Alternate blog post title: Portraits ~ the Underwood Family
Over the weekend, Michael and I were able to spend four days (Friday-Monday) in Birmingham since it was my three day weekend off and I was able to get a vacation day off as well. We went up to celebrate an early Christmas holiday and spent Saturday afternoon decorating sugar cookies. We brought all of our presents home to open on Christmas night at our apartment next week, but while we were in Birmingham we ran errands and went shopping together. We were also able to sneak in a couple delicious dates; breakfast at Egg & I on Saturday, then lunch at Schlotsky's on Sunday after we got our picture with Santa!! Not only was it nice to spend time with Michael's family again, but also great to spend time with him. It is wonderful that he is working a lot as Lead for Grinchmas this year at Islands of Adventure, but between our 10 and 12 hour work schedules, we haven't been able to see each other very much this month. A few times we have both woken up early (or I've just stayed awake after working at night) so we can go for a walk and exercise together. But I am excited that all of this work has helped us reach our current goal for our House Savings, as well as making a dent in our Baby Fund.
On Saturday I met up with Danielle, one of my friends that I made while we lived in Birmingham. I keep in contact with her the most, but also get to see Lauren and Sandy through Instagram. Yay, technology! Danielle asked me to take pictures of her with her family and I told her that I wanted to meet at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens near the zoo in Mountain Brook. It's always free!! And although the flowers were not in bloom due to the "cold" (it was in the 70's while we were there), I still think it's pretty to see the last red and yellow leaves hanging on to the multiple skinny branches.
I really liked Danielle's family. Her mom, Cynthia, was very nice and hugged me when we met as well as when I was done taking pictures. Her dad, Jimmy, was fun and you could tell he really loved his wife by hugging her and kissing her in pictures, and doing things to make her laugh. Danielle says they have been married for 29 years. My favorite part was when Danielle wanted her solo model pictures at the end and her dad stood behind her and smiled, but Danielle didn't even notice until she changed her pose three times. I also loved when I was able to capture candid laughing moments. I just kept clicking away, even if nobody was looking at the camera. Her brother, JR, was quiet but had a really nice smile. He would often stand behind me after I took a bunch of pictures to see how they turned out. He complimented me by saying the pictures were really nice and that I'm a good photographer. I do love me some compliments!!
Her sister, Jimele, was the most like me, because she always looked at the camera, even in the pictures where everyone else was looking away. She and Danielle both have fun personalities and would make silly faces if they got tired of smiling. (I took 10-15 pictures at one time in case someone in the group blinked or looked away for a second.) Jimele said the quote of "We all need each other to survive" during the shoot after someone else joked about being tired of each other already. I liked it for the blog title. Danielle made the whole shoot really easy for me because she acted as the director and told everyone where to stand and picked the areas within the gardens that she wanted everyone to stand in. I did point out the wood and logs though and I think those turned out really pretty, especially with the matching white shirts and jeans.see it here!!) while her family was vacationing in Kissimmee, we spoke about how we would do another one when Michael and I came to Birmingham, which gave her time to lose more weight. She's down to 223 now, while she started at 270 at a height of 5'10". I am proud of her and like when she sends me screen shots of the routes she walks. I've been doing the same back to her when Michael and I walk. Here are some pictures that I got at the end of just her: