magical little addie.

There are very few words to describe Addie as she is more of an experience. Like stepping outside on a surprisingly windy day with a handful of balloons, they twist and turn trying to take off in the wind and eventually bop you on top of the head repeatedly. As she’s gotten bigger it’s harder to capture the very essence of her in a photo since she’s learned to be hammy and cheesy whenever my lens is pointed in her direction.

But, oh!

When I do get her.

It’s like capturing her childhood and giggles in a beautiful little jar and being able to hold onto them and enjoy them whenever I want.

magical little addie

I told her the other afternoon that someday there would be songs written about her hair. Wonderful songs that make you want to dance and twirl until you’re dizzy and out of breath.

Addie's Hair

This wonderful little creature that I call mine is like the most spectacular puppy, long gangly limbs desperately trying to manage some sort of order as she bounds into life headfirst with nothing but love and affection for everyone and everything in her path. She still has strong opinions on managing evil fairies and the proper attire for a princess all while refining her taste in boy bands and the latest dance moves.


Every afternoon she pulls her sister into her bedroom to play. While Vivi chews on Barbie legs and and bangs teacups together, Addie orchestrates grand adventures where she is the pirate and Vivi is the shark. Sometimes Vivi plays the role of baby princess while Addie plays the grownup princess who is forced into marrying someone who is most definitely not her true love. Vivi is adorned with necklaces, crowns and capes, all of which she tears off and throws to the side. Addie never minds, she continues on in her marvelous little world of make believe where everyone falls in love and unicorns really do exist.

magical little addie

My friend Lisa makes magical things for magical little girls like Addie and very lucky moms like me.  And  her newest fine pewter collection makes that a reality for many more families on a budget. All the handmade beauty of her silver pieces at far more affordable prices. Sign up for her newsletter on the bottom right corner of her site for a 15% discount on your first purchase.lisa leonard pewter necklace

Addie is my star and my heart and thanks to Lisa I carry her with me wherever I go (Vivi is back there too, self portraits of necklaces are hard.)


Giveaway closed, thanks to all who entered and congrats to BeyondNormalMom for winning!

To enter, subscribe to Lisa’s newsletter and leave me a comment telling me you did (lying gives you gas.) You can also tell me what your favorite color is if you feel like it. Mine is dark yellow at the moment. Giveaway will end at Midnight EST on Mother’s Day. Good luck!

wherein I try to help you with shutter speed

So this post I did last month about what I’ve learned so far about taking photos almost every day this year was pretty popular (by the way, I fixed the little glitch that didn’t let you pin an actual photo.)

“MOAR! MOAR PHOTO POSTS!” you cried. (Well, some of you cried, and I want to help you! I really do!)

Now that it’s summer and you’re going to be out in the bright sunlight (hopefully) a lot you need to make friends with your shutter speed and ISO.

The brighter it is outside the lower your ISO needs to be. The darker it is (usually inside) the higher your ISO needs to be. (The lower the ISO the better the color saturation and less noise/grain.)


Indianapolis Mini Marathon.

(Seriously, no worse lighting than high noon sun, in a perfect world I would have moved them into full shade.) 55mm f/3.2 1/640 ISO 100

If it’s darker? You need to move your ISO up.

little gymnast feet
(This is in Addie’s gym with nothing but overhead florescent lights.) 300mm f/5.6 1/100 ISO 1600

Back to the bright sunlight. ISO 100.

If you keep your shutter speed too low (assuming you’re shooting on manual) your shutter will be open too long essentially blinding your camera, like flipping on a bright light to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, everything is blurry and white. If you turn your shutter speed up not only will it catch motion faster, it will retain more of the details since the shutter is essentially “blinking” much faster. Dude, I’m not even sure if that makes any sense. VISUAL!

The first shot my camera said “WHOA! TOO BRIGHT! CAN’T PROCESS SO MUCH LIGHT!” and way overexposed. By making the shutter speed faster I was able to retain more detail and avoid overexposure. Shutter speed also controls how well motion freezes. The higher the shutter speed the better the freeze. The lower, the more blurry moving objects tend to be.

percy high on the 'nip

percy takes off.

50mm f/2.5 1/160 ISO 1000 (ISO was high because it was a very overcast day, I wanted to keep all of his face in focus which is why I didn’t drop my f/stop into the 1’s to make it possible to lower my ISO.)

bailey the flying sheltie dog
50mm f/2.2 1/800 ISO 200

Here’s the deal and something I had to learn the hard way, there’s no way to get everything you want out of a single camera or a single lens for a decent price. Even if you have heaps and gobs of money to spend you’re still not going to be able to have one “end all be all” set up. You have to choose what’s most important to you and base your purchases off of that and learn to game the other things you have into doing what you want (more on that later.) You’re not going to be able to get a sharp photo of a cat launching off the couch indoors in poor light without a flash, and if you use a flash you’re most likely going to compromise the depth of field (blur.) You’re also not going to ever find a lens that can take a really close up macro of a flower then zoom across the street to take a photo of your kid’s face riding their bike. You’ll discover as you get better at this photography thing that you’ll wish your camera or lens did something just a little different. I know with my zoom lens I wish I had a lower f/stop so it worked better in low light. Sure enough, there’s a zoom lens with a lower f/stop but it’s $1K more, weighs 9 pounds and is the size of a small keg, so I make my 70-300 f/5.6 IS do what I need it to do as well as it can do it and I realize there are some shots I just won’t ever get with it.

The best thing I can tell you to do is mess with your camera. Mess with it until your family asks if it’s broken because you’re fiddling with it so much. Turn the ISO up, turn it  down, then move the shutter speed around and see what happens. Soon the strange choreographed dance between ISO, f/stop and shutter speed will begin to make sense (I’m 6 months in and it’s just barely starting to click, full disclosure.)


Tomorrow night (May 10th 8pm EST) Clickin’ Moms is hosting a twitter party around the new book “Beyond Snapshots” which is all about getting your camera off the green square “Cody” setting and onto bigger and better things. There will be prizes (so many prizes!) and you’ll be able to ask questions (so many questions!) I’ll be there, snooping around, answering what I can. Perhaps you’ll join us? Find out more from Jill (and see the prizes!) and RSVP if you think you can make it.

As usual, my offer still stands of a free trial or 20% off a membership to Clickin’ Moms.

Get a free trial with the code ‘MOOSHTRIAL’

Get 20% off with the code ‘MOOSH20′

Hope to see you tomorrow night ’round the twitters!

Thanks to Clickin’ Moms for having me as an ambassador and providing me with a membership to the Clickin’ Moms forums. All links to Clickin’ Moms are affiliate.

the best job, the ugliest cry

I watched this:

Then I looked back at these:


practice for beam

Addie at the Bar

Then I did the ugly cry because I KEPT WATCHING IT.

But I do have to wonder if those Olympic moms ever had to tell their kids not to stick toys in their baby sister’s butt cheeks when they were in the bathtub together.


P&G left that part out.


Vivi and I have a routine. Our routine involves naps, snuggles and a shared appreciation for the culinary delight that is the avocado.

I have the stamina necessary to pack a 25 pound baby everywhere and carry a massive camera around.

Athletic? Nope. Not so much.

Vivi and I? We enjoy our downtime.

Then there’s these other people we live with.

You know, that guy over there who ran a half marathon after training for…well. He didn’t train, he says he trained for four days but what that really means is he called me on Tuesday and said “Hey, what are we doing Saturday?” when I said nothing, he then said “I think I’m going to run the Mini.”

And then he did.

Indianapolis Mini Marathon.

He finished in a totally average time and even more impressive? He didn’t die. Hooray! He mapped out a very detailed “Pre-Race Checklist” which included “Prevent bloody nipples.” Considering running a half marathon this weekend? Check out Cody’s four day couch to 13.1 mile training plan.

Then there’s this other kid, who obviously takes after her dad.

See that giant rope hanging from the ceiling in the middle of Addie’s giant gym?




I’ve gotten at least 4 stars on every song in Just Dance 3, I dare say more than half are 5 stars. *bows*

I’m really proud of these two.

Cody’s recruiting people to run the Mini with him next year, when his secretary asked “Is Casey going to do it?” Cody replied “Casey doesn’t run.” to which I responded “I run away from bears.

Cody then offered to dress in a full bear suit and chase me through the streets of Indianapolis so I’d run the Mini. He even offered to growl, he also said there was a very good chance we’d make it on TV.

I’m still considering his offer.

man babble. (say it with a gruff voice, it sounds tougher.)

Indianapolis Mini Marathon.

Whew! Two birthdays a bit of depression (I’m feeling much better!) can make a girl fall behind. Sorry about that. Cody’s still been chugging away at his new found blogging hobby and is out of his mind with worry and stress about pageviews! ZOMG THE PAGEVIEWS! I had to sit in a parking lot and talk him down from a ledge about the pageviews. THE PAGEVIEWS! Poor guy. (Curious about what’s with all the slideshows? WHY SO MANY SLIDESHOWS!? Here’s why.)

  • Dude, your husband. He’s not a very social guy, WHY IS HE BLOGGING?” I know, right? Turns out he has a few reasons and it’s really been a learning experience for him (blogging, NOT LIKE LAWYERING AT ALL.) Here’s a few reasons why he’s doing it (and despite one “helpful” commenter, it’s not for ‘egocentric motivations.’ Check out Cody’s response. HE’S ALL MINE PEOPLE.)
  • I’m very well aware that there are times Cody needs to chill the hell out and thankfully he’s got plenty of ways to do just that. (Two of them involve me, one of those two involve making out with me. *ehem*)
  • Try not to be jealous of these delicious culinary treats that Cody prepares on occasion as he rounds up 15 meals any dude can make for his lady friend on Mother’s Day, maybe circle one and send it to your husband so you don’t end up with boxed mashed potatoes like I did one year? (His cheeseburgers really are quite delicious.)

a smashing success.

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

vivi's smash cake

So Vivi doesn’t really like cake. Or balloons.

But she ate enough Mexican food at lunch to convince me that she is in fact my daughter.

She had a wonderfully simple birthday.

Her friends sang her Happy Birthday, something Addie has always hated.

One Year. Hated Cupcakes.

Vivi seemed pretty thrilled with the whole idea.

Vivi liked having Happy Birthday sung to her today.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes. One day I’ll be able share with her how many people have loved her since before she was even born.

Cake from 111 Cakery, inspired by Sweetapolita. White dress from Target, floral jumper from Paulina Quintana via Zulily.


Go figure that the biggest event of the year, and I have no words.

I was going to post my favorite photos of Vivi.

Problem is I could only narrow it down to 103, that was after narrowing it down from 430.

I don’t care how much you like me or my baby, no one wants to wait for 103 photos to load.

So I put them into a video. You’re welcome, for Vivi’s birthday you get to wait for a video to load instead.

Cant’ see the video? Click here.

You guys? My baby is one.

miss vivi yawns.

Holy crap.

Here’s a few posts about Vivi’s first month, it’s been hard, but it’s been so worth it.

Here’s Vivi’s introduction to the world.

The one about my heart nearly exploding.

The one where a tiny miracle outdoes the biggest plans.


shutter at the irony.

*psst!* Come close…I have a confession. (Also, did you catch the horrible pun in the title?)

But first you have to promise you won’t roll your eyes at me, we all have our things and this is mine.



*deep breath* Here goes.

I don’t like having my picture taken, in fact, I kind of hate it. (HEY! You said you wouldn’t roll your eyes.)


(by Addie)

Oh, I know what you’re thinking “Join the club, lots of people don’t like having their picture taken.”

I know, I know. But I’m different!

I don’t trust anyone else to take my picture (except for her and sometimes her.) It’s not that I don’t think I’m lovely, yet it gives me heaps and gobs of anxiety when someone else takes my picture when I have no control over what happens next. I don’t like the idea of someone zoomed in on my face furiously trying to erase my rash. My face is uneven, my right eye is nicknamed my ‘squinky eye’ because it closes more than my left and it develops a big wrinkly puff under it when I do smile. I also have mottled teeth because of hyperflourosis, they’re straight as can be but boy are they spotty.

I’ve been burned – four different people have taken my picture and Photoshopped me to within an inch of my life. It really hurt my feelings all four times.

I know I’m not perfect, please don’t try and paint me that way.

Perhaps the reason I like photographing other people so much is because I want to show them how pretty they are even when they don’t believe it. I know how to make them feel comfortable (or at least I hope I do) and I know what humans are supposed to look like, and it’s not dolls.

This is the reason a majority of the photos you see of me are by me. It’s also the reason I don’t have a single family picture with all four of us in the same frame. I don’t trust anyone else. It’s sad really, here I am always claiming that any photo is better than none, but I know my family and I know what we’re like, if another photographer who didn’t know us took our photo and missed the complete essence of us? I’d be devastated.


It’s really hard to pay someone else a lot of money to take your picture when you know what you’re doing. I wonder if that’s how dentists feel when they have to go in for an exam.

23 weeks.

Oddly enough, this is one of my favorite pictures, everything about it says exactly what I was feeling when I took it. Pictures tell stories, and oh is there a story to this one.

There’s a lot more to photographing humans than owning a nice camera and knowing how to use it. It takes someone who understands people, which is why some photographers are SPECTACULAR at taking pictures of things, but blow at taking pictures of people. It’s also why I can’t take a decent landscape to save my life. Landscapes don’t laugh.

So there you go.

I don’t like having my picture taken.

But I do it anyway.

Because I want these little people to remember me always, no matter what I looked like.

addie and me.

hallmark card shower

Nothing makes me happier than seeing a photo I took of someone as a profile photo or avatar. I means I did something somebody liked, that I captured them. (I took hers, hers, hers, hers, hers, hers and hers just to name a few.)