I met up with the Toomey family this past fall in the charming DC neighborhood! We walked to their neighborhood school which has the most amazing park-playground. I knew I’d mesh well with this sweet family because we got connected through a camp friend of mine who happens to be child hood friends with Ellett. Their daughter is just a little older than Finley too and their two boys are full of spunk and energy!
We had a blast! Starting off with Coleman, their oldest, turning on his jet packs to blast off! It couldn’t have been cuter seeing him run around pretending to have his jets on. Then he’d say “jets off” to stop. :). He also informed me that he never runs out of fuel for his jets (what a hoot!)! Reid, their other son, is one step behind his brother, running and playing just as fast as he can too. His sweeter side comes out though as he loves his family! He watched to make sure the were all close and ran after anyone who ventured off. So sweet! We spent the session letting the boys be boys and run and play and climb as well as letting them teach me things. Coleman was the best at describing things and I really loved when he’d own not knowing something. At one point I said “Okay! So we’re going to zig zag down this bridge, do you think you could do that!?” and he goes “Yes! But first – can you tell me what zig zag is because I don’t think I know.” My teacher heart swooned!
Since we were at the park-playground where Coleman would go to school I naturally asked how school was going. And he explained all about how school hadn’t really started yet because of the “germ days” and I have to admit that I loved this explanation.
We were lucky enough to be able to wear masks and keep a fair distance between all of us to stay safe but still have a nice time together. Ellett and Kevin were so kind and easy going, which makes a huge difference when photographing littles. I loved their ability to laugh along with the fun and the images of the five of them laughing together are some of my favorites!
I have been trying to get this post created for (obviously) two months ::face palm::. I have been making a concerted effort to get TONS of pictures of our life with Finley as she gets older. I’ve been taking my camera everywhere and unapologetically been demanding pictures because the cliche saying that they grow up too fast is too true – THEY GROW UP TOO FAST. I’m so glad I have these images and these frozen moments in time but now I have a back log of images to share :). A good problem to have, no doubt.
That other cliche saying of “I wish there were more hours in the day” is also very true of parenthood. In the hubbub of Fall Minis, a 12 week growth spurt, the holidays, Christmas shopping, and a four month sleep regression, I have found so many excuses to put off writing this post. The thing is, I WANT to share these images because in a few months, a year or more I will be so glad that I can look back on this post. I have been blogging here since 2011 and every so often I’ll go back in time and look at personal blog posts of what I was randomly doing. This place is like a scrapbook of my post college life and I LOVE it! So as much as I’m sharing these images for you to see – I’m totally sharing these images for me. 🙂
NOW the reason for the post – Finley updates!!
In the past two months she has really grown SO much! Not only is she significantly bigger but she also has a bigger and bigger personality! Between 3 and 4 months she became so much more interactive and you can see it in the pictures below. At three months she’d make eye contact, track us and smile but also had a real serious face (as seen below) and would still space out. Jump to 4 months and she smiles ALL the time, has tons of little facial expressions and even laughs! Even her doctor kept saying at her four month check up “WOW she is so expressive!” :).
I love that she LOVES being read to and will even grab the book and push to move the pages. She is OBSESSED with her play mat and all the things we have hanging from it for her to grab, chew on and feel. She found her hands and loves chewing on them. She LOVES the bath and makes a HUGE mess as she kicks like crazy – splashing water EVERYWHERE. 🙂 At 11 weeks she started sleeping through the night but has recently hit a bit of a sleep regression. We’re hoping it won’t last long but who knows. It’s hard that she struggles to fall asleep but I do love that she’s easily comforted by being held and snuggled, so I’m exhaustedly soaking up the snuggles.
I’m so glad to be sharing these images and want to give you fair warning that this is a pretty big photo dump. 🙂 We love this girl more and more and as hard and exhausting as it is – it is truly the so much fun watching her grow and learn!
The next few pictures are from the beginning of October when Finley had just turned two months (and was in her third month – thus being included in this post). We had just taken the Perez family pictures and we hung back after their session so Sterling could get some pictures of me and Finley. She looks SO different here! It’s amazing to see the difference, she’s so much more interactive with people and her surroundings now.
One day this past October I was driving past the Maryland Agriculture Resource Council and noticed this GORGEOUS road that was tree lined with BEAUTIFUL colorful leaves. I came home and said to Sterling that we HAD to get fall pictures there before the leaves fell. Thank God we did because three days later I drove past it again and EVERY leaf had fallen off. We tried so hard to get a family picture together using my tripod but the distance was too far for the phone remote app and none of them turned out. I’m so grateful I got preordered a clicker for my camera to own for any future spontaneous photo shoots. 🙂
When we were in Richmond for minis Sterling’s family came over from Charlottesville to have a socially distanced lunch with us. Sterling’s sister’s family had never met Finley so it was especially nice. His mom even got a COVID test so she could hold Finley.
As I wrap up another amazing fall season with over 30 families served I have made a goal for myself to actually blog and share the images from this season! You see, every year I get so wrapped up in the hustle of the fall season and holiday minis that I always lapse on sharing the images! The Perez family is a perfect example! The images from their second milestone session last year were some of my favorites of the season but I never got to share them! So this year I cheated a bit and combined the images from their second milestone session from 2019 and this years fall session ☺️. You can check out their first milestone session here.
Julia and Chris are friends of ours from college and we have many a late night shenanigan story shared with them. What’s fun about our sessions is that we have recently tried to schedule them so that Sterling can come at the end and we can at least spend time together. This year with COVID we haven’t gotten to see them so it was especially exciting to get to take their pictures and meet up at a park to socially distance spend time together. Finley was only 2 months old so we planned for Sterling and Finley to drive with me and hang out at the park while I took these images. It worked out great because they got to meet Finley in a socially distanced way.
What’s crazy to see in this joint post is how much of a difference a year makes! Jackson looks SO much older in the 2020 images than from the year before! He’s notably taller but has lost some of his baby face too. Each boy is so uniquely different and great in their own way. Jackson is outgoing, adventurous and a strong leader. Ryan is observant, loving, sweet and independent. I had a blast walking through Black Hill Park near Gaithersburg Maryland for our session this year and downtown Frederick last year with this sweet family. We played games, used our imagination and laughed a lot!
Enjoy this joint blog post of our sweet friends and their precious family!
I think it is entirely possible that each of these blog posts is going to start with “I can’t believe my baby is _____ months old!” or even “I blinked and my baby is _____ months old!”. The reality is that I feel like I did blink and she is so much bigger and more alert and I also can’t believe it!
Today, in so many ways, feels like Christmas because I seriously look forward to Minis all year! I love getting to see so many families that I cherish and have worked with for YEARS! Last year 88% of my Richmond Minis were families I’ve worked with before! This alone makes it so worth it! I get to see and catch up with people that I LOVE! Whether these are people that I’ve taught with, went to camp with as a kid, know from JMU or met while photographing years back, I’d consider them all friends.
Last year I added Maryland Minis to the mix and it was such a success! I had two times my expected number of sessions and got to scope out a new local location. Maryland Minis were such a treat because it was more relaxed and spaced out and I could easily go home during breaks. Plus I got to meet a bunch of new families with the cutest littles.
So for 2020 I’m going to do host both Richmond and Maryland Minis again! With all things COVID and having a new baby at home, I’m taking extra precautions for each session. For Richmond I’m asking that everyone make sure that the session date AND the rain day option work since we have to be outdoors and cannot reschedule outside of the rain plan weekend. I’m also asking that everyone take their temperatures leading up to the day of the session and the morning of the session. Additionally everyone will need to bring and wear masks while not being photographed and we’ll have to do air hugs from a distance (the worst restriction in my opinion). We will all keep a safe distance apart (at least 6 feet) and I’ll be using a longer focal length lens to make sure you still get dreamy images while staying a distance away.
I know I’ve said it a MILLION times but being able to see these kiddos grow up and get bigger and bigger each year is such a blessing! I LOVE all the bootie shaking, fart joke giggles, and silliness that happens during minis. I LOVE how excited the kids get to see me – almost as excited as I am to see them! I love catching up with families that have become friends and hearing about the new things that have happened in their lives. And I love being able to serve these friends with beautiful images of their families that they can keep and cherish.
All minis are 30 minute sessions at one location. You are guaranteed at least 15 images – the perfect way to snag a holiday card image and update your family albums. 🙂 Since this is my FIFTH year hosting minis I’m also going to offer a FLASH SALE of 10% off the session fee if you book (deposit paid) within the first 24 hours (aka today September 25th by midnight). 🙂
To reserve your spot, email me at Alex@alexandra-michelle.com for full details. For details on how we will stay safe amongst the pandemic scroll to the bottom for COVID Precautions.
Minis will be hosted on Saturday and Sunday November 7th and 8th with the RAIN DATES on November 14th and 15th. Both weekends must be available in order to book in case of rain on the weekend of the 7th and 8th. Spots are more limited this year so don’t hesitate to grab yours! Can’t wait to see you in November at Byrd Park!
Minis will be hosted on October 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th! YES that’s right we added another weekend! Session times are limited to evenings which to grab that beautiful golden hour light. Session times range from 3:00pm -6:00pm. Minis this year will be hosted at Oregon Ridge Park!
And of course – here is a glimpse back at some of my favorite images from last years minis 🙂
In order to keep your family and my family safe, we’ll have to be extra cautious because of COVID 19. Please see the guidelines below that we’ll follow to make sure we are all safe.
All participants must take their temperature the morning of the session. If any participant has a fever or feels sick or is showing COVID-19 symptoms, they must forego their mini session. They will not have to pay the remainder of their balance and will be refunded their deposit.
Social distancing between myself (Alex) and participants will be kept at all times (6 feet at least)
Masks will be worn by adults when not being photographed.
Hand sanitizer will be available for use by participants
Unlimited air hugs will be available at any time.
25% Deposits are due upon booking and can be refunded only for cancelation due to coronavirus (aka showing symptoms, spiking a fever, exposure etc.). Final remaining payments can be made after the session has been completed and before galleries are delivered.
All payments must be paid online and cannot be paid via cash or check in order to limit germ exposure.
IF the state of Maryland or Virginia goes into a statewide shutdown due to COVID numbers increasing and businesses are not allowed to operate and/or it becomes unsafe to host minis, the mini session may be canceled and full refunds will be made with advanced notice.
New mom confession: We took these pictures weeks ago (like 10 days after she was born) and it took me until this past weekend to finally finish editing them. One thing I love about Finley is that she loves to be held and is such a snuggle bug. But, one thing that’s hard about Finley is that she loves to be held so I don’t have full access to my hands to get things done. My mom guilt made me feel pretty bad that it every day editing these images was on my to do list and each day I just couldn’t get it done. I eventually had to realize that this is my new normal and I needed to give myself all the grace!
It has been a whole month since our baby girl was born and it feels oddly like it was yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. It’s 9:38pm on the night before September 1st and I am forcing myself to sit down and write out this post because 1) it has been on my to do list for awhile now and 2) I know I will be so mad at myself if I don’t. So… in the full transparent parent truth, I’m sitting here with the messiest bun, spit up on on my shirt, haven’t eaten and Sterling is taking one for the team trying to put Finley back to bed as she’s upstairs crying. Now this picture may seem chaotic (and it is) but through all the chaos and tears, mess and poop, this has been the most beautiful month of my life.
One of the things I was most looking forward to doing for our baby as new first time parents was picking out and building the crib. It felt like such a “parent” thing to do and made me feel like I was doing something specific for our baby. We bought our crib from Target and decided to get the one that will convert into a toddler and then full size bed when she’s older. We felt oddly particular about which one to get and spent a fair amount of time comparing different styles before settling on the one we picked. 🙂 Read More »
My dear friend and Alpha Phi sister from JMU welcomed her second son into her family this past month and her family of four is precious. You may remember their family session from last spring which had beautiful bright pink colors from those spring blooms. Looking back at just a year ago it’s crazy to see how much their first son Lincoln has changed! He was so much smaller. Now he’s grown into such a sweet big brother to baby Theo. While I can’t speak from experience, I would imagine that many parents bringing home a second baby worry about how the first baby will feel and react. Christina and Erik are over the moon to see how caring and helpful Lincoln is as a big brother! You should have seen how sweetly excited he got when it was his turn to hold his baby brother. He was perfectly calm and stepped up to the responsibility like a champ! Read More »
In the past few weeks, Sterling and I have once again been reminded that our privilege has held us blind to a system that is oppressive, prejudice, and racist. We keep coming back to each other asking ourselves what can we do. As we attempt to educate ourselves and address our ignorance, we talk a lot about ways that we can both be more of an ally. As we look deeply into our own responsibility as white people, we also have been evaluating our responsibility as future parents who are bringing another person of privilege into this world.
As we bring this new life into the world we know we have a strong responsibility.
A responsibility to protect this life and keep it safe and healthy but just as important, to teach our child to be a truly compassionate person. Someone who listens to people’s stories and who fights to stand up with others and what’s right. We want to raise this child to recognize injustice and not sit back as a silent bystander. Someone who stands up against bullies, whether that be an individual picking on someone in the hallway or a system designed to oppress. We as future parents know that we have to teach ourselves how to do this in our own hearts and then work every day to teach our children. Raising Baby Travis to be a person that others can lean on, trust, and talk to means being parents that demonstrate this every day as an example. By sharing this part of our baby’s journey with you, we hope to invite you in to help us and hold us accountable on this goal. They say it takes a village to raise children and we hope you’ll be a part of ours.