Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

...a time to be thankful.  I love Thanksgiving - time with my family, annual shopping with a friend (none of the crazy shopping in the middle of the night, just a nice lunch and a relaxing afternoon of shopping) and of course, decorating the house for Christmas.  

Thanksgiving is always such a fun day with my family.  We eat, we talk... there's lots of good food and good wine - and everyone is relaxed.  My parents set a beautiful table for us complete with my maternal grandmother's crystal water goblets, my paternal grandparent's silver flatware and their own china place settings.  There are plenty of beautiful fall colors in the candles and flowers.  The house smells amazing and we often sit at the table long after all the food has been consumed just talking and enjoying each other's company (the kids have all eaten and escaped to the other room).  Sometime in the afternoon, we take a walk over to the Circle K to get hot cocoa (or frozen drinks, as this year it was pretty warm outside!).  I can't remember when we started doing this, but it has become a tradition.  It's about a 40 minute round trip.  My nephew, who is 5, was so excited about this walk.  I guess he wasn't allowed to go last year because he was "too little" (or at least that is how he remembers it - it could have been the not so great weather conditions...  ).  Well, he was big enough this year and had a great time.  I love that my nieces and nephews get so excited about the little things like taking an afternoon walk.  

My husband and I always decorate for Christmas the week end after Thanksgiving.  For years, we tagged a live tree and had my brother deliver it the Sat. after Thanksgiving.  I just loved the smell of the live tree in the house.  In fact, I even had a live tree before I was married and lived in an apartment.  One year, I was out of town the Sat. after Thanksgiving and asked my brother to just "drop off the tree" at my apartment.  He and my Dad would cut off the bottom and put it in the tree stand for me.  Well, when I returned, there was my tree, all set up and ready to be decorated. The funny part of this story is where I found the piece of trunk that they had chopped off before putting the tree in the stand.  It was in the microwave!!!   They thought this was hilarious - not just because of where they hid it, but because it took me about a month to notice it was in there (that tells you how much cooking I did!!).  Cleaning the sticky sap out of the microwave wasn't so funny, but it did make me laugh (they laughed hysterically when I called to "yell" at them!).  My husband and I have an artificial tree and it is just as lovely (...I do miss the smell but not all the needles!).  When we hang the ornaments, I'm reminded of a person or an event - it's like hanging little memories!  The picture below of the little angel inside the plastic holder is from my childhood.  I think there were a couple of these ornaments (with something inside them) and I remember them hanging on our family tree each year.  I love seeing it hang on my tree today as a reminder of those special Christmas times when I was very young.

Now all we need is some SNOW and it will really feel like the holiday season has begun!  I'm sure I'll be posting some wintery fun photos when winter finally decides to stick around! 
 niece was holding a white card so I could learn how to make a fake polaroid!  
I'd seen this on a website and wanted to try it out... I think it looks pretty neat!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kyle's Senior Photo Session

Today I photographed a very handsome Senior boy!  I have known Kyle since he was 6 years old... because he was a student in my first grade class many years ago.  I remember what a wonderful little boy he was and how much I enjoyed being his teacher.  He has grown to become a kind, well mannered, friendly, funny and mature young man.  This is the kind of young man that my first graders can look up to - the kind of person I want them to become!  A few weeks ago, he visited my classroom to read a story to my first graders.  You should have seen the looks on their faces - they were just in awe! I'm so proud to have been a part of his educational journey.

We decided to take pictures on the campus of Heidelberg University and it was a picture perfect day.  The sun was shining with a few clouds helping to soften the light, the air was crisp and cool and campus was very, very quiet (it was before 10am and I'm guessing the students were all asleep :-).  If you have not taken a stroll around the campus, you should!  It is quite beautiful and provided lovely background material for our photos. 

I had so much fun hanging out with Kyle and his mom.  Kyle's mom helped in my classroom when I had her kids in my class.  She is a pretty amazing person and I am so grateful that she was able to give up her free time and spend it in my classroom.  We haven't seen each other for years so it was great fun chatting and laughing during the photo session.  

Kyle was such a good sport!  I told him how my nephew was worried about how long it was going to take... and he didn't ask once "are we done yet?" (smile)  He said he was trying to learn from my nephew - which made me laugh!  He posed, smiled, squatted, sat in the grass, climbed down to a creek, sat on rocks, posed by his jeep and even let me take a few shots of him and his mom!  It was pure fun for me (and I hope a little fun for him too :-).  I got so many great pictures that it is really difficult not to edit, edit, edit and keep editing!  When you have personality, it shows... and you can see Kyle's in each and every photo.  

I decided to play around with a few of the pictures I've edited by creating some collages.  I especially like the photos with his football helmet and football... I had to lay flat on my belly to get the shot, but it was worth it!  I hope you enjoy viewing a few of Kyle's Senior Pictures!

PS  If you want to view the photos with a black background and no "blog distractions", just click the first photo and then scroll to see them all. :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Say Family Photo Session

It was a MOST glorious Fall day and I started it with a family photo session.  For the second week end in a row, the weather has been AMAZING!  Tiffin is so incredibly beautiful... I'm so lucky to live in such a lovely small town.  The Say family decided to have me shoot their pictures at the park here in town.  I've had other shoots there and it provides a really great environment for taking photos.  

The session included Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad and a wee little one (who is just as cute as can be!).  I knew we were going to have fun as soon as they got out of the car!  I've known Grandma and Grandpa for many years (Grandma is one of my colleagues and I've worked with Grandpa as well).  Jokes and teasing started right away and I knew that everyone would have lots of natural smiles for the pictures.  The little one is just over a year old and recently started to walk... and she is definitely in charge!  These four adults just adore this little girl.  I loved seeing her walk... you can just see how proud she is of herself (and how proud the adults are too!).  I especially love the photo below where she is holding her Grandma's hand.  It's such a joyful time when a little one is learning to become independent, yet needs our help along the way.  

The Say family was so relaxed and wonderful throughout the entire session.  When I photograph a family with a little one, I'm always hoping they'll be like the Says... a "go with the flow" type of attitude.  When the little one needs a break or cuddle, we just hang out and see what she wants to do next.  Sometimes I get the best photos when we are transitioning from one setting to another and that was true today.  I haven't yet edited all the great photos, but I'm posting a few below.  I'll add more as I get them finished.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the Say family!   I had a blast taking their pictures today!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Siesel Family Photo Session

If you live in northwest Ohio, you will be able to understand just how AMAZINGLY beautiful it was today!  Blue sky, colorful leaves still clinging to the trees and lots of crunchy ones on the ground, crisp, cool air, sunshine... it was incredible.  ...and lucky me, I had a photo session scheduled at 10am!   

I drove out the Siesel's home just soaking in all the loveliness of the day... When I arrived at their home, it basically took my breath away!  If you have ever watched the movie Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, I want you to think of the last scene of the movie when Robin Hood is marrying Maid Marion... leaves are falling and it is beautiful.  Now, put a lovely house in the middle of the scene and you will sort of have an idea of what it looks like at that Siesel's property.  ...but what really makes this place special are the 7 people who live there!  I have had the extreme pleasure of having 2 of their daughters in my class (last year and this year) and I have enjoyed every minute I've spent with those little girls.  All 5 children are sweet, friendly, polite and a joy to be around.  Of course, you don't have such wonderful children without incredible parents.  I truly enjoyed spending a few hours with them this morning AND I got some GREAT photos!  

You might be thinking taking photos of a family of 7 (with children ranging from baby to jr. high) might be a "challenge" to photograph.  If I hadn't known the Siesels, I might have been a little apprehensive.  However, I KNEW this was an exceptional family and that we would just be having fun... hanging out and taking pictures, and that is exactly what happened.  The littlest one might have a few cracker crumbs on his shirt (smile) or be holding his little toy truck - but isn't that what happens in REAL life?  We often give little ones things to keep them engaged!  So, why not in a family photo?!  I think I managed to edit away any BIG cracker crumbs (smile), but if you look close you may be able to see his little blue toy car that he tossed aside (why do all small children love the game of "I'll throw it and you fetch it"? I guess they have us all trained pretty well - smile!).  

We finished up our photo session with couple shots of the entire family in their Steeler's gear!  Dad even drove the snowmobile (Steeler's colors, of course) over to the location I wanted for the shot... I think we should have called it a leaf-mobile today!  They all look GREAT showing their team spirit!  Maybe the Steelers will want to feature them in one of their publications selling all things Steelers (smile)!  

I am only posting a few photos below as I only have a few edited at this time.  Check back this week as I'll be adding a few more.  

Thanks Siesel Family for an amazing photo session today!