Life sans kids

I've been reading other blogs lately of friends, and people i've never met but seem to have interesting lives, yes creeping. Ever read Kelle Haptoms blog? Never met her but feel like i know her and her girls.  if you haven't read it, you need to.  Girl knows how to live it up and find joy in so much.  Peering into peoples lives from a blogging perspective is really intersting, you get to hear their funny stories, highlights of their day and see pictures of their loved ones. Something struck me the other day while i was reading a post about someones kid who peed on the ground in the shape of a horse.....people with kids have much more interesting blogs. I mean how do you compete with child standing for the first time or this?? You just can't.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="a child we hired to make our lives look interesting.  nah, just messing, its our niece."][/caption]

I actually contemplated getting a move on the kid thing for a second just to make life more interesting and then i realized:

A. wanting kids just for funny stories is bad motivation for bringin life into the world


B. I love this phase of my life, sans kids. 

(if you don't know what sans means but you want to sound cool, use it at a restraunt when you want them to hold the mayo. ex. " id like the Avacado Chicken sandwhich, sans Mayo". You'll sound so fancy.)

Anyway, after talking myself down from joining the baby club without Ricky's input, i stepped back and re-evaluated....

Ricky and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary in April, and in that time we've had a few comments on " when you guys gonna get started?". We too have started talking about kids, planning, thinking.... and in those moments where we start picturing our life 2 or 3 years from now, we begin to be thankful for now.

We both do look forward to all the joys  that come along with parenting, the pregnancy, naming a human, giving birth and sharing life with our future kids... we also realize the truths that come with the world of parenting, and the biggest one being the change of it being 'just us'. We have this window, this short little season in our life when it is us, Ricky and Jenn. And there is something deep inside of me that knows i should cherish this time with my husband, that being young, newly married and in love is fleeting. Not the in love part, but the other two : ) I am so blessed to be married to this wonderful soul and feel like I'm still getting to know him for who he is and in the end, us creating deep bonds through travelling, budgeting, cleaning, making a home, fighting, and making up will make us better in the end.

I love this God given season in our life.

Time where we both get home from work at 4ish, make dinner together and talk about our days, plan out our trip to Europe and then spend monday nights cuddled on the couch watching Master Chef followed by Hell's kitchen, making our own commentary on who should be kicked out next.  These days where we realize its 5:55 and if we jump in the car within the next 2 minutes we can race over to AJ's and still make the 1/2 off dessert bar. These moments where we can have both our hands occupied with eachothers as Ricky removes the nail polish from my fingers cause i hate the feel of acetone and cottonballs. So sweet of him. There are times we spontaneously want to go see a movie at 9pm on a work night, and we do it, other times we look at each other as we sit for a few hours just the two of us on our hand-me-down couch, and Ricky will say "You we won't have this amount of uninterrupted together once we have kids?"

and he's right. So i don't want to take this time for granted.

we soak in these times of me almost beating him on our first game of bowling and not having to worry about anyone but the one we said "I Do" to on that beautiful barefoot day on Coronado Island. ( he did win every game by the way, he's a great bowler)

So maybe its not about competing, or having the best story, but instead being content in the story you are currently writing, and each day you have in that season. In a few years our hands will be full of bottles, diaper bags and little bundles and i know when that time comes our home and hearts will open up to greet our little ones with all the attention and love they need... but for now... i like it just us... Ricky and Jenn.

Katie and Brian + Riley: A Pet Session Extraordinaire

Think its too hot for a cool photosession in Phoenix? Riley didn't think so and neither did his owners who ran all around the park allowing me to get some great shots of them together.

What is it about animals that make it seem like being outside in 115 degree weather is like the best thing in the world? I know they made Brian and Katie smile a ton and made the photoshoot way more energetic as Riley sped for bouncing balls, was estatic about going for a walk and just loved being outside. It was so cute to see how the three really interacted like a little family!

I have always been a little if-y about doing pet photography, but this was surprisingly fun and i look forward to more!

Cora Clark: 6months!

What fun milestones to celebrate as little ones begin to show expression, love and their cute personalities. I had the opportunity to photograph the Clark family and celebrate six months of life for little Cora! She was so full of smiles! So amazing to see the tight bonds that have formed already between daughter and her parents.

As Jill and i were planning this session, she had an idea to include the cloth diapers she uses. i loved the idea! Anything to show off and incorporate things unique to a family is always so much fun and makes it personal. Jill had the thought to have Cora in this adorable basket surrounded by the cloth diapers, well as soon as we put her in it, you could tell she was just looking at her mom, like " wait a second... what IS this"... and then shortly followed by, " GET ME OUT OF HERE!" haha. We tried our best but Cora just wasn't having it!

Good thing we got a lot of other adorable shots of her doing tummy time and locked tight in her parents arms.

One cute thing this specail to this family is " the pinky". Anytime Cora got a little fussy ( which was very rare) all Jill had to do was say the word pinky and Cora immediatley calmed. This word was of course followed by a finger in the mouth and a soothing parent nearby as well : )  It was the only thing that was an immediate fix and clearly a comfort to have her momma at hand... literally : ) Love the little phases.

So much fun with this family! Happy 6 months of life here on earth Cora!

Cute bow in this picture provided by Tiny Acorns Check them out!

Our little Europe... aka Aj's dessert bar

I don't know what it is about Aj's, but you just park in their spacious lot beneath the lucious trees and well watered grass, and you just kind of feel like you're in a different country. Like suddenly in europe about to try some new fancy food that'll never quite measure up in the states. Aj's, the europe of america. With their outdoor patios, and water features, who *wouldn't* want to eat outside in the 116 degree heat? duh.

Ever since our fabulous honeymoon where we discovered the secret pleasures of their dessert case, we have been HOOKED. Those decadent little desserts, complete with chocolate shavings and gel candies on top (that i hate, but appreciate the thought). We find ourselves frequenters of the AJ's dessert section. Really only that section, (cause i can't justify paying 5 dollars for milk or 8 dollars for organic cereal. no thanks.)

can you tell we'd just gotten our first dslr camera and had no idea how to use it?  yeah the above is what my photos used to look like. Yay for learning and growth! ; )

Whenever we go we find ourselves standing in front of the shiny display like little kids trying to pick out a prize at Peter Piper Pizza. You know when you did that as a kid? Your parents dropped 20 bucks on tokens for ski ball. 15 minutes and 82 tickets later, you are walk up to that prize booth hoping they'd magically lowered the price of the boombox to 60 tickets so you still have some left over for tootsies and a chinese finger trap. but alas, your parents point out you can get stuff on the first two shelves and you suddenly are a math wiz calculating how many plastic spiders and round translucent poppers you can get. (remember those poppers you turn inside out and lay on a flat surface and they *pop* back? and then you get brave and try it on your hand, and then your brother convinces you to try it on your face??)

*alright i drew this one out too  long, but the imagery of excitment is there.*

Its those same feelings with us at AJ's. every time we go, we give ourselves a budget as the cool ac hits our faces and the reflections of the sweet confections come into focus.

" Okay jenn, we get 8 dollars to spend tonight".

" How about 9 so i can get a tea too?"

He always says yes. He's the best husband ever.  And as we stare, contemplating our options and finally picking out the one we want to try, i can't help but feel that same thrill of getting to choose a spectacular prize. These little trips, to our little europe, they make summer awesome.

and so does being married to someone that shares : )

Happy Wednesday!

Dodging trains and takin names: Photographer Corey Schwartz

What a blessing this portait shoot was! Corey is a fellow photographer that has been in the business for 5 years, but has been shooting for years. The only thing that exceeded his impressive equipment  lineup (which took up the entire back of his suv) was his knowledge of the business. We set out for Tempe Beach Park about an hour before sunset, (which in Arizona still leaves you plenty of time for a sunburn) and we had a great time!

Corey was kind enough to allow me to use and experiment with his lighting equipment during the shoot and answered questions  as i tried my hand lighting the scene. He was so kind and so talented to a newbie just starting her journey. What a pleasure to work with!

We were both sweating bullets as we moved from scene to scene, dodging trains and trying to keep from sliding down dirt embankements. I can't help but note how impressed i was with the coordination of this man as he held and balanced his lighting with the bottom half of his body while steadying his hand with his Nikon for the perfect shot as a train passed. Amazing.

Great shoot with a  talented photographer.

Check out Corey's work at:

Thanks Corey!

Ashley + Beans + Harry

I got to do a mini session with Ashley Jonkman a week or so ago and it was a blast. Although we wish we could have included her awesome new husband Brad in these pictures, we did get some with her two new adorable puppies, Beans and Harry. They were actually really cooperative and well behaved, except for when Harry managed to somehow get out of his leash! Oops. Dog treats to the rescue.

Ashley and I have known each other since the 5th grade, but really became best of friends our Junior year of High School when her family moved into the house across the street. Our bedroom windows directly faced eachother and we quickly bonded under the umbrella of Christian teenagers looking to find their place in this world. Ashley was outgoing, confident and had a beautiful voice that made her 'the stuff' in Jazz Madrigal ( the most elite singers in the school... think Glee) I was immediately drawn to this spunky girl and over the next few years we bonded as we hosted new year parties at her house, performed together in Hello Dolly ( after i "stole" her part : ) and laid out in the backyard to get out summer tans on.

Its been 8 years since we celebrated our graduation from Desert Vista High School and since then we have gone through different seasons of friendship as we both went off to our Private Christian Universities in opposite directions on the map.  At times we were very close, experiencing the same guy drama or travel abroad experiences that brought us closer. Other times we went months without talking, and yet even after that time, when her voice did resound on the other end of the line, it was like nothing had changed. -Kindred Spirits-. That's the word that comes closest to describing what we are. Two souls that despite distance and time, *know* each other.

We entered a new phase of life as we both were married in this past year. We stood next to the other, bridesmaid flowers in hand,  as we proclaimed our love and recited our vows to our husbands. And that friendship continues to blossom and grow as the months go on and we find ourselves once again discovering who we are and relating to each other in new ways

[caption id="attachment_150" align="aligncenter" width="535" caption="Isn't she beautiful?"][/caption]

Our life paths seem to have magnets on them, drawing the other closer at different points throughout the last few years. She would happen to be driving through Oklahoma, or I'd be in California near her University. We have these little *ping* moments, where we get to reconnect in person. And it always leaves me wanting for more. Its in these times that we get to really talk, to open up and share our troubles, to call out a look of worry or dig deeper on a topic becuase you can see in the others face that they need to talk about it.

We had the opportunity to connect this past week as she drove through Phoenix from a wedding in Cali. It was so refreshing to be with someone who knows your ins and outs and you them them all the same. The time just flew by as dug deep and asked tough questions. We talked love and relationships, marriage and friends. And I speak for Ashley when i say we both walked away feeling, calmer, grounded and loved.

Plus we got some really cute pictures of her with her puppies! : )

Love this girl and so thankful to have her in my life!

The Nelmons | Family Photo Session

What do haboobs, firetrucks and golf courses all have in common?

They were all a part of my last family session with the Neloms family last week! We met at 6:45 and had barely a half hour to shoot before her kids got swept away in the storm wind. Which by the way, when did duststorms suddenly take on the name haboob? I grew up in Arizona, and until this summer, i had never heard the term haboob despite many seasons of orange painted skies.

Anyway! I knew right away I was going to like the Neloms family as Missy  strolled up with little Isaiah wrapped snug in her arm and Keith followed behind with Uriah holding a bright red firetruck as big as he was. They had this easygoing presence that just left me with a great feeling that this was going to be an awesome shoot.

Boy was I right. This family was so easy to capture and the boys were so playful! Despite the fact that we had to cut our session a little short, we got great smiles and lots of love from this family of four. Isaiah recently turned 1 and you can  see the little laughs and abundant smiles he had when he was around his momma. So adorable.

Uriah was seriously one of the funniest little boys! His energy was contagious and he made me regret that my babysitting days are over! : ) His energy led him to voluntarily jumped down flights of stairs and you can tell this little man is going to do great things in life with all that energy!

We finished just as dusty winds came billowing over the mountains in the south and ended our session on a great note! Thank you Neloms for letting me capture moments of your family where they are in this stage! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Until next time.

It's a Girl!

Last Tuesday was a first for me.

I had been obsessively checking my phone for a week. You know, that thing you do when you pick up your phone, press the round circle so your screen lights up to reassure you haven't missed your phone vibrating inches from your hand in the last twenty minutes? Yeah that. I'd been leaving it on loud at night so that if it rang it could wake me up and held it in kung fu grip away from the toilet anytime I had to go. Cause you just never know when a baby might decide its time.

Though I truly believe the birth of any baby is a significant and miraculous thing, this one just happened to be special to me and the rest of my Gill family. Chris Gill is my older brother and Heather is so close and dear to our family its like she really is my sister. They were gracious enough to invite me to take pictures at the birth and it was the first time I was going to witness this beautiful process and capture its first moments of life. Like, yeah, actually be in the room as a human being goes from not breathing to breathing. Wow.  I had captured this baby with Chris, Heather and Caridee in a maternity session back in May. Check that out here.

So, apparently this baby overheard the doctors at the appointments because August 26th, the due date, came and with it came the first of birth pains. My mom called about 10pm and let me know that Heather and Chris were headed back to the hospital and they were "going back to sleep."

"Say what?" Going back to sleep? Didn't she just tell me a baby was coming?  I was ready to hop in the car right there!

But I guess babies take longer than a few minutes to make their way, so we went from Red: Severe Condition, to a Blue: Gaurded Condition as we thought it would be at least 6-7 hours before any of us needed to be there. I got the anticipated text at 2:27am saying "Heather wants you here and she is having hard contractions." Yeah! Well not for the hard contractions (sorry Heather! : )

So I
booked it, drove within a reasonable posted speed to the hospital. (Learned that hard lesson here) I had the sweet tunes of AirOne coming through my radio speakers as I drove down the deserted freeway, leaving me with a calm and peace that only God can provide.

I arrived at the hospital at 3:00 and ten minutes later Chris wanted my mom and I back to the hospital room where the magic happened. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but what I saw when i walked in was a calm relatively calm scene. Chris was gently stroking Heathers' head as she lay on her side in a homey room. Nurses were in the room prepping a few things. Heather was a champ, breathing deep, you could see the pain she was in on her face, but embraced it with the grace of a mother willing to do anything for her baby. So beautiful.

Apparently Heather was progressing very quickly, she had gone from a 4-10 very quickly and was basically ready to push!  How exciting! We were however waiting on just one person... the doctor....

Everyone thought Heather would be a few hours and since the doctor had already worked a full shift, she went to grab a few hours of sleep. But being an awesome doctor, she turned right around and made her way back to deliver the newest Gill into the world.

As soon as Heather's mom arrived the doctor walked in shortly after and it was GO TIME. The coolest thing about this delivery was that Chris and Heather decided they didn't want to know where it was going to be a boy or a girl! How cool is that! They got to have that moment of " ITS A____!" And Chris was the one that got to *check everything out* and make the announcement to the room.

From there, everything happened so quickly, Heather pushed. Breathe. Push. Breathe. Things were happening all around but the entire energy of the room was focused on a small little body making its way into this world.  It was incredible!

Within 17 minutes, they went from get ready to push, to an adorable healthy baby GIRL! Her name is Halley Mae Gill and weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and she was born at 3:27am.

Mom gets to hold Haylee for the first time!

They took all her little vitals and she is healthy and beautiful!

While they were doing their measurements and checking vitals, Chris never left her side. he followed that little baby girl around the room and had theis protective and loving vibe that i can't quite put into words. When they put her on the table to measure, i think she got cold and started crying, this is one of my favorites of Chris, i could barely make out what he was saying, but he whispered over and over " It's okay... I'm right here..."....

After a quick bath she was given back to mom and dad to coddle and swoon over. Chris and Heather had the whole family in when they announced her name. I held her right after they announced and just looking at this small child, who is now Haylee and realized she was going to be in my life from here on out, that she was family, a part of us. It was a little overwhelming. Here is this new person that is a part of us forever...And i can't wait to get to know her.

We are so excited to welcome Haylee Mae Gill into this world! Congratulations to Chris and Heather Gill!

I know this post is a little long! But in honor of my baby niece I'll be giving away a photoshoot later this week! Make sure you check in 'like' the  jenn wagner facebook page for your chance to win! : )