Many of you that follow my blog know about my friend Jenni. And those of you that know Jenni know that we have been best friends going on 21 years now. When you look back on 21 years of friendship, there are a lot of memories that mix families - both immediate and extended. Her Omi and Opa? My Omi and Opa. Her cousin? My cousin. If for no other reason that the frequency of me being around - her family became mine, and I was accepted into hers.
So when Jenni's cousin Nadine came to the States from Germany when I was....10? It was only normal that I spent time with her, sleepovers at Omi and Opa's, and probably a trip to the zoo thrown in there. The picture evidence from that first trip proves poor fashion sense, a liking towards scrunchies, pre-braces teeth, and three awkward girls hugging and loving each other.
Well all since then - Nadine fell in love (conveniently for her family in the states) with a rugged, handsome, and all together super-hero-quality-of-awesome US Army man stationed nearby her home in German and they got married. After a long, and very difficult deployment period, they came back to the states to settle for a few years. Although we only have her on loan - and I don't get to see her nearly as often as I wish to! - I love having her on my side of the pond, and love to see her happy with her family.
Nadine let me (and Jenni!) stay with her the night before Mike and Jill's wedding, and I insisted on taking some photos of their baby man, Jackson, while we were there. To my great sadness, Jackson's one year birthday came and went without my meeting him. When I finally (finally!) got to meet him, I was smitten. This kid? Cutest ever.
Okay - I have to start photos with this one. It's not the earliest photo of us, but thankfully I don't personally have evidence of that atrocious look :) Me and Nadine circa 2006.
And circa 2010 with Jenni :)
Jackson has his mommas big soft eyes, and his daddy's impish looks. Combined they create this little heartbreaker.
He has an addiction to holding chapstick tubes. It's akin to a comfort blanket for him. Nothing - not even the football that rolled into our shoot - could make him set it down.
I love this one of him and his momma. I know it's blow out, and the color is bad, but it's simple. She's watching him and he's testing out his steps.
Seriously? Could he BE cuter??
This makes my heart happy.
I asked Zack and Nadine what it was like being parents. How are they adjusting, even after a year of doing this parenting thing? How are they seeing their relationship change? Is it hard for them to find time for just them? Do they ever have moments of wishing it was quiet and calm?
Zack looked me in the eye and said with unhesitant assurance that having Jackson was worth every sacrifice. He said he didn't miss the things he's had to give up. He looked at Jackson sitting next to Nadine at the dinner table with such love....
Nadine was meant to be a mother. She is patience in human form. She is gentle and playful, fiery and fierce, and will be able to wrestle with the best of them when Jackson's big enough.
They are a family now. It's an amazing transformation for any two people to make. But these two? They make it look easy. They have so much love between them that it makes sense that a baby was added to pass some of the extra love to.
I love you all so much. Even if you wear tweed jackets with leather elbow patches :)
CLICK HERE for a slideshow!!