Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Sweet | Westview Senior Photographer

Sunday, I was privileged to spend the afternoon with this beautiful senior. She's a bff of my cousin (click here and here) and previous client (click here and here), and the sweetest person you'd ever meet. I don't think she would even hurt a fly! :) She saved me from electrocuting myself on an electric fence. And those eyes! If you've been following this blog, you know I have a thing for blue eyes (they make me jealous). As I was snapping away, I told her that I thought she looked like a certain celebrity. What do you think? Leave a comment about who you think she looks like. I {heart} comments. Thanks K for a sweet Sunday!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Boy & His Tractor | Nappanee Children & Family Photographer

There is no denying that this little guy loves his grandpa's tractor! He's not talking yet, but his face and expressions spoke to the admiration he has for this tractor. I'm always amazed at the energy these 1 year old boys have. The only thing that slowed him down were some yummy fruit snacks! Thanks for a fun morning!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

More | Northridge Senior Photographer

During my last family session, I grabbed a few shots for this senior. We'll be doing even more in the spring. Can't wait to take even more!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Just the Kids | Middlebury Family & Senior Photographer

These kids are from the best (extended) family in the whole wide world - mine! :) I couldn't convince mom and dad to join in on the fun. They cited some silly reason like - I am not getting my picture taken today. One of these days I'll convince them that it is important to document not only the life of your children, but them too! They showed me a new little park around the area, and then we ventured downtown. I am really loving the urban setting. I'm like a kid in a candy store - there's always something yummy to find! The oldest is a senior this year, so we grabbed a few of just her too. I'll be posting those tomorrow. Thanks for a fun early evening!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photo + Cake = Yumminess

Today is my niece's birthday! When we did her photo session about a month ago (click here to see it), her mom knew that she wanted to use one of the photos for her birthday cake. So, I thought it would be fun to use a picture with balloons for the cake. After all, birthdays = balloons. She then took an 8 x 10 print to the bakery at Martin's, and they worked their edible magic! I thought it was a fun idea for a fun cake! Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet niece! I {heart} you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What to Read

As promised, I've got a book to spotlight that is sure to appeal to all ages! May I introduce you to the hilarity that is Parts by Tedd Arnold. The boy in this book takes everything he hears people say literally. I'll share just one example because I don't want to ruin the fun. When his dad says, "Give me a hand," he thinks he has to give his dad his hand! There are three books in this series - Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts. Many laughs guaranteed as you read this book. The little boy's misunderstandings are a result of idioms. In case you don't remember, idioms are sayings that are figurative and cannot be taken literally - like "It's raining cats and dogs." As you're reading this with your loved one, feel free to teach them about the word idiom. If they already know what an idiom is, you could turn this into a fun writing activity. They could make their own book of idioms and illustrate pictures to go with it. I'm sure Tedd Arnold would be proud!

Last week, I shared about how important it is for kids to read books that interest them. In conjunction with interest, it is just as important for kids to spend most of their time reading books that are a good fit for them. By good fit, I mean books that kids can read most of the words and understand what they are reading by themselves. We know that using objects can often make an abstract concept more concrete for children. For example, you can compare finding good fit books to finding shoes that fit. Just because my foot measures as a size 9 does not mean that every size 9 shoe will fit. I have to try different shoes on and on and on until I find one that is a good fit. And that is OK because I don't want to walk around in ill-fitting shoes all day. Therefore, you may be in fourth grade, but that doesn't mean that "fourth grade books" are always going to fit. You have to try the books on for size.

I'm always on the lookout for good books, so feel free to drop me a comment and recommend one of your favorites for me to highlight. Happy reading!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Sunday, August 16, 2009

1st Day of School | Personal

Friday was my niece's very first day of kindergarten. Unfortunately, I was not able to see her get on the bus because it was my first day of school, too. But I did get to spend some time with her before the bus came. Many emotions were swirling about as we anxiously waited. My niece was filled with excitement - grinning from ear to ear! For me, it was more bittersweet. I was excited for her to experience the joy of learning, but apprehensive at the same time. Questions dodged in and out of my mind. Will the other kids be nice to her? Will her teacher create a learning environment that meets her needs (along with all the other kids)? Will she be O.K.?

Nearly six years ago, I had the privilege of being by my sister's side as my niece came into this world. As I'm writing this and thinking about how quickly six years pass, my screen is blurred from the liquid emotion coming to my eyes. I pray fervently for the Lord's protection and guidance over her as she goes to school and begins a new phase of life. I pray for teachers and students everywhere for a year of learning that defies test scores and state and federal mandates. For a year where students' learning is the motivation for everything that is done. Best wishes for a great school year!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Slideshow Fun | Westview Senior Photographer

Friday Flower

I have such a brown thumb, that the only flowers I can take pictures of are someone else's. I found these at a local park. There was a sign that said what they were, but, of course, I can't remember what kind they are. The colors were just amazing! If you know what kind of flower these are, leave a comment to let me know. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

YGTBKM! | Westview Senior Photographer

You've got to be kidding me? This senior is beyond photogenic! Her great ideas + her mom's great ideas + my great ideas = One Awesome Session!

We started out at a farm, and ended up walking around downtown. I think I could have taken her pictures all day. I was asking her about school, and she said during high school she's discovered that she loves to read. I probably said something like, " That is so awesome! What changed your mind?" But in my head I'm thinking, "I know why she changed her mind. She found something that was actually interested and engaged in reading." BINGO - that was exactly her answer! (For more on that topic of reader's interest - click here.) Thank L & S for a great time!

What to Read

{You can see more photos of these cuties here.}

Fancy Nancy - if you have a girl and haven't read any of the Fancy Nancy books, you are missing out! Run {don't walk} to your nearest library or bookstore to get a hold of these gems. This particular book is Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words by Jane O'Connor. Fancy Nancy takes you on a journey through her favorite words from A (accessories) to Z (zany). My favorite word from the book (at least for today) is xenophile. Fancy Nancy and I are kindred spirits. We both love all things French! (See last week's What to Read post.)

Here's a note of caution. You've probably already figured this out, but if you've spent any substantial time around the male population (young & old), they're probably not going to enjoy this book. We know that matching books to interests is HUGE (I repeat, HUGE) in engaging and hooking readers. Here's a simple strategy to help pick a book that is just right for you or your loved one. (I've borrowed this from The 2 Sisters.) You can use the simple acronym I-PICK to help you out.

I - I choose a book.
P - Purpose. Why am I reading this book? For fun, to learn something new, etc.
I - Interest. Am I interested in this book?
C - Check for understanding. Am I understanding what I just read?
K - Know. Do I know most of the words?

Next week, I promise to highlight a book that will appeal to both genders. Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blue & Cute | Kendallville Child Photographer

Disclaimer: I'm not responsible for any envy that may result after looking at these blue eyes and just all around cuteness!

This is the second time this summer that I've done pictures at this park in Middlebury. Each time it has been hot and humid, but thankfully we've survived! As I was shooting away, the older brother was telling me that he could see my eye through my camera (I believe that would be the viewfinder, but I'd be shocked if a 4 year old new that term). So, I asked him what color he saw. To which he responded, "Blue!"

"Wow! I didn't know my eyes changed colors," I said as I kept clicking away. You see, I have this thing with blue eyes. I want them! My eyes are so dark that you can't even see the pupils (and that bothers me). When people find out about this preoccupation I have, they think I'm crazy. And well...I am. I really do need to get over it.

The mom of these two and I have the same (first) name, so it makes sense that she has great kids! Thanks T, boys, and grandma, too!

Friday, August 7, 2009

4 | Bristol Family Photographer

We couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather for this family session! This little guy had recently turned 4, and his mom wanted to take a picture with him and the number 4 somehow. As we were shooting around one of the buildings, I looked up and saw the number. It was just too perfect! This family was great to work with, and they were game for any idea that I had. You'll see them again soon on a What to Read Wednesday. Thanks family!

P.S. Feel free to drop me a comment!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Patty Cake | Elkhart Child Photographer

I always get excited when friends call me up to take pictures of their children. This little guy's mom and I spent nearly 2 years of Saturdays together working on our Masters degrees. We've been through the fire and back together {not really, but it sure felt like it in the middle of it}! I also get excited when I get to try out a new location. We ventured into downtown Elkhart. It's quite fortunate for you that photos don't smell. There were some fowl smelling dumpsters around. Thanks J & A for spending your morning with me!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What to Read

{You can see more photos of this great couple here.}

It's time for the 2nd installment of What to Read Wednesday. Click here if you missed the first one. This week I decided to highlight one of my favorite all time books by the amazing author/illustrator Chris VanAllsburg. The Sweetest Fig.

If you would visit my home or classroom, you would quickly figure out that I'm {mildly} obsessed with all things Paris, especially the Eiffel Tower. There's just something about that magnificent piece of architecture that I'm drawn to. I've never been to it...but maybe someday my prince will take me there. :) Why am I talking about Paris? Well, The Sweetest Fig just so happens to take place in the City of Light. A not-so-nice-dentist named Bibot extracts a tooth for an elderly woman who is unable to pay him with money. Instead, she gives him two very special figs. This does not make Bibot very happy because he is darn right mean. You'll have to read the book to see the craziness that ensues.

This story is great if you like inferring, or figuring out what is going to happen before it happens. We know that when readers infer before, during, and after a text, they are more likely to be actively engaged in what they are reading. Which leads to deeper, lasting comprehension. I have found that women are naturally very very good at this because we like to "read into" everything {or at least my husband thinks I do - which is true}. So, as you're reading by yourself or with your child, stop during the story and think about what might happen next, why you think the author wrote that, what a character is feeling/thinking...and on and on and on. Happy Reading!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Newest & Nothing | Goshen Family Photographer

My friends and family have experienced a baby boom in the last couple of months. Last Saturday, I got to spend some time with my cousin's family and their 11 day old son. When I walked into their home, their nearly 3 year old said, "Traci, I'm in here!" He really is the cutest little guy ever (as you saw). In the picture of just him that I posted, he gave that look after he asked, "What are you doing?"
I responded, "Nothing."
And of course he's smart enough to know that I wasn't doing just nothing. :)

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