Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fun Pictures to Take at the Beach

Are you going out of town for Spring Break?  
Heading somewhere warm and beachy?

Want to have some fun with your kids and your camera?

Here are some fun pictures to take while you are at the beach!


Document your vacation in the sand.

Drizzle stacks.  Just take wet sand and let it filter through your fist. 
 It makes these fun towers.  No beach toys needed
 and kids of all ages love it.

Make faces in your shadow.

Be careful not to get sand in your camera! 

What is your favorite activity to do with the kids at the beach??

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

10 Tips for Taking Pictures on Vacation

We are getting ready to go on vacation for Spring Break.  
So naturally it is a good time to share pictures from our last vacation, right?  
I am such a slacker.  Last year we went to Anna Maria Island off the coast of Tampa, FL.  
My parents rented a beach house so that my sister and I and all of our kids could enjoy
 a week at the beach together.  It was AMAZING!!  I highly recommend it.  
We had so much fun and it was the most relaxing vacation we have been on in a long time!  
Along with my pictures, I am going to give you some
 hints that have helped me when taking pictures on Vacation.

Number One: Bring a real camera.  
Even if it is a cheaper point and shoot.  
iPhones are great and they are handy, but the quality is better with a
 real camera.  Trust me and bring your camera.

Can you get this shot with an iPhone?  Maybe someone can, but I can't!  
Action shots are hard with phones.  So use your real camera.

Makai and Josiah were trying to splash the birds.  See the water up in the air??

Number Two:  Take pictures!  
Bring your camera everywhere and take a lot of pictures.  
This is hard to do and you are going to want to "be in the moment".  
However, you won't ever regret bringing out your camera and taking pictures.  
Be intentional in your photo taking.  Take pictures every day and document
your time on vacation.  Take pictures of where you went and what you did.  
You will forget over time, so take pictures.  They don't have to be perfect. 
 All of mine came straight out of my camera with no editing!!!

The beginning of our trip. DIA.

 What is the first thing the kids did when they got to the beach house???  
Run down to the beach, of course!

Best Dad/Uncle award goes to.......Chris.  He spent hours in the 
water wrestling and playing with the kids.  He is amazing! 

Number Three: Have people in your pictures.  
It is nice to have pictures of buildings and such but in the end, the pictures you
 are going to treasure are the ones with your loved ones in them.  
So if you see a pretty building, put a cute little kid in front
 of it and take the picture.  You will love that building even more when someone
 you love is standing in front of it.

Ringling Brothers Circus Museum

The Aquarium with the grandkids.

Number Four: Take pictures of the details!  
It helps to remember them later.
  Did you find something tiny and cute on your vacation.  
Put it in your hand and take a picture.  
You can always delete it later if you don't like it.

This bird hung out about 5 feet from us on the beach.  
It must have been a regular thing.  
When the guys next to us caught a fish, they just threw it to the bird.  

We caught a little crab.

 Our first morning there, we found these little frogs out by our pool.  
They were so cute.  We never saw them again.  But it was chilly outside that
 morning so they must have loved that.

There were millions of these little shells everywhere.  And they were alive.  
They had these little creatures inside.  It tickled your hand.  
Half awesome, half creepy.

 It was just before Easter so the kids did an Egg hunt courtesy
 of Nana and Bapa. I had totally forgotten that until 
I looked through these pictures!

We had fish and chips on the pier and then we went for FroYo.

Number Five: Get in the pictures.  
This is a tough one for me as I am always
 the dedicated photographer on both sides of the family.  This last trip I made it
 a point to get in some of the pictures and I am so glad that I did.  
So often I feel like I don't exist because I am NEVER in any of the pictures.  
So I am trying to get better about handing off my camera or setting 
the timer and getting in the picture.

Number Six:  Did it make you laugh or smile?  Then take a picture! 
 It will help bring back those fun memories later.  

Adah got stung by something on the beach.  Let's just say it was just
 like the "Friends" episode.  I HAD to take a picture.

We buried the kids.  It was so fun.  #greatparenting

Until Tanner couldn't get out of the hole.  
I may have laughed a little.  Sorry buddy.

Check out these two and their hair blowing in the breeze on our last day of vacation.

Number Seven:  Get different combinations of people.  
We often tend to gravitate towards certain family members and therefore
 have a million pictures together.  But MIX IT UP!  Tell Grandma to grab
 just one of the kids and take that picture.  Those are the cherished ones!

The oldest cousin and the youngest cousin.  Holding hands.  Awwwww.

Nana and her third grandson.

 Adah and Makai had a great time making these drizzle castles.  
They were so sad when the tide started coming in and wrecking their creations.

 The 9 year olds boogie-boarding.  
Or trying to with the help of Chris.

Number Eight: Don't take pictures when people aren't at their best. 
 If they will find it embarrassing later, then best not to document that. 
 If you have been out drinking and someone jumps up on the table to dance, 
might want to skip that picture.  Or is someone really self-conscious of 
themselves in a bathing suit?  Then skip that picture (or immediately delete it). 
 Or just take it of their face and not their body. Be nice and try to show them at their best.  
You would want the same from someone else, right?

Obviously I don't have any pictures of this!  Because it would be embarrassing!

Number Nine: Download the pictures every night to your computer 
Then put them in a file labeled "day one" or "Monday" or "March 15th".  
It will help later.  It also helps if something goes wrong with your camera or if it is lost. 
 Then you won't have lost all of the pictures from your trip.  
Trust might save you anguish later!

 This was taken on Day Six of our trip when we went fishing.  
I know that because it was in my Day Six Folder!

Dolphins, right off the back of our boat.  Awesome!!!

 Jameson was on day 3 of not feeling well so after he snagged a fish, 
he laid on the cooler and went to sleep.

Number Ten: Get a Full Family Picture.  
This is the one you are going to want as your Facebook Profile picture. 
 Or your Christmas Card.  Make every effort to get one.  
Where everyone is looking at the camera and isn't a filthy mess.  
You could even find a local photographer and have a session done!

Gotta go.  The beach is calling my name.

Where are you going on vacation this year??? 
 Hopefully these little tips will help document your time!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Chore Monster

Do you ever feel like the chore monster?  Nagging your children until they
 no longer hear your voice but simply hear an easily ignored buzzing sound??  
Me too.  I have tried almost everything to get my boys to do chores. 
 It works for about a day and then it is back to me being the 
nagging Chore Monster. 

But I just might have found something that works.  
At least it has worked this week.

Money Talks.  Whether you are 7 or 77 money 
tends to get your attention.

I have three boys.  Boys are different from girls.  In a LOT of different ways.  
Chores are no different.  Not many kids love chores but there is something
 ingrained in little girls that they want to "help".  Boys are ingrained to
 "hinder" or "break".  This is a stereotype.  I am sure there are plenty of little 
girls who are extremely unhelpful and I am sure there are some saintly 
little boys who love to play house and help their mommies.  
My boys can even have saintly helpful days minutes as well.  I think it is my job, 
as a mother of boys to teach them how to be helpful around the house. 
Who says that women have to do all of the housework?  My saintly husband
 does the laundry at our house and seriously, it is a LIFESAVER!!!!

My niece could (and wanted to) put away her own laundry at 18 months.  
I still struggle with trying to get my 7 and 10 year olds to put their laundry
 away correctly (meaning without taking the folded clothes and just jamming 
them into the drawer, thus becoming unfolded, wrinkled and no
 longer able to close the drawer).

I have tried all sorts of different chore rituals in hopes that the boys 
will be motivated and excited to help.  I have tried charts, rewards, punishments, 
apps, lists....etc.  My new "system" seems to work for a day or two and then they
 lose interest and they don't really care about the reward any longer.  
Even if it is money.  They don't care if next to their name it says IOU $5.

So this time I went with the real motivator.  Money.  Not just IOU money.  
Nope, cold hard cash and INSTANT GRATIFICATION.  I am happy to tell
 you that it is working.  Just this morning (7+ days into this trial) they were
 looking at the money to see what they could earn quickly before school.  Hallelujah!

We are getting ready to go on vacation and the boys have to earn their
 spending money.  So I always try to kick it up a notch and get them to do
 more chores around vacation time.  They usually lose interest right away,
 but seeing that money on the wall every day has caused them to 
work hard and earn some good money.  

Most of the jobs are fairly easy and don't take too long.  My house has 
remained pretty clean in the last week and I have had odd jobs completed
 like disinfecting the door nobs, light switches and hand rails and wiping down
 all of the baseboards in the house.  Who has time for that???  I don't.  But my cute
 little minions do.  All for the bargain price of $2-3.  They love completing the job,
 having me inspect the job to make sure it is finished (yes I am a control freak)
 and done well, and then grabbing the money from the chore wall 
and putting in their piggy bank to save for vacation.

I didn't spend a lot of time on this project.  I just cut some index cards 
in half and wrote the chore in Sharpie.  Then I clipped the money and
 the chore to my picture frame.  I have added a few here and there as the other
 ones have been completed or if I see something that needs attention around the house.
  This frame from Hobby Lobby and wire and clips from IKEA are so handy!
Usually the frame holds family snapshots or 
holiday decor.  But this month it is the money maker!   

February was the month of LOVE and March is Money Madness!

If you are having trouble getting your kids to do chores, this just might do the trick.
  I also included some school things like writing a story (to practice writing and
 penmanship) or reading extra time.  You could even have one for going to bed
 without whining or eating all of your dinner.  Everyone needs a little motivation
 once in a while.  I know I do. 

I am off to clean the microwave.... and take the money from the board.
  Hey, I need some spending money too!  

What motivates your kids to do chores?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Barn at Raccoon Creek Wedding

Here is part two of Nick and Kaiana's beautiful wedding.  You can find part one here:

There were so many great pictures that I had to break it up into two blogs!

Enjoy scrolling through Nick and Kaiana's special day.

Getting ready.

There were so many beautiful details.  I loved the cowboy boots and
 the simple beauty of the venue and the entire day!

Don't you just love the red barn??

Seriously, if you are looking for a venue, this is the place.  Every detail has
 been thought of and from a photographer's standpoint it is perfect. 
 Light, airy, clean and beautiful!

Kaiana's maid of honor, Ashley did the flowers and cake decoration. 
 Aren't they beautiful?

Getting ready to walk down the isle.  I love this moment. 
 It is always charged with such emotion and excitement.

The ceremony was beautiful and very heartfelt.  And the weather was 
absolutely perfect for a January day in Colorado!

It's official!

The moms and their "babies".  Awe.

Isn't this pictures of Kaiana and her grandmother endearing?

Hanging with the Fabulous Bakker Boys.

This wedding party was a blast.  Nick and his brothers made picture time
 fun and we got some great (and possibly incriminating) photos!

The reception was full of dancing, fun and LOVE.

The Barn At Racoon Creek is even prettier in the twinkling twilight.

The mother and father of the groom just sitting back and watching the party.  
You could sense the contentment they felt at watching their first son 
to get married surrounded by their entire family and friends.  What a privilege!

Much Love Everyone!
For more pictures visit my Facebook Page or my website.