HeY! I’m Caryn DeFreez.
I'm the heart and soul behind Our Tribe of Five. I am a country girl, born and raised in southwest lower Michigan and still call this very place home.
I am married to a hardworking country boy named Donnie and a mama to three beautiful girls — Grace, Tinley and Allison. My family will forever be the driving force to creating images that stir the soul and capture magic. (you can follow my personal instagram at @mamatocubs).
If you were to ask me who I am, I would tell you a I am a mother. Being a mother was all I ever dreamed about growing up. I wasn’t the crazy excited girl getting to go off to college or globe trotting, I was the somewhat quite girl who couldn’t wait to be married and raise a family. Because of my love for all things motherhood, I picked up my first real camera after the birth of our first daughter and things just kept moving quickly from there. I never intended to build a business around my love of a photograph, but here we are and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
A few little facts about me:
01: I am a hunter. I love the great outdoors with every ounce of my being. There is something so magical about being unplugged high up in a tree stand with nothing but the sound of nature to surround you.
02: I am a minimalist at heart. Last year, my husband and I sold our home and 90% of our belongings and moved in with my parents so that we could have a home base for our girls while allowing us to travel the country in our new RV.
03: I have a huge family - so many cousins that I lost count. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of people who value family as much as I do. (Family last names that you may of heard of - Dodson, Sears, Wahlstrom, DeFreez, Strefling). I’m proud of these last names and the families that belong to them.
04: My nickname is Bear. I’ve been known as “Bear” since I was a little girl. Carebear actually, then shortened to Bear as the years went by. My personal instagram, mamatocubs stems from being nicknamed bear and having my own little set of bear cubs.
05: I freaking LOVE to bake stuff. I love family dinners and get togethers. It’s always been a dream of mine to create a cookbook full of my family favorites to pass down to my girls and to share with others.
06: I have angels in heaven in the form of my two sons, both born stillborn (one in 2008 and the other in 2013). Pregnancy has never come easy for me, one of the most heartbreaking things about my life, because motherhood was all I ever dreamed of.
07: I am very much a homebody. I don’t enjoy dressing up and going out. I am an easy going, laid back type of girl who is just fine with a glass of chocolate milk, a good show or a warm bonfire.
08: Back in 2016 I realized I was in the deep depths of postpartum depression. It changed me in ways I found to ultimately be a blessing (I’m a glass half full type of girl). The journey was life changing and life altering. I speak out about it often in hopes that I help someone in a similar situation.
09: I was an OB scrub tech delivering babies by C-section prior to photography. I also used to work in Pediatrics, surgery, ICU and Med Surgical. I ultimately left that career to be a stay at home mama.
10: I was a high school athlete. I played hockey, softball and basketball. If there were anything I miss about my high school days, it would be sports. I graduated in 2003, I can assure you my body no longer can run like it used to. Ha!
I am an open book, please don’t ever hesitate to ask questions. I’d love to get to know you as well. Shoot me a message and we can chat!
Buchanan Area Chamber of Commerce
Layin' Down Roots
Magic of Childhood
Buchanan Floor Hockey
Love our Big Kids
Moms with Cameras
Journey to Artist
The Folks Back Home
Friends of McCoy Creek Trail
City of Buchanan
Beyond the Wanderlust
M4h life in 52
The Vintage Honey Shop
Kids Rep Fails
My Magical Moments
Little White Arrow
Berrien County Youth Fair
Redbud Fitness and Lifestyle Center
Fire Keepers Memories
Looks Like Film Kids
Wild + Free
Hedley & Bennet
Color Chase Challenge
Sham of the Perfect
Hustlin’ in Heels.
Berrien County Record, Michigan Farm Bureau “Generations of Farm Families” Calendar, Honor Credit Union, Michiana Life, Levy’s Leathers