Star Wars Halloween

Similar to last year, we picked our pumpkins at the same farm where we did apple picking. We really got some giant pumpkins!



Both kids drew faces on the pumpkins for Brian to cut out (he was maybe less than thrilled about that, ha). The paper rings hanging from the porch were made by Jameson and hung there through the rest of the year!




We had moderately good helpers this year. Coraline gave up pretty early though Jameson wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty!



We spotted a woolly bear!


Coraline was pretty insistent on being Darth Vader this year, or a Storm Trooper so she could shoot bad guys (nobody really corrected this idea). So I got her a Darth Vader costume and Jameson wanted to be Kylo Ren, so I loved that I got to match the kids again this year!

Jameson would’ve trick or treated all night (as would Coraline, though she was utterly spent). Jameson kept wanting to go to just one more house!



Brian and I both got to attend their Halloween party at school, Jameson got to attend too since he didn’t have regular school that day, so that was a great experience to have them all there again. Jameson is looking pretty old these days though!



It was a fun holiday with the kids having even more fun as they get older. I got Brian to dress up with me for our neighborhood haunted party. I took the photos this year for the event, so I didn’t get to hang out with the kiddos, which made me feel a little sad, but I was happy to have the opportunity! Here’s my set up, from which I have learned a lot I can apply to future events or sets for my new business, Rosy Days Photography.


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What’s New?

Hi there

If you are still here, following my occasional ramblings and photographic adventures, thank you! Hopefully, the drought is over. I’m doing some (brief) recaps of 2016 over the next week, and I hope to return to a more regular posting schedule this year. I think it’s important to remember the fun anecdotes in our lives and this is my favorite place to do that.

A lot of my time and attention has been devoted to a New Project.

I have been hard at work on my new business, Rosy Days Photography. If you’re local to the area in northeast Ohio, check it out.

Thanks for your support!




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Autumn in Hocking Hills

My friend Emma and I planned a little getaway at a nice midway point for the two of us in Hocking Hills. We decided on it a little late for the October (fall leaf) rush, so I spent hours pouring over sites looking for a cabin we could stay in.

I finally found this little gem, which seemed like the ONLY (and I mean that literally) cabin available in Hocking Hills that weekend. The place is in Fiddlestix Village, a little village of 5 or so cottages in Hocking Hills. It’s literally within minutes drive of Ash Cave and the price was super reasonable.


We stayed in the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, which had the shakers lined up in the windows. It was adorable! It got very cold during our stay but there were heaters, thankfully. There was a little kitchen sans stove but it did have a microwave and mini fridge, plus a charming updated bathroom, and the bedroom had two beds so we didn’t have to squish together like our college sleepovers. Cause we’re adults now, right?

Okay the only bad part was the wifi was in and out. Apparently wifi at ALL was impressive, because there’s nothing throughout most of Hocking Hills. I should’ve printed some maps, but we managed with Emma’s proper GPS unit. We met on Friday night though at Ravenswood Castle for dinner though and that was a trek through some nothingness. I arrived about 40 minutes before Emma, and started to get seriously worried when she arrived!

Well I got this urge to go out and try to get a sunrise picture the next day. We were too late for that, even as early as we were up, but we did get to Ash Cave before anyone else arrived. We had about a half hour or more all to ourselves. I wish these pictures could fully convey how big it is!





The whole idea of our stay was to take photos, and it was so refreshing to be able to stop and shoot whenever the moment struck and not feel obligated to keep moving or get to the next thing. We stopped on this little side road for this shot.


After Ash Cave, we went to Old Man’s Cave. By this point, everyone else was awake and visiting as well, so it was a little crowded but still worth the visit. We gave the flexible tripod I have and the remote shutter a good workout. I was impressed it worked this far away!









From Old Man’s Cave, there’s some hiking trails that you can take to Cedar Falls (and further if you want). We didn’t quite realize what we were in for when we started. Lots of boulders, and a lot longer of a trail than we expected. We passed a mom with a stroller though and decided that if she could do it, we certainly could. I’m sure she didn’t realize what she was in for either though. She didn’t look super pleased.


The way back from Cedar Falls was more pleasant since we selected the other hiking route and as it happens it was much easier! We passed Rose Lake, which was beautiful. I think our visit was just a week or two shy of peak color, but since there was frost while we were there, lots of leaves were falling. I think we really came at a perfect time.


We ate Saturday night at the Inn at Cedar Falls, which was great, though the drink we had left us sleepy. It was ice cold outside, but I insisted on staying out to try to capture a night sky. I did, albeit it slightly out of focus (you can’t tell with this small size). Maybe next time I’m in the middle of nowhere it will be less cold, it was hard to manage the controls!


Sunday we had a nice breakfast and went to Cantwell Cliffs before heading home. Cantwell was beautiful in a different way again than either Ash Cave or Old Man’s Cave. It felt more out-of-the-way, which was nice.




I tried to capture the falling leaves, but it was almost impossible. I should’ve switched to manual focus but I’m not sure I would’ve been much better. I did get this one leaf mid-flight.





It was a great trip, a nice and fairly inexpensive photographic escape. I felt bad leaving the family in the middle of fall fun but it was worth the trip!

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Bubbles & Pine Cones

The weather’s starting to feel like fall today, so this is a nice throwback to the heat this summer. We had a cookout with Grandma, Poppa and Aunt Melissa for the rest of our 4th of July weekend. Coraline is wearing an outfit that was mine growing up, so fun to see her in it!

The kids love to collect pine cones beneath Grandma’s tree, which they call the “Tree House”.




They don’t know it, but all the pine cones they collect actually get returned out to the tree prior to them visiting, so they can re-collect over and over again. Never-ending fun!


They also played with bubbles, and kept anyone watching them busy by running around, up and down the hill and to the creek to throw rocks and back.




This photo of the two of them was cute, but I noticed after I took it that Jameson’s hair was in his face. So, I tried to get them to go back down the hill to take it again. However, Coraline started running way too quick on the steep hill and slammed onto her face.

After about 10 minutes of recovering, crying, and asking to go back up the hill, Jameson actually joined us and she perked up again.


And so I got this beautiful gem, the best photo of the two of them I’ve taken in a long time, no crazy photoshop needed. It’s hanging large on our kitchen collage wall now! I’m glad that committed to re-taking the photo, despite our mishap (and Coraline probably believing I was the worst mommy ever for a time).

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Coraline’s Cake Smash

This year, I decided to try and do a “real” photo shoot for Coraline’s first cake. Spoiler alert: she liked it just as much as Jameson, which is to say, they were quite a bit concerned with what was on their fingers.

For Jameson, I went the healthy route and made a cake from baby food. It tasted just like carrot cake, except better (if I do say so myself). I made a relatively healthy cream cheese frosting to go with it, and he wasn’t super impressed and didn’t dig in the way I’ve seen some kids do so. One of the things I’ve seen since his first birthday is the cake smash session, where baby gets a photo shoot all to herself, so I decided to give that a shot.

This time, thinking I would get better results from said baby, I made a traditional yellow cake. I used this 3 egg yellow cake recipe, because I only had 3 eggs on hand. It actually turned out great and very moist but solid enough that I didn’t accidentally carve it up while icing, and I’d make it again in a heartbeat. For the frosting, I realized I needed to get more ingredients regardless, so I went all out with a frosting recipe calling for 3-1/2 pounds of powdered sugar that I actually found on a couple different sites. I’m saving the leftover frosting in the fridge for the cupcakes I’m making for her party on Saturday.

I didn’t know, but for decorating cakes, a “crusting” type of frosting is recommended. I didn’t add all the powdered sugar (I did about 3-1/4), so mine didn’t crust too much and actually stayed just right for what I wanted for Miss Coraline. This frosting is intensely sweet but such a wonderful consistency.


For decorating, I borrowed a friend’s decorating bags from Wilton and her decorating tips. After doing a “base coat” of frosting to help the roses stick, you want the larger star-shaped tip, and you’ll just go around in the circle to make the rose. I wasn’t too worried about making mistakes or leaving gaps, I just made little “daisy” flowers between. I’m no professional, but I think it looks great! Here’s a great tutorial for even more professional looking results.








I even cut a slice out (which I later ate) to show her the insides, and helped her taste the cake itself, but still no dice. She’ll have plenty of opportunities to try it again in the next couple days. This still made for some super cute photos, and I’m really glad I took the time to do it!


Oh, that super duper poofy tutu? I made that, no sewing involved. The hardest part was cutting!

I figured, no sense in paying a lot for something that’s going to get ruined with icing. The ribbon was more expensive than the tulle so if you already have ribbon to use it would’ve been about $2 to make. But, I will say that if you want it to go all the way around you need more than 2 yds of tulle! I wasn’t too worried about not having enough; it reached a little over half way around her waist and I tied the ribbon in the back. Total cost was about $4! If you want to try your hand, check out this tutorial I followed.


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Scenic Ohio

A couple weekends ago, I went on a photography tour given by I Heart Faces during their conference for women in Columbus. It was a bit of a drive for me, but I was excited to be able to do the Amish Country Tour which was open to the public even though I couldn’t attend the rest of the conference.



We learned quite a lot about the Amish, and were very surprised by how well off the Amish are in Berlin, where we visited, which is the most toured Amish area in the country. Many Amish are no longer farmers.



We came across a wedding (above, with all the buggies lined up).



For lunch, we ate at an Amish case house, which is where they have church, weddings or other large gatherings. It was part of the property of an Amish couple and their farm and they graciously allowed us to photograph their land.






I did take a picture of their grandson outside the case house, respectfully avoiding his face. He captured our hearts with his adorable overalls.




This one is my favorite; it was so beautiful, and the clouds were moving quickly overhead, making every photo different with shade and light.




I loved the spiderweb in this one, it took a bit of work to get into focus and visible.



Despite the trees not being quite in their full glory, the scenery was just beautiful, and we could’ve stopped every 5 minutes for another picturesque view.

We were able to do a little touristy shopping at the end, and it started raining then too, luckily after we had finished taking photos.

I loved exercising my camera and skills with landscapes, since I so frequently take photos of people. It was new for me, and editing was fun. Even better, I was able to stay overnight with friends while Coraline actually took a bottle at home for Brian. It felt very freeing, after feeling home-bound for so many months.


This photo was from a visit to a farm the following weekend; Ohio is beautiful in the fall.

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Final Week?

Here we are, approaching the Due Date of March 15, 40 weeks this Friday.

Today forward I have opted to work from home until the baby arrives. I am thankful that this time it is an option, since my previous job didn’t allow us to work from home at all. This will make things more comfortable and less worrisome for all of us, since Brian is just minutes away and the doctor keeps reminding us that things may move much more quickly this time.

I took these photos (self portraits I took myself! with a tripod! and occasionally a button click from Brian) a couple weeks ago, around 37 weeks pregnant. My belly hasn’t grown much since then (in fact, I’m still only measuring 36-37 weeks belly-wise, it’s just shifted down quite a bit!).

The past few weeks they have begun exams for dilation. I have very slowly progressed from 3cm to 3.5cm the past three weeks, and 70% to 80%. The “any time now” message is getting old, since I have been hearing it now for 2-3 weeks already.

Today we had another ultrasound (our third in the past couple months) to check fluid levels again, staying extra safe because of Jameson’s fluid issues. However, we have plenty and are looking good still. Baby is happy and wedged pretty far down.

This week the doctor told me that he doesn’t expect me to make it to next week, though we did schedule an appointment anyway in case. Next week, should I make it to that appointment, I will have a non-stress test (NST) and another ultrasound for fluid levels, since I will be past my due date at that point.

We did opt to -ahem- stir things up a bit? at this visit and are hoping that it works. If we go into next week, we will be looking at induction.

The doctor is of course flexible to our wishes in this, but we are all in agreement that 41 weeks is pushing us to our maximum. Seeing that I have had a successful induction before, even though we are not pleased that it could happen again, we would be willing to opt for one next week.

Hopefully baby doesn’t need much more encouragement to make her appearance! We are all getting anxious for her to arrive.

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24 Months and 2 Years Old

It’s here! The final month of our 24 month block photos. I thought I’d feel nostalgic, but between last month and this, I am only glad that we are done! Jameson thinks it’s a stellar game to push the blocks off. When I told him “don’t touch” he kicked them off instead. With promises of chocolate, we managed to get a couple (as in, 2) shots of him with the blocks in some sort of legible position.

24 Months

What a 2 year old he is! This month, we started swimming lessons, so now he loves to practice swimming in the bathtub and asks for help going on his back all the time. Jameson also had his third hair cut after swimming lessons on Saturday, and we were able to get him to stay still in the toy car without crying by telling him that the lady was getting all the knots out of his hair! He just loves to talk about the “knots” in his hair whenever it gets wet or messy. Mom combs all the knots out and then we blow dry his hair. It’s my favorite time during bedtime, when he sits still on my lap for a moment.

24 Months

He frequently asks to see “trucks” on the way to or from places. We talk about big trucks, small trucks, and color is big this month as well. He asks for “pink trucks” and “lellow trucks” (he is still mixing up the color yellow with just about every color but orange, which he knows without error). He also knows what a “bus” is and the difference between that and trucks. Oh, and he always asks to visit “lamb-aw” which is his word for grandma, and papa, on the way home from anywhere.

24 Months

Jameson loves umbrellas, dice, and his step stool. He also still adores his bear and his “leeks” which are his lovey blankets. He used to call them his “B” but recently that changed to leeks.

24 Months

He can identify Bert, Ernie, Abby, Big Bird and Elmo Sesame Street characters; and while he still loves to watch Sesame Street, the past couple weeks he’s come home and requested to watch “Tiger” or “Lion” which is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (the Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood cartoon replacement) or the Lion King movie. He loves to identify all the animals at the beginning of the Lion King movie: baby giraffe, elephants, zebahs, lion, birds, mouse.

When we were reading the ABC Dr. Seuss book, he identified B,C,F,T, and L in the book correctly. He is recently insisting on reading books himself. He has mini Sesame Street books that he “reads” and talks about Bert cleaning and Ernie helping. At the same time, he has also started asking for repeats of the same book over and over the same night. His current favorite, Ten Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle, I had to read 3 times in a row a few times over now.

2 Years Old

We’ve made a lot of progress with potty training, which is surprising considering that we weren’t really planning on putting a lot of effort into it until baby is born. He is not consistently telling us when he has to go, but he is doing great holding it for the potty (not at night or nap yet). We also introduced a “treat” when he goes potty successfully to try to encourage him to tell us. It’s not working well yet, but there is no rush. We are planning to get pull ups for him soon since everything is “myself!” He likes it when he can do anything on his own.

2 Years Old

And now for the stats! Jameson is 26 pounds, 4 oz (44% percentile); 2 feet 9-3/4 inches (26% percentile); and head circumference of 19 (51% percentile). His stats are looking good, we were surprised since we consider him so small that he actually weighs in near average. The doctor said we can put him on the same milk now that we are, so we are happy that we no longer need two kinds of milk in the house!

We have a happy, healthy child, and believe me, in light of recent events, we are treasuring that to the fullest.

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Indian Summer

This week, at the very end of October, we had 70 degree weather. It was beautiful! I’m just sorry I missed seeing Jameson play outside all week, since I was away at a conference in Chicago. At the least, I got to enjoy similar nice weather there.

Last weekend, it was typical fall weather. I decided to take advantage of the empty lots around our house with their wonderful changing leaves before they were all gone. I’m pretty excited with how the photos turned out, and you’ll never believe that I’m holding Jameson’s hands in the close up pictures to get him to stay still. He thought it was all a hilarious game, which made for some awesome — though hard to get in focus — photos.

Jameson was running with one hand in his pocket naturally. He had a rock he picked up that he put in there. Also, his jacket is a little too short for him now from this spring, but the thickness and width of it are perfectly appropriate for fall, so we continue to use it.

That’s my little boy!

We also enjoyed pumpkin carving last weekend, though Jameson wasn’t sure about it. We decided to do it on the floor, so he had good visibility to what was going on.

We tried over and over to get him to reach his hands in the pumpkin, but he played hard to get and barely reached in. He would try to get at one seed instead of a fistful like mom. He wasn’t sure about the texture and temperature of the pumpkin seeds.

First I drew the face on the pumpkin (which I messed up the tooth, but Jameson didn’t care). Then Brian did the carving honors and we removed all the seeds and created the lid. Finally Brian did the face while we watched.

Jameson did like putting the lid back on the pumpkin!

When the pumpkin was finished and light shone through, Jameson was less intimidated; and when he dropped a sticker in it, he happily fished after it, reaching all the way in.

Neither Brian or I love pumpkin seeds, but I did save a few to bake for tradition. I tried a new recipe which I am pretty happy with. You bake the seeds as normal with a little salt, and then you caramelize them with sugar and oil in a skillet. Once the sticky sugar coats the baked seeds, you toss them in spices as you choose!

A lovely fall weekend, with more to come this weekend as indian summer leaves us today and probably for the final time. I am looking forward to seeing Jameson in his costume, going to Boo at the Zoo, and being back at home after a long week away.

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Muir Woods, Day 3

We weren’t originally planning to visit Muir Woods because I had heard it was very touristy and crowded. However, Brian convinced me we could make it there early in the day and still hit Napa Valley by our appointment at 2, so we changed plans and decided to go.

I’m so glad we did!

But first, we had to cross the Golden Gate Bridge! I took these shots from our moving car, can you believe it?

We did pick up a rental car that morning, which wasn’t too exciting, but did it’s job well. It was a comfortable enough ride, though I was very unhappy with the cleanliness of the windshield. Most of my good shots were out the passenger side window; the windshield straight on was covered in soap spots, in and out, even after we rubbed it down with towels.

I felt like I should say something meaningful as we crossed and left San Francisco behind, like “straight on til morning”. The way ahead was beautiful; it was a perfect mist-free day with bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds. I was surprised at the hills — covered in some sort of brown hay interspersed with green trees.

The way was pretty intense as we got into the hills; the road twisted around more than Lombard Street, and I got mildly nauseous. It may have just been Brian’s driving though. (just kidding)

We arrived at Muir Woods shortly after 9 in the morning. We enjoyed the early morning light among the trees which were, in short (or tall, heh heh), amazing.

It was difficult to capture their size on my camera. I tried though! A lot.

Muir Woods is filled with old-growth coastal redwoods. These are different than the Giant Sequoias, which are known for their girth rather than their height! (Think of the trees that you can drive through; those are sequoias) However, they are of the same family. Coastal redwoods can grow up 365 feet tall.

I could understand why Muir Woods is so popular; the trail was easy for any age. There was a trail back around which was a little tougher and not appropriate for strollers, but there was a good path on the way in which you could return by.

I was happy that we had arrived so early so we could enjoy the woods without too many other people.

Well, but I’m always happy when there are enough people to ask one to take your photo together. Someone who could even use my camera!

The ground was carpeted in large clover, moss and ferns, and even though the sky was clearer than we had seen in days, there was a heavier humidity to the air in the woods. It seemed to retain a lot of moisture from overnight; every once in a while, the wind would blow droplets of water off the trees.

On our way out, we saw an owl perched in a tree, just watching us watch it.

And then we were on our way again! Twisting our way out of the hills and to our next stop, a brewery for lunch.

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