last night, as i was laying on my couch (contorted in awkward positions only comfortable to me), i wasn't really paying attention to the tv playing in the background. one of my favorite shows, rookie blue, was on. as our thursday ritual, my best friend andrea and i were watching it "separately/together." we try to watch it together, with wine, but this week she was traveling home from her anniversary vacation.
as i lay there, i realized she and i both weren't paying attention. we were texting back and forth pictures of her daughter, ava. you see, today is ava's first birthday, and we couldn't believe how much she'd grown.
ava may not be my niece by bloodlines; andrea and her husband aaron are both only children so ava will never have any aunts or uncles. it's occurred to me over this past year, and the months before, that your family isn't just blood, it's also those that you weave into it. andrea has been a sister to me, and i love ava as though she is my niece. i also fully intend to spoil her as such.
i remember laying in bed, wide awake, august 8th of last year. dre's mother and i both couldn't sleep and were texting one another throughout the night as we prayed for andrea to have a simple labor. i woke up in the morning, before my alarm had gone off at 6:30, and had this sense of calm. i "knew" she was almost here, and i teared up. minutes later, right before 7:00, jas text me that she'd arrived.
now, i'm not an emotional person. i have a very simple (and slightly neurotic) list of things that will make me cry. of these (notre dame football, the olympics, and politics) none are your typical girly triggers. when i received that first picture of this precious little baby, waterworks.
she was beautiful.
she is beautiful.
it was all i could do to get through work that thursday and go meet avelyn michaela. when i did, she smelled like baby, had the most precious little pout, and was perfect. seeing dre with her daughter for the first time was one of the most amazing things; she was instantly a mama, and the love she and aaron immediately had for ava was apparent.
flash forward to today, i cannot believe this sweet girl is already a year old. she is one of the sweetest, most sensitive babies i've ever met. she is constantly smiling and laughing (especially at my face, i guess i do that for her) and has the most wonderful attitude. i think i've heard her cry three times in a year...and one of those was when she rolled off the couch because her auntie was a dumb. she has made aaron and andrea the happiest parents, and i love watching my best friend mother her daughter.
i still have the parking lot voucher from the hospital in my car from the day i first met her. apparently i'm rather sentimental. whenever i reach to get my sunglasses and feel it there, i smile a little. ava is a wonderful reminder of a great friendship, and she is loved so much. i hope that, though we may not be blood, that i can play the auntie role for her as though we were. i will be there to take her pictures throughout her lifetime, give her sweets when her mama isn't looking, and listen to her as she grows when she doesn't want to go to her parents with awkward questions.
and i will always have gum.
ava, you adorable, smart, loved, loved, loved girl, happy first birthday.
joe and nicole, congratulations!
i hope you enjoy your sneaks as much as i enjoyed capturing your big day.
this. little. man.
before he was born, his mom Shelby and i knew he was going to be a looker after seeing his ultrasounds. those lips. to die for. after a surprise entrance to the world, this little fighter has never stopped smiling. and that SMILE. i die. he's the pride and joy to brandon, shelby, and big sis mattea, and he's turning one!
baby brandon, i wish you the HAPPIEST of birthdays little one. you are a doll and very loved by your entire family and their friends.
ps: check out courtney bock designs for that adorable shirt (and more)!
two very important things to know about your photographer:
take my word for how much i love our country, but see for yourself just HOW CUTE ava is!
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY, AMERICA!
a family. a fair. this carnival was the perfect setting for a mersich family affair.
i have been dying - DYING - to do a session at the fair and i knew that the pops of colors, cotton candy, and rides would be right up lauren's alley. lauren and derek are good friends of mine, and she assists me on sessions at times. you may remember them from here, and here, and here. (and wow! the progression!)
the five of us (my trusty, handy manfriend played assistant for me) hit the saint joe county 4H fair on a beautiful day, and while miss harper may not have been feeling so well, we got in some great people watching, ate poorly, and won some prizes.
if we've met before, there are a few things you'll come to know almost immediately:
1. i'm a huge notre dame fan. (this is neither here nor there in regards to this post, but you should probably know it.)
2. i'm absurdly pathetic when it comes to directions and have awesome [-ly bad] luck with cars.
upon meeting eric and angie, it turns out angie and i have a bit in common, except her unfortunate luck with her car landed her a man!
the setting: a young angie, high school age, stranded on the side of the road.
cue her knight in shining armor, eric, to come to the rescue of both her and her muffler.
eleven years later, they're finally about to tie the knot.
this little girl, is my favorite little girl ever.
though we may not share any "actual" family, she is my niece, and i her crazy auntie L. i love her as though she's my own, because she's my best friend's daughter. the fact that just nine months ago she was born, and now she's nine months old, boggles my mind.
so, clearly we've established that i'm more than a bit partial to her, but honest to God, ava's got the SWEETEST and HAPPIEST personality i've ever seen in a baby girl. she's always smiley, and laughs the minute she sees my face. i'm choosing to see this as a compliment rather than the baby thinks i'm funny looking, but i really couldn't care less because her giggle is too precious for words, and if laughing at my face brings it on - BRING IT.
for her nine month photos her mom and dad met my man friend and i at new buffalo beach in new buffalo, mi. i grew up on the beach, but more importantly, it's also home to redamak's. i know i've talked about this place already (countless times) but i'll do so until i'm blue in the face. we snapped a few pics, tommy (man friend) was a GREAT support and lugger of all things camera/props/blankets/sunglasses, and then scarfed down some amazing burgers. ava, as per norm, was a-dor-able.
enjoy! (and go to redamak's!)
i love when you meet someone and immediately go "we could so be friends in real life!" joe and nicole are those type of people. minus joe's affection for the Wolverines, which nicole and i will never understand or accept.
these two make it official in july :]
the little love you'll meet below was blessed before he was ever born because he's part of an amazing family. it just so happens i've had the privileged to capture that family's big day - trevor and jelena's wedding - and i was invited back to meet little luka when he arrived for the skaro family.
the minute you meet luka, you fall in love. he truly is such a sweet, sweet little man. i know his mom and dad, grandparents, and aunts and uncles couldn't be any happier to have welcomed him into their family. it's been an honor for me to capture some images of his first days.
ps: he's got a killer smile. that grin melts hearts :]
if you've hung around these parts for a while now you may remember miss khloe from our very FIRST blog posting...and two other sessions with this adorable family of three. i love repeat clients, and i love THESE clients!
for khloe's two year pictures we met at a family friend's home complete with ponds, geese, ducks, and "kitty tails."