I love when people get me and, I have to say, I don't think that anyone quite gets me like my sister (although my husband is right up there, that is probably why I consider them both "my people"). My sister came up with the perfect solution for my niece's dance recital a couple of years ago. She knows that I love to support my nieces and nephews but I am not the biggest dance fan. Give me a sporting event and I will be there with bells on but a dance recital? As much as I love to support family, dance is not really my thing. I appreciate the artistry and the talent as well as the level of commitment but being stuck in a seat in the dark and not being able to move around and take pictures is kind of torture to me. By the way, being stuck in a seat at a professional sporting event or a concert really doesn't thrill me either which is probably why I don't attend them all too often.. Anyway, my sister knows this about me so a couple of years ago, she came up with a great plan. She invited me to come to the dress rehearsal (I can move around and I can take all of the pictures that I want there) and skip the actual recital. The first year, I also met them after to take some family pictures including this one, which is now one of my all-time favorites of my two of my favorite girls::
This year, the weather didn't cooperate so I didn't take any pictures after but I did get some pretty good ones from the dress rehearsal. She looks so cute and always makes the best expressions when she is on stage!! Here are some of my pictures, please visit my Flickr page if you would like to see the rest.
I couldn't decide if I should shoot graduation this year or sit and relax and soak it all in so I did what I usually do when I need help, I asked my husband. When I asked him, he simply said, "I think that you will regret it if you don't shoot it." What a generous answer this was because this meant that he now had to sit by himself, well as by yourself as you can be with 3 other kids and a set of grandparents with you. I took his advice and sent a message to Jeffrey Pickette to ask him if I could work graduation with him. Jeff graciously allowed me to be a member of his SMAC team, he even printed me a press pass for the night! He also took this family picture after graduation (my son is missing because he had already left because he was cold, the big wimp).
I owe Jeff a big thanks for this picture, and for letting me work with him once again. It is a pleasure to work with Jeff, he is a true professional and he has such a great rapport with the kids in town that his pictures are always terrific. Speaking of pictures, the first half of the graduation photos from before and after the ceremony including the processional and the recessional are now up on the SMAC Flickr page. By the way, shooting graduation was absolutely the right decision and my husband was right (as usual), I would have regretted it if I didn't!
Here in town, our graduates are lucky enough to have an all night party to attend the night of graduation. Graduation is held on a Thursday night and usually concludes around 7:30 or so and the all night party begins at 11:00. This gives the graduates a chance to spend some time with family before they get to spend the rest of the night, fittingly, with their friends and classmates. And what a night it is, the Party All Night Long Committee (or PANL as it is called here in town) does an absolutely incredible job. They pick a theme for the event months in advance, in fact, they choose it way before anyone is even thinking about graduation. This year's theme, in a delicious bit of irony considering this past winter's severity, was Winter Wonderland, so fitting!! The event is planned, organized and executed with a level of precision that would make any organization in the world green with envy. And wow, does this community have a lot of artistic talent! As a matter of fact, I insisted that my mom come see it with me (they have an open house for an hour or so before the kids come in) and she thought that it looked just like the Enchanted Village. I have worked the event the last couple of years (in order to respect the privacy of the students, parents are not invited to volunteer the year that their child is graduating so I did not work it this year) and it is quite a thing to watch all the kids come in and take it all in. There are many wonderful decorations and student pictures are on display, including a kindergarten class picture section and every student's college selection is also represented somewhere. Graduates have the opportunity to partake in casino type games, bounce house activities, various other theme appropriate activities (last year there was a mechanical bull) or just chill with their friends. There's tons of food offered, usually cupcakes and a sweets station are among the offerings, who doesn't love cupcakes and sweets? It is such a wonderful send off for graduating seniors, something that, I have no doubt, they will remember forever. I feel so grateful to live in a town that has so many people committed to, and have brought so much talent, skill and organization to, this process.
Below are a few of my pictures from this year's event. If you would like to see the rest or learn more about PANL, please visit the PANL Facebook page.
Every year, I write about mission week at our church and every year, I am reminded anew just how truly awe-inspiring it is witness. We went to 5 o'clock Mass tonight and, ￼as luck would have it, so did the missionaries. If you haven't had the opportunity to observe 30 or so teens sitting together at Mass, you should try to arrange it (for me, the first time was about ten years ago when the youth ministry was going on a ski trip over February vacation but before they left, they attended Ash Wednesday Mass), it's awesome! It was a little disconcerting to have my children see me but not even stop to talk to me, although 2 of the 3 did wave, but I choose to think that means that they are settling in and don't need me. I am just happy that they have found something so wonderful to take part in and to be part of. My hope is that they will forge life-long bonds this week, not only with their peers but with the adults on the mission as well. Adults that will take an interest in them, care about them, root for them. Wonderful, caring, outstanding role model adults. Adults that have kids of their own of the mission, adults that still participate even though they no longer have kids that do the mission, young adults that did the mission themselves not too long ago. I think that I know why they do it, it is so incredible to be a part of something so special, and nothing is as special as a group of invested and motivated teenagers. I know that it is popular to complain about teenagers but man, there is nothing more passionate or engaging than a teenager, we adults just need to make sure that we guide them in the right direction. And that more than anything is what goes on this week, and what makes this week so special. I felt it tonight, not only because 3 of my own kids are a part of this but also because I am blessed to be a part of such a community. In addition, you all know how I get about the seniors that I am lucky to get to work with, well I saw at least 4 of my previous seniors there, Kate, Tori, Jenna, and Devin as well as at least 3 members of the Class of 2016 that I will be taking pictures for this year (all really great kids so be on the lookout for them later this summer). All in all, I honestly can't think of a better way to spend a summer evening, Happy mission week to all participating, I am very proud to part of your community, thank you!
Wow, I haven't done one of these in a while, actually I haven't done much on my blog in a while. When I thought about that, I realized at least part of the reason. Since the beginning of April, I have shot at the junior semi formal, Confirmation and First Communion at our church, the Cystic Fibrosis Making Strides walk in Easton, a green screen set up before the senior prom, 3 more members of the Class of 2015, scholarship night, graduation and family portraits last weekend! Not only that, but we also celebrated Confirmation and graduation in our house. Those that know me well know that hosting 2 parties in 2 months was way more stressful than all those shoots put together. I would rather shoot than host any day! But when all was said and done, it did give me the perfect song for today because after all, it must be said that I do indeed have a pretty "Good Life" (I know, I know that was kind of cheesy but hey, it's my blog, I'll cheese if I want to!!) Happy Friday everyone, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend!!
Quick warning before I begin, there are a lot of pictures with this shoot, a lot! This is partly because I had so much fun with this family. It's also partly because I was shooting at a new place, so exciting. It was also an absolutely beautiful morning and I didn't have much on my agenda until later in the afternoon. Well except a nap in my hammock, that is always on my agenda for a summer weekend afternoon. We started pretty early, although not as early as we planned because I didn't realize that the place had 2 entrances so I missed them at first. File that under, you learn something new everyday. Anyway once I apologized profusely, we got started. We wandered around a bit, they had never been there and I had only been there once with my mom. We got some in the field before we ventured onto the boardwalk that runs through the whole park.
The boardwalk isn't finished so at a couple of points it comes to an abrupt end. It is not too high so I thought that we could probably get down without too much of an issue. When I mentioned this, the girls took it as a dare and promptly proceeded to show me that it could be done with ease (by the way, unlike the girls, I did not jump, I eased myself down)
After exploring the end of the boardwalk, and getting some candid shots:
we then made our way over to the boathouse and the dock. The boathouse has the most gorgeous doors and the dock was very scenic, not to mention just perfect for some stomach poses.
Throughout the day, I tried to make sure that I got some of each girl individually as well as some combinations. Their German Au pair is returning to Germany in August so we also made sure to get some of her with the girls and with the family.
We got some family pictures as we made our way to the other end of the park where we finished up at a gorgeous tree, my kids actually call it the Liberty Tree (they love the movie, Johnny Tremain) and we even got a "family tree" picture!!
Thank you Melick family for a wonderful morning (and for teaching me something new). It was such a pleasure to meet you and to get to know you a little bit. I hope that you enjoyed our time together as much as I did and that I get to see you again sometime. I hope that you have a wonderful summer, thanks for starting mine off so nicely!! Please click here if you would like to see the rest of the Melick family pictures.
You all know how much I have loved my time with the Class of 2015, well one additional nice thing is that it is still ongoing. In the last few weeks, I have done portraits for three more members, yay! This week, I was lucky enough to work with Harrison. He submitted one of the pictures that the school took for the yearbook but his mom wanted to get some pictures that were a true representation of his personality. I hope that his personality is pretty laid back and casual because that is what I seemed to capture. He was a great subject, so easy to work with and so patient with me as I ordered him all about.
Harrison is hoping to study business next year in college. Since I was a business major in college myself, I always like to hear that kids are going into that field. Not that I stayed on that path since I am now a part time librarian and photographer. It just goes to prove how versatile a major in business is, I guess.
We had a wonderful time wandering around one of my favorite places and as is my usual mo, we wandered around quite a bit and got pictures in all sorts of spots. We even saw some goats! One thing that Harrison's mom requested was that Harrison pose with a serious face. I think that it is safe to say that he can pull off the serious face with ease!
Part of the reason that I do this photography thing is that I get to meet some really great people. Whenever someone asks if they can recommend me to a friend, my answer is, "Only someone that you would have drinks or dinner with." Well, when I told Harrison's mom my theory, she said, "Well I was just out to dinner with Delaney's mother so I guess I am good." She certainly was, as was Harrison.
Thank you so much for spending some time with me the other day, Harrison. I really appreciate you getting up so early for me. Believe me, having teenagers myself, I know what a pain that can be but you were a really great sport about it. Thanks to your mom too, I am so glad that you had that dinner out! I wish you all the best next year and in the future. I was at a graduation party yesterday and the favors were sunglasses with a tag that read, "My future's so bright, I have to wear shades." Pretty appropriate, I think! Please click here if you would like to see the rest of Harrison's pictures.
We had Kate's graduation party this weekend, what a roller coaster ride last week was. All week the forecast was for rain for Saturday which presented kind of a problem since we were having over 50 people at our little house and we did not rent a tent. I got poison ivy doing yard work last Sunday and also caught a cold at some point this week. The slideshow that I have been putting together for my daughter (the one that I started in September) refused to cooperate. Then on Saturday morning, my husband went to pick up the cake and they told him that they couldn't find it, when they found it, he sent me this text, "It was literally the first cake in the front." By the way, he knows how strongly I feel about the use of the word literally so I know that it was literally the first one! Oh and my stove died that morning (luckily we were having the party catered). At some point, it just became comical and I stopped worrying about everything because I just knew that it was going to be fabulous. I figured that with that much bad karma before, it had to turn at some point and it did! The movie worked finally and was a big success, the weather was perfect, and the day was just fabulous!! And I learned that I have an excellent party planner in my house, my daughter handled all the little details and extra added touches and she did a fabulous job! Since with the exception of next year, one of my kids will graduate from high school or college every year for the next 6 years (it may even be longer, I couldn't really handle thinking about it anymore!), having a great detail person in the house will come in really handy.
I also got some really cute cap and gown shots of my daughter and my niece (they were born one day apart so they are used to photo shoots together).
For my final party analysis, I am going to paraphrase the old MasterCard commercial: Cost in stress - kind of a lot, cost in $: also kind of a lot, gathering most of my family and friends altogether, my daughter having a wonderful time and telling me the next day, "We make a good team:" - totally 100% priceless!
You know that it has been a pretty poor couple of weeks of blogging if this is the screen when you log in:
which means that you actually have to log in (usually it is automatic). And if that isn't bad enough, they obviously don't think that my website is great, yikes, Although since I had to log in, they probably don't know who I am, so I am not going to worry about it!
Now I want to talk about this next picture. This picture popped up on my Instagram and I immediately loved the spirit and enthusiasm of it. Then I saw the caption, "Stoughton High Class of 2015 Top 10 squad" which made me take a closer look and love it even more.
Not only is this is a great picture but my daughter is in it as well! And how fun to see these students in a pose so totally contradictory to what's usually expected of them. And that's a credit to Jeffrey Pickette. Jeff grew up in town and for the past few years, he has done a lot of our town reporting. For quite a few years, he was the point person for the local Patch (as a matter of fact, the kids used to call him Patch). He has since switched over to a multi-media platform (he can be found at Stoughton Media Access Corporation, SMAC) but he is still very much in town and as you can see, he still has an excellent rapport with the kids. We are so lucky to have him!
Another reason that I love this picture is that I was lucky enough to work with 7 of the 10, that's 70% for those keeping track. Hey, three of the seniors here that I worked with are going to a school known for engineering so it is a pretty good bet that they are keeping track! Congratulations to all of you, I am so proud that you chose me to take your pictures
I met with Will in the morning the day before graduation. Will had his picture taken with the school for his yearbook but his mother wanted to get some more done before graduation. Will’s dog, Rex, is getting up there in years so they also asked if they could bring along the dog. The answer, of course, was an emphatic yes, any way to add something to a shoot is always a bonus to me and there is nothing more special than a beloved pet. Rex was such a good boy too, so cooperative.
As we wandered around, we also got some of just Will. During this time, Will also told me a bit about himself. I know Will from church (one of those kids that I have known forever) and he also goes to the same gym as my daughter. He is an incredible gymnast which helped to lead him to his future. He was researching colleges with gymnastics programs and came across the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He ended up sending all sorts of letters and has secured himself a spot in next year’s class, after he spends this year at St. John’s Prep in Vermont. Wow! I hope that Will remembers me when it is time to take senior portraits for college, there is nothing more visually stunning and impressive than a military uniform. But even without a uniform, Will still looked great in a very nice collared shirt and a pair of khakis, so handsome.
He may not have had a uniform but he did don his cap and gown for a few pictures. Since I also have a senior (I may have mentioned that once or twice or a million times over the last month), I knew that they already had their caps and gowns so I suggested to Will’s mother that he bring his along. I am glad that he did, he looked great.
Will was such a great sport, he knew that it meant a lot to his mother so he let me boss him around and drag him around. He was very patient with me, especially when I told him, "Pose here, oh wait, that pose will look good without the gown on, thanks, now put it back on and move over here." His mother is one of the nicest people ever, she helped my family out tremendously one night at church so I am thankful that Will was so cooperative and that we got some good pictures for her.
Will, thank you so much for meeting with me. It was a pleasure to spend the morning with you and Rex. I wish you all the luck in the world and very proud of you for choosing to serve the country. Please don’t forget about me when it comes time to take some portraits in that uniform. Please click here if you would like to see the rest of Will’s portraits.
A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that my daughter had already gotten her cap and gown. It was hanging in her room and I saw it about 500 times before I realized, I am not the brightest bulb. Anyway, after the 500th time, the bulb did go off and I asked Kate if she would be willing, with her friends, to have a cap and gown shoot one morning. They were, yay, so we headed off to one of my favorite places one morning. We started by taking some of the three of them together. Two things stick out about these pictures. One, do these girls look ready to take on the world or what? And two, they are really lucky to have had this kind of bond all these years. Kate and Brittany have been best friends since first grade* and Tori joined them the next year in second grade and their friendship is really special to witness. And of course, we also needed a squad picture (this year's Tebow pose!)
We also got some of each of the girls by themselves,
as well as some as we walked around. We all loved it when we saw some orange flowers and they couldn't resist making a wish when they came across a dandelion, or a practice cap toss!
Congratulations, girls, I am so proud of all of you. I hope that you are always there for each other and that your friendship continues to grow and flourish. As the quote at the top of the gallery page says, “I hope your dreams take you... to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known.” Please click here if you would like to see the rest of the girls' cap and gown shoot.
*I was in the classroom of Kate and Brittany's first grade teacher the day after graduation and she pulled out this gem to show me, so cute!!
Okay this is it, the last week of the all Kate throwbacks because this is her last day as an official member of the Stoughton high school community. That's right, it's graduation day, yay!! It's funny, this picture was taken twelve years ago and so much has changed but so much has not. For example, the sign says, "We've only just begun" and that is as true today as it was way back then. Although their time at SHS is ending, I have no doubt that the Class of 2015 is just beginning to show us, and the world, all that they can do. This class is poised to accomplish great things, both near and far, personally and professionally. I can't wait to see it and I will be rooting them on every step of the way!
Another thing that has not changed is Kate herself, well except the fact that she is about a foot taller than she was then! Kate is still the same sweet, kind, loving wonderful girl that she was then. She was a joy then and she is a joy now. The best way to put it is that Kate hasn't changed so much as she has just improved on all the things that make her stand out, the things that make her our Kate. Congratulations, honey, we love you so much, you make us so proud every day.