Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had a really nice Christmas around here! Relatively stress-free and completely drama free, and it was just what the holidays should be like in my opinion - the only thing missing was getting to see my sister and her husband, who celebrated with his side this year and will be coming up to MI in a couple weeks to celebrate with us! Christmas Eve we went (as we always do) to my grandparents' house (my dad's parents) to eat and open gifts.
It was nice and the kids were both really happy and well-behaved. They were pretty exhausted by the time we left, but still did not fall asleep in the car as we had expected. We had to make a stop at Walgreens for some last-minute things (yes, 9:30 PM on Christmas Eve). We finally got home and put them to bed, and got things ready for the next morning...
Christmas morning Lucy announced that Santa came! And he ate the cookies! She woke Henry up by screaming all this information at him, and then the kids opened a few presents :).
Before too long it was time to start getting the house ready for Ron's family, who came over around noon. Because one family on his side lives in Texas, and weren't able to come to MI for the holidays this year, there were (counting our two) seven kids under 10 years old (otherwise there would have been nine), and of course lots of great food (we just did appetizers and snacks) and lots of presents under the tree.
It was really nice to have our basement finished and furnished to provide a little extra room for all the people, and another place for the kids to play and watch a couple movies. After this party was over, we basically threw some things together and were out the door to the next party - my grandparents' on my mom's side. Everyone gathers on Christmas night to open gifts and have more food, but I was already so full I didn't really feel like eating anything else! I have some videos I need to upload and add to this post. Busy busy.... Hope everyone had a great holiday!

I have many more photos posted to Smugmug. CLICK HERE to check them out!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Snow Day

As everyone knows, this morning we woke up to a winter wonderland! The phone call at 6:20 AM woke us up to inform us that Ron had a snow day, so he was home to help me take the kids outside for a little while, and they could get their first chance to play outside in the snow. I won't lie, I dressed them in super fun bright colors and grabbed my camera with hopes of capturing a few shots that would work for our Christmas card. I always wanted to do a Christmas card that actually looked wintery, without having to wait till the last minute.
While Lucy ran around and trudged through the snow, Henry was not so enthusiastic about all the cold and wet stuff we were surrounded by. We do realize that he needs proper snow pants and boots, and we can't keep thinking fall is going to last forever! He wasn't outside for very long (and normally I would dress him more for warmth and less for fashion, but really how cute is that hat and vest?!). He was happy to go back in and change into a flannel sleep-n-play and eat some pepperoni pizza. Now if that doesn't sound heavenly... ;)
I managed to take enough pictures that the Christmas card task is completed, pictures put into the cute template (we went with one through Smugmug) and ordered! Christmas cards, check! Now we just have to tackle that shopping...

I do love fall, but I think we were ready for this day to come. It was truly beautiful outside, and this morning it was lovely to see the world blanketed in white, peaceful, and the sun glowing through the hazy sky (it didn't hurt that it also happened to be the start of a 3-day weekend for Ron). And he got to clear the driveway for the first time this season... so it begins. ;) Happy winter!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mommy + Me

Last week Tuesday I brought Lucy to Mommy + Me Soccer at the SoccerZone in Jenison.

Week 1: We had played it up big time, telling her all about how she is going to get to kick the soccer ball, run around, and make friends. We were both excited that Lucy would have a lot of fun. However, due to some goofed-up field scheduling and an overabundance of walk-ins, they had to combine the 3 year olds with 4 and 5 year olds... I mentioned this all on Facebook last week. It was diastrous (for me) because Lucy didn't want to sit and listen to instructions about kicking technique, while there were soccer balls scattered all around. She kept running off and kicking the ball, and I'd usher her back and tell her to listen... she'd wrestle away from me, and we'd repeat this until I was sweating and wondering what all the other parents thought. I was also conscious about the probability that they figured she was one of the 4 or 5 year olds, since she was about the same size, yet acting like a... three year old! Ugh. Why can't that mother control her child!? I was wondering the same thing.

Week 2: They ironed out the kinks and had the 3-year-olds together and the instructor was a young woman (high school or college age) who knew how to talk to preschoolers, and was very understanding when they kicked the ball any which way, or picked it up with their hands. The whole idea was to have fun and remember to only use your feet, pass the ball back and forth, and make some friends. Lucy laughed and ran so much that she was red-faced and breathing hard, and was very good at listening to the "coach", after I spent part of the day explaining it to her more, and reiterating the importance of following directions. She really did great. They got plenty of ball-kicking time, which to a 3 year old, is what soccer is all about. Ron and Henry came too, just to watch (and for him to step in for me if we had a repeat of last week's shenanigans). Next week I might be more apt to bring a video camera or something to catch her in action, but I didn't want to worry about it this time around. While she ran and kicked her kid-sized soccer ball down the length of the field, squealing (into big-kid territory while I called for her to turn around and come back) she looked like a natural. I was pretty impressed, actually.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Halloween!

Sorry for the delay... but I did take some pictures of our kids in their costumes on Halloween - Lucy was Hydrant, her favorite stuffed dalmatian (it rarely leaves her sight), and Henry was Yoda! He walks like Yoda too... and the hat snapped on so he couldn't pull it off (hehehe)!
Here are the kids at Grandma and Grandpa Hiddema's
in front of the painted slider (it's tradition).

Back at our house, dressed and ready to go trick-or-treating!

We took the kids up and down the cul-de-sac and that was about enough for both of them. We asked Lucy if she wanted to keep going, and she said, "I think I have enough." She was ready to get back in the warm house and start eating candy. I wasn't complaining about going back inside either... it was a chilly Halloween this year!

Friday, October 23, 2009

You Are What You Wear...

If this rain keeps up today and my session is rescheduled, I have a shopping trip planned for myself. My business paid me a few times and now I have a little bit of money that is just for me! Instead of finding some excuse to avoid "wasting" it on myself, I am going to buy some clothes that I actually like. I am looking for something that doesn't fall into the following two categories:

1) yard work apparel
2) preppy office style clothes

I do like those kinds of clothes sometimes, but I am tired of not dressing appropriately for my lifestyle. I am a mom, so I need something comfortable that I can move in, crawl on the floor, pick up kids, and not need to dry-clean. I also feel the need to dress in a put-together, but fun way that reflects how I feel inside. I've just never taken the time to figure out who that is, and for my own weird personal reasons, never bothered trying until the last year or so. Not that I always feel put-together and fun, but I just don't feel like a black slacks and turtleneck sweater person right now, at least not as my only choice when it comes time to leave the house.

Most days if I don't have anything going on, I stay in comfy clothes (i.e. sweat pants, long-sleeved t-shirts, maybe jeans), and wouldn't you know, it actually makes me feel down in the dumps! I can't put on my black dress pants just for hanging out at the house, but I would love to find that middle ground, if there is one out there. Maybe dressing better would have the opposite, and positive effect on how I feel every day, even if I am just hanging out at home! I'm just not sure exactly where to start looking, so if you have a suggestion, feel free to leave a comment, or contact Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear, I think I would qualify!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pumpkins

More photos (as I work on them) HERE.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Baking and Hobbling

So, the new stove is in place and we love it! It's so clean and has all kind of features our last oven/stove lacked. So far the only thing we have baked are Pizza Rolls, but I am actually inspired to make some muffins today or tomorrow. We can even lock the oven door by holding one button down for 3 seconds... is this something everyone has? I think it is amazing and so great with kids. That faint gas smell that constantly leaked from our last stove (not from the line hookup, from the stove itself) is no longer here! A few minor finishing touches need to be done with the tiling and sliding the stove back into position a little bit further and we will be all set.

I've been busy with sessions, and I've been trying to edit and keep everyone pretty happy... but ironically it is during this really busy time for me that I also made a decision to try to balance my time better. I was getting sessions edited within a few days and that meant staying up well past midnight, editing in all my "down time" during the day, and for the remainder of every night. I started doing photography professionally because I love it so much, and it would be ideal for me as a stay-at-home-mom because of the flexibility I would have in my schedule. Like almost all other photographers I have gotten to know, it can easily take over your life and all your free time. I think I mentioned this issue before, but my point now is that I rarely work on anything photography related after 10 PM, and I think that is a good thing for me! As long as clients are aware of a general time-line, and there is some good communication, they are very understanding.

Last Saturday I shot a wedding at Dimnent Memorial Chapel at Hope College, and about a half hour before the wedding started, I was carrying all my bags and camera gear down to the basement so it would be out of the way. I also wanted to get some ring shots and maybe a couple of the dress before the bride put it on (it was a very easy-on dress, so no need to put it on much earlier!). I missed the last step from the back of the church down to the north foyer, and rolled my ankle out, and it made 2 loud popping sounds with the accompanying sensation that is rather unpleasant. I can't even think about it without cringing, sorry to put you through that too. They made me sit while I waited for EMT, who checked my ankle and foot (the places they were pressing resulted in zero pain), I assured them I didn't think it was broken, walked on it okay, and was cleared to keep shooting. Of course that wasted the half hour that I needed, but I had Sandy there to help cover some of the getting-ready details. Although I do think she was a little terrified for a few minutes, thinking she might be on her own for the rest of the day. I crouched and walked and hurried around for the rest of the day, kind of just pushing through my injury. Later Saturday night and Sunday it hurt worse, but I think it is getting better quickly now. I felt so ridiculous but everybody was so nice and concerned for me. Unfortunately someone out there got a shot of me sitting at the base of the steps with their point-and-shoot, so I'm just dreading that showing up on Facebook eventually. Ugh!

In other news - honeycrisp apples are being eaten, Henry got another haircut (I did a pretty good job, I think!), a trip to Post (or some other pumpkin patch place with donuts and cider) is planned for tomorrow, and Ron has conferences again tonight, which means a long day on my own with these two kids and my bad ankle (and lots of work to do)! Back to it...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Now We're Cookin'

When we moved into this house we also inherited an original (circa 1986) Tappan stove/oven, a nice off-white version with fluorescent stove light that flickers on if you hold the button down long enough ;)... All four burners ignite, the oven bakes things... generally speaking, it has served us well. Are you at all surprised that I took photos of our oven and made collages? I didn't think so.

Other notable characteristics include the peeling "wood" veneer (sticker), charred burners, an oven door that is sealed by a now ineffective, flimsy gasket (if you stand in front of the oven while it is on, you will feel the actual temperature it is set to, shooting up toward your face). Speaking of the oven door, despite hours (I'm not kidding) of scouring and scrubbing with every kind of solvent (chemical and natural), I can not get the grime off the door to see through the window, so I can't really see in, and it always looks dirty. The "digital" clock, which may or may not work, we really don't care, has been set to 7:14, probably since the first Bush administration.

I know some people cook on even older, rougher looking appliances and they aren't complaining... well, I'm not complaining either (although I will say our oven has a lot of "character" compared to most others' we know), but I just think it is nice to be able to upgrade! We wanted to replace this appliance for a couple years now, and patiently waited until we could buy with cash, and put in one that was nice enough to last a long time, just like I am sure this one was back in the era of roller-skates and Rubik's Cubes, when it was brand new along with the house (built in 1986).

After over 20 years of service, this old girl is ready to retire. Our new stove is being delivered sometime tomorrow (although I'll be shooting a wedding, so when I come home it should be all hooked up and ready for action!). We love cooking with gas burners. The stove surface is cast-iron, and recessed down to almost countertop level, so it will still look pretty streamlined on our island. I also like being able to see through the oven door! It has a great safety feature that locks out the controls so kids can't accidentally turn on the stove or oven, which was important to me, since we needed a slide-in (due to the height of the taller part of our island/bar, we can't have to drop-in with the controls in the back). I am really easy to please... but we are excited because this is basically the first new big-ticket item we have ever purchased for our home, besides our vacuum cleaner, TV, and our Ikea bedroom dressers (our other furniture, and appliances are all second-hand) - probably because so much of our resources were put into remodeling and updating the house itself. We went with a Kenmore. Over the next couple of years we hope to replace our other appliances with Kenmore stainless steel as well. Anyway, here's a look at what we're getting:

Monday, October 05, 2009

Party!

Saturday we celebrated the kids' birthdays with a party at our house. The house was pretty full of family and a few friends. It gave us a reason to get the garage cleaned out, and the rest of the house picked up, at least for a few minutes before everyone arrived! There are still balloons all over the floor and a bunch of new toys, but Saturday night it was overwhelming looking at the aftermath! I guess that's a sign of a good party. Anyway, we let Henry have his cake early on, because he was so tired already....poor kid. He hadn't napped all afternoon. After this he got cleaned up and had a little more party time before I put him down for a nap....
He ended up eating most of that little cake, seriously!

While Henry napped, the party continued.... Here is a photo of Lucy I took while everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to her. Henry was napping at the time. I love the picture, but check out the video, too, it's even better (thanks for taking it Kelly)! :)


The kids painted little pumpkins... which I think actually settled them down a little bit...


Later this morning I am taking the kids to see the pediatrician for the regular check-up.... we'll see how big they've gotten!

Many more photos are here, but I still have to add some more.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Birthday Girl!

Today Lucy turned three years old... my memories of that day are a little hazier, and I have to wonder what I'll be left with as the years go by, to remember that experience. I was anxious and excited, fairly well-prepared for the technical aspect of having a baby, but the pain was something else! It was late, dark, and I wanted Mr. Anesthesiologist to stop by but they kept telling me he was doing this or that, while I progressed to 10 cm. I can just imagine the nurses at their station saying, "let's just see if she can make it to 10 without the epidural, she's doing great and she doesn't have far to go...". Of course I have no idea if they actually said anything like that, but I have to wonder why my repeated requests for the epidural hadn't actually been met. They let me go long enough that eventually I got crabby and was insisting that Ron contact a nurse and make this thing happen... I could not muster the will to press the button and talk to someone myself, I was too busy trying to rip my pillow in half. Finally I got it, just before my last check, only to find that it was time to push! Good thing we have great insurance - because it was too late to help me anyway, but darn it, I got that epidural!!! I believe there were at least 10 people in there. My OB-GYN was there, but hanging back much of the time, while my LD nurse did most of the work (things went relatively smoothly). I think someone ordered a party sub. I didn't really care, I was a little preoccupied and apparently it was a slow night on that floor, so I figured hey, come on in! It seemed like they were all as anxious as we were to find out if it was a boy or a girl (could be my perception was skewed by hormones, but they really did seem genuinely excited as they cheered me on). Maybe Ron can remember better! I don't remember much, other than Lucy being put on my chest in the dark delivery room, her dark eyes wide open and looking at me!

Fast-forward three years and I'm even more proud - not of that event - but our amazing daughter and how she has developed her unique personality, her moods, her intelligence, and all her abilities. She's so healthy and smart, and we couldn't feel more blessed. As she gets a little bit older, and shows her own imperfections, it is just a reminder that we created a real person who is no longer that clean slate of an infant. She will continue to grow and change, and meet challenges, struggle, win, lose, get hurt, make mistakes, triumph, and all those complexities of life and living. Sometimes I miss cuddling with a tiny newborn who can't squirm out of your arms, but who she is becoming is so much more exciting than who she was.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Birthday Boy!

So one year ago tonight I was hanging out in our swanky hospital room, IV needle still stuck in my hand... probably about ready to send Henry off to the nursery for our one night of "rest." Post-delivery, without getting into too much detail, makes it hard to get really comfy in that bed and sleep well, but at least I was on a bed, which is more than Ron can say... then again he wasn't the one who just delivered a 9 pound baby. Not that I'm complaining, it was one of the two most exhilarating events of my life.

Anyway, Henry was born at 4:19 PM. Contractions started late-morning (at least that's when I started feeling them with a pattern), and I still remember the walks we took the night before, and the morning of his birth. I was relatively calm and excited (if those two things don't contradict each other), and the delivery experience seemed so much brighter than Lucy's. The fact that he was born during business hours (as opposed to 2 AM) might have been part of that, but the epidural that got me through the last couple hours of labor probably made a difference as well ;). We stayed for the minimal amount of time (the required 24 hours after his birth), being sure to blog, watching Evan Almighty and snapping photos, packing up our stuff, and making a few more phone calls. I couldn't wait to get home. Just like when Lucy was born, we drove home on a rainy fall day and put him in the bassinet my dad made, wondering what it was going to be like now that we were home, "on our own" with two kids to take care of! Some blurry days and nights followed, but we got through it gracefully and confidently, only crashing into the bedroom door jamb in the dark a couple times. Now when I hold my big 1 year old son (who is following in his sister's footsteps along the growth chart), I can barely remember how tiny he was.

Looking back at those photos I took at the hospital of him, he has changed so much! Lucy has too, she wasn't even 2 years old (quite yet). Our daily life seems a bit chaotic at this stage, but at the same time I feel like everything is going according to plan! Tonight we went to the Rainbow Grill for dinner, and Lucy was extra chatty and inquisitive, and had her volume turned up to 11. Henry sat nicely and looked cute, but spliced in random shrieks that definitely turned some heads, while we both scrambled to give him another spoonful of mashed potatoes or applesauce, while Lucy started getting extra upset at how messy our table was! And Where did that lady go? I need to tell you something! My fork keeps sliding off the bowl! What's that? Barbeque sauce? I like barbeque sauce. Look at me (drinks milk then spits it into water)! Is that guy happy? Is she your friend? (because I had been talking to Katie's mom; she and Katie's dad sat in the booth across from us!) [Henry whips sippy cup to the floor]. We were both cracking up - they weren't being bad, but it was just... how can I put it?

I know I ate my meal, but I don't remember it.

Anyway, Henry has a personality not unlike Lucy's, but for now it's dialed down just a bit. I'm sure he will turn it up soon enough. He has been taking more steps on his own, but still prefers to crawl - he's super quick and disappears into Lucy's room, usually to try to climb onto her bed, which isn't the best thing because he will fall off, so that means I have to go get him, and that means he gets angry. He loves food of all kinds, especially PB&J sandwiches, and tends to hit and shove more than Lucy ever did at that age (uh-oh). He's just so cute and happy, and I won't even attempt to explain the love we have for him and his big sister. I think Lucy is even starting to think he's pretty cool too.
Happy 1st Birthday Buddy!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wild Thing

Last night we had one of our regularly scheduled birthday/anniversary parties at my grandparents' house in Grandville. My parents took the motorcycle there since it was a nice day, and my grandma Myrt had mentioned she wanted a ride... so after dinner she put on some shades and climbed on)...
Meanwhile we all hung out in the front lawn and driveway waiting for them to come back. The wrong motorcycle drove by (with a man and a woman) and we were so ready that we all started shouting and taking pictures and video.. only to realize as they came into focus we had the wrong people. The confused look on the guy's face, and then awkward smile and wave, was pretty unforgettable, and we all had a pretty good laugh about it. Maybe we're easily amused, or maybe you "had to be there," but it was hilarious.

Lucy took it upon herself to lay in the grass and look at the sky. She's trying to find shapes in the clouds, so Ron joined her. Since I had my camera out already I took a couple snapshots...They came back (eventually) and Grandma was all smiles :) Love it. Well, this isn't really that surprising - the fact that she's 80 and did this - because she is blessed with health and vitality and definitely does not act like an old lady at all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zoo!

Sunday we visited John Ball Zoo, which we hadn't done yet this summer. The crowds weren't bad, either. The Siberian Tiger roared a lot, and we actually got to see the snow leopard, which is usually hiding - this time it was sleeping in the front corner of it's area, only about 6 feet from us. Lucy rode the camel, and loved it! Henry looked at animals, and seemed to be pretty interested in many of them, but for the most part he was along for the ride in the stroller. It was the most fun we've had at the zoo with the kids (well, last year one of our kids was still in the oven, and we went during a major heat wave - at least that's how I remember it). Lucy walked a lot, and asked a lot of questions, and was saying "hi" to all the animals. We stopped at the bear and she looked at it for a while - it was standing right there in front, being all awesome and bear-like, and then she said, "Okay, let's go look at some different animals." She'd repeat that phrase several more times when something wasn't exciting to her.Of course monkeys were a big hit, and frogs and snakes. She pet stingrays (although as soon as one would swim up under her hand she'd pull her hand out and giggle) and the pygmy goats. She fed a parakeet with a stick with bird seed stuck to the end of it. When I purchased the food-stick for a buck, and handed it to her, she immediately put it in her mouth. No! Then on the 5 foot walk to the door of the giant bird cage, she picked off half of the food! Stop! Some was still on it though, and a birdie came right away and perched on her stick for quite a while, eating what was left, so she thought that was pretty amazing. Then she chased other floor-scavenging birds around with her seedless stick for a minute, until I could no longer stand the smell of the bird droppings-slash-disinfectant and got us out of there, straight to the Purell dispenser! Phew! Good times!

Much of the time I was doing the zoo activities with her, while Ron handled the photography and stroller pushing duties (we brought along the somewhat less extravagant camera with us for this trip).

I got these ones of her on the camel, however, while he took a video clip...
I'll admit I was slightly nervous that she'd freak out and launch herself off the camel, but she held on tight and smiled the whole time... I've never ridden a camel. Pretty cool.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stop and Hear the Music

This is interesting - from a forward I received that was actually worth reading. The video clip is really well done too.

Washington , DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007.

The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes, a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously.. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

Findings:
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the Metro Station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and people's priorities. The questions raised: "In a common place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?"

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we
missing?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

It's the First Day of School...


Saw this posted on Facebook by a relative - I thought it was pretty funny. I'm not so sure if the boy in the video would agree!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

3 Year Blogiversary

I can't believe I forgot my own 3 year Blogiversary: It was September 5. Here is what I had to say back in 2006 (and a glimpse of a tiny little Lucy still a bun in the oven). In three years, I have posted 621 times, more if you count posts that I've gone back and deleted. I even had a blog before this one, but it was deleted entirely. Anyway, thank you to all my loyal and occasional stumble-upon readers. Here's to another great year talking about nothing in particular.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Here's to Fall

Today is the last "official" day of summer vacation for Ron. Tomorrow he reports back to work, and I know everyone is rolling their eyes a little thinking of how good he has it as a teacher, regarding the 3 month vacation he gets every year. Yeah, well, it is pretty nice. I could say something like, "well, the price he has to pay for the 3 month break is the fact that he deals with 150 teenagers every day.." etc. etc. but he actually loves his job and is good at it. I am glad I married a high school teacher. True story: part of me thought that someday I might marry a teacher. You think I am making that up in hindsight? Nope. And now that I have, I realize that either I must be subconsciously psychic or just knew at a young age what I wanted. Or I just got lucky. The fact that he is a teacher is a huge contributing factor in my photography business being possible too.

Anyway, this cooler summer weather is a welcome treat in my book. I even wore a sweater for part of the day yesterday! Usually our fall is so short you can barely enjoy it before we're buried under 4 feet of snow... maybe this year we will get an extended version. I'm okay with that. Bring on the pretty leaves!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Little Helper

I have been so busy these days with sessions and editing, I feel like I constantly need to be working on pictures... and to be honest, I am excited to be going into a week-long stretch of no sessions! I can get caught up on editing at night (and a little during the day, I can't help it), and spend some more time doing "normal" things... or things that I don't usually give myself time to do!

Today started out a little rainy, so I decided that I would bake chocolate chip cookies with Lucy. Ron had to run to the store and pick up some ingredients that we were out of (he can throw a hat on and run to Family Fare more easily than I can make myself look presentable!). Eventually I got a good stopping point in my editing that I could get baking! I tied an apron around Lucy and she helped dump ingredients into the big bowl and stir them... later she helped drop the balls of dough onto the cookie sheet... she was really having a lot of fun. Of course she was more interested in eating the cookies...

Shocking sidenote: I quickly wiped off my hands and snapped a few pictures... then I had to get back to the task at hand: keeping her from eating all the chocolate chips out of the bowl, " 'cause they're yummy! " Apron, ponytail, how could I not take a few photos!

Kelly and Heath visited a couple times in the past month, and made a good point that we need to take more videos of Lucy (and Henry) to share online... so I decided this would be a perfect opportunity... Our daily life is full of zany moments like this (and the truth comes out, our house often looks like a tornado hit. This is what happens when I neglect cleaning for a few hours):



Ron's good friend from high school (in the U.P.) and his fiance are coming down for the weekend... we haven't seen Chad in 3 years - the last time was at their 10 year high school reunion, and I was 7 months pregnant with Lucy! I have never met Carrie, but I'm really looking forward to their visit and getting a chance to know her a little bit...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reception

Last Saturday we celebrated Kelly and Heath's wedding with a hometown reception in our parents' back yard. Lots of friends and family members stopped by, we had great food, drinks, music, and stayed up talking and laughing after putting the kids to bed there...

Tiece made the cupcakes and everyone loved them! My parents did the rest of the food, other than the fabulous pasta salad brought by our good family friend Lori - she and her husband Dave were friends with our parents back when they were all first married...

As usual it was just nice to get another chance to hang out with Kelly and Heath - the kids know them well despite the fact they live in Evanston :). Everything went really smoothly, and with minimal stress getting things ready, the back yard looked great, and people were happy, and all to celebrate two people we love. Congrats (again) guys!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Daily Life

Last weekend Ron and I went up to Traverse City to tour the wineries - we ended up purchasing 1 bottle from 5 of the wineries, and 2 bottles from 2 of them. We have yet to drink any of that wine, as we are actually trying to build a collection of decent wine so we have it available to share with guests at all of our lavish dinner parties. Right! Anyway, it was nice to get away, even though we weren't gone for long. Then Saturday I had a session shortly after we got home.

I know it's kind of silly to blog about not blogging, but obviously there has been a significant drop in my number of posts this summer! The main reasons being 1) too much time wasted on Facebook has cut into my "excessive" blogging and 2) photography work is keeping me busy, and if I'm on the computer I should try to be doing something constructive (or else see reason #1). When I've spent time editing, uploading, e-mailing, and blogging a session, I really am about computered out.

On the homefront, our basement bathroom is decorated. What a difference matching shower curtain, towels, and a candle can make! I like it much more than our main floor bath! Uh-oh... another room I am going to want to redo in the next year or two! Lucy is supposed to be going to school this fall, but has regressed terribly in the potty-training department. Some days she is amazing and other days it is like she doesn't even care at all. We've tried charts, treats, tons of praise, asking her a lot, not asking her at all, reminding her to tell us... I know she'll get it eventually. Sometimes she announces that she has to go, and she stays dry for hours and hours (or all day!), other times she fights tooth and nail. If you know Lucy at all, you know she can put up quite a fight if she chooses to, and it can be tricky trying to convince her without her shutting down even more. I refuse to strap my child to a toilet all day until they happen to pee. Henry is working on even more teeth and I can tell by how he is crying that his mouth hurts. Poor guy. He's still pretty happy overall, and his teething isn't waking him up at night, which is nice....

... and I'm up too late again. Goodnight.

Friday, August 07, 2009

5 Years

Today is our 5th anniversary and we are heading up to Traverse City to tour the wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula. I think people never stop saying, I can't believe it's been __ years...." and I am no exception. It really has gone by so quickly! I love you Ron, and I love my life. Happy anniversary!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Blueberries

This morning Ron, Lucy, and I went blueberry picking at Irvine's in Hudsonville. We got there around 9 AM, the dew was still on the grass, and the sun was still fairly low in the sky. It was beautiful, and we were the only ones there! The owner and her dog greeted us and told us all about their farm. Last year we went to Reender's, which was great, but we loved Irvine's because it was closer, smaller, less commercial, and had heirloom varieties instead of the most common "Bluecrop" which tend to be larger but sometimes less flavorful. The kind we picked were Rubels, planted by the owner's grandparents.

Anyway, Lucy helped a lot picking at first, but then switched over to more eating. We ended up taking home 5 pounds, which is a perfect amount (we didn't use up the 7 pounds we picked last year). I spent most of the time picking, believe it or not. However, I did bring my camera and took some photos after my bucket was getting full.

We left Henry at home this time, and my mom came over and watched him for a couple hours. It's nice to give Lucy a little extra special attention these days, since I think she is starting to get more competitive with Henry as he accomplishes new things and is interacting with her a lot more.

We definitely have our new favorite place to go pick. I love taking advantage of this kind of stuff where we live.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tunnel Park Session

Last week we went to Tunnel Park with our friends Mike and Jenn and their boys. Jenn is a photographer, and we sort of exchanged "services." I got some great pics of her family and she got some of ours too, which is rare, being that I am usually on the other side of the camera! It was a lot of fun. I blogged about it on my MLP blog, and she just posted her pics on her own blog. Check them out HERE.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Walk Like a Man

This morning Henry took 2 steps all by himself! Luckily we (even Lucy) were all watching him at the time :). It was just a couple, but it's a start. Soon he will be chasing Lucy through the house while she screams at him, hahahaha! He's 10 months and 1 day old.
photo from later that day:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Denning Family Reunion

Yesterday Ron and I, along with the kids, went to the Denning Family reunion in Battle Creek. The cottage on the lake was gorgeous and there were almost 60 people there! Everyone brought great food, and there were a lot of new faces for me (and for Ron, in some cases). Henry was really good although he became extremely tired with no nap, and Lucy was having a good time, but busy busy busy! We got there around 12:30 and left around 6:30 PM. We didn't realize it until we were on our way home, neither of us even had a chance to pee while we were there! Sorry if TMI, but it goes to show you how we both had our hands pretty full! It was nice though. There were just so many people I wish I could have talked to more!

His whole family doesn't all get together like this too often, so it was important to get a big group photo. This is when a wide-angle lens is most useful!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Henry at 9 (okay, 10) Months!

What? I'm just playin' my xylophone...

Today Henry had his 9 month checkup, although he's closer to 10 months old now - the 28th will be the date. He weighed in at 21 pounds even, and 30 and 3/4 inches long. Generally speaking, his weight is right in the middle of average for his age, and his length is "off the chart" but not by too much. He had one shot, and stopped crying the instant I picked him up. He was back to his smiling self immediately. What a good boy. See, here he is amusing himself with a hanger.

Then again, he is starting to become even more mobile, and with that has developed a feisty streak. He does not sit on your lap for more than a couple seconds before arching has back and wanting to get down. He spots something across the room and goes for it one way or another. He will to crawl to anything, pull himself up, and "creep" along it until he has no choice but to take a hand off and stand, holding on with one hand. He can even walk a little bit holding onto my hand with one of his, but usually twists around to look at me and that's when he ends up plopping back down. Sometimes he can stand on his own for several seconds holding onto nothing, but of course, crawling is faster and easier!

He loves taking a bath (no ring, no inflatable duck tub, etc.), especially if he can play in there with his big sis. I think she would disagree about the fun factor of bathtime with her baby brother, because "he's in the waaaaay!" He just crawls all over the place and splashes up a storm. He might slip a little here or there, but I make sure he is safe, and he is doing pretty well at holding his own. Lucy spotted something that seemed out of place though, and that was an interesting moment. "Because he's a boy" is enough of an answer to satisfy her for now!

He is starting to drink regular milk (might we be done buying formula???) and also using a sippy cup. I think we got Lucy on the sippy a little earlier, but time flies with the second one. All of a sudden he's over 9 months old, and it's just too easy to go about your routine and have the months sneak up on you. I'm also guilty of not giving him enough finger foods to experiment with, but over the past couple of weeks he has had a lot more, and is really good at the pincher grasp. He seems to like most everything we give him. He's had a little pizza, squash, peas and carrots, Puffs (that doesn't really count, I'm talking about "people food" here), cake, chicken salad, graham crackers, and some other things. It won't be long until we can phase out baby food too. We give him a variety of fruits and veggies, and - yuck - some meats. Well, apples and chicken isn't so bad, but I am not a fan of baby food meats. Anyway, many baby foods are orange: namely squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches, and some of the combo foods. We try not to give him more than 1 "orange" per day, but alas, carotenosis cannot be stopped. You can see it by the sides of his nose mostly. If you look at the Wiki entry and see the list of foods associated with high levels of carotenoids, you might be surprised to see things like broccoli, apples, plums, among other unexpected culprits. Well rounded diet or not, it seems inevitable. No I am not spraying fake tanner on my baby.


He is so good. Even when he is super tired he smiles and waves (open-close-open-close hand) and babbles (da da da, na na na, ah-da), and makes funny sounds like "atchh" and "eeshhh." Looking back, Lucy was not a fussy baby either, she too was friendly and smily and slept through the night at a normal age, everything very similar. As soon as she became mobile, she was obviously a lot more work - she was, and still is, very very active and is an amazingly sweet, smart girl when she gets attention. When she's ignored she acts out, or gets bored and goes to the fridge (!!!). Maybe Henry will be able to amuse himself more than Lucy, but he is showing signs - just like she did - that he wants to be doing something all the time. I'm sure I'm in for some surprises as they start to play together more and more....

Monday, July 06, 2009

3rd, 4th, and 5th of July

Sorry but I think this post is going to be picture-free! Of course my camera is at the camera hospital getting repaired (hopefully) and although I did borrow one for the time being, I really didn't feel much like taking photos this weekend with someone else's camera. Also, if you can believe it, I sometimes don't feel like always taking photos! I have had a cold, and maybe that has something to do with it, because it kind of made me grumpy and unmotivated.

Anyway, Friday afternoon we made the kids take good naps - although Henry went to bed at his normal time, Lucy stayed up extra late so we could enjoy a campfire and fireworks at our neighbor's house. She stayed up until after 11:00 PM and we had a great time over there. Our neighbor bought some really great (probably illegal) fireworks in Indiana and they were quite impressive! Henry was safe sleeping in his crib, yards away, and we ran home a couple times to make sure he wasn't awake or screaming!

Saturday we headed to Grandville for the parade, which we watched with Ron's mom, his brother Tom, and (2 out of 3 of) Tom's kids. We let Lucy dash away from the curb and crab candy, and she had a blast with her cousins! Then we headed back to my grandparents' for lunch. They live on Yellowstone (in the house they built and where they raised their 5 children) so they are really close to all the 4th of July activities. As far back as I can remember, their home is open to all family and friends throughout the day (or any other day, for that matter). We went home for naps (including me, I was feeling pretty crappy!) and then to my parents for hotdogs and hamburgers.

We went back to Grandma and Grandpa's at night for the big fireworks display, where everyone (who is in town) watches from their front lawn. I almost bailed on it, because I was feeling like my head was completely stuffed up, but I didn't want to miss watching my own kids watching the fireworks... and I know how special it is for my grandparents on that day, when family, community, patriotism, and tradition are celebrated probably more than any other time of year. Grandma is 80 and Grandpa turns 80 next month, and as important as all this is for them, it is starting to take on more meaning for me than ever before. No one goes there because they are guilted into it... it's just what you do, if you are in town, even if it's just to stop in and say hi for a minute. Not everyone can be there all the time, but their kids and grandkids always know they are welcome and loved, no matter what, which is how it should be.

Henry didn't cry with the loud booms, or the fact that it was well past his normal bed time, but he was so exhausted he just stared at the fireworks, while Lucy could hardly sit still, despite the long day and another late night. The excitement had her pretty wound up!

Lucy has a cold (I think I caught mine from her), and Henry started developing the same symptoms later on Saturday, so when Sunday morning came around, we really didn't feel like exposing all the other kids at church to our illness, and stayed home (again). Ron worked on the deck a little bit, and I had an engagement session in Holland at night, then spent the rest of my evening editing wedding photos (yes, I am still working on them... but I'm almost done, hooray!!!), while Ron snoozed on the couch... and now I think he's coming down with this cold too! Summer colds are the worst! Luckily mine is almost gone now. :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dividing Time

The last week or so has been crazy... I used to spend the vast majority of my day taking care of the kids, and now I spend most of my time editing photos! I love doing it, but I feel like I can't get them finished quickly enough. I used to have all my client proofs done within a few days, and then sitting around waiting for another session to come along. I am now experiencing the opposite extreme, and it is taking me closer to 2 weeks to edit all of these sessions. I'm pretty sure people don't mind, but I don't like the slower turnaround. In the future, scheduling will have to be a little more spread out, because I feel guilty if I sit out on the deck with a glass of wine - which is silly, I should be able to do that! I also have to learn not to overshoot, as I did for a recent family session! I won't say how many photos I took in total, but it was far too many. I learned a lot from that session in particular.

I get frustrated sometimes because there are always things that I learned from a session, and wish I could go back and have applied that lesson. Impossible to do, because I am already back home with my files ready to edit... but that's how it goes. Each time out is a learning experience for me, and that is how I will get better. If you have hired me in the past for a session, I guarantee if you hire me again your photos will be better, because I have come a long way since starting this little operation!

Ron is doing a great job taking care of the kids and the house while I camp out in the basement with the computer(s) editing. I definitely would like to balance my time and not have to be doing this full-time as I have the past couple weeks. I think with this career (or as a photographer friend put it, "jobby"), at least for me, it's hard to predict when things will be slow and when things will be busy, and I was eager to accept as many jobs as I could, scheduling them all based on the clients' convenience (which I still prefer to do if at all possible). Here's one from the session I referred to earlier... this is Sadie and a Ladybug.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Right here on the computer, a lot, actually! However, I haven't had much to blog about other than the work I am doing. So I'm doing one of those "Sorry I haven't posted in a while" posts... oh well.

Mexico was amazing. Kelly and Heath's wedding was beautiful and we all had such a nice time. Most of my time was spent relaxing by the pool or walking around with my camera. Ron went snorkeling and jet-skiing, but honestly, the highlight for both of us was just slowing down and not having any responsibilities for a few days.

Since getting back to Michigan (and reality) I have been working busily on photos. I had three sessions each of the three days after I got home. On top of those, I have the wedding photos and a senior session I did for my cousin while we were in Mexico. I'm trying to be fair, prioritize, and give everyone at least a preview in a timely manner. However, our computer(s) aren't super fast, and when the kids are around it's hard to stay focused. This has resulted in some late nights for me on the laptop! Luckily, Ron is off for the summer and has been helping out a tremendous amount with taking care of the kids and housework. I hope it doesn't sound like I am complaining because I love doing sessions, and even editing all the images. It is just consuming all my free time lately!

So, I must be getting back to work on some photos, but I will leave you with a couple shots from our trip which show the resort...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Preview

The line between personal and professional is definitely blurred when I photograph Kelly and Heath's wedding details - the ceremony was photographed by my uncle Dan. However, the rest of the time I had my camera in hand (although it wound up in the hands of a few others later during the reception... a behavior that would not be typical of a wedding photographer, but in this case I didn't mind!).

I am starting to take on the huge task of processing wedding pictures! I know there is no rush, but I'm excited to do them because there are so many good ones. Hard to go wrong when you are somewhere as beautiful as this... so check out the MLP blog, where I have posted one solitary photo. More coming soon...

Return

Well, Ron and I got home last night a little after 10:30 PM. Needless to say, I have lots of laundry to wash, and lots of photos to edit. I can't wait to share some of them here, but it won't be until later this afternoon...

Last night we had a major thunderstorm (it even knocked our power out for a while), and Lucy came into our room to sleep between us. That was the first time we had seen her since Saturday night... She does seem older. She doesn't look older, but she is acting older. Very strange. She stayed in there until we all woke up this morning, then Henry woke up and he seemed really excited to see us - he did look different to me.

The wedding was wonderful. The place we stayed was amazing. Seeing pictures online do not do it justice. The wedding day, Tuesday, started off with beautiful weather, which turned into rain and gray skies in the afternoon as 6:00 approached. Needless to say, Kelly was becoming a little disappointed and anxious, as we had had beautiful weather the entire time up until this point. It just didn't seem fair, and the wedding coordinator was suggesting moving the ceremony inside. But Kelly and Heath faithfully pressed on with their plan to be married on the beach. Heath even bought several large colored umbrellas from the gift shop in case that could help keep certain people somewhat dry. As I made my way down to the wedding site, it started to sprinkle again ("uh-oh..."). It stopped again, and we all gathered to wait for the ceremony to start. The sun even came out a little! It was warm and breezy, and most importantly DRY. We did photos afterward, and just as that was wrapping up, the rain started again and we ran up the beach to where the reception was being held - inside a large open hall with thatched roof and a table set up with white and red linens.

The food was incredible - the best wedding food I've ever had. Both families, as well as some of Kelly and Heath's friends, got along beautifully and had a great time. Everything was dim and romantic and very beachy, even with a little wind and rain going on outside. It was perfect. More later...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ups and Downs of Leaving The Kids

Well, tonight we will put the kids to bed, and by the time they wake up (unless they wake up at 5:00 AM) we will be on our way to Chicago O'Hare to fly to Mexico for Kelly's wedding! It seems like there is plenty to do to keep us busy today, including digging the suitcases out of storage so we can start to pack! Not that we procrastinate, I just don't feel that it takes me very long to put things in a suitcase. I've been typing up info sheets for my cousin to use while she watches our kids for the five days we are gone. I'm going to miss the kids, but I worry more about (I hope this doesn't come across as arrogant) them missing us, which I know will eventually hit, after a couple days. We're planning some distractions with visitors and new toys to help with that.

Lisa is great with our kids, and she knows so much about taking care of children, safety, health, and has a keen eye for potential hazards. She's fun, and knows how to play with young children, encourage learning and focusing, sharing, and creativity (and bonus points: she can French braid Lucy's hair - a skill I definitely do not possess)! She's not afraid of enforcing rules and boundaries (our discipline method is the Naughty Spot, and it works for us), especially when it might mean keeping someone safe - and that is something we feel strongly about when considering someone to watch our kids for this long. In fact, she was hired at the new Apple Tree daycare center being built on Port Sheldon. I know she won't do everything exactly the same way I would, and that's okay. I just want the kids to be safe, healthy, and happy, and I can relinquish some control here. We'll probably call home once a day to see how everyone is doing. There will also be various other relatives coming by to help give her a break, keep the house semi-tidy, and entertain the kids. She is going to be a great mom herself one day, but jumping in to the full-time role of taking care of an extremely busy, feisty toddler and a crawling, pulling-up-on-stuff, putting everything in his mouth baby sun-up to sun-down, isn't easy for anyone. It's a skill you grow into. I do it every day, and there are times when I need to give myself a time-out.

Actually, every mom - especially full-time SAHMs - needs some time off... no one climbing on me or grabbing fist-fulls of the skin on my neck with their tiny sharp fingernails, or hauling a loaf of bread out of the fridge to inform me they need a sandwich!, though I won't name names. Moms who work outside the home hopefully aren't experiencing such things at their job - which I can only assume provides some relief from all the little-kid madness! Ron and I pretty much never take a vacation, and I expect that we won't know what to do with all the freedom from responsibility! Margaritas, snorkeling perhaps...

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rainy Days and Babies

Thinking back to the birth of both of my kids, I went into labor spontaneously (not induced) at term, 38.5 weeks, just before a low pressure system went through, i.e. rainy, stormy weather. The drive home from the hospital, both times, was a wet one. I had heard of correlations with this, and as I await news from my friend Amber who was due this past Saturday, I wonder if it will prove to be true again. My Internet "research" turned up forums where LD nurses wrote about significant increases of women in labor just before rain and storms occurred, time and time again. I even found a legit study abstract on the topic which found a causal relationship, taking it to an even further level of validity. Interesting. So if you are expecting a baby and anxiously waiting for labor to start, maybe you want to watch that forecast!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Take a Stand

I was standing by the booster chair convincing Lucy that she did not need a sandwich (after just finishing her oatmeal), little did I know what was going on with her baby bro. I turned around to see Henry standing up in the playpen, hanging on to the edge. He's been trying to get his feet under him, but only for a week or less. I was super surprised! Then he started crying, I think because he wanted to get down and didn't know what to do. I guess we'll be lowering the crib mattress one more notch...

Monday, June 01, 2009

Car Wash of Terror

I apologize in advance that this is nearly 3 minutes of us going through a car wash on Saturday, and finishes with us waving like dorks at the mirror. I will understand completely if you don't watch the entire thing! For some reason I felt the need to record this event (boredom), but it's all worth it for the few seconds in the middle where you see Henry's worried expression like, "what is going on!?" which I couldn't see until I reviewed this video. Is it bad that I find that slightly amusing? Lucy was conked out the entire time.

The Last Week!

Today is the beginning of the last week of school (at least for Grandville High School, where Ron teaches). Then every day will feel like the weekend. People often tell him that it's so unfair that he doesn't have to work but still gets paid in the summer - which he will admit is nice (and I LOVE), but the fact is he does not get paid for those months, instead redistributes his 9 month salary over the entire year, and takes a smaller check. It is also a much needed break from the 9+ hour days spent with teenagers (and that doesn't even include time grading after school). I'm not trying to sound defensive, I am just proud of him and what he does for a living. Despite some of the comments he gets from friends, his job is extremely demanding and he is, bias aside, one of the best teachers there. I can vouch for that because I know most of his coworkers and have subbed in many of their classes. His classes are not easy, but his students work hard, give him respect, and actually like him (even when he gives them detentions, etc.) - that is not an easy thing to accomplish to maintain classroom control and still be liked. I think a lot of that is because he has the perfect personality for a high school teacher. I, however, do not. I would probably lose my cool and fling someone's iPhone at the cinderblock wall. Those are not allowed during class! Yikes.

He used to work in the summer, but this year he will not. That is because he is going to be Mr. Mom from time to time allowing me to have more flexibility scheduling sessions. I will make more than he did at Woodcraft anyway, and we will still have a lot of free time to enjoy our summer! I have enough sessions scheduled for the month of June to keep me very busy, so I am saying that I am "booked" and not taking any more clients for that month! I do not want to spend all of my free time editing, and with what I have right now I will be doing plenty of it. There must be a balance. The fact is, I am still a full-time stay at home mom (I do my sessions on weekends or I have to find a babysitter during the week), and until our kids are in school full-time, I can not be a full-time photograper. I'm very thankful for how well it is going so far this year.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lucy's Surgery

Lucy had an umbilical hernia fixed on Wednesday. My mom took Henry the night before, since we had to get up pretty early to head to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. Lucy's surgery went well, and she was kind of groggy for quite a while afterward, but by late afternoon we had to try to reign her in from doing too much activity... she got her appetite back and was just a little whiny, but otherwise back to normal later the same day.

Well, I did not bring my camera to the hospital. I debated it for a while. I thought it would be weird and unnecessary, but I wish I would have brought it because there were some times when she was sleeping in her bed, or in Ron's arms, that were just so precious. I know any surgery is a big deal, and although this outpatient procedure was about as routine as they come (and she bounced back as quickly as can be!) it was her first real hospital experience since she was born!

Although I didn't have my camera (regret, regret, regret) I did have my little Flip video recorder from Kelly in my purse (see, how handy!!!), so I got a few seconds of her before her surgery, getting all geared up in her tiger hospital jammies and socks. Once she was dressed, she was ready to run out the door to the playroom, which is where this video leaves off.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ribbit

This was taken with my Sigma wide-angle zoom lens (17-70). The frog let me get pretty close! I tried to turn him to face me (he was right by the edge of the deck so I couldn't move) but then he got angry and hopped all the way from the upper deck down to the ground! The top version is the basic one, and the bottom version has sort of a vintage look... which is nicer? I was pretty happy with how much detail I caught in his skin and the sharpness of his eye!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

First off - today is Ron's 31st birthday - happy birthday hon, I love you!

We had a great Memorial Day weekend. The weather was beautiful, and we even made it out to Saugatuck to wander around with our Otsego friends Eric and Jen. Everyone else must have had the same idea because it was a very busy town that afternoon! It was gorgeous weather and the sidewalks (and parking spots) were packed! I love it though, it's so pretty and the shops have such interesting, unique finds. I loved listening to a potter explain his methods, and was admiring one of his large shallow bowls until I saw the price tag ($250)! Well, he is very talented, but that's a bit steep for me! :) We had dinner and beers at Wally's and then went back to their house for a couple hours. Sunday our guest pastor at church was wonderfully inspiring and we came home and grilled hamburgers and hung out outside. Our neighbor came over and helped Ron with the pergola project (which is about 95% complete now!), and yesterday we went to the parade in Jenison (on Baldwin), then home to relax for a few hours before going to my parents' for grilled chicken. Lucy chased butterflies around with a net...

Henry seems to have some kind of allergy (pollen?) which makes the skin right around his eyes all red! Poor guy! But he's still a happy boy, and loves crawling around all over and pulling up on anything he can. We have already dropped the mattress down because before too much longer he'll have his feet under him.

Lucy got a big bucket of chalk from my grandparents last week, and is quickly wearing down the pink pieces.
Henry has spent some more time in the grass lately, and whenever anyone sees him sitting in grass they are surprised that it doesn't bother him. I think it often does feel strange to little ones at first, but neither of our kids minded it. However, he does try to eat it. This photo actually isn't from this weekend, but it's a recent one anyway. I was trying to get more of Lucy for a change, and her playtime outside was when Ron was digging up our massive hosta collection and I could keep an eye (and lens) on Lucy, while Henry was napping.

I believe I have a few on my camera I need to go through, but I realized it has been over a week since my last post! Generally things have been kind of uneventful around here, I guess! We're just glad to be able to go out in the yard almost every day and say hi to our wonderful neighbors, take walks, etc... which means less time on the computer, to be honest! Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why I Blog

I think it's becoming more and more popular for people to participate in some form of social networking online - whether it's MySpace, Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, even some photo sharing sites like Flickr, and numerous others, where you can share thoughts, opinions, experiences, videos, photos, news... In fact, the weblog ("blog") format has existed since long before the term was coined. As of the end of 2007, the blog search engine Technorati was tracking over 112 million blogs! Apparently in 1999 blogging became more mainstream (although the first blogs date back to the early 90's), and clearly hasn't slowed down.

I started blogging in 2005, while trying to conceive our first child. I think I was going through a really tough time and needed some kind of outlet. Although I didn't write much about TTC, it was then that I started finding old friends and reading their blogs. I wrote about my life in general, and honestly it was pretty boring! I deleted that blog and started this one (September 5, 2006), almost a month before Lucy was born. It seemed like a good time to start documenting my experiences as a stay-at-home mom, as well as my other thoughts about the world outside of my home. I knew I needed to stay connected somehow.

In the past two and a half years, I have reconnected with many old friends. We don't just comment on each others' posts, we actually do get together in person from time to time! I think that it's good to take it to that next step if it's logistically possible, and your social "network" should extend beyond your computer monitor. Also, being a stay-at-home mom, I have a great way to journal about my family in a format that is open to comments and a sort of conversation among myself and other moms, as well as friends and family who are interested in what is going on in my neck of the woods. My sister, for example, lives in Illinois and if it weren't for our blogs, it would be hard to find time to regularly keep in touch, as she is extremely busy with her job and working toward her MBA, and our free time doesn't always coincide. We can read each others' blogs when we have time, and it really helps us keep in touch on a more regular basis.

As a professional photographer, blogging is a seriously important aspect of networking and marketing my business. I want to get to know other professional photographers, and see their work, but I read their blogs every time they update! I also want to stay relevant for potential clients, and a frequently updated blog will (statistically) pull more traffic than a site that sits and never changes for months on end.

As I said earlier, the number of blogs out there is pretty staggering. I don't worry about my kids' safety, because "A Day in the Life" is also A Needle in the Haystack. Random acts of violence and terror can occur anywhere - a parking lot, a a park, a dark alley... I suppose I don't feel that the Internet is this scary awful place, although there are predators out there; I keep a watchful eye on my children at all times. I promise my blog isn't read by enough people to truly increase our chances of being in danger. You know how many people read Dooce?! If she's not worried about Leta (or the baby she's due to have in a couple weeks), I think my kids are alright!

So, to the handful of you who read this, when and why did you start blogging?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brother and Sister

(on the left, that was Lucy just a bit younger than Henry is now)