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austin 2011

26 May

Ok FINALLY. Here it is! A quick glimpse into our time in Austin! We went to Austin to photograph a wedding but we also decided to turn it into a mini vaca while we were there.

But let me start by saying, the wedding we photographed was INCREDIBLE. Holy moly was it such a great time!! Jen and Steven were fabulous and their day was nothing short of amazing. It was such a special time and a huge celebration! People from ALL over the country came to Austin to watch them tie the knot. And that’s pretty special, if you ask me!

My sister Danielle was born in Austin, TX and hasn’t been back there since we moved away when she was a baby. So we brought the kids and Danielle and her husband Cameron came along to help us with them and to be able to see Austin too! It was SO FUN having them with us! If you travel with more than one kid, I definitely recommend a 2:1 ratio.

Spoiled, I know.

But it really made a huge difference having them there through all the travels. Plus, it allowed us to work and not worry about the boys but to still be able to bring them so we could be together as a family. I am SO grateful!

SO, we landed in Austin without TOO much craziness on the plane. We had one huge meltdown by Rider, but other than that the airplane ride was great! SO we landed and got settled in the place we stayed. We have some good friends who live in Austin who graciously opened up their home to us without hesitation and provided so much more than we could have asked for! They were awesome hosts and again, we were SO grateful that they allowed us to stay with them. They don’t live too far from downtown, which was OOBER convenient and made it a fabulous time for us to be able to see the city some!

After we got settled, we decided to go grab something to eat downtown. Austin’s downtown is LEGIT. Have you ever been there? Oh man. It’s a photographers dream. So many cool spots, awesome people and lots and lots and lots of character!

We ate at STUBBS. It’s famous in Austin. And we understand why. It was FABULOUS food. We wanted to eat BBQ because well, we were in Texas. Duh. (Notice the milk bottle in the top lefthand corner and the beer bottle in the top righthand corner haha!)

Cruz was very fascinated with this bike.

And then THIS GUY walked up. Please check out his shirt, specifically right above Cruz’s head. Innappropriate? Ya, I know. I HONESTLY DIDN’T NOTICE until I was uploading these pictures to this blog. I was just thinking the picture of Cruz talking to random strangers (with Jay) was super cute. I never even saw his shirt. WOW. The kicker? I’m 98% sure that this bike did not belong to this man.

The people in Austin were so friendly. At least to us. And we had fun with so many random strangers that would jump in shots or talk with us. I loved it!

Austin is a fun city.

I love this face.

Some other fun shots.

I love this picture. I love him.

This is where the bats were supposed to fly out. We literally stood there for over 30 minutes, past 8:30 pm and they hadn’t flown out. When it was just about dark, Jason noticed that they were flying away on the distant horizon. So we totally missed it and so did everyone else on the bridge. SO WEIRD. So we went back a couple nights later and we were able to watch them fly out. They didn’t leave until it was pretty much dark so we weren’t able to see them in the sky. BUT, we did see them flying out from under the bridge. And it was kinda loud and smelly!! And there literally was 1.5 MILLION bats. It was crazy.

We ONLY ate at places that were local to Austin. It’s one of my favorite things ever to try new places and one of those that we tried while we were in Austin was called Mighty Fine Burgers. OMG. YUM. If you’re in Austin it’s a ‘must-go’!

Aw. My sweet picky eater. He loved the fries though!

This is Jackson. Rachel and Tim’s little boy. We stayed at their house. Cruz and Jack were BEST FRIENDS the whole time we were there. He still asks about Jack. I wish we lived closer to them because they’d be such great little buddies.

After dinner on this night we went to a store called Whole Earth. They had some REALLY cool stuff inside and we all had fun shopping. Then we all goofed off on the hammocks that they had hanging outside their store.

He’s always picking his nose. I have more pictures of him picking his nose than I know what to do with it. How do kids learn how to do this?? I can assure you, we did not teach him this.

We did a photo shoot with The Allen’s while we were there. We had a blast walking all around downtown snapping pictures of them and of all kinds of things too! One thing is, it was FREAKIN HOT. I mean, humid HOT. I’m used to the dry heat! But it was NOT dry. And it was HOT.

We were able to snap a family picture while we were at it. I love this picture.

Some other shots of us roaming around downtown.

Other cool stuff I saw. I know this post is long. It’s almost over, I swear.

He loved checking out the planes as we left. We didn’t want to leave.

So you guys. PLEASE go check out Steven + Jen Stamps wedding. Their wedding post is up on our site and you’ve got to check it out! They got married at The Driskill Hotel and it was SUCH an amazing day and celebration!! We were so honored to have been asked to be a part of their day! And we loved traveling to another location for a wedding. With our kids.

We totally have the bug.

I can’t wait for the day when we can travel on a regular basis, nationally AND internationally. With our kids. It’s pretty rad.

We loved Austin. I would totally move there if the right opportunity arised. Humidity and all! Ok wow. This post is SO long. Thanks for reading it. And thanks for waiting for me to post it. These past several weeks have been some of the craziest of my life.

But I feel like I’m ALWAYS saying that. God keeps opening doors for us. Including us getting a few of our weddings published in a pretty well known magazine to be out later this summer. SO STOKED. I am so grateful for this job. I am so grateful that God told me to ‘wait’ for all the years that I desired to do this but never did. Because it definitely wouldn’t be what it is today if I had relied solely on MY timing. It’s rad.

Can we please travel somewhere else to shoot a wedding? I want to ASAP.

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we made it home!

1 May

And let it be told, we had an AMAZING time in Austin, TX. That city is INCREDIBLE. One that, aside from the fierce humidity, I could totally live in.

Maybe we will someday.

The boys were incredible travelers. We had a few hiccups, meltdowns and temper tantrums. But that is to be expected when you’re traveling with a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old. Needless to say, it went incredibly well. The weather was mostly great, the company we stayed with was priceless, the wedding was beautiful (with a true life ghost story coming from yours truly) and the city was, well, let’s just say 5 days there was not enough time.

I sort of felt like I was having the time of my life.

Also, please note: if you are planning on traveling ANYWHERE that requires getting onto an airplane with children, you MUST have a 2 adults to 1 child ratio. My sister and her husband came with us to help us with the boys while we worked, and I found myself wondering how the heck people travel without help! They were SO gracious to go with us and to help us with ANYTHING we needed. It was priceless to have them along and I am forever grateful to be surrounded with people who constantly help me be the kind of working mom I want to be. It was so much fun that they were there with us!!

AND, I quickly discovered two ‘traveling must-haves’ that will accompany me wherever we may go when the boys are little. That includes this:

And this:

Seriously. Both of them (mine each are different colors than what’s posted here) made traveling TONS EASIER with two kids under three. It was pretty amazing how NOT stressed out I was as we traveled to Texas and back.

I will be posting my ‘ghost story’ and pictures of Austin soon. Not to mention, pictures from the wedding we took there at the incredible Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin.

Glad to be home. Sad to be home. It was so much fun, I’d love to go back.

* The items that are pictured above are The Combi Twim Sport Double Stroller and The Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack. To die for and HIGHLY recommended by ME.

traveling!

26 Apr

Tomorrow, we are heading here:

Yes, we are going to Austin, Texas!! We are photographing a wedding out there for a very sweet couple and we are so excited! They have been on our calendar for a year now so we have been anticipating this for awhile now! So stoked that it’s here!

We decided to stay a few extra days while we are there AND we are bringing the boys with us! Little mini-vaca while we work. We’ve landed some other Lifestyle Sessions and the wedding is on Friday! So while we are there, we are going to try to see this:

Did you know that a million bats fly out from under a famous bridge EVERY NIGHT in the downtown area at dusk??? CRAZY and I can’t wait to see it!

Pray for us as we fly with the boys. Cruz is SO excited to go in an airplane! And my sister and her husband are coming with us to help us with the crazy monkeys.

So fun!

disneyland 2011

31 Jan

Pardon my absence. We’ve been vacationing in Disneyland for the past few days and with two little guys, that’s hardly a vacation! I hardly had time to think, let alone blog or do anything else! Ha! It was a very fun trip, although doing Disneyland with your small kiddos is quite a different experience than with zero children. We were so excited to take Cruz though. Since he’s now two, we were stoked to watch him take it all in and somewhat understand and remember this trip. And we were right! He’s still talking about it and talked about it the whole way home! I did manage to take a few pictures, although I intended to take many more. That’s what happens when you have a 5 month old who hates his life the entire trip.

Seriously. Rider couldn’t have been more difficult.

But we started out the trip in the car with NEW cars for Cruz to play with! He loved it. We even set up our laptop so he could watch the movie Cars, Toy Story and even Monsters, Inc. Definitely made traveling with him a little easier in the car.

We stopped to let him play at McDonald’s and to feed Rider. We got him a new car and decided that spoiling him a little bit on this trip wouldn’t do any harm. Not like he needs another car, but he was excited to get a new one nonetheless. At this point in the trip, Rider wasn’t fussy at all. He had slept the whole way and was a pretty happy and content little guy!

And then after a couple more hours in the car, little man was tuckered out. Aw.

Then we got there and checked into our house. Yes, you heard me. HOUSE. If you are ever traveling anywhere, especially with a lot of people, you NEED to check out HomeAway.com. We were able to rent a 6 bedroom, 5 bathroom house for super cheap for 3 nights! There was 9 of us, including the boys and everyone had their own rooms and bathrooms, basically. Cruz and Rider each had their own rooms too! It was so nice to be able to spread out and be comfortable while we were gone. Hotels are great, but they get pretty pricy quickly and you usually don’t have the option of a suite that’s big enough for 9 people without it being super expensive. I ALWAYS check HomeAway.com before I resort to hotels if I can because it’s an awesome way to stay places for pretty inexpensively! Check it out for sure.

We got up the next morning and headed to Disneyland!! This is where I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have hoped. Rider was a PILL the ENTIRE day. I think he was cold all day long, but I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. I tried to bundle him up, feed him often, change his diaper, check his teeth- EVERYTHING. He was not happy. I then thought (stupidly) that I would take him on a couple of the rides that you can bring babies on and see if that would distract him. First, (and I’m not really sure why) I took him on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Which, looking back was a horrible mistake. Ha! It was too much overstimulation and he was a wreck when we got out.

THEN, I thought I’d be clear to take him on Pirates of the Caribbean. Again, another HUGE mistake. He screamed, and I mean SCREAMED, the whole time. It ended with me sitting in the boat sobbing with him. All any of us could hear was a screaming baby. No fun for anyone. When we got off the boat, I apologized PROFUSELY to the strangers that sat on the back half of our boat and they were very nice and gracious to me. They said, at first they thought the baby cries were apart of the ride! Haha!! Yea, they were definitely just MY baby actually screaming. *Sigh* So Rider didn’t go on any other rides after that. But he was very difficult the whole rest of the day. And I couldn’t figure it out.

Cruz, on the other hand, was such a good boy! He obeyed and loved every minute of being in Disneyland! We ran into Woody and Jesse too! The line was SO long, so we didn’t wait for a photo op, but we did stand off to the side so he could see them. Then, Jesse decided to come over to give Cruz a high five even though we weren’t in line!! It was so great. I don’t have a picture of it but I do have a video of it. Here’s a picture before Jesse came over.

My mom FINALLY got Rider to go to sleep. This is after he had been awake and fussy and screaming for 6 hours. Yes, from 8 am until almost 2 he was awake and a VERY unhappy little camper. Grammy to the rescue!

The next day, I layered Rider’s clothes like crazy and then I brought several blankets to keep him warm in his seat, as well as hats and more socks. And low and behold, it worked! Come nap time, he actually slept for about an hour and a half in his seat on the second day we were there. What a relief! I felt like I could actually enjoy Disneyland with my family and not have to worry about Rider. He was obviously way more comfortable this day, which is why I thought maybe he was too cold on the first day. Weird, because I thought I had dressed him warmly! But he was not the happy kid we are so used to. This was more like it.

We grabbed breakfast every morning at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen at Downtown Disney. Um, YUM. They have these amazing bengets and egg sandwiches too! It was so fun being with family!

Cruz is a bit obsessed with the Pixar movie Cars, so we were thrilled to run into these two!

Every time we wanted to ride any of the rides, we always had two of us get a Baby Pass (which is AWESOME) and wait with the kiddos while everyone else went on whichever ride we were at. My sister and I were waiting outside of Tower of Terror as everyone else ran to ride it, and while we were waiting these toy soldiers from Toy Story came out and performed for a crowd that was there! It was SO cute! Cruz calls the toy soldiers ‘guys’ every time he sees them, so he just kept shouting, ‘Hi Guys!’ haha! It was too cute! Now that we’re home, he keeps talking about seeing ‘The Guys’. Too funny.

And of course we followed Woody around the whole entire theme park.

I sorta failed at taking good, amazing pictures this weekend. Like I said, I had a pretty cranky baby on my hands and while I did have a lot of family that helped a lot, there was just a lot going on so I wasn’t able to focus on that. Ugh. But I did snap one shot while we saw World of Color inside California Adventure. If you ever get a chance, you HAVE TO GO SEE IT. It’s phenomenal. I mean, it’s unlike anything I’ve seen and I can’t wait to go back to see it again!! For most of it, my mom held Rider and he and Cruz both were mesmerized by the show! It was incredible! I have video of it and I kind of want to post it, but I’m afraid it doesn’t do it justice.

The rest of the trip was great. We went on lots of rides, ate way too much food, and had a blast!! On our way home, the boys were much fussier than they were on the way there. So we had to make extra stops, which made for a long day yesterday! But Jason’s hat kept everyone occupied and laughing.

Then we got word that my mom, sister and brother-in-laws car broke down right outside of Indio! They had to be towed back to Indio to see what the problem was, and it turns out that there was a major problem with the radiator. Now, I’m no mechanic, but I do know that that is not good. They ended up having to stay the night in Indio, rent a car, and are having to tow Cameron’s car back to Phoenix. What a mess! We felt so bad for them but are happy that everyone is ok for sure. Other than that, we all had a great family vacation! We are already planning our next trip for this November!! We love Disneyland and we LOVE going there as a family. As hard as it was to have Rider in the park, I’d do it all over again for the experience of it. It was hard and exhausting. But it was so much fun!

Oh and I have to leave you with a picture of Rider in his new ‘ears’ we got him while we were there. I saw the beanie Mickey ears and he HAD to have them!! More like, I had to have them I guess. Ha!

home again

16 May

I’m home again and very thankful to be here! Although, I had a BLAST in Cali and the Boudoir shoot I did went amazingly well!! Girls weekend away is definitely a MUST and I really should try to do it more often. This time I was away from Cruz for two nights, which is the longest I’ve ever made it away from him. It wasn’t hard, but I did miss him terribly.

Seeing him and Jay are the reason’s I’m thankful to be home.

So today I head out to photograph a wedding with Jay as Session Nine Photography! I’m stoked about it, it’s going to be a beautiful wedding! Let’s hope Rider allows me to work and doesn’t sit so high up that he causes my back to KILL. Like he’s been doing lately. Doesn’t he know by now that mamma’s gotta work?? Ha!

So I’m glad to be home, grateful for the trip I just had and ready to embark on the next two weeks which are going to be CRAZY. The packing has begun and wow. We have a lot of stuff.

But I’m grateful always to come home to this face. I love this picture- taken last October.

I’m not sure that it gets any cuter. I mean, really.

endless energy & exhaustion

8 Feb

These are my thoughts exactly.

What an incredibly long day. What a long weekend.

Cruz traveled home a little better. It was still rough, but the airplane ride was way more tolerating than it was the way there. We had two flights today- the first was from Seattle to Sacramento. The second was from Sacramento to Phoenix. I think it helped Cruz that it was a little more broken up and that he was able to stretch his legs between flights. But the last stretch was kinda rough.

We are exhausted. It was a great weekend (exhausting and long, but still great!) and we are feeling pretty positive that we’ve made some decisions. No, I’m not ready to share them yet. We need to tell a few people what we’re thinking first before we go announcing a decision. Sorry! It will be soon, I promise. It feels good that we are at the beginning of moving into our decisions. I’m ready to make something happen rather than to just wonder about it and hope and think. We finally did get some clarity this weekend and so that feels good too. But it’s been exhausting.

Speaking of exhaustion, this whole ‘extreme fatigue’ thing that happens in your first trimester is really hitting me hard. I think that was a huge factor as to why this weekend was super difficult for me- that on top of the normal stresses of a trip like that. It’s so hard that I can’t just lay down and sleep until I feel better. When I was pregnant with Cruz, I slept my first trimester away I’m pretty sure. But now that I have to take care of Cruz, I can’t just stop and sleep all day. I know everyone gets through it because everyone has more than one kid usually and everyone is working it out. But it’s just hard to feel completely exhausted but to have to run around with an almost 15 month old- who has more energy than any little kid I’ve ever known. I mean, seriously. Geez.

Before we left the bed and breakfast this morning to catch our flight, I looked out the window and saw this:

That is Cruz’s toy camera that he decided to throw out the window at some point during our stay. In case you weren’t aware, it rains a lot in Seattle. So after I spotted it, I had to bundle myself up and Cruz and head around the house to go retrieve the toy camera. Which was soaking wet and struggling to work. When I got there, I found three other toys that he had thrown outside the window when I wasn’t looking.

Endless energy. I’m laughing about it now, but there are times when his endless energy kinda drives me nuts! Ha!

weary day

7 Feb

I’m not really sure what’s going on. But it’s been a very, very difficult weekend for Cruz. I mean, he’s been really acting up and just extremely difficult this weekend. And if you know my kiddo at all, you know that he is anything but difficult. Even Jay, who characteristically gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, agrees that Cruz is just kind of being a terror this weekend.

And we can’t figure out why.

He had a difficult time on the airplane and never really recovered since we’ve gotten here. He’s still his happy self at times, but just being really naughty, moody, fussy and difficult. Way more than usual. I can’t tell what the deal is. He hasn’t been eating well at all. Grapes. The kid has been filling up on grapes. But he doesn’t really want much else- even his favorites! He’s drinking a lot of milk and water, so that’s good at least, because I know he’s hydrated. And at least he’s getting some nutrients from the milk. He’s not sleeping super well. We were up and down with him last night and couldn’t figure out why. He has a small diaper rash. Is it his teeth? I haven’t ruled it out, but he’s not drooling like he usually does when his teeth are bugging him.

*sigh*

I’ve almost had a breakdown a few times while we’re here, I’m not going to lie. Traveling with a kiddo is an entirely different ball game. I’m exhausted from the weekend and I’m 8 weeks pregnant. I’m worried about Cruz a little bit, simply because he’s been acting so weird. I don’t believe in signs really, but is it a sign that we aren’t supposed to be here? Ha! When we’re outside and when he can run around, he’s a happy camper. I just don’t know what to make of this.

I’m just really exhausted physically and mentally. I’m praying for some clarity tomorrow (Sunday) because until now we seriously don’t have an answer either way as to what we want to do. Or what we should do. Or what God’s telling us to do. I’m just feeling completely overwhelmed and have to trouble shoot with Cruz like I’ve never had to before. All while keeping a smile on my face since we are in fact, being interviewed.

All I really want to do is take a five hour nap and watch HGTV all day long. Especially Color Splash. It’s my favorite.

So we are tired and running on empty a little bit. Please say a prayer for us if you think of it. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this tired and anxious about our situation and really need some strength. It was just a long, weary day. And I’m ready to come home, know the plan and get working on moving. To either city we decide. I just want a decision. And to go to bed. And for Cruz to sleep all night long.