’s two aunts and uncle, and our friend Nicki. Two big hickory brown wooden doors led into a long hallway, and in one of the rooms down the hall, there was my dad, and my mom was in labor. It seemed like forever until there was any news, but sadly it wasn’t good news. Elijah, my brother had gone into fetal distress and his heart couldn’t handle natural birth so they had to do an emergency C-section. The aroma of panic filled the room, my Auntie Sharon and Grandma Ann babbled nervously in the corner. Most of the adults tried to act positive as if I didn’t realize the severity of the situation. I sat on the cold white and blue freckled tiles, my youngest sister sat down next to me and asked if the baby was going to be okay. “Of course he is” I said, smiling, but really I didn’t know at all, but I couldn’t tell her that.  ”She’s so young theres no need to scare her” I thought, but in retrospect my grandparents thought the same thing about me.

We waited for what seemed like an eternity, my grandpa tried to get us to eat. I forced myself to eat a dry, mustard filled turkey sandwich. Then all of a sudden the doors swung open and two doctors came out pushing a large cart. There in a huge clear container lay a precious baby boy. His big grey eyes batted and tried to take in the clump of people surrounding him, taking photographs and goggling at this tiny little miracle. He was wearing a yellow little beanie and was wrapped up in a pale blue, white and rose pink blanket. There were too many tubes and machines to count and a thin long tube between his ruby red puckered lips. I had to push through my relatives to be able to get a good picture of him and when I did he looked me right in the eyes, I’ll never forget that moment. The whole room seemed like it was moving in slow motion. Then I was snapped back into reality when one of the woman holding his cart said, “I’m sorry but we have to take him down to the NICU now” and then rushed into an elevator.

My dad came out into the hallway right after and ushered my sisters and I in to another hallway which was closed off before. We walked down the hall silently then we turned right into a big room that reeked of sterilized surgical instruments and blood. My mom lay in a bed with a blue and white hospital gown on, and a blanket covering most of her. I hugged her and kissed her on the forehead, my sisters did the same. My dad had taken pictures of the doctors and my brother and my mom in the operating room and we got to look at the pictures. When he showed us a picture of my mom kissing my brother she said “I haven’t been able to hold him yet, they just let me kiss him before they took him to the NICU.” Although she was upset she let out a huge sigh of relief, because he was okay, we was alive, he was breathing, his heart was beating. He was so much healthier than we had prepared for. He was 4 pounds and 3 ounces, even though he was full term so that was the only unforeseen issue.

Later that day one of the doctors came out to talk to us. My sisters were both too young to be allowed in the NICU because flu season, but I was allowed to see him. So my dad and I walked down a long dark underground passageway which connected St. Josephs to CHOC. We got to the NICU and were guided into a small room with sinks on both sides. There we thoroughly washed our hands with warm water and non-scented soap, then after drying our hands and sanitizing them we were led into the NICU. It was a scary place, though they tried to make it as welcoming as they could. The sound of machines beeping, nurses and doctors rushing around and babies crying filled my ears. We were taken into a room where inside was Elijah, hooked up to an astronomical amount of wires and tubes. I reached for his tiny hand, it could’ve barely wrapped around my pinky finger. I totally fell in love with his flushed cheeks and beautiful eyes. I was unbelievably thankful and overjoyed that he was alive and even more perfect than I could’ve ever imagined.

This day was a huge event in my life. Not only did it encourage me to want to have a career in special education, it also lead me to become a more compassionate, caring, patient and understanding person. Watching my brother grow during these past 18 months has been so amazing. Although there’s so many doctors appointments, physical therapy sessions, and three surgeries, it’s all been worth it. Worth it because I get to see his beautiful smile and hear his laugh everyday. I’m so thankful for my brother and all the things his birth opened my eyes to.

by Daphne Sullivan

September 12, 2015 - 7:40 am

Jane Spicer Wilson - It is certainly a blessed life…one we were lucky to be blessed with for 25 years

September 12, 2015 - 8:23 am

Rebecca Hargraves Gomez - Daphne you always have had a beautiful heart and God has blessed you with great love, compassion and a gift of words.

September 12, 2015 - 8:21 pm

Sarah Sutton - Wow. What an amazing piece of writing. Thank you for sharing.

September 16, 2015 - 2:02 am

Laura Kueter-Woods - Absolutely beautifully told by a very special big sister!!

September 16, 2015 - 6:46 am

Jue Santos-Virata - Daphne you are beautiful inside out. Little Elijah is very blessed to have you. God bless your beautiful family.

September 16, 2015 - 10:17 am

Angel Cruz - gida
isodjlx tvaovds

October 26, 2015 - 3:20 am

Jennifer Thompson Mirelez - Oh my goodness! Your daughter is an amazing writer and what a sweet heart! Gave me tears of joy :). Thanks for sharing.

2015 Holiday Mini Sessions – SOLD OUT

The dates for mini sessions are:

Sunday September 27th

I have the following times open:

Sold Out

and Sunday October 18th

I have the following times open:


$175 Session includes:

15 minute session in Orange, CA (same location pictured above)

Online High-Res Download from private gallery  (approximately 100-150 images)

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