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I am so going to enjoy raising a boy… (rocky mount, nc photographer)

This is a McDonald’s hamburger and half a “Wowbutter” sandwich taking front seat in the car that only took him three minutes after purchase to destroy.  All it needs is a plastic bag hung from the window and it would be perfect for the shoulder of Hwy 64.

Josephine Casanova - Bahahhaaa my son does the same thing with his cars! I always find fries, bread, pizza….etc in there. Boys!

you. (rocky mount, nc photographer and mom to preciousness)

Of my three I think I could write a post about you every day and use no words.  The entire story is always on your face.

Today, this sweet haircut you gave yourself.  All of those beautiful bangs.  Chopped off.   I was angry for a few minutes, but have learned to let the little things go.  And later you came up to me with those puppy eyes and stood next to me with your arm around me: “but you still love me.”  Thank goodness – thank goodness you really hear me when I tell you that.  That you could never do anything that would make me not love you.

And today you showed me your “tricks.”  This is your new love – to show us cool tricks.  These tricks of yours are some translation of gymnastics, breakdancing, and an almost-four-year-old’s sheer joyful heart:

Thank you for all the preciousness.  Your precious cool tricks and those precious striped leggings and sparkly shoes.  And even that sweet, precious haircut.  It actually makes me smile every time I see you.

You are the bomb diggity.

the year of jubilee (rocky mount, nc photographer)

Meet Christie – I think she might be my red-haired, Southern twin.  Thanks for humoring my questions, Christie!  From our most recent chat:

I remember a few moments during our session where you were sitting apart from the kids, watching them play with their dad.  And you were contented and smiling – you said something about this being your Year of Jubilee.  Do share.

Last year – 2010 – was a really difficult year.  The worst year of my life so far.  I honestly wondered if I had done something to make God unhappy – it almost felt like it must be a punishment.   At some point, though, I had a moment of clarity.  And it was confirmed when friends from church came over and said God had these words for me – that this would be my Year of Jubilee.  The word sort of tickled me – “jubilee.”  But basically she was saying that this would be our year of favor and I took it to heart.  It was like permission to move forward and dream again.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen.  I decided to walk in it [my year of jubilee], even before I felt it.  That’s one of the reasons that we decided this was the year to do pictures.   I would have normally been more frazzled at the session but I had a peace about it.   Even down to that yellow dress.  An hour before our session I had nothing picked out.  And then I put that on and Peter said you look pretty and I even felt pretty, and that’s just not something I say about myself.

Things are just really…good for us now.

And three boys – is it really as difficult as some imagine?  I mean, do you get a lot of comments about it in public?

Yes, and it bothers me.  I want people to know that children are a blessing.  I only know boys because I only have boys.  Sometimes I think people are limited in their thinking about boys; honestly, when I think about my boys I see their potential.  I am teaching my boys to be Godly leaders…and people should be grateful for that.  I think it’s an honor to have boys.   [pause]  And they’re so sweet…they love their mommas.

Do you have any parting words?


Honest.  Love it.  Seriously…twin.

Oh…and, Christie?


seven. (rocky mount, nc photographer)

Impossible. When did this happen? At four, when I really felt like you weren’t my toddler anymore?  Your last year of preschool?  When you finally learned to tie your shoes?  Or when I realized you understood compassion and empathy and grace…and you were willing to give it?

When did you stop looking like my baby and start looking like someone who will leave me someday? I can imagine it – you becoming a teenager, graduating high school, and (crying just thinking of it) going off to college to start your life and fulfill all those dreams and plans you’ve been drawing and writing on scraps of paper around the house.

Tonight Daddy read a birthday devotional.  God really did break the mold after He made you.  When Daddy mentioned you were the only you out of six billion people your eyes got wide.  But not because you realized you were unique.  You already knew that.  You wanted to know who was first, who was the youngest of those six billion, the oldest, and where did you fall in that line of a bamillion people?  This is what we love about you.  Your mind never stops racing.  When Daddy asked you to list your skills and talents, you said dancing was your skill, and remembering things from long ago was your talent.  And singing.  And drawing and art.  Oh, and saying things wrong.  You weren’t sure why that was a talent but it was something you could do.  “It’s easy to say things wrong.  I do it all the time.  I don’t know why but it’s my talent.”

We laughed.  We couldn’t help it.  Every time you said something it tickled us.  Which made you happy.  “I can make people smile, too.  Look, you keep smiling.”  You weren’t being boastful.  You don’t know how just yet.  But it made you smile that you could make us smile.  And I was grateful.  That you still have that sparkle in your eye that tells me you can believe great things about yourself.  It’s my prayer that you will always be able to see those things – in yourself and others.

(Drawn of your own volition just yesterday: October 10, 2011 – Six And 364 Days Old)

Later, as you were staring at the stack of presents on the table, you asked where we got them.  “All over,”  I answered.  That wasn’t specific enough for you. “No.  I mean, where did you get them?  Which stores did you go in?  Target or Walmart or AJ Maxx?”  Daddy and I just laughed.  Because we knew if we answered that still wouldn’t be good enough…next you would want to know what day did we buy them and where did we park and was it while you were at school or when you were sleeping and which one of us picked them out?  In fact, I think you did ask exactly how your baby brother picked out your gift.  “Did he point to it or did you buy it and put his name on it?”  This.  This is what we love about you.  In your world, there is no such thing as being too curious.

I love you.  I love that you’re smart, and sparkly, and purple, inquisitive, verbal beyond Seven Years Old, and wonder-full.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made  ~
Psalm 139:13,14

Happy Seventh, Baby Girl.  And while I’m at it.  Thank you, God.  For knowing how much I needed my babies in my life.  They are Yours, but I am so glad you’ve entrusted them to ME.

Jennifer Rubeck - They grow up so quickly don’t they? My oldest turned 7 and I just can’t believe it. Beautiful picture of her on the beach. Love your photographs.

Fall What to Wear, Part 2

And now for my overview of our family outfits, alternate ideas, and things to think about as you’re putting your family outfits together – Hold on tight – you’re probably going to wish for cliff notes. Or to jump off a cliff. Wink.

If you’re looking for something mind-blowingly fashion-forward, move on. But if you’re looking for a few great choices that WORK, here you go.
First up, KIDS:

Next up: MOM & DAD:

General Rules (and yes, all rules can be broken. Just know what you’re doing when you break them).

  • Mom can be a whole step dressier than the rest of the family. That means that if Dad and the boys are wearing jeans and nice shirts, Mom can totally pull off a dress (well, leave the dress ON, but you know what I mean).
  • Don’t skip pattern altogether. Pattern and texture add interest (see our outfits as an example).  Avoid large stripes or polka dots – but in tiny doses (tights on little girls) it can be fun.
  • No crocs. Not even on the baby boys.
  • Men: no white socks. (and while we’re at it, no adidas sandals, no white Nike sneakers).
  • Women: Pick things you feel great in and are comfortable in. Don’t wear something you’re going to be constantly tugging into place or that is too short to sit in, and if you’re going to be outdoors avoid dryclean-only attire. Be prepared to sit on the lawn or sit on a dusty step.
  • Color Combos:

  • Neutrals are: navy/dark denim, gray/charcoal, camel/brown, winter white
  • Pops of color: violet/purple, mustard/gold, green, teal, red, ballet pink
  • Put together: red/gray/black | purple/gray/camel | purple/mustard/gray | purple/green/brown | pink/gray/winter white

    Where to go for inspiration:
    Your fashion-forward friend. You all have one – that person who always looks really put together and stylish. Ask her to help you pick through your closet, ask if you can pick through HER closet, and take her with you to the mall.
    “Outfit Section” on clothing web sites – Gap, Old Navy, Children’s Place, Crew Cuts, and just about every major online store has an “outfit” or “LookBook” section on their website.  Lots of great ideas for layering clothing.
    Pinterest. See that red button on the right of the screen —–>? It’s another rabbit hole and you could spend all day there finding great ideas for kids parties, nifty organizational stuff for your house, and clothing trends. I just started a board on my Pinterest labeled What to Wear – I’ve gone ahead and collected some great finds from other folks on Pinterest. Happy rabbit-trailing!

    ***My Best Advice for what to wear to your family session (this can make or break your session)**:

    Wear your a relaxed and confident attitude. This sounds trite and cheesy but honestly, honestly, honestly it’s the truth. In the end, the number one thing my clients notice is not the outfits – its the expressions. It doesn’t matter what body flaw you have – if you bring a calm and contented demeanor and your warmest smile, your images will look great. Of course, after getting your baby to quit screaming, chasing a wandering toddler, or begging your eight-year-old to please. quit. pouting, “relaxing” may be a challenge – but do your best and trust that your photographer is doing hers.