Today is my sister’s birthday. And even all these many years later, I can still remember the day my parents brought her home from the hospital. I was outside on our front steps to greet them and my mom let me hold her. I had to sit down first and when they put her in my arms and I looked into her eyes, she felt like a gift for me. My own real, live baby doll.

Perhaps the reason I have this strong memory is because there were photos to support it. Pictures of me, with my curly brown hair in a barrette, my 70s striped red t-shirt and shorts, smiling broadly with baby Kimmy all wrapped in a light cotton cloth, cuddled in my arms, there on our front steps.

Photographs have a way of not only preserving our memories, but giving them life….from those big life moments, where a family grows through marriage or birth, to those seemingly little ones, those in-between moments of happy family togetherness. Getting to preserve these moments for people we adore has become a real labor of love for Andy & me. We hope that each pretty picture we capture will keep memories alive for the families who invite us into their homes and lives, and ask that we document their togetherness.

While our family sessions often include poses/set ups that meet the principals of sound photography…..really, the photos that move us are the ones where we give our subjects room to roam, so that the REAL them shines through. These allow for those priceless moments in between.

A couple of weeks ago, we got together with Lauren & Garrison, one of our wedding couples from 12 years ago. We’ve photographed them and their growing family every few years and sometimes Lauren’s parents and brother join us, and each time, we see some new memories being made for this wonderful family. And always, it is our pleasure to help preserve those memories.

Here’s a look at some of our most recent together time with these wonderful people, including Lauren’s niece, Chaia, and her cousins/Lauren’s sweet babes: Oliver and Julia.

Lauren is great about providing simple, fun activities for the kids to relax and enjoy themselves….and not think so much about being photographed. This year it was hoolah hoops and bubbles. So fun!!

The last time we saw Oliver he was still in diapers. He had no memory of us and upon entering the back yard of Lauren’s dad’s house, announced that he was feeling too nervous to be photographed. So, we just let him play with bubbles, encouraging to see how big he could get them….and not-so-slowly, he came bursting out of his shell, and quickly stole my heart.

Lauren’s lovely mom, Linda, joined us for a family session this year. It was the first time we’d seen her since the wedding and it was such a sweet reunion for us!! Just love this family….and what’s better than a little Meme’ time? Maybe a cousin’s cuddle?

I’m not sure where the idea for doing a super serious photo came from for these munchkins…but watching them try to get here was sooooo fun!!!

And involved a LOT more moments like this next one…..such happy, shining people!! Love these guys!

Sweet Julia is such a love! She is such a happy, joyful little spirit, who was so excited about being photographed….which, of course, is EXACTLY how we photographers like it. So, when she asked, ” Can you take a photo of me with this flower in my hair?” we happily complied. Her smile was so full of excitement and just lights up my heart….as do the smiles of her happy wee family. Love these people!

The gang’s all here….(from left to right) Julia, Lauren, Garrison and Oliver, with Lauren’s mom, Linda, and big brother, Adam, with his sweet baby girl, Chaia. Such good, warm, loving, kind, fun, funny, all around awesome people! Right here are seven solid reasons why we love photographing families.

Adam and his baby girl….Chaia. She is such a sweet, soulful girl. I wanted to put her in my pocket and keep her close. She’s like a warm, loving beam of light.

The look of love…and the bond of an awesome Dad and his baby girl.

After a bit of time at the house with everyone, we took Lauren, Garrison and the kids to a nearby beach for some quality Cape Cod time….where they played and laughed and hunted for hermit crabs.

Family….the cornerstone for every good thing in life.

All of our time with these awesome people has created a bond that runs deep and feels a lot like  F . A . M . I . L . Y .

Hermit crabs and soft shell crabs….checking out the gifts of the sea with momma.

These two peanuts make my heart smile…BIG!

As do these two sweet peanuts….(not much has changed, guys, since we first photographed you two twelve years ago!!)

Growing up sooooo fast. I remember when sweet Julia was just a baby…and here she is looking so grown up, confident, and full of beauty (inside and out) and her baby brother….I could just eat him up!! When Andy & I were getting ready to leave after the session, we were in the driveway saying goodbye and he gave me a great big hug, looked up at me with those big, beautiful eyes and puckered up for a kiss…but then seemed to have a second thought, like, “wait, I only just met her.” Before he could change his mind, I hugged him tight and kissed his sweet cheeks off, seemingly much to the delight of my sweet new friend. Getting to make connections like the ones we’ve made with these awesome little people is a gift I never imagined when Andy & I first decided to start Bello. We don’t have kids of our own, so getting to spend the quality time we do with these awesome families is just so incredibly rewarding and such a huge blessing, for which I am so, so grateful!

Here’s some of those in between moments that I love so….

…where siblings strengthen their bonds and create moments of togetherness….

…that we hope get woven into their collective memories of a life well lived, a charmed childhood and magical summers spent on Cape Cod’s sandy shores.

Lauren & Garrison…..we can’t thank you enough for inviting us back into your family’s fold, sharing with us your time to play and enjoy each other, and allowing us to preserve these precious, fleeting moments of childhood. We adore you both and are crazy about your wonderful kids! Spending time with all of you really does feel like spending time with our extended family. We hope you love these photos as much as we love all of you, and we look forward to the next time we all see each other! With big love & hugs, Christine & Andy xoxo