Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nick and Kaiana- Engagment Pictures

I love doing engagement pictures.  It is such a pleasure to work with
 two people who are deeply in love and have such 
hope and joy for the future.

I can't believe that I haven't met these two earlier.  We know many 
of the same people and Nick is even the small group leader at church for my nephew. 
They are quick to laugh and smile and are very photogenic.
I am so glad that these two are now a part of the LiLo Family!

For our engagement session we headed up into the mountains to a little 
park that is a hidden gem.  I haven't shot here in a long time and I missed it.  

It is always kind of dark and gloomy back in here but somehow it 
made these pictures magical.  I felt like we were in a Lord of the Rings movie 
(without all of the violence and scary creatures-thank goodness).  

I even convinced them to get into the cold river.  They were troopers 
and these ended up being some of my favorite pictures from the evening.  
Thank you for indulging me!

I love the "feel" of fall pictures.  These are the first pictures of the season 
that have really felt like fall.  It has been so warm here that it still feels like 
summer so to have a session in the mountains where fall 
is in full swing was a real treat.

Isn't Kaiana stunning?  Those dimples....

Thanks for hanging out with me Nick and Kaiana.  
I can't wait for your wedding in January!

For more pictures visit my website or my Facebook page.

Monday, September 21, 2015

40 years and 40 Acts of Kindness

My big sister (I have to say that) turned 40 the other day. 
Wow!  That sounds so old until it is you or
 someone you are close to.

The scary thing is...I actually remember MY
 parent's 40th birthdays.  Surely we aren't that old.

Anyway.....Julie turned 40.  She didn't really want much fanfare
and she isn't much of a gift person so my brain had to work
overtime to figure out what to do.  She is extremely giving and loves to
help others so I came up with the idea of random acts of kindness. 
Some of her close friends got in on the action and secretly donated
 gift cards in small amounts leading up to her birthday.

So on her birthday she came to my house after work and
I let her in on the secret.  We were going to do 40 acts of kindness
 for her 40th birthday.  This was going to be a bit tricky as we
had 6 kids and our parents with us.  Not only that but those 6 kids had to go to
4 different places in the short 2 hours we had to do this project. 
Somehow, we made it work though! (sorry for the upcoming fuzzy iphone pictures)

Our first stop was to the neighborhood school playground. 
We hid money around the playground for random kids to find. 
The kids has so much fun finding tricky hiding places for the money. 
We made sure to do it at a big kid playground so that no little toddlers would
 find the money and put it in their mouths or something. 
My kids were hoping that some would be left the next day when they went to recess,
but there were none left. We really wanted to stick around
and spy to see who found the money, but we had lots of other stops
(we figure this was 2-4 RAOK hoping that 2-4 kids found the money)

Our next stop was the West Metro Fire station right by our house.
 We brought them some freshly made chocolate chip cookies. 
They were doing their "chores" and cleaning the station so we only got to
 see one fireman (sad face) but we still had our picture taken!

Then it was off to the Denver station that is also near our houses. 
We also brought them cookies.  They were much happier to see us
and all greeted us warmly.  They cracked us up and said
"you know this is the old guy firehouse, right"?  Old guys or not, they were
 extremely gracious and let the kids crawl around the fire truck and let
Adah try on their suits.  (we figured at least 10 firemen benefited from
 the cookies so we are going to count this as 10 random acts of kindness-RAOK)

Then we headed off to King Soopers.  Outside of Kings we handed out a
few cold bottles of water to people in the parking lot
(included a worker who was collecting buggies). (2 RAOK)

On our way in, we taped microwave popcorn to the
Redbox machines for a fun surprise for someone
renting a movie. (2 RAOK) 

One friend had donated 3- $5 gift cards so we all traipsed into
Kings to find someone to give the cards to.  On our way to the store
I was praying that throughout the night we would find people who really
 needed what we were giving out and I feel like God really answered this prayer. 
This was one of my favorite things we did. 
We found a woman with 3 kids pushing a very full cart.
 She was flabbergasted!  

Then we found this sweet lady.  She hugged Julie and
brought tears to our eyes.  She was so sweet.

As we were looking for another person to bless we ran into the first
lady again and she said.  "Thank you for this card.  I am going to give it to my neighbor. 
She is going through breast cancer and is having a hard time making ends meet." 
Tears again.  And we gave her the other card to give to the neighbor as well.
 Hearts were happy.

The King Soopers that we went to had a Starbucks inside so we
found a woman and her tween daughter and gave them a $5 Starbucks card
and told them to enjoy a treat on us.  The woman was so thankful
and confessed that she had overheard us giving away cards and
thought it was such a fun idea. (4 RAOK)

Next we headed to McDonalds.  We had been given 2- $5 McDonalds cards. 
We fed the kids a "nutrious" meal of McD's and then gave away the 2 gift cards. 
The first card was given to a sweet old man in the drive through. 
He was so cute and thankful.  The second card was given to two teenage
girls in the drive through.  They were so excited. (2 RAOK)

Then we headed to another Redbox to put more popcorn
on the machines (2 RAOK).  I wish we could be there to see people's
reaction to the popcorn.  Next time we might have to hide
out and watch for a bit.

Starbucks was next on our list.  We went through the drive through
and bought a drink for the birthday girl.  Then we left the rest of the
$15 gift card to pay for the people behind us. (3 RAOK)

At this point in the evening it was a mad dash to get all the kids to their
proper activities for the night.  While we were dropping my kids
off at church for their activities we found a couple that had just dropped
 off their kids and gave them a Starbucks card for them
to have a coffee date while their kids were at church.  (1 RAOK)

Then it was time for birthday dinner.  Mom, Julie and I headed to
Hacienda for some birthday dinner.  We had a lovely time together!
 As we payed our bill, we used the last Starbucks card we had to
bless our waitress.  She had done a wonderful job taking care of us
and it was fun to give her a little bonus tip
 (yes we gave her a normal tip too). (1 RAOK)

After dinner we had to pick up 2 of Julie's kids at church so we
 grabbed them and headed to nearby Walmart.  We used the last 2 bags of
 popcorn on the Redbox machines here.  (2 RAOK)

Then we went inside and put quarters in all of the candy/toy vending machines.
  We also put money on the pop machines with a note that said
(have a drink on us).  Hopefully 2-3 RAOK and not just one greedy
 person who came along and took all of the money.

Around the store we found 2 people to give gift cars to. 
The first one was a little disappointing.  It was a little family of 4 with
two small kids.  They were looking at Halloween costumes. 
We handed them the card, they said a weak thanks and then kept walking.
Hopefully they were hiding their excitement and really needed the helping hand.

The last person we found was a woman and her elementary school aged daughter.
 They were buying school supplies (even though school had already been
 in session for a few weeks).  They were blown away and very thankful. 
We saw them a bit later in the checkout line and she
yelled "I am using my gift card, thanks again!".   (2 RAOK)

With a little bit of creative math, we just might have gotten to 40.
It was a wonderful night and I think we were more
blessed than anyone.  It was such a joy to bring a little bit of happiness
and random kindness to people's day.

Happy Birthday Sis!  I love you so much and it was a pleasure
to be with you on your special day. 
Thanks to everyone who donated gift cards in
order to make this possible!

The Burge Family

Warning: This post has a lot of pictures, but I promise they are
awesome so make sure you scroll all the way to
the end to see how this happened!

This family.  I am so thankful to call them friends.  
They are some of the most amazing, giving, loving and 
faithful friends that anyone could ask for. 

Jessica helped me paint my favorite kitchen bar stools and all of the
 railings in my house during the remodel.  
As a barter,  I did photos for them.

A few weekends ago we all headed up to our family cabin in Fairplay 
for a fun weekend together and we decided to sneak in 
our photo shoot while we were there.  I just love this hidden lake location
that someone shared with me a few years ago (thanks Cora).

It was sprinkling and the wind was a bit chilly
 but the sunshine was beautiful!

The kids were a bit chilly (especially because they have ZERO body fat) 
but it made for some cute pictures.

We had to sit in the car to warm up and let the 
rain pass but then we were back at it.

After our hidden lake pictures we headed back to
 the cabin for some fun pictures.
These are some of my favorite pictures of all time!
Jessica had the fun idea of doing a "paint" session.

She mixed some fun paint colors in mason jars 
(oh how I love mason jars) and brought clothes that could get dirty.

She also brought canvases that they painted and she is going to
 hang them in the house next to the pictures.  
How awesome is that idea?!?

 Before the paint.  I love how this picture perfectly
 matches their personalities.

The beginning.  Everyone is clean.
It took the boys a few minutes to realize that 
they were allowed to paint each other.

But once they got the hang of it....the paint war began.

I love the happy, smiling faces that the paint war elicited from the boys. 
 Such genuine joy on their faces.

The aftermath.  

These two.  Still such a fierce love after 13 years.  I love that.  
Such a great example for their boys and everyone around them.

Trenton.  So serious and fierce.

Corbin.  Such a rough and tumble boy.  Such a zest for life.

Thanks Burge family for loving us so well.  We love you and 
are so thankful for you in our lives.

For more pictures visit my website or my Facebook page.