Archive for January, 2011

PJ Christmas Party

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Just a few from Harrison’s PJ Christmas Party at school. Got to love the poorly lit fellowship hall 😉

This party should have been called the spoon licking party.

Diaper Free

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Last summer, Harrison learned to use the potty. I felt like I had a ton going on so I didn’t take a single photo of it. So months later, in December, I took out my camera to mark this big accomplishment in his life.

It is wonderful to live in a diaper free house. I’ve had one or two kids in diapers for about 7 1/2 years of my life. I’m not wishing my kids’ childhood away. I’m just thankful that we’ve moved on from the changing table.

I’m holding on to the remaining precious months of 3-year-old-ness that our family has. . .

Look Mom, No Training Wheels!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Carter started off the New Year with a milestone, riding his bike without training wheels. Greg took him down to a local park with a one mile paved sidewalk around it so that Carter could practice. Carter got all worked up about it. For those of you who know Carter personally, you can fill in the details here more. Carter was excited, angry, afraid, and frustrated all at once. Out of this mix of fired-up emotion, he just gritted his teeth and did it. . .RIGHT AWAY!
Nope, no baby steps.
Nope, no parent holding the bar for a long time and running alongside.
Nope, not a lot of a parent helping with balance.
He. Just. Did. It.

Greg and I had a good laugh about it afterward. It honestly didn’t surprise me. Carter tends to “sandbag” a bit in terms of what he is capable of. Once he’s ready to share, he goes for it full throttle. He did it with reading. And he did it with bike riding. The day Carter learned to ride a bike without training wheels was a good reminder for me of how different people–and my kids–are. Emmie took the cautious, slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach. She carefully built her skills over a period of months. Sometimes we would hum the Driving Ms. Daisy soundtrack as we saw her pedal along. In contrast, Carter took the fast and furious route.

So Emmie, I want to be patient with you and appreciate your sweet, non-competitive nature. It is so refreshing to me.
And Cater, I want to challenge you to not be afraid to show people when you are struggling to learn something new. You don’t have to master something right away. You can fail.
And Harrison, I am excited to see how you learn. And I want to be good at encouraging you to be you too.

Look closely at this expression. It says a lot.

Sweet Miss Daisy let us see her goofy, off-beat side. She wanted mom to take her picture too.

One last thing, Carter declared that he is now ready to race his Uncle Matthew who happens to be a Ironman triathelete. Sorry, son, that is not something that you can do right away!

Sisterdale Wedding

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Emily and Andy got married in Sisterdale, TX at the Sisterdale Dance Hall a couple of months ago. The Dance Hall is a place rich in history and character with a definite Texas flair. If you want to learn more about the venue, click HERE. The bride, groom, and their families worked very hard putting together the beautiful details of this wedding. Emily and Andy are such a sweet couple. I hope you enjoy these images:

I love the storytelling in this photo. Emily looks amazing (no surprise!), and I love how you can see all of her friends taking pictures of her getting ready–paparazzi style.

Emily is reading a thoughtful letter from Andy.

It was a privilege to help photograph this wedding as a family friend. The bride happens to be West Vita’s sister-in-law.

Sometimes those in-between, unplanned moments are the best. I took this right after the ceremony as friends were coming to tell them congratulations and give them hugs.

Check out these expressions.

I knew I was going to love this place when I drove up and saw this cake perfectly framed in the window. I was a got a bit obsessed with this cake and this window so I shot it three different ways.

I liked this big blue wall inside the dance hall.

Enough with that beautiful cake, this day was really about them . . .

The old truck and the faux fur jacket gave this kind of an old Hollywood vibe.

Congratulations, Andy and Emily!!!

Imaging USA 2011

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Q: Why would I choose to get up at 5:30 a.m. in the morning three days straight?
A: Imaging USA 2011!!!

This week, I had the privilege of studying at Imaging USA 2011. If you don’t know, Imagining USA is an national photography conference. If you click HERE, you can learn more about it. This conference attracts some of the best photographers and photography-oriented businesses in the world. And lucky for me, the conference was held right in my backyard this year, in downtown San Antonio.

I spent three days soaking it all in. Yes, I did have to get up around 5:30 a.m. in the morning (and that means a lot to this sleep-loving mom of three), but it was worth it. I spent about 12 hours each day taking classes so that I can be a better photographer for you, my amazing clients and friends who enjoy what I do. I took classes on lighting, business, and shooting. And I got to see new products and services that help me do what I do and help you to enjoy beautiful images of the people you love. Here’s an image of me (almost) swinging from the rafters at the Expo entrance.

I got to ask questions of and learn directly from photographers like:

Dave & Quin Cheung

Sarah Petty

Lori Nordstrom

Carrie Sandoval & Brittany Woodall

Serena Star

Allison Reisz

Travis Gugelman

Bry Cox

Heidi Uhl

Scott Robert Lim

Todd & Jamie Reichman

Jason Groupp

I took 20 pages of typed notes. I am looking forward to implementing some of these ideas and practicing some new techniques.

I am thankful to my husband, mom, and my friend, Leslie, for helping me to attend.

Here’s to a great start to 2011. I don’t want to ever get complacent. I don’t ever want to say, “I’ve learned it all. I’ve figured it out.” Here’s to growing as a photographer and a business in 2011.

What I’m Not Good At

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

I think you should know that there are some things that I am not good at. Sure, there are some things that I am pretty good at and mostly I stick to doing those things. But there are other things that are much more of a struggle for me. And probably at or near the top of the list is rest and recreation. This is an area of challenge for me. Perhaps I’ll write more about this struggle as this blog progresses, but for now, I just want to share one image. It is an invitation that I extended to each member of my family on Christmas Day. And it is an invitation that I extended in a way to my own heart. Emmie, Carter, Harrison, and Greg all got a gift box like this:

Of course, Greg’s said “Love, Rachel” and not “Love, Mom”, but you get the point. I’ve planned 5 dates for my family. It is so very easy to fill up our lives with stuff other than spending time with one another. (I bet some of you busy moms out there can relate.)

As the year goes on, I’m looking forward to sharing what we did for our five family dates. No one knows but me what we’re going to do. And I’m inviting you to come along on this journey in our family and in my own heart. This is not going to be easy. . ..

The Last Little Bit of Christmas: Two Chaney Family Christmas Traditions

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Yes, Christmas is in the rear view mirror, but I just wanted to post the last little bit of Christmas.

Here’s the ornament shot of each kid for the year. If you want to learn more about this tradition, check out this link HERE. It is amazing to see how much my kids have changed from year to year. And they get a kick out of looking at the pictures too.

Carter was getting a bit stiff so I wrapped him up in a garland to get a real expression:

I also took a pic of our Jesus Tree. Each day in December leading up to Christmas, our family hangs a single ornament on this tree. Each ornament depicts something that get us ready for or points to Jesus. I talk about this tradition on my friend, Gail’s blog (find it HERE). She interviewed some of her friends about Christmas celebrations, and I enjoyed joining the conversation. You can also download the devotions and corresponding coloring pages that you can use to make ornaments HERE. Just scroll down where it says download devotions and download illustrations. Mary Kessler, my very talented friend, drew these pictures.

Carter’s Birthday Celebrations

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Carter’s birthday happened to fall on his school’s annual Pow Wow so I spent the morning enjoying various Native American-inspired centers with Carter (a.k.a. Wild Boar).
Harrison and I returned to school to have lunch with Carter outside in the courtyard. We brought cupcakes for Carter and his friends.
(I’m waiting for permission to post photos.)
And this year, we opted to keep the bday celebration low-key by just asking a few friends to the zoo before Thanksgiving break.
(I’m waiting for permission to post photos.)
We then went to the ranch (my parents’ home) for Thanksgiving. And while we were there, we kept the celebration going by enjoying some hiking and pic-nic-ing at Tyler State Park. Carter loves spending time outside so we thought that this would be a perfect way to enjoy him and each other.

The fall colors were beautiful. We don’t get much of that in south Texas.

Here we all are (minus me). A few things to note: After years of wearing suits nonstop while flying to NYC and Chicago, my dad has now opted for a more comfortable uniform of the Dickies jumpsuit. And he always wears sunglasses–indoors and out (but that’s the topic of perhaps another blog post). And you can see Carter in the background refusing to look at the camera–proof that my children aren’t always on board with this photography thing.

This photo captures a bit of the enthusiasm that is often present in Emmie and Carter’s conversations with one another.

Funny how you never have to teach a child how to effectively mine through a bag of trail mix.

The big drama of the day occurred even before we started our walk. After a potty break, Harrison tripped over a curb near the ranger station and hit his head hard. Cue the blood. . .. We laid Harrison down on a picnic table; located his blankie; and grabbed our first aid kit and box of wipes out of the car. Thankfully, a man named Eric was entering the park right at that moment. He showed up within seconds of us getting Harrison settled on the table with a camo colored backpack full of first aid supplies which even included an agent for clotting gun shot wounds and a tube to facilitate breathing when your nose and mouth are full of blood (!). Now that is what I call prepared. Apparently with his military background and combat experience, he was trained and prepared. After some moments of examination and wiping, we all agreed that Harrison wasn’t severely hurt. After resting for a few minutes, Harrison decided that he was ready to hike. I am thankful for the kindness of that stranger.

God gave Carter and Harrison one of the best big sisters in the world. Don’t get me wrong, no family or no person is perfect. But in general, Emmie deeply cares for and enjoys her brothers.

My mom and I snagged some assorted cupcakes from a cupcake bakery in Dallas, and Carter opted for the pink one. Happy Birthday, Dear Carter!

Alive!!!!!! (Note the 6 exclamation points.)

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Carter turned 6 on November 17, 2010. Our family enjoyed celebrating his life. I didn’t blog about it right away because I had a bunch of client shoots in the mix and a bunch of special events at the kids’ schools around Thanksgiving. These images were safely stored until today.

I do a mini photo shoot with each of my kids on their birthdays. This year, Carter and I headed to a super sweet bridge to celebrate his super sweet life. The light was alive. The architecture felt alive. And Carter came alive.

Carter, I am so thankful for you. Your mind and your body are always firing on all cylinders. You keep everyone on their toes with your intensity, curiosity, zeal for life, and humor. I want you to always approach life with this sense of wonder and love others with this zeal.

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

After we worshiped, we returned home on Christmas Eve. The kids each received pjs. Every year, I give Emmie, Carter and Harrison an ornament to add to their collection. I also stash a photo of them holding that ornament in their container.

The kids enjoyed looking at the ornament photos from past years.

I had spent much of Christmas Eve hanging out in the kitchen cooking for the next day. Here’s the mise en place for stuffed portabella mushrooms–clockwise from top: sherry wine, fresh seasoned breadcrumbs, garlic, thyme and parsley leaves, aged cheddar and parmesan, proscuitto, onion, and chopped mushrooms. We enjoyed these Christmas Day with proscuitto and swiss stuffed chicken, asparagus with a lemon/shallot vinaigrette, and toasted almond pound cake with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

This cake did double duty, showing up first as birthday cake that we started eating in the morning. The kids and I baked it on Christmas Eve. We sang “Happy Birthday” on Christmas morning. And for the first time, Emmie played it on the piano for us while the rest of us sang. Then we blew out the candles.

I’m trying to be in more photos of our family so here’s a couple with the self timer:

Emmie received a How to Draw Animals book:

And this was the precise moment when Carter realized that he got a wallet. He had asked for one repeatedly. He carries it around everywhere now. It won’t fit in his pocket so he stuffs half of it in his pants with the fold hanging over his waist band.

Emmie has waited patiently for a Plasma Car. She has shared with the boys for months. Don’t be deceived; even though little kids can enjoy this toy, big kids can make this thing fly down inclined driveways like ours.

The Zoob Mover was a big hit.

Lunch = antipasto

In the afternoon, we played outside. We raced on foot, scooter, and Plasma Car.

We all helped Harrison play with his new stomp rocket.

Emmie’s ready to grab the launched rockets and return them for reloading.