Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas.....

The kids and I are headed to Texas tomorrow with my parents. It will be a long, long drive...but we're so excited to see my sisters and their families - especially my neices and nephews. We haven't seen them since last Christmas....and that is way too long!

I am taking a blogging break during our trip. I just want to relax and enjoy the time with my family. Be sure to check back after January 4th though. I am sure I will have lots of fun stories and new photos to share!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

A very long 31 hours. . .

Friday morning we woke up bright and early and discovered we had a 2 hour delay, so I headed back to bed. About an hour later I noticed that our house was extra quiet - the power had gone out!! The ice storm that was predicted did indeed hit Van Wert, and left ice everywhere, causing most of the power in town to go out. 31 hours later, at 2:00 this afternoon, it FINALLY came on. The four of us proceeded to do that happy- we- finally- have -electricity dance and immediately started taking advantage of it once again. I took lots of ice photos that I will share as soon as I have a chance to upload them, but in the are some of my ponderings while sitting in the cold house for 31 hours without electricity.

1. " Thomas Alva Edison is the greatest American hero" - quote made by my neighbor, Bob. I have to agree with him.

2. I would not make a good Amish person. I just like my electricty way too much.

3. We have awesome neighbors. We had one neighbor share his generator so our basement wouldn't flood. Another neighbor's dad came and scraped all the ice off our driveway with his backhoe. We also spent 4 hours with our neighbors last night, eating pizza and playing Apples to Apples by candlelight.

4. The money we spent on the gas insert for our fireplace was the best money spent this year.

5. Spending money on a generator is probably a very good idea for the future.

6. A dimly lit house without electricity makes me very sleepy. Taking a 2 hour nap was a very good way to pass the time.

7. Even though the electricity was out for 31 hours, we still flipped light switches every time we walked into a dark room. We are creatures of habit.

8. Bathrooms without windows are no fun in the dark.

9. Despite what Chris thinks, you do not need electricity to flush the toilet.

10. I become increasingly more grouchy as each hour with electricy passes by.

11. I think we heard the Hallelujah Chorus when the electricity came back on.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What to do, what to do???

FINALLY a snow day! We had our first 2 hour delay of the year yesterday and this morning woke up to another one. I was surprised, since we had no new snow or ice over night, but gladly turned off the alarm and went back to sleep for a while. Imagine my surprise when I checked the computer at 8:15 and discovered an email that said CLOSED for the day. Chris didn't even believe me. So....what should I do with my day?

-Wrap gifts?
-start book #2 of the Twilight series?
-bake Christmas goodies?
-call Grandma L and see if I can go over early to make caramels with her (I am supposed to go tonite)?
-catch up on shows I have DVR'd?
-or just plain be lazy?

So many choices....and I'm loving the fact that I actually have all day to make a decision. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

All she wants to do is dance....

Last Monday was parents night at dance - one of the two times a year we are allowed to get a sneak peek of what they have been working on. This year Jenna is taking tap, ballet, and jazz again and she really loves them. My friend Michelle and I sat in the front of the class with several other moms so we could take photos of the girls. At one point we were totally laughing because I am sure we looked like some crazy paparazzi moms with our cameras. I was experimenting with some different settings on my camera, so I didn't get too many shots I love...but I was able to capture a few of Miss Jenna doing her thing.

PS On a side note - we will definitely be getting our moneys worth at her recital this year. She is doing 4 dances instead of just 3 (2 jazz, 1 tap, and 1 ballet - but thank goodness only 3 costumes instead of 4!!) and is front and center for 3 of the 4 songs. She also lucked out and got some fun songs this year, including "It's a Hard Knock Life" from Annie - she loves that one!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A little London love ....

It seems like we just can't help it....our whole family has fallen in love with little Mr. London. We fight over who gets to hold him and just can't keep from squeezing him or giving him kisses or trying to make him smile. Sometimes his mama even needs to ask me if she can have him back (I always have been a baby hog!) Cheryl is so good about letting both the kids hold him and help take care of him.Jenna cries every time he has to leave to go home. I think even Chris might have a thing for London, even if he won't admit it. He has held him several times...and they bonded over basketball while Cheryl and I made cookies last week. Tomorrow Jenna and I get to spend part of the day with London and his mama...and we can't wait. I think we are both in need of a little London love! How could you not fall in love with someone this cute??

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sprinkles, and icing, and cookie dough....OH MY!

Last week I did my first holiday baking. In the past I have made a lot and usually spend a whole day doing baking, but this year I am trying to spread it out more and do a little in the long run I am less stressed and a lot healthier! Cheryl and London came over last Wednesday and made cut-out cookies (I'm sure they are technically called sugar cookies, but we have always called them cut-out cookies. My mom's recipe even says "cut out cookies" on it. Maybe it's a term just from our family though - like dippin eggs.). I mixed up a double batch of dough and then we spent the next few hours cutting out cookies, baking them, and decorating with lots of frosting and sprinkles (the sprinkles were Jenna's job). Of course we found a plenty of time to sample the dough, icing, and finished cookies along the way! I discovered that is a lot more fun to bake with someone else - especially when that someone else washed all my dishes when we were finished!! Now that is true friendship!

UGH - this photo makes me look 100% unattractive...but I decided to be brave and post it anyhow. Seriously - look at my hair and my squinty, beady eyes. What was I thinking when I asked Chris to take a photo of me looking like that???

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas...

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday and we are fully into the Christmas season at our house! The countdown is on the chalkboard wall, the decorations are all up, we baked our first batch of Christmas cookies, Santa lists are made, our shopping is almost done (well...except for Chris...he's on his own), Christmas cards are ordered, and the Christmas music has been playing on my iPod. We still have a lot to do over the next 16 days, but I have a really good start. It is my goal NOT to be stressed this year so I can stay healthy and enjoy the holiday!In between all those activities - or maybe even during some of them - we will be watching all the fun Christmas specials on TV. I found a list of Christmas TV shows today and printed it off. My plan is to DVR a bunch of them so we can watch them when the mood strikes. If you want the list, you can find it HERE.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Cartwheel queen....

We were fortunate to have a new tumbling gym open in town this summer and Jenna has been taking classes since it opened. She really has learned a lot already and is CONSTANTLY tumbling around the house . . .she has turned into the cartwheel queen! If you ask her what she wants to be, she will tell you that she wants to be a cheerleader when she grows up! She even asked for a tumbling mat for Christmas. The owner of the gym is the parent of one of my students, so I asked her I could sneak in occasionally and shoot some photos (usually parents are not allowed to watch except for parent watch week each month). She was nice enough to say yes, so on Monday I hung out at the gym for an hour during Jenna's class taking photos. The combination of my lens that I am still trying to learn hos to use, the lighting in the gym, and all the action made it a little difficult to take photos, so I am definitely going to have to go back and try again after I do a little more research. But...I wasn't too disappointed with my first attempts.

PS Jenna doesn't know this yet, but she gets to move up to the next level after Christmas. She's going to be so excited!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

{Chiles Family}

This was quite possibly the quickest and easiest photo session I've ever done. We met at Central on a Sunday afternoon and 20 minutes later I was heading home. Of course, it helps that this family is like a part of my family, and that I've known these boys since the day they were born, and that it was cold out and we all wanted to be done quickly. They almost made it too easy for me! THANKS for putting up with the cold Chiles Family!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


A day off school! HURRAY!!! I have been counting the days for a couple weeks now. excited to have 5 days off! I have a big to do list for the next five days and can't wait to get some of it done:

  • Sleep in (already accomplished that one...but I definitely plan on taking advantage of it daily!)
  • drag the Christmas decorations up from the basement
  • take a Christmas card photo of the kids
  • do some creating - stamping and scrapping
  • wait for the cable guy to come
  • sit around and "play" with all our new cable channels and DVR
  • start reading Twilight
  • watch more episodes of Friday Night Lights
  • decorate for Christmas
  • upload all my Christmas tunes onto my iPod . . . including my NEW Harry Connick Jr Christmas CD - can't wait to listen to that one!!
  • order Christmas cards
  • make some of these little ornaments with Jenna
  • watch some of the Holiday decorating shows that are on HGTV this weekend
  • RELAX!
  • take photos for the photography class I am taking
  • start our Christmas countdown
  • start our trip to Texas countdown
  • take some photos to put on this's been photo-less for 2 posts now! Yikes!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just us....

After several photos of family sessions, I decided to take a break and give a quick update on our family instead. . .

  • Basketball season has officially begun. Jacob is playing on a 5th grade team at the Y and has already had 2 games. Chris has been practicing for a little over a week and is fully into basketball coach mode. I always hate the beginning of the season adjustment and the end of the season burn-out the most. The middle isn't so bad (remind me of that in January!).
  • Thanks to Cheryl, I am fully addicted to another TV show. She came over last week and brought season one DVDs of Friday Night Lights. Why haven't I watched this show before? I am offically hooked!
  • I have started Christmas shopping...and really have a pretty good start. Jenna and I went last Friday and got quite a bit done. Chris and I are planning to go this weekend to do some shopping for the kids. Our weekends between now and Christmas are pretty busy due to basketball games, so we need to squeeze in the shopping whenever we can!
  • It is FREEZING here...and we have even had a dusting of snow on the ground and rooftops. I'm so not ready for cold weather and snow. Yuck!
  • The only good part about the cold and snow is using our fireplace. I absolutely love our new gas insert!
  • My most exciting news of the day . . . We just upgraded our cable, so we will finally have digital cable...and most importantly DVR. I'm so excited!!
  • As of next week at this time, we will be off school for 5 days. I CAN'T WAIT!!
  • I had an appointment with the rheumatologist on Monday. She said right away how much better I looked. She commented on how tired and exhausted I looked before. Basically things are a little better so I will continue the medicine I am on. I still experience achiness daily, but it is not as severe most days. There are times when it really gets bad, but if I continue to limit myself and take it easy then I do pretty well. She also prescribed an additional medication to help me sleep. I still have a hard time sleeping all night and still feel exhausted when it's time to wake up. Hopefully the side effects aren't too bad and I can actually take this one (the last one knocked me out!). I don't have to go back until March!
  • And a Jenna funny . . . Her teacher recently put out a telling notebook where the kids could write their "tattling" instead of constantly telling her. Jenna wrote in it yesterday and basically said "I can't go to the movie (PTO sponsors a movie the Saturday after thanksgiving) because my dad has a basketball game". Ummm....I don't think the notebook was meant for a place to tattle on your dad Miss Jenna!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

{Werts Family}

Last week I had yet another family session. Tiffany suggested that we meet at her Dad's horse barn...and it was the perfect photo taking location. I may have to borrow it again sometime. We were fighting the sun and had to keep moving the whole time so we didn't lose daylight, but we still managed to get lots of photos - including several clothing changes. I started with photos of Lainey and Camdyn and later dad joined us for some family photos.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

{Pazitka Family}

I met the Pazitka Family and took their photos on the same day as the Pittner Family. The two families are friends and Vickie was kind enough to arrange photos for both families. They have two gorgeous little girls who were a little shy and not too sure of me at first. But within a short time they warmed up to me and were ready for lots and lots of photos.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Tuesday....

....and that means my weekly get together with Cheryl and London. Last Tuesday I had to cancel since we still had flu germs spreading around our house. Instead I met Cheryl and London in Van Wert on Wednesday evening for some quick photos and then dinner at the Chinese restaurant. I love these photos from Wednesday. I really wish I would have had someone to take photos of me with Jacob and Jenna when they were itty bitty and brand new. I'm just so excited that Cheryl lets me cuddle with London and take tons of photos of him so I can get my weekly baby fix.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

{Pittner Family}

Vickie is one of my sister Jill's best friends from home. I took their family photos last year and she contacted me earlier this fall for a repeat session. In fact, we even went back to the same location in Stow. It is one of my absolute favorite places to take photos -I wish we had a place like it here! We had perfect weather, lots of fall leaves, and cute little boys dressed in cute sweaters. What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Just a friendly reminder . . . .

Miss Jenna showing off her brand new haircut and fun election shirt (compliments of Old Navy for $1.00 - can't beat that). She wore it in support of our school levy. Cross your fingers that it passes today!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Jacob and Jenna.....and a fun new location....

Living in a small town, I tend to use the same locations over and over. A few weeks ago - after our visit to the pumpkin patch - I decided to try a new location I had spotted. Just as I was getting ready to take Jacob's photos, the man who owned the business (and the building?) drove up (in a fun car!). I checked with him to make sure it was okay we were taking photos there, he gave us permission and then he gave me a brief history of the building. I took photos of both kids and then used the great older car the man had driven. It made a great backdrop, too! This location also gave me a chance to use some fun actions in photoshop - kind of old school or grungey looking. This spot will definitely be added to my list of favorite photo locations. I can't wait to use it again.

Warning....LOTS of photos below. I had a hard time narrowing them down to just a few favorites.