This year's Christmas was a week-long extravaganza that ended in a wish lantern send off at my parents' farm. Once again, I left my camera in the case (for the most part) in order to be present for the Christmas celebrations. I brought it along to the farm to capture the wish lantern send off, as well as some moments beforehand. I feel especially compelled to take pictures of my kids and my brother's and sister's kids at the farm because this is where we grew up. This is where our childhood memories are. I love when I see my son or daughter gravitating towards the same activities and locations of the house that I did growing up. These are the things that warm my heart :)
Every visit to the farm always begins with my nephew Mason (13, soon to be 14) challenging everyone in the family to a game of HORSE. My mom, who happened to play a little professional basketball back in the 60's, is always the first one to accept his challenge. And again this year, she beat my nephew. She is 70 and even she thinks it is hilarious. When we teased my nephew about getting toasted by his 70 year old grandmother, he responded, "YOU try playing grandma!" Ha! Love it.
These are some of my mom's old trophies from back in the day (next to her baby picture).
After Mason got burned by grandma, he decided to take his gaming indoors ;)
Yes, this picture is supposed to be upside down. It is from my view on the floor laying by the gas stove to get warm.
I was well on my way to becoming a basketball star, as well. Unfortunately, I peaked in 8th grade. The little boy in the poster is me at age 10 or 11 spending the week at basketball camp.
While the adults were lounging around the house, these were the goings on of the cousins...
Sydney and her cousin (along with my mom) LOVE horses. They would play horses all day, every day.
And here's Sydney playing in my parents' closet, which is where I played many days as a kid.
And you can't go to grandma's house without getting out the paints.
My sister and my daughter decided to play dress up. My sister is in my dad's old National Guard uniform and my daughter is in one of my sister's old dresses, holding up a picture of my sister (age 4 or 5).
Next we have the annual Grandkids on the '55 Chevy pic...
And here are some other pics from hanging out outside on the farm...
This is the schoolhouse where my mom went to school as a girl. It is now on their property on the farm, and is the location of many parties and ping-pong tournaments.
My sister and I "Gettin' 'Er Done" Wish Lantern Style Christmas 2013.
First we set off the colorful wish lanterns since they are better to send off in the daylight...
After heading up town for Mazzio's pizza dinner (one of my faves), we came back to the farm to set off the white wish lanterns in the dark...
And now it was time to sit back and enjoy the lanterns following each other in a perfect line through the sky, and wonder how many alien sighting would be reported that evening ;)
I hope everyone's Christmas was as magical as mine was! Here's to 2014 and making new memories!
Ah the first big snow of the season! The perfect snow for building snowmen = two, happy 6 year olds. Two, happy 6 year olds = happy mama! It's amazing how much the kids change from year to year. I've noticed it especially this year with them being in school now. Sydney did her homework by herself (with some help from her brother) the other day. I didn't have to sit next to her. She just read the instructions and did her homework by herself. When did they get so big??? Even building snowmen this year was SO different from last year. They were rolling the balls by themselves. They needed little to no help making their snowmen. It makes me happy to see how proud they are to be able to do so many new things by themselves.
My husband and I laughed to watch them roll these little snowballs into huge ones, and even going uphill! They have some determination!
Doesn't everyone kiss their snowman after they build it?
She was so happy. Her snowman (or woman) was complete with hershey bars for eyes and whoppers for buttons.
Here they are posing with mommy and daddy's snowman. And if you look closely at Ben's cheek, you may notice that a few buttons are missing from the snowmen. Hmmmmm.......
Winter can be a pain. Snow can be a pain. But it can also bring great joy when you have two, little 6 year olds living with you. Hope everyone has a great Christmas! We will be celebrating for a week straight!
Well, this year absolutely flew by! It's already time to reflect back on the pictures taken in 2013. A lot has happened over the past year, including relocating our family from Ohio to Missouri. But life keeps on trucking on! Reminisce a moment with me, won't you?
Can't wait to see what 2014 has in store!
Well, Thanksgiving is over and I am now in my post-Thanksgiving haze. It won't last much more than 5 minutes because the kids are ready to put up the tree today and move on to all things Christmas! I just wanted to recap some of my Thanksgiving before moving on so quickly :) We started our Thanksgiving tour at my parents' house. This is the only place where I had my camera since I had just done a newborn shoot earlier that day. I'm glad I had it, though, because my mom really went all out this year with the beautiful dishes and the gorgeous, delicious spread of food.
My mom made this entire meal by herself. No one helped (though my dad claims to have peeled some potatoes). No one brought any sides. We just showed up with our families and enjoyed the fruits of her labor!
And while she was working hard on dinner, our daughter was working hard on using up her grandma's art supplies ;)
These are not instant mashed potatoes. The stuffing was not Stovetop. The sweet potatoes didn't come from a can. Everything was made from scratch and it was sooooooooo yummy.
I truly felt like my plate was a work of art. I had to capture it on "film" before devouring it.
As I was taking this picture, my brother says, "You're not really gonna post a pic of your food somewhere are you?" I said, "Why yes, I am. And now because of your little snarky comment, you're going to be on the post, too!" Boo ya! :P
And in my mind, this shot is like a Norman Rockwell painting, because it's my family. It's my memory. The kids are little and all playing together. My parents are well and able to make an amazing feast. We are all together. I am truly blessed and for this, I am thankful.
Well it happened. My babies are officially turning 6 tomorrow. When I asked them what themes they would like for their birthdays, I already knew they would pick completely opposite ends of the spectrum. But it's worth it for me to have a combined party, as long as they'll let me do it ;)
So our son, of course, wanted Presidents. Not superheros, not trains, not typical boy things, but Presidents. At first I thought this theme was gonna be pretty impossible, but it actually ended up being a lot of fun! The first thing I did was search Pinterest. I got exactly ONE example of a kid's presidential themed party (go figure). But once the red, white and blue theme presented itself, the rest kind of fell into place. I simply printed out this sign onto cardstock using my old black and white printer with a free font I found, cutting each letter into a triangle. Then I glued each triangle on various shades of blue and red. Last, I strung it all together on some string and viola!
I got a few red, white and blue balloons, the springy stars and the cardboard foil stars, and foil star garland at Party City. I glued the cardboard foiled stars to skinny, wooden sticks (Hobby Lobby) and made a centerpiece using a vase I already owned. I got 6 red, white and blue handkerchiefs (also at Hobby Lobby) and hot-glued them together to make the tablecloth. I could've sewn them together if I'd had more time, but I went the quick route :)
I got the little flags in a package of 4 at Wal-Mart and the little blue jars were from Hobby Lobby.
This next item is possible if you have a super cool sister like I do with a whole bunch of cool equipment and creativity! I asked her how I might go about making Ben for President stickers, and she replied by making them for me and sending them the next day in the mail. LOVE her :)
The cupcake toppers were made by downloading a free kid's presidential coloring book from the internet and sizing them down in Photoshop. I printed them out on cardstock and taped them onto various colors of blue and red cardstock. The little sticks I found at Hobby Lobby, I think in the baking section.
We ordered Shakespeare's Pizza for lunch for everyone, but my son loves hot dogs, so he got his hot dog lunch. Yes, he is also eating a cucumber from the veggie tray :)
And now for our daughter's theme. She has LOVED animals since she was born. She is obsessed with them. She wants to be an animal. She wants to take care of animals. I think she would be quite happy if she was out in the woods being raised by wolves. This is where combining their parties became quite impossible, so I just made them each their own dedicated room.
My sister-in-law spent two of her Friday nights with me making these adorable animal masks. We watched Gold Rush, ate brownies and made animal masks. It was actually pretty fun! :)
And isn't my sister-in-law a FOX?? Sorry, couldn't resist ;)
I decorated the table with animal toys we had already collected over 6 years.
I got these wooden animals at Hobby Lobby for 67 cents a piece, the wooden sticks, the Styrofoam, and the little pink buckets at Hobby Lobby (can you tell that I love Hobby Lobby yet?) The lion centerpiece and confetti are from Party City, as well as the animal print balloons.
We ate pizza on the pink, animal print plates, followed by cupcakes on flag plates. Next, it was time to open presents! My favorite present-opening moment was when our son received several cool socks. He LOVES socks. I think he is the only kid on the planet that is excited to receive socks for a present. For this, and many other reasons, I HEART him SOOOOOOOO!!!
And last, but not least, the group picture that I had envisioned from making the very first mask for the party. Two Friday nights was totally worth this picture :) All in all, it was a great day!!
This shoot was one, last final hoorah with the Fall leaves at their peak. I can't think of a better way to go out! Not only is this kid ADORABLE, but it was his first time playing in the Fall leaves, and he was LOVING IT!
He was plowing right through them! :)
Because of his outfit, I had that song in my head "What Does the Fox Say?" during most of his shoot.
Fun Facts about this shoot:
1. Elija was named by combining the letters from his parents' names, Melissa and Benjamin.
2. I have known Elija's dad since we were in grade school.
3. These pictures were taken in probably less than 20 minutes.
4. Elija's dad once tricked me into eating wallpaper paste.
5. Elija's grandma was my teacher in grade school for 6th, 7th and 8th grade.
Happy 1st Birthday, Elija!
Camera Used: Nikon D700
Lens Used: 50mm 1.4
Actions Used: Rebecca Lily Presets for LR 4/5 from the Pro Sets Collection
It's so nice to be back "home" with all of our family! I not only get to hang out with them more, but I get to do their pictures! Here are some favorites from my brother's family...
And here are some of my favorites from my sister-in-law's shoot...
Isn't my family super duper good-looking? :)
It seems like we've been getting ready for Halloween for months now, and now it is over! It was a really great time, and I have pictures to prove it :) First here are a couple of pictures from the kids' school parties, where they were asked to dress as characters from their favorite book. Benny decided to be David.
And Sydney was Pinkalicious!
Meanwhile, I had been getting our house for a Pre Trick-or-Treating cupcake party.
My sister cut out about 100 bats and some adorable ghosts, put glitter on them, and mailed them to me in 2 days! I LOVE her :)
Around 6PM our guests started to arrive!
I talked my dad into dressing up and manning the door at our house while we went around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. I'm so glad my dad is such a great sport!
Of course, I couldn't resist getting a picture of him like this before the festivities began ;)
And we were off to trick-or-treat!
My scary daughter the witch!
First time trick-or-treaters are always so cute. This guy even hit up a couple houses :)
And here's me and my little pirate. Don't ask me what my costume is. I couldn't find my wings from the moving boxes!
I think Halloween might be my favorite holiday. Dressing up! Candy! Parties! Joy! :)
I was one of the chaperones for Mrs. Dixon's class last Friday for the field trip to Bradford Farms. Everyone had a great time! As I was there to help out, I didn't take a whole lot of pictures, but I did take a few. I thought this might be the easiest way to share them.
The other moms and dad on the trip painted pumpkins on the kids' faces.
We had some down time, so the kids played with the parachute. This is where I got the most pics since I wasn't having to help with anything at that moment ha!
Here are the other chaperones from the trip, excluding me and Damien's dad.
There's my little "monster" Ben :)
The joy of being a kid again, right?? :)
Another game we played during some more down time involved holding up a blanket, putting a kid on each side and then having them say the other kid's name as soon as the blanket was lowered. Whomever said the name first got to take their friend with them to their side. I took this opportunity to take pics of groups of kids sitting together.
Finally it was our turn to take the "hay ride" to the pumpkin patch! First we had an informational session about various crops grown on the farm. I grew up on a farm and even I did not know there were so many different kinds of corn!
Ready, set, grab a pumpkin!
Here's my Benny looking very pleased with his pumpkin :)
Here's a trick of the trade on getting your kids to smile for the camera. They get tired of saying cheese. Mix it up. Here we were saying "Pumpkin Seeeeeeeeeds!"
This class has the most adorable kiddos! Thanks for entrusting them to us to take them on this fun and educational field trip! :)
Passion for all things photography, mother of 6 year old twins, Ben and Sydney, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Lover of old movies, anything chocolate, laughing, traveling, speaking Spanish and French, summer, the beach, camping (if s'mores are involved), and being with my friends and family.