Country Wedding

Country Wedding

Last weekend I had the opportunity to dust off my cameras and revisit my love of wedding photography. Really its more that people are generally happy and pretty for weddings. That’s my personal honesty secret. I love photography of people when its fun, and people are pretty. Not pretty in the “look at those magazine attractive people” type pretty, but the natural glow of content people enjoying life. The ones happy to be where they are. That is what I enjoy capturing.

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Subjects I don’t really enjoy? Maternity, babies, large groups. Why? Lets start with Maternity, I don’t have the heart to tell women that the beautiful woman in the magazine is not only air brushed and perfected lighting, and spent more energy and time then they really want to, they are usually about 6 months pregnant. I try to encourage early shoots, but even then, pregnancy is miserable. Yes, you “glow”, and are sooo blessed and happy, but your legs/feet hurt, your hips hurt or feel awkward, you waddle, clothes rarely fit right, and all the other things women don’t say out loud often about being pregnant. Yes, sometimes its great, and the photos turn out awesome, but often its exhausting, and I’m not good at making it “fun”. Other people rock at this, I don’t, so I stay away from it.

Babies? Real newborns, like still sleepy and don’t care what you do new born, I like that. I just want to be warm and snuggled, don’t make me be naked newborn, that sucks. They tip, they roll, they cry, and they can’t hold up their own head. I stress all the way through. SKIP IT. I only do my own, and as for anyone else, not until baby can look around.

Large groups? This is like the “lets do a big family Christmas picture” type large group. The one where there are 8 kids under 10 that don’t want their picture taken, or at a minimum don’t want to take the picture the way mom and dad want them to. Throw in at least 5 adults, 2 of which are reprimanding kid behavior, no thank you. This also includes the groups of 4+ kids under 6 – I don’t herd cats either. Just an FYI.

Those 3 topics are why I have no interest in really getting into portrait photography. That’s what we all want want, all the shots I just complained about. I love the happy shots, and the emotion shots, that’s my passion behind a camera.

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Like catching a kid enjoying post rainstorm puddles.

So when my friend was asking around for someone that could do photography on short notice, I made sure to start with “what would it be for?” As soon as I heard small wedding, I said, “Why yes I do know someone available”,  “Let me show you some past work”.

 

All weddings have confusion and crazy times, I just love getting to capture that and the love behind it. The prep time, the one-on-one time…..

For example, working with kids. What do I do when they just won’t cooperate? Start snapping, and see what you get.

Maybe even throw in a fun filter.

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I actually have to work to not get caught up on the couple and make sure I get the family shots too. You’ve gotta include Grandma!

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But the couple is by far my favorite:

 

And the oops moments, like struggling with the garter:

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And every now and then I re-write history:

Before: Fishes

After: Just 2 beautiful women – thank you Photoshop

And throw in a couple shots of the decor for good measure.

It was great to break back out the camera(s). I like having 2 so I can have 2 different lenses at the ready. Normally I would just have the one, but for a wedding its pretty handy. My fear is if something happened to one God forbid. I’ve heard horror stories of cameras getting dropped or stolen mid shoot.

I have had such a great time with this though, I realized I really need to take time to give myself a little artistic outlet.

Maybe I’ll work on doing a photo challenge series.

Working Mom

Working Mom

The other morning my son asked “why don’t you make stuff like my aunties”?

Dishing up my breakfast I responded confused “what do you mean?”

“Well Aunt A makes syrup, and Aunt R makes apple sauce, and ….”

And key knife twisting. In the most positive voice and a smile I could muster I explained that I did make apple sauce, and I don’t like homemade syrup, plus I use it too fast.  We discussed the benefits of stay at home mom’s and working moms, and how we need to do what works best for our family. We also talked about how we try to make sure he is still able to get as much quality time with each parent as possible.

I am part of a circle that many families are quite blessed in their ability to have the flexibility of a parent home or available most hours for the kids. My son can’t see that most of those moms work in one form or another, and only a couple are not working from home, but we talked about that too.

This really got me thinking though. Sometimes I think as moms and humans in general we really struggle with comparing ourselves to others. Social media has really amplified that too: Amazing moms posting amazing cakes and crafts on Pinterest. Fun family vacations, and perfect Christmas pictures on Facebook. We rarely stop and realize we are comparing our real life to the highlight reel of others.  When we see the perfect family with the perfect portrait pose, rarely do we think or realize that the photographer was bribing the kids with candy, or that husband and wife may have been arguing 20 minutes before over finances. Looking at the perfect birthday decoration ideas on Pinterest how often do we think about how perhaps it’s that perfect because the blog writer is paying bills by making others see perfection?

I find that from time to time I get so caught up trying to make up for working that I waste time on the details that probably won’t be remembered in 10 years.

Perfect example, I tried to earn mom points with cool shaped sandwiches in my son’s lunch. What a waste of time. By the way, you have to cut the bread before you make the sandwich – would have been smart to read the directions.

For my son’s 6th birthday he had a perfect Army Transformer’s cake, with a party at an arcade, everything looked planned and perfect. What wasn’t seen was that I forgot all about how close it was, and suddenly it was the day before and I had no cake, no decorations, no birthday gift. I had a reservation and invitations out. That was it. Late the afternoon before I was calling around like a mad woman trying to find a cake. I got lucky and Walmart had one the right size, and even sort of fit what he wanted. Birthday came, and my son thought I was AWESOME. But I knew I was a wreck.

It’s life. Life is a rollercoaster.

My life is not always perfect, and somedays I feel like I’m a wreck just barely getting by. In the end though I know my kids will look back and think “mama did her best, and loved me unconditionally”.

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Baseball Birthday

Baseball Birthday

This past weekend my baby turned 1. I avoided thinking about it as long as I could , but at a certain point I had to accept that my baby is getting to be a toddler and let him have his day. Hubby’s mom was up from out of state, so the family would all be at the house, and that alone is a full house.  Just hubby’s family made a house of 9 little ones and 8 adults. We kept the party limited as we expected to need to be indoors, and I’m not sure about you, but that basically maxes out my home especially having that many kids running around. However, we had a great surprise in the form of an 80 degree sunshiny day.

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Thinking back it turned out great, but I really do owe it all to hubby. You see, I decorate, and plan, and fuss over the minor details. He on the other hand implements.  He’s the one that remembers the practical stuff; the things I wouldn’t use personally and therefore don’t think to buy, pickles, tomatoes, extra chips. I also don’t seem to understand how much food kids eat. The family gathered at our house the night prior too, the chips were eaten, the veggies were eaten, dinner was eaten, and popcorn was eaten. I was out of ideas, and one of my snackers was gluten and dairy free. I was in a bit of a panic for the next day. All I had planned was hot dogs, popcorn, and cracker jacks. Hubby to the rescue! He picked up all the practical stuff and no one was hungry at the end of the night.

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And since he took care of the real party needs, I got to set up cute baseball theme decorations. Baseball invitations (sample pic below) which turned out perfect!

Vintage Baseball Ticket Invitation - Baseball Birthday Party Invitation - Boy Birthday Party - DIY Printable

I ordered those here. Baseball toddler photos curtesy of me. Thank you. Baseball baby smash cake, I’m not a cake decorator, but I think it turned out pretty good. Baseball themed party supply table with a couple pictures of the guest of honor. And my awesome sister hooked us up with slip and slide baseball.

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We couldn’t have asked for a better family evening on the farm.

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Prayer Wall Project

Prayer Wall Project

When we first moved into our mini farm home, hubby brought me home an old large picture window frame. He thought it would be great for one of my photography or craft projects. I loved it! However, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with it. This window has leaned against the wall in our home oddly fitting in with the décor it was hiding behind. There it sat for going on 3 years.

Last week an idea popped into my head and I decided we needed a prayer wall in our home. Somewhere to post pictures of those we pray for, inspiration, big goals that seem unattainable, whatever fits. I wasn’t sure what this was going to look like, then one night a picture floated into my thoughts and it was the frame. And so, my prayer wall has taken shape.

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While cleaning the frame I became distracted by spider webs/nests. Took a few minutes to come back from my mobster mentality of killing anything spider related.  But I digress.

After cleaning the window (both sides), I hot glued mini clothes pins randomly across the glass. Next I printed some pictures I had that symbolized my prayers, and I printed them onto regular printer paper.

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Using some tags I picked up at a craft store at some point, I glued the pictures to the tags.

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I took some extra tags and wrote a few favorite scriptures. On the back of a couple of the pictures I jotted down my prayer.  Earlier a speaker at the bible study I attend gave us moms scripture cards.

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You can find those here. Those fit in perfectly.

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I’m kinda in love with this little project. Not too over the top, and fitting for my family.

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By the way, when I told hubby my window idea, he thought I was talking about the giant picture window that is the front of our house. I believe its 12 ft by 8 ft. the mental image makes me smile.

I almost died this weekend

I almost died this weekend

So I almost died this weekend, and I wish I was being dramatic.

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Hubby and I took Friday off to finish our wills. We had 1 easy correction, and needed to sign. So here we are driving down the highway when a black pickup decides he is tired of being stuck in a line of cars or something, and decides to pass not one vehicle, but two on a solid double yellow line on a curve. One of those vehicles was a semi-truck! I have never been so grateful to have God on my side, and a husband that is pretty skilled at driving.

It’s not uncommon on this stretch of highway to have cars pass in unsafe areas. It’s actually one of the deadliest highways in the country. But generally when someone passes when they shouldn’t, they try to force their way back into their lane. As the on-coming vehicle, you slow and drive down the shoulder mentally cussing (and sometimes it’s out loud) the unthinking driver, and continue on your way.

Friday’s situation was so far from the expected bad situation. The driver of the pickup realizes too late that we are there, slams on his breaks, apparently realizes he is still alongside the semi, and as my hubby is already braking and heading for the shoulder, the pickup decides that’s also his best bet for survival. Our vehicles are now still careening toward each other at a slowed rate of maybe 55 MPH now. Pickup continues to our shoulder forcing Hubby to steer back into the tiny space between the semi and the pickup neither of which has quite made it to the shoulder. The back end of the car breaks loose and we start fishtailing in a space so narrow I already wasn’t sure we would fit.

At this point, the only thought on my mind was “this is how it ends. My oldest is in class, and the rest of his immediate family is either taking a ride in the coroner’s truck, or a helicopter”. Pretty sure the infant in the 5 point harness will be the only one to get a ride out of here alive”. As I write this, that awful feeling still sits with me. We almost left 1-2 babies alone.

God gave Hubby the amazing ability to evaluate, react, and counter react so perfectly. He was able to switch between braking and heading to the shoulder, to braking and going back to center, to speeding up and powering out of a fishtail. Everything worked out so perfectly that of the 5 vehicles that almost collided that day, all of us drove away without a scratch of damage.

This whole scenario played out in the time it takes to go from about 63 to 40, and back to 60.

As we drove off, I made it maybe 1 more mile into safety before the tears hit. The irony hit me about the same time. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh, cry, be angry, or grateful.  All of those feeling were right there at the surface. Once I felt safe and reassured we were all alive, I couldn’t help be laugh a bit at the irony of it all. 2 inches left or right at any point, and someone would be trying to decide if the intent of a will was enough. Here someone would have found a mess of legal paperwork on intended guardians, power of attorney, and healthcare directives all over in the front of the car. Guess if intent is enough, it would have been in a handy location.

Funny Farm & Auctions

Funny Farm & Auctions

Not too far away is an auction house, or at least that’s what I’m going to call it. It’s really a big chunk of property where a business is located that hosts several outdoor auctions year round. So my “house” comment may be misleading. Should you attend, and manage to stay for the entire auction, you will leave with either heat exhaustion or hypothermia. Usually the crowd is filled with farmers, ranchers, retired farmers/ranchers, hired hands, and the odd and end person that just enjoys auctions. You can buy anything from a combine to a pogo stick. The items always surprise me. We went as a family one day and my son wanted to bring home an old race car trailer. His logic was that there was also a bed it in, ummmmmm, no thank you.  It was probably a 1980s model, converted goose neck, with what would be considered by some to be converted living quarters. It was more junky mobile mechanics trailer than camp trailer. I wish I would have taken a picture. I can only imagine my son was picturing being a human version of Lightning McQueen. In fairness, the trailer was red.

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For obvious reasons, the trailer was not purchased that day. However, my son had caught the bidding fever. We told him that if he was good, then when it got to the toy part of the auction, we would see if we could get him a toy combine. Turns out there is a high demand for said toys. We stopped bidding at about $75 which was well past my comfort zone already. The bidding goes up, and my son who sees that I’m no longer throwing my hand up, starts to throw his up in an attempt to bid! Thankfully the auctioneer laughed, and I was able to hold his arms down, but we owed him a toy after we left. They ended up selling for $150 apiece. The catch was that you got your choice of tractor, and some were collectors.

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This story was really not my point, but I got caught up. You’re used to that in me by now. Ha-ha.

My actual point is, that this auction also created an auction monster in my husband. He goes with his dad, and you never know what they will come back with. One auction trip they came back with a truck and trailer load. Of course when I looked at it I was mainly confused as to what the stuff would be used for. I was given explanations like, “well I really just wanted this, but it was on a pallet with all that, and it was too cheap to pass up.” Haha. Well then!

However, this last auction turned out great. I must admit, I was a bit concerned when hubby asked how much $$ was in the checking account. Now, kudos to him for remembering that I transfer any extra money into saving almost as soon as checks hit so that the money doesn’t get absorbed. I’m not sure how, but if I don’t move money to savings right off, it seems to just disappear. The comment/question still made me nervous. However, I should give him more credit. He bought fence posts (much needed), and a 20×30 shop-ish. We have plans to build a shop, but in the meantime he has stuff out in the weather (lawn mower, trailer he’s putting a new deck on, ect.). So this temporary shop he bought is actually quite perfect.

It will look something like this:

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With getting this, the shed he previously used is now getting moved and converted into a new chicken coop / feed storage building. We will be building a wall to split the shed in half so one side will be for chickens, and the other will have the feed stored (stay tuned). Plus there will be a trap door to reach through for egg collection from the feed room side! That is the part I’m excited about. Everything is getting re-vamped to be more user friendly. I’ve always been more partial to the hooved farm animals, so anything to limit my interaction with the feathered, peck at you farm variety, I love.

So far, we’re (like how I keep saying “we” – ya that may not be accurate) still in the early stages, but the shop has started going up!

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I took baby out of a field trip to watch daddy work. It was quite entertaining. He couldn’t bend at the waist well, so needless to say, he laid down for the sled trip. At 8 months, baby is wearing 18 month old clothes, so the baby carrier I would have used was too small when I got him bundled up.

Best late excuse – sorry cops were searching my house.

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So my internet has been down, but it is up just in time for me to tell my crazy running late for work story. So here goes. Deputies don’t drive around our area very often, so yesterday morning I was a bit surprised when I saw one drive by, then a little annoyed that he drove through my property treating it like a personal turn around. But hey whatever. So I take my son to the babysitter and realize I left my cell at home, then didn’t tell her or get her phone number again. Living just down the road I decided to rush home and get it. Like anyone living in the country (and some city dwellers), I left the truck running and ran inside to grab by phone. As I’m coming out a deputy is pulling in. Now I know something is up, but at the same time, I’m struggling to care as we are shorthanded at work, I’ve got a gal from our CA branch there to meet with me, and I’m already going to be late. So as politely as possible, I slow down to see what the deputy has to say.

Here’s how this goes:

Deputy: “You look like your leaving, have you been here all morning?”

Me:  “for the most part, but I left just a bit ago and took my son to daycare, but forgot my phone.”

Deputy: “well, we have a really bad guy running loose right now and we suspect he is trying to find a place to hide and a vehicle to steal”.

Me: “so, leaving my pickup running with my purse in the front seat while I run inside, probably not the best plan”.

Deputy: (eye’s rolling) “No. Do you ever leave your doors unlocked?”

I must have made a funny face (I’m no poker player), because he does this exasperated eye roll with a “you leave your doors unlocked” – more of an accusation this time.

Me: “well the back door to the laundry room, but there are 3 big dogs in there, so I highly doubt he made it in”.

Deputy: “We have reason to believe he is hiding in your house, would you like us to check it?”

Now this seems to be a pretty big leap, but given hubby was going to be working out of town and I would be coming home alone with a 5 year old in tow……

Me: “well, alright, I should at least lock the door, your welcome to do a walk through”.

I go in real quick, and my inner bad ass is going I’ll  just check the rooms myself real quick – if I let the dogs out its going to be this big stop harassing the deputies (there are 2 now), don’t lick, don’t knock them over, yada yada yada. At the same time my brain quickly touches on that I have a pistol hidden nearby, but the deputy is standing right there and that seems inappropriate. I figure if there is a bad guy, one scream and the Great Dane eats the bad guy and cops come running in. I say “I’ll just peak in and lock the back door real quick”. I failed to mention that the laundry room leads to more of the house.

Me: (as I come back) “Well, I locked the door, and there doesn’t appear to be anyone hiding in the back bedroom or bathroom, or anything”.

Deputy: (serious eye roll) “you checked the rooms yourself?”

Me: “yes, their clear, however, you are welcome to check around the property outside, I don’t think anyone would hide in the chicken coop, but feel free to check around”. My mind touches on the hidden pistol again, but that still seems weird to get out with the deputy standing there, plus I’m sure picking up a gun while in the presence of the deputy would definitely slow down my progress of getting to work.

At this point, the local farmers are pulling into my driveway and I’m still going, I’m totally going to be late. I do a quick introduction, and everyone was nice enough to move trucks for me. I called the gal down the road and let her know what I was told – “stay in side, bald white bad guy hiding in the corn field”. Turns out she knew too. So I tell hubby, who is now not so happy being away, but gets the full story from the other neighbor after I hung up.

So here’s the outline:

Turns out the neighbors son was moving out and the night before had loaded up his guns, TV, and misc stuff in his truck. The next morning he goes to leave, and this guy is steeling the stuff in his truck. So the neighbor’s son takes off chasing the guy on foot into the cornfield boarding our property. After losing track of him the neighbor goes back to his house and finds 3 guys in a car have arrived and are trying to take off with his stuff. Deputies arrive about this time and chase the 3 guys in the car, who in turn roll their car. Deputies found a bunch of master keys, slim jims, and other paraphernalia. Those bad guys get arrested (guess they also punched the ignition on another vehicle in the area).

Later in the afternoon I hear from my neighbor’s dad (whom I work with) that they caught the bald guy. Turns out the irrigation district worker was going by and stopped to ask what all the commotion was about, so my neighbor tells the story. Irrigation guy goes “no way, a guy matching that description just walked out of the corn field and is walking down the road right now!” so my neighbor drives down to see if he is still there and calls one of the city officers directly. My neighbor gets flagged down by bad guy who asks to borrow his cell charger! Needless to say, neighbor says no, and the city cop arrives and detains bad guy until deputies arrive.

So there is the craziness of yesterday morning. Lesson learned: locks doors, and perhaps leave dogs out.