My son Dean turned four last week. We had a big party for him with a marching band (he loves drums) and friends from preschool, but the whole thing turned out to be a little overwhelming for him. I was occupied comforting him and entertaining the kids, so I didn’t shoot any photos at all, which of course is a huge bummer for me. Thankfully we had a beautiful sunny day on his actual birthday, so that I could take a few pictures to record this window in time. I love you my Dean! Four is going to be a good year!
waiting for his surprise gift
I’ve always loved Kelsey and Joe for more than the fact that they’re a really good time, and they have great taste in music and food and design. They are smart and opinionated. They are brave and have overcome things that a lot of people couldn’t have handled as well. So I was interested in the back story when Kelsey showed me their new tattoos. She and Joe gave me the most beautiful and personal answer about why they got these tattoos in this season of becoming a family. Here is their story, and then be sure to scroll through the whole post to see their beautiful daughter and the way that they look at her. I’ll start with the photo, and the story below it:
Joe and I have been talking about getting tattoos for as long as I can remember. We had a general idea of what the meaning of each tattoo would be but we let time inspire us.
As many of the women in my life, I have been faced with adversity in many phases of my journey. When Frances was born, as much joy and love she gave me, she had her challenges. The first 4-5 months were a struggle for both of us. Several hospitalizations, home health services, and multiple doctor visits due to feeding issues, her and I, with of course the active participation of Joe, persevered. She is a different baby today, which is reflected in these photographs, who worked hard to correct her issues on her own when many ignored one of her underlying issues. This tiny, amazing human persisted. I also persisted, not just in this example but throughout many in life. just like others.
I work in D.C. where things are very political, especially in my line of work. When I showed up for my first work trip since maternity leave, my boss gave me a bracelet with the quote “Nevertheless, she persisted.” and the sentiment that I, we, had been through a lot. And that was it. It was my sign. I didn’t just want it on a cuff, I wanted it on my body forever. While I know the quote was bread out of politics, it was my truth and more importantly, Frances’.
Just as Kelsey mentioned, I was waiting for inspiration. Little did I know that I already had it, Kelsey’s just gave me the nudge. My tattoo is comprised of three important dates.
My first date is my sobriety date. Sobriety for me was a journey, and still is to this day. I felt I owed it to myself and my family to remember the struggles in order to continue pushing forward. Seeing the date makes me proud and fortunate. Proud for obvious reasons, and fortunate because it was the first start to my wonderful new family.
My second date is our wedding date. Our wedding was nothing short of amazing. We decided to get married in our favorite town—Estes Park. In 2013, a few days prior to our celebration the “500 year flood” ruined the city and people’s lives. But, it decided to let us have our special moment on a special Friday with special people. It’s a time I’ll never forget. Right, Becca (wink, wink)?
Lastly (for now), my third day is Frances’ birth date, August 26, 2017. My life changed forever the moment I first looked her in the eyes. She’s my light. She makes me appreciate Kelsey that much more. She make me appreciate myself that much more. She’s brought our extended family closer together. She’s a game changer and playing with her one day in February finally put me into a position to get the tattoo. She completed my circle.
I like to look at the dates and think what could’ve been. Without one, the other two lose meaning. The path hits a roadblock and can’t tie it together. Without sobriety. I have no family. And without my family I don’t have Frances.
I photographed Cat and Brett’s wedding several years ago, so I was so excited to spend some time with them again and meet their two extraordinary daughters, Charlotte and Caroline. These girls have more sparkles in their eyes than the average kid, probably due to how loved they are. Thank you for sharing your family with me. Love you Iliffs.
I feel so lucky that I got a behind the scenes look into all of the sweetness and fun that unfolds at the annual Father Daughter Dance at Charlotte’s school. Here is a peek into last weekend’s party…
I knew that Casey and Mallory valued family above most other things when I got to know them as one of my wedding couples. So I was so excited last summer when Mallory called to schedule a newborn shoot for their coming baby. It is such an honor and a joy to get to know and record people over time. It’s one the the most rewarding aspects of my work, to capture the long-term story.
Seeing them in actions parents, they are complete naturals. Mallory is calm and and engaging and little gestures that I noticed that she did with Hutchison showed how much she treasures him. I can tell that Casey will bring humor into this child’s life every day. Even though newborn smiles are apparently just gas, I thought it was appropriate that Hutchison smiled several times while Casey was holding him. Hutchison is a family name, coming from Mallory’s grandmother, and there are hints of family history all over Hutchisons room, including an old world map where one of their grandparents had charted all of their travels.
Here are a few favorites of the Laurs and their blue eyed boy, born in the Christmas season of 2017.
I have had the pleasure of photographing The Bunselmeyers twice this year, and both times, they just take the ball and run with it. They are so interactive and loving and fun and, man, it makes my job so easy. I’ll start with one of my favorite moments- the two brothers just cracking up!
I can’t believe it was almost a year ago that I first met Isla. From the beginning, she earned herself the name Isla Smile-a for obvious reasons. Sally and Joe are just the most loving parents and I love spending time with them and getting to see their tenderness and delight in this precious little Isla. Below are some favorites from our recent afternoon together. For a picture of how much she’s changed, here’s a look back at Isla at 6 months.
I’ve got a special affinity for families of five. It’s what I have, and so I feel right at home photographing the dynamic. In September, the Mosiers welcomed sweet, handsome Luke Michael. With the addition of Luke, Leila and Elise moved in to share a room. During the shoot, while baby Luke was being fed, the sisters entertained each other. Their bond will grow in a special way because of their little brother. And then there are moments like this first photo, where baby Luke’s smile resembles his sisters giddy smiles, and I am reminded that in a year or two, Luke will enter the sibling comedy show. He will laugh and jump on beds and dance and gladly play at whatever it is his sisters are doing.
I have been privileged to photograph each of these Mosier kids as newborns, and each time, Kelly and Todd are laid back, and impressively together. Like, did you just have a baby? For real? They pull off the order and disorder balance beautifully, and at every shoot, when a child is goofy instead of still, or there is a diaper situation, or whatever, they always laugh and shrug it off, which I love about them. Click the link for a peek back at Leila and Elise as newborns, and below, you will see some favorites of our recent time together.
I met Libby’s mom at the coloring table of my salon. We were both wet-haired and foil wrapped, but we started talking and there was no small talk. She was real talk from the start. Funny, smart, opinionated. She said some things about motherhood to me that day that met me exactly where I was at, and I felt like she was such a gift to me that day. So, no surprise, that Libby has the same disarming, fierce, and winsome personality traits that her mother has. I loved my time with her and her husband Peter and their two girls Mabel and Winnie. The warmth and authenticity of this family was so fun to photograph. Mabel made an impression on me with her inquisitive exploration of nature, and her friendly conversation. Winnie was on the go, running everywhere and giggling and I can see the beginning of a sister bond in the way the two girls shared glances and laughs. Peter’s parents also made a surprise visit (a surprise to the kids), and I got to see the way the girls adore their Grandma and Grandpa. Thank you Henrys for letting me capture your family. Here are some of my favorites.
I photographed Kelsey and Joe’s wedding in Estes Park the year of the epic flood. Despite the natural disaster, we were all stranded there together, and it was meaningful, and beautiful and so much fun. This was my second Mosimann wedding, and at this point I had become friends with this family. They are truly some of my very favorite people. The whole extended gang. So I had anticipated meeting Kelsey and Joe’s baby with a lot of joy. When I got there, they were drinking French Press coffee (I think French Press, right?), and eating homemade bread and listening to Stevie Wonder and dancing with Franny in the living room of their cool mid century house. Baby Frances slept most of the way through it, but like her mom and dad, she is so easy to photograph. Completely beautiful. Love you Kelsey and Joe and Franny. Here are some favorites.