It is wonderful photographing people you haven’t seen in a while, especially when those people have had two children since the last time you saw them, and those two children really love your branding even though they’ve never met you or used your services, and they’ve placed your stickers all over their house. I’ve come equipped to recent sessions with two stickers: my current branding with the two fruit bats, and my old “vintage” branding that depicts two classic Halloween bats in front of a moon. Eloise and Thomas, the children of Crystal and Jason, had already placed their parents’ vintage stickers around the house. So when I tried to give another one of these to Eloise, she seemed disappointed and said, “Oh…. yeah… we already have that one,” but she was excited about the new fruit bats. But by the end of the session, Eloise had changed her tune and was suddenly requesting “four more stickers – two for me, and two for my little brother” – one of each branding design. I diligently obliged and then went back to talking to Crystal about something. When I turned around a few seconds later, I discovered both to my delight and horror that Eloise had placed all four stickers in prominent positions on her parents’ vehicles. I think I ran around stammering “I’m so sorry” repeatedly while photographing my new moving billboards with my phone. Thankfully Crystal and Jason are good sports and are okay with accidentally advertising for me for the remainder of the lifespan of their cars (or until they get some Goo Gone, whichever comes first) because they are delightful. Their children are delightful – intelligent, thoughtful, smiley little creatures. And their dog Atlas is DELIGHTFUL. All caps. Love this good old boy. Sorry about the stickers everyone, but I do smile when I go to bed at night knowing that the bats are driving around town.
We have a special place in our heart for Cortney and James! We photographed their wedding nearly 8 years ago, shortly after our own wedding, and during a time of my life when I was quite sick with a mystery illness. Both Cortney and James are chiropractors, as well as Cortney’s dad, and their family was aware of my various medical problems because I was in the emergency room several days before their wedding, but released without a diagnosis (something that had happened multiple times that year, despite every test being run under the sun from both Duke and UNC). Cortney’s mom Paula convinced me to go see Cortney, and since then she diagnosed and solved not only that illness, but many, many more random illnesses to come. I am the queen of having completely oddball stuff go physically wrong and not having any conventional doctor be able to solve it, and Cortney has fixed me every single time. Gluten intolerance? Cortney! Random things that went wrong throughout my whole system as a result of gluten intolerance? Cortney! Shoulder problem that was repeatedly misdiagnosed by several orthopedic doctors? Cortney! Random stabbing pain in my brain after receiving a cortisone shot from another ortho? Cortney! She has diagnosed and fixed so many things, and I truly would be a hot mess of medication without her, instead of not being on any meds at all. So basically, Cortney is my lifeline, and I love her and owe my physical wellness to her badass wealth of knowledge.
In addition to being our chiropractic heroes, Cortney and James are also dear friends and neighbors. They have a dog named Buddy who is very fluffy and smiley and who I desperately have tried to befriend so I can pet. But alas, Buddy is quite shy, and despite meeting us repeatedly, usually hides behind James or Cortney when he sees us. However! We had a true breakthrough during this session by simply giving him dog treats. Turns out, Buddy is won over with food, and suddenly became our best friend and dog model. I was able to pet him a lot, and I was happy (we’ll see what happens next time we see Buddy out and about, but we’re hoping he remembers). We also attempted to win over their adorable human child Georgia (18mo), who was never quite as convinced about us as Buddy was despite a wide variety of coaxing tricks. But this was probably because she just woke up from a nap (to be fair, I am exactly the same way). However, she came out of her shell when walking buddy and being tossed in the air. Next time we’ll try giving treats to her too and see if it works. Georgia is an excellent, A+ dog walker who also enjoys dandelion puffs, baby dolls, the Lion King, spotting bunnies across the street, trolls, Buddy, and her mom and dad. Cortney and James woke up the next day to Georgia running around saying, “Carolyn! Geoff! Carolyn! Geoff!” so we must’ve made quite the impression on that sweet little lady. We love this entire family to bits.
Katie and Cameron were married in 2012 at Magnolia Manor in a wedding full of rope swing glory, and Katie and I have kept in touch since through our mutual love of cats. There has been good times with cats (YAY CATS!!) and bad times with cats (illnesses, and the unfortunate passing away of their adored cat Bug before our session), but through the thick and thin, I know I have someone to message and commiserate with when it comes to cats… and for that I am grateful. :) And now that they’re in a light-filled modernist house of awesome in Chapel Hill, we can also keep in touch with our mutual love of attempting to keep desert plants alive in a zone 8 climate with high humidity.
Now Katie and Cameron have an ADORABLE toddler named Grayson who enjoys playing with his furry brothers and sisters (brown doggo Birdie, black doggo Chevy, gray kitteh Tuna), as well as feeding them cat treats (dogs included), and picking up sticks and running around with them. His parents have excellent taste, so they bought him a Charley Harper tent which is the most beautiful and fantastic tent, but he doesn’t care to sit in it, so Tuna the cat has taken it over. When he’s not playing with sticks or throwing balls, he likes to pull flowering stems off Katie’s succulents despite our protests, and also throw his head back and make noises like a zombie (it’s a true skill). His parents are particularly proud of the zombie moaning that Grayson’s mastered, but Katie still maintains that her greatest accomplishment is having a kid who loves cats more than she does. We have a deep love for this family, and we’re so glad the incredible Grayson has joined their ranks (we’re pretty sure that Birdie and Chevy are grateful too since now they get to eat cat treats and bananas).