Today is the 3-year anniversary of one of the happiest moments of my entire life. Our oldest daughter Elsa's birth. Today, she turned 3 years old. I've made a point to blog about every birthday for both of our girls, so even in the midst of a very busy spring, I am so thankful that I'm taking some time to do this, as it forces me to edit a few personal photos that otherwise might not get done til Elsa is in college. ;-)
Three years ago today, I had no idea how much my life was about to change for the better.
The other day, I told Elsa the story of her being born for the first time. She listened so intently to every little detail.
I told her how she liked to suck her thumby, even as a tiny new baby.
Then she told us that she was 3 now and that she wasn't going to suck her thumby anymore. While I know that probably isn't true quite yet, her statement reminded me once again why I love forever documenting these memories.
Our little girl is getting so big.
She really knows how to love.
Her smile can light up a room.
She has such a zest for life.
And she is quick to introduce herself to new friends.
I am so proud of her...but I have to say that her turning 3 is hard.
Last year at age 2, she was still a "baby".
Now she really looks like a little girl.
A little girl who loves to skate...
to ride her bike (her new padding is her favorite thing!)...
to do gymnastics...
and to play at the beach...
and of course the pool.
Last weekend we had a party at our house.
Thanks so much to everyone who came to help Elsa celebrate.
Then today, we spent the morning in church and the afternoon at a polo match at King Family Vineyards...
With who else?? Family! Elsa loves her cousin Vivienne.
She has really found a best friend in her, and of course her sister, Emme.
It is just pure awesome to watch.
I am so in love.
I've been making a point to leave my camera laying around so that I can easily capture some of the every day moments. Like the girls brushing their teeth in the morning...
Or Elsa writing words with Daddy...her favorite nightly activity.
Whether we want her to or not, Elsa is growing up.
I can't believe she'll start pre-school in September.
I hope she's never too big to cuddle with her Mommy.
I am blessed and I am so thankful.
And I was hoping to have an updated family photo, but for now, this one from last fall will have to do. Happy 3rd birthday to our beautiful sweet girl! Mommy and Daddy love you to the moon and back a million times over. XOXO
Chrissy (or should I say Mul?!) is a friend of mine from college, and I have photographed her family a couple of times now. Our most recent session was a few weeks ago at Meadowlark Gardens and it is hands down my favorite one yet. Chrissy "warned me" how much energy her 2 boys have, and I was like "bring it on". I love it! We all ran around in the sunshine, and I got to capture real life. "With Arms (and Hearts) Wide Open" -- I couldn't imagine more joyful moments to document forever. Enjoy!
Meet my friend Chrissy, her husband Rob, and their 2 beautiful boys.
They are really really really gorgeous kids!
Ben is 6 years old now. Sigh.
He loves the camera and it loves him. Every picture I took of him looked like a magazine ad.
Equally adorable, but way less interested in the camera is his 2-year old brother Zach. We tried to get him to pose by the mini-fence, but this is what we got instead. ;-)
No worries, I knew I'd catch him smiling at me when he least expected it. Love.
Beautiful mommy and her little loves. We got some portraits...
And some that were more directed candids, like this...
And this. So so sweet.
I love the images above, but I also really wanted to get some images that were TOTALLY real, as if I wasn't even there. So I invented a game and it became the title of their blog.
"With Arms Wide Open" - the boys LOVED playing this game, and as they literally ran into their parents arms, I was almost tearing up behind my camera.
These are the type of images I strive for. So natural.
The love just jumps out of them.
I can't believe how much these boys have grown since the last time I saw them. Chrissy and Rob, your boys are precious and so so sweet.
You are blessed, and I am blessed to be your friend and photographer. Love you guys! ~Krissy :)
I went to high school with Rob, and through Facebook, he learned that I was a photographer. He sent me a message a few months ago saying that he and his wife Stacy wanted to get 1-year old pictures done of their little boy Reese, and I (of course) was so excited to have the chance to "work" with them. We wrote back and forth and eventually decided to do the pictures at Maymont Park -- what a great decision -- love that place. Really though, when you get a beautiful family and an absolutely adorable baby, a great location and perfect weather are just the icing on the cake. Here are a few favorites from our fun afternoon together. Enjoy!
Beautiful family +
Absolutely ADORABLE baby +
Amazing scenery = a recipe for a realllllly good shoot.
Reese didn't nap that day, but you'd never know it by these photos. He was as happy as could be. This portrait is Stacy's FB profile picture.
We got a bunch of portraits and a bunch of great candids, like this...
And this. So so sweet.
This is one of my favorites of Reese. Those eyes!
And those eyelashes! Precious!
Happy boy! I still can't believe we did our session from 3-5 pm and Reese had zero nap that day. He was definitely having fun!
One of his favorite things was going up in the air...
So we used that to our advantage. Baby goes up. Baby smiles.
Baby goes on lap and it looks way too easy. ;-)
At the very end of our session, Reese got to play with his toy car.
I love these because they are just so him at 1-year old.
But I think this is my favorite of them all. What a beautiful family! Stacy and Rob, Reese is too cute for words. Thank you so much for asking me to do these special pictures for you. I hope you love the preview as much as I do. Hugs, Kris
A couple weeks ago, I did a few sessions in Richmond at Maymont Park. Both were pretty much because of Facebook. Can I just say LOVE? I grew up in Richmond, and though I live in Charlottesville now, I am in Richmond ALL the time -- for shoots and for visiting family and friends. I love Maymont, and I adore the families I recently got to photograph there. Coincidentally, both families had baby boys who had just turned one. My morning session was with Beth, her husband Bill, and their GORGEOUS son William. My camera couldn't get enough of this little guy -- he was ALL smiles, and I am so excited to share a few favorites as I am finishing up the editing on their whole session. Enjoy!
This was the very first shot I took -- I was trying to get William to look at the animals in the Children's Farm, but he was all about the camera. Lucky me!
Ahhh! This is what I wanted. Adorable!
Beautiful family portrait...
Though I'm always a fan of the candids. Beth, you are stunning.
William had such a fun time swinging...
Yep, there is that big smile!
We took advantage of all the Maymont scenery...
And keeping with my normal style, we got both the relaxed portraits like this...
And the more candid moments like this.
We tried to get another portrait in front of the waterfall, but William had other things on his mind -- like trying to get into the water. :) I love that about my sessions, because then families are able to remember not only what their baby looked like, but also their darling personality too!
To get some shots of William alone, we found the most perfect rock...
And we got the most perfect smiles. He was such a little ham!
Beth and Bill, thank you so much for asking me to do 1-year pictures for William and for your family. I hope you love the sneak peek and I can't wait to share the rest soon. Thanks for being so much fun to "work" with! Hugs! ~Kristine
Newborn babies. There isn't anything sweeter. I recently had the chance to do a newborn photo session for first-time parents Katie and Derek, and as I photographed them with their precious baby boy Michael, I smiled. It is always an honor to be asked to photograph a family, but there is something about newborn photos that just gives me the warm fuzzies. To be able to capture the very first days of a couple as a new family is just so rewarding. And it's even more so when you know you'll be working with them over the next year. Katie and Derek have already booked 6 and 12 month photo sessions and I can hardly wait to see how little Michael grows from a sleepy newborn into a running toddler. For now though, here are a few favorites of their tiny little bundle of joy at just 10 days old. Enjoy!
You may remember Katie and Derek from their maternity session in the snow. This was at the end of January...
And in April, they welcomed their beautiful baby boy Michael into the world.
He is so angelic.
From his tiny fingers...
To his tiny toes.
He was so alert during our session -- already a camera ham!
But he did take a nap with his Monkey, a gift from his grandparents. I think we need to use this as a "Grow Monkey", getting pictures of Michael at 6 months and 1 year too.
Beautiful Mommy and baby. Love it!
Such a sweet moment.
Katie was glowing when she was pregnant.
And now as a new Mommy, she is even more. I love this "before" and "after" taken on their stairs.
It's always hard to pick faves, but I really love this one of Michael all curled up.
As Michael changes and grows over this next year, Katie and Derek will always have these pictures to remember how tiny he was.
That makes me smile. Katie and Derek, congratulations on your precious little miracle. I am so happy for you, and I can't wait to see you all in October for Michael's 6-month photos. Hugs! ~Kristine
Abby. I adore this little girl, and I'm lucky to have photographed her every year since she was just one. Now she is six, and wow does she know how to work the camera. What a little diva! Seriously, every time I'm photographing her, I feel like I'm shooting for a high-end kid's catalog. No, scratch that. I feel like I'm working for a children's modeling agency. Not only is Abby beautiful and sweet, but she is hilarious, and I love that her parents chose me to capture these precious precious years. Here are a few favorites. Enjoy!
Abby showed up in curlers -- ready to rock and roll!
And when the curlers came out, her curls were just perfect. Outfit number one. White dress. Purple sweater. So so pretty!
She started out with lots of smiles, which is especially cute this year since she is missing her top 2 teeth. ;-)
Then I asked her to give me "the serious face" that she is so good at. Instead, I got this, complete with hands on the hips. Way too cute...
Knowing we'd get it later, we just played.
She loved running and twirling...
And I love the innocence of these shots.
Outfit number 2. Orange floral dress. This is one of my favorites.
And so is this one. Love. Totally a little model.
There is something so sweet about this one too.
Outfit number 3. Looking like the little school girl that she is.
I love that I can be so intentional about composition with Abby. After 7 shoots with me, she knows exactly what to expect...
And she loves every minute of it! Her mommy Lyndell always tells me how excited she is to see Kristine, and it melts my heart.
Love this black & white. The wind we had that afternoon was working in our favor to blow Abby's hair around.
But I did manage to get some of those signature serious looks, like this. Abby, you are a living doll. Lyndell, my friend and former coworker, thank you for the privilege of being Abby's photographer. You are raising a beautiful little girl, inside and out. Love, Kristine
Grateful. For our Mother's, and also for our own children. With yesterday being Mother's Day, I know that Moms (and Dads) everywhere paused to remember that. I know I did. It was a magical day. After my little ones went to bed, I finished editing this blog, and over and over again I just kept thinking of the word grateful.
Grateful for my own children and family, but also grateful to do what I love, and to work with the most amazing families over and over again. Denise and Bernie are the perfect example of that. I was able to literally "squeeze them in" during a recent marathon trip to Pennsylvania, and I can't wait to share a few favorites from our afternoon together. Enjoy!
Last time I photographed this sweet family nearly 2 years ago, Jillian had just turned 3 and she loved the swings.
Here she is today. So so beautiful, and turning into such a big girl.
Some things never change -- she still loves the swings. And some things do --
Jillian is now a big sister to adorable little Gabriel.
She really really loves her baby brother.
Love it more.
At every session, we get plenty of portraits and I love giving those to my clients...
But sometimes it's these candid moments that really make your heart flutter.
If these next 2 images don't sum up being grateful...
Then I don't know what does.
Catalog kid. Jillian loved posing for the camera.
Haven't seen too many 4-year olds with eyelashes like that. Gorgeous!
This one makes me smile. Look at that pose! Love love love this kid!
My favorite. Even Gabriel is smiling at his big sister. Denise and Bernie, thank you so much for asking me to do updated family pictures for you. I hope you love the little sneak peek as much as I do. And Happy Mother's Day Denise! You have beautiful kids! Hugs! ~Kris
I am so fortunate to photograph some families over and over, and every time I do, I am always amazed at how much the kids have grown. That was especially the case a few weeks ago with Gerrisa and Rob's family -- since the last time I photographed them was almost 3 years ago to the day of this recent session. Wow. Three years. In that time, Jera and Gabby have grown from babies into little girls, and their family recently welcomed a sweet baby boy, Jude. These kids are beyond precious, and I am so excited to share a bunch of early favorites as I'm editing the whole session. Seriously, what a photogenic family! They are going to make their new Pottery Barn wall easel system look REALLY good. Enjoy!
Meet Jera. Last time I photographed her, she was still taking naps and cuddling with her blanket. You may have seen this image on my website...
Well, just look at her now. She is 5 years old, getting ready to start kindergarden, and wow is she beautiful!
She loved twirling in her dress by "Tea Collection". Gerrisa, I just got some of these in the mail - LOVE them!
Last time I photographed Jera's little sister, Gabriella, she was about 6 months old. She is the infamous table reflection baby on my website...
Now, she is a spunky, smiley, stunning 3-year old. Look at those eyes and curls.
As mommy always tells them, these sisters really are the best of friends...
As a mom of 2 girls myself, it was melting my heart to capture that.
But now though, these 2 sisters have a new little best friend and his name is Jude.
Isn't he just delicious?!?!
Such a beautiful family who I admire so much. This was directed...
This was not. This is just them being them after they finished running for the camera. They seriously look like a magazine ad.
During our session, we did all the combinations of kids/parents, and we got some portraits that were so candid and sweet...
Some that had everyone looking and smiling...(LOVE THIS!)
Some that were silly...
And even some that you weren't sure you'd be able to get, but then you did and then you smiled. Not sure why I'm talking in 3rd person - I guess because it was't just me who made this happen. Happy early Mother's Day Gerrisa!
At the very end, we even got some shots of Mom and Dad...some alone, and some with their kids intentionally blurred in the background, like this.
Gerrisa and Rob, it was so great to see you and the girls and to meet Jude. This session and our picnic lunch was an absolute blast, and your kids are so sweet and beautiful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Jera, Gabby, and Jude, until next time, stay little! Hugs! ~Kris
A few weeks ago while in Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to do a session for a very special family. Avery was one of the nurses in the hospital when I had our first daughter Elsa in 2008, and I adored her from the second I met her. She actually walked us to our car, and as we drove away, I remember thinking, "What an amazing girl. I hope I get to see her again one day."
Well, fast forward a few months. I got an email from Avery asking if my husband and I could photograph her wedding. She had no idea I was a photographer, and I had no idea she was getting married, but one day at work all the nurses were looking at the birth story of Elsa I posted on this blog and she couldn't believe what she was seeing. In her email, she said, "I love how God brings people together." I couldn't agree more.
So Scott and I photographed Avery and Justin's amazing wedding, and the following year, I moved to Virginia. Again, I remember thinking, "I hope I get to see that awesome couple again someday." Avery and I are friends on Facebook, and through that, I found out she and Justin were expecting a baby in May of 2010. I was so overjoyed for them, and when she asked me to do 1st year birthday pictures for their son Porter during my recent trip to PA, all I could think of was Avery's first email. I love how God brings people together. Avery held and cared for our newborn baby girl in her first hours of life, and on a beautiful spring morning about 2 weeks ago, there I was creating memories of her gorgeous little man, unquestionably the love of their life.
Nearly 3 years ago, I photographed one of my favorite weddings...
And 2 weeks ago, I showed up to downtown Lewisburg to find the most adorable little (almost) 1-year old. He was all smiles.
And he was very proud of his new smiling ability - he was cracking us all up. Yes, we got some portraits too, but I know it's the moments like these that Avery and Justin really want to remember.
Did I mention he was smiley?? Avery and Justin are in the process of building a home, and during our emails she said she wanted pictures she could make into canvases to plaster her walls like Extreme Home Makeover. Love her!
Here ya go sweetie! What a beautiful child.
But I mean, really, look at his parents. Avery and Justin have been together since high school and they are beyond adorable together.
Porter is all boy. He LOVED being thrown in the air.
Happy almost Mother's Day Avery!
I was trying to get Porter to walk towards me, but he kept running back to Mommy and Daddy. Cutest thing ever, and one of my favorite shots.
This is kinda what we were going for. "My mommy and daddy are doing what?!?" ;-)
After a bunch of shots in the park, we moved into downtown so we could get a more urban look.
And I was able to play peek-a-boo from in and out of different stores to get these smiles from Porter. I'm sure the businesses loved me.
A favorite of the family...
And a fave with Daddy.
At the very end, we went to the playground. Porter had so much fun -- well, we all did!
What can I say? Avery and Justin, you have the most beautiful little boy and family, and it was so special to be able to capture these little treasures for you. I hope you love the sneak peek as much as I do, and I can't wait to do a session for your entire family in the future. XOXO ~Kris