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Welcome to my blog! You'll find my life, both professional and personal, documented here in the form of photographs and short quippy paragraphs.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010


When I lived in Indiana, I thought March was the ugliest month of the year. It certainly wasn't a month to look forward to, but, instead, a month to simply get through. It was the month when you were longing for spring but winter wouldn't leave.
March is different in Texas. March is the one month of the year that your grass is green and your flowers bloom. It is the month you don't want to end because you know that it's only going to get hotter and hotter. Last year the temperature hit 100 degrees every day from June till August.
This year, the weather was just right for Texas wildflowers. What better background for Easter pictures?
The kids ensemble was lovingly picked out by their Grammy and shipped to us. Let's just say that I'm blessed with a mother-in-law who is super generous not only because she bought all this stuff, but because she didn't give me grief for making some exchanges. See, she bought Julian and Schroeder matching outfits. Not just coordinated outfits, but completely matching outfits.
Now, I know a lot of mommies love to match their kids, but there is just something about a completely matching outfit that screams DORK! to me. Stephen is a self-proclaimed geek, but he's made it clear that dork and geek are two totally different things. Being a geek is something to be proud of he says. Being a dork isn't.
So I took Schroeder's shirt and Julian's sweater vest back. Schroeder got a striped shirt, and Julian got a robot tie. Now everyone has their own, unique look. Thanks Grammy for being so flexible!

The Scoop

I was reminded tonight that I have been neglecting my blog, but I have some good excuses!

First of all, I've been relatively silent on the topic of our move. Somehow, about six months ago, someone from Stephen's work got wind about our future plans to leave the state of Texas. It then became a topic of discussion in a manager's meeting. I'm assuming the knowledge came from either a status update or a blog post that I put out into cyberspace. It was frustrating to think that my "private", "personal" updates somehow made their way to Stephen's managers. Everything worked out, and USAA (Stephen's employer) basically told him that they were happy to have him as long as he wanted to stay around.

Previously, I had mentioned that we were planning to move to Portland, OR. That was the plan for many years, until December when, for many reasons, we decided we wanted to move back to Indiana to be closer to family. When became the question. My stipulation was that we needed insurance. Since I was pregnant, private insurance is out of the question. They won't insure a woman already pregnant. So our only option was for Stephen to get a job with insurance before the baby was born OR to wait until the baby was here when I could get private insurance.

Well, yesterday, a company in Indianapolis offered Stephen a seemingly good job opportunity. Today, he accepted the offer and gave his work two weeks notice that he would be leaving his current position. He begins on May 17th.

I, however, will be staying in Texas until June 6th for two reasons. First, D'arcy will get to finish up her year of kindergarten. Secondly, I've committed to photographing weddings on May 29th and June 5th. Stephen and I have never been apart for more than a week and a half. Sadly, we'll be in different states on our 7 year wedding anniversary. However, I'm looking forward to utilizing our Indiana babysitters so we can go out on lots of dates before Maggie shows up in August.

There are lots of things still to be figured out including who will deliver this baby, who will buy our house in Texas, and how long we will live with Stephen's parents. I told his dad that I couldn't live there very long if FOX News was continually on. But, hey, I guess beggars can't be choosers.

So that's the scoop.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gafford Family

Before little Diana was born, I gave Anna, one of my favorite mommy friends, a gift certificate for a free family photo session. That was eight months ago, and in those months, this family has been through a lot. Little Diana has had some scary health problems, and is about to be put on a liver transplant list. Even though, they've spent a good part of the last month in the hospital, tonight I met the whole family at Canyon Natural Area not to capture their struggles but instead to capture their love for one another. Take a look at this very sweet family.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Reily might not be the biggest fan of taking pictures, but she is a big fan of mommy and grandpa who were able to get some very genuine laughs and smiles out of her. I really enjoyed editing these photos because this little girl's eyes are enormous and gorgeous! Even my husband passed by my computer and said, "wow, what a cutie." You can trust his judgment because he has good taste ;), but just in case, here's the proof.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sugalski Family

Here's a fact about almost two year olds, they don't sit still! That's what we love about them, right? We love to see their excitement and curiosity for life. We love to hear them discover new words and to see their eyes get bigger when they see yellow trains, blue balls, and red lollipops. So I spent the hour trying to capture Landon as he is, a joyful little boy on the verge of turning 2. Here's a little peek at what I got.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Wednesday morning, I got to do two things I love...hang out with my friend Rachelle and take pictures of a cute kid, her son Elliot. Here are my favorites.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This is a sucking free zone!

Julian began sucking his thumb at six months old. We had only used a pacifier in the first couple months of his life (What a Sucker! post from 2007). I tried to reintroduce it when I saw his preference for sucking his thumb, but by that point it was too late. It may have been the beginning of a habit, but it was cute and an effective way of calming himself.
Three years later, Stephen and I were struggling to help him break his habit. My pediatrician told me just to wait until he entered school at which time he would be teased enough to stop his habit. I had been told by more than one thumb sucker that this might work during the day, but it wasn't a great deterrent for bedtime. We had tried the no bite polish, tying a string around his thumb as a reminder, and sending him to the corner when we discovered his thumb in his mouth. We were also explaining to him that sucking was a way for babies to comfort themselves, and that, now that he was a big boy, he needed to find other ways to comfort himself. He understood, but it wasn't motivation enough to get him to stop.
I mentioned in a previous blog post that one day not so long ago, he accidentally cut his precious thumb, had to have a band-aid, and decided not to suck while the bandaid was in place. When I noticed this, we continued to put a band aid on his thumb for 21 days to help him kick the habit. It worked! I've only see him suck his thumb once in the last month. He was in a deep sleep and it must have found its way into his mouth subconsciously.
After my experience with my little thumb sucker, I decided to use a pacifier with Schroeder. Instead of taking the paci away around the third month, I pushed it on him. It takes a baby awhile to get the hang of keeping it in their mouth, and I found you have to be kind of persistent. My thoughts were a pacifier would be easier to take away than a thumb would be to cut off. The pacifier was wonderful in some ways. It helped Schroeder easily transition from sleeping swaddled to sleeping free in a crib. His naps were a breeze. Bedtime was heaven. Around the 4 or 5 month mark, I stopped timing my nursing sessions expecting Schroeder to be more active in letting me know when he was hungry. Before, I was timing them every 3 hours. He isn't a demanding child, and he became even less so with a pacifier in his mouth. This resulted in him nursing fewer times during the day which led my milk supply to diminish. He stopped gaining weight between the 4 and 6 month mark. Once we figured this out, we were able to demand that he eat more, which he did. He began gaining weight again.
Around the nine month mark, I began to contemplate how long I should use the pacifier. I would think that by a year we should be past the point when thumb sucking might begin. I started to ask myself, "At what age would a child with a pacifier in its mouth inspire me to roll my eyes?" It just seems so silly to me for a child who is talking to have an object in there mouth. An object that they don't really need. An object that they just like. And Schroeder really liked his. If he was fussy or tired, it would immediately help him relax and lay down wherever we were. It was an easy tool. And what is really wrong with easy?
At the same time, I knew the longer I let him like it, the more he would grow to love it and the harder it would be to take away. So on the Thursday before his birtday, I layed him down for a nap and neglected to give it to him. He cried for 20 minutes and then reluctantly fell asleep. This happened several more days, but then he started to get used to it.
And now our home is a sucking free zone, at least until Maggie Lu joins us in August. I'm thinking we will do the pacifier route again, and this time, hopefully, I'll be aware of and avoid the pitfalls that pacifiers can bring.

NicoleV-- my well known secret to editing

I recently purchased a new computer and instead of using Photoshop as my main editing tool, I have switched over to using Lightroom. Of course, I had to go to NicoleV's awesome emporium for photographers ( to buy the Raw presets that would mimic the NicoleV actions I was using in Photoshop. Here's a little peak at what the presets will do with just a click of a button.
Here's a before from a wedding I shot in March. The original picture isn't too bad, but it could use a little pop.

Here it is with that little pop!

Here's a photo I took this past weekend. It's overexposed and hazy due to the amount of sun in my lens.

Here it is with another one of my NicoleV RAW presets. Much improved.