Since Tonka died back in December (see the post here), we've been looking for another akita. Luna's really missed having a buddy around and we've missed having a second dog, and of course we wanted to pick up where we left off with our dreams of showing and finishing a dog, and eventually starting our own line of healthy, beautiful akitas that will improve the future of the breed.

(which incidentally is the only reason anyone should be breeding any dog in the first place, but that is a whole 'nother conversation...see here for details if you are entertaining any notions of breeding your dog, especially if you are doing it to make money or to "show the kids the miracle of life").

Well the point is that, because of our high hopes and plans for this dog, we were looking for something really specific, and it took a REALLY long time to find it, but it's finally here. Lexie had a litter of NINE healthy, beautiful puppies yesterday; 6 boys and 3 girls, and if all goes as it should one of those babies will be ours. The sire is Chrome, a gorgeous dog we have admired for some time, who is himself the son of Cuervo, who was the number one akita in the country in 2005 (for those of you non-dog people, that means he won a lot of shows).

That in itself doesn't really matter since it's the culmination of all the ancestors that determine (in part) the quality of the dog...but it sure sounds impressive so I'm mentioning it. More important (to me) are the health, beauty, type (akita-ness), temperament, and structural soundness of all the dogs in the pedigree.

Here is the link to Lexie's wonderful owner/breeder Carrie Holgate's website, and below you can see pics she took of the new babies. I'll post more as they grow, especially when we go down to visit them cuz I will definitely bring my camera. And once we know which one is going to be little "Winter" (yes we named him months ago), I'm sure this blog will be inundated with pics of him. And maybe some video. And a few bronzed paw imprints.

Come to think of it, I'll just replace all the pictures on my website with puppy pics. You guys don't mind, do you?

Winter will be coming home with us in May, and all of you are welcome to come over and help socialize him. And ya know if you wanna book a wedding or something too while you're here, I wont stop you... ;)

Edit: see the individual puppies and watch them grow here.

Lexie and her babies:

Domaine Chandon and St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Yountville CA

Since Bay Area weather is so changeable, I don't often have to shoot in the rain...but this time actually I kinda liked it! I especially loved the shot of Alanna under the umbrella, walking to the church, and how it stopped raining for *exactly* 15 minutes during the reception, just enough time for us to go out and explore the grounds of Domaine Chandon, a GORGEOUS winery in the Napa area. I really hope I get the chance to shoot there again when it is sunny and we can take full advantage of the scenery...hint hint, summer brides! ;)

Alanna was such a laid back, funny, awesome bride and a joy to be around, not to mention beautiful. When I showed the slideshow to Brian he said something about how you can see her immense inner beauty come through...her smile is just radiant. In fact her whole family was great and they managed to make a lunch reception more fun sans DJ and dancing than some of the best all-night receptions I've been to.

Notable events were the toasts, especially the toast by Alanna's sisters who took turns reading lines from a poem by e.e. cummings, which brought the whole room to tears (including me but I got to hide behind my camera so it was ok), and the Chandon staff cutting a ceremonial champagne bottle open with a sword-- which turned it into a geyser, fountaining champagne about 6 feet into the air. I think they shake it up first to heighten the effect--very dramatic.

Thanks to Deborah Simon of Grand Weddings and Events for putting on a beautiful, smooth running event and being so accomodating and wonderful to work with--even making sure us vendors got real food and a quiet place to eat it! Also Polly Harrington of Valley Flora made beautiful arrangements and decor. The food and service at Etoile at Domaine Chandon was excellent. And thanks to EJ Simpson for shooting second on this one with me, he got some excellent shots (the 2nd and 3rd from the last are his) and was a real help when I needed him.