Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.
The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants. ~ Johnny Depp
It isn't fair to make this post just about Lily and her pup, Betty, because their doting parents are also incredibly lovely people whom I enjoyed my time with tremendously. But, I mean, come on, those two girls are clearly the stars of the show in their world.
77 sessions 10 cities 5 states 34,500 frames (approximately) 385 kisses (at least) 237 family members 12 new babies; 12 ice cream cones 10 tacos 9 donuts 2 lollypops 1 candy cane and >100 smarties consumed; 5 guitars strummed 3 tractor rides 2 ears pierced 1 father-son karaoke rendition of Ring of Fire, more noses picked than I'd like to remember, and an infinite amount of LOVE. 2014 made my head spin in the absolute best way, and it wouldn't have been what it was without all of these incredible people trusting me to capture their real beauty and true love. xo, PQ
I'm always prepared to really have to work when I photograph a newborn with an older sibling. There are so many dynamics at play and changes afoot that even the most well-planned photo session can get derailed. And it's no wonder, it's a lot to expect of a little person whose world has just been flipped upside and inside out. So I went into this session expecting to have to charm, coerce, and even beg if I had to. I had a pocket full of Smarties that I was ready to disburse as frequently as needed. But nope, none of it was required with Miss Annabelle. She might just be the most proud and loving big sister I have ever encountered. She spent nearly our entire session whispering to Edward: Ooooo, it's okay, Eddie. I love you, Eddie. You are such a good baby, Eddie. I love you, Baby. Don't cry, Baby. And on, and on, and on with the sweetness, while I just hung back and snapped on. I love a good challenge, but I won't lie, it's nice when the kiddos take it easy on me from time to time.
That thing where despite all the raw emotions running rampant during those first weeks of parenting, the sheer love between brand new parents and their sweet baby shines through. I love that thing.
Hopefully Taj's mama Audrey won't mind me sharing what she said to me, because I thought it so perfectly summed up the heart of parenting. She said: I have never known love (or fear) like this before.
Doesn't that just say it all?
If you've read this blog for more than five minutes you know I am plentiful in favorites; I used to think it was impossible to pick a favorite, until I realized that favorites aren't exclusive. I don't have a favorite food, song, movie, pair of boots... you get the idea. So when I sit down to write a blog post I start nearly every one calling the family in the photos "my favorite" and then scratching it because YOU ARE ALL MY FAVORITE. And trying to narrow down a year that was cram-packed with awesomeness, into a select handful of favorite images, well as far as I'm concerned, it just can't be done; keeping this one under 200 was almost more than I could handle. In the end, I'm sharing one hundred and seventy-something favorite images from 2013, yours and mine, ours together.
I will never be able to express enough gratitude to you for what you have all given me over these years together, so I'll just keep saying it every chance I get: thank you.
If George had his way, his sister would be called Baby Burger; thankfully his parents have known for years that her name would be Hazel. I'm alternating between calling her Baby Fauxhawk and Baby Fuzzhead. I mean, SHE'S SO FUZZY! Alright, I'll try to calm down, but thing is, Kristine is one of my nearest and dearest, and we had our first babies around the same time, and I took photos of George at 2 days old in the hospital, and I'm just SO EXCITED that Hazel is finally here.
But not as excited as George. That boy was born to be a big brother, rocking the same big-bro t-shirt two days in a row, bouncing with excitement, and climbing all over whoever was holding Hazel. Sure he pouted a little during my visits, but only because I asked him to let me take some photos without him in them. I know, I'm so mean. He was right there when she cried, telling her "it's okaaaayyyy" in the sweetest little big brother voice, pressing her little button nose, changing her diaper for the first time like a champ, and proudly holding her on his lap for their first photo as a family of four. If my heart was skipping beats, I can't even imagine what their parents must have been feeling. Their parents. So fun to think my friends finally have the set of siblings they've been dreaming about for years.
I don't have adequate words for how much I loved this session, this house, this baby, these dogs, this FAMILY. Everett Wayne and his strong armed Houdini-style swaddle escape tactics; Layla and Sonny, their big ears, curious eyes, and snorty snuggles; Adam and his baby-whispering and dog wrangling skills, love of coffee and beer; Misty and her ease with this whole new motherhood thang, her green eyes and calm smile, and her familiarity that had me walking away wondering Is she someone famous that I should be recognizing? That front window, those camellia bushes and cherry blossom trees, their movie theater seats on the porch,the floral curtains, vintage camera, and record player, their comfort with me, as if we were old friends... see I told you, I don't have the right words so I'm just listing all the things that were tumbling around in my head as I drove home from this session all up on Cloud 10 and beyond.
Oooo but it's Wednesday, Franny Day around here, and before her episode of Blue's Clues ends I've got to hi go on this post, so I'll just leave you with my blissed-out ramblings and hope you get me, and don't just click away thinking I've finally jumped the shark, or more accurately, the unicorn.
My first session of 2013 was scheduled to be a new family I've never photographed, so you know, new year, new family, seemed right, and I was, of course, excited. But due to illness that session got bumped out to later in the month. And so it was, these lovelies were my first session of 2013, just as they had been my first session of 2012. This time around, as you can see, there was an additional member of their crew: Fergusson. You may also remember their session last fall,when Baby F was still warm and cozy on the inside. So you know by now that I really love these guys, and was naturally thrilled to start my year with them, again, and delighted, as always, to witness and document their family through these changes.
On this cold and gray morning we sipped black coffee by their big front window, read stories in Seamus's bedroom, turned lamps on and off (much to Mr. S's chagrin, who is a fan of ALL LIGHTS ON!); we swaddled, diapered, and nursed Fergus (okay, Megan did that), we marveled at his little elfin left ear, I scratched loyal Phoebe's tummy, Jack and Seamus prepared pizza dough, and Jack bribed Seamus into photo cooperation with offers of smoked pork belly and dates, while Tom Waits's Cookie Monster voice came through on the speakers.
The ground outside was frozen, the mood inside was warm, and 2013 was kicked off in the best of ways: with love and open arms.
I could type out thank you in every language; I could thesaurus the heck out the word gratitude; I could drive over to your house and bow down at each of your feet (well actually, that would just be weird); none of it would accurately convey the love I feel for those of you who have invited me into your worlds, and trusted me to capture your magic moments. Looking over this year in photos and zeroing in on my favorite moments of yours makes me feel all heart fluttery and bursting with love. Love for you, my clients, my people, YOU made 2012 an incredible year, filled to the brim with unicorns and rainbows. And though it feels inadequate just typing it, please feel the hugs, see the tears of appreciation, and know that I say it with as much love as I have in my heart: THANK YOU!
(hey photographers, you know that thing where you don't realize until it's too late that your camera bag was in the frame? yeah, that.)
Andrew gazed from his crib at the mobile his papa brought back from a recent trip to Thailand, then he showed me some of his tiny infant smiles; we went outside where he squawked at the birds up in the trees, or maybe he was telling us that he needed a little food and sleep, so we went back into their home where Andrew promptly fell asleep in mama's arms, to the astonishment of his parents who insisted he never falls asleep while nursing. Nor does he sleep in the living room, apparently, but there he was fast asleep on the couch as we all sat around watching him. Sleeping babies are just so fascinating. I remember watching Franny as she slept, mesmerized by her little features, and her whole human beingness. I would watch her sleep and think, she was just in my belly, I made her, she's mine, she's a person, she'll be an adult some day, and other overwhelming and complex hormones-surging thoughts. Oh but we were talking about Andrew, sweet sleepy Andrew who gave me plenty of time to catch that sleeping-babe-look from every angle. He woke up ready for a little snuggling from mom and dad, and then I was on my way. Another lovely session with a new family; my heart is full.
Okay, so it's the dog, not the baby, though wouldn't it have been funny if I had been all, no really, the baby's name is Indiana Jones! And they call her Indy, but I prefer the full name, and I don't even know why I'm talking about this (day 5 of my blog-a-thon and I've already lost whatever writing ability I may or may not have had to begin with!).
I have a list of things I want to talk about on the blog, and I know I did it once already this week, but I have to share a response from Robin to seeing these photos: she said the photos solidify that Oliver is indeed an "80-year-old man trapped in a 4-month-old's body." Ha! I looooove the old-man-babies; Franny looked so much like my grandfather when she was this age. And I love that we captured Oliver in his geriatric-baby stage, because I'm guessing the next time I see him, he is going to look more like a baby-kid.
This is my sixth blog post this week, so can we just say that this baby is gorgeous, his parents are adorably smitten with him, and the photos speak for themselves? Good.
Happy Friday! xo, PQ
I first photographed Alma when she was just over a week old, or at least I think that's right, she may have been two weeks, it's been a while and I've seen her enough since then that I can't actually remember. But she was brand new, and her parents were captivated by her, and I remember feeling so grateful that I was able to capture that special new time in their lives for them. And now, now Alma is a big sister to sweet little Nora, and I was lucky enough to get to capture all her newness, and Alma's new role, and their whole little family unit as it had grown from three to four. It's a pretty special honor, being invited into a home, being gifted the title of "family documentarian,"I don't take it lightly. In fact, I sometimes just sit with it and take in the power of that role; it feels both a tad overwhelming and entirely awesome.
Thank you, lovely families, all of you who welcome me into your world's again and again, you make this girl feel mighty lucky. xo, PQ
Keli called me somewhere around 20 weeks into her pregnancy and cried over the phone as she described what she wanted from me: to capture the moment her daughter, Olivia, sees her new sibling for the first time. No big deal right? I acted all nonchalant, yeah yeah, of course I can do that. Because I knew I could do it, if all the stars aligned. But hospital rooms don't always have the greatest light, and you know, I was going to have to time it just right so that I got there before Olivia and her dad got there, and station myself in place, with good light and a cooperative newborn (and no interference from hospital staff) just at the right moment. I was pretty sure there was NO WAY it was all going to come together, but I was also quite certain I wanted it to, so I had to try. And uh, well, the stars freaking aligned people. I mean, right?!
Welcome to the world, Severin Wilder. Though undoubtedly there will be days your sister complains about your existence, know this, you were extremely well loved by her from the first moment she saw you. I feel so lucky to have been there to witness it and capture that love for your family. If only I had been able to record the sweet things she said to you; the soundtrack to this scene as it played out was entirely tear-worthy.
Welcome to the world sweet babe.