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Miss J

Seventh grade was such an awkward stage in my past. My family moved to California from Washington and I attended two 7th grade classes in two cities (did I mention that I also attended 3 kindergarten classes  in 2 states?) We moved quite a bit, which meant I had to learn how to make friends quickly and was labeled the "New Kid" often. I remember trying to fit in (using Aqua Net hairspray helped), desperately wanting to wear the coolest clothes  (anything that matched my sparkly laces on my L.A. Gear tennis shoes) and wanting to hang out at the mall.

To say I was amazed when I met Miss J is an understatement. I learned that she can sing, dance, act, play the piano, play basketball and was involved in gymnastics. Did I mention that she's only 13? A bit of a contrast to my 13-year-old self...

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jenparkerphotography.com

 

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Silhouette

Summer. It's right around the corner. I can feel it. Literally.

When it's 90+ degrees, I can't believe it's still technically spring. I do love summer, but I'm dreading the days when it'll already be 80 degrees at 8am.

On the other hand, I define summer by long days filled with playing outside, popsicles dripping down my kids' arms and enjoying lazy mornings that aren't consumed with rushing around in order to get the kiddos to school on time.

My favorite time of day? Twilight. I love it when the sun has gone down over the horizon but it's still light. The moments right before twilight is my favorite time to shoot. Right before the sun sets, everything is blanketed with a warm, golden light.

I had the opportunity to take photos of a dear friend on the beach as she and her husband were expecting their first child. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful sight for these two beautiful people.

If you'd like to see more silhouette photos, please visit www.rocktheshotforum.com or click on the button below. Enjoy, and have a good summer (oops, I mean spring!)

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Nothing Says, "Thanks!" Like a Bottle of Soap...

I can't believe the end of the school year is already here. I still have Christmas wrap I need to put away. Sigh. Anyhow, being a photographer, I feel the need to incorporate photography into everything I do. That includes the little things, like thank you gifts for the boys' teachers.

And even though I did this last year, I wasn't able to one, take photos of it (hanging my head in shame right now) and two, blog about it. So here's my chance to redeem myself.

I started off purchasing liquid pump soap from the dollar store and used Goo Gone to remove the labels. And really, this is the toughest part since it seems as if industrial strength glue is used for these labels. I found that soaking the side of the soap with the label on it in a shallow pool of Goo Gone and leaving it for a couple of hours was the best way to remove these.

After I got the labels off, I measured one side of the soap and created a template that was a wee bit smaller than the actual dimensions (I wanted to be able to stick the shape into the bottle of soap.) I made as many trapezoid shapes on a piece of paper that will fit.

Next, I had my son draw a picture (well, it's a smiley face...he IS only 4) on all four trapezoids with a black Sharpee (you want to make sure that the drawing/writing is bold and dark.) I also had him write his name on another piece of paper. And because he would rather play Mario Kart than write his name four times in a row, I scanned his name and placed it on each trapezoid.

I also had my older son write a thank-you message to his 2nd grade teacher on another template.

Then I went to Staples and made copies of the templates on a transparency. You can do this at home, but you want to make sure you use a laser printer and not an ink jet printer. Using an ink jet printer will cause the picture/words to flake off in the soap, and you definitely don't want to use soap with black flakes swimming around in it.

Afterwards, I cut out each shape, rolled it up lengthwise and inserted it into the soap, using the pump as a tool to push and guide the transparency in.

Lastly, I replaced the pump and voila!

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May Day

It's already May. Really?!? Well, I suppose if I kept up with my blog, I'd be more aware of the date. Perhaps I should make blogging my quarter-year resolution. Perhaps.

Anyhow, I've been having fun playing with some photos I took previously and re-editing them. I've acquired an overlay/texture pack from Jessica Drossin's Textures and I'm having way too much fun. Take a look at these before and afters...

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I took out the pole, took out my other son's head on the left and added the clouds in the sky.

This is one I took of my very good friend when she was pregnant last year. We were fortunate to catch a beautiful sunset.

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I added the clouds in the sky and changed the tone a bit.

The last one isn't a before and after, but I wanted to share these fantastic photos my 7-year-old took of my youngest and me. Looks like I'm going to have an assistant soon...

JenCharBB-R

 

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Valentine's Day is a Ninja

Valentine's Day is quite sneaky. I just put away the Christmas decorations (well, most of them) and here comes Valentine's Day, creeping up behind my back, ready to jump out and scare me. I've been told that if I visited Costco or Jo-Ann, I'd be more aware of Valentine's Day coming around the corner since both places already had their heart-themed merchandise on the floor the day after Christmas. 

Anyhow, I wanted to do something fun for the boys' card, but not the lollipop card, since we did that one three years in a row (would've been four if I actually had them choose!) So I took the initiative and worked on something else. Step one was to take the photos.

My boys and I ventured to a nearby park-like area and I was ready with my camera. A mixture of bribery and threats ensued.

Two hours and 729 shots later, we were done.

We took photos for only 15 minutes. The rest of the time was spent wrestling, throwing rocks into the bushes and rolling in the dirt. Did I mention that I have boys?

So of course, I got a bunch of photos that look like this:

And some like this:

And this:

Sigh. Boys, right?

But finally, I got some like this:

Ahh. Serenity Now. Okay, onto the card making fun.

I've seen cello bags with personalized toppers and liked that idea. I also saw some snack-sized sandwich bags instead of cello bags and favored that idea because one, it gives me yet another reason to go to Target, and two, I will actually use the leftover bags! It's a win-win situation!

I designed a bag topper so that I can utilize all the space. I am a photographer, you know. I need all the space I can get...so that I can cover it up with photos.

This is what I came up with:

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I took the photos and arranged them in a layout that I liked. The topper measures 5" by 7" and I folded it over (not in half) to create it. I intentionally made the front of the topper longer than the back because I wanted more room for the photos in the front. The edges of the topper do not line up and I'm okay with that. No OCD issues, here!

I filled the sandwich bag with candy, zipped it up, then taped it to the inside of the topper. I used glue dots to adhere the front of the topper to the bag.

And voila! Done! Now I just have to do some folding, filling, zipping and taping. Try saying that 10 times fast.

I also realized that with the both of them handing out Valentine's Day cards to their own classroom, I'd have double the work if I did their treats individually. So I combined them...just like their birthday parties...{insert evil laugh}

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

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Found

Sometimes you're too busy to notice. Sometimes you're not looking at all. Maybe you've already met that person and you just don't know it yet. Then one day, you realize.

You've found them. And they've found you.

Just like that.

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Summer Fun

Summer is over. Kind of. School has started for the kids, Starbucks already started serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and Labor Day has come and gone. But with the temperature still in the high 90s, it sure doesn't feel like summer is coming to an end. I guess I officially have 18 more days to find that out.

Summer is synonymous with popsicles, long warm nights and of course, the beach. And although summer may be coming to an end, each time I look at a picture of the beach, I can close my eyes and feel the sun on my face and the warm sand beneath my feet.

My two boys had fun at the beach this summer. One clearly likes to challenge the waves splashing in his face while the other likes the gritty consistency of the sand. Perhaps when the weather cools down, we'll venture to the nearby mountains for a hike.

 

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37 weeks

Being a mother is definitely amazing. It's rewarding, stressful and joyous all at the same time. For me, being pregnant was more of a challenge, but my friend Susan makes it look easy. With a toddler in tow, she makes 37 weeks look absolutely beautiful.  

 

 

 

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April + Randy

It's refreshing to see two people truly, deeply in love. A bond is established. A language that only the two of you know and share exists. One that makes people stop, stare and smile.

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Knowing

"It was complete peace about moving forward with our relationship. All the anxiety was removed when I focused on the Lord and what He was saying to me." -April

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My Big Little Man

I have a 3-year old. If I had any doubts about his age, let me quickly review my condensed checklist to determine if he is, indeed, three.

  • Does he say "no" when he really means "yes" then gets upset because I didn't give him the red cup ? (No! I mean yes! {insert crying} I mean no!)
  • Does he kick and scream constantly when being put in his daily time-outs? (Let me stress daily)
  • Does he insist on wearing a short-sleeve shirt when it's 55 degrees outside?

Check, check and check.

But then sometimes I catch a glimpse of him, an unnoticed peek of him, and he looks all grown up. His brows are furrowed. His look is focused. He is deep in thought.

He's a big kid. A little man.

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Baby E

Becoming a parent is a big step. One you can't really learn from a book; that you can't experience until you become one. One that will change your life forever.

Babies have a wonderful way of transforming us. They encourage us to be better parents. They teach us patience. And how to survive on 3 hours of sleep, 30 minutes at a time.

Sometimes we find our identity when we become a parent. Sometimes we lose it. Everyone experiences their own pathway to Parenthood, and that road is filled with sharp turns and unexpected dips as well as clear paths leading to new and exciting places.

I'm not sure what path my friend Kristi will be taking. All I know is that when Baby E finally arrived, it was love at first sight.

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The Littlest Girl

I recently got to meet a special little girl. A girl whose mommy was my best friend in high school. A girl who is so deeply loved and cherished. A very lucky little girl.

Meet Baby E.

I couldn't help but share this with I Heart Faces. 

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Fun Families Rock!

I had the pleasure of combining a senior session and family session. And I say pleasure because the family was so fun. I meet a lot of families and see many personalities and I can definitely say that his family is super-duper wacky. Oh, and the mother of the family was also my high school classmate. So I can say that. So there. I am slowly getting over the fact that I'm old (ish,) and that I have high school classmates who have children who are graduating from high school themselves. Another sign that I'm old (ish?) I'd rather go to Trader Joe's during the week versus the weekend. I'm just sayin'.

Anyhow, I want to thank the R Family for a great day, being open to my crazy ideas and going with the flow. You definitely rock.

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The Importance of Being a Social Butterfly

I'm glad I was a good student in high school. I had a 4.86 GPA, was involved in A.S.B. and actually liked school. Getting up in the morning, however, was a different story (why did I have cheerleading at 6:30am everyday?!?) I liked learning (thanks, Mr. Nath and Mrs. Olivas!), having a say in planning on-campus events and of course, socializing. And even though I concentrated on the grades/academic part of high school, I'm glad I also made it a point to meet new people. Because who knew that 20 years later, we'd all be grown-ups with jobs, kids and responsibilities?

I recently re-connected with a high school classmate who owns his own flower business. He has introduced me to some of his colleagues, one of which invited me to a Secret Garden-themed bridal shoot. I was more than happy to be a part of it.

A special thanks to Irises Designs and Nina Fleurina!

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Happiness

Happiness is watching your favorite cartoon over and over again, and laughing hysterically each time as if it's the first time you've seen it.

Click on the button above to see more "happiness" photos, or visit the I Heart Faces website.

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Two of Us

When you find the person, the person you are supposed to be with, the person you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with, everything seems to just fall into place. It's perfect.

You learn to accept and not expect. You learn how to be patient. You learn how to share your favorite dessert. Even if you don't really want to.

We are continually growing and learning. Continually thriving to do more, do it better and do it with integrity. With love.

Love is much more than candy hearts and flowers. It's a relationship. And just like anything else, when you choose to nurture it, it'll bloom into something much more than you started with. Something beautiful. Something fabulous.

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