Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Lieu of School Photos.....

Raise your hand if you have ever had a school picture that you have liked? Yup! just as I thought.....about 3 of you in the whole crowd. You kind of have to expect that though given the circumstances in which we are put in for shool photos. At best we are herded in, plopped down on a stool and before we can catch our breath the photographer says, "3..2..1...CHEESE!" and we plaster this panicked smile that says "Please dont let me be the one whose photo gets ripped out of the yearbook and stapled on the wall for the popular kids to throw darts at!" All of us want to have that "perfect school photo" because lets face it, once that shutter goes off, we are immortal! And who wants to go down in history looking like a dork?
This is why we never buy school photos in my house! In Lieu of school photos this year, I took my three older kids out for a photoshoot at some cool locations in Portsmouth and Newport....and look!!!!! No panicked smiles or dorks here!!! It just goes to show you what a relaxed atmosphere and a creative photographer can do to bring out the true beauty in people.
If you've never scheduled a session with one of the talented professional photographers across our nation, treat yourself to that this Fall. It will be worth every dime you spend...after all, since the release of the shutter really means instant immortality, doesn't it make sense to get the very best results that you can?

To schedule and appointment with me please go to

Tollhouse Tradition.......

Yum!!! The smell of chocolate chip cookies is wafting through my kitchen. Those that know me know that the smell of warm chocolate chip cookies in my house can mean one of three things....It's my first week in a new house (what says "you're home" more than the smell of cookies baking?), I'm incredibly stressed (baking is a sort of therapy for me during super stressful times), or it's the first day of school and the kids are due home any minute!!!

Michael is a 7th grader this year and said that his first day of school was great. He thinks he'll like his teachers and he's got a good schedule. He's in band...not sure how that happened, but we'll decide if he's going to stay there in the next few weeks. If they let him play the drums, I think he'll stay.

Madison is a 6th grader this year and said that she also likes her teachers and schedule. Some of her friends are in her class which I'm thankful for. She's in chorus this year, so we'll get to go to some concerts!

Zach is unfortunately too cool for a photo with a plate of cookies! He's a 9th grader this year and his quote upon being asked how his first day was...." It was alot gay-er than I thought it was going to be!" He does like his teachers and his schedule looks interesting. He has a few classes with his friends, so that was good news to him. He's got physics, Algebra 1, Geography, History, Television production ( which I think he'll be removed from because it requires a prerequisite), spanish 1, electronics, English 1 and PE along with a study hall. I can tell that he is proud to be in high school no matter how cool he acts! ONE of my much anticipated peace until 2 pm, went great! Bren and I met Daddy out in town for lunch and then we went to the grocery store to grab the ingredients for the cookies. We came home just in time to have one batch made before Zach walked in the door.
Today I've got to get some bows made and shipped, do three photo shoots with Bren and get a little house cleaning done. Tomorrow is grocery shopping day and Friday I am tossing around the idea of spending some time in Boston because David's Chief quarters got selected to go out and sail on the USS Constitution for the afternoon. I'd love to get some photos of that!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Summer's Last gift....

As I sit here and blog, my kids are busy rushing around to get their things ready for the first day of school tomorrow.

Pencils and pens are being fought over, paper is being secured in three ring binders and back packs are being wiped down and recycled for another year.

Ah, school time again! I can hardly wait to have my house back in the afternoons! I have visions of Bren and I sharing quality time doing her workbooks and delving into cute little crafts together. In reality I'm sure I'll spend the first week or so just scrubbing my house clean from all of the mess that two teenage boys and a distracted pre-teen girl can leave behind when they are lounging around the house all day!

As tradition has it, I'll go out and get the ingredients for Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies to bake and have ready for the kids when they get home from school. I've always wanted to be the kind of mom who greets her hungry young after a hard day at school with a healthy snack and a warm smile. Unfortunately this is the only day of the year when I have been able to pull it off with any kind of consistency. It counts though, right?

Bren and I did a photoshoot today with a set from that is intended as a preview for Spring 08. As I edited the photos, several reminded me of Summer and how fleeting those days were for us this year. Our first few months in New England have been sublime. I've been romanced by the Spring blossoms, courted by the Ocean from a cliff side view, enchanted by the mansions from the guilded age and intrigued by the quaint little shops that line the colonial streets of Newport. I am completely infatuated by New England.....but like all romances left to simmer for a while, I can sense a slight change in my partner. A little coldness, the tiniest betrayal at sunset. The leaves on the trees that once delighted me with their pure green color, now look a little different to that gold I see? Where little pink blossoms once blew across the streets, I'm now caught up in swirls of brown and yellow leaves. yup! There is no denying it! My Summer love has turned towards Autumn. now the real challenge begins. I do adore the Fall. I love the smells and the colors that accompany this comforting time of year, but will it's beauty be enough to sustain me through the cold winter to follow? I'm not the kind of girl who enjoys bitter winds and snow that sticks around for more than a day or two. I hope that New England treats me kindly this winter, but before I zip up that coat and secure my scarf around my neck, I will relish in Summer's Last Gift.....plump, ripe Blueberries from my back yard!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A new friend on the windowsill...........

I can honestly say with a straight face that Bren's favorite animal is a snail.

She's always been intrigued by them and has stopped many times during our walks to inspect one. But she's never grown so attached that she's inisited on making one a part of our family.

At least not until she met Anika.

We ran across this friendly little snail during a recent photo shoot. She was making her way across a weathered windowsill in downtown Newport off of Thames Street.

Madison and Bren stopped long enough to admire her and then we moved on up the street for more of the shoot and a wardrobe change. On our way back down the street, Bren was so excited that Anika was still there. She helped Bren (created a distraction suitable to the level of DONE that Bren was at the time!) to get through the rest of an exhausting shoot and wiggled her way into Bren's heart.

After lending so much inspiration, how could we possibly leave her behind?

Anika is now a full fledged member of our family. She is the most personable little snail I have ever seen. She has her own little aquarium, but tends to spend alot of the day hanging out on Bren's arm. Bren is fiercely protective of her new little friend.

When Anika is in her own space, she's usually in her shell, but when Bren picks her up she comes to life, bringing her body out of the shell as far as she can and lifting her head high, little antenneas waving as if to try to communicate her appreciation for being so cared for.

Now if you know Bren, you know what a strange combination of creatures this is. But slow moving, doscile anika and the ever in motion, bouncy Bren get along just fine.

Below are photos which chronicle the discovery, fascination and adoption of Anika the snail.......

The discovery.................

The fascination..............

Returning after continueing the photoshoot up the street...................

She's STILL here!!!!!

The adoption.........................

Anika's new home........................

Monday, August 13, 2007


Can't you just hear their giggles?
This is Bren as Bren is.
In perpetual motion, colorful, energetic, fearless, boisterous, jubilant!
Her zest for life is contagious, spilling out on innocent by-standers, compelling them to smile, laugh and shed all seriousness right along with her.
I wonder what you are going to be my little cherry on top, my happy ending, my exclaimation point! The stars are the limit for you, and I know you'll reach them and dare me to come along with you, just for the ride!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New York City!!!

Every year the e-bay design community gets together in NYC for what has come to be called "Summer in the City". It is thrown by a lady named Lisa who definitely knows how to entertain! The food was phenomenal! Filet Mignon, clams, mussels, jumbo shrimp and the BEST New York Cheesecake I have ever had!! She had a magician, cotton candy and a carnival ride there to wow the kids.
We decided to make a mini vacation of it and stayed for two nights at a hotel in New Jersey. We only spent one day in NYC because as you can see, Zachary sprained his ankle the night before we left and had to be on crutches. We narrowed our sight seeing down to things that required the least amount of walking. We were still able to see alot of things and had a great time!