Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cobbler's children are barefoot

You've heard of the saying, "The Cobbler's children have no shoes", right? It stems from the idea that the shoemaker himself was so busy making shoes for his costumers that he never had time to make any for his family.

The same could be said around here with our computers. My husband is a brilliant programmer. His knowledge on new technology is up to date. However, we're both working on ancient desktops right this minute and half the programs on my computer need to be updated. And I know this may be shocking, but....

we don't have flat screen monitors.

I'd like to rectify that situation at some point, but buying new computer equipment is just not a priority in this house.

Lately I've been a photographer and not a "momtog" which is a cute way of saying "a mom that loves to take pictures of her kids".

I am ashamed to say that I have ONE picture of my children that was taken in the entire month of November. And it was for my Ten on Ten project, so it doesn't even really count.

Well, that makes blogging kind of hard. I don't really like to mix this personal blog with my photography business stuff and lately, that's where all my free time has gone.

I will leave you with some Fall photos I took at one of my shoots at the last covered bridge in South Carolina. You know, just to document that I actually took pictures during this month!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Our Family, right now

One of the reasons I love photography so much is because it captures a moment in time.

Jaina will never be 9.5 years old again. Or probably ever wear that shirt again. The lollipop was scratchy to her on the inside.

Jayce will never been 6.5 years old again and I can already tell you that his grass stains did indeed come out in the wash. The grass stains that he got on his brand new jeans before our photographer even arrived.

Although this particular moment of tenderness has already passed, I am hoping to see lots more of them in the future. They really do love each other.

See how it can all change in just a moment?

I will never be 28 weeks pregnant with my third child ever again. I am okay with this, believe me!

I can't wait to see how our relationships with our children will change as they grow.

I can't believe he's not going to be my last baby any more. His new title will be "middle child". Honestly, he's already got that role down pat.

As for Brian and me... well, I think its safe to say he'll still be a goof in the future. Possibly just as much as he is now. But its also safe to say that I'll probably still love that goof, maybe even a little more than I do right now.

Jeslyn, thank you SO much for capturing our family as we are right now.

In all our goofiness.

and in all our love.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our portrait photography journey

I used to work at The Picture People at our local mall. I first discovered this gem of a portrait studio when Jaina was but 6 weeks old. I think I remember spending close to $300 on prints of her portraits. I didn't want to leave without a single one. And that black and white that they put in a frame? Its still hanging up in my hallway, now with one of Jayce at the same age with the same pose right next to it.

I had so much fun working there. What started out as a Holiday Sales job turned into an actual photography job. There I learned the art of posing, making kids smile, focusing, and composing a shot. What I did *not* learn, however, was how to work a camera, what its settings meant, and lighting. All of that was already set up for you.

(excuse the quality, these are film prints scanned using a low quality scanner)

After our local store closed, I searched high and low for a portrait studio that captured my kids' personalities. I have never been a "looking at the camera and smiling" kind of gal. Which is a good thing, because Jayce's autism and sensory issues were in full swing by this point and he screamed any time we walked into a studio to have photos made.

Then when my kids were two, I found out that a local mom was trying to start a photography business. If you met her at a park, she'd follow your kids around taking pictures of them. A whole cd of digital images were yours for $50.

Wow, pictures of Jayce not screaming? I was sold. I vowed never to get my children's portraits made in a studio again. And to this day, 4 years later, I have kept my word.

I still use Gena Murphy Photography all these years later. She has grown beautifully as a photographer and editor. She most recently invited me into her home to capture this maternity photo:

I also have her booked for this little one's newborn portraits in January. She is amazing with newborns! As a photographer myself, I know just how hard it is to have the patience to work with babies less than 10 days old. Getting them to sleep, posing, exposing the image properly, then editing out baby acne and red blotchy skin tones, jaundice... its a LOT of work! I am so excited to see what Gena comes up with for our new baby!

Using an on-location photographer that isn't bound by a studio, props, or fixed lighting really changed the way I started thinking about portrait photography. I love the fact that you can capture a family being so natural if they are in an environment that is comfortable to them.

I also discovered photography blogs at the same time. I started following the work of Little Moon Photography, Aria Photography, Drew B Photography, Jessica Claire, Jasmine Star, and my personal favorite inspiration... Kamee June Photography

With the exception of Amber from Little Moon, all of the above photographers are from out West. But even Little Moon's studio is too far away for us to travel to.

So, how do I find a photographer here in the South that captures the style of those California photographers? My kids are not "wear smoked boutique dresses and john-johns with hair bows as huge as their head" kind of kids. I don't want them posed down by a lake, smiling serenely into the camera. That's not them.

One day I was on Facebook and happened to stumble upon some new photos that my friend Julie (who used to blog, but I can't find her link!) posted. They were of her son Ian being totally two! They were amazing. The photographer had captured their family interacting at a local plaza, just being themselves.

I immediately emailed my friend Julie and said, "Who did your pictures???"

And booked our own shoot with the fabulous Jeslyn Lanier.

My kids were horrible. You can read about it here.

Despite my kids' behavior, Jeslyn rocked the shoot. I have prints from that session hanging all over my house.

I couldn't wait to book her again for this Fall. I was crushed to learn that her and her husband had moved to Louisiana!! NO!!!

But she comes back to visit :)

And since this blog post is long enough already, I'll share the rest of our photos from our shoot another day. My kids' behavior wasn't any better this time around (they did NOT get their Krispy Kreme donut bribe, much to pregnant mommy's dismay), but Jeslyn delivered again.

'Til next time....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sneak Peek: Walker Family Photos

I think this family portrait says it all. 

Christmas card material?

More to come from our awesomely crazy family shoot with the fabulous Jeslyn Lanier.

I will not be surprised if she's "all booked up" next year just so she doesn't have to deal with my family again!

Friday, November 11, 2011

10 on Ten: November

ten on ten button small

Just a warning:

The next 10 images will be of kids and dogs. And one trip to McDonald's. That is all my day entailed yesterday!

8:00 AM:

9:00 AM

10:00 AM:

11:00 AM:


1:00 PM (believe me, this was a thing of beauty to a starving pregnant woman!)

2:00 PM:

3:00 PM: (look who is back home from the vet!)

4:00 PM:

5:00 PM:

Monday, November 07, 2011

I Heart Faces: Black

This week's challenge theme left very little for me to choose from in my library of photos. Black tends to be a more sophisticated color, rarely seen on children. I also love color in my photos and try to stay away from plain black backdrops.

I finally picked this photo for the challenge:

Her black and white custom made hair bow and black railed crib in the background will just have to do :)

Go check out all the other awesome entries over at I Heart Faces that managed to interpret the theme better than I :)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Jackson Update

I've been meaning to write about our new addition every day for the past two weeks. But every time I sit down to upload pictures or write something, our update changes.

To say that Jackson has been a challenge is an understatement.

Don't let his sweet expression fool you. Or the fact that he is happily chewing on an appropriate dog toy.

We've found that he also likes to chew on:
-baby dolls
-plastic action figures
-stuffed animals

He also likes to lift his leg to mark his territory, even after being rewarded for peeing outside. So far he's peed (or attempted to pee, but was caught in the act) on:
-the doll stroller
-the play food shopping cart
-Brian's jacket
-the barstool legs
-the refridgerator
-both my house plants
-a bag of baby clothes

He's also pooped on our door mats, both our inside and outside ones.

Don't let his size fool you, either. He may only be 13 lbs, but he can do the following:
-climb into toy boxes
-jump on the coffee table
-get food off the kitchen table
-reach the edge of the kitchen countertops
-jump off the back of the couch

Supposedly his previous owners stated that he can also climb a chain link fence. I don't doubt this for a minute!

Obviously Jackson needs to learn some manners! We have enrolled him in a behavioral training class that starts Tuesday. We are currently treating him like a puppy and crate training him again.

He's also very destructive with his "cone of shame" that he's needed to wear the last two weeks so his incisions will heal. We are currently boarding him at the vet so he can try to destroy his cone on THEIR watch  :)

This was a picture of his cone the first day he had it on. I really should have taken a picture after it became muddy and beat up.

I'd like to say that Jackson and Shaggy are best friends, but so far, that is not the case. In fact, Jackson has not brought Shaggy out of the depression he's been in since Alli passed. He no longer whines when he comes in at night like he started doing the night Alli died, so that is a positive.

However, ever since I took Jackson to the vet to board yesterday, Shaggy has had a renewed energy. I can almost hear his thoughts, "YAY! That stupid dog is gone! I have my owners back to myself! Let's play! Its MY turn with that ball! Let's go!" His tail has not stopped wagging.

Let's hope that our two dogs learn to tolerate each other. I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Trunk or Treat

Now, I don't know how they "do" Halloween up North or out West, but I do know how the holiday goes down around these parts.

You can divide the population down here in several different groups:

1. People that celebrate Halloween with decorations, costumes, and trick-or-treating on the actual night of Halloween.

2. People that think dressing up is fun, but that trick-or-treating isn't very safe anymore and would prefer to attend a church based or community based event.

3. People that choose not to celebrate the holiday because of various reasons that range from not wanting their kids to OD on candy to thinking that Halloween is a pointless holiday.

4. People that think Halloween is Satan's holiday and purely the work of the devil.

What I've noticed, through talking with friends and through experience, that the vast majority of people have no earthly clue why Halloween is even a holiday. They've never heard of Samhain or All Hallow's Eve, or Dia de Muertos, or All Saint's Day. Or the historical significance of why we carve pumpkins.

So, what group does our family fall into?

Why, number 1, of course!

Halloween is one of our most favorite holidays. We do it all. We all dress up. We buy the good candy. We attend parties, make cookies, decorate our house, go trunk or treating at a local church, and go trick-or-treating on the actual night. We make the most of our Halloween holiday :)

And I not-so-secretly roll my eyes at all the people I encounter that say, "I'm a better Christian than you because I'm teaching my kids to avoid all things having to do with Satan's holiday."

That's okay, more candy for my kids :) Which ultimately means more candy for me!

And because we spread out our Halloween festivities, I have a TON of pictures to post. I'd better snap to it!

I'm happy to report that fun was had by all.

The reece's peanut butter cups are almost gone.

(not admitting any guilt here, mind you!)

We lost Jaina's leopard tail but later found it.

Jayce lost his hat and bullwhip but my mom found new ones on the internet for less than I paid for the originals.

I have all the halloween blankets washed and folded and ready to be put away.

Now I just have to work on the rest of the decorations!