Monday, December 17, 2012

Lessons Learned (the house full of fellas edition)

Well Happy Monday to you! Rainy days and Mondays don't always get me down, but when they both come together and bring one kick ass cold with them.... Well, things tend to go downhill quickly.

Who looks like a hot mess today???? Yes I do. But to be fair, it is rainy and gross and I have a cold. So I have a free pass to look like crap.

Who accidentally added crab boil instead of vinegar to their BBQ sauce mixture for their easy crock pot bbq chicken??? DEFINITELY not me. Who does that! (in my defense, my sense of smell is completely blocked currently, so it was an honest mistake. Plus, the crab boil bottle and apple cider vinegar bottle look similar! Or I wasn't paying attention AT ALL.)

For the win! Who managed to fold AND put away every load of laundry they did this weekend without any of them taking multiple trips in the dryer to get the "we've been sitting in the basket for days" wrinkles out??????


Cookie and a pat on the back please. Thanks.

Now, onto today's post shall we!

Last night after a trip to the restroom during which I experienced this first point, I got to thinking. There is a whole list of things I have learned from living in this house full of guys. There is an art form to being the only one with lady parts in a full house. So here it is.

5 Lessons Learned from Living in a House Full of Boys

1. Always, always, ALWAYS look before you sit! On the toilet that is.... If you don't look? Well, expect some toilet bowl water to booty contact because it will be happening. Oh, and don't think your butt is too big for it to happen and that you would just have an unpleasant experience of sitting on that tiny rim. No matter how much junk your packing in that trunk it will Cirque de Soleil it's way through that hole and you will hit water. I don't know the physics of it, but it will happen. And it is not pleasant.

2. (and also toilet related, who are we kidding.... This list could be nothing but bathroom lessons) No matter how many times you tell them to pay attention to what they are doing, they will STILL make a mess. I am thinking we need to invest in one of those toilet targets at this point. Maybe that will encourage them to make a game out of it and actually TRY instead of nonchalantly dictating the notes from the most recent Oval Office meeting all over my bathroom.

3. Hot wheels, as innocent as they may seem, WILL pierce the bottom of your foot when stepped on in the middle of the night while attempting to beat the mess out of your child's crappo alarm clock to get it to shut up when it won't stop going off at midnight.  

4. A boy's penis will jump off of their body and run away if they don't grab it. Are my boys the only ones who do this???? Leave it alone! Geez! It isn't going anywhere.

5. Everything you do can be a competition. EVERYTHING. I can run faster than you! I can brush my teeth faster than you! "Daddy, my tee tee is bigger than yours." And that one is in quotes, because it was actually said by my middle child who is 3. Yeah.... Who's excited for teenage years?!?! This gal is FOR SURE.

There are a MILLION more things to add. A million and one. This is not done by a long shot!

Today I have linked up my Elf Posing OCD Continued post over at Craft-O-Maniac Monday Link Party! Head over there and check out some of the most recent happenings from some very talented folks!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

OCD Elf Posing Continued....

Charley, Charley, Charley....

You are a pain. And I am starting to realize the severity of my Elf Posing OCD. 

I'm talking sketch, cut out, and paint tiny goggles severe. Who does this?!? Am I missing some chromosomes???? Are my neurons firing correctly???? Who am I kidding, I don't even know what a neuron is! (So I could quite possibly have that problem, if that is in fact an actual thing...)

Last night's Charley

So, as you can see, I definitely wasn't exaggerating the whole tiny goggles thing. Sadly. And yes, since I know you are thinking it. Yes I hand painted that mailing tube! There, I said it! Are you happy now! 

Geez. Get off of my back, will ya! He also has a cape on with a big fat C in the middle! You just can't see it in the picture! So how about those big, fat, Red Delicious apples?!?

And tonight's Charley

Don't worry, no hand painted goggles tonight. Although, I did fashion a small pair of jean shorts..... Is that better or worse than the goggles? I didn't sew them if that makes you feel better. They are held on there in two separate pieces by foam tape. 

Oh, and he is the Hulk in case you didn't get it. The boys love The Avengers, especially The Hulk, so it made it in there. 

Do they make groups for this? Maybe an EPOSG (Elf Posing Obsession Support Group)?

We can meet in secret and have snacks. I will bring cupcakes. 

I'm Samantha and I have a problem.

This is the part where you say "Hi Samantha" in that odd monotone voice...

Car Line Entertainment

On Thursdays Brady, my 3 year old and possibly most animated child, goes to work with me. This also means that he must go with me to pick up his older brother from school.

A few weeks ago Brady made his presence known in the carpool lane when he leaned out of the open car window and screamed...

"That idiot won't go!"

Yeah, fellow car line attendees... That was MY kid who screamed that while you all sat with your windows down reading your books or playing Angry Birds.

You are welcome.

Today, well today he made his presence known again. A lady sat on the back of her open SUV playing with her small baby girl. These people were clearly of some Hispanic descent, but definitely spoke English. After about ten minutes of yelling out the window to the small baby girl, "Hey! Stop looking at me you maniac!" (yes... that is word for word) He then turns to me and very LOUDLY proclaims, "That lady is speaking Spanish!"

First off, no she was not speaking Spanish.

Secondly, inside voice, kid!

Third, why do my kids have an obsession with the Spanish language? Last week Brady asked me out of no where how to speak Spanish! Last year Mason came home with a bunch of scribble in his spot where his name was supposed to be and when I asked him what it was he informed me that is was his name in Spanish.

Do all kids have a fascination with foreign language???? Is this something I should know????

Perhaps I should have paid a little more attention in my 5 years of Spanish class.

On another note! I am linking up my Charley and Me post over at You Know It Happens At Your House Too! Head over there and give this awesome Blog Hop a Peek!

"That" Christmas

I have been dreading this moment for 6 Christmases now. And yes I am about to get sappy on you.

That Christmas that would be Mason's very last as a believer. I think we may be at "That" Christmas and it breaks my heart.

Mason has always just went with Christmas. You know, how kids do. Santa is real, the elf really does all of these amazing things, Santa brings the presents and eats the cookies and watches to make sure that you are good throughout the year.

They accept it, because that is the way it is.

This year he is asking a lot of questions. It all started with our trip to the Christmas train after which Mason quietly informed me that he didn't think that the Santa there was the real Santa. He couldn't give me a reason why he thought this, or wouldn't rather, he just didn't think that was him.

Then there were more questions.

How does he see everything everyone is doing?

How does he go to everyone's house?

How is he magical?

Good solid questions. Nothing that any kid wouldn't wonder, but his aren't asked in a "how" way. They are asked in a "I don't know if I believe what you are saying or not" kind of way.

Then the questions of Charley came into play. This morning he told me that he didn't think Charley left every night. That he doesn't report to Santa, he just hangs around our house.

I am at a loss. I feel him slipping away by the day. He's losing his belief and it breaks my heart. I try to remember how old I was when I realized that Christmas worked a tad bit differently than I had thought, but I cannot for the life of me remember. He will be 7 in a few days and I cannot help to think that that is too young. Or maybe I just feel like by him no longer believing, he is no longer a little boy.

I'm prepping for the talk.

What will be the 1st of 3 talks.

Damn you time and your insistence on speeding by!

But if it isn't time and instead some snot nosed little turd at his school who is attempting to squash his innocent Christmas spirit.... Well, this momma is going to have to put a Santa sized whoppin' one some kid!

And yes, my Alabama just came out and I said whoopin'.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What the Elf!?!

News from my general area this morning, and I am SO not making this up...

Working Meth Lab Found in Post Office

How's THAT for front page news!

Alabama.... We keep it classy.

On to what I came here for, shall we?

Two more nights of Charley fun have passed. I'm still nuts and still way to into posing this thing.

Eh, you win some you lose some. The loss being my sanity and the win being my pride in knowing that my elf kicks some serious ass. Which considering the circumstances, is not really a win at all. I take what I can get.

So yesterday we got this...

Pot lid turned spaceship, monster Christmas ornament turned space explorer side kick, tin foil turned helmet... And yes, I did cut out the stars and glitter them for a spacey feel. There's you crazy, folks. Right there.

The boys got a kick out of it and it was cute. Not my favorite, but cute.

Now today's Charley.... This one I dig.

Wuppa Charley Style!
Heeeeeeeeeeeey Sexy Lady
Wup, wup, wup, wup, wup
Wuppa Charley Style

A little sign of the times Charley for you. The boys LOVE this video and sing the song/do the dance about once every 10 minutes throughout the day so I figured why not. I worried that they wouldn't know what the heck he was doing, but being that they share my DNA along with my strong sense of odd human being, they got it. Immediately got it. Scarily quick.

Now, to plan what to do tonight. I was thinking maybe a ninja Charley in the throws of a mid air beat down, but that is still up in the air.

Apology to my neighbors who endured Gangnam Style on repeat this morning and are continuing to endure it throughout the day since the boys wouldn't let me turn it off before we left.

"But Charley NEEDS it on! He can't dance if we turn it off!" 

Like I said, sorry guys!  

Now head over to Diana Rambles and check out the Ultimate Elf on the Shelf Linky Party! Lots of good ideas for anyone needing some Elfspiration!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Elf on the Shelf (Charley) and Me

If you were around last year about this lovely time, you may have read about Charley. Last year when we started the Elf on the Shelf deal, my kids were obsessed with the Charley Bit Me video on Youtube. What did this mean... This meant our elf was doomed to end up with the name Charley.

And Charley it was.

Charley had plenty of exciting adventures during his time with us. A few I got from other blogs, but for the most part, my imagination started to run a little ramped.

This was made painfully obvious when we got this...

Yeah. Charley breakdances for change.... Jealous?!?

Yes, that is change in his hat on the ground beside him... I told you. My mind. It just goes haywire. Do my kids even get this kind of stuff???? Heck no! I do this for my own selfish enjoyment! And they think it's funny and cool and all that jazz. Blah Blah Blah.

I like seeing what I can come up with. The elf is a challenge wrapped up in a creepy little elf package. It taunts me. Come up with something better it calls from it's little hiding spot every night. This happens to everyone with an elf right? No? Just me? Well, I never said I was normal.

A few days later we got this...

Lion Tamer Charley. Not my proudest Charley set-up, but mine none the less. I believe the proudest will be reserved for Breakdancing Charley. Will I top him eventually? I hope so. The idea is still simmering somewhere in my overworked, insane mind.

So far this year we have had our special Wecome Back Breakfast. Charley brought Christmas pjs, an advent calendar, and a new ornament for each of the boys along with a new plate and mug for Santa's milk and cookies, and yummy sweets for breakfast.

He sat atop our garland in the dining room with his "I'm Back You Better Be Good For Santa" poem in hand...

The poem, for anyone interested, reads...

Mason, Brady, and Ethan,
It's time! I'm back! I'm here to stay!
Until we reach Christmas Day
Now here are calendars to count the days
and bright new festive pjs
and yummy snacks to fill your tummies
Yummy things that are oh so yummy
A plate and cup for Santa's treats
You know he loves things that are sweet
Now let's get started we must be quick
Be sweet and kind for old St. Nick
I'll keep an eye and write it down
That you three are the sweetest boys in town.

That is what you get at 11 pm when you are trying to finish up so you can go your tired, mom butt to bed. If I had more time I would have used pretty paper, but an almost empty roll of toilet paper from the bathroom is Charley's preference, thank you very much.

Now, so far we have had the breakfast (as seen above)...

Charley's Game Night (All bendable figures welcome) complete with homemade tiny Twister mat and board. (Yes I made it... I never claimed to be sane.)

And Snow Bunny Charley, Sledding down his powdered sugar slopes like a bolt of red, creepy smiling lightning.

Charley was SUPPOSED to be skiing down this slope, but seeing as he is a difficult little turd and the lovely folks over at the elf making factory didn't take into consideration crazy moms such as myself who would want to get all into this elf posing like some insane person with doll posing OCD. A little note to the folks over at Elf on the Shelf... Line these little things with wire! This thing would be so much easier to deal with if it had wire inside.

Lessons I have learned...

1. This little fellow is WORK. I am not big on copying other folks. I did it a little bit last year and this year I am trying to stay clear of it. Coming up with ideas and setting all this mess up takes some serious time and effort.

2. Double sided foam tape. LOTS. I went through a whole roll last year and I am well on my way to going through an entire roll this year.

3. Don't trust your kids not to touch him. Set the stage for trust issues early (Totally kidding.... Somewhat). I set him up out of reach every time. They can see what he is doing, but unless they stack stuff and Cat in the Hat their way up there, they can't get him.

4. Plan ahead. I made a list weeks ago of what I was going to do with him. Even included the toys I would need from the boys room and other props to make sure that I had them on hand for the night of.

5. Lose your mind. Only a crazy person would take this on and put the work into it that I do.

6. Think to yourself, "One day the boys will look back and tell their kids of their elf when they were younger and then I will continue to set him up for my grand kids for when they come to my house." This will all help you justify the crazy amount of time and effort you are putting into it. Then immediately regret thinking that because now you are sad that one day your hellions are going to grow up and leave. (Is it too late to lock them away? Is that weird?). Then immediately realize all the fun stuff you will get to do when they are gone. Peeing without interruption? Yes please. Grocery shopping without a kid biting broccoli while it is on the shelf in the veggie section? I'll take it.

7. Don't sleep. Who needs it. Staying up late to set up this guy is almost a full time job. Add this full time job to my regular full time job, my photography on the weekends, and my online boutique.... And well, wonder "why am I not making more money than I am???"

8. Shun the ridicule from your spouse as they tell you that you are insane/ use some of the ideas from last year/you're going to run out of ideas/the kids are not going to know the difference. The first step is admitting you have a problem. I just so happen to have one and not mind it.

9. Did I mention you need to be insane?

10. Enjoy it. I know I do. As crazy as putting all of this time and effort into this thing is... I enjoy this. I enjoy the boys looking in amazement and giggling at the scenes. So I am nuts? Who isn't. Mine just so happens to be centered around posing a small doll 25 days out of a year....

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Hobodays!

As a budding photographer, here lately I have been knocking out some holiday photos for folks. Since we have a lovely "Square" downtown with a huge fountain turned Christmas tree, I assumed that would be a lovely place for a perfectly coiffed holiday photo op.... I assumed wrong. Very, very wrong.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia

Upon arriving at the lovely Bienville Square, we were greeted with not just a few surprises, but a LOT of surprises.

Flock of birds, herd of cattle, gaggle of geese.... What in God's green earth do you call an entire civilization of hobos??????

Not a few here and there. Oh no. An army of them. There we go. An ARMY! It was insane! You've got ten of them over here lying on the grass passing around a cigarette filled with God knows what, a few of them over here braiding each other's hair, and a few sitting randomly on benches rocking back and forth foaming from the mouth. 

And don't even get me started on the squirrels! The overly brave, obese, high on bath salts squirrels ready and willing to take off a face in the name of a post Thanksgiving dinner! 

Don't get me wrong. I am sure that not all of these individuals are bad people. Hell, most of them may not be. I am sure that some of these people may be good folks just down on their luck. I'm not completely heartless, but come on! Laying in the park vomiting over the side of a bench or lying in a multi-hobo smoke circle while having vulgar conversations and cussing up a storm is ridiculous.

Hey City of Mobile.... How about instead of spending tons of money on a over sized moon pie and a museum no one will visit, you invest that money in the spaces we have and make them more family friendly. You want to make downtown a destination.... Clean that crap up!

Rant over.

Now, I am off to photoshop an outrageously large number of homeless people out of the backdrop of some family photos.

And also, in case you were wondering, we were there for ten minutes tops. We quickly packed up and headed to a part of town with a little less "scenery."

Monday, November 19, 2012

What Was I Thinking!

Someone slap me, because I have lost it.

My husband is impossible to buy for. He is one of those, "If I want it, I'll go out and buy it" kinds of people. You know, the annoying ones. A few months back, while wracking my brain trying to decide what in the world I was going to get him, I thought it would be a good idea to do some "special" pictures for him. You know the kind I am talking about. The ones most ladies reserve for Valentine's Day.

Forget Valentine"s Day! Momma needs a gift NOW.

So here we go.

In just a few short hours I will be stripping down to.... well, not much, and standing in front of a woman I have never met before.

Nothing says holidays like getting naked for a stranger in 50 degree weather. Chill bumps are sexy right?

The crappy thing is I think he has figured it out, sorry devil. There have been comments. Small, hinting comments. I swear to all that is holy, if I am going through all of this mess and he has snooped and figured it out I am going to be PISSED.

Not too mention, next year his butt will be getting a Jersey Shore series box set and a fruit cake.

Merry Freaking Christmas you snooping turd.

Now... Where's the nearest liquor store, because I am going to need something hefty to get through this with my nerves in tact.

Oh, and how about a little sneak peak of our trip to the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans this spast weekend for Ethan's 2nd birthday?

Yep.... Can you see the love. At this point, I would have gladly sold them.

3 for 1!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas Card Photos!

After last years 2-3 week sickness marathon right at Christmas time left me lacking in the holiday spirit department, I decided to hop to it and get things done early this year.

Starting with Christmas cards. I always mean to send them. Always. Who am I kidding, I always mean to actually MAKE them, but have yet to do so. My oldest is only 7 now... Better late than never, right?

So we ventured out this past Sunday on a mission to capture some holiday photos that were Christmas Card worthy.

Now, we did this with Ethan Cole battling not one, but 2 strains of the flu. Who comes down with 2 different strains of the flu anyway???? Geeze. Only one of mine. What can I say, it is a gift. And apparently one that keeps on giving since it is hanging around way longer than it needs to be.

So, needless to say, some folks weren't feeling it, but we got some cute ones anyway.

And I can say with a half full cup of confidence that we WILL send out Christmas cards this year. Half full. Anything can happen.

So far, I have only tackled two of the many. I'll post the rest when I get to them, which will hopefully be soon.

Now.... On another note. Mr. Brady Parker, my middle beam of sunshine, always has something interesting to say. As noted in the Little Monsters section, I firmly believe that he is a reincarnated world traveler. There is no way this is this kid's first time around.

As I got him dressed in his button up and sweater vest his little wheels started turning..... And then he spit out this little gem.....

"Are these my office clothes???? I'm wearing my office clothes. Where's my desk? I've got to work! I'm wearing my office clothes!"

Apparently, bare feet, jeans, a button up, and a sweater vest are office clothes. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MORE From The Weekend!

Just because I am horrible at NOT sharing things. (As I have recently learned from my inability to post the bridal portraits I captured of my dear friend until AFTER she walks down the aisle this weekend.... Only 3 more days!!!)

Another family shoot tomorrow evening and another possibility for absolutely adorable-ness. And yes... That is a word. Google it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Teeny Tiny Emma

Round 2 this past weekend was the OH so gorgeous newborn Emma.

 Oh this made me want another little bundle. Especially if it is a little girlie bundle to help combat the overload of testosterone in our house with my husband and these three little munchkins we've got.

How absolutely precious is she! You always forget how little they are when yours grow up. Man I miss my sweet little babies. Not so much the not sleeping... Well, who am I kidding. Mine still don't sleep all night and my youngest is almost 2!

But I digress. I have a million and one more photos to go through from this session, but these were a few of my favorites. And how could I resist NOT posting a few of these!

Next up.... The Sutton's! (Who were a blast might I add!)

Sweet Little Kaleb

What. A. Weekend.

The photography has literally taken off out from under me. I had 3 sessions this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them.

First up was some time with Kaleb and his parents.

He was absolutely adorable and they were such a pleasure to work with. The photos were taken on Katie's (Kaleb's Mom) grandmothers property. Wow. I was literally blown away when I drove up. A gorgeous older red wooden house, perfectly landscaped grounds, a lake, and a ornate Japanese Garden. It was a dream!

 I am thinking of bribing her grandmother with some freshly baked cookies to see if she will allow me to visit again. Or maybe a bottle of wine wince she offered me a glass while I was there.... Either way, I have been dreaming of her house.

On to Session 2! Teeny Tiny Emma!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Koger Family

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of photographing my aunt and uncle, their children, and the boyfriends and girlfriend of their children. Photographing large groups always intimidates me. I suppose because the chances of someone not cooperating or making a crazy face while the rest of the photo is perfect are a lot higher.

Lesson Learned- The more people in the photo, the harder it is to get good photos.

Not my favorite odds. 

I still got SOME shots that I love though.

A few...

Thank you for looking! 3 shoots in this weekend INCLUDING my first newborn shoot! Which I am ecstatic about!