Archive for June, 2011

Do you remember the house you grew up in? 

My best friend, Kate, and her husband bought their dream home 10 years ago when they were two kids engaged to be married and hopeful about the life that lie ahead. If you’ve ever seen a couple go through life in utter partnership you know how remarkable it can be.  They bought a 200 year old house that had been home to a handful of large families over the 200 years. They learned about the families, they loved that house, they truly put their hearts and souls into it.  It was their dream home then.  And I believe all their dreams, thus far, have come true in that house.
As the years went on they were married and had a son, Ben.  They ran his carriage over the door jam to lull him to sleep and Ben eventually taught himself to read in his bedroom upstairs.  Two years after Ben’s arrival, Anna was born.  She has lit up that home with her giggles and sweetness, her singing and clapping. She dances in every single room, her imagination has made the play room everything from a school house to an O.R..   She has turned her bedroom into a pink crafts workshop, and to fall asleep she needs the lights on low.  William entered life in a kamikaze sprint three years ago next month and the house has been virtually set ablaze since.  He has given Kate another three years of the baby years which she loves and has given someone for Anna to play with and Ben to hug and kiss.  Will is a riot and has kept Kate happy and slim, if nothing else.
Jay has turned the yard into an absolute award winner and it’s been the stage for endless good times.  Together they have hosted countless parties  and play groups, cookouts and dinner parties. In his yard, Jay has taught his children how to ride bikes, play baseball, grow tomatoes, and toast marshmallows.  
Their home is gorgeous aesthetically, but it feels so good to be there because of what they put into it.  It is a home that is teeming with love and family.  It’s truly one of my favorite places to be.
They sold their house this week so they could build a home in a neighborhood where Ben, Anna, and Small Will could grow up with neighbors and friends.  I have no doubt they’ll fill their new home with the same endless amounts of giggles, love, and family.  I can’t wait to be there.
I photographed the kids in their rooms for posterity.  Here’s what we came up with.
Adios, Union Street.  You’ve been nothing but awesome.
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What?  Is this a real family or just four models I picked up at the Really Awesome Factory?  Who knows as long as I was actually able to photograph them…. on a gorgeous day… on the Cohasset Commons.   Never been to Cohasset, MA?  It’s what you get when you combine New England charm, the Atlantic ocean, shit tons of money, and a bunch of MILFs.  What? It’s true! 🙂
OK, so Trevor and Gina had Magic Twins.  And Graham and Lily just turned an ENTIRE year old!! They walk like they’re hammered drunk, have fat in places you didn’t even know could hold fat, and are so cute and lovely I was literally in awe.   Gina, the mama extraordinaire, was SUCH a champ to photograph…she brought berries, blankets, balls, and bubbles.  (yes, yes, and killer bees, bracelets, bok choy, and a bear).  She ‘got it’, as we say.  And because of all this cooperation and getting it the shoot filled my heart in a way that still resonates. 
They’re the best family ever.  This is what they showed me:
thank you. enjoy. love.
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Ryan and I have been friends for something like (gulp) 25 years.  Is this true, Ryan?  How can it be!?  And it’s always nice to see an old friend ‘marry up’ as we say. (heh heh heh).  His bride, Darcy, is about as cool as you can get. Gorgeous, funny, and way nice to boot.  Their offspring: the adorable, outgoing, super nice, high energy giggle muffin Kayden is as cute as a button. Their pug Tebucky was in tow, and he rounds out the Lavangie crew in the same way it began:  really funny, really fun, super cute, and all around awesome.
Enjoy. Thank you. Love.
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Soo…..Dianne and Bill have ummm…. six kids….between the ages of nine and two. Yup.  And five of them are boys.  I want you to stop and imagine what that must be like for a second.  Go there. Six children in seven years. 
breathe.
So, ya.  We decided to go to the beach which seemed like a really good idea…until they saw the water, felt it’s warmth (and it’s undertow) and the rest was history.  I just chased six kids around in some sort of whack-a-mole like fashion until Dianne told me the shoot was over.  When I sat down in my car I didn’t even know what happened.   Dianne and Bill, it must be said, are super cool, really funny and light hearted.  Never mind madly in love with one another. 
As for Taylor, Harrison, Truman, Carter, Quentin and….sighh… the other sweet Small, they’re absolutely awesome.  Super fun, super cute and high energy, just wonderful kids.
Here’s what I saw:
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Durham, New Hampshire just got cuter.  Hannah arrived…. twelve days late, thank you very much to her condo/feeder/life life/mama Stephanie.   Yes, she tried every technique imaginable to go into labor, but Hannah wanted to share a birthday with me (obviously) so she waited until May 25th.  I whispered to her that I would have loved her anyway, but I DO think it’s super cool that we now share a birthday. 
Stephanie, Jesse, and Hannah.  The sweetest, newest family in Durham.  Awesome sauce.
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How fun is it chasing three little boys around?  So much fun!  I love Sam, Ben, and Josh (and Jess and Chuck and the rest of their family!) so much and they just get funnier, cuter, and smarter every time I photograph them.  Jess, their gorgeous mama, is a great friend of mine and I always love to see her as a mother. it makes me so happy to see her so loved and in love.  It’s like going to Camp Blissed Out  every time I’m there. 
Take a peek.
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This is Nora’s first party, but I assure you it will not be her last.  She was lucky enough to be born into a long line of some of the best cooks and entertainers I’ve ever had the pleasure (!!) of knowing.  Like her mama, Nora is more a fan of the salty and savory rather than the sweet. Legumes?  Loves ’em.  Frosting?  Blaahck. Luckily she had *two* cakes to not eat.  Truly, she was more interested in the weeds and mulch in the front yard…now that’s all her dad’s influence. 🙂

Sara is Nora’s mom and she’s been one of my best friends for as long as I can remember.  This is the first time I’ve photographed her and her family so it was such a treat for me.  I’m that friend of the family who’s always at the family gatherings, but no one can remember who invited me. 

Sara, Ryan, and Nora are the definition of a precious new family.  Sara and Ryan are totally devoted to Nora and to creating a true partnership in raising her and giving her an utter cocoon of love. Ryan wants to be the best guy he can be just so his daughter can say that her dad is rad.  (which she absolutely will).   It’s pretty damn awesome to see one of your oldest friends in a totally new role, and one she was made for.   Nora is so cute I actually want to put her in the toaster, slather her with butter, and eat her whole.  She doesn’t even look like a real baby, I’ve had dolls less cute than this kid. 
I brought my camera, I pointed it at a beautiful one year old and the family who loves her.  And as we say in Mahhshfield, ‘dis is what I seen…’
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