Family, Food, Husband, Photography

An Eccles Easter

We were so blessed to have our Eccles Family with us for this holy weekend. They arrived in time for the Good Friday service (which was a wonderful time of remembrance and solemnity with our Ecumenical brothers and sisters), and we still had plenty of time for a late stew dinner and good conversation before bed. There really is nothing quite as lovely as conversation with our parents
small 6489
Saturday was a simply gorgeous spring day and we ventured out of the confines of our cozy home many times. We took a walk around the village while the Sour Cream Pound Cake was baking, admiring homes and wishing the canal was filled with its gentle waters rather than revealing the contents of its belly. 
After enjoying a light snack of Pacific Beach Peanut Butter (which I reviewed in yesterday’s post) and homemade crackers, we opted for an exploratory walk through the locally acclaimed Mount Albion Cemetery. It might sound strange to enjoy a cemetery so much, but you would not believe the beauty contained in this sprawling, terraced, park-like grounds. Not only is it intriguing and emotionally riveting to read the various epitaphs and calculate lifespans, but the walking path is just incredible (not to mention extremely aerobic.) 
By the time our walk was over, it was time to head to Medina for an tasty tour of Della’s Chocolates (we came home with Dark Chocolate Toffee & Coconut Clusters and Dark Chocolate Peanut & Raisin Clusters – a grown up kind of Easter treat!) and Rosenkrans Pharmacy and Gift Shop (where I couldn’t resist buying 2 bags of Easter M&Ms on sale for $1.99 each!) Finally we were more than ready for a sit down, early dinner at Avanti’s! (They don’t open until 3:30 on Saturdays, 4:00 on weekdays.) The boys split some spicy Buffalo wings and a Cheese Steak Hoagie Pizza. I ordered a delicious salad with apples, walnuts and crumbled Bleu cheese (my dad would be impressed with my love of that stinky cheese), and mom enjoyed an amazing-looking burger and fries. (I shared a few of her fries and a Buffalo wing, so don’t think I was too ultra healthy. :))
Sunday morning we enjoyed a celebratory worship service together at AFMC and rounded our time out with another filling meal. I opted to stray from the traditional ham or turkey dinner and made a pot roast with carrots, mashed sweet potatoes, biscuits, green beans, and that delectable sour cream pound cake with ice cream and strawberries for dessert. Yes, we were full! 
As we waved goodbye to our dear family, we opened the windows for a bit of fresh, 60 degree air and settled in to enjoy a true Sabbath Sunday together
Standard
Family, Photography

Sister Shoot | Sammie & Allie

One of my hopes for the time I had in Florida watching my cousins (for some reason, I keep wanting to call them my nieces), was a photo shoot. I love any opportunity to practice my photography skills and I think it’s fun to work with low-key family shoots like this one would be. While I know I don’t possess the photography knowledge of a professional, I believe I have a special gift of working with my subjects, bringing out their personalities and having true fun together (no staunch, stuffy photo ops with me.) 
On our last morning together, though the skies were cloudy and rain was imminent, we dolled up the girls; I did their hair, they did their makeup (a new interest for Sammie and a bit of an obsession for Miss Allie ;)), and we accessorized. I loved how they opted to wear matching boots. So cute. 
The backyard offered plenty of great photo backgrounds, so off we went! I have to say, this was one of the most successful shoots I’ve done –the largest number of good looking photos straight out of the camera! I had good subjects (and a new lens!) 

IMG_5784

IMG_5872
IMG_5893


IMG_5881

These two have a special friendship, sisterhood. 

IMG_5800

On the boat dock. Love those lily pads. 

IMG_6018

Sammie really came into her own during this shoot.
I loved watching her blossom.

IMG_5998

And a few shots of my girls and me.
The oldest cousin of twelve with the youngest two.
I am 27, they’re 12. 

IMG_5871
IMG_5859
I love these girls and I am thankful for the relationships we developed during our time together. I look forward to being an influential part of their lives as they grow into godly women.

Standard
Friends, Photography

km photography | Josh & Amanda’s Wedding

Back in December we had the awesome opportunity to photograph Josh & Amanda’s wedding. This lovely couple became friends of ours during our time in Monroe, Michigan as we shared lives in a small group, lead the youth ministry together, and went on a few double dates. In November 2011, we made the trip from our newly settled New York home to Monroe to shoot their engagement photos. A few months later we were honored to be asked to be their wedding photographers.
December 21st, 2012 (12-21-12) was a freezing cold day with gusty winds and a temperature that made outdoor photos questionable. Both Amanda and I were pushing for outdoors (I shoot much better in natural light), so we gave it a go. My toes ended up slightly numb (she traded shoes with me at the end! The girls were wearing Ugg boots for these pictures.), and I’m pretty sure the girls were frozen despite their adorable black shrugs, but it was a success. 
I loved being behind the scenes with the bridesmaids as they got dolled up for the big event. It was such a great way to help out as I could and get to know each girl better. Knowing your photo subjects makes photography that much easier (and way more fun!) 
Kevin and I both had a blast at this all-day event. It was great spending all that time with Josh & Amanda  on this momentous occasion and I hope they feel the same. Thanks, guys, for this opportunity and for your business! 
Here are few favorites from that special day together.

IMG_4641

IMG_4913

IMG_4988
IMG_5042
Standard
Husband, Love, Photography

On Capitol Hill

Kevin and I have had lots of great trips with family or visiting family and friends. We’ve gotten many weekend trips, particularly camping excursions, just the two of us. We have been so blessed to have the past 4 and a half years of marriage to focus on each other. But we had been hoping for a week away, just us, to a “foreign” location, to relax, unwind, enjoy each other’s company, and do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. A bona fide vacation.

IMG_3466 - Copy
the Jefferson Memorial sited from the banks of the Tidal Basin 
Way back in April or May, I began planning our vacation. I looked into various spots, modes of transportation, places to stay, what to eat, how much it would cost. I love planning trips like this. It’s like a window-shopping addiction. (I’m pretty sure I got that from my dad.) After much hemming and hawing, we finally decided to visit Washington, D.C.! We’ve been saying for years how we wanted to visit the Capitol together, so no matter how nerdy it makes it, we booked the trip! 
IMG_3441 - Copy
The Lincoln Memorial –
a moving experience
Thanks to Hotwire.com, we got a fantastic, fancy-pants hotelthe Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill–for way way way cheaper than normal, and get this–we ended up FLYING via U.S. Airways instead of making the 7 hour drive. It was less expensive to buy 2 airline tickets and take public transportation to the hotel than it would be to pay FORTY FIVE DOLLARS A DAY to park our muffler-needing, partially rusted ’98 Honda Civic in the valet parking garage. *yeeesh* 
And so, from Sunday, November 18th to Friday, November 23rd, Kevin and I spent our time with the Capitol building in our peripheral vision. Our evenings were taken up with relaxing in our luxurious hotel drinking Safeway-brand diet cola and eating too many tomato-basil Lays chips while watching Friends re-runs on TBS and getting in more than my fair share of the one television network I miss most–The Food Network. Every morning we awoke around 7 or 7:30, with no alarms set, rolled out of bed feeling rested and ready to conquer the city. We walked around the National Mall through the various entities of the Smithsonian Museums and strolling wherever we felt like it–exploring our way off the beaten path. The weather was absolutely perfect in my opinion–50s, sunny, crisp, but warm enough for just a sweater. I love November. (and not just because it’s my birthday). 
IMG_3438 - Copy
I loved this view of the Washington Monument

We ate delicious food. The birthday lunch at Moe’s Southwest Grill at L’Enfant Station was amazingly filling and super cheap (but also I had a stomach ache all night afterwards. That may have been because of the run I took in the afternoon. Ooops.) The West Wing Cafe was kitty-corner from our hotel and fed us fantastic sandwiches–and I am a sandwich critic. :) Pete’s Diner was this little hole-in-the-wall place right next to the Capitol building and MAN could they cook a good sweet potato pancake! We indulged a bit in a Crumb’s peanut butter chocolate cupcake on my birthday (but wasn’t super impressed, honestly) and made a few coffee-and-danish stops at Starbucks, Au Bon Pain and Dunkin Donuts. I am so glad we checked out Armand’s Chicago Style Pizza. SO GOOD. And what’s Thanksgiving dinner without some solid Chinese food from the Union Station food court?? ;) 
IMG_3424 - Copy
A beautiful day to visit the Lincoln Memorial 
We walked a lot, we ate a lot, I ran on the treadmill in the fancy-pants fitness center and along the National Mall. We made friends with our floor’s housekeeping ladies and they kept up stocked on Tazo black tea & fresh towels. We went to see the new OO7 movie–Skyfall–at the Regal Cinema in the Gallery Place metro stop on Thanksgiving day and even ordered a gigantic coke & popcorn to share (with refills! so there *is* such a thing as too much popcorn. I didn’t believe it.) I brought 3 books and read exactly 11 pages. I finished crocheting 1 scarf and probably could have crocheted 3 more. But I was even too lazy relaxed to do that. It’s not often I can watch tv and not feel guilty about not being busy with something else. :) Kevin read a huge book–one of the Bourne novels–and honed his Pokemon skills via the Kindle Fire. We talked, laughed, people-watched, avoided pigeons at all costs *cough* I am scared of birds *cough*, and tried our best to not stick out like the sore thumbs of tourists that we were. I was a minimalist packer for the first time in my life and we never felt stressed or rushed or pressured–even at the airports and the metro stations! 
I call this vacation a WIN. and from what I hear, my husband totally loved it as well–which makes me super happy.
IMG_3401 - Copy
We strolled through the lovely Constitution Gardens Park
IMG_3371 - Copy
Washington Monument
IMG_3477 - Copy
And of course, the Capitol Building, just 1/2 mile from our hotel
Standard