Christmas was all around us

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I love Christmas.
This year was no exception.
On Christmas Eve, we went to our church’s Christmas Eve service. I love the Christmas Eve service, although I don’t know what it was exactly, but my kids were extra squirrely this year and Derek was working sound which means I was on my own trying to wrangle them in the pew. Overall, they did okay, and I still loved the service. During the service, each family goes down to the front, lights a candle, takes communion, and prays with one of the elders and his wife. It really is such a special time of communion, and you better believe that Camryn made it extra special and memorable by marching down the aisle with no shoes on and her dress held up high over her head. Classic. That girl is a mess!
After the service, we had planned on going over to a friend’s house, but we decided that it would be best to just try and get the kids settled. We read the Christmas story together from my favorite kid’s bible (seriously, if you are looking for a great bible for kids, this is such a good one!) We watched a short movie together, checked out Santa’s whereabouts on the Santa Tracker, and nestled everyone in their beds. Amazingly enough, the all fell asleep pretty quickly!

I don’t know if every family has Christmas morning rules, but we sure do.  No one is allowed to come out and see if Santa made an appearance until Derek or I tell them they can, and it’s not going to happen until after 7:00.  They can go into each others rooms, but only after 6:45.  At 7:10 I heard the boys, and truth be told, I was totally okay with getting up and getting things started!  I get just about as excited as they do about Christmas!  I won’t lie…I woke up like 10 times the night before.  Yes, I’m still 8 in my heart of hearts.  Camryn was still fast asleep, which was crazy because all week long she had been waking up before 6:30!  So Derek went in and woke her up while I got the video camera ready.

I think the kids are at the perfect Christmas ages.  They still believe so very much.  It’s all so magical and exciting.  Some of the gift highlights were a Harry Potter wand, glasses, and Lego set for Logan, a feather pillow and a DSi for Connor (yes, he was just as excited about his feather pillow as he was about his DSi!  I love that kid.)  And lots of Toy Story and Princess toys in addition to a bike for Camryn.  Derek spoiled me with an awesome camera bag and Lightroom 3.  And Derek got cold, hard, cash (what he wanted to buy computer parts), shirts, and some pretty darn cool Christmas Story glasses.  I didn’t take very many pictures, which is kind of weird for me, but I was really trying to just be in the moment and enjoy it and soak it all in.  And I took more video.  Pictures just can’t capture Logan’s squeals of delight because he literally turns the other way if he sees my camera, but I can be much more stealth with my video camera.  I made this little movie highlighting some of our Christmas fun, and the best part is definitely when Logan open’s his big Santa present (towards the end of the movie…maybe around minute 3).  His squeals of delight will be a part of my memories forever, and just in case i do ever forget, I am so glad that I have it recorded.

And if you not so much a video watcher, here are a few pictures from the day.

Connor was thrilled with his Guinness Book of World Records.

And Logan loves all things Harry Potter, so this game was big hit.

Derek modeling one of his new shirts.  He’s way too cool.

That night, we loaded up the party van and headed north to visit our families.  We are having a great time celebrating with everyone, eating tons of good food, relaxing, and just soaking up these vacation days.

I’ll end this Christmas love fest now with our Christmas card.  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Christmas Cheer

For some reason, this year I am just feeling extra Christmas-y and joyful.

I’ve always loved Christmas time, but I think in years past, I have given in to the stress of the holidays.  There is just so much to do.  So many class parties to attend, so many gifts to buy, and then there is the pressure to make each day leading up to Christmas special and wonderful for the kids, and of course make sure that we are teaching them about the true meaning of Christmas.  Not only do we have Christmas to get ready for, but we also have to make Connor’s Christmas Eve birthday just as special as our spring and summer birthday celebrations.  It can get so overwhelming.

A few weeks ago, during my quiet time, I realized that I was starting to get that little inking of holiday stress that can soon snowball into full fledged Melt Down Megan.  And let me tell you, Melt Down Megan ain’t pretty!  Melt Down Megan makes me do things like, for example, smash a cake that is stuck in a pan and bang dishes around and make an all around gigantic mess in the process and then storm out of the house in a huff to buy more ingredients to make another birthday cake since the first one was ruined.  That was just an example, though.  That definitely didn’t really happen.

But I digress.  I was started to get a little stressed thinking about my seemingly never ending to-do list.  And so I prayed about it.  Such a novel idea, right?  I’ve lived so many years stubbornly  thinking that I can handle things myself.  One of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning though my BSF study of Isaiah this year is that I can’t handle everything myself.  I am not the one in control.  I quietly heard God whisper to my heart to let go.  Let go of being in control.  Let go of the expectation of perfection.

I can honestly say that I’ve been able to let go and enjoy this holiday season.  Even amidst the busiest days, I have (mostly) remained calm.  We’ve done some really fun things, and there have been some things that I have just had to let go.  Like I finally just decorated the Christmas tree by myself because I realized that a)the boys don’t really care about that part; they care about the part where we cut it down.  And b) I have totally romanticized the trimming the tree tradition.  In our family, it has historically been a time of fights over which ornament goes where followed by one of both boys totally spazzing out from sheer Christmas excitement.  So one night, I just did it by myself while the boys played in the backyard and Derek cleaned up the kitchen.  It was perfect for this year of learning to let go.

I am not supermom.  Every moment of everyday does not have to be filled with Christmas activities.  I decided that I wasn’t going to feel guilty about not doing any Christmas crafts with the kids or making homemade goodies for all our friends and neighbors.  A funny thing happened though.  Deciding that I was not going to be supermom and that no one expects me to do it all has filled me with so much peace and joy that I have actually baked more this year, spent more quality time with the kids making gifts, playing board games, or reading books.  I decorated my house more, which I’ve historically been “too busy” to get to.  Which just seems crazy because unlike years past, I have my photography business now which definitely peaked in November and December. In those two months alone, I took photos of 26 families.  Just to give you an idea, I took pictures of 28 families from February though October.  And then 26 in November and December.  Such a huge blessing and I have loved every minute of it, but it definitely kept me busy!

The bottom line is I went into this Christmas season with my mind and my heart focused on the right thing, which is Jesus and the miracle of his birth.  I went into this season knowing full well that it would be the busiest two months of the year, but I don’t have to get through it alone.  It’s made all the difference in the world for me this year.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the LORD, is the rock eternal.” –Isaiah 26:3

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Long Overdue {Clear Lake Texas Family Photographer}

This photoshoot was long overdue!  First of all, S and I have been talking about it since last spring.  But even more importantly, it was the first family photo shoot that included three year old Mr. C.  I would act all shocked and appalled at this except I totally understand how life can be, and I find myself in the same boat.  We haven’t had a real family photo session since the boys were 4 and 2 (and they are now 8 and almost 6), which means that Camryn has never been involved in a family photo shoot. I not only understand how time can just fly by without making the time for photos, but I also understand how important these photos were to S.

The evening of our shoot was absolutely gorgeous!  You never know what you will get in Texas in December, and we were all delighted that the temperature was in the 70s.  They all looked beautiful, the weather was beautiful, and the light was beautiful.  The kids had fun, I had fun, and all in all, it was just one of those fantastic, magical shoots.  It was one of those sessions that just reaffirmed why I love this job so very much.

Miss L went to preschool with Logan, which is how I came to know this sweet family.  She is sweet and spunky and has some of the biggest and bluest eyes I’ve seen.   She is such a little beauty!

I know I have said it before and I probably sound like a broken record, but I just love taking pictures of 3 year olds.  Especially the boys!  Mr. C was no exception.  He is just the sweetest little bundle of boy.  And just like his big sister, he  totally captivated me with his gorgeous blue eyes!

Here’s another fun family one.  Watch out for Mr. C the Tickle Monster!

And a sweet sibling one to round things out.

Thank you so much again for the fun session.  I think it was totally worth the wait.  I can’t wait to show you the rest!

I spy

A sweet little cow girl caught admiring herself in the mirror.

An irresistibly cute 5 year old who is just thrilled to let mama play with her rented camera lens.

My very fat cat who agreed to a picture.  He’s about as thrilled as Logan at the idea.

Other notable things that don’t have pictures to go along with them…

My new iMac arrived last night!  She’s a beauty and I am in love.

It’s mine and Derek’s 11th anniversary today!  We have a hot date planned tonight to celebrate.  Woo hoo!  I can honestly say that there is no one else on earth I’d rather be living my life with than Derek.  He’s my favorite.  I never would have imagined that I would marry the first person I ever went on a date with (much less the person I met at 15 years old!)  But I am so very thankful for the years that we’ve had, and I pray that we have many, many more to come.

We celebrated Connor’s “fake birthday” today.  We took a group of boys to Main Even for some laser tag, video games, food, and fun.  It was a great party!  We’ll get to celebrate again on his real birthday on Friday.  I suppose one of the perks of a Christmas Eve birthday is the opportunity for multiple celebrations.

I feel like there is more to be blogged, but this will have to do for now.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Pure Energy {League City Family Photographer}

This family was so full of energy and fun, just like I knew they would be!  I’ve known them for a couple of years, and I was really looking forward to their session.  Their oldest went to preschool with Logan, and now their youngest is in class with Camryn.  They are such a fun and active family, and I had such a good time chasing their kids around the park and watching them do crazy things like leap off of fences and climb trees.  It definitely doesn’t hurt that they are a gorgeous family who truly loves to spend time with each other.  I know I say it all the time, but it was such a joy to spend the morning with them!  Okay, enough rambling from me…I know Kris is anxious to see some pics.  🙂

See what I mean about being a gorgeous family?!  Miss R’s hair is seriously to die for.  I asked her if she loves her red hair and she said yes.  I hope she always feels that way because it is so beautiful!

Mr. R may not have the fiery red hair, but he’s got plenty of personality!  He is such a little ham and a real go-getter.  I wish that y’all could hear him talk because he has the cutest little voice!  Oh man, I just love 3 year old boys!

I love this next one.  I bet you can’t help but smile when you see it!  Can’t you just see his personality bubbling over?

I shared a cute pic of the kiddos together on Facebook the other day, but here’s another one.  They are such little cuties!  I love my little stool…I can usually get even the busiest of kids to sit for a minute on it.

And one more family shot that I think is really sweet.  I love how Miss R is holding onto her dad so tight, and as a mama to boys, there is just nothing sweeter than those little boy kisses.

Thank you guys again for letting me take your family photos!  I had such a great time getting to see how y’all interact together.  You guys are one fun family, that is for sure!  I can’t wait to show y’all the rest!  (And Kris, it really shouldn’t be too much longer…promise!)

Snuggly family=Great pictures {Clear Lake Texas Family Photography}

I was really looking forward to this session for many reasons, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  On the afternoon of our session, the weather was perfect.  They were all excited about this session, and they showed up ready to have fun and play.  Not only do they have fun and play together, but they are the kind of family that simply pours out love.  You can’t help but smile when you watch them interact with one another.  They are so snuggly and so connected to one another.  That kind of closeness photographs so beautifully.  But the biggest reason why I was looking forward to this session so much is because I am blessed to call them friends.  I already knew their session would be special because they are special.  I love getting to meet new people, but I also love when I get to photography friends!

They have three beautiful children.  M is one of those teenagers who is so beautiful on the outside, but even more importantly, she is beautiful on the inside.  On top of that, my kids love her as a babysitter!  She is really something special, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her future.

B is almost a teenager, and you can already tell that he is going to be a great man.  He’s got a great role model, that’s for sure!  And, watch out because he is going to be tall and handsome!  I don’t know exactly how tall he is, but I’m 5’9 and he’s not much shorter than I am (and he’s only 12!)

S was the comic relief for us all.  I don’t know that I’ve ever met a wittier 9 year old!  He seriously had us all cracking up with his one liners.  Again, he is just an all-around great kid (I think it’s a theme for this family!  They are amazing.)  It was so fun spending the afternoon with him.

How sweet is this picture?  I always have the hardest time picking session favorites, this one is definitely up there.  I love the look on their faces and the sweet, sweet snuggle.

Here’s another favorite from the session.  They are so fun and had a blast with taking these pics!

Just a few more favorites from the session…I am having the hardest time narrowing down which ones to share!  This so so very them.  Absolutely no posing…I love the boys in this one!

Thanks again, H family, for letting me capture your family!  It was a joy to spend an afternoon at the park with y’all.

Little Bundle {Clear Lake Texas Newborn Photographer}

Last week, I got to take pictures of a sweet little newborn. He was the most alert little guy I’ve photographed! There would be no sleeping. So instead of posing him and curling him up, I just went with a more lifestyle approach. I loved it! While the sweet sleeping pictures are beautiful, when it comes down to it, I just really love to photograph the more candid, real moments. Thanks so much, K family, for letting me be a part of this special time!

See what I mean about him being wide awake?  And isn’t he gorgeous?!  I just love his newborn hands in this one.

The baby bird, head bob, try to eat anything that comes close to the mouth.  Yup, I remember that move!

I took a few pictures of big sis with baby E.  She is not quite 2, and just as cute as can be.  There was definitely some fruit snacks and a lollipop involved in getting these shots.  That’s just how it goes with a 2 year old!  And, how gorgeous is that blanket?  I am so in love with it.

Don’t you just wonder what she’s thinking?  I love this one, even though no one is smiling and no one is even looking at the camera.  I love it because it captures the emotion of what Miss E thinks about this whole baby brother thing.

Mr. E started to fuss a bit, and big sis just didn’t know what to make of it.  Again, I love this one because of the moment it captured!

Sweet little toes.  And the lollipop.  And little flailing newborn arms.

This was one of the last pictures of the day.  We tried and tried to get him to sleep, but instead he just stared at us with his gorgeous, bright eyes.  But I love how it turned out!

Thanks again, K family!  I can’t wait to show you the rest!

Oh Christmas Tree

Alternately titled “The Post the Grandparents Will Love Because of an Overabundance of Pictures.”

On Saturday afternoon, we headed out for what has become my very favorite Christmas tradition: cutting down our Christmas tree.  We love to go to Dewberry Farm because not only do they have the trees, but there is tons of other fun stuff for the kids to do, not to mention the homemade kettle corn and fudge.  This years trip did not disappoint!

After about an hour drive, we arrived at the farm. Can you feel the excitement?!

First up, a little play time.  There was a lot of sliding…

A little bit of swinging…

And a hayride out to the Christmas trees. The boys were super excited about the hayride.

Camryn, on the other hand, was quite distressed by the whole idea.  She kept crying “walk!  walk!”

But she eventually settled into Derek’s arms for the ride.

I say by Logan, and he made this face pretty much the whole time in order to avoid having his photo taken.  Little stinker.  Little cute stinker, that is.

We finally arrived at the trees.  We listened to a few instructions…

and then it was time to find that perfect tree!

I love Logan’s approach to the Christmas tree hunt.  He is thrilled with every single one, and thinks that every tree is the one.   I just love his enthusiasm!

Connor, on the other hand, is thoughtful and methodical in his tree inspections.  Not as many get the Connor seal of approval.

Finally, we have a winner!  She’s an 8.5 foot tall beauty.

Under the watchful eyes of the kids, Derek gets to work with the saw while I stand back and take pictures and cheer on the crew.

The nice workers take our tree to get all shaken up and bundled while we head back to the trailer for another hayride.

(Camryn was a little more chilled out about the hayride the second time around.  She still had a pretty tight grip on Derek, but there were no tears.  That’s a victory in my book.)

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Overall, it was a great evening.  This tradition is just as fun as I remember it being.  Here’s to many more fun family memories!

PS.  It was 80 degrees that day.  Gotta love Houston!

PPS.  Just for kicks…here we are cutting down our tree in 2008…


and 2010.


I am proud to say that I have a little bookworm.

Connor loves to read, just like me.  I may not read as much now (or, if I do read, it’s blogs, facebook, and message boards…)  But that love of reading is definitely still there.  When I was a kid, I always had a book in my hand, most likely a Baby-Sitters Club book.  Oh, how I loved the BSC.

Connor’s reading obsessions have ranged from Junie B. Jones to the Magic Treehouse to the Wimpy Kid series and many, many more that I’ve lost track of.  Connor seems to really like series, so I suggested he try out Harry Potter.  Then, I had the great idea to read them right along with him.  I’ve never read them before, and it seems like a fun thing C and I can do together.  He is working his way through book 2, while I am about halfway through book 1.

It’s become our new “thing.”  Most nights, between 8:00-8:30, this is where you will find Connor and I.

We snuggle up on his bed with our noses in books.  It’s become one of my favorite little moments of the day.

I hope all my kids love to read.  It makes my heart so happy.