elizabeth gelineau



Mobile bay area wedding photographer

Eickelman Family


January 22, 2019

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A Texas Sized Surprise

We were on the way to ballet class when my mom told me my cousins were moving to Texas. I was about eight years old. Laura was the girl cousin closest to my age and her brother, Chris, was only a few months older than my sister, Katherine. I remember I immediately started crying. Katherine would say that is because I am the dramatic one, but I know it was because even at that age I knew that I’d miss them so much! We were always doing stuff together and I couldn’t imagine them not being in Mobile. Texas seemed so far away!

After the move we all stayed close. Every time we get together we always have fun and usually a lot of laughs. One year, our extended family traveled to Texas for Thanksgiving. It is still one of my favorite holiday memories! Over all the trips I’ve made to Texas over the years, the one I made last month is definitely my favorite! I was sitting in my office working on some editing the day Laura called with the plan. I knew she wanted to give her parents (my Aunt Shari and Uncle Ike) a portrait session for Christmas, but I had no idea that Uncle Ike had figured out the surprise early. Isn’t it just like dads to guess their presents?!

Laura revealed that Uncle Ike had figured out the surprise and then they both revealed they had an idea to take the surprise to the next level. What if they secretly flew me to Texas so that I could take the portraits? Talk about such an amazingly fun idea?! I was of course DYING to go and do the session for them, but we had one problem. I was in the midst of busy season and booked solid. We also had to plan around Uncle Ike’s travel schedule. He was due to be in California for a month for business. There was literally one week where we could make it happen.

We settled on the dates. Laura booked my plane ticket. Then, between the booking of the plane tickets and the trip, my grandmother passed away. Aunt Shari made many trips to Mobile during those final weeks Granny was in the hospital. I just knew I was going to accidentally say something about the trip. Somehow, we all kept the secret, even when the entire family was together for Granny’s funeral. Aunt Shari suspected nothing.

Finally, December arrived. I was flying into Houston in the early afternoon. Silly me thought that would beat rush hour. But I was thinking in Mobile traffic terms. I had no idea that I was putting us right in the midst of Houston rush hour with my arrival time. Uncle Ike and Lauren, Chris’s girlfriend, picked me up. The plan was for us to get back to the house before Aunt Shari returned home from work. But the traffic derailed those plans. We came up with Plan B. When we pulled onto the street, Uncle Ike let Lauren and me out of the car two houses away from their home. I walked up to the front door and rang the bell, completely forgetting that would cause the dogs to go into all-out protection mode!

Aunt Shari cracked open the front door and I could immediately tell she was surprised! If you want to see the video of her reaction, you can find it on my Facebook page. Y’all, it was just THE BEST! I am SO thankful that Lauren videoed the whole thing! The next day we headed out first thing in the morning to location scout and we found an amazing spot just a few minutes from their neighborhood. We also lucked out with the most perfect weather and beautiful light! I was only in Houston for one full day, so we really needed the weather to be cooperative. Everything fell into place so perfectly! Praise the Lord!

I absolutely LOVED getting to do this portrait session! Of course I had a horrible time trying to narrow down photos for this post because I had too many favorites! I decided that since this was a Texas-sized surprise that I’d do a Texas-sized blog post! Enjoy!

Y’all know I had to work in some couple portraits for Chris and his sweet girlfriend!

I’m obsessed with this one! I love all the giggles!

Laura and Lauren…say that three times fast!

The difference between a photo with your sister…

And a photo with your girlfriend…

Akira is my god-dog. Yes, that’s a thing. She’s always trying to steal the spotlight. 🙂

How sweet is this little gazebo?! Wishing I could have brought this park back to Mobile with me!

Laura is a veterinarian, so the day after the family session we did some portraits of her and her fur-babies for her bio page on the vet clinic website. This trip was my first time to meet Chuck, Laura’s massive German Shepherd. We’re now besties just in case you were wondering.

But Akira will always have my heart! How could you not love this sweet girl?!

  1. Shari says:

    Love it!!!! Thank you so much! The best surprise ever.

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I'm Elizabeth and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal of the latest here at Elizabeth Gelineau Photography. Stay a while and say hello!

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