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


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


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.