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How did this happen?! My cousins are somehow seniors in high school, and time is a thief. I grew up in a town called Valparaiso Indiana. I moved away from my home town and all my family in 1998!  I have now lived in NY for as long as I lived in Indiana.  That’s crazy to me!

The long distance means that I miss out on a lot of the important things that go on with my family. I have several cousins that I grew up with who were as close as siblings, and now they all have kids.  If I still lived in Valpo, I would be there for the birthdays and the performances and the big games and the graduations.  But I’m not. I miss damn near all of it.

But this year, I got to go home and take my cousins’ senior photos. I was home for a visit, and we got to capture these. These are my cousin Rachel’s kids Lauren and Hayden.  Rachel is 2 months younger than me and our mothers are sisters and were very young mothers so yes, we spent a lot of time together as kids. I love her kids, and was so grateful to get to do their senior photos. They are very sweet young people who are clearly intelligent and charismatic and have a big wonderful life in front of them.  I can’t wait to watch it all unfold, even from a distance.

I have to give a shout-out to this amazing location Hamstra Gardens. It’s a stunning creation by a private family and you can only go by appointment.  It’s a fascinating place that you can get beautifully lost in.  I highly recommend exploring for an afternoon.  But be respectful!  This is a special place and I don’t want it abused in anyway.

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My Little Cousins are Seniors

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Leslie Renee Photography

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