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.

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!

Kathy and Andrew are beloved previous wedding clients of ours from way back in 2012 where their wedding culminated in a fierce game of competitive ping pong. We’ve since followed their many adventures living in Chicago, and now their current adventures back in the Triangle. Most of these adventures involve Andrew decorating his beard in some way, or pictures of their adorable cats Brewer (tabby!) and Addy (calico!). Now they’ve embarked on the brand new adventures of both homeownership and parenthood, and kindly asked us to capture a bit of both. Their newest addition’s name is Alden, and his favorite activities involve staring into your soul with intense, prolonged eye contact the likes of which I’ve never seen in a baby, and hanging out with his mom and dad (in between staring into their souls as well). And when I mean he stares into your soul, I mean HE STARES INTO YOUR SOUL. It’s the type of eye contact where you’re like, woah! I feel like this person knows literally everything about me right now, and I’m a bit uncomfortable, even though it’s a baby. He definitely is 100% probably clairvoyant. If I photograph him as a toddler or a teenager, I may make Kathy and Andrew sign a nondisclosure agreement depending on how discreet he is with his release of information.

When he’s not finding out literally everything about you via telepathy, he makes cute faces and has adorable cheeks and hangs out in his rad house. The cats aren’t troubled by him (probably because he’s able to communicate with them mentally somehow) and allowed us to give them some belly rubs while we were there! We did not give belly rubs to Kathy or Andrew despite them also being adorable, but I might have pat Kathy on the head once or twice because I like her haircut. We are quite happy to see our clients doing fab things years later, and we loved meeting the littlest members of Kathy and Andrew’s home!