About Christina Kennedy, photographer and owner

Christina Kennedy is a custom portrait photographer who specializes in pregnancy, infant, child and family photography.
Monday Jan 31, 2011

Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids | Des Moines Children’s Photographer

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:52+00:00 January 31st, 2011|Kids, Promos|1 Comment

A few years ago, the school photographer for my kids had offered personalized Valentine’s Day cards for the kids to give out during the Valentine’s Day party.  I thought it was a great idea, except for the part that it would use the standard school portrait, and the cards were not that exciting.  Every Valentine’s since then, I’ve promised myself that I was going to do a photoshoot with my kids, and make their Valentine’s Day cards.  This year, I finally did it.  What a great time, right?  The kids, my husband, and I went out to Centennial Park in Waukee yesterday, and spent less than 10 minutes shooting about 140 photos.  It was a balmy 20 degrees out, with overcast skies, and a snowflake falling here and there, and yet my kids were still game enough to take off their jackets for just those few minutes.  My wonderful husband came along to hold the reflector (which peeks into one of the outtakes below), but also to keep the kids laughing.  He is really SO much better at it than I am.   Actually, I think they laughed more for me than for him because I would tell my husband, “OK, make them laugh!” and the kids would just start laughing.  Seriously, he told one joke and then had nothing, but just the thought had the kids rolling.  Here are some of the outtakes of the shoot, and the final product of their cards which will be printed on wallet sized photos to be given out at school.

And the final products…

Wednesday Jan 5, 2011

Disneyland for Babies and Toddlers – Tips from a former Cast Member

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:53+00:00 January 5th, 2011|Personal Insights|0 Comments

I grew up in Southern California, very close to Disneyland.  We could hear the fireworks from our house, and if we stood on the roof, we could see them.   Unfortunately, we were not Annual Passholders, and we would only visit, maybe, once a year.  So for us, a trip to Disneyland was a special occasion.  As a child, I LOVED Disneyland, and knowing we would be treated to a visit would keep me awake at night with excitement.  As an adult, I didn’t fall back in love with Disney until I had kids of my own.   We bought Annual Passes when my twins were only 18 months old.  We made it a tradition to visit the Resort for all of our birthdays, and I would bring the kids many other times on my own, or with friends who were passholders.  One day while at the park, three separate Cast Members, out of the blue, told me how much they loved working there.  On the way home, I commented how odd it was that these Cast Members had volunteered this information, unprompted.  My husband agreed, then suggested I apply.  I did, and they hired me, and I was there for almost two years.  I loved working there.  I would still be working there if we had not moved from Southern California to Iowa.

Below is the text from a post I made in November of 2009 on a forum for a mother’s club that I was actively involved with.  I thought I would share it with the rest of the world since I know from experience that even pass holders aren’t aware of some of this.  Many who live near Disneyland don’t go because they believe their children are too young.

Why am I posting this on my Photography Blog?  Because I want to share this information with people outside of my moms club, and currently, this is the only Blog I maintain.   I’m adding photos that were not part of the original post.

Questions about what attractions are appropriate for Babies and Toddlers come up all of the time.  I’ve put together a list of character locations as well as attractions that have been favorites of my kids.  I mentioned that my twins were 18 months the first time we went as a family.  My son was only 2 weeks old his first time.  We truly love all things Disney.  Anyone is welcome to add their thoughts to this post!  Also, I would love to hear from current cast members about anything that has changed, should be removed or added to this topic.

Disneyland

Adventureland

– Princess Jasmine and Aladdin can be found at Aladdin’s Oasis in between the Tiki Room and the Jungle Cruise.
–   Enchanted Tiki Room
–   Jungle Cruise
–   Tarzan’s Treehouse

Critter Country

– the critters from Song of the South, (Brer Bear, Brer Fox) can often be found roaming around in Critter Country.  Pooh, Tigger and Eyeore are found at Pooh Corner, by the exit of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
–   The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Attraction

First Family Visit to Disneyland

Meeting Winnie The Pooh for the first time

Fantasyland

– Princess Fantasy Faire – you can meet many princesses here, Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, etc.  There will be 3 at a time in here, and you will not know who until you get inside.  This can be a long wait, but take your time once inside and let kids visit with the princesses.  In between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland is Pixie Hollow where you can meet Tinkerbell and her fairy friends.
–   Alice in Wonderland
–   Casey Jr. Circus Train
–   Dumbo the Flying Elephant
–   It’s a Small World
–   King Arthur Carousel
–   Mad Tea Party
–   Matterhorn (35” height requirement)
–   Peter Pan’s Flight
–   Storybook Land Canal boats

Babies and Toddlers love Dumbo

Frontierland

– Woody & Jessie can often be found on the Big Thunder Ranch trail between Fantasyland and Frontierland.  Also, Santa, his Reindeer, and the Turkeys pardoned by the President are at Reindeer Round-up (along the Trail, inside the Ranch) during the winter holidays.
–   Mark Twain Riverboat
–   Rafts to Tom Sawyer’s Island (great place to let the kids play and run off steam.)

Main Street U.S.A.

– Town Square – Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and many others are often here for pictures and autographs.  Don’t worry about the lines, they move pretty quickly.  Plaza Inn restaurant (breakfast in the park) – Many characters here, including Minnie, Chip, Dale, Pooh, Max (Goofy’s son), Captain Hook, Fairy Godmother and other surprise guests (you never know, but we’ve had Pinocchio, Geppeto, Piglet, Rabbit, White Rabbit, just to name a few).
–   Disneyland Railroad
–   Fire Engine
–   Horse-Drawn Streetcars
–   Horseless Carriage
–   Omnibus

Mickey’s Toontown

– Goofy, Pluto and other characters may be found roaming around.  Mickey & Minnie can be found in their houses (of course, when you find them in Toontown, this means they are not in Town Square!)
–   Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse
–   Donald’s Boat
–   Gadget’s Go Coaster (35” height requirement) This was the first rollercoaster for our kids, and they went on it at 3 years, and all loved it, and it is still their favorite.
–   Goofy’s Playhouse
–   Mickey’s House
–   Minnie’s House
–   Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

New Orleans Square

– during Halloween Time, you can find Jack Skellington and Sally near the Haunted Mansion.
–   Haunted Mansion – My youngest gets scared in the beginning because it is so dark, so I have him hid his eyes on my shoulder while I hold him.  He loves the rest of it once past the elevator.
–   Pirates of the Caribbean – This was a favorite of my girls when they were 2, but then they were scared for a couple of years, and it is a favorite again.  There is a big water drop, and it is dark.  You should judge your own kids whether they’ll like this or not.

The Haunted Mansion isn’t too scary for babies and toddlers

Tomorrowland

– sometimes you’ll find Buzz Lightyear here.  Also, Darth Vader and Darth Maul make appearances at the Jedi Training Academy.

–   Astro Orbiter
–   Autopia
–   Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
–   Disneyland Monorail
–   Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
–   Innoventions
–   Star Tours (40” height requirement)

Disney California Adventure Park

Disney California Adventure Park is currently undergoing a major rehabilitation. Attractions are being added, removed and changed. Some of this information may already be out of date.

Sunshine Plaza

– great place to meet Mickey, Minnie and their friends.

“a bug’s land”

– every attraction is great for little ones.  If it is a hot day, bring swim suits for the little ones (tops and shoes must be worn, so if the boys have trunks, they will also need either a t-shirt or a rash guard.  Water shoes are also recommended) as there are water features designed to be played in.  I do NOT recommend “It’s Tough to be a Bug” for the little ones.  It is very scary for them.  Sometimes you’ll get to meet Flick and Atta inside the park.
–   Flik’s Flyers
–   Francis’ Ladybug Boogie
–   Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train
–   Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies.

Golden State

–   Redewood Creek Challenge Trail – Great place to let the kids play and run off steam.  Meet Koda and Kenai from “Brother Bear.”
–   Soarin’ Over California (40” height requirement) – this is probably the most favorite ride in the park, and is not fast, but it does have a height requirement

Hollywood Pictures Backlot

– you never know who you might meet here.  It can be anyone from Snow White to Sully or Mr. Incredible.  (Do NOT go to Muppet*Vision3D, too scary for little ones).
–   Disney Animation Building – definitely take kids to visit, “Turtle Talk with Crush,” inside of the Animation Building.  This is also a nice place to sit down and rest indoors, and let the kids watch the animation that is played on the walls.
–   Monster’s, Inc.  Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!  – slow moving ride based on the movie.  Smell the ginger when inside of Harry Hausen’s
–   Playhouse Disney – Live On Stage – sing and dance with characters from the different Playhouse Disney TV Shows.

Paradise Pier

– meet Woody and Jessie just outside of Toy Story Mania.  Santa is there during the holidays.
–   Golden Zephyr
–   Jumpin’ Jellyfish (40” height requirement)
–   King Triton’s Carousel
–   Mickey’s Fun Wheel (non-swinging gondolas)
–   Toy Story Midway Mania!
– World of Color nighttime water show in Paradise Bay

Babies can enjoy the Carousels

General Tips:

– When visiting with the Characters, let the characters lead.  They WANT to visit with your kids.  Let the Character visit, and when they are done, they will pose the children for photos.

Let your kids spend time with the characters. Don’t rush it!

– If your child is afraid of a character, but you really want a photo with the character and your child, then you stand between the character and your child, and if you are holding the child, position your child on your opposite hip from the character.

– Use the “Baby Swap” option.  If you and your husband want to go on a ride that your little ones can not, then ask the Cast Member about the “Baby Swap” option, which means that one parent will wait in line and ride the ride while the other stays with the children.  When the first one returns, the second one gets to go through an alternate wait, which is usually shorter, and sometimes right to the front of the line.

– Baby Care Centers – there is one in each park.  They have nice changing tables, rocking chairs for breast & bottle feedings, high chairs for baby food feedings, and little potties for toddlers & preschoolers.  There are also Diaper Machines and changing tables in most major restrooms.  Breastfeeding is allowed everywhere and anywhere.

– FastPasses – some attractions allow you to get a FastPass ticket which allows you to return at a later time and wait in a shorter line, often with little to no wait.

– PhotoPass – a service that allows guests to have their photo taken by Photo Imaging cast members throughout the resort.  You can then view your photos at Main Street Photo Supply or Greetings From California, or online at www.disneyphotopass.com.  Prints and photo gifts are available for purchase, but there is no obligation.  Cast Members will also use your camera to take photos of you, if you’d like.

– Disney Dining – (714) 781-DINE.  This allows you to get Priority Seating at various restaurants, up to 60 days in advanced.  Priority Seating is not a traditional “reservation” but it will reduce your wait time, as well as guarantee that you will be able to eat at the restaurant close to your assigned time.

Visit Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel for family friendly, Character Dining

– Parades – check the daily schedule for the parade times. The kids love the parades, but you need to stake your spot ahead of time.

– Celebrating something? Stop in at City Hall (in Disneyland) or Guest Relations (at DCA) and tell them what you’re celebrating. They’ll provide you with a free button to wear so that everyone knows it’s your special day. Most of the shops carry the buttons too.

I hope this will help you plan a visit to Disneyland with your baby or toddler.  Please feel free to comment and to share your tips too.

Wednesday Dec 29, 2010

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas in Iowa | Des Moines Kids Photographer

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:53+00:00 December 29th, 2010|Families, Kids|0 Comments

The snow that was delivered on Christmas Eve guaranteed that our first Christmas in Iowa would be a white one. Only two of my three were up to going out to play in it just so I could capture a few images. It still wasn’t really the right kind of snow for snowmen (according to my Minnesota born husband), but they were able to toss a few snowballs around, and make snow angels.  Our dog and the neighbor’s dog had a fun time playing it in too!

Thursday Dec 23, 2010

Enter to win “North America’s Cutest Kid” Contest | Des Moines Childen’s Photographer

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:53+00:00 December 23rd, 2010|Babies, Bellies, Kids, Newborns, News, Promos, Teens/Seniors|0 Comments

I am SO excited to be a participating photographer in the 2011 International Charity Model Search to select North America’s Cutest Kid and to raise funds for the non-profit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Foundation. (NILMDTS.org)

Is your child North America’s Cutest Kid?  I’ll give you the opportunity to prove it! The grand prize winner will win a $2500 savings bond, a $2500 travel package, and a $100 Target gift card.  The second and third place runners up each will win a $500 savings bond and a $100 Target gift card.

Model Search Special starts January 1, 2011 and ends March 31, 2011:

$75 entrance fee includes a 20-minute model session, an 8×10 print, and one image submitted to the international gallery.

Finalists will be determined by online votes. Each vote is $1 (no limit on the amount of votes you can cast), and all proceeds from votes benefit Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS.org).  Every family member who registers their information on the Charity Model Search Website will also receive 1 complimentary vote.  The top 5 paid votes, and the top 5 complimentary votes in each region will move on to the final judging round for a total of 50 finalists.

Grand prize international winner and runners up will be determined from the 50 regional finalists. The winner and runners up are selected by photography experts.

Contact me now at 888-280-4414, or by email, to enter your “Cutest Kid” in this exciting contest.    Sessions must be completed between January 1st and March 31st 2011.

*Contest open to residents of the US and Canada. For more information, visit http://www.charitymodelsearch.org.

Monday Dec 20, 2010

Baby T | Des Moines Newborn Photographer

By | 2017-02-09T16:33:53+00:00 December 20th, 2010|Babies, Newborns|0 Comments

These are some images I captured of one week old baby T before we moved to Des Moines. I realized recently that I’d never had a chance to blog these. She was so tiny, and so sweet.  She is also a very lucky little girl who was born to amazing parents,  a big brother and sister who will love on her unconditionally.


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