Ohhhh remember baby Alden from last year who loved to stare into your soul with intense, prolonged eye contact? He turned ONE during this session (happy birthday, Alden!) and now stares into your soul slightly less (disappointing but age-appropriate). Now when he looks at you, it’s quickly followed by a clever little smirk like he knows everything about you from previous soul-stealing baby sessions and is definitely going to use it against you in the future. His smile is hilarious and almost looks like he’s incredibly proud of himself… the type of smile that happens right before you’d get a big head nod and he’d open his mouth and say, “Hey bro,” except he’s a baby. It’s incredible. I’d be confident too if I knew how to successfully fish for cats at the age of twelve months. Also, his parents are Kathy and Andrew, whom we love, so obviously this helps to bolster his self-esteem. He’s cute and charming. We did a lot of activities and so by the time we busted out the adorable water table that Alden’s parents bought him for his birthday, he was way tired, and I can say with hands-down certainty that Kathy was the person who enjoyed that table the most (this may have happened even if Alden wasn’t wiped out… Kathy really loved that table). We’re so glad we were there to document this little future-cat-lover (and hopefully extremely good secret-keeper) turn one.

Ya’ll know these guys so they don’t really need any introduction, but we will say that meet a lot of people on this job, but Jo, Brad, Laurel, and Sam are some of our favorites. They’ve kept in touch with us and invite us to their lake house and cook us dinner and let us play with their french bulldog and send us text messages when Carrie Fisher dies. We love them, and they are near and dear to our hearts. We photographed them last year with Frank, their newly adopted French Bulldog who has become, perhaps, the most babied and spoiled of the family and is possibly the favorite child (I know Laurel and Sam won’t be offended by this statement but will likely agree with me, so I feel like it’s fine to put that out there). They LOVE him, and how could you not, given that face!? And lucky for Frank, he was adopted into a family who took their adoption of him seriously, and so they are doing everything they can to get Frank back on a path to health and wellness after some pretty devastating news. Frank was diagnosed with Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis. Essentially, it’s an autoimmune disease brought on by a bad reaction to a vaccination. He’s had seizures and pneumonia, as well as other significant reactions to the disease and the drugs used to treat it. Currently, he is doing quite well on chemo and is a very strong, brave little pup. He is on the upswing and his family is taking great care of him in conjuncture with the NC State Veterinary Hospital Neurology Team.

So this year – we did their family pictures at the arboretum, but Frank was recovering at this current juncture from a recent hospital stay, so he was only able to join us for half of the pictures. He has since made significant strides and we are so happy for him! He is still sporting his veterinary hospital haircut in these pictures but also sporting a cool French t-shirt to represent his heritage. We’re so glad that Frank has this wonderful family in his life, and WE’RE so happy to have this wonderful family in OUR lives. Sam and Laurel remain two of our most favorite children, and they just keep getting funnier and more amazing as they get older. Probably because they have some pretty great parents whom we adore. Happy to photograph this family once again!

My notes going into this session said: “Elaine is good at finding four-leaf clovers, hates zombies. Henry = possible lead singer of Journey cover band? Charlotte likes to sing.” Turns out that Charlotte DOES like to sing and dance, and she prefers both of those things to be done to Hall & Oates and/or the Beastie Boys. I’ve never seen anyone dance so dramatically around a living room to “She’s Gone” besides myself. In a rainbow tutu nonetheless! John Oates would be so proud. We had a lot of activities to do on our roster, so unfortunately we did not get to hear her sing “Sabotage,” but maybe in the future (one can dream!). Charlotte is an outrageously smiley adorable small child who I want to scoop up and pat on the head.

Her parents are equally as adorable by themselves and together, but I cannot scoop either one of them up because they’re taller than me. Elaine did not spot a four-leaf clover during our shoot, but to be fair, we did not have her look for any. She was kept safe from any and all zombies. Henry, it turns out, was not a lead singer of a Journey cover band, but instead pretended he was for many years, just subtly and occasionally and vaguely enough to fool everyone around him. This went on for long enough that by the time people found out, they liked Henry despite the fact that he was never in a Journey cover band, and he got away with it. I’m taking notes on this plan of deception. Together, all three of these humans are really, really great and make a terrific marching band.