Open Mouthed

September 26, 2012

Brandon’s session was full of open mouth, gummy smiles! He was just as happy as could be, smiling and laughing. Of course, along with those open mouths came lots of drool!

Brandon’s gummy smiles and drool are a sign that the teeth are coming! This meant that shortly after we started the session, everything started going in his mouth. From his hands, to his toys, to his sleeves, to his hat, to his upper lip. If it was available, it went in his mouth. (He even went so far as to pull his arm out of his sleeve, so he could stick his sleeve in his mouth.)

Super Heroes

September 25, 2012

I think I’m going to have to start watching some of the Avengers movies. All my little boy clients are obsessed with super heroes. Captain America definitely seems to be a favorite, but Iron Man isn’t far behind.

For Gabe’s fifth birthday, he had a Super Hero birthday party. All his friends came dressed in Super Hero outfits, Iron Man stopped in, and they defeated villains with silly string. It sounded like an awesome party.

I asked Gabe lots of super hero questions…so I now have Gabe’s version of the facts! He, of course, was dressed as Captain America. Captain America’s best friend is The Hulk. Girl super heroes – well there’s Super Girl (she has the same powers as Superman) and Iron Girl (she has the same powers as Iron Man).

Gabe’s super power…charming the camera!

Join Our Team!

September 24, 2012

The date for the annual Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk is Saturday, October 27th!

Last year was such a fun experience and it was the third year we had our very own team…the Photography by Brandi team! We had 16 team members and raised more than $1,400.

This year, will you help me beat that?!? To do this, I need all of your help and support! Join the Photography by Brandi team and walk with us. It’s an amazing day, and definitely worthwhile!

It’s the perfect event for kids, babies and adults of every age! Not only is the walk the easiest, low key stroll you’ve ever taken, but the food and activities beforehand are awesome!

- TONS of food: including hot dogs, Italian sausage, kettle corn, ice cream and popsicles and even coffee for crazy peeps like me!
- Games for all the kids (big and small): Jumps and slide moon bouncers, rock climbing wall, carnival rides and games, horseback rides.
- Entertainment: roaming clowns and magicians (this past year there were even a couple of entertainers on stilts!) and stage performances including music and dancing.
- Chiefs football players signing autographs and cheering everyone on at the start line! KC Wolf giving hugs and posing for party pics.
- Thousands of friends (old and new) supporting each other!

…AND, best of all, lots of money is raised to support all the amazing things the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City does for the community!

We will be setting up a hang out tent and bringing fun games, yummy snacks, and making a day of it. This is something you won’t want to miss! Mark your calendars!

Or, even better, join my team today!! Click the Walk for Photography by Brandi link.

Just in case you need some motivation to participate, here is the link to last year’s event. We had a blast!

Two Year Olds

September 21, 2012

I always tell parents that two year old sessions are hit or miss. You never know until the moment the session starts if you’re going to have a shy two year old, an uncooperative two year old, a happy two year old or a two-going-on-sixteen year old! And really, there’s nothing that can prepare you or forewarn you, two year olds have minds of their own!

Mommy was happily surprised, when two year old Kathryn turned on the charm for the camera! Mommy was expecting a shy, uncooperative little girl based on past performances and Kathryn’s tendency to not appreciate having her photo taken.

It took Kathryn a little while to warm up, but after some snuggle time with Mommy, some peek-a-boo playing with me, a little patty cake and wheels on the bus, Kathryn was hamming it up for the camera. From smiles to surprise faces, she was working it!

Have A Breeze

September 19, 2012

Thanks to a rain storm the previous day, Rachel and I were blessed with great weather and even some green grass! Unfortunately, we were also blessed with quite a breeze. Although, we tried our best to stay in spots where the wind was calm or non existent, we weren’t 100% successful.

Of course, when you have long hair like Rachel’s, wind is the enemy! The minute the wind started blowing, Rachel’s hair was whipping around and was always right in her face. Rachel had her work cut out for her, having to continually make sure her hair was in place…which is, of course, made even more challenging when you’re already a bit hair obsessed!

Despite the hair challenges, we still had fun – laughing and smiling and even working in a few serious faces!

Miss Smiles

September 17, 2012

Amanda is a smiler! Without saying a word to her, all I had to do was look her direction and she’d bust out her adorable smile! She has a great natural smile, but my favorite smile of hers is the one that comes out when she’s giggling! During our time together, I found a few key words and phrases that would make her giggle, so anytime I felt her smile getting tired or forced, I used those key words to my advantage!

The crazy thing for me was what I saw in her serious expressions. Two years ago I had photographed Amanda’s sister and, although they look similar and are definitely sisters, I had never viewed them as identical.

Until one of Amanda’s serious expressions caught me just right…it was like looking at her big sister! It was eerie! Throughout Amanda’s sessions there were many times when Amanda was definitely Amanda and no one else, but there were also times when I saw big sister Meredith in Amanda!

Pretty Bird

September 13, 2012

I have never had the opportunity to photograph a pet bird before. Although, I have snuck up on some of our wild birds out around our land, this was the first time a bird has been in the studio!

Lori, a twelve year old Cockatiel, got to come along with her favorite veterinarian for a business photo shoot.

Even though Lori wasn’t the main subject of the session, I couldn’t resist giving her a little star time! And boy did she work it, turning to show off her beautiful feathers and great coloring.

Photographing Lori reminded me a bit of photographing kitties. She didn’t look when I said her name, nor did she respond to any sounds I made, and she certainly doesn’t follow sit and stay commands like the pups do. But, she did stay in place fairly well and she made eye contact with the camera. So she definitely has a leg up on those kitties…who would much rather be hiding behind my background ignoring the camera!

A Taste of Eastern Europe

September 12, 2012

After saving up our airline miles and accumulating quite a few cruise points, we decided this year was a perfect year to take another Mediterranean cruise. With free Business Class tickets and the majority of the cruise costs covered, it was easy to say yes!

Our trip started off a little rocky, as we found ourselves sitting on the runway in Chicago for over 90 minutes, waiting for the pilot to fix a mechanical problem over the radio…a bit questionable! Luckily we made it to Rome in one piece. During the flight, we enjoyed watching a cute Disney documentary called Chimpanzee. It had some amazing real wild life videography that even made me want to go sit out in the jungle and photograph Chimpanzees!

We arrived in Rome late morning…Rome time. We had a little bit of sleep on the airplane, and we wanted to acclimate to the new time, so we took a bus into downtown Rome and toured the city. A stop in Rome was included on our last Mediterranean cruise, so we were somewhat familiar with the area, but we had a chance to see some areas that we had missed last time, and revisit a few of our past favorites. We did call it an early night, as the time change caught up with us, and sleep was sounding good.

Nothing quite like a Rome birthday for the now 36 year old!

After a fabulous 12 hours of sleep, we awoke ready to go and board our ship! Everything was easy-peasy and before we knew it, we were unpacked, bellies full and relaxing!

Our first stop was in Sicily, Italy. We took a tour into the hills, and at the top we stopped to visit a quaint town called Taramino. Little streets with shops, restaurants and cafes built up on either side, with little alleys shooting off the main street, with even more cafes. It is a bustling little town with lots of history and character. The views of the countryside and back down to the water were amazing!

Our second day was spent relaxing at sea!

Pete’s little slice of heaven:

Brandi’s little slice of heaven:

Our third day took us to Athens, Greece. It was a short bus ride from the port terminal into the actual city and, while the port area and areas in between the port and city were fairly rundown and graffiti covered, the city of Athens was quite interesting. There were old historical buildings mixed in with newer construction all built right next to beautiful green parks and ancient monuments. We took part in a walking tour, seeing sights from the Parliament, to the original Olympic Stadium, to the Old Town shops and the Parthenon Temple situated high upon the Acropolis. We were told the temperatures had just dropped from 110 degrees to the mid 80s, resulting in what was a very comfortable, beautiful day, full of walking and sightseeing.

Now, onto our fourth day in Turkey. The majority of our day was spent in the ancient city of Ephesus, a city founded in the 11th Century BC that has been, and continues to be, excavated and restored. The architectural buildings and artistic talent of the past was intricate and amazing. We also experienced a Turkish Rug sales presentation. While there were some beautiful rugs, I was not quite ready to purchase a rug for $2000 American Dollars! The vendors in Turkey reminded me of the Caribbean…they are there to sell and sell to you they will…whatever you need they have it and they will bargain with you for it. Not really my cup of tea, but as always, it was an experience!

Our last stop was in Crete, the big island of Greece. We took a bus tour with four separate stops; it took us into the hills, into the small country settlements, and into two city areas, one resort tourist area and one a bustling wall to wall city area. On Crete, their main industry is agricultural; they grow olives for olive oil and grapes for wine. They also claim to be the birth place of Zeus! We decided that, of all our stops, we enjoyed our two Greece stops the best…comfortable, inviting, fun shopping and lots of sites to see. Sadly, we had to get back on the boat in the early afternoon. I think we could have spent most of the day exploring the island of Crete.

Our last cruise day was spent at sea, which meant lots of relaxing and doing nothing!! The perfect way to end a vacation! There was only one small exception. In the afternoon a storm started brewing and, before we knew it, there was some intense wind whipping around the ship and the ship was starting to lean! Looking out the window, our horizon line had significantly changed as we were looking out the window the direction the ship was leaning! Luckily our captain adjusted and made some course changes, and we were back to smooth sailing.

The only ugh part of the trip…flying home! When you’re headed home, all you want to do is click your heels and be home. For us, it took almost 24 hours, and required a one hour bus ride, a two hour airport lounge wait, an hour sitting on the plane on the jetway, a ten hour flight to Chicago, an hour trip through the Chicago airport – customs, rechecking luggage, changing gates, security again, a ninety minute airport wait to be delayed for mechanical reasons, finally a one hour flight home, a bus ride to our car and last but not least a one hour drive home. It all was worth it as we were greeted by three very excited, tail wagging, tongue licking puppies!! Priceless!

Silly Button

September 10, 2012

Abby has an awesome serious face and even a great smirky smile, but the true Abby comes out when she’s being silly and laughing! She has an amazing range of smiles from a scrunchy faced and eyes closed to big, open mouth, laughing smiles. Every one of them makes me smile and laugh right along with her.

However, as with most six year olds, Abby has found her fake, stiff smile. In an effort to get rid of the fake smile, I told her that she had a silly button, and when I pressed her silly button it turned on her silly side. Of course, where’s the perfect silly button? On the tip of the nose!

As with all kids, the tricks and silly things work for awhile, but then you must move on to the next trick. The silly button quickly dissolved in to craziness, but while it lasted it was perfect…real Abby smiles!

Growing Up

September 6, 2012

The minute Meika walked in the door, she announced to me that she was five years old, and that she was a Kindergartner! I have never heard someone so excited to be five! Top it off with the fact that she became a big sister this past December and I believe that Meika thinks she is BIG stuff!

Luckily, she’s not too big to reason with (or bribe as need be!), although I did get to see a few sassy faces and received a few ornery looks. Although, the majority of the session was filled with smiles, laughs and fun!

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