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My Baby turns 4

I love birthdays. For myself, my kids, my friends. Everyone deserves a day to feel special, and I try my hardest to do that for those I love. Especially my kids. My youngest turned 4 today, and I got to spend the day with her. I ditched my routine gym class for a morning jog with her, and she just chilled in the stroller and we chatted a bit and sang some too. I spent the past few days prepping for a party we had this afternoon, so I could relax and play today.  I even documented our entire day together, a day in the life so to speak. I’ll share both of those next week, but I wanted to at least dedicate a post just for her on  her special day so that it will be in the archives of my blog forever after. Here are 3 pictures I took this morning of her in our backyard and kitchen.

birthday girl wig

purple girl  purple party chairI told her last week that I didn’t want her to grow up. It’s selfish because there is so much cuteness and fun at this young age, but I lie when I say that because I enjoy each stage for what it has to offer. I’ll delight in watching her grow because I love her so much, and I know she has so much to offer this world. She is a true joy, and just the other day as she hid behind fabric bolts while I waited for mine to be cut, she giggled when I “spied” her, and ran to hide behind another and the store worker said, “well isn’t she just a little sprite?” Not quite sure what that means, but I knew what she meant. Adorable. I love my little sidekick with all my heart, and though it pains my momma heart to see her grow up, I know there is so much more fun along the way.

Top 12 posts of 2012

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve, friends,  It’s been a fabulous year! I got to travel from New York City to Alaska, and a few other places in between. I connected with other bloggers at a few conferences, and crossed some things off my bucket list. I got to delight in the joy of my children, and have some quality time with my husband. I started painting rooms in my house, lost 25 pounds, and continue to capture the joy in life. Thank you for being a part of my journey!!! I wanted to share the top 12 posts from 2012, if you missed some, check them out!

Clockwise from the top left corner:

1. What to wear in family portraits
2. How to Start a Photography Business
3. LalaLoopsey Party
4. My Weight Loss Story
5. Get Focused: 12 creative tips & techniques to bring your photography to a higher level
6. Repurposed Giant Frame
7. Tin Foil Table
8. Sliding Barn Door TV Cover
9. Custom Made Office Desk
10. Our Homemade Bed
11. Inside my Camera Bag
12. How to shoot Silhouette’s

Some honorable mentions are collective posts.

What I Wore Wednesday  My fashion/What I wore Wednesday posts collectively would be a top 12, but not an individual post made it.

My Love Story I’m getting SO close to finishing my love story novel, but for now, I’ve just got the first 12 chapters.

Say NO to Auto This post introducing my first book was written early in 2011, but it continues to get enormous traffic, and since it wasn’t written in 2012, it isn’t a top 2012 contender, but it did rank right up there with the others.

Decorating with Portraits this February series from some of my favorite bloggers garnered a ton of visitors, but since they weren’t MY posts, it doesn’t make it to the top 12 (look for this to come back in Feb. 2013!)

 

Did you have a favorite post of mine in 2012?!? Was it mentioned above?

I’d love to hear!!

 

 

Photography retreat with a little girlfriend road trip

About a month ago, I escaped with 2 of my friends for the weekend. We had been planning it for nearly 10 months.  10 months!  I don’t plan in advance well…I planned my own wedding in 3 months…I no longer photograph weddings because I DON’T like planning a year in advance…and to have this planned so far in the future felt like light years away.  I’m not sure if it was Tricia or Heather that came up with the idea for us to go, but at some point I realized that spending the weekend with an inspirational Austrailian photographer, and 12 other professional artists would be like water to my creativite drought.  I was feeling in a slump, and only wished the date would come sooner.  I’d never done any type of retreat before.  I’d been to an hour or two class, but this was an entire weekend!

I met up with my girls, and our road trippin’ began. We drove 2 hours to Round Top, Texas and squeeled with excitement amidst random stories and snacking on the treats we picked up on the way.  We arrived at The Belle of Round Top and the kind Debbie ushered us to our shared room.  We were so excited, we had to take some group pics…

We were asked to prepare a collage that told about us to those we would meet in the group.  This is what I made about myself:

Below is Barb, a.k.a. Jinky.  One is her real name, one is her business name, we all kept calling her both back and forth.  We woke up for a 7am shoot, to what she kept referring to as “Brad Pitt’s bike.”  She was very excited about the fact that it was rented from a local shop.  He filmed The Tree of Life in a neighboring town, and I guess he rode this bike in some scenes in the movie…

So a bunch of us took terms testing out the bike, this is Heather…

And I figured I’d take a spin (pic taken by Heather)

Above pic taken by Tricia.

Throughout the weekend, there were 8 different photo shoots we got to take part in. Models were set up, themes were conjured up, and it was pretty funny to watch those of us that are normally in charge of a shoot…sit back and let Barb take the lead.  Some of my favorite shots are of all the photogs shooting!

And laughing…most of us were from somewhere in Texas, but a handful of ladies flew in…one from Indianan, another from Georgia.

Barb travels with her family, and during our discussion times, every once in a while her little 2 year old would want to participate, too. I loved this mommy moment above.  Below are her 3 girls.  It was fun to chat with them, and I even got a little video of them talking about their favorite Pokemon cards to take home to my kids (who also love Pokemon).   Even my hubby said its just wild to hear small children speak in an Austrailian accent.

 

 

It was so wonderful to stay in a bed and breakfast with everyone else.  All of our meals and snacks were cooked for us, water bottles and sodas were kept in an ice chest to access at any time, it was just so nice to eat and chat with everyone when we weren’t occupied.  I don’t have pics of our dinners, but that was some of the best chats was with the other gals, talking all about photography…nearly non stop!  I don’t have a whole lot of people who share this same passion and “get it” so it really was wonderful to take part in. I am lucky to have my friends Tricia and Heather, whom we email each other nearly every day with photo biz questions or concerns.

Heather and I wanted to take some pics of the lovely blue cabinets in the kitchen.  Then Shelley joined in with me…

For some reason, it appears I didn’t take any shots of the front of the B&B.  I have one that I took during a session.  We stayed in the upstairs left corner room.

Tricia took a few pics of me to use as a profile shot…one of them is on my personal facebook page now;)  It felt SO weird to stand there all alone and have pics taken of me!

I can’t seem to locate the HOT SHOT of me and my 2 roomies in the matching jammies Heather gave us. Its pretty rockin’.

At the end of the weekend, we were asked to prepare a collage of our best work.  These are some of my favorite images in the past year or so. I had a one on one chat with Barb, and I asked questions I had and got to hear her feedback. One thing that we discussed a lot was to pick a part of photography that we love and stick with it. I love color and I love families and I love photojournalism.  It was nice to hear kind words about what I was sharing, and some thoughts on what I could do differently in branding, etc. It’s tough for me because I LOVE doing this as a business, but I want to be SO part time right now with my little ones so young.  I’m a busy momma, and I don’t want a career with photography right now. I am happy with my part time situation.  Sometimes it takes over more than I want.  Below is our group shot that I suggested we do (I just love a group shot).  It makes me smile;)

Then, with my two girlies in front of the B&B.  We drove home with so much to talk about, trying to digest the information we took in, and discuss the goals we had after.  Someone, we ended up telling the stories of how we met  our husbands…I love those types of stories;)

I’m so glad when Daddy comes home….

I”m so glad when Daddy comes home, glad as I can be.  Clap my hands and shout for joy and climb upon his knee. Put my arms around his neck, hug him tight like this.  Pat his cheeks and give him what?  A great. BIG. Kiss!  (This is a song my kids learned at church from the time they were little and still occasionally sing to him).

My friend Kelsey posted on facebook that she wanted to see some update pics of my kids, so I’ll share some pics I took last night as my hubby got home from work.  He’s a celebrity when he comes home. They all adore him, which I love.   My boys (at 11 nad 9) don’t come running like they used to.  Fortunately, the baby still does (yes, I will call my 2.5 year old a baby), and every once in a while, my 6 year old will get excited, but mostly for the sake of the little one (she will announce he’s here). I may or may not have had them re-enact the scene I saw originally.  I love the look on their faces.

I love my daughters face/tongue here. I need to remember to take pictures of my family like this, unplanned moments.  The problem is I don’t always have my camera with a card and fresh battery at the ready.  I need to keep that handy.

If you don’t see the updates I do on facebook, I’ve been offering clothing suggestions to people who are sharing a piece of what they have gathered for pictures. It’s been fun!  Do you know what you ar ewearing for your family pictures?  Need help?  And today is my facebook freebie Friday.