Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Nutcracker on Mulberry

For many, many years through out my childhood and teenage years during the Christmas season, our mother would get us all gussied up and take us to downtown Macon on Mulberry Street to see The Nutcracker at The Grand Opera House. Sounds fabulous, doesn't it? :) It's one of my all time favorite Christmas memories/traditions and ever since Audrey Grace was born into this world (right around the corner from The Grand) I've longed to take her there. I've taken her to the Nutcracker each year since she was 3 here in Thomasville where the Ballet school she attends puts on a show every year but, it's just not the same. Not for me any way and I have a feeling that after this year, she will share my love and admiration for the one in Macon.

My sister, my niece and my mother accompanied us as it just would not of been the same with out them. And we had a wonderful time! It was a crispy cool evening outside with a jam packed house inside and the dancers were extraordinary. A few Principals (I sound like a ballet guru, don't I?) come down from the Atlanta Ballet every year to dance the big parts and they move across that stage so effortlessly it leaves you feeling like you could get up there and twirl your way through the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Hannah and Audrey were twirling their way up and down the stairs during the intermission, giggling like silly little girls. It was sweet.

Right before it started, as Audrey was looking around the theater, she grabbed my arm and squealed with excitement "Mama!!!! Thank you so so so much for bringing me here! This is awesome!!" Best Christmas present ever for this old mama right there. Hands down.

However, it was much longer than the ones she's used to and right around the 1 1/2 hour mark she started to get fidgety, wondering when it was going to be over. She was sleepy too as it was wayyy past little chica's bedtime. She told me one time that she might fall asleep on the way home! But she didn't. Her and Hannah giggled the whole trip back :)

p.s. an 85L is on my Christmas wish list. Only having this 50mm is starting to get on my nerves...

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Christmas Rush...

Is on!!!! Today my Christmas rush started. I have a list a mile and a half long and only 1 week to finish it. Can I get it done???? Only time will tell. Will I ever prepare better for Christmas??? Only time will tell that too. But so far I haven't lost my cool. I think the children's excitement this year is helping. James and Audrey are at a new phase of Christmas joy and it's one that I am really loving. They know most of the words to our favorite Christmas jingles, they keep asking me what I want for Christmas, they are looking oh so forward to going to the country this year, and even though the twinkle in their eyes for the season is a slightly different (in a more mature way) one than their baby sister's, it's still the joy of my Christmas to see them so excited!! Olivia is 2 1/2 and the joy in her little heart for all things Christmas is magical. The years of 2 and 3 are my absolute favorite age for Christmas time. They are aware of what is going on but still so innocent that EVERYTHING excites them. And with Olivia that excitement reaches the highest degree. She LOVES to sing Jingle Bells and Frosty the Snowman and her favorite version of Jingle Bells is Dolly Parton's. I think because you can hear children's voices in the back ground. She's not a huge fan of watching Rudolph but she loves Frosty. J&A were the same way. We made ornaments at story time yesterday and then all the children went to the front desk and sang Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas to every one. She didn't bat an eye and sang as loud as she could!!

We have an Elf on the shelf and while it's fun and all, I think that next year Fiskal will be taking an extended vacay at the North Poll. It's just so time consuming and darn it if I don't forget to move him almost every night. And the whole 'don't touch him he's magic thing' doesn't exactly work for us. James wants soooo bad to believe that he's real but he's so smart, he knows he's not. So he tries to convince himself (and every one around him) that he does believe Fiskal moves around all by himself. It's hilarious to watch. And Audrey, she's the same way but she's not so determined to make her self believe it. She saw his tag the other night and was like "Mama I saw Fiskal has a tag on him so....is he really real?" Good thing she can't read "made in america" yet :)

We are going to make and decorate Christmas cookies tonight for our Fun Family Friday activity and thank goodness we already made gingerbread houses at my mom's 2 weeks ago. I don't exactly have the best track record with those things. I always put the roof on backwards or use the roof for the walls or what ever else I can do to mess it up. Poor Matthew got stuck with me as a "builder" at Mama's and after he loaded his roof down with candy and icing, it collapsed. That's when we discovered I had put the roof on sideways....

I can hardly believe Christmas is almost here!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

1 Camera, 2 Girls, 3 Shotguns, a Dear Head and a Wedding

A few weeks ago I had some friends ask me to shoot their wedding. It was kind of a last minute deal as their engagement wasn't exactly a long one. I almost didn't do it, I was that scared. After a few hours of going back and forth and having the cons heavily out weigh the pros, I said yes. And from that moment on for the next two weeks I was in a cold sweat non stop. I ate, slept and drank weddings. I ate, slept and drank all things photography. And I was constantly wishing I had just let the fear eat me and said NO!!!! But at the same time I knew it was an incredible experience for me. One that I had basically been handed on a silver platter even if that silver platter arrived on the late, late train :)

I was a nervous wreck the week of and my poor family had to just move out of my way. I wasn't grumpy but I would go through periods of not really talking (I know, right!) and my sister got 1,000 articles of clothing ironed and a sparkly clean kitchen and a couple meals out of my anxiety! She said she wished I shot weddings every weekend. Ha. Ha.

I was scared out of my mind for a few reasons:


2. I DID NOT HAVE THE EQUIPMENT TO REALLY DO IT. Especially the ceremony because it was indoors.


4. I DID NOT HAVE THE EQUIPMENT TO REALLY DO IT. Especially the ceremony because it was indoors.

5. Even though I've been shooting in manual for over a year now I really just started feeling like I actually have control of my camera and it's settings. Like 2 weeks prior to them asking me. That's not very long. Not very long at all.

My sister being the wonderful person that she is graciously offered to be at my beck and call on the day of the wedding and do what ever I told her to do. We made a deal that as long as I didn't bite her head off, she wouldn't get her feelings hurt. And as long as she understood that if I was short in my answers or directions that I was not bitting her head off it's just that when I am focused I am short and to the point. SO when I was short and to the point she didn't get her feelings hurt. And we worked VERY WELL together and I cannot stress enough how vital she was to the success of my first wedding. I learned very quickly that you must have 2 sets of eyes, hands and ears to pull a wedding off. If she had not been with me, I would of tanked. And tanked so low that I most likely would of never made my way to the surface again. We could be a jam up photography team. Jam up. And yes, I am tooting our own horn :)

On the way to the before wedding location we were driving Jon's truck because he had the kids and was going to meet me at the church after the wedding so I could go on home because he had a preaching appointment the next day. Well, remember how I posted earlier about my husband keeping his deer stand warm during Thanksgiving break? Uh-huh. All of his guns were in the cab of the truck and the head of his 180 lb, 6 point buck was in a cooler in the back. Red neck much?? We were cracking up laughing at our selves the whole way there. Talk about arriving in style. Then, as soon as we got to the groom's grandparents house, I.freaked.out. It was a beautiful house with a nice, big pond out front and hundreds of acres of farmland surrounding it. Farmland. Yep, no shade and at 10:15 in the morning the sun was high and bright and I panicked. I didn't know if I wanted to cry or puke and told Bets that 'I was just kidding. I'm not really the photographer for this wedding. Lets go.' But I pressed on and just started praying for the Lord to send me some clouds. And HE did. For the rest of the day. Even though flat light isn't like beautiful golden sunlight it was 10,000 times better than harsh, bright light. Maybe even 10,001 :)

Photos courtsey of the brides father!

Overall, I was pleased with my work. The wedding party was super easy to work with and I had a great assitant that made the whole process go smoothly. There were no major catastrophes. She helped me check off the list of groups and poses we wanted to get and brought the ipad so we could remember to get a few special poses that had caught my eye on pinterest. I nailed focus on just about every one of my shots which was the most important for me since you cannot fix that post processing. But doing this job did let me have a peek and just how much goes into wedding photography and how much more I need to work on. I do know, however, that had this wedding party not been long time friends of mine I would of never attempted it. It would not of been fear that stopped me but good sense!! They knew first hand exactly what they were getting since they have seen my "work" on Facebook and I don't think they went into this blindly thinking that I am some big time photog capable of producing lots of jaw dropping images. It was nice though, to have someone think enough of my "work" to want me to capture such a special day for them. I had a blast and even though I don't know if wedding photography is a path I want to choose to travel down, this experience did not leave me swearing off weddings for the rest of my life!! I call that a successful shoot!!!

And one last thought, my sister and I knew we had no idea what we were doing but vowed to march in there and take control and put on the best act of our lives. And we pulled it off. Several people said they had no idea that this was my/our first wedding, that we were SO professional. Bam. Nailed it. Thank you Lord, cause we prayed hard!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Merry and Bright

Christmas cards are done and I ordered them just a moment ago. After I spent all day on them. I decided to go with a different company this year so that my colors wont be distorted, I hope! And I like to wait until the last minute to do major projects and I really like to make things super duper difficult. It's just how I roll. I actually started with my idea for taking the pictures 2 weeks ago but my 50mm lens is so tight that I just couldn't get the right light with the set up I wanted inside so I waited around until another idea struck me and it did yesterday afternoon: Go.Out.Side. I don't color my hair blonde for nothing people!! I had to make a few minor substitutions but the over all effect I was going for worked. It's something that I've been itching to do for years now and now I finally have it out of my system!! The weather was perfect yesterday so I knew I had to jump on it then because it's supposed to actually feel like December around here starting tomorrow. We shall see! The kids were actually so cooperative it was almost like aliens had come down and taken over their little bodies or something, haha! And after we were all done and cleaning up they were begging to take a picture themselves so being the wonderful mother that I am, I let them. And I'm thinking I have a new bribery tool :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

A few favorites

This is one of my favorite pictures from the Thanksgiving holiday because she's just so dern cute!! She rode this thing constantly and it totally shocked me since it makes a pretty loud noise and she's the kid that still hides from the vacuum cleaner :)

Then this one, for obvious reasons :)

And this. She was all about some Tammy last week! Nonie and Tammy were really the only laps she was interested in sitting in. And mine of course. Always mine :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gray, like the color

James can ask the most questions of any little boy I know. And 89.9% of his questions are not trivial  Every now and then you will get a "why are clouds white" kind of question but most of his questions make you wish you wonder if you even graduated high school. Or kindergarten for that matter. For instance this afternoon he asked why color was every where. Huh?

He says: Color. Why is it every where you look. Every where you go there is color. There's never not color any where. How come?

Me says: Uhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, well son, that's a right good question you got there. Uhmmmmmmmmmmmm, well I guess the good Lord just wanted our lives to be full of color. Color makes everything so much better. Like (picture a smartie pants moment in my head) what if those trees over there were not green but gray? How boring would that be? And what if our house was not red bricks but gray ones?

He says: Uh, mom, gray IS a color.

Yes. Yes it is.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

Jon and I swap holidays and this year was our year to be with my family in Danville for Thanksgiving. We went up on Monday and came back on Saturday. Of all the Bryant Thanksgivings we've had this year was the best by far. It was relaxing (for the most part!) and loaded down with fun!! Per tradition we all met up at my Aunt Jan and Uncle Kiah's for Thanksgiving dinner and stuffed ourselves silly!! It was also the coldest year we've had in a long time which made it even more festive!!

I just finished writing out my "schedule" for the next 3 weeks and really want to take a nap now! I've got more to squeeze into these 3 weeks than ever before but I've promised myself that I will enjoy every minute of it and refuse to be a grinch this year!! I've also promised to blog every day or at least every other day so that I can document our Thanksgiving break and all the days leading up to Christmas. And I've got tons of pictures that I want to share as well and lets face it that's the driving force behind my blog! And just as a disclaimer my husband and brother in law were indeed present at all these functions but I only got like 1 picture to prove they were around! Buddy came down with a stomach virus Wednesday and stayed cooped up in his room until Friday and Jon kept his deer stand warm for a large portion of his break!! We did celebrate his birthday on Monday before we left and managed to squeeze in 2 hrs to go see Catching Fire which was AWESOME, btw :)

I read a post from a photographer's blog that I like to follow and she talked about how important it is to take pictures WITH your children while they are young. Not so much for yourself but for your children. They will want to remember what you looked like when they were young. It really touched my heart so that's another promise I've made to myself. To make sure I get in the pictures WITH them more than I have been. I want them to look back in 18 years when they remember what they felt and looked like as kids and have pictures of me to go with those memories. Think about it. It's so important for them. So important. It may not seem like it now but when they grow up, get married and hopefully have children of their own, how precious will it be to have lots of pictures to look at of me with them? I would love to have more pictures of me and my mom and since my kids are growing up in the digital age, I have no excuse to not make sure they have bunches of them :)