Thursday, July 3, 2014

Portraits of the Birthday Girl

This has turned into Zuzu's Birthday Week on the ol' blog. What can I say? She's great material.

I'm kind of a freak about documenting Zuzu. And I don't think this is a bereaved mama thing, because I know I would have done the same for Eliza. I just love photos. And even before the advent of digital cameras, my parents took a lot of photos and had our picture taken at a photo studio on a regular basis.

I'm still a little astonished when my friends don't have regular professional photos of their kids taken because to me, it's just a normal thing that everybody does (not true, you little bourgeoisie) and I think why wouldn't you want to capture each sweet little stage before it changes? (Not that it's a bad thing if it's not your thing. I'm just saying it's something I really love.)

So we had newborn photos, 3-month photos, 6-month photos, 9-month photos, and one year photos taken of Zuzu last year. (Perhaps a little excessive, but I treasure those pictures more than anything else I could have spent that money on). For anybody who's local, we LOVE Katie Beach photography and had her do our newborn, 6 month, and 1 year photos. Her prices are extremely reasonable--I always buy the CD so I can do my own prints and canvases--and her work is gorgeous. (For 3 and 9 months, I did smaller and less expensive sessions with a very sweet girl who did photography on the side while she was in seminary here, but she has since moved to Texas.)

I've also had her picture taken at J.C. Penney in her Christmas dress and Easter dress each year. She's not as cooperative in their studio as she is for a professional photographer (especially this past year), but all I want is a white backdrop that features the dress she's wearing, so it works out fine. I always use the $3.99 per photo sheet coupon and get 5x7 prints for the grandparents and us and wallets for extended family.

Anyway, we're being conservative with our finances this summer since I'm taking unpaid maternity leave this fall and then we'll be paying the equivalent of a second mortgage for double daycare tuition.

So that means instead of having Zuzu's 2-year pictures taken in June, we're waiting five weeks (OMG) until Rerun is here to (hopefully) have one big family/newborn photo session (with Katie) in August.

Of course, I still had to do a little amateur portrait session of my own here at home on her birthday. So I put her in the sweetest little dress (a hand-me-down treasure from our friends E & F) and she insisted on taking the Minnie Mouse balloon with her. She clutched that balloon string pretty tight in her chubby little fist, but I tied the end of the string to the sash of her dress just to be on the safe side.  And then we went out in the front yard and, with David's meticulous landscaping as a backdrop, I started snapping away.

The birthday girl!


Our little garden nymph. Or gnome.

Such a big girl, here.

With Minnie Mouse.

With Mama. David took this one. He neglected to tell me my shirt was hiked up under her bottom. Nice.

Let's play in the "la-lo" fountain.

Sweet profile. #whoneedsbangs

Thoughtful bebe.

"La-lo, Mama!"

And then our session ended. Because of course it's my kid who literally sticks her FACE in the fountain.
I have no photography skills to speak of, but I am fortunate to have a nice camera and a cute subject. Given that combination, I was pretty happy with our mini-photo session at home.


  1. I think these shots are great! I love her dress and of course her sweet face!

  2. You know I love this post! :)

    I'm pretty sure I showed you the photos of the girls wearing the dress, but not sure if I showed you the one of E wearing it and holding two balloons.

    As soon as I saw that photo of Caroline with her little string clutched in her hand it brought back such a flood of memories.

    I've told you this before, but it really makes me so happy to see her wear some of these clothes. I wish that she had her own set of hand-me-down's from Eliza, I really do. I still love the idea of dresses passing from one little girl to another, to sisters and cousins and friends. It's not the same, I know, but it is sweet and fleeting, these little years. I looked at that post above, and saw that family photo with all the (girl) cousins. And there is Erin in the middle, where she should be still today. I miss her so.

    So I think photos are a wonderful thing to spend money on or make time for. And dresses should be worn and enjoyed and passed around and photographed and remembered. I love that you take the time to do that, and I love the fact that chocolate cake has been washed out of this dress a half dozen times. I hope it sees many, many more rounds of icing.

    The days are too few not to fill with chocolate cake and balloons and pinafores when you can. I look back at these photos and am reminded of that. Thanks.

  3. My three had photos every month for the first year. Yikes. Looking back I can see that is a bit excessive. But at the time? How can we NOT go every month?? :)

  4. That would be me. The girl who has never had a professional photo taken of Benjamin or Claire. Why? Because it still makes me utterly sad to leave Andrew out of the (literally) picture.

    I just don't know how to get around it. I have a really hard time with that for some reason, and therefore have not done it. I take constant photos of these kiddos, but just haven't. I think once Andrew has a tree planted, we will take regular photos near it?!

    Another terrible grief issue.

    Zuzu is looking darling with her (totally Benjamin approved) MM balloon. Your garden looks incredible!

  5. I simply couldn't afford to do anything more than a newborn session and 1-year session, and even the 1 year session was just at Penny's. I take a million pics a day though, so I hope that will make up for it. Your homemade session turned out great!

  6. I love the last one!!

    My friend and I were just talking about this, professional pictures were something I'd never thought of, I certainly never did it before G, but inexplicably when she was about 4 months old my brain decided she Had To Have 6 month pictures taken. We were super poor, building our house, but it was just now a Requirement. I have no idea why. So we did those, then her 1 year ones, and I think for her 2 year ones we invited extended family to come as well, and that is now our tradition. Just the once a year, unless you count the one with Santa that is a tradition as well. My friend was having trouble justifying her overwhelming need to do this with the time, effort, and expense considering it was a miserable afternoon with her 5 and 1 year old, but was relieved to find out it's that important to our family as well.

  7. While pregnant with Alexander, the need/requirement to have professional pictures done of our new family was strong. I don't know if had he lived, if I would have felt the same way as I do now about having them done. And that is, I REALLY WANT THEM, but I was so tired/overwhelmed in the beginning with Theodore, I couldn't manage to book anything for his newborn stage... then 6 months crept up OUT-OF-NOWHERE, and I didn't ever get anything done then either. Then I was so certain I'd get them done for his birthday... and shit just got piled on top of itself with his party and houseguests, and before I knew it, he was 12.5 months, and I hadn't heard back from the photographers I reached out to!!

    gah! So no professional photo shoots for my kid(s). I too have a good DSLR, and do little make-shift shoots at home, and try to capture the stages of Theo's life. Only thing that sucks... I'm never in the pictures!! Family shots are always taken by other family members, and are usually rushed and look very stiff. I would LOVE to have some kind of outdoor, natural setting where the 3 of us can all just look beautiful and someone could snap away... but we'll see.