I’m Back!

So while I was working on my last few posts about our trip to Oregon last year, I started having some problems with the Admin section of this blog.  I could not upload any pictures, I kept getting error messages and everything I tried didn’t work.  It was so frustrating because I only have two hours a day, two days a week without the boys to get things done.  And for a while all that time was spent trying to figure out what was wrong and attempting to fix it with no luck.  I called an IT person I knew and he couldn’t help me.  Then we started the addition on our house and that consumed every spare moment I had, so the blog was pushed even farther back.  After the addition project settled down, I was wondering if it was even worth trying to get back into this.  I often wonder if it is a good idea, in terms of my kids safety to even share these stories online.  Even though it is only going to a small group of subscribers of family and friends, it is still out there.  I am always conscious of what I share and keep things general and try not to give out too much detailed information.  I had a conversation with Justin and asked him what he thought.  He told me he thought it was worth starting again.

And once I realized I couldn’t upload pictures to my blog, I stopped taking pictures, and I didn’t like that.  Which reminded me of a few of the reasons why I started this in the first place.  Photography has been a longtime hobby of mine, and if I don’t have somewhere to share the pictures I am taking, then what is the point of taking pictures.  Also, the pictures I am taking are telling the story of my boys childhood.  Whether or not they will be interested in this when they are older, it is something for me.  I love being able to look back over the past 5 years and remember things I forgot, or see how much they have changed and that makes me happy, and so thankful that I captured that moment in time.  I don’t know how long I will continue to do this, I know as the boys get older they are not going to want all these details of their life shared. But until then, I decided to keep it up.

So that meant several very long, frustrating phone conversations with tech people.  After no resolution with their advice, they finally gave me an option to pay an $80 fee and they would troubleshoot and fix the problem.  48 hours later, it was working again! Hallelujah!  I was skeptical and afraid that it was going to “break” again, so I quickly uploaded all the pictures I had and started writing some stories, before something could go wrong…but so far all seems well.  Since it has been almost a year (!) I obviously can’t get completely caught up.  But I do have some things I want to post about the last year, before moving on.  So a lot of the posts may be more picture heavy than story since I’m just scrambling to get up to date.  So here goes, first order of business…I FINALLY updated the header! Although these pictures are already 7 months old…at least it is not just baby pictures of Jacob and Dylan has a presence.

Be back soon with more!

Ranch Style Photos

In February we were back at the Broken Branch Ranch. And every once in a while we do a little photo shoot to try and get some cute pictures of the boys around the ranch and with Grandma and Grandpa. The main focus this time was on Dylan, mainly because a certain 3 year old is not too keen on sitting still and smiling for the camera. We also were trying to recreate something similar to our favorite “cowboy” picture of Jacob when he was 8 months old.  Since Dylan is a little older than Jacob was, it was harder to keep him still, but I think we got some good ones. There’s not a whole lot of story to tell here, just heavy on the picture side…

First we loaded up the props in the wagon.

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Then while we were waiting for the guys to bring the bales of hay I started snapping away at Grandma and Dylan

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Then Dylan was ready for his close up

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When Grandma and Grandpa joined in, Dylan could not take his eyes off Grandpa.  He loves Grandpa’s deep laugh and in every single picture I took he is smiling at him.

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Then we tried to get one with both boys and we ended up with more outtakes.  But they are still fun pictures to have, that show the general craziness of two boys.

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This is what we get if we ask Jacob to smile or laugh for the camera (and again Dylan was focused on Grandpa laughing)

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This would have been a good one if Dylan had been smiling, but I think he was over it at this point.

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Dylan was tired of sitting and being held, so we let him stand up and play on the bales of hay

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and he was sampling the goods

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Then we went for a ride in the wagon

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Which led us to the horses

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And that is usually where you can find this guy hard at work

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I love some of the facial expressions I get, he takes his jobs seriously! I can just hear his voice in his head saying “Don’t mess with me mama, I’m busy!”

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Once his legs get a little longer he will be tearing all over the ranch in this thing, he knows exactly how to drive it, but he can’t quite reach.

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After my dad saddled up Thunder the two of them went for a a little ride

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When they were finished, Jake goes right to the bin with the horse treats to fill up his pockets with treats to give the horses.

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Mission accomplished!

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Wish he was this passionate about doing chores at home!

Practice

Life with two kids is kind of crazy…so my passion for photography has been on the back burner for quite a while.  Yes, I am still taking pictures, obviously.  But I haven’t really been happy with the quality of them since I am just capturing the moment and really don’t have much time to adjust settings/lighting/angle/focal point/etc…to really get that professional quality photo look.  There have been so many times that I’ve looked at the pictures and said, “Eh, these didn’t come out good, I’m not going to post them.” That is the perfectionist in me.  But then I shift into mom mode and really remember what this blog is truly about.  Sharing stories of our lives and capturing those fun moments of our kids growing up, it really doesn’t matter if the quality of the photos are to my ideal liking, what matters is the memory that is being recorded.  So I’ve decided to not worry so much about it and if the pictures are not that great, oh well.  Besides to tell you the truth, alot of the pictures on here lately are taken with my iPhone.

However, occasionally, if the moment is right, I do find myself getting my camera out to practice my photography. During this particular moment I was getting Dylan ready for a nap, and of course Jake decided he was hungry at the same time.  So I made him some food and got him set up with the iPad while I put Dylan down.  After I came out of Dylan’s room I stood talking to Jake for a few minutes and I had one of those moments where I thought, Whoa where did my little baby go! I have this silly little boy living in my house now!

I also noticed how great the lighting was so I decided to get my camera out.  Nothing fancy about these pictures, just a little boy eating his lunch.

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This little boy challenges me on a daily (no make that an hourly) basis.  I often tell Justin that I think he has “inherited” my hearing problems since he doesn’t listen to me.  He tests my limits and often makes me question my parenting ability.

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But truly, he really is a good little boy, and is just going through his threenager phase.  I think he is pretty darn handsome and I love his independent, silly, rambunctious personality.  And this is what I get for asking him to smile with a mouth full of food!

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I love you my sweet boy!

Fourth of July

For the past few years it has kind of been a tradition to spend the 4th of July on the Bay with some good friends of ours who live there.  Before we left we took some patriotic pictures of the boys with some flags that Justin bought for Jake to hold while he marches (one of his favorite things to do around the house now).

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Then we headed to the bay.  It was a fun day of food, games and friends.  If you are a regular on this blog then you will probably recognize Jacob’s friend Kennedy, born only a month apart, these two have shared lots of fun times together over the last two and a half years.  It had been a little while since these two saw each other though and they picked up right where they left off.  They got ahold of some flags and started walking down to the water.  My heart melted when I watched them and I knew I needed to capture this sweet moment.

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They just stood there on the sand right where the water came in and waved their flags,

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pointed to things out in the water,

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discussed something very important,

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laughed and marched around,

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and they were the cutest all American kids on the beach!

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Julia and I took our traditional picture with our newest babies who are 4 months apart.

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And here are the boys in their matching camo shorts.

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That night after getting the boys in bed, we walked out through our backyard onto the golf course and met up with our friends (who are also now our neighbors) and watched the fireworks. It was pretty cool since we could see two different shows from the comfort of our own home.  Next year I think I may try to master taking good pictures of fireworks…

Dylan’s newborn photos

From a photographers standpoint you want to take newborn photos sometime in the first 11 days of their life, before they start getting any baby acne, dry skin or become too alert and it gets hard to do those sleepy pictures.  Well the first 11 days of Dylan’s life were kind of chaotic and full with us being sick and the whole remodel/move thing.  I kept trying to pick a date and something would come up and we would postpone it, again and again and again.  Finally, after we actually moved, I was determined to get these pictures done before Dylan was a month old.  So on his 3 week birthday our wonderful photographer came over to our house about 10 minutes before the flooring guy arrived to start laying our hardwood floors.  They both worked around each other and got the job done, so now we have some beautiful pictures of our newest boy and a few with big brother too!

wDylanNB_058fv 8DylanNB_002-4fv 8DylanNB_009-2ev 8DylanNB_008-2cv 8DylanNB_075fv 8DylanNB_060-2fv 8DylanNB_069dv 8DylanNB_072ee 8DylanNB_056ev 8DylanNB_026-2bv 8DylanNB_021-2dv 8DylanNB_034-2f 8DylanNB_030gvAnd since the flooring was not installed and the entire house was concrete we couldn’t move our furniture in, except in two of the bedrooms where we had carpet.  So the only place we could all sit together for a picture was on the blow up mattress we were sleeping on until the flooring was finished in the master.

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4 Generations

When Justin and I got married I remember the photographer being in awe that we had so many grandparents on both sides who were able to share our special day with us.  It made for some great wedding photos with all the generations of our family.  Since then we have had to say goodbye to several of them, but there are a couple who are still going strong!  One of them is Jacob’s Oma.  The night before our photo session at Leo Carillo Ranch, I woke up at 2 am which is pretty much the norm with this pregnancy, (I guess he’s preparing me for the 2 am feeding…) and it dawned on me that we would be very close to where Oma lives and my mom happened to be in town and this was a great opportunity to get some nice professional photos of the 4 generations.  So when everyone else woke up that morning and we started getting ready I told my mom my idea and asked our photographer if she would be willing to take a little side trip and do a mini session with Oma and we made it work!

When we arrived, my mom went to get Oma and the rest of us went outside in the courtyard to scope out a place for pictures, and Jacob was showing Justin his favorite swing that he plays on when we go to visit.

8FriscoBelly_065bw 8FriscoBelly_066bwThen the star of the show arrived and we got to work

8FriscoBelly_070b 8FriscoBelly_074-2bv 8FriscoBelly_080cv 8FriscoBelly_086bvOma will be 92 years old in a couple of weeks,  I hope that if I make it to 92 I look this good!

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2nd Baby Belly

I absolutely loved the pictures from our maternity session when I was pregnant with Jacob and his newborn session that we called the same photographer to do it again this time around. There were a couple of places we were considering and we decided on Leo Carillo Ranch in Carlsbad.  They have lots of great old buildings, rustic doors and pretty scenery.

I don’t have a whole lot of story to tell here, just pictures to share…To start it off, at our first maternity session we did this same pose holding a blue elephant that we used as part of Jacob’s weekly photos.  We recreated the same scene only replacing the blue elephant with Jacob.

8FriscoBelly_004-2evAnd baby number 2 gets a brown wooly mammoth.

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And this session was a bit more challenging than last time since we were trying to work with a 2 year old.  My mom came along to stand behind the photographer to try and direct Jacob’s attention, our photographer turned around and snapped a picture of my mom and Justin jumping around behind the scenes.

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Being mom and the fact that photography is my hobby, I am always behind the camera, which means I don’t have any pictures of Jacob and I together.  So we made that happen this day.

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Thank you Terri for taking such wonderful pictures of our family!

Things to remember about turning 2

If you remember when Jacob turned ONE, we went back to the location where I had my maternity pictures taken to do a little photo shoot to document the occasion.  Well, I had to do the same thing for his second birthday, but I wanted to try a different spot.

For Christmas, Jacob got this great cowboy vest and chaps from grandma and grandpa, so we put them on along with his cowboy hat and boots and set out for the Rancho Penasquitos trail for some pictures.

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This one has a lot of glare from the sun, but I still love it, especially the happiness on Jake’s face!

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And here are a few things I want to remember about Jacob right now…

He has added some new words to his vocabulary and is still signing up a storm. Right now I have counted 150 words that he signs.  I know there are more that I have forgotten and he is adding new words all the time.  It is amazing how quickly he picks up on this and it is so great to be able to communicate this much with him.

Jake has always loved it when we sing to him.  He always wants to listen to his music in the car and when he gets ahold of my phone he plays his playlist at full blast.  That is always fun when we are in public since he knows how to adjust the volume as well, so if I turn it down he just turns it back up.  Thankfully everyone within a 5 mile radius of us thinks it’s cute when they can hear the “Wheels on the Bus” or the “Hokey Pokey” or “If You’re Happy and You Know It” before they can actually see Jake doing the moves or signs along with the songs.  Anytime we sing to him, he gives us a round of applause when we are done, then we tell him it’s his turn to sing.  And he knows the tune and rhythm to the songs and will “sing” it back to us, and then proceed to give himself a round of applause when he is done.

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He knows his colors and loves to tell me what color everything is. He is also taking an interest in numbers right now and can count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in order when you ask him. He especially loves to remind me all day long that he is TWO years old.

For a long time he has been fighting the stroller and doesn’t want to be confined in anything.  But when he had the cast on, he knew he didn’t really have a choice and didn’t fight the stroller at all and for a short period of time after getting the cast off.  But now we are back to not wanting to be in the stroller, so all of our walks are done in his little blue car that has a handle for us to push him around in.  Right now Jake loves anything that has an engine, every kind of car, truck, tractor, motorcycle, airplane, etc… so he loves “driving” his car around and waving and beeping his horn as we go down the street.

He loves to clarify things that are “yours” and “mine”.  When it comes to food or drinks or shoes, etc…He will say this is yours and this is mine.

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He has already learned to be a backseat driver and tells us if the light is green or red and if it is red he signs stop and if it is green he yells GOOOOOOOO!  He hasn’t quite figured out the concept of the yellow light yet and I am finding it difficult to explain to him that it is okay to make a right hand turn on a red light if no cars are coming.

We recently started soccer once a week and he loves it!  It’s more like an outside social playtime activity that occasionally involves kicking a soccer ball.  But it burns his energy and gives him a fun environment to run around in.  Before he got his cast on he was just getting the concept of jumping, now that his cast is off and he is back to using both legs, and running at full speed he has picked up the jumping bug again and is starting to get some air in his attempts.  So every time I turn around he is either jumping or climbing on top of something.

Last week I registered Jacob for preschool two mornings a week. Yikes! I have so many emotions that go along with that statement that it will have to wait for it’s own post.

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I love you my sweet boy and happy 2nd birthday!

The Whites

I have done several photo shoots at Old Poway Park and this is the 3rd year I’ve taken pictures for the White family, and I think these are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken both at this location as well as for this family.  Anytime we are working with kids, especially 4 young kids, it’s hard to get them to sit still, and get them all to look at the camera and smile at the same time.  But I think we had a little bit of luck this time around, and it is only going to get better from here on out.  Here are some of my favorites…

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And with this family I can always count on getting a good crazy/silly picture 🙂

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Senior Portriats

As I said before, it is that time of year where everyone wants family pictures done for their Christmas cards, so I’ve been really busy.  I love that kind of busy though, it is a lot of fun to be with these families and capture special moments with them.  All of the photography I’ve done has been babies, kids and families so when I was asked to do Senior portraits for a friend I was excited to have a different kind of project on my hands.  Not only was it different but having just one, adult subject who stays still and listens to you when you ask her to look at the camera or smile made it so much easier than the kiddos I am used to chasing around!

She choose the beach for her background so we headed to Torrey Pines State Beach to take advantage of the beautiful cliffs.  We had a great time walking up and down the beach taking pictures, talking about life, school, plans for her future and how lucky we were to live in America’s Finest City.  She really is a beautiful person on the inside and absolutely gorgeous on the outside!  See for yourself…

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As we were walking back to our cars we kept stopping to take pictures of God’s beautiful artwork! I will never tire of this view.

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I will be back to share some more of my favorites from the other photo sessions I’ve done lately.