I loved shooting this beautiful new family earlier this month. There is nothing more raw, more innocent, and more precious than photographing a newborn baby. Having two older "babies" now, I love any excuse for mini snuggles. And, fun fact, Baby Luke has the same birthday as Leah! His mama and I were able to commiserate on the joys of spending Christmas in a hospital. Luke was such a content, sweet little love - despite the fact that he decided to nap as I was packing up my equipment for the day. It's okay… I love the bright-eyed wonder of an alert and curious little person.
There are so many "stressors" in our fast-paced, media-rich lives. Recent events have me wanting to hide under my king-sized duvet with J, Hou and Lee in a permanent blanket fort. But the truth is, as much fear as I feel for raising and passing along two sweet little babies into the world, I want fearlessness for them. This is my mantra for sanity - and the hope I have to pass into the hearts of my children. Seek the good. Seek the peace. Download your own "humanity" photo (taken at Seabrook Beach in New Hampshire!) by clicking below. Save it to your desktop or print it and hang it next to your desk at work (or under your duvet fort) for that little moment of peace you need today.
This past September, my sister Lindsay and I had the honor of photographing Amanda and Michael's wedding. Amanda was the sister of Garrett (whose wedding I photographed the year before and will be blogged soon too!), and I was so excited to reunite with this amazing family for another celebration! I met the crew at a gorgeous lake house where both parties were separated into various sections of the expansive estate. Lindsay and I teamed up to capture the girls and the guys simultaneously, leaving time for lots of detail shots of Amanda's beautiful dress and rings. We followed the wedding party to the ceremony and reception site at Monadnock Berries in Troy, New Hampshire for Amanda and Michael's beautiful early-evening wedding. They recited their vows under pink skies, and soon were pronounced husband and wife! Lindsay and I ran around the orchard finding the perfect spots to capture some formal pictures of their friends and families, but perhaps my favorite moments of the day were the few minutes we had capturing some intimate, quiet moments with the gorgeous newlyweds. We had a blast with this crew at the reception - their DJs were amazing and kept the dance floor hopping all night long (which clearly leads to some great photo ops for these lucky photographers)! Thank you Amanda and Michael, for including us in your absolutely gorgeous day - your love was a blessing for us to witness and capture.
2. Mash the bananas into a thick blob of slime. My kids love this step, but I equally love getting out a little aggression at the end "just to make sure they're totally mushed" of course.
Want something quick and easy to make that a) you can do with your kids without losing your mind, b) uses up those brown bananas on the counter that you swore you were going to use for your healthy smoothie resolution, and c) are prepped and cooked in under 20 minutes? Boom. You're ready for a Smith-family favorite: 2-ingredient cookies featuring ripe bananas and oats. And if you're really brave and feel a little Rachel Ray-ish, you can even add some of your own "extras" to give these healthy snacks a little more zip.
2 ripe bananas
1 cup of oats (rolled or quick-cook); we love these Bob's Red Mill extra thick rolled oats because they taste more "oatsy" if you will. They're a little trickier to use to hold everything together, but I'm magical and I make it work.
*Optional extras of your choice: chocolate chips, dried fruit, cinnamon, etc.
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Peel the two bananas, and scoop out a cup of oats. Throw 'em in the bowl.
3. *Optional: Add the extras of your choice. I LOVE adding a handful (*cough, or two, cough*) of chocolate morsels and some dried cranberries. Who doesn't like chocolate, and I like how the cranberries cut the sweetness of the bananas.
4. Ball up 12 gooey chunks of banana goodness. This can be a bit tricky with the thicker oats, but you really just have to get it onto a greased cookie sheet in a general lump. As you can see, the Smith family does not suffer from OCD. Just throw 'em on there.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies will not really change much, but the bananas will get toasty and the oats may brown up a bit.
6. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. They are ready to eat now if you have people like Mr. Smith in your family who just can NOT wait. Personally, I like to leave them in the fridge for awhile to stiffen up a bit. Or save them (if you can!) to eat with your morning coffee. Believe me. It's so worth it.
What do you think? Do you have any good additions we should try? Try them and let us know what you think!
Welcome to our first edition of Monday's Moment! Also the first time blogging from my phone - so advanced, right? In the future MM won't have text. This is a chance to share a real-life glimpse into our everyday life. Monday is a day of routine for so many people, and often Monday is not the most photogenic day of the week. But sometimes those everyday moments are the most truthful moments of our lives - no fancy outfits or backdrops. So we've dedicated a blog each week to encourage you to capture the "everyday" beauty in your life. Here's ours... it's so hard not to type a story but we're holding true to the concept that "a pictures worth a thousand words." Share yours with us on our facebook page!
What is it about the New Year that gives us the motivation for a fresh start? Christmas comes and goes and we feel a deep desire to clean things up and get a fresh focus and a clean slate for the upcoming year. Whatever it is that causes that intrinsic restart, I'm running with it.
I've had a wonderful start of my photography career. I've photographed so many newborn babies, growing families, beautiful marriages (complete with typhoons and rainbows!), and special moments in such a short time. Recently, while my son was on Christmas break from school, I was able to take a break from photography and really focus on my business - my goals, my vision and the brand for the future. I asked myself: what is it that I want to specialize in? What is my love? Where is my passion? If I focus on newborns, won't I miss the relationships I build with my sweet engaged couples? If I focus on studio photography, won't I miss the comfort of shooting at the ocean? In the woods? In a baby's nursery?
And I realized that there is no need to change my niche - because the niche, as corny as it sounds, is plainly and simply love. Love is what brought me here in the first place - missing the time I had with my two babies, brought me closer with photography. I took a leave from my full-time, benefits-included job to have time with my kids and to follow this passion. Love is all there is.
That being said, I want this blog to show you all that love. My goal for 2015 is to blog on a consistent basis to show you all this love that's all around us: a sweet new family, a beautiful sunset wedding, and even some personal moments as well - more of my crazy kiddos in action, some ramblings from my brain, and some fun projects for you to try at home. I'll even be posting some free downloadable prints to inspire some more love in your life as well.
Here's the basic schedule… tune in on your favorite day, or just come back daily so you don't miss anything good ;) I can't wait to start writing next week - I'm a Wildcat English major at heart, and I can't believe how much I miss it!
Monday's Moment: A quick, wordless snapshot of what's happening right now in our lives. Warning: it's not always photogenic.
Tutorial Tuesday: Projects, diy, photo tips, recipes. We'll talk you through it step-by-step!
Wedding Wednesday: A review of my favorite couples and their big days!
Thoughtful Thursday: Ramblings from a wordy mama with free downloadable prints for you as a reward for amusing them.
Friday's Family: A review of my favorite families - and a look into what really goes on in a family photo shoot.
Smith Family Saturday: Personal pictures and antidotes from our little home.
(And on Sunday, God said… catch up on the blogs that you forgot about because Bachelor was on).
The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters. ~Audrey Hepburn