I first photographed this little cutie a year ago, right when she turned the big ONE year old. This time, we headed out to nearby fields to give her more room to run and roam than our downtown Rochester location last year. Running and roaming: two very important things to a two year old! I confess we used a bit of bribery to capture some of these images, up to and including fruit snacks, promises of hugs, and my personal bribe of choice with my own kids: an iPhone. Kennedy loved the music, and spent several minutes dancing with the volume turned way up. And she insisted on holding the phone herself. She knows what she wants.
I remember when I first heard about the possibility of a children’s museum here in Rochester. My oldest – now almost 6 – was about 2.5 years old and we were waiting in line at Rochesterfest one summer so he could spray the fire hose. Off to the left on a grassy lawn was a small group of activity stations, which turned out to be a local grassroots effort to raise awareness and funding for a children’s museum.
This group has been the real-life version of the Little Engine That Could. They fought for their cause, found a location, spend hundreds of hours fundraising, and partnered with the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul to become the Museum’s first satellite location. Their grand opening was last month, and the wonderful people who work there asked me to spend a couple of hours documenting the first few days of the museum’s life here in Rochester. Additional images are on the children’s museum web site: check them out, buy a membership and go have some fun!
Oh, Miss Beffers. Beef-a-licious. Beef. Baby Joy. It doesn’t matter what we call you, you’re always our little big ray of sunshine. I remember watching moms with their daughters at the mall or restaurants and wondering what it was like to have a little lady for a best friend, a little person I could tell secrets to. You’re more wonderful than anything I could have hoped for or dreamed of. I love every moment of being your mom; I used to wish that you could go back to being a newborn because I loved how you were small enough to sleep on my chest at night; now I just want time to stand still so I can drink you in, keep you from growing up, and freeze those moments where you just look at me, smile knowingly and snuggle up to me. This mother-daughter connection is powerful, so different from the fierce love I felt — and still do — for the boys.
You are soft and sweet and silky and curly and sassy and saucy and persnickety all rolled into one perfect little 16 pound(!) blonde-haired, blue-eyed, curly-cropped bundle. Pure Joy. Your middle name fits you so well and we flatter ourselves that we experienced a flash of prophecy when naming you.
In keeping with your independent and feisty spirit, you wanted nothing to do with me during your multiple one-year sessions. So I let you be, hung back with my camera, and just quietly snapped you exploring fruit orchards, running away from me, wandering through fields, smashing apples together, and tiptoeing around in your new little boots you are so proud of.
You may have turned one in November, but you’ll always be our baby.
Jada and I were pregnant together, part of the same Centering Pregnancy group at a local hospital here in Rochester. Her youngest son and my Miss B are just weeks apart in age, and it was great getting to see them again.
Southern Minnesota had such a long, lingering, colorful autumn, so I was a little disappointed when the last of the bright leaves seem to disappear just days before our session. But. The light. Oh my, the light! While we may have missed that rich, leafy color, we were given some delicious golden light at the end of our session. And her two boys? AWESOME. Her oldest was comfortable with the camera, and her almost-one-year-old made the best faces for me. Such a beautiful family …
When Amy first contacted me about doing this session, I sat back and thought, “Do I really want to do this session? EIGHT kids? EIGHT kids running around outside, playing, screaming, jumping?” I called her back and told her I’d do it. (I’ll try anything once!)
Amy and her son only make it back to visit family in Minnesota every few years, so she wanted to make this trip special and document what an afternoon in this extended family looks like. She spent lots of time planning, so we had plenty of props and toys to keep the kids busy. She supplied a parachute, a lawn sprinkler, a golf cart, watermelon and a slightly cranky dog that chased a few of the toddlers. I brought bubbles, umbrellas, kid-sized chairs and a couple of blankets. And the kids tossed in lots of smiles, a few tears and some funny faces.
It was actually kind of fun.
And at the end, we pulled the flag off the house and let the youngest hold it during the last few minutes of daylight before sunset. He and his sister’s daddy is deployed to Kuwait, and the family wanted a special patriotic photo of this little man to send overseas. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this little guy was holding a Buzz Lightyear superhero toy. So he holds a superhero while waiting for one to come home. Keep the faith, little man.