Brought to you by the letter “V”

Vacation.  I am still in the stupor that involves coming home from vacation. My family and I left at 12:30 am two Wed. ago because apparently jumping into the car after a full day with children whining “When are we leaving?  I want to see Grammy and Goomba!!!!!” seemed JUST THE THING TO DO (oy….).  The “are we there yet? questioning started before we even left.

And yes.  We call him Goomba.  It is at his own request.  This birthday he is getting a white tank top and a gold chain.  This Christmas we will be giving him a red velour track suit.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

I might even throw in a little black book filled with contacts from the waste disposal industry.  I am a giver like that.

But I digress.  The trip down was a rough one.  The kids slept, but we stopped around 4 am to sleep a bit in the car.  Sitting straight up.  Yeah, that worked out well.

The rest of the trip visiting family was good.  We got to meet my twin nephews (precious), spend time with my niece, and visit with the in-laws.  We visited the lake, walked around my in-laws pit of despair …. ahem…. someday pond, visited the science museum (GO SCIENCE!) and had a great time.  The kids did not handle their going to sleep late, over-excitedness, non-stop going, going, going, for a few days, but we expected that it would catch up with them.

The car trip back was wonderful (honestly my kids ROCK the long car rides.  We rarely get complaints.), except for one problem.  Goomba putting the kids up to singing, “bird, bird bird. bird is the word.” over and over again.  He actually called to remind them about  the son 3 hrs. into the trip home.  Ummmmm, yeah.  Going to need some truly evil ideas as a retribution for that mess.


Overall, the trip was wonderful. It is always nice to visit family since we all get along so well.

That being said (and I love them all…. trust me), I have a new definition of a vacation. A vacation is no longer visiting family.  That is important, and fun, and we love spending time with them. But, “vacation”  is doing something new, or relaxing.  And it is just as important for my mental health.  It involves a spa, or a margarita, or a camping trip, or a beach, or an adventure.  We do some of these things when we visit family (we camped in the backyard one night and visited the lake), but somehow it is not the same as a vacation.  There is always something else to do, or someone else’s agenda/schedule to take into account.  I love the quality time with extended family, truly.  But there is something to be said for a real vacation just as an immediate family as well.  Something that forces us all to be together without playing tag-team parenting (which is what we do since I work at home).  Something that can force us to get out of the daily rut and all have an adventure together.  Something that allows us to spend some fun relaxing time together, without the daily grind.

So, I will be looking for suggestions of awesome things to do.  What fun things can you do at the beach (besides the obvious), what suggestions do you have for the mountains?  Because, WE WILL, be taking one before the end of the summer.  It will be just a long weekend trip, so it has to be within reasonable distance to Philly.  We actually have never taken a vacation as an immediate family without it involving extended family.  Ben and I took a weekend together for our 10th anniversary, but we have never been as a family for more than a day trip.  And we really need it.

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If the title of this post could be a WHA? head shake punctuated by bulging eyes, it would

Just take a glance at my to-do list today, then join me for number 11, because you might need it too.  Or just send booze to my destination.  Or simply dig the hole so I can just fall backwards into it for my final resting place. My to do list:

1.) Finish editing family photo shoot on a computer where I can type faster than the computer can keep up.

2.) Edit some more wedding photos  on a computer where I can type faster than the computer can keep up.

3.) Pack for entire family for an 8 day trip that includes tent camping and a 10 hour car ride. We leave tomorrow. I haven’t even started.

4.) Organize the car just so for this 10 hour car ride so that the kids can reach anything they need at any given time with little intervention from us.

5.) Perhaps secure a catheter for the Wise Guy.  And some heavy gauge plastic. And Febreeze, Because, as we have done this trip many times before and it generally goes  very smoothly (kids are usually quite good for such a long trip), this will be the first time since he has been fully potty trained.  Things could get interesting when stuck in bumper to bumper traffic around Washington for 2 hours.

6.) Finish laundry for said trip.  Which is a feat  itself because of 1 and 2.

7.) Entertain kids on their first day of summer.  On a BEAUTIFUL day.

8.) Unpack dishwasher, wash the dishes, then repack the dishwasher since  that piece of junk has become a glorified drying rack.

9.) Feed the children (which is a full-time job these days…. these kids can EAT)

10.)  Go to Chrissie Rasor’s (great photographer) for a Photoshop Party.  This is going to be the highlight of my day, I think.  Because we photographers? We can rock the with the Photoshop.

11.) Go to the doctor to secure a prescription for a BIG bottle of  Xanax because I AM GOING TO NEED IT.

After which, I am going to take a break.  I am going to count my blessings and just live in the moment for a few.  How very zen of me?  All part of the transformation, baby.  The transformation that involves a big bottle of xanax, but a transformation all the same.

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What Dreams are Made of

This weekend, I had the privilege to shoot the wedding of the gorgeous bride Lise and her handsome groom Tim.  The church was amazing, with wrap around stained glass.  It was like no other church I have ever seen.  The reception was laid back, fun, and truly represented the couple in their fun-loving way.  I was nervous, being my first wedding to shoot as the professional, and not as a shutterbug guest, but I am beyond pleased with the results.  Here are just a few from the shoot.

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Shooting From the Hip

I am always looking for new and interesting ways to shoot my camera.  So, when Mishi from Secret Agent Mama laid out the challenge of literally shooting from the hip (with the bonus of winning a new camera strap), I jumped at the challenge.  After all, it was something fun, different, and I could use a new camera strap from the twisted annoying strap I call my own.  But the challenge was not challenging enough for me (you do know by now that I am an overachiever, right?).  No, I had to shoot from the hip (or navel depending on how I had my camera on my shoulder/neck), with the camera on manual, and with me selecting an area of focus.  All without looking through the viewfinder.

Did I mention I am crazy?

So after 183 shots, I got a few that I am quite proud of.  I am putting my favorite up (even if it is just slightly out of focus), though, as I love the story.  I will post others later in the week. Thanks, Mishi, for the challenge.  It was fun!

Shooting from the Hip:  Best Friends

I am so happy I got this one.  It was not easy to catch…at dusk, on manual, shooting from the naval, while they were moving.  It was just pure luck.  Sweetie and Wise Guy, for as much as they fight (and boy do they have these knock down drag out fights), have these extremely precious moments like this one, ones that melt my heart, ones where you can tell how much they adore each other.

Walking down the sidewalk after our trip to the park, the Wise Guy says, “Sweetie, you are my best friend.”

Sweetie, puts her arm around her brother, and he around her.  Sweetie says, “Awww, that is so sweet!  You are pretty cool too.  I love you, little guy.” pulling him a bit closer.


And they walk that way down the sidewalk together. Arm in arm. The very best of friends.

At least for today.

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Hot Air Will Not Save The Gulf

Tonight, President Obama gave a speech from the solemn setting of the oval office.  He supposedly laid out his plan on how we can limit our dependence on foreign oil and how we can help the situation in the Gulf.

What I heard was alot of hot air.

The president evoked prayer.  The president evoked faith.  The president evoked our resilience as a nation.  The president stated that we are working hard in the Gulf to reclaim the water, stop the well, and clean the beaches.

It was aimed to be a politically safe speech, when there is no such thing in this political climate. No matter what the president says, the right will find fault, pick it to pieces, and play arm-chair quarterback to express their disgust (cough cough….. hate) with whatever he chooses to say or do.

So, why play it as you did, Mr. President?

Honestly, I liken this speech, as harsh as it might sound, to President Bush in the wake of 9/11 saying, “Go shopping.”  This is not what we need.  We do not need the eloquence that was meant to appeal to our hopes.

We need a leader.

We need someone to say enough of the talk and red tape, time for action.

We need someone to tell us that we must make sacrifices and changes in our lives to move us towards getting off oil.

We need someone to tell us that we need to pitch in and help in this crisis and how we can do that.

We need someone with strong words and even stronger actions.

We need someone with a little gnash behind their teeth.

The time for environmental reform and regulation is now.  You cannot look at the tragedy in the Gulf, get angry, and then say you will not change your habits.  You cannot sit by with your cynicism, tossing up your hands and saying, “Oh well. Nothing is going to change.”  Because cynicism, while it protects you from the possibility of failure and gives you the ability to say, “I told you so” in the end, is pure laziness.  It clears you of all culpability.  It limits you, limits the country, entrenches you in a deep ditch where you cannot see above the bank.  Aim for the pinnacle. Take a “risk”, and change your habits. Step up with ideas instead of tearing down those around you. This is not a crisis to sit back and point fingers.  There will be plenty of time for that later.  We need more than hot air.  We need direction and action.

And there are plenty of us willing to jump in and provide just that.

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Officially Jumping for Joy!

I have officially launched my photography business! (if launching your business means launching your website.)  Either way, it is a huge step.  I have to thank my wonderful husband who worked hard on coding  and designing the site   for me (thanks Ben!).  He is very talented.

This business  has been more than a long time coming, but everything is falling into place.  I am so excited.  Click the photo or here to visit the site and let me know what you think!

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