I just love this spot at our local beach, it's my favourite! Luckily it's the Obradovic's local too, so we headed there for their family session. It was a peaceful morning, and the beauty of the spot was confirmed when a little bit into our session, a group came to set up for a wedding being held there later that day. Tree climbing, rock pool exploring, chasing, rock splashing, tickles, kisses and cuddles = family perfection.
I arrived at Anoukoun's parents house on a most beautiful hot sunny morning. There were guests arriving and decorations being completed and food being displayed and Emma, the bride, getting ready right next to all the activity giving instructions and trying to remain calm. She retreated to a bedroom for the final getting-ready phase while Anoukoun (Arnie), the groom, hung out with all the arriving guests. Then the most amazing Lao ceremony ritual ensued.
The men (and anyone else who wanted to) made their way to the top of the driveway. The groom and his attendant held a lovely parasol umbrella, a bouquet of flowers and candles which were lit, and the convoy made their way down the driveway towards the house amongst hollering and whooping, laughing and cheering! Then when the procession reached the front steps leading to the house, Arnie had his feet washed by his little sister, then they were stopped by relatives who made them all drink whiskey before granting them permission to enter (in between more friendly cheering and laughing). Once finally inside EVERYONE squeeezed into the lounge (spilling out onto the deck) where the traditional ceremony would take place. Emma was led from her room into the ceremony to sit next to Arnie. And the ceremony began. There was chanting, candle-lighting, rice throwing, egg eating, string money gift tying and more whiskey. It was awesome. And after all that there was delicious food, more whiskey shots, and speeches. I managed to sneak the bride and groom away from all the guests for five minutes to get some photos of them on their own. In the driveway. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed the day!
These guys are always a pleasure to photograph. First when Hazel was a newborn, then when she was one, and now she is two! It's so awesome seeing her grow into a cheeky and outgoing little lady. We had planned on meeting at their usual picnic spot, but the rain decided to dump on us just as we were getting started. We hid under some trees for a bit and cuddled until we decided it wasn't going to be just a passing shower, and headed back to their place to get some more photos in their home. We chased the cat around, Hazel played me her favourite music and showed me her dance moves, we played hide-behind-the-curtains and kissed the caterpillars on the swan plant. And when I was leaving she ran up and gave me a huge strong hug. She certainly made me feel loved!
I love meeting new little families. The adjustment to having a baby is one of the biggest in their life, and it's amazing to see how well they are coping and being awesome at parenting! Here's little Joshua snuggling with Mum and Dad and staying away from Sumo the furry baby, who's not adjusting quite as well to the new addition.
It was so awesome to be able to catch up with this little family again after meeting them when Stacey was still pregnant with Joshua and then again when he was born... and now he's over 1 year old! He is such a friendly little guy full of hugs and giggles. He showed me all his toys, and played some fun dad-games, then we went for a walk in the freezing cold wind and slushy mud to the park, then back home to the warmth for a little snack and a story with mum and then dad had a snuggle with Rocky the dog because he was feeling left out. Such a lovely afternoon.
These are the best kind of photos. When mum says "I just want random photos of us mucking around". When we get to do my favourite things - playing on mum and dad's bed and then going to the beach for a run and chase. When miss three year old Eva proudly shows me how she can hold her little sister and when she shows me her room and tells me all her toys names and when she entertains us all with a puppet show and miss three month old Annamaria watches her big sis with wide eyes. Then Eva squeezes little Annamaria too hard one time and needs to give her a kiss so it's all ok again. When Annamaria talks and talks in her baby coos and giggles at daddy's tickles and clutches at her mum's fingers. When her thumb sucking includes the cutest little chub fingers over the nose I've ever seen. This is happiness. This is real. This is love.
Baby three Jackson missed out on newborn photos, but I finally caught up with him and his family on a cold and foggy morning at the PumpHouse in Takapuna. We didn't realise, but it was the first day of the PumpHouse Markets, so we couldn't make use of the cool old building like we had planned. There were birds and trees and the pier and bubbles, and that made for lots of cool photos anyway.
I loved this session so much. It is always my wish to be as much of a fly-on-the-wall as possible, and for this family I was mostly able to be an observer. They just did their thing. Tipped toys everywhere, raced around, played with cars and remote controls and more cars (and yes, Lucas sleeps in his bed with all those cars). Pulled Mums hair, got belly tickles, jumped on Dad, played peek-a-boo and watched ipad cartoons. Sounds pretty typical to me. And now they can remember it as it was. Real life at their place.