“I assure you that I am completely normal.”

That was the line that won Erin over back in 2008. She was a piano and vocal teacher, looking for a nanny for her two boys, and I was a single mom conveniently looking for a job. In the horrifically scary realm that is Craigslist, I told her the only thing about me that she needed to know. I was painfully normal. She also liked that I had a daughter of my own. Built in playdates and normalcy. How could we go wrong? We met a few days later at Starbucks and I met Ethan, the oldest of her two sons, who was 6 at the time (sniffle.) We talked Beatles and music (Erin and her husband, Matt, are both heavily involved in music) and Ethan decided I was cool enough to keep around. Erin asked me how long they could expect to have me stay with them. I told her about a year.

I started working there a few weeks later, bringing my (then) almost 2 year old daughter to play with Cason (2 years old at the time) and Ethan. A few months later, Erin informed me that she was pregnant, and it surprised me so much that I accidentally knocked my water over onto my laptop. Clara was born at the end of May, 2009. Riley and I continued to go to their house at least 4 days a week, and the kids became the closest thing Riley has to siblings. I watched the kids grow with each other and I love them all so much.

3 years after I started my job there, I felt that it was time to leave. Like Mary Poppins, I felt the wind change. My photography was taking off, the kids were getting older, the 50-minute round trip drive was taking a toll and Cason was about to start school. I cried when I told Erin that it was time for me to leave. She hugged me and I cried more.

During my three years with the Barnes’, all of our lives changed dramatically. I was there through the loss of one dog, 2 cats and one guinea pig. They gained a daughter and two new kitties. We both gained new friends. I’m so grateful to be able to call Erin and Matt my friends.

This is the first official session I’ve had with them. It was long past due. I cannot believe how much they’ve all grown.

 

Since I moved to a new blog home, my full content did not transfer. You can find the full post here.

 

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January 13, 2012
I'm weeping. Your work is so beautiful, and knowing you has enriched all our lives in so many countless ways. Thank you for these photos and for all you have done for us. We love you!

Erin, Matt, Ethan, Cason, and Clara (as well as all those crazy animals!)
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