new adventures

i obviously gave up on this blog a long time ago.  it was great when arden was a baby to document her first years and have a creative outlet to stay in touch with the world while i was mostly at home 24/7.  but now, life/work/school/parenting/social calendars/running 2 businesses is just too hectic to include blogging on my ‘to do’ list.  but i had to post this photo of arden at her ballet class a couple of weeks ago.  it was parent observation day, and i was probably the most nervous parent in there.  after a first failed attempt at ballet last spring, and then a hesitant re-start this fall, i was worried arden would simply freeze and sit in the corner sulking the whole time.  but to my surprise, she happily participated in every single minute, and most surprisingly, seemed to love that her cheering section (jason and me and my parents) were STARING at her from only about 15 feet away!  she even did the classic, sweet wave that kids do to their parents in the audience, and it just made me the proudest mama.  so, it looks like ballet is here to stay….for now, at least!



FINALLY!  the outer banks beach post you’ve all been waiting for, i know!  i realize this post took me a ridiculously long time to prepare, and you may be wondering why i didn’t just forget it and move on to covering the rest of the summer fun we’ve had.  the answer is simple: scrapbooking.  this blog is serving as my temporary scrapbook for arden because, right now, i can’t begin to fathom where i would find the spare time to sit down and cut out photos and decorative papers and hand-write all the memories into a beautiful book.  so i plan to use this blog as a ‘reminder’ of all the fun times one day, when arden goes off to college or gets married, and i can make that spare time a priority.  wishful thinking?  maybe, but it’s the best plan i’ve got at the moment!

this vacation was special for so many reasons.  our family hadn’t been to the beach together in….i don’t even know how many years, but since before i started dating jason!  elise had just graduated college the weekend before.  it offered arden her first sandy toes and view of the ocean, and she swam in a pool for the first time.  amelia was pregnant with katie wilkes (coming soon!), and although lee had been to the beach before, we hadn’t yet experienced it with him.  and we had extended family members – my uncle andy and his family – join us at our marvelous 3-story beach house in nag’s head, nc.  oh, and did i mention it was a vacation?  V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N.  ’nuff said.

here is arden, sleeping but soaking in the serenity, on her first ‘walk’ along the atlantic:

and here is our little beach bum, jumping the waves with daddy for the first time.  the water was icy cold, but she was a trooper.  i think she was too stunned to cry, so she just yelled at the waves a bit and then moved on to tasting the sand.

i was excited that, for the first time in what seemed like forever, i was able to get down on the floor and truly play with the kids.  every time i had seen lee over the last year or so, i had been either hugely pregnant or still recovering from labor, so i had to ‘play’ with him from a couch or chair, and it drove me crazy.  i like to get down on their level, so i made sure to get in some good snuggle-time and tickle-time with my sweet nephew! 

this window looking out to the deck on the top level was a popular spot for playing when we needed a break from the wind and sun. 

while arden was napping, i got in some quality beach time hanging with the hardmans and watching lee throw his ball into the ocean over and over:

with any beach trip, there comes a time when you need a break from the beach.  okay, that’s a nonsensical lie in my book!  but jason tends to like the pool more than the beach, so i knew he was dying to get arden swimming as soon as possible.  the 2 best things about our pool were that it was a) private and b) HEATED.  the heat factor was especially valuable with the cool temperatures of nag’s head in may.  and it was perfect for arden’s first swim:  jason just walked her right in, and she started splashing around like she was in some enormous bathtub!

we did manage to get out of the beach house from time to time for a little activity.  and no: drooling, snoring, driving half a mile for ice cream and drinking beer do not count as vacation ‘activities.’  jason and my dad went to play golf one day, so arden and i jumped in the car with my mom, elise and our good family friend, dede, for a lovely drive up and down the sounds to see a few of the infamous outer banks lighthouses.  (more on those later….)  here we are getting ice cream (hey, we drove more than half a mile for it!) right before realizing we locked the keys in car and had to wait for AAA.  but what better place to be stranded, right?  it was gorgeous.  and arden crossed another first off of her list: ice cream from kiki.  most people would start with chocolate or vanilla, but i wanted to start her off right with my favorite flavor: coffee!

i’ll end with some of my favorite family portraits from our last night together on vacation, before the loooooooong drive home.  i am getting all misty and sentimental about it, just going through these photos….

the trip was way too short, so we’ll just have to do it again!

(that’s our fantabulous beach house behind lee in the background!)

another reason this trip was special was because we got to stop in atlanta on the way to north carolina, and again on the way home, to see the weeks family.  a bonus was that nathan was home from serving in the air force for a short break before heading off to korea.  we really enjoyed this relaxing time together since, as we all get older, it’s not often that all 4 brothers (and their ladies) are in the same room.  nathan has now gone to korea, and then to alaska for a short stint, and then back to korea.  we are so happy that he is getting to see the world in such a courageous way.  he makes us proud!

little mae’s first birthday party was incidentally my first birthday party to shoot as a professional.  it was so much Fun (note the capital F) and felt nothing like work.  i hope i get to shoot another party soon….and i hope they have cupcakes from muddy’s bakery!

happy first birthday, mae!!!!!  and many moooooooooooooore…….

i am finally doing it.  jumping into the deep end without my floaties on.  biting into that piece of pie without knowing what the filling is.  falling backwards wearing a blindfold and trusting that my friends will catch me.  launching a PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS!!! 

i fell in love in college: not only with jason, but also with photography.  after several courses, years of education and experience as an interior designer during which i learned to take and edit marketing photos, and basically having a camera with me at all outings and occasions over the last 15 years (!), i am ready to take my passion for photography to another level.  i now offer the following services: 

  • portrait photography (babies, children, teenagers, families, pets…)
  • maternity and labor photography
  • event photography (children’s birthday parties, anniversaries, baby/wedding showers… or any other type of event, as long as it’s legal!)
  • engagement photos
  • unique and fun ‘photo booths’ (for any event type)

additional information on the following is available upon request at

  • fees for all types of photography (temporarily discounted to assist me in building my portfolio)
  • additional portfolio photographs
  • details about unique labor photography and photo booth services
  • the CD and quantity of photographs you will receive, included with your session fee
  • types of digitally ‘enhanced’ photos available (for a minimal charge)
  • upcharge fees for travel (to nearby locations such as jackson, nashville, little rock)

i believe that no event is too small or insignificant to capture forever with a camera, from the smallest family birthday party – to a girls’ night out – to the day you bring your newborn baby home from the hospital.  my fees will always remain flexible for these unique (and sometimes shorter) sessions.  

in the future, i plan to claim an official business name and launch a website with an extended portfolio.  for now, check out these marketing flyers (below).  and, as always, refer to this BLOG (in the ‘snapshots’ category under the ‘organized chaos’ tab to the right) for my best photos.

stay tuned for shots from my first gig yesterday: little mae’s 1st birthday party.  if my laptop charger hadn’t kicked the bucket 2 minutes after uploading the 500 photos I snapped, i would be posting my favorites today!  but alas, you (and i) will have to wait 3-5 days for amazon shipping to deliver my new charger to see the awesome photos….

and awesome they are! 

i finally made a craft for my first-born.  yep, that’s right: started it….and then finished it.  just like that.  BOO-YA!  and it was actually ready in time for her first christmas (outside of my belly, that is).  the process of making this ornament has re-inspired me to want to create all kinds of toy and decor items out of felt and scrap fabric, something i’ve been mulling over doing for quite a while now.  so the sketches are in full swing, and prototypes are to follow, which will hopefully lead to a small business venture in the near future.  if you truly have faith in my craftiness, you may place an order now for a unique 2010 ornament or stocking for your little one.  but for now, you’ll just have to trust me that it will be the cutest-darn-tootin-est ornament or stocking you’ve ever hung!


it is SOOOO cold in memphis today.  usually i get really excited about winter’s arrival, and i spend every single day of winter hoping for just one day of snow.  (and that’s usually all we get!)  but this week, i was very lazy and stayed indoors, due to cold temperatures and heavy rain.  but i got lots of (internet) christmas shopping done AND holiday cards mailed on time (meaning BEFORE the holidays!), thanks to jason’s incredible help with card-assembling this morning.    

all this dreary weather made me miss the gardening season, or rather realize that i pretty much missed the gardening season!  i barely did any work in the yard this fall, but i did manage to take arden out one day and move some calla lilies that had become overcrowded from our front yard to the back.  heck, if everyone is going to call her nature-themed nursery ‘arden’s garden,’ then i feel obligated to do some gardening in the yard that her nusery overlooks!  arden seemed to enjoy her first gardening experience, although for her it mostly meant sitting in a vibrating chair while the dogs ran circles around her and i sang and grunted and moaned and heaved buckets of dirt and became covered with it!  for me, the work was much more enjoyable than usual, because i had my daughter to keep me company, and i dreamed alot about the day when she will be big enough to help me dig and plant and watch beautiful things grow.  

this is the song i sang to arden while i worked:

dan west nursery told me to move the lilies once they wilt...ya think this is wilted enough?!?

mr. gnome marks the spot so i won't forget where the bulbs were replanted!

not so sure the stems were supposed to break off the bulbs like this…woops.


my very scientific way of tracking the bulbs i dug up


thanks to a short video found online, i learned how to store extra bulbs for next spring!

if anyone has any tips for moving, planting or storing calla lilies or other bulbs, please feel free to share….i still have A LOT to learn about maintaining our garden!

The happy new family of THREE!

The happy new family of THREE!
well…. it took me a while but i am finally posting a blog!  i am quite behind in arden updates, considering she’s 9 1/2 weeks old now!  but at least i am getting started.  my plan is to get caught up with sharing some of her milestone moments from the last 2 months, especially for the out-of-town family and friends, and then (hopefully) post an update about once per week.  (this blog is not solely for news about lil’ miss arden, but i admit that most of my posts will probably include her in some way…. what can i say?  she is the center of our lives right now, after all!)  we hope you all enjoy seeing arden marie as she grows, and learning about the adventures that await jason and me in our busy and, no doubt, exciting future together as parents. 
Baby Arden, just minutes old.

Baby Arden, just minutes old. She arrived into the world at 1:11 a.m. on Thursday August 6th, at 8 lbs. 3 oz. and 21 1/2" long.

Mama finally getting to hold Arden, after a VERY long night and day....and yet another night at the hospital. 

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