My niece, Holly, turns 1 today. Way back in April, we all flew out to meet her then-3-month-old self, and I got to do a session with her and Big Sister Iris in their beautifully renovated home in the Berkeley Hills. In honor of Holly's first year, I'm finally posting their session. (My goal was to find time to post it before she graduated from high school, so I'm doing pretty well, if I do say so myself.) Holly has grown and changed so much since these photos, but I'm smiling revisiting the sweet memories of our first meeting. One of the funniest things about Holly is that she has already been busy teaching the great life lesson that what goes around comes around; she started to walk at 9 months, just like her mama did. My parents had a deservedly good laugh over the one skill you don't want your child to master early.
Happy 1st Birthday, Holly B!
I couldn't help taking Iris out to to her iris garden for a few snaps.
To view more of my lifestyle portraits, click here.
A thrill of hope. Could any line better describe what the holiday season is supposed to be about?
As this year winds to a close, and we anticipate the awakening of the next, I wish you this: that you allow yourself the stillness and space to seek and experience a thrill of hope.
And a few favorite outtakes.
We took a delightful literary trip across Southern Africa last week with stops through Madagascar and South Africa.
Madagascar captured my heart 14 years ago when I spent a summer there doing primate field research. Little did I know that years down the line, it would capture my kids' hearts too. By this point, between visits to and camp at my old stomping ground, the Duke Lemur Center, plenty of books and photos, and a healthy collection of stuffed lemurs, the girls now know as much as I do about Madagascar and conservation issues. But we still enjoyed spending a day reading and writing about one of our favorite places.
South African culture and wildlife also fascinated the girls. Since our cousin just spent the year working with great white sharks in South Africa, we thought it would be interesting to study great whites too. One day we hope to take a closer look at them...from an underwater cage.
Southern Africa (South Africa and Madagascar)
Identified and labeled Madagascar and South Africa on map. Explored Malagasy culture by studying paintings, fabrics, jewelry, crafts, photos and books. Wrote stories about lemurs. Wrote book reports on Nelson Mandela. Inspired by Ndebele women of South Africa in "My Painted House," beaded necklaces and painted our own house drawings. Used "My Painted House" for lesson on nouns and adjectives. Studied and painted pictures of great white sharks. Field trip planned to aquarium to see sharks.
More Around the World Book Lists
East Africa (Part I)
East Africa (Part II) and Central Africa
North Africa (Egypt)
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I'm Julia Soplop. I've spent my life documenting the world around me in writing and photography. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.