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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Déjà vu

Those of you who know me in real life might recognize the location of the wedding I shot on Saturday with the help of MckMama. Seven years ago my favorite picture from my own wedding was taken at the very same gazebo.


I loved Kim's choice of bridesmaid's dresses!


Kim, Adam, and their whole wedding party were so easy to work with. They were open to my ideas and were always creating opportunities like this to capture their fun personalities.


Check out Adam's unique ring. It suits him.


In case you missed the other wedding picture I posted, click here. Kelly Vasami did this pose once and filed it away to use when the occasion presented itself. Turns out she borrowed it from Jessica Claire. The beauty of the Internet is that I can find inspiration from photographers around the world and right in my own neck of the woods.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not Me Monday - 2nd edition

Hmmm....Where do I start?
With a week like this, I was sure to have many "not me" moments.
Here are the ones I can remember through the haze of exhaustion:

I did not make my kids watch the first half of the same movie three times because I was too lazy to chapter select every time we got back in the car from Friday's Crazy Errand Day.

I did not glare at a very pregnant woman who was smoking outside McDonald's.

I did not proceed down a closed street despite the fact that I had no idea if it was a one way or not when I got lost in downtown Minneapolis on Friday.

I did not spell H.A.M.M.O.C.K for the salesman at the store so Sam wouldn't know what he's getting for his birthday only to have the salesman pause, then say the word out loud.

I do not have 10,063 emails in my inbox because I'm too lazy to unsubscribe from Freecycle or delete the tons of listings I get every day.

I do not feel like I've been run over by a truck just because I had a wedding and a senior portrait session in one day. Nope. That would only remind me that I'm completely out of shape and haven't exercised regularly in over a year.

I did not have to pick up a used maxi pad off the floor in the woman's bathroom when I locked up the park Saturday night.

My grandma did not use a paper bag to store my wedding dress for a month before giving it to me the other day.

I did not consider scrapping my Boundary Waters trip because I'm petrified of not being reachable in case of an emergency with the kids.

I did not cry when the dog ate all but 5 slices of a brand new package of cheese on Wednesday.

Join in over at My Charming Kids.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A double header....

A senior portrait session in the morning and a wedding in the afternoon.
















You'll have to forgive me for only posting one wedding shot tonight. My internet connection is soooo slow that I edited hundreds of wedding portraits while these few images uploaded to blogger. It's late and I'm beat.
It was such a fun day though and I've been running on adrenaline for the past four hours.

Can you see why? Aahhh!! I love Fall weddings and fun wedding parties!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Little People. Big World.

Ice cream anyone? Sam serves up a mean hot fudge sundae at his ice cream shop.



My Little People and matchbox collection may be almost 30 years old, but there's still plenty of life left in the many pieces my mom and I have stored for over 2 decades.

Sam has a tendency to pretend that things are on fire and people are in desperate need of rescuing or he can be heard saying things like:

"I'll have an ice cream sandwich, said the policeman."

Can you tell we read lots and lots of books? :)

Nothing cracks me up more than seeing how the kids pose the people/animals.
Julia created this scene yesterday at some point during the two hours we played in the playroom.


I used up all my creative juices playing fireman, ice cream shop worker, taxi driver so I'll leave it up to you to give this photo a caption.

Sorry, I don't have a prize to offer this time. I spent all my money at Sam's ice cream shop.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Now what?


During a scenic hike on the trails behind the campground this past weekend my father-in-law discovered that grapes grow here in the park.
We wouldn't want good grapes going to waste so the kids and I took an ice cream bucket with us on our walk yesterday.


The kids were great about picking and despite being staining their hands and faces purple, we picked quite a few grapes. We found some vines that we missed on Sunday and before we knew it the bucket was full. For some unknown reason there was a paper bag in the jogger which we took full advantage of and filled it half way.

My mom used to can things when I was growing up. I even remember my parents making wine with the grapes that grew in our apple orchard. Do I have a clue how to do any of that stuff now? No.
I think it's time to give Google a try and a visit to Craigslist for canning supplies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

Same kid, different hammock than last week.



Going...



Going...


Gone.




1 1/2 hours later...

Fall Frenzy

I'm doing my best to take the next few weeks one day at a time. See, I've got some "big" things coming up that when I start to think about them all at once I start to panic.

On Friday I have to navigate my way through Minneapolis to pick up two lenses I'm renting for a wedding on Saturday. The scariest part is having to leave a check for $2,500.00 as a damage deposit.

On Saturday I'm at the mercy of the weather God bestows on the Metro. If it's nice out I'll be able to do a senior portrait shoot in the morning and then go downtown to the same park where MY wedding pictures were taken and have the time of my life photographing a wedding with some pretty sweet equipment. If it's not nice out? I'll have to postpone the senior shoot for the third time and then photograph the wedding in the basement of the local American Legion building.

On Wednesday I'm hosting the end of the season meeting for park staff. My boss, my boss's boss, the office staff, the campground hosts, the maintenance staff will all gather here in my home to discuss the season. I'm so nervous about having the house in perfect shape for that day. It feels like I'm having 10 landlords over for lunch at once. This morning I cleaned and organized the laundry room. The breezeway is next and then I have to tackle my office which I never unpacked when we moved in almost six months ago.

The next day is Julia's 2nd birthday - her golden birthday to be exact. The pressure is on.

I get a short reprieve until October 11th when I need to have our chili contest entry ready for the Campground Chili Cook-off.

The next day is the closing of the campground as well as my church's Homecoming Sunday where I've been asked to take a group photo of the entire church. We are having people over to celebrate the end of the camping season which means I need to have a double batch of chili and a double batch of stew all ready to serve my guests right after church. Sam has requested a special cake for that day as his birthday is the following day.

Sam and Julia have school Monday morning (Sam's 4th birthday) so it's going to be tricky to squeeze in anything fun. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Early (as in 4am) Thursday morning Brian and I are leaving for our Boundary Waters Trip. Packing for such a trip is time consuming and requires concentration. I'm glad Brian has been compiling a list of supplies for the past month. As anyone who's left their kids at home with someone else, the prep/packing is doubled due to the need to have everything set out for the kids.

I was 5 months pregnant with Julia the last time Brian and I spent a night away from home. Now we are going to be six hours away from our babies and completely unreachable for four whole days. Grandma and Grandpa will be staying with the kids here at the park so I know they are in good hands. It's just hard to know that we can't even call to check in or be contacted in case of an emergency.

Now that I've gotten all that off my chest it's time to get back to work. The breezeway is calling...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Eviction Notice

Sam was having trouble falling asleep last night. At 9 o' clock I caught him with the light on and a book open in his bed. We debated whether we should make him turn off the light or pretend we didn't know what he was doing. We decided that he needed his rest so off went the light. Fifteen minutes later he was still making noise so I had to go in and talk to him again. First thing he wanted to know was why Daddy was watching a movie (in our room).

"I want a TV in my room."

"You need to wait until your older for that Sam"

"Well, when I get big Daddy will have to sleep on the futon."

Ha! I guess Brian's been warned that when his son is old enough, he'll have to give up his bed so Sam can have the room with the TV. At least he didn't assume we'd go out and buy him one. Good for him to think that we'd have to make do with what we have!

I'm so sorry Sammy

I'm sorry I made you late for school this morning because I didn't have my paperwork collected for my 9am appointment.

I'm sorry you got upset because your entire class was missing when I knocked on your classroom door.

I'm sorry you missed out on an impromptu field trip to see a classmate's daddy's big rig around the corner of the school.

I'm sorry I had to leave so quickly and not comfort you while you were upset.

I'm sorry I was late picking you up because my entire morning got screwed up by my tardiness and then having to try to figure out where you class disappeared too.

I'm sorry I got myself stuck behind a Buick* making me extra, extra late.


"Can you forgive me?"

I didn't get a verbal response, but the nod of his head was enough.



* Does anyone else find that 9 out 10 times they get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle that it turns out to be Buick?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Me Monday - 1st edition


To see what others are NOT doing hop over to My Charming Kids and join in.


On Wednesday night I did not have go to the grocery store at 8pm to get the ingredients I forgot for the chili we were in the middle of making.
I most certainly did not realize after getting home that I had forgotten to reattach my bra after nursing Julia at bedtime. Nope. Not me. That would have been mortifying considering I was wearing a thin t-shirt.
I never would have come home without two of the things I ran to the store for in the first place.

I did not make my kids late for school this morning because I refused to leave the house until I'd vacuumed, swiffered, and mopped my floors. Not me. I'd never do that.

I did not get halfway home from preschool this morning before Sam told me that I hadn't buckled him into his car seat. It wasn't me who continued driving while I reached back and buckled him up.

It is what it is

We survived our Fall Camping Trip and are slowly recovering from the lack of sleep, mounds of laundry, and piles of camping equipment that needs to be put away. For the record we only had to come back to the house six times in three days to get things we forgot or ran out of. Once I get a chance to sort though the pictures on my CF card I'll post more about our fun weekend. Besides household things to catch up on I also have photography work to tackle as well before a senior portrait session on Saturday morning and a wedding Saturday afternoon.

For those of you who are dying to know what was flying across the sky in my previous post.... The answer was right under your nose. It's a bird! It's a....what do they always say on Sesame Street? Yep, that's right. It's a PLANE. The lights on the jetliner showed up a few times during the eight second exposure. Cool huh? Personally, I thought it looked a lot like Santa's Sleigh.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The wheels on the bus

Today Sam rode the school bus home for the very first time. Naively I thought that if he got it out of his system that we could go back to me driving him back and forth to school. I was wrong. The first thing he said when he got off the bus was "Can I ride the bus next time too Mom?"

I have a very hard time letting my child be driven home by a complete stranger. I'm the first to admit that I am an overprotective parent. I had planned to stand by my pledge to never let my kids ride the school bus.
Oops.
I guess I failed.
As a person who can rationalize with the best of them, let me offer this explanation:
The number one reason I don't want my children riding the school bus is because they don't have seat belts. "Problem" is, that this bus does have seat belts. The teacher's aide gets everyone on the bus after school and makes sure they are buckled in properly.
That's not so bad now right? I can rest assured that my baby is safe and secure.

Second, I don't want my children to have to be picked up at an ungodly hour and ride around the countryside like both my husband and I had to do through school because, though raised in different states, we both lived in the country.
First ones on.
Last ones off.

How do I get around this? I simply drive him in the morning to avoid the 45 minute bus ride and at the end of the morning (on the days I decide he can ride the bus) he gets to be the first one dropped off. They cross one busy street and it's smooth sailing from there.
Sam is happy (and safe!)
Mommy is happy.
I think we might let the wheels on the bus come 'round here more often.

It's a bird!

It's a.......



Anyone want to venture a guess?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Picture Perfect

In fact everything was so perfect at the apple orchard yesterday that when I saw these boards I knew we had to use them to frame the kids in a photo.

Yes, I know my daughter is dressed like a hillbilly. I assure you that is not how she left the house. I overdressed her in a long sleeve shirt and this was better than her overheating in the unseasonable 80's we're experiencing.

Her friends didn't care and since we had the whole orchard to ourselves, I figured we were safe. I doubt the goats, horse, and turkeys minded either. Speaking of goats....this is their hangout - their mountain so to speak. They climb right up the side of the barn using the ladder and then lay on the balcony built just for them.


This was built for the kids. They loved it!



They thought this was pretty fun too.


I wish the apples on our tree were close to the ground like this! I have to climb 15 feet up the tree to pick ours, but at $13 a bag for orchard apples, I won't complain.

All smiles because of a promised treat at the farm store on the way out.
Well worth the $3 for fresh apple doughnuts and cute smiles. :)

I also wish I had a tenth of the energy of these boys.



Did you think I was kidding about the goats?



What fun things does your family do in the fall?

Sharing the Love

Someone at blurb.com liked the books I've made and offered me a discount on my next book. The cool part is that they said I could share the code for $15 off. If this post about photo book making inspired you to start (or finish) your own Blurb book go ahead and leave me a comment (including your email) so I can share the code with you.

Need more inspiration? Check out my newest project in the my bookstore titled "Tom & April". This is special book to me because I had the opportunity to use portraits by Jennifer McKinney Photography - always a treat!
You can preview the first 15 pages of any of my books by clicking on the book and then the "book preview" below the picture.

Mickey Julia Blue Eyes

At the dinner table last night Julia surprised us all when she threw out this sentence to the dog:

"Get outa he!"

Brian and I got a good laugh out of that one as that is the same line (and pronunciation) Hugh Grant says in one of our favorite movies, Mickey Blue Eyes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Kids on the Block

Today was Julia's first day of school. She was a bit nervous. Can almost two year olds even get nervous? Perhaps anxious is better word for her clingy-ness and need for her paci.



This particular ECFE in our new town accepts kids from age 2 all the way to age 5. Perfect. No need for a babysitter for Sam. He took on the big brother role and led Julia to the van.


At school we got acquainted with the new building and new teachers.

Can you guess what the theme was for today? My favorite food. :)

Julia painted seven, yes seven pictures.


This is frozen paint - very fun and not as messy.
Note to self: There aren't any smocks. Don't dress kids in their nicer clothes.


Before we knew it, it was time to clean up and head into the other room for circle time.



Half of us moms have two kids in the class, but the teacher asked Sam if he wanted to sit by her for Criss-cross Applesauce. If you know my kids at all, you won't need to scroll down to the next picture to see how well that went over.




An old favorite! The Bang Bang Song!


The disappointing part of the morning was snack time. The kids were given sugar wafers. Where I come from that is a treat, not a snack. Then the teacher pulled out a DoraTheExplorer book out. Oh brother. I don't care what other families do, but our family does its best to steer clear of character books that our society feels the need to splash all over everything from fruit snacks to diapers.

Then I glanced down to see this:

My sweet little girl hasn't touched her snack. Instead she sat with her hands folded; waiting to say Grace.

While the kids ate the moms went into a classroom to do the obligatory get to know you stuff. I thought the parent educator did a great job. She had us go around and explain the reason we named our kids what we did. Pretty cool huh? (And since I was secretly trying to figure out why anyone would name their son, Guy, I was anxious to hear everyone's stories.)

All in all it was a great first day. I love having the opportunity to meet moms from our new town and interact with my kids in an educational setting.


Waving goodbye to her new friends...


No need for a paci now!

That's my boy

He's the one who has boundless energy.


He's the one who looks out for his little sister.

He's the one who's favorite food is cake, who's favorite color is green, and who's favorite animal is a horse. (This last one is news to me! He mentioned this on the way to school this morning)

He's the one who likes to have his favorite page of his favorite books open on the floor by his bed so he can see them while he falls asleep.

He's the one who's obsessed with guns. (I let him watch Short Circuit once; obviously a mistake, as was watching a bit of Star Wars; which he calls the "The Five Year Old Movie".)


He's the one who stole my heart almost 4 years ago.



He's the only who says to me at bedtime, "I love you to the moon and back Mommy."
Right back at ya Sammy Sam.

Canoe camping with kids

I've been sharing highlights from our recent trip to the BWCA on Instagram . The spot we go is perfect for families with young kids beca...