I'm not quite sure when our little boy turned into a big kid, but here he is. 5 years old today. I feel compelled to write this in scattered thoughts like the conversations we have. He will ask the most random questions and is thrilled to hear a ten minute explanation, especially during church or a movie. He loves every sport and will gladly play with anyone. He is quiet but full of personality. He likes to help me cook. He is happy to play with kids 3 years older or 3 years younger than himself. He is a night owl and only wakes up in the morning if his breakfast is ready. He is our middle dude. He loves his older brother and wants to do everything he does. He is also protective of his younger sister and endlessly entertains her. He is by far the silliest of the 3 and can make either one laugh in an instant. He is our peacemaker. Always the first to compromise or share. He gets very sensitive when he's overtired. He just learned to ride his bike without training wheels and is so proud of himself. He always "loses his question." He is aloof most of the time and can get lost walking to the car. Sometimes, we think he may actually be living on his own planet. But then he will put something together the we can't even do. The most frequent answer to a question we receive is still "Whaaaaat?" We adore his laugh and mischievous smile, his quiet confidence and willingness to help. Unless that includes picking up all the toys that he pulled out. If there are tools or cleaning supplies involved, he is in! He wants to be a hockey goalie and takes pride in putting on all the pads and practices the moves he has memorized while in goal. He loves being outdoors and swimming. I think he would sleep outside, if we would let him. He is my adventurer who loves to explore and gather treasure. Anything we find is exciting and he is just as happy to toss it as he is to find it. It does not take much to make this guy happy and we are so thankful for him!
Happy 5th Birthday Joey! We love you so much!
I am savoring these last, baby nurturing days
As each one slowly slips through my fingers.
You repeatedly show me that you are strong willed.
All too often,
Opting to hold my hand rather than be held.
Full of vibrant personality.
A bright smile shimmering when you giggle.
Little curls bouncing as you anxiously run to keep up with your boys.
I will continue to bask in the warm sunshine of your early morning snuggles.
Revel in the evenings when you crawl into my lap,
Gazing up at me as you gently pat my shoulder.
Time is a thief.
So I hold on tight to these moments
Like you now grasp my hand as we walk together.
I hope you always love me as much as you do now.
My little shadow.
My sweet baby girl.
Happy 2nd Birthday, P!
Orlando Family Photographer, Orlando Newborn Photographer, Orlando Lifestyle Photographer
I remember the days leading up to the birth of our second baby. The uncertainty. The guilt. Feeling like you are going to crush your first born's whole world. Bringing home your sweet baby, feeling so full of love, and wondering just how your toddler will react to this new little being who will take over their home. Then, something magical happens. Your toddler suddenly falls madly in love with their new sibling. They want to hold the baby, snuggle the baby, feed the baby. And so that sibling bond begins. This is something that moves me to the core. I love seeing it with my own children and I truly hope that they will always be close. I am so grateful that I was able to witness this bond with sweet Brennan and his new sister, Molly. Here are some of my favorites from Molly's in-home newborn session at just 5 days old. Big brother really loved her up!!
Motherhood is many things. It is a beautiful bond between a mother and her baby. Sleepless nights and long days filled with exhaustion. A love so deep that it cannot be put into words. Endless piles of laundry and spills in unexpected places. Hours spent holding our babies, gazing into their eyes and taking in their sweet scent. An overwhelming responsibility to guide these tiny humans, while second guessing every decision we make. It is a journey. One that is different for each of us. But the gravity of the title carries a depth that lives on indefinitely. Words of wisdom passed along from mother to child. Traditions kept over generations. As we stumble through this new role, while doing our best to appear graceful as we do, that bit of legacy is not lost upon us. We hope that the lessons we have learned and our own moral compasses will guide the way. That we are somehow capable of completing this journey. And that these little souls that have been left in our care will grow up to be good people, happy, and someday, wonderful mothers and fathers. They may even look back while on their own journey, and draw knowledge from some profound thing we once said or borrowed from a previous generation. We may not ever do it perfectly, but we understand this is a precious gift we have been given and we do our best, each day, to nurture it and help it grow.
Some photos from my session with sweet baby Milah at 4 months and her beautiful momma, shot in Buffalo, NY, are below. I just love witnessing mothers interact with their babies and this one, is a dream baby. And she arrived with her toenails painted pink!! I can't even!! These may be some of my most favorite photos ever!
This boy. He is so sweet and has so much personality. He could light up a room with his brilliant smile, shark teeth and all. He brought me the most beautiful hydrangeas from the garden and laughed as he told me his favorite ice cream is 'all the flavors'. He did his best to talk his parents into a rowboat ride, and may have his opportunity the next time he comes to this park. With tickles and hugs from each parent, he giggled and kept us all laughing. It is easy to see how much joy he brings to this family. He is the light of their lives.
Four months. It's such a magical age with a baby. They know we are their parents and they are finally interactive. Smiling, cooing, all those wonderful little baby nuances, yet they are still immobile and usually not teething. It's a really lovely season. Baby Patrick is such a sweetheart and has the biggest, most beautiful brown eyes. Although he was quite excited about moving his arms and legs, I hope I was able to capture this little swirmer's stunning brown eyes well! This baby boy was most content being raised up in the air or trying to eat his momma's shoulder. We forget about those funny little things they used to do, as they grow. I love this session so much because it really encompasses everything about having your first baby. Pure joy, tons of kisses, and doing basically anything to make him show those adorable, gummy smiles that we love so much!
She is a younger sister to two older brothers. Born with incredible resilience. Fiercely independent. She looks up to those boys like they are the light of her world, emulating everything they do. She is strong and feisty. She refuses to be left out. She antagonizes her brothers and tests us daily. She seems so advanced, doing everything early as she tries to keep up with those brothers of hers. We dress her up, but she likes to get dirty and throw herself at us with aggressive hugs. She demands attention and makes us laugh with her antics. She knows exactly what she wants and is not afraid to fight for it. She keeps us on our toes and answers us with a beaming smile when she gets caught. We say she is lucky because she has older brothers to protect her, knowing she will be just fine taking care of herself. She tries all day to be grown up, then snuggles up close to be babied when she is beyond exhausted. She lays in her bed and asks for each one of us to hug her goodnight. She breathes so much life into our imperturbable little world. We cannot imagine our lives without her, this fiery little girl.
I have just loved watching this sweet family grow over the last several years. Their littlest, and Tess are close to the same age and have similar, third child tendencies. These toddler/teenager inclinations can be both adorable and draining. The older siblings seem happiest when helping with the baby and the baby does not want any help at all. He is doing everything he can to prove he can keep up with the big kids. It is a familiar dance we move to around here. A constant mantra of "I do it, I do!" We help these little ones along gracefully, trying to balance their independence and common human safety. Constantly distracting when they can't quite make it. It is quite the juggling act, usually resulting in spontaneous tears rolling down their large, round cheeks. These babies turned toddlers have such strong will. I hope they will always maintain the tenacity they have now, this desire to do. But as I chase my littlest around, amidst all of her "doing", I'm silently begging for her to please stay a baby for just a little bit longer.
Children holding hands as the afternoon sun dapples the ground. Sometimes smiling, sometimes frowning. There is laugher and there are tears. Just as day turns to night, they will grow and flourish. These golden summer days etched in our memories to fondly look back upon. Filled up with nostalgia, remembering these capricious years.
"13 years ago, we lost one of the best, far too soon. We are so thankful for the memories he left us with, and the life lessons he so adamantly instilled in us. He would have loved spending time with his grandchildren - but they all know that Papa Homer is their angel in the sky." - Liz Manna
And so these grandchildren stood together, with some of the items their Papa held dear. Hand in hand, they laughed, jumped, danced together, chanting his name in memory. They say a hero remembered never dies. It is clear this man's legacy is very much alive.