personal photojournalism: bubble play

i think for this month's blog circle post, i'll let the images speak for themselves.  all i'll say is that we decided to celebrate the arrival of warm weather by breaking out the bubble machine a few weeks ago, and it was a wonderful morning.

when you're done here, make sure you click over to houston documentary photographer samarie-lei's blog to see how her family has welcomed summer.

into the forest

today finally, finally, finally felt like spring.  it was one of those rare perfect days where the weather just is.  no chill in the air but not hot either, a light breeze with warm sunshine- you can feel it, but you're not distracted by it.  it's the kind of day where you breathe deeply and the air fills you up and the sunshine recharges your soul and no matter what may be going on, you're reminded that life is good.  like, really, truly, deeply good.

days like today are not to be wasted.  they're made to be lived in and run through and soaked up and inhaled so that we can carry them with us through the days that aren't quite so perfect.

so, that's what we did.  after a morning at the playground, we came home, fed and napped the kids, and then packed back up and headed out to a local forest, which happens to be my new favorite place in the world.  seriously.  i would spend everyday there with my kids if they would let me.

we started out finding rocks and tossing them into the creek, which happens to be one of their absolute favorite new things to do.  it took some convincing to keep them out of the water since we usually let them wade around in the creek at one of the parks we go to, but once they realized what an abundance of rocks they had available to them, it became a non-issue.

this kiddo here is intrigued by the details- rocks, sticks, bugs, anything he can dig up or take apart or closely observe- and i love watching him explore the little things of the world.

after awhile, we left the creek and headed out to a new trail we've never walked before.  it was flat, which was nice for the kids, but still had plenty for them to see/pick up/climb on- and had plenty of stunning light for me to play with :)

these next three images may seem a little redundant, but i've got my momma goggles on when i look at them, so they all got to stick around.  i have no idea why he was walking this way, but it was so cute i could have cried.  he is developing into such an incredible little guy, and it is beautifully amazing to watch.

it was just the most perfectly wonderful afternoon, and i'm so thankful for everything about it <3

tulips want to be photographed too

after a glorious day of sunshine yesterday, i was a little disheartened to wake up to a gloomy sky blanketed in clouds this morning.  i had checked the forecast at bedtime, so it wasn't like i didn't know it was coming, but i was hoping this would be one of those times the forecast was wrong.

of course, it was dead on, and as a result i spent much of the day wandering around the house wishing for sunshine and half-heartedly trying to engage my kids in playtime.  unfortunately, they were so busy thinking wistfully of the hours we spent outside splashing in the creek yesterday that they weren't so much interested in what i had to offer, and so we ended up passing the time grocery shopping and then lazing around.

by the time 4 o'clock rolled around, it occurred to me that i had neglected to even give my camera a passing thought, and so i began casting my eyes and brain around the house trying to find something worthy of photographing on this less than inspiring day.  my kids had both descended deep into the land of grouchiness, so i knew they were both out, and yesterday fulfilled my self-portrait quota for the next 100 years, so that wasn't an option either.  i was starting to contemplate asking my studly husband to sit in some window light for 5 minutes for me when i wandered aimlessly into the kitchen and my eyes landed on the vase full of gorgeous spring goodness my parents sent me for my birthday.

my husband owes these tulips- they were sitting there just begging to be photographed, and consequently they saved him from several minutes of certain torture.  i quickly hacked my 50 mm lens and started free lensing away, and before i knew it my bad mood started to shed and i found myself feeling not-quite-so bitter about the seemingly never-ending grey that has settled over our spring.

i clicked away until i ran out of angles to try, which luckily happened right around the time the little started climbing up onto the chair i was standing on.  i took and kept more than i had originally intended, and while i meant to edit them to be one cohesive and matching set, i ended up finishing each image with whatever i felt looked best for it individually.  i like the feel of creating a family of photos that goes together, but sometimes they each need to be treated as their own unique image, so tonight i rolled with it.

and here is the result- thirteen tulip images for this friday the thirteenth :)  happy spring- sunshine is surely on its way.

personal photojournalism: the return of the walk

it's blog circle time!  when you're done checking out our spring story, head over to Jessica's blog at Samarie-lei Photography to see how her family has been spending their time! 

it has been a long, long winter in our house.  the truth is, it hasn't even been that cold, and we certainly haven't gotten all that much snow, but my tolerance of temperature dips has taken a nose dive, which kept us cooped up inside for the vast majority of the winter months.  with 2 boys under 4, that made for some long, cold, grouchy days stuck inside our little townhouse.  so, it goes without saying that we were all thrilled when the weather turned warm and springy a few weeks back, even if it only lasted for a few days at a time.  we played outside in the driveway, rediscovered bubbles, enjoyed water play out on the deck, hit every park in a 10 mile radius, and- best of all- reinstated our family walks.

we've been going for walks together as a family since our first was still cooking and we were trying to persuade him to make his arrival.  since he was an october baby, we didn't get many walks in immediately following his birth, but once the weather warmed back up, you could find us walking almost daily for fresh air and sunshine.  when i was pregnant with our second, i was hesitant to get a double stroller, but my wonderful friends and family knew me better than i did and surprised us with one.  it was possibly the best and most used gift we received with him.  i would guess that at least 4 evenings a week in the springs and summers since we welcomed our second son (starting about 4 weeks after his arrival), we've loaded both kids up and hit the sidewalks.

it's our chance to get out, get some air and some sunshine, unplug from the world and plug into each other.  it's an opportunity for my husband and i to have a real conversation while our boys witness the maintenance of a marriage built on friendship.  it's a chance for our littles to observe our little corner of the world and a little slice of nature while they feel the gentle clack-clack-clack of the sidewalk under the stroller wheels.  and, now that they're older and energetic and eager to explore, it's a chance for all four of us to stretch our legs and burn off any energy we may have left at the end of the day.

the big has fully embraced our invitation to him to be freed from the stroller once we cross into the neighborhood behind ours (since it actually has sidewalks, unlike where we live).  he runs 4 or 5 driveways ahead of us before turning around to ask if we saw how fast he ran.  he is eager to pick up every interesting leaf, rock or stick he may find, and he is enthralled by ant hills and flower buds and, in true boy fashion, bird poop covered sidewalks :)

the little has been more hesitant to leave the comfort and familiarity of his stroller seat.  it takes some persuasion to get him to walk on his own, and even more persuasion to get him moving for more than a minute or two before he asks to sit again.  fortunately, he has an older brother who is gentle and understanding and at the same time desperate to share his enthusiasm with his best friend.

it's a simple joy of mine, as their momma, to watch the way they function together.  the little adores his brother so deeply- he watches his every move, he imitates and seeks approval.  he allows his older brother to share his knowledge and experience with things that to him are big and new and foreign.  more than once, the tables have turned and my shy and timid oldest has turned to his brother in moments of overwhelm and uncertainty to be his anchor; this big brother sometimes needs his little brother as a safety net more than the other way around when they're both facing something new.  but when my oldest is secure and confident, that swells within him and pours out of his heart and he becomes the teacher and the comforter all at once, and he leads his brother, who is happy and thankful to follow.

these walks are so much more than just walks for us, and i am so very glad for their return.  now continue around the photojournalism blog circle to see some amazing photos from Jessica of Samarie-lei Photography :)

week 11|52

this week's theme: my afternoons.

this is perfect because it occurred to me the other day that i haven't shot to tell a story in a very long time- and perhaps that's why i've been stuck in such a rut.  i've either been too distracted by everything going on in my life to be able to devote much mental energy to photography (trying to give myself some grace there), or i've been so wrapped up in trying to get one perfect shot that i get frustrated when i can't and feel like the whole thing is hopeless.

here's the thing- getting that one perfect, breathtaking, stop-scrolling-to-stare-with-your-mouth-open shot is awesome.  it's validating and exhilarating and encouraging and motivating and all those great things.  but the problem is that it can't happen every day.  i think even the best, most talented photographers would be hard pressed to create a show stopping image every day of their life.  and another problem with only shooting to get that one perfect shot is that i may get one that i think is "the one"- and nobody else really cares.  i may create an image that i love so much that i just want to stare at it and check my facebook every 30 seconds for 3 hours after i post it to see the reaction, only to find there isn't one.  not everyone sees the same thing when they look at a photo, and that's okay, but it can also be kind of discouraging.

back to the point: this is the perfect theme to help me get back to shooting to tell a story.  as much as i love getting one awesomely gorgeous and amazing image in a day, it's an unsustainable way for me to approach my photography.  i enjoy the process much more when i can focus on shooting to convey emotion and connection and life as it really is.  i like having my camera out for 30 minutes and taking pictures as we go instead of taking the same shot over and over to try to get it juuuuuuuuuust right.  i like sitting down at my computer and knitting together a story with the images i've created.  it's a little more time consuming, but it's also much more fulfilling and meaningful and authentic, and more importantly, much less stressful for everyone involved.

of course, today i chose *not* to shoot to tell a story because i was just too darn tired to have my camera out for very long (thanks daylight savings time!) but hopefully i'll be able to share what our afternoons look like at least a few times this week :)  instead, here's an image of what my afternoon looked like today:

mimi took us to toys r us today.  needless to say, we left with 2 very spoiled little boys ;)

and, because i haven't done a nature shot in way too long, and the blossoms on my mom's trees were too beautiful to pass up: