Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Laura's Bridals

Michael's cousin is getting married in January and asked me to take her bridals. How could I pass up taking a tall, blond, beautiful, and FUN bride's pictures? We had a blast, and Laura did an amazing job despite the freezing temperatures.

I did almost have a heart attack when she laughed into the straw of the Coke she was drinking and it blew up all over her dress. Thanks to some quick thinking, I had her stand up and we wiped it off the dress with a coat. Luckily, there are no spots on the dress!






Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Small Magazine

Have you had a chance to check out Small Magazine? It is adorable!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


We have a little tradition that on the babies first Christmas we take an "all natural" baby picture in a Santa hat.

Reece's First Christmas

Maya's First Christmas

Mason's First Christmas

And, our sweet little Madelyn's First Christmas

But, this tradition didn't start with us, it started way back in 1975 with my sweet husband's first Christmas. Isn't he a doll?


This picture just never stops getting funny, and has SO MANY MANY uses!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Hey There Big Fella"


Yes, this is what Mason says to Madelyn. It is so funny I just hate to tell Mason that a "fella" is normally a boy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You are What You Live

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with fear,
he learns to be apprehensive.

If a child lives with pity,
he learns to feel sorry for himself.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with jealousy,
he learns to feel guilt.


If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns to be confident.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to be appreciative.

If a child lives with acceptance,
he learns to love.

If a child lives with honesty,
he learns what truth is.

If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith in himself and those about him.

If a child lives with friendliness,
he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.


Dorothy L. Law, 1959

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ahhhh Thanksgiving

I realize I'm posting my Thanksgiving post way late, all the savvy bloggers have their Thanksgiving musings up the day after Thanksgiving. Not I.


Our Thanksgiving story starts with an ugly turkey I drew and feathers that hold things we are grateful for. Mason is very thankful for robots and sea monsters, oh how they have touched our lives! What would we do without them?

This year, was the best Thanksgiving EVER! Alas, Reece and I are both glad it is over so that we can start enjoying Christmas. You see, we believe in keeping our holidays pure. If it is Halloween, let's enjoy Halloween, when it is Thanksgiving time, I just want to focus on Thanksgiving. Reece and I had to roll our eyes, complain, and banter back and forth about retailers not letting us enjoy our holidays one at a time. Why do I have to start listening to Christmas music in October?

Now, onto the pictures and boring details of our Thanksgiving....

Last year we went to Golden Corral for our Thanksgiving meal. It was great, everyone got to eat what they wanted, while nobody had to slave for hours in the kitchen cooking (Michael) and nobody had to spend hours cleaning up (me). So, it was decided, Golden Corral again this year. The sign says it all.


We did have a few pity invites from well intentioned friends. When they heard that we were going to Golden Corral for Thanksgiving we would get the invite to their cousin's, uncle's, twice removed aunt Marsha's house for dinner, and they were sure nobody would mind. What they didn't understand was that although it is really "white trash" to go, it was a choice. It wasn't our only option. Each day leading up to the "big day", we would all make our personal "play list" of what we were going to eat....I'll start with the pizza, then move to steak. Steak, how many people get to say they had steak?


It was just great to be together as a family, and with all the "interesting" people there with us, it felt just like being with extended family.




Why is it that I can't ever get all of my kids to look good in a picture? We have Maya daydreaming in one, and Mason complaining that he doesn't want more pictures in the other. They are children of a photographer, they should know to just grin and bear it!

After our meal, we went to see Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was just that....fantastic. The kids are still talking about their favorite parts and acting them out. We hurried and read the book before we went to go see it. The movie is better than the book, rare, I know.


The day didn't end there, oh no. We got some free tickets from my friend Janis to the Jazz game and just couldn't pass them up.

Reece and Michael obviously didn't hear the memo that they were supposed to pretend to be cheering.



It was one of these rare, and I mean RARE days that everything was just dreamy and wonderful. The kids didn't fight or cry, they said, "Thank You", we laughed, we ate, and we loved it all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Joy-ography Workshop

My business partner Megan and I joined photography forces over a year ago when she moved to Utah. It just felt right for both of us to work together. We both started getting into photography years ago, while she was in Texas and I was here in Utah. We started talking almost daily about cameras, new techniques, books to read, business plans, photography prices, websites and everything in between. We both had the same cameras when we first started, and we both were ready to upgrade cameras at the same time, so again we got the same camera. It was great to learn along side someone.

When she moved out here, there was no question in my mind that I wanted to get rid of "Portaits by Marisa" and start "Moondoggie Photography." We had a blast getting the ball rolling, coming up with a business name, logo, and philosophy. Megan and I have been best friends since 5th grade, and we were always plotting and planning something big.

Megan and I had something that many other budding photographers don't have, we had each other. When she would learn a new trick or technique, she would call and tell me and I did the same for her. I also had an amazing group of women photographers that would meet periodically to do the same thing. I was so lucky! I was able to learn so much quicker than learning everything on my own, book by book. I read tons of books, but the tried and true tricks of my fellow photographers were what really helped me the most.

Megan and I have been approached for help by many budding photographers whether they want to improve pictures on their blogs, want to be able to take "professional" looking pictures of their kids, or even wanting to become professional photographers. With a lot of thought and preparation, we decided that we wanted to help others learn the things that took us so long to figure out, all in just one day.

We came up with Joy-ography Workshops. You can go to our Moondoggie Blog for information as well as a new Joy-ography Workshop Blog dedicated to the website.

Cough Etiquette

I've been hearing a lot of different methods as to how to keep germs from spreading. One of the best was my friend Kristi said you need "frequent hand washing and gargling with salt water and clapping three times and doing a cartwheel before bed." This video just hits home with all the "new methods" of keeping germ free.

Saturday, November 21, 2009



So, I've been seeing these amazingly fluffy skirts on Etsy for a while and I just knew they would photograph beautifully. I just couldn't bring myself to pay $80 for one, I have two girls now, I would have to get one for each of them, of course. Kids grow so fast, so who knows how long they would actually be able to wear them. It's a lot of money to spend for photographing my kids or to spend on a dress up skirt. But, I was in the fabric store the other day and saw that there was a class on how to make them. I signed myself right up. I'm thinking, if I could make them, then I could make one in every size and color and use them for my photography business!!!

After signing up for the class, I started thinking about how much ruffling you would have to do, and that the fabric does not look easy to work with. Both of which are very true. BUT, it wasn't nearly as hard as I had anticipated. I now know WHY they charge $80 for them! Cynthia was an AMAZING teacher, so patient, and has great instructions. If you want to check out her free online tutorial, you can go to her blog.

I just couldn't wait to take Maya out and photograph her in it. We did a quick 5 min. shoot, and both Maya and the skirt did a fantastic job photographing. Don't you think?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Family Pictures

I HATE HATE HATE family pictures. I LOVE to take them of other families, but hate getting them done for my family. I forgot how much I hate them until this week. Megan (my business partner) and I have been taking family pictures like crazy this fall. We were talking over the weekend about how we have been so busy, we haven't even thought about our own family pictures. I was in Idaho at the time, so we decided we would do our family pictures Monday. We would bring both of our families and take turns shooting for each other. I planned on running to the store on Saturday to pick out some clothes while I was in Idaho Falls. That never happened.

Monday rolled around and I realized that I didn't have any clothes for us to wear. It was about 1:30 and I was supposed to leave at 3:30, that gave me a very small window to come up with 6 spectacular outfits that weren't matching, but coordinating, and talking my kids into actually wearing the new clothes.

Outfits set me back a few minutes, I couldn't find the shirt Michael wanted to wear, and I couldn't find him a shirt that would work at the store. So, I had to run back home and grab half his wardrobe and bring it with me.

I call Megan on my way, because I forgot to look up the directions on how to get there. She gives me the instructions, which I thought I followed to a T, but alas, I was wrong. I tried again, backtracked, and started over, wrong again. I call Megan, at this point I'm about 15 mins. late. She explains to me where I went wrong, and I made it there, just in time for the sun to set.

We were so rushed to try to get SOMETHING, ANYTHING, before it was completely dark, just so we wouldn't have to re-shoot, that neither Megan or I notice the port-a-pottie and parking lot behind us, instead of the beautiful trees. With some fancy photoshop work, I'm sure I can make it look decent, but mostly just for documentation, not for blowing up and hanging on the wall.

So at this point, I'm really disappointed and frustrated. I woke up the next morning with the ability to see the humor in it all. Megan and I have a philosophy that we explain on our website about making your picture day fun, and happy. Our picture day was anything but fun, happy and easy going. I wanted to try again, this time using our philosophy. It was 8 am, the kids were all awake, and in a great mood. All the clothes I had bought for pictures were in one big heap in my room. I gathered them, passed them out, and told the kids we were going to go try again.

I'm so glad we did. It was a beautiful morning, and the location, was just perfect, I knew I wouldn't get lost since it was just a block away. I wasn't able to get a family picture since I was acting as photographer and Michael was at work, but i got the most amazing pictures of my kids.

Here is just one of the beautiful images I got, I will be posting individual pictures of the kids once I have all of them edited. But, I have redeemed myself as well as learned a lesson.

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Suit

I have begun to really love swimming, with all the swimming for exercise and taking the kids to the pool, I had worn out my suit quickly. I can normally get about 2 years out of a suit, but with all the use and exposure to chlorine, it's worn out. I knew it was time for a new one when I held it up to the light, and you could see right through it. The bottoms of my tankini elastic was so stretched out that when I would do a flip turn and push off the wall, they would flutter, offering less than ideal coverage. Being the off season for swimming, I didn't think there would be many options for suits in the stores. I turned to online shopping for my new suit.

I was excited to find a site that offered a virtual model. I could enter my height, weight, and a few other options that described my body type, then it showed me what I would look like in each particular suit. After entering all my data, this is what I was shown.

SWEET, I'm going to look hot in my swimsuit, right? Wrong!

First off, anyone that has more than 10% body fat on their body, will not look like the above picture. Speedos are so tight that they slice right into the fat leaving you with a large bulge on both sides of the suit. Second, they should have more options than just height, weight, and whether or not you are large chested. They need to have an option for cellulite: little, moderate, or excessive, it really makes a difference in how you look in swimsuit. Just to be fair, I think they should also offer varicose veins, cankles, and knee fat on your virtual model.

This is more realistic of what I saw when I put on the suit.

I'm not even sure why they give you the option to choose a bust size. It isn't like anyone has a chest once they put a speedo on. Speedo really got it right when they figured out how to make you perfectly flat up top, while allowing the midsection to show in all it's glory.
If you happen to chance upon a virtual model in your online shopping, don't trust it!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Hungry

Mason: I'm hungry.
Mom: Do you want a carrot?
Mason: No, I want a piece of cuttie pie Madelyn!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You'd Think We Were In A Student Ward

9 of the 11 babies born this year so far in my ward.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Yup, I'm Absolutely Out of My Mind Crazy

I bought one of these...
a cloth diaper.

Just one, just to see how it all works.

Before Madelyn was born, I bought a pattern and some fabric to make these. We will try the pre-made one first, then I will invest the time and effort to make them if I like them.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I've made a terrible mistake!

At the beginning of each month there are a few things that I always try to do, start a new budget spreadsheet, bathe the dog, get out a fresh pair of contacts, and I cut all my boys hair (Michael included). Today, being the first of the month was no exception. Warning the boys that today was haircutting day was received with moaning, grumbling, and bargaining for treats.

We started out with Reece who is going for that shaggy look. I finished up pretty proud of a job well done. He goes to look in the mirror and immediately starts yelling and crying that he hates his hair so much, he will have to wear a wig. Well, there goes one unhappy customer.

I bribe Mason with a Popsicle and finally get him to sit down for me. Mason's hair is easy, I have been cutting his hair the same for the past year and it is the same haircut I give Michael. I finished up, proud of a job well done. Mason goes to look in the mirror and starts crying that he hates his haircut. I wonder where he learned that? Two unhappy customers.

I had been telling Michael earlier that I wanted to trim up Madelyn's hair. I had heard that if you cut babies hair, it will come in thicker and more even. Michael was cool with that, and said to go ahead with it. I knew that Madelyn wouldn't complain about her haircut, so she was up next. I wrapped Madelyn up in a blanket to keep the hair off of her and to keep her hands pinned down. I also figured it would be easiest to use the clippers to get a nice even length all around. With Madelyn in one hand and the clippers in the other, I started to shave her head. Michael comes running toward me yelling "NNNNNOOOOOOOO", just as I skim the top of her head with guardless clippers. YIKES, those guards really serve a purpose, don't they? Well, what was done was done, I couldn't just leave her with a landing strip on her head, could I? I now have a completely bald baby, not a speck of hair on her little head. At least she didn't 'cry and complain about it, and she by far got the worst haircut of the day.

Michael opted out of a haircut.

Anyone know the number to Great Clips, and somewhere I can get some cute baby hats?

Friday, September 18, 2009

We Are Back!

Madelyn and I are back from the Small Farm Conference, and we both had a blast. More details to come later, right now I just want to enjoy being in my house, with Madelyn asleep in her bed.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Small Farm Conference

I'm supposed to be packing, which I hate...So I'm procrastinating by writing a blog post. The only thing I hate more than packing, is unpacking. Michael can count on my suitcase sitting in our room for a few weeks after my return. When I run out of clothes to wear, or wonder where those cute new black shoes of mine are, then I will break into that pack.

So my friend Megan and I got invited by the University of Maryland to go to Springfield, Illinois to present a poster about our backyard farming blog for a Small Farm Conference held there. We leave first thing in the morning and will be returning Friday afternoon. UofM is paying for our flights and entrance to the conference. I'm sure I will be posting pictures when I return.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Best Friends

Madelyn already has a best friend, Gracie. She lives next door and was born only 2 weeks before her. Aren't they adorable?Madelyn & Gracie

Their older sisters are best friends as well and love having their own personal baby dolls.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Meanest Mom Around

Do you ever have one of those days where you just need at least ONE room to stay clean?
Well, this was my solution. Yes, I'm a terrible mom, I banned my kids from the living room. It was bliss.

It only lasted one day and the kids rejoiced when they could return to the living room.
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