Another first for the books

I’m starting to feel like we’re really getting the hang of this whole first day of school thing.  Including preschool, this makes the 6th official first day of school for Connor, and the 5th for Logan.  They’ve all been chronicled on the blog, and being the sappy person that I am, I felt compelled to go back and look at them all.  I still think Connor’s kindergarten year is my favorite.   And for anyone who wants to take a walk down memory lane, here are the rest of the years: C’s first day of preschool in 2006, C and L in 2007, L in 2008, C in first grade in 2009, L in pre-k and Cami’s first day in 2009, and last year which got two posts.

Time is flying by.  I might have had a bit of a panic attack when Derek nonchalantly mentioned that we only have 10 more years until Connor goes off to college.  What?!  There was a time in my life when 10 years was an eternity, but now I now better.

Anyway, enough of that mumbo jumbo.  This year, the boys started 1st and 3rd grade.  They were both excited/nervous about school starting.  Actually, if you asked them, they would tell you that they were NOT excited about school starting, but I know better.  And I, for one, was SUPER excited about school starting.  I’ll admit that the last few weeks of summer were just plain hard around here.  We all do so much better with the structure and the routine and the space that school gives us all.

I made the kids take the traditional first day of school photo and you will see one boy was really not happy about that.  You know what I’m not happy about?  The fact that in the battle of Humidity vs. My Camera, humidity won.  My pictures were awful because my camera was all fogged up and didn’t want to focus on anything.  The photographer in my cringes at these photos.  It’s one of those times where I have to remind myself that it’s not about having the perfect picture.  It’s about the moment.

We made it to the school with plenty of time for photos.  I wonder how many more years they will let me take these pictures without complaining?  As grumpy as Connor was about the pictures before we left, he didn’t give me a hard time at all in his classroom.

Cami wanted to take pictures with both of her boys.  They are both so sweet to her, despite what Logan’s face might convey.  That’s a classic Logan face right there.

Just like that, they were all settled and working hard.

Camryn and I had a great day at home together.  We just caught up on some things, and I even laid down to watch a little tv and dozed off during her naptime!  Thankfully my neighbor knocked on the door and woke me up.  I might have missed out on my very favorite part of the day otherwise!  I love taking pictures of them as they get off the bus.  This time I had two cuties to take pictures of while we were waiting.

This is my neighbor’s little boy.  He is so cute!  And Cami loves playing with him.  I’m not sure what Jake loves more: the fact that he got to see the bus, playing with Cami’s toys, or finding my cat.  All three made him pretty happy!

Finally, we spotted the bus!

And the boys came spilling out.

They boys actually proclaimed the day “boring!” but I think their happy faces tell a different story.

I’d say the 2011 school year is off to a great start.

All Grown Up {Galveston Beach Photographer}

This family session was a refreshing change of pace for me.  My typical session, especially this summer, include multiple toddlers and kids under the age of 10.  Don’t get me wrong, I love photographing children.  But to have the opportunity to photograph “children” who range from age 15 to 22 was really fun!  The mom contacted me for a beach session, something she has always wanted to do but has never taken the time for.  With her two oldest heading off for big adventures soon (one is headed to MIT for graduate school and one is headed to Europe for a semester abroad) it was sort of a now or never kind of situation.  I’m so happy that they contacted me and made time for these pictures.  It was a gorgeous night at the beach…maybe a bit windy, but that’s pretty much always the case.  They are such a beautiful family!

Thank you so much, S family, for spending the evening with me!  It was great to meet you all.

Cami’s prayer

A few weeks ago, Camryn started trying to repeat everything Derek said during our dinner time prayer.  So Derek started praying slowly so Camryn could pray along with him.  The other day, the prayer went a little something like this:

D-“Dear Jesus”
C-“Dear Jesus”
D-“Thank you for this food.”
D-“Thank you for our family”
D-“Thank you for this day.”
D-“Please help us learn to love you more and to be kind and loving to each other.”

We can always count on Camryn to add in a little sweetness mixed with laughter.  We love her so much.

wrapping up

We are in our final week of summer vacation over here, and we’re trying to squeeze every last bit of fun out of our final days together.  I had this great idea to make a last minute trip to San Antonio and go to Fiesta Texas one last time.  Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out with Derek’s work.  Boo!  Have I mentioned that Derek has a new job?  Same company, different job, different location.  He’s working out in Katy now, which is a bummer of a commute for him, taking over an hour each way.  It’s also a really busy job-the kind of job where there is always something that needs to be done, always a deadline, always a meeting, etc.  He’s usually gone about 12 hours a day which has definitely been an adjustment for us.  The good thing about this job is he has to wear fancy work clothes.  I just think he’s so cute with a shirt and a tie!  I know it’s not his preferred way to dress, but I secretly love it.  He’s a die hard t-shirt kind of guy, and this is the first time he’s ever had to wear fancy clothes day in and day out.

Anyway, my big idea for a last minute road trip was squelched by mr. fancy pants.  But, he was on board with an evening at the beach!  Sunday night, we loaded up and drove to Galveston.  It was a beautiful, breezy (somewhat) cool afternoon.  The kids played in the sand and dug for clams.  We did some boogie boarding on the “waves”, and tormented some people staying at a beach house by walking within 2 feet of a massive sandcastle, clearly their crowing achievement of the day.   The castle was really, really cool and the kids wanted to see it close up.  We walked over to it, the whole time Derek and I saying on repeat “do not mess it up, guys.  Just look.  We aren’t going to destroy the awesome castle.”  Suddenly, we heard a huge ruckus coming from the beach house.  “Get away from our castle!!  Get away!!”   I had to dig really deep inside to the recesses of self-control to not mess up that castle.  The people came running out of their house and stormed to the beach to check their castle.  It was really nuts!  I wonder if they realize there is this thing called the tide and the castle is actually made out of sand.

Moving on.

Like I said there was lots of digging…

And some serious Connor concentration to find as many little clams as possible.

There was time spent in the water.

There was a little sister attack…

and a group hug.

We even took a few family pictures with our friend, the self timer.  Because I was using my 85mm lens with these, I had to sprint from the camera to the fam to make it in time.  I’m sure it was quite the (jiggly) sight!

We even took it a notch higher and tried to get a self-timed family jumping shot.  Connor and I nailed it, and Derek would have except for a certain 3 year old underfoot.  Sweet Logan just couldn’t quite get the timing down.  But I love this picture anyway.  Also?  One of us isn’t quite as tan as the others.  I’m not naming names…

Even though Galveston isn’t the prettiest beach around, and the sand is ridiculously hard to get off of everything, I’m still so thankful to live in a place where we can enjoy a fun night like this.   And I’m even more thankful for the people I get to spend it with.

More of my favorite 3 year old

First, a little interview.

What’s your favorite color?  purple, pink, and yellow (the yellow is a bit of a surprise.)

What’s your favorite food?  ham, cheese, and milk. (yes.  every meal if she had her way.)

What’s your favorite toy? Cinderella (I’m surprised she didn’t say her babies or her little people.)

Who’s your favorite person?  Abby and Madison (she asks multiple times a week if they can come back to our house.)

How old are you? Three (sometimes she says two)

How old is mommy? Eight

How old is daddy? Two

What’s your favorite movie? Not Tangled (Yes Tangled.)

What’s your favorite TV show? Not Nemo.  Backyardigans. (She hates Nemo.  She watches the Backyardigans every single morning in my bed while I try to steal another 25 minutes of sleep.)

Where’s your favorite place to go? At ice cream. (I think she means snow cones because she actually doesn’t really like ice cream.  But she loves snow cones.)

Where is daddy? Work.

Who’s your favorite friend? Abby and Madison. (I thought she might say Dodder and Loby aka Connor and Logan)

What do you like to play with Daddy? Toys.

What do you like to play with mommy? I don’t like playing with you. (I don’t take it personally.  Three year olds are fickle beings.)

What do you like to play with your brothers? I not know.  I not like them. (whatev.  I think she is tired of my questions.)

More pictures from our photo shoot yesterday…

It’s really a shame

It’s a shame that this girl doesn’t have more personality, more expressions, and more silliness.  (I’m totally kidding, by the way.  And you will see why.)

I’m so crazy about this girl.  Each and every one of these silly pictures were completely unscripted and unprompted.

She is so fun.

I had a great night with my girl tonight.  First up: her 3 year old photo shoot (just a few weeks late).  I cannot wait to go through all of them, but these of course immediately stood out because they are so very Camryn.  We lasted about 30 minutes in the heat and headed to stop number 2: Snoball Hut where Cami enjoyed her “purple pink” snow cone.  And finally, we headed to the ever exciting world of Wal-Mart.  Camryn’s birthday party is this weekend and we needed to get the goods.  She flipped out over the Tangled stuff and even found a new Tangled shirt to wear to the big event.  It’s so fun having her be aware that her party is this weekend and to have her help in picking out the cake, goodies, decorations, etc.

It was a pretty simple night, but my heart was bursting.  She is so very special and I love her so much.

Night Swimming

I think it’s time for the yearly post about swimming.  Our summer is marked by a few key things: swimming, video games, swimming, lots of snacks, sno-cones, frozen yogurt, swimming, water parks, the beach, video games, and more swimming.  It’s true.  Swimming (and video games if the boys have their way) make up most of our summer days spent at home.

On Friday, it rained off and on all day long (hallelujah!  it’s been a ridiculously dry summer.)  I decided it would be the perfect night for some family swim time since I figured the pool wouldn’t be crowded.  The kids love to go swimming at night.  Luckily, our pool closes at 9 which means it’s late enough that it gets dark but it closes early enough that we come home, and go right to bed.  It’s perfect.  Friday turned out to be perfect because we were the only people there.  At the last second I grabbed my camera in hopes of getting some fun pictures.  Believe it or not, it was the first time I’d brought my camera to the pool this whole summer!

The boys have been perfecting their jumps.

Camryn has been perfecting her cuteness.

And one more just because I think it’s cute (and a rarity.  Logan is king of funny faces in pictures!)

As you can see, swimming makes us all happy.  My heart is full.

Someday {Galveston Beach Photographer}

When I met this sweet family for their beach photo session, I couldn’t help but think of my very own someday.

Someday I hope to have a family that loves to spend time together on vacation.

Someday I hope that my children all marry someone who blends so effortlessly into the family that they don’t feel like in-laws, but rather just sons and daughters.

Someday I hope that my children get to experience the joy of having children of their very own.

Someday I hope to see my grandchildren playing with and loving on all their cousins, aunts, and uncles.

This family started out much like my own–two boys and then a girl.  I hope that my someday is as beautiful as this.  They were beautiful, fun, funny, spunky, and truly loved one another.  It was a blast to spend the evening with them!  It was one of those sessions where I left there with my heart so full.  I love meeting new people.  I love witnessing the threads of a close knit family.  I knew it was going to be one of those sessions where it’s hard to narrow down the pictures!  So that means I am about to show my biggest sneak peek ever.

For example, I couldn’t decide which of these two to share.  These beautiful siblings are 9 years apart, and they had such a sweet relationship!  I always love the dynamic between siblings, and there seems to be something especially special about siblings that are farther apart in age.  I could see the K was a loving and protective big brother, while A looked at him with such admiration and love.

It’s no surprise that they were so sweet with one another.  Just look at this family picture!

Speaking of sweet siblings, take a peek at these sisters.

They insist that they don’t always get along like this, but just witnessing them on this night, I find that hard to believe.  They were so loving and so sweet with each other the entire time we were together!  Again, it’s really no surprise.  Their family pictures happened almost effortlessly.

Remember how I mentioned that this group was  fun?  I have a feeling these next two pictures really capture them at their best.

This family definitely brought the sweet and the spunky to our session.

The little one, L,  was just so full of sugar and spice!  I couldn’t get enough of her.  And not to toot my own horn, but she was pretty crazy about me as well.  There were actually tears shed when it was time for me to leave.  It is possible that the tears were just for the fact she was going inside, but I’ll hold fast that they were for me.  She’s my new little best friend.

And I can’t forget L’s beautiful big sister, who I think happens to a lot like Jennifer Garner.  She made me work a little bit for her big smile, but it was so worth the wait.

And just a couple more favorites…I told you I couldn’t narrow down which ones to share!

I’ll end with just one more picture of all the kids with their Mimi.  It was evident that they were crazy about her and she was crazy about them.  I can’t help but wonder if she knew how sweet her “someday” was going to be while she was in the trenches of raising three children.

I am blessed to have met this family.

Thank you guys so much for the fun session!  I hope y’all enjoy the rest of your vacation.