family
March 23, 2016

Toddler Life

 

 

toddler in bath toddler  midday bath toddler face in bath toddler under water bath toddler in bath sunlight toddler spraying water in bath toddler joy bathIt is tempting to say that you wish you could live the life of a kid again.

No work, obligations, worries, or drama and that sounds like a great day to me. But as I raise a toddler and really analyze his life, I am beginning to think that he works harder than me! As for work, if it is true what the research implies, that play is work to children, I do not know one adult that “works” as hard as my kid. This kid needs two baths a day, on a slow one. Obligations? Well to him, eating becomes an obligation. As hard as we fight about going to the doctor or dentist, this kid fights each and every  meal. Worries you say? We we may worry about things that seem huge to us, like leadership for our country, paying off mortgages, or the threat of our kids safety, but this kid worries about his life in a dark room much the same way we worry. Drama, well, we all know how much drama can come with an unreasonable person, multiply that by ten and you remember what raising a toddler is like.

So in all honesty, I think being an adult is much easier, and less stressful and a lot less work then going through as a toddler. I think I will be a bit more gentle with him today.

 

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February 23, 2016

Family Traditions of Snow and Boarding

 

Adventure is at the heart of our family. Our family of four has decided that in the name of exploring and adventure, we shall try and fit as much of it in as our time and wallet allow. One tradition we began was to go away to the snow one week out of the year. This year we chose mammoth.

Our most memorable moment of this years trip was to venture off the groomed paths in search of a giant cave you can actually snowboard right through. Sounds fun right? Well the truth is this dream has been stirring in my husbands brain for almost five years when a friend of his showed him a youtube video of some riders going through the cave, and then across a frozen lake. No amazing place such as this exists on the map, or tour guide brochures, and the getting there is actually the whole point. Like when you read that inspirational poster that says its about the journey, not the destination. This geolocation can be the poster graphics, because all of that is true.

The first day we arrived we scouted out the cave, watching others go through. As the brave one, I interviewed each crew as they exited. Most were secretive and not helpful what soever to my interviews, but a few gave us hints on how to get to this location and from what chair, and what tree to turn at. It was all quite unhelpful. Five minutes into our journey to this spot, we were already lost. The three of us staring down the hill in uncharted territory, wondering what the heck we were thinking. My eleven year old began to panic slightly, not being assured whatsoever to our claims of power bars stashed in our pockets. Even the joke of spending the night on the mountain, lost, freaked him out. But then a group of skiers came from up high on the hill, and my desperation to find this spot forced me to ask if we could join their trek. After traversing across gathering a bruise or two along the way, we all three fell behind and seperated slightly. My husband and son had been there in the summer, so they were more equipped with finding it. I was forced to go slow and peek over each cliff like edge to find the hidden spot. And as luck would have it, we all three ended up at the entrance of the cave. It wasn’t a dream ride down that cave, my ride was slightly embarrassing and super novice looking, but we all three laughed so hard on the bus ride back at all the events along the way; the panicking, the yelling out of names, the cursing, and the exhaustion. We were bonded slightly by taking that small journey together, and I cannot help but smile when I think of the crazy paths to that spot. But the bottom line is we did it, and we did it together, and we will always remember that day with a chuckle!

then and nowburton board snowboardingboy on ski lift kid snowboarding cornice cornice at mammoth toddler snow ball fight boy indie grab brothers sledding boy snowbaording toddler snowboarding father son snowboarding three year old snowboarding family of snowboarders

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December 27, 2015

White Christmas

This year we decided the best thing we could give our kids was their first white christmas. It was a huge gamble, although everyone has been predicting this huge el niño winter, snow was not guaranteed. We rented a cabin up in Big Bear Mountains, and hoped for the best. On the 24th, we hopped into our Christmas jammies and perched ourselves up on the couch with the fire to our backs, waiting for the storm to roll in. No one was able to stay up late enough to see the first flake fall, but by morning our cabin had six new inches of soft white powder on the porch, and we were all elated to open presents and get up on the slopes.

Kellen informed me in the parking lot of his first day ever snowboarding that he was going to go on a box. All I could think was “so cute” and replied, “don’t worry if it doesn’t happen today, you can do it another day.” After all he had to master standing up without falling. All that worry aside, all he did that day was box looping. A new term I am coining for this kid. All it was all day was tow him up the hill on his star wars chopper to the top of the box, and watch him go down. What a nut! But at three, he is destined to be a Emergency Room regular. Maybe blame the older brother? Even though he did fall, it was as if he understood that that too, was part of the journey. This picture explains the emotion of the day to a tee.

If you are reading this, I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family, making new memories.

 

 

toddler snowboardingtoddler snowboarding bear mountaintoddler shredding snowboardingtoddler on a burton snowboardtoddler learning to snowboardtoddler grom snowboardingtoddler walking near a laketoddler on thin icetoddler in warm jacket toddler in snow jacketthin ice snow toddler snow storm snow play fresh snow young boy

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October 20, 2015

Top 6 Locations to Take Family Photos In Orange County

 

 

We are so lucky to live in a place as magical as this is. Orange County, California has great weather, and beautiful parks and beaches, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what backdrop you want to have for your holiday photos. Weather you are taking them yourself, or hiring a professional, your location can have a big impact on your photos. When choosing your location, think of what best represents your family. These are my top 6 favorite places to shoot photos here in Orange County, in no particular order.

1. Peltzer Farms Christmas Tree Lot- Nothing is more holiday than a Christmas Tree Farm, that is if you are celebrating Christmas! The location is beautiful, and sure to put you in the holiday spirit with the holly smells. For a small fee you can have a professional take your photos there too!

tree farm

2. Ocean Tidepools- Of course check the tides before you head out, but it won’t even feel like photo taking to your kids, it will be like one big school field trip! Kids will have fun, and you know what happens to our faces when we are having fun right? Real natural smiles! Booya!

tidepools

3. Open Spaces- Irvine Landmarks  just invited me to see some of the expansive open spaces that they are in charge of preserving, for-like-ever! So that is good news. It may take time narrowing down where you will go,but with over 20,000 acres you are sure to find a hill or path that will be perfect for pictures. Bring a kite, wagon or bike for some added fun for the family.

fields

4. Piers- From Seal Beach to San Clemente, piers offer shade and variety in your beach pictures, and there is bound to be one you haven’t been to yet. Start under the pier for some fun, then end up ontop to watch the sunset. Maybe your pier will even have a Ruby’s at the end, to provide you with plenty of bribes for cute smiles!

under the pier family photography

5. Parks- Fun Orange County Parks  has done the research for you so if you need to see pictures before you go, I am sure Michelle has already taken one for you. You can also see if there are bathrooms or open trails for you to explore. Just make sure if you have young kids that you don’t start at the play structure as it will be difficult to pull them away!

park

6. San Juan Capistrano Mission- The Mission is a gorgeous backdrop for your family photos. Call before hand to be sure you reserve a spot if you are going with a professional, there is a small admittance fee, but it is gorgeous and your kids will love the fish!

mission San Juan

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October 18, 2015

Backyard Pool Photography Session

boys underwater cannon ballpool photo session brothers underwater cannon ball teenage boys underwater underwater handstand portraitThis family and I have been working together for almost seven years. That is amazing luck, because they are the kindest, most amazing family that shares the same kind of values I do. Time spent with them is joyful and fun. But sadly we are running out of creative locations to shoot their family. So this years session, we thought we would do it under the water of their very own swimming pool.

They deliver what I boldly state as THE most creative christmas card in all of Orange county. I challenge you to find one more crazy and creative then the one we create together. One year they created the board game of LIFE out of their whole year, and I contributed a small piece of the puzzle by way of cover photo of the family. This year the idea will be amazing, she has already run it by me, and we are excited to work on it together. But for now, I want to share these fun photos of a pool play session that we created together. My favorite picture of the day was the selfie they took when I handed my camera over to them!underwater selfie

 

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September 15, 2015

Ocean Portrait Water Sessions {A mother and her sons}

toddler in the waves mother toddler pacific mother son in the waves mother son in the waves ocean mother and sons playing in the ocean mother and sons at beach mom and sons in the ocean cover email option brothers playing in the pacific brothers playing in the ocean boy in the ocean boy in the ocean wavesSalty waters, warmer than ever, sunsets with cloudy skies, this is the perfect season for me! This water session celebrates Mateo and his newly found skills in duck diving waves. The mom began telling me how she almost now regrets teaching him this skill, and I too remember the feeling of having a boy out in the waves just learning of their power and unpredictability, worried sick for his safety. With mama back in the white water with the three year old, I set the camera down, and grabbed Mateo’s hand as we charged through a few sets together, ducking under the bigs, and floating over the mid sized waves. What a joy it is to celebrate the gorgeous ocean, precious boy, and glorious new skill than to photograph him with his mom and brother. I am so lucky!

 

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August 27, 2015

Beauty Beyond, Family Portraits seaside

family portrait girl yelling family portrait on tidepoolsfather and daughter near the oceanfather on the beach with daughter family playing secret cove couple kissing young boy green eyes girl and the ocean father daughter pacific swimming familly portrait in the pacific body surfingAt first glance you might look at this family and think, “Are they for real?” And yes, I will have to say, they are ridiculously good looking, in my best Derek Zoolander voice. But to me these four are so much more than that. The gorgeous mom got me through some really long toddler days back when our oldest boys were young. We are those friends that start off hanging out because you simply like each other, and then you slowly feel your hand squeezing tighter and tighter and then you realize your friendship is a lifeline of sorts, and you treasure it in a way that cannot be measured. I owe so much to this gorgeous family, and adore their babies like they are my own. Dylan is the one friend that I can say has known Cj since bottle daze, and the one friend I hope he grows old with. This sweet Cami is just bound to make waves in this world, and if you can keep up with her, you will have the time of your life, no doubt.

So yes, on the surface they are gorgeous, but to me so much more. They are gorgeously kind, and loving, and my treasured friends. I am so lucky.

 

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August 17, 2015

Family Ocean Photographer {Water Sessions}

child photographer ocean ocean child photography mermaid ocean phtography ocean photography father kids ocean photographyLast year I began a quest that took me on a whole new journey in my photography. I decided to move forward and offer sessions that end in the water. The kind where we would all be duck diving and splashing and having fun. These sessions are not for all families, but there are families out there who can relate to me.
A water session might be right for you if:

1. It is hard to get your kids out of the water at the beach.

2. There is almost a bucket full of sand in your car at the end of any given week.

3. You own more than just two wave riding boards, most likely you have one of each size.

4. You have surfline ap on your phone, or follow tide and swell charts online.

5. You want to remember this time in their lives when your children could play all day in the waves.

So this week I was lucky enough to have THREE families sign up for this kind of session. It was a dream of a week.

Let me know who is next. :-)

 

 

 

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August 3, 2015

Texas Family Visits the Pacific

boy running in ocean seagulls family on the beach with baby father son snuggle in grass mother and son looking at each other mother and toddler laughing salt creet beach toddler on grassNothing could be sweeter than reconnecting with a dear friend. This family stopped by their old stomping grounds of California all the way from Texas. The kids were obviously cute enough to eat, and had a blast playing at the beach. The mama, well she was an old roommate from college, and it was a joy to connect with her once again in person.

Facebook likes have nothing on a real live hug!!!

I asked the oldest son to sit down on a rock, and he asked me “what is that?” Thinking he didn’t know what a jetty was, I said, “people moved these big rocks here to keep the sand from eroding. Now can you sit on it please?”

He still didn’t move, “no, that!”

What skipped my eye was a VERY Large seal sitting right next to the rock I asked him to sit in. Haha! So glad he was paying attention. I would have died if he approached it!

seal

 

 

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July 22, 2015

Capturing summer vacation using your phone camera

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It all starts with grand plans pinning away photos of warm water or gorgeous pools, and your mind starts imagining a wonderful week on vacation. You start to get excited, even when the day is just around the corner you can’t stop thinking about this wonderful break in your usual day where you get to enjoy a week filled with fun and games with your family. No obligations, no appointments, just spending time together hanging out frolicking in the sun. And then the thought hits you, you still have a toddler. That adorable yet stinky kid knows nothing of this so called break, and has not made a mental note in his attitude. As it turns out, on vacation, toddlers still throw major tantrums when they don’t get their way. They still think it is funny to run away mid diaper change and try to pee on something. This destination has not suddenly made going out to eat ANY easier. Pool time and beach time? Wonderful! Yet instead of chasing them around the park, you are now chasing them from the “cold pool” to the “hot pool” about every five minutes. Worse yet, nothing in this new so called home is toddler proof, and so a few basic minutes of checking instagram has become a monumental task so as to keep the toddler from jumping…off the balcony.

Years from now I know I will look back and be thankful we did go away and do things, and the memories will be good ones of spending time together. But the main reason I will be able to look back and even remember this trip is because of pictures I took with my iPhone. Toting out to the pool two diapers, sunscreen, snacks, floaties, towels, hats, drinks, AND a camera would have been way too much for me. There are moms out there who I am sure this would be no thing, but for me, the only way I was able to relax was to leave the camera back at the room. Heck! I even made sure the phone was in a water proof case every time. Do you know how long it takes a scheming two year old to toss a phone into a pool? I’ll save you the brain power, its about 10 seconds. Not long enough to get to him and catch him mid throw when you are waist deep in warm water overlooking the pacific.

So here are a few images I was able to get using my iPhone.

My underwater casing was from Optrix.

The rainbow ocean shot was taken at La Bufadora in Ensenada, Mexico.

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  1. Wendi

    Oh thank you! Seeing your beautiful pictures of the kids always playing and smiling leads me to think you live in a ‘perfectly adapted”, “aren’t they precious” dream land. I don’t wish difficult times or hard situations on anyone (usually) but I appreciate you taking time out to set the record strait. Parenting can be super hard and far from relaxing, so thanks so much for being real. Love you guys.

  2. admin

    haha! so nice to know that my pain eases yours! just kidding!!! we have tons of hard days, and I agree, super hard is a good way to put parenting, and relaxing on the opposite end of what i usually feel. i would love to see you guys!