July 2010

a funny coincidence:  i had been planning to do this blueberries/broccoli post for a few weeks, and then yesterday my sister, amelia, posted photos of lee smashing blueberries all over his face.  (click the ‘as we grow’ link under the ‘friends and family’ category at right to see her blog.)  it seems that even though we are many miles apart, our great mother-minds still think alike!  also, it seems that no matter what your age, blueberries are just fun to smash on your face!

since we began feeding arden solid foods about 6 months ago, i have taken many (and i mean, MANY) photos of her eating, playing with or acting mesmerized by her food and grinning beautifully with food covering her entire face.  will my adorable child ever grow out of looking adorable while she eats?  she has been an awesome eater since the beginning.  and i mean, the ‘yes-dude-i-realize-how-lucky-we-are-to-have-a-kid-like-this’ kind of awesome.  she will eat a multitude of finger foods, and almost AN-Y-THING in a mashed up stew form….believe me, i have fed her some crazy combinations.  (avocado-chicken-peach-carrot stew, anyone?)  but… recently, my little angel has realized that she has a choice of whether or not to eat something.  damn you, free will!  so, i have to get a little more creative at times with my methods of food preparation.  or sometimes after a few days, i just take all the leftover things she wouldn’t eat voluntarily, mash them into a disgusting stew again, add a little baby cereal and VOILA!  she downs it like a starving tiger.

here she is getting ready to dig into all of her little finger foods.  isn’t that too cute?

arden loves all fruit.  but blueberries – actually, berries in general – are some of her favorites.  they disappear off of her tray faster than you can say, ‘your dirty diaper smells like blueberries.’  one day, her dinner included blueberries and another favorite, spaghetti noodles, and i couldn’t resist grabbing the camera….again.

important to note:  she easily slurped the FIRST spaghetti noodle we ever gave her.  it must be in her italian blood!

another note:  a lot of her clothes have dark blue stains.

now…. feeding arden broccoli and cauliflower provides us with a different situation entirely!  after months of her gobbling up any kind of stew with broccoli in it, i thought that surely she would enjoy some steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  i thought she would find the texture fun, not disturbing like most kids.  boy, was i wrong:

indicentally, i made this mistake just a few days after arden realized she can feed her yucky stuff to the dogs.  darla must be ‘detained’ now during arden’s mealtimes.

conclusion:  it IS possible for arden to still look adorable, even when she is acting rotten!


this commercial puts me in such a good mood.  (and it reminds me of my long-ago pet hamster, nibbles, who we thought was a boy until ‘he’ gave birth to a litter of slimy, red, hairless creatures one day.  god rest ‘his’ soul.)  every time i see this, i can’t help but stop what i’m doing, turn the volume up, and just enjoy the silliness.  it’s some of the only uninterrupted television-viewing i do these days!

i guess this doesn’t really need explaining, but in a nutshell:  arden was reading across the room.  i was folding laundry.  i opened the drawer.  i looked down to fold a few items.  i looked up to see this little boogar crawling right into the drawer.  i barely had time to grab the camera before she started trying to crawl out!

p.s.  i’m lovin’ the hairdo, baby girl!

oh, how i love gutter-minded people.  but i apologize if you fit into that category:  this is not a post about my personal plastic surgery considerations.  (although, after a pregnancy and almost a year of breastfeeding, trust me, these things do cross my mind.)  i wanted to take an opportunity to show my current and future photography clients some of the digital enhancement options that i offer.  when i try to describe these to people, i usually get blank stares of confusion in return.  so, today i present to you…. these handy-dandy visual aids!

i used this lover-ly maternity photo of carrie as an example.  the original photo (shown left) is beautiful in and of itself.  however, it was taken in the shade, and there is a slight washed-out quality that could use improving.  so i tweaked it a bit to make the subject and colors really pop (shown right).  (btw, being an interior designer, i tend to use words like ‘pop’ when describing color!)  i often enhance my personal photos this way when i’m printing them for framing, as it creates a modern, crisp quality that the original photo doesn’t have.  (there i go using goofy design words like ‘crisp’ again….)

of course, there is always the option to turn your photos black-and-white (shown below left): classic and beautiful in almost any frame, in any room of your home, no matter the decor.  then, there is what i call the ‘vintage’ option (shown below right).  here, i purposely wash out the photo to give it a worn, faded quality, and then i adjust the color balance to look nice with each particular photo’s subject and setting.  (note:  i can make it look as faded and worn as you prefer!)

another service i offer, which is less artistic and more technical, is photo-correction.  check out the before (left) and after (right) examples of baby foster below.  foster had a slight case of eczema when i took her newborn photos.  and although most mothers will tell you that even her baby’s eczema is cute at 3 weeks old, it may not make the photo frame-worthy!  once i removed the spots (and a few baby-induced fingernail scratches), her face looks much softer.  and see how her skin looks less yellow and more fresh and pink?  it’s like magic!

for this next one, i took it a step further and not only fixed the spots on foster’s face, but also removed the ugly yellow hose from the background.  (it was driving me crazy!)  i also hid foster’s dad’s watch, since it took away from the beauty of her darling little face.  now, there are no distractions, and foster is the complete focus of the photograph.

so, my dear clients, don’t be afraid to buy yourself some enhancements.  they (unlike plastic surgery) are affordable – only $15 per photo – and, hey, who couldn’t use a little enhancing every now and then!?!

the other day, i thought i heard some banging around in the nursery.  then, when i went to get arden after her nap, this is what i saw:

i guess i should have expected this.  after all, one of the words we’ve repeated to arden the most is ‘art.’  since she drinks her milk in our bed right underneath a big framed piece, she  often points to it, and we always say, ‘that’s ART.’  so now, she points to wall-hung pieces on her own and says with confidence, ‘OTT!’  soon, we will start hitting the gallery circuit in town to admire more art, but only after we work a bit more on the ‘look, but don’t touch’ policy.

a few weeks ago, i had my first maternity shoot.  i am quite passionate about women capturing their prenatal beauty, especially if it’s their first pregnancy.  i, however, felt hot and bloated and uncomfortable and… well… gross last summer when i was in my third trimester.  but looking back now at snapshots of myself, i realize i didn’t look nearly as gross as i felt.  and now, i fight back tears when i think about that missed opportunity.

my big, fat (pun intended) regret was one of the main inspirations for starting my photography business.  i tell every pregnant woman i meet, whether friend or stranger, to “photograph that big, beautiful belly, sister girl!”  so i was elated when my friend and hairdresser, carrie, hired me to photograph her in all of her prenatal glory. 

carrie is one of those women whose bodies seem to stay exactly the same all over except for the perfectly round (and, in her case, tan!) basketball-like belly.  i know, GAG ME WITH A SPOON, right?  needless to say, i was not one of these women!  but carrie was gorgeous that sunny day, and was such a trooper too, as i hauled her and her husband all over downtown memphis in the sweltering 96-degree heat.  of course, we took lots of water and AC breaks, and in the end, i think it was worth the sweat and exhaustion we all felt.  i ended up with over 100 photographs that i think are frame-worthy for this fun, music-loving, smiling, good-times-seeking and all-around happy couple….

this simple brick wall was my favorite backdrop of the day.  and my favorite moment of the shoot was when i said, “bear with me…. i just really love this brick wall.  these shots are so gorgeous.”  and greg said quietly, in a paris hilton-esque tone, “that brick wall is HOT.”  greg, that sense of humor is going to come in handy when you guys have a newborn in tow!

thank you, carrie and greg, for your patience, perserverance and positive attitudes that hot sunday morning.  and best wishes to you and your soon-to-be-in-your-arms sweet baby, ellie kate, as you walk into your future together.  a wonderful adventure awaits!

easter was so memorable this year (and action-packed, as proven by the many photos in this post)!  jason and i had planned to spend a quiet easter at home as usual, but when i heard that my little sister was traveling from north carolina and my parents were driving from memphis to atlanta to visit my older sister and her family, i started thinking about all the fun arden would have spending her first easter surrounded by lots of family.  so after much agonizing thought and discussion, jason and i decided to split for easter: jason stayed in memphis to do that ‘work’ thang, and arden and i hopped in the car with my parents for a fun 5-day mini-vacation!

but let’s back up a bit.  before easter, arden received a couple of surprise packages in the mail.  i snapped these cute photos of her ‘opening’ the one from grammy, which included a sweet card and a glittery board book, my easter basket, which tells the story of the resurrection.  i also photographed her opening a package from nonna (jason’s mom) but stupidly deleted the pictures from my camera, thinking i had already uploaded them to my computer.  ARGH!  it was a(nother!) package from koo koo bear boutique in atlanta and included a stuffed lamb, a new bib, a monogrammed handkerchief-type bib and an adorably vintage-looking dress.

ummm, this kid’s not spoiled at all, is she?!

now, onto the trip!  when we arrived in atlanta, cousin lee wasted no time greeting arden with LOTS of kisses and hugs.  i took many photos of this experience, but this is my favorite.  i love how lee is gently strangling arden, yet her facial expression is so calm and accepting of his love attack.  hey, if you’re gonna dish it, ya gotta take it too!

my family has a hard time sitting still and doing nothing but laying around the house in our pajamas.  WAIT.  that’s a total and complete lie.  we are the masters of these things!  but we are also great at forcing ourselves to get up and outta the house for activities.  (maybe it’s the almost-2-year-old toddler zooming around the house that reminded us we all needed some exercise?!)  on good friday, the ladies and kiddos walked over to a nearby cafe for lunch, and on the way back, we ventured through what has become lovingly known over the years as ‘scary tunnel.’  it offerred a nice break from the sunshine, and arden enjoyed admiring the authentic graffiti!

on saturday, the whole family hiked around the chattahoochee river national park – something i’ve been wanting to do for years!  (honestly, i’m not sure exactly where we were, or i would tell you more about it, and how to get there.)  it was a lovely way to spend the morning: a true escape from the city.  and i am sure we’ll be back many times as the kids get bigger and better-able to walk long distances.  arden enjoyed her ride in the ergo carrier, and lee learned rock-skipping skills from bryan and my dad.  (for some reason, we took this photo of only the girls…. i wish we had the guys in it too.)

finally, easter morning arrived, and arden received not one, but two easter baskets!  apparently, the memphis easter bunny and the atlanta easter bunny didn’t coordinate their efforts, so she got double the bunny-visits.  no complaints from arden though!  some of her favorite toys are (still) the bathtub maracas and remote control.

lee had his first real egg hunt, since he wasn’t quite walking last easter.  we all had fun helping him find the eggs, even though some weren’t hidden too well (see photo with my mom’s foot below).  after each round of egg-hunting, he would look at my sister, amelia, and say, “again?!”  so the eggs would be hidden again while someone distracted lee, and the hunt would ensue again.  this went on for a while…. until lee realized there was candy inside the eggs and sat down to stuff his face!

then we attempted a photo shoot with lee and arden.  you can see the better pics in my april post, ‘hoppy easter!’  but this ‘fail’ photo makes me giggle every time i look at it, so i had to share it.  lee looks so miserable posing with all the props and his knee boo-boo, but arden seems elated to be chewing on her bunny ears!

a couple of milestones were happening with arden during the trip.  she was on the verge of crawling, but didn’t make her first move until a couple of days after we returned home.  (she was waiting for daddy to see her, i think.)  but she did lots of leaning forward on her hands and slapping the floor, squealing with delight all the while….

…. and she began pulling up on things.  lee’s music table (still a favorite) and jungle gym really encouraged her.  she especially loved this monkey, and would pull up and chatter to him face-to-face!

in the end, it was definitely worth missing daddy and making the trip.  nonna was even able to visit for a while one day, so the grandparents were all happy to be with the kids and make special memories for arden’s first easter!