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Summer is ending…

A while back the kids and I met up with some friends for an evening picnic.  The temperatures had finally felt amazing for what seemed like the first time all summer.  I had been wanting to get out and let the kids play, you know, like we did as kids…not with video games, organized parks or even sports.  Just playing and taking advantage of the things that surround you.  Well, it couldn’t have been more refreshing…for them the water, for me, capturing them in their element.  These two could throw rocks and look for fish all day long!

This summer I have realized that we are transitioning from the early stages of childhood rearing to the elementary stages.  They are becoming people, with schedules, which means our lives just got that much more crazy.  I also realized that this was probably the last summer where I could catch Claire as our little one (and, in a swimsuit!) and Gabe as the willing-to-do-what-mommy-asks-for-a-picture-moments…such as walk and hold hands, spin Claire around, etc.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m a bit sad that this stage is ending for us with them.  However, I am equally excited to watch them grow into the little people that we are already seeing them grow into.  We are so blessed to have been entrusted to raise these two.  We are continuously preparing our hearts as we let God lead us, as their parents, in hopes that they will choose to follow Him all of their days.

These two truly are my inspiration…not just because I’m their mommy, but also because of being able to capture them.  I love how sweet they are together and how they truly enjoy being with one another.  I’m always so excited to get their photos on my computer so that I can savor the moments that have been captured.  I realize this is the same excitement our clients feel…knowing that within a few months their little ones will already be older than the moments captured.  I love that I (we) get to freeze time for so many…

I told him not to smile for this one. So, what did I get?  The look of…are we done yet?;)

He has his Daddy’s beautiful eyes…

The biggest reason I brought my camera that evening was to capture a few photos of Claire with ‘her camera.’  This vintage camera sits in my office and she has claimed it over the past few months.  I love that she has taken an interest in photos from watching us.  Who knows…maybe we can talk Gabe and Claire into running the business for us, so that we can enjoy an early retirement.  Ha! Just kidding.  Love these photos of her…

Cindy Jackey - I found you through an archived post on Turtle Pond’s website (Nate and Amanda are friends of ours.) Your photos are gorgeous and your spirit so giving. You make me want to grab my camera right now and take, no make, the time to photograph my sweet little 4 3/4 year old girl. Thank you for sharing of yourself on this blog and please continue to do so as “life” allows! :) November 3, 2012 – 4:11 pm

Jennifer Hughes - Love the photos… of course I do. They are more than amazing. More than that I love your words. How awesome it is to know that God gifted these children to you and Jeremy, and you’re embracing the adventure one moment at a time in trust of Him. Love you all. Miss you dearly and hope to soon catch up.September 24, 2012 – 8:58 am

Jennifer Hughes - Love the photos…of course I do:) They are more than amazing. More than that I love your words. How awesome it is to know that God gifted these children to you and you’re embracing the adventure one moment at a time. Love you all. Miss you dearly and hope soon to catch up.September 24, 2012 – 8:56 am

Michelle Kight - These pictures are amazing….love and miss you all so much:)September 20, 2012 – 4:35 pm

Maya Laurent - Love this post Mel. The photo of them dancing together…oh my word. They are getting so big and I love how you embraced this moment.September 19, 2012 – 8:13 pm

Our words…

I’ve been absent from this blog, I realize that.  And, honestly, my absence has been done with intention.  I have thought numerous times about the many posts I would love to be sharing.  However, this year I have been learning a lot about that little word…intention.  I claimed this word on the first day of 2012 and, I have to admit, it has stuck with me.  I’ve never been a fan of new year’s resolutions, but claiming a word is something that can be accepted.  That single word has brought much needed transformation in my life.  Being intentional is something that can be addressed across many avenues of our lives…our family, our friends, our work, our play, our personal time…our faith.  I was finding that I was lacking a lot of intention with many areas and I needed to do a check on who I am and who I want to be for those that I love.  It has been enlightening to say the least.  Have I mastered the word?  Oh, my…no.  But, I am so thankful that it creeps in day in and day out to remind me that there is more to this life than checking off my never-ending to-do lists.  I will be sharing more of this journey as the time passes, but honestly, I have more to do today than sit and write a forever long blog post.;)

This leads me to the next section of this post…Gabe’s first day of 2nd grade.  The moment I am getting ready to share with you reminded me once again why the word intention has been placed on my heart this year.  I had wanted to say a prayer with Gabe before we headed out the door to greet the bus, but in the hustle-bustle of getting out there, I forgot (intention failure).  However, just as he was getting ready to climb on the bus, I gave him a hug and told him that I would be praying for him today and would ask Jesus to help him have a good day at school.  I felt bad that I didn’t take the time to pray, but hoped that me sharing those few words with him would help him remember the importance of our friendship with God.  Well, as he was getting off the bus that afternoon, the first thing he said to me was, ‘Mommy…Did you pray for me?  Because I had an AWESOME day in 2nd grade!!!!!’  He was so excited and so thankful that I prayed for him to have a good day that he actually had an (even more) awesome day!  Wow!  And, all because I chose to be intentional.  What a great reminder for me that the first day of school is full of excitement, feelings of anxiousness, taking pictures, meeting friends, and so on, but being intentional about the underlying foundation of developing our child’s faith can turn out to be the biggest reason for having a great start to the school year.  I hope your little ones found the same joy on their first day.


Linda Carpenter - Your post was so beautiful and thought-provoking! In fact, I think I need to claim that word also. :-) Gabe & Claire are so blessed to have you & Jeremy for parents! I keep forgetting you have this blog so was glad to see it mentioned again. Love you all!!August 17, 2012 – 9:38 am

Lisa - What a sweet moment captured, your connection with him and your prayers for a good day for him. He felt those words and the impact was obvious for him throughout his entire day. Truly a gift!August 16, 2012 – 10:26 am

Life with a girl…


Jeremy and I always thought we would have a house full of boys.  Afterall, he’s 1 of 4 boys, I have 2 brothers, and there were 6 nephews born before Claire came to be.  So, the thought of going to ballet was far from our imagination.  However, I must say…it has been quite the treat.  Claire started ballet at the Ballerinas Academy of Dance last fall with her little BFF, Jordan.  They have loved every minute of it.  And, I must say…the moms are enjoying it as well. ;)  They are so cute and doing such a wonderful job.  Below are some photos I took during one of their classes last fall.

Then, came their first recital.  I’m not going to lie…I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal-until we got there that night.  There were between 200-300 people in the audience (!!!!).  The moms were thinking…yeah, they’re not going to do it.  But, sure enough they did.  They enjoyed it so much that they wanted to go back out and do it again.:)

They did a little tap dance to ‘California Girls’…Beach Boys style.:)

Had to share one from Instagram.:)

Jordan’s grandma made the girls little bouquets for a job well done.  They were so proud of their accomplishment.

Proud of our baby girl…:)

Vangie Lindner - so cuteMarch 6, 2012 – 10:17 pm

Jan Adams - Thank you for sharing such cute pictures. I took tap, ballet and jazz for many years and love to see the little ones learning. It is a great workout too. I miss it, but I am now doing Zumba which I love too. LOL!

Claire is adorable Mel & Jeremy.March 6, 2012 – 9:23 pm

holly mcmullen - the picture with her holding the rubber ducky brought back a ton of memories…my first tap dance i held a rubber duckie and the three of us danced to “rubber ducky you’re the one, you make bathtime lots of fun…” my mom embellished our yellow bathrobes with sequins :) wow! flashback for sure!!

thanks for sharing!!!March 6, 2012 – 8:03 pm

A Valentine Giveaway!!

And, the winner is… JONEE!!!  Congratulations!!! :)  Jeremy drew the name this time around (thanks dear!).  Jonee…Be sure to send me an email with your mailing address and I will get this book to you right away.  Enjoy this fantastic book by Me Ra Koh!  You are going to love it!

Thanks to all of you who participated!!  I look forward to doing more giveaways in the near future.  In the meantime, feel free to send me an email in regards to topics you would like to learn more about when it comes to documenting your every day with your family. 

More to come soon…   

First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!  It was a special treat to have a thin layer of snow to enjoy this morning.  I’m not going to lie, I do wish it would stick around for a bit longer than a day.

Well, I’ve been wanting to do this giveaway for some time now and thought today would be the perfect time.  The book you see above is written by Me Ra Koh.  She was one of the first photographers I discovered way back when and I loved reading about her love for photography and life.  She put a book together to guide parents in how to document their growing family.  I realize that this is geared towards new parents, however, she gives incredible tips on how to use your camera, how to use lighting to your advantage and so much more.  I know this book would be perfect for anyone who avoids their camera manual, yet wants to learn how to use their camera better.  You know who you are…;)

So, with that being said, I’m going to give a copy to one of you.  This is what you will need to do:

1.  I want you to leave a comment on this post telling me why you’d love to have this book. It can be as simple as saying, “I want to document the every day moments with my family better.”:)

2.  You can leave another comment on this post by clicking ‘like’ on our photography facebook page: Carpenter Photo & Design.  If you already like our page, go to number 3.

3.  You can leave more comments by encouraging your facebook friends to like our page as well.  For every friend you’ve sent to like our page, you get to leave another comment on this post, as well, telling me you sent someone to our page.  Of course, this giveaway applies to them, too.

All of that to say, the more comments you have on this post the more chances you have to win.  So, leave a comment, like our page, tell your friends to do the same, leave another comment, etc.  I will randomly choose a name from the comments to be the winner.  You have until Saturday, Feb 18 to do this!  I will announce the winner this coming Monday!  Start commenting, sharing and liking!

Oh, and just so you know…the ‘like’ button you see below (lower left) will share this post on your facebook wall.  I don’t know who likes this post…I can only see who likes our facebook page.  You must first leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing.  If you would like to have the opportunity to leave extra comments, you have to actually go to our photography facebook page and click ‘like’ in order to leave an additional comment on this post. :)  Sorry to make this confusing!  Let me know if I’ve lost ya.;)

Looking forward to sharing this with one of you!

Kristen McCarrick - I would love to increase my knowledge of photography so that I can document all the little things in our lives.February 18, 2012 – 3:50 pm

Sarah W. - Since the birth of my second child (whom I LOVE dearly), I’ve lost the time to even think about trying to learn more! It would be so nice to be able to get back to doing something I enjoy so much.February 16, 2012 – 4:28 pm

Jennifer H. - Well lets see…I bought my new camera on Christmas Eve, opened the box, assembled and starting taking photos as the wrapping paper starting to fly. Don’t know that I’ve ever used the manual…which isn’t to my advantage. Thankful I had someone who recommended a great camera that is easy to use (Mel:)). So…this book would be fabulous! Great idea, friend.February 16, 2012 – 1:32 pm

Shelly - Looks like a great book! Always look for stuff like this to inspire me!February 16, 2012 – 9:31 am

Cindy - Love to Learn!February 15, 2012 – 2:16 pm

Julie Carpenter - I want to learn more about my camera and how to use it to its fullest abilities.February 15, 2012 – 7:53 am

Jessica Durkovich - I love taking photos of my precious babes and would love to learn to take better shots! :) February 14, 2012 – 2:20 pm

Jonee Sutton - Love my babies, love great photos as art and always love to keep learning!February 14, 2012 – 1:18 pm

Betsy King - I love to keep learning!February 14, 2012 – 1:03 pm

Jennifer W - This book would be such a great asset to me since I never read the manual. So pick me! Pick Me ;) February 14, 2012 – 12:02 pm

Snow 2012

Glad we played in the snow when we did!  We went from temps in the high 20′s/low 30′s yesterday morning to temps in the 50′s with a thunderstorm last night.  Gotta love our state…surprises around every corner.;)

Shelly - Love these! I wish the snow would have stuck around too!January 24, 2012 – 1:19 pm

Vangie Lindner - glad you were able to get in a brief fun time. . sure not much to play in this year. . .at least here.January 24, 2012 – 8:22 am