FIFTY years. Holy smokes, my parents have been married for 50 years. Marriage isn't easy, but I feel fortunate that my parents stuck together all those years and provided a home for my brother and I full of love, support, adventure and endless laughter. They have set the bar high for my own marriage and I'm constantly in awe of everything they've accomplished together. We all traveled to Hawaii where they honeymooned FIFTY years ago, only this time the kids and grand-kids were there to celebrate as well. The kids collected fallen plumeria blooms so I could string them together with dental floss to make lei's for everyone, we decorated the cottage, Uncle Nate manned the BBQ, and the kids ran around and climbed tree stumps with their Grandma Bon Bon and Grandpa Dino masks while we sipped champagne and watched the sun set. Happy anniversary mom and dad.



cousins, bathtubs, mobile saunas, and chickens | seattle tacoma documentary family photography

It's been far too long since I've blogged, but spring has arrived and I've been shooting a lot lately. I'm also *very close* to fully recovered from major knee surgery last year (more on that coming in another blog post) so I'm ready to start photographing families again! While Viggo competed in his very first chess tournament last weekend (you can see my Instagram post here), Leo got some quality time with his cousins. Documenting the day with his cousins was a great reminder that we can include extended family and cousins in your photo shoot. I would love to spend a morning or day in the life with your family, your littles, and their cousins. The cousin relationship is pretty special, whether they are all close in age, or years apart, it's such a fun, unique dynamic. I'm not sure which was more fun - 3 cousins in a bathtub or 3 cousins in a hammock. We have a bathtub (but the light isn't nearly as pretty) but I'm convinced that we definitely need a hammock.  Back at the house after a long day of chess, Viggo sat proudly for a photo with his trophy before we all jumped into the converted horse trailer that is now a mobile sauna. We warmed up in the sauna listening to the pouring rain on the metal roof of the trailer, snacking on bowls of goldfish, when Leo shouted "chicken bawk bawk!" and sure enough we looked out the little windows to see one of chickens running down the alley. The kids all jumped out to chase the chicken but he was long gone, leaving four sopping wet cousins scrambling to get inside and warm up in front of the fire. It was everything that a day with cousins should be.

halloween part I

We kicked off the Halloween festivities at my aunt's house where the boys discovered my cousin's old rope swing. The kids got dressed up in their costumes and they all got to pick out their own pumpkin from my aunt's garden. Pumpkins were claimed, rolled, carried, gently placed in wheelbarrows and accidentally dumped out of said wheelbarrows. While the big kids played basketball, Leo ate the last of the tomatoes from the vines, and once he discovered my cousins stash of old star wars toys, we couldn't get him away from them. I don't blame him - the Ewok treehouse was amazing. The boys wore their vampire capes and my niece wore my little brothers old crayon costume, reminding me of the year we went trick or treating down 10th Street, me in the purple crayon and my brother in the yellow crayon. Growing up my mom sewed all of our costumes, and still helps me create costumes for my boys today. Maybe that's where my love of Halloween came from. 

halloween part II

We were at a Halloween party over the weekend and someone asked me how soon I start working on our costumes, to which I replied "September". But realistically, Halloween was just a few days ago and I'm already thinking about next year. So yeah, I'm that crazy person. Luckily, my oldest has acquired my love of all things Halloween and is already plotting our family Star Wars costume next year. Baby brother was quick to agree to his plan, claiming "Dawth Vadah" for himself. And if you don't believe that a 6 year old won't change his mind over the course of an entire year, think again. Last Halloween he decided that we would be vampires and while he briefly considered the Incredible Hulk, he stayed the course and we all went as vampires. Luckily I got one photo of the boys together in their costumes, because in a classic toddler move, as soon as we started trick or treating Leo refused to wear his vampire cape and looked more like Angus Young from AC/DC.  Viggo held his hand for the first few houses and before we knew it, Leo was climbing stairs, desperately trying to keep up with the big kids, saying "twick or tweat" and collecting his candy all by himself. 

a beautiful mess | seattle documentary family photographer

In our bedroom we have a kids lamp from Leo’s old room sitting on top of the electric heater because we don’t have bedside tables. You’ll also find my parents old wooden rocking chair that doesn’t really fit in our small room but I can’t bear to part with it because I was rocked to sleep in it when I was a baby (and I call Tom the sentimental one!). Then there's our dog Otis who shouldn’t be on our bed but who, if you know him, is terribly behaved and does whatever he wants, and we gave up trying to make him behave right around the time we had Viggo. The cheap aluminum mini-blinds in the big window from the previous owners sag in the middle and are impossibly hard to raise and lower, and as a result we probably flash our lovely new neighbors more that anyone would like. And I’ll admit that as I was editing these photos, I caught myself cropping out the sagging blinds in an attempt to make our crappy bedroom look a little less crappy, but that’s not our life. Eventually, we will remodel this old house by the woods and it may look very different, but for now I want to remember this house and it’s quirks - the purple bedroom, the yellow kids room, the pink rec room, the ridiculous blinds, the funny Mad-Men-esque bar in the living room, the funny jetted tub in the shared bathroom.  But mostly I want to remember this time in our lives where this house is simply the backdrop to our life, to the time when Leo was constantly ripping off his diaper and preferred to run around in nothing but his gold sneakers, with a cheeky grin on his face after doing something he knew he shouldn't, making read and re-read the same Gossie & Gertie book, to the time when Viggo would pick out objects around the house for next week’s letter line-up at school, when he started coloring inside the lines, and had more tantrums about dinnertime than we thought humanly possible. This is 10 minutes of our life last Saturday, in all it's messy glory.

at home with bubba | seattle documentary family photography

I was lucky enough to spend the morning with Erica, Dudley, and Ellis in their gorgeous new home in Queen Anne. It took Ellis a few minutes of hiding behind his mom, but before I knew it he was proudly showing me around the house and giving me the best hugs. Ellis reminded me that sometimes you just need to put the camera down and hug it out. This may be my new motto in life. He showed me his big boy room and his favorite books, and even made me "toast". I loved watching the three of them cuddle in bed, giggle, and play under the covers. Dudley is an excellent gently-toss-the-baby-into-the-bed kind of guy, FYI.