Yesssss! What an honor to work once again with the amazingly talented Amanda of Raleigh Birth Photography. If you’re pregnant and looking for someone to document the day you give birth, Amanda is it. She’s not only an amazing talent, but an extremely calming presence – even when she’s shooting Nerf guns the size of a bazooka at her own children. AND SHOOT NERF GUNS WE DID! I have quite literally never seen so many Nerf guns in my life. When I arrived, they were laid out in an impressive arsenal on their couch. According to local lore, Amanda has refused to participate in any family Nerf Wars – until now. Yes, this was Amanda’s very first Nerf Wars, which she valiantly fought alongside (or against?) her husband Joe and three children, Michael, Lucien, and Fiona. That’s right – I’m not really sure who was on who’s team, or if there were any teams at all. It was just kind of a free-for-all of styrofoam ammo flying and me ducking for cover between shots. A good time was had by all, and afterward there was costumed dancing (Lucien [skeleton tutu] dances with the Carolina Ballet, and I actually saw him in last year’s Halloween program when he performed in Dracula!), Lego building (Michael is a skilled and esteemed Lego builder, and he has the multi-level McCallister’s house from Home Alone to prove it), and sorting through a Caboodle full of miniatures (Fiona has an entire Caboodle [yes, a Caboodle!] full of miniatures, and it’s my DREAM. Mini Reese’s Cups. Mini boxes of chicken tenders. Mini sodas. Mini cats. Mini bottles of Red Hot. I had to drag myself away). We ended the day with a good old fashioned “Draw on the Garage Door with Chalk” session, and it could not have been better. Love this vibrant and always fun family.

Cliftonnnn! I photographed this kiddo last year and his parents warned me that he was slow to warm up, but we were BFFs immediately. Something about people that like cats meeting other people that like cats and agreeing to always be friends. Clifton is my buddy. During this session he really enjoyed excitedly showing me things like his smoothie, the cup that he was drinking his smoothie out of, the color of his smoothie, the straw inside the smoothie, etc. He also enjoyed showing me his cat Jackson, who we once again gently pried from his stranger-danger hiding place to excitedly admire before he quickly ran away from us (we’re so sorry JJ, we love you). Clifton also liked having conversations such as:

Clifton: We went on vacation!
Me: Where did you go?
Clifton: We went on vacation!
Me: Yes, but to where? Was there a beach? Were there mountains?
Clifton: We went on vacation!

He’s my favorite. It was so nice to see this family again and to to see how much taller Clifton got and how much higher he can jump and that he likes kayaking now. He’s one of the most joyous little kids I’ve met and excited about everything. But mostly cats. And I respect that so much.


I was very excited to meet Clifton because I already love Hannah and David (we photographed their wedding back in 2016!). And I knew that Hannah loves cats, and she told me that Clifton also loves cats. I wore one of my many shirts with cats on it to their session to try and win him over, and I think it worked. He also seemed to trust me more when he learned that our cats have similar names (theirs is Jackson, ours is Jackie – both cats have the nickname of the other cat, as well as JackJack, Jackie Boy, JJ, etc). Let me tell you…Clifton really, really, really loves cats. He has a lot of cat stuffed animals. All of the cats are named “Kitty.” Out of these many cats, he does have a favorite Kitty who is gray, and who he wanted me to hold (Clifton is enormously sweet). He also was very keen on my idea to pose him on a stool surrounded by his cat collection, which I was incredibly excited about, and it’s a picture which I hope some day makes an appearance at his wedding. I love this family and their love of cats. We had a great time mowing the lawn, swinging on swings, collecting acorns and tomatoes, and playing with cars. But most importantly – talking about cats.