Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rain is so awesome

Unless you have grown up in a desert you probably do not truly Love the rain in a “Can’t wait for It to happen again” kind of way.  Yesterday and today my inspiration was the rain.  It started during the last hour of church as I was trying to re-acclimate poor Maddy to her nursery class.  Starting three Sunday’s ago she cried from just after she got there until I came in to take them potty.  Then last Sunday she cried which turned into an unrecoverable cry we heard clearly through the partition in the primary room.  Guy went in until he had to go teach the young men.  She totally lost it so they brought her to my class.  About one minute after she left Blake lost it so he came along too.  My 5 year olds loved it.  Since the primary kids were practicing for the primary program yesterday I took the opportunity to spend the time in the nursery with the kids.  Madison cried even with me there for about 5 minutes.  About 30 minutes into it she was acting normal.  I left for ten minutes to use the bathroom and see how she did.  She started crying again which got Blake going and when another mom brought her son back from the potty he was crying.  Just walking back into the room she was fine again.  I sure hope we can talk this week and convince her to love nursery again.  She loved it from the first time she went a year ago until now.  So weird.

Back to the rain.  Madison noticed it was dark and raining outside as soon as we got into the foyer.  I’m still not sure how she saw that trough the mass of people crowding the doors and open area.  She was smiling from ear to ear as she told me.  Blake wondered off down the hall towards a less crowded door then came back excitedly telling me about the dark heavy rain.  Guy showed up a minute later and asked Blake if he wanted to run to the car with him.  Blake started screaming in excitement they were going out in the rain!!!!  Heads were whipping around to look at us with some excited and some showing concern maybe from the start of a headache from the deafening noise.  That kid is loud, very loud.  Maddy and I followed and she also expressed excitement with me about going out to the car.  We put the loose papers in the zipper bag and I handed over the keys to Guy.  They were off like lighting out the door on the way to the car.  Since I love rain so much, I took the time to slip off my shoes and we calmly walked past the gaggle of people waiting out into the dark heavy warm rain.  It was beautiful.  Madison loved it too.  At the end of the sidewalk she decided she also needed her shoes off to enjoy our walk to the car.  I slipped them off for her and we continued to the Trooper.  We were soaked in that short 40 foot walk to the car.  Maddy’s shirt came off so she didn’t get a chill in the car.  All of us sat there soaked and happy during the ride home.

Today, I was in the kitchen starting to do dishes when I see my son out the window in the driveway by the garage.  He was yelling about it raining and playing in it.  I guess he though he had permission after our conversation earlier.  The rain had stopped for an hour or so when I was asking them to come in the house.  Blake told me he wanted to stay outside and play in the rain.  I told him he couldn’t because it wasn’t raining.  He must have remembered that conversation and headed right out the front door, down the steps and into the rain.  Kids are so smart.  We delayed nap time to play in the rain for about 30 minutes today.  They loved it.  It was the fastest Madison has gone to sleep in a long time.

Here are a few images from our Saturday spent cleaning up the front garden area.  It was so bad and it now looks so much better.

An extra hour and $28 later we were able to borrow our neighbors trailer to get some mulch.
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We had so many colors to choose from!
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We decided on this one.
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Guy thought it would be fun to let the kids get out to watch him scoop it up to put in the trailer.
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I may not be able to get my kids to look at me all the time, but they will almost always hug or hold hands when asked.
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Maddy was being a little standofish.
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Then I started to tease her.
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He came over with the tractor only to have Maddy get scared. Didn’t see that one coming {insert saurcasm}.
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In went the lovely mulch and we headed back to home…
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With a stop by some cool wildflowers for me to photograph.
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Hope you have a great day!

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I’ll explain

I keep promising to blog more and failing fantastically.  Well, I finally figured out why this last month has been a no go.  It may take a while to get it all out as to why.

This may come as a complete shock to most people who haven’t seen or talked to me in person lately, but it was a major adjustment to get used to and actually be happy we are going to have another baby.   You see, when we did our last fertility treatment in January we really felt that was it.  That it would be the last and final opportunity to become parents again by our own bodies.  We got rid of pretty much everything related to babies except for the stroller and a few things to use as photo props.  Whenever we talked about a third child we talked about going through foster care where we can get a child that is available for adoption the twins age.

When my normal signs of the start of a new menstrual cycle came and went with no start of a new cycle the weirdness began.  Then the symptoms of pregnancy started.  I couldn’t believe it.  It had to be a weird cycle and all in my head.  Guy also was in total disbelief until Madison asked him to read the book titled I’m a Big Sister.  I got a test I’d given away to a now pregnant friend to take.  Sure enough both that test and the one two days later were positive.  We ended up telling our parents the day of the first positive test.  Guy made a Facebook announcement so I put something not so obvious on this blog.  It was out.  We got all these super positive and often teary responses from all.

But I wasn’t happy.  Not unhappy either.  It was the start of a month long funk my brain needed to sort all of it out.  My body was once again taken over by an alien affecting every detail of my life.  Whenever Guy and I talked anything about the pregnancy/future baby it was negative.  You know, stuff like having to wake up in the middle of the night, how to reconfigure our small house {that also houses a business!}, we can only use one of our SUV’s, having to get baby stuff again, getting cloth diapers again and so on and so on. Guy never specifically told me he was happy or anything positive.  Even though I KNEW he was happy I don’t think I really felt it.

Finally, this last week I finally started to feel happy and excited about another baby.  I’m definitely not one to bond or even feel like a baby is real in-utero.  Even feeling movement and seeing features on an u/s don’t make it real for me.  The only real thing is seeing that baby covered in funk just after delivery.  It’s checking the baby out in the privacy of our own hospital room trying to decide which of the names we like fit.  The bonding is done with the hours and days of service given to the helpless newborn then baby while getting to see the first glimpses of personality and preferences.  The loves grows each and every month as the baby develops into a walker, toddler and beyond.  With each shared experience from the quietest of moments to the loudest test of wills we gain those familial feelings that will last throughout this life and into the eternities.

This is my 7 week pregnant belly.  Not much, but surprising to me since nothing at all showed with the twins until 9+ weeks.  The joys of a second pregnancy since the uterus ‘knows’ what to do.
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We went to Cody’s birthday party last weekend.  The kids practiced singing happy birthday for two weeks once they received their invitation.  They would carry it around and sing every once in a while.  Cody let me snap a few images of him.
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Talking a taking a picture don’t always mix in low light.  Just after snapping this image Madison did a face plant re-injuring her knee.
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I brought her into the kitchen giving her a good cuddle and wiped off the blood with a paper towel.  Melissa, one of Maddy’s favorite people, gave her the sympathy oooooo’s Maddy loves and took her into the bathroom for some ointment and bandaids!
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Since Cody is the main bandaid wearer in their house she got cool rough and tumble boy bandages.
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Then she got some love and support from Blakie.  Yes, this girl knows how to work a room for the maximum amount of cuddles and sympathy she can get.  The funny thing is, she usually prefers me first who gives the least amount of sympathy since I am a ‘tough it out’ kind of person and mom.
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You know, there is a reason this kid usually looks like he is talking in images.  He usually is!  He is a talk talk talker.
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He has moments of reflection or really is just making facial contortions trying to make people laugh at him.  Can someone be both the class valedictorian and the class clown?
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This charming smile is for Melissa.
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And then I got a charming smile!
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We were talking about going to do something fun right here and both are obviously excited about it.  They had a great time at the party.  Surprisingly, Blake was scared of the fireworks preferring to go inside to watch cartoons while Madison loved them cheering Paul on to light more and clapping excitedly for her favorites.
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Being the large child I can be I taught them how fun it is to pull down a balloon and hit it repeatedly.  They had a blast.
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“Get it, Blakie!!”
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Cody with his cupcakes.
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He got it all in one breath.
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He got tons of things Lego.  I’m pretty sure his lego collection hit at least 500K that night.
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During the present opening the kids enjoyed the fruits of their not so good scramble for the pinata candy {Alyssa gave them all of hers}.
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Melissa snapped a few shots of the kids & I.
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It was a great night!  Too bad the kids weren’t old enough for the sleep over part.  They did do a great job of lasting until almost 10 pm when we got home since they normally go to bed before 8 pm.
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If you aren’t a regular reader of my photography website you should definitely check out my newest post.  It shows our gorgeous new images in our WALL GALLERY found in our dining area.  

In honor of my new found out-of-the-funk life I’ve decided to do a 365 project.  A 365 project is when you take an image every day.  The last time I started one it was winter time and about self portraits.  Yeah, that didn’t go to long.  This time my images are going to be about whatever I’m thinking about that day and about finding more inspiration in life & photography.

Great husband, Great day, Great insurance relief

I am so thankful for Guy!  Not only is he a fabulous husband and dad, but he is also mechanically minded.  He has a fabulous mind that can take a bit to look at something and figure it out.  Tonight it was super hot in our kitchen.  It’s always hot in the afternoon in our kitchen with the sun shinning in the back window and door.  It triggered something in Guy’s mind though.  He noticed that no air was coming out of the vent under the kitchen sink.  Nada.  Nothing.  He went to investigate leaving us to huddle on the floor next to each other by the open vent.  After a while we heard the rustling which got Blake super excited.  He called out to ‘Dad’ who answered him back.  It was definitely the highlight of his day.  They also loved when Guy shined the flashlight up the vent as well as the old Cheerio and upside down dead bug.  
Guy found trouble.  The drip pan drip pan drain was plugged which caused that particular 27 foot long piece of ductwork to become flooded collapsing the inside in on itself.  He poked a hole in it draining out about a gallon of water.  The duct started working again pumping a real nice musty smell into the house which is just something a pregnant woman wants to hit her already hyper sensitive olfactory senses.  Our awesome friend, Travis, lead Guy to check the drip pan & confirmed he could pick up replacement ductwork at Lowe’s.  Guy fixed the clogged drain, and we all headed to Lowe’s.  The parts cost $45 dollars, and we saved a ton with Guy doing the labor.  The air now blows super cold and super strong in the kitchen.  Better then it has since we moved in over two years ago.  No wonder our electric bill was about $40 higher then normal for that month of the year.  
Over the weekend we went to an Australian Rules Football game {otherwise known as Footy} with our local North Carolina Hawks against the Florida Saints.  Our team didn’t win mostly for not playing the ball as they were trying to play the man going for the ball instead.  It’s pretty hard to gain control of the ball if you don’t go for the ball.  We enjoyed ourselves so much.  The kids Love to be out and about.  Typically we don’t have any meltdowns while out and about since they enjoy themselves so much.  I love love this image of Blake reaching over to lay his hand on Guy’s arm while he watched the game.  
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Blake wondering why I keep calling him to look at me.  He started out with this really cool faux hawk, but the muggy heat made short work of any hairdo.  Watch how Blake’s hair goes from sort of dry here to super soaked as the images go on.  
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Madison is telling me about the ball as she watches the players handle it.  
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Our first spot wasn’t the best with a couple sitting in front of us.  We moved a little closer to the field and over to the side of them.  Madison decided to help out by taking her chair over, and she actually took it all the way over to the new spot.  
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Before we left the house that day we told the kids where we were going.  Blake immediately went over to the bucket of balls in their room to pull out a Footy to bring.  Madison decided she wanted one too and grabbed the volleyball calling it a footy.  lol  Even after she was reminded it was a volleyball she wanted to bring it with us.  They both carried their balls from the car to our spot on the sidelines, took care of them while there and carried them back to the car.  
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This face cracks me up.  With the bright sun/bright clouds and ill fitted sunnies Blake was squinting badly.  
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During halftime Guy and Blake played with the footy.  This shot makes Blake’s hands look massive for a 2 year old.  He loved playing ball with Guy.
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He threw the ball strait up here and was so proudly watching his handiwork.
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Madison threw her ball then threw a fit it was far from her.  Blake ran to get it for her little hot diva self.  She’s lucky she has such a nice caring brother.  Guy and I were telling her to go get it herself since she threw it over there.
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Throw the ball up then jump in excitement as you watch it come back down!  
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Then get it back to throw it to daddy.
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This picture may not be cute to anyone else, but I was there.  She was so into watching the people walk by.  As a person or group would pass her she would grab her dress and sway to whatever song was in her head as she watched them walk away.
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Blake tagged along with Guy to go visit someone he knows who had a dog with them.  
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Madison could not miss out even though we all know she would freak out a bit over the dog.  I love that even though she knew they would see a dog over there she decided to face her fear to be with her family and experience what Blake wanted to do.  She ended up actually petting the dog which was a huge accomplishment for her.  
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The kids love to take pictures and love to take them of us most of all.  I was trying to help Blake see through the viewfinder until he saw me and push the button.  He wasn’t getting it that day making me laugh.  The reflection is pretty cool though.
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The kids spent the last few minutes of half time running around like mad.  
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Blake often has his hand up to his face when he is giggling.  I was playing with him like he would get tickled for the next few shots.
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Notice the super soaked hair.
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My cute family with our chairs crammed under the shade of the one umbrella!
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I took five shots and got one person looking at the camera smiling in each one of them.  lol  They definitely didn’t have their timing right.  
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Then I realized that I hadn’t taken any images of the game!  Oooops.  Footy is a game that is played on an oval field the size of a polo field.  It’s huge.  Since my portrait business doesn’t need a telephoto lens we don’t have one.  Luckly there was some action close the sideline we sat by.  Even though you can see the players waiting on the sideline hopefully you can see where the action is.  
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I love to see plays where the players are getting major air.  
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The last shot of my super sweaty boy.  Guess what?  The kids didn’t have to go to the bathroom once while out there.  lol  Who did?  I’m pretty sure that port a potty didn’t see any action with as much sweating as everyone there did.  
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My friend and I started a weekly playgroup.  Today was the second week.  It has already been a ton of fun.  The kids were so excited when Emily and her twins walked up to the door.  Madison ran through the living room into the kitchen shouting at the top of her lungs, “Who’s here. Who’s here!  Who’s here to  see us!!”  It was so cute.  The kids all did great playing with each other!  We only had a couple issues to break up, and a snack time to get to quickly for the low blood sugar toddlers.  lol  Food is always a good fix.  
Still can’t believe we are going to have a baby!  Oh, my.  It definitely doesn’t feel real despite the nausea and other symptoms.   Since Guy is covered under a group plan we can cancel my individual non maternity policy and add me to his.  So as of October 1st I will have maternity coverage!!!!  YAY!!  Huge financial concern is now resolved.  This has definitely helped us get more excited for our super surprise miracle baby.  *Local ladies…  I’m looking for an OB who supports VBAC’s {vaginal birth after cesarean} and delivers at a somewhat close hospital.  My labor with the twins, Blake, was so fast I don’t want a 40 minute drive to Rex again in case this one comes faster.  


Curiosity is a great and terrible thing.  This statement is true for everything.  For me in the photography business, it means more work trying to accomplish learning or doing whatever I’m curious about.  This is great in the newfound knowledge, skills and offerings, but not so great for the amount of work I need/want to accomplish on a given day.  For the kids I think we all know what curiosity brings both great and terrible.

Blake is looking pretty pleased here.  For a little background, I have a desk with my computer set up in the living room.  It makes it so I can ‘hop to’ throughout the day constantly switching gears from work stuff to mommy stuff.  In the mornings I work while they are eating their cereal then often a little longer while they color.  Sometimes they play on the front porch that wraps around the front and side of our living room with big windows and a glass door I can keep an eye on them.  Last week they were done coloring and headed out to the porch.  I heard them and looked up to make sure their little heads went to the windows.  After about 10 minutes of them not coming back in at all, but staying in site, I happened to glance over at the table.  NO crayons….  Uh OH.  In the image here Maddie is holding a scrub brush.
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Here she is scrubbing away at the porch rail {in vein} to get the crayon marking off.
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Blake doing his best {also in vein} to get the crayon off.  Luckily we had three scrub brushes so I had the main muscles needed to get that stuff off.  Unfortunately my muscles weren’t enough…
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Here’s a close up of the damage.  They got every single post facing inward to some degree with crayon along with some of the floor planks and the glass table tops.
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The white is chalk which just washed off.
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I finally thought of my old friend, Comet, who helped me get the boost needed to get the crayon off.  The kids actually did a fabulous job of scrubbing the entire time I was cleaning off the posts to help me.  They pretty much refuse to clean anything by themselves and demand that Guy or I help them with whatever the clean up project is.  Hopefully, they stay willing to clean for a long long time!
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Yesterday in the late afternoon Guy says to me that Madison is way to quiet.  We called for her to come in the living room.  After a minute she came out with a big smile on her face.  I asked her what she was doing and she lifted her dress to happily show me her artwork.  Wondering where she could have possibly gotten a marker to make these kind of marks I headed to her room.  There was my black eye liner with its cap replaced lying next to the make up bag.  Guy suggested I take some pictures so we headed to the back porch to catch the last 5 minutes of daylight.
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Blake was busy telling his Maddy that what she did was bad and then he turns to me flashing this silly grin.  The kid has so much personality.
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Madison thought she was doing well flashing me all kinds of smiles since I was taking pictures of her artwork {hence why I don’t do it most of the time}.  We had to have a serious discussion about why she cannot draw on anything but paper and only with her crayons.  Such a sweet remorseful face with the black eye liner mark by her mouth.
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She’s starting to think it’s funny again here transitioning from serious to smiley.
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Back to the grumpy face thinking of how she did a bad thing.
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The designs were rather interesting.  She’s starting to use a teeny tiny bit of control when coloring.
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Then they were off to play on the slide.
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Happy as can be
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Until she remembered to check out her artwork.  She really wanted to take a bath to clean up though not enough to cry about it.   I made her wait until normally scheduled bath time.  
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Love this shot through the tent at the setting sun.
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Since I was laying down taking that shot it made it easy to take a picture of me too.
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And another.  Not that you can tell in this image, but I got about 4 inches cut off my hair.  It’s awesome.  The cut works absolutely perfectly with the perm remnants for a nice wavy body.  It dries nice with very little product needed {only a bit of leave in conditioner to keep the frizz away}.
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Blake and Madison wanted to get in on the action taking pictures with mommy.  It was a bit harder to get a focus and two of in the frame holding the heavy camera at arms length with a 50mm lens on it.  A 50 mm isn’t very wide so it takes only a small view from arms length away.  This shot is another example of not good focus, but an image I love.  He was so serious about getting in an image with me smooshing his sweaty head against mine.  He didn’t get the whole lay down next to me part.
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His happy look as he looked back at me before going into the house.
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I have not idea what he was saying.  This kid constantly talks.  OK, maybe he only talks about half they day, but it feels like a lot.  Sometimes he has so much to say he starts stuttering trying to get it all out at once.
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I’m pretty curious to see what is going to happen next in our life.  Hope it’s a lot of great things!  One great thing that has happened the last couple weeks is the loss of 2 more pounds.  I’m officially only 1 pound away from the weight we got married at {and spent my high school years weighing}.  Though my muscle mass is no where near as impressive so about 5 more pounds can come off to be the most comfortable skinny weight with no funny lumps anywhere.  Happy to stay here and happy to lose a few more to see what it feels like.  

Buh Bye!!
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The new website & blog are here!!!

My new site is up!  It is the same old website address, but it is now the website and blog for Lifelong Impressions.  I have a ton of new information on there including some lower sitting fees, new charitable giving in honor of Ella’s Touch, photography classes and much more.  There is also a newsletter sign up {big hint…  Friends who get their images by me really NEED to sign up for a newsletter}.  I’m also working on some cool new stuff like an upcoming special mini session event with only a $10 session fee!  This will be announced in the newsletter first.

If you follow the Lifelong Impressions blog make sure to follow the new web address as the old blog will no longer be used.    All the links in this email are to the new blog address.  It does have a feed that has been showing up wonderfully in my Google Reader application.  Love Google Reader!

I’m pretty sure I’ll be switching this blog over to a WordPress blog in the next few months as well.  I LOVE WordPress and all it offers in terms of flexibility and information.  Paired with it is a wonderful option.  My Lifelong Impressions images are now loaded directly into the page with no link to Flikr, they are right click disabled, I was able to integrate forms directly into the site & the platform was really easy to learn.

No images tonight, but I have a few from this week I can’t wait to share.  Now that the website is done, it is back to a regularly scheduled life.  Guy will be sooooo happy.

For all the local friends…  My friend, Kim, and I are committing to a play date every Wednesday morning at 9:30 or 10:00 am.  The place will change each week, but we’ll let you know where it will be.  This first one is at my house on Wednesday morning starting at 9:30 am.  Please call {919-585-6433} or email {shannon@lifelongimpressions} to let me know you are coming, but even if you decide to come at the last minute, just show up.   Looking forward to many mornings of fun for us and the kids.

Now, go check out the new website & sign up for the newsletter!