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21 December 2011

what i wore to the ball: volume two

Rob had another ball last week, this time a Saint Barbara's Day ball (she's the patron saint of artillery). Thankfully I had more notice than the last time so I made my dress. I'm really happy with how it turned out; El Paso doesn't exactly have the greatest selection of fabric stores (just Hobby Lobby and a really crappy JoAnn's... and when I say crappy I mean it in a "the bolts are covered in dust bunnies and other crud" kind of crappy) but I managed to find the the perfect fabric (I needed something that would drape effortlessly, most evening wear fabrics are pretty stiff). Of course they didn't have as much as I needed in the store but I was able to order the rest from the website. I was also really proud of myself because I started making it about a month (maybe more?) before the ball (I usually procrastinate these things), but before I was done I realized it would have to go on the back burner so I could get Christmas presents done and shipped. So I ended up staying up until 3am a couple days before the ball finishing it (so much for being on top of things for once...). And now I have a real ball gown in my closet for all these balls I will have to attend through the years!

Now, here it is. I had planned on snapping a few pictures before we left, but we were running really late (and the sun had already gone down). So here's what I snapped in the mirror (these show the neckline better):



And here's what Rob took when we got home, about 6 hours later (it was a long night so please excuse m very tired eyes and wrinkled dress) (and I deeply apologize for the blurriness and horrible lighting, etc. I love him but he is not a photographer):


I did my hair this time and was excited it actually turned out (and stayed in all night). It's this hairstyle, with my own twist on the bangs.


08 December 2011

i can't make this stuff up.

Well, sorry for the absence. Things were already a little sparse around here due to me frantically trying to stay on top of Christmas this year (unlike last year... but hey, we had just moved so I had a good excuse). One of the tough things about living far away from family at Christmas time (besides the obvious we won't see said family) is we have to ship everyone's presents... and shipping takes time. We're usually down-to-the-last-minute people but that doesn't work anymore if we want everyone to actually open their gifts on Christmas. So I've had to begin my Christmas preparations before December (unheard of for me!). Add into that some unanticipated events and you get a very quiet blog. Anyway, so last week I finally had the package together to send to my sister in Brazil so me and the boys headed out to the post office to send it off.

And this is when it gets good...

We get to our post office, which is located in an area of town that is notorious for car break-ins. Like, a lady in our ward had her car broken into THREE times in this area. So when I pull into an open spot there is a sketchy looking car with people just sitting there next to me. Normally not a big deal because I don't leave anything worth anything in my car ever. But Rob had updated my navigation system a couple days before and left the DVD and manuals and stuff on the passenger seat. I didn't feel comfortable leaving that stuff in plain view (and potentially making my nice car a target) so I decided to put it away before going inside. The manuals are easy to put away, they just go in the glove box. But the DVD goes in a drawer on the backside of the center console. I can reach it from the front, but it's a little awkward since I have to bend my arm back behind me. So I go to put it away, I'm looking over my shoulder where it needs to go and my right arm has the case and is swinging back to stick it in the drawer when all of a sudden things don't go the way they should. The corner of the DVD case gets stuck on the edge of the passenger seat, but before my brain can really register what's happening it swings free, but not in the direction of the drawer. Instead it whips directly into my left eyeball.

I almost blacked out.

Instead I was seeing stars. And had no idea what to do. I mean, if I was gushing blood I know exactly what to do for that. Or if I had smashed something. But an eye injury? My eyeball was still in my head and there wasn't anything stuck in it. I had just basically poked it really really hard. I tried calling Rob to see what I should do but he didn't answer his phone. I couldn't really see at this point, the pain was making it difficult to open either eye. So I just sat there and waiting for the pain to subside and figured, like when you poke an eye, I'd be able to see after a little bit. And sure enough, after about 45 minutes I could open my eye and see. It was a little blurry but didn't hurt so much anymore. So me, being the stubborn person I am, decided I was going to finish my errand before heading home.

So I dragged both boys out of the car and we headed into the post office. BIG mistake. You see, this particular day we had 30 MPH+ winds in El Paso. Since there is no foliage in El Paso, when we have strong winds we have dust storms. We had to walk into the wind to get to the entrance. I'm sure you know where this is going...

Yeah, I got dust in my eye. And it hurt. A lot. We managed to make it inside, but I was pretty much blind. I immediately walked to a corner and waited a few minutes to see if I could open my eyes again (later Rob asked me why I couldn't just leave one eye open but that was impossible... close one eye then look around with the open one. I don't know if you can tell without a bunch of crud in your eye, but both eyeballs move together. So if I kept one eye open the hurt eyeball was getting dragged across dust particles that like sharp thorns). I couldn't, and just wanted to cry at this point, so I had Max lead us back outside to the car with me peeking every few feet to make sure we were good safety-wise. Once we were in the car I let the boys run free in it while I laid down in the trunk and tried to call Rob again. And again. And again. Oh, and I forgot, the impact gave me a migraine. It had receded after that first 45 minutes, but with the introduction of irritants came back in full force.

At this point let me re-iterate that this was supposed to be a quick trip to the post office. I had no diaper bag, no medicine, no sunglasses, nothing. Nothing to feed or distract the boys with. No useful trash items in the car. It wasn't a big deal at first, but as time went on and I couldn't get a hold of Rob nor open my eye for more than a split second this became a big issue. Especially since Max needed to use the bathroom. As you know, there aren't public restrooms in post offices. And driving was out of the question. Our post office is on a busy road (and there are no trees) and we were parked away from the building so there was no discreet corner nearby he could do his business. And peeing in the middle of a parking lot where everyone can see you wasn't an option either. And I had no bottles he could pee in. Or a spare diaper. All I had was a coke can. And a roll of paper towels. So I made a huge nest of paper towels to catch any spillage and the can to make and told him that was his only option. To which he cried and freaked out saying, "THAT ISN'T A BATHROOM!" So he held it some more.

At some point I realized that this wasn't getting better on it's own and there wasn't anything I could do to make it better since I didn't have any water to flush my eye out with. And Rob STILL wasn't answering the phone so I used several of my split-second windows where I could crack my eye open to find a friends number. And luckily for me she came to our rescue!

Not only did she come to get us (since we were stranded) she also called our other friend who works in the ophthalmology clinic on post. They took us straight to her clinic (one of the doctors stayed late to check my eye out), as well as fed the boys and changed Nick's diaper and took Max to the bathroom and basically saved the day. They also alerted anyone and everyone who works with Rob that I was injured and was headed to the hospital (that's where the clinic is) and he was needed. When Rob finally got to his phone, he had about 30 missed calls. And what really cracked us up was that with every person who called him my condition got progressively worse. Apparently I had been admitted to the hospital and the boys were in child care and needed to be picked up:)

Anyway, so once I got in the doctor's office he gave me a numbing drop so he could check it out and that relief was amazing. With that drop the pain stopped and I was able to open my eyes and keep them open. He diagnosed my injury as a corneal abrasion and gave me some eye drops and some goop to keep my eye from getting infected. Rob met us there at the hospital and took us home, where I was finally able to take something for the headache. And as soon as the headache was gone I felt great! The doctor had told me once the numbing drop wore off I would be in some pain again and that it would take about 72 hours to heal. But as soon as the headache was gone I felt great, eye included!

I went back in the next morning to get my eye checked out again and found out I am a mutant healer. Apparently this was the WORST corneal abrasion they had ever seen, it was so bad it was bordering on a laceration. And less than 24 hours later it was almost completely healed. It was described to me like this: Just a few hours after it happened (I didn't make it to the hospital until about 4 hours after it happened) the surface of my eye looked the way a rug does if it's shoved out of the way... almost like someone had taken their thumb and shoved the top layer of my eye to the side. But the next day everything was back down in place, no more bunching. And it continued to feel great the whole day.

But there was a slight hiccup in the healing process. I got something in my eye Friday night and didn't get it out until Saturday night, so I had some major light sensitivity and mild pain for that 24 hour period. But we managed to flush it out Saturday night and it's been all good since then! As a precaution I didn't leave the house for a few more days to avoid getting any more El Paso dust in it. There has also been some lingering blurriness so I went back in today to see what was causing it, but it's just some scarring. And that should fade in the next 3-6 months. (And don't worry, I can see fine, my vision is back to 20/20, it's just stuff in the distance isn't quite all the way in focus yet)

Ultimately, I am so so so grateful I am not blind and there is no permanent damage. Eye injuries are no joke. And I never thought about just now not blind-friendly things are these days. For example, trying to call someone was the worst. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I had my old phone with a keypad. But these fancy new touch phones require sight in order to make calls; there is no feeling for the right buttons. Other seemingly simple things, like taking a picture, were hard too since I managed to hurt my dominant eye. I've been having to reteach myself how to close one eye because my right eye has always been then one to close, not my left.

I was so lucky, and still am. I can resume normal activity again, and so soon after too. (Just a week!) Makes me so grateful for my health, and hurt for those who aren't so lucky. So people, take care of your eyes! You need them!!

And hopefully things will go back to just being sparse instead of completely silent around here:)

30 November 2011

this. is. awesome.

How Bad Do You Want It from Greyskale Multimedia LLC on Vimeo.

One of my photographer friends shared this awhile back, and I saved the link so I could watch it whenever I need to. It never gets old.

28 November 2011

sunday best.

For some reason I think I look like a kid in today's photo. Am I the only one? And I love the brown tones of both Max and I; totally not planned. As in, Rob picked out Max's outfit and got him dressed before even seeing what I was going to wear.

dress: Target
sweater: Old Navy
leggings: Target
shoes: Minnetonka moccasins (SO comfy)

(and please excuse my slip hanging out in this photo, Max and I did some jumping photos prior to this one and it got jostled out of place...)

23 November 2011

oh, Ikea.

Why are you so far away?

I thought that visiting once a year would be enough, but it's not.

I miss your meatballs.

And french fries.

I miss your holiday decorations. Oh, those gorgeous decorations!

And wrapping paper.

I miss wandering your aisles for hours on end.

I miss your fabric.

And not being able to just go buy this:
since we're getting serious about this home school stuff.

I miss your fun toys.

And dropping off my child so I can shop in peace.

I miss sleek, streamlined furniture in abundance.

And all your crazy Swedish names.

I miss your food market where I can buy hazelnut chocolate and lingonberries.

I miss all your kitchen gadgets.

I miss everything about you, you wonderful, magical place.

Someday we will live close together, hopefully even neighbors.

But until then I will dream of you and make lists for that happy day when we are reunited.

Love from,
an obsessed IKEA fanatic

22 November 2011

the house I grew up in.

Well, no Sunday best this week, sick kids kept us from church. Hopefully by this weekend they'll be over this stupid cold.

Anyway, when we talked to my parents this week they let me know our old house in Fredericksburg is up for sale. Here is the listing if you want to see where I lived for 15 years of my life. It's different from when we lived there: the kitchen was remodeled (it used to be red... and in my opinion it would look amazing if it was still red) and the walls have all been painted blah. And the current furniture is HUGE (an American trend I will never understand. Big furniture means your house looks teeny). But the only thing that bothers me is my old room is PINK. Really?


But it's an awesome house, I have so many happy memories there. Not to mention it's still the location of most of my dreams. I only wish my parents still lived there...

18 November 2011

weekly interrogation: Shannon Mocabee!

Here with us today is the gorgeous Shannon Mocabee! We met by both attending the Film Is Not Dead workshop in San Francisco in 2009... and I love her:) She is a phenomenal photographer and amazing person (FIND wouldn't have been the same without her. Or her sense of humor). And, she also created the cutest baby alive! (I mean, just look at him)

name: Shannon Mocabee
website: shannonrenee.com, shannonrenee.com/blog

1.What do you “do”?

2. Why do you do what you do?
OH wow… good question. Sometimes I think you have to be a little crazy to be a wedding photographer, and yet here I am. I love light, love, and art. Photography allows me to capture all of those every day.

3.Where are you from?
Sunny Southern California

4. Favorite color?

5. Favorite food?
In N Out Cheeseburgers

6. Favorite shoes?
TOMS… absolutely… I have 5 pairs and counting. They’ve replaced all other shoes.

7. Favorite place in the whole wide world?
I would have to say Oregon… or the bathtub.

8. Favorite piece of playground equipment?
The swings… almost like flying.

9. Your funniest story?
my life in and of itself is a barrel full of hilarious twists and turns that often finds me laughing to point of ridiculousness… I’m my funniest story.

10. Mac or PC?
Mac… of course ;);)

11. Manual or automatic?
Auto focus, manual exposure, auto auto-mobile, auto-pilot baby.

12. What do you consider your best asset?
I was going to say my manly arms, but my husband likes my eyes… that’s a cop out right? everyone says that one.

13. Guiltiest pleasure?
The TV show Bones… I could literally watch that show non-stop for weeks on end. Oh… it’s also pretty embarrassing that I love the Twilight series. Yup that one’s definitely more embarrassing.

14. Biggest pet peeve?
I really… REALLY hate bullies. So any condescending personalities really just make my blood curdle. I don’t like being pushed… but I hate even more seeing someone else being pushed around.

15. What do you consider priceless?
Wow there’s so much there… my son is a complete wealth of pricelessness. Every smile, every cuddle, every cute little squeak. Personal photos are also incredibly priceless to me… I want to remember every moment of all this.

16. If you could sit next to anyone on an airplane, who would it be?
Nikola Tesla, Derren Brown, Dana White, or Tony Robbins… in that order.

17. What would you choose as your last meal?
cereal… the mini frosted mini-wheats.

18. What era in time do you connect with the most?
I really love the 30's although I wouldn’t do well as a woman back then.

19. Your motto for life?
As long as I’m learning… as long as I’m growing… I’m alive.

20. Best advice you can give?
Study the masters… they got to where they are now for a reason.

Some of her work:

I love her point of view:


I love some good architectural elements:

street photography is awesome. And so is shooting with a baby strapped to you:

these are so dreamy:

I love the colors in these (gotta love film!):

again, cutest baby ever:

Awesome, huh?

If you'd like to participate, just click on the 'weekly interrogation' tab at the top and follow the instructions there. Hope to see you here!

15 November 2011

sunday best!

I really, really love this outfit. It made me feel cute even when I was exhausted and crabby 'cause I slept through my alarm and had to get ready at lightning speed.

shirt: Bitten by SJP
sweater: Target (on clearance for $6!)
skirt: Forever 21
hose: probably Target
boots: DSW (they're Chinese Laundry)


11 November 2011

weekly interrogation: Wendy Laurel!

May I introduce Wendy Laurel! She is a fabulous photographer in Hawaii (jealous? I know I am!), along with a slew of other things... Wendy is also co-creator of Let the Kids Dress Themselves (I wrote about it here), a breath of fresh air in the photo world:) It is plainly evident through her work and interactions with her that she is a fun, colorful, delightful person and I'm so excited to share her with you today!

(photo by Laura Reaux)

name: Wendy Laurel

1.What do you “do”?
I am a mother of four, and a wedding and portrait photographer, a teacher, and once in a while a lawyer. I am also a blogger.... I run LettheKids.com which shows off highly original, creative, and exceptional portrait photography. So more of what I love. What don't I do?

2. Why do you do what you do?
I do what I love. My kids come first with photography coming in a close second. I teach photography so I that is a fun combination -- kids and photography. And I hardly ever work as a lawyer since thats just for the money.

3.Where are you from?
I live in Maui and Ive been in Hawaii since law school which is 17 years. Before that Berkeley, Ca.

4. Favorite color?

5. Favorite food?

6. Favorite shoes?

7. Favorite place in the whole wide world?
My favorite place is wherever my kids are.

8. Favorite piece of playground equipment?
The swings of course!

9. Your funniest story?
I am terrible at telling jokes or funny stories. It's better just to laugh at me. I don't mind.

10. Mac or PC?

11. Manual or automatic?

12. What do you consider your best asset?
My best asset.... hmmm... probably my ability to get things done. If I say I am going to do something, its usually done by 9 a.m.

13. Guiltiest pleasure?
Guiltiest pleasure? online shopping. Thank goodness. I live on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific with not a lot of shopping.

14. Biggest pet peeve?

15. What do you consider priceless?
The moments with my kids.

16.If you could sit next to anyone on an airplane, who would it be?

17. What would you choose as your last meal?
My last meal? I really love cherries and popsicles. Or spaghetti.

18. What era in time do you connect with the most?
I have never thought about this... but I guess I will say now because its where I am.

19. Your motto for life?
You go where you look.

20. Best advice you can give?
My best advice is do what you love and forget about the rest.

Here is some of her gorgeous work:

Um, what can get better than sunsets in Hawaii??

So much goodness here:

I LOVE her underwater shots:

I love everything about this session:

One word: fun!

I just love this wedding. Especially the shot of the bouquet under the shot of the rings:

Thanks for visiting!

If you'd like to participate, just click on the 'weekly interrogation' tab at the top and follow the instructions there. Hope to see you here!

10 November 2011

the chase family | fort bliss portrait photographer

I had the pleasure of photographing the gorgeous Chase family on a beautiful Texas morning this past Fourth of July weekend. I can't get over the chub on the little one! Mom and dad managed to shine too; an easy feat for mom since she used to model:) After this session I no longer have any qualms about living in El Paso... I will take that gorgeous light any day!


09 November 2011

someone is growing up WAY too fast...

I'm in denial. Nick is my baby, yet here he is turning into a little boy. And two things have happened recently to really rub that fact in.

First, he started nursery two weeks ago. (it's the children's class for 18 month to 3 year olds). If you're doing the math, yes that is a month early. I'm extremely grateful for understanding primary presidents. I teach the CTR 10 class and since Rob is gone a whole lot this means I get to wrangle a very mischievous toddler all by myself during church while still trying to fulfill my Sunday responsibilities. A few weeks ago I was in the hall with Nick during sharing time (since he was being a huge distraction) and the primary president came up and asked when he was going to nursery. I told her we still had about a month and she said "I think we can make an exception, go ahead and take him to nursery next week and I'll let the nursery leader know to expect him." And that was that. So the next week I took him, not sure if we would have a repeat of Max's experience. Yeah, I had nothing to worry about. He didn't even look back as he ran into the room. I tried to take a picture (like with Max) to commemorate the event, but all I got was this:

a blurry picture of the back of his head.

I'm so grateful he loves nursery and I don't have to worry about him for two hours of church.

And the second thing is he no longer sleeps here:

but here:

After a week of dealing with Nick waking up constantly in the night I was desperate to FIX this. I don't have any issues waking up all night with a newborn, but once we're no longer nursing I need. my. sleep. You would think the children would learn that waking mom up all night = a very grumpy mom, but no, they don't seem to get that memo. But after thinking about it I realized every time I went in to deal with Nick he was squashed up in a corner of his crib and maybe the problem was he'd outgrown it. So I asked Rob what he thought about moving him to the bottom bunk (which is on the floor so there's no worry about him falling out of bed, he'd just roll onto the floor) and he said let's give it a shot. So we did. And it worked! Nick hasn't woken up in the night since. If you look at the picture above, that is the way Nick sleeps, contorted into some weird position. So I think the bigger bed lets him roll around to his heart's desire without smashing into the sides (thus waking himself up). Although I do feel very sorry for his future wife...

But now we have those two big milestones reached, I'm content to wait a bit for the next one.

08 November 2011


I'm sure some of you have noticed, but for those of you who do the google reader thing the harmon squad now looks a little different! The changes started a few months ago, but I can officially say the blog is complete! So if you haven't seen it, come take a gander.

Part of these changes is the fact that this space is now the blog for my photo business too. So you'll be seeing recent sessions up here (along with pictures of my boys, as usual) and various business related stuff. Up at the top (under the header) you'll see some pages... click on Jax Harmon Photography + Design and you can read all about the business, including a link to my soon-to-be-finished website and my new pricing! There's some pretty pictures to look at too.

I'm very happy with the changes, it's so nice to simplify things. What do you guys think?

If anything doesn't work or if you have questions feel free to ask!

Oh, and if you were wondering... I'm located in El Paso Texas if you're interested in a session!

07 November 2011

sunday best!

I think fall is my favorite season for clothes.

sweater: Forever 21
jacket: Express (but I got it at a consignment shop for $10)
skirt: Forever 21 (same as here)
stockings: I'm not sure (they're some of my oldest), but I think Target
shoes: Target (you've seen them before...)


I hope this weather continues all winter...

04 November 2011

weekly interrogation: Jonathan Canlas!

Today I'm honored to have Jonathan Canlas! Without a doubt Jon has a personality that is bigger than life. From the moment you meet him you will swept up in his boundless energy and feel like BFFs. He is also one of the kindest, generous people you will ever meet. On top of that his family rocks, and he has the cutest kids EVER! (see below photo for proof) If you aren't aware, he is the genius behind Jonathan Canlas Photography and the Film Is Not Dead workshops and just oozes talent. That combined with the qualities listed above is a winning combination. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.

1.What do you “do”?
photographer i guess :). yeah, photographer. i'm a dad and husband, but i don't get paid for that...

2. Why do you do what you do?
my family. that is my main motivation. i don't know that i could hold down a "real" job. i have not been employed by anyone but myself for over a decade (and got fired from all my previous jobs). i do what i do because i love it. i'd do it if i was getting paid or not. just luckily, i do get paid to do what i do :).

3.Where are you from?
born and raised in st louis mo. lived in laie hawaii, tokyo japan, and ut since 1996.

4. Favorite color?
the ones i see, which apparently might not be much as i'm color blind.

5. Favorite food?
ASIAN. yeah, that is a food. ASIAN :). pot roast or pot stickers? pot stickers every time.

6. Favorite shoes?
asics or saucony's. i have a red/yellow/black pair of asics that my son calls my mr incredible shoes. appropriately.

7. Favorite place in the whole wide world?
a very very close tie to my home and the north shore of oahu. both are heaven on earth.

8. Favorite piece of playground equipment?
hmm, seesaw? anyone that my kids like to go on is good with me.

9. Your funniest story?
3 stories.

1. in little rock arkansas while visiting cousins, we went to some magician show. and there was a parakeet up front and the magician called me up and gave me bird seed to give to said parakeet, but i ate it instead and sat down thinking, ew, that was gross, and realized it was for the bird, not me.

2. i dated my wife's sister before i dated my wife. end of story


10. Mac or PC?
mac. i have no idea how the world of pc even still exists.

11. Manual or automatic?
manual, 100% of the time.

12. What do you consider your best asset?
my brown skin. i can be a racial chameleon as needed.

13. Guiltiest pleasure?
justin bieber. if he steps foot in 5 of the surrounding states, i'm buying tickets, and the ones that cost a ton so we can be right up front. my kids love that kid and after seeing never say never, i do too :).

14. Biggest pet peeve?
being taken advantage of, even the slightest.

15. What do you consider priceless?
time with my family.

16. If you could sit next to anyone on an airplane, who would it be?
reggie watts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgsBgwJQGnE

17. What would you choose as your last meal?
combo plate from tita's kitchenette in national city california consisting of half pork adobo, half bbq pork with rice finished off with a fried banana and a small scoop of maiz queso ice cream. actually, if i eat that, i'm positive i'd die on the spot of a stroke so it would be my last meal technically.

18. What era in time do you connect with the most?

19. Your motto for life?
do what you love and do it often

20. Best advice you can give?
don't give a crap what anyone thinks about you, EVER. do your thing and don't let anyone tell you you can't do something.

Some of my favorites:
(I could keep going all day long.. I had to force myself to stop. Basically, just go to his blog and take a gander)

Oh, and I want to point out that all of the following examples are of his personal work... Jonathan rocks everything he does, but I find myself drawn to the stuff he shoots for himself the most.










Jonathan is also the mastermind behind this:

FIND Guide

Convinced yet? Thanks for reading!