Tea Sets, Fields, and Flowers | Children's Session

Sunday a week ago I met with Sarah and Scott at their lovely home on a gorgeous sunshine-filled evening. You may remember Sarah when she debuted on this blog as a toddler. Then her brother joined her on the blog with a newborn session. They've grown so much since then! Sarah was quite the cooperative little lady for this session--so photogenic and full of poses! Scott was a typical 2-year-old boy, full of energy and running everywhere! Scott and Sarah's mom, Susan, has quite the green thumb with roses, irises, peonies, and other flowers planted all around their home. I also captured the beauty of the spring gardens.

Usually, I publish these posts as a "preview" prior to the full gallery reveal that my clients receive. In this case, since I was going out of town for Memorial Day weekend, I finished the gallery and sent it Susan before doing a preview post. I received the best "thank you" a photographer can get when Susan replied after seeing her images:

"Thank you for capturing my children at this time in their lives. I have tears in my eyes!"

I'll warn you, this is a long post. There are just sooo many sweet shots to share.

Mother's Day Weekend

Mother's Day weekend was a busy one. Friday night the boys' had their homeschool co-op presentation. That consisted of them singing two songs. Well, maybe not actually singing. One kind of sang--very timidly--looking like he might cry, while the other one looked around and counted the house lights. They also had their artwork from the year displayed in a classroom, as well as their science activities.

Josh spent Saturday competing with some of his friends in a Tough Mudder. Below would be an "official" picture taken by a Tough Mudder photographer of Josh coming out of some sort of muddy tunnel. He and his mates did quite well, although his fingers are all cut up.

Saturday evening we had Mother's Day celebrations with Josh's side of the family. It was great to see them all again and spend time out on the deck enjoying the beautiful evening.

Sunday I was greeted with lovely handmade cards from the kids and some of my favorite Jo Malone fragrance from Josh: Pomegranate Noir (although seriously, all her scents are fantastic!). I always used to have such a problem finding a scent I love, and I've struck gold with Jo Malone.

The afternoon and evening were spent up at my mom's. It was such a picturesque day I went crazy and fell in love with my camera all over again and took tons of pictures. A post will be coming soon . . .

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How did you spend Mother's Day?

Of Chickens and Coops

Mother's Day afternoon was spent at my mom's farmhouse. I was inspired by the glorious day, the wind, the flowers, and the chickens so I took pictures like crazy. There were so many details to capture!

Like Sophia, who decided the chickens were just a little too close for comfort . . .

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Sunlight and wind and the colors of drying laundry . . . Purple, white, and yellow . . . Chickens! Lots of chickens! Also known as "the ladies" with an occasional rooster thrown in for fun. Owen, who's favorite pastime is to play "cheetah" these days . . . My mom and sister gathered eggs with Sophia. Wellies . . . Fine wisps of hair, chubby neck . . . Paper airplane fun . . . Wearing mommy's sunglasses . . . Sophia doesn't "do" baby swings anymore. And you know you've had lots of fun when you've got no more sock left! A Happy Mother's Day was had by all! I hope those of you who are moms had a wonderful day too.

Jerusalem Mill

A few weeks ago I did a different sort of session than my usual family and children work. I was asked to take head and group shots for  the leadership team at my church. They were looking for new and updated images to use for various media projects in the future. Since the session needed to be in the afternoon, I wanted place that would have lots of open shade options. I chose one of my favorite locations: Jerusalem Mill. I've used Jerusalem Mill many times in the past, although due to the crowds--especially on weekends--I've been avoiding it as an option for a while. However, for a mid-week shoot it's usually not very crowded. I love that there is a variety of background choices for photographs all within a short distance of each other.

I ended up taking everyone's head shots and group pictures in three different parts of Jerusalem Mill: near a stone building, in a grassy area with woods behind, and near a stream. Here's a sampling of our session. Enjoy!

The Goof-off.

 

Meeting Kelly

Last Thursday I got to meet Kelly Sauer of Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co. Real Life, Fine Art and The Girl in the White Dress. I've long admired Kelly's ability to take amazing self-portraits, and had told her I needed some updated head shots for my websites. Kelly was flying into BWI and suggested we meet up to do a little head shot session. She was coming to Virginia for a weekend of photography sessions and graciously suggested meeting in real life. We met up at Patapsco State Park.

First, a little background. I discovered Kelly's blog through a mutual friend. Before Real Life, Fine Art and The Girl in the White Dress I knew Kelly through her A Restless Heart blog with it's gorgeous pictures and her intimately shared spiritual journey. Kelly is one of the few photographers I know who truly captures emotion, and I don't mean the emotion of her subject, but her own emotions and moods through often near abstract photography. Since that time, Kelly has started her own brand and is talented portrait and wedding photographer living in Charleston, South Carolina. I was a bit shocked to realize we've been following each other for over five years now!

Finding each other at Patapsco State Park proved a comedy of errors. I got there a little late, and then proceeded to find out Kelly was at another entrance 15 minutes away! I'd assumed that if we got directions using the address on the site's main page we'd end up at the same place, but apparently not.

Kelly, however, was very laid back and obliging. I had hauled the kiddos along with me and she found a location with a playground. Josh had been out of town on business since Monday and he came into BWI from Atlanta and met us there, taking charge of the kids so we could go play with light.

Being the subject of my own session was definitely a different experience for me. I have to admit I was nervous! It was very different from our family session where I interacted with my kids and Josh. Instead, it's just me and the camera, trying to figure out where to look and what to do with my hands. It made me consider new ways I can help my own clients comfortably interact with me during a session. Kelly and I also tried to stuff in hours of conversation in-between shots, and we left many  subjects only half explored and discussed. Skype will have to solve that problem.

Kelly, it was so awesome to meet you in person! What a unique experience to become friends through online journals and emails and then finally meet years later already feeling like we know each other so well.

Tortellini Salad

Tonight we tried a delicious salad from Super Natural Cooking Everyday. It was the Tortellini Salad with avocado, sprouts, cilantro, and pine nuts. The grocery store I visited was out of pine nuts, so we didn't have that to put into it. Also, I tried to find whole wheat tortellini but couldn't. However, after more research I discovered Wegman's sells it. I should have guessed that.

Honestly, this pasta salad was fabulous! It was full of fresh flavor. Surprisingly so, seeing how very simple the dressing was. Definitely a keeper!

Ingredients: 1 lb. cheese tortellini 8-10 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces 1/2 head broccoli, cut into small trees 1 small clove garlic, minced 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 1/4 c. olive oil Small handful fresh cilantro, chopped Small handful sprouts 1/3 c. toasted pine nuts 1 avocado, sliced into small pieces salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add the tortellini and cook according to the package instructions. About 1 minute before the pasta is finished cooking, add the asparagus and broccoli to the boiling pot. Cook for the final minute, drain all together, and run under cold water just long enough to stop the cooking.

In the meantime, make the dressing. Combine the minced garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, whisking thoroughly to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Toss the pasta, asparagus, broccoli and cilantro with about half of the prepared dressing. Add the sprouts, nuts and avocado, and a little more dressing, and toss gently to combine. Keep the extra dressing on hand to refresh any leftovers; the pasta tends to absorb it overnight.

31 Day Veggie Fest

Happy May Day!

To kick off this month our family is going vegetarian for 31 days. For probably about a year Josh has wanted to try something like this, but I kept putting it off. Grocery/meal planning are about my least favorite things to do, so making more work for myself in that department just sounded like a pain.

Last year we bought our poultry from friends in Lancaster who sell pastured poultry. This provided the backbone to our meat-eating diet. This spring, due to various reasons, we were unable to order from them, so we sadly are not going to have their poultry stocking our freezer. Last year, we also participated in a CSA with Rousedale Farm and were more than pleased with the experience. Sadly, they're not offering a CSA program this year, so we signed up with Flying Plow Farm instead. I'm excited to start receiving their veggies towards the end of this month!

Last year I learned to eat vegetables last year I didn't know I'd like: Brussel sprouts, kale, collard greens, beets, and turnips are now some of my favorite veggies. It's not just that I'll eat them if they're put in front of me, but I love them more than the vegetables I've grown up on like beans, corn, carrots, and so forth.

We've been watching and reading lots of food too: Forks Over Knives, Simply Raw, Michael Pollan's books, and Fast Food Nationto name a few. It's just a fact: eating more vegetables is amazingly good for you.

I realized the past several weeks that eating a vegetarian meal once a week or so had slowly taken over more days in my meal planning. Actually, without even planning on it, we were only eating about two meals a week with meat in it anyway. Also, my desire to eat meat has been diminishing as well. That and I can't actually even eat as much meat as I used to. I used to be able to put away a whole chicken breast along with two sides for dinner. Now, it's more like a half or a third.

So, all of these circumstances converged and making it the perfect time to try going vegetarian for 31 days.

I've pulled out a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks from the library, my standard fave being Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Sawnson (her blog is here.) Funny thing is, when I first checked this book out of the library a year or so ago, there were only a couple of recipes I thought looked "good" and would have made. Now, most of the recipes look/sound good to me. Shows that my tastes are definitely changing . . . for the better.

I'm sharing all of this because I want accountability, so I might as well make it public! Also, I want to "journal" the experience with my readers and share delicious recipes I discover along the way.

Also, I need help! Got any delicious vegetarian recipes you've tried? Send them my way! Post links to the recipes or your own blog posts in the comments section. Let the veggie fest begin!