Archive for February, 2016


This was the first year we got to cut down our own Christmas tree! Brian is ALL ABOUT the real tree. I grew up with a fake tree (we had a cat) so, it’s been lovely having real Christmas trees since being married.  We drove to a lovely Christmas tree farm, Sunny Day Tree Farm, located a couple towns over in Sherwood, Oregon.  Su (the owner) was super nice and hospitable! They had several tree varieties to choose from and are located on a rolling hill that’s pretty elevated (without cell service) and you get great views, too. They had complimentary hot chocolate and coffee next to a wood burning fire inside a big “barn” for you to relax with after you earned your tree ;).  Also, it was dog friendly so we brought George and he met a few other golden’s while there. We’ll definitely return next year.

Su was kinda laughing when I walked up in my nice and a little bit dressy tailored orange pea coat. I explained that we were going to do a family self portrait so we wanted to look somewhat put together. She laughed and told me I’d get muddy & to maybe bring a jacket that can get dirty next time.  She was right, but it was fun! What’s a little mud, right?

We trekked out to the spot where we found OUR tree. George had a blast wandering around and sniffing other dogs and trees while marking his spots. Brady brought his toy chain saw and assisted Brian in the cutting down of the tree.  Don’t be fooled… these photos were quite challenging to capture a happy put together look. (See photos series below.) Just after we cut down the tree, Brady was having a MASSIVE crying fit and wanted me to carry him, but he was muddy and remember I had my nice coat on and I was flanked with my camera and tripod equipment. Brian had saws (his and Brady’s), the dog (who is actually always the best behaved- thank God for George!), and various other items to carry so, it was quite the clown show watching us (the Griswald’s) experience the tree farm – hah. Oh, and it was raining a bit, too.

Here are some of my favorites from our time at the Sunny Day Tree Farm.  We used one as our Christmas (e) card. :)



Isn’t Mt. Hood gorgeous?! This is on the ride up to the tree farm… just your average vineyard, farms, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood! 001-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 002-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 003-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 004-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 005-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 006-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 007-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 008-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 009-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 010-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 011-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 012-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 013-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 014-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 015-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 016-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 017-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 018-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 019-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 020-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 021-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 022-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 023-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 024-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 025-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 026-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 027-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 028-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 029-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 030-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard 031-_2015_12_ChristmasTreeFarm_Storyboard

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The open house at my downtown Lake Oswego photo studio on Saturday was a success. There were lots of CUTE kiddos that came by for a complimentary portrait, handful(s) of my home baked sugar cookies, and some of the momma’s went home with raffle prizes from local Lake Oswego businesses (thanks to Chuck’s, Nic & Fig’s Makery, Shear Creations, and Play Boutique). It’s been a pleasure meeting new people through local businesses, as well as, meeting new families around Portland.  Thank you to those who visited – I hope to serve you and your families again soon!

Interested in a Portrait or Day in the Life Storytelling session with me?  Email: & check out more info on all my sessions here: details about photo sessions

Here are some of my favorite portraits of the kiddos who visited the open house. Aren’t these kids adorable?!!

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Amy van Riessen - Feb 23, 2016 at 02:02:52

I hope your Open House was an awesome success! The photos sure turned out great!!!

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On the last leg of our “Tour de Texas” trip in November (read Part I here & Part II here), we stopped in Dallas to visit family, friends, and for a commercial photo shoot.  It’s always a blessing when I can mix work and visiting family.  Our first night in Dallas we dined with some great friends at an old colleague’s amazing BBQ restaurant, 18th & Vine. GO NOW.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Brian’s Dad’s house and some family from Kansas came down for a day, too.  Paula did a great job orchestrating the whole day’s meals. I kept offering to help, but she was determined to make it a great gathering for us all. It’s so fun to see Brady and his cousin, Alexis, play together. They’re only a month apart. It makes me sad we live so far apart now, but so glad they can pick up right where we left off.

I got to meet my new niece, Ava, for the first time on this trip. She is such a sweet and smiley baby! Brady was so sweet and nurturing to her. Now he keeps asking if I have a baby in my tummy and that “maybe Jesus will bring us a baby”. Hmm… haha…  I snapped some portraits of Leslie and her hubby and baby girls. Leslie and Bryan tied the knot this Fall, and even though we weren’t there to celebrate in person, we celebrated from the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s some favorites from our time with family.

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