Childhood is a time of wonder and excitement. Your sibling is your best friend. She will reach for your hand and follow you anywhere. There is a special bond between siblings. Each day is a new adventure you will discover together. Days are spent using your imagination and playing secret games with each other. They are the only ones who know how you grew up. They share that experience with you. Thick as thieves one moment, sworn enemies the next. The friend you can't get rid of. They sometimes know you better than you know yourself. The happiest memories of your childhood include them. You are always practicing on them. Arguing, sharing, fine tuning the art of patience. Lessons learned the hard way and tough love, even at your weakest points. Your sibling. They make you the person you will become. Your forever friend.
I was so happy that this worked out and I was able to photograph this sweet family again while I was back in Buffalo. This location is a special place because mom and dad had their wedding right here. And now they are a family of four. So full of joy and happiness. The last time I saw them, that little girl was still in her momma's belly. Now she is 6 months old, smiling big gummy smiles and sitting up on her own! I am so grateful to watch all of your families grow and to capture memories like these along the way. And those baby gams. Always those baby legs and toes, I just love them!!
Some days, we are able to really embrace what is important in our lives. These little souls that seem to have boundless energy, also have unconditional love to give. They bounce from question to question and run from one place to the next. They long to soak in everything we are willing to share with them and provide us with snuggles filled with the sweet smell of baby shampoo. They see our good and bad and they love us for exactly who we are. In the midst of coming and going, sometimes, we are able to stop for just a moment and realize this will not always be how it is. Like anything else destined to bloom, they too will grow. They will soon have answers for all of our questions. Hugs will come more sparingly. We will miss the endless playing and eagerness to cuddle. We have the opportunity now, to bask in this time like warm sunlight pouring through a window. Embrace it and know, we're going to miss this. Be present in this moment, holding on to their hands and to these long days. We will look back on these images and remember when they would dance and laugh together amongst the blooming trees. How they screamed wildly when they were tickled. They won't always be little, but we will always have the pictures we made to look back on and remember what life was like when they were young. Just as every flower is different, so is every family. Not always perfect, but perfectly us.
We have known Shannon for awhile now, she watched all of my kiddos at the gym in Buffalo. The boys love her, and she was one of the few people that could manage Tess when she was an infant. The other sitters would call Shannon to find out how to get her to stop crying! I'm sure they miss us there. Haha! Well, now Shannon has a sweet bundle of her own and I was beyond grateful to have the opportunity to meet her adorable little guy.
This sweet boy was such a little character. As soon as we started undressing him, he was happy and smiling. I think we can make this a thing. Minimalist baby pictures. Just bring your baby and a white onesie! If you know me well, you know I love white on white, on white. Throw in those bright baby blues and big smiles, it was magic. So here are a few of my favorite baby pictures, maybe ever. I mean, look at that face!! It really fills my heart to meet and hold your sweet babies. Thank you for trusting me to capture this time in your lives.
Lauren and Joe are the sweetest couple. Not only are they gorgeous, they are warm and caring people who impact lives and make those around them feel good. Every person at their wedding seemed to feel this same way. All were smitten to see these two souls find each other. Their family and friends are just as incredible- so welcoming, kind, and eager to see Lauren and Joe say "I do." It was truly a beautiful day, full of joy and happy hearts all around.
Their day began at the fabulous Hotel Henry. This iconic architectural landmark is nothing short of amazing. Every aspect about this urban resort is intriguing, stemming from its historical background when it was designed as an asylum 145 years ago. Today, the hotel boasts a unique blend of historical architecture, combined with gorgeous modern elements. With all the trees and park areas in full bloom, it was the perfect Spring location for Lauren and Joe's modern take on an elegant, garden inspired wedding.
Groomservice did an exceptional job for the bridal party with hair and makeup, everyone looked beautiful! The bridesmaids wore unique, floor length gowns in blush, from David's Bridal. The Maid of Honor wore the same hue but chose a lace detailed, open back design by Hayley Paige Occasions. Lauren chose the most gorgeous, Sottero and Midgley wedding gown in champagne, with a jewel encrusted bodice and layers and layers of whimsical tulle. Delicate, rose gold jewelry, strappy heels from Bebe, and a cathedral length veil by Gorgeous Compliments completed her look. Lauren looked beyond stunning! All the girls mouths literally dropped when they walked into the room and saw her in her dress! So pretty!!!
The guys were total overachievers and were ready hours before Status Limo arrived. Joe and his groomsmen looked dapper in their classic black tuxedos from The Black Tux. Joe gifted Lauren with a simple and elegant bracelet and a card with the most lovely sentiments. Lauren got Joe a beautiful black custom watch before they exchanged vows. Everyone just adores these two, more wedding day gifts were exchanged, a few tears of happiness were pushed back, and we prepared to leave for the ceremony.
Lauren and Joe were wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony held at St. Joseph's Cathedral. The priest performed a heartfelt and interactive ceremony full of love for the couple. It was beautiful to witness. Cocktails and the reception were back at Hotel Henry. Shutter Dream Studio may have made Joe's day when they flew the drone across the hotel courtyard for some arial shots of the wedding party. It was pretty awesome! Costamagna Design did an amazing job making all a bride's style dreams come true. A perfect, pastel colored assortment of peonies, roses and sprigs of greenery made up the bouquets and boutonnieres, complimenting the blush and rose gold wedding details and providing a Spring vibe. The ballroom looked breathtaking. It was like a romantic garden party with cascading greens and pastel florals on champagne tabletops, filled with candlelight. Collecting antique glass candle holders seems to run in the family and was part of Lauren's vision for the reception decor. Her mother collected each unique, vintage candle holder and filled the tables with these treasures. Hand scripted placecards, framed photos of the bride and groom, and a memorial table were just a few of the many personal wedding touches. Perhaps one of the highlights of the night was the highly anticipated cookie table, "A Pittsburg Tradition." Lauren's sister, Katherine, and several others, baked over 300 cookies! Beyond the cookies was a 4 tiered, vanilla wedding cake adorned with blush pink and peach flowers, created by Ohlson's Bakery. Joe had his own groom's cake, a donut cake with vanilla icing and sprinkles. Yasss!
The speeches were thoughtful and from the heart. The love in the room for Lauren and Joe was palpable and there was barely a dry eye as everyone toasted the couple. There was so much dancing and fun at the reception. You have to love a couple with Bride and Groom beer funnels! Scroll to the end for one of our favorite wedding photos, ever!
Seeing these two and their families come together was an amazing experience. I truly believe that Lauren and Joe will "keep dancing" and continue to make each other happy for the rest of their lives.
Congratulations Laurent and Joe! We love you guys!!
Event Design: Costamagna Design
Venue: Hotel Henry
Chruch: St. Joseph's Cathedral
Wedding Dress: Sottero and Midgley
Veil: Gorgeous Compliments
Tuxedo: The Black Tux
Bridesmaid Dresses: David's Bridal
Maid of Honor Dress: Hayley Paige Occasions
Hair and Makeup: Groom Service Beauty and Dry Bar
Limo: Status Limosine
Cake: Ohlson's Bakery
Second Shooter: Mary O'Sullivan
Video: Shutter Dream Studio
7 years ago, this boy made me a mother. All 5 lbs, 7 oz of him. That tiny baby turned our world upside down and changed us forever, in the best way. Because of him, our hearts grew larger, patience stronger, and laughter more abundant. He is strong and loving, kind and fiercely protective. I am so proud of how well he has transitioned from a comfortable life in Buffalo, NY that he knew well, to a brand new one in Orlando, FL. He has adjusted to a new place, new schedule, new way of learning, and has made some great friends along the way.
It always amazes me just how much changes in the course of a year. He has been more shy than I have ever seen him. I suppose at this age, he's also learning that he can be vulnerable. He thinks armpit farts and chickens are hilarious. He is learning by himself that most superheroes are not real, but he still loves them. I feel I have a short amount of time remaining for him to want to watch cartoon movies with me, and snuggle while we watch. We are now reading books together, rather than me reading to him. He still asks for extra hugs at bed time, which I will cherish for as long as he continues to ask.
Most days, he is dressed in a superhero costume. If not a costume, it's mesh shorts and a superhero t-shirt. I had to make him change his two sizes too small Flash shirt for this photo. He immediately ripped it off, Hulk style. He loves adventure and all animals. He can talk for an entire car ride, asking question after question, but has started to read books on long drives. He loves playing hockey, soccer, and swimming. Most of all, he loves his family. He is beast of a boy with an even bigger heart. We are so proud of the person he is becoming.
Happy 7th Birthday, Bubba!
How can you not love this town? The architecture, the history, the food...New Orleans is amazing. So, I got of Orlando for the weekend and tagged along with my husband on one of his work trips and did some exploring while he was in meetings. I found so many aspects of this city intriguing. I love the meshing of cultures, the Spanish and French influences, the eclectic nuances throughout the city. Everything was just so alive. Music in the street, to-go cups for your drinks, the place is surreal. We saw a wedding ceremony decend out to the street with a full band and the whole reception danced down the street, following the lead of the bride and groom. You couldn't help but stop to watch! That is certainly new, grand exit idea, brides!!
We were only there for a few days, but I was happy to get back to kiddos. I feel like they grew so much in such a short time. Well, Tess is no longer sitting in a high chair since we returned, so she really is a big girl now! Being away from the ones you love for some time really makes you embrace the time you share with them. Mike and I had countless conversations about the kids, what they were up to and how we missed them. The wild life of parents! It was a fun trip and I'm happy to be home.
I took way to many photos...so I will apologize in advance for the overshare of buildings and all things random, quirky and NOLA related! Enjoy!
We stole a few minutes to take some quick photos before Reid's bedtime, while my three kids wrestled in the living room. Yes, Tess was right in there. Reid was teething and ready for his bottle, but I'm so happy we could catch him at this age, in their beautiful home, before the explosion of all things baby. Reid is the most smiley, chill little guy. He is a dream baby, sleeping 12 hours and excited to army crawl around the floor, stopping only to give the most adorable one toothed, drooling grin! I just love seeing Dustin and Caitlin as proud parents!
Mix of film and digital!
I was so excited to catch up with this sweet family while they were on their vacation at Disney World. The tiny newborn that I photographed 3 years ago, in Buffalo, is now running around and telling me stories about his adventures in Orlando! No longer a baby, he has become such an animated little boy. Both of these little guys had so much fun visiting all the theme parks and making sandcastles, daily, at the resort beach. What a nice break from the snowy winter they have had in The 'B'. The Grand Floridian is so beautiful, there is so much to do, and really, the place makes you never want to leave. They call Disney the happiest place on earth. This extends even to the Disney hotels. Coming from Buffalo, my kids were confused why we won't stay at Disney World for a week like all their friends did when they traveled down here. They think you sleep at Disney World and were not impressed that we could conveniently drive back to our house from the park. The Grand Floridian was pretty impressive. Everyone was so nice and the place was buzzing with happy families well into the evening. When I got into my car, it made me realize I was not actually on vacation. But driving home, sun setting and sandy toes, I realized we do kind of live in paradise. Although I deeply miss our friends and family in Buffalo, we are fortunate that so many come to the Orlando area for family vacations!
There is something about the last few minutes before bed or a nap. This little one is so snuggly. She will back peddle, scootch right into my lap, and look up at me. She lays her head back for a moment and sniffs her blanket. I know she is beyond tired, but these precious few minutes are so sweet that I allow her to linger. Perhaps, it is her way of procrastinating, but it reminds me of when she was a tiny baby and wanted to be held all the time. I notice her wanting to do everything on her own now and it is these quiet moments that I don't ever want to forget.
Pinky is her comfort when she is tired. All three of our children have a blanket they use when they sleep. Our oldest has a scrap of his, but after 6 years, he still sleeps with it. The many nights, naps, and trips out when they were too tired or sick to leave their beloved blankies at home. I know this sole pink blanket will be ripped and shredded very soon. Replacements will be ordered. Pinky has gotten us through the last days of nursing, fevers and teething, and sleeping on trips away from home. It smells just like her.
It is so hard to believe that 18 months have passed since she was born. Days are not perfect. There are tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants. But, she turns it on before bed. She scampers out from the bathtub and lies right on the floor, ready to be dressed in her jammies. I know she is exhausted. It's tough keeping up with two older brothers all day. I pick her up and she leans her little head against mine and pats my shoulder with her tiny hand. It melts my heart. I lay her down in her crib. She snuggles up with Pinky and gives me a very enthusiastic "Bye-Bye".
Maybe it's because I know this is our last baby, I am hanging on to every single memory. I keep trying to etch these moments into my brain or write about it so I don't forget these sweet memories. Maybe I'm just getting older and it's hard to remember anything! As they grow, we also grow as parents. We become more observant, more patient. I am learning to find comfort in the tender moments, amidst the chaos of the day, and know that although it seems they are growing much too quickly, we are all growing together.
Photographed on film.