Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

Santa just stopped by to leave his goodies and I thought I'd say Merry Christmas! More to come, of course.

The loot for the kids- it may look huge but we are so proud of ourselves, we showed a LOT of restraint this year. Well... as long as you don't count the Wii. Whoops!

Of course Sully, Lucas and Henry cannot be forgotten. Christmas Day is also Sully's birthday, so he also got a dog bed. Sullivan probably will not use it... but Henry hopped right on, so I'm sure he'll borrow it if Sully is not interested!
Eddie absolutely could not wait one more second to play with the Wii. I got him the tv as a surprise last weekend- he got it early because I could not get it out of the car!- and he pretty much has just stood in this location for a week watching it. ;) He hooked up the Wii tonight saying something about 'calibrating' but I think he's lying, he just wants to play before he has to let the kids have a turn!
At first, it was a complete debacle because the tv didn't fit in the bookshelf where the old tv was. So, it sat on the floor for about 4 days before we extended the bookshelves and created more of a wall unit. I was not happy about my mantle redesign but I fell in love with it and can't believe I doubted it- it looks awesome and it's the perfect spot. Hopefully he will share with the kids when they wake up in the morning!!!!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! Lots o' pics to come!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Need a good laugh? Then watch me!

I was reminded not so subtly that I never put Disney pictures on the blog! Really?!? I had to go back and double check, but sure enough, that fact is correct. Unless days start lasting for 25 hours, I don't have time to upload Disney pics from our September trip, but to tide you over, I have possibly the BEST video ev-ah. Yes, even better than the dancing elves. Seriously. Watch at work if you dare, because you WILL laugh out loud.
In Downtown Disney, there is a funhouse mirror in Goofy's Candy store. While we waited for our candy to be made, the kids discovered it and just this one video made the cost of the video camera worth every penny! I am convinced they put this mirror in the shop for parents to have a giggle, rather than for kids.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Mason snow day

We got a "Mason" snow day today. A Mason Snow Day is not your average snow day. Anyone who lives in Mason knows about the Mason Bubble, which is the apparent but invisible bubble that shields us from pretty much any and all precipitation. Is it pouring rain downtown? It's sunny in Mason. Did Indiana get 7 inches of snow? Well, we didn't see a flurry here! Time and time again, we have literally watched these horrible red lines of storms- snow or rain- come right at us on the radar only to dissipate and break up right when they hit us. It's VERY weird but true. Ask anyone! Haha! So, today was no different. The weathermen called for 2-4 inches overnight and we woke up to find nada. Took the kids to school only to glance outside at noon to see a complete white out. For about an hour, it snowed like crazy and we got about an inch. That's about all we ever get around here, so my poor kids think that's snow. *sigh* I spent 6 years in Michigan and a few more in Denver, THAT is not snow. ;) One day we'll show them.
All decked out and ready to go:

Jack wonders if this is really necessary?
Snow angels! Sort of.

Neily, Cameron, Hannah, and Jack freezing their rears off:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Okay, so my posts are going a bit out of order, but oh well! On Saturday, we put up our family tree! We have always had a tree in the living room, but last year since we were hosting Christmas, we decided to put up a fancier, matchy matchy tree (okay *I* decided) in the living room and a fun, family (read: all of the crazy ornaments the kids bring home) in the den. We also really wanted a live tree, so we decided that the den tree would be a perfect match. Actually the plan was to cut our own tree down, but 25 degree weather and snow altered our plans, and wouldn't you know that the kids were just as happy picking the tree out at Lowes. ;)
We have a family tradition of hot chocolate (I swapped out mine for vanilla spice egg nog) and Pepperidge Farm cookies- Neily sees the Chessmen and Milano cookies in the store and says, "Christmas cookies!" Yum, yum, yum. It was a lot of fun now that Neily and Jack are old enough to remember traditions and ornaments. Jack can't keep his hands out of hot chocolate, digging for mushy marshmallows, though, so be forewarned that you should NOT share a sip. Just tryin' to help. :)

It's here, it's here!

I ordered a canvas of the kids, I'd been dying to have one, but I was waiting for the perfect picture. I wanted something really different, but, well, my coupon code was about to expire so I chose my latest favorite. It arrived today (funnily enough, as I was pulling up the FedEx tracking information to stalk to truck, the doorbell rang) (oh, and Jack ran to the door and answered it in his Spiderman mask, lol!) and it! Is! GORGEOUS! Now I see why people get addicted to these things, they are worth the investment. This is art... so pretty! I need to figure out a way to put a picture of this on my website so that people see how awesome they are and order them. Truthfully, my profit margin on canvases are not that high, but they are THAT beautiful that I think everyone should have one! I just want to stare it all day. My next order is going to be the one of the tree in my previous post, won't that look cute out during the holidays?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The tree is up! Snapped this 'magical' moment after we got it up, but don't be too fooled- this included a lot of bribery and Eddie standing just to the left forcing Jack to stand still and keep his hands off the Santa. Merry Christmas!

Don't trust 'em...

Today, I had someone come over for a headshot. I always get a babysitter for the kids while I do shoots but this was literally going to take under five minutes and it was just silly. I considered sending them to the neighbor's house, but even that was just overkill. I put them upstairs in our bedroom with Sullivan and turned on a movie and said STAY HERE and don't go crazy. We have some wild kids. When left to their own imaginations, if they are going to get along (that's IF) it never fails that they act like wild animals. ;)
As I was leaving the room, I put on my best stern Mommy voice and said, "Do NOT leave this room. Do NOT be crazy. It will be a few minutes, you have everything you need, I will be right downstairs. I am trusting you."
They gave me those wide, sweet eyes and the angel look and said, "Okay Mommy!" Right before I shut the door, Neily said in that *voice* of hers, "Well, I don't know if I'd trust us too much... we might get up and arm wrestle for a second."
WHAT?! I had to cover my face so she didn't see me laugh. Where would she even come up with that? I didn't know what was worse, the fact that she's so smart she could reason that so quickly or the fact that they are SO not afraid of me. Hm....

A recent newborn session

I HAVE to share these because I am really, really happy with how this shoot went and I think this little thing was absolutely precious! She almost made me want to have another one. Almost. ;) But, like the rest, in the end what I left with was not so much a feeling to have more but rather a desire to re-live Neily and Jack's newborn days. That's what I miss the most, but I don't really feel the pull to have another one. Especially not in a house of this size!
Anyway- on to the snuggly newborn! This is Baby G, and she was 8 days old in these pictures. She was awake and calm for about an hour, and then she fell asleep without so much as a whimper and let us move her around. I LOVE photographing newborns, some people get very stressed out but I think they're awesome.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A puzzle for you....

When Sully is left alone in the crate, he whines, cries, and poops. Every time.

When Sully is gated into the kitchen and den alone, he whines, paces, cries, chews and poops. Almost every time.

When Sully is left to roam the house as he chooses alone, he sleeps on his bed quietly and doesn't touch a thing.

So, if you YOU were his owners, what would YOU suggest we do? Hmmm....

Is this obvious enough?

I have learned over the past few months that being a photographer and running a business are two very, very different things. I've enjoyed (mostly) every second of my shoots, I love meeting families and having fun at our shoots.
HOWEVER... I learn something new every day and today I learned that I am too trusting!
Today, I found out that some people had right clicked and saved the images from their online gallery and then reprinted the web sized images. Web sized images are... web sized. They're not meant to print. They are about the size of a wallet at their largest. So, if you blow it up to normal, it looks blurry, pixelated and, well, crappy.
I know I should have been watermarking all along, but honestly it felt silly. I really trusted that people would know better. And most everyone has- nearly every single client has placed their order quickly and simply, even when they know they could get cds for cheaper, they have opted to order through me and I appreciate it. It tells me that they value the work I did, and that's nice.

BUT, for those that don't seem to understand that I work for hours traveling to a shoot, taking the pictures, editing the pictures, and then preparing the orders, do you think they'll understand THIS?

Am I correct in assuming that a big fat copyright over kids faces will stop people from stealing my stuff? ;)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Doggy kindergarten for Sullivan!

Mr. Sullivan started doggy kindergarten yesterday! Sorry, no pics of that (it's a little hard to juggle a dog, two kids, treats, and a camera) but here are some of Sully and Neily playing together. He has proven to be a very good boy, but adopting a rescue dog comes with its own set of challenges (and rewards!), so off to obedience training we go!
Sully is a sweet, sweet boy, but he has had a rough few months bouncing from a puppy mill to a home and then from one rescue center to second. All he wants in life is to a little attention and to know that you won't leave him. He is calm, quiet and downright lazy when we're at home like normal, but when someone first comes in the house, he goes a bit crazy and jumps, nips, and gets very nosy. He is learning fast and hasn't jumped on anyone in a while, but we figured we needed a little outside help with him. He just needs to learn boundaries. He also has some separation anxiety and we're working on that. I took him to the vet for advice, and he suggested we try the crate again. Oy. I *want* him to be happy in the crate, but I'm not sure how far I'm willing to go to get there. Sullivan is totally potty trained but when he is left in the crate, he freaks out, whines then poos. I don't know how long I can take that. We did take his advice and are trying again, verrrrrrry slowly. So far, he's shocking me! Eddie called while I was out last night to tell me that Sully had VOLUNTARILY gotten in the crate to sleep. That certainly would not have been the case a month ago! Keep your fingers crossed that he continues to take to it, because Mama wants to keep all of her rugs in tact!
Here are some photos of Neils and Sullivan for your viewing pleasure:
Sully loves to look out the window. :)

Getting a belly rub...

The most handsome mutt you'll ever meet!
At his school, he did a fabulous job and we were very proud. He quickly listens when we ask him to sit, stay, down, and heel. He made everyone laugh with his 'down'- instead of just laying down, he flops down like he weighs 100 lbs and rolls onto his back. What a sweetheart! I'm surprised that he has learned so much so quickly and very proud of him. In his class, there was another goldendoodle named Zeke who was hilarious! He was only 3 1/2 months old and he was already HUGE. He is definitely going to give our buddy Edgar a run for his month, Zeke will easily reach 100 lbs. Zeke's 'mom' saw Sully and said, "Oh, maybe Zeke won't get much bigger!" and I looked at her and thought, 'Good luck, lady!' LOL!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

M is for Monkeys (and Monkey Munch)

Okay, so these are a week old. Sue me! ;)
Natalie and Owen came over and instead of just letting the kids demolish the basement (which they all did anyway) I decided we'd make our favorite treat, Monkey Munch! Some call it Puppy Chow, some call it Monkey Mix, Monkey Munch, whatever you call it, it's YUMMY!
So here are the kiddos gathered up to *help*:

This was the before- I took a note from Shannon and laid everything out all neatly and premeasured before I even told the kids what we were doing.

And THIS was the after. LOL! I didn't tip that box for effect, and I wish you could see the powdered sugar strewn on the counter better, because holy cow. Jack was like a tornado.

Chocolate chips, Natty checking carefully....

Mmmm! If you've never had it, you should try it! Delicious! We use whole grain cereal, natural peanut butter and dark chocolate chips from my boyfriend Trader Joe- so while it may not be exactly healthy, the kids certainly think it is WAY worse for you than it actually is! Okay, so until I typed this out I forgot it had butter in it. But I use my boyfriend's churned canola oil instead of butter, so I can eat as much as I want. ;)
Here's the recipe:
9 cups Chex® cereal (any variety)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation Directions:
1. Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside. (I actually use a big Corningware bakepan because I don't know how anyone lets a 4 year old stir 9 cups of cereal in a bowl without flipping it everywhere)
2. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, stir together chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Microwave uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Pennington Home tour

I've been saying I was going to do this for a long time (sorry Abby!) and I figured the house was as clean as it's going to get today so I went for it!

Welcome to the Pennington Homestead! Abby, I hope it looks completely different to you than when we moved in, lol! We bought this house 9 years ago with the idea that we would be staying for about 2-3 years. It had so many issues that by the time the 3rd year rolled around, we hadn't even started so we stayed. Then the kids were born and we decided it was REALLY time to go, so we put it on the market. I complained each and every day that I hated this house, but each and every day it was on the market, I cried. The thought of leaving was too much. I kept looking at all the special spots and all that we'd done- where the kids had taken their first steps, the things we'd chosen and installed ourselves... we couldn't do it. This was where we because who we are, our family. And of course the fact that the real estate market tanked made our decision easier, let's be honest here. Haha! So we stayed! And now, even though I desperately want more space, we love our neighbors and this place is growing on me. ;)

So- without further ado, welcome! This is our living room. I heart this room! It doesn't get used often so it stays pretty clean and I am always happy to see our family pictures (my kind of art) when I come home.
View #2 so that you can see my fun staircase. Eddie says he doesn't 'get' the black and white banister, but he can just learn to deal with it because I love it! Those are all of our favorite snapshots from over the years. My eyes land on a new picture each time I go up the stairs and it is usually one that makes me laugh.

Our dining room- when we redid our kitchen countertops, we actually had to start using this room. It was an office for a while when Mr. Jack was born. I miss that space but I love Jack more than my office. ;)

Next up, the kitchen. Oh this poor room. It was a God awful room when we bought it and it's starting to come around. The cabinets were (are still, I guess) this gross, dark wood- not pretty dark, but really ugly dark with bronze hardware. We painted them white the very day we moved in and it helped but they just never looked good. I kept seeing black cabinets in a magazine and everyone told me not to do it because it would be too dark. I didn't listen and picked up a paint brush at about 11 o'clock at night on a Friday last winter and I have been in love ever since! Ideally, we will rip these out (or move LOL) and replace, but they HAVE to be black when we do. Love it! We added the L area and have butcher block counters. The butcher block is cool and unique, but we plan to do granite tile over top of it and up the back wall.

View #2 so you can see my messy fridge. ;)

Our den- we LIVE in here. My neighbor and I painted it orange on a complete whim last summer and I love it. I think it was a perfect room for orange- there isn't much wall to be colored, so it's not overwhelming. Eddie says he just hopes I still like it in April. ;)

View #2 so that you can see my favorite thing in the whole house, my rug!

The sunroom that I waited for years for my Bradford pear tree to fall on so I could replace it. *sigh* When it finally fell, it missed the roof by mere inches and there was little damage. Dangit!

Let's go upstairs! Soon, this carpet will be outta here and all the bedrooms will have wood floor like downstairs. That will happen as soon as I get up the energy to completely rip and refinish the stairs, so it might be a while!
Our bedroom.... exciting, huh? Can't really see, but those are our trash the dress pictures that Sutography did for us for our ten year anniversary (a bit early). I LOVE those pictures! We hated our wedding pics so it is so much fun to have these unique ones on the wall. Next up in here is this awesome chandelier I've had my eye on for quite a while.

View #2, I'm not really sure why I felt the need to show this? Hi Lucas!

Jack's room- this room is so tiny, so when he outgrew the crib, we got him a loft bed. He sleeps really soundly and the rail is high, but it's still a little scary. He thinks it is SO cool though and loves his 'sports' room.

Neily's room! Her bed is my favorite thing in the room, it was a $15 find from Goodwill that I painted and just want to kiss it and steal it for myself! Her bed is missing the cutest part right now, her green and white striped quilt and sham, but just pretend you can see them and they look really cute, mmkay? On the left is the antique bassinette that she used as a baby, and now it houses her dolls.

Sorry for the loooooooong post, but you should know me by now. And it is my blog after all. ;)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Taking on digital scrapbooking

As if I don't have enough on my plate, right? It occurred to me a few weekends ago when I was painting the basement and trying to maneuver around mountains of scrapbooking stuff that maybe it was time for me to say goodbye. I've held on to it for so long now but I haven't used a drop of it since last fall! There is a lot to love about scrapbooking- I love showing the kids their pictures from when they were little, I love remembering the little stories that go with pictures that I'm sure I would otherwise forget, I love getting together with girlfriends and scrapping... but I HATE the indecision! I will sit there for way too long looking at a page and feel too much pressure to make it look like a magazine. Then I got so far behind and oy! It was too much. One night last fall, I got myself completely, 100% caught up and gloated for like a week. And then I quit. ;) I love the look of digital scrapping- I love all the fun stuff you can find and I love the style. I figured I was getting handy enough in Photoshop that I could handle it. And I was right! I muddled my way through it. I'm sure, just like with normal scrapping, I will look back at these pages and laugh one day, but for now, I think they're pretty cute and I'm excited to jump back on the bandwagon. I love that I don't have anything to pack up, nowhere to go, and no mess to clean up! Katina, I'm telling you, you're going to get hooked!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Neily's new hat

I promised Neily I would show off her new hat! ;) I ordered it from Etsy, truthfully because I thought it would make for cute pics. But it seems to be perfect for her, she likes it and it doesn't mess up her hair on cold days since it's roomy. She just looks old in this. When I look at this picture, it reminds me that she is all about Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers and she's left Dora and the Wiggles in the dust. :( How does that happen?

Our 45 pound chicken

Sullivan may not be the brightest bulb in the box, folks. He sure is sweet, but he has run into our sliding doors a number of times and is completely petrified of our cat, Henry.
The funny thing about that is that Henry is the BIGGEST chicken there is! Most people don't even know that we have him, because he never, ever comes downstairs. If he hears the doorbell, he bolts. He is happy to be near us, but spends most of his life on our bed. He does like to torture Lucas, though. When we brought Sully home, we knew that Henry would have the hardest time adjusting, which he certainly did. I don't think he came downstairs to eat for three days. Then he started to venture down we he knew for sure that we had the dog corralled in the kitchen. One day, we decided to hold Henry and introduce the two of them in close quarters, hoping they would sniff each other and coexist. Let's just say it did not work that way. Henry FLIPPED out, gave Sullivan a few good whacks on the nose and then bolted. From that point on, Henry growled and hissed at Sully, and Sully turns and runs to the nearest corner and cowers until Henry is gone.
On top of that, Sully is a afraid of the stairs. Oh boy. Anyway, this weekend, he decided to venture up, and he turns the corner into our bedroom, all dopey and happy, ears flopping, tail wagging, and Henry immediately hisses and chases him. Sullivan high tailed it to the first 'safe' place he could find- the little space between the toilet and the wall in our bathroom. Dork! And he was NOT moving, he waited there for about twenty minutes, I started to think he was stuck. It's really quite sad that Sullivan doesn't realize he could eat Henry in one gulp!
* Edited to ask that you excuse the full trashcan in the bathroom. A person can only do so much. It was bugging me though and I couldn't crop it out. LOL!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I heard a quote last night shortly after the electoral prediction was announced that I think will stick with me for the rest of my days. "Only the least gracious among us, no matter what your political philosophy, wouldn't say that this is a watershed moment for America."

We are a part of history and I am proud. I know there are plenty who disagree, and that's okay. Most people have respectfully disagree, I know plenty of them. I'm so sad to see some that we know turn completely ugly over this, but I think it speaks volumes about their character. I know that we will never all agree on every issue, but I am sad to see the anger and hatred that one or two people I know have over this.

We have talked to the kids a lot about this election. Now that Neily is in school, she hears a lot more and had questions. We do not believe in telling our children what to believe, but rather trying our best to explain to them what we as parents believe and telling them both sides of the story. That's why we own a Hanukkah book and still put up a Christmas tree. ;) I've told my parents time and time again that I believe the best gift they gave me as parents was never to lead me down one path of a belief system and to let me grow up and figure out what I believe.

Neily asked who we wanted to win, and we told her. She said, "What will you do if John McCain wins?" I told her, "I will be happy, I think he will do a good job and keep us safe. But it's just that I think Obama will make life better for a lot of people. We think he will make the schools better and change our country." To which, in the interest of full disclosure, Jack stated, "Well, I want John McCain to win!" LOL!

This morning, when they climbed into our bed, we said, "Guess what happened last night? Barack Obama won!" Neily cheered and said, "Does that mean that he will make our schools better?" and Jack said, "Aaaaw, I wanted John McCain!" ;) I told Neily that I hoped so, but that there was something else that was important. I asked, "Did you know that he is the first man with dark skin to get to be the president? Some people used to believe that having dark skin made you different, this is a big deal that America is learning how to get along and see that we are all good people." Neily looked shocked and then looked down at her own arm and said, "I have pretty dark skin!" I didn't even think to correct her, as that was my whole point. Her skin is darker than my skin or Jack's skin, and I want her to understand that doesn't make her and I any different than her and Barack Obama.

And to that end, I SWEAR this will be the end of my crazy political posts! I hope that in this post, it was more clear about how proud we are of our children and how they view the world than what actually happened in the political world yesterday. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

A little piece of history

The line that wrapped for MILES.

Shannon and Eileen in the line that wrapped for miles. Haha! Of which we were lucky enough to be in the first third, easily. It was hard to complain when you knew there were easily 25,000 people behind you.

The Pizza Hut for which I almost missed the entire thing. But I was desperate!
We're IN!

Warning- this involves politics. ;) I'm keeping it clean, but you can skip this is you want to! You've been warned if you proceed.
Phil guilt tripped Shannon into attending the Obama rally, reminding her that it would be a story to tell the grandchildren. I was a willing attendant. I wouldn't have stood in that line by myself for sure, but I knew it was a chance to be a part of history. Getting to see Barack Obama speak two days before the election? Um, YEAH! You didn't have to twist my arm.
So it went a lot like this. Get there at 4:30. Wait in line. Wait in line, wait in line. Wait in line a little more. Wonder why they said the doors would be open at 6 and at 8 we are still not moving? Decide we all might die of hunger so we should scout out some food. I left the line to hunt for pizza, and as I headed back with food, I get a frantic call from Shannon that the line suddenly started moving and we're going in. I rush back to the line literally in the nick of time to jump in with them before they go through the barricades. Now THAT is a story for the grandkids, that I waited in line and then didn't get to go because we got hungry! LOL! No sooner had we opened the pizza boxes to hear the man yell, "NO food or drink inside!" Are you freaking kidding me? They weren't. We get to the security gates, scarfing down the food as fast as we can, and in the excitement, Eileen and I toss full pizzas and unopened breadsticks in the trash and I think Shannon gave hers away to someone in the crowd. LOL! Someone who apparently was so hungry that they didn't care she'd eaten half of it. As we're passing through the gates, we hear a security guard ask, "What are we doing?" and another one yell back, "Just sending them through!" So they rush us through and don't check a single bag, send us through metal detectors, nothing. I'm sure the Secret Service would be thrilled to hear that. Apparently they spent hours checking bags thoroughly and that's why the line didn't move, and then they decided they didn't have time, so they just rushed everyone through without a second glance! A little unsettling as we watched 30,000 unchecked bags file into the stadium behind us!
In any case, we were practically pushed down the stairs and were asking the guards where to sit, and they yelled, "Straight down!" We were like, 'Straight down... where?' To which we heard, "To the field!" Are you serious??!! I thought I was going to pee my pants! Sure enough, we found ourselves sitting directly next to the press box, with a straigh on view of the podium. Most of the time, anyway- there was no shortage of big tall dudes in front of us! Who knew Ohio grew 'em so big?
We listened to a few speakers and then without much warning, Barack Obama was announced and walked up and spoke. He was in the endzone, we were on the 30 yard line. It was unbelievable! He spoke about his policies, namely his education policies of which we are big supporters. The whole time, I kept thinking, I can't believe I'm sitting here. I can't believe I am 30 yards away from the possible president two days before the election. It was truly a night to remember and one I will most certainly file away to tell my children and grandchildren about!