Saturday, December 26, 2009

Silly makes for good company.

When my mom stopped over to drop a few things off tonight, I don't think she had any intention of staying long enough to take her coat off. Before we knew it we were sitting at the kitchen table, laughing and playing with Bendaroos (those colorful waxy sticks you may have seen advertised on t.v). Will and Mom made some beautiful Bendaroo jewelry and I made a fabulous pair of reading glasses. Happy hour quickly turned into silly hour and once the camera came out, it was all down hill from there...

Trying to act like a scholar (pfft!!)

Mom joins in.

Trying not to laugh...

My husband Dave, who was only trying to watch the game, was forced to wear my fabulous new reading specs.
Even Dave can't resist the urge to smile in the Bendaroo glasses. Here's a good chapter...wonder if I can pick up some tips? Or not.

Hope you enjoy a little silly today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

House update.

A few of you have asked for an update on the house - here's a picture from this morning (brrr...) with some fresh western PA snow and gray skies to coordinate with the Hardie Plank. I'm sure you're wondering how I managed that one!
Good news: we are finally closed up. Yahoo!! My mother-in-law has been very concerned that wild animals (specifically deer, raccoons and groundhogs) will get into the house and make themselves comfortable for the winter. She can relax now - they cannot enter without a key (and neither can she! ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Mama!

For the last few years, Papa Sherman (my mom's now 91-year-old dad) has coordinated a birthday dinner for my mom the week before Christmas. We celebrated this past Wednesday night (although today is really her special day!). Here are some pictures from the night.

Mom and her Papa.

I like this picture of Papa (with his beverage of choice - a cold O'Douls.)

Christmas tree at the restaurant.

Mom with her five grandchildren.
It's a bit of a challenge to get a decent picture of everyone -
this was about as good as we could get that night.
From left to right, niece Mary, my Sam (up close to camera), nephew Morgan, Mom, niece Elizabeth (or E.B. as we call her) and my Will.

The kids rushed to assist "Aiya" with the gift opening.

I'm a sucker for hand shots.

Papa and my sister Betsy watch as Mom gets ready to blow out the candles.

There's something about all the hands around the cake in this last picture that I love - they tell such a story...Papa always drinking his decaf coffee with dessert, 3-year-old Sam with his elbow on the table, Mom holding her hands on her lap, the kids across the table, playing with gadgets, candles, and whatever else is available...this is such a snapshot of our gang.
Happy birthday, Mom! I love you :) S.P.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ho ho ho!

Sam's preschool Christmas party is this coming Tuesday. I'm in charge of Santa Bowling (woohoo!!) and another game I haven't started yet. I don't know a 3-year-old around that can resist the urge to knock something (anything) over with a ball, so I'm sure the kids will have fun with this. Santa and his reindeer are paper towel rolls, decorated with construction paper. For the reindeer, I traced Sam's hands for the antlers and one of his feet for the reindeer face (if you're a parent of a little kid, I'm sure you've seen this craft.) So very cute.

I forgot how much I love googly eyes. (Probably because mine look a little like this every year at this time!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Procrastination at its finest.

Christmas is what, like two weeks from today? Am I ready? (hint: no). I have To Do Lists for my To Do Lists. And yet I sit and take pictures of angry turtles, mini pirates and whatever that other muscular thing is. I got a new photography book in the mail today and was reading about depth of field, f stops, and other exciting picture-taking stuff. Tomorrow I will get to my To Do List. (Or maybe I'll just take a picture of it.) Good luck with your preparations, friends :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lessons in child photography.

I had the pleasure of spending yesterday morning with one of my favorite people on the planet, my good friend Kim (a.k.a. former roommate, former co-worker, former fellow grad student) and her two beautiful kids. Kim was hoping to get a picture to use in her Christmas card, so we agreed to meet at her house, which is about 30 minutes north of here in Hermitage, PA.

To describe Kim, she is the classic white shirt in my closet of friends. I can take her anywhere, she goes with everything, and I never get tired of her. She's the kind of friend who doesn't care if your hair or your life is a mess. The kind who can fool your parents into believing you only associate with respectable people. The kind who makes you believe you look skinny the same week you give birth. The kind with a solid internal compass who always seems to know which way is up. She's the kind of friend who makes you glad you took a crappy paying job because it meant your paths crossed and you ended up with a million memories and a friend for life. She's just that kind of friend.

Kim's babies are as cute as Kim is fun. Her first-born is son Spencer, a bright-eyed three-year-old who is bursting with questions and giggles, energy and spirit. He's the kind of kid who makes a photographer wish for a second (stronger) cup of coffee and a higher speed lens. He's all boy and an absolute blast.
Little sister Sydney, who celebrated her first birthday in October, recently discovered her land legs and is a girl on the go. She has the face of a doll baby, perfectly round with wide-eyes that take everything in. When she smirks, you get a sense that there's an inside joke that you're not quite getting.
Now that you have the background on these faces, let me share my ah-ha! (or should I say duh-ha?) moments about child photography from yesterday. Just as in raising kids, I realized that it takes a village to photograph them. In order to get even a half decent shot of a child, you need to be able to quickly shift into any one of the following roles: clown, athlete, school teacher, negotiator, director, comedian, sports commentator, magician, animal tamer, hairdresser, wardrobe assistant, fashion guru, set designer, therapist, playmate, artist, coach, and chef. There is rarely an opportunity for a still shot. You have to work (and work hard) for every picture you take. I must admit that I felt frustrated at times throughout the morning. I was expecting to breeze in, snap some lovely pictures (i.e. dreamy child sitting perfectly still on doorstep) and head home. Those moments and those images were no where to be found. And the more I pushed for them, the more frustrated I became. I began to wonder if I might throw a little tantrum of my own. And that's when I realized that it was me who needed a time-out. I needed a reset. I needed to regroup. And I needed to remind myself that the big picture is not always about getting the perfect one.

Kim, thanks for sharing your kids with me yesterday. You're a great mom and a wonderful friend. Hope you like the pictures as much as I do :)