Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Theater Unlimited- Relationships 2007

Every year Theater Unlimited, the group that I volunteer with does a show in June. This year it was a variety of shorter skits, plays, and dances all based on the theme of relationships. From about February until June I brought my camera quite a bit and took pictures of the preparation process.
I took some of those pictures and put this slide show together for the show last month.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mirabel '07

For the past several years we have used the anniversary of this nation's birth as a reason to go to the one and only Mirabel- trailer park extraodinaire! And believe me, every stereotype you might have in your head when it comes to trailer parks, Mirabel lives up to it and more.

This year's crew:
This year's t-shirt design:
This year's best tan- it looks like maybe Alex won:

This year's best meal:
I was almost just going to leave it at this (Betsy and Steve's tin foil dinners),
but that would be a lie because I think I created the new best meal when I invented the Rice Crispy S'mores. (by the way, when I decided to be a vegetarian, nobody told me that marshmallows were meat. So since I didn't sign up with that understanding, those are still part of my diet, at least when camping). Anyway, the Rice Crispy S'more- Whoa!!!

This year's best portrait (alex again):

This year's safest and most popular activity: Sudoku

This year's most dangerous and disliked activity:
I know it looks safe enough, but all it takes is just a little bit of current going in just the right direction and a couple of uncoordinated paddlers and you have yourself a capsized canoe with my $3000 camera in the water! Yeah, that kinda put a damper on the whole trip for me, but what can you do? Bringing it along wasn't my brightest idea. I have since sent it in to Canon and gotten the word back that it's a goner. Luckily they were able to save the lens though so that's good! The funny part of all this is that literally about 5 seconds before it happened I leaned back and said to Betsy, "If something happens and you need to choose between saving the dog and the camera, save the camera". Of course I was kidding and luckily she knew it cause she went for T! (T is still smiling here as the picture was taken before the accident)
Tatanka was NOT a fan of the water even before this experience. He is really terrified and I'm a terrible mother for forcing him to play my games. But I especially felt bad after this brief but traumatic swim he had to take. He was so defiant about getting back in the boat after it had flipped. I really did feel bad that I had to make him. To read about this story from his point of view- see his blog
Tatanka would have been much better prepared had he been properly equipped (life jacket) for the adventure like Milo was.

Tatanka was pretty beat from his trip and really just wanted to sleep the entire rest of the day and night. Shawn and Morgan had no problems being supportive of nap-time

Shortly after getting back from canoing, it was that perfect time of day when I love to take pictures- but I was sans fancy camera :( I did my best with the point-and-shoot though.
Milo was pretty tuckered out as well (he went for his own dive from the canoe, but he made that leap of his own choice- although I can't say I'm sure he knew what he was doing) Anyway, they both managed to wake up just long enough to participate in this potato-fest, but then it was right back to sleep again.

That night all the girls wanted to sit by Betsy around the campfire since she was "doing hair".
It was just like Girls Camp! While she did a really nice job, I'm not sure that the two French Braids look does much for me trying to look my age.
Anyway, swimming camera aside, it was another lovely year at Mirabel.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Steve and Laurie- San Francisco

Haven't been doing too good so far with my new resolution to post images from recent shoots.
But here's to yet another try.

Here are a few shots from Steve and Laurie's wedding back in May. They were such a cute couple- honestly so nice to work with. Both of them kept checking in with us throughout the day, making sure we were doing OK and had gotten enough to eat and such. So sweet.

Laurie got these great panties from Victoria Secret that said Bride in sparkley sequence and came with their own veil!

Their dog Conan made a guest appearance at the hotel room so that he might wish his mommy good luck on her big day.

I think this picture is so sweet. It was a quick embrace with her mom (who looked like one of the bridesmaids!) before saying goodbye until they saw each other at the church.

The small size does nothing for this picture, but as both their mothers were lighting candles during the ceremony, Steve and Laurie gave each other the sweetest glances of absolute happiness and gratitude.

This random dog in the park followed them, barking his little head off, for like 5 minutes. It was hilarious; apparently he doesn't like veils.

The first dance.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Back on Memorial Day weekend a few weeks ago, Shawn's parents drove out here from Idaho so we could join them for a trip to Arizona to visit his brother's family, via San Diego.
Since his parents had already driven for 15 plus hours the day before, we took our time getting going the next day. Jason came up to hang out for a little while and of course Mama Kessler wanted a picture of the boys. Jason usually refuses pictures, but unfortunately for him, he can't say no to Mama Kessler the same way he can to me.
Looking at this picture, I'm thinking it should maybe be Chuck that shouldn't like to have his picture taken. Jason looks fine but that's a pretty unphotogenic face Chuck is making.
So then we walked over to Naan-n-Curry to get some lunch.
I took advantage of family being around and took tons of pictures of Jason.
Including this one where Chuck is giving him the Heimlich Maneuver.
Strangely, Jason was neither choking or eating at the time so it was a little weird. Luckily Jason is a good sport.
Sometimes even I am shocked when I see a picture and realize just how big my nose is. Man!
Anyway, once at Naan-n-Curry, Barbara really enjoyed the rice, and the . . . . water, and then Shawn took her next door to a sandwich place to get her something a little more familiar. Whoops.

So then we headed out. First we had to drop the dogs off at my mom's. Morgan hates being left there and just spends most of the time hiding from the other dogs in the bedroom with her head under the bed. I think she knew what was coming and started getting a little nervous on the car-ride down. Tatanka thinks she's a big complainer though.
So then Shawn and I added ourselves to the 6 cylinder, 4 door pickup loaded with a bed and mattress in the back and an ice chest in between the two of us- if we sat up real straight we could see one another on the other side of the truck over the top of the ice chest.
And we were off to San Diego. It wasn't long before we had to stop for fresh fruit though- good thing we had that ice chest.
Then we drove for a long time until we stopped about an hour north of San Diego at In-n-Out around 11pm for dinner. It was in the parking lot that we noticed the not so subtle slant at which the truck was leaning.
Sure 'nuff- Front driver side tire was completely flat.
So we struggled with that for quite a while. My favorite part was watching Shawn crawl under the car to "help" his dad when we both knew that he hadn't the slightest clue what he was looking for. His expression right before getting under the car cracked me up.
Well, Chuck really gave it a fair attempt. He worked with the jack, and spare, and various other car parts for a good 40 mins, and got himself plenty dirty in the process. For a minute there we were worried that the car was also leaking some important fluid,
but no worries. What you see there is just water- Chuck tasted it. :)
Anyway, eventually these super nice people- I think their names were Lindsey and Gilbert but I don't really remember anymore, anyway- they offered to help and that they did. Within 30 mins it was all fixed.
Gilbert's not legally allowed to carry a knife we learned, but it was okay b/c Chuck had one.
Anyway, thanks to them we were on the road again a little after midnight and got to Jed's place right when his downstairs neighbors were just getting their party started. To think, if we would have gotten there any sooner we might have missed this:
(Is it just me, or does that guy look strickingly similar to my brother?)
Anyway, Jed doesn't really know his neighbors, but I do now! Turns out they were just drunk enough to not realize they were taking pictures with strangers.
(I'm the outta place one there who's fully clothed.)

So the reason we were going to San Diego on our way to Arizona was because that's where the Army had shipped Frank's car from Germany, so we were picking it up for him and then towing it to him in Arizona. But the next day happened to be Memorial day so they were closed. But that was okay because San Diego = Sea World.
Actually, going to a major amusement park on a National holiday wasn't my idea of a good time but Barbara was really excited to go so that was the plan. But, because of the flat tire the day before, the truck's health needed to be squared away first so Shawn and his parents went off to take care of that while I went running and met some more of Jed's neighbors- some people who started playing frisbee with me while I was running :) Oh but wait- before that we had breakfast with Jed and Dustin and Melissa who were also in town for the weekend.
Oh fine fine faux meat!
Then while the rest of my fam was gone getting new tires I stayed with the other cool kids and watched a rousing round of Settler of Catan. I declined to participate because strategy games make me nervous that everyone will realize I'm not so smart, and also because I needed to be ready for Sea Wold upon the family's return.
I took lots of action shots of the game though-
Melissa contemplating her next move
This is the move she went with:
The game actually got a little too intense for a while there. Here you can tell from these two different angles of Dustin's hand position that he's trying very hard to be calm and patient, but is actually writhing inside.
Jed almost broke his cereal bowl from too fierce a grip.
Anyway, by the time my family returned from tire shopping at 3:30! I was more than ready to escape the stress of that game and head off to Sea World.
We first went to see the dolphin show. . . . and the opening act to the dolphin show-
this guy, who came out and sang Weezer songs. No joke.
I know trick-performing dolphins are the slightest bit cheesey, but I really like them all the same.
Then it was off to the flamingos
(Check out the awesome use of selective coloring there).
I actually really kinda like these slightly abstract pictures of the shark.
Then we topped the experience off with the Shamu Rocks show. This show dealt us a not-so-slight portion of cheese and I didn't fall for it this time. The trainers all came out in psychedelic wet suits and just danced around,
occasionally incorporating the whales, except for when this one guy had a guitar solo for like 6 mins.
I seriously kept waiting for the flashy intro to the show to be over and for the actual show to start but then a half hour of these things had gone by and the show was over. . .
Anyway, at least I got to sit next to this super stylish guy!

So then the next morning we finally got what we came for, oh but first I had to take this picture of me in front of this Jr. High b/c it turns out that Jed lives directly across the street from the Jr. High my mom went to growing up!
So the beloved Camero that has traveled all around the world to be with Frank was back with the fam. It actually used to be Chuck's and he gave it to Frank when he graduated from college but still isn't quite sold on the idea that it's no longer his. He put a can of soda on it like it was his and I know I don't really get cars but this picture was somehow suppose to make Frank mad.
So it was loaded up.
And we started another long day of driving toward Sierra Vista, Arizona.
On the way we stopped at some casino where Chuck and Barb were quite excited by all the real American food they had to offer. And since you could get $10 if you joined the "Player's Club" we totally had to stay and sign up. Chuck actually got his first Senior Discount!!
Then I got in trouble for taking that picture (If anybody can see the vault in the background there, call me and we'll set a little something up)
So I had to go outside to take this picture of me and Shawn right after we became Player's Club members!
Other highlight of the drive were
this dust bowl of sorts, stopping in Dateland for a world-famous date shake, and arriving. (Not a very interesting stretch of land). Oh and lots of people on the road would give us thumbs up in response to the car we were towing. (I just don't get it).
So once we got there, it was already like 9:30 at night but Jeanne was nice enough to still have dinner waiting for us, and she was also lovely enough to go and get me my own very special dinner of sushi since everyone else was having meat. Lauren and Brendan both tried it and liked it though. Those guys are great at trying foods- I never see them turn their nose up at anything- it's awesome. The next night they were asking if we could have sushi again! :)
So even thought it was way past bedtime, Brendan just had to show us this dance before he had to go to his room. I actually missed recording the one he did for his school's talent show, but this one is almost as good. If you can hear past us all talking about the dog's health, you'll hear him singing "you've got to kiss the angel good mornin' and love her like the devil when you get back home" haha!

This is the same little boy who I called "B" the next day, and he responded with, "Only my dad can call me 'B' but you can call me 'B-Dawg'".

So the next morning Shawn and I had a full-on waterfall come down the wall of our motel room. They were having the upstairs deck power cleaned and turns out there are big cracks in the ceiling b/c all of the sudden water just started pouring in. This was after we had slept in obviously smoked in "non-smoking rooms" and Barbara unfortunately found out the hard way just how dirty the floor was. So we decided to check out of there the next day and stay at Frank and Jeanne's. Anyway, that day we mainly just hung out and played in the tree house, read to each other in the tree house, played countless games of Go Fish and Jump Rope and football, grilled burgers and mushrooms in the backyard, and ate otter pops. And we did all those things until it was too dark to do them anymore.

The next day Shawn and I went for a run in the crazy Arizona heat- nasty, and then spent much of the day a lot like the one before. But Frank got off work early so then that afternoon we all went to Tombstone.
That was a really fun place to visit and I wish we would have had more time. We went for an old stage coach ride where we got a little tour of all the hang outs of Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp and such. Our guide here was really quite interested in Jeanne but she let him know that she was with the "sports model" guy.
At least she didn't try to tell him about her intimate life like she did with the delivery guy :) Earlier that day she told the delivery guy how she was really tired because her husband had kept her up all night. . .

Anyway, I know the kids look rather disinterested here, but I do think they liked it too.
So then we ate dinner at an old saloon, and Frank showed Brendan how to use a new cell phone.
Then we walked around the town a bit more
and I tried to make the family look like a gang of scary outlaws, but it didn't work very well.
Kessler Boys:
and the sunset on the way back home:

The next morning Mocha came in to our room and made herself right at home on our mattress.
That day we were fortunate enough to get a last minute open slot at the Sears portrait studio!! (I'm such a snob :))
Shawn and I have been married for almost 5 years but this is actually the first Kessler family photo for me, so pretty exciting.
Courtney and Nate will be happy to see that Love Is Chemicals, not only made it into the family photo, but will now more than likely make it into the family calendar. You guys are in!!
This is such a funny picture of me and Shawn. Aside from the pose the is almost just TOO CUTE, I love that it looks like we have almost the exact same hair style. It helps to make it even that much more cute!
and the others
So after the pictures were all taken we're all suppose to gather around the computer with the photographer and look at them and choose which ones we want. Well the boys were less than interested in that so they wandered off somewhere while Barbara, Jeanne, Lauren, myself and the girl who worked there were all gathered tightly around the monitor. In the middle of this decision-making concentration, the boys returned. Well Brendan returned and the rest of the boys stood off a ways. B-dawg was trying to get our attention but everyone was kinda ignoring him. Finally he just put this gum box on the table in front of us and out crawled and then jumped this HUGE cricket. There was lots of jumping and screaming from the girls, and lots of laughing and hiding from the boys!
You can see the bug there sitting at the foot of that frame.
It was pretty funny. I guess there had been a cricket just sitting on the tie rack in Sears and it didn't take more than a subtle planting of the idea in Brendan's head to get him to go and scare all the girls. I'm sure the poor girl who worked there definitely had the thought that she doesn't get paid enough.
So then it was off to see Shreck III and movie theater arcade games.
After that we took the kids swimming at the pool of the new motel Chuck and Barb were staying at and then Frank (Diaz- the other one) and Sheila arrived. We went to Korean BBQ and Cold Stone, and I was totally converted to Cold Stone. I used to think that their ice cream wasn't really that good and it's just kinda gimmicky- I thought it was just a big deal just because it was kinda fun, BUT now I'm sold on it. It could have something to do with the FIVE toppings I added, but whatever- it was definitely good this time.

So then Saturday was our goodbye day, but we spent most of the day in the kitchen learning how to make a good Mexican meal from Frank. I unfortunately don't have any pictures of this b/c I was too busy studying, and then too full from all the good food. I did get a picture of everyone else loafing around though while Frank did all the work.
I also made some time to take pictures of THE NEW PUPPY ! Barbara came over to the house that morning with the biggest smile on her face and the cutest little warm lump of fur in her hands. They were selling these outside the market and she's not one to resist puppies. Her name is Margarita.
Sadly, the visit had to come to a close :( You might notice that there's a lot more tears in Lauren's picture with me than with Shawn . . . I'm just saying.
And that was our week in Arizona.