family

MINI SESSIONS 2017

Last December, I hosted my first weekend of mini sessions, and had such a blast! I was getting tons of requests for family photos for holiday cards and was literally running out of time/weekends in which to accommodate everyone. This ended up being a GREAT solution. I loved it, and I think my clients loved it too. Why? 

-Mini sessions are only 20 minutes as opposed to 40-60 minutes (wayyyy better for little kids!)
-Fewer options - sometimes we can be paralyzed by too many choices, in this case posing and grouping. A shorter time frame forces us all to focus and get excellent shots in a little window. 
-Budget-friendly!

Oltmans.Dec17.ANS.0006.jpg
Simpson.Dec17.ANS.0007.jpg
Dodson.Dec17.ANS.0015.jpg
McKee.Dec17.ANS.0031.jpg

I had a great time thinking through details, especially things that would make it fun for the kids. I brought snacks and candy (bribery always works!) in my kids' little red wagon, with balloons attached so that I could just be a mobile photo station in Forest Hills Park and allow people to find me quickly. I had some goofy Christmas props, and every family got to take home a special Christmas ornament. 

Oltmans.Dec17.ANS.0007.jpg
Crowther.Dec17.ANS.0003.jpg
Wendelburg.Dec17.ANS.0005.jpg
Kibbe.Dec17.ANS.0023.jpg
McKee.Dec17.ANS.0004.jpg
Kibbe.Dec17.ANS.0014.jpg
Kibbe.Dec17.ANS.0011.jpg
Simpson.Dec17.ANS.0010.jpg
McKee.Dec17.ANS.0024.jpg
Robinson.Dec17.ANS.0011.jpg
Oltmans.Dec17.ANS.0023.jpg
Dodson.Dec17.ANS.0035.jpg
McKee.Dec17.ANS.0021.jpg
Dodson.Dec17.ANS.0020.jpg
Marshall.Dec17.ANS.0018.jpg
Simpson.Dec17.ANS.0027.jpg
McKee.Dec17.ANS.0017.jpg
Marshall.Dec17.ANS.0014.jpg
Simpson.Dec17.ANS.0030.jpg

I will definitely do more of this this fall, probably in late October or early November, to give you ample time to get your cards ordered for Christmas. Stay tuned for more info!

ROBERSON FAMILY

This shoot came during a two or three week streak where I was in Downtown Durham ALL the time. Though it's not that far from us, I don't venture there very often, because I have this big mental block about city centers, chiefly because of parking. Thankfully, in Durham, it's pretty easy, and SO worth it! This city has so many cool little pockets and treasures, and I'm discovering new ones all the time. 

The Robersons are the new senior pastors of King's Park, and though I've known OF them for many years, this was my first opportunity to get to actually KNOW them while we walked around downtown. They are so kind and humble, and I was impressed by what attentive and compassionate listeners both Reggie and Bomi are, even while keeping their three sweet kids together. 

Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0007.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0009.jpg

I'm so thankful the Robersons were willing to explore downtown with me! We met at the bull statue and found pretty textures and patterns in the storefronts for their family photos. The historic Methodist church had the best tiny prayer garden that they very kindly let us use for some shots, which was a nice, peaceful break from the urban vibe we had going for the rest of the session. 

Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0013.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0019.jpg

These brothers were CRACKING me up the whole time... Every family has (at least) one clown, and I think you can see who it is here. I know family pictures can be exasperating for everyone, but I always have a great time capturing these hilarious personalities. 

Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0029.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0037.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0040.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0031.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0032.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0042.jpg

SWEETEST little Shiloh! Can you EVEN with these eyes!??!

Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0044.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0046.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0022.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0026.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0024.jpg

In addition to pastoring King's Park with Reggie and raising Nick, David, and Shiloh, Bomi also works at Duke with undergraduates. And ps, her dress is handmade, so all around #goalz. 

I loved getting to watch Bomi and Reggie interact with each other and their kids — I learn so much about parenting and marriage watching families like the Robersons. It's an added bonus to this already fantastic job!

Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0055.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0068.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0072.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0063.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0059.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0061.jpg
Roberson.Oct17.ANS.0005.jpg

Robersons, it was such a pleasure getting to know you and capture the beauty of your family in this season! Thanks for giving me the honor of doing this with you. : )

KIEFER FAMILY

The Kiefers! I love these people. We've been in the same church together for a long time, and they serve on staff and bless the city of Durham so much. Every time I am around Charles and Tiffany, I am inspired, challenged, and encouraged. Tiffany has been like an older sister to me since we moved back to North Carolina, and has gently and persistently invited me into several different leadership/service roles, which I probably would not have pursued on my own. She has changed me and helped me grow so much as a person, wife, and mother in the last two and a half years. 

So I was super honored when she asked me to do their family photos! Look at all these beautiful babies!

ANS_6436.jpg
ANS_6579.jpg

We spent a muggy October evening exploring the American Tobacco Campus (which is such a gem in downtown Durham), practicing our silly faces and high jumps. 

Also, how awesome are Joseph's yellow pants? I need them!

ANS_6882.jpg
ANS_6694.jpg
ANS_6676.jpg
ANS_6846.jpg
ANS_6825.jpg
ANS_6769.jpg
ANS_6781.jpg

I love seeing the broad range of personalities in big families — each one of these kids is so endearing and quirky and wonderful, and it's fun for me to try to capture these aspects of them in photographs. Also, they all have the BEST hair. 

IMG_3667.jpg
ANS_6813.jpg
ANS_6711.jpg
ANS_6927.jpg
ANS_6627.jpg
ANS_6587.jpg
ANS_6956.jpg

Kiefers, you guys are amazing and I am privileged to know you! Thanks for the honor of photographing your wonderful family. 

JONES FAMILY

This family is so dear to our family. I knew Matt & Jess before I moved to the West Coast, but since moving back, we've become great friends. They look to my parents for marriage/parenting wisdom, and now I feel like Dave and I do the same with them! These people are super humble, kind, generous, and HILARIOUS. Their girls, Lily and Ellie, are a trip, and are not only beautiful, but always overflowing with life and energy. They fill every room (and outdoor amphitheater 😂) they come into. In a word, the Jones family is FUN. 

Jones.Oct17.ANS.0008.jpg

They have also been foster parents to two sweet boys since last year, and so some of the photos have their faces blocked for their privacy and protection. These boys, especially because of the age they are, had me laughing our whole session. Keep your eyes peeled for the best photo of the day when J threw up a dab. 

We spent an hour running up and down the stage and steps of Forest Theater on UNC's campus. This was a favorite spot of mine in college, and is a GREAT location for family pictures. If you ever have the chance to see a performance here, do it! It's always so gorgeous and entertaining. 

IMG_8865.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0100.jpg
IMG_8864.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0030.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0058.jpg

These beautiful sisters!! Can you EVEN!?

IMG_8866.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0060.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0067.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0062.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0014.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0024.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0020.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0018.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0089.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0094.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0103.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0097.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0049.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0044.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0039.jpg
Jones.Oct17.ANS.0051.jpg

Matt and Jess both went to Carolina, and Matt was in the acapella group Psalm 100 while in college, so it was fun to have him playing music in this amphitheater on campus. The girls were WAY into the singing, and it turned into some screaming hilarity by the end. 

IMG_8867.jpg
IMG_8871.jpg
IMG_8868.jpg

I love you, Joneses!! Thanks for your friendship, and for the honor of photographing your beautiful family. 

SHE

This is old news everywhere else on Abby's social media, but, SURPRISE! We're having a baby! December 4!

We waited a super long time (longer than I think people normally wait) to talk about it, wanting to keep this secret close and celebrate just the two of us, and then with family. But once we found out we were having a baby girl, it felt safe to tell the world. 

The day we went for our 20 week ultrasound, the tech had quite a time determining whether Baby Stals was a he or a she. Baby was sitting with legs crossed, so the tech tilted my bench backwards (blood rushing to my head!) and kept jabbing me with the wand to try to get Baby to move into a better position. Finally, she said, "Okay, I think I can tell." Not super reassuring, but she said, "I'm pretty sure I know." Oh well. We'll take it. But if December rolls around and we actually have a son, it will be a hilarious story. 

We had the tech write the gender on a notecard and put it in an envelope with the photos, and then Dave and I went to breakfast and opened it when we were alone. A GIRL! Yay! We had both hoped it was a girl, and I had a little tiny inkling. I didn't even feel super sure, just knew that's what I hoped for. 

We've settled on a name, but will keep that one secret until she's born. Someone asked me about our reasoning for that the other day, and it was kind of fun to realize why it had felt important to keep it a secret, even from our families. After you announce a pregnancy, everything about it feels so public — your belly starts to protrude, people want to touch you and talk about what you're feeling all the time, compare symptoms, buy baby clothes, talk about who she'll be and what she'll look like... A name is such a big part of who a person is, that Dave and I just want to enjoy that between the two of us for a few more months. But we're excited to know that she's a little girl, and start using her name at home. It makes everything feel more real. 

I've been feeling her move around a lot more lately, which has been really fun. It doesn't really feel like butterflies at all — more like muscle twitches to me. 

I've been super blessed with this pregnancy. I had almost no morning sickness in the first trimester. The only time I felt bad was when I hadn't eaten in a  long time, or when I needed to take a nap. Naps and food pretty much cured anything. I was hungry ALL the time, and would get nervous when I had to be away from home (read: food) for more than an hour or two, so I packed lots of snacks and water. I didn't have any super strong cravings, except sometimes citrus-y things like lime popsicles or sparkling water with lemon or lime. 

In the second trimester, my hunger has subsided, and my belly started looking more pregnant around week 21 or so (I'll be 24 weeks on Thursday). That was around the same time that I realized that what I thought was gas or muscle twitches was actually a little life moving around inside me. Whoa. 

My due date is exactly a week after Thanksgiving, so I think it would be kind of fun to have a baby on Thanksgiving Day. But we'll see. I guess it's better to prepare to be a few weeks late than a few weeks early. Because I won't be able to travel for Thanksgiving or Christmas, a lot of my family will come to Seattle sometime in December, which I'm SO excited about! Baby girl is the first grandkid on both sides of our family, so I think it feels like a big deal for everyone. 

The natural question that everyone asks when we tell them we're having a baby is, "Are you so excited?!" And then answer is complicated. I think culture expects you to be excited right away. A baby is a great thing! You've been married two years, so of course you've been planning for this and you can't wait! 

And that's true. But it's also true that it's kind of overwhelming. It's kind of a huge life change. It's kind of something that you feel unprepared for. There are a lot of selfish, but real, things to think about — it will never be just me and Dave again. I will lose the body that I've known as an adult woman, and may never get it back the way it was before. Our finances are going to take a hit. 

Besides that, at the beginning, there was apprehension about the viability of this little life, because of our previous miscarriage. That made it hard to be "excited" when we still felt like we were holding our breath. 

But as time goes on, the excitement grows. I read recently that for the first half of pregnancy, the baby just wants to be left alone, to grow and develop in the peace and darkness of the womb. But after 20 weeks, she wants to be known, and she starts to make her presence felt. I've found that to be so true. For 20 weeks, I waited to "feel" pregnant. And honestly, I didn't feel that different until right around 20 weeks. Now it's like she's talking to me — "Hey Mom! I'm here! I can't wait to meet you!"

Me too, Baby Girl. Me too. 

 

20 week ultrasound!

20 week ultrasound!

The day I told my dad (which was the same day I found out). So sweet. :)

The day I told my dad (which was the same day I found out). So sweet. :)

The weekend I found out I was pregnant — Jessie's 21st birthday! They gave me a rose at the spa to celebrate. :)

The weekend I found out I was pregnant — Jessie's 21st birthday! They gave me a rose at the spa to celebrate. :)

When I saw Jessica and Abby, I told them it was possible I might be pregnant, but I wasn't sure yet. Then I took a test a couple of days later and it was positive!

When I saw Jessica and Abby, I told them it was possible I might be pregnant, but I wasn't sure yet. Then I took a test a couple of days later and it was positive!

8 week ultrasound — hearing the heartbeat for the first time was so reassuring. Can you see the little frog on the right side? That's her!

8 week ultrasound — hearing the heartbeat for the first time was so reassuring. Can you see the little frog on the right side? That's her!

My dad, who was exactly right in his gender guesses for all 4 of his own kids, was convinced this baby was a boy, so he started calling him Bart. 

My dad, who was exactly right in his gender guesses for all 4 of his own kids, was convinced this baby was a boy, so he started calling him Bart. 

10 weeks — had to start resorting to the ol' hairband around the buttonhole trick around this time... But you can't tell here. :)

10 weeks — had to start resorting to the ol' hairband around the buttonhole trick around this time... But you can't tell here. :)

11 weeks at Dave's birthday hike... Looking bloated here, I think because I didn't drink enough water that day. Was still trying to hide it from our friends, though! 

11 weeks at Dave's birthday hike... Looking bloated here, I think because I didn't drink enough water that day. Was still trying to hide it from our friends, though! 

12 weeks in Wilmington. Not much of a bump to speak of!

12 weeks in Wilmington. Not much of a bump to speak of!

17 weeks

17 weeks

17 weeks. Making sure my bridesmaid's dress for Abby's wedding still fits! And Butter is a troll, as usual. 

17 weeks. Making sure my bridesmaid's dress for Abby's wedding still fits! And Butter is a troll, as usual. 

18 weeks

18 weeks

19 weeks

19 weeks

21 weeks at Abby's wedding rehearsal lunch. Dad is being so protective dawwwwwwwww. :)

21 weeks at Abby's wedding rehearsal lunch. Dad is being so protective dawwwwwwwww. :)

22 weeks

22 weeks

pic6.jpg
Shopping for next summer... EEEE!!!

Shopping for next summer... EEEE!!!