Thursday, September 25, 2008


After Bella's birthday bash, I took advantage of the soft evening light and took headshots for my brother-in-law, Lucian, and his girl, Stephanie. They are both attending Wright State University for acting and needed updated headshots. It was very refreshing to get out there and use my camera and my skill for someone other than my kids. And Stephanie was the first person I ever photographed whom I didn't really know. So I thought I would share with you some of my favorite shots. I'm still playing around with some, using my software to sharpen them up. I may come back later with some in black and white and other such alterations. For now, I just wanted to share with you my first experience taking headshots! Hopefully not my last. It was fun learning beforehand what is required for headshots, and playing around with angles, background and lighting. Of course, as always, having good subjects makes a huge difference! Thank you, Lucian and Stephanie, for letting me take your photos. You made my "job" easy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Max And The Evil Pineapple

Apparently, at Bella's birthday party, Uncle Bubby (who is my brother, Eric) fed quite a bit of pineapple to Maxwell. And Max kept wanting more and more. I saw my brother take about 10 trips from the living room to the kitchen and back again, getting pineapple for Max. So later in the kitchen, Max was getting restless, and I offered him a bite of pineapple. And this is what happened. Hmmm, there were two pineapples cut up for the party. Maybe the one that Eric was giving him was a little less sour? I tried several bites, thinking maybe it was a fluke the first time. But no, this is what happened each and every time. I got my pictures, then I tortured him no more. I haven't laughed so hard in awhile. Of course, the pictures don't do it proper justice, but I'm sure you get the idea... There was a lot of flailing of hands all over the face and head, eyebrows raised, watering eyes, etc. Poor baby. The things grown-ups will do for a good laugh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

She's 5!

It is official. My little girl is 5. Her big day was this past Sunday, and what a party she had. She wanted a hula party, which was tons of fun. We always make everything ourselves, so for the invitations I drew a hula dancer and we found a great web site that taught us the proper words to invite all the family in Hawaiian. It is such an interesting language, and it was fun to learn some key words for the party. For once I didn't overdo the activities, so all were able to relax and have fun and play. The majority spent a lot of time outside, during which time my Mom and I were inside making grass skirts out of green duct tape and streamers (trust me, EVERYONE had to have a grass skirt). But we heard how much fun everyone was having, and peaked out the kitchen windows from time to time to see all of the big "kids" teaching the little kids how to really do the trampoline. I think Adam's back is still sore.
I found a good Hawaiian cake recipe, topped with pineapple and cream frosting, which was quite yummy, and we decorated it with pretty flowers. Can you believe there was not a hula girl to be found here in Marietta? What happened to the hula girl on the dash board of the car? I checked all the automotive departments. Nothing. Apparently all the hula girls have evolved into a smelly palm tree that hangs from the rear-view mirror. "Maybe in spring," said the lady at the craft store while looking at me as though I had lost my mind, "but we're selling Christmas decorations now." Which makes a lot of sense to me... Because nothing says riding out the end of summer in style than stocking up on Christmas decorations in September. Why is everyone in such a hurry to get rid of summer? I, personally, am not ready to let it go yet.
We nibbled on fresh pineapple, papaya and coconut all day to top off the hawaiian feast. And of course, we sang happy birthday, or should I say "Hau`oli la Hanau," to Bella, who then blew out her 5 candles like a pro.
Everyone gathered round to sing and wait for cake and ice cream in their grass skirts.

Yes, I know, Pap didn't get a grass skirt, and neither did Maxwell. You would be surprised how much streamer it takes to make that many grass skirts, and I underestimated. There was enough left for Max, but we assumed he would just eat it if we gave him one. Uncle Bubby and Buck wore theirs on their heads.

Bella received a slew of great gifts. Here is my monkey, using her feet to hold the chimp that I got for her while she opened it. You have to spread the toes just so to hold a present up.
And the day was a hit simply because nothing can make a Mama happier than to see her daughter with this look on her face.

She did this every time she opened a gift. I love it. So my girl is 5, and I'm okay with it. She is becoming her own self more and more all the time, and I am loving getting to know who she is and will be. She is a remarkable daughter, a wonderful big sister, and she is my little best friend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I've been tagged

I have been tagged by a friend with a 100 Things meme (just a list of 100 random things about me). I have been working on the list for awhile now, but there's no way I'm getting to 100 any time soon. So I'm starting out here, and will add to it in the future.

1. I always sit at my computer with my left leg hiked up, resting against the arm of our computer chair. My leg has a permanent indent on the side of my left shin to prove it.

2. Music affects my mood greatly. When down, all I need to do is put on some music to lift my spirits. Problem is, sometimes I forget this, but it always comes back to me when I need it most.

3. I desperately want to move away from town, and soon! Adam and I are both wanting some land under our feet again!

4. I love to sing. Sure, I can carry a tune alright, but I don't have a trained voice or anything spectacular to claim. But I LOVE to sing.

5. I love my family. I don't think I could survive living any farther away from MY family (Mom, Dad, brother and fam) than I already do, which is 1 hour. I also would NOT want to live any farther from Adam's family. Right now we're 2 hours from them, and it's too much, because I love them, too. If it were up to Adam, we'd probably live in CA or someplace else out west. He's a bit less rooted.

6. I don't watch Max as closely as I watched Bella or Kane. I cloth diaper, and the other day, when putting my dipes in the wash, I opened a dirty one and found a sticker Max had eaten: GOOD JOB! it told me, as if I needed reaffirmation.

7. I practiced EC (elimination communication) with Kane, and he was in undies by the age of 2. I have been working with Max a little here and there, just to get both of us used to each other's cues, and several mornings ago he had his first poo in the potty. Yeah, Max!

8. I am quite obsessed with my camera right now. I've had my Canon Rebel XTi for 4 months, and am nutty about learning all of the functions and what I can do with it. Check out my pics at .

. I have a folder with all of the photos I have taken since I got my camera (minus, of course, any not worthy of transferring to the computer). I checked it, and it contains 2, 141 files... Whoa.

10. I used to be really organized about my pictures, labelling and putting in albums with each roll of film developed. Since Max has come along, I have huge stacks of pictures on top of my piano that aren't labelled, and I have no albums to put them into right now... I really need to get on that. The plus is that my computer tells me what day I took each picture :-). That makes it a bit easier!

11. Right now, I have a big red lump on the bridge of my nose, thanks to Max and his quickness of hand. Dollhouse bookshelves can be dangerous weapons.

12. The kids and I are hooked on America's Got Talent. I know, pathetic. We watch very little TV, but this is one thing that I don't mind they watch, other than movies we own, because I can watch with them, and they get all excited about what instruments they want to play when the grow up and all that jazz. Many of the stories are inspirational, and I make sure they don't see anything they shouldn't.

13. Right now I am listening to the announcer for the Marietta College Pioneer baseball team out my window. And someone was just talking in their sleep...

14. Bella is having a hula birthday party this year. We found a great website that allowed us to do her invitations in Hawaiian, and we're going to try to learn some words/phrases for the big day. I am loving Hawaiian. What a beautiful (and simple) language!

15. I have spent the last two days spending some much needed time with my friends, and it has rejuvenated me. I am going to post this and go clean my kitchen!!! I love my friends!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We Had A Weekend!

This weekend was the annual Sternwheel Festival here in historic downtown Marietta, OH. People come from all over the country to join in the festivities. The downtown area streets are closed off, and people by the thousands peruse the local shops, eat entirely too much of your typical street-fair delicacies, cheer on the participants of the boat races, and dance to the music played atop a barge in the mighty Ohio River. The smell of hot grease and kettle corn fill the air.

Saturday evening there is always the grandest fireworks display that this area ever sees. And it was 6 years ago, on that Saturday of the Sternwheel Festival, that Adam and I exchanged vows in the beautiful St. Mary Catholic Church. The fireworks were the best cap to the evening then, and now bring a sense of nostalgia for us each year. It is a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary.

This Saturday, Adam came home at 6 pm from work (YEAH!). We had dinner here - yeah, no junky deep-fried grease balls for us - and packed the kids in the car to head downtown. We made our way through the crazy crowds to get some kettle corn and talked to some friends on the way. To my delight, there was a booth selling kettle corn to benefit the Humane Society, and to Bella's delight, she got to munch on some as a rare treat (her food allergies keep her from corn products). On our way to the Harmar Walking Bridge over the Muskingum River to watch the fireworks, with Max sound asleep in the wrap, a good-humored lady stopped us and said, "I was going to say, you are REALLY pregnant, and it's legs are hanging out!!!" One of the funniest comments I've had on the wrap. The fireworks were spectacular, and watching them from the walking bridge framed by the old railroad bridge was an added bonus. If I could have only had my camera and tripod...
Sunday we went to mass in the a.m., had a hearty lunch, and headed back to the festival. We watched the Sternwheels race while eating ice cream by the river, and listened to some bands playing from the barge. I left Max with Adam and took Bella and Kane down to the dock to take some pictures of the boats. We went walking through the crowds looking at cars in the car show, played in the fountain, then headed for Muskingum Park to top off the day. Bella and Kane collected buckeyes with Adam, and Max ate some leaves (his favorite summer past-time).I went camera crazy, and took tons of pictures. We walked the bike trail some, stopped to visit friendly folk with friendly dogs, and set the timer on my camera (for the first time!) for our family picture. We ended the day with dinner at home and relaxation, along with early bed times for tired children! And of course, Colts football... It was a wonderful weekend, filled with hundreds of pictures, and I'm so happy to be able to share it with my friends and family right here! We had our first "weekend" in a long time, and it felt good.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Food For The Soul

Sometimes there are days that we need to recover from. Maxwell and I are in recovery. Yesterday was especially our recovery day. We did a lot of sleeping and resting. We had a hectic Labor Day weekend expected, with parades, lunches, birthday parties, family reunions (etc., etc.) planned. Then Max's illness and 2 deaths added chaos to the already chaotic. Saturday was mad crazy running, and we even opted out of the lunch with Max fevered. Then we drove to Hannibal to attend the viewing for my sister-in-laws wonderful grandmother, who passed away Thursday evening. What a dear, wonderful, powerfully strong woman she was. She will be deeply missed.

Sunday was our family get-together for my dad's side of the family. I look forward to this day all year long. I love my family, and can't wait to catch up with them and spend a relaxing day eating good food, playing games, and talking, talking, talking. This year wasn't quite as relaxing, with Max still fevered. The poor little guy was dragged along through all of it. I guess that comes along with being the third child, but it still makes me feel bad. He would only let me and my dad hold him, and was just miserable.

Monday came with viewings for my Uncle Bobby, and his funeral Tuesday morning. Technically he was my great uncle, but with my mom being an only child, he was just as an uncle to me. There are so many fond memories of him for all of his nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. It was a sad day. And of course, through it all, Max still felt terrible. So Tuesday, Max and I left Bella and Kane with Nan and Pap and headed home for some time by ourselves. On the way we were going to stop at my cousin's house to see her new Koi pond, and I decided to take the scenic route. Having spent so many days reminiscing about growing up, I wanted to drive OH SR 536, one of my favorite roads to drive in my hometown. It was by no means a short-cut to my cousin's. In fact, it was more like a long-cut. But it was food for the soul that I was after, for once not worrying about miles, gas and cost. I needed the drive to refresh my spirit, to have some quiet time, with Max snoozing behind me, to reflect on the weekend and it's happenings. I was tired, worn and hungry. Hungry for times simpler, and a connection to my heritage. So I drove, stopping here and there to snap a picture, to the complaints of Max, who likes his cars moving, not stationary.

Muggy summer vistas, pastures, round bails, winding roads, old barns, heifers, horses... These are the things that make my soul sing. The pictures are by no means my best. But I wanted to share with you these things that can fill an emptiness for me. I would love to hear what can do this for you - what takes you back to your youth and brings you closer to your core. Feel free to share them with us by commenting on this post. I hope you have some quiet time to reconnect with your soul sometime soon.