For the first time since my brothers wedding in January, my whole family was all together. It is getting pretty tricky for us all to be together.
We are also blessed to have my grandparents in Idaho. I haven't seen my grandpa for six years! They moved to Ohio shortly after I graduated from high school. He was able to meet my children and husband for the first time. It has been great to spend time with them.
It was appropriate for me to make my family take a family picture as our quality time together. Literally, that was the activity. I am pretty sure my siblings all love/hate me. They love having these sweet pictures, but hate getting their pictures taken haha.
I have so many memories of our Idaho trip to share that I don't know where to start. We spent a week at the lake with Blake's family, went boating at Alexander, went to the fair, spent time with my grandparents, took family pictures, and so much more. I'll have to share more pictures, but for now, here are these sweet memories!
A fun session I did a couple months ago was for my sweet friend Mindy. Mindy is the grandmother of this little joy, Kenzie! I hadn't taken pictures of Kenzlie since she was a brand new baby. I was thrilled to have her back in my home for another session.
Mindy had kept her daughter's dress and blanket for 20+ years and had the idea to use them in pictures with Kenzlie. Mindy and I were texting and I started joking that we should set up a Christmas tree. Kenzlie would out grow the dress before Christmas time so there would be no other option to perfectly match the picture unless we set up a tree in the summer! I thought about how simple it actually would be for me since I have a fake tree and a fake fire place.
We then realized Kenzlie had a dog really similar to the one her mom had as well. Oh my goodness, I also had a grey rug. Now it was just too perfect!
To prepare for the session, Dawson and I put on Christmas pajamas and decorated half of the Christmas tree. We literally only set up half of the fake tree! It was really exciting for Dawson and got him excited for Christmas. Every time I called it a "tree," he corrected me and said, "no, silly mom, it's a Christmas tree!"
There was no complaining at our house about this event; Kenzlie clearly didn't mind getting dressed up for the occasion either.
Tilleea has been a good friend of mine for the past couple of years. She is a fellow photographer and refered me a few clients when I moved to Arizona. The Allen's were moving their family to Washington, and Tilleea still needed to get her family photos done by me before she left. We did them just a couple of days before they loaded their truck.
I felt a little bit nervous to take pictures for Tilleea because I admire her photography skills. I feel nervous for every session because I want to produce amazing images, who am I kidding!
The Allen's introduced me to the most amazing place ever after our session! We went to The Soda Shop. It's the cutest, and most delicious! We got yummy cookies, and I got an orange type drink. I loved spending that time with them since I won't get to see them for a little while longer. I have loved getting to know them. They have genuinely enriched my life and made me a better person.
I hope they love and cherish their images forever. I love sharing about my photography and life; I would love if you left me a comment.
From a recent FB post:
This is not something I am perfect at...but it is something I feel strongly about. Sometimes we as human beings have a hard time loving ourselves. We call ourselves names and call out our flaws and imperfections especially when we are being photographed.
At the end of the day and the end of our lives, who will our photographs be for? Who will they be special to? The people who love us don't care about our flaws and imperfections that the camera picked up. They will not have even noticed because it is already something they love about us. They love us deeper. They love us no matter what extra pounds or imperfection we carry.
This life is worth documenting. You're worth documenting. You're lovable. You and your loved ones deserve to have pictures of you!
Do you know those times that you laugh so hard, and then think about what you were laughing about and start laughing again? That has happened to me A LOT in my life. It happened to me last week, actually. I came across this story. SHE IS HILARIOUS! I know we could swap motherhood stories and die laughing over and over again.
Dawson laughs really hard A LOT. He always has, and his laugh hasn't changed at all since he was a baby. He makes us laugh really hard constantly, too. He is a comedian. The time he made me laugh the hardest happened earlier this year. I kept laughing over and over again. For days and days. Hours and hours. Months and Months. Now I am doing it again.
Lisa, Natalie, Melissa and the kids had driven from Idaho to come visit us. To help you understand the situation, Melissa had a baby who was three months old and Linden was about seven months old. Jack and Ellie were two and Dawson had just turned three. These children are all cousins, and the adults are either siblings or siblings in law, and Lisa is my mother-in-law. We had two double strollers, a single stroller and a baby carrier and sometimes another single stroller to get around. Melissa and Lisa LOVE shopping. We shopped a lot. I had just potty trained Dawson about two months before they came.
We went to Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe to go the the Aquarium. It's an hour drive to that mall. We met up in the Food Court and played on the Carousel for a while and then walked around and shopped a little. Before we made it to the Aquarium at the other end of the mall, it had already felt like a full days work. One of them had a blow out and had his shirt rinsed in the sink and was still wearing poopy clothes. We looked like a mom club pushing so many strollers all in a row! I'm sure Dawson drank my soda, and some of Blake's. I'm also sure it was hard to find a bathroom, and that he was having to much fun to ask to go.
It had been hours since he had gone potty. I know, I was failing at motherhood! Eventually, we made it through the Aquarium. At the end, there was a playground much like the ones you see at McDonalds. It also had a sitting area for parents! SWEET! Us moms from the stroller mom club hadn't sat down like all day, or week. SOOOO much shopping and caring for children.
I remembering saying to my husband, "I bet Daws needs to go potty," but didn't do anything about it.
There were a lot of little families happily playing on the playground. A little boy came down to see his mom. This mom had medium short hair that spiked up everywhere.
The spiky hair lady then yelled, "WHY ARE YOUR SOCKS WET?"
I wasn't clueing in yet... but then there was some chatter. Things like, "It wasn't my kid; my kid is still in diapers." "Mine too!"
I still didn't quite get it.
Mom's were checking pants.
Melissa asks, "Did Dawson go potty?"
In my head - al;skdjfal;ksdjf lkjflkajflak dsjflk!
SO THEN ALL THE MOMS STARTED CHECKING THE KIDS SOCKS! ALL THE KIDS HAD WET SOCKS! And still the chatter. "My kid is in diapers." "It's not mine!"
I secretly brushed by Dawson, felt his shorts and swiped him up then told my mom club, let's go. We booked it out of there so fast you wouldn't believe. Melissa asked me if it was Dawson. I shook my head no. She had a little smile cause I am sure she kind of knew.
Then as soon as we got 100 yards away from the aquarium I started hysterically laughing and it didn't stop for 9 hours.
Dawson chaffed as he walked to the car.
"Dad my leg is wet! It really hurts when I walk!"
And I just really couldn't stop laughing about all of those parents in commotion about the wet socks. Or the fact that my kid peed in a jungle gym, AND I SCATTERED WITH A FIVE STROLLER CREW! Clearly it wasn't completely obviously that it was one of those kids from the five stroller crew.
And then we went to IKEA. I didn't stop laughing. I laughed the whole way home. I texted all of my friends and family and told them the story. I still wake up laughing in the night. Am I evil?
To the mom who had to clean poop off of a boy and bathroom for twenty minutes and probably wants to get banned from Chick-FIl-A... I want to be banned from the Aquarium! Haha! You are so courageous! I flaked, but I still laughed hysterically, just like you!
It's so funny being a mom. And embarrassing.
I'm so sorry for what happened. Next time, maybe I'll admit it was my kid and buy everyone a new pack of socks.
Since I am normally working with families making kids smile and trying to get their attention, Becky's head shots were a change of pace for me. Her business is not modeled around somewhere I would normally take my family clients, so I had to think outside the box for a location. However, the place we went is actually really fun and unique in the morning light! (Queen Creek Library)
It was actually less exhausting to not sing Mickey Mouse or make beeping sounds to get her to look at the camera. I do love doing that at family sessions though, haha.
Becky was really fun to talk to and take pictures of. She was really photogenic and she looked great. It was fun chatting with her about her business as well. Becky is is a very talented graphic designer, mom and business woman. I'm sure she is talented at a lot more, but that's the main things we talked about. :)
Here are the links to her website if you want to take a look at some of her work!
Thanks for having me do your headshots Becky!
My friend Sherri had told me that someone might be texting me about getting pictures done! Thanks Sherri! I was thrilled to meet Dylan! I texted Dylan's mom for a little bit and then she sent me a picture of little Dylan. My mind was blown! He was the cutest little boy EVER!! I immediately committed my daughter to marrying him and THAT was THAT. I am so excited to work with them again. Not only is Dylan cute, he is hilarious.
This session was going to be one hour long and include multiple outfit changes. As soon as I got his first smile, we changed his outfit. I wanted to get a happy face in all of the outfits. I didn't want to get all of the smiles in just one outfit and tucker him out too soon. I felt my strategy worked pretty well! His pictures turned out adorable, and his parents were thrilled with the finished product. I almost took him home with me, too. It was a great day to be a photographer, that's for sure.
"I was blown away by how great Nicole was with my son. Having only ever taken pictures in a studio, I was not sure what to expect or how my son would act. Nicole was excellent and captured him perfectly. The images were great and more than I ever expected them to be. I can't wait until the holidays this year and my son's next birthday. Anyone looking for a great photographer, look no more!" - Stacey Fullmer
Arizona can be difficult in the summer! I was about to cry taking these pictures because the blazing heat was death. I went and got my swimming suit on and did snow angels in the toddler pool! It felt amazing! These pictures were worth it!
I do love Arizona. It has blessed my life in many ways. I have met so many great people. I've grown in many ways, and so has my family. I am going to share some of my favorite things we have done in Arizona. We haven't necessarily done them in the summer, but we've done them none the less!
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park was incredibly cool! The exhibits, history, and model railroads are a must see! It is super fun for all ages! Grandmas, toddlers, school aged children, and parents. You can spend as little or as much as you would like. We spent $20.00 for three adults and two children. We road on the train, went in the museums, played on the playground and looked at the AMAZING model trains. I will go back every year for sure.
I love camping and fishing at Bear Canyon Lake. We are camping/mountain people, however. You have to love the wild. haha. If you go a little farther than the Lake there are some isolated areas.It is refreshing to get away from cell phone signal and responsibility and enjoy family time relaxing together! There are a lot of lakes in that area for fishing, boating, playing in the water, etc etc. Arizona has a lot to offer and places that are not deathly hot, too!
We also enjoyed visiting the Grand Canyon on our camping trip to Flag Staff, Arizona! Both places were incredible! I would love to go back this summer and do something more adventurous in the Flag Staff area.
Also, refer to my blog post about our San Diego trip! I am excited to explore more in California and go to Disneyland some day!
Now, for some daily life in Arizona...
Chandler Public Library has been a favorite place of ours to go for story time. It is nice to go in the summer time because you get out of the house on a weekly basis. They have a reading area for little toddlers that is convienient right after story time!
For my San Tan Valley friends, the Anthem McDonalds is always a good idea. The Playground is really big and nice; We go there probably more than I realize in the summer! The community I live in has so many parks! My kids love going to the park. In the summer it is nice for them to go and burn energy and it's lovely to go and do that indoors! Dawson doesn't complain about getting chicken nuggets either.
We have also been to the Phoenix Zoo. Someday I would like to go to one of the other zoo's in the area. I had a great laugh watching the 4D movie of RIO with my cousin Sam!
During the wonderful, cooler months in Arizona I appreciate this state and tell my family I would never move back to Idaho. They are enduring the nasty winter while I am enjoying the beautiful weather. Meanwhile, in the Arizona summer, Idaho is AMAZING, AND I WANT TO MOVE TO IDAHO. SUDDENLY I HATE ARIZONA AGAIN! HAHA.
So...We go to our community pool, the splash park in Queen Creek, play in the sprinkler, color with side walk chalk, color in coloring books, paint with finger paints, play in the hose in our underwear (the children) and watch lots of movies!
And, we visit Idaho. I can't wait to see you Idaho!
I just have to start this post by saying, how cute is this sweet little pea?! Could you die? I seriously could! Elle was seriously the easiest baby I have ever posed! She was SO sleepy! I don't do many babies, but recently I have done a few in my house and in my friends' homes. It has been uplifting to take pictures in families homes and see how joyful it is to welcome a new baby into a home! It brings back so many great memories of welcoming my babies.
It was wonderful having Jessica come take Elle's pictures with me. It's so fun getting to share photography excitement with friends and come up with ideas together.
The Fryer family is just the coolest! They actually brought us cotton candy the other night. I'm not even going to tell you how many days it took us to eat it. Or minutes. Not a big deal.
I can't wait until I get to take their pictures again. The Fryer's have two super hanesome boys whom I adore. It's going to be too much to handle taking pictures of them with their brand new little sister, and of course Farrah, my best pal!
Thanks for for letting me take these sweet pictures of your darling miracle, and thanks for being sweet friends!
Okay, people... I just about tried to google ideas for naming this post. It could have been, "Happy Father's Day" or "My Dad." We will see what it actually ends up being!
I knew if I googled something, nothing would actually fit the true character of my dad. The options my brain was bringing me were "Pull Up Your Panty Hose," and "Don't Miss Me too Much." Those are things my dad says a lot. Haha. So I guess I will name this post after panty hose and you all can question my sanity.
For Father's Day, I gave my dad a video with a lot of pictures I had collected. I was trying to make it for him for his 50th birthday in February, but that didn't happen! My brother and Ashley decided to *elope* (just kidding) so I didn't have a lot of time. Then we accidentally drove two hours in the wrong direction trying to get to my dad's birthday party at my own life long home. Can I win at life? NO! I can't!
I think I have so many wonderful stories to tell! What I mostly want to tell you about today is, my wonderful dad, and my trip to see him for Father's Day, too!
If I could think of the most beautiful place on earth, it would be Grace, Idaho.
I was blessed enough to go home for Father's Day and spend the day with my parents, sisters and brother! It was such a joyous day! We watched the video I made for my dad about ten time, we took a trip to the dam my dad had been working on, and we went on a beautiful bike ride. I couldn't get over the fact that there were wild flowers growing on the side of the road, and it was so green! Grace is so peaceful and unbelievable in the summer. It's such a breath of fresh air.
As we watched the video of my dad and as I created it, everyone in the world would be able to tell that he is an all around good guy. No one has to convince me of that because I already know.
Work ethic is put into action by my dad himself. He is sturdy, protective, reliable, loyal, steadfast, unshakeable, generous, hard working, and never gives up. I have loved looking back on an old peice of paper my mom once showed me. It has all of the goals they had when they were first married. I loved it because they have exceeded far more than what they had set goals for. That is the power of hard work.
I loved every second of being with my family. I'm so grateful my sweet husband was able to stay with my children. The kids also had the stomach bug while I was gone! Bless your heart Blake. You're amazing.
Happy Father's Day from the blog, dad!
I'm happy to be celebrating this country with my family and enjoying these fun traditions this Fourth of July weekend!
Earlier this week, Dawson was being really whiny. To get him to stop crying, I asked him if he wanted to see his friend Emmett. Of course he did! We weren't able to see Emmett that day, but he never stopped talking about it. He wanted to have a party! On Saturday I had to drop by Molly's house to grab something. Emmett wanted to see Dawson and Linden just as bad. That night we invited them over to play games.
They brought sparklers, and we whipped out our left over fireworks from last year. (Blake and I bought tons of fireworks last year with out communicating, haha)
We were giggling because Emmett was scared of the fire. He has been told his whole life not to touch the hot fire then this one particular day he is supposed to get really close to it and all of a sudden it's supposed to be fun! Parenting is ridiculous, haha.
I have a free minute so I would like to share some tips with you of how to get images in low light with out using your flash on your DSLR camera.
Set your camera on manual mode or "M." Make sure the flash doesn't pop up.
Set your ISO to 1600 or greater. Mine was set to 4000-6400 in these photos because it was very dark. My only light source was the fire works. Your DSLR camera may not go past 3200, but check it out and see what your camera will do!
Since it was so dark I had my shutter speed on 1/80 or 1/60. That isn't ideal when taking pictures of children because you could possibly photograph some motion, but it seemed to turn out okay!
The aperture was on F1.8. I was shooting with a 50mm lens. You may not have a lens with an aperture that opens that much. Just try to get the *f* number as low as you can.
Now, if you want to take pictures writing with fire, that is a different story! You will need to get out your tripod, and set your shutter speed very slow!
I challenge you to get your DSLR out while you're shooting off fireworks! Capture some neat pictures of your sweet family this fourth of July.
I hope you all have a great Independence Day!!
When Susan told me they wanted family pictures, I was THRILLED! I think the world of the Dixon family. I'm trying to remember the first time I met Susan when we moved to Arizona, but it isn't coming to me! I normally have a great memory! The Dixon's are truly just those angel type people! I've had short phone calls with Susan, and she may not know, but she has touched me and helped me through a lot.
One Sunday at church, I was having a stressful day because things weren't going as they normally do. I think Blake had gone home to do a work call. I had responsibilities for my church calling and was dealing with a fussy baby. Susan stopped in the hall and said hi, and then went on her way to class. She came back about 5 minutes later and said, "you know what, I am gonna steal this baby and have snuggle time!" (Something like that!)
She was truly my angel that Sunday! I know I would have figured things out with the baby, but at that time in my life, I really needed an experience like that. Susan was just the Angel I needed. She cared when she didn't have to. She was in tune. 💓
It was a lot of fun doing their family session! We went to downtown Florence; that's a client favorite for sure! It's definitely got a lot of variety and a rustic feel.
Thanks for all of the fun Dixon family! I can't wait til next time!
Hi there. I'm Nicole. I'm a small town girl from Idaho who loves photography, my Savior and my family. You'll find me in the mountains with my camera around my neck begging my husband, "lets just take one more picture of your S'more." I love to blog about my photography sessions, family life and much more! Come read along.