The Cottrells are our dream team.

We’ve recently been dreaming up a certain type of family session… and then someone called us up and asked us to shoot it!  I spent some time talking to Nicole about her vision for the session and the more we talked the more I realized that working with people like this is why I LOVE my job!  I gave her ideas about the kind of session I’ve been wanting to do and she totally ran with it and filled in all the little details to complete my dream!

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I can’t even describe how amazing it is when our clients’ family and friends can look at the photos we took and say “wow, that is SO them” and then at the same time, having OUR family and friends be able to say that as well because our artistic style is enhanced so much by our client’s personal style!  It’s fusion… total fusion.  I could tell from before the date was even set for the shoot that this was one for the record books for us.

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When the big day finally came and we showed up at their house, I turned into a rambling fool every time they pulled out a new tiny sized accessory or trendy prop because I absolutely could not shut up about how perfect every single little detail was!  Everything from the decor of their home (where we started the shoot), to their outfits (thank you H&M), to their photo ideas… it all fit together in a way that made whatever part it is of my heart that beats for beauty, want to explode. (while I hate the term “drama queen”, I can’t help but wonder how many people are silently applying that title to me right about now). So um… I was excited.

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Every Saturday morning, the kids come and climb into bed with Jon and Nicole and they all snuggle up under the covers and hang out together for awhile.

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So while my “dream family session” involved the family playing together in bed like this, the idea to put it into this session actually came from Nicole!  (See!  It’s fusion, I tell ya!).

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Their daughter, Riley, was… gregarious? hilarious? no, neither of those words quite describe her, it has to be some mix of the two words that ends in “arious”, like “grilarious”.

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cottrell_bc0647(You have to check out the rest of the photos to see more of this “grilariousness”… that’s right, I added the “ness” to my new word).

Anyway, she was absolutely amazing.  Bottom line, I hope everyone of you gets a chance to spend sometime playing with a little girl like this at least once in your life.  Any photo we have of her standing still must have been a fluke because I’m pretty sure she spent at least half the day in the air (literally).  Jumping, jumping, bouncing, hopping… she never stopped.

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As she defied gravity, she somehow managed to make up pretend scenarios, tell stories, and ask us important questions about our life.  She’s especially interested in babies right now (and the fact that they actually grow in a belly) so she was quite disappointed that I not only didn’t have my own baby, but that my stomach was void of one as well.  You’d be surprised how often little kids lecture me about getting myself a baby.  A 4 year old boy I used to babysit for thought it was absolutely hilarious that he caught me in my blunder… as much as I argued with him, he insisted that I forgot to buy a baby and I’d better go do that soon. Just today my friend’s 3 year old was getting on my case as well!

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Little Tolan, was not about to be over shadowed by his big sister though!  It was so awesome to watch how he followed her around and copied her.  If she flung herself onto the couch, he followed suit.  When she left the room, he was right on her tail.  It made me miss when my little brother was following me around like that about 20 years ago.

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Tolan loves playing with accessories whether it’s a hat, sunglasses, whatever, he loves them (perfect fit for his parents!), but he’s not about to let all that junk get in the way of him having fun either!  He’s a rough and tumble boy through and through.  I won’t even tell you how many hours I spent in photoshop just doing the bare minimum work to minimize all the toddler battle wounds on his face!

cottrell_bc0417cottrell_bc0422cottrell_bc0431cottrell_sc0416cottrell_sc0618cottrell_sc0001(this is the only pacifier in the world that I would call an “accessory”)!

I have to mention that little Tolan is already a musical genius!  He plays actual songs on the piano already!  Just when you get ready to brace yourself and cover your ears for the obvious obnoxious sounds that come from a toddler sitting at a piano, you realize he’s actually playing something and it sounds good!

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One of my favorite stages that little kids go through is when they get their own sense of humor.  Tolan was totally there and I could probably laugh for hours on end watching him decide what he deems as funny in this life.  At one point he took off his cute little converse shoe and threw it on the ground and he got this look on his face that said, “oh wow, I am a comedic genius” and then he laughed hysterically.  And judging by the way he made me laugh at that point, he may very well be a comedic genius!

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(Here’s an “I’m-so-hilarious moment”… take a good look at his face, you might see him live at the Improv one day… if he’s not spending all his time at Carnegie Hall by then).

cottrell_sc0537(Apparently his daddy thinks he is the funniest thing in the world).

The entire time we were at their house, Tolan was absolutely enthralled with the 2 chapsticks he was double fisting.  He spent about 20 minutes studying the mechanical structure and working on getting the caps off.  I emailed Nicole after the session to tell her that if she ever needs extra pictures of her son playing with chapstick, I have about 200 of them!  She said she’d keep that in mind for when he brings his first girlfriend over one day!

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Now that you’ve been a first hand witness to how cool these people are, I have to brag and tell you that they’ve decided we’re cool enough to be their friends!

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Scottie and Jon were actually roommates at one time in the house that Jon and Nicole still live in (so all these photos are taken in Scottie’s old house)!  And Jon was the one who sort of welcomed me into his group of friends, which is how I met Scottie!  Jon also had a ton to do with us ending up together since he was often a key player in all the romantic things Scottie planned to woo me with and he was also very good at picking up the slack to make me think only the best of Scottie (by that I mean the wedding gift you gave us when we got back from our honeymoon…you know what I’m talking about!). ;-)  The Jon touch can’t be mistaken, so as much as Scottie may have wanted to claim all those romantic ideas as his, I knew he would NEVER garnish a plate with vegetable shavings!

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I also got to be a witness the first time Jon and Nicole ever met (in the very same house) when the new “hot girl” walked in and turned all the guys’ heads (I don’t know if you knew that, Nicole)!  All that to say, we were friends with Jon and Nicole during some of the most pivotal moments of our lives and they helped us make it through them all.  Jon and Nicole, doing these pictures meant so much more to me than just getting a chance to do my dream shoot.  It was so fun for us to be involved with you and your family again, and it made us remember how much you mean to us and realize what we’ve been missing out on these past couple of years (or however long it’s been since we’ve hung out regularly).  We absolutely LOVE LOVE both of your personalities and your hearts… and now that we’ve gotten to know your children better we realize we love them as well.

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I kind of want to just publicly recognize how much we value you as individuals, as a couple/family, and as our friends.  You are two of the most generous, intelligent, interesting, creative, loving, and well let’s face it… ultra cool people we’ve ever met and you’ve both done so much for us and been such a big part of our lives (I know those sound like generic adverbs, but you represent all of those things better than most people I’d describe with them!). We want to say thank you for the many, many times you’ve been there for us, whether it was having major talks with us about dating drama (we’re SO glad that stage is over!), inspiring us with your knowledge of the arts, or making us laugh REALLY hard right when we needed it.  We love both of you guys and we hope that you love your pictures!

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It was so hard to pick out photos to post here because I love them all!  Make sure you click to see the rest of the Cottrells’ Family Photo Session!

November 21, 2009 - 8:31 am

chelsea hudson - um, HECK YEAH they are your dream team. these ROCK. the pick of mom on the red couch with daughter up on her feet is the MONEY. bam. if that was the only shot you guys got, it would have been well worth the session (athough that is obviously not what has happened… these are all amazing)…. i think they should take down a few of the small (really cute) black frame pics on the wall and put a HUUUGGGEEE black framed print above their couch right there.

November 21, 2009 - 9:10 am

Jonathan and Nicole - Wow! These are just absolutely spectacular. You couldn’t have hit the nail more on the head with these photos. We will cherish these all of our lives, looking back upon the time when our children were small (and we were so young).

On top of all that, thank you, thank you for the wonderful things you wrote about us and our family–we love you guys just as much! Dinner and catch up soon!!!

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