BEACH DAY WITH THE CORTAS FAMILY

Usama has clearly instilled bravery in his two daughters, Zeina and Dalia. I spent a good portion of the afternoon with them at the beach, and I quickly learned the two girls had zero fear when it came to the ocean.

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ELLISON’S GOLDEN BIRTHDAY

This month marks Ellison’s first golden birthday… he turns 17 months on the 17th. It’s a fitting birthday because these last 30 days have seemed so special. Ellison continues to grow at such a remarkable rate; both physically and mentally.

Another ‘first-time parents’ started having us around. Our friends, Jason and Joanna are happy parents to little Cali. They started this Sunday tradition called ‘Family Sundays.’ We went to their house for our induction.

We also suited up and headed to Ellison’s second wedding. This time around I was not in the wedding party, so Brenda didn’t have to lug Ellison around herself. Ellison seemed to have the time of his life during this reception, with a little help from his friends.

Ellison and Emilio became partners in crime during the wedding

Ellison was stalking this girl.

Sundays to many is the “Lord’s Day” or “Football Sunday.” To our family, it’s now “Cranky Sunday.” I have no idea what it is, but Ellison always chooses that day to be CRANKY!! Maybe it’s because he’s with us all day Saturday and gets worn out. And by Sunday, he’s had a enough. Or maybe it’s this weird calendar coincidence. I don’t know. But he wakes up on the wrong side of the crib, every Sunday and kicks.our.ASSES!!!

He’s not having it…
…still not having it.

This month marked Ellison’s return to the beach! Brenda kept counting it as his first visit, although it’s technically his 2nd. However, It is indeed his first comprehensible visit. If you can recall, when he was two months old, we took him to the beach and that session lasted all of 30 minutes because Ellison got very squirmy and cranky. We ended that session with a tearful Brenda lamenting that her life will never be the same during the car ride home.

But look at us now! Happy as ever! Our friends, Katie and Usama and their two daughters, had us over to their Malibu summer beach house. Jess, Brenda’s hometown friend, was visiting us so she tagged along.

Upon getting there, Ellison didn’t now what to make of the ocean and the beach sand. But he quickly warmed up!

“What the hell is this place?”

Ellison’s first contact with the sand. His toes sunk right in.

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say it… parenting is lots of fun. Ellison is a bit of a whiner these days and the terrible two’s are creeping up faster than I would like, but I’m enjoying this stage in his life. The wonderment in his eyes can’t be beat. I’ll never forget this period. I’ve said it before, but perhaps losing my job during the summer of 2014 was the best thing that could have happened to me.

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LAURA’S LIGHT

Laura is one of my oldest friends. The one thing I can say about her is she has this enthusiasm that exudes through her smile. She’s the type of person who always lightens the mood in the room.

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DALIA’S BIRTHDAY PARTY

During the middle of the month, I took my son Ellison to a 2 year-old birthday party. The birthday girl’s name is Dalia. She’s the daughter of my wife’s friend Katie. I never thought I’d admit this, but I actually love going to these parties. Maybe it’s because I’m pretty much guaranteed to relate to everyone who is at that party. Or because there’s always FOOD there.

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MY FAVORITE PHOTOS OF 2012

2012 was a great year! My wife and I found out we’re expecting our first child, my beloved Washington Redskins won their division for the first time since 1999, and I met dozens of new families and friends!

It was indeed a busy year in photography! I took over 50 family portraits in 2012 and loved every minute of it. I have to say I learned a lot about my own style and craft, and I thank each and every family for that. I decided to pull aside a collection of my favorite photos of the year (though, almost all of the photos are my favorite. And I’m not just saying that). Also, this isn’t a self-enjoyment post — I couldn’t have created these permanent photographic fingerprints without all the beautiful mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents, pets and other family members I met along the way.

It’s been a great year and I’m sad to say I’m taking a break from photography for a while because of an amazing opportunity that lies ahead! But I will be back!

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BRENDA IN SOUTH CAROLINA

Since I’ve been dating/married to my wife, Brenda, I’ve made multiple trips to her hometown of Waterloo, Wisconsin (population 3,200). She’d never made it over to my parents’ home in Columbia, South Carolina until now. It was long overdue. I couldn’t think of a better time for her to come back that way with me because of our son growing in her stomach.

As the sun set, I took portraits of her in the backyard. We also set out to historical Charleston one of the days.

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SISTERS

This was a fun trio to work with. Their mother wanted family portraits of these siblings, and like any teen/20-something-year-old, the initial reaction was to balk. But once we hit the park, it was an every day as usual atmosphere for these sisters, and it ended up being a good time for all parties involved.

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