Those Millennials! Thomas and Rachel

Thomas and Rachel- two awesome millennials. Thomas is our 25 year old son. He is pictured here with his lovely longtime girlfriend, Rachel. I promised myself I’d write a blog for each of my kids eventually, so this one focuses on Thomas. Of our three kids, Thomas is the most difficult to get in front of my camera, so I snuck some pictures in of he and Rachel recently while taking head shots of Rachel for her new job.

Let me tell you a bit about Thomas. He was always out of the mainstream, the original hipster. He would bite kids in preschool just to say hello, he teased his 5th grade teacher, Mr. Nelson, relentlessly, and as a teen became an expert in spinning poi and fire (gulp), and is still invited onto stages to perform today.

Thomas spinning poi in my studio in 2010

At one point, he refused to wear jeans, instead coming up with the weirdest Goodwill outfits I’ve ever seen. Eternally in a knit hat, scarf and multiple layers of clothing,his outfits were always completed with a funky coat of some kind.

Yes, he attended multiple shows and who knows what kind of trouble he got into during those later teenage years. He was always very mysterious about his activities to his parents, of course.

In his early 20’s, he also would hang out with my scientist in-laws and they eventually sent him to California to present a scientific paper they’d all three collaborated on. He was one of the youngest presenters there, and the only one without a college degree (as yet) to present this paper to an international forum of scientists. It was just the start for him though. After two internships and a college degree from the University of Washington, he has chosen to accept a job in emerging technology at the Starbucks Corporate in Seattle.

Smart and funny, maybe those piles of books I read to him as a youngster paid off?

So here are a few more fun photos of this amazing young couple:


What Does Family Mean to You?

Family, It’s complicated, right? They are those people you love unconditionally, but that can also drive you crazy occasionally. Families come in all shapes and sizes. No one family is perfect. There are tight bonds and then there are feuds that last for years and can hurt our hearts. There are opposite personalities and then friendships that shift over the decades. But even through these love-hate relationships, there tends to be a loyalty to each other, We say “well, they are family” when one of us needs help, or when one of us is dealing with difficulties.

Then there’s children and their parents. No parent is perfect, we all make mistakes, but we do the best we can at the time. I think back to when my husband and I were raising our children and the mistakes that were made that I see now on hindsight. For me, it meant getting my fingers too much in my son’s business as a teenager, when all he wanted was privacy. Maybe we enabled them at times? Or was that just kindness and concern? There is a tendency among today’s parents of older children (including myself) to not allow their kids to experience their own failures and pains. Maybe it’s a reaction to the last generation, where our Moms would kick us outside and tell us to not come back ‘til dark. A different take on parenting for sure.

I’m reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. What a good story she tells. Anyhow, I’m so impressed by Michelle’s mother. Her Mom said she was “raising adults”, not bringing up babies. She showed caring and love, yet allowed her kids the room to make their own decisions, do their own work and even fail from time to time. She didn’t overreact to their travails or their successes, but offered a constant unconditional support for all of their efforts and experiences. I admire her. She was wise beyond her years while raising those two kids.

So… family. It is that time of year when family is the focus. This time of year brings out pain and loneliness in many folks. Memories of a lost loved one due to death or just absence. For others, like myself (I’m fortunate to say) the season brings along a sense of connectedness, of coziness and an extreme appreciation for family – ever important, yet imperfect. I invite you to join me in counting out your gratitudes, and in sharing your family stories- both the joys and challenges.

I had the opportunity to photograph Katie’s lovely family at Greenlake recently. I could see the love and playfulness that existed between them. So beautiful to witness. Here are a few of the pictures that I captured on that sunny Seattle day.