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    Hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween! I know my kiddos did.

    We wanted to do so many crafts and activities we didn’t quite squeeze everything in. Hopefully, it will mean we will just have a little jump start on next year. Buzz, is already worried about what he will be dressed as for next Halloween. Harry, doesn’t want to put his robe, wand or the haunted house he created in his room away in boxes. And Cookie Monster….. well Cookie Monster seems to like candy just as much as cookies. All three will need extra sleep and veggies to balance out all the Halloween fun.

  • children,  family,  Senior

    a happy you…..

    Nathan was the first baby I loved. My brother is almost 9 years older than I am and he was married and starting a family before I was out of high school. Nathan was born when I was seventeen.  I can picture myself standing in my teenage bedroom bouncing, swaying and shushing him to sleep as he snuggled into my shoulder. He is sixteen, soon to be seventeen now and I wonder how the world could have changed so quickly. Lucky for me, he came to visit for a week this summer. I caught a glimpse of what my future holds with three boys of my own. I am thankful I have gotten to watch him mature and it somehow makes each stage of motherhood a little less scary because he has gone before my own.

    Markus is nine-months older than my oldest son Keith. He was born just as I was getting used to the idea of the miracle of a baby in our life. Markus spent a week with us this summer too. (Not the same week as his brother) Markus was a perfect fit around here. He and all of my boys played hard from dawn till dark giggling, running and wrestling each other. I wish he could live down the street so they could play together all the time.

    They didn’t get to where they are without their parents. Which is really the reason I am writing this post. Their  mama, Dayleen celebrates a birthday today. I am ALWAYS late in sending her a birthday gift. I feel awful and often blame it on the Columbus Day postal holiday but the truth is I just always want to get her the perfect gift to show her how much I truly love her and enjoy her company. So, I started early this year. Happy you, Dayleen! (Happy you is the way Keith used to tell people happy birthday when he began to talk. It stuck like glue and happy you now means happy birthday or our gift to you at the Blau haus.)

    Time, treasure and talent. These are the things we are supposed to share with the world. With each other. So when her boys came to visit this summer, I photographed them. I spent most of my time enjoying them but for a few minutes I stopped time so that she can remember her boys as they are now. Stopping time. Thank goodness we have photographs to save little moments of our lives for safe keeping.

  • wedding

    I wanna grow old with you….

    Breanna was radiant in her wedding dress and the small tiara with an elbow length veil were mere accessories to the beauty that beamed from her. There is no beauty like that which comes from happiness. Trevor was confidant and comfortable, ready for a new beginning. He was ready for this moment but when he saw Breanna walk down the isle on her father’s arm, the dreams, the longing, the forever became the right now and he wept. Breanna was going to be his wife and once she was on his arm at the alter they smiled their way through the rest of the day.

    While out celebrating their pending wedding with her closest girlfriends a stranger quipped to Breanna, “Well, don’t you just look like a Disney Princess.” Little did they know how magical Breanna and Trevor’s day would be.  Weddings are days when we all hope to be surrounded by friends and family. A celebration shared with those who mean so much to you is what helps to make the day special. What an extra bit of magic to have Breanna’s Uncle, Joe Beal, weaving stories of the couple into their ceremony while officiating their wedding. Jack Brooks, Breanna’s father, played a lovely guitar ballad he had written and after the vows were spoken, and a lifetime bond of love was made, the newlyweds exited the Academy Chapel to ring the chapel bells for good luck.

    The weather was summer-like and after the ceremony, everyone arrived to a picturesque orchard dressed with white tents, tangerine accents and a dance floor.

    The party rocked along with live music by The Antics and a gentle breeze cooled the hot day to a perfect temperature. The twinkle lights and the up lighting on the gorgeous old trees at the venue were met with the perfect exclamation of a nearly full moon. But most important of all, Breanna and Trevor got their happily ever after.

  • children,  family

    just plain yummy

    It must be their Italian names. Vinny. CiCily. Gianna. Their family name, Orizotti.

    I love the energy of this family. They are fierce, loving and silly at times. I have been searching for something to liken them to. Trying to mold a description which would accurately portray them.

    Forgive me. The one thing I can’t get out of my mind is, gelato. You know, the beautiful Italian confection which is a higher quality dessert than ice cream with a richer, fuller flavor. Yeah, gelato. The Orizotti’s are like gelato. A richer, more flavorful family, each member enhanced by the other. The time I spent with them was yummy from start to finish. How could I not have fun with beautiful kiddos like these three to photograph.

    Here is one of my favorites from the shoot.

    Thank you so much for a fun morning. Next time let’s get gelato and savor the memories we’ve captured!  To enjoy more of the images from the Orizotti’s session CLICK HERE for a slideshow!

  • family

    everyone needs a little magic

    It was crumpled in a ball amongst a sea of carpet and toys, but I knew that it wasn’t trash. The cherry red color with white writing would take anyone back to the sweetness of childhood. I picked it up thinking I would throw it away, but stopped myself. I unfurled the waxy paper to search for the treasure I knew was there. The eagle feathers, the bow and arrow, the star….the magic. The reason Tommy couldn’t throw it away either.

    Because even though, we all know the legend of a free Tootsie Pop  isn’t true, we still hope we find the indian shooting a star. Because even though, we are scared to dream big dreams, in our heart we hold fast to them. Because no matter our age, we all need a little magic.

  • children,  family

    Happy Brother’s Day

    Tommy is my character. He is passionate about just about everything, for better or worse. A grumpy, little man on Mother’s day he proclaimed, “I wish it was Brother’s Day,” while we were getting loaded up to go celebrate the day with John’s mother and grandmother.

    It was love at first sound for me. I didn’t let on right away, though. “Thomas, we take time at different times of the year to celebrate the people we care about. Now, get in your seat and put your car seat straps on!”, are words that likely came out of my mouth. I know I also told him Brother’s day was a good idea, because he was lucky to have two brothers in his life.

    I googled it in May and didn’t come up with a date I was happy with. In my mind it had to be a summer date, so my boys can have a great summer memory to hold onto.

    While drafting this post, I googled it again and found a facebook page (of course I did, right?) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brothers-Day/80359246817 which claims Brother’s Day is observed on the Friday, following the first new moon, after August 1st. There is also a celebration on August 11th hosted by Widmer Brothers Brewing as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbian Northwest. It turns out that in 2008, with the help of the Widmer Brothers, the state of Oregon and the city of Portland proclaimed August 11 a holiday.

    The crummy Pacific Northwest weather has been putting a crimp in my brother’s day plans. I refused to have our holiday on a dreary, gray day. You can’t break out a new slip-n-slide and mondo water guns in the drizzle. I don’t want the brothers to lose interest in sleeping outside, because they are freezing.  I would have loved to have jumped on the local band wagon for the 11th, but I wasn’t willing to have Brother’s day without some heat.

    Well, I got my heat today. And we started the morning like this.

    I have had these pancake molds set aside since May waiting for Brother’s day to surprise my guys. Every time I make pancakes they ask me to make them a Yoda pancake. Every time, until this morning, the Yoda I would come up with was a very sad excuse for a Yoda. Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper showed up too. If you have little Star Wars nuts at your house you can find these awesome pancake molds at Williams-Sonoma.

    Then they gave each other cards they had drawn. Tommy’s passion came out in its sweetest form, in the 12 cards he made for Keith and his 5 cards for Greg. One just wasn’t enough to show them how much he loved them. I adore that about him.

    After breakfast had settled, and a few legos masterpieces were constructed, I went outside and got a new slip-n-slide ready and opened new super soaker water guns. When they came out with their swimsuits on, they were surprised to see the slide and huge water guns and wasted no time finding water.

    These are the only photos I will post with all three of the brothers in them, because an almost two-year-old is tooooooooo busy to stay in one place for more than almost 2 seconds.

    The rest of the day entailed lunch, cartoons, more water play…..this time with Mom sliding and getting soaked, dinner, ice cream, a movie, popcorn, board games, a story and then…..

    sleeping for the first time in a tent. Yeah! I think I am more excited about it than them. I LOVED sleeping in a tent in my backyard as a kid and hope they have a blast tonight.

  • children,  family,  products


    It flew by. Saturday we celebrated three kiddo birthdays in our home with our extended family. Two of them were my sons, my oldest and the youngest have August birthdays. The other is sweet, little Molly, my niece who just turned one. A day full of visiting, food, cake, presents and hopefully it was packed with smiles for everyone.

    Do you remember how you felt as a child when it was your birthday? You know, the I can’t sleep because I am so excited feeling. The asking “can I open them now?,” about your  presents. now. now? now?! Overdosing on sugar. Birthdays are a big deal. They are when we celebrate each person in our lives and try to make them feel as special as they are to us.

    I feel pretty lucky to not only get to celebrate with  my own family but to celebrate with my clients. Births, weddings, birthdays, graduations, all of these happy times in ones life I get to witness or help prepare for. What a blessing. To get to celebrate the joy in everyone’s life surely will bring more joy to ours and for this I am thankful.

    To say sweet, little Stella is adorable is an understatement. With her amazingly, cute outfits and her giant eyes, she was a treat. Celebrating a baby’s first birthday is a triumph for the parents. You celebrate the babe you adore, but I think we parents also celebrate making it through the first year of nurturing new life.

    We created custom first birthday invitations for Stella and I am in love with them, and their pink envelopes. 🙂 !

    birthday invitation custom photography

    Stella’s mom commented that the colorful envelopes let everyone know it is something fun when they receive it in the mail. I  could not agree more!  Here is a look at all the envelope colors I have to choose from.

    Love the floppy hat, don’t you?

    She had her photo taken in the same tutu when she was a newborn. Such a starlet now!

  • newborn

    new life

    When I was a first-time mama the crusty umbilical cord stump gave me the willys. I didn’t want to look at it, touch it, be near it. I don’t think any new parent is quite ready for all of the new bodily functions and sights they will be privy to until they are in the thick of caring for their new one.

    I tell you this because in a few weeks my oldest will be 8 years-old. Don’t ask me how it happened. I am convinced I closed my eyes while rocking him to sleep in the middle of the night and woke up to this handsome, quiet, compassionate giant. Sometime after he lost his cord stump, I lost my aversion to them. The stump is the last remnants of the journey of pregnancy and new life. I find them beautiful now.

    It is an honor to photograph newborns. They are so precious and pure and I don’t think I will ever get my fill of being around them. I had the pleasure of luxuriating in newborn time with Logan. I had a whole morning devoted to getting photographs of him and snuggling. It was amazing.

    He is a champ. Champion of sleeping through photo shoots. Champion of silky, sweet newborn hair. Champion of his parents hearts the moment he was born. This is the last photo I made of him*. I had my hopes set on it but left it for last because I knew it might upset his sleeping. I got a few shots and he finally had had enough. (*I promise he wasn’t in any danger of falling off. I used photoshop magic to hide the cushy bean bag below him and his mama’s hand on his back while on the chair lift.) Don’t you just love that they have this ski lift chair for a front porch swing. I want one!

  • life

    thank you….

    To the quiet, sweet woman in the Toyota dealership service department waiting room this morning, thank you.

    9:00 am on the first day of summer, I had the van scheduled for an oil change so that we can get ready for all the summer fun coming up. The boys were up and ready to start the summer. What kid wants to sit in a waiting room for an hour or more when there are bikes to ride and dirt to get under your fingernails? The troops chose a book to read while we waited and that worked for a while but then attention spans waned.

    I love Greg to pieces at this stage. His cute first words, bright eyes and sweet giggles are enough to make me want to squeeze him all day long. But what comes with this adorable stage is an absolutely, relentless curiosity. The curiosity is innate and it is how toddlers learn so quickly about the world but as a mother it is tiring. As I visualize myself in the waiting room while I write this my stomach clenches and I can feel my neck muscles strain. One fire is enough to put out at once but several is enough to add to the grey hairs on your head at light speed. I have three. In all fairness, Keith is an absolute gem. He is 7, almost 8 and he is a pretty typical first-born. He follows the rules, quietly entertains himself and helps out if asked. I happily let him bury his nose in his Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary. One corralled, two to go. Tommy has matured so much in the last year. I am so proud of how far he has  in every aspect of his academic and social skills. By no fault of his own Tommy is four. Four is an age of testing boundaries, short attention spans and the wiggles. Picture me as the ball in a ping pong match between Tommy and Greg and that is what my 78 minutes in the service “lounge” looked like. But who was counting.

    The diamond for me in this crazy morning came about 50 minutes in when a woman looked up at me from her reading and with smiling eyes said, ” I don’t care about what you think in your head. You are doing a great job.” sob. If I hadn’t been in public, I would have been a blubbering idiot. I gave her the most sincere smile I could muster while wrestling with a one-year-old and giving a four-year-old “the look”. What I really wanted to do was hug this stranger and thank her for seeing straight to my soul.

    Those small words given to me by a stranger were a precious gift. They made my first day of summer magical.

    And if keeping three boys in line while waiting once a day wasn’t enough. I took them this afternoon to get haircuts. Here is my favorite photo of the waiting at the barber shop. My littlest covered in sugar and drool from the Tootsie Roll pop used as a bribe. My oldest quietly reading a chapter book. Taken with my point and shoot because of all the sudden movements I have to make in order to corral said littlest.

  • products

    canvas crazy

    I knew the delivery was coming. I didn’t want to get overly excited. I didn’t have time to wait around impatiently. Tommy had a Dr.’s appointment and I had tons of packing to do. The day got busy as they all do and when I returned from our appointments there was a box on the doorstep.

    Later while baby Greg slept and Dad took Tommy to run an errand I got to open it. What a treasure I found.

    It is always fun to open up the boxes of prints and albums which I get back for clients but this box was special. Two big gallery-wrapped canvases from Simply Canvas. The best part about it is I get to keep one of them. I printed my favorite photo of Greg from his first year as a 16×24. I LOVE IT!

    Yeah to big, gorgeous, ready-to-mount canvas photos! Now whose next?