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I haven't picked up my big camera in a long time to document my kids. I kind of lost the desire to see through that lens for awhile. I needed simplicity. I needed my phone to be my lens so I didn't have to think about composure, aperture, shutter speed or light while capturing our memories. There was so much going on in my head, I needed simplicity. I needed to rest the camera for a season.

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But tonight I felt that old familiar itch. While my kids were playing in the backyard, the light stirred my heart. I ran in the house and grabbed my camera, and began to shoot. I resisted my kids posing at first. I just wanted to capture them playing, and being them. But posing for the camera and goofing off for the lens is really who they are. So I just let them be. They posed a bit, but then gave me a beautiful gift. They began to really be themselves, and laugh and interact the way I want to remember them years from now. The little faces that Calais makes, that are so expressive and sassy; Cosette's joy at getting to hug her sisters and bounce, and her dandelion hair; Cassidy's confidence, and yet vulnerability; Cooper being sulky, moody and thoughtful. Even the dirt, and the mess, and the scrapes are details I want to be able freeze in time.

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I spent the last couple of years trying to get out of the fog that was dulling my senses and keeping me from really feeling and living life. As the dull and the fog has been clearing, I've picked up my camera more, but mostly for other people. I used to download the images I'd take, and have to leave them untouched on the computer for days before I could look at them with anything but disdain for the imperfection in my work. I was, and will probably always be my hardest critic.

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Lately, though, I've enjoyed the process of photography so much more. I don't have anything to prove. I don't have to create a masterpiece with every photograph, and I don't beat myself up if that doesn't happen. I just want to capture another person in a moment of time, to document a slice of who they are from my unique perspective. And my perspective is imperfect, but it is mine. Now, I can often look at a series of photographs fresh from my camera, and quickly decide what I like, and ignore the rest. I can recognize that missed shots happen, and that every composition is not going to be perfect. I can also more easily recognize the good in what I have captured. I can see the beauty in the imperfection, and let it be enough.

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I'm still working on doing that with myself each day. I still have to remind myself that I'm enough, and that the imperfection will always be there so there really is no point in dwelling on it. I'm learning to give myself, and by extension, those around me a little more grace. Some days are very hard, and I slip back into old habits. But I recognize that I'm slipping much more quickly, and make little changes to get back on track. I forgive myself for the imperfections, and simply try again each day.

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The funny thing is, those things are what initially drew me to photography, and made me fall in love with the craft. Imperfection in a photograph can actually enhance the story being told. The play of light and dark, blur and motion, even exposure can be manipulated to bring out details or help them fade away. For too long, fear of imperfection kept me from enjoying life, and it kept me from taking photographs. Embracing imperfection, and giving myself grace was what I needed to enjoy both again.

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I'm not sure why I think that my kids will recognize that weekend and holiday mornings are any different than any other morning where they wake up at unthinkably (for me) early hours. CosI is almost as accurate as an alarm clock, calling out to me every morning between 5:45 and 6am.  Every night she goes to sleep hugging her Minnie and Mickey dolls, one in each arm,  while simultaneously kicking her blanket off and on with her toes, and adjusting the ribbon attaching her binkie to her shirt so that it is sandwiched between her binkie and her nose like a ribbon mustache. Every morning, when I open her door I am greeted by the same scene, but all the characters are a bit different.....the contents of the previous night are strewn across the floor and she is standing at the edge of her crib, grunting and pointing at them with a look of bewilderment and distress, as if some invisible villain silently ripped them from her arms and threw them across the room as she slept. The only friend she is adamant be returned to her, though, is her beloved binkie.  It makes me chuckle every morning.  But on holiday mornings and weekends, the chuckle comes a bit more begrudgingly, I admit.

After retrieving her and binkie,  I carry them to the kitchen, where she sits on the counter and waits for me to prepare her bottle of milk. Some mornings she has to hold the bottle while I pour, and then pretend to screw the top back on, before letting me take over. More often, she is content to nag/grunt at me until I get it done myself. From there, we usually go back to my room where she snuggles up to me, alternating between her bottle and binkie, while I read my scriptures on my phone. But lately, she has been demanding that we move our snuggle sessions to her daddy's chair in the living room. If I don't comply, she cries and writhes around on my bed as if there are millions of tiny little unseen warriors poking her with their miniature swords. She demands to get down from the bed, and then immediately screams to be lifted back up. We go through a merry go round of up and down until I give in, and daddy's chair it is! 

Yesterday morning, before having to migrate to the chair,  I was rescued by one of her siblings, who took her off to play on the trampoline. I think she likes the trampoline almost as much as she likes her binkie, or me..... actually, possibly more than me!  Grateful, I crawled back into bed to sleep until 7:30. 

Every year on the 4th our church congregation gets together bright and early for breakfast. It is a fun start to our Independence Day celebrations. Since the breakfast started at 7:30, we jumped out of bed and rushed to get everyone dressed.  The only outfit that must be worn, was the one Cosi would be wearing, a little outfit I made for Cassidy when she was one.  The skirt is a pair of jeans that I cut off just below the waist, and sewed layers of cute patriotic fabric and red tulle so that it flared out a bit like a tutu. The top is a simple white shirt with red ribbon and tulle sewed in three layers at the collar. It is topped off by a hair band made with the patriotic fabric and ribbon.  All three girls have worn it, and I have loved to see each of them running around in it! I remember sitting at the sewing machine to make it, and putting it on Cass for the first time. I also remember feeling a bit self conscious as she ran around at the city BBQ, wondering if people thought I was silly or ridiculous for spending so much time on an outfit that would be worn once.  That feeling stopped me from many subsequent crafting projects, but every year that I pull that little outfit out for the next little girl to wear, I remember fondly the outfits my mom made for me and my sisters on holidays. 

 I especially remember one Christmas.  My mom took t shirts and sewed a few layers of ruffled material to the bottoms to make a dress, then painted puff paint candy canes on the fronts. My cousin Carolee even matched us if I recall correctly. Those memories are special to me, and I don't care if anyone thinks I'm silly or not anymore.....Next holiday we may all be wearing ridiculous homemade outfits, but I won't be paying attention to what anyone thinks of me....because we'll be making wonderful memories that hopefully my kids will remember forever. 


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July 6, 2015

Wow, this here blog has been neglected for a very long time. I've thought about it, and wanted to post my thoughts and work so often.....but our life has taken a different direction these past few years. A direction that has taken me away from so much of what I thought my life would be, and yet exactly where I knew it would be.  

For years, I have known that my life would involve public service. I knew that politics would be a part somehow. I didn't know the details though. It made sense when I met my husband. Again, I just didn't know the details, and I didn't exactly know the role I would be asked to play, and the transition it would be.

 My husband has been serving as Mayor of our City, and I am extremely proud of him for his hard work and determination. I have loved watching him use his talents and skills and work tirelessly on behalf of our community. But it has come with sacrifices that I never anticipated. 

I had a conversation with someone the other day, and as happens occasionally, they thanked me for allowing my husband to serve and making sacrifices that come with that service. I explained that I've known since I was a teenager that this was the direction my life would take, so even though I didn't know the specific sacrifices we would make, there isn't a question as to whether or not he should serve. I think the Lord was preparing me so that during the rough transitions and the long days, I wouldn't want to back out, to say, "Never mind, this isn't what I want to do, this isn't worth it." 

Not that I have been asked to sacrifice anything near what others in history have been asked to sacrifice! Let's be real, we live in a great community, I have four amazing, albeit active and rambunctious (aka, typical) children, awesome friends and family, and blessings that have allowed us to follow this path. But there are definitely sacrifices. This blog, and my photography business being among them.

 I'm pretty sure no one follows me right now, and I'm completely ok with that. In fact, that makes it easier for me to come and write my thoughts and share my little corner of the world somehow. So I am going to try and come here and blog more often. Maybe not with any great regularity, but I am going to make the conscious effort to come and share my work and my world. I need a creative outlet sometimes, so sometimes I'll blog. And since I can't stand to read blogs that don't have any pictures, here is one from our recent family vacation that has nothing to do with anything. 

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August 22, 2012

This image is my girl to a "t". Such a sweet, precocious thing!

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Another gorgeous Senior.
Inland Empire Photographer says:

Great job capturing such great, beautiful smiles! Keep up the great work!

(08.20.12 @ 09:28 PM)
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