Have you ever woken up from a dream so vivid you could swear you just lived the events in real time? A dream so deep, it takes you a few minutes to realize its not real? Well, I have. Most of the time they’re just little snippets of my life thrown into hyperdrive fiction, or a ridiculous encounter with some absurd celebrity like Carrot Top or Weird Al Yankovic ( seriously, don’t ask..) but every now & then these dream scenes would give me a vision for a shoot. I used to have them weekly, until one day they just..stopped. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed the peaceful dream-free sleep while it lasted, but one summer night after a sun drenched day spent making memories & splashing at the pool with my boys, I dreamt of pancakes. Not just pancakes…a family making pancakes. A bright white kitchen, sticky-fingered kids, flour covered hands…a beautiful mess.
A few days later Candice’s email popped up in my inbox asking about my availability for a lifestyle session. We’ve been cyber friends for years, following each others instagram accounts and facebook posts, so before I ever stepped foot in their darling home, I felt like I knew them. I emailed back, told her about my crazy dream & asked her how she felt about making pancakes. If you know this family personally, or even just follow their lives via social media, you’ll know they love to cook. They’re big advocates of clean eating & organic living, so this pancake session was absolutely meant for them. Lucky for me, they loved the idea & we set a date to make it happen.
Within five minutes of walking in their door, a few quick hugs hello & putting down my gear bag, their three year old Stevie excitedly led me to her room & pulled out her puzzles. This kid, ya’ll. She had me wrapped around her finger in five minutes. This precious little human is every bit as vivacious, spunky & jaw-droppingly beautiful as her parents instagram pics suggest. So we played puzzles. And she called me “miss Kellie” and I could have seriously stayed & played with her all day. I made her a not-so-perfect cape & her daddy fixed it so she could fly. Baby Dani was sound asleep when I arrived, but she woke up pretty quickly once the cape flying & green monster chasing began. Dani is a cherub of a 3-month old, all cheeks & gummy grins. She comes alive when her sister pays her the slightest bit of attention & lights up when her daddy talks to her. Only 3 months into her sweet little life & its clear she loves her family. And truly…what’s not to love? Candice & Dan give every ounce of themselves to their family. They spend their days giving, building memories, living wholeheartedly. No moment is too small or insignificant to them. They dive in and live it all. I loved hearing Candice talk about how they don’t have cable because they would rather spend the money on cloth diapers for Dani. I loved watching this woman ( who says she never wanted kids before she met her husband) so effortlessly love her girls. I loved watching Dan be a loving husband and a silly, playful dad who is every bit the real deal. He’s the guy who magically squeezes into the girls play tunnel to create a “green monster” & chases Stevie around the house…
And so it went. An afternoon of life with the Lannings. Making pancakes, jumping in leaves, swinging high & living each moment in all of its beautiful, messy imperfection. I’m so grateful for silly dreams and this precious family for bringing them to life.