What have we have been/are up to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Because I'm not quite done with the next set of pictures, you get a nice wordy post updating you all on everything that's been going on around here, and why I pretty much never have time to update this poor blog more than once a week. I used to be really good about telling stories on here and posting more every day stuff. Now that time's run out, I hop on, post the "session" I do and run. Very little narrative as of late, and I'm sorry. So to make up for what's been lacking nearly all summer, here's the scoop on us!

Henry

Reported pretty much everything in his big 3 year update. Obviously, the big thing coming up is preschool. He begins on the 4th, where I just take him for 1 hour and we get to meet the teachers. Because this program is moving to a new wing in the high school, they are having an additional general open house next week that we will also go to. Depending on how the first experience goes, I may request a private viewing of the room for him and to check everything out in a less chaotic experience. We will see though.

As I talked about a while ago, he will be receiving special services under the ASD educational label. The ECSE teacher is in his room the entire time and co-teaches with the regular preschool teacher. He'll get support in social situations such as initiating greetings and conversations with both teachers and peers, asking peers to play, and maintaining and engaging in play. One of the other big things he'll be working on is standing up for himself and using words to get his needs met, ask questions, and when he needs a teacher's help with another student.

I am so excited for him to go, but I definitely still have butterflies in my stomach for him and hope, above anything else, that he finds some peers to click with and doesn't play alone every time he's there.

I'll begin the year by taking him myself, and then once we've gotten over the transition of going to school in and of itself, he'll start taking the bus (which he claims to be very excited about).

My bets are on that he will be clingy and a crier/screaming/runner as I walk away, but the teacher inside of me will have to overpower the mommy inside of me those first few drop offs, because I know how much easier it makes it on the child when the parents don't dwaddle during drop off. :) He's been fine when I've dropped him off at the neighbors as of late, so that's a start.

Henry and daddy took their first big fishing trip this past Sunday. They went down to Lake Minnetonka and caught about 12 sunfish. Henry even caught some and reeled them in! Although, after one of the first ones started wiggling and touched him, he was done reeling them all the way in and only reeled them halfway in before daddy had to take over. He had a great time and was pretty excited about the fishies. He even wore his fishing hat and life jacket. Ryan posted some pictures on his facebook page in case you missed them.

We had a "sleep party" with Liz and Kaylee last Friday. Liz came over to watch the kids on Wednesday afternoon for me and then stayed for dinner. When it was time to go to bed, Henry was pretty distraught that he had to say goodbye to Liz and wanted her to stay. She had to promise to come back for a "sleep party" (which to Henry means that his visitors are still here when he wakes up in the morning). We ate popcorn and watched Despicable Me. And Auntie Liz and Kaylee were still here when Henry woke up, so all was right in his world.

At the last baseball game we went to with GG, Grandma Karen and cousin Jordan--Henry and I went down to the flagpole area to try and catch a glimpse of TC Bear. As luck would have it, TC was off the typical schedule that night and was going to be somewhere else during the 7th inning stretch. So we approached a nice looking camera man asking him what our chances were of getting on the big screen (which we've never been on) and he told us to stay put and that we'd get on. Henry and I were both on while they sang "Don't Stop Believin'". It was pretty awesome! You can catch the glimpse of that video on my facebook page.

If you missed the other post on Henry, you can go back to that. That has pretty much everything else new happening with Henry these days.

Claire

Claire also just had a big post for her 10 month update, and not much is new with her in the past 10 days except for she took 3 steps yesterday! I've been trying a bit more to coax her into taking steps towards me with a variety of objects, and when she took these steps, I wasn't even trying. She stood herself up and was trying to grab the toy ice cream cone Henry had given me. No such luck for any more steps since then, but I'm guessing she'll be doing some more walking by the time her birthday rolls around.

It's just about time to get going on her birthday preparations (really, where did you go August?!). The party will be mostly immediate family and a few of our closets friends/neighbors, so there won't be a ton to plan, and most things I have going in my head should be fairly straight forward. No pirate sails for this one. Although, her invitations will be unbelievably cute, I know you can't wait :)

Really, that's all I have for her right now. She's drooling more as of late, so I'm guessing more teeth will be making their way through, she still gets into everything, eats everything, and poops a lot :)

Jenna

So I've been sort of busy. Between a June packed with weddings, a July jampacked with party preparations and all the time inbetween filled with family, newborn and other sessions, I could use a few more hours in each day and can't believe it's the 21st of August already.

There are also no signs of slowing down in the next 2-3 months. I have a wedding this Saturday, teaching a mommy photography course on Sunday and 2 newborns due any day to round out the last week in August.

In September I have 1 of my own weddings, I'm second shooting/assisting 2 other weddings, 2 senior sessions, and I've forgotten how many family sessions at this point.

October will see 5, possibly 6 newborns, another handfull of family sessions I've lost count of, a little girl's 1st birthday and party, and our OWN family session.

I've been lucky enough to network and meet with other local photographers as of late. Not only will November show a slow down just because of the season, but the sessions booked into October were the last sessions at my old prices. Another local photographer quickly ran some numbers for me when I was first going through a pricing change, and after figuring out cost of goods, business tax, time and such, I was lucky to be "paying myself" 7 dollars an hour. Umm, hello? No. My time away from my family is worth SO MUCH more than that, so an extensive overhaul needed to happen, and fast, before I crashed and burned, taking the pennies I was making with me.

I'm not going to go into all those details, because I'm sure nobody cares, but in a nutshell, I've taken away the "giving the disc of images". Yes, tons of photographers starting out do that, and even established ones do that, so much so that it's now to the point that a good chunck of the public "expect" it. However, when you take that coveted disc to Walmart, Walgreens, Target, etc., your pictures look....not so good. Sure, you're getting a great deal with 19 cent prints, but those places leave a LOT to be desired. As I was told and expected to happen, my multiple inquiries a day have nearly stopped. But, I just need to find the right clientele, and I know they are out there, because there are plenty of photographers who charge much more than what I set my new prices at (who are completely booked up), so I just have to find those clients! I now offer many different print options and digitals at a much more appropriate, premium price.

The other positive to all this networking is I'm starting to rake in second shooting opportunities. It's great to work with new people and photograph more weddings. Like I said, I have two in September, already did one in August and have 1 in November. And I've had to turn down a few requests because I wasn't available. If anything, this as totally boosted my confidence in my work knowing that other more establish photographers are contacting me to help them out!

And lastly, I'm beyond the moon excited for our very first professional photography session that doesn't include my tripod and remote. Another photographer, http://blog.jmphotomn.com/ (one of the very, very best in the metro) will be taking our photos in the beginning of October, and I will be taking her family's photos as well (and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tad bit more nervous for her session than the average wedding I photograph!) We've never had a session. Our last professional pictures were from our wedding. Sure, I have mounting piles of amazing files on 4 different hard drives of Henry and Claire, but the once a year tripod thing for the Christmas Card just isn't cutting it for me anymore. So, like I said, I'm beyond excited and thrilled for the opportunity to have a session with Jessica from jmphotography. I've perused pinterest for outfit ideas, but I'm coming up empty. I think I need to set one of our outfits and then go from there. Ahh, I simply.can't.wait. I'm hoping Henry cooperates. It's the only thing I'm worried about since he's only ever seen me (and occasionally daddy and Kelly) behind the camera.

And then I'll be planning that little girl's birthday. I've love to tell you the theme, but I won't yet. I think Grandma Karen is hoping for a teddy bear theme, but I'm actually not going with that. I couldn't find a simple enough cake to match that theme, and once I found these ideas on pinterest for the theme I've chosen, I couldn't get them out of my head. I'm pretty proud to say that the invite idea is all my own (no pinterest copying at all) so I'm pretty excited that they will be one of a kind, just like Henry's pirate ship invites were.

Between all that, I somehow find some time to get a small portion of laundry done, dinner made or ordered most nights and play, play, play with these two kiddos.

The other big news? Starting on Monday, I'll be taking care of two of our neighbor kids. They are 3.5 and 2. 4 kids under 4 under 1 roof!! It'll be crazy, loud and lots and lots of fun. I'm pretty excited for Henry to have constant play mates every day, though I'm sure it'll be an adjustment for all. As of the past few days, getting ready for this has been my focus. Lakeshore Learning (teacher store for those unfamiliar) threw up all over my living room yesterday, but I got tons of art supplies, educational games, and other random stuff. I've organized the toys, and even totally cleaned out two cupboards in our buffet area. One is the art cupboard, and one is the puzzles, board games, and educational games cupboard. I even bought an easel from Ikea and a Lakeshore calendar. I've sort of planned out a preschool like schedule for the day to help keep some structure. I'm pretty excited :)

Ryan

For those that don't know, our yard is non-existent. sort of. Back in June, I think, Ryan bought some heavy duty weed killer off amazon that was supposed to kill this pesky grass weed that was beginning to over take our entire yard. He is pretty sure it's "Bermuda grass". Our entire front yard was this. Real grass didn't exist there anymore. We were hoping, that as promised, the weed killer would only kill the weeds, but it didn't. It killed everything where Ryan sprayed. So, as you look at our house, the entire left side is dead, as well as random patches throughout the rest of the yard.

After much contemplation, Ryan decided that we were only one of the few with these weeds because we were only one of the few not consistently watering (i.e. we didn't have a sprinkler system). So, after much consideration, Ryan took the plunge to undertake this giant project with the help of my dad, Chris, and neighbor Jake. He's been at it since August 10th, and it was finally completed the other night after he finished picking up all the scraps and fixed up holes and smoothed over dirt piles. He's been working super hard, and I'm so proud and thankful for all the things he can figure out on his own, because we saved A TON of money by Ryan doing it himself.

Next up is to seed the yard. I'm not sure when Ryan's planning on doing this, but I'm crossing my fingers that we will one day have grass again. We are close with the majority of our neighbors, so most people know what's going on, and hopefully we won't get the association called on us ;)

Ryan and Chris continue to brew up lots of beer, though they haven't done so in a while, I'm surprised! I think there are a couple variations in the basement still waiting for an open keg. Chris was gifted a pretty awesome keg system from Kelly for their anniversary, so I'm sure there will be lots of beer brewing in the future to get all those new kegs filled up!

The big Autumn Brew Review is coming up, so the boys and my dad will be going to that in a few weeks. I actually have been loving lots of new beer and was really interested in going this year, but I have a wedding that day, so I can't go.

Ryan still loves his job, hasn't had to travel in a while (big smile here!), and continues to make a good impression on all those that it's important he makes a good impression on. For a 28 year old, he's doing amazingly well career wise, and I couldn't be happier for him.

As noted in Henry's update, he took Henry on his first fishing adventure on Sunday. I'm sure they both made great grandpa proud. Although, Ryan did have to do an awful lot of "googling" for the whole process...and I MADE him ask an employee at Fleet Farm for help when purchasing some of the gear. Henry really liked it, so I hope it's an activity they can do often together!

I think that's about it. I'm all caught up on client editing (just in time for a wedding on Saturday), so depending on how much house stuff I get done, you just may see multiple posts this week!

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