I love engagement sessions. It is so great to get to know a couple before their actual wedding date! Amanda and Matt are truly the sweetest couple, so kind, and just beautiful people. And, can I please have Amanda's hair?! Gah!! I had so much fun with them at their beach session. I can hardly wait until their summer wedding next year! For all of my friends in Orlando, here is proof that there are beaches near Buffalo and that it is not always snowing!! Only for about 7 months! Ha
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!
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!
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.
Maybe it was when the baby dipped his tiny toes into the sand for the very first time. That day she twirled around like the princess in one of her very own fairy tales that Daddy tells at night. That day he wanted every limb of his body buried deep into the sand while everyone laughed together at the beach. Some days we have milestones. Other days feel more ordinary. Each day matters. Stacked up, one upon the other, they are the building blocks of their childhood. Often these daily rituals of ours fade slowly as they grow out of them. When we look back on these ordinary days, years later, we remember those simple times as extraordinary.
We will always remember how much they loved bubbles. An age old pastime for children. But, do we really ever outgrow the fascination of these floating rainbow spheres? Magical smiles and shrieks of laughter as we simply blow this soapy mixture. When we slow down for a minute, we realize what really brings us joy. Spending time with these little people. Watching them, sharing in their delight. Getting caught up in these gleeful moments and feeling like children ourselves. We live for these memories. The knowledge that this perfect, happy time when this simple activity thrills them so much will float away like one of those bubbles as they grow older, makes it all the more sweeter.
And for some, happiness is simply holding their own bottle of bubbles! Here's to sibling love, choke hold hugs and childhood independence, even if it means spilling every container of bubbles!
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.
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!