One Thousand Words

Sweet. Sassy. Sincere. Fun. Cute. Funny. Cuddly. Generous. Amazing. Inspiring. Curious. Hungry! Giggly. Silly. Adorable. Smart. Goofy. Loved.
Seriously- a picture is worth a thousand words, but I could come up with about as many to describe this precious little girl...


Before & After Blog Hop

So, I thought I'd enter the "Before & After Blog Hop" that Monica at Pixel Perfect has so graciously done. The idea is to post a picture straight out of the camera, and then your "fix", explaining how you touched it up. I'm not going to be very thorough here, because I don't remember all the steps I took to fix this shot. I was editing in Photoshop Elements, the most basic kind of equipment for digital editing!

Here is the shot, straight out of the camera:

My goodness, the laundry list of things wrong! I was shooting a "Birthday Smash Session" for a one year old, which allows them to just annihilate a cake while I happily shoot away. Well little Madelyn took off straight for me, and her dad stepped in to help wrangle her. I was using natural light from a sliding glass door, and just happened to be tweaking the setting on my camera when she did this. She had this cute, naughty "I'm gonna get you" look on her face, so I just snapped it!
My solution to fix it included the "Magic Extractor" tool to take away dad's hands and rubber stamp in the backdrop. I also heavily tweaked the white balance, the brightness, clarity and tone to end up with this shot:

I guess the key to being a learn-as-you-go photographer is learn how to use the processing tools on your software of choice, because they may end up saving a shot that would be a lost cause.



I ♥ food! Tonight, I made cheese tortellini soup, which was not only delicious but also healthy! It could easily be made vegetarian (if your version of vegetarian includes cheese).

It's pretty quick and simple too. The recipe follows:
1 small package of refrigerated, pre-made cheese tortellini (I used bertoli)
2 cups chicken broth (or sub vegetable if you wish)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 cups water
2 handfuls of spinach, chopped coarsely
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (not packed in oil, but dry)
1 can of great northern beans

To cook:
Cook tortellini as package directs. Drain. In the mean time, mix the broth with the minced garlic and rosemary and add the water. Bring this to a boil on the stovetop, and when boiling add the spinach, beans, and chopped tomatoes. Drop the heat to low, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes, until spinach noticeably wilts. Add the drained noodles, and continue to simmer for another minute or two before serving.

And if you need proof that it's delicious, then take a peek at Madigan. She's not only eating her soup, but trying to steal the spoon out of mine as well:


Bullet Points...

Dot dot dot...
Bullet points: not exactly a coherent post but I'm going to give a quick synopsis of the happenings here and I suppose if you have a "vote" as to what YOU want to hear more about, just leave me a comment....

  • Brett and I have recently re-started weight watchers. Ok, so I have re-started, he is just starting for the first time, and mainly to support me. After doing some math before our anniversary and realizing that we have gained almost 100 pounds since we started dating*, we were motivated to change! So far, so good. (*for the record: we started dating when he was 15 and I was 17, so it's not like we were full grown adults. But 100 lbs? Really? WAY too much weight.) Wait- did you just call me a cradle robber?
  • We bought a jogging stroller. Neither of us jog. We set a goal to run a 5k this fall. My motto prior to this was "I don't run unless things chase me". I guess fear of impending morbid obesity, stroke, heart attack, and death are now chasing me. Run, Sarah, Run!! We finally got weather today that was nice enough for said "jog". It wasn't pretty. But the stroller works good and when I stopped to walk a bit, Madigan said "More! Whee! More!"
  • Spring is in the air, and I have babies on my mind. Oh, the complexities of this statement.
  • Madigan's brain has officially hard wired her "speech center" and there's no going back. Among the things she has said this week: "I see you, daddy!", "No. NO! Sit DOWN!", and "Stinky. Me stinky." She's also a rock star at naming body parts. I see a medical future for this child.
  • We are contemplating potty training. She's showing signs of readiness. I'm not so much ready for that (emotionally or physically). Is 20 months too young? Ugh.
  • We have committed to driving both of our (paid for) vehicles "until the weels fall off". We thought that we were dangerously close this week with Brett's truck. He tried without success to fix it, then we had to have it towed and fixed for under $300. (It's probably worth about $500 as a trade in!). A newer vehicle is on the horizon, I just hope it's a year or two away.
  • My photography business has really started to take off! I have not really advertised, and almost all my referrals have come by word of mouth. I'm very excited, I love photography!
I think that cover a majority of our lives right now. I promise to post pictures again soon...


Ten Question Tuesday....

Ok, so since I haven't really had anything to write about, I thought I'd just post a little 10 question survey and the answers.... Feel free to copy and paste your own, and let me know if you did, I'd love to know the answers!
Here goes...

1. What is the last lie you told?
Um... That I don't have anything to write about. I have a lot of things bouncing around in my head but most of them are incomplete thoughts, things I'm not sure I want to just put "out there" on here, or seem simply whiny and really shallow once I being to write about them. So I'm keeping them trapped in my head for now!

2. What was the last thing you highlighted?
The term "Fasting Lipid Profile" at work. Really exciting, I know.

3. Who is the last baby that you held?
Her name was Ruby, she was one day shy of 2 weeks old and she made me want a(nother) baby really, really bad.

4. When was the last time you went to a six flags?
Wow, I think it was 6 flags over Denver (Elitch Gardens) about 8 years ago with Brett and my parents.

5. What is the first thing you wash in the shower?
My belly button. Seriously, just don't ask.

6. When was the last time you used hand sanitizer?
At work, but I usually just try to wash my hands instead because I hate how bad it dries my skin out.

7. Do you believe in the religion you were brought up in?
I do indeed. I think that I was given ample opportunity to ask a lot of questions, and encouraged to explore outside of my comfort zone, which really helped to make me learn what I do and don't "believe in" and what I look for in a church family. (I guess that's the advantage to being brought up by a minister- one who didn't just cram his views down my throat but encouraged me to learn for myself!)

8. Which of the 7 deadly sins is your biggest downfall?
Ha... Either Sloth or Gluttony. Probably Sloth, I love some food but I don't think I'm "Gluttonous".

9. What is on your perfect pizza?
Green & black olives, italian sausage, sauerkraut.

10. How do you feel about reality TV?
It makes me ashamed of humanity.

There, now, was that so hard? :)
I suppose next time, I'm going to have to put a real post together. We will have to see which of the random thoughts bouncing around up there makes it's way out and into reality...


Another Entry....

...for the i {heart} faces contest of the week!
Every week I wonder if I will be able to participate in the weekly contest.
When I saw the theme this week was "Jump for Joy" I realized once again that I could participate! Yay!

This was taken during an engagement session last spring. This couple was up for anything- and we had so much fun doing their shoot! Towards the end of the session, I told them to run up to the top of the hill and start jumping up and down. Without even questioning me, they just took off! Here's proof that this marriage can last the long haul: They counted together to three, held hands, and jumped as high as they could, just reaching up to heaven.

If you'd like to see some great pictures, head on over to i heart faces and check out the other entries!


I ♥ Faces, "out takes"

So the theme for "I ♥ Faces" this week is hilarious out takes! Trust me, I could have more than enough entries for this contest!
The best one that comes to mind was one of Madigan when she was 6 months old. A friend had made onesies with her initial on them and a tiny pink bow. Once she found that bow, she was all over it. No matter how hard I tried to distract her, she just had to have that bow. When I snapped this one, I think she was certain that she had finally gotten away with eating that bow.
It is by far one of my favorite "accidental" shots to date.

On the road again....

We took a long weekend and decided to go visit my brother Ben & his wife Jamie in Wichita. We were nervous about the 5 hour trip with our tiny tagalong, and unnecessarily so. We left at nap time, and although she doesn't sleep much in the car, she did enjoy the new toys and books we picked out just special for this trip. After a small stop at a super-fancy McD's (of which I'm a firm believer now that every Mickey D's should have play-places!), we made it to Wichita in great time. Madigan was so excited to see her uncle Ben and aunt Jamie! Last time we saw them, Madigan was just so-so about Ben... This time, she fell head over heels in love with him.
Part of the reason we went was to haul down a load of baby things- our travel system, high chair, baby bath tub, and various baby accessories all got left for the new addition to their family.
We spent Saturday morning exploring one of the neatest "hands on" museums I've been to. Mr. Potato Head exhibits, music and sound demonstrations (hands on!), a giant toddler play area (Madigan went "swimming" in the pond. Oopsie!) and an aviation exhibit (build your own paper airplane, anyone?) were just a few of the things we saw.
Parental worries about napping in unfamiliar territory were also unfounded. She was so exhausted, she was begging for a nap! I did some consignment shopping with Jamie, then we did Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Sunday we did Granite City Brewery for brunch, naps all around, and then more shopping at Toys R Us. We were so sad to have to leave on Monday after lunch time, but have vowed to get back to visit more than once a year! Meeting up with them in "middle ground" at our parent's house is fine, but visiting each other in our "own" hometowns is sometimes twice as fun! I just love taking Madigan on new adventures, and seeing her excitement at new things. I love seeing her develop her relationship with her aunt and uncle; I can't wait until she gets to meet her new little baby girl cousin this August.

On the road again....

I can't wait to get on the road again...

Goin' places that I have never been.

Seeing things that I may never see again...

I can't wait

to get on the road again.