Tour of Santa Clara County Fire District

One of my favorite parts about living in Morgan Hill is the community. I was so nervous being a new mom moving to a place where I knew no one. But I knew it was up to me to make that different for myself. So I went on Facebook and searched any and all Morgan Hill groups. This is when I stumbled upon "The Village of Littles" group. Basically they separate the groups by the year your kid was born. For instance, Archer is year of the Monkey, so he is in the "Little Monkey's of Morgan Hill" group. These groups are active, constantly having play dates and meet ups. Well the most recent one was a trip to our local fire house where we all got to learn about what goes on there and their day-to-day lives. Archer and I brought some cookies for the firefighters to have, and so did some other mamas. The kids were more excited about the truck and squirting the hose (obviously), but everything was super neat to see. Archer was EVERYWHERE, I couldn't get him to stop moving even for a second. I swear, I think he took 12 laps around the Fire Truck and climbed everything he could. He's basically a monster. But by the end of it, he was so beyond happy and left with a shiny new fireman hat. 

 

A HUGE thank you to The Village of Little's group who's given my son and I a place to feel welcome and included and an even bigger thank you to the Santa Clara County Fire District for your endless sacrifices for our community for welcoming us into your "home" for today.

Capitola Family Session

On Super Bowl Sunday I took my family with me to a session I had scheduled at Capitola Beach. We took it as an opportunity to spend some time together in the car, have my husband and kiddo play on the sand, and then go get breakfast at a cafe afterwards. As a family, we love those times together. And as a photographer, I love getting to photograph families in different places. So while I've been to Capitola many times, I haven't had a session on the beach there before and was so excited for it. I met up with this sweet family who was staying there that weekend to celebrate their little girl's 1st birthday. They wanted a family session documenting this moment in their lives, so that's exactly what we did. I hung out with them on the beach, and then we went and got muffins and coffee afterwards. It was perfect. I watched the little ones have fun and laugh and the parents loving on them. All in all, it was a perfect Sunday morning, and I can't wait for more sessions like these. 

Friday Morning... Because Life With My Child Is Never Dull

Well just a couple days ago I wrote about our typical Wednesday morning, and here I am on Friday with another blog. Because I swear, my kid is hilarious. I can't make this stuff up. Life is SO fun with him. 

So let me tell you what happened this morning: I put him down for his morning nap per usual. Well, I guess he didn't want that to happen. He was crying and fussing a bit, but I figured I'd give it a bit before going in. Well, the crying got more intense. So I go in there, and find him in full protest of his nap. His pants and diaper are ripped off and on the floor as well as his blankets, pillow, and water. So there he is, with only a shirt on, bare butt and all, crying and protesting this nap. So I pick him up, put a new diaper on him, and let him play for a bit to calm down. Well lately his favorite thing to do is to put our shoes on and walk around. So he finds my boots that I wore last night and promptly puts them on and starts walking around. Pretty fabulously I might add. He thinks the sound that boots make when you walk is hilarious. Well, I let him play for like 15 minutes, then put him back down hoping this nap will work.

Well, as I'm typing this, he's sobbing in our room... obviously in protest again. Ugh, okay, hold on... let me go check on him.

 

Well guys, the nap isn't happening...

He's now eating puffs and watching his homegirl Moana for the 10384610932713856013578 time in his almost 19 months of existence. No nap for him. No sanity for this mom. Let's just say margaritas and game night with friends tonight can't come soon enough.

But really, I love this little monster. As insane, crazy, hard-to-handle, constantly moving, always changing, as this tiny terrorist is... he's really the best. And obviously freaking cute as heck. So I'll just take him on a long walk to the park and count down the hours to margarita-o'clock. 

 

Just another typical Friday morning in the Williams' house.

Our Typical Wednesday Morning.

Typically our mornings around here are pretty uneventful. My husband goes to work and then my son and I get up to start our day. First thing he does when I pick up from his bed, is he signs "eat." So we walk out to the kitchen and I put him in his chair where he waits for his breakfast. Lately it's been a waffle or piece of toast and a smoothie. This kid LOVES his smoothies, and this mama loves it because I fill it full of all the fruits, veggies, and whole fats he needs. 

After about 15 minutes or so, he says and signs "UP" and "please" to get down to play. But many times he takes his smoothie, grabs his blanket, and walks back into our room where he wants to get up on mine and Jake's bed. He loves it up there. He sits back against the pillows, drinks his smoothie, cuddles his blanket, and watches a movie or show.

This morning as all of this was happening, I grabbed my camera. This same routine has happened dozens of times in a row, but I never stopped to photograph it. But this is something I want to remember, and that's why I do what I do anyways right? To hold on to those moments you want to remember forever. Well this is a glimpse into mine. 

Celebrating the Cake Smash

Lately I've been capturing quite a few first birthdays and cake smashes, and they are FUN. The kids are so unpredictable on how they'll react, which I think is what makes it so entertaining as the photographer. Will they love it and want to eat the whole cake? Will they cry, freak out, and think it's the worst day of their lives!? It's really a toss up. haha, but nonetheless, it's fun, it's cute, and I'm happy to capture these moments for these parents. I also love when parents include themselves in the photos too. Yes this is a milestone for the child, but even more so for the parents. A year of surviving parenthood is a BIG DEAL!

 Below is one of my most recent client's who had the most adorable little girl! (scroll to the bottom to see the cutest little angry face you've ever seen!)

Coffee with a Cop - Morgan Hill, California

This morning I had my cup of coffee with a cop.

This morning as I was drinking my cup of coffee and checking work stuff, I get a text from my friend, and fellow local photog Ewa. She tells me that theres this coffee with a cop thing at one of our local places, Coffee Guys, starting in about an hour and if I want to meet her there. Which, this is one of the many reasons I love the flexibility owning my own business gives me, because I was able to get myself and my son ready and meet her there, obviously with my camera in tow. We get there, I get a bagel with cream cheese, a chocolate croissant for Archer, and a LARGE coffee for this mama. We sit down with Ewa, begin to chat, then it hits me: we should do an impromptu photo project.

Coffee Guys downtown Morgan hill captured by Hailey Williams of Archer Inspired photography
Coffee Guys in Morgan hill California
Free bagels for MHPD at coffee guys in Morgan Hill California
Ewa Samples talking to MHPD officer outside of coffee guys in Morgan hill California

Lately with the climate of the news and controversial stories coming out about cops, I feel that it's important AND necessary to remember that the bad cops are a small few, they definitely aren't all. But isn't that like people in general? There's some really crappy people, but I'd like to believe theres more good people than there is bad, and this includes cops. So today we wanted to change the narrative, to bridge the gap. We wanted to change the bad news, the negative stigma, the not so pleasant thoughts. We wanted to change that, even just for a day. Maybe that will be a ripple effect, who knows? I also wanted my son, even though he's only 14 months, to see police officers up close and personal. I wanted him to have that level of comfort and feeling of safety being around them. I feel like it's so important to expose our children to humanity at an early age and teach them about life and respect. I want my son to know his place in the world and respect everyone else's. This morning, he had a BLAST getting stickers from the cops and babbling away telling him all about his sockless feet because he refuses to keep socks on, even if its 50 degrees out.  

Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys
Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys
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Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys
Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys

But I think out of all of this what I wanted to bring back to the police force and the feelings towards them, is a sense of humanity. That they ARE people too. Real life, living and breathing human beings like you and me. They wake up, put on their work clothes, and go out into our community to perform their work duties. However, I can't remember the last time I put myself in the line of fire to take photos at a wedding... oh wait, I haven't. So yes, their job, like the military, first-responders, and the like, is quite a bit different. While I believe all human beings inherently deserve respect, I think theres also something to be said about really showing that respect to those who put their life on the line for our well being, each and every day. Their selflessness that they represent each and every day is admirable to say the least. I was honored to sit amongst a few of Morgan Hill's finest and enjoy a cup of coffee from coffee guys and get to know them.

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But today I didn't want to know about their job or their duties. We wanted to get to know these officers for who they are. Who they are as human beings when they go home and take off that uniform and put on regular clothes like you and me. We wanted to know these officers as people, because that's who they are. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to some of those who protect and serve the community I live in:


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Officer Sheena Woodland:

Does a lot of gardening and canning. Just made fig pomegranate preserves. Loves dogs, has three of her own.


 

Officer Mindy Zen:

Loves French Bulldogs

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Officer Jeff Brandon:

Owns his own photography business and also does all the department's portraits. He's also a part of the forensic CSI team taking their photos. 

(He also has a Canon Mark IV like me!)


 

Officer Bill Norman:

Loves watching his son play in high school football. Hopelessly addicted to golf.

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Officer Shane Palsgrove:

Played soccer at San Jose State as left half back and left defense


 

Officer Chris Woodrow:

From Ireland, a tailor (not a seamstress), and has a degree in theater.

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Officer Jason Broyer:

Used to race in motocross.


 

Officer Scott Silva:

Father of 3. Tries to be just a normal person in society when he's not working. Doesn't want to take work home with him so he can focus on his kids.

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DA Community Prosecutor Johnny Gogo:

Born in Germany, but spent the majority of his years in Guam.

 


 

Officer Victor Benitez:

Loves sports, especially football and the Haybalor's high school team.

Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography

Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography


Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography

Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography

 

Chief David Swing:

An outstanding soccer goalie and die hard NASCAR fan.


These are people, these are service men and women of our community, these are human beings.

Next time you see an officer I encourage you to show them respect, maybe say thank you, or simply just say hello. Let's change the narrative. Let's bridge the gap. Let's show our children what respect looks like, and let's not only talk-the-talk, but also walk-the-walk. 

Thank you MHPD for your selflessness and dedication in serving our community and your willingness and eagerness to meet with the residents of Morgan Hill over a cup of coffee. 


To see my friend, and fellow local photographer's blog post and experience check it out here:

 http://ewasamplesphotography.com/coffee-cop-building-bridges-times-get-tough/

Happy National Watermelon Day!

So my son, Archer, LOVES watermelon. Like, loves it. He would survive off that alone if I let him, (well that and Mac n' cheese.) So in honor of National Watermelon Day, here is my son eating watermelon! Being festive at it's finest, amirite!?

Little baby boy eating watermelon sitting inside a home in Morgan Hill, California

The little hands grabbing the watermelon so tightly and the sweet little drips from his lips. Like, kill.me.now. He is literally everything to me. They say your child is your heart beating outside of you, and it's true. I've never loved someone like I love him. 

So Happy National Watermelon Day to everyone! If this didn't make you smile, then you have no soul. Sooooo hopefully you smiled, a lot. Because you deserve it, and because my kid is so freaking cute I just can't stand it. And yes, I'm biased. But hey, it's also true. <3

Eat that watermelon y'all!