Monday, October 4, 2010

Boxes & memories.

For one reason or another, several members of my family are cleaning out their attics/basements right now.  Here at home, I'm trying to sort through boxes and boxes of high school and college stuff, mostly old notebooks, papers, photos, letters, things like that.  My mindset is simple:  I ask myself, "Do I want to move this to the new house?" and if so, "Where will I put it?"  If I stumble on answering either of these questions, then I know it needs to go.  Of course, it's not always that cut and dry.  Occasionally I argue with myself about the need to purge so much.  In those moments I think, 'Well, I don't know where I'll put this, but I'll figure that out later."    

Last week, I got a call from my step-mom who is cleaning out the attic in my childhood home.  Keep in mind that this is also the house in which my dad, my grandpa, and my great-grandpa have lived.  Imagine the years of family stuff up there!  Anyway, mixed in with all the other stuff, my step-mom came across the mother load of toys from my childhood.  As I sorted through boxes of banged up dolls (years in the attic have not been kind to poor Barbie) and other miscellaneous items, I stumbled on a bright green tackle box that was filled with a bunch of Fisher Price peg people, animals, furniture, and accessories.  I almost cried when I saw them.  I can remember like it was yesterday, playing for hours and hours with those little people.  My now 4-year-old Sam seemed immediately smitten with them and asked, "Mama, can I play with these?"    

As Sam played with the little people, pets, & random furniture, the idea to photograph these old favorites popped into my head.  Once I snapped a few pictures, I wondered about adding texture and color in the processing phase.  How fun it was to play with my old toys this way.  The end result?  Love.  I love these images so much that I think I want them framed in little groupings at the new house.  Not at all sure where I'll hang them...but I'll figure that out later.   

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall magic.

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that fall is my favorite time of the year.  Don't get me wrong, I like summer (what with all the mosquitoes, oppressive humidity, and endless construction zones, what's not to love.)  Sarcasm aside, fall is just my favorite, favorite time.  I love football weather, I love the colors in nature, I love sweatshirts, I love homemade soups and hot chocolate with marshmallows, I love down comforters, and I love my slippers.  It's just a glorious time of the year.  Another reason to adore fall?  Monarch butterflies.  Every autumn for the past few years, our family has temporarily housed monarch caterpillars.  Their housing isn't glamorous - it's usually just a plastic cup covered with saran wrap that sits on a window sill in our kitchen.  Aside from a few milkweed leaves to munch on, they don't need much attention (good thing).  After several days, the chubby caterpillars crawl to the top of the cup, attach themselves upside-down in a 'J' shape and before we know it, they've formed a bright green chrysalis.  After several days, the chrysalis turns black and slowly the butterfly emerges.  Even though I've seen this happen many times, I never get tired of the's just amazing.  They're like little David Copperfields.  And what better way to welcome fall than with a magic show?   Enjoy the season, all!     

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I heart this place.

This picture was taken at a local orchard this week.  I about drove myself into a ditch when I spotted the apple pickers and these crates.  For the longest time (after coming to a complete and relatively safe stop) I sat and just watched the activity.  Finally it dawned on me to grab my camera and take a picture rather than just stare at things (duh, right?).  Now that I have this shot, I could seriously waste the day just studying it.  I adore the crates. Love the apple-packed trees. Love the colors. Love the long rows of trees.  Wonder if they'd notice me building a small house in there? 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Separation anxiety.

My dear friend Evan, whom I love like a 6th toe, thinks that my blog has become too much about my photography adventures and not enough about my day-to-day life.  Apparently progress in potty-training and discussions about the contents of my cluttered purse are hard for him to live without.  Although I'd like to argue with Mr. 6th Toe (this is what I'd say in my imaginary debate:  Photography is a big part of me and my life and if you don't like it Mister Opinion then maybe you should take your blog-reading business elsewhere), I might have to agree with him.  Maybe I have gone a little overboard with the details of my photography adventures?  Humph.  I don't know.  At any rate, I will attempt to separate the two from here forward.  But I do so with a little lot of anxiety.  Afterall, I have worked so hard for so long to build up my huge following of 11 people.  What will happen to these people?  Will there be a split?  Will 6 of them decide to follow the old blog while the other five jump ship?  Will they give up reading it altogether, frustrated by the change?  I just won't know until I try.  So, from this point forward, if you're interested in my photography adventures, please check out .  If you would like to continue following along with my exciting domestic adventures, there is no need to leave your seat. The show will begin momentarily. 

My oldest went off to 1st grade this week.  {Gasp}!  In years past, I have been a little too slap-happy about the idea of my child being in school all day.  But this year is different.  I have so enjoyed having him home all summer.  He's a really good kid: thoughtful, calm, articulate, inquisitive...all sorts of good.  He says things like, "Mom, when you get to a good stopping point, could I have a drink?"  What kid says this?  I just really like him.  And now he's away all day.  And here I am making that pitiful pout face that those loser moms make when their babies go off to summer camp.  What is wrong with me?

He had just said, "Mom, could you maybe not take a bunch of pictures when the bus pulls up?"  (Answer:  Deal with it.  I love you.)

  Picture of the husband + babies taken at Sunday brunch.  I seriously love these three boys. 

I pressured our waitress into sitting across from us at brunch - poor thing - all she wanted to do was clean off the table and instead she got a 5-minute tutorial on how to hold a camera, focus, and take a decent picture without using a flash.  She totally earned her tip.  

Another picture of 2 of the 3 Patton boys.  Again:  Love. 

Okay, now I'm headed over to to post some pictures of a recent shoot.  Did you get that?  It's  Don't leave me hanging. 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

More beachness.

I'm still sorting through pictures from our beach trip.  I didn't realize how many images I took - yeesh - was I trigger happy or what?  Anyway, it's been fun to reflect on the week.  I realize now that this was the first year that I actually found myself thinking, 'Wow.  This is really great!" while I was on vacation.  Not that trips in the past have been unenjoyable...but let's be honest here.  Vacationing with small children?  Seriously?  What kind of torture is that??  What were we thinking?  Juggling naptimes, managing long car/plane rides, diaper changes, food related issues, sleeping retrospect, it all seems like such work.  But this year was so different.  My kids are now 4 and 7 and can do so much more on their own.  They enjoy playing with their cousins and can do so {for the most part} with little refereeing needed, they'll eat normal stuff, go to bed without a fight...the list goes on and on.  I'm not generally the type of mom who gushes about parenting, but I have to say:  This is just a glorious, glorious time in the journey for me.  Now, ask me how I like things when I have two teenaged boys and I might push you into heavy traffic.  For now?  Heaven.          

Here are more beach pictures.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Old as new.

My newest photography addiction is 1970's style coloring.  I seriously can't get enough of it.  We have albums and albums of pictures from that decade and I just love going through them.  Aside from the weird plaid pants and bowl haircuts, I have really fond memories of that time. 
Below are some images {processed with 70's coloring, of course} that I recently took of a Cincinnati, Ohio family.  I would like to personally nominate this foursome for the Troopers of the Year Award.  Imagine driving 6 hours with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old + no dinner and trying to get pictures taken.  At bedtime.  {fellow parents are cringing everywhere}.  Well, I'm happy to say that they did great.   And I love, love, love the 70's style coloring on these.   B: it was wonderful seeing you and meeting your incredible family.  Hope you enjoyed your stay in the area!       


Saturday, August 14, 2010

stone harbor, nj

{Sigh}.  We are back from a wonderful week at the beach.  This year, seventeen of us ventured to Stone Harbor, NJ to spend some much needed time in lounge mode.  And boy, did we lounge.  Above are some images taken one morning with sister B.  She happened to be outside the house enjoying a quiet cup of coffee when I headed off to the beach with my camera.  It didn't take much coaxing to get her to come along.  I'm so glad she did. 

Love my sister.  Love soft sand.  Love coffee.  Love my camera.  Love these pictures. 

More to come soon...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

H & kids.

I recently had the pleasure of spending a little time with a childhood friend and her three kids.  I always get a kick out of seeing my friends as parents.  And what a good parent H. is.  Her kids just love her and it's a joy to watch them interact.  Here are a few images from our evening that I keep finding myself looking at.   
Above was the game "Stick your finger in your brother or sister's eye"
Never {ever} underestimate the power of silly to get kids to giggle. 
This child has the most beautiful eyes.  Just like her mama.
H's bracelet is engraved with "A daughter is a little gift..."  I didn't even notice it until I opened the picture.  
If every family I worked with was like this, I'd be black & blue from pinching myself. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lovely love.

After Samantha + Mike's engagement last year they never had pictures taken, so Sam's sister Jenny (a.k.a. world's best matron of honor) wanted to surprise the bride-to-be (and her beau of course) with a session just a few weeks before the wedding. When Jenny asked me, it took me all of two seconds to answer. Hmmm, let's see...adorable love...beautiful brainer.

After the engagement shots were taken, Sam asked if I could get some images the morning of the wedding while all the girls were getting ready.
Again: no brainer.
Talk about a stunning bride!!
Makes me almost want to plan a wedding again (just kidding, Dad.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

She's alive! She's real! And she's fabulous!

This week I finally got to meet her! And by her, I mean my name sister Susan Patton. In my head I call her Florida Susan Patton, but I don't think she goes by that herself. Nearly everyone in my network of friends and family knew about our lunch date. Phone calls were coming in, "Is today the day?" and "Are you so excited?" were some of the questions I fielded the morning of our lunch date. You'd think I was meeting my mail order groom or Oprah by the way everyone was acting. Heck, you'd think that by the way I was acting. 'What am I wearing? Why can't I find my eyeliner? Oh man, I need to iron something.' were the pressing thoughts in my head. After all, I was meeting Florida Susan Patton for the first time. Even though we'd been emailing back and forth for months, we'd never had the opportunity to meet in person. (For anyone who would like a refresher on how our lives first intersected, read here.) Thanks to her western Pa roots + her extensive network of friends and family in this area {God bless each and every one of you, by the way} I got my chance!
Okay, so let me tell you about her because there's a lot to like.
She's the perfect mix of friendly/reserved, she's curious and sensitive, she's generous with her time and her talents, she likes to laugh, she's open to whatever you ask, she's smart and thoughtful, she's had just the right amount of life experience to make her interesting but not jaded, she loves her family and her friends, she's addicted --correction-- thoroughly enjoys all things photography-related, and she's really good at staying within two pounds of her goal weight.

You know what else I learned about her?
She likes to paint trim. And she's here until next week.
{Insert obnoxious fist pumps and a woohoo!}
What's not to like about Florida Susan Patton?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Who knew?

My photography adventures have been picking up lately, which is great for me! But with more photography gigs comes more time away from home + more time on the computer when I am home. This would be fine except that it's cutting into my day job. My employers are getting impatient and a bit restless. Translation: My children have had a little too much down time lately. Above is one of several creative time-fillers my 4-year-old has recently come up with. Who knew that 220 kleenex could fit into a small beach bucket? I had honestly never thought of that. And now I know. You know what else I know? I need to cut back on my photography adventures!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Get your silly on.

I love being silly. I always have. And now that I'm a mom and an aunt, I have a good excuse to get my silly on. A lot. Yesterday, we spent a good chunk of time jumping in the yard. Why, you ask? Answer: Why not? Pictured above are my Boyd nephew and nieces. They are always up for being silly with me and I love them for that.

Today's silly: "Turn Your Fingers Into Small People Day".
Why not celebrate with us?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

3 July 2010.

In honor of July 4th, as well as Papa's 92nd birthday on July 7th, my mom, sister, and I (and kids too) headed west to Ohio today to make sure Papa had a flag on his grave. Papa was a veteran of WWII and love, love, loved the American flag. Every morning, rain or shine, he hiked outside to hang Old Glory and salute it (or 'throw it a high ball' as he used to say). And every night, he'd head back out to lower it down again.

We stopped along the way to enjoy a picnic lunch. Papa and Bukky (she hated this nickname btw) loved picnic lunches and we imagined them smiling down on us today.

We gave thanks for all that is good...and even not so good in our lives.

And then we got to see where Papa is 'planted', as Sam says.

After this, we spent some time geocaching. Anyone ever heard of this? If not, read here.(nutshell: treasure hunting with a GPS). My sister and her kids have started doing this and they just love it. Betsy was able to find the coordinates for a geocache that was hidden in the same little cemetary where Papa is.

Once we found the container, we pulled out the treasure and the list of people who have found and replaced it with other treasures before us. This particular site had visitors starting back in 2006 and has had regular visitors since.

We replaced the treasure with a shell from Jekyll Island, GA, where Papa and Bukky spent many winters. Short of shoving an American flag into the tiny container, I can't think of a more perfect replacement for his site :)
Hope your 4th is full of treasures of your own :)