Monday, September 26, 2011

REWIND... TLH Graduation 2011

While taking 3-4 month sabatical from photography to try starting a Mary Kay business, I fell WAY behind on my blogs. I am starting a little series that I am calling REWIND to gradually catch everyone up.

These photos are from this year's homeschool graduation in Tallahassee, FL. This was a different experience for me since I didn't have a sibling graduating this year, but I knew SEVERAL of the students because my mom has tutored most of them in high school science (Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, etc.) for years.

Aside from a little confusion and disorganization at rehearsal, the day went off without a hitch. Well, yes... there is my nearly catastrophic underestimatinon of how many photos my new CF cards could hold in the d300s I had rented. Emily and I spent the 30 minutes prior to graduation scrambling to download images onto a borrowed laptop that my Dad was gracious enough to drop off for us. Phew! Next time, Ally, don't forget to download the photos from yesterday's session BEFORE you try to shoot a graduation!

And then there's trying to shoot the group photos outside at NOON... yes, I know that's like the positively worst light to try to shoot in, but you work with what you have, and overall, the photos came out well! Like I've said before, I like a challenge! It grows me as a photographer and helps me with my cardiovascular health... i.e. raises my heartrate. ;)

The ceremony was really nice. There are two things I LOVE about homeschool graduations. First, you actually learn something about each student because as they walk across the stage the speaker reads a 30 second blurb about their accomplishments and aspirations. Second, several of the students partipated in the ceremony through signing, prayer or a speech. This year, I also had the pleasure of hearing (and shooting) my Dad, who had been invited to speak to the graduates! Boy, did he rip a new one to people who are down on homeschooling! Well, not exactly, but he did such a beautiful job of expressing the positive reasons for and results of homeschooling, like consistently reinforcing Christian morals through living life with your kids, and explaining the sacrifices homeschooling parents make. I hope the family members who came who might have been less than supportive during the process left the ceremony with a new-found respect for these kids and the sacrifices their parents made to keep them at home. :)

The reception afterwards was in the lobby of the church, which was glorious because the front wall is ENTIRELY composed of windows. YAY! Natural light! And after I had "enough" candids, I was able to walk around and reconnect with old friends (and current ones too). Ahh... what a perfect end to a crazy... but wonderful... day!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Senior Rep: Kaitlyn P.

On Saturday my day started off a little rocky. My tigers gave up a big loss to Clemson, and broke their 17-0 record. Sniff... sniff... What could be a better pick-me-up than a senior photo shoot?... especially when it's with someone as special as Kaitlyn.

Sometimes God amazes me at how he uses seemingly unconnected things and brings them together in very unexpected ways. When we moved back to Georgia, I accepted a 6 week substitute teaching position at Gwinnett High School for a Spanish I teacher out on maternity leave. I went into it thinking I was doing it to help earn a little extra money to pay for the various projects we had planned for our new house. Little did I know that from the contacts I made there would come a future Bride (Jen M.) and my newest Senior Rep (then Sophomore) Kaitlyn P.

Kaitlyn was a good student in Spanish I and was always very respectful, but sadly after I left North Gwinnett, I didn't expect to see her or most of the other students I had taught again. A sad part of being a sub is leaving behind the students you've connected with.

Later that same school year when my little man was just 6 weeks months old, I just "happened" to meet Kaitlyn again at a park, and she gave me her number for babysitting in the future. (Thank you, Lord, for divine appointments!) Fast forward 1 1/2 years... Kaitlyn is a beautiful Senior now and was looking for a photographer who could offer her something more than the traditional posed portraits. How perfect that God brought her to my mind when I began looking for North Gwinnett Reps! After a few emails back and forth, she agreed to be my female Senior Rep for North!

We couldn't have asked for better weather on Saturday... the sky was a perfect blue with just the faintest wispy clouds scattered here and there, and the temperature was warm but much more bearable than the 90+ weather we've been enduring for months. And my "model"... well, let me just say, "Kaitlyn belongs in front of a camera!" She just falls into poses naturally without looking stiff and she takes direction well, not to mention that she is just fun to be around!

Kaitlyn... you are gorgeous... really, you are. Not just on the outside, but on the inside as well. :) I know you'll make a great dental hygienist one day, and I'll be proud to bring my kids to you so you can keep their teeth pearly white and ready for their paparazzi mommy! ;)

And without further-a-do... here are some beautiful photos of this beautiful girl!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Senior Rep: Josh A.

Meet Josh...

He is the son of one of my husband's coworker's, and he bravely volunteered to be a Senior Portrait "guinea pig" at my newly discovered portrait location in Cowpens, SC. Josh is a Senior from Inman, SC, and when he graduates he plans to study medicine and become a pediatrician. You go, Josh!

That Wednesday was a beautiful SC summer day, but boy was it hot! I know poor Josh was dying to get done with these photos and get back into his shorts and t-shirt! But he was such a good sport about it. He totally went with the flow, which included sitting on the steaming hot railroad tracks so I could get a shot (or two... or three), running back to my van (by himself) for quick outfit change, and helping me figure out how we could pose him with his tennis racket (a new challenge for me). Josh even gave up his weekly pre-church hangout time with his friends to be my Senior model! Thanks, Josh! The light was still a little harsh so we had to carefully play with where I placed him, but the final product was buenisimo! That's "awesome" for all you non-Spanish-speakers out there. Thanks, Josh, for being my "guinea pig" and on top of that being open to becoming my first 2012 Senior Rep!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tomorrow is Little man's day...

So last week I challenged myself to literally "pencil in" down-time into our week. I'm back to give you an update. I have to tell you all that this week has been SOOOO wonderful! Monday is now our "at home day," and I have all day to get cleaning and laundry done with no interruptions... aside from little buddy's mischievious endeavors. Friday is a mommy-and-me day devoted entirely to spending time with my little guy with no other "obligations" permitted to interrupt and steal these precious moments or the memories we are making. Tomorrow we are spending it with his Olliemama, Nana and Aunt Gin Gin (or "Didi" in James' language) eating Mexican! YUM!

On the other weekdays we have various weekly commitments and also open slots to fill with playdates, appointments and ministry. When those open times are gone... they're gone. No borrowing from "Home day" or "Mommy-and-me Day" to keep las amigas happy (sorry, ladies). Even though on paper it looks like I have less time to accomplish must-do's, I have been so much more productive because my rest days give me energy for my busy days.

I highly recommend that if you are like I was and you keep thinking, "I really need to slow down; I'm way too busy. We need more family time," don't just sit there thinking it, DO IT!!! Take five minutes RIGHT NOW to pull out your planner (if you are the planner type like me) open it up to the next week (or the next semi-open week) and write in one or more FREE days. Oh yeah, and add a new word to your DAILY vocabulary... NO! It's a beautiful thing!

What a blessing to relax and recharge! Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful, restful week.

Thankful for Thursdays!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mary Kay, House showings and catching up with friends...

Phew! It has been a whirlwind of a week. My hubby was out of town again for work... bummer! So My little guy and I had to hold the fort down by ourselves. This week has been slammed full of everything from catching up with friends to getting the house ready to show TWICE to running around like crazy trying to help my team leader finish up her run for Mary Kay director. Wait... I need to catch my breath! (Breath in... breath out... breath in... breath out). Okay... I'm good.

Now that it's FINALLY Thursday I had time to sit back and reflect on what we accomplished this week. 1) My team leader is now a director... yay! The race is over, and I can finally fully throw myself back into photography! 2) I spent quality time with three friends and discipled another. 3) We showed the house twice and thankfully as of yesterday at midnight, it is officially off the market for a few months! (Don't get too excited... I'm sorry to say that we did not sell it.) Mommy just needed a break, and since we are heading into the "dead" time of year real estate-wise, we decided that letting the listing expire was the right thing to do.

I realized that I need to slow down and take more time for myself and more planned mommy-time with my little buddy. It is so easy to fill every space in the week with a "meeting" with someone that next thing you know all you're doing is going, going, going.... never stopping to "smell the roses" or enjoy watching your 1 1/2 year old play with his "bop bop" or his "ba" (translation "hammer" and "ball") or sit and read about the "ta-tor" (tractor) in his truck book.

Today I am making the conscious decision to pull out my planner and "pencil in" mommy-time and free time for me so I have the energy to be a better mommy, wife and photographer. So if you're one of my friends who gets a "no" this week when you ask about getting together, just know that I still love you. In fact, I'll be a more lovable friend if I don't pack my week so tight! So get with me early if you want me to pencil you in! :)

Thankful it's Thursday!


Here's a cute photo of my boys from my first attempt at little man's 18 month shoot.