Feb 28, 2014

catching up with Sinterklaas

Last year's Sinterklaas celebration wasn't quite the roaring event it was in 2012 when we invited our Dutch returned missionary friends over to the party. Instead we got together as a family and were joined by one special returned missionary and his family. Spencer Sutherland made a big impact on Sander 14 years ago when he lived in Holland as an LDS missionary and taught Sander about the gospel once Sander decided he was curious. He also quickly became a good friend, and we have stayed friends over all this time. Then we got to know his wife Traci after we moved over here and quickly learned she is pretty great too, so we decided to let her in on the friendship. The best part: seeing our kids develop a new generation of friendship. It seems that especially Julia and Paige have found a kindred spirit in each other. Julia has stated several times that Paige's Birthday party at the Lion House was her favorite moment of 2013! 

As usual the wait to find out if Sinterklaas would pay us a visit this year was quite grueling. Luckily he didn't make us wait too long - there was a loud knock on the door as we were singing all the Sinterklaas songs we could muster and all kids (and some adults) sprang to their feet in excitement/fear. Sure enough, there on our doorstep sat the familiar burlap sack filled with the goodies only Sinterklaas could put together. All were spoiled, and many even received a personal poem written by one of the many helpful (and oh so naughty) Pieten. A few examples:
photo 2(2) photo 3(2) photo 4(4) photo 5(3) See what I mean about that naughty streak?

I want to make special mention of my friend Tom Kamstra, who played an important role in the success of our Sinterklaas celebration. Without me asking or even hinting, Tom went ahead and put a special Sinterklaas package together and mailed it to us from the Netherlands. It really made the night that much better to have things like 'strooigoed' there (the candy that Piet traditionally tosses around for the kids to scramble over). So from all of us a big DANKJEWEL to Tom! My dad was also very generous this year and ordered a bunch of traditional Sinterklaas treats for the kids (and adults) to enjoy. It all made for a night to remember! Now for the photos.
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Feb 4, 2014

what i learned...

from taking the girls out on a little winter location photo shoot:

  • if you do not tell children to wear socks in their boots, they will not assume that 'going to take pictures in the snow' might mean cold feet.
  • there is a reason a photographer is not also the make up artist - once you've finished primping and prepping your models, you have effectively also finished your energy reserves.
  • freezing temperatures make for silly conditions to try and create a staged backdrop
  • all piles of snow and bushes are created equal. We really did not need to walk that long to get to a good location for a nice wintery setting, in hindsight the backyard would have probably sufficed .
  • I must never assume that my models will understand intricate directions such as 'don't put your foot in that fresh snow in front of you', or 'move your chin down just a little'. 
  • Any photo shoot that involves children and lasts longer than 3.42 minutes, is too long.
  • Late afternoon and snow all over makes for some stunning natural light bouncing around everywhere!
  • the absolute best way to conclude a photo shoot with professional models such as these girls of mine, is by going for a warm brownie a la mode and a huge slice of cheesecake with strawberry topping.
  • I have the most beautiful daughters in the world. Okay, I didn't exactly learn that while taking their photos last Saturday, but I was sure reminded of it. I love those two girls, mainly because they are even prettier on the inside.

And now for the results of all this education!
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