Friday, July 31, 2015

Little Fish | Summer 2015

In May, we put Landon in his first swimming lesson class at the local YMCA. It's no secret this baby loves the water and is fearless when it comes to swimming, but I am of the mindset that the sooner he is a strong, independent swimmer, the better. When I was in high school, I was a lifeguard and taught swim lessons so it has always been super important to me that my kids have strong water skills. This summer, Landon has blown us away with how strong he really is. We've migrated from a puddle-jumper floatie to a 2 float belt. And really, he could swim without it but he gets super worn out. I'm hoping that by the end of the summer (four weeks!) he will be swimming without it.

I hadn't taken my DSLR to the pool yet this summer, partly because I didn't want to be "that mom" that had this massive camera at the local pool. But last week I packed it along in our bag and took it with us. Luckily, it wasn't crowded and so I didn't feel like a big goober taking pictures of my kid with something other than and iPhone :) I've also realized this summer that I want to invest in a life proof case for my phone so that I can be in the water photographing instead of sitting on the edge while he swims. 

Happy Summer! (I don't want it to end...)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Photographing Kids at the Beach

I'm in the middle of sorting through our images from our trip to Ocracoke (that was a month ago), and while I'm deciding which to keep and which to toss, I've also done a lot of thinking about how I photograph our vacations. More importantly, how I photograph Landon on our vacations. There will always be room for improvement and when I get home I am always critical of what I did or didn't capture, but I also realize what I have learned on my photography journey. So today, instead of posting about out trip to Ocracoke (which I hope to post about soon!) I decided to share a few of the things I've learned that are most helpful when photographing your kids at the beach, or any vacation for that matter.

1. Don't be afraid to brave the elements with your camera. No, I didn't go into 4 foot water with my camera, but I'm not afraid at all to take it calf/knee deep into the water to get pictures of Landon swimming or playing in the surf. Our cameras are tougher than we give them credit for. Yes, I have to clean it when we get back and protect it a little bit more- but thats okay. I spent good money on this fancy DSLR and goodness gracious, I'm going to use it!

2. Just photograph them being kids. Landon isn't looking at the camera 100% of the time, his smiles are not intended for me and the camera, but are truly how happy he was in the moment. And that's the way it should be. Not every picture needs to be styled, and posed and perfectly planned. We didn't spend our vacation in our Sunday best, we spent it in our bathing suits, sandy and sweaty and on the beach- and thats how I want to remember it. 

3. If you are going from an air conditioned condo or house into hot, humid conditions- your camera is going to fog up as soon as you take it outside. You'll need to allow time for your camera to adjust (which can sometimes take 30 minutes or more). The last thing you want to do is miss a sunset or great lighting because your camera was foggy!

4. Bend down or sit down, and take pictures from the level that your child sees the world from. I am always crouched trying to be eye level with Landon- otherwise the perspective my images take are me looking at the top of his head. Not me looking through his view.

5. Take pictures of details- toys, swim shorts, sandy toes, shells that are collected, crabs or fish they catch- it tells the story and gives creativity to your photos rather than just "here we are at the beach again." Sometimes this one is more of a struggle for me...but I'm trying to improve!

6. Straighten horizons- I've said it before in my beginner tips post, but goodness I can't stand a horizon slicing through the image at a crazy angle. Straightening the horizons (or any sharp lines in the picture) will instantly make you're images more professional looking and less amateur looking. (Thanks Dad for drilling that tip into my noggin from day one :))

7. Be mindful of people in the background. If you're intentionally trying to photography a crowded beach, then leave them. But if not, try to move around and not get the random lady in the background of your photos. Or...learn how to edit them out. I like images of just Landon, not Landon and the people next to us or the ones walking down the beach.

8. Pay attention to the sun- morning or evening is best. Trying to get images that don't have shadows or harsh light at 12pm is near impossible. (Although sometimes unavoidable). If they catch their fish at 1:00, then you don't have much choice if you want to document the moment.

9. Be in the photos. This trip I wasn't so good at that. John isn't one to just pick up a camera and start taking pictures when something is going on- so I had to ask him to take some pictures of me and Landon playing in the water. Aside from those photos- it looks like I'm not on the trip.

10. Relax. It's vacation. I think this year I listened to my own advice a little more than usual. the camera was in my bag more than in my hand, and I wasn't constantly worried about "getting the shot" or documenting every single thing that Landon did. I got the big moments, and enough to look back on and remember our week there, but didn't go overboard. I didn't stress out if they weren't good enough. Find a balance between being and photographing. Be present.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pregnancy Update | 23 Weeks

It's been a while since I've posted any kind of pregnancy update. So in an effort to help myself remember more details about this second pregnancy, here's where we are at at 23 weeks.

Today I am actually 23 weeks and 4 days along. This picture is the most recent one I have- I was 21.5 weeks pregnant.

How Far Along: 23 weeks 4 days

Weight Gain: 6 lbs

Gender: GIRL!

Cravings: None really. My appetite has just recently picked up where I find myself getting hungrier than usual. I'm eating an afternoon snack more, which is not something I typically do. I'm still trying very hard to eat healthy and thankfully- with the abundance of produce during the summer, it hasn't been so hard. Canteloupe, grapes, cucumbers and tomatoes with vinegar, and watermelon have been almost daily things I'm eating. Which is also why I think I'm gaining less weight than I did with Landon.

We haven't made any steps in preparing a nursery for little miss. I've slowly come up with ideas on how I'd like to decorate. We also have to move Landon into the larger/back bedroom so that the baby will be closer to us and in the smaller front bedroom. We need to order a dresser and a chair/ottoman, which we're planning on tackling sometime in August/September. Thankfully, since we just moved in we won't need to paint her room so it's just decorating and setting things up.

Symptoms: still feeling great over all. having some sciatic pain in my hips and reflux at night. Trying to stay as active as possible but I'm fairly tired at the end of the day.

Little girl is SUPER active, which makes me laugh and also makes me worried that she's going to be a little firecracker when she makes her entrance into the world. Every night light clock work she has a dance party around midnight and then settles down to go to sleep. :)

I'm nesting, which I probably was even before we found out I was pregnant. Its probably a combination of wanting to get projects done at the house and that combined with nesting has put our to do list in overdrive. John has been working super hard around the house finishing things that we didn't do before we moved in, and it's all looking great. This week we're staining/treating our deck, we've ordered porch furniture, he's building our dining room table, and we hung some curtains! We're getting there!

And last but not girl has a name! We're naming this sweet pumpkin Avery Kate Perdue. None of the names have any significance, we just like them and thought it fit. :)

I'm in disbelief that I'm just a few weeks shy of the third trimester, and while I am so excited anxious to hold our sweet girl in November, I'm a little panicked at how quickly it is approaching! We can't wait to meet her!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Landon | last day of preschool 2015

I'm not sure how I never got around to posting Landon's last day of preschool pictures....actually I know how, because I get side tracked and rarely sit down at this computer.

So, nothing like last day of school picture sharing a month late! :)

This year, Landon started staying in daycare for three days a week after his preschool class was over at 12pm. He really struggled with that transition but I think over all it was good for him. He learned tons and is always singing songs or talking about shapes and colors that he has learned at preschool. His teacher was Ms Lynn, and his best friend was a sweet girl named Erin. According to their teachers, they were inseparable. It is crazy to me that he started the year potty training, and now pull ups and diapers are so far from our memory. (And here we are about to start over with baby 2!) He loved playing on the playground the best, and reading Pete the Cat books. And he was always, ALWAYS so excited when I got there to pick him up. Next year he moves to the 3/4 group! :)

back from the beach | Ocracoke 2015

Goodness gracious its been the longest week ever trying to get back into the swing of things since vacation. We survived a week at Ocracoke, NC, no sharks sightings or shark attacks. (The attack in Waves, NC was the day we were headed home, yikes!)

We had grand plans of taking a vacation just the two of us this year, as a sort of baby moon and last hurrah before our world becomes insane with two kids. We researched San Francisco and several tropical resorts- but we just couldn't stomach the cost of it, and we were really sad that Landon wouldn't have a week to play on the beach. So we canceled any plans we made and decided to head to Ocracoke with Landon for one last vacation just the three of us. And I'm so glad we did.

Yes, John and I need to take time just the two of us and travel without our kids, but it was such a sweet week with just Landon watching him play and relaxing on the coast of NC with him and John. I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world.

At some point, I'll get my pictures off of my Nikon, but for now I'll share a few from my iPhone.

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