Thursday, February 24, 2011

Luc's Birthday/Silly Photo Contest!!!

Lucas turns 1 today!!!!!!!!!!!!  AHHHHH!!  As of today, I'm done with Lucas 365 and will be moving onto the much easier Lucas Weekly project.  After taking at least one picture a day for the last year (GAH!), one picture a week should be cake.  Although, I know me, and it will probably end up being more than just one, but it will be nice not to have the pressure of once a day, anyway.  :)

To celebrate this accomplishment, I'm running a contest for a free portrait session!!  A portrait session includes the following : baby, kids, family, engagement, couple, or any other portrait type session you would like (maybe a boudoir or day after, aka trash the dress, session????). :)

As stated in the title, this is a silly photo contest, so you'll need to submit a silly/funny/crazy photo of yourself, your spouse/significant other, your family, or your kids (but don't be mean, make sure they're okay with it!), or any combination of those.  It can be an old photo, or one you just snapped for this contest.  Submit one photo by Thursday, March 3rd to  On Friday, March 4th, I will post all of the photos submitted here on my blog, and also on my Facebook Page.  Then people will have the chance to vote for your photo in two ways:

1.  By commenting on the blog post where the pictures are posted
2.  By liking your photo on Facebook (must be a fan of my page to like a photo)

Voting will go until Friday, March 11th, and I'll post the winner on Monday March 14th!  The winner will receive a 1-2 hour session at up to 2 locations, and a disc with 30-40 images with printing rights.

Fine Print Details
*By submitting a photo you are agreeing to me posting it here as well as on my Fan Page.  If you aren't okay with this, please do not submit a photo, as you will not be eligible for this contest.
*The winner must be within 50 miles of DeKalb, IL to redeem the prize.  Outside of the area may require a travel fee.  If you frequently travel to the DeKalb, IL area, you can still win and we can plan your session for whenever you visit.
*Prize can be won and given to someone else as a gift.
*Prize expires one year after winning date (March 14th, 2012)

I'll kick things off with one of the silliest photo (or at least, the one that sparked the most comments!) from Lucas 365. Have fun with this!  I can't wait to see all of your pictures!

One more thing before I go...I just wanted to thank everyone who has followed Lucas for the last year and for all of the comments you've posted on his pictures.  It's been a huge encouragement to me, and if it weren't for you awesome people, I don't think I would have had the motivation to get through the entire year.  So this contest is as much of a thank you as it is a celebration of me accomplishing a huge goal.  So, THANK YOU!!!! 

And don't forget to wish Lucas a "Happy Birthday" in the comment section!! :) :) :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For Lucas

     A year ago today, I didn't know that in 24 hours time, you'd surprise us with your presence.  Life was going on as usual; we watched LOST at Zach's and played Guitar Hero afterwards, like any normal Tuesday night.  When I woke up the morning of the 24th with contractions, I was hesitant to hope that it was The Day, seeing as I was still 2 weeks from my due date.  But you were ready to meet us.  I called the doctor and our doula, Kim, then took a shower while Daddy packed our bags for the hospital.  By the time we got to the doctor's office, I was already 5cm dilated.  You were still taking it easy on me.  The doctor was surprised that I was smiling and laughing, but she thought it'd be a good idea for us to go to the hospital since I'd progressed so far in just a few hours.

     We checked in and got settled, each contraction getting more difficult, but still not too bad.  I was so excited to meet you.  Jack Johnson played on my iPod, and the contractions continued to get harder.  Daddy helped me by holding my hand and letting me lean on him when I was in pain.  Kim helped Daddy by suggesting things that would make me more comfortable and she encouraged me to relax.  It was getting so tough, the intensity of each contraction seemed to increase exponentially, and I was praying for it to be over.  Kim said that it would be soon, that I was doing great and was so close to holding you.  The doctor finally arrived, and I was able to start pushing.  I pushed with eagerness at the thought of seeing your face for the first time.  Even in my pain, I wondered what you'd look like, what you'd sound like when you finally came out.  I just wanted you there.  To kiss you and squeeze you.  You, my Lucas, who had been growing inside of me for so long.  

  Just when I thought I'd die from anticipation, you were there, on my chest and in my arms.  I can still hear your first cry.  That sweet, precious little cry.  So quiet, yet so intense and angry that your peace had been disturbed. You started sucking your finger and stopped crying.  Daddy took pictures of us.  I was so in love with you.

You were almost 2 1/2 hours old before Daddy got to hold you.  First because I was hogging you and feeding you, then because the nurses needed to weigh you and clean you up.  

My dear, sweet, Lucas.  My little lovie-dove.  I can't believe you've been here an entire year.  You've changed and grown so much already that it makes me all teary to think about it.  Having you has given me a small glimpse of God's perfect love for His creation.  I am so thankful that He gave you to me.  I can't wait to see what sort of man you will grow up to be, but for now, I'm cherishing my precious baby boy.

Love, forever and always,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Dates and Valentine's Day

Hang my locket around your neck, 
   wear my ring on your finger.
Love is invincible facing danger and death. 
   Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.
The fire of love stops at nothing— 
   it sweeps everything before it.
Flood waters can't drown love, 
   torrents of rain can't put it out.
Love can't be bought, love can't be sold— 
   it's not to be found in the marketplace.

Song of Songs 8:6-7 (The Message)

February 19th, 2000 

He picked me up in his 1982 Ford Celica with FIF spray painted on the hood and army men glued to the top.  It was freezing outside, but being in juniors in high school without jobs, we had few options.  With money borrowed from his dad, he bought us hot chocolate, and we headed out into the brisk night for a walk.  We walked around NIU, occasionally stopping in at one of the campus building to thaw before making our way back outside.  For 2 hours we wandered, talking and laughing.  For some reason I'll never understand, he pushed me into a snow bank.  I couldn't get up and he was laughing too hard to help me, so I just laid there until he regained composure.  What is it with boys, anyway?? When my curfew came, he drove me home and walked me to my door.  Aside from the girl tipping, he was a perfect gentleman.  

My first date with Seth was one of the few first dates I've ever had.  Everything about it, even me lying in the snow freezing my tush off, was perfect.  I don't remember my exact thoughts that night 11 years ago, but I know it wasn't long before I knew I'd never need another first date.  

With Valentine's Day being so close to our dating anniversary, we've never really done much to celebrate good old V-Day.  But this year, I woke up to this:

And the handsome men behind it all (the Babies Breath was from Lucas :])

Oh, yeah, there were chocolates, too, but they, um, didn't have a chance to make it into any pictures. ;)

Seth had planned a nice little evening for us at this amazing where-in-the-heck-did-this-place-come-from restaurant downtown DeKalb called Tapa La Luna.  If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend it.  It was all dressed up with flowers and live music (which, according to their site, they have every Friday!).  And the food?  Uh-mazing.  Seth had the Pad Thai, while I had the Blue Cheese Tenderloin:

I've never had blue cheese in a way that I enjoyed, but this dish came highly recommended by both the waitress and the bar tender, so I thought I'd branch out from my usual cheeseburger ways.  I was pleasantly surprised.  And since it was a special occasion, we splurged and shared some of the best tiramisu I've ever had:

A shot of my romeo, and a rare blog picture of me

I love dates. :)

I'll be announcing the 3 finalists for the free wedding contest tomorrow (I'll also be posting about how you can help your favorite couple win!), so be sure to check back then!  

Have a great Thursday! (it is Thursday, right?? ;])

And Happy Almost 11 Years Together the most amazing man EVER!!  

Friday, February 04, 2011

Every Business Needs a Business Plan : Alicia Caine's Happy Place

When I started my business last year, I was one of those "business plan, schmisness plan" kind of people.  Why do I need a business plan?  All I'm doing is taking pictures, and I love taking pictures!!  And I can get paid to do something I love??  Wahoo!  

Flash forward 6 months. I was up to my eyeballs in editing photos, while learning that taking pictures was actually about 10% of owning a photography business.  Marketing, taxes, building a website, branding, blogging, education, insurance, gear upgrading, budgeting, product packaging, pricing--KABOOM!!!!  (That was the sound of my brain exploding, in case you were wondering :]) The more I learned about owning business, the more stressed I got, and I was finding myself staying up until midnight (oftentimes later) almost every night, 7 days a week.  Throw in the fact that my son is still under 1 and doesn't understand the meaning of sleeping in, I was one tired, stressed girl! Researching, editing, mommying, and wifeing was quickly burning me out.  The off-season couldn't have come at a better time, and I took off the entire month of January from anything business related.  I really needed a break if I was going to continue loving the small part of my business that I actually enjoyed.

Enter, Happy Place by Alicia Caine.

I am not a business person.  In fact, I'm about the farthest away from being a business person that you can get. The only thing I knew about a business plan was that I didn't want to write one. *insert whining voice here* It was just one more thing to add to my mile-long to do list, and honestly, I didn't see the benefit of having one.

When I got down the root of the matter, I felt that if I actually wrote down what I wanted to happen, and it didn't go the way I planned, that would mean that I had failed.  What I didn't know was that one of the ways to meet my goals was to 1. actually have some (duh me), and 2. WRITE THEM DOWN.  Happy Place was so helpful in making a plan with goals that actually fit my life.  While going through it, I also had the realization that it's just plan, not set in stone.  If I don't reach my goal, that's okay, I have a reference point for the next year.  I'll be able to see what worked and what didn't and change things around.

Seriously, if you're a photographer and you're out there flying by the seat of your pants, crossing your fingers in the hopes that you'll magically do well this year (interesting visual, huh?), I really REALLY recommend checking out Happy Place! Alicia has such a unique way of making something that can be really daunting, amazingly simple.  She walks you through every single step, and while it takes some thought and work (as anything worth doing does), it's totally worth it!

The #1 reason for my needing a business plan?

Because I don't want to be away from my little babe any more than I have to. :)

Happy Friday!!!!!
**Don't forget: Only one more week to get your submission in for the Free Wedding Photography Contest!!!!**

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Grant, Kyle, Natalie, & Luke : DeKalb, IL Child/Family Session

You may remember seeing Luke here back in August when he turned a year old.  Well, he's back!  And this time he brought reinforcements. :)  Luke's cousins, Grant, Kyle, and Natalie were visiting from Kansas City, MO over Christmas, and their parents wanted to get the kids together for some pictures.  Each of them were wearing a shirt with their age on it, which I was thought was so cute and such a great idea!!

Grant, Kyle and Natalie

Natalie is such a beautiful ballerina! 

Grant showing me his football pose. :)

Kyle was such a ham!

I love this picture of them!!

Luke was being all cute, doing his own thing for most of the time.


Grant, Kyle, Natalie, and Luke, thanks so much for letting me take your pictures! :) :) :) :)


**Reminder**  Don't forget to check out the contest I'm having for FREE wedding photography!!!  The contest ends February 11th!!!!