There just can’t be a happier, smilier baby than Alex at one-year-old.
It seems impossible that just over a year ago this little buy was just a sleepy little five pound baby.
Duck was one of his first words, so it felt very fitting to make sure that we took some pictures at the duck pond.
How neat to watch this little guy grow over the last year; the first year is truly just so incredibly amazing. Thank you to Alex’s family for letting me be a part of it!
How incredible to watch this little man grow up over the last year.
To celebrate his first birthday, he also got his first cake, made just for him. Although he had been eating solid foods for a while, this first foray into cake was more about exploration than eating.
It’s just amazing to see how much he grows each week. Two weeks later we took family portraits at Mill Pond, where the Moerleins spend so much time throughout the year. Look at how much he has changed!
This week, he was standing and toddling, but was still working on walking without assistance.
I think that makes this week one of those special times where as a photographer I get to capture the moments that add up to the big milestones. That has been one of the things that has made me feel luckiest about getting to see Theo grow and photograph him throughout this year. It’s amazing to see so many moments: big and small, that make up a first year for such a delightful little guy.
Theo had really started to get into books around his first birthday and Dinosaur Kisses was his favorite book.
Theo has been just the biggest joy in his parents lives and I adore him tremendously.
We are all so very, very happy to have him around. It will be so much fun to watch him continue to grow and develop, and hopefully become the older, cooler friend to our little one when my husband and I welcome our addition sometime in the next month. It’s incredible to have so much wonderfulness in your life and the Moerleins are such a big part of that for our family.
As my best friend and amazing photography assistant, Dorothy, prepared to have her baby turn one-year-old, I couldn’t help but look through all the photos we had taken over the first year of his life. From the baby bump, to her baby shower, to his birth, to the first few days of his life, there is nothing more special then being there each one of these incredible milestones.
I also realized there were some photos that we didn’t get to share when they happened.
Here are some of those amazing moments around six months old. Theo was pushing up, crawling, and discovering how amazing his hands and feet are.
His little expressions are just the most amazing. I hope you’ll come back next week to see how much he had grown by his first birthday. You won’t believe how much he has changed (although still just as cute).
Since then, we have almost quite literally moved to the four corners of the country: Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Texas/Norfolk/San Diego. Still, we have been bridesmaids in each others wedding and have a stunning ability to come back together as if no time has passed.
As a pilot in the Navy, Kristin’s husband, has helped them to travel the country and now the family is preparing for a two year deployment in Japan.
Before they take to the skies, we gathered together in Virginia to meet her newest addition, Marian Grace, and spend time with her incredibly delightful two-year-old, Audrey.
To say they stole my heart is a tremendous under statement. When Audrey asked, “Can Auntie Beth put me to bed?” I was hers forever.
Spring was in full bloom in Virginia, a welcome break from Boston and Chicago’s long frigid winter. We spent most of a day wandering through the blooms in the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Audrey made hypotheses about whether the yellow and the white daffodils would smell the same and found a multitude of fossilized teeth (some might also call them sticks).
Sometimes I forget how fascinating the world can be.
It’s hard to believe that the next time I see her on US ground she will be as old as her big sister. I am amazed watching these little girls grow up. The first time I met Audrey she was three months old (below).
And now, Marian is the very same age.
Check out even more cuteness in the gallery.
Photographing Dorothy’s maternity portraits was such an honor, being a part of these special days of anticipation.
Dorothy and Alex have chosen not to share the baby name until he is born, but they also didn’t want to slip up and accidentally use the real name. So, to be on the safe side they have taken to calling him Juan Pablo. Whether this is referring to a race car driver (Alex’s hypothesis), the Bachelor (Dorothy and my hypothesis), this playfulness is part of what will make them such great parents. They never stop making each other laugh.
It was such a privilege spending the afternoon together, laughing, talking, and being astonished about this incredible thing that is about to happen.
For all the rest of the photographs visit their gallery and stay tuned for baby Moerlein’s big debut in April.
We’re counting the days.
To call Dorothy one of my best friends is somewhat of a misnomer. Dorothy is not only my photography assistant (she is truly a baby whisperer and has the miraculous ability to make anyone feel comfortable in any situation), but truly my laotong. We first heard about this concept in Lisa See’s lovely novel: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
“A laotong match is as significant as a good marriage . . . a laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity.” We are “sworn sister[s],” “old same,” we are a perfect match. I cannot imagine a life without Dorothy (and now soon, with baby boy Moerlein).
I cannot describe my joy when Dorothy told me that she was pregnant. She and Alex are truly one of those couples that give you hope for true love and a lasting happy marriage. They have had that magic spark, from the first time they picked each other out from a crowded dance floor. That ember now warms their home. They will make this baby the luckiest little boy in the world.
Dorothy has been the face of grace as she grows this new little person. As baby Moerlein reached the 27th week and his ears were able to hear voices for the first time (see the baby milestones as embodied by fruit here!), Dorothy started reading him The Little Prince. She has loved this story since French class and it seems only right that the first words he hears were written in French.
The entire house is readying for him. The nursery is painted. Dorothy is knitting the baby blanket and Alex is constructing the crib (yes, they are that amazing). Even Gatsby is practicing guarding the baby.
I have rarely seen Dorothy more relaxed, content, and replete with happiness.
Also, she looks incredibly gorgeous. Pregnancy definitely suits her.
I cannot wait to meet him and begin this next incredible stage of our lives and our friendship together. I am so very grateful.
Dorothy and Alex are so incredible that I will be sharing more of her images next week. And stay tuned for the baby Moerlein in April!
The first day of December continued a week bursting with celebrations: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and family birthdays. No better day could have been chosen for Sue and Andrew to rejoice in two more rites of passage for their eight month old, Adalynn.
This personalized ceremony held at their home included both a baby naming and a baptism, combining the traditions of both of their families. Each detail of the day was infused with meaning and intention. The hat that accompanied the baptism gown was made from a handkerchief Adalynn hopefully will carry at her wedding, just as Sue carried her baptism handkerchief when she married Andrew.
Such loving family gathered for the day’s events, including both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends.
The ceremony included special nods to the journey the couple have taken. From the wedding yarmulkes and unity candle, to the ceremony Sue wrote to honor each individual in their community, the entire event was a reflection and a celebration of their gratitude and joy to have reached this point with their family.
To celebrate Hanukkah each of the cousins was asked to light a candle.
Remarkably, the number of candles to be lit that day was exactly the same as the number of cousins!
There was not a dry eye in the house, as each person in the room reflected on the miracle of this event as it unfolded.
Adalynn’s godfather, Sue’s brother, could not join in person, but the wonders of technology allowed him to be a part of the ceremony. It was a marvelous moment to see baby and godfather touch hands through the screen.
Afterward, the celebration continued with food, birthday cake, children playing and lots of merriment.
This family, biological and chosen, loves this baby and her parents fiercely and it was truly inspiring to witness.
Exactly a day before her first birthday, Mackenzie and her family joined me in a local park to enjoy the babbling brook and photograph Kenzie as she turned one year old.
They brought this amazing “Mackenzie’s First Birthday” book, that she loved to read. She held the book as if she was reading it to us and pointed to each word. You can tell her mother is an early childhood specialist, because developmentally appropriate or not, it sure looked as if she was trying to tell us the story of her first birthday.
It was such a special time, since it was just one week before she started walking on her own. On that day in September, she was holding on to railings or her very accommodating parents, whose back must have been sore from walking her all around bent over so she could hold on. Kenzie was still learning that she needed to step with her feet, instead of just moving her torso forward to try to walk. But, boy, did she want to move!
Mackenzie loves cars, trucks and buses. So, it’s only natural that her favorite book is the one where when she presses the button the book plays the song, “The Wheels on the Bus”. No matter how many times she pressed it, she still greeted the song with a smile, a laugh, and a clap.
You just can’t help smiling seeing her so happy.
I truly can’t believe how much she has grown (I can only imagine how her parents feel!). It has been the most fun to watch her over the last year and I am so excited to watch her grow into a toddler. I feel so grateful to have been a part of this first special year.
I have felt so lucky to document Mackenzie throughout her entire first year. When her mother asked, I was honored and excited to take family photographs every three months. But truly, I couldn’t have imagined how amazing it would be to be a part of developmental milestones and to watch the bond grow between this new family.
Having taken her one year photographs a couple of weeks ago, I am just astonished to see the growth from six days old to exactly one year. In the next post, I will post more images from her one year photo shoot. However, as I was looking back over the year, I just couldn’t help sharing a few of her images from newborn to twelve months.
We did this shoot at their home, which is where I always like to take newborn photographs.
Everyone is so much more comfortable and I find that it just feels more like this newly formed family when you can capture them in their own space (also, they don’t have to wrap up baby and can relax while we photograph the little one).
She just couldn’t be any sweeter.
At six months, Mackenzie was just starting to push up, but wasn’t yet able to sit unsupported.
She had so much personality and it was so much fun to see her grow! At nine months, we did our first session outside in a garden near their home. She was able to stand up with something to hold on to and loved to clap (especially when her parents would ham it up). My favorite thing about these images are how unique each portrait session truly looks.
The subtle differences in her face, the developmental milestones, each collection of photographs feels like a moment in time. Her personality, which comes through from the very beginning, shows itself in so many ways as she gets older.
What is so clear in every image is the amazing relationship between parents and child. There is nothing I loved more than documenting the indescribable bond they have. I feel so honored to have seen the deep love they have for Kenzie and I only hope that these images help them to remember some of the special parts of this first year.
I can’t wait for next week to show you Mackenzie on her first birthday.
At nine months old, Kenzie has developed into the most incredibly expressive, funny, joyful child. We spent a lovely afternoon together in Houghton Garden with her parents Kristyn and Doug. She has the very best smile and has recently learned to clap. Together her parents say, “Yay, Mackenzie!” and she smiles and claps. Just try not to smile watching her!
Look at her incredible blue eyes and that little smile.
She loves bouncing on her little legs and is starting to stand up (with a little help from her mom!).
No one makes her laugh like her dad. Doug comes into her line of site and she just lights up.
Another new talent is a hilarious monkey noise; she’s trying it out here on the right.
Kenzie reminds you of how amazing the world can be. She is inquisitive, curious, and engaged in everything happening around her, from the sound of the running water to the changing patterns of light filtering through the trees.
Hand in hand with her dad.
She is on top of the world playing with her mom.
They are such an incredible family. I have felt so very lucky to photograph Kenzie as she and her family grow together. It’s unbelievable that next time we see her she will be a year old!