I had such a blast with the DeWald family during their Maryland Zoo in Baltimore family lifestyle session. We got to spend so much time exploring and checking out incredible animals from fighting rhinos to cheetahs to endangered tree frogs. Keep reading to see this fun family in action at the zoo along with all the amazing animals.
Why Rhinehart Photography?
Ted shares, “I’ve been following Lisa on social media for a while now, and all of her pictures are incredible. I wanted to get Melinda a really special gift for Christmas. I knew a photo session would be perfect. I looked at a lot of different photographers, but Lisa’s pictures were so unique…”
He continues, “I found myself revisiting her website and Instagram over and over again, so much so that it became obvious that we should choose Lisa as our photographer. I love her unique perspective and wanted more than just a traditional posed family photo session.”
Melinda adds, “I was incredibly excited to receive the photo session as a gift, particularly after meeting to discuss ideas with Lisa. I love zoos and the photos that come from zoos, but they are always pictures of the rest of the family or me in selfies. I thought Lisa could capture our family’s joy. The sneak peek showed us that she totally did!”
Why the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore?
Melinda says, “Because Ted and I are both teachers, our summers are full of trips. Zoos have traditionally been the first big event of every summer for us. We choose a different zoo nearby and take a day trip to go visit and mark the beginning of summer break – an entire season of trips and adventures.”
A Fit Family
Ted shares, “We’re both really physically active. We LOVE to exercise, we take nutrition pretty seriously, and run around every day helping students (seriously, as teachers I feel like we log miles around our classrooms!) and chasing after our kids.”
I love this photo of the whole family running through the zoo!
Melinda smiles, “Before our kids were born, zoos were some of our favorite date days as a couple. The last trip we took before kids when I was pregnant with Caleb, we went to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. I LOVE giraffes and we were able to feed a giraffe that day.”
Melinda continues with a funny story: “When Caleb was really little, a giraffe licked his hand. Ted convinced Caleb when he was older that it licked his face instead – which it did not. If you ask Caleb now, he will for sure have the memory of the giraffe licking his face *in his own mind*, haha!”
Lemur Lane in the African Journey was so fun to check out! The ring-tailed lemurs were super active.
Clearing Monkey-Mind with “Ian-Speed”
Melinda shares, “One of the things we’re thankful for about Ian is that he forces us to slow down and pay attention to all the things around us.”
Ted adds, “We laugh that he’s always moving at “Ian-Speed” when we’re often in much more of a hurry.”
Melinda smiles, “The zoo lets us go at whatever speed he wants. We can take our time and appreciate all the details of what’s in front of us, or we can sprint forward just for the fun of it.”
On dad’s shoulders, Ian is so tall!! If any of you do yoga you probably understand the idea of “monkey mind,” I thought that was especially fitting here 😉
Capturing Their Real Family
Ted & Melinda say, “We just love being around each other all the time. We’re more together: we laugh more, enjoy life more, and just do more than any of us on our own.”
Ted shares, “So much of our lives are filled with genuine smiles, laughter, and jokes, that I really wanted to be captured! We can get pretty goofy, and I wanted that spirit of fun and play.”
Melinda shares, “We wanted Lisa to capture our real energy. We love each other so much. We are fun and playful. We like being together and wanted that captured in photographs.”
Ted shares, “We’re always on the lookout for something to make the other laugh or smile. It’s almost constant. Statues, signs, weird things that we notice. I’m pretty much up for doing anything silly if I know it’s going to get someone in our family to smile.”
Big Brother, Caleb
Ted & Melinda share, “Caleb is empathetic and kind, constantly looking out for not just his little brother, Ian, but for everyone around him. He’s got an amazing imagination and sense of humor. Caleb loves to laugh and make others laugh too.”
Keep scrolling to see Caleb in action, and don’t worry he’s carrying an empty stroller up the stairs!
Ted shares, “I love making up “facts” about the animals we are seeing in the zoo together. I think part of the magic about zoos is that you’re seeing all these incredibly beautiful and strange animals, and you’re not quite sure about them. I love that open-ended imaginative nature of our zoo visits.”
Our Favorite Place
Ted says, “Zoos are special to us, one of our favorite places. We love them because they are filled with small experiences of unexpected awesome. The animals always bring a sense of wonder, and we’re constantly looking out for what’s next and what’s around the bend.”
He continues, “We also just get to be together while we look out for what happens next. Zoos are also this reminder of just how much more there is to know and learn, and how small we are in this big world. I love hearing Caleb rattle off all the facts that he knows about the creatures we’re seeing while I tell him “facts” of my own, haha!”
Check out the rhino “face-off” below!
Melinda smiles, “Ted has shared with me on several occasions that the best thing he could do as a father is show our kids how much he loves their mother. He does that so well, and he is my favorite. Always. I am so thankful for us.”
The Best Parents
Ted shares, “The amazing things that Melinda and I get to experience together are not accidents, but because she loves and cares for us so much. We go on big adventures to zoos, parks, beaches, and other big destinations, but also the small everyday ordinary adventures of just living life are magical. She makes every moment big and small special and fun.”
Melinda shares, “Ted never lets us doubt his love. He reminds his kids and me often how much he loves us, that he is proud of us, and that he is thankful for us. He is strong – look at those muscles – but not just physically. He holds our family together so well. Ted is also funny and is the first to laugh at a joke that one of us tells and reminds us that we are funny too.”
If you look closely you can see their faces framing the flamingos below:
Ian’s Time to Shine
Ted & Melinda say, “Ian has a sense of joy and happiness in every moment. He’s constantly smiling and laughing. He’s wonderfully himself at all times, and not looking to anyone else for the way he should be acting or reacting to a situation.”
Exploring All the Animals
I love these photos of Ian and Caleb checking out the endangered tree frogs! Look at the wonder in their eyes. 🙂
Lisa Felt Like Family!!
Melinda smiles, “We loved working with Lisa! She let us be us!”
Ted adds, “I was nervous at first because so many of the families and pictures on Lisa’s site looked so creative and beautiful and cool, and I wasn’t sure how we’d fit in. But after our first brainstorming session with her, I knew she’d get it. Our day trip with Lisa was genuinely so much fun. She felt like part of our family on our trip with us and not just a photographer.”
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore Family Lifestyle Session Slideshow
See even more photos from the DeWald family’s zoo lifestyle session set to music in the slideshow below!