A Walk in the Garden with the Francis Family

The first things I noticed upon meeting the Francis family are Ava’s striking blue eyes. Are they not the most piercing blue eyes you have ever seen? Simply stunning.1F1A0262 1F1A02401F1A01441F1A0695 Mandy, Frank and Ava met me at the Chicago Botanic Garden this past weekend for some family portraits. The weather could not have been more perfect to get outside, see some spring blooms, and get some great shots. There were many passersby, and I think that could have something to do with the anticipation of the blooming corpse flower. We did not get to witness the epic moment…

Instead, we ran around the beautiful English Walled Garden, which is my favorite spot for portraits of any kind, and then eventually made our way to the Japanese Garden.1F1A0126 1F1A0130Ava is an energetic little one. Rarely do I find a little thing that isn’t shy upon first meeting me, but Ava was one of the exceptions to this rule. She has such a sweet little spirit to her and is full to the brim with life. Ava is one independent chica- she “got it!”, she “do it”, and she especially “don’t need help!”. She has such confidence and trust that she is totally capable of anything she sets her mind to, and that is something that I loved about her right from the start.1F1A0142 1F1A06211F1A01201F1A0397Sprinkle in that her parents are some of the nicest people ever, and you have the recipe for a wildly successful shoot.

Ava loves hanging with her dad. She loves to run, sing and play, and Frank is down to do any and all of those things with his little girl. He has IMPRESSIVE knowledge of a wide range of songs from “Let It Go” to “Daniel Tiger” to “Minnie Mouse Bowtique”. Minnie Mouse Bowtique was a new one for me. And I call myself an expert on all things kid pop culture…1F1A0027 1F1A0033 1F1A0227You better believe I went home and looked up Minnie Mouse Bowtique. It’s good. It’s real good.

Mandy is due with baby number two (the rhyming just happens sometimes…I’m not necessarily into it, but I also don’t fight it) this June. They decided not to find out the gender, which is different because Mandy and Frank chose to find out the gender when pregnant with Ava. Mandy comes from a family of all brothers, and Frank comes from a family with all sisters. How funny is that?! I asked Mandy if she hopes the second one is a girl so Ava has a sister, and Mandy replied,

“I liked having brothers. I would like it either way. It would be nice for Ava to have a sister, but we just want the baby to be healthy. We really don’t care whether it is a boy or a girl.” 1F1A0112 1F1A0390Mandy is hilarious because she said she grew up with brothers so when she married into Frank’s family, having sisters was totally foreign to her. It cracks me up because Ava is a girl’s girl. She meets all the prereqs: loves dresses, the color purple, the Frozen soundtrack, and all things Minnie Mouse, BUT girlfriend isn’t afraid of a little dirt.1F1A0086 1F1A0281 1F1A0336 1F1A0576I cannot wait to watch this family grow, and to meet Baby Francis come June!