Real Life

The best moments of life often come in very plain packages. Sitting together as family around the meal time, laughing together, working through disappointment, or movie nights. These moments seem so ordinary that we don't even think to capture them in photos. And then it happens, it's too late, our children are grown and we missed our opportunity!

Don't let this happen to you. Take time to enjoy and capture the ordinary moments of life. Find beauty in the ordinary!

Here are some pictures from our recent trip to Manhattan, Kansas. Four boys four and under, two parents, and two grandparents hanging out for several days in January just having fun being together. Enjoy!

Day In The Life | Snodgrass Family Gathering

I was invited to spend several hours with the Snodgrass family on January 1 as they gathered to celebrate Christmas. Over 30 people in one house at one time for the sole purpose of being together. 

Family gatherings are a time to relax, be present and enjoy one another. Who wants to pull out a camera during the brief time you are together to take pictures. And then before you know it, everyone has left, the house is empty and you realize that no one took any photos! 

Don't let that happen to you at your next important family gathering. The memories are too special and the time is too brief - make sure it gets captured so you can enjoy the memories again and again.

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
— Desmond Tutu

Enjoy!

Clayton Takes The Cake!

Today is Clayton's 2nd birthday. Two years ago today we drove to Mason City during a blizzard in order to see the little guy shortly after his birth. It was an awesome experience being with Josh and Diana during such a special time.

Last week we traveled to Forest City to help celebrate Clayton's birthday. It was a fun several days hanging out, playing various games on the floor, making our usual trip to Cabin Coffee and eating birthday cake! 

Happy birthday Clayton. You bring your parents and grandparents much joy! 

Enjoy the slideshow below.

Ride On!

I'm becoming a hockey fan! I met the Roy family last fall. They live outside of Boston, MA and their son Harry is spending his senior year of high school in Cedar Rapids playing for the Roughriders in order to pursue his hockey dream. 

I've had a fun time photographing some of Harry's games. I hope this video montage captures the energy and speed of the game. 

Ride on Harry! Enjoy!

Tiny Moments

I love being around children. I love hearing their ideas, watching the way they process the world and observing their behavior. And although it's not readily apparent in the moment, the are learning and growing at light speed! 

This is the reason I want to capture and document these special moments of childhood. These years are only here for a short time and then are gone forever. We think we will always remember our children's early years, but they soon fade from our memory as we hurl headlong into the next stage of life. 

These are the tiny moments I want to capture and remember. They are so ordinary, yet so precious. I love finding beauty in the ordinary. Enjoy!

Best Nine of 2017

2017 is wrapping up, only a few short weeks left. Here are my favorite pictures that I made this past year. It's hard to limit it down to nine. I choose each of these for a special reason, not the least of which is they all put a smile on my face and warm my heart! You can read more about each one below.

Make sure in 2018 you are capturing the special memories of daily life. It all goes by so quickly. Your pictures are something you can pass on to future generations that tell beautiful stories of love and connection. Enjoy!

Best of 2017 R.jpg

 This picture was from a Grandparent Session. Trey and his grandparents went on a walk and I was out of sight around the bend in the path. When Trey turned the corner and saw me, he started running toward me as fast as he could. This picture captures the energy and enthusiasm of this little guy! I have this picture framed by my bedside. I want to be reminded to face each day with this kind of passion and joy!   

This picture was from a Grandparent Session. Trey and his grandparents went on a walk and I was out of sight around the bend in the path. When Trey turned the corner and saw me, he started running toward me as fast as he could. This picture captures the energy and enthusiasm of this little guy! I have this picture framed by my bedside. I want to be reminded to face each day with this kind of passion and joy!

 

 This fall we went to the new Cedar Valley Nature Center. What an awesome place for kids to explore. We had so much fun! As we began to return to the car to leave, Caleb wanted to show me how fast he could run. I love this picture because it captures the joy of childhood and how fast it is moving. I want to enjoy each moment I have with my grandchildren.   

This fall we went to the new Cedar Valley Nature Center. What an awesome place for kids to explore. We had so much fun! As we began to return to the car to leave, Caleb wanted to show me how fast he could run. I love this picture because it captures the joy of childhood and how fast it is moving. I want to enjoy each moment I have with my grandchildren.

 

 We had a family gathering in Manhattan, Kansas this summer. We had an awesome time and made many memories! Nothing better than being with family. I took many great photos from the six days we were together, but this one puts a smile on my face. Sharon was playing catch with Benaiah with this "old school" velcro disc and ball. Benaiah could catch the ball as long as Sharon threw it right at his disc. If not, the ball would hit him. This picture reminds me that life is filled with bumps, bruises and surprises. Benaiah has so much to learn. But with skill, practice and experience, he will learn to handle the challenges that life tosses at him.   

We had a family gathering in Manhattan, Kansas this summer. We had an awesome time and made many memories! Nothing better than being with family. I took many great photos from the six days we were together, but this one puts a smile on my face. Sharon was playing catch with Benaiah with this "old school" velcro disc and ball. Benaiah could catch the ball as long as Sharon threw it right at his disc. If not, the ball would hit him. This picture reminds me that life is filled with bumps, bruises and surprises. Benaiah has so much to learn. But with skill, practice and experience, he will learn to handle the challenges that life tosses at him.

 

 This fall we made a trip to a local farm to see some puppies, chickens and sheep. It was quite an adventure. We enjoyed petting the adorable golden retriever puppies in the middle of this dark and dingy barn. This picture was made as Sharon was looking out the window with Clayton. Sharon grew up on a farm and spent many hours in barns just like this one. This reminds me of the importance of passing on our life experiences to the next generation. How will they know if we don't show them?   

This fall we made a trip to a local farm to see some puppies, chickens and sheep. It was quite an adventure. We enjoyed petting the adorable golden retriever puppies in the middle of this dark and dingy barn. This picture was made as Sharon was looking out the window with Clayton. Sharon grew up on a farm and spent many hours in barns just like this one. This reminds me of the importance of passing on our life experiences to the next generation. How will they know if we don't show them?

 

 What is more fun than small children at a splash pad! This past summer we made a trip to the local splash pad with four of our grandsons. They played in the water for two hours straight! Carson was fascinated by the bubbling water that would start and stop unexpectedly. This picture reminds me of the wonder and adventure of life seen through the eyes of a one year old. I never want to stop exploring, learning and growing.   

What is more fun than small children at a splash pad! This past summer we made a trip to the local splash pad with four of our grandsons. They played in the water for two hours straight! Carson was fascinated by the bubbling water that would start and stop unexpectedly. This picture reminds me of the wonder and adventure of life seen through the eyes of a one year old. I never want to stop exploring, learning and growing.

 

 This past summer Jon went on a short-term mission trip oversees. Arrangements were made for Sharon and I to pick him up at the Kansas City airport when he returned. Trista, Jon's wife, had other ideas. She arranged to get her family of four boys, three and under, to Kansas City to surprise Jon at the airport. She made the trip on a hot day with no air conditioning in their van! This picture reminds me of the connection and joy of everyday family life. To make a memory may require effort, but the end result is worth it. This picture also reminds me that little eyes are always watching! Our children learn much more from our example than our words.   

This past summer Jon went on a short-term mission trip oversees. Arrangements were made for Sharon and I to pick him up at the Kansas City airport when he returned. Trista, Jon's wife, had other ideas. She arranged to get her family of four boys, three and under, to Kansas City to surprise Jon at the airport. She made the trip on a hot day with no air conditioning in their van! This picture reminds me of the connection and joy of everyday family life. To make a memory may require effort, but the end result is worth it. This picture also reminds me that little eyes are always watching! Our children learn much more from our example than our words.

 

 I got to take family photos for Scott and Paige and their son Caleb this fall. It was so much fun capturing the joy of these new parents. As the sun began to set, we began to walk back to the car. With the setting sun blazing into my eyes, I worked on getting a silhouette of this special family. I love this picture as it shows the connection and love Scott and Paige have with their new son. It also reminds me that even in our youth, we are living in the shadow of time that soon sets on us all. Take time each day to love the special people in your life.    

I got to take family photos for Scott and Paige and their son Caleb this fall. It was so much fun capturing the joy of these new parents. As the sun began to set, we began to walk back to the car. With the setting sun blazing into my eyes, I worked on getting a silhouette of this special family. I love this picture as it shows the connection and love Scott and Paige have with their new son. It also reminds me that even in our youth, we are living in the shadow of time that soon sets on us all. Take time each day to love the special people in your life. 

 

 Being a younger brother is hard. You want to be part of the gang but aren't always welcome. That's what's happening in this picture. The twin brothers were playing a game with one another, climbing in and out of the cabinet and then closing the door. Right in the middle of the game their little brother crawled over and wanted to play. He was politely told he wasn't wanted. Heart breaking! This picture reminds me of how we all want to belong and to be included. It also reminds me that when we hide, we may keep ourselves safe but people are unable to love us.    

Being a younger brother is hard. You want to be part of the gang but aren't always welcome. That's what's happening in this picture. The twin brothers were playing a game with one another, climbing in and out of the cabinet and then closing the door. Right in the middle of the game their little brother crawled over and wanted to play. He was politely told he wasn't wanted. Heart breaking! This picture reminds me of how we all want to belong and to be included. It also reminds me that when we hide, we may keep ourselves safe but people are unable to love us. 

 

 We went with Clayton and his parents to an ice cream store this summer. He wasn't much interested in the ice cream but wanted down from the table so he could explore. The next thing you know, he was at the front door, trying to get out. I went outside and watched him for the next five minutes as he tried to get through the glass door. He was sure that if he pressed his face and hands hard enough against the door he could somehow escape! This picture reminds me that much of life is spent looking out the window, wishing for things we can't achieve or possibly attain. And all the while overlooking the ice cream party that is going on around me!

We went with Clayton and his parents to an ice cream store this summer. He wasn't much interested in the ice cream but wanted down from the table so he could explore. The next thing you know, he was at the front door, trying to get out. I went outside and watched him for the next five minutes as he tried to get through the glass door. He was sure that if he pressed his face and hands hard enough against the door he could somehow escape! This picture reminds me that much of life is spent looking out the window, wishing for things we can't achieve or possibly attain. And all the while overlooking the ice cream party that is going on around me!

Play Ball!

Jonah is an active little guy! He loves playing anything with a ball, especially if someone plays with him. You could say he is a social ball player!

That someone to play with was me during our ten day visit to Norman. We played soccer, basketball, tag soccer (a game I made up), football and more! He never got tired. It was always me saying, "I think it's time to go inside." 

Here are some photos of our ball games. These childhood stages pass by so quickly. I'm glad I was able to capture some of the joy and enthusiasm of childhood in these pictures. Enjoy!

The Gift of Life

We traveled the Norman, Oklahoma two weeks ago to see our new granddaughter, Darby Marie. What fun it was getting to meet this sweet little girl! Darby is the first girl born in the Pagel family in over 55 years! I guess that makes her special! Darby joins her older brother and six other very special grandsons in our family.

It's so much fun to capture the first weeks of a baby's life. The newborn phase passes by so quickly. These photos (and many more) will help us remember the joy we experienced as we welcomed Darby to our family. Welcome home Darby!

Going On An Adventure

We had a great time with Josh, Diana, Caleb and Clayton two weeks ago at the Indian Creek Nature Center. What an awesome place for kids to run, jump, play and explore! The weather was less than ideal but we made the most out of our time together.

Every family needs adventure. Getting outside to explore builds memories and is a change of pace to our daily lives. And of course, capturing these memories with images ensures that we can remember and share these special times together for years to come.

Enjoy the adventure!