Monday, October 31, 2011

Around the World and Back

Friday started a whirlwind weekend that had me reeling from just too much fun.

I love an adventure, but my real life has me grocery shopping with three kids at bedtime as the craziest thing I ever do.

This was crazier.

Friday I left bright and early, leaving my kids in the capable hands of grandma. What, mom is leaving for three days? No one cared at that point because g-ma is the bomb. I heard a rumor she served Mac and Cheese for lunch. Just amazing.

I drove the 90 minutes to Vancouver and met up with my dear friend Laura. She, husband, and son (cutest little toddler on the planet) were in town visiting family. I was excited to see them since Nashville is way too far away to stop by and say "hi." I realized I had been driving the road to Laura's parent's house for 15 years. How I love friendships that stand the test of time.... and stand me getting lost 999,999 of the 1,000,000 times I've driven there. On Friday, I drove straight there, I must be finally getting it.

Laura asked me to take pictures of their little family at the Fort. It was Laura and Kris' 5th anniversary and their wedding pictures were done on a gorgeous Fall day on Officer's Row. I was a bridesmaid, along with our friend Hillary, and I loved participating in their day 5 years ago and helping them celebrate now too.

I quickly went through my bazzilion images from this weekend and picked out some of my favorites.

I'll have the normal preview up on my photography site in a few days (

Didn't I tell you he is the cutest toddler on the planet?

Jack has such a nice personality and was sweet and delightful for the session.

Funny story here.... after Jack got back in the car with his grandma to warm up, I did some pictures of just Laura and Kris. We've had such a late Fall in the great NW and the colors weren't as fantastic as we were hoping. I placed the two lovebirds in a flowerbed against a light-post and I crawled into a bush (with lovely Fall colors :).  I asked them to kiss and then immediately Kris jumped back, started yelling, and thrashing is arms through the air. Laura and I were laughing, but didn't know what in the world his problem was. Turns out a bee came and buzzed in his ear. Anniversary kiss or not, he reacted. I was able to get a cute pose of them laughing -- I much prefer this type to the posed ones that are most common. The bee was just what we needed to liven up the mood.

We quickly finished up our photos and Laura and fam rushed us through Burgerville's drive-thru and then me to the airport. 

*I'm willing to work for Burgerville's delicious food as payment any time :).

At the airport I stood dutifully in security and was happy that neither I nor my baggage was suspicious. I was struck by how easy it is to go through the song and dance of airport security WITHOUT child/children in tow. It's been 8 years since I flew solo and it was weird and wonderful all at the same time.

I quickly boarded a plane that stopped in Oakland before continuing on to San Diego. Strangely enough, every row of passengers had at least two people in it except for mine. No one chose to sit by me. Since my airline doesn't assign seats, I could only assume I looked like a crazy person or had some manure from the farm on my shoe. No matter, I was able to fly the whole flight stretched out in comfort. 

Besides being comfortable, I also had a good book and barely glanced out the window before seeing a lovely sunset over San Diego's shores. Reading a book without interruption is just about unheard of in my line of work, so I soaked up the author's good story in relaxed pleasure (The Mountain's Bow Down, Sibella Giorello).

Once I landed in San Diego, I got a ride to my hotel from the photographer who would be helping me shoot the wedding in the morning. We had talked several times on the phone and exchanged about 100 emails and it was so good to meet in person and get our last minute details ironed out before the big day.

I may be getting ahead of myself. Didn't you know I was going to San Diego to shoot a friend's wedding? It's been a busy Fall with lots of photo sessions including a wedding in September, about 20 family birthdays, teaching the kids' school, and trying to keep the dishwasher loaded with dirty dishes and unloaded of clean ones. I didn't have time to have the proper excitement for this very special weekend.

I've known about this trip since the Spring when my friend April asked me to do the pictures for her wedding. April and her Navy-guy fiance reside in San Diego. I met April back in 2003 through my dear friend Hillary. I had gone to visit Hillary in San Diego when her navy-guy husband was deployed and I was able to meet April and start a friendship that survived time and distance with the help of  blogging and facebook.

I was completely blown-away and honored that she asked me!

This is April (left) and Hillary. Two gorgeous and Godly women and I was overjoyed to spend the weekend with them. What fun!

All my built up excitement didn't stop me from having anxious nightmares for months before the wedding. I had dreams that I was struck blind but tried to take pictures anyway by holding the camera up and clicking away with the auto setting on. That I forgot to take pictures at the wedding because I was holding a baby the whole time. That my camera's memory cards were erased in airport security. That I had a runny nose and had to blow my nose on my camera strap while taking pictures at the front of the sanctuary. 

All these dreams occurred with different scenarios each time, all completely ridiculous, but I would wake up worried every time. Once awake, it was a marvelous excuse to pray in the middle of the night! I prayed for my camera equipment and my creativity and for the details, but especially for April and Adam that their special day would be an awesome way to start the rest of their lives together.

Still a bit nervous before I left, I said to my kind and caring husband, "What if I'm actually struck blind and can't take pictures at the wedding?"

He responded, "A photographer struck blind while shooting a destination wedding. It's so unlikely I bet you could get your own 20/20 special."

That's something to look forward to. Reassured, I left for the wedding. 

And praise God, I was completely calm on the actual day. Nothing I dreamed or worried about actually happened. I made good preparations, had a back-up plan, a schedule for the day, and second-shooter who blessedly knew the area and helped out a ton.

The wedding day went by in a blink. We started with the wedding party getting ready at 9am and did shots of the girls and guys separately until 1pm when the wedding started. After that, the wedding party rushed to a nearby marina for a hurried shoot.

It was a gorgeous location, the sun was warm and bright. I love San Diego and it was the perfect day.

This one in the trees is one of my favorites.

Again, I'll have a whole lot more pictures up on my photography site soon. 

At the close of the day I was exhausted. But a good exhausted. The whole wedding party, including parents, family, and friends, were outstanding to work with. Everyone was so kind and considerate, the day was truly about celebrating April and Adam. Ultimately I was most impressed by how they invited God into every aspect of the day. Through beautiful prayers of thanksgiving for God's goodness, there were a couple of times that I had to blindly hold my camera up and click the shutter because of tears in my eyes.

Photographer temporarily blinded by happy tears at San Diego wedding.

Sunday morning was a day of rest!

Hillary and I did a bit of sightseeing in San Deigo around Coronado Island. When I worked at Palomar Mountain in my teens, San Diego was always a rare treat to visit for the day and it was so fun to be back there.

It was a treat to get to talk to my friend without interruptions from either of our sets of kids. Our normal phone conversations are so stilted because minor emergencies are normal while moms try to chat.

Our lives have changed so much from the care-free teenagers we were when we met. Now both married for nearly a decade each, to wonderful men who were home watching our wonderful children, hers in San Jose, and mine back on the farm. It was just great to catch up, swap parenting hilarities, share God's amazing grace, and talk about hopes and dreams (Hillary is expecting baby #3 in a few months). We are both blessed beyond measure.

As we walked to the car to get back to the airport and on to our respective homes, we saw this amazing site. A mobile elliptical. It made me laugh with how crazy it looked. We see a lot of bicycles on our country road and I wonder how long it will take for the mobile eliptical to make it's way to the sticks.

I was eager to get home, although the three days away was just the perfect amount of time. Long enough to be relaxing, short enough not to go crazy without my most precious people. 

It's good to be home. Emma is begging to go on my "next trip" (not that there is one on the calendar), Rem didn't seem to miss me, and Mandy said, "Why did you leave me in the first place?" Apparently a day with grandma, another day with the other grandma and cousins, and fun with Daddy, not to mention Mac and Cheese, were not enough to make up with the awesome fun of normal days with Mommy.



Sherri said...

So happy you had such an amazing time in such a brief period! Great pictures and we had fun Friday. (Emma may be fault- I told her she would make a great Photo assistant for you in a few years:)

Jill said...

What a whirlwind trip! So glad it all went well and I'm excited to see the rest of the pictures. Looks like a lovely wedding! Good job!

April M :) said...

Alysun, I can't thank you enough for coming down to San Diego to shoot our wedding. You were so calm and I loved it! The day was perfect and I'm so glad that the weather was perfect for your time in San Diego! Our heavenly Father is SO good!

Sara said...

What a fabulous time! Can't wait to see the rest of the pics!

Linds and Manda said...

So glad you had a good time and that it went so well. I love Jeff's comment about the 20/20 special...oh, the amount of time and energy we expend worrying about things to come...even when we sleep it seems. I'm so glad that your experience was a good one. The pictures look amazing. Nice scarf by the way. I've never been to San Diego but now I'm close. :) CA...a state that I was in while nestled in my mom's womb and now, through a scarf. ;) We just purchased a used Elliptical from a friend in town. I had to laugh when I saw the picture. I'm barely coordinated enough to use the stationary one I have...CANNOT imagine trying it while it's actually moving. You'd want to get a front seat for that performance! Talk about a 20/20 special. :) Love you.