Our mom had a birthday, and my sister Melanie Monroe (of Melanie Monroe Photography) and I celebrated by organizing a photo session for the third year in a row. Each year, we photograph our four children – my daughter and son and her twin girls – at a different location. It has become a fun tradition, and each year Mom receives a canvas of her favorite image from the session. This year it was hard to choose! Here are some of our favorites:
I loved this family. Their bright, welcoming home with lots of light, their sweet little big-sister girl “B”. And of course, their peaceful newborn “P” who was very interested in what I was doing there. I love “P”‘s newborn poses, but some of my favorites come at the end of this session, when we finished up in the living room on their big leather couch. There, we captured some sweet moments between siblings . . . and some “real-life” moments, too! We’ve all been there. It’s not perfect . . . but it’s the good life for sure.
My good friend Sarah of Sarah Jayne Photography is about ready to pop with her third baby boy, and she did me the honor of allowing me to photograph her family. I say “honor,” because Sarah is awesome. In fact, if it weren’t for her, I would most likely not be in this biz at all. My professional photography experience dates back to about five years ago, when I asked Sarah the age-old question, “What kind of camera should I buy?”
She has seen me through three cameras since then, and I have sat at her feet for several tutorials as she explained the ins and outs of editing software. She told me what classes to take, what forums to join, and she let me be part of a group of amazing San Diego photographers when I was really just starting out. We’ve shot a wedding together and I have wielded the kooky puppet during her preschool photo days. So, it really was my honor (and Melanie Monroe Photography’s) to do Sarah’s maternity session! Congratulations, Sarah and Ryan!! I can’t wait to meet little Drew!
(P.S. – Right before I clicked “submit,” I saw Sarah written up on the Mommarazzi School blog!)
I never cease to be amazed by my friend Erin of Choirbox (things made of stuff). Yesterday, for Valentine’s Day, she took a favorite photo from their family session last year and created a wonderful handmade gift for her husband Adam. Incredibly talented, she is! (Check out the rest of their bicycled-themed family session here.
This is my grandfather and me in 1976 or so. Papa passed away a couple of years ago, and on his birthday last Saturday I pulled out this photo and our family enjoyed reminiscing a bit. I realized once again how important photos can be, and I was extra glad that my sister and I took the time over the holidays to get some special shots of our kids with our parents and with our grandma.
Our family is really close and full of shutterbugs, so we have lots and lots of snapshots and photobooks and Facebook posts and Instagrams to prove that we love to spend time together. What we don’t have much of, though, is posed photos of the grandparents with the grandkids. We fixed that last month, when my sister (www.MelanieMonroePhotography.com) and I organized a session specifically for the grandparents and grandkids. We didn’t have much time due to a scheduled Polar Express train leaving the depot in Campo, so we had to make it quick, but I’m thrilled to have these.
I won’t deny it. With little kids, Christmas time is just absolutely SPLENDID. You know, unless somebody melts down, has higher expectations than warranted, is over-scheduled and grumpy, or missed his nap. Sometimes the above person is none other than the Mommy. That just about describes my experience putting up our living-room artificial Christmas tree this year. One night when Rod was at band practice, I hauled it in and set it up all by myself (unless you count the kids, who were asking me questions while I was trying to think and dragging random decorations in from the garage at the same time). The tree turned out okay apart from one strand of burned out lights on the left side half-way down, but the Christmas tree putting-up was not quite the sparkly memory I had in mind.
Christmas trees, take two! Our family tradition has always been to get our family room “main” tree from the local tree lot across the street from our church, and this last Sunday afternoon, while we were lazing around on the couch, Rod and I had the brilliant idea to go get the tree. So we did. The kids were all about it. We were all in splendid moods, and we found the perfect tree. Then Rod chopped off the bottom of the trunk, I spread out the plastic, and the kids made themselves scarse (in some way that, miraculously, did not involve messing up the house). We brought in the tree to the sounds of Amy Grant’s “Tennessee Christmas” and the smell of a cinnamon candle. THIS was how it was supposed to be. We sifted through the ornaments and talked about the times when we received them. We only dropped and broke two. And then, I took this photo. As a friend said, “Norman Rockwell is smiling down.” Ha ha! But yes, that was the way I felt that day, and I’m so glad I have the image to remember it by. Merry Christmas from the Gray Family!