JDP seniors William & Wyatt Pete

Well, this one’s gonna be a little hard for me. Blog followers will have to forgive the overshare that’s about to happen. Really this is two massive blogs in one because my twin boys are about to graduate. And if you mother creates senior portraits for a living…well…you get it. These senior portraits went on all year and now I can hardly believe we are done…

Sometimes we belly laughed, sometimes we grumbled and sometimes we outright argued…so like just about every other mother I know who coaxed her senior son to have portraits created. I know all too well that this is the last phase of life that I’ll be able to mark down all I want to remember about my boys in my old age. Photographing them has often been challenging, but it has always been worth it. Seems that’s true of sooo much of the best stuff in life! Fortunately I know I’m not alone there and that’s what authentic girlfriends are for in your life!

I look at these boys and I remember the first time I was in labor with them, at 24 weeks. We were all terrified and had no idea the journey that might be ahead of us with children born so prematurely. At the time we were going to wait and be surprised by their gender, but once the complications arose that was a game that suddenly lost all appeal to us. We just wanted to know these babies, unsure how long we’d get to call them ours and make our memories with them.

Like every parent, we just wanted them to be born healthy and thrive in this life while they made a dent on eternity. But we also knew there were no guarantees so we had to trust that the Lord is good, even when our times are bad.

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The pregnancy continued to have many moments that dropped us to our knees (well maybe not to my knees at that point) in prayer. We came to know our Father God in deeper ways because were were able to acknowledge our full dependence on Him. Any illusion of our control in this life was stripped away.

And ultimately we recognized that’s the goal of this life–to know God and His Son Jesus more and more through every step of our journey. That often is best accomplished through the hard stuff of life.

When these boys were little, it was no joke having 3 in diapers at once. Their big brother Tad is 1.5 years older than them. The days were physically so exhausting. Except for the daily nap/quiet time there was constant motion in our home from rising to bedtime. Wrestling, basketball, hunting frogs, soccer, airsoft wars, man hunt, swimming, trampoline, building bamboo rafts, fort building, flashlight tag, sledding…I could go on all day. My favorite was when friends would visit and say incredulously, “we’re allowed to wrestle here?!?” Meanwhile I was thinking, good luck trying to stop them! I’ve always told them I’ll choose the chaos of their memory making activity to the silence of zoned screen time every day of the week.

Randomly neighbors would comment to me about how they loved hearing my boys play outside all day. I was always grateful because I feared so much of the noise was bothersome…it felt like someone was always getting hurt or arguing. Years later now I realize I’m the only one who heard that. They heard the laughter and it brought back their own childhood memories. I hear it in my neighbor’s children now and it warms my heart everytime because it takes me back as well.

These two have been making me laugh since day 1. They’ve been very tight through most of their life but emergence into the teen years meant it was time to start charting some of their own courses. That has not been without friction in our home. So when they broke into above jokingly, I clicked away to document it all as part of their story! This, by the way, was how they came dressed for their yearbook portrait that the school requires…the jorts were to make me laugh. Mission accomplished! Business on top and party on the bottom!

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The twins are graduating the same year as their fellow JDP senior cousin Camden. So we had to create an ode to their love of soccer together. For Camden’s momma it’s her first leaving…for me it’s my last. There are just so many mixed emotions right now!

Boys competing their sophomore year.

Boys playing basement soccer many years ago!

We vision cast for William and Wyatt Pete’s portraits just like I do for every client. We wanted to represent what they love in life. Wyatt Pete loves to cook and this chef coat was cut down to size by his Mimi for all the boys. Though to be honest, he’s almost always cooking shirtless in a pair of sweatpants! He’s even had friends over to help them learn some cooking basics.

Wyatt Pete’s got a big heart for people. He’s quick to defend those who don’t have a voice and make sure they know someone has their back. He can’t tolerate injustice and feels the pain of others deeply.

It doesn’t take much convincing to get Macy Mae involved when food’s involved!

Wyatt Pete loves everything about Harry Potter. He and his older brother Tad walk around quizzing each other on random book facts, trying to stump each other. He’s read through the series a few times and it just never grows old.

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William puts these sunglasses on everytime he comes into my upper level studio space. It cracks me up everytime. He decided an all white look with Macy Mae was going to be his thing. The preciousness of this set melts my heart and happens to be top on his list as well!

William works at Fratelli’s now and is learning more intimately the stresses of the restaurant world. While it’s stressful, he’s done a great job of sticking it out to see the rewards of his labor. This has enabled him to be generous in surprise ways that make us proud. He and Wyatt worked at Roy Rogers for 2 1/2 years together and Wyatt still works there but will be a camp counselor for young kids this summer.

William and Wyatt Pete have played basketball pretty much their whole lives. When they were 2 years old they’d walk around the house dribbling a ball. While they both played on teams throughout their lives, I think they’ve made some of their best memories on our home court trying to outdo each other. Their dad coached them up till high school.

Both boys have played soccer since they were 5 and all through high school. They transferred to Delone their junior year because they offered in-person instruction during Covid. Initially, they were not wild about the idea of leaving their school, but it didn’t take long after meeting their teammates before they felt right at home at Delone. They knew that on-line school was not a match for them and we are grateful there was an alternative.

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William is an avid snowboarder and can’t get enough of big open runs. He’ll be attending West Virginia University this fall to pursue a business degree. WVU offers ski trips through the winter sponsored by the outdoor adventure group which he was excited to hear about.

With their big brother Tad.

The soccer team at Delone introduced the twins to life at the school and gave them a place to belong right away. Their contribution to the team helped them to know they were making a difference from the beginning and that helped to ease their transition tremendously.

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The boys have loved the small family like feel to the Delone environment. The strong sense of school spirit and camaraderie has been a blessing in so many ways to them. They still get to see their local friends and have expanded their network to a great group in PA as well.

Unfortunately, Delone does not have a track and field or pole vault pit. So Wyatt has been limited to one day a week vaulting practice at borrowed facility space, while the rest of his practices focused on sprinting for relay competitions. Vaulting is his true love though. He’ll be attending Shippensburg University in the fall to pursue a secondary education degree to teach History. He also hopes to secure a pole vault coaching job wherever he ends up teaching. He’s so grateful to his Coach Caine who has mentored him as a vaulter and built into him the last 2 years, pictured below watching over Wyatt vaulting. There’s a possibility he’ll vault at Shippensburg after he sees how the transition into college goes.

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Since Delone doesn’t their own facilities, we haven’t been able to create vaulting portraits like I typically would for a client, solo just him on the field. So instead I’ve covered him live action in competition. Cheering and shooting simultaneously! Below is the moment he got 2nd in districts with a new PR of 12″3!

One of Wyatt’s highlights of the season was when his pole broke, mid jump. I was naturally terrified and yelled out a word I shouldn’t repeat. He however, got up and proceeded down the runway to get prepared to jump again.

I was so proud of him because I know how fear blocked me up when trying to do a double flip in pike position after I almost hit my head on the diving board as a teenager. After I heard from the lifeguard that I almost hit my head, I was never able to even do even a regular old flip anymore. I’ve encouraged my boys to get back on the horse after they’ve fallen before the fear has a chance to set in. Wyatt did just that and was allowed to bring the busted pole you see above home! Oh the memories of the outstanding camaraderie he developed with his track mates that’s going to bring back!

We created this homage as a surprise for their father who has put over 260k miles on this truck traveling back and forth to Arlington VA and DC for his work as an engineer through their whole lives. This truck has also been loaded with mulch for countless hours of yard work, it’s pulled camping gear, four wheel trips, loaded Christmas trees…all part of life in the country!

Equally important, but not a surprise, was this homage to the cars that their father loves so much. William is a car nut as well and these portraits ranked pretty high up there on his list of faves as well!

They look like a scene out of The Fast and the Furious and they were alright with that!

The varsity letter jacket isn’t a big deal in a lot of high schools today; however, that’s not the case at Delone. The jackets are worn with pride and the boys were excited to have one of their own!

To my Baby A and Baby B who surprised us from the start and I’m sure still have quite a few surprises left up their sleeves for us, Daddy and I love you with all our hearts! We are eager to cheer you on in this next phase to see where the Lord will lead you! Your hearts are big, your love for people and generosity makes this world a better place to be! Shoot for the stars and you’ll hear us cheering for you every step of the way! Continue to grow strong in body, mind, spirit and soul! My bill’s in the mail, as I’m sure my check is as well. 😉 xo

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  1. Toni Steigerwald says:

    Magnificent! You and Chris have helped lay a firm foundation under their (rarely still) feet. What a sweet senior memory, Momma – portrait maker extraordinaire!
    I still love the Thing 1 and Thing 2 shot so much! Especially the composition and colors 😆
    May God keep them safe as they travel and blessings to all!

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