Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Posted this rate-change on my photo-blog last night, but then figured it wouldn't hurt to have it here too...

Dear anyone-who-cares,

Last time I changed my prices, I'd convinced myself there was no need to explain it or announce it. I thought maybe it wasn't professional to do so. But then I was always a little nervous that people who knew me and knew my original prices wouldn't check out the new ones, and I'd be faced with an awkward situation. So maybe it's not totally professional, but um.... A: have you met me? Maybe I should lose that dream. And B: what the hey-- it's a blog. A medium through which you share more than anyone would EVER really want to hear, right? .... So here I am to explain another little rate change.

I LOVE photography. When I first started, my goal was to charge a little bit of money and get some good experience and some good images to build my portfolio. I was having so much fun. When I found myself having a little less fun and feeling a little more aware of the time my new hobby was taking me away from my family, I thought maybe it was time to raise my prices a bit, you know, so I'd still feel that excitement before a shoot. I had decided it was OK if that meant less business. I just needed to feel like the shoot, and all the hours spent editing photos were worth my time. It's so precious as a mommy, right? Also, I'd made some significant upgrades to my equipment. I debated between a simple sitting-fee raise, and charging for digital negatives. It seemed like a nice stepping stone to my goal of eventually charging for the prints. But after getting some feedback from some honest friends-slash-clients (I guess I could just use the slash but then I'm not sure you'll actually say it right in your head), I decided to switch it up. So check out my new session fees already will ya? Just so we're all on the same page. :) (They include a CD... hooray!)

Thank you to all of you that have supported me in this new venture! And if you're considering a shoot in time for Christmas cards, contact me soon-- it's a busy time!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This whole month belonged to her.

Dear Sophia-- sia, phia, sophie, sophie-bug, sister-soph, and princess, (not punkin, or dude--- you get furious when I call you either of those right now. Princess is definitely preferred.)

The second day of this month marked your 4th birthday. We did donuts for breakfast, cupcakes in class, and Chuckee Cheese's at night as a family (I think that was our first and last time as a family-- mom's not a fan.) You had fun, but you kept asking me when we were having a birthday party with all of your friends. We saw a bunch of boys in the street skateboarding on the way home... "are those my friends coming to my house for my party!?" It broke my heart to disappoint you even a little.

We got you a dollhouse, but mommy picked it up the night before and left no time for Dad to set it up. So really you just looked at the box longingly. When will I think ahead like a grown-up?? I hope you don't inherit my flaky side.

The very next day, Dad swept you and Mila off to Utah for a fun vacation with Nana and Grandpa B. while Daddy and I went to Hawaii. The month was full, and on the 22nd, a few weeks later, we finally celebrated with all of your friends at Pump It Up! It was a fun party-- and watching you run and jump and slide and laugh with your friends, like such a big girl-- made me realize that I'd better put in writing some of the details of this precious phase. Four.

You are thoroughly a big sister- you love Mila. You watch out for her. You hate when she's asleep and can't play with you, and lately it takes all of your willpower to not go in and wake her up. The wrath of the mean-mommy usually deters you. :) You miss her while you're at school. You show her off to all your friends, and lots of strangers too. "This is my baby sister, Mila"-- you announce it proudly to every friendly face in Costco.

You can still throw a pretty gnarly fit if she takes your toy without your approval, but when you have time to decide all on your own, you are as generous as the desert sun.

You are smarter every day. And you are always coming up with things that surprise me. You love the temple and the idea of getting married there some day. You tell me you want to marry Tanner there in a purple dress--- I’ve stopped explaining why it needs to be white, because that just makes you furious-- you want yours PURPLE! So I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I tell you that you're too little to marry Tanner, and that you guys should just be great friends, and that only grown-ups like mommy and daddy get married. Now, you come out of your room early in the morning occasionally and ask me, "mom, am I bigger yet? Can I marry Tanner now?" He's a lucky kid, our sweet friend Tanner. You are quite the catch.

-Your body is strong and coordinated. I love watching you run and climb… jump on the tramp and swim--- you are athletic—powerful and deliberate in your movements. I cannot wait to watch you utilize those talents in whatever ways you choose as you grow older.

-You sing like an angel. All of the time. Your songs of choice are "I know you" from Sleeping Beauty and the "Let me be your wings" one from Thumbelina-- you know most the words. Well at least your version. You might belt out what sounds like "let me be your horny love!" in place of "let me be your only love!" but it's pretty close.

- You've been in speech therapy and your speech has improved a ton this past year. You're still working hard on your s-blends. So star is "tar" and smile becomes "pile" (I guess it's hard to go from the front of the mouth to the nose like that) but instead of getting frustrated like you used to, you listen closely as I repeat it correctly and you smile, focus, and repeat it back until you get it. You are so proud of yourself when you say it right----------- but not as proud as me.

- Lately, before daddy leaves for work, you say, "wait dad! and ONE. More. Thing. I forgot to blow you kiss.... (it sounds a lot cuter in person, with your morning voice.)

- You love your friends and are socially, as brave as the tiger in Quick as a Cricket. You are outgoing and friendly and never look back at me when I drop you at school...... Well maybe after I fight for your attention, and beg you to blow me a kiss... and you just want me to get out already.

- You still give me a run for my money. You are sassy and emotional. All girl. You get frustrated and impatient and even at four, you throw some fierce fits. I'm constantly reminding you right now to stop growling (uh huh) and screaming, when your mad and just tell me what's wrong. You usually mellow out and speak calmly once I remind you-- and the dimples from that oops-I-did-it-again guilty smile bring my mile-high blood pressure right back down as quickly as it went up. I wonder where you get your extreme emotions. I wonder.

- Your grouchy is really grouchy. But your sweet---oh your sweet is SOO sweet. You climb in our bed at about six every morning and snuggle in to me as close as you can, pulling at and draping my arms, trying to figure out the best way to wrap them around you. I can't lie, I don't always love this hyper-extending rag-doll, experience at 6 am. But I love that you are snugly--- and I love that you love your family. And I love that Heavenly Father sent you to us. I'm the luckiest mom in the world.

I love every single, tiny thing about you. Growling and screaming included.
You are four-- and absolutely exquisite.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Television.... it's here!

Mercy: don't do it. NBC's attempt at a New York, nurse's Grey's Anatomy. In those first five minutes when she pinched the woman's nose between her knuckles to get her to shut up like she was one of the three stooges--- well I guess I should have caught on then and not wasted my time.

Cougar Town: Holy Cow. So bad. On so many levels. Really obnoxious characters, really awful message-- made me sort of ashamed to be a woman. If that were a show about men trying to seduce younger women it would be outwardly offensive--- why is Hollywood so determined to create such a double standard? Yuck. I liked my Monica neurotic and quirky, not trashy and desperate. Ashamed we even tivo'd it. But I feel this overwhelming need to support my old friends on their new ventures, you know? oh-- which reminds me...

Love Happens: A movie-- so it doesn't really fit in my new-fall-tv-show-review. But lame, nonetheless. I expected so-so, because while I can't resist a movie with Jennifer Aniston just so I can stare at her hair and hope I feel the FRIENDS nostalgia, I'm usually disappointed. But this was disappointing for other reasons. It wasn't about love at all. Really, I felt like I was attending a grieving seminar or some big group/ broadcasted therapy session. Depressing. Blah. But her hair was lovely as ever.

Biggest Loser: It is what it always is. And if only it were an hour instead of two, and Jillian didn't always have her face scrunched in that "I'm gonna kill someone" ridiculous expression, we'd be loyal viewers for the whole season. But this first episode made me bawl like a 4-year-old who's block-village just got knocked over by her baby sister. Sad.

Modern Family: Hhhhhhhhh (that's a sigh)-- The thought of willingly watching a show with the guy who played Al Bundy was NOT enticing to me. But Ross insisted it would be a winner. And it did NOT disappoint. Did you watch it? Tivo it next week--- it was really funny-- and I actually liked several of the characters. Usually I feel like that can take a few weeks. This is a keeper. Ross and I died over the "cool-dad".... because.. well we're pretty sure it's Ross... in like 10 years. Yikes. Funny.

Community: on the other hand... not so funny. Bummer, because who doesn't like the soup guy? He was good--- the pretty girl was fine, but every other character made me watch mostly out of my left eye. (That's what happens when the acting is really annoying and my face starts to turn away like the tv stinks.)

SYTYCD- is it really on again? This show has always been at the top of my list--- but last season, something just wasn't right to me. Maybe I'm just soured from losing my Fantasy SYTYCD, but I didn't LOVE anyone. Especially the boys. None of them were quite enough boy for me. I think that was the problem. That and, I think there's a limit on how many seasons you can let your senses of sight and sound be offended by Mary Murphy.

Let's hope for more winners soon--

I love Fall. Even if it is still well over 100 degrees.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Amanda and Michael.... in luuuuuv

I've finally gotten through all the photos of this bride and groom shoot. I did it two days before I took off for Hawaii... and have been so anxious to edit them all---

What? One's not enough? Well it's your lucky day because I went so much farther than overboard over here on the photo blog. I know I always say it, but I keep thinking time and experience will make me better at narrowing down... but I'm not a good narrower... consider yourself warned. But go anyway-- even if it's just to see her perfect a-line.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rachelle got me hooked on a girls trip a while back, but I've finally figured out they're ALmost as good at home.

I wish I'd taken a picture. But even without, I still feel the need to share. Meet my new favorite lunch:

toasted everything bagel
smeared with cream cheese on BOTH sides (I paid attention last time I was at Einsteins)
sliced cucumber
tomato (salted-- I can't wait 'till the end, not the same)
banana peppers
fresh jalapenos (I just spelled that with an "h" and stared at it confused for like 15 seconds)
red onions

If you know me and my foods--- this is a big leap-- a meal with no real protein. (I just can't count cream cheese, Lizzie... I can't do it)... but I'm feeling ok about it these days... I figure somehow all the veggies cancel out the 320 calorie bagel and i-don't-even-want-to-add-it-up cream cheese.

Remember, a generous smear on BOTH sides. Key.

P.S. Did a couple of shoots RIGHT before my Hawaii trip, just posted one on my photo-blog. Check out the brown-eyed beauty here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Part 3

I know you're waiting in anticipation. Here goes.

Day 5: Lamm's went hang gliding.... we explored Waimea and scoped out the Shrimp Station that Shad and Lizzie had read about...

Upon picking up the Lamms, we quickly returned to indulge. Pretty sure this was everyone's favorite meal of the trip. An 11 dollar plate FULL of coconut shrimp and sweet chili dipping sauce goodness.... yum.

I don't think I knew how big my mouth was. Not sure how I feel about that, but it's already in the collage...

Everyone full-- to the brim, but we'd seen Lappert's icecream on the drive in, and I remembered them having my favorite Mint and Chip ever from like 10 years ago. So we had to make a stop. I thought "I'll just get one little scoop." ... she talked me out of that normal little cone into this big waffle cone, and believe it or not, this is the 'single scoop'. We were all sick. In sort of a wonderful, chubby, Hawaiian way.

Heading to the East Side for our luau that night, we stopped at Kipu Falls. This is one of those places I thought was a hidden spot for locals that some friends showed me when I nannied over there. Turns out it's in the Kauai book that Lizzie found on Amazon for the trip. The same book we later saw at Costco. (This explained why every tourist seemed to be on our heels the whole time-- but seriously greatest tourist-book ever. As long as we had it with us we could get anywhere on a moments notice. It's the blue one if you go looking??)

Anyway... here we are on the little "hike" into Kipu Falls. I was seriously closing my eyes and ploughing through.... the grass was so high and thick. Amazing.

We found it. We assessed.

Did you think that was four of the same photo? Look again. I told them to be boys... I thought it was too funny that Ross didn't move an inch. I don't think he took a breath even. But seriously, look at those muskulls. Mission accomplished babe.

Shad and Lizzie... ok so it's mostly Lizzie, but really have you seen a cuter pregnant girl?

Killing time before the luau, Shad was determined to crack open a coconut to drink the milk. I don't think it's what he expected...

Uhhh... some straggler pictures I guess...
That evening... luau... luckily we got out of the food portion when we were still stuffed from shrimp and ice cream, and realized we'd be paying 75 bucks for other people's drinks at the open bar. So we just saw the show that night at Smith's Luau... eh--- not my favorite. But we sat next to some really entertaining drunk people.

Day 6: Mission: Relax. Sleep in, walk to Starbucks for egg sandwiches, head over to the other Marriott beach so the boys can surf. And the girls can lay.

I feel like I should confess that Lizzie and I managed to squeeze a lot of this in. A vacation isn't a vacation to me if there isn't a lot of laying in the sun. It's my mom's fault... she was raised in Hawaii and you can still see her soul warming in some good fresh air and sunshine. And of course the air and sunshine is SO much better in the islands. I can smell it just blogging about it.

Did I mention that this was our rental car? Fun right?

All blog-puffery aside, it was heavenly.

Back to diapers and carpools, and photo-walls and upholstered chairs. The things of this world.

Ok but the snuggles and dimples and i-love-you's and midnight giggles from a very sleepy Mila when she squinted her eyes open for a moment and saw me after 12 days (I just counted that for the first time--- HOLY COW! )---- those are SOOO out of this world. Even the heavenly polynesian one.

Happy to be home.

The End.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hawaii!! Part 2

(For My Record)

Day 1: Loaded up on Chocolate Mac nuts and other essentials at Costco- then relaxed... then ate burgers at Bubbas... didn't pull out the camera just yet...

Day 2: Shad and Lizzie did the boat tour of the Na Pali Coast, Ross and I hiked to the first beach on the Na Pali coast. Pictures on previous post. I think I'll go make a piece of toast. what? (got carried away with the rhyming...)... when we reached the beach and planted our resting spot, we didn't wonder why no-one else was really lounging on the sand... until the water shocked my resting eyelids and completely submerged my camera. Yup. It was the old one-- the d40. And it seems to be alright... but honestly, if I had time for blog catch-up, you'd hear another story and wonder how I can justify spending money on cameras I can't seem to take care of. yikes.
Cleaned up--- went to Roys. yum.

Day 3: Off to a new beach.

I love him. Can you tell? We're planning to move to Hawaii. Anyone want to buy our houses for what they were worth before we were buried under miles of water?

Day 4: Lamm's go on a helicopter ride that we were too cheap for, while we slept in and swam in the ocean... afternoon, we borrowed kayaks from the Allens (the family I nannied for summer 2002) and kayaked up the Wailua River... then jumped out and hiked as fast as we could to the falls.... Ross was in charge of keeping time so we wouldn't be hiking back down in the dark... we pushed it a little.

As it turns out, starting late was the best move we made all week. We saw nobody as the river narrowed and the trees closed in... It felt like a quiet dream... our hike, a treasure hunt-- like we were the first people to discover this beautiful, cascading, MAGnificent waterfall. We didn't think we had enough time... but figured five more minutes to jump in and swim under the falls would be worth it. It was SOOO worth it. A unanimous highlight of the trip. Our only regret is not having more time to soak it in, and not having a camera to capture it! We couldn't risk it getting wet (uh... again in my case), or getting stolen out of the car (what? all the tourist books warn of it, and I'm thinking bright yellow jeep might whisper "tourist"...)

We planned to have sushi on the way home. Lizzie didn't plan on her clothes getting wet. Poor thing almost bought a t-shirt with a picture of a chubby, half-naked polynesian surfer-girl to get through dinner. This accompanying my too-big running-shorts. Shad couldn't stomach buying such an awful shirt, so he took Ross' over sized, half-damp t, so Lizzie could wear his. We were quite a sight. And by "we" I mean you, Liz. Just kidding. :)

I just looked at the clock... WHY does this always take SOOO much longer than I think it will? I'm husband and kid-free. and NOT loving it. We flew in to LA yesterday, drove to SD, slept over. Ross flew out of SD to Utah this morning to pick up the girls (Thankyou nana and Grandpa B!!! and everyone who helped!) ... and they drive home tomorrow. If I can ever get myself upstairs in my bed and ASLEEP.... I'll be dreaming all night of snuggling those precious girls. This is the longest it's ever been. And it's a little too long.

Guess there will be a part 3. SO MANY PICTURES. Sorry for those that prefer words. Or just a little less of our faces! I told myself I'd just to a link to my flickr.... but then I got going and forgot... and then it wouldn't be in my blurb book... anyway--- I'm warning you... more tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Guess where we are...

Kauai to be precise. wow. I'd almost forgotten. I think after nearly 7 years in the dusty desert, my memory could not even begin to paint the color of this place. I've never been somewhere more beautiful.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


When Sophia was still just creeping up from babyhood, I'd see commercials for the first day of school. All the supplies and shopping etc... and it made me sick with anxiety. The thought of being that kind of mom- with the van and the huge supply of pyrex-- buying notebooks and Elmer's glue and shopping at Mervyns made me very nervous. I would always remind myself that before Sophia was born, the thought of having colorful, plastic baby paraphernalia all over my house made my neck hair stand on end in the very same way. And once it was MY baby paraphernalia, it warmed my heart. "Baby steps", I thought, on several occasions. What a perfect saying.

And now she's off to a real, sizeable, preschool, and I wasn't even sure I was in to preschool a few years ago. But I feel almost completely comfortable with it all. I know it's not like she's started kindergarten. I didn't need to send her with any supplies or even lunch (except for one day a week.) But I do have to drive her about 17 minutes away as opposed to my roll out of bed, hold Mila on my lap and drop her down the street at Rachelle's house. What a wonderful first preschool that was. I do feel a little more pressure to have her hair combed so that crazy pillow-knot in the back of her head isn't showing off all day. I feel a little more responsibility to be punctual- not my forte-- I don't want to be that flaky mom. And I think more about it--will the kids be nice to her? will there be any bad apples? I knew all the kids in her first preschool.

But she loves it! No surprises there. And she still has a handful of her best friends with her, like you saw above. Tanner was a little nervous to stay, (that explains the expression above :)-- I thought it was too perfect Liz) so Lizzie's been going back and forth. But we're crossing our fingers that he stays since the teacher says they are joined at the hip all day long. How cute right? She'd be so bummed if he wasn't there.

So I'm a real-deal Tiny-Tot mom. I've signed up for snacks, filled out the field trip permission-slip, and coordinated bringing cupcakes in tomorrow for her BIRTHDAY! I still hate Mervyns, I drive a Pacifica which is really just a less convenient mini-van, and still use and reuse the tupperware that should be disposable (like the one's the costco ham comes in)...

All in due time...

but I'm really excited to have this social little (fit-throwing, door-slamming like a teenager) butterfly of mine spread her wings. ;)

It's pretty cool being a mommy.