Yesssss! What an honor to work once again with the amazingly talented Amanda of Raleigh Birth Photography. If you’re pregnant and looking for someone to document the day you give birth, Amanda is it. She’s not only an amazing talent, but an extremely calming presence – even when she’s shooting Nerf guns the size of a bazooka at her own children. AND SHOOT NERF GUNS WE DID! I have quite literally never seen so many Nerf guns in my life. When I arrived, they were laid out in an impressive arsenal on their couch. According to local lore, Amanda has refused to participate in any family Nerf Wars – until now. Yes, this was Amanda’s very first Nerf Wars, which she valiantly fought alongside (or against?) her husband Joe and three children, Michael, Lucien, and Fiona. That’s right – I’m not really sure who was on who’s team, or if there were any teams at all. It was just kind of a free-for-all of styrofoam ammo flying and me ducking for cover between shots. A good time was had by all, and afterward there was costumed dancing (Lucien [skeleton tutu] dances with the Carolina Ballet, and I actually saw him in last year’s Halloween program when he performed in Dracula!), Lego building (Michael is a skilled and esteemed Lego builder, and he has the multi-level McCallister’s house from Home Alone to prove it), and sorting through a Caboodle full of miniatures (Fiona has an entire Caboodle [yes, a Caboodle!] full of miniatures, and it’s my DREAM. Mini Reese’s Cups. Mini boxes of chicken tenders. Mini sodas. Mini cats. Mini bottles of Red Hot. I had to drag myself away). We ended the day with a good old fashioned “Draw on the Garage Door with Chalk” session, and it could not have been better. Love this vibrant and always fun family.

There’s nothing better than roaming around your backyard at dusk in the summer as kid. When you don’t have school the next day, every night is the weekend. And if you’re lucky, you have lightning bugs, s’mores, lemonade, two dogs, enormous trees, a giant river, and some friends who join you for a game of Ghost in the Graveyard. I could not have been happier to capture such an evening up in Roanoke Rapids with this beautiful family! It was the perfect night and I went home happily smelling of campfires and deet. I went up to photograph Sasha and Brandon, who have the most beautiful property overlooking a huge and beautiful river where Brandon likes to fish. Sometimes he’s joined by Cooper, who alternates between fishing and swinging in a hammock and goofing around with his younger sister Everly. Cooper and Everly are super great kids. They were a total joy to photograph – both camera hams, both friendly and fun, both SO sweet to me and welcoming. Everly loves doing cartwheels and running around. Both older kids love taking care of Isla, the youngest, who follows both of them like a hawk (well, maybe a little bit slower than a hawk because she likes to wear her older brother’s Crocs and then kind of carefully teeter through the yard). All three kids love hanging out at the river enjoying s’mores and time with their parents and dogs. While we didn’t catch any fish, we did catch some lightning bugs and some great memories on camera (okay that was kind of cheesy but it was a fun night).

THESE GUYS! We have become fast friends with this family through our mutual love of horror movies and rock music and cats and fun clothes and cheese and skeletons and 28 Days Later. We love them very much. Their children are A TOTAL BALL OF ENERGETIC FUN that could probably power a small country if someone could figure out a way to plug them into the power grid. They’re fast. They’re wild. They like Andrew WK dance parties and they’re obsessed with the movie Labyrinth. There has never been anyone in my entire life that’s ever been more excited to see me than Oz. Spoiler alert to my own self-esteem: I think maybe Oz is excited to see everyone, but I’m going to keep pretending that he likes me the most.

Both Vera and Oz launch straight into 10 minute overlapping monologues when I see them, and then once I’ve been whirlwind updated and usually assigned a pair of sunglasses or a specific spot that they’d like me to sit, they will usually take turns sitting with me and telling me about Pokemon or Peppa the Pig until they go to bed. They are absolute sweethearts and totally wild and I hope they never change. The entire family, like myself, loves what Christie calls “aggressively patterned” colorful clothes, and I think this is the best description ever. There are also 2 cats: Eggroll, who is my best friend forever orange boy, and Jayne, who is a beautiful white cat who also likes me but really also loves her sleeping spot in the closet. There are also 2 dogs: Butters and Klaus, both Corgis, both love eating hot dogs that Vera accidentally drops on the floor. I love them all and want to scoop up this entire family and give them a giant hug or live with them forever in a bounce house.