He's two. I didn't really want to have a party to celebrate him getting older because I don't want him to get older. I kinda want him to be small and snuggly forever. Try as I might, I have no control over the aging baby, so I'll savor the snuggles while they last. Last fall we booked a cabin at Steep Ravine and decided to invite my parents and brother over for the afternoon to celebrate our little one's birthday. It was a no-fuss party, just love and happiness :) My stepdad made breakfast burritos and my sis-in-law-to-be made a smoked salmon quiche. Amanda made his crown. I didn't really make anything, but I did take some photos...
Way back when my first son was born, I made the lofty goal of posting one photo per day in our Daily Kid Pic album. It was a good run, lasting well over a year, but I've posted fewer and fewer photos as the years have gone by. Although it's not daily anymore, it's still a pretty sweet little archive of our boys. And it was one of the biggest contributors to my growth as a photographer. If you photograph the same subject everyday you will also see better results. You'll start to be more aware of the background, lighting, and placement of your subject. When I was posting everyday, it was tough to just choose one photo for the day. You really have to look at your photos and figure out what you like about certain ones. Looking at your photos is a unique challenge in these times of iPhonography, right?! We take tons, but rarely take the time to examine what we've taken.
I had some extra time this morning (thanks Mom & Tom for watching the kids!!) so I updated our Flickr site this morning. Have you ever done a photo challenge? What have you learned?
It's been another dry and mild winter in Northern California. We got a touch of rain about a week ago so we put on some rain "gear" and went into the yard... I know, real far. Here are some photos from our morning.
Our Jedi recently turned 6. His favorite thing these days is Star Wars. He loves to dress-up and act out the scenes. He loves asking questions and reading his character encyclopedia. And he love listening to the music. I wanted to keep things pretty simple for the party, but it was challenging! This was the first time we bought licensed character stuff and if you didn't know, they have Star Wars-themed everything!! A few weeks before the party, my son and I brainstormed a few things... Chocolate Chewbacca Cake, Yoda Soda, and Sandcrawler Sandwiches. I also wanted to make coloring books for the take-home treat :)
I think my favorite thing was the Chocolate Chewbacca Cake. We're not really into sweets, but our son loves chocolate cake, so we splurged on one from Mayfield Bakery in Palo Alto. My brother is an all-star, and agreed to try making a chewbacca stencil. He drew it and then cut it out with an exacto knife. We laid it out on the cake and sifted powdered sugar over it (here's an in-progress picture before the sugar). I was so happy it worked! Thanks, Uncle Alan!!
Next up, Yoda Soda. I made green juice (fuji apples, spinach, and carrots) and added some soda water for fizzzzz... delicious, sweet, and not full of sugar- we saved the sugar allotment for chocolate and PEZ (see below).
We got some Sandcrawler Sandwiches and snacks from Calafia in Palo Alto... oh so conveniently located next to Mayfield Bakery. And also near Trader Joe's where I was able to pick up some beer and wine.
I think that's pretty much it for food. I try to keep food simple, healthy, and delicious. Ready for the fun Star Wars stuff? I made these sweet little drawings of the characters. And then scanned them in and made invitations and coloring books. I bought R2D2 crayons & Darth Vader crayons from this Etsy seller and downloaded a Star Wars-style font. Everyone got a coloring book and crayon.
They also got to play with and take home a Star Wars mask and a light saber/bubble wand. I was excited when I thought of using these bubble wands instead of real light sabers or pool noodles. Bubble wands are a bit more flexible and a nice alternative for the kids who didn't want to run around and fight ;)
Another fun Star Wars find was the PEZ dispensers. We're not a candy family, but I made an exception because I knew they'd be a lot of fun.
It was supposed to rain that day, so I put together a little activity for them to do. Glue and assemble Yoda, Chewbacca, and R2D2!! I saw something similar online and thought it looked so simple! And yes, it was simple, but holy jeeeez, it took many more hours than I thought. Serial (podcast) saved the day! I caught up on the first 7 podcasts while cutting out small shapes of paper. It turned ou to be a lovely & sunny day so the kids weren't interested in this. I've got about 8 sets of each character left. If you're throwing a Star Wars party and want these, leave me a comment and I'll hook it up for you!! Seriously.
Chris was Darth Vader for Halloween and also got out his costume for the party. The kids took him down lickety-split.
We had a little Darth Vader Hunt and hid these guys all over the yard (similar). I ordered these and threw out the candy inside, replacing it with a Vader crayon.
Our birthday boy was as happy as a Jedi
Eating raspberry PEZ and comparing red tongues with his Ewok pal
The highlight gift was all-star Uncle Alan's homemade Echo Base Lego Set (Limited Edition). He created a set for our son using his own Legos and made the box, too. It looked so legit, y'all!
No party is complete without an afterparty ;)
Let's talk about packing the OTHER hospital bag! My best tip to get ready for baby #2 is by making a special hospital bag for the older sibling!! We packed a little bag for him to bring to the hospital when he came to meet our new baby. It had a set of stacking blocks, a new notebook & markers for coloring, a book, some stickers, and a book (Laugh Out Loud Baby). We also included a little snack for him to nibble on; it doesn't need to be a sweet treat- we did olives and salami, something that would last in his belly. After he was done checking out the baby and moving my hospital bed up & down, he opened up his bag and was able to just hang out while the rest of us ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the baby.
I am so excited to announce my new workshop! It will be February 21, 2015 from 2-5PM at Stable Café in San Francisco. I will be offering a more in-depth look at photographing your kids so that you can begin taking photos you'll treasure forever!
Spend the afternoon with me and you’ll learn how to take your camera off the automatic setting. We’ll cover lighting, composition, and getting those photos off your camera. There will be snacks, inspiration, a goodie bag (yes!), giveaways (!!!), different lenses for you to try (OMG), and photo cheat sheets! After the lesson, we'll invite your family to join us so that you can practice your new skillz! We will have something set up for the kids to do which will allow you to photograph them while they're engaged in the activity! It's going to be so awesome!
You’ll benefit from a small workshop (Class size is limited to 12) and an experienced teacher. I’ve been a professional photographer for more than 20 years- I started young ;) and I’ve been teaching photography to both kids and adults for more than 10 years. I will also have an assistant at the workshop who can help answer questions.
When we’re done, you’ll leave with a new understanding of your digital camera and will have the skills and confidence to start taking true creative control over your photographs.
Sign up here :) Can't wait to see you!
Does the thought of standing in line for Santa pictures, trying to keep your little ones from running off and destroying the giant holiday display, just to get a few $40 5x7 glossies stress you out?
It's definitely not my favorite advent activity! But Rachelle on my FB blogger group posted this great event! Parenthoods mobile app & Obébé Organic teamed up to make the Santa experience a fun and easy one.
When we arrived, we signed in and the boys could play in the great space at Recess. Dad and I tagged-teamed watching the boys and snacking on Sprogs (snacks made from brown rice hand-pressed with veggies, protein and other yummy ingredients!!!) & Kara's Cupcakes. UrbanSitter was there helping with crafts and chatting to parents. They were also handing out gift cards for $75 to use on UrbanSitter. Someone just pressed the easy button! For real. And it was FREEEEE. It was like a great playdate and we got our Santa pics done by Leda Mast Photography!! What a treat. Both Santa and Leda were relaxed, kind, and gentle. Our little guy wasn't super thrilled about sitting on Santa's lap, so the whole family joined in and I think it'll make a sweet pic!!
If you live in SF or the greater Bay Area, be sure to check out the Parenthoods mobile app- it's a great social networking app for parents. It's a great platform for playdates, questions, etc. It's for the real talk- a place to share your wins and misses, and to get advice.
I am giving away a gift card from UrbanSitter! It's $75, for new customers only, and expires at the end of January. Any moms out there looking for a little break?!?! Just leave me a comment below if you're interested! I'll randomly pick a winner on Friday, December 12.
(I know it's a pretty company-laden post, but I just want to say that I'm not being paid or compensated for this post. No one asked me to write anything, but we had such a nice time that I wanted to share all the great people who made it happen)
Parenthoods co-founders, Jeni Axline and Siobhan Quinn.
You are invited to a mini portrait session at this fall! I'm so excited about this! Sessions are priced at $250 and will last 30 minutes (you can choose your time below). There are only a few sessions each day, so hustle up and get on it! Once you've registered, you'll receive an email from me with a big "thank you" as well as details on the exact location. Within a week of our photo session, you'll receive a link to my online gallery where you'll be able to download full-resolution, edited images (at no extra charge). Here are the registration links:
November 15 from 1:30-2pm in San Francisco register here
November 15 from 2-2:30pm in San Francisco register here
Awhile back Beth Skogen came out and made a video of our little family and we couldn't be happier. I seriously love everything about it- the details, the laughs, the wind blowing in our babe's hair. It's downright magical and I'm so happy she came! What do you think about a lifestyle video compared to family photos? We haven't had family pics in 4 1/2 years (Melissa Pepin did a wonderful job- check out those pics HERE) Be sure to watch until the very end- after the credits- for a little fun surprise.