Each day comes bearing its own gifts.

Untie the ribbons.

Bloated and just wanting to sleep away the next two months.
granthamtia
I am really, really tired of being pregnant. I am not ready to have this baby yet because we have so much going on with the house still. But it's coming along so well! This is probably part of the reason I am so tired though - Lucas and I have been staying up until after midnight trying to clean up the post-construction mess and organize as much as possible. Construction has moved from the living room to finishing the pantry and my office, and it's now focused on the girls' suite. We are so excited about this project because the room will be absolutely HUGE when it is done - about 20' by 12'. One end of the room will be dedicated to beds, the other end to a walk-in closet and a window seat right under the window:

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Unfortunately, the room is slightly more narrow than I would have liked and the closet not as big as I was hoping for, but that's what happens when you turn part of the garage into a bedroom. Hopefully with the gorgeous bright paint on the walls, the awesome prints I plan to frame for them, the brightly-patterned window seat cushions, and the light fixtures pictured below, the whole effect will be amazing and clean-looking. I'm pretty stoked. :-)

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Zeke's room will follow directly after the girls' suite, since he will be moving into the girls' current room. His area will probably be decorated just like in the picture:

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Luke and I wanted to put black bead board on the walls, but we figured that it would compete with the cherry wood-colored crib, changing table, and armoire. Darn. :-( We are excited about decorating though because we are going with the whole pirate theme - pirate books, an anchor, canon, spy glass, model pirate ship, and hopefully a map of the "New World" on the wall above the crib. I love decorating, and I think his room will be so much fun. Even the stuffed animals on display will have to be dressed accordingly with eye patches and such. Fun, fun.

Baby shower is coming up soon, and I am hoping it will turn out nice despite the drama that has surrounded it so far. I wish people would get over themselves and just DO what needs to be done. I had gotten to the point that I was tempted to have a welcome home party instead of letting someone plan my shower, but the idea was vetoed and people starting to get their crap together. Currently, the plan is to have it catered by Costa Vida, which sounds awesome!

I had an ob/gyn appointment last week with a midwife that I actually liked... Until she mentioned that they don't induce at that hospital until 42 weeks. No offense, people, but if this baby goes two weeks over then I could get a ten-pounder. NOT cool. The midwife seems to think that he will only be in the seven to seven-and-a-half pound range, but these professionals are never very good at guessing weights. I might talk to another doctor and see if they might possibly induce closer to a week after my due date like they did with both the girls. If I had known all of the crap these doctors intended to put me through, I would have pushed Luke to get Kaiser. I may still push him in that direction since his PPO is costing us a LOAD of money each month (almost as much as we pay for the mortgage), and Blaine isn't really helping insure his own children.

Speaking of Blaine, I am tempted to ask him if he has any life insurance. Currently he is just under 300 pounds, and he just bought himself a little crotch rocket. Are you effing kidding me? How does he plan to take care of his family if he gets killed on that damned thing? I am not happy about this, especially since he is not paying as much as he should for child support and medical insurance. Whatever.

On the way to Kauai
granthamtia
It's been a rough week. Lucas and I have been arguing like crazy about stupid crap. I feel like he doesn't hear anything I say, and he feels like I am attacking him. It's crazy and getting old. Hopefully, since I will be quitting Hawaiian soon, we can work on our communication a little more.

The decision to leave Hawaiian came to me all of a sudden a couple weeks ago. I never thought I would come to this conclusion, but it seems like the most logical idea. Luke and I have successful businesses that are suffering from us having to work around my Hawaiian schedule. We have a baby on the way, which will require most of my attention for the next year. And if we both bring our businesses to their full potentials, we could afford to fly to Hawaii whenever we wanted. Seriously - I never even have TIME to fly between my photo business and working at Hawaiian. What's the point?! In addition, many of the trips we want to take (and are priorities) won't be benefited by working at Hawaiian. For example, Disneyland, Ashland, Vegas, etc.

The final straw came when Fran announced new shift bids just three months after the last bid. I have been on MTW - off for weekends - which has been essential to running my business and spending quality time with my family. So the stress of not knowing how much my schedule would change and affect my current situation... That stress was almost crippling! I was already trying to figure out how I was going to make things work during an October with five weddings (one of which requires me to be in Kauai for a week)! How would I juggle Hawaiian's changes too?! When the idea to quit came to me, it was SO refreshing. I texted Luke right away with my idea, and he told me he would support me in whatever I wanted to do. He said that he loved having the benefits, but that the trips are still extremely expensive and unnecessary. I agreed, and the idea of being home full-time again lifted a HUGE weight off my shoulders. I could be domestic! I could take the girls to school! I could plan dinners and take extended weekends and anything else Hawaiian kept me from doing in the past. When we found out that I was able to keep my MTW schedule, Luke was so sold on my original idea of quitting that there was no way I could take it back. He wanted and needed me at home, and that's what I was gonna do.

So that's the plan. As far as my October goes, the second trimester energy spurt is in full force and I feel fantastic. I still try to sleep as much as possible (and often average 8 or 9 hours per night), but I don't require a nap every single day. I'm not dragging on a regular basis like before. I'm also not wondering how I am going to keep up with my photography workload because (except for blogging) I am ahead of the game. Woot! Go me! I plan to save most of my blogging for my slow winter months anyway. This past weekend I shot back-to-back weddings with Jessica - Saturday was Lincoln and Sunday was Tahoe. It was insanely crazy, but I did SO well and kept up perfectly. Now, I may not have kept up if it was a Calvina wedding - that girl runs me ragged. :-) But I was certainly proud of myself and all I can feel is the need to accomplish more. And with more of my second shooters hiring ME to second next year, there will be so many chances to fill in that position. It's a nice change from being primary.

So, as I head to Kauai to shoot wedding #4 of the month, I am looking forward to some Trizza time, some shopping, and maybe some decent pampering. I plan to get some work done too - I packed the laptop so I could work on a wedding and an album. Tonight I am alone, but tomorrow I photograph Stacey and Shawn's welcome bbq and Thursday Luke and Calvina will be flying in to meet me. It's unfortunate that I can't drink during the year that I have so many amazing trips, but I plan to have some good eats anyway. :-)

Online interview. Interesting.
Hi there - peeking in
granthamtia
I was recently contacted on my Facebook for an online interview, and I found my responses to be interesting. So I figured I would post. It's pretty long-winded.


1.When did you start you career?
I began to charge people for my services when they started booking me for bigger jobs like Quinceneras and weddings. This was in 2001, while I was working on my photography degree.

2.What is a typical day in your line of work?
It's actually different depending on whether I'm shooting or editing that day. Let's take a wedding, for example. I meet up with my second shooter and brief him or her about the day. I then start with the bride getting ready. I take shots of her getting made up, her dress, her details (shoes, rings, other jewelry, etc.), and any activity that is going on in the room with her and her bridesmaids. If there is time, my second shooter and I will visit the groom and groomsmen and capture some of them getting ready and their formals. From there, we usually do bride and bridesmaid formals and any other formal pictures the bride tells us she wants. Ceremony is directly from there, which leads into MORE formal pictures and then to the reception. Generally, the whole day lasts about 8 hours.

3.What is your specific background and experience?
I hold a Bachelor's in Photography from Sac State and I have been shooting seriously for the past 11 years. Before that, I took lots of pictures of family and friends. Basically, I have turned my passion and hobby into my career. I have worked with many amazing primary shooters in order to further my experience, and I have taken an extra photography workshop and I plan to take more.

4.What category of photography do you do the most? Medical, events, science, etc.?
Weddings, engagements, boudoir, and family portrait sessions.

5.How did you get started in this field?
Photography has always been my passion and hobby, but I truly got into it when I took my first black and white class at Sacramento State. I found shortly after that I enjoyed portraiture the most.

6.When did you become interested in photography?
When I received my first camera as a gift at age 8.

7.Was photography just a hobby at first?
Yes, and an unlikely career.

8.How many hours a week do you work?
An average of 30-35 hours per week between shooting, editing, meeting with clients, and building albums.

9.Do you know the employment outlook in this field for the future?
Photography is a VERY competitive field. You truly have to know your stuff, and offer a product that people love. You have to continue to train yourself and keep up on the new ideas and techniques. However, photography is one thing that consumers are unwilling to give up, even in tough economical times. I shoot more weddings now than a few years ago when people had more money to spend. People will always need maternity, newborn, and family portraiture too.

10.Do you work in another fields besides photography?
I work part-time for Hawaiian Airlines as a ticket agent. I work there primarily for the flight benefits.

11.Is this something you would recommend as a part time job to begin with?
Definitely. Many women choose photography due to the flexibility and ease in planning a workload around their families. I only started shooting full time in just the past year.

12.What entry-level job are best for learning as much as possible in this field?
Second shooting and assisting an amazing, well-known primary photographer, interning at a magazine, newspaper, or other publication where you can learn the ins and outs of photography in that field... I am sure a career center/counselor could come up with many more examples. :-)

13.What salary can one expect at entry level? Five years?
At entry level, you can expect to claim a loss if you own your business. It's likely that your business will barely pay the bills or cover equipment costs the first year at least. I can imagine very few people making a high salary (I would expect closer to minimum wage) with any other company due to the fact that you have to be very good at what you do to be recognized. Therefore, experience is necessary to move up in this field.

14.What training, education, or skills do I need to enter into this field?
Basic photography courses are recommended. Learning the newest ideas and techniques in the field you are interested is important. Knowing how to use your camera properly is the ABSOLUTE most important piece of advice I can give you. Courses in Photoshop and extra workshops in the area you are interested in are imperative to your personal growth. Photography is an art, and developing your eye and your style will be the biggest part of that personal growth.

15.What occupations are closely related to this one?
Occupations closely related to wedding/portraiture photography? Magazine photography and photojournalism are the ones that come to mind the most.

16.Is it hard to find careers in this field?
Yes.

17.What do you like the most about your work? The least?
I like to see my clients excited about my work. I enjoy hearing them satisfied with the session AND the outcome of our time spent together. My least favorite thing is when prospective clients do not see my worth before contacting me, or the long hours spent at the computer.

18.Are there any changes occurring in this field?
Changes occur every moment. Someone is always thinking about a new way to do things, whether it comes to shooting, lighting, or post-processing. This is why it's important to keep up with what's going on with other photographers.

19.How would you describe most of your work environments/culture?
Not sure, exactly. Perhaps family-oriented? Usually large events where families are coming together for celebrations. Generally, I shoot a lot of traditional American events.

20.What general advice would you give someone in this line of work?
If someone was in this line of work, it's likely I wouldn't have to give them advice. But if they still needed this kind of advice, I would tell them the same as above: KNOW your camera, inside and out. Attend photography workshops. Buy the best lenses possible.

21.Why is photography important to you?
Photography is how we document our lives. If we didn't have someone to capture those most important moments, we wouldn't be able to enjoy for years to come those special, intimate times with our loved ones.

22.Do you believe it is the quality of the camera or the quality of the photography the matters most?
The experience and knowledge of the photographer matters most.

23.Do a special style you try to keep when you photograph?
If you have to put a style on my work, I would like to say it is often photojournalistic. I can capture those posed moments just as well as I can capture the times that people don't realize the camera is there, and are being themselves.

24.What do you enjoy most about photography?
Interaction with clients and getting that one awesome shot from the whole session.

25.Do you have a favorite photograph? Photographer?
I don't have one favorite photograph. There are so many beautiful images out there. But some of my fave photographers are Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Susan Yee of En Pointe Photography, Jessica Claire, and Jasmine Star.

26.In your opinion, what makes a good photographer?
A good photographer is someone who is always driven by improvement. Yes, I might make nice images now. But what can I do to make them better? What can I learn to improve? What can I do to get that fresh, new look in my work? What can I come up with that will catch the eye of someone who happened upon my blog? You have to take the time to follow through and research and be willing to try new things.

It's here!
Isn't that great?
granthamtia
The nausea has found me. The one thing that is so hard about this part of being pregnant is that it's almost impossible to figure out WHAT you can eat to make your tummy happy, and then once you figure it out... You end up eating too much and getting sick all over again. I felt really good (but ready for a coma) for about an hour after my McD's breakfast this morning, and now I am starting to feel sick all over again. I have no idea what foods in this house will make me happy. Maybe potato wedges? Peanut butter and jelly? There is no planning meals ahead of time, just give the belly what it wants NOW!

Lucas found a photography workshop for me to attend this coming weekend, but I would have to fly out Wednesday evening and skip the camping trip with Ton and Dave this weekend. Arg. I don't think I will attend, partially because I don't recognize the photographer. And if I can go visit Susan in September, then why not just do that? (Speaking of Susan - I should probably email her about that...) I did, however, sign up for Jasmine Star's newsletter, so I plan to keep up to date on when her next one comes up. I just missed the last one on June 22. :-(

Friday I entered four weddings to Real Weddings Magazine, and I am SUPER hopeful that Nicole and Dan's will at least make the cut. There are ad requirements in order to be published there, but I think I can deal with them.

Early pregnancy
Mommy love
granthamtia
When I found out I was pregnant with Thayana - and even before that - I began to eat whatever I wanted. I gained five to ten pounds just within the two months surrounding conception. I didn't care because I was already 20 pounds below what I was when Tariah was conceived, so I wouldn't gain that much right?

I think my final pregnancy weight before Thayana was born was within five pounds of where I was at when Riah was born. I don't want to gain 40 pounds! I started at about 140, and I am still within three pounds of that, but it's driving me nuts that I already feel I can't control my appetite. I want to eat ALL THE TIME. And I'm only five weeks along! Right now, cheese and peanut butter seem to be the cravings, and I have huge packages of havarti and pepper jack in the fridge in addition to low-fat string cheese, jalapeno cheddar bagels, and chocolate peanut butter balls. BAD idea! I'm trying to be careful, but when my body only wants one thing, it's hard to not give in. I only need about 300 extra calories per day right now, so that's about 28 points. I'm thinking that would be the best way to look at it - stay within that number. Or stay close, at least. :-)

My only other symptoms are that I am becoming increasingly tired, I pee all the time, and sneeze constantly. At work, I rush to the bathroom two to three times in the couple hours that I am there. Can't wait to see what happens in the next week - NOT! I know that next week brings on the nausea. Yay. I am worried because my wedding season becomes heavy again in October, but I will be in my second trimester at that point. So perhaps the fatigue and nausea will lessen at that point, and I will make it through. But getting all my work done in the next couple of weeks? I have no idea how I will do it. I have two weddings, two small sessions, and an album that have to be finished in the next three weeks. Yikes.

Hawaiian ceremony, woot!
Yay!
granthamtia
Originally, Luke and I had planned to take the girls to Honolulu this weekend as a last hurrah before school starts. Everything starts so early in Williams - the girls have to be back by Wednesday the 11th. So it sounded like a fun (slightly inexpensive) weekend getaway. That was until we found out that we were pregnant a couple weeks ago. After that, the weekend turned into a vow renewal (after our secret wedding in May) so that the girls could participate in a fun, interactive Hawaiian ceremony. It’s unfortunate that feelings were hurt after we decided to hold this ceremony with just our little family, but it was planned for the girls and not for everyone else. I never thought we would pull so much together - and jump over SO MANY obstacles - in the time we did.

In one week, we found a minister, planned the ceremony location and schedule, found a florist and ordered all the flowers we needed, book a hair and makeup person, ordered dresses for the girls, booked a photographer, and I bought and altered a beautiful dress in two days. We didn’t spend nearly as much as we would have with a real wedding, but our new plans did make the trip slightly more expensive than we had originally planned since we had to rent a car and pay for Aimee’s hotel and food. On Friday, we showed up in Honolulu and went directly to the hotel to check in, then right to eat after that. Then I had to see the stylist to give her an idea of what I needed for hair and makeup, and then to the florist to pick up the flowers. By the time we arrived back at the hotel, we were all pooped and ready for dessert and bed. I had to iron little girl dresses and such before I got to go to sleep, and then was up again at 3:30am (6:30 California time) to take a taxi over to the salon.

Unfortunately, when I woke that morning, the hotel fridge had frozen my beautiful bouquet the florist had arranged. Little did I know that the salon owner was skilled in flower arranging, and I had an EVEN BETTER LOOKING BOUQUET by the time he was done fixing it. He had even stolen some plants from the building lobby to complete the arrangement. I was so, so grateful to him. After hair and makeup, I threw on my dress to ready myself for a first look with Luke downstairs, and we were off to the beach for our 7am ceremony.

The girls were pretty uninterested in the ceremony itself - they danced around in the sand while it was going on, and only acted interested when Kahu Bruce asked for their participation during certain points. The ceremony was beautiful and short, and then we were off to the trees and the beach for an awesome bridal/family portrait session. Aimee did a fabulous job and had a great time doing it - and what kind of photographer would I be if I didn’t show off at least ONE! :-)

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After the session, we were sandy and wet, and in need of a substantial breakfast. So of course we followed tradition and headed to the nearest Ihop! We love the variety there for breakfast, and the portions are usually SO big in Hawaii (not like we need it). We took Aimee to the airport where she got first class seating on the way home (woot woot!), and then back to the hotel for a little siesta.

The rest of the trip consisted of hanging out at Waikiki Beach with Luke’s old high school friends in Honolulu (whose family I may return to have a session with during Labor Day weekend), dinner at Hula Grill, and also hitting Costco on the way back to the airport today. We had an amazing time, and I am so, so, SO stoked to see more pictures as Aimee comes up with them throughout the next few weeks.

Of course!
granthamtia
Now I have a crush on orange heels! Great! It's not like I didn't have enough choices when it came to the blue heels... I'm totally diggin the orange:

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Absolute FAVES:

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Yeah, about that wedding shopping...
I need a drink.
granthamtia
Ton, Melissa and I went shopping for bridesmaid dresses on Saturday, only to be completely let down by what we found. I have to say that I believe finding my dress will be EASY compared to finding an elegant, affordable bridesmaid dress in the cut and color I want. David's Bridal has my color, but their selection of dresses is disgustingly ugly. I refuse to let my girls buy one of their hideous dresses. Every other place we looked at was very expensive, and most lines don't have a shade of blue even close to what I am looking at.

The trip was not completely unsuccessful, however. I found a few lines I liked, and I am looking exclusively into Enzoani right now. (Probably up until I see prices of their gowns, hahaha.) I need to see their swatch, of course, but it looks promising. Also, I think I want the girls to wear something with straps because I am expecting that I will end up in a strapless gown despite the fact that I HATE that every bride wears strapless. Unfortunately, there isn't a better looking cut out there (in my opinion). I will just have to find something more original in details, like the one in my previous post.

I'm trying very hard to stay organized with the wedding planning right now since any excessive research tends to raise my anxiety levels. I am thinking a master list is going to help me feel a little better, so I will probably start that right away. There are so many things that we need that I feel haven't been properly accounted for, and I want to make sure it is all taken care of and ready to go the day of the wedding. It's also hard to get quotes for services I need (such as flowers) when I don't even know WHAT I need yet. So my vision needs to come together in order to get these things started.

Work is already crazy, and MY wedding season hasn't even begun. That starts Saturday - whee. Right now I am working on 4 small sessions, 3 albums, and two weddings. Yikes.

Oh, the wedding shopping...
Going out smile
granthamtia
Just browsing this morning, and wanted to get an idea for shoes. Anyone who knows me also knows that I love COLOR, and this bride is not wearing white heels under my gorgeous dress! I have narrowed it down to blue or orange (blue being the obvious option to cover my "something blue"), but it's still so hard to find something worthy of wearing under my gown. Here are a few of my ideas - obviously the first (Christian Louboutin at 80 percent off) would be worthy!:

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But this color (more of a marine blue) matches my color scheme better:

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These are my absolute faves - Carlos Santana Prestige, but in the wrong blue. :-(

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But OH, the orange! They're so hard to find though!

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And I ADORE the details in this dress:

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Someone got Maui'ed... And we were there!
granthamtia
(Wednesday, April 7, 2010 7:06pm)

As I wrap up my first official trip to Maui, I am sitting here in coach typing up my latest journal entry. (Obviously, it will be posted later!) Shayleigh is sitting next to me in the bulkhead (gotta love being on standby sometimes!), and Luke is two rows ahead of us in first class - his second experience in the elite cabin so far. Once again, I am thankful for the amazing benefits I have through my job - he never would have paid to put himself in first! He has enjoyed unlimited drink service, a gourmet meal, extra room and cushy, recliner-type chairs, and access to lots of awesome movies on a personal player. I’m happy for his chance to sit in first class because he works so hard to provide for our family, and he deserves it.

Yesterday I shot an amazing wedding in Maui at a beautiful beach. Other than the fact that I had to deal with an annoyingly thorough photographer who took TONS of canned shots up until after sunset (he came with the bride’s package), I am confident in the amount of fabulous shots I was able to capture. In addition, my second shooter was none other than my best friend, who is also sitting just across the aisle from me in the bulkhead. She did SUCH a good job shooting with me that I am seriously considering having her work with me on weddings in the future. The amount that she learned while capturing this wedding was tremendous, more than she ever has learned in any class she has taken. I think that she has completely changed the way she feels about her photography skills. I am extremely proud of her.

As a side note, I was not paid for this wedding. The bride and groom are friends of Melissa and Dusty’s, and I agreed to come along for a fun trip if the bride covered Melissa’s flight. Of course, when the boys caught wind of what was going on, they were determined to come too. So in the end, Melissa, Dusty, Shay, Luke, and I headed off to Maui for some fun in the sun and a beautiful wedding. We stayed in a condo in Kihei, a two-story, two-bath with a full kitchen and a large, relaxing lanai. The condo was equipped with everything we could ever imagine needing - from a coffee grinder to snorkeling gear - and we were completely comfortable. Luke and Dusty cooked breakfast every morning, and even cooked a lunch and a dinner. Luke and I are planning on looking into those condos when we plan to buy in Hawaii. They were perfect.

The first day we had free, we went to the beach and then to Lahaina to do some shopping and eat at Cheeseburger in Paradise (YUM!!!). The next day, we shopped a little more and then went to Lahaina for a luau with the wedding party. I can’t believe we spent time at the beach on two different days and I didn’t even burn. That’s totally a first for me.

Shay had a blast. She was exhausted by her adventures every single day, and fell asleep well before take off on the plane today. Although this was more of an adult trip, I was very happy with the way things turned out for her, and I am looking forward to taking all the girls in the future. Shay was on the best behavior of any five-year-old possible. What an awesome kid. I am also thankful that she came because I think it gave her a chance to bond more with Melissa and I. She already has a stellar relationship with her father, but spending more time with the rest of us was SO beneficial for her.

The flights to and from Maui went quite well. However, I think we will avoid spring break and any other holidays in the future. The chance that we wouldn’t make our flights was quite scary, and I don’t want a repeat of it. Luke was on pins and needles that he wouldn’t get Shay back to California in time to appease his ex.

I have SO. MUCH. work to do. Tomorrow must be a productive day because wedding season begins on Saturday. And it will be killer. Although I am taking four weeks off from Hawaiian in June and July for my surgery (and therefore will be able to catch up on photo work), I don’t want to get behind. I have two small albums, an engagement session, a newborn session, and a small wedding to crank out, and I’m a bit intimidated. And there is much, much more to come.

Happy April, everyone!

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