Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maternity Shoot: Paul and Ashley

Ashley and I had been emailing back and forth for several months.  She and her husband, Paul were expecting their first little bundle of joy and she inquired about a maternity session (she was only 4 months along at the time).   

After booking a time and waiting for a few months, the time had finally arrived to meet my email friend - but the weather had other ideas.  It poured all morning and looked like our session would be very rained out!  It had died down to a drizzle as I headed over to their house.  I was greeted at the door with huge smiles.  Good people.  You just know the second you meet them.

Paul and Ashley met at Bible school while they were both attending.  The adorable couple courted and married in Paul's home town of Olympia, Washington.  Paul got a job as a preacher and they moved to Idaho.  When they decided it was the right time to start their family, they moved back to Oregon to be near family - a mere week later, they found out they were expecting...

Absolutely beautiful people!  I can not wait to meet little Gracie!

Thank you Paul and Ashley for the most amazing maternity sesh ever!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beauty, Grace and the Voice of an Angel

But enough about me! hahahaha

Seriously though, I'm talking about the ever-amazing and absolutely stunning: Mindy Gledhill.  She recently launched her Anchor tour and made a stop in Hillsboro last night for her first-ever Oregon show!  She did not disappoint!  The event took place at the lovely Venetian Theater
I have been friends with Mindy on FB (this is her fan page, her personal page is full!) for a few years and we used to message back and forth quite a bit, but as she has gotten so busy (and so well-known!), it's harder to keep with everyone, I'm sure!  So I was honored when she sent me a message letting me know she was going to be in my area (give or take a couple hours) and was hoping to meet me at her show. 

My sister-in-law, Jessica knew about the show and wanted to go, but didn't want to go alone - perfect!  As the week wore on, Mr. Charming decided he wanted to go and make a date night of it (fun!).  So the morning of, I got a call from the babysitter that something had come up and we were suddenly without a sitter!  My mother-in-law graciously agreed to watch all of the kiddos (my 5, plus Jessica's 3), but couldn't be home until 5:45ish.  The concert started at 7:30 and it was a 2 hour drive.  Not good. 

Did I mention that the weather was atrocious?  Horrible, dark, windy, thick sheets of rain coming down by the bucketfull!  When push came to shove, Mr. Charming generously offered to stay behind and watch the kids so Jessica and I could leave early.  Since he wasn't going, I had an extra ticket and he suggested I take Laethym.  Perfect!

So us 3 girls hit the road shortly after 5pm.  We arrived at the Venetian a little after 7pm.  We were only 1/2 an hour early, so I thought for sure we would end up with poor seats.  Boy was I wrong!  Front row, baby!!  They were the perfect seats - center isle, front row, last 3 seats on the left.  Loved it!

It was an amazing show and I was so enjoying every minute of it, happily clicking away, when Mindy walked over and grabbed her camera and asked, "Is Stephanie here?"! 
Uhhhhh what?  I totally thought she knew someone else named Stephanie...
Then she expounded, "Stephanie the photographer?".
Oh, yes!  That's ME!

Then she handed me her camera and asked if I would take some shots of the show!  Heck ya!  I spent the first several minutes worrying that I wouldn't get her camera figured out.  No pressure!  So I took several shots with her camera and the same shots with mine.  It all worked out just fine and I promised to send her all of my proofs.

After the show she came down and got her camera and visited with us for a few minutes (kindly recalling our ordeal with Payton and asking how she was).  She is so personable, it was like chatting with an old friend.  The thing I love about her is that's just how she is, I don't think fame has changed her and I don't think it will change her in the future.  She is well-grounded and is able to put things into perspective.  As she said, (I'm paraphrasing) "I don't balance it all, everything has give and take and you roll with it and learn from it."  She shared all kinds of wonderful tidbits about her lyrics and the meaning behind her songs and lots of exciting things that are coming up for her (I hope to be able to share more later...).

Just a fantastic lady! 

Ok, on to the pictures!

This is the lovely Debra Fotheringham who opened up for Mindy.  She was great!

Isn't she adorable?  And so, so talented!

Ryan Tilby was Mindy's only accompanist and was fantastic!  Earlier in the day, Mindy tweeted this quote from Ryan: "It's like a jogging convention for hippies" - being in Whole Foods in Portland! haha  SO true!

The famous red keytar!

Mindy invited all of the children to come up on stage and help her with "All About Your Heart".  See my Laethym all the way to the left in the black and white?  She was so excited!  She walked over and handed Mindy a silly band (cute kid)!

What an incredible night.  I'm so glad I had the chance to go and so happy for Mindy and all of her successes!  Check out her schedule here and see if she's doing a show in your area!  It is not to be missed!  And you lucky Utahns have many more opportunities to see her!

Thank you, Mindy for a ridiculously wonderful evening and for extending the hand of friendship to this lowly photographer.  You made my daughter deliriously happy and for that, alone, you have a fan for life.

**You can visit Mindy's blog here.
**And download her wonderful music on iTunes!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Erin Go Bragh Recap

We had a quiet, but enjoyable St. Patrick's Day. Christopher stayed home sick, poor kid. He was feeling much better and back to school this morning, though!  First Laethym, then him and today when I picked up Avonleigh...yep, you guessed it!  Sicker than sick.  She has gotten what is going around the school (high fever, stomach ache, vomiting), whereas, the other kids had a stomach ache and headache (and low-grade fever), but no vomiting.  Avonleigh definitely got the raw end of that deal.

Anyway, back to St. Patty's Day!  We had corned beef and cabbage last week (it was on sale), so we weren't in the mood for it again.  I wanted to do something with the kids that would be fun...and we made biscuits!  It was super-fun and SUPER messy!  My favorite biscuit recipe is at the bottom of the post.  Now go get dirty and enjoy!

The cast of characters

I heart butter.  It makes the world go 'round (literally!)
Already in the bowl: flour, salt, baking powder

Now take your metal wire smasher thingy (really, what is that thing called?) and chop away until your dough comes together in the form of small pellets.

The secret ingredient: Green food gel (i heart food gels). My favorites can be found here.

Now dump some of that stuff right into your dough mixture...WAIT! STOP, just kidding...see below

Mix your food coloring into your milk because it works much better and covers more evenly.

Oops - I didn't mix it so well

Now, get those kids in there and let 'em get dirty!

Really dirty!

Good job Avonleigh!

Another great helper

Messy! But cute!

Then we got lazy and didn't feel like rolling them out, so we made drop biscuits (that's why I love this recipe)

And in the end we decided they looked like leprechaun droppings (because everyone knows what leprechaun droppings look like, right?)!

A small portion of the mess

To go with the biscuits, I chunked and sauteed some chicken breasts

Then I made some country gravy with the chicken drippings...yum!  Sorry, no finished plate picture, we were hungry! 

PS - A warning: what goes in [green food coloring] must come out [yikes]

Baking Powder Biscuits
(from a 1933 Recipe)

2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tablespoons butter or shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
about 3/4 cup milk

Sift Flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again. Cut in shortening or butter. (this is where I use my hands by rubbing the butter into the flour). Add milk gradually, stirring until soft dough is formed. Turn out on slightly floured board and lightly "knead" for 30 seconds, enough to shape. Roll 1/2 inch thick and cut with 2 inch floured biscuit cutter. Bake on ungreased sheet in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits. You can also make tiny tea biscuits that are only 1 1/2 inches wide with a small cutter or glass bottom. These are great served with tea, jam or honey. Makes 24.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Dad taught me...

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday!  He has hit the big 6-0!  I can't believe it (in total fairness, he does NOT look - or act - his age)!  No matter how much older I get, or how old my kids get, in my mind, my parents never age.  They will always be the same young, vibrant, wonderful people who raised me.  They are still the ones I turn to when I have a question about anything (and they still give the best advice).  So, really, nothing has changed!

I was reflecting on all of the things I love about my Dad and all that he has taught me.  I decided to make a list, for my kids to read some day, because they too, adore this man.

My Dad taught me...

*that real men are caring, strong and sensitive too

*that one can never say “I love you” too often or give too many kisses

*that little girls were made to be adored by their daddies

*that life is a gamble, so it’s best to enjoy the good times

*that a good marriage involves more giving than taking

*that every couple should rub each others’ feet once in awhile

*that teaching your girls "self defense" means getting kicked in the...

*that thunderstorms should be witnessed from the front porch

*that every creature is wonderful and should be respected (and learned about)

*that every girl should know how to use tools and change a tire

*that a man should be just as skilled in the kitchen (and more willing to do the dishes!)

*that you never pass through a town without looking up a cousin

*to give a friendly wave whether you know them or not

*to always have a good joke ready to tell

*that a good son honors and cares for his parents

*that a woman always deserves roses

*that Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers

*to stand up for your rights, even if you don’t know what will happen next

*that honesty is the ONLY policy

*that learning never stops

*to admit when you're wrong and apologize (then move on)

*that calloused hands are a symbol of love
me and dad circa 1999

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sun Flare - i heart faces ♥

I couldn't resist this week's challenge: Sun Flare!  This is one of my favorite shots.

I am SOOOOOOOOOO ready for Spring (ok, really, I want Summer) to be here!  The rain and darkness are wearing on me...and the kids...and the foto biz! 

Tired of the yucky weather?
Go see other sun flare entries here - it will brighten your day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mundee Schmundee

It's Monday.  I totally knew it was Monday (I'm keen like that).  It's the day when the house gets a little love (I use the term "little" very loosely), I do the weekly grocery shopping, run to and from school about 4 times, basketball practice for 2 (at the same time, in different locations), pick everyone up, get homework going, make dinner, clean up, hold Family Home Evening, prayers then bedtime!  Whew, I'm exhausted all over again just typing that.

Now, that may sound crazy (and not-so-different from your daily schedule, am I right?), but I must give huge props to my wonderful husband.  His appointments got cancelled today and he spent the time working at home.  My Mr. Charming watched the younger kids, so I could pick up Avonleigh and do the grocery shopping, then he volunteered to pick up the older kids from school, and THEN he made dinner!  Not just any dinner (come on, you're thinking mac 'n cheese, aren't you?), he made 2 kinds of herbed salmon fillets with a citrus yogurt sauce, buttered corn and salad.  It was exquisite.  I love him so much!

My Avonleigh spiked a fever tonight and was happy to fall into bed right after family prayer - poor kid!  And now, as I am sitting here, I have a fever.

Yep.  It's Monday alright.

I ran across this picture of Laethym that I took nearly 3 years ago.  I love it.  And, her expression is pretty much how I feel about Mondays.  Love this girl!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Do you...Angry Bird?

Mr. Charming and I rented a movie for "us" to watch tonight after the kids went to bed.  It ended up not being my kind of movie. at. all.  So, I'm going to blog about something deeper...


[photo property of: Rovio]

I didn't get it.  I have heard about people playing Angry Birds from Twitter, Facebook, family and friends, and I just didn't get it.  What was all the hype about, anyway? 

And then I played it myself.

It took me a few tries, but then I started strategizing and scheming on how I could knock those little piggies off of their pedestals and squish them into oblivion! 

The best part is hearing their hilarious little grunt/laughs when you miss them.  Think Beavis and Butthead laughs.  Not that I EVER watched Beavis and Butthead, because good Mormon girls would never watch such trash.  Ever.  Are you convinced?  Good.

Back to Angry Birds.  If you haven't experienced playing it, then you should at least youtube it, just to hear those funny little piggies!

[photo property of: Wikipedia]

It's a fun game of strategy and it sucks you right in!  Of course, I would never waste my time on such a silliness...unless I'm sick and don't have the energy to do much of anything else.  Yea for being sick!  Wait, what?  Nevermind.

Speaking of being sick, the kids all woke up feeling MUCHO better this morning.  I was feeling better too, just not quite as well as they were.

Anyway, go play Angry Birds, or if you already play, what do you think of it?

Ok, the movie is over, so I'm going to snuggle up next to my honey and watch something good! 

Oh look, another Charlie Sheen interview.....WINNER!!

'Night all!  Have an AWESOMESAUCE weekend!

Sorry, I couldn't resist!