Oh, the Lee Family there aren't enough good things I can say about this family! We have known Nate and Lane for years and have truly enjoyed getting to watch their family grow. In contrast to my all blue, all truck, all ball, all boy house. The Lee house is all things girl: pink, bows, dresses, princesses, dolls and beautiful girls! We have loved getting to document the girls throughout the years and it's no different with their newest baby girl, Alaina! She is the sweetest little baby, and has already adjusted to and loves the chaos that surrounds her! During the session Anna Kate quickly got distracted with my boys in the backyard (of course we had to make a playdate/mommy time out of the session:), but Abby Grace did not want to leave her new baby sisters side and was there helping the entire time! It was so sweet to see the love and excitement she has for her new sister!
Clint and Roxie's wedding was a beautiful December wedding in quaint eastern North Carolina. It was a cold but sunny day and Roxie was so stunning I'm not sure anyone even realized how chilly it was. We met the bridal party at Roxie's home church, First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, early in the day and got to spend the afternoon with them as they prepared for a beautiful ceremony and fun-filled reception. There was not an empty seat left in the church as Roxie walked down the aisle and Clint and her exchanged vows.
The evening finished with everyone dancing the night away during the reception at Beechwood Country Club with live music from The Pizazz Band.
Thank you Roxie and Clint for allowing us to be a part of your big day!
There are certain moments in photography that feel sacred. Opportunities to document that hold the highest honor. One such moment came this past Sunday as we met with the Neill family in North Raleigh to take some family photos. We gathered on land where we have shot many times before. Beautiful acreage in North Raleigh owned by a family from our church who have graciously allowed us to use it, time and again. This was one such time that they were more than happy to open up their property to us and even decorate their beautiful barn for the session we would have that afternoon. The Neills include Emily (mom), Andy (Dad), Bekah & Avery (Twin Sisters) and James (the youngest of this crew). Teran and I have known them for a while and Teran has been blessed to be part of their small group for the last few years. They are a close knit small group that has lived life with each other, grown their families together, and figured out parenting (and its accompanying highs and lows) side by side, along with the rest of their community at Bay Leaf Baptist Church.
That is why Friday came as a heavy blow to everyone when we heard the news that sweet Avery had been diagnosed with a brainstem tumor known as "DIPG," which is sadly incurable and for which there is very little treatment. The average prognosis is 9-12 months.
Emily reached out to us that afternoon asking if we might take some family photos prior to Avery beginning treatment this week, a request we were honored and humbled by, and which we were more than willing to fulfill.
On Sunday, Avery was already showing symptoms from her diagnosis though her main struggle was with dizziness and nauseous from the double vision they believe she was experiencing.
Yet there on a cloudy Sunday, with the Neills and their extended family driving in to join, we were able to capture a few images for this sweet family before their life enters a new season of treatment for Avery. For a few short hours we were able to focus on the smiles and joy of this incredibly brave family and we were able to document Avery and her family as they enjoyed being just that: a family.
We love the Neill family and can only imagine the weight of this season they are entering. We are heart-broken but not without hope. We are amazed at the grace and courage of Emily, Andy, and their entire family as they begin to navigate this road. We are touched by Avery's sweetness throughout this all, and we continue praying for strength and courage.
It was our joy to offer this session to the Neills and we are actively looking for other ways to walk alongside and support them during this hard season. We were able to donate to Avery's YouCaring page, and we would encourage you to do so as well if you are able. You can find the link here. Avery's diagnosis will significantly alter the lives of the Neill family, including financially. One way they can feel our love and care is through donations that help ease the financial burden, which is only one of the many difficulties they face ahead. Perhaps even more importantly, please pray for the Neills--for strength, encouragement, faith, peace, comfort, and healing. Finally, you can follow the Neill's journey by joining their Facebook page where friends and family will be adding updates regularly about Avery's journey. You can even post messages and help connect others in encouraging the Neills with the hashtag #braveryforavery.
Somber moments like these can take our breath away and leave us speechless. But where words fail, pictures speak loudly. Avery's smile and hope-filled gaze; her sister's calm sparkle; Emily's passionate embrace of her daughter; her Daddy's protective grin. These moments are perhaps more real than the words to describe them and will endure as memories of God's goodness in creating and uniting the Neills as a family. Even in the midst of sorrow and anticipated loss, the beauty of these moments reminds us that the sovereign author of them all endures far beyond, holding for us a joy that cannot fade or diminish. We pray that these realities will be a comfort to the Neills in this difficult time.
Ever since "#thedaytheclevelandsleft" we eagerly await the Cleveland's return when they come to visit! We were so excited when Brad and Meredith said they were coming to town and wanted to do a session while they were here. Their week in Raleigh was a bit crazy with Brad being busy with work and Meredith having to do life with sick babies, but you never would have known it on their photo day. We were supposed to have dinner with them during the week, but plans changed when Amos decided to throw up all over his sister right before dinner #lifewithkids. Thankfully, everyone was feeling better by the time their session came around! Isabell was all smiles, Amos perfected the can't make me smile stare, Meredith was beautiful and Brad....well Brad is Brad! We love you Cleveland Family and can't wait to see you again!
As if we weren't already excited to get to shoot Chris and Courtney's wedding this coming weekend, after meeting them at the beautiful Childress Vineyards for their engagement portraits, excited is now an understatement. With the time change, our next visit there will be in the dark so we definitely wanted to capture some images of them on this beautiful property before then! I have known Courtney since college, when we were both interns at NBC17. I guess working at a TV station will bring people together because we have been friends ever since! When Courtney started dating Chris, I was so happy for her, and so were my boys because Chris is a golfer and we have gotten to go watch him play at tournaments here in Raleigh and they always seem to walk away with a golf ball!
It was a beautiful autumn afternoon at the vineyard and we had a great time with Chris and Courtney. We even made Courtney a little late to the Taylor Swift Concert she was heading to that night (sorry..not sorry!), because the lighting was beautiful and Paige just couldn't put the camera down!
Being a big brother is serious business, y'all. Despite appearances, Aiden loves holding his little brother. And I love his serious face. On the other hand, Grant's opinion of the experience is still a bit up in the air.
Newborn sessions are always a lot of fun, but when you get to combine that with a fun loving brother and sister and awesome parents it makes for a great session! We had so much fun with Kristen, Jonathan and their three adorable kiddos Eli, Katie, and Liza. Liza was a week and a half old when we did their session and you could just see the love and excitement her brother and sister already had for her. We met the Wofford's at their beautiful home in Wake Forest. Seriously, guys, we love your home! Plenty of natural light and super cute decor - a photographer's happy place! We can't wait to catch up with the Wofford's again a little ways down the road to document the way this family will grow!