Anna turns 12!

Today we celebrated Anna’s birthday. It’s hard to believe that 12 years ago today, she made me a mama. I love that she’s the one who taught me what it’s like to love something bigger than I’ve ever loved before. I love that she was my first baby to reach out to me to make her feel better, to make her feel loved, to make her feel like she was safe. I love that this girl, cuddled in my arms, as a baby, completely oblivious to the fact that I was soaking in every detail of her, from her tiny nails to her little toes, to the way her scent made my heart swell. I love that her love and her heart led me to know that she would some day be a big sister.

And friends, she is such a good big sister. She’s a mama at heart, always making sure everyone is okay, sometimes it drives me crazy because she worries too much but I love that she just wants everyone to be okay…she’s passionate, confident (but not overly so), she’s herself (which I love with all of my heart) and this girl is so, so funny. (and adventurous, I can not forget her courage and desire to try new things.)

I’m posting this late on her birthday, we’ve had a great day celebrating this wonderful girl. Last night, she and I sat down and I asked her a few questions, as I’ve done every year since she turned 4. Enjoy.

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So, Anna…what’s tomorrow? My birthday.

How old are you going to be? 12 Are you excited? Yes, because when I’m older I can do different things.

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What are you planning to do tomorrow? I plan to hang out with my cousin Jenna and my Mom is making me another cake and it’s going to be yummy and I’ll get more presents and a few people will come over.

What happened today? We had a birthday party and I got a lot of stuff and I was able to hang out with Jenna a lot.

Who is Jenna? Jenna is my best friend/cousin in the whole wide world.

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Tell me about Jenna. She is funny, she gets me, we have the same interests and she’s pretty. She lives in Michigan.

How are you two able to stay close? We text each other and sometimes we Face time. Without that technology, would you guys still be close? Yes, we would send letters to each other. We would still be really close.

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Can you tell me three things you loved about the year you were 11? I went to a One Direction concert. I went to Six Flags and New York and Gulf Shores. That’s four things.

If you could anything tomorrow to celebrate turning 12, what would you do? Spend the day with Jenna and Jenna’s Mom and my Mom.

What was your favorite song of this past year? I’ll name two : Steal my Girl and Night Changes by One Direction.

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What’s your favorite food? APPLES. Is there a specific kind? Yes, I like fuji and jazz apples. How many do you think you eat in one week? At least 15. Which is why we always run out.

What’s your favorite meal? Taco salad.

And your favorite dessert? Cake and frosting.

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Do you like that your Mom is a photographer? Yes, because she takes amazing photos and she’s really good and she meets lots of talented people. Her studio is really pretty.

Do you ever get to work with her? Yes, sometimes. I carry the props and help get the kids attention. One time I helped prepare her studio for a workshop.

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Do you have a crush? Yes. Do you want to tell everyone who it is? Yes. Who is it? AnSel Elgort from The Fault in Our Stars

Do you like that your Dad likes video games? Yes, sometimes if we really want a game, he’ll let us get it. He plays a lot of different games with us.

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What do you do in your spare time? I love to rainbow loom. How many bracelets do you think you make in a week? I’m not sure, maybe ten a week. I also love to watch the Weather Channel.

What’s your favorite subject? Band and social studies.

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What’s your favorite state? That’s obvious. Let me think…Nevada. Utah. New Mexico. Oregon. Connecticut. Massachusetts. Alabama. New York and Illinois.

And Wisconsin.

AND ARKANSAS and of course Hawaii and Alaska.

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Favorite color? Purple.

Favorite TV show? Weather Channel

Favorite Band? One Direction

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What do you plan to be when you grow up? A meteorologist.

What are you most excited for in this upcoming year? I’m a little excited for middle school and summer.

How much do you love your mother? A lot. Like, an infiniti a lot.

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Kellyn - January 26, 2015 - 12:53 pm

A very Happy Birthday to Anna!!

Jen tse - January 26, 2015 - 1:44 pm

So so sweet!

Stillmary - January 26, 2015 - 7:54 pm

What a great interview with an amazing girl. The pictures are incredible too! I loved it so much!

Noah turns 11!

Today, my sweet, caring, smart and funny Noah turns 11. It’s that time of year, one of my favorites, where both Anna and Noah are the same age for five days. I could say a million things about Noah but I’ll keep this brief.

Noah is thoughtful. He’ll do things for people because it makes him feel good but he loves making others feel good, too. Noah clears his plate at every meal and almost always ask for seconds. Noah doesn’t argue. Noah listens. Not just to me, but to everybody that speaks to him. Noah is compassionate. Noah is practical. If I give him a choice for dinner, he’ll ask which one is cheaper and also which one is easier for me. Noah loves so well. I learn from him daily how to love and forgive. Today, we celebrate this beautiful child, but truthfully, every single day I am grateful that he is my son. I could not be more proud or more excited to watch him grow up.

As usual, I sat down with Noah last night and asked him a few important questions…

So, Noah. What’s tomorrow? My Birthday.

How old will you be? 11

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Are you excited about that? Yes, because I want to see what I will be like when I’m 11 and if I’ll be any different.

What are your plans for the day? Um, go to school and I’m giving candy to my classmates and I’ll see my friends and my family is coming over in the evening.

What did you pick to have for dinner? French toast and bacon and sausage.

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What’s your favorite color? Orange

What’s your favorite song? any songs by Fantabulous

Tell me three highlights from when you were ten. Going to New Jersey and New York, taking a trip to Alabama and Christmas was awesome.

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Do you enjoy having three siblings? Most of the time. What do you like about it? I like that I always have someone to play with and that they are nice and funny and they like to dance.

What is your favorite thing to do these days? I love playing my iPad, I usually play Minecraft or Planets vs. Zombies and Crossy Road.

What’s your favorite meal? That’s really tough because I love food. I think ziti.

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What’s your favorite subject? Math. Why? I just like how you use numbers and I like making things bigger and smaller sometimes.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I’m not sure, maybe a math teacher or a video game designer.

Do you like that your Mom is a photographer? Yeah, well, I don’t like that she has to work all of the time but I like how she takes pictures of us when we dance on her bed and I like her studio and that it has a room that has hats and scarves and stuff that looks fashionable.

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Do you like that your Dad works with computers? Yes, because I think computers are cool and I like how they are making improvements and that he knows all about the improvements and he can help with my technology problem, if I have any.5980059152_cdacd57c94_o

If you could change anything about the world today, what would it be? I would stop bullying.

Why do you think people are bullies? I think people are bullies because they have personal things that are going on in their lives that make them feel sad and they want the kids they are bullying to have the same emotion to make them feel better.

So, would you say that what bullies really need isn’t to be punished, necessarily, but maybe loved a little bit more? Yes.

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What do you love most about Eli? I love that he is smart and creative and he’s pretty funny.

What do you love most about Clara? I love how she dances around and she’s a good cuddler.

What do you love about Anna? I like how she’s funny and she’s smart and how sometimes she’s always making sure everyone is okay.

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What do you love most about your ding dong dog Harper? I like when she’s calm that she loves to cuddle and lick my hand. She also make me laugh. I love how she’s a ding dong and she isn’t very smart.

If you could do any three things tomorrow, what would you do? I would go to a waterpark, stay home from school and stay in my pajamas and eat a whole cake by myself.

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What flavor cake would it be? Vanilla with Mom’s homemade peanut butter frosting.

Can you name three big accomplishments from this past year? I was named Student of the Month for this month at school, I rode the Demon at Six Flags and I read 11 books over the summer.

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Noahs’ tenth year was truly remarkable. But I know for a fact that 11 will be even better.

Happy Birthday to my sweet boy!

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Stillmary - January 20, 2015 - 12:25 pm

What a wonderful interview for a wonderful boy! It’s easy to see why I copied the interview idea from you. They are just so awesome! And you set an amazing example! I love this one so much and the pictures – well, they’re awesome because you really are an awesome photographer!

Nancy Collins - January 20, 2015 - 10:53 pm

I love the interview and pictures. As I told your mom, Noah turning 11 makes me feel very old. He’s only been out of preschool a year or so. Please give Noah a birthday hug for me and tell him I said Happy Birthday!

Learning how to use your DSLR

I have been teaching Mastering Manual for almost three years now. It doesn’t get old for me, it just gets better.

This collage is made up of beautiful images and only one was taken by me (the bottom one). The rest were taken by my three attendees within the first two days (some, just hours) of taking my workshop. By the third hour of day one, they are shooting in manual.

mastering-manual-collage-resizedMy workshop is two days because I want this information to stick with you forever. I want these two days to be the catalyst that will drive you to a place where beautiful photos are all you know how to create.

It’s not just about shutter speed, aperture and ISO, it’s about art, and ways for you to foster your passion. It’s not just about composition and perspective and how to find the best light…it’s also about working with your littles in a way that is healthy and purposeful. I want you to take pretty photos, you, the mom, the teacher’s helper, the soccer coach, the toilet scrubber, the errand runner, the school pick-up person…YOU. I want YOU to follow your passion. I want YOU to take your photos to the next level. I want YOU to take time for YOU.

I want you to be able to look at your DSLR and control it. Completely.

Here are a few words from attendees who took my last workshop:

Michelle: “This workshop was a lot of fun. The small class size made it feel more like you were hanging out with friends learning your camera vs. the typical class setting. Lots of laughing, talking, and learning together. Beth was an amazing facilitator and we all instantly felt comfortable around her. 

I felt like before I was dating my camera…we would go out and have good times but it wasn’t always what I was looking for. This weekend proved again relationships can’t just be one sided. After taking this workshop and having a better understanding of my camera and how I can use it I am happy to say I am ready to take my relationship with my camera to the next level : ) 

I have always been passionate about photography and learned more this weekend than any class I’ve taken before. I very much enjoyed it and would recommend it to a friend without hesitation! Thanks for everything Beth and also to the other girls in the class with me for making it so awesome. I can’t forget to mention the chocolate choices were amazing and proved very helpful when things got stressful or when we celebrated getting that great shot!”

Becky: “Thanks for a great class. I feel like I’m well on my way to taking good pictures. I know what to look for and have the knowledge to at least figure out what I need to do. Hopefully I can finally do what I wanted and capture some great pics of my kids and family!

The class was super fun, loved that it was small and casual. You were able to make everything easy to understand. It was worth every penny I think and will appreciate the quality photos ill be taking from here on out!”

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Philips Family | Northwest Indiana + Chicagoland Family Photographer

I’m pretty sure I would consider this session my first fall session of 2014. The golden rod was sparse, the leaves were starting to turn and fall to the ground, yet many of the trees were still green. The air was cooler but still comfortable. I absolutely loved working with this family, the sweetness of the big siblings caring for their baby brother, the way they all just molded together, effortlessly. It’s one of my favorites.

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Glaros Maternity | Northwest Indiana + Chicagoland Family Photographer

I’m so excited to have been able to capture this family during this exciting time. Their little guys (twins) have just turned two and now they have a little girl on the way…any day now.

Not only are they a beautiful family, they are so sweet and fun and easy to photograph. I hope you enjoy looking at these images as much as I enjoyed photographing them.

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