Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm back!

I know you all must be in shock....please go ahead and pick up your jaws off the floor. I am back! After hearing my Aunt Chrissy talk about how she now watches my friend Olivia's kids grow up on her blog since I never post anything, I now feel the need to get back in the swing of blogging.

Since my last post, a lot has happened. Sadly enough, I wish I could post it all at once but that will never happen so I will give a brief update. I have taken a break from photographing for others except for a small handful of people that won't let me beat them away. I have done everything the professionals would warn against such as describing just how flawed of a photographer I am due to inexperience, lack of photography knowledge, outdated equipment, and last but not least suggested using other photographers. One family in particular just won't give up on me and that is the McDaniels....they gave me the honor and privilege of photographing their baby being brought into the fact, they were my very last post! I recently took their daughter's 11 month photos and will take them next month for her 1st year photos. They say they will stay with me until I refuse to photograph them....the are way too devoted, I have tried to explain to them that they are really cheating themselves. Hopefully, with some much needed practice I will improve and do something professionally in the future, as long as I still love it.

Confession...I think that I jumped in too soon with the photography thing. I wanted a good camera to capture great shots of my kids. I need to stay focused on my reasons for starting with a Canon 10D and not get caught up in trying to keep up with other photographers. I follow a lot of other photographer's work and to be honest I started to feel really inadequate. I was reluctant to post any of my work, photographs of "clients" or even personal ones because I tend to suffer from "what will they think?". Well, I'm not really over that but I want to share with my friends and family the joy of seeing my family grow. As much as I love hearing my Aunt talk about my friend's post saying..."aww, did you see Oli-Lion?" I want to hear her go on about my cuties too! Yup, I'm that jealous and like to be the center of attention, no lies here!

What has been going on lately you might ask....well my kids are growing like weeds. Ben is 9, looks like a little man version of Kenny. The girls still love him as he is the charmer. Elijah is 4, and probably the funniest kid I know. He is full of life and loves to pester both his big and little brother. Ezra is 2 now.....weep! My little baby is so independent but still loves to cuddle. He is talking like crazy and I often need Elijah to interpret. He still sucks his fingers but we hope to break him of that before winter. Kenny and I celebrated ten years of marriage this past March...boy has that gone by fast. I took my boys on a 9 day trip up north to Minnesota and visited my friend Olivia and several of my family members...I will make sure to do a separate post on this, they had such a good time and we hope to do this at least every other year. My brother finally got married on Oct 2nd, I absolutely love my new sister!

What a boring post. Too much has happened to recall but I hope to stay more up to date with the blog so that I can share our life's adventures as they happen.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Birth Photography

Here are just a few after baby was born (first three) then a few of her at one week! I hope to be able to showcase future births in the form of a slide show, but for now, I will be discreet in showing just a few!

8 lbs. 13 oz. 21" long!

I had the great pleasure and honor of being asked to photograph a birth for the first time on November 8th....AMAZING! I am truly amazed at how God designed our bodies and humbled that he allows us to be so intimately apart of His creation, what an honor! My new friend and client has had me photograph her a few times now and I LOVE being able to document this journey in her life! I met her through my sister-in-law....thank you Tricia! I first photographed this beautiful mama at her home during a private session to try my hand at some nearly nude pregnancy shots and I was very happy with them. Unfortunately, I had to use flash and I am learning the difference in flash versus natural light--most of my work is on location using natural (outdoor) light--but this was a great learning experience for me. My next session with her included her husband and we tried to focus on them as a couple along with capturing her pregnancy....we did this just 3 weeks before she had her baby! I explained to this couple that I was longing to get into birth photography but really didn't know what to expect or what I could guarantee and explained to them what I hoped to capture. I also explained that I knew how important this experience would be and that I would be completely willing to help them find a more experienced photographer to document the birth but they told me that they had a "good feeling" and trusted me! WOW! I was totally humbled and honored----yes I know I have used these words over and over, I am really at a loss for words to describe all of this! Sooooo, the day came....her water broke and 26 1/2 hours later...little miss Myah was born after 3 hours of pushing! Poor mama! It was INCREDIBLE!!!! As painful as this was for this mama, it inspired me to go through childbirth again.....good thing that Kenny had a vasectomy or I may have STRONGLY persuaded him into it! Hahaha...really, I have no regrets with our decision, it was just very empowering to witness childbirth! This all took place at the Nurse Midwives of really liked it there! This has been just the start of a friendship and series of photo sessions with this family...I photographed newborn Myah this past weekend (indoors with Flash) and will be back for her one month photo! She is absolutely gorgeous, just like her beautiful mom and she is welcomed by Mom and Dad and her three big brothers and sister! Thank You for "M" Family for getting me hooked on my new addiction! God Bless you all!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

an update, finally.......

I have been slightly harassed by friends and family about neglecting my blog.....they want to see pictures and know what is going on in my here goes (w/0 pictures, sorry).

I have been crazy busy being a wife, mother, and photographer! Yes, I did say "photographer"! I am jumping into this awesome world of photography with fear and excitement. I am excited because it really makes me feel alive and creative. I love capturing images of my children and freezing time in a photo. I love being with the people whom have given me the pleasure and honor of preserving memories for their families and being able to see the joy that that brings them, it melts my heart. I am so appreciative of my mentors (friends, family, photographer friends and all the wonderful artists who share their photographic view with the world). I love this learning process, and there is definitely a ton more I need to learn! It is amazing to me how much I truly miss the simplicity in my role as just wife and mother....for all the years that I have complained about it, shame on me! Fortunately, God has gifted me with such a wonderful, yes....most definitely wonderful husband who doesn't require me to work or not work (and to think of all these years that I have fought him on this matter, it humbles me), but instead has encouraged me to simply excel at what ever I choose to do. Now, as I juggle duty, honor and pleasure, I am trying to find the beauty in everyday activities sprinkled with photo sessions for work and for play--last week was quite drenched with work! I do have to admit that my fear comes from not wanting to come off as some kind of fraud or poser in the photography world so it has been very difficult to bring myself to share much of my "work" by posting the photos. I definitely know that there is a huge difference in photographers experience in skill levels and I openly admit that I am still very new at this. What once was to be only a hobby has blossomed into what I hope to be a lifelong journey, not a career, but rather a constantly pursued passion with consistent improvement and the ability to be apart of peoples lives, memories, futures, hearts...and inspiration! I don't know where this will all lead but I am here for the ride.

The boys have been growing up like weeds! Benjamin is becoming such a handsome young man...I don't recognize my little baby boy anymore. He can be such a gentleman it's no wonder the girls are so into him. He recently had a girl at school (his BFF) tell him that he had to stop being friends with another boy that she didn't like anymore, so he did what she asked and the next day undid it at the demands of Kenny and I! He makes me nervous but I believe God knew what he was doing by blessing me with a child so into girls so I am trusting Him that I will handle things in the best possible way. I miss the days of spending time with Ben as my little buddy, these days it is hard to remember to do just that with him. When we get those moments of alone time, that rush of emotion comes flooding in when he was little and so squeezable, now when I hug him I feel like time is slipping away because he feels so grown up. Elijah is my crazy little man, constantly full of energy, not stopping for a moment unless you have a book ready to read to him. He absolutely drives me nutty when he gets into bed with us EVERY night and hogs the bed, kicking off the covers and rubbing our skin raw! He has some kind of skin fetish, he literally will blindly reach over and under covers and anything else that gets in his way to find skin to rub. This may initially come off as a cute trait but I becomes annoying really fast when all you want to do is sleep and he is busy rubbing and kicking! Most days I try to be okay with it (mostly since I sleep like a rock) because I know that I will long for him to be little and snuggled up in bed with me! He is such a ham, today we were in Goodwill and Michael Jackson's Thriller came over the speakers and Ben started to dance and act like a zombie so Elijah put on his best zombie act and passersby giggled throughout the store! Yes, they are my children! And yes, for the record, I have taught them how to act like dinosaurs! Every day Elijah runs up to me after breakfast saying, "I behabe mommy, can I hab a bar (granola bar)" and if i say no not yet, he stares at me with those beautiful dark brown eyes and says "tum on mom, pease!" I love the way he talks, I almost hate to correct his speech but we do! I really don't know that I could manage as well without Ben's accurate interpretation for Elijah, we really have some frustrating moments when Ben is at school and I just can't understand him....sometimes when we figure out the word I will teach it to him in sign so if speech fails then we can understand what he is trying to communicate. He still signs "please" as he says it, but it is the only one unless he is trying to impress me or teach Ezra, who flat out refuses to use it! Ezra is walking now, not full-time but without encouragement and that is completely fine by me....the other two walked so early that it is nice to have a normal 14 month old! He scoots in such a fashion that we get lots of conversation out of it, it is kind of a cross between a chimpanzee's scoot and Igor's(from Frankenstein) it can be either funny or creepy! He loves to climb up into his highchair and up onto Elijah's toddler bed and even up Ben's slide in his bedroom. He is extremely fearless and adventurous, obviously fitting in with the other two! He is our biggest cuddler...LOVES to be held. ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, he has his first two fingers in his mouth! We get a lot of opinions on that topic and personal stories shared and quite honestly, we don't really care one way or another right now, it's his thing and I'm okay with that, if you've ever had a colicky baby then you know what I mean! He jabbers like a mad man and it instantly melts my heart. His favorite thing to say right now is "no no" and "stop" and then he shakes his head, when does this stop being so cute?! I love my babies, God has blessed me with 3 wonderful, beautiful, talented, fun, challenging boys and I am a much better person because of it.

Please stay tuned as I gear up to share our lives through words and photos yet again. I hope to share glimpses of my photo sessions also, as I have the time! Thank you all for reading my entries and being patient with me, Much Love.

Monday, August 31, 2009

practice, practice, practice......

When i told Elijah what we were going to go do he got ready and waited for me by the van, "lipper" and "plip-pop" and backpack secured! and these silly faces are all him, I never ask for him to do that...........he is so much fun!
he absolutely loves this hat, I must confess that I had to first sway him though.....when he refused to wear it months ago, I said, "that's fine, Ezra can wear his and be cool, you don't have to look cool!" he snatched it off of the floor where he originally thrown it to and said, "no, I'm cool!" now he wears it when ever he comes across it, I won!

showing off the muscles!

My little poser.....such a goof
this was closest to what I was trying to accomplish....just with a crisper image, oh well, I'm still happy with them.
my attempt to get sun flare......not quite there yet!

his bad little habit..........I'm having a really hard time breaking him of it!

maybe it's time to call it quits......too sunny

Ha, just realized that these were all vertical shots!

The clouds were GORGEOUS this particular day (8-20-09) and I was completely inspired by I decided to take my test subject (Elijah) out to the local playground and try to capture something brilliant. Well, mission failed, but it wasn't a complete failure as I thought they turned out well enough (I wish I could have had Elijah's face crystal clear in every shot)...Lij was a great sport until the sun peeked out of the clouds and blinded him but he was rewarded with a sucker for his good behavior. I know in time I will get better, it's just going to take lots of practice and not all will be wasted time especially since I will get many wonderful photographs of my kiddos....something I regret not investing in from the beginning of motherhood!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

pow wow exhibition

Sneak up...
Men's Fancy Dance...
Women's Fancy Shawl Dance...
Women's Traditional Dance.....
Grass Dance.....this little boy in the yellow was awesome and so cute!!!

Women's Jingle Dress Dance....

This video is the Women's Fancy Shawl Dancer's performing the Crow Hop, my all time favorite dance.

While I was visiting Olivia, in Minnesota, we went shopping at IKEA and then the Mall of America. Much to my surprise and delight we happened upon a Pow Wow Exhibition courtesy of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux heart melted as the drummers began and the Grand Entry took place. So many memories flooded back to me bringing me to tears a few times. Those years that I participated in powwows brought me SO much joy....I felt the closest to God back then. When I danced I remember dancing for His was sort of a love affair with the true lover of my soul (I know this must sound so corny or even crazy but THIS was the way it was, and I MISS it). My dad introduced me to pow wows and he told me to simply go out there and dance for God, "keep your mind on Him, dance for Him, Nichole and He will be pleased as you bring Him glory and honor"....I took that to heart and I was a natural at the Fancy Shawl Dance style. When I got big-headed and tried to show off, I would be thrown off beat or miss the stop or feel Lost even but I would always be reminded to dance for Him and then all would be as it should! Why did I give up? There are so many answers to that question but I was reminded of how close and organic my relationship WAS with God when I danced. Again I was reminded of my closeness with my Lord during those powwow years when at church this morning a girl spoke of her missionary work in Kenya this summer. She explained how the Kenyans helped her to become comfortable with public worship through song and dance as they would just turn on music, singing and dancing with pure joy (in spite of there desolation) at any given opportunity or location...........I want THAT joy in my life again.

Olivia was so sweet to pull out her point and shoot and capture these images and a few videos for me. Her boys, Owen and Aidan were with us the whole time and were so well behaved (I was amazed) and seemed to soak up the Native American culture....I want that for my boys. I think I will go to the Tipton pow wow this year and share that little piece of my past with them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

and he's off.....

Yay! Elijah can ride his bike w/o training wheels......this began about two weeks ago. Elijah had taken a couple of trips to the bike shop with our new vintage bikes (future blog---got lots to catch up on) to get tune ups and he spotted a bike he wants...a little red Giant. Kenny told him he can't have a new one since he still rides with training wheels....being the competitive, I"ll show you type, he asked to remove the training wheels....sigh! He reminds me so much of Ben--everything (except Lij is WAY more busy), Ben rode w/o trainers at 2 years+4 months and now Elijah at 2 years+11 months. I'm so proud of him yet he worries me that he may be growing up way too fast especially having a much older brother to follow and Elijah has proven over and over to have the second child syndrome----that of a shadow! It took him two days to master stopping by using his break and easily dismounting--most of the time, now if we can only get him to take off by himself........

Father's Day walk '09

Elijah likes to wear Ben's wrist bands that he got from a Harlem Globetrotters Basket Ball game (notice in another photo that Ben is wearing the match).

Ben--my strong guy Elijah--my wild child

see how Elijah is looking at Ben in order to choose his next move--Ben's little shadow!

"hode me, Papa"

Every year for the past 4, me and my dad take a *Father's Day* walk....this sprang from my fond memories of the times he would take us to the state parks in Ohio. Back then, he would take all of us kids (and sometimes Dolores's 5 children, when they lived with us) to Clifton Gorge, John Bryan or Glen Helen State Parks in Yellow Springs, Ohio--just outside of Dayton--and we would go on long walks. As the little kids would run and play through the woods, I would hang back and walk and talk with my dad....those times were very dear to me. So, as an annual Father's day gift, we pick a state park each year and that's were we steel time together. The first two were spent trekking back over to Yellow Springs, Ohio and the last two have been spent in Indiana--Clifty Falls in Madison and McCormick's Creek in Spencer. We had a great time, the boys always do so well out on the trail, running and being loud as boys do and discovering the natural wonders of God's creation. Our walk was cut just a little short with the threats of thunderstorms so the second half of our walk was a little hustled since I had my camera and feared it getting soaked. Ezra slept in the sleepy wrap half the time and towards the end Elijah wanted to be held. Ben was a bit upset that we had to cut out the other trail we planned to hike but quickly cheered up with the mention of stopping at the DQ for the rest of our annual event.
All in all, another wonderful memory to add to the if only I can become a better photographer to capture these moments better!