Lauren, Garrison and Family ~ Chatham Family Photographer

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

Heather, Jesse & Family Beach Session

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If you know me at all, you know family is super important to me. Being with Andy, my dad and his partner, my sisters and their hubbies, my nieces & nephews, cousins and aunties…it’s just where my bliss can be found.  Don’t get me wrong, we have our share of family drama…like everyone. But, when we all get together and everyone is clicking and enjoying each other, there is little else that makes me as happy.

And, when I look back over my life, I am sometimes struck by how quickly the time has passed and how those moments of togetherness and family bonding are so fleeting, too far and in between. And life seems to have move at a pace which leaves me feeling as if I can’t keep up.

So, documenting families has become a bit of a passion for me. It’s a way of giving families an excuse to stop and just be…..together, to enjoy a sunset and a couple of hours of silliness on the beach (or whatever favorite place they covet).

We get to document that time of togetherness for them and in turn, they provide a beautiful visual reminder to us of just how precious our moments of family togetherness are….and how we ought to savor them, because before we know it, the kids are grown, having kids of their own and all that is left are our memories and if we’re lucky….photographs that highlight our time with one another.

This time of year, Andy & I are generally so busy that there is very little time for enjoying togetherness with our own families. But, this summer, we got to enjoy a rare week away with family. It was an incredible time of enjoying one another…something I am sure we will all treasure forever (thank you sweet Debbie for making it happen!!!). My only regret is that I didn’t hire someone to document our togetherness. Andy & I took some photos, but it’s not the same as having someone else do it for you…someone who allows us as photographers to be present, in the moment, and part of the story. I won’t make that mistake again!

Anyway, family time is special…and it was something I was thinking a lot about when we got together with a very special family a couple of weeks ago. We met up with Heather & Jesse, whom we first met when they were planning their 2011 Wequassett wedding.

Andy & I fell pretty hard for Heather & Jesse and their wedding was everything we knew it would be and more! We’ve been fortunate that they’ve kept in touch over the years. But, we hadn’t met their sweet kids, Ella & Jackson, until our recent get together at Chatham Lighthouse Beach.

We LOVE kids…we love their energy and enthusiasm for life’s little things. We love their innocence and curiosity…their timidity or excitability. Getting to be around children brings us both a lot of joy. But, Heather & Jesse’s kids were exceptionally awesome! They are the perfect combination of their parents and our bond with them was instantaneous. And, it’s why I think the photos came out so awesome….if I do say so myself.

I’ve already blathered on too long…and if you’ve read this far, I’d be surprised. So, let’s just get to the good stuff….Say “Hi!” to Heather, Jesse, Ella & Jackson, and prepare to fall in love…as we have.

01 kids running

These are some very happy kiddos…..makes it hard not to smile looking at them, doesn’t it?!

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Kids loooove when adults act ridiculous. Fortunately, I am very good at acting ridiculous! In this next one, I was crawling around on the ground, growling like a lion and challenged Ella & Jackson to give it a try. They were not opposed!!

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After we all got comfortable, it was time to get at least one Christmas Card photo for mom & dad. Taaa Daaa!

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Then back to silliness….which is my favorite way to be…and to photograph families being.

04 family playing cape cod

Because sometimes amid all the fun, the kids give you this….

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And this…. Sweet momma, I love these moments. Breaks my heart a little that I won’t ever have one of my own, but I just love watching women who I admire and care about enjoying their special moments!!!

03 family on beach

Big sister pig pile….yummy!

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Ella is a ham and I just loved out time together. She was silly and sweet, playful and just generally super excited to be spending the evening on the beach with her family and her two funny new friends. I wanted to take a few photos of her on her own, and all of a sudden she gave me this pose and face….I nearly fell in the sand. Love her! Meanwhile, Andy captured this super sweet moment with Jackson, who was admiring a piece of driftwood he found.

02 kids on beach

Cuddling with Daddy….

06 father and son on beach

Cuddling and kisses….does it get any better?

07 beach kisses

Yup…it does! Flying makes it better! Hello sweet Ella-bella!

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Come on Daddy….this way!!

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Mom, I’m so funny…..Yes, Jackson…you are!!

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I love this next photo….it makes me think about where these two were in their lives when we first met them and how far their love has taken them since. I am excited to see where their love will take them next!

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A family that plays together, stays together.

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Yippeeee….

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Happiness….Heather & Jesse have created room for a lot of it in their lives and we couldn’t be happier for them!

11 family beach photos

Big sissie, showing baby brother the way. Be still my baby-loving heart!

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Sweet Ella kept giving me specially-selected seashells all evening. Here she is hunting for some goodies, while jolly Jackson reacts to his new pal, Andy…the funny guy behind the camera!

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Run Daddy…the waves are coming!

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Days like these….where we are with the ones we love most, just enjoying the moment. Being present and open….it’s what it’s all about!

12 family beach photos

Eyes of an angel, like pools of ocean water….look too long and you might drown in the yumminess!

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It’s a wrap….the sun has set on a wonderful evening with some really wonderful people and their wonderful little lovebugs! Togetherness preserved….

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Heather & Jesse….thank you sooooo much for sharing your beautiful family with us! We remember when you first reached out to us for your wedding and how important preserving memories were to you. We hope we did you proud here with this sneak peek from our super fun evening together with your sweet boos! We absolutely loved seeing you both again and getting to meet Ella & Jackson was even more of a treat than we expected. Just adore them and both of you and we thank you so much for keeping in touch all of these years and for letting us be a part of your family togetherness time!  Big love & hugs, Christine & Andy xoxo

Aimee, Rick, Tess & Brooks Family Session ~ Mashpee Beach Photographers

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since we photographed Aimee & Rick’s Ridge Club wedding. Happily, we’ve kept in touch and have been able to get them back in front of our cameras a few times over the years. One of my favorite sessions was three years ago, when I photographed them as they welcomed their baby girl, Tess, into the world.

I love me some quality baby time, so getting to photograph Tess just a few weeks after she made her way into the world was a real treat! Click HERE for a look.

I remember after our session, Aimee looked forward to the time when they’d have another baby for us to photograph. Baby number two came a little over a year and a half later. Sadly, it was to be some time before we’d get to photograph baby Brooks. He had a rough start to life, having to endure several surgeries to repair a cleft palate.

As difficult as it no doubt was for sweet little Brooks, I’m sure it was absolutely torturous for Aimee, having to watch her sweet boy be wheeled into the operating room more times than any mother should have to.

Happily, Brooks is on the mend, and although he still has more surgeries ahead of him, he is a happy, healthy, sweet, playful, delightful little boy, who is very much adored by his big sister.

We got to finally meet Brooks two weeks ago, when we got together with the whole family while they were vacationing on the Cape. Our gathering took place at The Spit, the same spot where we first photographed Aimee & Rick for their engagement session. It was a lovely full circle moment for us. Here’s a peek at our time together.

All grown up at three, Tess strikes a pose that had us in stitches…which she and her little brother seemed to enjoy. Love these little munchkins.

Brooks plays with his Dada and is all smiles…..big, beautiful, delicious smiles!

Happy, curious little Brooksy.

Andy has a way with kids that has always been something I’ve loved about him. Seeing these photos he captured while playing with Tess just about made my heart explode. Look at how enchanted she is with him….

I don’t know what he said or did to get these reactions (and there were a couple more in the series that were equally as delicious!), but I LOVE it!! And, from the looks of things, so did Tess!

A little beachside stroll with Dad….that look….too much!!!

Playful, lovely, gorgeous Tess….the way children smile lights my heart on fire!

While the kids play, mom & dad take a minute for a little snuggle time. Yaaaay for enduring bello love!

Such a sweet family…..

Be still my heart…..

I often will use reverse psychology on kids….telling them NOT to look at me or my camera when I feel like I’m losing their attention. Well, Tess LOOVED this game, and kept shouting, “IIIIIII’mmmmmm lookin’ at you!!!!” which was cracking us both up and making her baby brother wonder what the heck she was shouting about. The results….adorable! I knew those college psych classes would come in handy eventually.

After all the formal stuff was done, it was time to play in the water…and Brooks was loving it!

While the boys played in the waves, I got the girls in front of the camera for a little one-on-one time. Moms & their daughters…..one of the most complicated, intensely loving and utterly important relationships that ever existed. These photos make me miss mine and envy my sister for the two sweet daughters she has!

And, no better way to finish the evening than with a little skinny dipping. Baby bums are my fave…that and a little peek-a-boo.

And, with that, we said goodnight to this lovely family! Aimee & Rick, thank you so much for letting us be a part of documenting this next happy chapter in your life. We LOOOOVED meeting Brooks and getting to see you and Tess again! Your kids are just delightful and we’re so thrilled that Brooks is doing well and seems completely unphased by everything he’s been through in his short life. We hope these photos help celebrate this milestone for Brooks and for your whole family! He’s a resilient little trooper and we cannot wait to see him continue to blossom in the years to come!! Love you all to pieces and feel so grateful to have you all in our lives! Big hugs, Christine & Andy xoxo