These are a few of our very favorite people. Jeanna is Geoff’s cousin, and Desmond and Elise are Geoff’s first cousins once removed. Now you know the official term for your cousin’s kids! I’m not related to any of them, but still think that somehow Elise and I must have 90% of the same genes. She’s been obsessed with Halloween from the time she could talk, and no matter what time of year it is, she’s frequently discussing it. Her costumes are always impeccable, and she has a particular soft spot for The Nightmare Before Christmas, and, in particular, Oogie Boogie (I agree!). She spent most of this session literally SPRINTING across the park at 100% speed and wildly laughing. When she wasn’t doing those things, she was discussing her Halloween costume for this year (Michael Jackson via the Smooth Criminal era) and naming every plastic horse in the park Smooth Criminal. She is wild and loud and 100% all the time and can identify sidewalk chalk pumpkins from yards away and run to them like a Halloween beacon and she is my spirit animal.
Desmond is her older brother who is a fun-loving goofball who is way, way into climbing anything and everything. He’s into Star Wars, and is going as a stormtrooper this Halloween. If any of you have ever heard us refer to our light-up plastic pumpkin we keep in the living room this time of year as “Mr. Lights,” it’s because Desmond named his pumpkin that when he was a toddler. We adopted the name (which we think is brilliant) and we’ve been calling our pumpkin Mr. Lights ever since. Desmond is a smart, thoughtful, happy kid who is SO polite and sweet. They wanted to ride boats at the park, and a little girl he didn’t know wanted him to sit with her, so he did. We have the best little first cousins once removed. AND the best cousins. Jeanna has always been one of my favorite members of Geoff’s extended family and my friend in short-hair solidarity. We have the same hair type, and we’ll grow it out to a bob, only to realize our mistake, and cut it all off again in a cycle that’s repeated itself for years. She’s an incredible mom to these little kiddos and a great cousin to us. We love all these people!
Vivi! What an amazing, adorable, ginger-headed toddler that there ever was. Her parents contacted us to have a session with Vivi as she recently turned two. The parents explicitly wanted absolutely not part in the photos themselves, and they warned me that it’s pretty much Vivi’s world, we’re just living in it. We were told that she would run, pick up sticks, play with rocks, and pose for no one… which, really, is our ideal client. So we met them in a park and spent a chunk of the evening literally running around after Vivi and attempting (mostly successfully!) to get the camera to focus on a constantly moving object. She did indeed pick up sticks. She did indeed play with rocks. She found a leaf, but this didn’t interest her for too long. She saw the camera, and then proceeded to say, “CHEEEEEEESE!” as she ran in the opposite direction of me. She loved Mr. Geoff, but most small children do (probably because Mr. Geoff’s not entirely sure how to approach small children and they can sense it, much like our cats flock exclusively toward people who are allergic to them).
Vivi also had a keen interest in all potentially dangerous areas of the park such as stairs, old farm equipment, and a stranger’s dog. Halfway through the session it started to pour and Vivi ran out from the overhang, stood in the rain, and looked entirely and completely confused. Then she’d laugh up at the sky. Then she’d look confused again. She wasn’t sure whether or not she liked it or wanted to be in it, but she had a hard time staying away from it, so we decided to go with the flow and follow her around in the rain for a while, still picking up sticks. She is, clearly, hilarious and amazing and kept us laughing the entire time. I think this age group has it best. Sticks, rocks, laughter, adventure, and having people chase after you all the time to make sure you’re okay and to give you snacks.