Image by Laura Ketteman

Image by Laura Ketteman

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 89. Being Me, Part 2.

After yesterday's entry, I feel as though I probably sounded a bit like a crazy person.  Oh well, who am I kidding?  Today only confirmed the craziness that is my life.

I should have probably been more specific in my terminology, in that while my personality does not do well with too much structure and/or routine, I DO need organization.  I like plans.  I may not do the same thing on the same day every week, but I do like things to go a certain way... another way that I've had to retrain my process of thinking.

After posting the picture of the papers stacked on my dining room table yesterday, I was feeling rather guilty that it had gotten so out of hand.  Today was the only day this week, that I planned to be home most of the day, so I wanted to tackle that chore, as well as fold and put away the ginormous basket of socks and underwear that has been gawking at me at the end of my hallway.  (I do DO housechores.  I just don't like them!)

In my mind, I had a plan.  I got my boys up and off to school.  I was going to catch up on a few photography business chores, and then I planned to tackle the house chores I needed to accomplish.  As is life, I received a phone call in reference to my dog's checkup earlier this week.  "Mrs. Ketteman, we are sorry to inform you that Mandy has whipworms."


The rest is kind of a blur to me.  I am still getting over the shock of it.  You see, I am a very conscientious pet owner.  I believe that if you're going to own a pet, you need to be prepared to be a responsible one.  That means annual checkups, proper care, vaccinations, etc.  I BATHE my dogs weekly, for heaven's sake!  I don't want icky dogs, especially around my children!  We do the whole "kit and caboodle," from flea treatments to heartworm preventatives.  Apparently, whipworms are the worm-exception to what the medicine will prevent.

So, here I am again... planning to get housechores completed for the day, and my plan is interrupted.  See?  This is where it comes in handy to be flexible!  I had to go out back and get yet another doggie-doo sample (from my OTHER dog) to be tested, to see if she is also infected with the nasty bug.  Then, I had to drive to the vet office, pick up the medicine, and to the pet store to get canned dog food (smells like vomit, for real), because the medicine gets sprinkled on the food.

You see that it is clearly marked, as to not confuse my children with something THEY may want to eat in the fridge.  Ick.
Mandy seems to be completely unaffected by the ordeal.  She's perfectly content at this time, resting calmly at my feet as I type.

On a happier note, I took more pics of my irises today.  I don't know why, but I'm drawn to them.

Could this possibly be a yellow one?

Now, maybe I have time to fold some socks????

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 88. Being Me.

This is my dining room.  Nice, huh?  Lovely.  Warm.  Homey.  Cozy.  That table just makes you want to cook something and set out beautiful dishes to serve it on.  Riiiiiiiiigggghhhht!  :)

Have you ever met those women who just seem to have everything together?  As soon as you read that line, a name AND an annoyingly perfect face popped into your head.  We all have that person.  I'm NOT that person.  But do you know what I've discovered?... neither is "THAT" person!

I've been a wife for thirteen years.  I've been a mother for ten.  I've been ALIVE for thirty-three.  The older I become, the more I realize that I canNOT force myself to become something I am not.  Period.  Do I have room to grow?  Absolutely!  Can I improve?  Oh, I assure you!  But I can't change those aspects about my personality, no matter HOW hard I try, that are just WHO I am.  (Yes, this is leading up to the clutter-filled dining room table.)

For years, I have tried to fit a pre-determined mold.  I thought when I stayed home with my kids, it was my job and my duty, to have the house spic-n-span clean daily, gourmet food on the table for dinner every night, laundry finished every week and neatly folded and put away in everyone's drawers.  Not only did I think this was an accurate picture, I actually believed I could and WOULD achieve it!  Why not?  I would have so much time to kill!  How much time could one, little baby possibly occupy?  Once again, I say... Riiiiiigggghhhhht!

If this is your gift, I commend you for it.  But I would dare say that most of us are more like myself... in that, we try and try and TRY to fit into what we "think" we should be, as opposed to embracing who God actually made us to be.

Am I the most unorganized person I've ever met?  Nope.  Am I the neatest?  Nope, not that either.  BUT I am working really, REALLY hard to accept who I am, just as I am.  That dining room table haunts me, and I assure you it's not the worst spot in my house.  My pride would not allow me to take a picture of the clutter filled corner of my basement.  Or the laundry room.  Or my bedroom.  But you know, it's all relative.  What one person considers a disaster, another may only consider a bit of clutter.  The dining room table gets cleaned off fairly consistently.  The school papers pile up.  Children's books get placed after reading at bedtime and the dog leashes are often tossed after my hubby or I have taken them running (yes, I'm running (kind of), but that's a story for another day).  And if we're expecting guests, or planning a special occasion, I'll run around like a chicken with my head cut off, getting everything in order again.  It stays that way for about a week, and it all starts to pile around me once more.  Why?  BECAUSE LIFE HAPPENS!  Nothing frustrates me MORE than to do work that will only get UNDONE as soon as I've finished it.  Oh, I'm just getting on a role now, folks!

Here's the deal... It is NOT my nature to be structured, organized, and routine.  For heaven sakes, I don't even wash my hair, my body, and my face in the same order during my shower every morning!  I do my best to keep up with the important things.  Have I mentioned I have three children?  Have I mentioned that life happens?  God graced me with a husband who was specifically designed to find my quirks endearing.  Some of the things I dislike the most about myself, are the same reasons he finds me lovable.  He has a very real perspective on priorities.  I am blessed that he does not have unrealistic expectations of my role in our family.  He knows I do my best.  I love him with all of my heart, and I make sure he has fresh iced tea in the fridge when he comes home from work (most of the time!).  I make dinner for my family every evening (even if we have to push the papers from the kitchen table to the dining room table).  I carpool my children back and forth to school, and I help them with their homework.  Everyone's soap, shampoo, and toothbrush magically gets replaced when it runs out.  Pantries are miraculously filled with food.  I do laundry religiously (don't ask me about how often it gets put away) and my children are, more often than not, clean, fed, and happy.  :)

My point is, SO WHAT if the dust bunnies in my bedroom are a little out of control?  And why do I feel it necessary to make excuses for it to ANYONE?  I think the world would be a happier place if we all worried less about what everyone else was doing and/or accomplishing, and concerned ourselves more with our own selves and families... how we can grow, how we can learn...

Being real isn't being weak.  It's being honest.  Showing others your true colors, whether it be a weakness or a strength, is just telling the truth.  So, why do we worry about it so much?  I teach my children to worry about what God's opinion is of them, not the people around them.  Why should I be any different?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 87. Random.

I decided it was time to take the Easter decorations off the fridge.  I like to decorate the fridge with seasonal artwork that the kids have made.  It's a fun way to "organize" what goes up and what comes down.  These were our selections from the Easter collection this year.  :)  I don't get much from my oldest anymore, so I will treasure this phase for as long as it lasts with the other two! 

BTW, take a look at the yellow chick on the far left corner.  Those are my youngest's handprints for wings.  How adorable is that????  And the brown finger painting on the pink paper... that was supposed to be an Easter bunny painting.  My son decided it should be a CHOCOLATE bunny instead.  It works!

I had errands to run all day.  First on the list, was the little dog's annual vet checkup.  Poor baby had to get stuck four times!  Three shots.  One blood test.  All to keep her healthy for the year.  But now, she's all caught up, and I had to buy a little treat to cheer her up.  I bought her and her sister matching collars.  :)  Here they are, sitting in the yard, trying very hard to sit still even though they are concentrating intently on the neighbors next door... bounce, bounce, bouncing up and down on their trampoline, their little heads making quick appearances over the fence.  I suppose you can imagine why they might be intrigued. 

Aren't they just darling?  Don't mind the big streaks of dampness down their backs.  They had just gotten their flea treatments.  My oldest told me that would look gross in a picture, and I swore to him that it wouldn't show up too badly.  Guess he was right.  Ick.  That stuff is NASTY!

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful...

...or because I did this on the back porch!!!!  (She's lucky she's cute!  Just sayin'!... the little one would NEVER be so unfeminine!)

This was the other treat I brought home for the girls.  It doesn't seem fair that Ellie gets treats when Mandy was the one with the vet visit, HOWEVER if I don't treat them both... well, we all know what would happen!  Big Bully Ellie would steal it all from Mandy.  So, I gave one to each of them.  And what happened?  Ellie ditched hers, just so she could steal Mandy's anyway.  Sheesh.

And when they claim they're "tough" dog toys, don't believe it!  If it's made of fabric at all, you've wasted your money.  I don't know when I'm going to learn!  Mandy could have played with one of these for MONTHS... back in the day before Ellie was around.  Oh well, I guess we'll keep her anyway!  (And when Ellie's put away in her kennel, I'll let Mandy have it all to herself!  HA!  She's a big girl, and she has earned that privilege!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 86. Caterpillar.

This is the furry, little friend who greeted us this morning.  He was just casually hanging out on the side of the garage door.

My youngest son was so excited!  He is studying caterpillars in his class, so he asked if we could take our friend to school today.  I obliged, as long as we could bring him home at the end of the day, and put him back in the environment he belongs!  :)

The only container we could find was the empty English muffin box on the counter from this morning's breakfast.  Hey, it worked!

I had to get a few snapshots before we let him go free.  If his colors are this beautiful as a caterpillar, I wonder what kind of butterfly he'll be!

My son named him "Green Leaf."

We put him in the plants underneath our tree.  I thought it was a little nicer than his garage home.  He even  had some raindrops to drink from.  :)

He was telling us goodbye, and thanked us for the fun day.

We told him it was our pleasure, and my son gave him one last "pet" goodbye.

Day 85. Purple.

One of the purple irises bloomed.  That's pretty much all i have to say about that.  Beautiful, isn't it?

This is totally against my personality, but I actually prefer the white ones.  Typically, I'm all about color and lots of it!  But there's something about the purity and beauty in the white that sweeps me away.  But never mind me... I may change my mind tomorrow!  :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 84. Thunderstorms.

Remember my beautiful "purple bud tree"?  It stormed today.  This is all that's left.  :(

It happens so fast!  Spring comes, and goes... barely enough time to take a snapshot!

In fact, I don't think I even posted pictures of the dogwood in bloom.  I know I took them, but I must have had something else I wanted to post that day. 

Here's what's left of it after today's storm.

This is the river that runs through our back yard when it rains.  Isn't it lovely?  The dogs just LOVE to play in that river...  Yuck.

Literally, about twenty minutes after the previous pictures, the sun peeked through the clouds.  Sometimes I think God just likes to remind us He's in control.  :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 83. Photography

I warned you in the title... if this is something you're NOT interested in, read no further!!!  :)

First, I'll tell you a little bit about this sweet family.

Most of the folks I photograph, I know personally on some level.  I enjoy the experience both ways.  It's fun to meet someone new, but it's also fun to have an existing comfort level established with someone I know!  (It's an added benefit that when I'm ungraceful, clumsy, or too chatty, they're not surprised!)
I've known this family for several years.  We've gone to church together for a long time.  I even taught their little boy in his KG year of Sunday School.  (He's now in middle school, but I'd rather not talk about THAT!)  A few years ago, our families got to know one another better by setting off on a church plant adventure!  We have since moved back to our home church, but they are still serving away at the church plant!  I miss them!  But I'm thrilled for the work they're continuing.

Anyway...  This picture reflects several of the reasons I LOVE taking photographs.

First, I absolutely love capturing generational portraits.  There are three generations, as you can probably notice, in this picture.  This was taken upon the grandparents' request, and I was so honored to have a part in it!  I wish I had a picture like this including my own parents and grandparents.  What a treasure.

Second, what I love about capturing a traditionally, generational portrait... is that I can make it LOOK traditional with the added benefit that it is NOT.  Digital is a magnificent tool.  I can become completely absorbed in tinkering with a photograph until I get exactly what I like.  I'm NOT a SOOC (straight out of the camera) kind of girl.  Some photographers aren't, but there are those that really enjoy getting the raw image to be as beautiful as they can without ever having to edit it after the fact.  It's an art, I assure you!  But I LOVE to edit afterwards.  I get a kick out of more vibrant colors.  I am in awe of combining three photographs to make one perfect image of EIGHT people... all with pleasant expressions and open eyes!  I'm obsessed with vignettes and color effects and collages!  Oooh, I get excited, just thinking about it!

So, I'll show you the before, just for kicks, and you can try to figure out what I changed.  :)

The differences are subtle, but they are there.  :)

This comparison is probably easier.  There's a combination of changes made in this.  I thought the end result was a very pretty picture.

Here are a few more, just for fun.  Aren't these just gorgeous children?  I can't believe how fast they're growing.  Can you see the mischief in the smile of that young man?  Well, if you can't, I assure you that it's there!  The oldest daughter is in higschool, and she is tall and long and gorgeous.  Look at that smile!  I would have probably been jealous of her in highschool!  I could probably be now, but I've matured.  Hee, hee!  :)  Their youngest girl is my oldes son's age, but about half the size.  :)  I find her to be absolutely beautiful... I'm pretty sure she looks just like her mama must have at this age.  :)

Siblings... true colors!

So pretty!

Oh, I wish I could have taken them ALL outside!!!  It was drizzling out!  :(  Rain has sometimes got to be a photgrapher's GREATEST curse.  Ugh.  This was on the front porch, just underneath the porch roof.  Such a pretty family.  I just can't get over all of that gorgeous hair!

P.S.  If you're one of the two people who has never heard of the Pioneer Woman, you should check out her blog.  She loves to give tips on color effects and how she changes up photos all the time.  She does amazing things with her talents, whether it be cooking or photography, or just plain, story telling!  I'm pretty sure my husband has a crush on her.  I find him chuckling while reading her blog often!  Anyway, she uses a lot of Photoshop Elements, which I've heard is very user friendly.  I'll let you in on a secret, I know NOTHING about it.  I've been meaning to take some classes, because I'm sure it would be useful!  I'm classic at getting stuck in a rut, and I've used the same Microsoft program that I got YEARS ago.  I'm fairly certain they don't even sell it anymore.  :P  Ugh. 

Well, enough of my chatter!  Happy weekend, Everyone!

Day 82. Peanut Butter Cookies

I know I post way too many pictures of food.  Haha!  But these were post-worthy.  I found the recipe on line, but what I found to be interesting, is that it doesn't call for ANY flour?!  They were so peanut buttery and delicious.  If you'd like to try them, here's the recipe:

2 cups peanut butter (I used Trader Joe's, salted, creamy)
2 cups white sugar (I used brown; it's what I had on hand)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Roll into balls.  (I used my cookie scooper.  Much faster.  Less messy.)
Do the fork crisscross thing on the top before baking (I forgot on one set, and they were fine.)
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, 350 degree oven, greased cookie sheets (I used natural butter)

There was another recipe that only called for peanut butter, eggs, and sugar.  I'm going to try that one next, and I'll let you know if I like it better!!!  :)  I think the baking soda in this one, gives it that extra saltiness that is so yummy with peanut butter.  ENJOY!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 81. Before and After.

This is my husband.  He is SO not going to like that I've posted this, but he'll get happy in the same pants he got mad in.  Haha!  :)  We were talking the other day, about the fact that he didn't have any "before and after" pictures of his weight loss.  Of course, this prompted me to dig through my photo files.  This would not be an exact picture of the timing of it all... but it does give an accurate representation of his "before and after."  :)  It also says a whole lot more about my wonderful husband than meets the eye.

First of all, you can see how much he "loves" to have his picture taken!  The first photo was taken around his birthday a few years ago.  His mom asked me to take it, and that was the only way I could guilt him into letting me do it.  The second one, I practically begged and pleaded, on hands and knees.  I had the "comparison shot" in mind, and noticed he'd worn the same shirt as in the first picture.  He finally gave in (because he loves me!) and let me take a quick photo in the back yard before he left that day.  Can you see the exuberance in his expression?  Yep, he loves me!

What these photos represent more than an obvious weight loss, is a trait in my husband that I absolute adore... his determination.  That guy on the left, is the guy I'd been married to for several years!  Incidentally, I found him to be extremely handsome!  :)  But one day, he came home, and told me he planned to lose thirty pounds.  I smiled, and nodded, and was probably way less supportive than I should have been... But before I knew it, he was shedding pounds faster than I'd ever imagined!  I was buying new clothes left and right, because the guy couldn't keep his pants up!  :)  Watching his diet became second nature, but then the real obsession began... he started running.  He started increasing his miles, and became fascinated with his trips to Fleet Feet.  :)  Then, we entered the racing scene.  I don't know how many "little" ones he has done, but I know he has done THREE half marathons since that time.  I find him to be absolutely amazing.

I'm pretty sure his "thirty pounds" ended up being sixty.  And he keeps it off, too.  If he notices a slight increase one week, he'll lose it the next.  I often tease with him, that if a woman could ever hope to lose ten pounds within a week, the way a man could, we would be way more likely to continue the process!  But the fact is, it's not "easy" for anyone.  I have to give credit where credit is due, and my husband is totally awesome.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 80. Ouch!

In my last entry, I mentioned "injury" causing my blogging to get behind.  Here's the short and sweet version:

Over the weekend, I woke through the night with a horrible pain shooting through my right arm.  I tried to wait it out through the weekend, and the pain only worsened.  I went to the doctor on Monday, and he diagnosed me with rotator cuff tendonitis.  I was prescribed pain medication and a heavy duty anti inflammatory, with instructions to come back in for possible physical therapy if I wasn't better within a week.

There... that was short and sweet enough, right?  Now, here's the real life deal.  It's very DIFFICULT to be a stay at home mom/wife without the use of my right arm!!!!  I would imagine this would be difficult for any role, however, this is the role I'm in, so it's where I identify.  It became very clear to me, very quickly, just how many motions my body makes, that somehow connect to my arm!

It also became very apparent very quickly that I was going to need HELP!  My sweet, little family has been absolutely awesome.  My boys have pitched in on house chores.  My husband gets the job of helping me do things like get dressed and more importantly... listens to me WHINE, WHINE, **SNIFFLE**, WHINE, WHINE!  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you this is probably the most pain I can remember ever feeling.  There are two other times in my life that might compare... those, and maybe childbirth, but at least those had good endings (and epidurals!).

The funny thing, is this: I have no idea how I did it!  I am hardly an athletic person.  I did some online research, and this is a very common injury, however it happens for folks who play sports.  My doctor asked if I'd been doing any work with my arms up over my head.  Ummm, no.  I read in one place, that it can be anything that causes overuse of the shoulder... They gave examples like mopping, or even overextending your arm backwards to reach from the front seat of your car to the back (which, of course, I do all of the time... Hello!  I have 3 kids!).  And I have a horrible habit of sleeping with my arms up, whether they be to lay my head on, or tucked up under my pillow.  I would occasionally wake up sore, and my husband warned me no good could come from sleeping that way.  Could that possibly be the cause of the ordeal I'm suffering now?  I have no clue.  It's all very odd.  Even sitting at this computer, trying to type, is quite the chore.  Isn't that ridiculous?  This is the longest I've been able to handle being on it at one time, since Friday!  Well, enough of my drama.
The end to this story remains to be seen.  Today I'm doing a bit better.  I can sit without feeling the pain throb through my arm, which is definitely improvement!  Hopefully, as the week progresses, my recovery will as well!  In the meantime, I am cherishing sweet moments like I captured this evening... which is a photograph of my ten year old, peeling potatoes for our dinner.  That is a beautiful sight to behold!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 76 - 79. Catching up!

Thursday was my last entry, and today is Monday.  Oh dear.  Weekends are a sure-fire way for me to get behind on this little 365 project of mine.  So is injury!  But I'll explain that at another time.  For now, let's get started:

Day 76.

These are our irises.  Their first blooms of this season appeared this weekend.  The first spring we lived here, I thought they were daffodils.  I kept noticing that daffodils were blooming all over my neighborhood, but I only had leaves!  :(  I thought something must be wrong with ours!... until they bloomed a few weeks later and I realized they weren't daffodils at all!  Haha!  So, every year, I look forward to these little beauties.  Later, some purple ones will pop up, too.  So pretty!

Day 77.

We had a session of my side of the family.  Haven't done this in a few years, so we wanted to surprise my mom for her birthday.  Well, as is typical, it didn't end up being a surprise, and that was better off, because that way she and Dad could be included.

This is the baby of the family.  Yes, Ladies, he's still single!!!  He will KILL me for writing that!  Oh well!  Love you, Buddy!!!  :)

I was 14 years old when he was born.  That seems like so long ago!  Oh, I couldn't have possibly loved him more.  I took him everywhere my parents would let me.  He was a light in my world during some turbulent, teenage years.

This is the next youngest in line, and his beautiful bride.

I've written before about these two.
Working our way up to the girls! My little sister... the "middle child," and trust me, SHE IS! :)  She is my daily phone buddy.  We swap kid stories as we do our housework throughout the day.  There's something wonderful about a sibling relationship, because you never have to be "on."  If you're having a bad day, it's okay to be crabby.  And if you just don't feel like talking, you can say so.  And if you're really excited about something someone else might think is no big deal, they will find joy in it with you.

This was my favorite of her family that day.  This photo tells quite a story.  :)  Look at the expressions on the faces of my fun, little nephew and niece.  Yes, quite a story.

Last but not least, the second born.  She was my worst enemy and my best friend growing up.  Only two years between us, we did everything together as little sisters.  I love this photo of her.  She's so pretty!

The King and Queen of it all:

I couldn't decide on my favorite, so I'm adding a few.  My sweet parents.  They just celebrated 38 years of marriage.  They are Dad and Mom to all five of us (and one little one who is already in Heaven).  They are Papa and Mammaw to their five grandchildren.  I love them.

A few of the five of us for fun:

Take 1.

Take 2.  Still not ready.

Take 3.  Getting there...

Final Take.  Voila!  It'll do!  :)

Day 78.

We have a beautiful cardinal flying around our neighborhood. I've been patiently waiting to find a moment to capture his beauty at just the right time. He always flies away. This picture was my oldest son's idea. It's the closest we're going to get for now! Haha! :)

Day 79. Sidewalk Art.

This is how the kiddos passed the time the other day, while we were working on our family session. As I clicked away, they decorated my back porch steps. Aren't they beautiful? :)

My photo
ilLaurastrations Photography began in Spring of 2009.