We have a dog. His name is Gus. Our story begins here.
I've never had a dog before - always cats. Always black or black and white cats. I don't know how to raise a dog and, compared to cats, dogs need raising. Dog people always seemed like crazy zealots to me (yes you Barb, Dad).
Bill and I have debated for years the proper place of a dog in the family - with emphasis on IN the family. Bill was raised on a farm with OUTSIDE dogs. I'm from Pennsylvania where it's cold, so what the heck is an OUTSIDE dog?? All dogs go outside right? No no, "they live outside," says Bill. "What on Earth is the point in that," says me??? So on and on we went with my friends piling on in support of INSIDE dogs when they had the chance (thanks Linda and Donna).
Flash forward about a year: Bill warmed up to the idea of a family dog and almost immediately we were standing in the SPCA adopting a dog. Gus is a 4-month old lab (boxer?) mix. He was a stray and we rescued him.
He's adorable. He's a lovey. He's hard to potty train. My house is now filled with dog toys and supplies. The kids love him, I love him. I'm tired, I smell like dog. I've questioned our decision a few times. He's doing better with the potty (thanks Taylor). Bill likes him.
And now I'm crazy zealot with, of course, a black and white dog. He lives inside.
Sam and I were recently chatting about a date night Bill and I had. The conversation went like this:
Sam: So mom, where did you and Daddy go last night? me: Mommy and Daddy went to the Arena Tavern for some dinner and adult drinks. Sam: Why? me: Because it was a date night. Sam: A DATE NIGHT? You're already married. That's crazy. me: Yes, Sam we're married, but sometimes Mommies and Daddies like to go out on date nights every once in a while. Sam: Is that a law? me: Yes Sam. Yes it is.
Enjoy your date nights when you get them - it's a law!
Okay, so we've been back from Disney for a month, and I'm finally getting around to uploading my photos. A lot's been going on since our return - I have a new dedicated computer just for photography, I've entered in to the world of Photoshop (and am seemingly paralyzed by my new options), the boys started t-ball (in two different leagues), I was sick for a week, traveled to DC and also entertained my parents for a weekend. But, enough excuses . . .
Disney was AMAZING! Yes, we froze every morning. Yes, it was one of the coldest weeks on record for that time of year, but nothing was going to deter the Andersons from making the most of it darn it! I have to admit I was a bit of a slave to my little Weather Channel app on my Blackberry praying somehow the forecast would change, but eventually I got over it and just piled on the warm clothes I did manage to pack for us.
This was longest amount of time I've ever spent at the Magic Kingdom (a week!), and it was worth every second. We got to see Grammy and Grandad, my brother and his family, we ate and ate, park-hopped every day and saw just about every Disney character ever created. I don't know what it was - maybe the time of year - but they were everywhere.
It really was a special week. There was no drama, the sun managed to shine, the hotel and other services were great, the boys were SO well behaved (and boy we saw some doozy kids while we were there - Veruca Salt comes to mind), we worked the Fast Pass system to the n-th degree and we all pooped out by 9pm every night (that's not lame, right?). And, for those of you who know how my husband feels about Disney (I mean the evil empire), even he managed to enjoy himself, "through the eyes of the boys" of course.
And, because I indicated this was our first family trip to Disney, we also got some fun perks: a voicemail from Goofy welcoming us to the hotel for our first family stay, a postcard from Mickey hand-delivered by a castmember wishing us a fun first stay, and a special escort on our last day to the front of the line (and boat) of Pirates of the Carribean by a castmember who noticed our first visit pins (yes we wore them). I just love all the ways Disney tries to make everyone's stay unique and special.
Anyway, here are a few pics from the trip. They're a bit all over the place - I've been playing with Photoshop and am still finding my way. Jenna if you're reading this I may call you for a quick tutorial. :)
Last Friday and Saturday, I participated in a one-on-one photography workshop in Murfreesboro, TN, taught by a photographer I want to be like when I grow up (never mind she's 12 years younger than me). Jenna Henderson, of jHenderson Studios, graciously agreed to host me and share her expertise - both in classroom (a local Mimi's Cafe) and during a real shoot with a friend she lined up to model for me! Do you believe that?
You may remember me talking about Jenna. I first met her via phone through my niece Shea (they went to HS together). She happily spent about an hour with me, talking to me about lenses, cameras, school, lighting, etc. A few months later, we actually met Jenna in Chattanooga when she took our family photos. You know, the ones I posted to facebook, have on my desktop, in my home on my phone and used for holiday cards? I pretty much have those suckers everywhere.
Anyway, when I sheepishly first asked Jenna to do this for me shortly after our family session, I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, I would have been happy with any time she was willing to spare. That said, I was really blown away by the time, care and thought she spent in planning the lesson, covering what I wanted to talk about, then putting it into practice. I guess that's what any good teacher would do, but since this was just for ME, I was really thrilled.
We worked for most of the afternoon Friday on capturing the best light, getting me to get JoEllen to move how I wanted (new territory for me, but a great exercise) and just working on the details. I posted a few pics here. Saturday we focused on editing and the business side of photography. All great stuff!
And, if you forgot, I included a few of my faves from our sesson with Jenna in August. Oh, and she blogged about me too! Check out her take here. I would spend some time on her site in general if you're interested. Her photos are wonderful, and you may even spot a few Anderson pics. Thanks again Jenna!
This week Jack (4) informed me that he knew about someone who was "very very important." Intrigued, I asked the obvious question: "who?" Jack then went on to tell me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a run-on, stream-of-conscience train of thought that lasted about three minutes.
It went something like this: (Note, imagine the following said with a NY accent - apparently Jack is from the Bronx).
"Well, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an important man because he helped the Brown people. The Brown people had to drink the bad water and the White people had to drink the good water. Then the Brown people had to sit in the back of the bus and White people sat in the front. Martin Luther King Jr. said that was wrong. He had a dream that all people would be friends. He fought with his brain and he fought with this mouth, and he marched all around the country talking about the Brown people. He wanted everything to be fair. Mommy, were you alive then? What about when George Washington lived?"
Minus his last two questions, I was pretty impressed with my child and what he retained from the lesson. And I'm glad Dr. King's legacy is being discussed from an early age. I have to admit, I personally don't know much about him beyond the basics, but I WAS surprised to find out what a fight it was to establish MLK Day as a national holiday. I just assumed it was a no-brainer given his contribution to the America people. Apparently not. And, when finally signed into law in 1983, only 27 states and the District of Columbia adopted it. (The last state to sign on was South Carolina some 17 years later!) Figures.
So as you rest or do whatever you're doing on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2010, remember what Dr. King lived for and all that he sacrificed in the name of equality. Click for a brief history of MLK Day from TIME magazine.
By the way, we ended the conversation by me telling Jack that I was proud of him for being able to re-tell the story of an important man in history. Jack replied, "Yeah Mommy, just like Rudolph. He went down in history too." I couldn't make this stuff up.
Photo, courtesy of Primrose School, is of Jack teaching his class about Dr. King.
Today Bill and I hosted Sam's kindergarten class and a few neighborhood buddies for his 6th birthday party. Since Jack's party back in September Sam's been asking to have his party at Monkey Joe's, the local bouncy inflatable whatever-you-call-it place. After being there a few times for other parties, we relented and okayed this fiesta. But, even though we'd been before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect as host. Happily, I was pleasantly surprised with the service and would recommend this no muss, no fuss-type party.
Everyone who knows me knows I LOVE to entertain, but there's something to be said for just showing up, chatting with the parents and kids from Sam's class, eating cake, and gettin' out of dodge. Plus you get the added benefit of the kids getting all that energy out in someone else's place. The only bummer was that it rained today which made for an interesting sprint to the truck with a stack of presents, balloons and two kids. And, because it rained, it seemed like all of metropolitan Suwanee, Duluth and Johns Creek opted for Monkey Joe's as a respite from the weather. Oh well. The kids had a great time, and it was nice getting to know Sam's classmates and families a little better.
On Monday this week my Sam turned 6 years old. In that time we've laughed a lot: at ourselves during those initial attempts to "swaddle" (still never got that), at Sam sulking while sucking his fingers in a giraffe costume (say that 10 times fast), and at each other during countless trips to the park, impromptu dancing in the kitchen and watching our favorite animated features together as a family (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a must-have).
Anyway, Sam is a really great kid. We're biased of course, but it pleases me to no end when teachers, neighbors and sometimes complete strangers comment on how sweet Sam is. Bill thinks that means a constant pummeling at school, but I'm content with my sweet kid. And besides, he'll manage even if he has to outwit any would-be bully with simply his brain. You can count on that one for sure. (Yeah, I talk tough but really I want to bubble wrap him until he's 37. Bill says no.)
So in honor of Sam's birthday, I'll leave you with the song I wrote for him when he was a week old. I was inspired. It goes like this:
Sammy is my Sammy, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh (syncopated of course) Sammy is my Sammy, uh-uh-uh-uh-uh Rinse, repeat
I love getting holiday cards. Every day from about the first week of December through Christmas day, I run to the mailbox to see what cards came. I love all the variety, the extra touches, the funny and sweet photos chosen and of course the personal correspondence saved especially for that time of year.
But, this year was a little different. As you know, I photographed several families specifically for holiday cards. It's always a treat to get a card in the mail, but when I actually received each of those families' cards I was really floored. It was so rewarding to review each, see what photo or photos each family chose, and to receive their notes. I'm so glad I started this little side business o' mine for so many reasons, but to be able to spend time with such lovely people and give them the images they are proud to send to everyone special in their lives is, well, right at the top of the list. Many thanks to the Harveys, Swords, Leas, Wearnes, Cerrutis, Laus, Braswells and Rayburns.
Hi all and Happy New Year. I finally dragged my Christmas Day photos out of my camera to post today. This was the first year that the Andersons went absolutely nowhere for the holiday - just the way we wanted. There were plenty of days we stayed in our pjs too - just the way we wanted. We visited with friends, enjoyed watching the boys play with their toys, went bowling and had a lovely visit with my sister Alicia - just the way we wanted.
The year is already getting off to a crazy start - work travel, karate belt tests, signing the boys up for t-ball and getting ready for the possibility of two separate leagues because of their ages, and oh, Sam's birthday (which is today - pics to come tomorrow).
I hope you had a wonderfully restful (and boring) holiday - just the way you wanted.
Public relations manager, marketing professional and photographer.
Have camera, will travel to Atlanta and surrounding areas to preserve your children's toothy grins and other important milestones.
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