Thursday, January 14, 2010

yay, new ways to waste time!

i have a new favorite website to share! it's & it's so fun! watch out, it's a time sucker! but it's a great way to keep track of things i'd like to buy, things i couldn't afford to buy in a million years, idea for families for photography session outfits, gift ideas for family members, etc. You can also make styleboards, as I've done here:
awesome living...
awesome living... by midwestjoanna

check it out, you can download little tabs for the top of your screen so when you're surfing the net & you see something awesome, you just click "Add to Kaboodle" & it's on your list!


Sunday, January 03, 2010

our crazy holiday

december was an incredibly busy month as i continued photography sessions & designed & personalized holiday cards for clients, all the while knowing that at some point i would need to consider our own holiday preparations, shopping, shipping, & cards. it was a mad dash this year (well, isn't it every year?) & each year business gets a little busier for me, but in the end we finally put up our tree & decorations, purchased gifts for family, shipped everything out, & the cards were done in a series of steps & in the end were shipped from my printer to our hotel in florida where i stamped & addressed them & sent them out.

the other big event for us was our 20 hour drive to florida commencing the day after christmas. we decided to drive instead of fly......because we're crazy. well, as the trip approached it became harder & harder to remember why we had decided driving would be better for us. days before we were to leave i even honestly discussed with my mother the possibility of madyn flying back with them on the return trip if she freaked out on the way there & we couldn't imagine strapping her into her carseat to embark on another 1,300 mile trip. luckily, all went unbelievably well. shockingly well. okay, i have to admit that we also had our babysitter with us, sitting next to madyn, occasionally holding her hand, searching for her thrown pacifier, passing things back to kieran & andie. really i think that helped. a lot. but no matter what, the kids were wonderful-even when we drove on the way home for 11 hours one day & 9 the next. i'm already planning our wild west trip for summer.....

we went to florida to celebrate my grandfather's 85th birthday, he & my grandmother live in florida & it was so nice to see them as well as my father's siblings & all my cousins. and florida was lovely. green, lush, 70-80 degrees while champaign was 1. that's right, 1 degree. we went to the beach, enjoyed the sunshine, visit quaint downtown stores, swam outside in the hotel pool. whenever i'm in florida my top priority is getting to the beach & the kids were eager too. so on our first day in florida we rushed to the beach, aaron staying at the hotel with madyn who suddenly threw herself into a giant fit right before we were to leave & sealed the deal for a nap right then. my parents & sister came along though. and after a mere 20 minutes at the beach, suddenly kieran got stung by a jellyfish. he & andie had been splashing not far from the shore, probably up to their thighs when he ran to me telling me he hurt, he hurt! we couldn't see anything immediately but wondered if it was possible he'd been stung. there was a lifeguard nearby who was sure he was, asked if we'd seen the jellyfish warnings (somehow we'd missed the written warning on a sign & the flag signifying a jellyfish warning). but even so, we probably still would have let the kids wade in the shallow water as they'd been doing, i really couldn't believe he was stung so close to the shore. the lifeguard doused him with vinegar & applied a salve. kieran then announced that he wanted to leave, which we could understand. by the time we got back to the hotel he felt completely better & in a matter of days the marks were completely gone. i was pleased that the following day he agreed to go back to another beach & while he wouldn't go into the water much, he enjoyed himself & dug some sand trenches.

so that was our trip. we got back yesterday around 5pm & were so happy to sleep in our own beds & get back into our routine. although now we have unpacking to still do, christmas decorations to pack away, & new toys to find homes for........we're getting there. and we're acclimating to the frigid temps again. and i'm dreaming of the wild west trip.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

we are just chugging along over here, it's been insanely busy for all of us but i guess it's silly to expect anything else. october is my biggest photo month of the year & at least this year i'm not 9 months pregnant & trying to get on the ground for the right shots........instead i'm chasing madyn around who's going to be a year old next week & is now WALKING! yep, she is now quite independent & loving it. her favorite things to do are go up the stairs when we have forgotten to put the gate up ( i love that when she starts climbing them & then looks back to see us coming she suddenly pushes it unto high gear & tries to get up them super fast to escape us) & catching us when we haven't closed the bathroom door & then running in, wedging herself against the wall & the toilet & immediately flushing it. it's like she thinks the flush lever is just for her to do this. this morning andie went to the bathroom & i was helping her & madyn runs in. andie says to her right away, "sorry madyn, i already flushed the toilet" , as if madyn is our own little toilet flushing assistant whom we call on after going to the bathroom & really just need help in that department. she is the perfect height.

right now i'm considering giving up sleep to catch up on all the things i need to do. i feel like i can barely download my camera cards & back them up before it's time to put 'em back in & go to another shoot! yesterday i wondered what the strange pain in my knuckles was when i extended my right hand way out--then i realized it was from holding my crazy heavy camera & huge lenses for literally hours at time for five days in a row & hitting the shutter over & over. my very own version of carpal tunnel! and then i got a cold two days ago & i just thought to myself matter-of-factly "well this just won't do. i can't have a cold right now. maybe next week. or better yet, early november. i'll still have a lot going on but it won't be like this. okay, there you go, i just can't possibly be sick right now." and ya want to know something, i really feel like this cold hasn't gone past being just a little annoying-nothing that laid me out in bed or incapacitated me, just some congestion & sniffling. HA! i guess i told that cold who's boss!

the kids are doing well. kieran has a loose tooth. finally. i didn't lose my first tooth until 2nd grade so i haven't been that surprised that it's taken a while, though i've still be excited for it to happen. the other night he was brushing his teeth & complaining that it was bothering his loose tooth, which i hadn't seen yet. i asked him to show me & he's wiggling it but i can't see anything with his fingers in the way & a mouth full of toothpaste. finally i get to look & it turns out it's fairly loose & the adult tooth is fully in behind it. geez. at first i thought it was just in a little, but it's pretty much all there. so, now i'm hoping that the little guy falls out soon & give the big tooth some space.....we'll see.

andie is good. the other day she put on a Hannah Montana pajama top, a blue fleece track suit that's too small for her, and Thomas the Train sunglasses & quite seriously said to me, "i have the right attitude to be a singer". she also reasoned that she "spins a lot". and she definitely had the intense rock star glare down. it probably doesn't help that i've been letting her watch episodes of "Glee". she loves it & seems only mildly curious in some of the non-singing, more grown-up parts of the show.....

in all seriousness, we're doing really well. and though i do feel like i'm going in a million different directions at all times, the kids are great & i just love this time of year & snuggling with them. aaron's busy with plumbing & spending time with the kids whenever he can, at times trying to come home early when i beg him because i have a session. i love my wonderful clients & just keep making new friends every time i meet new kids & families. yep, no complains here. least until the holiday season. then it's pure chaos & i'm not responsible for the ranting that may occur. ;)


Saturday, September 26, 2009

walk this way

so friday was kieran's schools walk-a-thon. i just love this event, it's the big fundraiser the school does & the year that kieran was in kindergarten was the first year the school decided to forgo selling a bunch of stuff & try a walk-a-thon. i was a big fan. that door-to-door stuff is for the birds if you ask me. apparently it was incredibly successful (i like to think that most grandparents are paying their grandchildren not to guilt trip them into buying wrapping paper & magazine subscriptions & are willing to pay even more this way).

for the big walk andie & i took madyn to her little school & we went on to kieran's school. have i mentioned how much i love his school? maybe a million times? they had asked if i knew of anyone who might be able to take decent pictures of the walk but to please know that they weren't asking for me to do it. well, of course i had to come take pictures! i was already going to be there & was thinking about bringing my camera anyway (that's not a joke, i'm actually notorious for never bringing my camera to things, don't count on me to be the one to always take pictures at stuff-my camera & lenses are so bulky, & i'm also absentminded & it just never occurs to me most of the time), so i offered to help with this. though the weather was a bit overcast & rainy, the kids had a great time & one of the featured events was one of the high school marching bands actually marched to the school & performed. that was really fun & the kids had a great time.

and though it was supposed to be a walk, many of the kids ran lap after lap. the school did the event in shifts, pairing various grades together. when it was kieran's turn andie decided to go with him at the starting line & as to be expected, on the word "go", all the kids took off at a frantic pace, running & quickly descending a small hill. and of course, in trying to keep up andie ends up tripping at the bottom of the hill, along with several other kids, and nearly ended up being caught in a stampede. poor kid was a little shaken up but mostly okay. i was especially glad since only a few days prior she had been running down the sidewalk to pick kieran up from school & had tripped, skinned both knees & was still covered in bandaids. we are still working on healing. anyway, andie has been a little (what's a nice word for crazy?).....contrary lately & for much of the time that i was working on taking pictures she was either yelling at me or pouting or interrupting every adult conversation i had. it shouldn't be a surprise that the one close-up i took of her she's making a face. kieran's picture shows his utter happiness at his new temporary tattoo that he was given at one of the cool exhibits at the display portion of the event. do you remember how i mentioned andie was wearing bandaids? my kids are in love with bandaids. andie is especially bad & is quick to point out any new battle scars that need bandaid coverage-despite the fact that at times i have to say things like "andie, that's actually a freckle." so if bandaids are their source of constant enjoyment, temporary tattoos are like their own personal crack. they are like little addicts when it comes to these things & are willing to do just about anything-including run 15 school laps-just to receive one. so kieran's close-up includes his new tattoo.

all in all the event was great, the kids had fun, & i got awesome pictures for the school. not a bad friday :)


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

the closest andie will getting to actually eating one of these things....

well, i hope everyone out there had a fabulous holiday weekend! we actually spent labor day putting together a set of bunkbeds. andie has been in need of a new bed for fear that one day she might get into the cute-but-barely-standing-$15-garage sale-four posted-hanging-on-by-a-thread-and-not-to-mention-some-duct-tape-bed of hers & the thing would just collapse. so we took the opportunity to introduce something fun yet dangerous into her world!

we picked up the bunkbeds sunday night & then bright & early monday morning we announced their arrival & our intentions to assemble them. and then we realize we've been sent the wrong ones. we had ordered a set of white beds & these are mahogany. the mahogany were probably the most attractive but andie's dresser is white & i thought the dark color might be a bit masculine. after some consideration we decided to just go with it. and i'm really glad we did, they look great. we also decided to switch andie's room with madyn's, madyn's having been the bigger room with a slightly higher ceiling where the beds would go. and honestly, i'd never finished working on madyn's nursery so i wasn't totally invested anyway.

so the picture's from before are labor day morning & the almost after is afternoon.....later we did get a new mattress for the top.

kieran's been sleeping with andie in the bunkbeds & the first night they were up, though she was excited, she was also a little out of sorts & probably feeling a bit discombobulated being in a new room with a giant bed, she wouldn't stay in bed & eventually she fell asleep in the big red chair......and last night she begged to sleep in kieran's room in his bed, even though he was in the bunk beds. we'll see. we're hoping not to play musical beds all week but we'll see.

oh and P.S. we love andie's orange & white damask IKEA duvet cover but they don't sell them anymore.....if anyone has one that they don't want, we'd love to have a second one now :)


Monday, August 31, 2009

.......and now summer is over.

hi out there! how is everyone? we're doing just swell. i have no good excuses for being so bloggingly absent, though summer is the busiest time for me but also the time when i have the least amount of chilldcare. oh well. no pity parties here, we had a great summer-especially due to the nice, mild weather. have i mentioned that i turn into a total beast when i'm hot? well, you can ask aaron about it sometime. it's isn't pretty.

this summer we enjoyed things like going to area parks, riding bikes, going to camps, swimming at various pools, getting together with friends, berry picking, the county fair, a 5k, having a garage sale, a weekend family trip to chicago, an annual girlfriend weekend trip for me to galena.

but now school's started & we're back into our school schedule, which i have been counting down for. i am not very scheduled myself so the school year provides me with a much needed routine. unfortunately, kieran's school starts ridiculously early-at 7:45-but we'll take it, his school is awesome & makes me feel all happy everytime we go there. i just love all the teachers & staff & everyone always seems to happy to be there, which for me is a sign of a great place. it's so great to feel so secure in knowing that kieran is in a fun, encouraging, happy environment that-let's face it-provides him with much more than i am able to offer him. i'm so excited for him to be starting 2nd grade. he's also playing baseball which has been really fun.

andie & madyn have both started at Mother's Morning Out a few mornings a week. i love how i can take them any morning i choose. and as soon as they opened for fall they both went every morning the first week. so nice. andie will be starting her Little Maroons program at my old high school in a couple weeks but this will tide me over a bit until then, & she is very much a second kid--ready to go, go, go & wave goodbye to me from over her shoulder. madyn is awesome too-10 months. crawling. yuck. okay, i should be happy for her & encouraging but it's hard because now she's mobile & she's everywhere & she's eating random legos off the ground & we have to remember to always keep the basement door shut. she is so happy though with her freedom that i hate to begrudge her this joy.....i'm trying to be encouraging. i even brought up a little push toy that she can walk along with & now she loves it & i can practically see the little hears turning in her head, wondering if she might be able to just let go & try a couple steps on her own.....that's usually when i distract her & try to get her to think about something else because nothings worse than a baby who crawls than a baby who walks. then she wouldn't even be a baby, she'd be a toddler, & i am just not ready for that. but she is so sweet & fun & we just can't believe that in less than two months (oct 29) she's going to turn 1. we're thinking about a halloween bday party for her, which i think would be tons of fun. i love fall & halloween is the best holiday ever.

so i'm going to just say that summer was busy & write it off as my blog "time off" & now i'm back in the swing of things! check back again, i'll post pictures & update, i promise (heather--i'm talking to you!!!)

hope you're all doing well out there!


Saturday, May 09, 2009

i can almost taste summer.....

well, it's just been a whirlwind of activity & i don't know about everyone else, but i can't believe that it's already may! we've been busy, that much is probably obvious what with all the blogglessness around here & all, but good. madyn is 6 months already & much less like a newborn blob & showing us who she is. luckily, who she is is just swell; she's very laid back & content & enjoys watching kieran & andie vie for her attention. she is rolling over a lot & i can already see what will be coming soon: the dreaded crawling. i would be happy if she wants to sit up unassisted, that would be great, but crawling means a whole lot more energy exertion on my part & it's the beginning of the end as far as stationary baby-dom is concerned.

the older two are awesome, andie just finished up her Little Maroons program at Central High School & i celebrated #2 of 3 graduation events she will participate in there, as she did this last year & still has one more year before actually graduating & moving on to kindergarten. but it's great, i would be happy to attend endless grad programs if i get to hear "Five Little Hot Dogs" each time, it's a great song & the kids just love singing it :) i've posted some pictures from andie's last day below, we will most surely miss this place all summer long-andie would spend every minute of every day there & mommy will miss having andie occupied & cared for & not worrying when the house is quiet because she is holed up in her room with either 1) candy she has scaled the pantry to acquire, or 2) scissors & something valuable that is suddenly confetti. but i digress.....

kieran is in the last weeks of 1st grade right now, we are just seeing that big kid longing for the end of the school year & the start of summer from him & i'm hoping that after spending a nice long summer of playing baseball in the yard, sports camp, swimming, & playdates we will be able to convince him to return to school.....we'll see.

speaking of kieran's school, i am in the middle of work on the school's yearbook, a job that i agreed to be in charge of for two reasons, 1) i worked on pictures for it last year & thought it was something i could handle & add some creativity to, & 2) i felt guilty that i had never been to a PTA meeting & continued to go to events & activities where other moms worked their butts off & served dinners, handed out tickets, auctioned prizes, & greeted families while i simply attended events & activities, ate the dinners, bought tickets for prizes, & smiled as i was greeted. mostly i took on the yearbook for reason #2.

but you want to know the problem with me being in charge of the yearbook.....? I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING. which kind of constitutes a big problem, especially considering the fact that the end of school is mere days away & i am still working on this project that i don't know how to do. i'm going to hope none of the PTA girls read this & i can continue to pretend that everything is swell, no reason for them to worry, & that there may be an actual yearbook to hand to students before school ends.......but.........i've been doing a lot of freaking out lately. did you all know that i have three kids, one of which is a baby??? and i'm back to work & taking on photo clients again? and i'm working on marketing my business a bit so i can get even busier? did you know that i'm insane? i have this bad habit of volunteering for things i have NO BUSINESS volunteering for. aaron just loves this because often it means that he walks in the door & i hand madyn to him & before i've even verified that he has a grip on her i'm pivoting & halfway down the stairs to the basement yelling over my shoulder, "i have so much for to do & i haven't even been able to pee by myself today! i haven't eaten since monday & i'e wiped butts four times today! i'll be back up later!" and it's not like aaron's been kneeling in standing water in someone's dank drawl space for hours or working is own butt off all day plumbing, soldering, fixing, climbing, lifting. but he's a good sport & luckily he's missed his kids & is ready for some time with them & he understands how hard it can be to juggle kids, three different schools, my photo stuff, & now this yearbook task in which I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING.

but don't worry, i'm going to get some big chunks of this project done this weekend & i'm working on easing the PTA guilt. i attending my first meeting recently. i did however announce just after sitting down "is my face really red? i feel really red, i had a beergarita before i came." it was probably not my finest moment but damn, the meeting was actually quite enjoyable.


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Health Care Management MBA
Online MBA
Online MBA