Thursday, August 28, 2008

lesson learned

Today I learned that I must not go anywhere without a camera. Even if its just my little dinky point and shoot. I must not go anywhere without a camera because I might miss something that needs to be documented. Like today when Monkey Pants and I headed over to the park to play on the playground. When we got there we were greeted by a man riding around on a child sized ATV, with no shirt on, smoking a cigarette. He was having a grand old time looping in and out and under all of the playground equipment. And dangit I didn’t bring a camera. I’ m not sure what he would have thought about an impromptu photo shoot but it would have been nice to capture. We stuck to the swings for a while and when he started popping wheelies we got the heck outta there because I could just hear the news report…”A little girl was hurt at a local playground today when a large man on a tiny ATV popped a wheely and ran her over. When interviewed the man was mostly concerned about the cigarette he lost in the accident.”

Anywhosits. Today was a nice day. I had Mista Nug in the morning, Terri came over for lunch and I got to see an ATV show this afternoon. Tonight I have a bunch of editing to do. Scholl family you are up. Here is a sneak peek. Little Grace was not too excited about me taking her photo this day, but we got some good ones.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monkey at the gardens

On Sunday we headed to the Botanical Gardens for some family time and a little photo shoot. Here are Shane and Marlie feeding the huge fish. She loved it.

I wanted to get some shots of Monkey Pants in a new cute dress that my MIL got her. Here are some of my favorites…

Man she is cute.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Friday morning at the butt crack of dawn my friend Amy and I loaded up for a long day’s trip to Ikea in Schaumburg, Illinois.I have had my eye on a white couch there for my studio space for a long time. When does it make sense to drive 5 hours
to Ikea to buy a couch? When your brother in law gets you a sweet deal on an empty cargo van and you have a friend who splits the cost with you and you do it all in one day so you don’t have to pay for a hotel room, that’s when. So, we were off!

It was a long drive and then finally we could see the building in the distance.

If you have never been to Ikea it is an experience. This place is stinkin huge. We spent one hour just one the 3rd floor! They have everything and the prices are amazing. Here is Amy with one of our carts full of loot.

What is really funny is that most of the furniture you pick up in the self serve area. Self serve couches. They have a little photo showing you how to put it on your cart. Here is me trying to get my couch. A nice little Ikea man helped us when it was clear this wasn’t going to work.

Did you know Ikea has food? Mmmm havreflarn. Before we left we had to get an ice cream cone. Actually a fat free frozen yogurt cone. Put fat free in front of anything and I’m in.

Then it was back on the road again. Poor Shane had to help carry my couch in at 1:00 am. But look, it was worth it. I need some throw pillows to jazz it up, but isn’t it the most glorious Ektorp you ever saw?

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I got back late last night from Tuscaloosa. A few old friends and I drove down for the services for Noah. Needless to say it was a very emotional trip. I am so glad that we went. It was good to be with Deb and Josh and grieve with them for their loss and celebrate with them that Noah is now completely healed.

I was so humbled and touched by their faith in strength and it was amazing to see and meet some of the people in their new home town that Noah’s life has deeply touched.

Josh spoke at the funeral and the message was clear. He spoke about how they are just a normal couple who had an extraordinary little boy. And how the reason they can celebrate during this more than difficult time is not because they are incredible people, but because they know and believe in an incredible God.

We sang this song during the service. The words are powerful and speak volumes about Deb and Josh’s view on their journey with Noah.

Blessed Be Your Name
by Matt Redman
- - -
Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

It feels a little odd to be back home and getting back in the swing of things. But here I am and here we go. Tomorrow I am off to Ikea with a friend. Yep, I’ll take photos and explain later. +

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Some of you have been following little Noah Lauer's journey through his mom's blog. Sweet Noah passed away yesterday. He would have been 1 year old today. I don't even know what to say. There are no right words for this. His parents have an incredible faith and are somehow finding a way to rejoice that Noah is now healed and free in heaven. I've been holding Marlie tighter today, and tonight for the first time in a while I rocked her to sleep. Because I can and its such a blessing. Please continue to pray for Deb and Josh.

Friday, August 15, 2008

10 FAQ

I get a lot of questions about my business so I thought I’d do a little FAQ for ya.

1) How did you start your business?

First off let me say that if you have the idea and desire and the confidence you can start your own business. The biggest hurdle for me was all the people that were like “You can’t just start a business.” And “Anyone can have a website, so what.” And “But you are going to have to take out a big business loan” But I got over it and was like “Well, this is where I think God is pointing me, so here we go!”

I did not take out a small business loan. Fortunately an art business can have very little overhead so I just worked with what I had. For a while I was constantly putting all of my money back into the business. But then eventually I started making a consistent profit.

When I started this whole thing it was me and an idea and a bunch of art supplies and a new camera. Then I wanted to have a booth at this art fair and I started filling out the application. On the application it asked for my tax ID #. And I was like what! I have to be all official to sell crafts in a park? Yep, apparently. And Shane was like well, you have to do it some time so how about now.

So I went to this website because I live in the lovely state of Missouri. Each state probably has their own. It is pretty helpful I must say. They tell you want forms to fill out and you can print them from the website. It can be kind of confusing, but was not as bad as I thought. I had this anxiety like if I didn’t fill out the right forms someone was going to come arrest me. Guess what? They won’t. Just go through the steps one at a time and you’ll figure it out.

2) What type of business is Just The Thing?

When you register a business you have to choose a type. Just The Thing is a sole proprietorship.

3) Do you have to charge sales tax? Is it a hassle?

Yep, it’s the law and stuff. You are required to pay sales tax on any service or product you produce. I pay my sales tax quarterly and its really not a big deal. I just have to remember to pay it on time. They give you a form to fill out and you send in a check and that’s it.

4) How did you pick a name?

I was looking for a synonym for the word “original” and I typed it in to my computer’s thesaurus. The phrase “just the thing” came up and there ya go. Honestly, I don’t love it so much anymore but it seems too hard to change now. But that is a whole other blog post.

5) How do you get your work done and take care of Monkey Pants?

Twice a week my BFF Beth has her for 3 hours at a time so I get some stuff done then. Sometimes I have a babysitter for a half day once a week and we are working on getting more babysitter time. But, I get most of my work done at night. Shane is in class every night so I put Monkey to bed and then I get to work. Also, I recently talked Beth in to being my collage assembler extraordinaire. She works really hard at putting the collages together so that I can concentrate more on the other aspect of my business and so that I don’t loose my mind trying to do it all.

6) I’ve seen other signs that are similar to your name collages. Did you know that you didn’t event them? I could make one myself ya know?

Yes, I know that I am not the inventor of the name collage. I have seen quite a few similar things done by other artists. But, I have done a lot of work to make them look how I want them to and make them affordable for you. You could make your own its true. But by the time you buy a custom size frame and have a custom mat cut it would cost 3 times as much as buying one from me would. Since I buy all of my supplies in bulk I can sell them to you at a reasonable price.

7) Where are the letters in the name collages from?

The letters are from all over the state of Missouri and some are from Beale Street in Memphis. Random I know, but they had some cool letters there what can I say?

8) How long does it take to get a name collage after you order one?

It takes about 2 weeks to receive a collage.

9) What kind of camera do you have?

I use a Canon 30D. I love it!

10) Do you have a life?

No, its Friday night and I am blogging this post.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ah Dang

Hooray for Shane being off school this week! He has saved me from a meltdown several times already. Yesterday afternoon Monkey Pants and I headed to Walmart to return a printer and get a new one. This should have taken approximately 20 minutes. It took one hour. I won’t get in to details because steam might start coming out of my ears again, but it was bad. It involved lots of phrases like “Ah dang this thing be a tax exempt, I gonsta hafta start all ova.” What really made me mad was that there was no apologies. No “I’m sorry this is taking an eternity mam.” Alright, I must stop talking about it before I get all worked up again.

When we finally got home Shane wisked Monkey off to the park to watch a bike race and I finally got a shower in and got a ton of editing done. Then after all that Shane even went to the grocery store for me. Ah dang, what am I gonsta do next week when he’s back in class?

I finally finished editing my last summer wedding. Woot! They are uploading now Mary! Here are some of the ones I love that I didn't take. This is why you need an assistant. Jen caught these moments when I was busy catching other things.

bride's mom seeing her for the first time.

Bride's dad being wheeled in to the church

Bride walking through the puddles

Bride welling up at her son's toast.
Love these!
Nice work Jen!

Today Marlie is working on that last molar and it is not pretty. I had to go get her from Beth’s this morning because she was ballistic and even when I got there she was still crying. I can see it is almost poking through so maybe in the next day or so she’ll feel better. Poor thing.

Tonight I have a hot date. PF Changs here we come!

Monday, August 11, 2008

some clever title

Our weekend away was really fun. Lots of reminiscing and catching up with old friends. I missed Monkey Pants, but as I sat at the rehearsal dinner listening to speeches at 9:30 p.m., I thought boy we made the right decision. I would post a photo of the newlyweds, but believe it or not I left my camera at home and depended on my friends to take some pics. I just needed a little break. But believe me, they were adorable.

Speaking of adorable, take a look at this little man...

My photog friends Jodie and Emily came over last week to play in the studio. This is Emily's little guy Noah. We tried out the new child's chair and then we got out the suitcase. He was the perfect little subject.

Marlie was taking a nap so she missed out on the shoot. I tried to get some later but she was super cranky and this is what I got.

Lil stinker.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

i get to be mushy today

because 6 years ago today I married this guy. Happy Anniversary Shane.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Hello there Friday. Today so far I have run around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready to leave for the weekend. We are going to a wedding of a guy that was in the youth group that we used to lead. That’s right, one of our youth kids is getting married. We have known him since he was in 5th grade. This further confirms the fact that I am officially old. Anywhoo, it should be a lot of fun. Shane is on his way home from the airport right this moment with some sweet friends of ours that we haven’t seen in a long time. Can’t wait! Plus, we decided to leave Monkey Pants here with her grandparents so that will be a nice break. I wish we could bring her but one teething toddler + a long car ride + two late nights + 4 adults sharing one hotel room = a really bad idea. Sorry Monkey.

But more importantly did you here that apparently they found Bigfoot? Shane came home yesterday and told me this very fact like there was absolutely no question that it was true since he heard about it on his favorite talk radio show. Some Bigfoot tracker (there are people that do that?) says he was tracking a family of sasquatches and happened upon the dead body of an adult Bigfoot. For real? I don’t know. They are supposed to release the data in the next few weeks. Weird.

My friend Beth had a sighting of her own today. I received a text from her a few minutes ago that said “Just spotted, a man running in tight silky boxers.” I don’t know, it sounds like it could have been a sasquatch to me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Monkey's tiny couch

A month or so ago my MIL bought Monkey Pants a little couch. She had fallen in love with her cousin’s couch so we just had to get her one of her own. When my MIL brought it over I cringed a little, OK a lot, when I saw it. This thing is lime green, turquoise and has ginormous backyardigan heads on it. Oh yes, that will make the perfect addition to the new house that I have been working hard to decorate.

Why do manufacturers make some kid things so ugly?! I mean I know its stimulating and all, but come on. I’ve seen a lot of these little couches and they are all hideous. I like to think that kids have more taste than the companies give them credit for.

Today at the grocery store in the bakery section I saw some donuts with green icing and a gummy worm on top. I mean really? I guess they think some kid will think that looks like a pretty tasty breakfast.

Also, we watch quite a bit of Baby Einstein around here and there is one thing that has really been bothering me. I can’t remember on which one, we celebrate the entire collection, but on one of them there is someone making up a banana split. All you see is the hand scooping ice cream on top of the bananas. Cute OK, but it is green mint chocolate chip ice cream. Bananas and mint chocolate chip? Gross.

I think that Marlie would prefer a nice plain pink couch instead of cartoon heads, a warm croissant instead of a gummy worm donut, and a scoop of mint chocolate chip sans banana. She is so sophisticated. Yeah right, she'd be all over that worm.

Here is Monkey Pants on the aforementioned couch taking in some Baby E. Man she loves that thing.

Please head on over to Noah's blog. The last time I mentioned Noah he was doing much better. It has been such a roller coaster and he and his parents are having a really rough time. I'd give him all of the gummy worm donuts in the world if it would make him feel better. Please pray for them and let them know you are doing so. Comments can really lift your spirits and they need some lifting.

Reasons why I like this week...

I put Marlie’s hair in pigtails for the first time.

It is Shane’s last week of summer classes.

Monkey Pants started saying "go, go" when she runs.

I actually hung stuff on the walls in the new house.

I get to have lunch with the photog girls tomorrow.

Friday we are headed out of town for a wedding.

Marlie said ducky for the first time.

I get to see tons of old friends at the wedding.

I get to celebrate my friend Amy’s graduation on Saturday.

I got Monkey Pants her first pair of Crocs.

I have a babysitter today so I can knock out some editing.

Sunday is our Anniversary. 6 years baby!

And, because posts without photos are a little boring…

Miss Monkey Pants at 4 months. Oh that face!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A family shoot and more Bridget

Friday morning I headed out to a little town about an hour away to meet this sweet family at their lake house for a photo shoot..We took some Senior photos for Jake here.Then I got to take some photos of Abbie on the dock with her guitar. I made her play and sing for me while I shot. She is so talented! We decided she needs to cut an album soon so she can use some of these on the cover.

We took a bunch of the whole fam too.
I love how little Sally's smile sneaks in this one.

Anywhoo, it was a fun shoot with a really cute family. And a great excuse for me to drop off Monkey Pants at my moms and head out of town for a bit. Of course it became quite the adventure when I ran out of gas on my way back home :). But thats just more Bridget Jonesness I guess. Sometimes I really bug myself. I mean, why didn't I look at the gas gauge? I have no idea. So I had to sit there on the side of the highway in the 90 degree heat and wait for my sweet husband to leave work and rescue me. And he did, with no complaints...

me: I can't believe this. Why do I do such stupid things so often?
Shane: silence
me: You don't have an answer do you?
Shane: No, but I love you.

When I get really busy I just start doing really dumb things. Lately my specialty has been going to Target and not getting what I really went there for in the first place. Why don't I make a list? I don't know people, I just don't sometimes. And then I get in there and I get sucked in by the dollar section and the pretty clothes and the great cereal prices. Its a problem.

Then the other day when I finally got my sales tax figured for the quarter I filled out the little form, remembered to include the change of address form and hopped on over to the post office and got it mailed. Then, in the car I realized that I didn't put the stinking check in the envelope. Unbelievable.

Its supposed to be 102 degrees here today which is just sick. Why do I live in Missouri again? Marlie and I are not leaving this house unless we have to thats for sure. Hope you have a good day!