Miller Family – My Family

For anyone who’s been keeping tabs on my Facebook page you’ll notice my family and close friends are generally my favorite test subjects for photos. I mean, why not?! I have some pretty awesome people to use as guinea pigs. My daughters life has thus far been documented to an absurd degree through photos. Thank goodness for unlimited file storage on websites like Shutterfly (although it was originally Kodak, poor poor Kodak.com).

Every so often we decide we need some pictures of us as a family. Out comes the tripod.

First few attempts were a bit dicey, but they are memories none the less I wouldnt’t trade. Natalie was just a wee 5 months old.
So now, 4 years and a couple months later, she can help me during picture taking. She has ideas for what she wants them to look like. So this years photos mark 7 years for Ellen and I. Probably the couple with the fewest overall photos starring both of us that I can think of.







Maybe over time we’ll try to do more of these. Now that I have the perfect miniature assistant, now only if her hourly rates were lower.

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The Gamache Boys

I am the oldest of 3 boys. Growing up I often recall people looking at my mother with pity, sympathy and gut wrenching fear when she informed them she had 3 boys. I never really realized how differently wired little boys were than girls until I had a little girl of my own. Its as if little boys are predisposed to destroy. Not maliciously, that just seems to be how they test things. Sharks bite to see if something will make a tasty meal. So when our friend Julie had her 3rd little boy I remembered all those looks my mother received. So instead of sympathy, or pity, I smiled and said “you’re in for a hell of a ride”.

Reef, Kai, Finn

I approached my most recent photo shoot with a plan. Since I had seen Reef atop the highest point in of every piece of playground equipment in the greater Newport area I knew that I would have to get him on my team. The oldest brother team. Since Grandma was in town from Ohio it was important to get this right. Give her something to take home from her time with her boys. Reef and Finn are fearless. I’ve always taken a lot of enjoyment over watching their antics at the park, or playgroups since nothing stops them. No force is greater than 2 brothers with a mission to explore.

Robots

Soon the 3rd musketeer will be old enough to climb, shimmy, and rush headlong into the fray with his older siblings. But until then he watches them with wide eyes, sometimes you can almost hear him say “you fools are crazy… can I go to!?”.

Goodbye Sock

The hour long shoot was an awesome time of playing catch up with the boys. It reminded me of what happened when my brothers and I were at the beach. Climbing on logs, running through the brush, and peering over bridges. These boys couldn’t be happier to be on that bridge.

Bridgeview.

And even though little Kai couldn’t be peaking over the edge with them, he was looking around on his own.

Kai

Bribing them with the promise of chocolate pudding, we even got everyone looking at the camera a few times.

I am excited to continue to watch these little guys grow. I admire their tenacity and desire to explore. I don’t envy the emergency room bills that will likely occur in the future, but my brothers and I all survived it. As did my mother, and so will Julie. My only advice is that if it has value no matter how high the shelf it, they will get to it. Put it in a box and hide it until they are teenagers… or maybe in their 20s.

A friend is a brother who was once a bother. ~Author Unknown

Raven Hair Sisters

When my daughter was very young we began taking her to the local library for toddler time. They would read stories to the kids, then they could all be “social” and play with the train set and puzzles with the other kids. Plus, this was networking gold for the other moms (and occasional dads). But as any parent knows keeping a newly mobile toddler in place to listen to a story is not always easy. Velcro on the butt crossed my mind a few times. I even suspected it of some of the other more crafty looking parents. I was always fascinated by the attentiveness of one of the girls there, Willa. Over time we got to know them and I had the pleasure of photographing the family when their 2nd daughter was born last September.

Serafina Brand New

Born with the same thick head of black hair as her sister Serafina immediately began hearing the constant reoccurring comment of “oh my! she has so much hair for a newborn!”. But today while we sat in their comfortably warm and well lit home, it felt more like a window into how they sit with eachother and enjoy family time together than a photo shoot. Brad happily pulled out his guitar to add some nice background music to soothe the baby, and I of course brought some candy incentive for 4 year old Willa. 

Willa and my daughter go to school, and dance class together. So even though she knew who I was (Natalie’s dad, or, guy-who-always-has-camera) I was still in her space and she withdrew a bit. It was a lot having a brand new sister in the house.

But ultimately she quietly accepted that I would be there for just a short while, and when she didn’t think I was there could be caught being “Willa” and having conversations with her folks. Then she overcame all of her shyness to have a picture taken of herself, her new baby sister, and her equally raven haired mother, Tanya.

I was excited to be asked and incredibly honored, to come and do more family photos when Serafina approached her 6 month birthday. Watching her growing personality at dance class while my daughter and her sister were in practicing they arabesque, there was now a chatty, happy, jet black haired little girl.

Trip 2 to the house for photos showed Willa a much more confident older sister. Not only wanting to be in the pictures, but helping in trying to get baby sis to smile!

"Chubby Chubby" as she says.

It quickly moved from a 6 month old shoot to a very happy and fun sister shoot!

Since the guitar had been such an integral fixture in the first shoot we thought why not incorporate it this time too!

We’re not going to discuss here what happened while she was in there, but I think I owe them a new lining.

When she was a newborn the shoot was broken up with feedings, naps, diaper changes but this one was just a happy smiley baby the whole way through with a confident sister by her side the entire time.

I feel honored and privileged to have been given the opportunity to document this important moments in this family’s life. I hope these pictures act as a reminder of this time with their little girls at their house at the beach.

Kris

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Aside

At 7 years old I was sharing the “master” bedroom of our house in Hunter Creek, Or with my 2 younger brothers. Not for a lack of space in the house mind you, but because this particular room was unique. It allowed for all 3 of us to easily fit 3 beds, a full dresser, and within the 3 mirrored closets along the wall all our belongings. It was a bizarrely large room with red and black shag carpet. The mirror on the wall had a bull fighter gold etching on it. Tacky does not begin to describe the oddities in this space.

Being the very particular child that I was at 7 I approached my parents with an outlined plan as to why I should take residence in the “den”. First and foremost it was important that I no longer be forced to try to sleep in a space with the “loud sleepers” that were my brothers. Much to my surprise, request was approved. My own space was on the horizon.

I shuttled all my things down the narrow hallway, far from the sighing, snorting, crinkling plastic bed cover sleep noises that had been my early introduction to insomnia and never looked back. The den, with its book case, 2 closets and most importantly the desk space. There was an inset wall between the 2 closets that allowed for my grandfather’s desk to slide in perfectly. A dark hardwood home base to GI Joe figurines and a place to pen down my many overcomplicated thoughts for age 7. I began journal writing in that place. Realistically it should have been titled “Love Lorn at 7 – Whininess of an Elementary Student”.

For some reason it was so important to me to have that space. I always wanted to feel like a grown up, and with the oversized (for me) chair, heavy drawers and desk light I was able to feel like an overworked middle class adult. Now I am blessed with a daughter who often shows signs of wanting to be a grown up. She has a small table that my mother painted the alphabet on for her where she draws, paints, colors, cuts paper down into the tiniest of pieces just because she can. Her friends come over and they sit across from each other and have meals, giggling the entire time. This table, her desk, has given her that place to explore and be the grown up writing her name on a pad of paper, or the preschooler cramming Dora stickers to every inch of a 3×5″ card. My goal is to always give her that work space she wants to be an artist, to be a writer, or to pretend she is a middle class desk worker, whatever it is she wants it to be.

Sometimes her desk becomes her oversized chair.