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Spring garden at the Davis house

What an amazing weekend!  This early Spring weather has been fantastic and the Davis family has been hard at work in the garden (our ever-growing hobby).  Last year was our first try at a real garden and we are hooked!  Our biggest regret last year was that we didn't plant enough greens, so this year we went overboard!  So far, we've planted seeds for broccoli, chard, kale, spinach, red and green lettuce, radishes, snow peas, and snap peas!  Once it warms up a bit, we'll go for some beans and a few other warm-weather veggies!  It's fun seeing the seeds sprouting already, though.  We wimped out last year and bought seedlings from the farmer's market, but decided this year we would grow veggies the real way!  We'll see how it works out. You'll notice that we're experimenting with a new-to-us watering system using Oallas.  You can read more about those here, but basically, it is a clay vase buried in the ground that lets the water seep out as the soil needs it.  I opted to make my own for about $6 instead of buying fancy ones for $30!  We'll let you know how it goes.  I laid down the soaker house just in case our experiment doesn't work.

Our little garden helpers enjoyed sewing seeds and writing the labels!

Every garden needs (at least) one of these:

Once we were done with the seeds in the big garden, the girls decided to make their own garden(s).  We're not totally sure where else they planted seeds, so we might have veggies popping up all over the place!

Now on to some of the pretty flowers and cute kids!

Our little guy is fascinated with water, so I used some old wood we had laying around and a concrete mixing tub from the hardware store to make a water table...fresh coat of paint coming soon!

Our oldest daughter had a vision of a forsythia bush surrounded by pansies...so here you have it!

Home, sweet home!

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Art Commission: Repentance

A friend from our church, All Souls Charlottesville, contacted me a few weeks ago about possibly commissioning me to do some photography for the season of Lent.  I jumped at the chance because I love the opportunity to push my creativity a bit and do something out of the norm.  After agreeing to the project, though, I quickly drew an artistic blank!  Sarah and I spend most of our time photographing bright and cheerful weddings and couples happily in love.  I don't really get around to photographing themes of repentance that this commission would require.  After some brainstorming and thought about the idea of repentance, I got a picture in my head of what I hoped to create.  The only remaining obstacle was finding a diverse, ready and willing group of people willing to model for me! Thankfully, when I pitched the idea to some friends, they were on board even though I gave them a purposefully vague description of what I was going for and what I wanted them to do.  I had hoped to catch them a bit off guard and use the limited amount of time I had with them to capture some thought-provoking, dramatic images that might personalize the act of repentance that this season brings out of those who follow Jesus.

I am thrilled with how they turned out and I had such a great time in the process of creating these portraits from planning to prints.  I was only asked to provide three prints which are displayed at The Garden where All Souls meets from today through Easter.  I wanted to share a few more of my favorites, though.  I hope you enjoy them.

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We're back!

Life is a balancing act. Especially when you're balancing a family of 5 with running a business! Once we returned from France at the end of July, we hopped right back into a busy fall wedding season, the girls started school, and our son started walking. We had a decision to make: keep up with our blog entries and miss out on a lot of life or skip out on the blog and get a few more things done. Every blog entry written meant time that could have been spent saving our toddling son from climbing onto the table or falling from the top bunk, helping our oldest daughter learn to knit, helping our second daughter care for her beloved doll Cara, editing photos, harvesting veggies from the garden throughout the fall, raking leaves, and many of the other parts of life that call for our time. So the blog was neglected. But we're back and we cannot wait to share six weddings, three engagement sessions, a senior portrait session, some wedding album designs and some personal photos in the coming weeks! We'll also be doing some year-in-review posts sharing our favorite images from 2011. So get ready for some updates and hopefully we'll be able to get some more posts up here in the coming weeks. But for now, here's a cute picture of our girls to keep you happy!

PS - Did anyone else feel like 2011 flew by at lightning speed, or was is just me?

PPS - We are knee deep in gardening and chicken-raising books around here! Oh yes, the Davis homestead is taking shape - more to come on that in the coming months.

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Saying farewell to our cherished grandmother

Last week, two days after Christmas, we loaded up the minivan and took the kids to Williamsburg to visit with Sarah's family. Sarah's grandmother has been living there ever since she was a kid and in our ten years of marriage (plus a few years of dating), we had made many trips down there to visit. This time, however, we knew this was going to be a special trip. Nearly all of the family was coming in for a huge gathering. Sarah's family has at times literally been spread all over the world, but we were all (except for two family members who were unable to come) going to be together under the same roof for a big Christmas dinner party with Sarah's grandmother! Now, about her grandmother (or Grandma/Gaga/Teta/Great-Gaga as she is affectionately called). She recently turned 95 years old and had recently just moved into an assisted living facility. You heard that correctly, she was living on her own up until recently. And let me tell you, Grandma is one of those people who accomplished many amazing things with her life! I loved listening to her stories of teaching in the one-room school house. She also went on to become a pilot and traveled the world as the wife of a Commander in the Navy! Grandma and Grandpa (who passed away 8 years ago) raised 4 kids and there are now 8 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.  And to top it all off, she was one of the sweetest, kind, and proper women I have ever met!

So we had our big dinner, exchanged gifts with everyone and shared warm conversations while the kids played with their cousins. One of the most amazing things for me, though, that I will never forget is that Grandma gave all of her great-grandkids one of the dolls from her prized antique doll collection! Sarah had told me many stories of how much she wanted to play with those dolls when she was a girl, but she knew they were way off limits!  We ended the evening with some photos and as I was taking them, I had a hunch these would turn out to be special memories. Lining people up for posed group shots is hardly my favorite thing to do, but oh, what special documentation we can create of generations together.

I know we will all cherish these photos below because our beloved Gaga passed away on Saturday morning, four days after being together with all the people she loved the most.

We will certainly miss seeing Grandma and hearing her stories of a full life, but we are so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to spend one incredibly special evening with her and the family. And we are so grateful to have these photos to help us remember her sweet spirit.

I took this photo of Grandma at a wedding in August. This is one of our favorites because it truly shows her liveliness!!

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The Photo Booth from Erin and Josh's Wedding

Here are a few of my favorite images from the photo booth at Erin and Josh's wedding.  Let's just say their friends and family seriously know how to have a great time.  The entire wedding reception was a blast!  Many thanks to Tahni for (wo)manning the photo booth while I enjoyed myself on the dance floor (professionally taking photos, of course)!  If you'd like to see the rest, head on over to the album on our facebook page where you can leave comments and tag a friend (or yourself)!  Enjoy.

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Some July 4th fun

Somehow, for the past 7 years or so, our family has always been fortunate enough to live in places where we can see fireworks from the yard.  If you haven't experienced a July 4 firework show without the crowds or traffic, you are really missing out!  This year, we had some friends over and we decided to head over to McIntire Park for some of the carnival festivities.  Typically, this little festival and firework show draws a huge crowd of thousands, but this year a rather large storm scared most people away - except for the amazing volunteers who hosted the event!  After the storm cleared, we walked over to the park in the midst of a slight drizzle.  I didn't bring my camera to the park because I'm not a huge fan of it getting soaked in the rain, but I did capture some of the fun once we got back home.  The kids had a blast jumping on the wet moon bounces and in particular, speeding down a wet moon-bounce slide!  As you can tell, things got a bit messy, but no one complained in the least about being muddy!  Here are a few of my favorites from the night.

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Our garden according to my iPad

This post will be brief mostly because a I am typing on my new iPad and well, I'm still learning the ropes! I wanted to give the camera a spin as well as a few photo editing apps. I also wanted to show one of the reasons I haven't been blogging too much recently! I've been indulging myself in our wonderful vegetable garden! More on that to come as well as some fun portrait sessions and gorgeous weddings! Here are my first few iPad photos!

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