Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

Can you believe it? A whole year has gone by and tomorrow we ring in 2013. This past year has been a super busy one. There has been lots of traveling, receptions, volunteering, amazing photo sessions and of course meeting tons of new friends. I feel so blessed to be able to capture the memories for families, newlyweds and seniors. I love what I do and I wouldn't have it any other way. All of these photos bring back so many fun and amazing moments. Looking at them all, it's hard to believe that they all fell within the same year. Today is the last day of 2012 and believe it or not, I will be shooting a newborn.. my last and final session for the year.

I'm super excited to see what 2013 will hold and I am thrilled to be shooting some amazing weddings starting really soon.  Thank you to all my wonderful families and to all the newlyweds who chose me to capture their special day, moments and vacations. I'm thankful to be a part of your lives and hope you will cherish your images for many years to come.

I'm looking forward to shooting some of these upcoming weddings this year. It's going to be an amazing time.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dusty the elf .. supporting childhood cancer

Well, I hope you all had a nice Christmas. Sorry, it's been a while since I've posted. My in-laws are in town and on top of that we have been sick on and off. Today it's child number 2's turn to be sick with a fever and throwing up. Hopefully it doesn't last long. I just can't believe that all the excitement is over and we are now headed into the new year. Much has been going on and to be truthful, I have captured alot of it on camera. Guess I'll have those memories in my head. :)

We were also sad to see Dusty go. It was fun playing with him everyday and finding him in new spots. On one of the last days he was with us, we awoke to find him supporting childhood cancer. What an amazing little elf we have. I guess he knows just how important fighting cancer is to this family. Just because it's the holidays doesn't mean we should forget about the kids fighting everyday or forget just how far our son has come. Dusty helped to remind us of what is important even during the holidays.

Here are a few photos of our little cancer fighter...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wreaths Across America

On Saturday, my family and I went to Arlington National Cemetery to help with Wreaths Across America. It's one of our most favorite things to do. I hope I can always go and lay a wreath for my brother. When all the wreaths are placed in front of the headstones, the cemetery is transformed into such a beautiful Christmas sight. There are thousands of people who volunteer their time to turn Arlington into one of the most beautiful places you have ever seen. Everyone is there for a different reason and yet we are all also there for the exact same reason... to always remember! 

This was my fourth year doing this and I can not believe that fact. It's sad and heartbreaking. Yet, the people we have met along this hard and rough road have been so wonderful and a true blessing. Here we all have these sad stories of missing our loved ones, stories of their lives, memories of happy times and tears of longing to see them again. But, when we meet other families who share our pain and completely understand our need to honor, remember and share, it is then that we can bond over a loss that is so devestating. 

Arlington has become a second home and to those who don't understand that, there really is now way to explain it. It's kind of like Montana being at St. Jude and us missing that hospital so badly. At Arlington, we have made friends, our loved ones are there, we share stories and memories, we take care of the grounds, and we help friends who can't make it so often. When we are there, we don't want to leave. We truly are surrounded by so many people who completely understand our loss. 

So, thank you to all the volunteers and everyone who came out to make Arlington and Sec 60 look absolutely beautiful during this time of year. There is nothing more important to Gold Star Families than to know that their loved one is still remembered. 

Blessings to you all. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

iphone fun.

Not a whole lot new going on here. We're just doing the Christmas thing and enjoying the holiday time.  I can't believe we are almost half way through this month already. Santa is pretty much done shopping and our elf, Dusty, is keep us super busy. :) My youngest daughter is in love with him. She is going to be devastated when she finds out that he isn't "real".  She talks to him, feeds him and gives him her toys to play with for the night time. It's cute. Every morning she wakes up at the crack of dawn to go find him. She's the one that ends up finding Dusty first and that's mostly because she is up at 5:30. ahh.

This coming weekend is going to be a very busy weekend. We have wreaths across america which is such a nice event. I look forward to going and placing my brother's wreath at his headstone, taking photos for so many families, and visitng with some friends. Then after that, we have two Christmas parties, Christmas town at Busch Gardens and the drive thru lights. wow.. that's alot. It'll be nice and the kiddos will be super excited!! I'm sure I'll post some photo of all that.

But for now, here are some iphone snaps from the month of November. November was good to us. Our son was diagnosed still as cancer free.. AMEN, we participated in the St. Jude Radiothon to give back to an amazing hospital, we had turkey day with my sister and her new baby, we participated in the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk, and we had some nice weather. It was nice.

Happy Holidays ya'll!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Elfie on the Shelfie

So, this is our first year doing this whole elf on the shelf thing. I wanted to do this last year but we just never got around to purchasing the little guy. Well, about a week ago, we received a package in the mail and low and behold it was our very own Elf who was purchased by a dear friend. Needless to say, my kids were so happy when "Dusty" showed up on the morning of Dec. 6 with two Christmas movies in tow to help St. Nick deliver gifts in the kids shoes. From there on out he has been making his way around our house doing some fun and naughty things. :)

The second night, Dusty got a hold of some markers and had a little too much fun with the children. I didn't know how the kids were going to respond but they thought it was funny, thank goodness. Since then he has been on the tree and he made a village out of little people while riding in a Halo truck. The kids are loving having this little guy around. The only negative thing to having Dusty at our house is the 5:45am wake up calls when the kids are running around the house trying to find out what he did throughout the night. They are so excited to find him that they wake up every morning like it's Christmas. ahhh!!! They are still learning.. haha  I'm hoping the excitement will die down a little.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg Family Photography

This is probably one of the sweetest, kindest and most giving families I have ever met! Seriously, I can't say enough good things about them. I met Aprill months ago and we have become quite good friends. She homeschools her boy as do I and they love playing together. It's just so awesome when you can meet other homeschoolers and your kids hit it off. Needless to say, we will be seeing more of each other quite often.

Aprill has her own bow business called Buttercup Boutique. She makes the most awesome headbands, bows, and newborn headbands. So make sure you hop over to shop, give her some love and check out her work. I'm sure she would LOVE it! :) You can find it HERE!!

Anyway, I met their family today at Colonial Williamsburg. It was such a nice evening and we just did a super quick mini session. It was super busy down there... Lots of people walking all over the place. I can't blame them though. It was the perfect evening for a stroll. I love Colonial Williamsburg in the winter. The houses all have wreaths placed on the doors and it just looks so festive. Such a great location for a family session in December.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Same locations & same pose

Many times when going to shoot a session, the family, engagement couple, and high school seniors like the same locations. As a photographer, sometimes I think "how can I make it look unique?". It's really not an issue to me to shoot at the same place over and over. I've come to find out that the family and the people in the photo are what truly make the image anyway. Yes, the location and background settings help to define their style but more importantly.. it's the people.

Take for example "The Hill". The hill is located in Springfield, Missouri at a park downtown. It's been used a number of times. Not only by me but by pretty much every other photographer in Springfield. Either way, the images are always cute and unique to the family. No matter how many times an idea has been used, photographers have to remember that this family you are working with didn't use the idea or maybe even the location before. So to them, it's awesome, unique, and special.

Another example is the jumping shot during weddings and family sessions. How many times have I done a jumping shot... I can't even remember. But, the bride and groom enjoy them, the bridal party usually has fun and they all end up laughing. It's also a good way to break the "I don't know how to stand or I'm so shy" pose. I try to approach them differently so they aren't always the same kind of jump but in the end... it's unique to that wedding party. They don't care if it's been done before because they aren't in the photo of the wedding party taken the weekend before. They are all in the photo that is about to be taken now. So therefore, the jumping shot happens over and over.

Just remember, that when you go to a session, be YOU. Wear clothes that express your style, taste and personality. Show who you are, what your family is like and the rest will fall into place. When all is said and done... you will be happiest when you are relaxed, no matter how many times a session has been done in that same location or the same pose has been done before. Because YOU are the one who is going to rock that session.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The true meaning...

It's that time of year. yay. Our thanksgiving came and went and it turned out to be a nice day filled with lots of yummy food and family. My sister, her husband and their new little addition came over. I can't believe how fast that time came and went. I promised myself that this year I would be done with all the shopping, gift buying, card making and sending before the first of December. And you know what?, I did it!! Woo hoo. My cards are addressed, the presents have been bought, and the gifts are mostly wrapped. I wanted to be able to spend the month of December spending time with my kiddos doing fun crafts, baking cookies and watching Christmas movies. I wanted this season to be more about what is important rather than what so many people get wrapped up in.. "things". 

Yes, I'm one of those crazy people that go out on black Friday and this year I actually went out on Thursday evening when my kids were in bed.  No, I don't go to fight with others and push and shove my way to the best prices. I go strictly for the movies. This year, I got three for the kids. That's it, no more than 3. They will be getting them on Christmas morning and I'm happy that I could save $25 by doing so. So now, I'm done. Santa has spent all his money and will be waiting to see the three of them open their gifts with bright big happy eyes! 

I love this time of year and more importantly I want to share the true meaning of the season with my kids. That Christ was born and HE is the only reason for Christmas. We are celebrating HIS birth and that by him coming to this earth we have the ability to live eternally with HIM. It always makes me think of this song...

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

St. Jude Give Thanks Walk : Richmond, VA

On November 16 of this year, 5 years ago from the day, my son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It was news that was devestating and changed our entire future. We had no idea what to expect and we had no idea what was in store for our little boy. St. Jude was where we were sent. We spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year in an unfamiliar place that would eventually become our second home. Everyone who works there is friendly, kind and helpful. The patients are willing to share their story and the parents can comfort one another. It truly is a place of hope. We were beyond blessed to have Montana be cared for by the staff at St. Jude. This year, we celebrated how far he has come with an ice cream cake and a happy dance. He is a hero and inspiration in our eyes... always will be. Our cancer fighter.

On November 17, this past Saturday, my family and I attended the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk in Richmond. This was our third year doing it here and this year I was asked to photograph some of the event. This was also the first year for it to be held outside. I wasn't really prepared for that but it all worked out... AKA: I didn't bring enough warm clothes for the family. Luckily, it warmed up a bit and they had a good time. The St. Jude staff are always a blast to be around. They know how to have a good time. :) If you haven't had the chance to participate in the walk, you really should give it a try. It all benefits and AMAZING cause... saving children's lives. Here are a few images from the event. Enjoy.