Tuesday, November 29, 2011

our wish list.

Olive and I have created a wish list for Christmas and our birthdays (2/20 and 3/10 respectively). If you're curious and/or you're someone that we typically exchange gifts with check it out! :)

an autumn family session.

Here are a few photos from a recent family portrait session. We were lucky enough to get these photos taken the day before the first snow of the season! There is a nice little park across the street from the couple's home - their home can be seen behind them in a few of the photos. :)

Olive joined me for this session. She kept us entertained by crawling around in the mulch - eating it and getting it stuck all over her. And then the baby girls got in a little play time. :)






my thoughts on black friday.

I've been meaning to write a post sharing with you my thoughts on Black Friday but, big surprise, I haven't gotten around to it until now when Black Friday is long gone. Actually, from here on out I will no longer capitalize black Friday. It is not deserving. (Does that give you a clue as to how I feel about the day?) I've had mini discussions on the topic with friends in person and Twitter friends. I would like to attempt to get all of my thoughts out here and maybe, just maybe, change your mind (assuming you're not as crazy against black Friday as I am).

Let me start off by saying I completely understand. I understand the desire to get good deals. I understand the desire of a company or corporation to make money. I'm not against good deals and profits.. I'm against the manner in which they are obtained in this particular instance.

Take a moment to imagine with me, if you will, what black Friday very well may look like a few years from now. You may think I'm going overboard but I'm not. When I was younger there were sales the day after Thanksgiving. Just some really great sales. Great. More recently these sales have become rather intense and stores have extended their operating hours. I first became aware of this a few years ago, while living here in Minnesota, when some store like Herbergers or something was open 24 hours at a time. I found that absurd. I should have seen what was coming! The rate in which black Friday intensity has increased is so dramatic over the past three years that I can only imagine it will snowball into something resembling black week. During black week stores will be open 24 hours every day - including Thanksgiving. Think that's a stretch? I don't.

Companies these days care about profits and only profits. They do not care about their employees (don't let them fool you... they really don't care) and they do not care about their customers (again... don't let them fool you). Capitalism is king in our country and people are... nothing. And what are most of us doing? We're buying into the whole darn thing because everyone is getting so stinking materialistic I want to scream.

Yes, maybe you can get a great deal on a giant television on black friday. But do you need it? If I can't afford it on any other day I'm not going to buy into the absurdity of this crazy day, punch someone in the face, camp out in the cold, to get my hands on something as unnecessary as a television. If I can't afford it any other day it's probably something I can live without.

This is a slight tangent but I can't forget... The thought of parents bringing their children with them to this black Friday stuff nearly makes me sick. It's a terrible terrible lesson. It's already hard to resist media telling us we need so many things.. black Friday magnifies that times a billion.

I read an article from the perspective of someone that works in retail who was pretty down on all of the black Friday haters because she sympathized with the employers. Retail is about working, she said. You don't get many days off. If you think you do... you're in the wrong business. Okay.. BUT! Most people are not in retail by choice, most people work retail out of necessity for a job.. to provide for their families.. the families that they cannot celebrate holidays with because of their stupid jobs. What a vicious cycle.

As I said before I understand the desire to get a good deal. But, dear little stores, why can you not operate only during your regular hours? You will still sell that silly doorbuster if you open at 9:00 rather than midnight (or maybe they're banking on sleep deprived irrational midnight decisions? Oh yeah... clearly they care about you, clearly). One store started it so now they all have to follow suit because that one store can't nab all of the profit. I likened this situation to when I used to work at Starbucks. I hated the opening shifts. Not too many customers would come in at 5:00 and those that did usually bought only coffee.. nothing fancy. Now, is it too hard to make coffee for yourself at 5:00? If Starbucks did not open until 7:00 everyone would deal with it and they would make coffee at home and it would be okay. But corporations do these things to increase their profits and what do we do? We eat it up like a swarm of mosquitos flying into a bug zapper. Awesome.

Personally I have decided, if I can manage, to not spend a single dollar at any store that operates outside of it's typical hours this holiday season. This may prove slightly difficult when I have a giftcard to use up or if someone asks for something found at only one store. But I will do my best and I hope that you'll join me. These corporations and companies respond to their profits.. if they see a reduced turn out and smaller profit it may encourage them to lessen their operating hours. I can only hope that there are enough of us out there that feel this way and can possibly do some talking with our pocketbooks before we start seeing a black week. Because... gross. We'll just have to move to a not so material country if that happens. As a culture we need to take a huge step back from material things. It's really getting out of hand.

Please share with me how you feel about black Friday. I'm really interested in hearing other opinions!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

9 months old.

I need to keep this brief. I have photos to edit from four sessions that occurred during the past week. November has been jam packed with photo sessions... I hope it keeps up! :)

Today Olive turned nine months old. I have a photo session this afternoon and the weather was a bit chilly so her nine month photos aren't anything too special. We didn't go anywhere or do anything too neat and I only took a few so as not to be too distracted from my work.

Since Olive turned 5 months old she's been developing by leaps and bounds! Now at the close of her eighth month she has added so many neat skills and experiences to her list. She continues to be a bit ahead of the curve with both motor and cognitive development, for the most part. Of course that's neat but I don't try to focus on it since, as you know, every baby is so different and the rate at which they develop as babies does not have much bearing on their cognitive abilities as they age. If anything it's maybe a bit more challenging. She was mobile earlier than many babies her age. Most people seem to think she'll walk soon which will be a challenge for me for sure! I expect that walking at say, 10 months, is much different than walking at 15 months... At 15 months I would expect there to be more understanding of words and boundaries and requests and rules than at 10 months. But I guess we'll see! And maybe she won't walk soon anyway. Who knows?!

Olive's crawl is basically perfected at this point. She crawls everywhere including up and over the dog.

She stands whenever possible with the help of furniture, toys, me, the dog, etc. And will walk along said things until she reaches the end, just as she was when I wrote her 8 month update. She cautiously reaches for the ground to sit. She has only fallen a from standing a couple of times.

I always mention her pincer grasp but it continues to amaze me. Last week she picked up a kiwi seed from Tyler's finger and ate it. wow.

Olive's tooth count is up to four. Last week Tyler suspected some molar action but we don't peek all the way into her mouth too often so I can't confirm. She continues to have very little teething difficulties so I haven't felt the need to peer too far into her mouth.

Sleep continues to be an odd area of Olive's life. For the most part she is still a one nap baby. Luckily they're a little longer than they were a couple of months ago. As you most likely know Olive has needed a great deal of assistance from us to get to sleep. This began as a colicy issue and probably became a large issue because of that. She needed movement and that need stuck as the colic left. We have slowly started tweaking her sleep "routine". We stopped using the ball the bounce her to sleep a couple of months ago. We really should have stopped that earlier but just as it became a pattern for her it did as well for us. You might even say it was a crutch... It was almost guaranteed to work.. so why change? Dropping the ball (ha) didn't post as much of a challenge as I had expected but she has still relied on nursing, some movement, and pats on her bottom side to drift off to dreamland. Last night I wasn't much in the mood for all of that and Olive wasn't either. After nursing she didn't want to be in my arms but didn't seem to want to lay down. So I left her standing in her crib. After a bit of fussing (not crying!) she rocked herself to sleep! Today we had a similar experience during nap time. It took quite a bit longer (and I honestly didn't have much hope with it being light in her room) but after a bit of fussing and talking to herself I peeked in to check on her and found her curled up and sleeping. Wonderful! :)

Olive has been saying "mamamamama", "mom mom" and other variants of mmmmmm's for a while. This month she began some "nanana" which was nice to hear. She plays back and forth with sounds occasionally and communicates with a little grunt when she wants some attention or wants to say hi.

She waves constantly. When coming and going and sometimes in the middle of being with someone. She waves to people and to the dog. She waved to our bedroom chandelier a few days ago. It must be nice to have an increasing repertoire of ways to communicate.

During mealtimes she is a pro at holding her little glass independently.

I can't wait for Christmas. Olive is such an explorer. I can't seem to trick her with rotating toys. We both can't wait for her to get a few new things! She likes things that shake like maracas or containers with things inside. She likes to pull books off of shelves. She still loves to eat books. She also really enjoys those little safely outlet plugs.

Olive had her first cold during the past month, I believe. She has a little stuffy for two or three days and had one night with a fever. She has yet to have any sort of medicine in her little body. For possible teething pain we give her homeopathic teething tablets and we've given her gripe water in the past during colicy/gassy times. I recently purchased some infant pain killer and fever reducer to have on hand.. just in case. She has not yet had any immunizations either. For the most part she's pretty pure and that makes me feel very good. :)

She has always been such an alter and social baby and that part of her personality is continuing to strengthen. She is curious to find the source of sounds and to see who is coming and going. Olive looks for the dog and grunts or growls her to grab her attention. She loves to find tiny things and still has an interest in strings. She's developing a bit of separation anxiety but nothing too extreme. Olive often checks in with me while exploring or doing something new. She almost always has her fingers in my mouth while she's nursing. Today she spit up on my hair for the first time. Overall, she's pretty great. :)

I should get back to editing photos! Here are some of today's snaps of baby O:

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Don't forget to check out Olive's photo blog if you haven't already! :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

an autumn maternity session.

We were extremely lucky during this session. Winter is taking it's sweet time arriving here in Minnesota. I know winter doesn't officially start for a while but we usually experience cold temperatures and snow well before Thanksgiving. Luckily the weather has held out and made for some wonderful and unexpected outdoor sessions, including this beautiful maternity session! We began inside the couple's new home and ventured out into the golden autumn light for some unique and beautiful captures.













We had a great time as the neighbor's horses started running by and trying to catch our attention. :)



I can wait to meet and photograph the new little baby when she arrives! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

puppies vs. babies! the ultimate showdown!!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Puppies vs. Babies for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you haven't already heard, there is a humorous online contest currently in the voting phase called Puppies vs. Babies.  It's too late to enter your baby or puppy into the contest but it's not too late to vote.  Voting is open until November 23rd.  


Have you ever pondered which is more cute?  A puppy or a baby?  I personally think it depends greatly on the baby or puppy in question.  There are adorable puppies out there but there are some icky ones too and, somewhat reluctantly, I can say the same for babies.  Though I do think it's very hard to find a baby that isn't cute in some way... I think just being a baby automatically make one cute.  But maybe I can also use that logic for puppies.  See!  This is quite a difficult question which is why the Puppies vs. Babies online contest is perfect!  It'll answer the age old question for us.  :)

I have both a baby and a puppy and I think they are both quite cute but in completely different ways.  If I were forced to choose one though I would, of course, side with my baby because.. well.. she's my baby.  I made her.  She's 50% me.  And my pup is not.  

I didn't get around to entering this contest but if I had you could bet your bottom dollar that Olive or Honey would have won because they're pretty much the two cutest things I have ever seen.  Maybe it would even have been a tie!  What do you think?

Unfortunately you cannot vote for the cutest baby and puppy in the whole entire world because I did not enter them into this contest, you can visit the Puppies vs. Babies online contest and vote for the cutest of those entered.  :)  Come back here and let me know who you voted for!  :)  The winner will recieve $5,000!  Woah!!!!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

this is olive.

For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram I've started a Tumblr devoted solely to Instagram snaps of Olive from my iPhone. I post at least one photo of her or what we're doing each day with a tiny caption. Check it out! :)

And you should probably bookmark it or subscribe to the RSS because... oh my goodness cuteness & fun. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

an intimate wedding on the parkway.

My great friends Brooke & Scott got married on October 14th. I photographed Brooke getting ready at my house, the small ceremony on Theo Wirth Parkway a few blocks from our houses, and their reception at Wirth Pavilion. Everything went so well and turned out perfectly! :)

Here are some of my favorite photos...
















Two things made me a little nervous to shoot this wedding:
I had one of the worst headaches of the past few years start just minutes before their ceremony and the groom is a photographer who I have worked with in the past.
I made myself feel like I had a lot to live up to while my brain could barely function.
But despite those things I think their photos turned out well. :)
What do you think?

Congratulations Brooke & Scott!  :)