Archive for December, 2010

A Mesquite Tree, Red Pants, and Feet

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Harrison had a Christmas Program last week at his preschool. Carter was at school, and Greg was watching Emmie’s Christmas Program (yes, at the exact same time on the exact same day!) so it was just the two of us. I didn’t feel like brining the camera out and rustling my way up to the front to get mediocre shots during the program. So instead, we took a few photos afterwards. Harrison was really excited to take some photos. He loves his red pants–which are hand-me-downs from Carter. I hoisted him up in a mesquite tree near my house. And what got him to smile so big??? We talked about feet and shoes. For those of you who don’t know Harrison, he is preoccupied with feet, socks, and shoes. I know, it’s weird but true. This little guy can’t go to bed without his socks on. I was balancing one of my shoes on my head while shooting to get this reaction. Maybe that’s even weirder, but to me, it’s worth it!

Dalia & Gopal are Married (an Indian wedding)

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Dalia and Gopal got married this fall, and I was so happy to be a part of their day. Their wedding day consisted of two different ceremonies–one traditional (in the American sense of the word) and one Indian–and a fabulous party. The colors were vibrant. The food was fabulous. The bride wore three different beautiful outfits. The jewelry was sparkly. The music was hoppin’.

It was a full day. We shot in full sun which was tricky. And this photographer experienced a full blown fever and illness in the middle of it. I felt awful. I am so glad that I was able to bounce back enough as the day wore on and keep working away. Dalia and Gopal’s wedding was beautiful, and it was a privilege to photograph it at the JW Marriott. I felt like I was transported to India for the day. Enjoy!

We first did the traditional ceremony:

Cutie flower girl:

The groom’s vows:

I’m loving this recessional shot. I love the emotion, the color, and the flower petals in the air. Woo hoo!!!

The bridesmaids wore purple saris for both ceremonies:

Then we got to do it all over again–Indian style:
I like the simplicity of this shot. The groom’s grandmother gave him that necklace to wear on his wedding day.


The patriarchs of Dalia’s family escorted her in for the second ceremony. Dahlia and Gopal’s extended family played a big role in their wedding day.

Because the Indian ceremony is born out of a tradition of arranged marriages in which bride and groom meet for the first time, many elements in the ceremony are games designed for the couple to get to know one another. Of course, Dahlia and Gopal had met before, but they honored the tradition in the ceremony.
They look at one another in a mirror.

They searched for rings in a jug of water. The first person to snag the ring won. And they took turns throwing rice and flower petals on one another’s head. The first person to run out of the petals and rice won. I think Dalia is 2 for 2.

One gorgeous couple.

The reception was hoppin’. All different ages and types of people got up and danced. The friends and family of the bride and groom prepared dances to entertain Dahlia and Gopal and their guests. To my untrained ear, it sounded like we were in an Indian night club. I secretly wanted to be the barefooted drummer chick who was pounding away on the dance floor. Thanks,
West Vita, for including me on this one.

The Hookah Bar (communal smoking)

Transformation: Our Kitchen Remodel

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Yes, it was messy. Yes, it was challenging. Yes, it was hard to lose a sense of “home” and “privacy” for a couple of months. Yes, it was hard to take on this project in the midst of an already full life. And yes. . . we love our new kitchen!
After years of saving and a year of planning, we finished on time and under budget. And even though there was some stress involved, the remodel actually was a blessing in my marriage. Greg’s ability to manage, plan, lead, organize, and think through functionality combined well with my aesthetic and my understanding of how we would use the space. There were a lot of people who helped us realize our vision. I’m sorry if I’ve forgotten someone or mis-spelled a name, but here’s my best stab at it. Thank you Armando, Manny, Jesus, “Gordo”, Alex, Rodrigo, Ed, Dennis, Kristen, Linda, Claude “Cowboy”, Edmond “Bubba”, “Buddy”, Joseph, Carlos, Carlos Jr., Jesse, and Fernando. In general, these people showed up on time, worked hard, and worked skillfully.

Here’s the before:

I stocked my freezer like crazy beforehand. My make-shift pantry and kitchen (and grill) made it possible to feed our family of five:

Meet Ghetto Sink. Greg had the brilliant idea of creating a make-shift, plywood covered sink and dishwasher in our den taking advantage of the already present plumbing in the wall between the den and kitchen. She may not have been a looker, but Ghetto Sink provided me with some serious sanity.

Here’s the middle:

Drumroll please. . . Here’s the after! Ta da!

We gave up our desk area for more countertop space. And see that metal strip above the tile backsplash? That’s a magnetic strip where I keep all of the kids’ school calendars.
(And yes, that paint is matched to thunder gray, ladies!)

I really like how the tile, cabinet color, appliances, and countertop all work together.

Talk to me, uninterrupted counter space. Now, we won’t have to pull in chairs or sit on the counter to eat together. I love the more open view and increased light. I can cook on one end and the kids can play or do homework on the other.

Harrison and I had a lot of “silly picnics” when certain parts of our house were curtained off. We would sit on a towel or blanket and watch the workers. Our kitchen is literally dead center so we often felt like we were living on two different islands. This “silly picnic” was one of our last.

Want to make people work faster? Pull out your camera and watch them scramble. Just kidding! Even though none of these guys wanted their picture taken, they put up with me. Here are some faces of some of the people who made this happen:


Carlos and his family

And “Cowboy” who built the lower cabinets. (I really like this portrait.)

I had peanut butter cookie dough made in the freeze so I pulled it out. This was the first thing that I baked in the oven.

You friends who live here know that you are always welcome to enjoy a Chaney meal. Yes, I know there are some of you who time your visits just right every time :). And for those friends who are a bit further away, there is a spot waiting for you at the counter. This place is where real life–the delicious, the beautiful, and the hard–will happen. And you’re welcome to join in.

Pig Wash

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

My parents live in a rural area in NE Texas. A dozen years ago, they retired there in search of a “lifestyle change” from Dallas. And that’s what they got. And guess what? They also got an amazing set of friends there too. One of these families is the Bowers Family. My dad met them after his dog kept running off and heading straight to the Bowers’ dock by the lake. My dad’s impromptu search parties gave rise to some conversations with John Bowers, the dad. These conversations grew into a friendship. I am so thankful for the Bowers family. They spend time with and care for my grandparents. And whenever my little family is around, we feel very loved and cared for and included. The Bowers’ girls are raising pigs, and they require a lot of care. They invited Emmie to wash their pigs when we were up there during Thanksgiving. Emmie grabbed some mud boots, and I came along with my camera.

This is how you weigh a pig.

These pigs and hardworking girls should be headed down to the San Antonio Rodeo in February so hopefully we’ll get to see the Bowers Family then.

Thanksgiving & What I Didn’t Photograph

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Yes, I realize I’m a bit late in posting images from Thanksgiving. Thanks for your patience. Sometimes my own family pictures get pushed to the back of the line. So now I’m on it–with Christmas just a few days away.
So. . . Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! Thanksgiving is a big family reunion at my parents’ home with my dad’s side of the family, the Thomas Family. This year we had 32 people.

My Aunt Dianne asked for an all girls pic. After the fact, my mom regretted that she wore the tacky gag gift that my Uncle Ron gave her for the picture.

And I managed to snap one shot of my grandfather blessing our meal. He is 90 years old, and we are very sweet on each other. Usually he will hold Harrison’s hand, but this time Harrison was fussy and refused.

And this photographer was WIPED out on photography–which happens only for short periods of times. I just needed a break. So here’s what I didn’t photograph. These memories were some of the sweetest ones from Thanksgiving 2010. I didn’t photograph:
1) the run that I took with my super in shape brother, Matthew. I enjoy tagging along with him or my sister-in-law, Lindsay, because they challenge me. I think that they are going to compete in an Ironman in the spring, and I’m looking forward to photographing that event and cheering them on!
2) the “date” that I had with my grandfather. I asked him out on a date to Sonic. We parked in the parking lot. He enjoyed a chocolate malt. I sipped on a Diet Coke–with awesome Sonic ice. And he sandwiched my hand in between his as I drove.
3) the amazing pizza dinner that we all shared on the screened in back porch. We’re a family of foodies. My mom, my dad, my brother (Matthew) and my sister-in-law (Lindsay) and all four kids made some fabulous pizzas in my parents’ wood burning pizza oven. It really is a team effort. And it tasted great.