Sunday, December 20, 2009

pam & co.

Last December I told myself I was going to wrap up work by 12/12 of this year. And all year I stuck to that promise. The theory behind it being that I could enjoy the rest of the holiday season with my own little elves. But about two months ago, Pam emailed me to book a family session. Her baby brother, she explained, was going to be in from the army the weekend before Christmas . . . she didn't need to go on. I immediately heard Bing singing "I'll Be Home for Christmas", and we booked the session for yesterday afternoon. Pam's family was so sweet. Truly. And little Lucas, the 6 month old first grandchild, was just a dream. And Sweet William, yes Pam's baby brother shares the same name with my own baby brother, was such a sport. I told Pam to have him bring his army garb, and he did. The whole family indulged me as we took some Norman Rockwellesque Coming Home shots. The only thing missing was a soft snowfall that I had requested all week. It was a such a bittersweet session. While we all laughed and the family shared smile after smile, it was hard not to recognize the irony: as the family looks forward to sharing Lucas' first holiday with them, they must prepare for the fact that this will be William's last holiday before being sent off on his first assignment. And, of course, I had to dry my eyes about 1/2 a dozen times between shots just thinking about it. I honestly could not think of a sweeter way to close a year of sessions with all of my amazing families, and it truly, truly was an honor to share these moments with this one. Pam, thank you so much for letting me work with you guys. And please give my sincerest thanks to William for being such a sport. Kisses to Lucas, and the happiest of holidays!

cash america holiday party

If the elegant affair at Table Trimmings wasn't enough to get me 110% into the Christmas spirit, then the holiday party for Cash America sealed the deal. A huge tunnel of ice greeted guests as they walked into the Winter Wonderland. Literally as they walked into the ballroom at the gorgeous Omni in Ft. Worth, snow flakes fell on them as the theme song from Harry Potter played. I really was waiting for the little wizard to step out of the shadows at any moment. The menu was To. Die. For. And the whole event was simply faboosh, complete with a live band who kept the guests on the floor most of the night. The company had a little photo booth in the room, so guest could get their sillies out before posing so beautifully for me. All in all, a great night and such an honor to be a part of. This holiday party coincided with their 25th anniversary. Not sure if that is why it was so fancy, or if it's always done up so right, but you can bet I might be crashing it next year! Thanks, guys, for letting me be a part of your celebration. Enjoy your holidays, and here's to another 25 more successful years!

table trimmings

If I thought maybe I needed a jolt of extra Christmas Spirit (and let's be honest, I've been listening to holiday tunes since 11/1), I certainly got plenty of it at Wesley Prep's annual Table Trimmings holiday extravaganza a few weeks ago! Chaired by 12 of the hauttest little ladies around, the gala was unbelievable. The idea behind it is to auction off items in an effort to raise funds. Each item gets a table . . . and each table is completely decorated, off the hook, in a fun, festive way that ties the theme of the item in. One table was adorned with a bust and the tablecloth was fashioned into a prom gown, with all these beautiful place settings (name cards read, "Most Likely to Succeed", "Class Clown", etc.) . . . table after table, all beautifully, beautifully decorated. It was amazing. There were so many wonderful vendors in attendance, as well, and I was able to finish up my Christmas shopping right there! The school's choir, dressed a la Dickens, sang holiday tunes to the several hundred guests . . . who all nibbled on the most delicious smelling foods around. An extraordinarily elegant affair that was flawlessly executed. And I seriously walked away with so many fun ideas for my next tablescape . . . . Courenay, job well done. Thanks so much for letting me be a part of Table Trimmings '09. I hope the event was a success!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

kristen & co.

Meet Miss December. She even has a onsie completely blinged out to prove it. Her cousin, Sadie, was in a few weeks ago, and little Miss Kaylee made her debut last night. Literally a week after she was born (props to Auntie of the Year, Andrea, for setting up the shoot!). It had been a long, long while since I've worked with a newbie newborn. And I've forgotten how blissfully easy it is to mold and move them, once we fill their tummies with milk and crank the temp in the studio up to near triple digits! But look at her: sleeping like a baby. Like Sadie, Kaylee has her own little nickname: Peanut. The tradition started when Grandma thought Sadie looked like a bug on the ultrasound (once they found out she was a girl, they changed it to ladybug). Literally 4 weeks later, Miss Kaylee needed a nickname, so Peanut it was. And since elephants eat the nut, it makes perfect sense to decorate with them (and let's be honest, dear reader, is so much cuter). So she's got lots of little elephants all around her nursery. And like Andrea and Jeff, Kristen and Richard were as calm and patient as could be. Even when we were literally sweating away 10 pounds (each) and waiting for Miss December to arrive in Dreamland. Kristen is a NICU nurse, so things were never more organized or efficient in the studio! And so sentimental: Kristen brought along a baby bracelet, as well as a ring she wore as a baby, and lovely little blanket knit by Grandma for Kaylee. The neatest part about last night, though: finding out that the proud parents are a success story. They met online, married last year and are now well on their way to starring in their own Happily Ever After commercial for the site! Richard, I hope you got to pick up The Hangover on your way home. And Kristen, I wish I was 1/2 as calm as you after the arrival of my first born! Thank you so much for the honor, guys, and congrats! She's such a sweet little . . . peanut. Enjoy your holidays and your sneak!

Friday, December 11, 2009

lisa & co.

Where to begin, dear reader? Where. To. Begin. Jake (8) used to play on my son's teeball team. And when I say play, I mean dominated. He was unbelievably talented both behind the plate and in the field. We were all devastated when he moved on to the Big Boy league. Fast forward two years later, and imagine my surprise when during Meet the Teacher Night this past August, my son's teacher turned out to be none other than Jake the Great's Mom! I didn't even know she was a teacher, and all of my fears about sending my baby boy off to Kindergarten instantly vanished. As of right now, Abby (6), Jake's sister is in the kindergarten class across the hall. And at recess, she and another little girl are constantly chasing my Jacob on the playground. Constantly. It's actually become a joke in my household: "Guess how many girls were after me today?" Jacob will ask at the dinner table. Rounding out Lisa's Fabulous Three is little Hudson (3). Who is Quite. The. Ham. Bone. Quite. And so adorable. All three of these kiddies were such sweeties, minded so well and really flashed me some fabulous smiles! Despite the cold, we had lots of fun and captured some great moments! When I got home last night, I told Jacob that Abby was a cutie. "I know," he said sheepishly. "I see her everyday." Not sure why he isn't doing the chasing right now, but I guess I should be grateful it's the other way around. Lisa, I loved the outfits, and against the golden field, the colors just popped! It was such an honor working with your children, and thanks for taking such good care of my little one on a daily basis! Enjoy your weekend, and your sneak!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

tracey & co.

Little Miss Winslet. We were supposed to take belly shots of her in mama's tummy the week of Thanksgiving. But she had already entered the world 5 weeks prior. You can do the math, dear reader, but this was not a good thing. Well, actually, it was a good thing because it saved her little life. But my goodness, what a dramatic little life she's led ever since. Lots of medical issues that even House would find baffling. But with lots of love, prayers and patience, we're all hoping things are on the up swing. At 9 weeks, she's only 6 pounds. And ever so sleepy. It was like working with a newborn-newborn, and Tracey brought lots of fun little props for our session. This was my fourth time to work with the family, and little Nolan was ever the professional. And once I let him climb up and down on my ghetto-fab step stool, he was all smiles. I really can't imagine what the last 9 weeks must have been like for this family. Well, I guess I can imagine it, but I don't like to go there. The ironic thing, though, after all this stress and turmoil, Tracey and Lamar both just had this calmness about them . . . which you really wouldn't expect given their last 2.5 months. After pictures, the family was off to the hematologist to run more bloodwork on baby Winslet, which I'm hoping will have fabulous results. Guys, thanks for coming out to see me. She is as lovely as her name, and a humbling reminder of just how precious life is. Blessings, health and happiness to all four of you in the New Year, and kisses to the littlest littles!

Monday, December 7, 2009

grady & co.

I met Macy (8) and Whitney (5) this past September, when I took their pictures during Little Saints and Scholar's fall family sessions. I immediately fell in love with them. They were sweet, spirited and so much fun. During that session, their mama, Grady, told me the she was from Abilene, and that she was Celia's sister-in-law. She also mentioned that she was expecting a baby in a few months. Well, Grady loved the pictures so much that she decided she wanted to have baby Kelly's pictures taken. Which brings us to yesterday. A long time ago, when I first started doing this professionallly, I remember thinking to myself, "Gosh, I'd love to shoot a redhead . . . " I don't know what it was about that wish, dear reader, but the photography gods must have heard me. Clearly. Because ever since that wish, I've received a steady little stream of redheaded newborns. And Baby Kelly Dawn was no exception. She had SOOOO much hair (especially for being three weeks), and it was SOOOO red! Delicious. Big sisters were so sweet, so patient, and the only time they "fought" was when it came time to decide who would get to hold Kelly in the pictures. While shooting they told me all about their Elf on the Shelf (you can bet that my house will be hosting one this afternoon), how much they love their cousins, and how when they were Kelly's age, they loved to stare at the Christmas tree. Just genuinely good little girls, as I'm sure the Elf on the Shelf is reporting to Santa on a daily basis. Except for one minor little hiccup: Whintey's propensity to cut her own bangs. This was the fourth time the little hairdresser took to cutting them (because, "they got in my way"). Grady assured me she did no touch ups to the job, and I was quite impressed with the perfect angle at which Whitney cut them. So edgy. Apparently Whitney has her sights on being a hair dresser when she grows up, and I'd say she's got a pretty good eye for it already. For being a mother of three, Grady was super calm and laidback, and just fun. Which is clearly reflected in her girls. My only problem with her, actually, was that when her car wouldn't start in the driveway, she refused to come inside to wait for someone to come and jump it (which, thankfully, someone did). I love the last pic of the four of them, because it accurately depicts their personalities. Grady, it was so much fun. Thanks for sharing your sweeties with me, and enjoy your sneak!

lauren & co.

Lovely Lauren and the Carebear came out to see me on Sunday. They brought with them their two adorable kiddies, Ava and Asher, and Lauren's parents, Yaya and Papa. The session was controlled chaos at its finest! Ava was ever the poser in her gorgeous plum party dress from Papa (last year's Hannukah gift) and Yaya's sparkly gold Mary Jane's (this year's early Hannukah gift). She was fascinated by the fish on the wall. I told her that, if kissed, it turns into a prince (clients who have visisted the studio know of which fish I refer). Asher was not feeling the modeling thing that day. He was much more interested in playing with keys, exploring the studio . . . and just being a boy. Still, with some patience and crazy hats, we managed to get a few sweet shots of the blue eyed boy. And Carebear? He didn't complain once about the pictures! He was most definitely on his best behavior. Lauren, as always, was effortlessly elegant and beautiful (killer cheekbones, I tell ya), and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Yaya again (in from St. Louis). Lauren's dad is an avid photog, so it was fun talking shop with him. We got some fun candids with the kids, and we did manage to get a decent family shot of the four of them (but I loved the one above, as it pretty much sums up being the parents of two active little ones; and Carebear just looks killer kool in it). Guys, thanks so much for coming out to Wylie to see me! I had alot of fun. Enjoy your sneaky!