To say that I love the way these pictures turned out, just doesn't do enough to explain how much they mean to me. I've been wanting to have our family of four photographed since William was just weeks old, but as much as we tried, we could never seem to get the timing right. Big career changes, followed by travel and then the holidays pushed the date back again and again and now - today, as I look at these beautiful pictures of my little tribe, I'm so thankful that we didn't take photos sooner. Had one of our sessions worked out when Will was a baby, or at Christmas, we wouldn't have these beautiful images! It's amazing how things always seem to happen just as they should, isn't it? This is something I came to learn when our sweet boy joined our family after years of feeling like God wasn't answering our prayers. Trusting the timing of things is a lesson I learned then and it's still just as true today. Things happen as they should. They just always do.
Our pictures were taken as the sun began to set, on a beautiful evening at our local Bosque Reserve. The location was selected amongst many sent to us by our amazing photographer, M. When we looked at pictures she had previously taken of families in this place, with the Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande River as the backdrop, we were all in. Georgia grew up at the base of these beautiful mountains and to this day, she wants us to move to the Heights to be closer to them and talks about it often. The river speaks to me and always has. I'm a water sign and spent every other weekend of my childhood playing in rivers, streams and lakes and still do, now as an adult. For me, being in the water or near the water, is all I need. This is our happy place.
It's a tricky thing to take "lifestyle" family photos outdoors, and in the Spring, no less. This is because you just never know what weather you're going to get - especially when you live in New Mexico! It isn't uncommon for a rainy day to be followed by snow on the ground and then 80 degree temps, all in the same week around these parts. Still, we LOVED the location and booked our session, so we were going for it - rain or shine! Another thing you have to be prepared for with lifestyle photography is to get your feet dirty and go hiking... Like for real hiking! In every lifestyle session we've had as a family, we've had to climb hills, dig through brush, navigate our way through deep sand and trash our shoes. This is because the prettiest places are almost always hidden away. :)
I was a bit worried with how our session would go having a 6-year-old in a floor length dress and a baby in tow, but it couldn't have gone better! We did have to reschedule once, but on the evening of our second attempt, the weather was amazing! Grace was such a great helper and had zero complaints about all the walking. I will admit that I was surprised by this, because the older she gets, the more I'm seeing a tweenager emerge! We're seeing more eye-rolling from our sassy gal; hearing a bit more grumbling and she seems to grow tired of things at a faster rate then she did at 3-5 years old. I fully expected her to be suddenly starving upon arrival + to need the bathroom 14 times + to ask for water non-stop, and to basically be over it halfway through, but no - she did so great!
Our beautiful girl helped entertain her brother for our entire 2 hour session. She gave M her real smile and didn't complain once! Even when we hiked from the river pictured behind her in the photo pasted below, all the way up to the bluff overlooking the river, which was one heck of a hike. She was all smiles, all evening and I was just so proud of her.
Baby bro did pretty great too! I think it helped that he lives with 2 Momorazzis, who have taken his picture non-stop since the moment he was born. Our dude is a smiley guy everyday, but he really hammed it up and was just such a perfect baby boy for Mel! My little loves. My heart just bursts seeing their smiling faces. I legit need a bigger house, ASAP because I want to have all of these up on our walls!
I'm not sure why, but we didn't think to have me take pictures alone with the kiddos this session. This has actually happened in several past photography sessions and I always promise myself that I'll jump in a few with them the next time, but then it slips my mind. I'm not too upset about it because how can I be with how beautifully this one of Will and his Mommy turned out! I mean, seriously. My heart just can't take it with these beauties!
This little guy is such a Mama(s) boy and even though this photo was taken at the end of our shoot and just 2 days following a cold he had, as long as he was being held by one of us, he was a happy camper.
I'm often told things like - you're brave for taking professional pictures with little ones. I've even been told that it seems like it would be torture to take family pictures every year, as we do. You know how it is with people and their opinions... These are the same folks who warned us that we would never have a social life or travel once kids came along and that we were in for it with 2 kids vs. 1 kid, game over! The thing is, none of this stuff has been true for us. Yes, we're busy, almost always. Yes, sometimes our kids act up and yes, it does take time and investment to have family photos taken, but it just isn't "torture" for us and I can't even take credit for why it isn't a bad experience. They're just happy kiddos and they make it easy.
My mom said something to me the other day as she was over visiting. She had been in the back yard helping Gracie plant her new succulent, while I was inside making dinner. When she walked into the kitchen the baby was standing in the living room, just across the way and was in the middle of one of his baby babble performances that are hilarious and go one and one, most evenings. The news was on volume 10 as it has to be when there's so much chaos and the house smelled of sauteed mushrooms and salmon; when I looked over to see my mom looking at me with the biggest smile on her face. I gave her one of those, why are you smiling at me? curious faces as she walked over and I'll never forget what she said.
She asked me, "do you love your life?" I answered, "yes!" She then stopped and said, 'Kristin, I want you to try and take this all in, as often as you can. You're in the middle of it right now. You're living your best life, trust me. These are the years you will treasure forever and one day, you'll miss the chaos and the smell of dinner cooking for your family. These babies will be all grown up before you know it, so try and be in it and just love every moment of this life, where you are right now.'
My eyes filled with tears and I promised her that I would, because I can recognize with every part of my heart that these are the years. The best years.
We're in it.
To book a family photography session with Melanie Maxine Photography, click here.