I only have two days left with students and two days of clean up before it’s officially my summer. We are signed up for summer activities and are continuing to plan when we are going to complete bucket list items! My favorite part of planning is that we are making plans with so many friends and family to complete the list. It’s a good way to get time together on the calendar so summer doesn’t slip away without seeing them all.
This week we somehow completed three more! We headed to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market and scored some yummy grass-fed beef and pork. The boys’ favorite part was by far watching kettle corn being made! There was a clown, which terrified Hudson. Only after we started walking away did he want to try to walk up to him.
After that we drove a couple blocks to the sculpture garden and let the boys run loose. Corbin is most definitely a rule follower so he made sure to tell everyone that they were not supposed to be climbing on the sculptures. The Walker was hosting it’s free Saturday so they had outside activities like looking at tadpoles from the pond and rolling down hills in play tunnels. The boys had a blast.
After all that we went home and made popsicles which were a hit, except for the seeds. Next time, I’m trying peaches. Hudson is not a fan of loud noises so there’s a picture of him huddled under his blanket while Corbin and I were pureeing everything. I’m looking forward to many more rocket pops with different recipes.
Wondering what all this bucket list talk is about? Check out info here
This has been a busy week for us and I’m not even out of school yet! We planted our garden, which is our first official completed bucket list item. It was an adventure. Since we live in a townhome, we decided to rent a plot at our community garden. Wow. Let’s just say there are some serious gardeners out there. There’s nothing wrong with that, we are just totally not. I’m hoping to get a few veggies and not kill them all. We planted tomatoes, sweet peppers, carrots, cauliflower, sweet corn, cucumbers, and sugar peas. Since it’s our first garden, I’m not holding out for a huge harvest but it will be fun for the boys and hopefully we’ll get some fresh veggies without heading to the farmer’s market.
I was in Winona (and various other small river towns) yesterday checking out wineries with friends. Delicious. Brandon was home with the boys and it was a yucky day. Showers on and off, but at least it was warm. Brandon took the boys to play out in the rain and texted me “Playing in the rain! Another bucket list item.” I had my camera so he was left with his phone but he snapped away and told me he took lots of pictures so we could cross it off the list. They are not the most high quality photos but they capture the moment. I’m sure we’ll play in the rain again and get better pictures. Who says you can’t do a bucket list item more than once? Not this family!
Today was our first 90+ day of summer and of course that means heading to the nearest body of water…or splash pad! I am so happy it opened this weekend. The boys had a blast and I’m sure we’ll head back many more times. While we were there Corbin kept saying “This is on our bucket list right, Mom?” Half way through, Hudson decided he did NOT want to be wearing wet swim trunks and begged to have them taken off. I tried to persuade him to keep them on but he wasn’t having it. So, off they came. I guess a plus of not being potty trained yet is that at least he had a swim diaper on.
Here are the pictures of our bucket list adventures from the week and an updated list with the completed items crossed off. Looking forward to crossing more off the list soon!
Summer is almost here! Things are winding down in the classroom, the weather is warmer and it’s single-digit work days before school is out for summer. I am super excited to spend summer with the boys and have been thinking of all the things we want to do. Then I remembered The Happy Family Movement Summer Bucket List Challenge. Truth time: I was a happy family flop last year. I signed up for the challenge and didn’t even make the list.
This year is different, my friends. Last Friday during lunch the boys and I brainstormed some ideas for our list. With a 4 and a 2.5 year old, this looked more like them giving me a few ideas and me coming up with the rest BUT they do have some ownership in it and were excited about the other ideas I came up with. We read it over with Brandon when he got home from work and he had nothing to add. I like to think this is because I’m such an awesome wife that I included everything he would have wanted—I mean I even had Elko Speedway on the list. There are a few things we’ve done before and want to make sure to do again, but mostly its new stuff. We’ve lived in the Minneapolis area for 6 years and are reminded often of all the quintessential Minneapolis activities/attractions that we have yet to see and do. I kept that in mind while making our list and we ended up with the 60 you see below. Most of these we’ll do as a family but I’m sure there will be some that just me and the boys do as I’m off all summer and Brandon is stuck in his stuffy office. We are giving ourselves a little wiggle room to complete our list because there are a few things (State Fair and Renaissance Festival for example) that back up dangerously close to the end of August.
I took our brainstorming/scribbles and whipped up that cute little list but decided that though that was great for me, I wanted the boys to have more of a visual. Cue my Spotify “design” playlist, some chevron, and a summer color palette and you have our bucket list cards. Here’s a before shot of our picture wall and then the after with our bucket list cards strung across the kitchen/dining room wall. The plan is to replace the cards with a picture from the bucket list adventure. If we manage to remember to keep all the cards, we’ll put the cards and photos in a photo album at the end of our summer and of course, the photos will all make our annual family scrapbook. This is a good thing because I have seriously been lacking on taking photos of my own family these first six months of 2012.
So there you have it. The HFM Summer Bucket List Challenge is underway in our household. I’m looking forward to blogging about all our adventures and checking out the other participants adventures too! Want to participate? Head over to The Happy Family Movement and sign up!
Mother’s Day weekend I got to capture a beautiful family in a beautiful place. It made for a beautiful morning! Well, it was beautiful once the Doolans were there. Before that I was scouting the place and not one, not even two, but three garter snakes came out to visit me on the path. I was not excited about that and was somewhat frozen but managed to snap a picture with my phone. I’m not even sure why I took the picture because just looking at it gives me shivers.
Anyway, back to this beautiful family. I have been lucky enough to have Isis in my preschool classroom this year. She is stinkin’ adorable and so funny. I learned a bit about Isis’ family during their home visit and at conferences. Isis and her older brother, Rowan, both have special needs. Rowan was diagnosed at 2 years old on the Autism Spectrum with a diagnosis of PDD-NOS; Pervasive Developmental Delay-not otherwise specified, and ADHD. Isis has Sensory Processing Disorder as well as behavioral problems due to pre-birth trauma.
Why does that bit of info matter? Well, I happened to be talking to a dear (out of state) friend who has a child with autism. She talked about the fact that she was afraid to hire a photographer to photograph her son. She was concerned about how the photographer would react if he started to tic, or perseverate, or be his quirky self. She didn’t want to make a photographer uncomfortable, she didn’t want someone who would press her son to be posed or push him over the edge into a puddle of a meltdown. It broke.my.momma.heart. Seriously, I know how much I treasure the photographs that we have taken each year. They are of who our family is at that moment and I love them, even if my kids are being goofy—it’s who they are and I want to remember that. So, when Shannon came in to drop Isis off at school a couple days later, I asked to photograph them. It started with, “Um…I hope this isn’t weird….” I went on to explain about my friend and that every family should have photos of themselves just being a family. She agreed! Phew! I was a little nervous; I mean it is a little random.
I met the family at Wood Lake Nature Center, a place where they visit a lot (read: the kids are in their element). Isis didn’t even flinch when she saw me out of the school context. For the first part of the walk, I really only saw the back of Isis since she was running so far ahead of us and enjoying the gorgeous day. The photos I took of her surprised me and her parents. She is stunning. I mean, of course you can see she is a cute kid, there is no denying that. However, on film (okay, technically not film but you know what I mean), she is simply stunning. I believe they could pad that college fund with some modeling gigs if they so desired.
When we got the nature center, Rowan instantly started telling and showing me all about prehistoric men, how they sounded, how they moved and pounded their chest. He even acted out how an animal might sound after it was speared. He was so excited and having so much fun with it. I felt so good that he trusted me enough to teach me about his favorite things. During our time together he also sang opera and rocked out. I told him not to forget me when he’s famous.
I noticed, at the very beginning of Rowan’s show and tell, that his mom nervously laughed and I let Peter and Shannon know that nothing fazed me. All I could think of in that moment was my friend and showing them that any behavior the kiddos threw at me, I could roll with. With that said, the kiddos were great. They played and ran and fought (hey, they’re siblings right?) and when I sensed they were “done”, we were done. Well, except one last family photo that turned out to be my favorite. It’s hard for me to explain how I worked with the kids because, quite frankly, it’s second nature to me so I’ll let Peter and Shannon give their opinion:
“At first we couldn’t believe that Jennifer had offered to do a photo session for us. We only knew her as Isis’ pre-school teacher. We were cautiously optimistic about doing it, and a little nervous after previous encounters with the “studio experience.” Jennifer put us at ease right away with a warm greeting and she immediately connected with our children. Her calm and loving demeanor let the kids know they were safe with her. Jennifer’s ability to allow herself to become part of the event, and not just a bystander, made everyone feel relaxed. We think it shows in the work. For us this turned out to be a truly enjoyable experience, and we feel blessed that we have these beautiful pictures to remind us of that day, and of that moment in our lives.”
Let me say, this photo session was as much for me as it was for this sweet family. Every family should have photos of themselves just being who they are…just being a family. My hope with this session, this post, is that if there is anyone reading who may be having the same fears as my friend, that they realize that there are photographers out there who are experienced with children outside of the photography setting; children with special needs or children who think outside the box.
When I asked Peter and Shannon if I could mention the special needs topic in this post, Peter responded, “Loud and proud.” I couldn’t help but smile about that response the whole way home. THAT is what I want families to believe when they are thinking of getting photos taken. That statement said to me, “This is who we are. We are an amazing family. We have awesome kids and we are blessed.”
Maybe you’ve heard (you know on the blog, on my personal Facebook, on my business Facebook, on Twitter) that there is a new man in my life. He is sweet and gorgeous and most impressively, did not pee or poop on any of my blankets. After photographing Joseph’s entrance into the world (have I mentioned it was amazing?), I got the pleasure of seeing him again a week-ish later to get my snuggle on take his newborn photos. It was an adventure! I didn’t mention it in his birth story but this little pea does NOT like to be on his back…or his stomach. At the hospital, the director of nursing was taking his vitals and he just kept rolling from one side to another. When Dad asked if it was normal, she said she had never seen it before. At his newborn session it was quite apparent that he still preferred his side to any other position and let me know he was not happy as soon as I tried any way else. Lucky for him (and mom and dad! ) I used some of my tricks and managed to get him comfy for enough time to snap a few shots of him on his back and tummy. Newborn sessions can last 3 (or more hours) and I always take the lead from the baby. If babe needs to be fed, babe gets fed. If babe is tired of being swaddled, we unswaddle. Alternately, if babe is sick of being in the buff, we cover and swaddle. Babe’s needs comes first.
Now, enjoy some baby goodness! And, why yes, that is a rooster on the deck checking in on baby..
I got to document a birth. Truth? I loved every moment of it. I’m not sure if it was because it was my sweet nephew being born or if it was just the whole experience but I am in love. It was amazing. My sister called at 3:45am to tell me she was admitted earlier in the night and that she was dilated to 5cm. I drove the hour and a half to get to Albert Lea after throwing on some clothes and grabbing my already-packed bag. When I got there she was at 8cm and moving quickly! Baby came in a few pushes and Joseph Carl was born at 7:57am on April 6. Momma was amazing through the whole thing and Dad was so sweet. It was awe-some. I feel so blessed to have been allowed to witness such a very personal experience. I’m not going to lie, when I talked with Becky about it a few months back, Ben was not so sure of the process. He took a little convincing but after I sent him some other birth photography to look at he realized what I was (and more importantly WASN’T) going to be taking pictures of and he agreed. I’m happy to report they both adored the photos and there were tears all around. Ben and Becky, I know you are going to be amazing parents and I can’t WAIT to watch Joseph grow up!
While this experience was amazing, I would like to document a few more births before deciding if it’s something I want to pursue on a more regular basis. Since I’m just testing the water in this area of photography, promotional pricing will apply. If you are considering having a birth photographer document your birth and would like to talk about details, shoot me an e-mail. I’d love to hear from you.
And, the best part of this post….welcome to the world Joseph!
I love this family. Nicole and I met our freshman year of college within a few days of moving in to the dorm. I’m lucky to have met her so early in my college days so that I always had a partner in crime someone to share in the newness, the craziness, the triumphs and the mishaps that come during the college years. We definitely had some adventures. Mike was a friend of Nicole’s roommate and while Mike (plus his entourage) and I became friends, Nicole and Mike became much more. I was lucky enough to watch them fall in love and continue to count them as some of my dearest friends.
Mike and Nicole are now the creators of this amazing little family! I had so much fun photographing them on this beautiful February day. Gabby was a little spitfire and, as 18 months old do, was exerting her independence to the fullest. Evan is a total model at heart. Every time I brought my camera to my eyes, he turned and grinned.
Here are some of the photos from our afternoon! Enjoy!
It’s cold in Minnesota. I mean, I shouldn’t be complaining because really we have been having amazing weather this year. My boys would disagree given the Christmas sled still sits unopened, but I am loving it. I had an idea for a Valentine’s Day photo session and it did NOT include coats and sweaters and it’s not quite that warm out. I also have been wanting to try out a local studio with my own kiddos before I booked it to use with clients so this whole session just kind of fell in to place. Well, if you don’t count the 3 hours of punching and hand-sewing paper hearts together.
P.S. I had to include the photo of my husband and the boys. I think he was focusing on NOT dropping the 70 pounds of precious cargo he was holding but he looks like he’s posing for his upcoming rap album. Gosh, I love that man. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Valentine’s week full of snuggles, smooches, and love!
I joined this family while they painted their plates (and dogs, and cups, and dog dishes) at Paint Your Plate in Edina. After getting artsy, they headed over to Edina Creamery. I have to admit, it was a little disheartening to walk in to the smell of fresh waffle cones and know I couldn’t have one. However, seeing the pictures that I took during that time made it totally worth it. The light, the interaction, all if it….it was perfection. These three have such an amazing dynamic about them. Sisters, mom, daughter, auntie, and niece all rolled in to a sarcastic, hilarious, intelligent ball of love. I hope you enjoy the photos. I, for one, could not stop swooning over them. Also, I’m trying a new format for posting pictures. Tell me, do you like it or prefer the full size images? I’ve included full size versions of, what I believe, are the most swoone-worthy photos for comparison. Enjoy!
As most of you know, I took this fall off. We had some things happen in our lives that made me realize I needed to spend my weekends with my family. I loved spending all my free time with my this amazing little family I’ve built and it was so refreshing. However, I’m so ready to dive back in to photographing all of you! Here are some photos that I didn’t get around to sharing while on hiatus; some are from sessions and some are examples of how I spent my downtime. Enjoy!