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.
video

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.