Playground Fun

Let’s get real, we’ve all done it.  How many photos have you taken of kids at the playground?  On the slides, on the swings, coming down the slides.  But really, how many of the same picture can you take of them at the playground before you have too many of the same photo?  Annddd…what if you post the same photo you’ve taken before on Instagram…{horrifying!} j/k haha.

Here are my tips to spice it up a bit and change up the routine.  Because, YES, even as a photographer, looking at the same photo over again is a bit boring.  “You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

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Take photos from a different vantage point.  Try getting their photo while they’re climbing up the ladder or the makeshift chain thing…whatever it’s called.  Different levels make for interesting composition and a new way of looking at what your kids look like.  It might just be your new favorite pic!

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Take photos of them through things.  Through the different holes or through the safety bars.  Even just getting the kids peeking through things creates a bit of a hide and seek feel in your photos and you can just feel the laughter coming from their eyes.  Is that too Mom sappy for you?!

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Here’s a fun one taken a few weeks ago.  I knew that he was coming down the slide a different way and so I sat there waiting to get just his feet.  I have a thing for photographing feet…I know, I’m weird.

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Let’s end with a smile because who doesn’t like a smile from this guy?  Melt my heart.

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Excitement in the Mundane

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous” – Bill Moyers

As I write this, my guy has upended his box of cars all over the floor {…for the hundredth time} and has decided he wants to cook and is looking through the latest issue of Food Network Magazine.   All while still at the wee age of two and a half.  So today I have decided to dig deep and give you a few thoughts on the way I take photos and how I think up new ways to take them.

Sometimes as a Mom and Photographer, commonly known as the Momtog,  I struggle with what kind of photos to take and which ones to keep.  Although most want photos of their children’s faces, I can handle some of their backs and feet so that when I look back, I can remember how little those feet and hands were.

So I encourage you to take a moment and take the photo as is and appreciate kids being kids…let them play and talk to their toy cars as if they were equals.  You don’t have to go somewhere to take photos {although that random field of yellow flowers does seem nice!}, take that photo while at home or out and about.  Surprise them and and peek out and that sudden grin will be all  you need for that moment.  And even if you don’t have kids, take a moment and take a breath…for truly capturing that moment, because sometimes, it’ll only happen once.  Here are some examples of my personal “mundane moments”.

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{this was taken as is without his face as I wanted to show his hands playing with his car and I liked the contrast between the bench and the dock wall behind him}

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{this was taken at the happiest place on Earth, and surprisingly there was no one in front of us…he turned around to make sure that I was still behind him :)}

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{fresh in the morning and found him playing with his cars}

So there you have it.  No posing and no secrets.  Just let it be.  Every moment deserves to be captured, even if they seem mundane.

Peel the Love!

And now I’m back with an awesome valentine idea from Karrie at the Happy Money Saver! {she’s so awesome!}  This is so adorable, healthy, and inexpensive to do for Valentine’s.  You don’t have to feel guilty at all for not giving out candy, as kids and adults love to eat cuties.  I find that you can buy them cheaply at Costco and sometimes they go on sale at Target for $3.99.  The clear cello bags are 4×6 inch bags that you can get at Michael’s, Joann’s or even the dollar store.  I find that this is the perfect size for the square tags without having to trim anything extra off.

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ANNNDD…this is a big and, she has FREE printables for them on her site!  So hop on over there and download and print!  You can thank me now.  All you need is some of those clear bags and if you feel like getting creative, get the kids to put some stickers on the bags or even write their own names on the tags, {yup, that’s right!  get them to do some work!}

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And if you feel like getting creative, you can use the tag line for different items to give, like bananas or even apples!

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And that’s what it looks like when you ask two little toddlers to pose for you while taking photos! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy New Year – 2015!

Is it January 2015 already?  Since I haven’t blogged in what seems like ages…I can’t apologize anymore for it as it is what it is!  2014 literally flew by and I’m still not sure where all my photos went 😦

The fall holidays have left me spent!  Photography has been kind to me and so my days are filled with taking lots and lots of photos and chasing my guy around.  Thank you to all my clients this past year and that this year will be even bigger and better.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and a New Year…I’m exhausted already.

I fell by the wayside of not blogging at least once a week but far exceeded my expectations by doing it a couple days out of the month.  All these Moms that do it EVERYDAY are EXTRAORDINARY!!!

My camera has exploded and I’ve become a mass photo hoarder (not good for my hard drives!).

My guy has had many blessings last year and have experienced many things.  From Legoland to Disneyland and camping, his biggest blessing is having been able to spend his days with family.

Here are some photo round-ups of the last few months since I haven’t shared in quite awhile! {although I have been somewhat active on IG if you follow me there…I think that counts!}  These are all quite random in their order so don’t judge.

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Top: The Diva was in The Nutcracker this year as an Angel!, with Santa at the Christmas tree farm

Middle:  Carsland at Disney’s California Adventure with McQueen and Tow-Mader!

Bottom: Daredevil turned the big “2” in December and more visits at Disneyland!

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Warm weather was kind and visited Southern California in November & December so we had some nice and sunny beach days!  {Just look at those sculpted abs!}  All the beach photos were taken on different days although it looks the same ’cause he’s wearing the same trunks and holding the same shovel…oops!

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The “let’s look for Christmas trees dance”

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And finally…New Year’s Eve!  {note: we went to bed 15 minutes before midnight!}

Have a great Friday and wonderful weekend and I’ll be back next week to share more new things!  Cheers!

“I’m Gonna Wreck It!”

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Two points to the first person who can name what movie that quote above is from!

Well obviously if you follow my IG feed, then you already know and have seen the kids fabulous one-of-a-kind costumes from the Wreck-It-Ralph movie!  No one else had these costumes and the kids were so adorably cute!  We had several candy givers say how awesome their costumes were!  Vanellope von Schweetz and Fix-It-Felix costumes were done by the amazing Diane Kile {she’s got amaze-balls sewing/creativity skills!}  That contractor belt and hammer were spot on!

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Though we realistically only covered one block…the candy bags were full and the kids were on a Halloween high all the way to bedtime.  So without further ado, here are their costumes and how you can get the same look! {hopefully for less}

My Viking as Wreck-It-Ralph

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  • Overalls – bought at Ross in denim color and bleached out {pinterest tutorial} and then RIT-dyed chocolate brown {easy peasy}, $12.99
  • Green undershirt – already owned
  • Orange thermal – Target, $5
  • Hero’s duty medal – made by Uncle Chris
  • Ralph Hands – On sale for $16 at Level Up
  • Hair gel and brown brow liner – Priceless

The Diva as Vanellope von Schweetz

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  • Sweatshirt & Tights – Joann’s, $10 {roughly?!} and Target, $3.99, pieces were originally white and RIT-dyed to perfection in that beautiful teal green color
  • Skirt – Brown fabric that was less than $5 I think
  • Boots – Ross, roughly $12.99
  • Ribbons – $5
  • Hair Candy – .99
  • Attitude – No cost

Daredevil as Fix-It-Felix Jr.

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  • Workshirt and Jeans – Used children’s store, less than $6
  • Boots – Ross, roughly $10.99
  • Contractor belt and hammer – Handmade by Diane Kile
  • Kid Gloves – Amazon $10.49
  • Hat – e4hats store in Fullerton, CA {they are also online}
  • Swagger – Ingrained

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If I missed anything please feel free to ask me questions/comments.  Hope I’ve inspired you to be a kid again!  Homemade costumes rock!

Happy Halloween!

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It’s that time again!  Halloween is finally here and the kids costumes are right down to the nitty gritty {obviously!}.  Stay tuned next week for photos of their costumes straight from their favorite movie, “It’s make your mama’s proud time”!  They were super stoked to try on their costumes! {see the sneak peak on my IG feed!}

Our first stop to get ready for Halloween is a visit to Pa’s Pumpkin Patch to tour the very, very busy patch and shoo those flies away!  My Viking guy was more concerned about waving those flies away than looking at my camera.  It was such a hot afternoon!  There were lots of jumping bounce houses and rickety rides for the kids {they kinda scared me a little!}.

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I really loved the giant pumpkins everywhere, they added so much character with their different shapes and bumps!

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By the way, all these oranges and yellows make it really hard to get a great shot with the colors reflecting straight onto their faces.  For once, I was happy with direct sunlight!

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{the boys had fun with Lightning McQueen!}

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{trying out a new photo action here, this one above is a matte one…tell me what you think of it?!}

Hope you guys out there have a fun and safe Halloween!

Just Keep Swimming

I realize that I’ve been slacking in the blog department 😦

What can I say…I’ve been trying but sometimes…sleep ultimately wins!  Especially when you’ve got a toddler that is going a mile a minute.  Trying to do activities that keep him occupied exhausts me…and when you’re watching two of them {my nephew Daredevil}, you have to make sure one is not biting the other.  Oh…and a grand tip for you all in general, make sure you have two of everything, same color and same size!  The word “mine” is not something you want to hear every two seconds.

Anyway, one of the things we are doing constantly is swimming.  All the kids seem to really love being in the water in general.  It might be time to invest in wetsuits for the upcoming winter beach seshs.

Here are a few of my guy enjoying his swim lessons.

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Have a great weekend! {I really love that he smiles when he’s swimming!}

Los Angeles Natural History Museum

Welcome to October!  Isn’t is crazy how it’s almost the end of the year again?!  Time for a season that involves wearing my favorite clothing accessory…winter boots, yay!  So look forward to boot photos coming up 🙂 {cold weather boots, furry boots, rain boots, riding boots, and the list goes on!}

This summer in southern California has been a hot one!  Annnd…it’s still going strong well into October for some strange reason.  Because of that we tried to do activities that involved staying indoors and somewhere with controlled champion air-conditioning, which led to the LA Natural History Museum located at Exposition Park.

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It was a fabulous experience for the boys.  I’m not sure what happened to all my photos but these were the only few that I found.  If I find the rest somewhere, I’ll make sure to post them.  All the dinosaur exhibits were aahhh-mazing!  They even had the coolest mug in the museum store, it had a dinosaur inside so it looked like it was coming out of your coffee!!

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They had the most beautiful elevators that remind me of Old Hollywood glamour.

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Many, many jewels inside glass cases inside chilled vault doors.

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We also made a quick stop at the Science Center but didn’t have time to do everything so we’ll be coming back for sure with the Diva so that maybe I can replicate those photos that I can’t seem to find.

Knott’s Berry Farm – 2014

A couple weeks ago we took the boys to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. Knott’s Berry Farm is a smaller amusement park than most located in California, but you know what…they got some pretty darn good rides and the boys were able to go on most of the little kiddie rides…more rides than Legoland…dare I say!  It’s theme is old-town western and nostalgic gold-mine California. I absolutely love all the details in their old buildings down to the dusty windows!  How cool is that house made of entirely all bottles!?

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We even had some train robbers come take a look at the boys’ Jordans!  They really enjoyed that!  It was a gorgeous day but oh so hot!  We sat in a wild west show but I have no photos since we chose to sit in a covered wagon and the vantage point for taking photos wasn’t great unless you wanted to see everyone’s backs!

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I actually haven’t been in more than 10 years, the last time I went I saw Brandy there giving a performance. Yes! I said Brandy…you know…I Wanna Be Downnn {don’t mock me but every now and then I listen to it!}  And back then, our entire family of five fit into the log ride!  I’ll share that photo one day.

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Anyjows, it was pretty fun and we got to go on some mellow rides and some not, some were actually pretty scary for me as a mom. And…some of the rides the boys got to do it alone! They had these belts on that could only be taken off when the ride attendant came around with the key!! Wowzers…they are serious about safety as all parents should be!  I found a coupon online which saved us $20 each so I highly suggest coupon hunting before you go!

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Food wasn’t so bad either, we had ribs and funnel cake with the boys eating mostly the powdered sugar. We also went on a Tuesday which meant little to no wait for rides. It took longer for them to check that everyone was belted in than for the rides itself! Knott’s is more of a day trip, you could probably do everything before the sun sets, which is great for little kids!  {notes for readers, the boys ages are 20 months and 25 months}

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Hope your trip to Knott’s is going to be just as fun as ours! {yes, those are THE Jordans!}

 

 

1st Annual Camping Trip – 2014

As a child I was blessed with some great parents.  Even though way back in the day when their English was limited, they took us on some great adventures.  We took many flights across the states to the East as well as road trips all the way up north to Canada.  It gives me the tingles to be able to share these adventures and begin new ones with my guy and my sister’s kids.

Since this is the first time we’ve all been in the same place at the same time, our family decided to go camping. {WAIT! I lie, the Disney cruise was the first time, oops!!}  And what better place to camp then Lake Silverwood in Hesperia.  As kids, our parents took us there on day trips and I remember those as some good times during our childhood.

Because our guys are very little, we didn’t want to trek too far for their first camping experience.  This was also the first time we were going camping with the Kiles!  {they were great fun with their dr.love jokes!}  Thanks for coming guys!  I hope we have more good times!

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Obviously the kids were so hard at work putting up the tents that they were also the first ones to sit down as well!

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After setting up, we were graced with some beautiful light!

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Again, I took too many photos!  But our food spread was too good not to share!  I mean really Mom…who brings shrimp and squid camping?!  It was a bit gourmet…ookkaayy maybe a lot gourmet since we also had mimosas!

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The kids had a blast at the lake.  It was hard to get them to leave!  The lake itself wasn’t too bad but the wind might’ve been a wee bit strong and made it a bit chillier than normal.

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Lake Silverwood is a great place to camp with your kids.  Hopefully next year, we can do this again a bit longer at a different spot!