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.

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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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Perception & Reality: Soap Box

Perception & Reality: Soap Box

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I think back on growing up, or even stories from those of generations past, and I get frustrated. Now granted I really don’t think the people as in the human race has changed so much over the years, but access to one another has increased 10 fold. People have judged each other since Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden.  For bible followers you know it is mentioned over and over (Matthew 7:1, Luke 6:37, and so on). The point is we judge. But what was once whispered in another’s ear, or gossiped about in small groups, is now plastered on social media. In the past people didn’t rent a bill board to say “hey sally waitress was flirting with my man, & made snide comments”, but it doesn’t take long to find that type of thing viral on Facebook.  Women have whispered and made assumptions for years. Men too. And I’m not above it. I try not to, but now and then I find myself judging other moms, or colleagues, or famous people, whatever. I try to catch myself and stop it in its tracks. However, it seems to have become acceptable to blast people on Facebook as if its not the same as taking out an add in the newspaper. Newsflash: posting to Facebook is the equivalent to a pre 2002 posting in a local newspaper.

And we can’t parent like parents used to either. For the same reason! Now granted I was raised a bit different from others my age, and I tend to have a hard time knowing what is acceptable for the age of my child. One day my husband didn’t hear the bus and my son (kindergarten) wasn’t allowed off as no one was there to meet him. This is in the country mind you, where the next neighbor is a quarter mile down the road. Its not a group stop. Picking my son up at the bus garage I made the mistake of saying she could have let him off to see if the door was open, and wave if dad was inside. WHHAAATTTTT!!!!! You have never heard a group of women get so appalled. Took everything I had to hold in my “CALM THE FLOCK DOWN!”.  Silly me. Its not the time of kinder kids walking to school alone anymore I get that. But WOW. In town if the kids live within one mile they have to walk. What happens then?

We now live in a time where kids walking alone to the park leads to CPS. Kids alone at a pool get kidnapped, peanuts are banned from schools, and farming technique advancements can kill you. You neglect your baby if you feed formula, and are obscene if you nurse in public. You are an absentee mother if you work away from home, and lazy or non-contributing if you stay home with the kids. Thin and your viewed as unhealthy or vein, heavy and your lazy or careless. Eat GMO and you’ll get cancer (I don’t believe this, don’t attack me), eat organic and you’re grossed out (or is that just me?). Put your kids in multiple activities and your overachieving and a helicopter parent, leave them out and your poor or not concerned with your child’s social and mental expansion.

Perception becomes reality with few to no questions. People look at protesters as those at the Oregon wildlife refuge and think “what a bunch of crazies, why hasn’t the government shut them down yet”. But at the same time, rioters burn down buildings and yell to kill police, and its understandable. The line between the two is so gray it comes down to social portrayal. Imagine this: a newer construction suburban neighborhood in what’s considered “county” draws young parents which draws friends of those parents. As often happens in human nature the group is drawn together by children of similar ages, parents with similar interests, similar beliefs, ect. After say 5 years many in the neighborhood attend the same church, or branches of the same church. Kids go to the same schools, and parents have what seems like neighborhood barbeques since they are so connected. Heck the HOA puts on a yearly block party, and meeting every couple of months. Two more years go by. Kids are getting older, they see their dads go on occasional hunting trips and decide they want BB guns. Kids are now a bit old for the traditional Daisy Red Ryder, so for Christmas one gets a more advance model kida looks like a real gun, but its got the bright color markings. No big deal. Neighbor kids get jealous, and slowly a few more boys get some too.  One day a couple of the dads take the boys to shoot targets. Its laundry day and a Saturday. One dad for lack of clothing wears a pair of cargo pants and a camo shirt the last clean one. A kid from the group just likes camo and wears it with everything. Sue nobody is looking at the neighborhood with the prospect of buying a new home, and sees the camo clad gun toting bunch. What is wrong with these people! They’ve armed the kids. She tells Beth, who changes the story a bit, who tells Jessica. Jessica knows of someone in the area and mentions they are really close nit, they have regular meetings and all go to the same church. Beth mentions to Sue, who now has the impression this is so not the place for her, but is a bit extra concerned for the kids……..

Sound a bit like maybe it should be investigated more? We don’t need another WACO right?

I get its totally conspiracy theory like, but how far from likely is it? lets just throw a quick online rant about the creepy neighborhood for grins in there and see how far it can go. Its such a scary thought! Perception becomes reality so fast anymore!

I can keep going, but its depressing I will stop.

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.

Winter Wonder Land

Winter Wonder Land

This year we have gotten more snow then the entire winter last year. My son is in heaven. Th first snow fall he was up and dressed in full snow gear and running out the door before the sun was up.

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It’s great to watch. Last year I felt like I was depriving my son of the basics of childhood. He didn’t seem to understand the idea that we could have frost, but no snow. I found him trying to make a snow man out of the frost that had fallen from our trees.

Across the road is an irrigation ditch, it makes for great sledding. It brings back memories of my own childhood sledding. We lived in wheat country. with great rolling hills and wash outs. We would all gear up and spend hours in the snow. Grandma would call us in and our noses would be frozen, and our lips blue. So cold it would actually hurt to warm up. We had a great hill, and at the bottom a creek ran through and as a result there was a wash out which made for a great sled launch. We would compete to see who could make it the farthest, then regret it as it made the hike back so much farther.  My great aunt taught us that the fastest sleds weren’t sleds at all, but waxed cardboard boxes.

Winters as a kid were hard. We would get snowed in most every year. Two girls trapped together for days on end could get into some real serious fights believe it or not.  I remember one year in particular a snow plow driver would plow through the area checking on residents. As he drove through, the snow would fall back in behind him. That year was so bad we would sled off the roof. We made igloos and snow forts. We had some of the most elaborate snow wars a kid could survive. And each snow cave we made sure to test. How do you test a snow cave as a grade-school kid? Why shove the rottweiler inside of course! We had a theory about that dog, if he went in and stayed, it must be safe. The day one caved in and buried him I thought Grandpa would kill us. We also used to push him out onto the ice of the run-off pond behind the shop. We weren’t allowed to play on it as it was at least 6 feet deep, but we figured if he went on the ice, it must be safe. haha.

And with that tidbit, I sign off.

Merry Christmas everyone, and God bless.

A valentines weekend to remember.

A valentines weekend to remember.

 

 

 

 

May I start by saying my hubby was awesome and got me a beautiful necklace with our son’s birthstone. With that said, I’ve decided that once you hit that age between “our sweet baby”, and “thank God we don’t have to pay daycare anymore”, you have the death point of romantic valentines alone. Now there are a few exceptions for this, however it’s not us.

To paint a picture of how valentines went for my home, let me start by saying hubby’s Grandma turned 80 on valentine’s days, and my sister in-law had her birthday the day after. So Saturday we met up with the entire Wolther clan, and then went to a nice dinner for Grandma’s birthday. I was impressed; normally my father in-law tries to do this on her birthday. Now in years past we’ve gone, and felt incredibly guilty for invading a nice restaurant on valentines with a table full of under 5. This year, we went Saturday, but still it was a table of 22, and 7 were 6 and under. 4 of which NEVER eat out. Kudos to hubby for getting us there a few minutes before the other parents. We were able to get the end of the table with the adults, handed our son my cell phone to play games, and not a peep from our crew. I do have to admit though, past experience had me very concerned with this dinner, and may have even encouraged a few pre-funk drinks and one as soon as I was seated at the table. The kids were all great! I was shocked!!!! No screaming tantrums, no yelling, no fighting, I was impressed. I know that was partly due to the staff, we warned beforehand. They were prepared with actual coloring books and crayons. Good coloring books too. I think there was strawberry shortcake, ninja turtles, dinosaurs, and bubble guppies or something. It kept the kids happy and quiet.

After dinner we took my brother in-laws kids so he could spoil his wife for her birthday. I have one son, that’s it. I more or less fall into the “where’s your mommy” aspect of caring for other’s kids. So you can imagine taking on their two kids had me a bit nervous. Hubby would be home though, and no way was he ditching me. We had an agreement. Now keep in mind, they have always been awesome about being willing to watch our son especially for short notice, our daycare lady is sick type days. So obviously I was more than willing to return the favor, just nervous. Plus they have a girl. A girl I usually keep preoccupied letting her examine whatever necklace and rings I happen to be wearing. That only works for so long.

Anyway, I made a deal with Hubby, if he would be DD for dinner, I’d take on the kid stuff once we got back to the house. PJs, story time, “hey stay in bed”, the works. Seemed like a great plan. For Christmas I made our son a giant tent fire station, so I agreed the kids could camp out in the fire station in the living room as long as they were good and went to sleep. Yeah, fire station did not last long. The girl was kicked out 1st, couldn’t stay on her own side & leave the boys alone. My son was evicted next, couldn’t handle not talking. The last one made it all of 2 minutes and he was kicked out too. So now I had, a little girl in the recliner, my son in his bed, and my nephew on the couch. I felt like the hall monitor pacing the house making sure no one was up running around. I made it to bed about 930. Seemed pretty good to me, until I couldn’t sleep. I think I was too concerned about someone getting up and getting into something, mainly little missy as she has food allergies out the ying yang, and last thing I needed was a sick little girl that’s barely potty trained.

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So 6 am rolls around and tada! Everyones awake. Good Morning! In all fairness I planned to get up around then anyway. My father in-law was bringing my hubby’s uncle and aunt over to see our new house, and that man doesn’t understand the idea of acceptable morning hours. I have found him at my house before 5am more times than I’d like to remember. The most recent of which my grandma was sleeping in my living room and he let 2 dogs run around all crazy on hard wood floor, but I digress.

So anyway, we’re up, figuring out a milk free, gluten free, diabetic appropriate, and kid friendly breakfast. Blah! But I’m going, “I got this”. And I did. Hubby took care of dishes, while I made scrambled eggs, sausage patties, and bananas. I even thought about taking a picture to prove we rocked it. I decided that may be a bit much. The day actually went pretty good, even managed to get 2 down for rest, and a certain little girl to nap! Who-Rah! Now I will admit, I have not dealt with the newly potty trained in a couple years, so I forgot to keep asking her if she needed to go potty, or ask her to try. Should have, because pretty soon hubby asks me if she always changes her clothes that much, and why she felt the need to take off her panties in the living room. Hint hint, take care of girly problems wifey. I rush in, turns out she copped a squat on our chair hovering over the crack between chair and ottoman, and I now had a wet mess to clean up. Her mom was awesome enough to send a couple outfits, so between that, towels, and carpet cleaner, we were good.

In the end, I may have had toys everywhere, marbles in a humidifier, a blanket on my French doors blocking out sun, and a fire station in my living room, but I learned that I have a pretty awesome hubby who helped me keep my sanity, and I’m probably not equipped for twins.

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