Martha and Justin are dear friends of ours whose wedding we photographed way back in 2011 (!!) and whom we’ve played many games of Killer Bunnies with ever since. Martha’s from Chicago and Justin’s from Minnesota, but they met in Chicago. Martha left to attend Duke, and Justin joined shortly thereafter… and they both became Durhamites through and through. Here they adopted a cat and later had a real human child named Emilia, who is the friendliest and most adorable kid on earth. She is a fantastic hugger and excited ALL THE TIME! and also loves pizza. She is also incredibly patient, especially for a 2.5 year old. I’ve seen her look lovingly at pizza that wasn’t hers (while clapping) yet remaining seated (!) and just politely sitting there until her pizza arrived. I’ve seen grown adults who can’t do that and have zero chill when it comes to waiting for pizza (namely my husband).

Now they are sadly (to us!) moving to Minnesota, and taking their knowledge of amazing food with them (Martha helped us discover the joy that is pupusas, and, of course, El Cuscatleco). We will miss them greatly. They wanted a family session that documented a little bit of their time spent in Durham at the playground in Central Park and The Parlour, where Emilia makes the best ice cream eating face. It’s like the face you would make to imitate a tiger, only instead you’re just eating ice cream. I love her. And them. When we visit you in Minnesota you have to promise you’ll take us to see Prince stuff. xoxo.

Duke Gardens is absolutely beautiful, and is also very near and dear to this family’s heart. They go there as often as possible, and love wandering the grounds, reading stories in the gardens, and watching the chickens. They also love feeding the ducks and turtles (well, Skye and Tye do… Rui takes a few steps back and observes from a distance while being somewhat concerned about salmonella… it’s a family tradition). Tye also loves playing soccer and carrying around his adorable monkey lunchbox (and, obviously, eating two Locopops at the same time… because who doesn’t love that?!). I had a great time exploring with them, and also playing Wheels on the Bus on my Spotfiy. Skye and Rui introduced me to a new (to me) part of Duke Gardens that, despite all my weddings and shoots there, I had no idea existed: the kids’ area with a storybook circle, chickens, and an herb garden! I always make a bee-line straight for the bamboo and have just always managed to miss it. Also, I can’t be sure, but I’m fairly certain that my kiddo clients have the best shoes ever… and Tye is no exception with his DINO SHOES that I am 100% envious of. Loved working with this beautiful family of three!

Vivi // At Six Years

Ohhh, dear friends, you all know sweet Vivi! In case you are new here, below are my chronicles of Vivi’s life:
Vivi at two
Vivi at three
Vivi at four
Vivi at five
She is, without a doubt, the absolute sweetest girl and I adore her. She’s in school now (what?!) and also has entire conversations with me about all sorts of things (what?!). I realize that’s just normal behavior for a six year old, but I still can’t believe I’ve been photographing her for this long to have seen her change so much. She’ll likely be taller than me either next year or the year after. AND, and this year, while I’m still not technically posing her, she has started posing herself and telling me what to do: “Take a close-up of me here,” and “Maybe you should get a picture of that plaque on the bench?” were my most frequent instructions this year. She’s also a lot more safety-conscious… no longer running blindly toward dangerous situations, but instead standing quietly by bodies of water and being slightly concerned about falling in like the rest of us. But, some things have not changed: I’m still sprinting after her quite frequently, and she still loves and talks about Geoff (he’s retired so he wasn’t present at her session, she still remembered him!). She’s also still wearing the BEST cat shoes (similar to her cat boots from year four), and I’m still doing GIFs with her (she chose a running-in-place GIF this year, also similar to year four). Vivi – I am so glad that you are my subject each year and that I’m helping to capture you growing up (insert crying emoji here).