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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Love of Family Pictures...

Well now that Thanksgiving has come and gone life has settled down for about a second or two. Last week was crazier than normal I suppose, but I did accomplish the things I set out to, which is always a good thing since I'm easily distracted!

Christmas being around the corner that always means we must do Christmas pictures for our cards. This is something that at times drives me batty and this year of course was no different. Have you ever tried to take a decent looking shot of 7 children before without loosing patience? It's not an easy task, and while my nerves flared up once and a while through this process I did manage to accomplish the task at hand.

The shoot began with taking individual shots of the little guys, this in itself was challenging. Even though they are good in front of the camera, Christmas pictures always adds an extra element to the mix of having to sit still, look at the camera and smile. Now we have props to add to the feel and emotion of the images, which automatically means the children must play with them, move them, click the music button a hundred times while watching the little things dance about in joy. Of course this doesnt make for good looking pictures, so the session is always stopped as I explain for the hundreth time how they need to sit still and not touch until Mommy is done taking the picture. To a 4 yr old however this means "oh well we must touch them then" so the challenge begins!

Finally the little ones pictures are done and look decent enough to include on a card, and it only took about 1.5 hrs! That has to be a record LOL :) So, we move onto the entire family (yeah, real joyous fun) so the portable studio is situated once again. Backgrounds are moved higher because my oldest son doesnt know how to stop growing like a weed. A bench is now added for seating and grouping for 7 children to fit in the shot. It takes a whopping 45 minutes to find a grouping that I like, moving 7 children with 2 4yr old overly active boys is never easy, and trying to keep them happy and teaching patience is yet another challenge! All the while the oldest ones complain saying "why cant we just shoot the picture and be done, who cares how it looks" yeah that's really what a Mom and photographer wants to hear coming from her own children!

So, finally we figure out a grouping that looks good and we begin the shoot. Everyone is cooperative except the 4 yr olds! One is looking at the light while the other is frowning because I wont let him go play with his toys! It takes yet another hour to get a shot that everyone is looking at me and smiling. Smiling is another issue since my oldest son refuses to smile for a picture because he's got that "I wanna look tough" syndrome that I often wonder if it comes from his Dad whom never smiles because he's a "Marine". Men, sometimes ya just wanna smack them!

Anyway, so we finally get the family shot and I'm beginning to feel good about this and am now getting my second wind, so I decide I'd like to have a nice picture of the 3 oldest kids. Now, we have to deal with the whole "I dont wanna lean on him, he's gross" complaints from my oldest daughter because you know it's not cool to be that close to your brother. Or the complaints from the boy because his sisters get on his nerves and this is stupid you want a picture of just us Mom. UGH...what was I thinking? So I get my "mean Mom face" on and begin to threaten lives if they dont act right, finally after 3o minutes of complaints and threats I get the picture I want!

All I can say is this...thank goodness our Christmas pictures of the kids are done for the cards and while I always say "I'm never doing this again" yearly I suppose I should begin thinking up new game plans for next years pictures...thank goodness the majority of the recipients of these cards will never know the pains involved in getting good pictures of my children together!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Football Season...

It's been football season for what a couple of months now and every Sunday our afternoons are filled with Jim and Tyler sitting on the edges of their seats inbetween the jumps, screams, high fives among other types of expressions to relay their joys or woahs concerning the current game and how the Panthers are playing it.

This evening is no different. As I write this I see both my husband and son jumping up and down screaming "yes" or "you've got to be kidding me" chants depending upon the play at hand. Right at this moment I just witnessed the clapping of hands and the screams of YES as Jake Delhomme (not sure of that spelling) made an unusual run for the touchdown and actually made it.

As I watch this activity in my house I often wonder how these guys literally let the outcome of a football game affect the rest of their day. If the Panthers loose the rest of the day is full of irritated men in this house, if they win then everything is hunky dori around here. It's actually kinda funny and I often know what the rest of my day will include depending upon the game results. Either I will be ducking fire or getting all I've ever wanted because of the cloud nine type good moods floating around the house.

So, for the next couple of months I suppose my house will be filled with the wild and crazy mood swings that only football season can bring about. Sigh...men...they are truly a breed I will never understand, I'm so glad I stopped trying years ago!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Boys and Clothes...

Why oh why is it so hard to keep clothes on a boy? Not only do I have one 4 yr old boy who refuses to wear clothes, I have TWO!

It doesnt matter how cold it is, doesnt matter if we have visitors or not, they feel the need to strip their clothing and run through the house free as a bird! What is this about? I'm honestly at my wits end, especially when it's 25 degrees outside and our house is a bit drafty! I mean come on now, this is getting a little rediculous!

I think what really cracks me up about the whole thing is the crazy wardrobe combinations...no shirt, underwear and socks on hands. Or, underwear and gloves on feet. I must say though, this picture truly represents my all time favorite combo of them all, and look at least he has a shirt on...sort of!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Patience Is A Vertue...

We've all heard that saying right "patience is a vertue" and while that is true it's not a "vertue" I was blessed with! Which, in itself is kinda amazing since I do have 7 children and being a patient person should be a prerequisite in mothering. Now, dont get me wrong I'm not one of those Mom's who's constantly screaming at their kids because I'm impatient over things, no not at all. I do however find myself wishing things would move much faster than they do!

Perfect example...my oldest DD wants maternity pictures done. She's seen some maternity images done of her friends and is always so disappointed in how they turned out. Funny how living with a portrait photographer can rub off on others. She notices lighting and composition, the angles in which the images were shot and how things that should be in focus arent and always says to me "Mom, you could've shot that so much better" or "what was that person thinking" which always makes me feel good she has that much confidence in my work and ability, but also sad that her friends have mediocre maternity photos to document such a special part of being a woman.

Anyway, getting back to my point! So, she wants pictures done, and while she's really starting to show it's really not the right time to shoot these images. I told her we need to wait until she's at least around 32 weeks so the "belly" is really emphasized. She of course agreed and understands, but I however knowing this is the proper thing to do for maternity images am sitting on pins and needles to do this shoot! I keep talking to my Grandson saying "you need to grow for Nana so we can do pictures" which in itself sounds stupid I know, but I cant help it. I want her to have beautiful images to remember carrying him, to look back on in rememberance of the love she held for him before he was ever born. Those are the images I think that maternity shots are all about, and that of course is what I want to give her. I have all these ideas in my head swiming around with no where to go for the moment and it's driving me batty at times.

So with my impatience and artistic vision working hand in hand we decided to give it a shot (love the pun) and shoot a couple of images from the side, just to see my ideas in front of me, not just in my head (we all know things are most wonderful in ones mind, but tend to look completely different in reality) and shooting a bit also calms the "impatient" creative side of me as well.

The images turned out well and have calmed me down as I now know what will work and what wont. I still have all these ideas and visions on what the future images will look like, and will of course still continue to think of more things, but for now I'm happy with what we've gotten so far. Only about 7 more weeks until we can do the full blown shoot, so it's really not that far off and I really am looking forward to doing it. Hopefully others will love the images as much as I will love making them, then again as we all know in the photography world, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one may consider "beautiful" another may not. Oh well, it's the way of the world and one we must all accept!

I suppose after I shoot the maternity session for her my next work up needs to be newborn images! I have some really great ideas for that session too...see...the wheels in my mind never stop turning!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall Is Upon us...

The leaves are turning vibrant colors and falling to the ground. This time of year always makes me feel all "warm and fuzzy" inside. I'm not quite sure why, but the cooler weather always gives me a "jump start" after a long and HOT summer! Seeing the beautiful colors the trees were turning on our property I thought it time to shoot some fall pictures of the boys. Why just the boys you ask? Well, considering they are the only ones that will "sit still for Mommy" and do what I ask without complaint, they are my easiest targets :) Not to mention they love getting their pictures taken, so that is always a plus

With fall brings fall cleanup (that's what I like to call it when I'm trying to get the kids to participate in leaf duty LOL) Jim was on leave for about a week, so he helped do some home improvement work on the house and also supervised the brush burning we conducted. Have I mentioned it's really nice to have a husband that is a "jack of many trades" because that means that he can fix most anything that is needing fixing, and also teaches the boys how to do this type of maintence as well! Makes life much easier on Mom.

So, here we are cleaning up the property in preperation for winter. Burning leaves and brush along with the dozen trees Jim and Tyler have cut down around here. Hardwoods of course are cut up and put in the wood shed for burning this winter, while the pines are burnt in the burn pile. Have I mentioned how hard it is to try and clean, cut and mow 6.5 acres? It's not an easy task, especially when your riding lawn mower is broken and you really need a bulldozer to move things, but all you have is a wheel barrel UGH!!! We did however get it cleaned up, I suppose there is an advantage of having 7 kids, as even the little ones can have a job to do in helping out.

Now that all that is done I look out my kitchen window as the leaves fall and wonder how much bribery I'm going to have to conduct to get them all back out there to clean up these leaves...hmmmm...I may have my work cut out for me because as we all know "you need to be out in the fresh air" line doesnt work that well on teenagers anymore *sigh*