Autumn and Joe’s Wedding: my first wedding

I have photographed maternity and family photos, but I took a huge step this last Friday photographing my cousin’s (once removed) wedding. They were very trusting, and allowed me to shoot their wedding. It was frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. I will share more on my experience and what I learned in another post. But right now I’m going to share some of my favorite shots from the wedding…okay 31 of them, and that is narrowed down. All you expert photographers out there, don’t be too critical. Remember I’m still a wannabe.

The jewelry.

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The dress.

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Bridesmaid dress.

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Perfume.

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Cowgirl boots.

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A nephew.

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The flowers. My aunt did them, it was a family affair.

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The groom and groomsmen.

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The Groom.

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Putting on the dress.

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This is my favorite.

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Sister, friend and mom.

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The bouquet.

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Flower girl and ring bearers.

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The ceremony.

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Bridesmaids. I love their braids!

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Unity candle.

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Starry night.

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Flowers.

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The wedding party.

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The bride and groom.

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After the ceremony.

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Twinkle lights.

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The cake.

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One of her brothers is in Afghanistan, but he was still there.

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The first dance.

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The father daughter dance.

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The bouquet toss.

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The rings.

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Kiss.

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I like this one.

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The Mama’s Christmas in 5 Photos (plus one): special edition

Just wanted to say a quick “Merry Christmas.” I seemed to have fallen off the blog map. With sickness, birthdays, more sickness and Christmas, the laptop has not spent anytime on the the old lap.

This season has been a very “Charlie Brown” season. The commercialism and greediness of Christmas had gotten to me. But thankfully I was frequently brought back to the true meaning of Christmas. Love, family, giving and a tiny baby who came here to be the light in a very dark world.

Amazingly enough, I chose pictures without any children. I thought I would share nuggets of my home this Christmas through the eyes of my little family.

My sister made the manger scene for Benjamin. I gave each piece to him as we got closer to Christmas. The first gift he unwrapped today was baby Jesus. Even though he’s two I want him to see the point of all the other gifts. Not sure if it stuck, but he is two.

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Benjamin’s main gift was a DIY kitchen my husband and I made. More on that later. He loved it. If only we had the energy and creativity to give him a homemade gift every year.

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Since I was a kid I have gotten a new ornament every year. I’m almost thirty and I still do it. This Christmas tree is my latest.

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I hung these for the baby shower I hosted and I couldn’t bring myself to taking them down. They photograph well with my new camera lens…yep!

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I love the way stockings look after they have been opened and piled up. It looks like the family has cozied up after they have hung apart from each other all season. My mom made all of them, she is the family’s resident stocking maker. Aren’t they bea-utiful?!

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Another lovely reminder of the season. My friend Andrea and her husband made this card, it’ my favorite (homemade and personal). It made our way to the table as part of the centerpiece.

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I hope you found a moment to breath in the season. And not the shopping, wrapping, go-go-go season, but the giving, loving, peace of the season. It’s hard to find amongst the sick kids, baked goods and Christmas outings. But if you pay attention it might just show it’s face.

This Mama’s Week in 5 Photos: part 7

This week was a bit rocky, with an end focus of celebrating our sweet Benjamin. Today, he turned 2. Now that he has become this little person, who remembers things, I wanted his birthday to be special. But as I was reminded this week, life is full of bumps and imperfections. The 24 hour stomach flu made it’s way through our family, from Benjamin, to me, to Kollin. Thankfully it spared Gilbert. But we came to almost canceling the party, to losing guests trying to avoid any leftover germs. I imagined it would be perfect and it wasn’t turning out that way. Unfortunately, with a family loss, I had to learn that perfect birthdays are not what are most important. Supportive, loving family is important.

Benjamin still received lots of love. All he needed was candles on a cake and his family (and maybe a new digger). This weeks pictures are Benjamin dominate, with one Gilbert photo. I can’t believe I have a 2 year old.

Benjamin had his first taste of eggnog. He loved it a little too much. But a day later he was throwing up. I’m not blaming the eggnog, but he won’t be drinking that for a long while.

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Our tree is up and it’s this little man’s first Christmas.

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When it comes to cake, my child has no patience. He’s yelling “caaaaake” here.

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This little boy has been talking about blowing out candles on a cake for months and his moment was here. It took awhile, he worked so hard at it. I’m so glad my sister got it on film (maybe I will share it with you, it’s pretty funny). We put the candles on a cupcake so he wouldn’t blow any leftover germs on the cake.

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These candles, we could not get him to blow out. I think he was reliving his party. Here he is saying “candles all gone.” Kollin finally had to blow out one of them.

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Here we are, it’s a 9 days ’til Christmas and my goal is to slow down and focus on what is most important.

My First Baby Shower…as a hostess

Like I said in Saturday’s post, I hosted my first baby shower. Baby showers stress me out a little bit, because you have random people coming together that only have one connection, that can be awkward. There are also awkward games that involve eating things out of diapers, tasting baby food blindfolded, and guessing the size of the mother’s belly (which is embarrassing if you overestimate).

So I wanted to do my best to give my friend Shelley a nice baby shower with as little awkwardness as possible. Let’s face it, no matter what you do, showers are awkward. But I think on the awkward scale from 1-10, it probably only reached a 3 1/2 (I’m hopeful).

I thought I would share some pictures and ideas I had from the shower. Now, I must admit most, okay all, of my ideas are unoriginal. When it came to planning this shower, Pinterest was my best friend. But if you are seeing any of these ideas for the first time I’m glad I could share them with you.

To keep people busy we put out some diapers and sharpies for people to write messages to the dad for when he changes the babies diapers in the middle of the night. I didn’t get any pictures of the messages. But they were pretty funny .

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For decorations I used a chalkboard I had made a while ago. And with the idea from pinterest wrote “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” It was fitting since it was so. cold. outside. We had record temperatures. It was accompanied by a sweet picture of the baby bump. Note the baby’s breath, need I explain the connection?

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With another pinterest idea I hung the tissue balls and garland from the chandelier. I bought the tissue balls from Artco. A pack of three was about $12. I considered making my own, but I thought I would save myself the energy and they would look better than what I could do. And they did.

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Here is another view of the table. Can you tell what she is having? Yep, it’s a sweet baby girl.

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Another pinterest idea, small toasted cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. It was perfect finger food for a cold, cold day.

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Shelley was well loved by her guests. Someone made this sweet diaper snowman. Whatever ends up in those diapers, I hope doesn’t end up in any snowman I make.

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This is Julie. Julie, Ashley and myself hosted the shower. They were so helpful, along with my friend Megan. I could not have done this alone. Julie was great, since she was willing to do all the corralling and talking. Being an introvert, that is my least favorite part of hosting.

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My sister played this game at my shower. Everyone made a play-doh baby and Shelley voted for her favorite. Some were very life-like and some looked like worms and tadpoles.

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Shelley’s sister was also great. She made cupcakes and cookies for everyone.

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These are my wonderful roommates from college. We are missing one who lives in Canada. But it is very rare to get this many of us together at the same time. Love them!

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There were a few other things I didn’t get any pictures of. Ashley brought onesies for everyone to paint for the baby. And I made a hot chocolate bar to warm everyone up for the cold day.

Overall I think it went pretty well.

Another Cookie Please?

Today I hosted (co-hosted) my first baby shower. More on that tomorrow. People kept asking me why I was willing to host, since I have two very little boys. But that is exactly why I wanted to do it. I love my boys, and every minute (well almost every minute) I get to spend with them this year, as I stay home. However occasionally, I need to use the left side of my brain, I need to think, I need to create. My days are spent with poop, park visits, tantrums, snack time, nap time battles, and translating toddler language (so cute!). There are days I miss doing things that I used to do all the time. Exploring, creating, and being with my friends. Yes, I know I’m an adult…I’m almost thirty (urgh!), I have to be responsible. But, every adult deserves to do things that brings them joy…yep, even moms! So, even though it was hard work preparing for the shower I got to EXPLORE pinterest, CREATE beautiful decorations and yummy food, and be with my FRIENDS.

However, the day was fleeting. It was over within hours. The decorations came down, the food was eaten and my friends drove off to there distant homes. I love my boys and my husband sooooo much and I would never change the life I have now. But there are days I think to myself how a week in Hawaii alone would be glorious, or a weekend with my college roommates would be wonderful or a few hours by myself in a coffee shop would be refreshing. But in this current stage of life it doesn’t seem realistic. And that is fine. Yes, I would love an escape. But I chose this life and I choose my boys.

When I find myself whining I remind myself that I also had a stage of my life where I got to do all those things. I got to EXPLORE in my travels, I got to CREATE different craft and art projects in my studio apartment whenever I wanted, and I got to live with my FRIENDS in an old house for two years. I am so grateful for my experiences of living alone, flying to distant countries, and living somewhat far away from my parents (I love you mom and dad, but it was good for me). It’s kind of like when Benjamin eats a cookie and asks for another and we have to say “no.” His instinct is to whine, but then we say, “you already had one.” He continues to whine. And we say “it’s in your belly, wasn’t it so good?” He gets a look of, “oh, I guess your right.” You know he still wants another one, but at least he got to enjoy the first one. My early twenties were delicious like that cookie, so I can’t complain too much when there just isn’t time to have another one. I’m not saying these days aren’t delicious, but realistically, they are hard. Beautifully hard. Like a cookie you get to eat after running a marathon. Yes, I know that is a strange analogy, but like I said, I find myself thinking like a toddler these days.

As a run my marathon I find things like hosting baby showers, photographing my friends, Christmas shopping in U-village with my mom and sister, and trying out pinterest projects to keep me sane. Yes, they aren’t Italy or quiet mornings in Starbucks or spur of the moment hikes. But I did that. And I am glad. I am grateful for those memories. And now I am grateful for my husband. my boys. and my new (challenging) role as a mother.

I am grateful for the memories, but the photos are also great reminders.

Driving to Kelso, WA in frigid November just to high five Dwight Schrute was pretty fantastic.

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Overlooking Salzburg, Austria, Sound of Music land. I had dreams of moving there.

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Summer hike at Mt. Rainier.

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Spinning on the teacups in Disneyland…my happy place, as long as we don’t spin too fast.

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A selfie of me (before selfie was a word) overlooking Florence, Italy. I was so proud of myself when I went for a walk by myself while my friends waited in line at a museum. I was alone in a foreign country…at age 25 it blew my mind.

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A Bellingham wedding with beautiful roommates (minus one, she was the bride). And my college, Western Washington University in the background.

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This Mama’s Week in Photos: part 6

I think it’s been over a month since I did this. But the boys are getting bigger, which means more they are bit more demanding. Here is my week in photos…a little Thanksgiving, with the main theme being my boys, of course.

It’s funny watching Benjamin become this little boy. His play has become a lot more imaginative.

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My mom has a room for the grandkids. They all congregated upstairs on Thanksgiving. I love this one of my niece, sweet Perla.

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When dessert is being served, Benjamin is there. This was his first experience with pie. But the fact that it was round and served after dinner, he knew it was good.

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This little guy turned 6 months this week. He tried carrots for the first time and seems to have a love/hate relationship with them. I can’t believe he has been here for a half a year.

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We busted out a few Christmas decorations today. Benjamin “tickled” the lights. I think he thought that’s what we meant by twinkle lights.

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I hope to share more soon. I’ve done some fun Christmas crafts and we have some fun events coming up I will hopefully get to share with you.