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Owens Family // Charlotte, NC

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When I walked into the Owens' home, there were oldies songs playing in the kitchen, light was shining in from every window, and there was already a lot of laughing. Katie, Ben, and Lincoln are one of my favorite families. I know I say that a lot, but man, I really mean it. I stalk Katie's Facebook on the regular to see what new sweet/hilarious posts she has made of Lincoln. Katie loves being a mom. I mean LOVES being a mom. Her enthusiasm and love for Lincoln is contagious. I don't have children and her joy for motherhood made me want to run out and find a kid to be excited about.

I loved watching her and Ben's relationship and their mutual love for one another. When Lincoln was napping, they went outside and starting spray painting a cardboard box to what I think they were turning into a barn for Lincoln. The Owens are a family who don't just talk about living presently and soaking in life with one another, they actually do it. I think it's pretty evident in their photos. I love that they walk with Lincoln around the neighborhood while Ben enjoys one of his cigars, they have dance parties around the kitchen, enjoy cooking and eating the best food, and spend time in their garden together. 

I hope you enjoy these photos of a piece of their life last year. I love something that Katie said about them when I sent her the gallery:

"Really. It just means the world to me that I can hear my son's laughter in these photos. I really just hear my life through these photos." 

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Toalson Family // San Antonio, Texas

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When I started my 100 families project last fall and started taking submissions to photograph families, Rachel reached out to me asking if she could sponsor me to come to San Antonio to photograph her family as well as some of her friends' families. When I read her message, I was overwhelmed by her generosity and her belief in what I am trying to give families. I may or may not have cried in my little apartment in Asheville. 

I photographed the Toalsons in the fall of 2016 and was in quiet awe the entire time of how wonderful and alive and unique this family is. I was honored that Rachel and Ben wanted me to come and photograph another year in their lives. Their 6 boys are so smart and curious and joyful and fun. The Toalsons remind me so much of my childhood growing up with 4 siblings. Always something happening, unending excitement, and a love that is completely unique to growing up with all your best friends under the same roof. 

When I look at these photos, I feel so much love. Rachel and Ben - you are rock star parents and incredible people raising 6 incredible boys. Thank you for asking me to come back and capture another year of your life together as a family. 

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White Family // Charlotte, NC

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I would like to introduce you to some of the sweetest people that walk this earth - the Whites. Alicia is an amazing amazing photographer. You can find her work at aliciawhitephoto.com Alicia has become such a dear friend to me. She is deep and real and loves people in such a big way. She lives from heart, and for that, she is my girl. I was ecstatic to be able to capture her and her incredibly kind husband Eric and their insanely cute daughter Margot. 

I get asked by parents a lot if I am able to photograph babies with my approach to photography because they don't do much and are kinda boring. While Margot may not be running around and drawing on walls and trying to give the dog a haircut yet, man oh man, her sweet smile and the way Alicia and Eric look at her and the way she holds her feet when Alicia nurses her are all moments of their life together that will not always be here - and they are not boring at all. They are all so perfect and beautiful. Not all photos have to be loud and in your face with action. Photos reflect the time in life you are in and the connections with your family just as they are right now. Real life is never boring and one of the most tender most fleeting parts of life is right at the beginning. 

All that to say - I'm beyond honored to have captured this sacred time with the Whites as Margot discovers the wide wide world. White fam - you are some of the most precious gems. I'm so thankful for you. 

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Gardner Family // Mesa, Arizona

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Oh this family. They love each other so much that after spending a morning with them, I wanted to go find all of my sisters and brother and mom and dad and give them the biggest hug then play in the pool together for hours like we used to growing up. Lia and Scott and Calvin and Carson get the cool family award (this award is not passed out flippantly). Calvin and Carson are 7 and 9, but I swear have the souls of 40 year olds. It was Calvin's 7th birthday. I know when I was 7 years old, I was crazy about making sure every detail about the day somehow pointed back to my existence. Calvin was so nonchalant and easy going, so happy to blow out candles from their morning pancakes and hang out with his family for the day. Carson skateboards, is an avid reader, and talked with me like I was talking to an old friend. I forgot he wasn't my age a few times because that's how much of an old soul he is. 

Lia and Scott's spirits clearly have influenced their easy going, completely real and open vibe. They are so in tune with their boys and so present. The fun they are having raising them spills into their world. It's clearly not about a destination they are reaching. They are really enjoying the journey. 

I had such a blast with this family. It's families like the Gardners that make me feel so honored to be able to peak into the worlds of families who are building such amazing lives together. I am learning so much about what it looks like and feels like to build something meaningful. 

One last note - Scott drenched me with a cannon ball into the pool as I was taking photos. Thankfully, I treat my cameras like they are my kids and saved them behind my back, so no hard feelings :) I laughed so hard. Scott felt terrible. But I got to drive home in my no AC car feeling nice and cool. So thank you, Scott. 

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Buice Family // Atlanta, Georgia

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I am so excited to be going back to Atlanta in September to photograph the Buice family again. I cannot wait to see how much Elliot has grown and all of the little ways Becky and Jon and Elliot have grown together as a family. They are a great example of how it's not about what you are doing together that makes your life full and exciting as a family but its about the people you are with and your connections with one another.  

I loved how organically Jon and Elliot sat on the kitchen floor together as Becky cooked breakfast - falling into their everyday life. The connection between them made it easy for me to see that they do this all the time. They weren't putting on a show because there was a camera in front of them. They were just being as they always are. Jon's connection with Elliot felt unparalleled to anything I've seen between a father and daughter. He is a pediatrician, so I guess that helps a little :) He obviously adores kids and is in love with his daughter. 

I loved my time with them and am thrilled to capture another year of their beautiful, growing world together.

Becky and Jon - you are both quite amazing parents. I cannot wait for September. 

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