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The Overturned Tree

A friend suggested we meet at Montrose Park in Washington, DC a few days ago, where, I was told, there was the most incredible uprooted tree from the storm.

She wasn’t kidding.  Our kids had a blast playing in the branches, and my son even went dare-devil and climbed the top of the roots.  Astonishing in size.

The way I view…Halloween!

Thanks for dropping by to read this month’s edition of our Clickin’ Moms Blog Circle, in which we visually answer the question:

The Way I View…Halloween and Dress-up!

With a five year old and a three year old, and the rule that Halloween costumes go into the dress-up box, the major difference between Halloween and regular dress-up is the candy.  And, I suppose, the social element (my son actually got to wear his costume to school!).

This year, my little “Jake and the Never Land Pirates“-obsessed children happened to spot Jake and friends dress-up clothes at the Disney store somewhere around the beginning of the school year. (For those unfamiliar with this show, essentially Peter Pan had to leave Never Land and asked Jake, Cubby, Izzy and Skully-the-parrot to keep Captain Hook under control in his absence.  It’s adorable TV — not educational, but clean and adorable none-the-less.)

My son picked Peter Pan (since his favorite is the hour-long “Peter Pan Returns” special) and my daughter picked “Izzy”, the only girl in the bunch.  And I was thrilled because together the costumes cost less than the princess dress they had picked out of a catalogue for my daughter!

Since big brother was at school in the morning, my daughter and I did a little “warm-up” practice in the morning.


Above, she’s trying to get her doll Izzy’s feet to stay tucked to the side so they would both be sitting the same way. ;)
She can be a little ham when she wants to be!  But unfortunately, our little photo shoot was interrupted by  an important phone call “on the pink phone!”  (The call included several important text messages, as well.)

Shortly before we left, I got my favorite picture of her from the morning.  Just staring off.  So sweet.  I like the picture so much, I even fixed the boo-boo under her lip! ;)

When my son came home, and knowing I wouldn’t want to lug my good camera around the neighborhood while we trick-or-treated that night, I bribed them with pizza into going outside and letting me get a few pictures of them together.  It sort of worked.

I love how they ended up pretending to be Peter Pan and Izzy (though why they were fightingeach other is still a mystery).

And then they were done.  We went inside, where they got their pizza, and my son gave me one last “Peter Pan” pose.  The first one in this set is his interpretation of Peter Pan being a tough guy.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!  Be sure to check out what Susan Edge Photography was up to this Halloween!

Susan Edge - November 3, 2012 - 3:44 pm

Love lil sis looking up to big brother. So cute. You have some beautiful lighting in these shots, love it.

Laura A - November 3, 2012 - 6:06 pm

Love these! I can’t wait until I have kids to dress up!

Mindy - November 4, 2012 - 1:24 am

What great costumes and it looks like they have so much fun playing together!

Jo - November 9, 2012 - 4:35 pm

These are great, Danie! I especially like that one of your son peeking through the bushes!

A Hawaii Luau!

This month, our monthly challenge theme was “The Way I see Back to School.”

There seemed to be a very obvious way to photograph that theme…except that I find that when I photograph, I sometimes end up not really feeling “present” in an interactive sense with my kids.  And since this first day of school was a really big deal — Kindergarten = brand new school! — I wanted to be completely present.

But honestly, I think what I’ll remember about this year’s back to school drama was that we’ve actually just gone back to school…again.  Yep, beginning of October.  We took an almost 2 week break, less than 2 weeks after school started, to go to my brother-in-law’s wedding (and welcome into the family my awesome new sister-in-law!).  And  perhaps I haven’t mentioned — that wedding was in Maui.

Oh, yes.

Still, just because a family wedding is a very good excuse to miss school, doesn’t mean we should miss educational (okay, a little touristy…) opportunities along the way!  Which is how we ended up at a very touristy (but lots of fun!) luau at the Marriot in Lahaina.

Of course, it was crazy beautiful — the dancing, the music, just the general setting.  But the highlight, if not the most authentic part, for my children was the fire dancing.  They sat transfixed while I put my D700 to the high ISO test, and played around with some slow shutter speeds.

That last image gets me every time.  It was so dramatic.

So here we are, in October, just now starting to settle into the school year, still battling a bit of jet lag.  Such is the price of visiting paradise, I suppose!

(Totally worth it.)

For another looks at “back to school”, check out Photography by Susan Edge, and just the most adorable stylized back to school shoot!  You don’t want to miss it.

- Danie

Laura A - October 2, 2012 - 7:30 pm

I am so jealous! It looks like you had a fabulous time :)


It’s the Monthly Challenge Circle again!  I’ve missed a couple months, but I’m back for summer.  This month’s theme:

The Way I View…Summertime!

Even though the only beaches I could go to growing up were on lakes, I’ve always loved the beach.  This summer, we’ve discovered Sandy Point in Annapolis, and we’ve been out there a few times with the kids!  Since I’m now used to the ocean, going to the bay, with virtually no changes from tides, is a huge adjustment, but still, this beach, with the bridge in the background is just gorgeous.

Photo of children walking on beach

We were killing time, waiting for that golden hour to start.  The photographer’s dream — golden glow of sunset.  Except that, during the summer, the sun sets really late around here, and my kids were ready to go long before I was ready to start shooting pictures.  Still, we managed to play silly games and keep them going.

Pictures of siblings playings together

I had an idea in my head for the image I was looking for this particular day, but my daughter, at 3, doesn’t exactly take direction.  Luckily, my 5 year old was willing to be my guinea pig (in exchange for some bribe I don’t remember). Or perhaps willing is too strong a word….

Photographer Danie Smallwood setting up a sunset shoot

Having put up with five minutes of trying different angles, etc., my son was completely done with pictures — but luckily, sibling rivalry worked in my favor, and my daughter insisted that she get to lie in the sand, too!  (If you follow my Facebook page, you’ve seen the first of this next series).

Annapolis MD beach photo session for children

I had the shots I was looking for — the rest was just gravy after that!

Kids photographer Danie Smallwood, capturing somersaults on the beach

You can see the light getting more and more golden as the photos progressed.  We were exhausted by the end, but the patience was worth it.  The beach, the light, the fact that we could keep the kids up later with no repercussions — so many parts that I treasure about summer.

Wishing your summer is filled with beautiful light and love as well!

Don’t forget to check out Jo’s gorgeous beach pictures (Photography by Jo Lien)!   For some fun, you can follow her link to Susan Edge Photography and then click all the way through the circle!

- Danie


Mindy - August 2, 2012 - 1:49 am

First of all…woo woo for the new blog look – it’s fantastic! Second, I just love these sweet images and the gorgeous warmth from the sun!

Celeste Wyrick - August 2, 2012 - 3:02 am

This is such a great post because I love the beach too.. and I am very familiar with the bribe and smile interactions with my kids. :) I really love how this set turned out, thanks for sharing :)

Laura A - August 2, 2012 - 12:59 pm

LOVE these. Absolutely love them.

Breanna - August 2, 2012 - 2:51 pm

So sweet Danie! & I can totally relate to the late sunsets (& bribing, lol)…I love summertime, but our sunsets are usually late, with hopes it dips behind the mountains by 10 ;)

Susan - August 2, 2012 - 10:40 pm

These are the PERFECT summertime photos. Love love them. The smiles, hugs, flips, playing in the sand. All perfect…

Cary - August 7, 2012 - 9:18 pm

Too too cute :)

jo - August 24, 2012 - 10:37 pm

Those middle shots of your daughter are just gorgeous! Love this post!

The way I view…motherhood

I missed last month, but I’m back to the Clickin Moms 12 month challenge:  “The way I view….”  Remember how it works?  This is a circle, so at the end of the post, I’ll remind you to visit the incredible Heather Manor Photography, to see Heather’s take on …

“The way I view Motherhood.”

I struggled with this.  Obvious choice?  A mother-child photo.  But then one morning, I woke up and saw this (thank goodness my camera was nearby).

What I see when I wake up

Pacifier in hand

Yes, that angelic little face.  The face of my little angel who wakes up before I do, and happily climbs out of her crib and joins me in bed.  Sometimes she even cuddles!  And sometimes she confuses my bed not just with her own bed, but also with a trampoline.

Jumping and cuddling in Mommy

Not only is it tiring to jump on my bed, but apparently it’s thirsty work, too.  Yes, my daughter travels with her paci, her blankie, and her own waterbottle.

Unfortunately, this little one knows how cute I think she is.  Check out this mischievous little grin!

It’s always preferable to wake up to the grin, than to the feet, however.

Just when I’ll think perhaps my daughter is going to settle in for a real snuggle (aka, I might be able to go back to sleep)…I see another head peeking over our bed!


Sleep is clearly a lost cause.  Playtime has arrived!

After a last series of death-defying feats (aka, learning to do somersaults), it’s clearly time to go down for breakfast.

And while lying lazily in bed of a morning may be a treasure I don’t often experience anymore, when I look at these little faces, it’s impossible not to see the greater treasure that I have now.

Ha!  Sappy enough for you?  Ah, Mother’s Day.  (On said day, I did get to sleep in, with no kids actually in the bed, anyway!)

Now, don’t forget to check out Heather‘s view on motherhood (it’ll make you laugh, and nod in agreement)!

Celeste Wyrick - June 4, 2012 - 2:43 pm

Danie, you are such a fun mom. This is a great post; just look at them… totally happy!

Susan - June 5, 2012 - 12:17 am

That second to last photo is perfect! Love the story line, and each accompanied by a wonderful photo. This is totally ‘motherhood’.

Jo - June 5, 2012 - 12:42 am

SO cute! I love how these images work together to tell a story. That first one, and the one of your son peeking over the bed, are priceless!

heather manor - June 5, 2012 - 10:12 am

Ha! Danie I love it! Those days will end all too soon though, so eat them up now. I would give anything (almost) to have one of my kids sleep with me in the bed again. Miss that so much ♥

Gen - June 20, 2012 - 7:39 pm

Man, I love this. Makes me want to wake my son up and photograph him right now. It’s the little things that you always want to remember. :)