Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jill Horst & family

I am happy to say that I am done with the photos of the Horst family despite my bout with the stomach bug that bit me 6 hours after I took these pictures.

Jackson who is 2 months old was, without a doubt, my toughest challenge to date! The little ones can only handle so much and then they are done and they let you know it in no uncertain terms. I had to laugh because at the end of the first session for Jackson only his Mommy, Jill, was trying to console the naked little cutie when he just opened up and peed right on her chin! Keep in mind that we still had not taken the family photos yet and Jill had no other brown shirt to change into! The only thing that would have made it funnier is if I caught it on camera, but I was laughing way too hard to hold still long enough, believe me it was a classic moment!

I have known Millie, Jill's mom for several years through my music. She is a very talented musician and I was delighted to photograph the family, especially since Jill's brother is a Marine and is deployed frequently (I feel your pain). I would like to thank Millie & Bo for allowing me to capture this precious moment with the whole family together. Enjoy the photos and please let me know what you think!

Christmas Comes To Mattoon

This morning was the BIG Mattoon Christmas parade and, of course, Zach had to be at the lineup early and I was running late! He got there a few minutes late but at least he made it! After dropping Zach and Breanna off at the line up, Sadie and I made our way to our customary parade watching spot at Broadway and 11th street and settled in to watch the arrival of the big man himself! Sadie's favorite part is the music and the horseys, she has not yet learned to run into the street after the candy that is tossed because I don't let her out of her stroller and she is OK with that, for now! She does manage to get a few suckers that some of the candy tossers bring to her, which I quickly stash for later.
The photos above were take during the course of the parade! The first one is from our church and is the mother's group collecting toys for tots. The second is a horse and carriage that I really thought was cute. The tiny passenger in the back was a local beauty queen (what's a parade without a lot of tiaras). The third and forth are the Mattoon High School Pride of the Greenwave Marching band with Zach on lead trumpet. He even had a solo today that I got to hear (you just never know if you will or won't because of where you stand)! And the final picture is Sadie enjoying all the fun from the sidelines! She was still yelling for Zach and Bre long after they had passed by but no one seemed to mind! When it was all said and done we piled into the car to head home and warm up and get some lunch! We are now full and warm and ready for a nap!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The YUCK caught us!

I was so excited to cook a nice Thanksgiving meal for my family! I had it all planned out and everything was ready to be prepared when.... DUH......DUH.....DUH......DUUUUUH! At 2 am I wake with the worst stomach thing I can remember in recent years!! Yes that's right, the yuck had found me! After a sleepless night, I slept my Thanksgiving day away only waking for a total of four hours which was divided in two hour slots! I did, however, find out that my husband is very capable of taking care of the baby for more than one hour at a time! He had to take care of her all day, dirty diapers and all! He took the kids to Walmart and bought them McDonald's for lunch (which made me feel worse when he said "Here's your Thanksgiving dinner kids"). I really don't think they minded one bit! After all his "care taking" he got sick later that night but bless his soul, he sweat it out last night and was up for work at 5:30 this morning! I still feel blah but at least I am up and moving which is a huge improvement from yesterday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

This afternoon will be spent with a handsome 2 month old named Jackson! I will be taking his Christmas photos, which reminds me that I still need to get Sadie's finished! I will also be photographing his mom, dad, grandparents, aunt and uncle! Whew, what a busy afternoon!

Babies are always fun to photograph because they are so darn unpredictable but I guess that is all part of the fun! I am especially excited because his mom, Jill, is very creative and has some great ideas that we are going to mix with my great ideas and WOW, who knows what will happen! It is going to be such a fun afternoon and there will be plenty of photos to post very soon. I suppose that is a good thing since this is supposed to be all about my passion for photography! Stay tuned, it only gets better from here!

By the way hope you all enjoy Turkey day tomorrow! Eat too much, nap often, love the ones you are with (and the one you aren't) and most of all be thankful for all that you have been blessed with!

Blueberry Muffins

Usually I am the only one who cooks around here but occasionally Zach will make something or other IF he is in the mood! This morning happened to be one of those mornings! I awoke to the beautiful aroma of freshly baked blueberry muffins! OK, so they were from a box and the majority of the went to school with him this morning for breakfast with the JROTC cadets but there are a couple for Sadie and I to enjoy with a glass of milk for breakfast, yummy! The muffins are calling my name so I am sure there will be a second post later after my tummy is full!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Angels Among Us

Anyone who really knows me, will tell you that I love angels! Cute angels, majestic angels, all angels mystify me and capture my attention immediately! I love them so much that I have them on my dining room walls and sitting on shelves watching over us as we eat. But have you ever thought about the angels that are among us walking with us every day that go unnoticed! Bear with me a moment, I have not lost my mind and I am not seeing things that are not there! The angels I am referring to are the people around us who do good deeds each day and never expect anything in return! Let me give you some examples from my life! A few weeks ago when my husband was not working I got an anonymous card in the mail to encourage me, a few days later a gift card arrived in the mail with no signature on the letter, and most recently Derek has given my husband some work to do until he goes back to school. Derek is a one man shop and he did not have to help us out in any way but he did! He is a good Christian and I thinks he is glad that Spencer is working with him because he told him that he has gotten more done since Spencer started than he had in the last 2 years! Pretty cool! This time of year you can witness lots of angles among us since the Christmas season is upon us! My challenge to you is not to notice the angels but to become one yourself! It can be as easy as a donation to a food pantry or homeless shelter or more involved like making sure a family that would not have Christmas has the things they need to make it the best Christmas ever! I know what you are saying........economy..........whine.........whimper.........sob, but look at it this way: what if the shoe was on the other foot, would you want someone to reach out to you? My family has already done shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, Toys for Tots and donated food so 18 needy families in the area can have a great Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings! What can you do? Think about it!


Sadie loves to watch Go Diego Go and Dora the Explorer on her favorite channel, Noggin! We watch these two shows every afternoon and sing all the songs and do all the dances, you get the picture! This morning I was bringing her a banana and as I enter the living room she waves to me and says "Hola, Mom"! Keep in mind that she will be 21 months old tomorrow! Everyone always comments on how well she talks for her age! She is definitely my muse most of the time! I don't remember our oldest being this smart so young! Could it be that I am home with her and I wasn't with him or, I think, kids are "born" smarter these days? Whatever it is I just know that by the time she turns 16 I am going to be really old (in her eyes) and really stupid!

Hope you all like the new layout! I was getting really tired of the old one and needed to find something that showed my personality a little better and I think this layout does the trick. It caught my eye right off the bat and I love pink and black so it worked out really good!

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's kind of a cold, dreary day here in Central Illinois complete with rain! I have decided that I am going to stay in my jammies today and do laundry and clean and call the doctor to see what he wants me to do about my unfortunate side effect from weening Sadie a couple of weeks ago. I will spare you the details but I will say that there is plenty of pain and swelling going on.

The images above were take this past Wednesday evening as we rehearsed for the final time with our worship leaders Mike and Karen. They are stepping down after three years of hard work and building the team to what it is today! They are wonderful and will be missed greatly. The hands on the piano belong to Brad Brown our Associate Pastor and new Worship leader. He is an amazing young man. He is a self-taught musician who plays the piano, guitar, bass and sings. I am in awe every time I here him play or sing because, if you did not know him, you would swear that he was trained by the best musicians in the world! I'm serious, he is that good! I am looking forward to all that he will bring to this new leadership position!

I can't believe that we are at the end on November already! I have all the fixins for Turkey day and am prepared to cook all day for the family. The one thing I never do the day after Thanksgiving is shop! Don't get me wrong, I love to shop but I hate the crowds of rude people so you will not see me in a mall or at Walmart this weekend! I may venture down to the local County Market for a few groceries if my family is lucky!! Other than that my weekend will consist of going to watch Zach march in the Christmas parade on Saturday after which we will take Sadie to meet Santa at the pizza party at the mall. I also need to take Zach to see a movie because Twilight came out this past weekend and he has read all the books! So you see I have big plans just NO SHOPPING!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Award Winning Photo!

I am not one to "toot" my own horn but this is so cool that I just had to share! Yesterday I get a call that the photo I submitted of Sadie walking down a country lane had won a contest and the prize is the camera that is on my "wish" list. I am talking about a Nikon D6o, 10.1 megapixel, SLR with a lens (usually optional), 8 giga byte memory card, a tripod and a second point and shoot camera (which will go to Zach since he needs a new one). I realize I am gushing about this camera like the little guy in "Christmas Story" who wants the Red Rider BB Gun but that is how I feel about this camera! The total value of the package is $1400.00! I was so excited! The funny thing is, there was a commercial for this very camera of my dreams on TV the other night and I shushed Zach so I could listen and then told him that it was my next camera!!! Little did I know! To top it all off I had submitted the same picture to our local newspaper for a "Best Shot" thing they do each week and they emailed me yesterday to get more information about the picture and to let me know that they were going to run it! I have to go buy the paper today to see if it is there because it already hit the website . Sorry, but the little things like this really brighten my day! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Houdini Hound

We are the proud owners of 6 year old beagle named Boscoe. Most of the time he is a great dog: loving, cuddly and LOVES to eat anything (and I do mean anything)! I was on a cleaning spree yesterday and had the dogs out back in the fenced in yard to roam and bask in the sun so they didn't get under foot as they have a habit of doing! They usually alert me when they are ready to come inside for a drink, a nap and to get warm and yesterday was no different, except that when Zoe came in, Boscoe did not and he was no where to be found! Our yard is fenced in for crying out loud and all the gates are locked so no one could just let them out! So, I put Zoe in the house, load the baby in the car and went in search of my missing four-legged son, Boscoe. I searched all the alleys because he loves to get into the trash. I searched the two main roads in either direction for fear that he had been hit by a car. I even cruised all the one way streets and the park with no sign of the d**** dog, who I was cussing under my breath because Sadie is a sponge and will repeat EVERY word I say: the good, the bad and the ugly! I gave up and went home! When I arrive the neighbor, who is raking leaves, says she saw him sauntering up the driveway and realized that I was out looking for him so she followed him up the driveway thinking that she would put him on our enclosed front porch. When she got to where he should be, which was a dead end with the driveway the only way out, he was not there!! At this point, I could hear his tell "tail" bark but did not know where he was! I walked up the driveway with Sadie and the neighbor, called his name and there he was on the back porch! Remember I said earlier that the backyard is fenced in? Well, the Houdini hound managed to escape somehow which just amazes me because he is a pleasantly plump 35 pounds and cannot fit his body into too many tight spots. More amazing is the fact that he remembered the way home and the way back into the yard!! I know Zoe would have gone with him but she is a pit bull and her head is way too big to fit in the tight spot he found or I would have been searching for both of them! At least I found him or, should I say, he found me!!

Slow Fade.........

It is rare that I do a third post in one day but I was out running errands when the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns came on the radio and stopped me in my tracks because it relates so strongly to things that people I love are going through right now as I type. One line is: people never crumble in a day. How true is that? This is a long term process and does not happen overnight no matter what anyone says. It really doesn't matter what your downfall is: booze, drugs, or lust it is a process of choices that we as individuals make and then suffer the consequences. It occurs over a period of days, months even years as we spiral out of control to the point that we really don't know where to turn for help! I HAVE BEEN THERE and I hate to see others go through it, but I know that I cannot fight a battle that is meant for some one else to fight and learn from. If you are struggling please know that you are not alone and there is always help out there even though it is often hard to ask for it! Check out the video bar at the right. Click on the third picture down and you can hear the song and watch the video. Have some tissues ready because this song will grab your heart no matter what your circumstance.

Check out the video to the left (make sure your sound is on)!

These girls are only 6, 7 & 8 years old! They are AMAZING! I promise you will get goosebumps with this one!

Sorry Deb your go kart adventure was great while it lasted but these girls are super talented and kind of trump my big sis in a go kart!

No Luck!

Yesterday I was all set to go out and "view life through my lens" when life got in the way and I didn't get to go! Today is too windy and cold to take Sadie out so it won't happen today either but I know it WILL happen soon! Maybe we will go the mall for our covert photography project, it could work! We could also check out the layaway plan at Sears that Petula spoke of today at . Sadie is always a willing accomplice but has not mastered the art of the sneak attack since she is only 21 months old! She squeals in delight when I push her stroller fast and that usually gives my position away to my unsuspecting target! Oh well, we have so much fun together anyway and our adventures usually end with both of us near exhaustion and in much need of a nap, trying to stay awake as we munch on her favorite treat (not me) of McDonald's french fries!

Please remember to keep my niece Tracy and her family in your prayers as she starts her journey today! We do not know what the future holds but we know who holds it and she is in His hands now!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back to Photography!!

Some days I forget that my camera exists which is strange since that is my passion and one of my favorite creative outlets! I have not really done any portraits since the beginning of November and do not have any scheduled until next week (everyone wants them done while family is home for the holiday). I think today I will bundle Sadie up and go in search of life through the lens. I love to take random shots of people who are unaware that I am there (yes, I am aware of local stalking laws). I do let them know that I took the shot after it's done. I also ask for an address or email to send the photo to, in case they would like one and I give them my business card (great way to expand my business). If I get something good I will share with you! In the meantime you can check out my new and improved website! I switched for a couple of reasons: 1. More professional looking. 2. More importantly, people cannot right click and steal my work! It's not that I am that great but I would hate for my work to show up somewhere else with another artist taking the credit! Anyway, check it out at: and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prayers for Tracy!

A rare second post in one day to ask for prayers for my niece, Tracy and her family. Tracy has a battle in front of her that will not be an easy one! Please keep the family in your prayers! Thanks for your help in this matter.

It could always be worse!

Lately, I have learned or should I say relearned some important lessons about life in general. Take for example the people you wait in line with at Walmart: in front of you is a middle aged couple with two children all nicely dressed with three carts full of items and you think "wow, must be nice to be able to buy all that and not worry about if you brought enough money"! Behind you is another middle aged couple with two children who are dressed rather poorly and their one cart has barely anything in it. One of the children asks for some gum from the "parent trap" at the counter and the mom says "Honey, I told you I could not get you any extras today" as she looks at you with sad pleading eyes. And then there is you in the middle of the two! You are dressed in a nice pair of jeans and sweater with a warm coat and hat and your cart is overflowing with all the items your family needs and wants this week and when your child asks for candy at the counter you can say yes.

I am that middle person! I am not rich, I am not poor but the one thing I am is happy! My kids have warm, functional clothing and shoes on their feet, they have a roof over their head and food in their bellies! They have toys and video games but more importantly, they have love and lots of it! They will wake up Christmas morning with some nice gifts from the lists they have made but they will not be overstimulated with everything that their hearts desire! I have also helped each of them pack a shoe box for children in need! I think it is important that they learn that there is always someone less fortunate than they are. I love my kids enough NOT to hand them everything on a silver platter, I really want them to have compassion for others and have generous hearts! That is the best gift we can pass to our children!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I hate hackers and other stupid people!

I just need to vent and move on with my life! I am on Face Book with lots of great people from my past and some new friends too and now there is this worm out there and I got it! It came as an email from a long lost friend (she had no idea it was sent), but turns out it was from a hacker who used her email and pic to forward this worm to her friends list so now I am cleaning up a mess on my computer! I would really love to trash this one and get a new one but there are no funds in my economy for that! I am stuck because I need the computer for my business! You really can't do digital photography without a computer, so what's a girl to do? So to hackers and virus creators I say this: GET A LIFE AND USE YOUR KNOWLEDGE FOR THE FORCE! COME OUT OF YOUR CAVE AND YOUR COMPUTERS AND MOUNTAINS OF UNDONE LAUNDRY AND TAKEOUT CONTAINERS AND BECOME A PRODUCTIVE MEMBER OF SOCIETY OR YOU CAN JUST CHOKE ON YOUR GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN AND ROT IN...............

OK I am done with this tirade but you have to keep in mind this is the 2nd time this has happened to me in the last three months!!! UGH!!

The pic at the top of the post was taken by Zach and converted to black and white, while my eyes were left alone and YES, this is my natural eye color! The b & w just makes it pop not to mention that makeup helps in this area too! Have a great day and watch out for hackers and other stupid people!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our new "old" car!

Some months ago Spencer wanted to buy an old car and fix it up to "cruise" in. Some how in all the phone conversations, there was a miscommunication and when Spencer went to get the car it was gone! He was upset and stewed about it for a while but finally let it go! A month later we found out where the car had gone! A friend of ours, who had no idea we wanted it, bought it to fix up himself! Spencer was fine with that since he finally knew what happened to "his" car! Fast forward to this past weekend: Jerry, the friend who bought the car, needed to find a vehicle to drive quickly because the engine in his truck blew up so he contacted Bill, another mutual friend, to see if he had anything. As luck would have it Bill had an old El Camino that just needed a little work to be drivable. Bill and Jerry traded even up, the El Camino for the car with the condition that Spencer get the car! WOW, God works in mysterious ways! We got the car, Jerry got the El Camino and Bill gets Spencer to build him a hot rod truck! No money exchanged hands and everyone is happy!

The car will be neat when we are finished with it! Not much is needed to fix it (it still runs), just some rust, and some paint and some Mexican blankets on the seats and we are ready to roll! I forgot to mention that the car is a 1954 Pontiac Chiefton, pretty cool, huh?

Monday, November 10, 2008

No More Boo!

I am very excited that I have finally broken Sadie of her night time boo habit! Last night was pretty tough when she woke in the wee hours wanting her favorite snack and throwing a fit asking for it by name! I stood my ground even though I wanted to give in just for her to be quiet! I was firm but loving and found other ways to comfort her! We snuggled and hugged and I sang and in no time she was out again! It has been almost 36 hours since her last time and I feel great! I am sad that this part of our life is over but happy to have my body back to myself!

Zach is doing great on home confinement, he even does chores without complaining because he knows better! We had a really good day today because this afternoon I let him turn the camera on me and play "photograph the photographer"! He has a pretty good eye and got some great shots of me! I put them together in a collage to use for my new improved website which will be ready later this week or early next week depending on how much time I have to devote to it!

Spencer got us a new, old ride but I will explain more about that tomorrow!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Things are lookin' up!

Yea, Friday!! I am always glad when Friday gets here! I guess it's a throwback to my 8-5 office job days! Today is especially good because of the uncertainty earlier in the week! My husband has been working for a friend the last 3 or 4 weeks and the work is ending next Monday and we were not sure what would happen next but as God would have it another job is on the horizon that will start on Tuesday and be full time for the next couple of months until Spencer starts school in January! This really renews my faith when I needed it the most! This job will not make us independently wealthy but it will put food on the table and that is what matters at this point!

Everyone is healthy again! Yea! We figured out what made the dog sick this morning when Spencer went on the back porch to put the NEW bag of dog food in the container and discovered a hole had been chewed in the bottom! Was this the work of vermin? I think not! It was the work of a beagle who will eat anything at anytime! I mean really this dog has never been full a day in his life (he's never been denied food either)! He ate too much of the new bag of food including the packaging! No wonder he wouldn't eat the food we gave him yesterday, which, is very uncharacteristic of him to say the least! He is back to normal today and so is Sadie who stopped puking around 4 pm yesterday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The life of a stay-at-home mom!

This morning I awoke to a puking baby AND a puking dog! I refuse to ask what else can go wrong because I know it could be much worse! So...............I am just choosing to see things in a positive light and be thankful that I am able to stay home and take care of everyone! I did not have to call in to work or reschedule an important meeting to take care of my family when they need me most! Who cares that Sadie has gone through 3 pairs of pajamas! I have to wash my sheets cause she got them too, not to mention my pajamas were a target and now will need to be washed! It's OK! This too shall pass and life will be back to normal or at least as normal as it gets around here! Life it good, God is in control and I am just a passenger on this roller coaster called life!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Teenagers! You can't live with 'em and you can't shoot 'em (or can you)!

It seems like, lately at least, one good day is followed by one bad day! Yesterday was good for me and for our country! Today, not so much! The country is still reeling from Obama's historic victory and I am dealing with a teenage boy who does not want to be dealt with!

I get a call from the high school telling me that Zach has been suspended for 5 days (I will spare you the details because it would take way too long and my fingers would cramp)! Needless to say, I am NOT AMUSED in the least! He thinks he is getting a vacation and I say otherwise! I have already made several calls to our church and elderly neighbors "volunteering" my son to serve them in any way they may need! I am talking the dirtier the better! I want him to do heavy, manual labor while he thinks about what he has done! I want to make him wish he was in school and away from the wrath of MOM! I want him to pray that he were in a boot camp because it would be easier than the punishment that mom is doling out! If anyone knows of a good job I can make him do please let me know! Hey if you live close enough I could even bring him to you for some chores that you may need help with!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History in the making!

Today we, as Americans, will be a part of a "first" in the history of our great nation. When all is said and done we will either have out first African-American President or our first female Vice-President! All I can say is WOW, why wouldn't you want to make your vote count and be part of history either way! I don't care who you vote for (OK I do but I won't push my views on you) as long as you stand up and are counted!

I was very proud to go vote this morning with Sadie in tow! It was a tad difficult because I could not take her stroller in since there were only stairs and no ramp and to top it all off I had to use a PEN AND PAPER ballot while holding her in my other arm! It wasn't fun, but we got the job done and after we placed the ballot in the box we both got stickers that say "I Voted". She was very excited about the sticker!

The whole pen and paper thing kind of got to me because I do not remember using a pen and paper when I voted here in the 2000 election! I know I used a machine in 2004 at Ft. Campbell! Oh well, I guess it really doesn't matter what method you have to use as long as it counts!

Some voting perks today: Starbucks - free coffee, Ben and Jerry's - free ice cream. Just thought I would throw that in there as some extra incentive.


Monday, November 3, 2008

What's a parent to do?

There is a time in every parents life when they will be faced with the most important question a teen will ask (at least to the teen). "Can I get a car?" This question automatically puts a huge knot in the pit of my stomach! We told Zach that we would match what he saved for a car and that he would have to pay for the insurance and tags. I think this is a good plan since we would not just be handing him the vehicle, but instead making him work for what he wants so he appreciates it more. He turned 16 in August and still has yet to find a job (not for lack of trying), so Zach still has no car! Our neighbors son turned 16 a week or so ago and a couple of days later a nice, shiny, red Firebird appeared in the driveway! UGH! Number one, the kid has no J.O.B. and more importantly, that is WAAAAAAYYYY too much car for a new driver to handle especially a boy, who tends to want to go fast and show off for friends and by friends I mean girls!

So, now Spencer feels bad for Zach because he doesn't have a car! It is at this time I also remind him that we have no car payment or insurance payment either! Back to reality!! I feel bad for Zach too, but not bad enough to buy him a car to which he cannot afford the payment not to mention a car that is not suitable for a 16 year old NOVICE driver! Zach is still looking for a job in a market where the teens are competing with adults who need those jobs to support a family! Hopefully by this time next year he will have a job and be on his way to EARNING his very first car!

As a side note: Don't forget to vote tomorrow! It is our right and our responsibility! My theory is: If you don't vote, don't complain about the winners!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Fun

Last night was a blast for all of us! Zach worked the haunted house at Rockome Gardens as he has done for the past 4 or five weekends and Spencer and I took Sadie trick or treating. Since she is so little we only went one block on either side of our house and then jumped into the car to drive to see three other friends.

She had so much fun looking at all the costumes and checking out all the cats and dogs at each location we visited. The funny thing was the only candy she cared about was chocolate (wonder who she gets that from)! She would knock on the door, NOT say trick or treat as rehearsed and ask for chocolate by name.

Some of our friends gave her a new book, which was a welcome break from all the candy, but our last stop of the night made up for the book! Our friends Rick and Lynn gave her LOTS of chocolate and she even got to eat some so by the time we got home, she was on a sugar high and did not want to go to bed!! Thanks Rick & Lynn! I also forgot to mention that Rick shared his orange soda with her (more sugar she did not need)! When she finally calmed down enough for me to remove her costume, she kept repeating "leggy bug, leggy bug", I guess she liked her lady bug costume. All in all, it was a great night even though we were all exhausted and ate too much candy! I guess the "diet" starts again today (ha ha)!


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