Twin 3rd Birthday Portraits

Just as with the farm portraits, this year both kids were enthusiastic about the portraits. I was bracing for Sam to once again hate the idea of portraits, but his urge to do what his sisters were doing was stronger – or maybe he’s just over whatever he hated about it last year. I’m really happy with how the portraits came out this year – particularly for Sam. It helps that the little guy is ALWAYS smiling (unless he’s been told he can’t do something). Here’s my favorite Sam portrait:

Sam third birthday portraits

And here’s a gallery of a few others from that session:

Maybe it’s because, in direct contrast to Sam, Stella always seems so serious, this one is my favorite from the session (the faves are the ones that will be printed out for my office):

Stella third birthday portraits

And here’s a gallery of some others:

It probably helps that they’re not both the same gender, but we try to give them independent identities instead of a strong twin identity. Still, I think it’s important to capture the bond, especially before they get too old to want to take photos together. Here’s my favorite one of the two of them:

Twin third birthday portraits

By the way, part of the reason why that’s my favorite is because it happened spontaneously. I didn’t tell them to do that. I didn’t even tell them to hug. I just told them to be near each other. Here are a few more group portraits:

Frankly, it’s cliche as all get-out, but I cannot believe they’re already three. I feel like I just took them home from the hospital the other day, barely larger than a sack of potatoes. And now they’re talking and asking for things (and sometimes DEMANDING things!) and asking about how things work and why things are happening. Seeing them interact with each other is incredible – and one of the few things I’m getting to do for the first time because Scarlett didn’t have a sibling for me to watch her interact with. They’re very protective of each other and I hope that bond continues.

Twin third birthday portraits
Twin third birthday portraits

2018 Pumpkin Patch Portraits

Another year and the kids grow older. Last year was a disaster – the twins did NOT want their photos taken. We didn’t get any good portraits. This time everyone was game and we got good portraits – at least the first time around. When we reconvened a little later, the kids were over the idea of pumpkin photos, or at least Scarlett was.

This year the kids were actually strong enough to carry pumpkins, so they did enjoy adding to the chunk of pumpkins that were used for the portraits.

Kids hunt for pumpkins
Kids hunt for pumpkins
Stella brings a pumpkin
Stella brings a pumpkin

This year Scarlett felt too old for the hay maze while the twins loved it.

The kids were all finally old enough that everyone loved riding the horses, especially Sam.

Sam rides a horse
Sam rides a horse
Stella's turn on the horse
Stella’s turn on the horse
Stella's turn on the horse
Stella’s turn on the horse

I’m not sure for how many more years we’ll continue the tradition – part of me hopes it can go past the point where they’re ironic portraits of teens or young adults way too old to be taking pumpkin patch photos. Because if we’re doing that, we’ll have successfully taught the kids not to take themselves too seriously.

But, no matter what else, when it’s time to go and someone wants one more picture – at least one kid’s going to be upset about it.

Scarlett’s recital

This year Scarlett did hip hop as her dance class and the instructor selected a Pink Ladies meets Hip Hop sort of outfit for the kids. Like last year I did a portrait session with Scarlett in her costume. Unlike last year, it actually came out nice this year. (Last year I rushed it and the lighting was off)

After seeing another dad do it last year, I decided to rent a lens this year so I could have much better low light performance. I rented the 70-200 II IS L lens. On the plus side, I was very happy with how close I was able to zoom to Scarlett without having to push the ISO past the limits of my camear. On the minus side, I just don’t have that much experience with dance photography and this year Scarlett’s class only had one dance. So although the lens was a reasonable $100 to rent, I am not sure if I’m going to do it again next year (assuming Scarlett does dance class again) since I only got 3 photos worth sharing.

“School’s OUT!” – Scarlett’s Recital Photos

Their song this year was School’s Out by the Disney-affiliated Kyra Christiaan.

The part above is Scarlett shouting “SCHOOL’S OUT!”

Scarlett’s Recital Photos

I love how dynamic Scarlett is in this photo. And you can tell it’s in focus if you look at her shoes or bow. She’s just moving faster than the shutter speed.

Scarlett’s Recital Photos

Easter at the Farm

This Easter we went to the farm so they kids could hunt for eggs there and then enjoy the farm. Unlike my childhood, Easter’s pretty cold up here as you can see.

Stella and the Goat
With Aunt Dina’s help, Stella gets over her fear of petting goats.

It’s pretty ridiculous to me, considering almost my entire childhood consisted of going to the local park.

Stella’s been enjoying horseback riding for a bit now, but this was the first time she was old enough to do it on her own without me holding onto her the entire time.

Stella on Horseback
Stella on Horseback

Sam made big strides this time by actually allowing us to put him onto a horse.

Sam gets over his fear of riding horses to the degree that I can stand far away to take the photo.

And no trip to the farm would be complete without a session of feeding the goats. This time with Stella losing her fear of feeding them.

Feeding goats
Feeding goats

Columbus Day 2016 at the Park

I took Sam and Stella to the park on Columbus Day (Scarlett was in school) and they were finally old enough that I could step back to take photos while they worked their way through the jungle gym.

Sam mows the lawn

Each of the three kids is a little different, of course. Sam LOVES loud things. He loves cars and trains and planes and …. lawnmowers! When I cut the grass he follows me around. When others cut the grass he wants to follow THEM around.

Scarlett liked to imitate what the adults were doing, but she never reached the same levels of obsession with the lawnmower as Samuel has.

 

Ball Pit

One day, I wanted to enjoy time with the kids a little differently and since my love for photography is once again peaking, I took photos of the kids playing in the ball pit.

First Trip to the Zoo

The weather was finally improving and so we figured it was a good time to take the twins to the zoo for the first time. When Scarlett was around the same age she didn’t care for the animals as much. She was much more interested in the kids around her. So we weren’t sure if the kids would enjoy it. The National Zoo seemed like a wise choice since it was free to enter.

On the twins’ first trip to the zoo, viewing the petting zoo animals.

We started at the petting zoo area as that’s near where we parked. The kids enjoyed seeing the cows and other animals they usually only see as toys. I think it was also good acclimatizing for the birthday party they’d attend the following month. (They’d been to a petting zoo around Halloween, but they were nowhere near as enthusiastic as they were this time around)

What animal is next?
Sister Time as they wait for Sam to have his diaper changed

We got pretty lucky with the animals. Usually around lunch time they’re all sleeping. But we were able to see the pandas frolicking (which Sam went crazy over) and the elephants lumbering around. I was surprised at how long the elephants held their attention. We were there for a good 15-20 minutes while they pointed at the elephants.

First time ever seeing elephants live.
First time ever seeing elephants live.
First time ever seeing elephants live.

If only we didn’t go from winter temperatures straight into summer. We went from highs in the 50s to highs in the 70s and 80s with only a week of transition in between. It can be pretty unbearable in the summer in DC, so we’ll have to see if we get to the zoo again this spring or wait until the fall.