Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

My sister, Melanie was in town for less than 48 hours for her best friend's wedding last weekend and despite her serious lack of time, she agreed to take our family pictures , since using a tripod and taking them ourselves was a complete failure.  I still wanted the same color scheme we had when we went to Daffodil Hill, but the temperatures had jumped 20 degrees, so everyone got new tops.  Bummer.  ;)
She did a GREAT job (as usual) despite the lack of cooperation from our children.  I should rephrase...our kids were very cooperative (for children) and it wasn't until I asked the unthinkable - that we try a couple more shots on the grass - that Jemma and Carter had a complete melt down.  Even bribery didn't work at that point.  I suppose it was a serious plus that Melanie had already taken SUPER shots, and it turned out we didn't need anymore after all.  :)
Jemma still doesn't look at the camera and Gavin has recently discovered how fun it is to stick his tongue out...albeit, I still LOVE this's real.

Brandon and I are in agreement that these are possibly the best two pictures we have of just the two of us.  EVER.  Well done Melanie!
Love this one of our whole family.  The trees in the orchard make such a cool backdrop!

The boys took their best pictures on Papa Ben's tractor.  Surprise, huh.

Jemma looked at the camera!!!  (she totally earned gummy bears for that one.) ;)


 Maggie wanted a little attention while we were there, and Jade, Melanie's husband, did a great job of keeping her and Ace (the wiener dog) occupied, so they really didn't get in the way that often...I just had to include these pics cuz Carter looks terrified, and yet he begs me to get a dog constantly!

The bribery.  :)
Thanks again Melanie and Jade for helping us get some fabulous, current family photos!  You guys are the BEST-EST.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

LeAnn and James

 I am no photographer.  I love taking pictures, especially of my own children, but I have ZERO training.  (I should probably take a class someday because NOT knowing what I'm doing is frustrating!)
On that note, I really don't get asked to take pictures for other people, at least not IMPORTANT pictures, until a few months ago when my sister Melanie called and said she'd offered to have me photograph her best friend's wedding.  WHAT!?!?  Sure!  Sounds fun!  And after talking to LeAnn - the bride to be - I felt better about it.  I emphasized my lack of training, but she insisted she was ok with that.  I told her not to feel bad if she changed her mind and decided to get a professional - four days before the wedding, she called to confirm that we were still on.  So, I showed up at the temple with my little camera bag and was instantly nervous when I saw all the other photographers with their massive stash of photography supplies.  My camera looked so teeny and my supplies were limited/simple to say the least.  But I put on a brave face and did my best.  :)
Here are some of my favorites of this DARLING couple, LeAnn & James. 

                 Beautiful Bride.            Handsome Groom.
I LOVED those little mason jar lanterns.  They had them hanging EVERYWHERE at the reception.  All the little details were just so darling.  I LOVED it all.

 LeAnn's dress was gorgeous and reminded me of the Jane Austin era - the above photo could totally be Emma and Mr. Knightly, or Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy...(minus the glasses)...don't cha think?  ;)

 1,236 photos later, my sister Melanie and her husband Jade convinced me it was ok to go home.  That "what if I missed something" just kept nagging at me.  (It still is actually.) 
My hat goes off to professional photographers.  It was hard work!  I was completely exhausted by the end of the day and could barely move this morning when my boys came in at 8:00am (that's sleeping in for the three of us) to wake me up!  Eesh.  Not to mention the stress!  This is a one time gig!  Especially if it's a wedding for crying out loud.  If I missed something, there's no rescheduling.  But anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now.
Thanks LeAnn and James for trusting me with such an important task.  I sincerely hope the photos reflect the beauty of that day!  You two are such a well-matched, darling, fabulous couple.  And it was fun playing photographer.  :)

Daffodil Hill: Part I

Visiting Daffodil Hill was on my bucket list for California. I remember going as a child and being awed by all of the flowers. So, one Saturday morning, we packed a picnic, loaded up the kids and drove over to check it out. Fortunately, the rain stopped for a few days and it was GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, everyone else thought the weather was great too, and also decided to visit Daffodil Hill that day. I had intended to take some family pictures while there...hence all our matching attire...but with so many people, it really didn't happen. Oh well. Here are some pics from our day.

Gavin NEVER sits down while he's eating if he can help here he is walking around while he munches on his lunch.

While we were eating our lunch, a group of 4 or 5 deer came prancing onto the meadow. That was really cool!

Here's Gavin spying on them through the fence.

Jemma...she is recently into accessorizing. Cracks me up.

Getting a picture of these three where they're all smiling is SO HARD! Enough said.

If everyone has a pleasant expression on their face, I call it a success. :)

Jemma snapped this one of Brandon and me.

And a man passing by offered to take this one of our family. Nice tongue, Gavin.

Fun tree.

And the only place I could find to set up the tripod that was not an inconvenience to the CROWD was in between our van and a neighboring vehicle before we left...yes, I brought a bench from home. My memory of Daffodil Hill was really fuzzy. I will NEVER attempt to take family pictures there again. Eesh. Next time I'll go with the sole purpose of enjoying the beauties of nature. I'll post pictures of that side of this excursion next time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Easter 2012

Was this really two weeks ago!? My how time flies.

Our Easter festivities lasted like a whole week (or so it seemed...with all the Easter crafts, sugar cookie decorating, egg hunts, etc.) This post is just about the stuff that, truly, has nothing to do with the true meaning of Easter; you know, all the goodies collected at the grandparents' homes and such. :)
We celebrated Easter with my parents on Saturday and somehow, that sneaky Easter Bunny came and hid eggs outside while we were eating dinner! How did he do that? Especially without the kids noticing out the kitchen window? We were impressed. It wasn't until we had finished eating that Gavin glanced outside and notice little colored "balls" (as he deemed them at the time) all over the yard.

They all ended up with tons of eggs which = TONS of candy. In fact, I think it was just yesterday that they finally polished off the last of it! And, for the first time ever, I did not police their intake of said candy. Shocker. I know.

Sunday, they all dawned new Sunday attire. This year, I kept things pretty simple and only sewed Jemma's dress and made her hair bow. I know. I didn't even make the boys ties. I had originally planned to, but life just got busy and I barely finished Jem's dress. Carter told me that morning after getting dressed, "thank you Mom for the new vest and pants that the store made!". Made me laugh.

After returning from church, the kids found goodie bags from Granddad and Grandma Reed on the porch along with baskets from G.Grandma Jean! Spa-oiled.

And then we were off to Brandon's parents' for our 2nd Easter Feast, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, egg hunts (for kids and adults ;)) and more outdoor fun.

Papa Ben manning the grill.

Gavin and cousin Trey driving the tractor.

The boys enjoying their dinner.

Aunt Jade and Uncle Taylor.

Jemma and G. Grandpa Ron.

The egg hunt. The kids got money in these eggs. They were all so thrilled about that and talked me into taking them to the store the following morning to each buy a new toy with their bags of coins. (I think the cashier may have been a little irritated, but I wanted them to be able to use their own money...even though they all needed to be supplimented by Mom and Dad ;).)

And, a shot of all the grandkids...they were good sports about staring into the sun. :/ Poor kids.

We sure had a wonderful couple of days celebrating Easter!