Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa photo shoot

I talked about this a few days ago, but I wanted to give a little rundown of how the Santa photo shoot went.  The event was organized by Emerald Isle parks and recreation.  They had you make an appointment, which was wonderful.  No feeling pressured if your child needed some time to warm up to Santa and no standing around waiting for a long line.

The photographs were done by a professional photographer, Jeff Pennell (here is his site) instead of a mall photographer.  And Santa was awesome. Seriously, I cannot say enough nice things about this guy.  (Santa's website is here)  He was very authentic.

So when we got there, you couldn't see the photography area.  And when it was our turn, we walked around and there was no Santa.  Confused?  I was too.  One of the staff brought me in on the gag though.  They set her up in the center of the scene and then told her to watch the far door because Santa would be coming through there.

Of course, Santa wasn't coming through that door, he was in the beach shack behind her:
After a few minutes of shots like these and Bella being TOTALLY clueless that he was behind her, we finally told her to turn around.

She looks him up and down and says, "Where are your reindeer?"  I think Santa told her they were outside so they wouldn't be scared.  I don't really remember because I was laughing so hard.  He sat down next to her and they started to chat about what she wanted for Christmas.
Luckily my hypnosis was working and she asked for a dollhouse as planned. (It may have sounded more like 'doghouse' but I trust that Santa will get it right anyway) She refused to sit on his lap, which is probably ok since asking a kid to be comfortable sitting on a stranger's lap probably isn't the best lesson anyway.

This photo cracks me up.  I don't even know what she was telling him.  Probably something about his reindeer, who knows.  But this is so totally her.  In charge, even with Santa.

And these are the others that so completely capture her:
 Such a little sweetheart.

And of course, the photo that was nationwide.  (Here is the post about that if you missed it)  Basically, our photographer and the Associated Press photographer got the same final shot.  We even remembered last minute to ask Santa to send Bella an elf.  And I will share his adventures of course.  It was a really great event and a wonderful start to our holidays!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh Christmas tree

Just wanted to share some photos of our Christmas tree and our girl who is so excited about Christmas this year. 

I got the instructions for camera settings for the photo above from pinterest (this link).  But it's manual mode with my f1.8 lens, ISO6400, shutter speed 1/30, set on a tripod.  I love the result.  These haven't been retouched at all either.  What do you think?

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Adventures of Elf the elf, Part 1

I'm so glad we got on the 'Elf on the shelf' bandwagon before Bella was too old.  We got a great deal on it during a super sale too: only $15 when it normally retails for $30-$40.  We took Bella to see Santa on November 30th, so it was perfect timing and I had her ask Santa to send her an elf.

She was so excited the next morning to find the book and then see the elf on the mantle waiting for her.

I asked her what his name was going to be and she said, very certainly, 'Elf.'  I tried a few times to get her to pick a different name, but she definitely thinks he is Elf and that's all there is to it.  We read the book and made sure she knew that the only real rule was that she couldn't touch him or he would lose his magic.
Day 2: After having a bare tree in the living room for 8 days, Elf decided to start decorating the tree.

Day 3: Goofball Elf takes a whirl on the fan.
Day 4: Elf flips

Day 5: Elf decided to take a chance and come down to Bella's level.  She had been very good, so he brought her a little gift (a little owl she had been pining over that I said she couldn't have, but then snuck into the cart). We had been wrapping the night before, so he got into our supplies.

Bella pointed at him and told Vinny, "Don't touch him Daddy!"  Then she grabbed him and went running around the house.  So much for that.  So he disappeared for a day to regain his magic.

Day 6: Elf MIA to regain magic

Day 7: Elf reappears, bathing in a bowl full of marshmallows.  Bella runs off with him again.

Day 8: Elf MIA to regain magic

Day 9: After a long evening of making cookies, I left the flour out.  Elf decided to make a flour angel.

 Day 10: The flour angel stunt was messier than anticipated.  Elf needed a shower:

Day 11: Elf takes a little fishing trip

Bella finally seems to understand the words 'do not touch.'  Whew!  I'll give a rundown of other Elf activities soon!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Superstar Bella

Bella recently had a little photo shoot with Santa in Emerald Isle.  The experience was amazing.  We had an appointment, so no waiting in line with 50 other kids and being pushed out of the way after they take 2 shots.  There was a professional photographer (nuff said).  Proceeds are going to benefit a local food bank and the humane society.  The Santa was awesome, as Santa should always be.  And now our little girl is all over the internet.That's right...and not just on our blog.

I'll share some of the Santa photos in another post, but there was one shot that was pretty awesome:

It just so happened that the Associated Press had a photographer there who took this photo.  It ran with an article about how the recession is affecting Christmas all over the country.  It's been pretty amazing to see over 16 pages of google hits for her name.   This photo does say it all though.  It captures her so well.  Her loving little soul and gentle heart.  I'll just be over here, being a proud mama...