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.

“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!

The Chrysalis

Remember those beautiful caterpillars I photographed in my sister’s garden in May?  Well, due to Mother Nature and bad timing, I never got a chance to see the rest of the stages.  There were about five caterpillars and we only visually saw one open chrysalis.  Here’s a link to the previous post with the caterpillars.

Well, fast forward to now, I had seen only one tiny caterpillar and now, ta da {as Daredevil would say}, we have THREE chrysalises!  I think the scientific word is pupa…but really who wants to say pupa?!  {it sounds too much like poop!}  So, let’s stick with chrysalis, it’s so much prettier anyways.

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The chrysalises are so beautiful.  They are similar to jade earrings and the color is insanely gorgeous!  {no color retouching!}  Look at those gold sparkles!

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That one there looks the most different from the other three.  It has a deep brown and gold ring at the top.  I wonder if that is an indication of the butterfly’s wing patterns.  It’s amazing either way.  I really do hope that I get see the butterflies making its way out of the cocoon…that would be so special.

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I remember visiting a butterfly farm on our cruise trip on St. Thomas and seeing them behind a glass window. {I probably posted it as well…} but seeing them in my sister’s garden with an unobstructed view…priceless.  {insert master card commercial}

Have a good weekend and aloha!

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!

Why I Blog

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(photo credit: Abra Klinger Photography)

August is coming to a close and September is nearly here. Half the year is over and Christmas is fast approaching. It’s crazy how fast children grow and if we don’t stop to enjoy life’s precious moments, it can be gone in a flash.

Today I’ll be answering some questions I got from my friends when I first started doing this blog. I think it’s important that I share them because they represent who I am and my views on life.

“Why did you start this blog? Was it to document your son’s life growing up?”

I started this blog for a variety of reasons. Here are the main ones. I needed an outlet to share everything, I mean everything! I’m always looking for tutorials on crafts, sewing, photography, diy’s…so why not “do my duty” {doh!} and contribute as well! At least I know someone, somewhere is reading it. And yes, some of it is to document my son growing up and to share my experiences with my readers and hopefully spread some joy and love through my photographs of him. My heart is so full of him that I need to share it with whoever is listening.

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“It always looks like you’re doing something fun. How do you do it?”

My camera is always nearby within easy reach. And no, we’re not always doing something fun. Though it looks like we take trips all the time, we are not. They are probably spaced about a week or two weeks apart. I just manage to photograph as many photos as I can and also delete many photos…or you can call me a photo hoarder.  Even though many phones are capable of taking fantastic photos, I still prefer my DSLR and will lug it with me everywhere even if it does make my bag ten pounds heavier.  We also look for cheap places and look for groupons whenever possible.  For the most part, toddlers are free everywhere.

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“Your photos are so happy. Do you have any of them with the kids crying?”

Thank you. Kids being happy in photos makes me happy. I have as many happy photos as I do of them crying. I choose not to publish the unhappy ones because the kids don’t have a choice yet of how they want themselves portrayed online. When they have an opinion on it, I will then ask them. And when they get older, if they say no pictures…no pictures it is 😦  Luckily for me, the Diva is almost always willing to pose for me!

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And there you have it, questions answered! If you have any more, shoot me an e-mail and I will answer them! I read every comment and question so please be gentle!

Watermelon Shark & Chocolate Cake

Shark Week is still going strong!  What’s a party without a shark shaped watermelon to serve to your guests?  Thanks to my brother-in-law Jon for taking the time to contribute to my guy’s fin-tastic party.  It was jaw-some!

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There are many many tutorials for this online and especially on one of my favorite websites…Pinterest!  So take your party to the next level and make a shark watermelon to serve your fruit out of and also serves as a visually appealing decorative item to the party! However you do it the little ones are going to be sooo amazed!

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And let’s not forget about his fabulous 2nd B-day birthday chocolate cake done by one of my favorite peoples in the world, Eunhye Shim!  You can follow her on IG @SUBBIE120!  Her work is gorgeous, freaking amazeballs, and taste delicious as well! {you know normally you get the great looking cake and then it taste like paper?!…hers is a little slice of heaven!}

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All our favorite things in a cake!  The ocean, sharks, and surfing baby on a polka-dot board! I know you can’t really tell in the photos but I’m sure it is not coincidental that the board is somewhat a replica of my very own custom 7’0 polka dot fun board!  Her details are stunning and it is such a gift to me that she was able to contribute this to his B-day party!  She’s sooo busy!

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It was so hot and humid in the afternoon that by 2:00, Bruce the Shark swam down to the table 😦

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She’s great right?!