Baby Milestones; 9 months

When I first starting shooting, I read on a blog that you should always focus on the eyes in photos. If nothing else is clear, make sure those lashes and round pupils stand out.  The eyes are said to tell it all and are a sort of passage into someones' inner mind.  I realized the truth in this after getting to capture Alison, 9 months old with eyes that were not only bright and beautiful blue, but deep and thoughtful.
It was like with every picture she was trying to figure out how the mechanics of my camera worked, and at the same time, trying to read me as well. 

Alison is such a sweet little one! She didn't fuss or cry the entire shoot and just sat wide eyed like she'd posed for a Gerber promo 100 times before. So adorable!
 We also got to get some pictures of her sweet mom, if you don't know Lacy, you are missing out! She is seriously one of the nicest people I have met and is such a great momma to Alison.

Love her little tutu!!
Happy 9 months Alison! 

One for the road

Tonight was date night and I planned the whole thing; appetizers and drinks at Fired Up, letting my hubby pick the movie, and then coldstone. It was gonna be perfect. However there was  one aspect I didn't plan; but ended up being so key to such a laid back and wonderful evening.

Frank Sinatra joined us.

Oh yes, he rode with us in the car, serenading our trip in between destinations and creating a atmosphere that may have only existed in our car, but left the world outside feeling a little safer. His smooth mellow voice transported us quickly to a different era. A time where you *really* dressed up when you went out on the town. A time where you left you left your garage door and neighborhood kids came in and out as they pleased. A time where the ice cream truck was king, and sunset meant it was time to go in.

Now i never actually lived during this time period, but I've lived long enough to gather the general atmosphere of the 50's and early 60's through movies like the Sandlot and Stand by Me. Truly, you can tell so much about a culture  just by watching films, and I may not have lived it in person, but I did tonight as we drove down Chandler in our Toyota Avalon.
That face means "I love you so much"
Yes, times seemed simpler back then, so thank you Frank, for joining us on our night out. And making the world feel more like a safe little haven.

Dance girl dance

Ahhh! Ever have one of those days where you just feel like things couldn't get any better? And you just get so excited that the only way to unload any of the overpowering energy is to dance it out in front of your mirror? And you click on your pandora and turn the music up and click through the lame songs until you get a song like "Forever" comes on ( a total Jerry McGuire driving and listening to "Free Fallin" moment. You got me? )And then you put on your new trendy glasses and a dress that you only wore once at your engagement pictures cause you just want to feel... well bold and daring and awesome?

 Yeah me too.

That was my tonight.

starts with full homeade caramel frappachinos from a recipe I found on pinterest, and it tastes just as good.

My husband sat idly by as i danced it out all around the house, a small smirk on his face cause there's a small part of him that wishes he could wear my dress, but he can't.

The top two emails are my reason for having such a great night!

Our US Airways flight is reserved... to GERMANY! The Wagners are headed back to Europe for ten days in 2012 and we can't wait. It is set, and our tickets are not refundable! (smart? maybe, exciting, yes. )

and then the second little number on there is my ebay purchase... I finally pulled the trigger and bought the Canon 5d! Big step for my photography!  I know it will help me step up my game, learn more about the ins and outs of a camera and also give better quality pictures to my clients! So excited for it to get here! The great part? With the support from my husband and saving every penny from my shoots, I am able to pay in full for this purchase and we will not go in debt at all! Dave Ramsey would be proud. : ) Thank you God!
there she is, in all her awesomness

Do you guys ever have days like this? Where you just have to run around and let it all out in crazy ways or am i the only one here? :  )  What do you do to get it out?!

Get your Pinterest On

Felt like being crafty tonight and with a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, I knew I could make magic happen.  Everyone else seems to be able to doing creative and wonderful things. So i wanted to join them in their fun.

i mean you see stuff like this
Burlap Banner with Hearts and this... t-shirt braid necklace.

and you think " oh i love, it i can make that! Can't be that difficult. Right?"

I mean, how hard can it be to create a bookshelf made of vintage wine crates, sewn together with organic tulip petals and properly decorated with my great grandfathers film camera and a quote that will inspire anyone that walks into my house. How hard can it be?

hard people. hard.

I have been blessed with a lot of talents, and one of them is being honest when I'm just not good at something. Friends. I am no good at Pinterest in real life.

It started with a simple idea that been floating around. Up-cycling t-shirts into bracelets and a necklace. Its great, its unique, you already own the supplies. "I can do this" i thought.
I didn't take this picture, and jealously i didn't create this bracelets. but this chick did:

So i pulled out the scissors, some shirts i was ready to be rid of, and tuned into the right side of my brain.

time to get my Pinterest on

Three t-shirts, two bracelets, and an hour later, and here is what i ended up with...
its okay, im nots sure what it is either...

this is not a joke. i wish it was, but it happened. 
The only kind of cool thing i ended up with was this necklace. and in reality, i just look like a lame lion. And i have to be honest, all i did was cut the ruffle off of one of the necklines of a shirt. so i didn't really do anything but use scissors and destroy a shirt im sure someone could have gotten much better use out of.
this was the moment i realized i had failed. and it looks like i have a crazy eye. 
As i go back and edit this, i realize how ridiculous these things look and i can't help but laugh to myself as my little ihome blares out Jordin sparks blares " no air" and my legs begin to overheat from this laptop. Its comical. How we as humans think we should be naturally good at things. That creating hipster looking jewelry from old t-shirts our first time should be easy, just because other people can do it. 

By the time i had these little disasters all sitting in front of me, mocking my inability to... cut things good... i didn't even feel like taking pictures of them. hence the lame pictures.

So overall, i would say its a lot easier to feel crafty by finding crafy things OTHER people have done online, and then hitting the digital pin button. I can organize those boards like no ones business, but i think I'll be leaving it on the world wide web for everyone to enjoy and not bringing chaos to my clothes and office room floor. Feel free to follow my Pinterest, but when it comes to real life, stear clear my friends. Fair warning.

oh and just to rub it in my face a little more, this quote showed up on my wall.

You win tonight pinterest... but tomorrow... i shall return and poke some fresh holes of creative robbery off a bunch of other peoples blogs and pages. so there. 

Burgers, Wonderwoman and the Olympics; Oh it's Labor Day Weekend alright!

If you have ever met my husband, you know we are different in one major way. I love spontaneous change and he is a hardcore traditionalist.
The thought of redecorating a room, moving and trying a new recipe with random ingredients always sound appealing and refresh me. While for him, he prefers the security of whats already happening, wears 6 shirts over and over, loves to watch the same christmas movies he's loved since he was 7, and will order one burger prepared the same way from Fuddruckers.
I'll let you figure out who ordered what. 

We're a conundrum of sorts.
And while we are so opposite, my husbands' love for traditions is beginning to rub off on me in the best of ways. The familiarity of what is good begins to give me thoughts like  "I hope this never changes". This last weekend was full of moments like that. Ones i wanted to soak in, stop time, and just re-live  again and again.
We spent the weekend in Sierra Vista, one of my love's favorite places on earth.  His hometown that consists not only of his childhood home, but all of the memories that were the springboard for most of his traditions that have carried on through adulthood.  Its the place where driving down streets brings up memories " This is where I was after i chased a rabbit into the dessert and realized i was lost" and "That used to be the little skate park where I first started playing Hockey". 

Sierra Vista is a smaller border town south of Tucson, where time seems to slow just as bit as does the speed limit and eagerness to get places and accomplish a to- do list. Unless the list consists of cardgames  on a patio filled with blooming flowers and finishing an entire book. When we are in Sierra Vista, its like all the fretts of daily life seem to just kind of melt away as we are surrounded be the Huachuaca mountains to the west and open land all around. Its a breath of fresh air.

There's something so nice about checking your phone, only to see there's no calls to be returned or emails that are urgent. 
This Labor day weekend was no exception. We headed down Friday night, and spent three glorious days living out life full of things that have quickly come to be favorites that we look forward to... traditions if you will. : ) The first being right when we enter the Wagner house. It happens everytime we arrive. Though its nearly 11pm, there are fresh brownies waiting, along with bowls of fruit, rice krispie treats and a momma that wants to make sure everyone is full and happy. Its just how it is, and I'm pretty sure that Ricky is convinced that homeade goodies upon coming home are a birthright. 
Joanne is a fantastic mom in so many ways, and one of the things I admire about her most is her willingness to serve and put herself second. She is the only person i have ever met that literally says " YAY!" when her team looses in cards because she is genuinely happy the other team won. Who does that? She is an amazing and selfless woman. 
A new wave of traditions have hit within the past year, the Wagner competitions. We started it last year at Thanksgiving and have just continued it each time we visit.  And each time, everyone seems up for whatever crazy challenge we lay down. 

Just throw the world "Olympics" into a sentence and I'm pretty sure any male will de-robe and step up to the challenge. The Wagner men did this weekend as we threw the first EVER  Wagner Summer Olympics; diving edition. We came up with crazy dive categories like "Best death dive" and "Dive with Dream hands". We just kind of made up what they meant as we went along. Joanne and I were the judges handing out scores to each competitor, and it made for a very entertaining afternoon filled with grown men doing things i never thought possible.

Stories that get passed down are also a big part of tradition; one that is infamous in the Wagner household is a picture of the brothers when they were little dressed as superheros. Ricky was Iceman, and Jason was none other than Wonderwoman. Yes. Wonderwoman. And this weekend Ricky along with his 34 year old protein shake drinking,  horse riding border patrol agent brother acted out that beloved family legend.
But no Olympic event is complete until the award ceremonies. We took it really serious, stepped it up this year, and awarded each champion ruby encrusted (plastic) necklaces representing their places.The best part, they all wore them way past the event and well into the evening. None of them seemed to want to take it off? I can't blame em.

On top of all the fun, we also watched as our Godson Andrew Ellison was baptized! It was a celebration surrounded by close family and friends. This is something Jesus commanded us to do, and Christians have been doing for over 2000 years as we decide to give our life to Christ. It was great to be a part of, and even better as we continued conversations on the ride home with Joanne and Michael who have been reading and studying the bible. We talked and later baptized them that day as well! What a great day for the kingdom. 
Ryan with his son Andrew. 
With little Joseph Ellison, the newest member of the fam. 
So while I will probably always be a mover, a redecorator and an initiator of change...I slowly begin to appreciate the things that repeat themselves, that become comfortable, expected and known. I'll take the porchside card games, the spiritual celebrations and brownies. Actually, I'll have two brownies.

Andrew + Ashley: Wedding in Estes Park, Colorado

It was my first time to capture a wedding from behind the lens, and what a great experience it was! I  was so thankful to be fortunate enough to witness the marriage  of my beloved brother and his adorable new wife!

I knew I would like Ashley from the first time I stalked her on facebook a few years back and found out she was a member of Pi Zeta Phi. Our little social service club myself and 20 girls started at our alma mater, Oklahoma Christian University seven years ago. ( crazy its been that long). Well that little club that could made it and thrived and has a dear place in my OC heart. To know that this girlfriend of Andrew had the same affinity for Pi, well, lets just say i was an immediate fan. And that love only grew as I met her and got to know her and see how well her and Andrew got along. They just kind of "fit".

And don't even get me started on that little brother of mine. We have fought since the time we were little cause i was older and better looking than he was.(still am) Then he came to terms with it, realized how cool i was and moved to Oklahoma to join me at school at OC. Yeah he's pretty much awesome and i am so proud of that eagle scoutin, cricket noise makin, great wife magnet he turned into . He makes every event 12% funnier and is just an all around great guy to be around. I guess he's kind of a man now that he is married huh? weird. : ) love you little brudder.

Anyway, back to their special day.

Ya know, those couples that just seem to click and get eachother? Thats them.

Both laid back. Great senses of humor and love to travel. They met Freshman year of college but didn't hit it off until their Junior year when they both sought adventure abroad on the rim of the Pacific. They found eachother, while studying in China, Japan, and that affection grew in New Zealand, Australia and basically were in love by the time they hit Hawaii. I mean could you ask for a better series of continents to fall in love between? Such a cool story!

So they got engaged in the spring and set their wedding date for August! They called a few months into planning the wedding and asked if it would help shoot the wedding.

I said no.

Guys, I was too scared!  The pressure was too much! What if i messed it up, what if i missed shots or get in the way or trip as im hyperfocusing on my camera and crash into the ring bearer???  This was a wedding and my brothers at that , and I'd only been shooting for like one month at this point. One month in my photography 'career'. I was very quick to turn it down but said I'd take a few candid shots. I had no confidence at that time and really didn't want to ruin photos for what should be some of the best memories of their life.

Fast forward 2 months and a dozen or so  shoots later, and i realized what a great opportuinty this could be. Plus you got to start somewhere right?? So I felt horrible I'd said no, passed up on a chance to help and called and asked if i could please still shoot ( but no pressure if they didn't need me!) I was like praying they still wanted me to help and luckily Ashley is pretty awesome and said yes for sure, and that I could be a second for her grandpa who had been shooting for years ( a genius i tell you!)

I was so thankful! So I packed up my camera, lenses and memory cards up and we headed to Colorado. Turns out, not only is Ashley perfect for my brother, but she is a pretty awesome wedding planner and DIY-er surrounded by great family and church folk that helped throw one AMAZING wedding. I guess it doesn't help when the Rocky Mountains are your background for wedding pictures?

The day was amazing, filled with so many great memories and little fun details that made everything so whimsical. It was like the ultimate outdoor picnic complete with lemonade, yellow tablecloths and homeade touches everywhere you looked. I hope these pictures help to capture just a little bit of their day and all of those that support this blessed union of two people as they became one before our Father in heaven.

Seeing eachother for the first time was so sweet. I'll never forget the look of anticipation on Andrew's face as he patiently waited for Ashley to approach and he was given the go ahead to turn around  and see his bride standing before him. So precious!

Ashley's dad performed the ceremony and did a wonderful job. My favorite part was when they took communion, you could just see everyone tearing up as they broke bread and rememberd Christ our Lord. It was a very emotional and sentimental time. You could tell it meant a lot to experience this moment together.

Thank you guys for letting me be a part and capture your day! Love you both and am so excited for you as you begin your life together!!

Cake decor by Edible Details:

More photos at:

Big thanks to Bob Spillers for all his helpful advice and tips during shooting. He is a pro and i am so thankful to have had the opportunity to shoot beside him.