Thursday, January 24, 2013

Amber Rose Photography ~ How It All Began

Three years ago, in the summer of 2010, I visited Salt Lake City for the first time.  I was there with my family; my oldest had just turned two years of age and my youngest was still an infant. Emotions were crazy at that time.  I was newly married, working full time, working over time, my kids were so young and I felt like my life was not balanced.  I had a particularly rough trip up to Salt Lake and I had made a last minute decision to fly home with my kids.  My husband decided to stay in Salt Lake to finish up the remainder of his family reunion activities, which I felt was best even though I really needed him… I didn’t want to pull him away from his family. I thought that I might regret trying to fly home with two young kids, by myself, and in such a state of mind, but I needed to be home and I needed my mom who was now living in Phoenix.  So with all of my apprehensions, I boarded the plane and stifled all of my emotions.  As I sat down in my seat and got the kids settled in, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that just minutes prior I was pleading with my oldest (just turned 2 year old) to please just stay in the boarding line so we could get on the plane. Just before boarding, my daughter was rolling her little sister’s stroller all over the terminal, weaving in and out of crowds as I chased her down often losing my place in line to go fetch her.  Once I sat down on the plane, I knew that the hardest part of getting home was behind me.

As I sat there reflecting on my life, another woman took her seat next to me.  She was a young pretty girl and she smiled at me to say hi then she acknowledged my little ones.  We made small talk and she was so kind in assisting me with the kids.  I don’t even remember what we talked about and I don’t remember how she helped me, but I remember that she made me forget all of my worries.  As the plane took off and we reached a safe altitude, my new friend pulled out her laptop and pulled up a beautiful picture. I couldn’t help myself, but to be nosy and watch as she started to edit the picture.  I remember thinking “Now, how in the world could she make that picture look any better than it already does?”  So, I had to ask… “Are you a photographer?”  She replied with so much enthusiasm… “Yes, I am”.  She proceeded to show me some of the edits that she would be making on the picture. I was in awe.  She was doing something that I always wondered if I could do. She showed me some of her other images and I will never forget the amount of passion and excitement that exuded from her as she spoke of her work.  She LOVED what she did and it showed.  I remember thinking, “Wow, maybe some day I could do that”.  It seemed like a far-fetched idea at the time.  After all, I had a career that I had worked in for over ten years.  I had worked hard to advance in my career… and it was a stable job… and I made a good income… and I liked working at the children’s hospital.  I couldn’t just throw all of that away. So I said goodbye to this girl and promised myself that I would find her on her blog and follow her through my own personal blog.  I did just that and every week I would hop onto her page and gush over her work.

It wasn’t too long after that trip that we purchased an entry level DSLR for our family, a Nikon D5000. It was an easy camera to learn and I soon started upping my photography skills.  I really enjoyed capturing images of our daughters.  From there I started doing free photo shoots for people and then I put together a portfolio of images for a possible photography gig.  I remember thinking to myself, "Could it really be happening?" Then one day, I jumped on Facebook and thought “I am going to smother my friends in pictures if I don’t find an outlet” so I created a photography Facebook fan page with none-other-than my name as the title.  The rest was history.  I created a web page two weeks later and a month after that I had my first paying client, in the winter of 2012.  Now, you can only imagine that if I felt over-whelmed juggling my life before indulging in this passion… How must I have felt after gaining photography clients?

I knew that it was time for a major life change and that it was time to finally create better balance in my life so I cut back to per diem at the hospital and became a SAHM/Photographer/Neuro Intra Operative Monitoring Technologist and I couldn’t be more proud to carry all three of those titles.  Of course we took a pay cut at home and of course we had to cut back on things financially, but this is just the beginning of something big and wonderful.  I can’t begin to explain the amount of joy that being a photographer has given to me.  To be able to capture an image that moves someone or to create something that will be cherished for a lifetime is an amazing thing.  I have so many people to thank for being my inspiration...  My mom who is just as big of a picture person as I am, my Nana who also loves photography, my husband who helped me make this possible, my dad who is the voice of reason and, of course, that one girl who sat next to me on the airplane and helped me realize that dreams really can come true… Thank you Jessica from Rae Portraits.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mahatauk Trail

Dana had MLK Day off so, in addition to preparing for tax season, he suggested we take the girls on a hike.  We hiked a trail starting at the base of South Mountain (Mahatauk Trail). It is not a very scenic trail, but it was good exercise for all of us even if we had to go slow for the girls.  We hiked .5 miles up and .5 down. I am so proud of them and I can't wait to take them on future hikes so they can soon become regular hiking companions ;o).

Dana showed he girls how to stretch before hiking.

Heading up...

Taking a water break...

It has been unusually warm for January so Aiyana talked Dana into giving her his hat to shade her face from the sun.

...then Clara wanted it because whatever Aiyana does, Clara has to do lol.  Too cute!

This lil' bugger turned a new leaf after turning three. She now asks me to take pictures of her... and I, of course, am tickled pink to do so. She requested this shot :o)

The moon...

Another photo request...

...then Aiyana could not let her little sister steal the show.

...and yet another picture request as we are heading down he mountain. Love her :o)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Clara's 3rd Birthday Party

Clara has walked around our house for an entire year talking about her "birthday party".  I would say that about once a day she would bring up something about her birthday.  So this year was an extra special birthday for Clara.  This was the first year that Clara knew it was her special day.  In fact yesterday, when we were preparing for Clara's party, she told Aiyana "It's my berday yana and you not help me blow candles".  Normally the girls love sharing everything, but Clara wasn't going to share that special moment :o).  

I asked Clara what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday and she excitedly proclaimed that she wanted "pink cake".  So pink cake it was.  We made strawberry cupcakes with whipped strawberry frosting and sprinkles and I also made a gluten free chocolate cake.

The girls enjoyed helping me stir the batter.

That evening I put Clara's hair in curlers.

We normally don't throw really big parties for the girls, but since this was a special birthday for Clara, we invited more than the normal number of guests.  I think we had 22 adults and 9 kids at our house. The girls had so much fun playing with all of their friends so I was kind of glad that I hadn't put games together like I originally intended.

Here's Clara opening her gifts...  
That's Tessa to her left.  Tessa is in Aiyana's primary class at church, she was on Aiyana's soccer team and she also lives just around the block from us. Tessa's little sister, Alexa, is in Clara's nursery class at church.

Minnie Mouse dress from the Kendalls...  
The Kendall's daughter, Jocelyn, is also in Clara's nursery class at church.  Jocelyn's mom grew up with Dana in Page, AZ.  The little boy to the left of Clara is Hux.  His mom and I hike together and they go to our church as well.

Barbie Doll...

Gifts from Malia...  
Malia is in-between Aiyana and Clara in age.  I met Crystal (Malia's mom) at a neighbors moving party.  Our neighbor had girls that were the same age as ours and we always talked about them growing up together, but then they moved :o(.  So Crystal and I hit it off at their moving party and decided we needed to make our girls new friends :o).  So Malia lives just a few city blocks from us. They got her puzzles which Clara really loves.

Opening a gift from uncle Zach, aunt Mary and her cousin Mason...

...they got her a set of princess shoes. 

The little girl to the left of Clara is Leah.  Leah's dad is Nigel and he and Dana served on the same mission in the Philippines.  They go to our church, but they attend another ward.

Our gift to Clara, a Mini Bowtique play house.

Gift from Grandma and Grandpa Cummings. They also gave her ten dollars to buy something.

Gift from Nana (my mom).

Opening away...

Hello Kitty figurine...

Doll, also from Nana.  She loves this doll.

The neighbors got Clara a cute Mini Mouse shirt and jeans as well as this super adorable coat.

My dad got Clara a nice card and a check to buy something at the store.

Clara had a very simply decorated Dora cake.  I am terrible at cake decorating... terrible.  So it almost looks better if I don't attempt anything fancy.  I guess if my hobby were cake decorating I would have better cakes for my girls' parties than I would pictures, but since pictures are my forte... I have better pictures ;o).

The cake and  pink cupcakes...

Clara anticipating her birthday song...

So focused...

Singing the Happy Birthday song.

Here's a video clip that my mom took of us singing to Clara...

She didn't even hesitate poosing (blowing out) out the candles.

...and may her wish come true :o)

Clara was very upset with me for taking a picture of her because she wanted me to feed her more cake.

THE NEXT DAY: Clara's Actual Birthday

 This evening, Dana's parents took us out to eat for Clara's birthday since today is her actual birthday.  We went to the Elephant Bar in Chandler.  My mom went with us too :o)

The birthday girl & I...

Clara in one of her new Mini Mouse outfits.

The girls hanging out by a giraffe sculpture.

Here's a video of us singing to Clara on her actual birthday...

Lastly... Here's a sneak peak of Clara's 3 year pictures.  I'll post the rest later ;o)

Clara wore her favorite skirt for her birthday party. She got this skirt at daycare at the beginning of last year.  She was sent home in the skirt one day when they didn't have clean back-up clothes to put her in.  She loved the skirt so much that her teacher said she could have it.  Once in a while we were asked to send Clara to daycare in the skirt because the teachers enjoyed watching her twirl in it.  So, I thought that it was only appropriate she wear it on her next birthday.

I was a little choked up today knowing that my baby will never be two again.  I don't want my babies to grow up :o(.  I know that's selfish, but I just wish I could protect them forever.  The older they get, the more independent they become and the less I can protect them.  

Clara "milked" every last ounce of time out of the day and she finally passed out on daddy's lap about an hour ago.  It's about my bed time too. 
Night... Night.