Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

On Tuesday whilst we were braving the less that ideal road conditions on our way to Saginaw, many of my family members were serenading my beautiful grandmother :) Check out the story here:

And, I also was fortunate to have her blessing in taking a few portraits of her with my new Christmas present. She tries to be shy....but I think she knows her beauty :) She turns a riley 87 years young on the 31st. Te Quiero Mucho Grams!! See the full set HERE at FLICKR.

2008-12-26 Saginaw 01

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So. very. tired.

But I must stay awake. I've got more photos to edit :) Right now though, my back is killing me. I can't decide what its from though. It could be:

a. Yoga
b. Blow drying the window insulator thingy
c. Crafting on the floor because I don't have a table
d. Spending to much time sitting at the cafe table on the computer without a proper chair
e. I'm getting old

Take any combination of the above and you've got an achy back.

What I wanted to report today, quickly, is that it was Liam's first time playing in the snow. He's seen it before, touched it even - but it was his first time getting all geared up in snowpants, boots and everything. Oh, I didn't mention that he's actually sick right now. Yes, he's sick and I took him outside. Hey man, all the sites I looked at online say to spend some time in the chilly cold air to reduce swelling and irritation in his throat and lungs. So that's what I did. He didn't cough really the rest of the evening, either.

I don't know what was more fun, watching Liam play or watching Pat play with him. I've said it time and time again - he's such an amazing father. Its so intuitive to him! I very much enjoy watching the two of them together. OK, enough mushy mushy talk. Here's some pics :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Liam update

Well, I think the little stinker is transitioning to one nap a day. I suppose, like with most of his other milestones, that I'm just not quite ready. I enjoy his nap time. I get a lot done during nap time. Or, well, sometimes I don't :) if I choose. I'm hoping it will still be a 2-3 hour chunk though, but we'll have to wait and see. Despite the loss of naps during the day, he's become a champ at sleeping through the night *FINALLY*. We had three days in a row where he didn't wake where it was past 7:30 before he made any noise! I could definitely get used to that trend continuing!

Little man is just a wee bit sick right now, and getting more teeth I think too (how much more can he get?! I mean, reallY!?) which means stuffed up noses and an extreme disdain for the binky. So we might just take this opportunity to remove that completely. Which is a bummer because we were down to one, and I just bought two more that were SOO cute. I'm pretty sure one said "Stud Muffin" which I find HILARIOUS. But, he's been pretty clear when he was ready to give up his bottle, so I'm hoping this will be just as easy as that. Makes our life easier, for sure.

Lets see, what else. Oh, he's also becoming pretty verbal. He's saying Night Night and Kitty now, along with the mainstays of Uh Oh and WOW! Lots more babbling than in the past too. Mobility wise he's running around like a crazy man, finding things to climb, push around, or jump off of. Yeah, lots of fun for Mommy for sure! We're having oodles of fun trying to keep him from destroying the ornaments on the Christmas far so good with that. Well, mostly.

I think he's grown a few inches since our last doctor's appointment, but we'll find out for sure on Friday. He'll have his 15 month appointment....he's getting so big! All in all, things are going pretty smoothly, and I think I love him more every day :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Photographic Christmas Cards

Can I just say, quickly, that I LOVE photographic Christmas cards? Best thing ever invented. Regular cards are nice, but I love seeing pics of people and their lives. Its just nice....

AND EVEN BETTER when they're taken by me :) 8 out of the 12 photos currently on our wall were taken by me! Makes me really REALLY happy to see that, actually. Like they (friends and family) feel like my work is good enough to share with the world....and I'm so happy to be part of capturing their lives.


I'm just feeling all proud of myself at the moment....and that is a good place to be!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Birthday Madness!

I had a beautiful birthday! Beginning with the sounds of a happy baby waking up, and ending with some nice warm snuggles with my Honeybuns. Pat and I went out on a nice romantic dinner to Fogo de Chao (sans Liam! Thanks Casey!) and then picked up THE most scrumptious cupcakes from Molly's Cupcakes in Lincoln Park. Seriously - they were delicious! I couldn't decide what kind of cake I wanted, so Pat ordered 6 different kinds just for me :) Does the man know me or WHAT! We had carrot cake, red velvet, vanilla, chocolate, turtle and boston creme pie. Zowie - they were all amazing, but I think my favorite was the boston creme one....soooo mouth wateringly moist and tasty. YUM-O!

I'm never patient enough to wait for my presents, so I already opened them all :) LOL. I got my sparkley beautiful Swarovski Crystal Snowflake for 2008, and a SUPER cool stainless steel trashcan that opens ALL BY ITSELF!! I know, I'm lame. I'm excited about a trashcan. BUT IT IS AWESOME!!! And a pair of beautiful cards, from Pat and had a sticker included that displayed proudly my #1 Mom status. I LOVE cheesey crap like that. Hmmm....I feel like I got another present, but I can't quite recall what it was....

We didn't really do much else, I guess.....but that's how I like it. Low Key and Intimate :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Good Husband. Bad Wife.

I was amazed to wake up this morning and see the clock showing 9:00AM!!!!!!! WOW - I haven't slept in that long in ages. My wonderful, amazing, sexy, fantastic hubby let me sleep in - no strings attached :) He's great, I tell ya!

And, to top it all off, I've been fighting this sickness / allergies for the past week or so and have been quite stuffy. And, apparently I was snoring up a storm last night. So much so that I forced Pat out of bed and onto the couch.

So he slept on the couch and was still nice to me in the morning. AND had my coffee ready and waiting at the perfect temperature with cream and sugar. Did I hit the jackpot or what?!?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Exciting news!!

My business cards came in yesterday!!! WHOOOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

I decided to do the first run in a sparkley, shiny paper called "pearl" pretty! But I think I'll stick to regular white in the future. I can't wait to start handing them out!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I {heart} Christmas!!

I'm pretty sure we're done decorating for the holidays! The only thing left is to put out my Christmas Dishes...they're sitting in a box right now. Maybe this afternoon....

Saturday, we went to Gethsemane and bought our tree, and carried it home just like last year. We bought the ugly tree...its kind of lopsided, but the trunk is *kind of* straight and it was also about half the price of the other ones....and it had the perfect shape. I would love it to be more Charlie Brown-ish...but tree farm trees are always too full. Charlie Brown trees only grow in the forest.

One of my new (i.e. last three years new) favorite traditions with Pat is our Christmas Village. We buy the ones from Lowe's - Carole Towne I think its called - not super fancy schmancy, but still really cool. I've always wanted a village so I was pretty stoked to know Pat had one started. I've got this vision in my head that some day, I'll have a whole, giant long table dedicated to it.....but for now, the top of our counter will have to do. My idea this year was to add levels and snow.....much cooler than just lining them up :) I'm so happy with how it came out!

We have two light houses, general mercantile, village tailor, bistro, cigar shop, ed's tree lot and a lodge. We've got a couple trees and some people too :) We had a big ice skating rink / tree lot one that we donated to Goodwill this year - it was big, noisy, didn't work well and generally irritated me. We downsized to Ed's Tree Lot stand and I like it much better.

Now, I get a whole month of enjoying our decor! Hooray!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Desktop madness :)

Every month, I change my desktop into some new, yummy, scrappy goodness. Its a bit different than regular digital scrapbooking, where you arrange all the elements yourself. It's more similar to a "quick page". Really, its just too easy. Someone creates a free calender/desktop to promote a newly released digital kit, and I just plop my photo in. Tada!!!

You can find them all over the internet, I'm sure, but I mainly get them from Shabby Princess: Her stuff rocks. She also does a widescreen and normal screen versions, so my widescreen laptop doesn't feel left out.

Here's what mine looks like this of my favorites thus far!

Makes me feel all warm and Christmasy, and the photo of Liam was PERFECT!! He's actually playing peek-a-boo in the hallway curtains, but it kinda looks like he's being naughty, doesn't it??

Sunday, November 30, 2008

RIP Sam Dog

In this hyper connected world we live in, I received notice, indirectly (Facebook, actually), that my ex-husband Troy had to say goodbye to his (our) dog Sam today. I'm not sure of the circumstances, because I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet. I called, and left an incoherent blubbering message....not sure if he'll call back any time soon. I'm sure he's hurting.

We adopted Sam in April 2002 from the Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies (Grrr), shortly after we moved into our very first house in Henderson, Colorado. It was pretty much love at first sight when we went to meet him - even though he had some severe hip issues (from an accident, we were told, not displaysia) and was going to require expensive surgery. We adopted him, cared for him, rehabbed him and he, I think, was so very grateful :)

Yes, he was a great dog. Sweet, snuggly, and mischevious. He once snagged an entire pot roast off of our countertop. Oh, and the raw chicken he ate from the trash in our temporary Ann Arbor apartment. Yeah...the aftermath of that was fun.

He loved frolicking in the snow...sticking his nose in it and snorting away. He loved soft plush toys to hold in his mouth, as long as they didn't have a squeaky. If they did...he would destroy them in 2.2 seconds. Despite his 95 pound frame, he was petrified of Milo the cat (the big fat orange boy)....but really wanted nothing more than to be buddies with both kitties.

During our separation, we decided that it would be in Sam's best interest to stay with Troy here in the US, while the kitties went with me to Mexico. Sam was already an old boy, and although he traveled well, we both knew that international travel would be pretty tough on him. My heart hurt when I had to say goodbye to my big dog.

I did have the opportunity to see him on a couple of occasions since then - and Troy was always pretty good about letting me know how he was doing. Last time I spoke with Troy, he said Sam was still in good spirits, but definitely showing signs of his old age. I guess he would have been 13 years old this year....That's pretty darn good for such a big dog!!

He hasn't been "mine" since 2005, but he was always mine in my heart. So I say goodbye, and shed a few tears....but know he lived a good life. Goodbye Sam Dog. Someday, I'll see you again.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Thankful For...

Many many things. But I'm incredibly thankful for my own little family. My amazing husband, who has been so supportive and encouraging through the changes in our amazing little son, who is doing such a great job growing up :) I'm thankful for me. I've grown so much in the past year, the most surprising achievement has been my ability to be appreciative for what I have, instead of focusing on what I don't have, or what could happen. Its a big change for me, and a much welcome one. I'm in such a great place right now, and looking forward to many great things in our future!!

p.s. Yes, Liam *IS* playing with a plastic bag. I'm thankful for my great parenting skills. Hey, we took all the glass out of it!! LOL :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ziggy the Zebra visit

Here's a post from bulletin board :) Our board mascot came to visit us!!!!


First things first....Emily, nice try covering for Ziggy. He told me all about it. He wasn't hidden in your clean laundry.....he was in Zebra REHAB!! Decided he liked the drinky drink a little to much and checked himself in. Its OK now Em, everything is open and honest here, and we don't think any different of him now, do we???

Anywhoozers - Liam, Honeybuns and I really enjoyed our time with Zig man.....and lets just say, I don't think his stint in rehab helped him all that much......I mean, he was hangin' out with the Irish/Mexican folk for a while!

Lookie what we got!!! I'm soooo excited!

Liam, um....not so much. "NO MOM!!! Not the box. NOT THE BOOOOoOOooOOOOOX!"

First thing Zig-man lays down for me when he gets out of the box is this...."Lady, you gotta help a Zebra fix his hair! This 'do is WACK!"

So, I take him to get his hair did. Looks much better, and he says he feels so refreshed!

"Alright, alright...this dude seems pretty cool. Has good taste in colors...."

"Hey Ma! Did you hear this guy? He says he's been all over. Even to Montana!? MONTANA!!! Can you believe this guy!?"

Yes my dear friends, sometimes my son is a bit dramatic. He loves Ziggy. Then he hates him. Then he loves him again. Its like a tortured artist. "Enough of this silly Zebra!! I wash my hands of you!! BE GONE!"

Liam and the Zigster watching Sesame Street on the Spiderman couch...."Yeah, watch this segment Ziggy! This Elmo guy CRACKS me up!"

Has anyone seen a little boy with a red Zebra?? I can't find them ANYWHERE!! No trace of them at all....hmmmm....maybe they are plotting against me.

There they are! "Peek-A-Boo!" Liam actually covered his eyes this time. Usually, its one hand over his eye, the other one on an ear, or on the top of his get the idea :)

"Zebra? What Zebra? I don't see no stinkin' Zebra here."

Ziggy helps Liam get ready for bed by reading "Tails" together. Ziggy says "Hey!! I've got a tail too!" while Liam sips on some warm milk.

Ziggy, Hugo the Hippo and Liam are all pretty sleepy after a long day of livin' it up.

The next morning (this morning) we all wake up and get ready for what is usually the biggest game of the season....Michigan vs. Ohio State. Sad to say, this year has been a horrific one for Michigan Football....the worst in 129 seasons to be exact. Which was reason enough to break out the booze and for Ziggy to fall off the wagon. It's going to be a long one. Besides...its tough to be a University of Michigan fan when you're all RED!!! And yes, our TV is gigundic. Definitely a Honeybuns purchase...his last before Liam was born LOL :)

Hooray! There is hope!!! "WHOOO HOOO!! Michigan Scored!!"

Halftime of the UM/OSU game....While hope was still alive and before we were crushed to oblivion. Ziggy doesn't quite belong, he's the only one without Michigan Cool Pants :)

After the football game debacle, we headed out to see some sights. "WHOA! Chicago is AWESOME!!!!!!"

"Hmmm....should I go for a refreshing dip in Lake Michigan??"

Crusin' on Lakeshore Drive

Ziggy sitting patiently in traffic {AGAIN} after visiting Piggy Toes trying to find Liam some shoes for his freakishly chubby fat feet. To no avail I might add. Well, we couldn't find a pair that was less than $60....which is just ridiculous.

Mmmmm.....Is Ziggy thinkin' what I'm thinkin?? I think he is :) STILL off the wagon :)

Daddy, Liam and Ziggy walking to the condo after an afternoon in the city. No garages or driveways for these city folks! By the way, this really bites on a COLD day!!! Today was a warm 30-ish with a chilly lake breeze.

Adios Chicago!! We had an AWESOME visit - Safe travels Ziggy as he's off to see Liane and Alyssa!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Tribute to Uncle Dan - from my Tia Monica

I was sent this from my Tia Monica today - I thought it was beautiful so I figured I would share. We lost Uncle Dan unexpectedly yesterday morning.....


A Tribute to my brother Dennis.

It happen to soon, it wasn’t a good time, I wasn’t ready. It just doesn’t seem real. I feel like I am in a fog and so alone. They say it will pass, but I really don’t know. To lose such a wonderful brother.

And yes God I understand it is your will, you have a plan that we can’t even imagine yet. But you also have given us tears to cry, a head that hurts so bad because we miss our big brother, Our arms that are now empty for that one brother who filled a special place. Our hearts hurt so bad we don’t know what to do.

The one who always reminded us what being a family is, the one that always brought the yesteryears of Christmas every year. Nutcrackers and lots of presents! The ugliest tree he could find…he was a true Charlie Brown because when he was done decorating it, the trees true beauty
shined. And how about his never ending collection of Christmas music.

Do you remember?

Do you remember the one who could party with his friends and family, Party like its 1999. Lord we are grateful to have know a brother who has touch hundreds and hundreds in his life. Not everyone could do that but Dennis did it with ease and no effort. His generosity was his trademark and it was real, not just to show others how generous he was because I know of many more times his generosity was anonymous. It was as sincere as his heart.

I can’t seem to forget that I should have called my brother more often. I told him that next year we would start going to the football games with him again. Sorry to say I was too busy this year. How could any of us know that this would be our last opportunity? I loved the way he always dogged my MSU Team and I love teasing him about MI. It was all in love and fun. He even called me after the big game this year and told me that he would listen for five minutes of me bragging and then I have to leave him alone. That’s because State won MI. Now I wish it would have been the other way around.

And even though I am not ready to say goodbye, I am so grateful Lord that you sent this Angel to touch our lives. That I had the opportunity to call him brother, but more important that I had the opportunity to call him my friend. You all know what I am talking about because he had
a way of making each one of us feel as if we were the most important. And I want you to look at me now when I say, each of you are the most important. I am grateful for the friends Danny & Mary brought into our lives because we probably would not have know each other or crossed

And so Lord, I do trust you. You have called your son to go home. I put my faith in your hand to care for him and to take him to the holy kingdom. And don’t get mad at Dad, David, Gabe and Danny if they stop on the way to have a beer. Its all good. Its all in love.

We shall meet again my brother and I will cherish what you have given me and the family for eternity.

Your Little Black Girl

Friday, November 07, 2008

My kid is adorable

No, seriously. He is. Way more adorable than most children :)

His big gig right now is dancing. Well, its less like dancing and more like bouncy-type squats. It looks like he's working hard core his glutes and quads. Anyway, I was getting all "awww - he's so adorable and loves my singing" because in the AM when I go to wake him up, he started dancing in his crib to my songs. Rise & Shine and You Are My Sunshine - a couple of really snappy tunes.

Then, yesterday I was printing out recipes for Momfia recipe exchange.....and I look over to a cute little boy really breakin' it down. TOTALLY dancin' his little heart out. Except there was no music. Just the slow rythmic sound of the inkjet printer. Yes, Liam was dancing to the printer noises. *sigh* I guess that doesn't say much for my singing does it?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Seriously folks - note pad time!

I really need to carry around a note pad with me. Or maybe get an iPhone and blog on the go :) I have so many great ideas - so many different feelings and experiences that I want to share throughout the course of any given day....but by time I get a chance to sit and decompress and blog - the moment has passed and exhaustion sets in and then there is nothing to share.

For example.....had a great time in St. Louis! Have some fab photos to share.....but they're not uploaded quite yet so that will have to wait. Monday we spent in Forest Park and at the zoo....yesterday was spent on an Architectural walking tour and at the Arch. Beautiful weather, and a beautiful city!

During the walking tour we also spent some time at the old courthouse, where the Dred Scott Trial was held, and, during Liam's nap time I was able to watch Iron Jawed Angels in its entirety. Between a slave suing for his freedom, a woman's right to vote, and all the election coverage...suffice it to say it was a pretty intense day emotionally for me. I felt so grateful for those people who have fought for my right to cast a vote, and to be able to cast that vote for a Black man....and for that man to be our next leader......

Wow. Was I ever proud. I'm not gonna lie, tears were shed. During the movie....during McCain's concession speech......this morning reading USA Today.......I'm so proud to be an American. God Bless the USA.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WOW! How long has it been?

Since I've posted some layouts?? A long time I gather....since I can't find any in my archives newer than JANUARY!! Egads.

credits HERE

:::::::::::::::LINCOLN PARK ZOO:::::::::::::::
credits HERE

credits HERE

credits HERE

:::::::::::::::KYLE AT WHITES:::::::::::::::
Shocking, I know - a layout that doesn't feature Liam. credits HERE

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yes, Virginia, nice & honest people DO exist!

Last week during our Thursday run, Pat and I came across a seemingly discarded baby carrier. It looked like it had been out all night - dirty, wet, and dejected :) OK, I know carriers don't have feelings, but this one was an Ergo...the same carrier that Liam and I favor now over our wraps. I decided if it was still there after our run, I would pick it up, wash it, and try to return it to its owner.

So I did....but I didn't get a chance to post a "found" ad on Craigslist or post flyers because we were in a scurry to get things set to go to Indiana this weekend. But luckily, a friend who I had mentioned the missing carrier to saw a flyer this weekend and called to leave the number. So I called the family and a very grateful mama and baby got their Ergo back this afternoon. Made me feel good and all warm and fuzzy inside! Hooray for doing the right thing, and for helping fellow humans :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Orchards a go go

We're visiting Indiana this weekend hanging out with Shannon, Patricia and Michael whilst their parents are off in West Virginia white water rafting somewhere.....we spent last night keeping our Friday Game Night tradition alive with Clue, and we also taught the kids how to play Yahtzee. It was pretty fun! we had the bright idea of going to an orchard / pumpkin patch because Pat and I really, really wanted some apple cinnamon donuts. On a Saturday. So we loaded up the car.....took the scenic route through Gary.....and 45 minutes later we ended up at a wonderful little orchard with a MILLION of our closest friends. Three giant parking lots. All full with cars from Wisonsin, Illinois and Indiana. Craziness I tell you. Craziness.

Shannon and I fought our way through the crowds to get some cider and donuts - and we didn't even bother to go to the kiddie farm or hay ride because everything cost a gazillion dollars. Liam was kind of sort of cranky because I think he's coming down with something....either another molar or a cold or something. Anywho - I'll be damned if I was going to drive all that way and not get a few photos.

It was a beautiful day, and the drive back was much quicker (we took a different way). There was also no major fights between kids. And, the donuts were pretty delicious - so all and all it was a good day :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

*sigh* Do I REALLY want to do this??

Just one question. How on earth am I ever going to be a *real* photographer if I can't even photograph my own child?


I purchased an umbrella and light stand to help my indoor light (or lack there of) plight. Helps tremendously, but the only way to really learn how to use it is to, well, use it. Pat refuses to be my subject. So my only other option is Liam. I guess I really underestimated how helpful it is to have another set of hands. (click for a larger image)

You get the picture. Right?

:::::::::::::::::::::: OTHER NEWS ::::::::::::::::::::::

Our dear neighbor Kelly is happily on her way to Denver (SOOO PROUD OF YOU KEL!). We're going to miss her somethin' fierce. Her tenants don't move in until the 26th, so until then I have a nice big empty space to use as a pseudo studio :)

:::::::::::::::::::::: OTHER SHOOTS ::::::::::::::::::::::

Baby shoot went well this morning.....I used my manual focus lens so I had a lot of shots that were blurry, but some that are pretty good I think. AND, the cute naked baby peed all over my blankets :) LOL - I'm sure it won't be the last time! Also took some photos of baby girl Serene today - got a few shots of her and Liam (he finally slowed down because he was kind of tired and ready for a nap). It will take me a bit to process them all....but I will share I promise!

:::::::::::::::::::::: MORE OTHER NEWS ::::::::::::::::::::::

And lastly, I am going to be trading my photography skills for a friend's graphic design skills. This is for my logo design / brand. We've got an initial meeting on Friday....once again, the Momfia saves the day. Amazing women in that group, I tell ya!! Camri - I can't WAIT to work with you!!!

K. That is all. I'm officially sick of being on the computer, so I'm signing off for a while. Ciao.

Playgroup super stars

OK, there are no super stars of our playgroup....but since I didn't bust out the ol' camera until everyone was on their way out, I only caught a couple few cherubic faces.

Sleeping Josie. Or is it Nico? Crap. I can't tell.

Sweet O.

Pretty Mya!

Super smiley Maddy

Ellie-Roo. Her molars kind of hurt right now.
And the real Super Star...Lil' Man Liam :)