Thursday, December 31, 2009

I DID IT! 365 straight days of blogging!

It's so fitting that I watched Julie and Julia tonight - a story about a girl who blogs every day for a year. This is my 365th day in a row to blog. I'm very proud of myself; it is the first new year's resolution I've ever kept. But it was not easy. There were many days (especially early on) that I did NOT want to blog. There were some days when I wondered what the crap I was going to blog about. Regardless, on those days and others, I dug deep and did it. Yay for me.

2009 was a freaky fun year full of friends family and photos. I've tried so hard to narrow down my favorite moments of the year to 10, but do you know how many great things happened to us this year? It was NOT easy. Let me just say, I am blessed. After much inner turmoil, some suggestions from you, and some stiff-arming from unnamed peeps, I've narrowed it down to a pretty great highlight reel of 12.

Without further adieu, I present my favorite moments of 2009...

Number 12: The Benny Awards!!! I love this fun video my brother shot for me during the 2009 Benny Awards (the 2010 Awards are set for January 22nd!) If you get this in your email, you'll have to go to the actual blog to view the video.


Number 11: Ellie's precious Halloween costume


Number 10: Our trip to the American Girl store in Chicago:


Number 9: Maggie and Austin's wedding - I chose this wedding not because it was my favorite wedding (though it was definitely one of my faves - too many fun ones to choose), but because of the vendors I worked with at this wedding - they've become some of my very best friends in life!


Number 8: Lindsey's Cenote Trash the Dress session: we loved photographing their wedding in Mexico. Of course, Lindsey and Bryan are both AWESOME! But the TTD session we did in crystal clear water was so exhilarating!


Number 7: Our "Shoot Your Kids" workshop sold out!


Number 6: Athena and Ryan's wedding: What I love about this is that I had nothing to do with it. Lauren and Meredith completely rocked this wedding and I was SO stoked, and proud, of what they captured.


Number 5: Blend was a crazy fun time hanging out with my buddy Becker, as well as meeting some lasting friends, Bobbi, Ajit, and Jose Villa, among others. Here's my favorite shot from my time in New Mexico:


Number 4: Crazy Crash Course and Garvan Woodland Gardens wedding - I took the "crash" portion literally, wrecking the rental car an hour after I got it, then killing the tire in the replacement car. I was interviewed by homeland security, which wasn't my favorite way of spending the afternoon. Here's a shot from the wedding that Becker and I shot at the Garvan Woodland Gardens - I had so much fun second shooting for a change.


Number 3: Memorial Day post for my sister - definitely an emotional post!


Number 2: Being featured all over the place! Here, on the [b]school, here in Arkansas Bride, here in Popular Photography, here on the Savvy Scoop blog, here on the Ruffled Blog, here in MpixPro.com, here on the Knot and on Hot Pink Brides, and here on the Rockandrollbride.com



Finally, the number one moment this year ((drum roll)):
When Meredith said yes!


Thank you to everyone who shared 2009 with us. We love you all, appreciate you all, and look forward to more with you all in 2010!

Here's to another great year!
Dale

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Christmas Eve Heartbreak

Meredith thought of, and purchased, the PERFECT Christmas gift for Ellie. She first showed me the little girl high heeled shoes about 5 weeks ago online and my heart leapt! You see, Ellie L-O-V-E-S marching around the house in Mere's high heels. So, being able to get Ellie her own pair was just the PERFECT present.

The days leading up to Christmas were very, very stressful - we didn't understand why the shoes hadn't arrived. Monday we opened the door, no box. Tuesday we opened the door, no box. (We emailed at this point - had to check our order - never got off hold) Wednesday we opened the door, BOX!! Oh how exciting! It was as though the gift was for US! Mere tore open the box and out came... (and I swear I heard angels singing) a gorgeous pair of size 11 red high heels.

Excitement overcame us as we told Ellie she was getting "THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT IN THE WORLD" - Throughout the day, she kept asking if she could open "THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT IN THE WORLD" and each time we wanted to give in because we knew how perfect it would be, but each time we reminded her that we will be opening our presents after dinner. Excitement continued to mount.

Let's fast forward through dinner... the time had come.

I love watching Ellie open presents. She's really unlike any kiddo I know. She's calm, and thankful, and asks permission, and gives hugs... it's so sweet. After all the other presents had been unwrapped only one gift remained: "THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT IN THE WORLD."

The next 1 minute of my life lasted a lifetime. She pulled the top of the box off, pulled out the black cloth bag, and opened the end. I glanced at Mere, who had eyes as excited as Ellie's. When Ellie pulled out the first red high heel, her eyes bulged, and Mere's face lit as bright as the Christmas tree. After turning to me, Ellie asked if she could put them on. "Of course."
And then it happened. Her smiled turned to force as she tried her hardest to cram her size 10 foot into the size 11 shoe, clearly mismarked. The shoes did not fit.

Mere's heart sank; I could see it on her face. Within seconds, a tear fell down Mere's cheek, and then another.
Ellie, who spotted the sadness, and who always is so much more mature than her age suggests, said, "well, they'll make really fancy decorations." This, OBVIOUSLY, made me burst out in a fit of tears. Ellie countered with, "Look, they fit on my hands" still trying to appease us.

And with a broken heart, I watched the most beautiful moment of the night: Ellie took the shoes over to Mere and gave her the sweetest hug and told her that she loved them anyway.

My life is so fulfilling.

Hope your Christmas was just as magical.
~Dale

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Molly and Kaleb tie the knot! ~ Arkansas wedding photographer

Hey everybody!

I can't get enough of these! Molly is a stunning bride! Jessica and Lauren captured their Fort Smith wedding beautifully. Check out a few of the details...

I love a good shoe shot...

And these portraits about made me fall out of my chair. Who am I kidding, off the couch. Amazing work Jessica and Lauren!








The girls at GLO rocked it again! Here's Erin putting the finishing touches to our gorgeous bride

Molly's sister was an unbelievable singer and wowed the audience while setting the mood for this wonderful Christmas wedding.


Now THIS is a kiss. Shazam!


Ooohhh, ooooooohhhh... this is my favorite! Look CLOSE!!




I love your images, Molly and Kaleb! Congratulations on your marriage!

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kimberly and Brock tie the knot!

Hey everybody!

It has been SO busy this month! I remember the days when December was still. Nowadays we shoot weddings all year around! This wedding was shot by our fab photogs, Lauren and Jessica, while we photographed Holly and Luke's. They blow me away! I love how talented they are!

Check out Kimberly and Brock's details:


And I've decided to turn this into a mega-blog post, so here are their portraits too!






Back to the story of the day

First meeting time! Look at her gorgeous smile as she first sees Brock!


I included this picture merely to show how jealous I am of all these heads of hair. ((longing sigh))

Hello ladies!





What a sweet moment during the first dance!

Loving the high-5 with her uncle...




Kimberly sharing a sweet moment with mom before leaving: SHOT. OF. THE. DAY!



Congratulations Kimberly and Brock! And, AMAZING job Jess and Lauren!!

Talk to you soon,
Dale

Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farm wedding: Anna and Shelton

Hey everybody! Wonderful wonderful. That's how I want to describe Anna and Shelton's wedding day at the Stone Chapel at Matt La...