composed- a new collaboration for a new year

last year was really great because i spent a lot- and i mean a looooooooot- of time on social media building connections with fellow photographers.  i studied their work, i asked questions, i developed friendships and consequently i was fortunate enough to grow.  a lot.  and not just as a photographer.  i took a lot of personal leaps as well, meeting up with women i had never met before to discuss our shared interests, joining in groups and projects and taking on leadership positions, however minor they were.  i'm enormously thankful for the changes last year fostered within me, and i set a goal for myself to continue growing both as a photographer and personally throughout 2017.

so, when my friend melissa hines approached me a few weeks ago with the idea to collaborate on a project that would push us both to think outside of the box with how we compose our images, i couldn't agree to it fast enough.  not only is melissa a photographer whose work i've followed and admired for 2 years now, she's also become a wonderful friend and mentor, helping me look more deeply at my work and discover where- and how- to improve and grow.  it's no wonder that the project she suggested for us is focused on exactly the area that i need to put more conscious thought into.  composition is one aspect of photography that i've spent very little time intentionally studying or working on.  i have my standard compositions that i tend to go for when i shoot, and while there's technically nothing wrong with how i compose, my work is missing out on a lot of variety and fullness because of this compositional rut i find myself in.

we've decided to name our collaboration "composed" and the concept is very simple- twice a month, we'll each work to create an image that is compositionally different from our normal style.  we will intentionally push ourselves to look at the scenes we are shooting in a new way to create a wider range of compositions within our individual bodies of work.  for me, this means composing my images in a more natural, organic way.  right now my images tend to be very linear.  i like my lines to be parallel to the edges of my frame and i like everything to fall neatly into place.  i frequently use leading lines in my images, which is a great tool, but i want to push myself to go deeper.  i want to use techniques like framing and layering, and i want the compositions of my images to reflect the reality (and sometimes chaos!) of everyday life.

once we have our images, we'll place them into a diptych (simply two images side by side) and share them.  melissa's image will appear on the left, and mine on the right.  

if you read all of that, you're wonderful.  if not, i forgive you ;)  here's our first round of composed:

long overdue photo dump

i've been sitting on some images for awhile now, making them wait until i had some free time to drop them into a blog post along with a nice story so they could finally be free from the confines of my hard drive to roam the big wide world that is the internet.  or at least this tiny little corner of the internet.

but, i don't have free time.  not anymore.  i don't think i've truly had free time since the moment my first made his appearance in this world, but what i did have has continued to shrink with each passing day.  even when i do allot myself some time off to watch tv or go to bed early or actually hang out with my husband, it's not really "free" time.  it's just me deciding i need to switch my brain off from kids or social media or my camera or editing or meal planning or budgeting or lame attempts at homeschooling or the other million things that keep me awake at night.

so, instead of a nice little story or two, tonight you will get a ton of pictures dumped in here and left for you to sort through with your own beautiful and lovely imaginations.  sometimes it's more fun like that anyway.  like one of those picture books with no words where the story can be just a little bit different every time you look through it.

happy imagining <3

/\   that was over a month ago 

\/   this down here was a little more recent ;)

and these next few are just completely random, but i like them so here they are.

personal photojournalism: another walk in the woods

we love walking through the woods over here.  or at least i do, and the men in my life love me enough to humor me every so often with a trip to the forest.

on this particular day, we were all a little tense and grouchy.  the kids were volleying meltdowns between one another and my husband and i were volleying short retorts and frustrated words muttered under our breath.  what i had hoped would be a few hours of time spent bonding as a family was quickly turning into a public display of irritation.

but then, right around this point in our trip, something changed.  our big kid chose a path for us to follow, and suddenly he was invested in our outing, instead of an unwilling participant of family un-happy hour.  seeing his brother perk up, the little decided he'd better follow suit and suddenly insisted on being set down on the ground instead of insisting that he be carried.  and, as is often the case, as the kids became easier to manage, my husband and i were able to relax into the afternoon a little more.  less worried about maintaining control of 2 kids with behavior threatening to careen out of control and more worried about keeping up with 2 kids eager to explore, we were finally able to set off into the forest and just be.

be together.  be a family.  be out in nature and breathe in the air and the woods and creation.

and what better way to end a walk through the woods than with a leaf fight in a beautiful patch of light?  it was the perfect way to wrap up what turned out to be a wonderful family outing.  once you finish scrolling through these images, be sure to circle around and check out  Joy Huber- Lancaster PA Children's Documentary Photographer-  to see what she was up to in October!

on rearranging furniture

i grew up in a house that was often rearranged.  every few weeks, my mom would pile us on the couch and let us "go for a ride" as she pushed it into a new corner, with the coffee table and tv stand not far behind.  as a kid, i thought it was just another silly, fun thing my mom did, and i enjoyed it because it gave my brothers and i new "hide and seek" material, new fort building opportunities, and a new angle on our favorite cartoons.  as an adult, and now a stay-at-home mom myself, i'm seeing the whole rearranging thing in a completely different way.  it's not just another activity to fill the time- it's a straight up survival mechanism.  when you're home all day everyday, you can't help but start to notice every little tiny thing that's wrong with your house.  and when you're home all day everyday with your children, who like the do the same things over and over again, you guessed it, all day everyday, the monotony starts to become a little bit oppressive.  there are a lot of different ways to handle this monotony.  some people plan fun, educational things to do with their kids.  some people take lots of field trips.  some people put on headphones and listen to music while they work and pretend their house isn't actually there.  

my mom and i?  we're re-arrangers.  it drove my dad crazy, and now it drives my husband crazy, but it's who we are and sorry guys but it's never going away.  so last week when i started to feel the urge to switch  things up, my frantic brain, in desperate need of change, landed upon our bedroom.  untouched since we moved in 7 years ago, i knew rearranging our bedroom would be the change that i needed to break up the sameness of our everyday and rejuvenate us a little bit.  and, while i didn't admit it at the time, i knew exactly where i wanted everything to go because of the way the light falls in our room.  we get the most ridiculously beautiful afternoon light in there, but i've never been able to really capture it because of the way we had things set up.  but now, well... here's a few (okay, more than a few.  i really like how these turned out) examples of why i'm loving our new bedroom arrangement :)

looking forward

it's been two weeks since i've had the chance to pop on here.  two.  weeks.  that's too long.  like, way too long.  when i started my second project 365 at the beginning of the year, i knew it would be a good idea to step back from daily blogging because truly, it becomes time consuming.  but i also knew i should proceed with caution because if i give myself an inch, i really will take a mile.  case in point, it's been two weeks since i last blogged.  two weeks.  i'm not thrilled about it, if you can't tell.

the truth is though, my proverbial photography plate is much more full this year than it was last year.  last year, i had one main goal- get good at taking pictures- and a bunch of little goals that fell under that umbrella, like getting featured on a community page, shooting a documentary session for humans that aren't mine, etc.  i was fortunate enough to meet all my little goals last year, and i'd like to humbly say that i think i got pretty close to hitting my main goal.  so, i started the year cautiously, hoping to continue to improve but with a lot of other vague ideas of what i'd like to accomplish.  as the year has progressed, i've established some concrete objectives for myself, objectives that are considerably bigger than what i reached for previously, which means they take considerably more time and effort.

this is a good thing and a bad thing.  it's good because it means i'm moving forward.  it means i'm still pushing myself and refusing to become stagnant.  it means i still have the fire and the passion and the motivation and it means i still have the desire and ability to go big or go home.  but it could be bad if i'm not careful.  i don't want to lose sight of where i came from.  i don't want to forget the habits and the discipline that lit the fire and fueled the drive.

the time has come for me to start looking forward to next year- what i want to do day-to-day, and what i hope to achieve throughout the year.  the truth is, i'm going to need to free up some time to work on the bigger projects and goals i've taken on, which means stepping back from my smaller projects.  i haven't decided yet if i'll be doing another project 365 or not.  shooting and/or editing daily is something that i really value, and i think it's important to do, but from a practical standpoint (and for my sanity), i'm not sure if it will be a viable option again.  as a contingency plan, i've decided to join in with a group of (ridiculously talented) women who are doing a  project 52 with a really cool concept- you shoot only for 5 minutes.  today, in the hopes of reducing the number of images to cull through and edit once the kids were tucked in and snoozing, i decided to give it a shot.

i love the results.  whatever else i decide to do, i think i'm really going to enjoy this particular project next year, and the growth it's going to bring.

i'll be back- in less than two weeks :)

baby henry

it's always an interesting thing, seeing the people you knew before kids step into the role of 'parent'.  my husband met our friend jordan in one of their computer courses early on in college, and he quickly became a part of our group.  we would all hang out on the weekends- grilling in the shared yards of the little off campus townhouses they lived in, bar crawling, and in general enjoying a life of few(er) responsibilities.

when we met aliena a few years later after she and jordan started dating, we were immediately struck by how perfect she was for him- sweet as could be, down to earth, but with the perfect amount of lightheartedness to match jordan's goofy, fun loving nature.  their wedding was full of joy and laughter, because they're two people who are full of love and laughter, and when we heard that aliena was expecting, we knew their home would be full of joy and laughter, too.

even still, i couldn't help but be a little surprised when jordan greeted me two saturdays ago with 8-day-old henry curled in his arms.  it didn't take me long to move past that surprise though- these two are such natural parents, it's like they'd had henry all their lives instead of just a week and a day.

they worked seamlessly together as mom and dad- grabbing diapers or socks, checking his schedule with one another, passing him off so they each had a chance to get some baby time and some coffee time.  watching them as a family of three was like watching a scene in a movie where everyone breaks out into song and dance at the same time- there's no way they could have rehearsed it, but still everyone knows the moves and works together to create something beautiful.

that was this sweet family- following each others' leads and making it work moment by moment in beautiful harmony, with henry soaking it all up with the bliss that only a newborn can have.

(many thanks to melissa hines photography for being the inspiration behind the above shot.  it's one of my favorites from the session, and it allowed us to incorporate a meaningful item into their photos, too)

my heart is so full for these friends of mine.  it's such an honor to have been there to document the early days of this transition for them into this wonderful new stage of life.  i'm so excited for all of the amazing things they have ahead of them <3 

personal photojournalism: fall arrives

i'm going to keep the words brief and the images plentiful for this month's blog circle.  as much as i'd love to talk about the fabulous tree at the top of our street that drops its gorgeous yellow leaves several weeks before the rest of the trees in the neighborhood, i think it would be a lot more effective just to show you.

the best part of this tree is that it's right by the special secret spot in our neighborhood where you can almost watch the sun go down instead of just losing it behind the tree line, so there's usually some really yummy light up there at the end of the day.

so when i still needed a picture for my 365 after a long and busy day, and dinner was finished but bedtime still hadn't arrived, and the kids were rammy, the tree and the sunset were calling to us.

it ended up being the most perfect 30 minutes.  the weather was beautiful, the kids were in their element, and the rest of the world just kind of fell away from us as we played and i clicked away.

happy fall :)  be sure to follow the circle around to amanda's post see what she's been up to as the seasons change! Family Photographer in Gwinnett County

another park find

our days of hours-at-a-time spent outside are numbered again as summer ends and the cool weather rolls in.  i was given a harsh reminder today that i don't handle the cold and damp the way i used to, and i realized that we'll probably be spending more time inside this fall and winter than i'd like.  fortunately, the sun was shining this morning (at least at first), so we decided to use one of our numbered days to visit our favorite park again.  

our first half hour was spent exploring the tunnels, stairs, bridges, and slides that wind and twist their way across the park.  one of the things i love most about this park is that it encourages kids to exercise their bodies and their minds.  there's so much to explore and imagine in this place that even i sometimes get lost in the magic of it.

eventually they realized that we hadn't been on the swings yet, so we headed on over to the swing set, both kids hopping onto the big kid swings and giving me a good work out running back and forth between them to keep them going fast enough (we really need to work on pumping).  from the safety of their little red swings, they watched another kiddo swing on the tire swing for about 10 minutes.  once she hopped off, my little made a beeline for it and begged me to put him on- at which point the big decided he was feeling brave enough to try it out too.

to put it simply, they LOVED it.  so much that they were on the tire swing for at least 20 minutes, and i had plenty of time to take a ridiculous number of photos.  prepare for tire swing overload ;)  many of these are painfully similar, so if you're bored you can scroll through to the end- i won't mind.  i just adore the smiles on their sweet faces too much to keep them to myself.

and, since it's selfie week, i figured i might as well jump on and see if i could manage to get any in focus.  somehow, i did :)

happy monday!

monday morning bubble bath

we had a busy, busy weekend where we were driving all over the place, playing hard with friends, and falling out of routine left right and center.  it was fun and amazing, but my kids (and i!) woke up with a weekend hangover this morning that could only be cured with a bubble bath.  

it's a cloudy, gloomy day that has me feeling creatively uninspired, so i decided to take advantage of our time tucked away in our closet sized bathroom to get some practice in with my speedlite.  in general, i really don't love the look flash creates, even when it's bounced or diffused, but that's most likely because i'm still not very skilled at using it effectively.  however, i've found that i do kind of like it when i use it in our bathroom, probably because the space is so small that when i bounce it off a side wall, it actually helps create some dimension where the light would otherwise be pretty flat and boring.

all that to say, i ended up with a handful of images of my boys this morning that i really like.  in fact, i think i might eventually print a few of them to hang in the bathroom :)

my friend's baby is beautiful

remember that birth session i shot back in march for my best friend?  well, it's been 5 1/2 months since then (not sure where that time went), and her little newborn has grown into just the most gorgeous baby girl.  they had a rough start to her journey earth side, but her momma has fought for her in ways that only a strong and dedicated momma can, and now the joy that glows from this sweet girl's face is nothing short of brilliant.  but, since her early months were somewhat unpredictable and required a lot of rocking, snuggling, and babywearing- and since most of the times we were together i was corralling my own herd of children solo- there wasn't much opportunity for photographing her.

today, however, we had the rare opportunity to hang out, just us girls, so for a few minutes as we chatted and reconnected, i pulled out my camera to document the sweet person she's growing into.  i had originally intended to only share a single image on my facebook page, but truly there's no way to choose just one shot of this kiddo.  she's just too darn sweet to keep them all to myself :)

we really like school buses

over the summer, my little decided he really loved school buses- which is funny, because we rarely ever saw them.  so you can imagine the excitement in our house over the last few weeks when every morning and afternoon a parade of school buses goes up and down the street.  this afternoon, after the first round went by, the kids went running to grab their own school buses (we've accumulated a surprising number in just 3 years), and we ended up playing with them for the rest of the afternoon.  here's a little peek of what it looked like :)

in honor of having my computer back

over the holiday weekend, my husband and i decided on the spur of the moment that after months of having many large holes in our walls, it was time to finish up spackling and paint our living room.  this was awesome because i now have blank, lovely walls that i can fill back up with holes as i re-hang my collage wall in a new spot.  it was not awesome, however, because it meant all the furniture on our first floor was in disarray for two days, including my computer and desk, which sat unplugged and lonely in the middle of our dining room.  that meant two days of no importing photos, no editing, no blogging, none of it.

my poor heart.

so, as i do a little dance from my computer chair that has been happily reunited with its rightful spot as i gaze dreamily at our new pixel white (which are actually quite grey) walls, i've decided to do a share of the photos i took over the last two days to make up for their lengthy confinement on my camera's sd cards.

enjoy ;)

our new favorite place

this summer, my boys and i discovered that we really, really love picking our own fruit.  we've gone blueberry picking twice, raspberry picking once, strawberry picking two or three times (i can't remember because the trips are all blurring together) and today we went peach picking for the second time.  the orchard has become our new favorite place to spend our mornings.

today, we were lucky enough to bring daddy along, which meant a (slightly) easier time capturing our visit, and some very excited boys who couldn't wait to show their dad the finer points of peach picking- including, but not limited to: making sure you only pick the peaches that are still on the tree, avoiding branches at eye level, the art of getting a peach with the leaves still attached, and dropping the same peach over and over to speed the ripening process.

oh, and we also had a storm trooper escort.

it was a really, really fun morning.  

personal photojournalism: dinner from the snack bar

september is here, which means that summer is officially on its way out.  because my heart is breaking a little bit over the loss of extra sunlight and balmy evenings, sunscreened skin and chlorined hair, and fresh fruit picking and corn on the cob, i decided to dedicate this post to what will probably be our last evening of the year at the pool.

a typical afternoon spent at the pool for us involves me hauling two huge bags in along with myself and the kids- one bag for our towels, toys, and clothing, and another bag full to the brim with food.  granola bars, pretzels, veggie straws, grapes, apple slices, water bottles, you name it, i throw it in.  my kids love to eat at the pool.  and who doesn't? i remember hitting up the snack bar every half hour during our trips to the pool as a kid as my mom's stash of quarters quickly dwindled.  unfortunately, we've got some fun food restrictions to contend with, so we've avoided our pool's snack bar all summer to simplify our lives.  the other night, though, we had had a long day and knew the boys needed to blow off steam- and so did we.  so we grabbed a few bucks, packed some applesauce pouches, and promised the boys hot dogs for dinner.

they loved it, and so did we.  it was the perfect family evening, and i couldn't have asked for a better way to end the summer.

keep circling around and visit christine hurla's blog to see how she ended her summer: Kansas City Family Photos

my husband found some butterflies

yesterday we took the kids out to spend the day with our dear friends.  it was hot, but the kids were wild, so we took them out on the back deck to play in the wading pool.  after awhile, they were ready to burn off more steam, so while i sat with my feet in the pool and caught up with our friends, my husband ran with the kids around the yard.

a few laps of their townhouse row later, my sweet, wonderful husband pops his head around the stairs and says "hey, there's a bush down there that's covered in butterflies.  i thought you might want to go take some pictures."

seriously.  they don't make men like him anymore.

so i ran inside and grabbed my camera.  i was halfway to the door when it occurred to me that this was the perfect chance to practice free lensing a little more after a months-long hiatus.  after a few minutes spent hacking my poor neglected 50mm lens, i was outside and zooming my way over to the butterfly bush.  

i wasn't able to grab focus as well as i had hoped (free lensing is always, always harder than i remember it being), but i was still pleased with the number of images i ended up hanging onto.  a little something different for my creative soul :)

a monday morning hike

my attention has been divided into so many pieces over the last few months that most of my 365 shooting has been aimed at getting a single great (or, honestly, good) shot each day.  and that's not necessarily a bad thing- it saves me time at the computer in the evenings, it helps me focus on refining my ability to shoot in specific types of light, it gives me a chance to try out new techniques, etc etc etc.


i love telling stories.  a lot.  i love reading them out loud, i love relaying them to friends, and i love using my photos to create them.  so when one of my favorite photography groups on fb had a bit of a revival last week to draw it back to its roots of documentary, storytelling photography, it made me realize that i need to have a bit of a revival myself.

so today, instead of trying for one single great (or good) shot, i dusted the cobwebs off my mental checklist for shooting to tell a story and captured our morning hike through a local forest.  enjoy :)

the first time we visited this forest, this staircase was precarious, at best.  the last time we visited, there was no staircase (but there was plenty of caution tape).  so this time, all three of us were excited to check out the new stairs leading to the hiking trails.

the boys wasted no time, and immediately took off down the trail where they each weaved in and out of the dappled light as the sunshine filtered through the leaves onto the treasures they found less than a minute after our walk started.  and so of course, as they were collecting leaves and sticks, i was collecting a frame or two of the little yellow flowers lining the entrance to the woods.

one of the things i love most about these outings i take with my boys is to watch them as they explore and discover.  they both have such different ways of approaching the world, and they both notice and value different things, but they always look to one another for guidance and encouragement just the same.

and then, of course, we had to stop for a snack break- followed by a hit of the paci and a momma snuggle for the little, who i think was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and certainly a little tired.

now that he had refueled, my big discovered that the forest has a lot of rocks.  first he found the big ones that had collected around the benches where we sat to eat, and after throwing them onto the ground (his favorite thing to do with rocks), he noticed that the path we had recently turned onto was literally made of small rocks.  which meant the rest of our hike consisted of him stopping every 10 steps to dump his current fistful of rocks to replace it with the new, clearly superior rocks now beneath his feet.  and sometimes stash a few in his pocket.  meanwhile, the little imitated him for awhile, and then moved on to his own personal forest favorite- the stick :)

once the initial excitement of the rocks died down a bit, i got us walking again and shortly thereafter we came upon a bridge over a small creek.  in case you didn't know, creeks are the ideal place for chucking rocks, so of course that reignited the need for rock collecting and tossing.  luckily, there was no one else around, so i left them to their devices and took the opportunity to shoot a few details shots, including this massive spider whose web was hanging directly at my eye level smack in the middle of the trail.  i'm just grateful he didn't end up in my hair.

with a little (or possibly a lot) of persuasion, we ended our rock throwing and headed back towards the car.  our last discovery for the day was these cool little pine cones that we found littered across one section of the trail.  unfortunately, they held our attention just long enough for both kids to hit the "i've waited too long for lunch" threshold, and i ended up carrying one most of the way back (until we got back to the stairs and suddenly his legs worked again!) and the other one got a stern talking to once we reached the car.  

the downside (or possibly the upside) to being your own family documenter is that you miss out on catching the moments like that, but i'm thankful for the parts of the story from today that i was able to hold onto.

happy monday all <3 

the greenawald family

it's funny how life works sometimes.  i met my husband in college, like a lot of people do, and while we were there we each made a lot of friends.  some of them were mutual, and others weren't, simply because while a lot of our time overlapped, between different classes and jobs, a lot of our time did not.  at his on-campus job, my husband met a guy named jason, and in one of his classes, he met a girl named samantha.  eventually, samantha became jason's wife.  while i saw jason a handful of times if i happened to stop by the office, i never really got to know him or samantha, simply because life never really allowed us the time or opportunity to cross paths.

fast forward several years, and we found ourselves at the wedding of a mutual friend from college, seated at the same table with jason and sam.  we chatted, as you do at weddings, and discovered that they have a son around the same age as our youngest, and so we were quickly swapping toddler stories- who walked when and how, picky eating habits, terrible sleep patterns, all the parenting stuff.  we laughed and had a lovely time, and on our way home, i turned to my husband and told him that i couldn't believe i'd never had a chance to get to know these two people in college.  they do life so much like we do, and were such fun people to be around, i was sad i had missed the chance to build a friendship with them when they lived walking distance away, instead of an hour drive.

so, of course, i friended samantha on facebook as soon as i got home that night, and i've been enjoying her sweet, honest, funny, and completely relate-able posts about her life as a momma ever since.  

you can imagine how excited i was when she contacted me about doing a session for her and her family to document her growing bump before the arrival of baby number 2.  that meant spending an evening with this totally sweet, down to earth couple, while also getting to meet and play with their adorable toddler- all while taking pictures of them.  i was all-in before i could even finish reading her first message to me.

let me tell you what- the night did not disappoint.  we had a bit of a hiccup when we showed up to the Reading Public Museum and realized it's a hot spot for pokemon-go players (no exaggeration, there were people e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.) but we were able to find ourselves a quiet spot or two and then just let the little guy lead our evening.  the bond he has with his momma? incredible:

although his bond with his daddy was just as clear- and i suspect it's going to grow even stronger once baby sister comes on the scene ;)

they are truly a beautiful example of a family built on love for one another, and even though the weather was hot, and there was much toddler chasing, it was clear that this baby girl is going to be joining a family that knows the value of being together.

oh- and on our way back to the parking lot, we spotted an ice cream truck.  they decided to stop, and of course i asked if i could follow them around just a liiiiiiiiiittle bit longer.  any night that ends in ice cream is a good night :)

walking harrisburg

last weekend, i got to kill two birds with one stone when i met one of my photographer friends in real life for the first time and did some more street shooting as we walked the streets of harrisburg together.  it was just as wonderful as the day i spent walking lancaster with another photographer friend- and i think that i'm very, very slowly becoming more comfortable with photographing random people on the street.  

during my first photo walk, i avoided people as much as i could and stuck to architecture and detail shots.  this time, however, i really wanted to be more intentional about shooting the people that bring the city to life.  i'm a master people watcher (ask my husband; he often points out that i'm staring even though i had no idea), so all i really need to do is put my camera in front of my face and do what i usually do.  the problem is, a lot of people run away as soon as they see your camera, either because they think they're in your way or because they don't want to be photographed, so it requires a little bit of sneakiness to get what you're going for.  i've still got to refine my technique a little bit, and i ended up missing focus on what would have been my favorite shot of the day (amish guy with beard below!), but i did end up with a few i'm relatively pleased with.

here's (some of) harrisburg through my eyes :)

a weekend at the beach

i already write this post once and when i was *almost* finished, the entire thing disappeared.  normally i'd be annoyed, but i'm especially mad right now because i specifically dedicated my 90 minutes of afternoon work time while the kids are sleeping/having down time to getting it done.  so, since i'm letting my kids watch an extra half hour of cartoons to knock it out, here's the short version of what i had planned to say:

1.  this vacation was amazing.

2.  i really like these pictures.

3.  i wish i was in more of them.

and now here's a bunch of pictures for your viewing pleasure.  they're in chronological order, so i'll let them tell the story without butting in with a bunch of words no one will read anyway ;)

the pool at golden hour

so there's this magical time of day that happens in the hour or two following sunrise and the hour or two preceding sunset when the sun is low in the sky and it spills a golden sort of magic all over the world.  photographers call it the golden hour, other people refer to these times as "i'm not getting out of bed yet" and "dear lord can i please put the kids to bed now".  

the truth is, as much as i *love* playing with the light during the golden hour, for about 45 weeks out of the year, it's a completely impractical time for me to be running around taking photos, especially since my main subjects are my children.  if you've spent any amount of time around me in the last 2 years, you know i've always got my camera in my hands and in front of my face, but even i'm not crazy enough to mess with my kids' eating and sleeping schedules.  not even for the sake of super yummy fabulous light.

tonight, however, was a night we made a bit of an exception to the rule.  we decided to take advantage of what was truly a perfect summer day and have an early picnic dinner at the pool.  by the time we were done eating, we were juuuuust entering into the time of light filled magic-y goodness, and so despite the looming risk of my camera getting splashed, i of course whipped it out and took full advantage of our gold coated evening excursion.  i hope you enjoy the result as much as i enjoyed the process :)

looking for birds, as he always does when we're outside <3 

at this time a year ago, i would have deleted this one without a second glance because the focus fell on the table in front of them and not on their sweet faces.  but a year is a long time for learning and growing, and so now i say "forget you, rules".  i adore this image.  everything about it.  so it will stay, and i will love it.

oh, and this basketball court?  this basketball court in the evening is what dreams are made of.  i'm not kidding, it's SO beautiful on this court as the sun sets next to it.  the shadows are drool worthy.  the only thing i'd change is to put a wooden fence around it so there was a nice clean backdrop instead of a chain link fence with cars on the other side.  but you know, reality and all that.  i'll take what i can get  :)