Williams Newborn

I’m not going to lie to you, I always get nervous before newborn sessions.  Mostly because I don’t have children of my own yet so I don’t know all the ways to sooth them the ways mothers do.  Also because I’m never 100% sure of how it will go.  With kids I can distract them or play games or try to make them giggle but newborns can’t be distracted easily with games or silly phrases.

While I always get a little nervous before hand – I always sink into calm the moment we start.  Newborn sessions are special – they are new and exciting and sweet.  It’s calm and slower and intentional.  It’s not about games and being silly it’s about sweet little moments.  Capturing the way moms look at their baby, the way dads hold them and look at their wives.  It’s about little toes and tiny ears.  Small little smiles and sleepy poses and details. I always love taking newborn images and even more so editing and delivering newborn images.  They are a milestone, not just a picture for a card but a memory, a moment, a blink.

Lauren’s little girl made our session perfect.  She was sweet and when she wasn’t sleeping she was staring right at the camera with these beautiful big blue eyes.  Lauren has these white curtains in the room which we were able to use as a perfectly clean white background.  The nursery is decorated with sweet little touches of giraffes – a favorite of Lauren’s.  🙂

Here are some of my favorites from the William’s newborn session, I know I’m biased but I think they are simply precious!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-8Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-10Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-14Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-18-1Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-17Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-20Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-23Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-29Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-6Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-32Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-30Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-31Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-36Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-39Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-42Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-45Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-53Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-50Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-52Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-58Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-82Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-7Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-75Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-61Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-74Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-73Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn Portratis - Williams-65

 

Best of 2017

This year was a challenging one for me but one in which I got to do some new things that pushed me to improve.  To start I did more newborn sessions than any other this year!  Two years ago I was telling myself that newborns weren’t for me and that it wouldn’t be something I offered.  I quickly began to understand that if I wanted to be considered a “Family Photographer” I’d have to accept the challenge of newborns because let’s be honest – newborns are a huge milestone for families.

And so, this year I decided to say yes to newborn sessions!  It challenged me because since I’m a natural light photographer – I usually prefer to be outdoors.  With less access to the sun it can be challenging to shoot newborn sessions without studio lights inside.  I used to struggle to get good clean colors and skin tones with indoor photographs but with the help of an expo disc and having these sessions I feel so much more confident at getting great clean color.  Now I love the clean and soft skin tones of newborn sessions and the slower pace that feels refreshing.

I also offered two dates for holiday minis to accommodate more families and found huge success!! With a total of 15 sessions I got to work with amazing families and my bucket was filled after chasing around and playing with so many littles!

This year I also registered for some new and exciting educational experiences which I’m taking time in 2018 to dive into!  More about this to come!

I’m looking into 2018 with excitement and ready to grow!  But for now – here are some of my best images from 2017!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2016-100Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2016-101Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2016-103Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2016-104Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-3Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-4Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-8Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-9Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-17Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-18Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-19Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-22Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-24Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-25Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-26Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-27Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-30Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-31Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-33Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-34Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-35Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-38Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-40Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-41Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-43Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-44Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-46Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-47Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-48Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-49Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-51Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-52Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-55Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-56Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-57Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-60Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-62Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-64Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-65Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-66Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-68Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Best of 2017-69

Trenton – Senior Portraits

I can’t believe that Trenton is a senior! I first met him 5 years ago (?) at Sterling’s family christmas party.  He is Sterling’s cousin and is one of the sweetest young men you’ll ever meet.  He is always one of the first to say hello to me and helps however he can.  He has a heart of gold and takes care of his mom and sisters in a way that will melt your heart.  He’s a good ole boy who loves everything country, specifically hunting, his truck and his dog.  He came out of the woods that morning right before these images and even cleaned his truck!

The whole time we walked around he kept offering suggestions and was willing to do just about anything – including picking up a log with a tractor and moving it across a field for me. 🙂  Needless to say Trenton is growing up to be a wonderful man who will do amazing things in his life!  Such a pleasure getting to take these and getting to have him as family.

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-7

Had to get some with his mom Brandy, she’s the best!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-10

He has the sweetest girlfriend!!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-11Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-14Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-16Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-19Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-23Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-24Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-25Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-34Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-37Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Senior Portraits - Trenton-38

Holiday Minis pt. 3

The last two families from the Holiday Minis are two close friends that I worked with at Quioccasin.  When I switched into my new role as an ITRT at a new school the hardest part was not getting to see my people every day.  Catherine also became an ITRT this year so I get to see her fairly often but I don’t get to have my daily chats with Becky and others who I love which sometimes is really hard.

Getting to see them and their families for holiday minis was such a treat.  I love how fun and kind these two families are and what great examples of good parenting they are.  Their children are precious and kind and love each other – something that is instantly obvious!   I feel like these women need to write me a mom manual that includes everything they’ve done from the beginning to raise such beautifully sweet littles.  🙂

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-2Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-3Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-12Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-16Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-22Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-32Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-35Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-28Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-38Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-44Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-40Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-48Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-55Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-53Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-56Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-54Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-66Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-61Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-67Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-65Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-68Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-73Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-71Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Collier-76Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-1Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-6Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-7Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-15Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-16Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-18Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-31Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-34Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-28Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-39Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-42Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-49Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-45Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Richards-67

Holiday Minis pt. 2!

It’s time for another four families from this past year’s Holiday Minis!  The colors from these sessions seriously POP and I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out!

The Bostain Family

This family couldn’t get any more beautiful if they tried – inside and out.  The best part about getting to spend time with them is that these boys are such boys!  They are explorers and giggly and love to wrestle!  These two boys absolutely love each other too, you can tell by the way to play and look at each other – the way you look at your best friend.

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-28Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-20Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-11

Kourtney don’t hate me for posting this one – I think it’s so fun!!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-15Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-18

These two boys absolutely LOVE each other!  They are so cute!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-9Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-21Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bostain-7

The Bowdens

Best part about this session besides the beautiful family who are good friends of mine – the light! It was so light and airy and gorgeous!  Just look at the rainbow coming across in the bottom corner of the first picture!!  I also had the most amazing little cheerleaders!  After each picture Ryleigh or Parker would give me little doses of encouragement like “oh that’s so cute!” haha it was great!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-41Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-5Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-10Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-1Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-39Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-31Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-21Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-28Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-24Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Bowden-16

The McKays

I have known Cathy since I was 12 years old!  She is a fellow camp girl and also an Alpha Phi!  She was my program director while I was a camper and counselor and then at JMU was my sorority advisor!  Ryan used to be at camp with us too when they were married so I’ve known him forever as well!  Needless to say we know each other really well but this was the first time I got to meet her precious son Cap!  We spend the entire time together laughing and laughing over who knows what!  Honestly I’m still not sure but I think it was ninnies?  Whatever it was, it made Cap burst out laughing!  He is such a hoot!  These images are gorgeous – just check out these colors!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-43Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-32Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-38Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-28Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-26Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-25Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-19Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - McKay-3

The Davidsons

Lordy lordy – how cute is Cora!!?  We got to take these images on Thanksgiving and the light and colors were perfect!  The POP of color is gorgeous! Not only that but look how excited Cora is about her baby brother!  ::swooning:: 

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-2Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-16Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-11Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-14Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-32Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-8Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-28Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Thanksgiving - 2017 - Davidson-30

Holiday Minis pt. 1

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Driskell-33This past October when I announced the dates for the Holiday Minis I was nervous.  Nervous because I had been absent from the blog for awhile and wasn’t sure I would get any response.  I also took a leap and decided to host minis on two dates so accommodate more people.  The response I got was amazing!  The November date sold out in 48 hours and with the October date I got to work with 16 families!

You’ve seen the glimpse of the minis from October a few blog posts ago and now it’s time to show off the other 9 families!  🙂  Since there are so many and each deserve their beautiful spotlight I’m sharing the rest of the minis in three parts!  Also who doesn’t love looking at these beautiful fall colors a little longer?

Today we have three amazing families each with a unique story which made these sessions really special.

The Putnams

This mini session was especially special.  Katie was my roomie in the Alpha Phi House and one of my best friends through college and now.  When she asked if we could add in her in laws to the mini session there was no hesitation in saying “of course!”.  You see her mother and father in law just moved back to Virginia from Houston Texas and were there during the hurricane.  They were safe but with all the flooding they lost some of their most treasured things – most devastatingly – all of their family photos.  When Katie told me this my heart broke.  I can’t image this and so I spent extra care to make sure I got great photos of many different family combos.  🙂

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-31Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-33Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-27Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-32Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-23Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-18Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-30Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-15Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-42Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-72Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-77Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-79Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-61Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-52Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Putnam-91

The Driskells

Katie and Hagan are dear friends of mine and so getting to spend time with them and their little girl Ellie was sweet.  Katie and I have always loved swapping sessions and going on photography adventures together.  I got to take their engagement pictures years ago and then their maternity photos this past spring before baby Ellie was born.  🙂  Just look how cute she is!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Driskell-4Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Driskell-22Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Driskell-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Driskell-2

The Shait Family

This was the first time I’ve worked this sweet family and it was instantly comfortable and fun!  Their son Camden is precious and full of joy!  His giggle lights up everything and everyone around him – there were countless images of him giggling because I couldn’t get enough!  I loved getting to spend time with this family and hope we get to again!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-47Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-34Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-4Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-24Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-23Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-27Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-16Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-15Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-25Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-40Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Shait-56

Fall Color Flashback pt. 1 – Franciscos!

So if you know me at all you know that snow is my all time favorite thing – ever!  I absolutely love everything about it.  I love how quiet it is and how calm it can be, I love how people snuggle up inside and drink hot chocolate and watch movies while it falls and I love playing in it!

This weekend when it started snowing here in Richmond I was OVER THE MOON, literally squealing out loud in the library at school… As it was falling and I was hanging out inside watching my movies I realized that with the snow was the official end of fall.  Now snow may be my favorite thing but fall is my favorite season so it did make me a little nostalgic of fall and all the bright beautiful colors.  This got me thinking about how I hadn’t blogged out the rest of the minis and all these beautiful fall images.

And so, to celebrate the beginning of Winter (unofficially- I know it technically doesn’t start until the 21st or something) I am spending this whole week sharing out and reminiscing about fall colors with my #fallcolorflashback!

To kick it all off we have the Francisco family and their beautiful little daughter!  You may remember them from last spring when I did an extended family session with them.  I was excited to see them again for a holiday mini!  The colors in these images are beautiful only to be matched by a really beautiful and kind family!  Margaret and Ben – thanks for a great session!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-10Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-15Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-18Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-22Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-25Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-30Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-33Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-40Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-43Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-48Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-53Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Minis - 2017 - Francisco-20

Baby Harrison’s Newborn Session

One of the greatest and most surreal part of getting older has been watching so many of my friends become parents.  When I first graduated college my friends and I sat down and made a list of who would be the first to get married and who would be the first to have babies.  Then a few years later it started to happen!  Our friends started getting married and at first it felt so weird – as if to say “Are we all really old enough for this!?” Now as I get closer and closer to the big 3-0 the wedding game has really picked up the pace, this past season alone (April until October) Sterling and I had 11 weddings, including ours!  And we had 5 close friends have babies plus three more who are pregnant and due in the next few months!  It’s wild!  Five years ago if you had asked me what it was like to have so many people around me getting married and starting families I might have reverted back to that initial thought of feeling so old!  Now though it’s just really really exciting.

In fact, I’m finding it more exciting to watch my friends become parents than I was leading up to their wedding.  Yes weddings are fun and exciting and emotional and beautiful but babies are just such an amazing miracle!  The science alone of creating something from scratch is just so cool!  Add all of this with watching your friends shine with love every time they look at this little human and knowing that they have a special gift that they will cherish forever is really amazing.

Sarah and Adam are now in what feels like a growing club – Friends with Babies – and they fit right in.  I got to their house on Sunday and they were both just glowing with pride and excitement.  They had to be tired but you’d never guess it, Adam was all smiles and Sarah has fallen into motherhood with such grace it is as if she was destined for this role all along.  Top that off with a beautifully clean house and I’m wondering – how are you two doing this!?  Where are you hiding the gnomes that clean everything and make you look so beautiful and can I borrow them for my regular day to day life!?

We spent the time together on Sunday in a very toasty nursery (which sounds like I’m being sassy but I’m not!)  It was perfect for newborn pictures because you want a toasty room, it keeps them warm and sleepy.  Harrison was the perfect little model, we got him out of his clothes and he fell right to sleep, holding each pose like a champ!  We even got him on his stomach for some poses and just kept on sleeping.  Needless to say he was precious, with the tiniest little features and a full head of hair – he’s perfect.

Sarah and Adam – I just love you guys and am so glad I got to share this time with you!  Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy – he’s lovely!

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-45Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-1Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-12Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-19Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-5Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-18Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-16Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-4Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-22Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-20Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-13Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-78Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-31Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-36Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-30Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-38Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-80Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-43Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-74Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-44Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-73Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-67Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-70Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-56Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-49Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-75Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Newborn - Ligh-57

Five Things I Learned Hosting My First Friendsgiving

One of the things Sterling and I are so grateful for is that we were blessed to receive some very thoughtful gifts from the wedding.  We were overwhelmed with others’ generosity and quickly grew more and more excited for all the fun we could have hosting people in our townhouse.  This fall I thought about what I was most excited for and silly enough it was cooking and using some of the new tools we received!  So Sterling and I decided to host a Friendsgiving!  It was a lot of fun but had it’s own set of challenges that I learned a lot from.

Here are five things I learned about hosting Friendsgiving with some tips for you if you’re planning on hosting one this month!

Firstly: Smaller is Easier  The first thing I quickly realized is that hosting Friendsgiving is a lot different from hosting a get together.  For a more simple get together people can stand or sit, move around, go outside, and snack while chatting.  With Friendsgiving this is very different – you’re hosting dinner, and not just any dinner it’s a Thanksgiving dinner.  This means that everyone has to have a place to sit and eat and you have to have somewhere to put all the food.

The hardest part for me about deciding to host a Friendsgiving was that I wanted to invite everyone!  All our friends from the area and further away that we love and I didn’t want anyone’s feelings to get hurt if they weren’t invited.  Having the word Friend in front made me feel like if I didn’t ask some people to join in they’d be hurt and feel that I don’t value them in my life or that we aren’t friends!  But the reality is – Sterling and I live in a small townhouse with very limiting seating.  Plus the host makes the turkey – the more people – the more turkey – the bigger the bird the longer it takes to cook – the longer it takes to cook – the more daunting the task.  While this was hard to not invite all the people we love we realized we just couldn’t – having fewer people made it easier on everyone because those bringing sides also didn’t have to stress about making too much.

My advice if you’re hosting a Friendsgiving is that while it would be great to have everyone, think about how much room you actually have and remember that smaller is easier.  If you have the space than by all means go bigger but if you have to go small consider one of these two options: you could look to people you see most frequently and are most active in your life to invite… OR look to people you cherish but don’t get to see frequently and want a reason to come together!  Either way you can’t fail because you’re spending time with people you are grateful for no matter how many are there.
An idea to let those you couldn’t include know you still cherish their friendship – get a cute Thanksgiving card and send them a little note of love in the mail.  

2nd: Make a Turkey Plan In Advance! This is something I didn’t do and it almost resulted in us not having a turkey!  Basically when it comes to turkey, what I didn’t realize is that there are two ways you can go (for a whole turkey) and each have aspects that are important to consider – neither of which I knew about before this past weekend.

Things you have to consider when cooking a turkey (which I didn’t realize until last Thursday)…

  • Amount of people you’re serving and size of the bird
  • Frozen or fresh
  • Prep & cook time

The first place to start is to finalize and figure out how many people are definitely coming so you can determine what size turkey you’re going to get.  Keep in mind that early on in November you’ll be more limited in options on variety of size.  Once you’ve done this you need to plan out if you’re going to do frozen or fresh because they have different prep times and other things to consider.  For both frozen and fresh I learned that it is best to brine your turkey for 24 hrs before it goes into the oven so try to add this time into your turkey plan in advance.

FROZEN TURKEYS: A frozen turkey is convenient in that you can get it in advance because many stores have frozen turkeys in stock.  The downside is that you have to thaw the turkey and this can take days, the bigger the bird, the longer it takes! So you can’t just pick up a frozen turkey a few days in advance because you have to thaw it and then brine for 24 hours in advance – this means you don’t have time to procrastinate.

FRESH TURKEYS: A fresh turkey doesn’t have to be thawed which means you don’t have to prep it way in advance but they are not stocked in some grocery stores until it gets closer to Thanksgiving.  For us we were having Friendsgiving the first weekend of November, when I realized on Thursday night that I didn’t have time to thaw a frozen turkey I thought – oh okay I’ll just get a fresh one!  It wasn’t until Friday when I started calling around to grocery stores that I realized it might be a problem getting a fresh turkey so early on.  Most places I called didn’t even cary fresh turkeys until one or two weeks before Thanksgiving!  I ended up having to go to Wegman’s in Midlothian because it was the only location that had fresh turkeys and they only had four smaller ones!  Yoikes!  I ended up also getting a turkey breast because I was worried I didn’t have enough to feed everyone.

3rd: Give Yourself Extra Time  I wish that I had done this.  When planning out my weekend to get ready for everyone I did a lot of research on how long a turkey would take to cook.  I planned everything out around the prep time and cook time based on what I read and just assumed it would be an exact science.  I found out that a 12-14lb turkey would take 3-4 hours so I put that bird in the oven 4 hours before go time thinking I’d be in the clear knowing we wouldn’t eat right away.  Well the turkey definitely took longer than this – it probably took an extra two hours than expected!  It wasn’t the end of the world but next time I will plan out some wiggle room time and put that turkey in a few hours earlier, just in case.

4th:  Prep in Advance  This is something I learned from my mom after watching her host Christmas dinner for years but it really hit home this past weekend.   For Friendsgiving I got a little excited and cooked a whole turkey, a turkey breast, three pies, cranberry butter, and carrots!  Seems like a lot and it was but, it was also a lot of fun!  It could have been really stressful but I planned and prepped in advance, which for someone who used to procrastinate a ton, this was a proud moment!  I realized that I only had one oven which means that I was limited on what I could do at certain times.   Specifically this meant I couldn’t cook anything the day of Friendsgiving except for the turkey unless I use my crock pots.”  I also didn’t want to be stressed the day of so I decided I’d cook anything that could be easily refrigerated in advance and utilize my crockpots the most I could.  So on Saturday I woke up early and did the grocery run and got to it – I cooked all three pies and the cranberry butter on Saturday so I wouldn’t have to worry about it on Sunday.  Then on Sunday I just had to wake up early enough to put the turkey breast in the one crock pot and the carrots in the other!  If I had waited to do the pies on Sunday – I’d probably be in tears – not only because it would have been too much for a small kitchen with limited counter top space, but also because lord what a mess it is to make the pie crust – flour everywhere!

Finally: Paper Plates.  All my earth friendly friends are going to hate this but in all seriousness I’m glad we did this.  Using paper plates and plastic (or earth friendly biodegradable) utensils made it so that we could enjoy our time with friends and not have to do a ton of clean up.  Once everyone left and took their own leftovers and food – we straightened up – packed up our left overs and took out the trash – easy.  After spending a whole weekend cooking and cleaning to prep the last thing you’ll want to do is wash dishes at the end.  We got cute plates and napkins from Target and called it a day.  Would it have been fun to use our nice new china from the wedding?  Yes. But… it’s still all packed away and we just don’t have the kitchen space to accommodate for the clean up process of all those dishes and silverware.  I’m telling you… save time and energy where you can!

And remember!  HAVE FUN! After all the whole point is to be with people you are truly grateful for.  🙂

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Friendsgiving!-136

 

Jones – 1 Year!

This second session I did with the Jones family last spring was magical!  The first session I had with them was last year’s Holiday Mini and I fell in love with this sweet baby girl.  Fast forward to the spring and now we have a spirited little one who makes the funniest faces!! She is so full of spunk and fun!  This family is another one of those families who was more interested in the candids of their daughter playing and exploring (as you know – my favorite!).  Read More »