Andy & I first photographed Julia & John in the summer of 2011, when we met in Chatham for their engagement session. Chatham is somewhere this sweet couple has come back to year after year…it’s their happy place, where the burdens of busy city life are shed as soon as they see the Cape Cod carved bushes peeking out over the crest of the Bourne Bridge.

Right from our first meeting the year before, our connection with these two wonderful people was firmly set, but that engagement session….the way they let down their guard and let us in, had fun with each other, with us and our cameras and really just went for it…it totally sealed the deal for me. Click HERE for a look at that first exchange with these two lovely souls, before marriage and family life set roots.

Since then, I’ve photographed them on my own a handful of times and while some of the bigger moments in our life have merged with theirs, I think what makes our connection and our time together so special is that it’s not really about the big moments….it’s been about really being present for the little ones. For it is here where real joy can be found…if you’re open to it. And, I believe Julia & John ARE definitely open to it.

I’m going to a concert later today featuring Ryan Montbleau and as I write this post, I’m reminded of his song “75 and Sunny,” where he sings about a best friend, “who lights up every room she goes in,” and he sings of her, “you better believe she’s living for the moment, but her moment is the whole damn thing.”

I L.O.V.E. this line!!

Some of the most profound moments of my life haven’t been big ones, per se…they’ve just been moments of real connection, where hearts are wide open and there’s this beautiful give and take exchange that leaves all parties feeling better for it. That’s how it feels when I’m with Julia, John and their sweet boys. We’re not trying to capture some perfect snapshot of an amazing moment….we’re just spending time together, they’re being themselves and I’m photographing those beautiful, perfectly imperfect moments of their life. And, it makes me really happy to do so!

Here’s a look at our time together a few weeks ago, when I drove out to their gorgeous new (and significantly larger) home in the New York City suburbs of Rye. I arrived late, like 10:30PM late and we, once again, stayed up talking into the early morning hours….way too late for any of us. And, in the morning, I woke to the wonderful pitter patter of little feet on hardwood. I found Brady, who I’ve photographed three times now. First, when he was born, then again a couple of years ago when his brother, Chase, was born, and now for the newest baby brother, Kade.

After some reintroductions, Brady & Chase took me across the hall to show me their baby brother. I just love this series of morning hellos between the brothers.

Brady….much like his parents…is not afraid of the camera. And I LOOOVE it!

Good morning you delicious, sleepy faced angel!

Julia feeds Kade…

I mean if this isn’t the whole damn thing I don’t know what is!

Time to wake up Daddy, who perhaps stayed up a bit too late with one too many whiskeys. Sorry, John! Just love how Chase & Brady pig pile on their dad and then just plant themselves all up in his personal space as they play games on their devices and crack each other up!! Love these munchkins!

Showing me how his new rollerblades work.

After John had a few minutes to wake up, he decided to join the boys in some rough housing…

Followed by a cartoon break and some tummy time for Kade. Couldn’t you just munch on those cheeks?

What’s so great about these lifestyle sessions is we have tons of time. I spent about five or six hours with these guys and for some of it, we’re just talking and hanging out. The kids are doing their thing. And, sometimes, I’m playing with them (like in the photo on the right, where Chase wants me to eat his belly….which I, of course, gladly did!) and sometimes…I’m doing both…playing and taking photos.

Lego time….

Checking out a photo of her sweet boy, and a kiss for good measure….all while carrying Kade so he can nap. She, like so many moms I know, is superwoman. Period.

Speaking of super heroes….

John is a good sport and an awesome dad, and decided to wear Brady’s batman costume, while helping his sidekick, Robin…aka Chase, get into his….then the pair launched into a tickle attack on Brady.

Hey Kade…what do you think about my Robin costume?

The bits…

Julia was sitting on a nearby chair, holding Kade, who I think will be ready to join in the fun before we know it.

Taking it all in…

“But until I can join in,” he says, “I’ll just be here, on the sideline, chewing on my toes.” Nom Nom.

All that fun tuckered out sweet B….just a quick break.

What will the day bring, I wonder?

Why….the traditional everyone pile in the bed photo, of course!!!

“What the heck in the entire world is happening?”

Take out two little monkeys and you get some one-on-one mommy & daddy time. So fun!

A quick feeding by mom, while dad catches his breath…

….gives us the perfect opportunity for some hide and seek. Fe, Fi, Fo Fum….I smell the blood of a Chasey-man.

Hmmm….is Brady here…behind the tent? Whyyy yes, he is!!!

Chilling in the toy bag….because I can.

While I was taking photos throughout the morning, Brady kept asking me if he could take a photo. My fault for initiating that, but he loved it and the middle right photo is actually his (with a bit of help, of course)…still, I love it!!! Good job, B!! In addition to having Brady’s help taking photos, he was also blowing raspberries at his mom and baby brother, which had everyone cracking up and making awesome faces…including me!

Why hello beautiful!!

Meanwhile, Mr. Independent is doing his thing.

Peek-a-boo….EYE see you! Kade and some of his lovely baby bits…

After a few hours of some good play time, everybody needed a break….These are the moments, you’ll remember. Be still my heart!

Snack time…I think I wore them out!

Before I headed home, we decide to brave the heat and head to a nearby park/beach.

It took a fair bit of blackmail to get the boys to be still for some more traditional family photos. I cannot wait to see the lego set they ended up with to get the picture on the left!

Or these two…Just love the one on the right!! The boys’ faces are EVERYTHING!

Back to the house to pick up my stuff, and as I peek my head in to say goodbye to Brady, I catch him reading on his own. Sigh!! I will miss these sweet peanuts!

Julia & John….what can I say? I love you two and love your sweet boys!! Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for sharing yourselves and your beautiful family with me the way you do. I am very fortunate to get to photograph a lot of families, but the way you guys let me do it feeds my soul. Love you to the moon and back and around again!! Chris xoxo