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 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!
I remember 8th grade being such a unique and transforming year. The feeling that the end is near, but to believe that end is a new beginning, is hard to fathom. It's a huge step moving from middle school to high school. There is the physical transition to a new school and all of the emotions that follow. Friends moving to different schools. Feeling sad to move in a different direction. Excited for the new relationships this journey will bring. Learning more about subjects you never thought you'd care about and learning so much about yourself along the way. It's a beautiful and emotional time. These young people, our daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, grandchildren...they will all go through it. My children may not be at this age yet, but it is coming all too quickly.
I remember thinking no one could understand. Being an adult now, I know that I really can't understand. Things are very different for every generation. Sure, some of the struggles will always be the same but I know it was sometimes hard for me and some days may be the same for them. Growing up and knowing it. It's a wonderfully fun and incredibly scary thing. I may not always understand, but I can listen. My hope for every young person is that they know they are smart, kind and brave. I hope that we give them the tools and confidence that they will use to succeed. They may be fearless or fearful, but they are the future. They are our future. I truly believe that they will be better, for they have to be. They are ours.
I had the pleasure of spending the day with this little love, in Buffalo, right before we left for Orlando, FL. Miss Isla is the sweetest baby girl with the most beautiful nursery. I love the white and pale pink decor with gold accents. So pretty!! Jenna did an amazing job making this room both cozy and chic! New parents Jenna and Matt are already super comfortable and so calm and relaxed with their precious little girl. Isla is normally super sleepy, like has to be woken up for feedings and conks out as soon as she nurses, but she decided she wanted to be awake for awhile on this particular day! Baby girl can eat!! Once she was beyond full, she slept right through the whole afternoon. Isla already has such long, dark lashes and chunky baby cheeks. She is SO cute! Hanging with this little dolly will definitely make you want your own newborn, just as adorable and squishy as her!!
So this is happening. In a few short days. Wow!! It will be all green and sunshine and no snow. What will we do with ourselves?! I think we've packed in as much as we could these last couple of weeks. Lots of visiting with friends and family, eating out at all of our favorite restaurants, and spending time in this little house we bought 4 years ago, never planning to live in it for long, and it has become our greatest sense of the word "home". Even with it's age, never really converting it from a double to a single family residence, and all of the many flaws that have driven me crazy, we will all miss this home of ours. Yes, we will be back for summer but it will still be different, secluded to the upper apartment. I believe that Tommy will remember this place. All of the many "battles" he and Joey have had dressed as super heroes, snuggling up in our bed, playing bubble hockey in the basement, begging to cross the street to play with the "Baloney boys". I really hope Joey remembers, this is the only place he has ever lived. Mini stick hockey is played daily and he sets up all his Starting Lineup hockey guys on "the ice", which varies between our living room floor and the hallway. He uses the Dustbuster as a Zamboni to clean the ice. It is so cute! Tess will have many photographs to remember her first home. I feel change is much harder for me after I've had children. I'm continuously second guessing every decision and wondering if it's right for us as a family, for them. As Tommy keeps telling me he's "already 6 and a half", I can't help but believe that these days we are living - yesterday, today, tomorrow, these will be the good old days. The times when the kids need us, they still think we are cool and they want to hang out with us. These are the times we will look back on and think, "remember when." I find myself reflecting on how big the kids have gotten. When did they grow up? I feel this is magnified as I'm packing up our things and deciding, sometimes gleeful and sometimes with a heavy heart, what we will bring with us and what will be donated or thrown in the trash. As 2017 comes to a close, new beginnings occur for everyone. It's hard to say goodbye to this life we have built in Buffalo, but our new beginning will be to a place where we have family and friends, a place that is familiar and a place that is warm and sunny! 2018 we are (almost) ready!!!
And here are some film scans from the last time we were in Orlando. P was her usual, cooperative self. One day, we will look back on these and laugh! Thanks, Dad, for making me get in a couple photos to calm her down. Don't mind my greasy top knot. Although who am I kidding? That is how I usually roll!
There is nothing cuter than doggies and babies and this in-home newborn session has both! Baby Oliver is the sweetest little boy. He is such a good baby for his parents, sleeping soundly most of the time. He's a tiny little thing, tipping the scales at just over 7 lbs. Maybe that just seems tiny to me right now as my baby is currently waddling around in 24mo clothing! Oliver Gray made his debut just a few weeks before Christmas, making the most special gift for the whole family!
At one year old, this little guy is all smiles. And how can you not notice those huge, beautiful blue eyes?! He's a little charmer. Jeffrey definitely lives in a football household. He must enjoy cheering on the Buffalo Bills. His favorite moves are clapping and "touchdown" where he throws his arms up over his head! He is the most adorable little fan!!! The photos of Jeffrey in his buffalo sweatshirt and that little crocheted blanket, I can't even take it. I love all of his animated faces! That blanket was hand made by his Aunt. It's so gorgeous, I want an adult sized version!! Happy first birthday sweet Jeffrey!