Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Favorite Boy ~ A Photo Shoot ~

You might remember that I did a photo shoot with my daughter for her 7th birthday a couple of months ago.  Well, ever since then my son has been asking me when I'm going to take him to the train tracks to take his picture.  I think he was confused as to why she got to go there since he's the one who likes trains.  So, a couple Saturdays ago while my daughter was spending some time with her Grandmama, my husband and I took my favorite boy to the train tracks.  I mentioned in a post recently that I wanted to do a shoot with a monochromatic look so I grabbed a brown shirt out of my son's closet to put on him when we got there since this time of year pretty much everything is brown still (at least it was when I took these).  Note to self...make sure you try on the clothes your child will wear for the shoot before the shoot in case your child has managed to have some crazy growth spurt and now their sleeves are too short and you don't have any extra clothes with you in the van...sigh...   When we got to the tracks my son was so excited and he stopped for one picture and then was like, I'm done with this picture thing and he was headed off to see where the tracks lead!  He would have been walking all day if we'd let him.  He kept thinking he was seeing a tunnel in the distance because of the way the track was bending and the trees were lining it.  Here are my favorites from his shoot!

If I could pick a photo to define what my son is like right now, this might be it.  He is suddenly into more grown up boy things like punching (not people, but he likes to look at himself in the mirror while furiously punching the air) and making little explosion noises with his mouth and just being more "tough" in general.  It's all a big facade though because inside he's just a momma's boy and he's still sweet as ever.  I love this picture though...seriously...love it.  

See?  I took this right after the photo above and he can't quite suppress his smile.  

Balancing on the tracks.  I really wish his shirt weren't so short, but he still looks adorable, and I achieved the monochromatic look I was going for...kinda helps that his hair matches the brush behind him!

I realize the focus is a bit off in this one, but he is so quick and was walking right at me.  I still love it though since it's such a genuine smile.

Hamming it up!  I love this kid!

Oh my gosh, this sweet face just kills me. 

Jumping.  One of his favorite things to do...this kid has boundless energy.

Another cute one of him sitting on the tracks.  I know they are similar, but I just love them both.

As we were getting ready to leave I asked him to stand by this wall so I could get a little variety, and this was his expression.  Typical.  You can always tell how he feels about something!

This was snapped right after I told him I'd give him a piece of candy if he smiled for a couple more pictures.  Yes, I bribe my kids with candy sometimes...don't judge...

This might be my favorite.  I love his expression, the fact that he has his hood up, and the way his eyes look almost grey against the concrete wall.

There you go, my sweet boy at age four and a half.  I'm so glad I did photo shoots with both my kids recently.  Now I'm going to have a terrible time trying to decide which ones to print!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Photo Friday 2011 ~ 12 ~

Remember the other day when it was gorgeous and sunny and felt almost like summer?  Seems like ages ago now that it's freezing again.  I think my body is in shock.  I had a massive headache all day yesterday.  I think it's my body's way of protesting how crazy the weather is around here.  Luckily, because of this weekly assignment of mine I got out my camera on that glorious day and followed the kids around as the explored the yard.  They spent some time down by our creek (I was convinced one of them was going to fall in since there really isn't a bank, but they didn't!) and threw rocks and looked at bugs.  And they played on the swings and helped my husband pick up pieces of wood (he's working on getting rid of our stump we've had for a couple of years now).  My daughter informed me that I am not "naturey" because I don't like to get dirty...but I happen to think that I enjoy nature very much.  I think I need to work on changing her perception of me.  I can't wait to enjoy more warm, sunny days in the very near future (I hope) and I can get some more pics and take some time to put the camera down and bust out my "naturey" side and take that girl on some hikes and get dirty.  Here are my favorites from this week.

Ah, the sunshine in these makes me happy.  I love how you can see the golden rim around her pupils.  She has very uniquely blue eyes and I love them.  

I realize this is very similar to another pic I took of her recently, but I still love it so much.  I love her sweet round face that still looks so much like how it did when she was a toddler...I just know it's going to be gone sooner than I'd like.

Wow, his eyes look so dark in the picture.  I was looking at pictures of Elizabeth Taylor trying to see how violet her eye's were and it's hard to tell because different light makes eyes look different shades...for instance, my son's eyes are actually a pretty light blue in real life, but the lighting here makes them look so dark.  I like his facial expression here because I said to him, "Show me your freckles." and I could tell right away that he couldn't remember what freckles were.  He started looking around on the ground!  I told him they are those little spots on your nose and he just kinda looked at me like, how am I supposed to show you that?!

I love these of my girl and her wispy hair flying in the wind.  I don't remember what she was so excited and happy about, but I love that genuine smile on the right...it's getting harder to catch from her now that she is more aware posing and cheesing for the camera, so this shot just makes me happy.

Speaking of genuine smiles...it's easy to tell with this kid because his real smile makes his eyes super squinty just like me when I was a kid.  Love him just hanging on our playset here.  I could eat him up!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Great Private School Debate

I have this debate going on...with myself...in my head.  It's exhausting.  Nobody ever told me when I became a parent what a huge deal all of this education stuff was going to be.  Seriously, I have spent hours, days, probably months on researching different styles of education and when to send your child to school (my son has a September birthday which is several posts in and of itself) and whether to homeschool, send them to private school, or just stick with public school.  It's overwhelming.  There is so much information out there and so many choices to make.  The problem isn't pouring through all the information and merely picking the style that produces children with the highest test scores and best chance of getting into college though...it's what is the best thing for my child.  Sure, Montessori is great, and Waldorf, and Classical and the traditional public curriculum, but which style will my child flourish in?  Honestly, I don't care if she's the brightest, most well prepared for college, well rounded individual you've ever met.  It's how to educate her in a way that will bring out her strengths, help her deal with her weaknesses and teach her to think for herself and stay true to who she is that is important for me and of course, along with that I want her to be prepared for college and the real world.  I want her to have the best...but what exactly is best for her?

Let me just say that a lot of my indecisiveness stems from my own educational background.  I went to public elementary school and did great there.  I was even in the gifted classes, but I have to admit that I was very small for my age and somewhat shy and didn't have a ton of friends.  Then for junior high and high school I went to a small Christian school which I loved and that was where I flourished.   I honestly think had I gone to the monstrous public school where I lived I would've been eaten alive.  I would've floundered.  My confidence would've been shaken.  I wouldn't have been a cheerleader.  I wouldn't have made any of the school plays or musicals.  I certainly wouldn't have ridden the bench on the softball team just for fun to be with my friends.  I wouldn't even have made the team.  I wouldn't have graduated in the top 5 of my class.  I didn't even take AP classes in high school.  Not that I couldn't have handled it, but because I made the decision (along with my parents) not to over stress myself and try to do everything, but to enjoy high school and that's exactly what I did.  Guess what?  I still got into a great college, CLEPed a bunch of classes and I was very well prepared.  Now, was that because of my school, or because of just being me?  I'm not sure.  But I do know that going to the small school that I did helped shape who I am today.  And that's where my stress lies.  I want my kids to have the same great experience that I had with school.  I want them to love it.  And it's up to me and my husband to make this monumental decision that will shape them for the rest of their lives.  No pressure...  On a side note, my husband is from a small town and went to the public high school along with the rest of the town since private school is pretty much unheard of from where he's from.  I don't think he hated school, but he also didn't love it.  But we are on the same page in that we want to make the best educational decision for our children and since private school is an option where we live, then of course we are going to consider it.  Lucky for me he's pretty decisive and when presented with a list of pros and cons for a school he made a decision early on.  It's not that I don't respect his decision, it's just my own over analyzing mind that's getting me in trouble.  I want to be 100% sure that we're doing the right thing.  And I'm just not sure I'm ever going to feel that way.

How am I supposed to answer questions like these?  Would I rather my daughter excel at a "regular" type of school (like she does now) or will she still excel when she goes to a school where all the children are bright?  Won't she get lost in the pack of brilliance and will that make her falter?  Or would she do better at a school just like mine (I actually could send her to my alma mater) where it's Christian which eliminates the riff raff she is influenced by at public school but offers most of the same things as a public school in terms of the curriculum and extra curricular activities?  Or should I not make the financial sacrifice for the private school and let her shine her light in the public school and spend the money on extra curriculars like piano lessons and ballet and art classes?  Should we send her to the strict, classical school where she will definitely be challenged academically, but I wonder if she will she still have time after all of her homework to just be a little girl and play with her brother and her friends and relax?  And how do you fit in extra curriculars with all of that?  Should I just homeschool my children so I have complete control over everything, but then sacrifice that bond of having similar life experiences with my children (this seems to be a huge hang up for me when I consider homeschooling)?  And how on earth do we make a decision like this when she is so young and we don't even really know what she excels at yet (although I do admit she does excel at reading and creative writing and enjoys art immensely)?

So, fellow parents, help me out.  How did you come to terms with your decisions regarding your child's education?  Do you feel at peace that you're doing the right thing?  What helped you get to that point?  I would love some feedback from those of you who have been in my situation!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Photo Friday 2011 ~ 11 ~

Waiting for the bus.  He still adores his big sister and can't wait for her to get home.  I love that about my kids.  Although sometimes when the other is missing they don't even notice.  Like when I picked my daughter up from school yesterday and she didn't realize until we were halfway home that her brother wasn't with me.  She was excited to have some alone time with mommy though.  I really love this picture of my boy.  His chin is just like my dad's side of the family.  I think everyone on that side has the same chin.  Isn't funny how you notice random things like that when you see a certain photo?

I love that this photo has that grainy, film look to it.  I still haven't gotten out my old film camera, but it's still on my list.  Maybe I'll get to it one of these days...

I love this!  The light hitting his face and his curls and him hugging on his favorite guy.  That's Ducky.  He has given up on Teddy, his old favorite lovey in favor of Ducky.  It was something that the Easter Bunny brought one year and my daughter found it in the basement one day and gave it to him.  She thought it was from when he was a baby, but it really wasn't.  Now he is convinced that it is from when he was a baby though and he always talks about it.  And he just thinks Ducky is so cute and loves his little tuft of hair sticking up.  I really wish he had a bit more of a masculine lovey, but what can I say?  I guess it could be worse...it could be a bunny, or a unicorn, or something like that.  You really just never know what your kid is going to get attached to.  At least Ducky has a green bow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

She Was Born This Way

As you know, my daughter has a tendency to be a little dramatic.  I often wonder if it's the influence of friends or the media that causes her to act that way.  After all, she went through a long period of time when she was around three or four where she was painfully shy.  But...I've discovered some old evidence that proves where it comes from.  She was born this way.  You see, we recently took all of our old digital photos off all of our various old computers and now have them all backed up in one place.  So I can now sit down and look at 7 years worth of photos if I want.  And every once in a while when I'm going through new photos, I'll click on an old random file folder (they are all ordered by date) and just see what pops up.  Here's what I discovered today.

This is when she was 18 months old.  She had some serious attitude already.  I love these pictures so much!!  See, she's always had supermodel potential!

A few days before her first birthday.  I'm sure someday she'll hate that I posted this.  Little stinker banging on Grandmama's piano.

She was 16 months old here at the zoo.  I love her facial expression.  You can pretty much tell by her face what she's thinking and she's still like that to this day.

No drama here.  Haha...she always has a square mouth when she's having some sort of tantrum.  Um, I'd love to say that she's outgrown this but...no comment...

Just after she turned two.  That's a Mr. Potato Head tongue.  Yep, she's entertaining, that girl.  Now she does this hilarious dance where she acts like the music is just slowly getting into her body and she can't help it.  I crack up every time.  I need to take a video.  

At seven months.  Oh my gosh, I forgot what a messy eater she was!  This was at our old house where we had a small little cherry themed kitchen.

Holy freaking cuteness!!  I can't believe how cute and spunky she was.  It's sad that I had forgotten, but thank goodness for old photos to remind me!  She was 17 months here.

So, yeah, all that nature vs. nurture stuff?  Well, when it comes to some things, nature definitely wins.  I think that as a mom I try to teach her to control herself and be composed and keep her natural tendency to be melodramatic in check, but I needed this reminder that it is really a big part of her wonderful, big personality and I don't need to always squash it.  I think that's part of being a good parent, knowing how to nurture what nature has given them.  It's a struggle to know when to just let it go (all the drama) and when to address it, but I'm definitely learning.  I hope to help her strike a balance between extremes.  I love my little drama queen and she was such a fun, fun baby and toddler and is a fun big kid too.   Now, just what kind of teenager she will be is a whole different story...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Photo Friday 2011 ~ 10 ~

This week I was going to try some different editing on my photos.  That was the plan.  But then when I was editing this, I tried a couple of different looks, but I kept coming back to my usual way of editing.  And that's when I remembered this post I had read (which I now cannot find anywhere of course) about being true to yourself as a photographer and not trying to be like other people.  Everyone has their own style and they should embrace it.  So, I'm keeping it simple, which is my style.  I don't need a bunch of fancy textures and actions.  I like clean and bright.  I like my pictures to look the way they looked when I was looking through the camera.  I like my kids to look the same in a photograph as they do in real life.  And I won't apologize for it, and I will be proud of my style.  It's me and it's what I like.  Of course, I want to improve as a photographer, but I think for me that means being more efficient in my work and perfecting my technical skills.  I've always said that I like to take pictures, not edit them, so I want to get it right when I take it, not spend a bunch of time in front of my computer fixing it after the fact.  So, here's my baby on the only nice day this week when we busted out his rollerblades that he got for Christmas for the first time.  I kinda wish he wasn't wearing his mushroom helmet, but at the same time I like that he's wearing it.  How's that for contradicting myself!

This next one is so, so him.  I told him to give me a tough face.  When I take pictures of kids I like to ask them to give me lots of different emotion faces.  You just never know what they are going to do, and usually at some point they'll laugh at themselves and give you a real smile.  So this is him being tough.  He also had his hands on his hips.  He actually makes that face all the time.  It's like his signature face...the frown.  I adore it.  He cracks me up.  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and whatever your style is, just embrace it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Senior Cards

I love to get new stuff for my business!  Check out my new Senior business cards.  They fold and have information on the inside as well.  I had so much fun designing them.  Hopefully they will serve their intended purpose and my calendar will be full of Senior shoots in no time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Photo Friday 2011 ~ 9 ~

This is my little bookworm.  I took this picture this morning before she got on the bus.  She has been reading that book all week and she's really into it.  It's a Magic Treehouse book that she got from the school library.  She even had to put it down the other night because she said it was at a scary part.  I asked her this morning what it was about and she was reading a little bit to me.  It's about "Lorenzo Vinki" she said.  Hmm...I looked at the page she was reading and saw "Leonardo" on it.  "You mean Leonardo DaVinci?" I asked.   She giggled at herself and informed me that when she doesn't know how to pronounce a name she just makes something up which is the same thing that I do.  Like mother like daughter.  I'm so glad my daughter is a reader like me.  Someday she'll be fighting me for my Kindle.  I can't wait until she is a little bit older and we can read the same books together and discuss them.  I'm dying to introduce her to Anne of Green Gables and The Chronicles of Narnia.   I also really want to read the Harry Potter series and have been waiting to read it with my kids.  Looks like it will happen sooner than I thought!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

4 People 12 Times

I had this great idea that I was going to do a project inspired by Tara Whitney (one of my favorite photographers) where you take a photo of your whole family each month of the year and write a post summarizing that month.  Sounds pretty easy, right?  Well, seeing as how it's already March and I've yet to do a post about it, it's not quite as easy as it sounds.  The reason I wanted to do the project in the first place is because while I have a ton of photos of each of my children, I have very few photos of the four of us together as a family.  Mostly that's because I'm always the one with the camera and up until a couple weeks ago I didn't even know how to use the self timer on it so the only time we have a photo of us together is when someone else is around to snap it for me.  I'm sticking with the project even though I'm combining January and February into one post.  I'm forcing myself to do it.  I know I'll thank myself someday for it.  Here's my family.  This photo was taken using our playset as a tripod and using the self timer on my camera on one of the unseasonably warm February days right after my husband got home from work.  I forced them to let me take a few pics.  I only took 3 total and 2 of them were out of focus.  Seems I need to work on this self timer thing...  So, this is what I've got, and it's not perfect, but it's us.

January and February just seem to drag by for me because of the cold.  I get into a funk every year because of it.  And I also do my yearly rant of "Why on earth do we live here when we could move somewhere warm?!" and I proceed to search for jobs for my husband in Florida and California and even send out a few resumes.  It's all wishful thinking I suppose, but it helps me get through to know I tried.  

My daughter turned seven in January and I still can't believe how much she is growing up.  She loves school and reading and art.  My son has gone into a stage where he doesn't want to go to school anymore, he just wants to stay home with me.  On cold winter days I want to stay home too, so I know where he gets it.  I'm dreaming of all the projects I'm going to do around the house once it gets warm, but for the past couple months I've been too busy wrapped up in a blanket trying to keep warm to get anything done.

My grandmother has been sick.  She was in the hospital for a week and so I smuggled my son in to visit her.  They have pretty strict rules about no kids during flu season, but no one said anything to us and for that I am grateful.  It really perks her up to see her little redhead.  I didn't take my daughter because she has an extreme fear of illness and injury.  I know for a fact she will never become a nurse.  They've moved my Grandma to a rehab facility right down the road from us so we've spent a lot of time visiting them.  These are the times I'm glad we haven't moved somewhere warm yet or I wouldn't be here to help out.  I hope that she gets better so my kids will have more time to spend with her.  It is truly a gift for them to get to know her.  

My photography business is slow right now.  I suppose I understand that people want to wait for spring to have their photos done, but it's been hard on me.  I spent most of January editing a wedding I shot for an old friend.  I also got the opportunity to go teach my daughter's first grade class about photography.  They were studying non-fiction and were interested in the photographs they saw in the books.  I had so much fun with them, but it was overwhelming.  I took my old film camera in and let them play with it (without film) and they asked some really great questions.  It's got me thinking that maybe I should teach a class for adults.  It's kinda funny that I would be less intimidated to teach adults than a room full of seven year olds.  I've also got a few other creative projects I want to do while business is slow including using my old film camera for a shoot with my kids.  Also, I wanted to enter a contest, but the theme was monochromatic and while going through my photos I realized I've never really explored that theme, so that's also on my list.

Other than that, things have been pretty normal around here.  So there you have it, my first post of 4 People 12 Times...maybe I should re-name it since it will be 11 times.  If you want to join in my project and do one with your family, please send me a link to your blog as I would love to check it out!


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