Monday, July 28, 2014

Family Beach Portraits 2014

I spend all year waiting for the perfect outfits for beach pictures and usually set up the kids first.  These are my favorite pictures of the year, so I place a high importance on finding the right outfits and coordinating everyone.  This year, I spotted Brady's shirt first in January.  It just screamed beach colors to me.  I found Izzie's not much longer after that.  Andy's fairly easy, it was just deciding if I should put him in a navy blue shirt or a white one.  I had bought a dress for myself that was navy and mint green, but it never really spoke to me in regards to matching the others.  I was just walking through a store one day in March and one of my favorite colors (seafoam) caught my eye.  I wiped my head around and saw this dress.  I had to have it!  It was the exact same color as Izzie's outfit and I have a hard time passing up new dresses.  Now all I had to do was wait four months to take the portraits and hope they turned out well.

As always, I pinned beach portrait poses and we tried several to find one that worked.  This one I like, but for things like Christmas cards and canvas prints for our walls, I prefer to have everyone closer. 

Another pinned idea was to swing the kids.  They're definitely smiling because it was fun, but not quite looking at the camera. 

 Another pose.  Brady looks like he's trying to strangle Izzie lol.

Izzie had a death grip on my head.  She isn't used to being up so high without someone holding her hands, so I'm sure she was a little worried.

This was the ultimate winner.  My dad spotted the dune grass as soon as we got onto the beach and mentioned that it might be a nice background.  He was definitely right and we got one good one with both kids looking and smiling.  I've already ordered it on a 16x20 canvas so we have it forever.

 Our bedroom is blue and we had last year's family shot (with blues and greens as well) put onto canvas and it hangs in there.  I wanted to create a kind of gallery wall and have some 8x10 canvas prints of just the kids to surround it.  The colors this year work well with last year's so I took control of the camera and started getting some solo shots of the kids.

Izzie's much more of a moving target and loves the beach, so she was a harder subject to catch on camera. 

Action shot!  My kids both love to run.  Not sure who they got that from because it certainly wasn't me. 

I finally captured her as we were leaving. 

We normally do the whole family the night we go out to dinner because everyone does their hair and tends to wear nicer clothes.  It started to storm not long after we made it back from the beach that night, so we had to plan for another day.  We finally got to it the last night, so we were all a little crispy from a full week in the sun, but we got some good shots. 

 I coordinated the colors for this photo shoot as well.  Izzie's outfit caught my eye in January when the summer stuff was released and it all was based off of her colors and the anchors.

Our party of four. 

Nana and Dubby with the grandkids. 

And finally, Alex, Lauren, and Kiro.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Virginia Beach Vacation 2014

Almost every summer of my life has included a week long vacation to Virginia Beach.  This year was no exception.  After we took the kids to the beach in California and saw how much they both loved it, I knew this summer's beach vacation was going to be amazing!  We had a great week with the whole Tramposch side of the family and there are plenty of pictures to prove it!

Brady couldn't wait to get his hands on his sand toys.  We only had a shovel and a roller in Cali and because we could bring more this time, he had a whole trash bag full. 

Izzie eats almost all the time and wants to feed herself.  If you give her a juice box, she'll squeeze it and the juice will go everywhere, but she doesn't want you to hold it for her.  I figured that we'd be safe with juice boxes and also the fruit pouches at the beach as she'd be in her bathing suit and if she made a mess, we could dunk her in the ocean to clean her off.  To our surprise, she is now a pro, and didn't spill one drop!   

Nana and Dubby relaxing.

Once Izzie found the toys, it was all over. 

Time to dig a hole. 

The first day the ocean was moderate temperature wise, but the second and third days were bone chilling.  We went in anyway since it was 90+ degrees on the beach.  Luckily, the last few days were perfect and we spent most of those days in the ocean.

Heading out to boogie board. 

He loved it and when he would finish a successful ride, he'd jump up and pump his fists in the air. 

"Laying out" with Lauren.  Notice Izzie is in the shade.  It was impossible to keep her in the shade so she did get some color as we all did.  

Our spot on the beach.  I can only imagine how many umbrellas we'll have as our family expands. 

Before we left, we decided that we wanted to go to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg (about 60-90 minutes from VA Beach).  Andy and I hadn't been since before we were married and we were looking forward to riding some big rides while the kids stayed behind with my parents.  We had open-ended tickets, so we could go any day we chose.  Wednesday looked like our best bet.  The temps dropped from 90+ degrees to about 78 and there was about a 40% chance of scattered showers.  It was overcast and not hot, so we jumped on it.  We had a total of 10 minutes of showers the whole day.  We went with my youngest brother, Chris, and had a great time riding coasters.

It's a European themed park (Busch Gardens in Tampa is African themed) so there are sections for Scotland, Ireland, England, France, New France (Quebec), Germany, and Italy.  While walking through New France to get to Germany, we saw lots of vendors for candle making, pottery, and wood crafts.  The wood crafts caught our eye and we walked through the little shop.  They had lots of different types of personalization and on the way out we saw a sign that said house divided for colleges (they had professional football ones, but we root for the same team).  We jumped back in to see what colleges they could do.  They had the Penn State lion profile on their sample college board, but no Pitt. We asked if they had it and they had three different ones.  We went with the classic PITT, which has been the logo since my sophomore year there.  They told us to come back about two hours later and I left the shop unbelievably excited!  Above you can see the end result, with our names under our teams.  Now all we have to do is find a place to hang it.

You saw the finished product, but it wasn't the first one they gave us.  Andy emphasized how the Pitt should be over and over and when it came to the Penn State logo, he said the lion head.  He spent all day thinking the Pitt part was going to be wrong and it turned out they did the wrong Penn State logo.  We took it because it was the end of the day and we didn't want to wait another two hours as we went to pick it up on our way out.  Andy started getting pretty testy with people, so I parked myself in a chair and told him I wasn't leaving the park unless they fixed it.  He wouldn't have gone back otherwise, but I knew it was bothering him.  They agreed to fix it and put it as top priority so it took about 45 min.  The one that wasn't quite what we wanted is now on the wall for people to see as an example.  So if you're ever in Busch Gardens and think, hey I wonder if that's the Nikki and Andy we know, it is!

We had bought two rafts when we went to Myrtle Beach when Brady was a baby and hadn't ever used them, so we finally got them blown up and they were a hit with both kids. 

Baby in a hole!  My dad put her in there when they dug a hole for Brady because that was the only way Chris was happy at the beach at her age. 

The final day was very rough as it was the year before.  It's great for us, but not so much for the kids or my mom.  Brady got thrown around quite a bit and Izzie didn't like getting knocked over because the waves were taller than the adults and would keep coming with very little break in between.  They spent most of the day playing in the surf.   Even then Izzie was getting knocked down.

These kids had no problem getting down and dirty in the sand.  Izzie's face was constantly covered in sand and she didn't care.  She would even dip her pb sandwich between bites. 

We had a great week, but are excited to try something different next year.  We are looking into going to Charleston, South Carolina where the water is amazingly warm and the drive will be about the same when you take into account the amount of traffic we hit going to VA Beach.  We took Brady to Charleston when he was 16 months old and loved it, so we are excited to go back.  We miss South Carolina living a lot (especially in the winter).