The route from our home in California's San Joaquin Valley to my grandparents and my mother's homes in northern Oklahoma is one that I have traveled many times, However, this summer was very different- instead of driving to get to our final destination, our family took some of the scenic routes and found adventures along the "mother road".
I plan on sharing these summer adventures here on the blog in the next few weeks along with the pictures I took (mostly film). We didn't get to see everything we had planned on, but we also took the time to go see sites that our kids would enjoy and remember. So many of the experiences were brand new to me as well. We are planning on taking another trip next summer and I plan on doing a little more research of the fun things that may be a little off the beaten path- but well worth the time. I hope our adventures inspire you to find the hidden gems in your area and beyond.
At the beginning of 2017 I decided to make a goal for my personal photography- I wanted pictures of my family doing out everyday thing. Nothing fancy, just documenting our everyday life. I was sure it was a project doomed to fail. I've tried things like this before and never got to a half-way point... I'm not sure why I thought this would be any different, but it was. I documented our family with both digital and film cameras (waiting for film scans was torture but always worth it). Now, I am at the end of this project and I have this incredible amount of pictures from the last year. I haven't quite figured out what this year's project will be, but I know I want to do another one! The best thing that came out of this project are all the little everyday moments- that I might have forgotten about- are captured for me to remember. Here are a few of my favorites from the last year.
I'm not sure if I have mentioned it on my blog before, but our son Eric is on the Autism Spectrum. He is in the moderate to severe range and sometimes that makes simple tasks, like getting a haircut, into a stress and anxiety filled situation for him. Many people on the autism spectrum are extremely sensitive to sounds and sights- to put it in perspective, imagine if I stuck you in a room with a fire truck and ambulance with lights and sirens going- this is what he deals with daily.
Now, imagine going to a salon or barbershop and all the noises that go along with it. It wasn't until he was diagnosed that I became aware of all the noise that we live with constantly. We had tried traditional haircuts a couple times, but it was just too hard. I even watched YouTube videos and cut his hair myself for awhile (it wasn't perfect, but we weren't sure what else to do). Then one of the other mom's in our local Autism Group mentioned that a friend/hairdresser of hers was willing to put a saddle on a hay bale and cut hair outdoors on her farm- to take the noise and the scariness out of the equation. We have now visited the farm on two separate occasions and now that my kids are familiar with it they are both excited to go. While they get their hair trimmed they get to watch the chickens, deer, goats, ostriches and sheep mingle.
Kelly has made haircuts into something fun and taken much of the stress out of the situation for many special needs parents. I cannot thank her enough for what she has done to help families like mine and I highly recommend her services!
Kelly also has an indoor salon, The Crop Shop, on her property for the more traditional visit. If you want more information or to make an appointment you can check out her Facebook page here .
All images taken on my Pentax K1000 with Fuji Superia 400 and Kodak Color Plus 200 film, developed and scanned by The FIND Lab.
When I initially met Marc and Brittany they stressed that they wanted their day documented with as many candid moments as possible. As someone that loves documentary type of work, I was over the moon for this opportunity and couldn't wait for their big day. They exchanged vows at the beautiful Nonini Winery in Fresno County and it couldn't have been a more perfect day. Both the bride's and groom's families were so wonderful and genuine and the entire day was about the blending of two families. Congratulations to the Armstrongs!
Film shot with Portra 400 and 160 on Mamiya 645, developed and scanned by Pro Photo Connections
Some girls get excited about shopping for clothes, I get excited about shopping for plants. I know, it's strange but that's what I like. Last year the drought took a toll on our lawn and flowers... we stopped watering because we thought it was the "responsible thing" to do. And let me tell you, our house just looked sad. I hated driving up to see brown dead grass and no flowers. This year with things looking up we are thinking of better ways to deal with the water shortage and still have a nice yard. My hubby has been fixing up our backyard and told me we were ready to plant the fruit tree and vines that I have wanted since we moved in almost six years ago. Now I just need to get to work and get everything planted!
The last couple of weeks I found out that trying to plan and get ready for a birthday party and then taking care of a sick child combined with trying to keep up with the blog was just not going to work, so I kept snapping away and I am now trying to catch up with my Project 365... sometimes you just have to figure out the important things and go from there.
Having some fun in the sunshine! Getting a picture of my boy looking at me is difficult. Kids with Autism have a hard time making eye contact. He made an attempt to reach for the camera and I am happy to say I was in the right place at the right time to get the shot. I definitely will be printing this one.
Hoarding his cars while his sister waits for him to shift his attention and make her move.
I don't need naps!
Golden light- We went outside to plant flower bulbs and seeds in the warm light.
Hello Sunshine! We've had some amazing weather. I was actually able to open up the house for most of the day.
A trip to the Emergency Room. Quite honestly one of the scariest days of my life. Amelia had a febrile seizure... only we didn't know what a febrile seizure was when it was happening. She woke up with a fever and that is what triggered it, a quick rise in body temp that makes the brain "misfire" (this is how the E.R. doctor explained it to me). I am finding out that it is pretty common, but I had never heard of it and neither had my husband. She is fine now
His Daddy surprised him with a quick visit home during his work day. I happened to notice his reflection in the sidewalk while they played.
I'm still working on getting caught up, but at least I'm a little closer now!
One of our favorite places to visit, especially in the Spring when wildflowers are out and everything is blooming. Wonder Valley is located just east of Fresno in the Sierra Nevada foothills. They have free-range cattle and other animals wandering through the valley. Our boy loved being able to run through the field and down to the stream, our daughter had fun investigating nature.It was a much needed retreat for our little family; we're planning a picnic during Spring Break.
We had a busy weekend and I didn't get anywhere near the computer, so tonight I am playing a bit of catch up with my blog posts.
We went to the park while her brother was at Speech today, but it was just too cold to stay very long!
Taking a few steps with her Daddy
Feeling under the weather (but Lulu is there to give him comfort)
Hi, I'm Melissa. I am a wife, mother, step-mother, Gigi (step-grandma) and a photographer. I started out as the family member always asked to bring my camera along and it has turned into my life dream. I just love being able to capture moments for others that they can always cherish.This is my little corner to share my sessions, projects, and a little piece of our daily life. Thanks for stopping by!