Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thanks 2009

I can't believe that another year has passed! Lots of great things happened this year. Shane finished law school and passed the bar, Monkey Pants got even cuter, I renamed and refocused my business, completed my new website, and lots of other great things. I set a few goals for myself last January so lets look at how that went!...

1) Lose 20 lbs. - I did accomplish this! Here is the thing though...keeping it off is the hardest part. I am back up a few pounds and working my way back down now. Still going to WW at least once a month. I'll get there. Ug, this weight struggle never goes away does it?

2) Shoot 6 weddings. - Blast.. only shot 5. Close! I do have 6 booked for 2010 though.

3) Go to a photography conference/workshop - Check! I went to Melissa Jill's MJ 2 Day workshop this past spring. It was in a word...awesome.

4) Take a weekend trip and be inspired. - Yep, did this one too. My friend Amy and I went on a barn hunting trip. It was inspiring and definitely a lot of fun.

There you have it. All in all I am very happy with how 2009 went. I feel like I accomplished some big things. I recognized what needed changing as far as my business/mom balance goes and worked to make it more doable, enjoyable, beneficial. I am very content with things at this point and that is a great place to be. Part of owning your own business is recognizing that it will be ever changing, growing, morphing and being OK with that. And I am.

I guess I should set some 2010 goals huh? I need some time to think about it so I'll come back to that. Tonight we are having dinner with some sweet friends in town from Germany and then playing scrabble with Shane's family. Sounds good to me.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

little cousins

Just before Christmas little Brody and his parents came over for his first photo shoot.

Oh that face!my fav...

and then he finally took a snooze...

And then today his little cousin Abigail came for her first shoot. These little cousins are a week apart! I just love a good cry face so I love this one of dad and baby...

Abigail has such sweet feminine features. So pretty...

my fav...

or maybe its this one...

And then Brody stopped by for a little snuggle with his cuz...

Congratulations to all of you! They are both adorable!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

That Spirit of Christmas

Christmas 2009 will go down in my history book as one of the best so far. Christmas Eve was great. I worked my butt off, but it was worth it. The brisket was melt in your mouth good, which was a huge relief. Everyone brought the perfect dishes to go with it. It was so fun having family sit down for a big holiday meal in our home for the first time. The Christmas Eve service at our church couldn't have been better.

Christmas morning Marlie slept until 8:30 which is unheard of (lets just ignore the part that it was because I was in bed with her). She and I ran to the window when we woke up and saw huge snow flakes coming down. Perfect. We woke up Shane with our giddy giggles.

The three of us read the account of Christmas in the gospel of Luke, opened our presents together and had our traditional Christmas breakfast of waffles with vanilla ice cream and strawberries.

Marlie said lots of cute memorable things Christmas day. Like when Shane prayed for breakfast. After the prayer he said "Isn't it wonderful that God gave us Christmas? That he gave us Jesus, Marlie? We love God." Her response? "I love strawberries." She also crossed her little arms, cocked her head to the side looking at me and said "Nice hair mom. What you call that mom?" "Umm, bed head " I answered. Priceless.

This is my favorite shot of the day...

And then there are some things you just can't capture in a photograph. Later in the day I was curled up on that same white couch looking up and out the big picture window at the snow falling. In the background was the sound of Marlie and Shane playing with some new toys and my favorite Christmas song playing (get a great cover of it for free here). For a few moments the wind was blowing in just the right way so that all of the huge snowflakes were coming straight at the window. I could see the dark branches of a tree waving back and forth and the snowflakes get closer and closer until hitting the window and sliding down in front of me. I thought how beautiful it was and thought about getting my camera and trying to snap a shot, but I knew it was something you just couldn't capture and that the wind would turn and I might miss seeing the moment for getting my camera and then ... the wind did turn.

We headed over to my mom's for some good family time after a nap. Lots of presents and laughing and relaxing. My aunt topped off the Christmas memories by wearing some metallic gold spandex pants this year. I nearly wet my non-metallic pants when I saw them and I assure you they were no joke to her. Pure yuletide awesomeness.

Hope your Christmas was wonderful!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

consider yourself carded

Sorry for the lack of posts. Some sort of funk descended on the Duggin house and effected us each in a different way. We have been resting, hanging in our PJs, wrapping presents, and watching movies . I'm scared to even say it outloud....but it looks like we might actually all be well for Christmas. Three cheers for that!

We only sent out a handful of Christmas cards this year. It just gets so expensive. This year we sent them to out of town people we never get to see or won't see very soon (Ada and Deb!). Don't hate me. Come on...not on Christmas. it is. Consider yourself carded...

Card by the lovely Jen Hahn over at Naptime Studio of course. Photos by the very talented Jen Wiemer. While I'm plugging people make sure and check out the new peeps to the right over there. Russ at Art in Stereo and Amy at GerAmyUm, some creative friends of mine.

Anyways, I'm done with work until after Christmas, presents are wrapped, and today I have a Monkey Pants free day to get ready for tomorrow. We are hosting Christmas Eve this year for Shane's side of the family. I have a ton of cooking/cleaning to do to get ready for dinner for 14! I guess you could say we are having a Pioneer Woman Christmas this year. I am making her brisket and olive cheese bread from her new cookbook for tomorrow and her red velvet cake to take to mom's on Christmas day. I've tried several of her recipes and they don't disappoint so as long as I don't screw it up everything should be good!

Well, I must go. There is a giant hunk of meat in the fridge waiting for me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm no Bakerella

Monkey Pants is in pre-school this year. This means a lot of big girls things such as handouts, a cubby, book order forms, and ... school parties. I found out last month that the day that I was the parent helper was also the day of the Christmas party. Which doesn't mean too much except that I felt like I needed to make a cute Christmas treat to bring. So I decided to make a rice krispy tree on a stick type treat. They turned out pretty cute, not exactly how I pictured them, but pretty cute. I would love to be able to make amazingly cute things like Bakerella. But alas, I am no Bakerella.

So, here we go...Krispy Christmas tree pops...

Mix up the rice krispy goo. You know the drill. The recipe is on the box. I am not afraid to buy the generic brand of well....anything, but I've found that generic rice krispies do taste different so I went for the real deal in this case.
Smash the krispy goo into a flat square on a greased cutting board. Make it at least an inch thick so there is room for the stick in your treats. Use a tree cookie cutter and cut out as many trees as you can.
Lay them out on some waxed paper and sprinkle with green sprinkles. Do not bust open the sprinkles seal hastily and send green sprinkles flying all over your kitchen floor like I did. I guess you could make them green by adding a whole bunch of green food coloring to the marshmallow too.

Melt some chocolate. I used this kind, but regular old chocolate chips would probably work too. It says to melt them in the microwave, but I have burned chocolate one too many times that way. Its really easy to do and very frustrating. I did it on the stove on super low stirring constantly.
*It is always at about this point in a project that I wonder why I am doing this. Wouldn't buying cupcakes have been easier? And then I promise myself to take the easy route next time.*

Pour the chocolate out on a plate. Dip each tree in the chocolate. Swirl it around to get some up on the edges. Lay it back on the waxed paper to harden.

After they harden add a stick to each tree. You could just make them without the sticks too. I just think food on a stick is always more fun. You know, like carnival food. Those carnies know what they are doing.

Next make some garland on the trees with icing. I bought some pre-mixed red icing that hardens.Then stick some m&m ornaments on there and voila ... Christmas tree pops...ready to be a sticky mess all over sweet chubby faces tomorrow morning.

Monday, December 14, 2009

two little boys

Last week I had shoots with two very cute little boys. First was Graham...

I've been doing shoots with this little guy since his newborn shoot and its so fun to watch him grow.
Graham's grandma was in town for his shoot. So sweet....

Next little Drew came over. I hadn't seen him in quite a while and he is getting so big!

This little guy has a big brother who is also adorable and pretty soon he will have three new siblings. His mom is expecting triplets!

Thanks boys!

last day!

Today is the last day to order a name collage before Christmas! So head on over to the shop page on my website. These make great personalized gifts.

Its Monday again. This week is a full one. Full of editing photos, finishing up name collage orders, baking for Marlie's Christmas party at preschool, finishing Christmas shopping, a newborn shoot on Tuesday, and some fun Christmas crafts thrown in there perhaps. It sounds like a lot...and it is. But, I can do it. Especially with the help of my little elf Beth who does the bulk of the work for the name collages. I just had a visual image of Beth in an elf costume...pointy shoes and all. She is 8 months pregnant so it is extra funny to imagine. Oh she is gonna kill me for saying that. Love you Beth!

Marlie is at the tail end of a nasty cold and Shane is stuck right in the middle of it and that makes me very scared that I am next. Ug. Come on immune system, hang with me through the holidays.

Hope you have a good Monday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bailey and fam

Back in the day I met Bailey Mohr my freshman year in college. We lost touch when I transfered schools and would run in to each other every once in a while. Then a few years ago we saw each other at a park. We both had cameras in hand and were doing family photo shoots. Neither of us knew that the other had become a photographer. Small world!

A few weeks ago I got to do a shoot with Bailey and her cute family (husband Tim and little girl Arie Alex). We met up at the old Lemp Brewery.

It was one of those blustery weird fall days when it started getting dark at 3:30. We were quickly running out of sunlight, but still managed to get lots of great shots.

Love these two shots ...

It was pretty chilly outside so we headed over to Foam to warm up a bit...

Check out Bailey's work at Beautiful Mess Photography.

Thanks guys! It was fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jon + Claire

This weekend Jon and Claire got married! This couple has been so fun to work with. Claire was gorgeous, and the wedding was beautiful. It was chilly, but we still managed to get some great shots outside. Kudos to the bridesmaids and Claire for putting up with a little shivering.

Congratulations Jon and Claire! Click here to see a short sneak peek slide show of their big day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

merry merry

At the end of a long week things are calming down a bit around here. I got a new cell phone. Computer is working as needed. Christmas decorations are up. I'm sitting and plugging away at work. Spruce scented candle is burning. All is well.

Jen gets in tonight and we have a wedding to shoot tomorrow. That means tonight we need lots of relaxing, warm blankets, and hot cocoa to gear up for a chilly day of shooting. See you tomorrow Claire and Jon! Have a good weekend blogees.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Judy French Fry

When my mom is not busy bailing me out of bad days (see yesterday's post), she is a high school journalism teacher. She is also a really talented writer. I've been trying to convince her to write a book about her childhood adventures. A little while ago the students on her newspaper staff asked her to write for the paper. I'm just proud of her so I thought I'd share it here...

Long Live Judy French Fry

Fifty years ago, in working class Kansas City, Mo., if you had asked a little girl, “What would you ask for if you could have anything in the world?” she might have asked for a Chatty Cathy doll or a Barbie doll or a pair of those little plastic high heels with the elastic straps.

As for me, I wanted Renters. I thought of them that way, as a proper noun. I prayed that a family with a daughter my age would rent one of the brick bungalows on the other side of the creek that ran through my side yard. I would kneel by my bed and ask for a miracle: that when I woke up the next morning, Renters would be living in the house and a little girl with a pony tail like mine would knock on my back door and ask if I could play. It didn’t happen.

I grew up, the youngest of four, in unincorporated north Kansas City. My house sat on two acres of scrappy land sandwiched between the Starlite Club Saloon and a creek on the sides, and highways in front and back. No neighborhood, no neighborhood kids. What had started as a small farm where my parents raised chickens, cows and a garden, over the years became less farm and more mini-industrial complex, where my dad did welding jobs in the evenings and on weekends. Every day he went to work at 7 a.m. at Builders’ Steel Co., and came home at 4:30.

I loved 4:30. I would listen for his old truck to come barreling down the driveway. He would open the back door, his green work clothes dirty and a black line around his forehead from the welder’s helmet. He’d kiss my mom, then pick me up with one strong arm and snuggle me onto his lap as he sat in a kitchen chair. We had a little ritual. I would check his pockets until I found the pack of Juicy Fruit gum he always carried. When I found it, he would tickle me and give me a piece. Mama would hand him a cold Hamm’s beer and he’d take one long pull, then let me have a sip. Or two. I loved the unlikely pairing of the beer and Juicy Fruit on my tongue, along with his smell of sweat and steel.

With the older kids off at school, I was left at home during the long days with our cats and dogs and my mom. At five feet tall and 100 pounds, she did laundry every Monday, in the basement, with a wringer washing machine. She carried baskets of wet sheets and clothes up and out to the clothes line in the back yard that stretched 20 or 25 feet. Tuesdays, she ironed and baked. Mama made sack lunches for my dad and all of us kids every day as long as anyone was going to work or school. She refinished furniture and painted walls and put up wall paper. She defrosted the refrigerator, scrubbed and waxed the linoleum floors weekly. When we still raised chickens, she cut off their heads as I held their feet, then she would pluck them and singe off the pin feathers. She was a whiz with numbers and kept the books for my dad, paid bills, did the taxes. For fun, she sewed most of our clothes.

Left to my own devices, I had trees to climb and frogs in the creek to poke and catch. There were litters of kittens to be dressed in doll clothes and pushed around in the doll buggy. But what I really wanted was to be a cowgirl. I had a red cowboy hat and a holster with two cap guns. I had a name for my cowgirl self— Judy French Fry. I don’t know where that came from but it had a nice ring. I wanted to ride the range and drink coffee by a campfire with my sidekick. Without a Renter, of course, I had no chance of having a real sidekick. Sandy, my red mutt, tried, but he was easily distracted.One particularly slow day, in my quest for a sidekick, I found a big, curved stick about my height. I named her Cooley Stick. I would drag Cooley Stick around as I trotted on my imaginary horse, Gumption, with Sandy close behind. Cooley and I sat around imaginary campfires, drew pictures in the dirt and drank water coffee from old tin cups. Cooley listened to my stories and watched as I took target practice so I would be ready to scare off coyotes in the night. Cooley bunked with Sandy out in the chicken coop.

Sadly, when my family got a load of Cooley Stick, Gumption and Judy French Fry, they were merciless. I don’t know that I ever saw my mom laugh that hard again. I should have prayed harder for Renters.


See what I mean? Please start on that book mom!

p.s. Today I dropped my cell phone in the post office parking lot and ran over it with my car. Oh Lord, Coom By Ya. If you need to reach me email is the best way.