Monday, August 30, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering...

I accidentally deleted my old blog template.

Yep. Some things never change. I'm just as technologically impaired as ever. I went in to try and clean some buttons off and remove all of the links and then ... ooopsy. I realized a little too late that I accidentally copied, then deleted, a few too many things.


I contacted my designer, who so GRACIOUSLY sent me another copy of my template, but Michelle the Wonder Monkey can't figure out how to install it.

And I'm too embarrassed to ask for help. I'm telling y'all, I need a 12 step program.

Sooo, this is how it will look for now. I was looking to change things up and simplify a bit anyway, but never planned on annihilating the whole template. Hopefully I won't annihilate the content as well. :)

I have to tell y'all, I wanted to end this post with a picture, but Blogger makes it so stinking hard to upload a picture that it's not even funny. Look at me. I'm not laughing.

And I'm not posting a picture either. So there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Was a Rock. If You Don't Count the Ugly Cry.

So... yesterday was THE day.

I sent my 10 year old Grace and 7 year old Liv off to public school for the very first time. Grace attended a private school last year and we simply didn't have the funds (as in COLD HARD CASH! Private school is ex-PENNNN-sive, ya'll!) to send one of them back, much less TWO of them. It's this little thing called eating that our family likes to do occasionally. Liv has just homeschooled for the past 2 years.

I'm not going to get into as to why we chose public school and whether or not it's wrong or right for Christians to send their children there. I might tell that story later - because I used to be one of those that said it could only be one way. Let's just say that I believe there is grace in many things and for my own personal sanity (quite literally), this was the best decision for us at this time in our lives. And look at me ... talking like people are actually READING this thing! Ha! (With exception of you, Jennifer! Thank you!)

It was a hard morning all the way around for me. The getting up part, especially. I am not a morning person, y'all. The girls, however, were JACKED up! And when the lunches were packed and the backpacks on their backs, making them look like cute little pack mules ... it was time. We had to walk out the d00r

Wow Liv. Thanks for that shot of the paper towel and Kleenex. Real classy.


And then one in front of the school... and again, the paper towel.

And then came the long walk in. Okay, not really, but it sounded more dramatic that way. Bet ya can't guess what's under Liv's left arm..


I begged for just ONE more picture. Because we all know that there is nothing more special than a shot in front of dirty, red brick.

And guess what?

AGAIN... that lovely roll of paper towel forever preserved in our 2010 Back-to-School pictures!

And then we walked into the building taking Liv to her class first so she could finally unload that cumbersome roll of paper towel. And as we stood there waiting for the teacher to greet her and send me off, I felt the lump swelling in my throat. I did not want to break out into the Ugly Cry in front of a bunch of 2nd graders, so while we were waiting I leaned down and whispered into Liv's ear that she was going to have a fantastic day and how much I loved her. That's when my voice cracked. I tried to cover with a throat clear, but I'm not 100% sure she was buying it. I managed to not sob into the teacher's bosom, waved goodbye and left.

Then I had to take Grace to her classroom. Y'all, I SO did NOT want to be THAT parent that walked into her kid's 5th grade class. But I was. She can get therapy later. I sat her at her desk and again told her I loved her, said my goodbyes and left. And I kid you not ... she was SO stinking small compared to the other girls! In more ways than one.. ::wink wink:: ... holy cow! But that's for another post. I could tell she was ready to be on her own and when the girl next to her said 'hi' to her I felt a whole lot better.

I walked down the hallway, supressing the emotional wave that was engulfing me, then out of the school. I had to walk across the street to get to my Suburban and dang it all if I didn't have to use the crossing guard. I so BAD wanted to take a picture of her, but thought that would look a little creepy to the other parents standing around. Yea. So I didn't. I finally made it across the street, got into my Suburban and proceeded to cry the very definition of the Ugly Cry.

No sir-ee, it was not pretty in the least. I went on a guilt trip or two, beat myself up a little, wiped the mascara from my weepy eyes and then drove off. It was over.

Good thing I had a busy day planned out or I KNOW I would have obsessed a time or 52. I took Hope and Charlie with me to the chiropractor and then we headed to the Land of Shoes and Great Clearance ...

Target. (angel voices singing loudly)

This would be the Target where walking through the Ladies Shoe Department, Hope loudly proclaims,

"Mommy! You have boobies!"

Charlie decides she wants in on the fun and begins yelling,

"Boobies, boobies, boobies!!" And then proceeds to start poking the aforementioned area.

I shushed Hope, but apparently not enough because the next (loud) thing out of her mouth was,

"WHY do you have boobies, Mommy? Are they to feed Charlie?"

I'm certain that is some mother out there who could have used this as a learning opportunity, I however, was NOT that mother.

We exited the shoe department swiftly. I'm not ashamed to say I ran.

I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands and only showed up 30 minutes early to pick the girls up. I thought that was pretty good for the overprotective momma that I am can sometimes be.

I am proud to announce there were two very happy, exhausted girls.

I was good until last night when I was reminded that we have to do it all over again today. ::sigh::

But hopefully without the Ugly Cry.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'm Back.

Why, you ask? Aren't I off photographing something magical for someone somewhere else and now have a 'professional' photography blog?


And in the meantime I've quit my own life. And I hate it. Not the photography, just the fact that I'm not documenting the life that matters. My own. My children are growing and time is slipping away from me and a gazillion and one funny things have happened and milestones have been achieved and I've written how many down?


So I'm back. I don't even care if anyone reads this blog. I don't really even like the 'looks' of it anymore. Funny how tastes change over time, isn't it. The point is, I'm here to tell my story. I'm here to celebrate my children.

I'm here because I need to be.

So if you've lurked around in hopes that I might come back ... you're in luck. If you just forgot to delete me from your blogroll, then guess what? You're in luck. Or not. Because I'm back, baby.

Is my photography blog important? Yes. It's terribly behind, too. But guess what? I don't care. This is the life that matters to me. The here and now. And for whatever reason, I just can't spill my guts over there and tell funny anecdotes from the things that Hope does or how I love wrapping my fingers around Charlie's soft blonde curls or how Madgirl got her driver's license this past week. I just can't.

So here I am.

I'm not sure how much I will be around but I WILL be around.

First up on the order of discussion: School.

Grace and Liv start public school for the first time tomorrow ... uh .. today. I. Am. A. Wreck. For many reasons, but mostly just because I love having my babies close to me. Call me overprotective and I'll .... I'll...I'll .... agree. ::sigh:: I am SO one of those moms.

At any rate, there's lots on my mind concerning this big day, but seriously people... I have to go to bed lest I get up late, making my children late for their first day of school.

And that is SO something I am capable of.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Your Eyes Do Not Deceive You. I Have Actually Posted.

Two months.

That's how long it's been since I've posted. I know. Bad. Not conducive to good blogging conduct as well. Some of you have even been worried about me and for that I am VERY sorry. And just for the record I am fine, Monk is fine (maybe not mentally, but that is neither here nor there) and the kids are fine.

The gist of my absence largely rests upon my photography business. It got way out of control, way fast and I didn't know how to handle it, a large family and a blog. Things were way out of balance and I had to give up something.

And it was my blog.

Y'all. It was like giving up a child. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but close. I mourned over not blogging and I cannot tell you just how many times I thought to myself, "I can't WAIT to blog this!". And then I couldn't. It was hard people. Very, very hard. And for a long time I didn't think I would ever find time to get back to it. So many things happened, including the demise of my Dell laptop.

Yes, THAT Dell. The Dell I just got last year. I killed it. In one year. What can I say, it's a gift.

I spent weeks crying because I thought I was going to lose clients pictures because my computer was malfunctioning so badly. I didn't have enough money saved in my business to be able to buy a new one and I didn't know what I was going to do. My computer was working so slowly that it was taking 3 times as long to edit pictures as it should. I was behind. Very, very behind.

I spent many evenings during the weeks leading up to Christmas at a local Border's Books just editing away. I would come home and stay up late into the night, going to bed at 1 am and getting back up at 7 am. It was a rough time, a learning time and a time I care to never revisit again.

Then my husband rescued me. He bought me a new computer. Not just any computer either. A 17 inch Macbook Pro with a 17 inch screen. It's a beauty, y'all. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this computer. It has made my job a whole lot easier. And slowly but surely I am digging out from under the mountain of editing that had piled up.

And guess what else? I'm blogging again. But more on that later... First, I'm going to give you a brief list of the things that have happened since I last blogged. Just so you know I'm not kidding when I say I was busy!

- In October I second shot my first wedding. LOVED IT!
- In November I did MANY family photos, children's photos AND photographed an entire wedding ALL BY MYSELF!
- In December my sweet Charlie turned 1!! It killed me not to blog that! My Liv turned 7 and I shot ANOTHER wedding as the lead photographer and shot a birth! By this time my computer problems were in full swing and things were not good at all.
- In January I got my new computer 2 weeks ago and since then I've shot two births, booked to be a second shooter in 3 weddings AND My Boy was accepted the University of Arkansas!! He's a HOG, y'all!! This saddens me greatly due to my undying love of my beloved Texas Longhorns. However, because of my great affinity for bacon I do believe that I can deal with him being a Hog. Sooooiiiee!!

And here's the BIG news I've been saving for last. Some of you may like it and some of you may hate it. And that's why I'm throwing it out here because I really want your opinion. And if nobody comments then I can assume my decision is made for me. So here's your chance for your voice to be heard. So SPEAK, people!

I'm fairly certain that I'm going to stop posting at all on Monk's Wife. I'm going to try and find a service to back up my years of blogging on here and call it a wrap.

HOWEVER. (Now that y'all have sucked all of the oxygen out of the room and your children are gasping for breath!)

I have purchased a professional photography blog. And because it's my personality to be totally different (or weird if you may), I'm not only going to post my photography work there, but post my personal stuff as well. Yes, even the crazy, disgusting things that occur with 6 children. I want clients to know me. The real me. And I also want to keep up with all you fine people, but I want to do it all under one roof ... er..

Some have told me that it's photographical suicide. Others have said it's brilliant. I need to do what my gut tells me to do and my gut says this is right for me. So here's the deal.

Go visit the new blog all week this week. I'll be posting personal and professional stuff all through the week. Then come back and tell me what you think. And be honest. Keep in mind that I haven't finished tweaking my blog yet. I just haven't had time. I've got the basic stuff up that I needed to get going and I'm starting there. I'll get all technical-ish later. Tell me what you like, what you don't and if you like my hair.

And the new "professional" (oooohhhh!!) blog address is:

So go on. Get out of here. And if you're still reading here after a two months absence ... God bless you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Gist of It...

If you're wondering where I've been ... it's to Crazy Town and back.

Take a look over here to see what I've been up to. Then tell me I'm supposed to have time to entertain you people. Sheesh. :)

Sometimes crazy is good and sometimes it's bad. I've got a little bit of both going on right now. But I'm always thankful for the crazy.

It means I have a life. :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Little Girls and Sweaty Curls

Charlotte's hair normally has a little wave with a curl or two here and there. However, nothing compares to this kids hair when she starts sweating. She doesn't even look like the same child!

So last week, at the beginning of her illness and one of the few times her fever broke, I took a few pictures just to prove it.

See. I'm not lyin'...

charlie curl 1

Oh my goodness... swirls of curls

charlie curl 2

And even more...

charlie curl 3

And we wondered why the thermometer quit working. Now we know...

charlie curl 4

And the cutest little curly headed sick baby ever!

charlie curl 5

Here's to sweat. And the curls it produces.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I'm Here ... In Spite of the Plague. Feed the Children. This is a Long One.

Oh, y'all. It has been a doozy last 4 or 5 days. Whew. I need a do-over.

The Plague 2009 has been upon us, is upon us and will be upon us ... as in, I don't think we're quite finished with it yet. I can hardly believe what has transpired in the last week.

When I went on my small bloggy break we had just finished Day 8 of our cleanse. Charlotte had started running fever on Tuesday evening (Day 7) and thought it was just a simple viral thing. And we're still pretty sure it was a viral thing, but there was nothing ...NOTHING, simple about it.

This child ran fevers between 101 and 102.5 for FOUR straight days. I only managed to break it twice and it was short lived when I did. I don't treat fevers that are below 101 usually and for the meds to not be able to break the high ones was ...well ...FREAKING ME OUT A LITTLE!!!!

I took Charlie to the doctor on Thursday and he (who -was- not- her- normal -doctor and whom I did not care for ...especially his little dig about vaccinations ...) didn't really know what was wrong with her. Probably a virus was his best guess, but said if her fever spikes we might want to take her to the local children's hospital. He did a flu test ~ which was negative ~ and sent us on our way. For only 25 bucks and a prescription for Amoxicillon for something that may or may not be there. Whaa?


That night (last Thursday) I was in the recliner horking up my left lung and telling Monk that it felt like I was coughing out razor blades. I was also congested and sounded like I could take out a pack of Camels in no time flat. Monk kindly (and wisely) suggested that I head to our doctor's after hours clinic, there was still an hour left before they closed and he wanted to make sure I didn't get any sicker. I hemmed and hawed and finally conceded and headed out the door.

Y'all. I have bronchitis! Dang it all.

That time the 25 bucks got a diagnosis and TWO prescriptions. An antibiotic and a cough medicine with Codeine. Now before you get too excited about the doctor prescribed narcotics, it was pretty much a bust. But I'll get to that later.

Have I confused you yet? Good.

So Thursday night I take my Narcotic Num-Nums and proceed to go to bed. Charlie wakes up crying. I nurse her (which is a very loose term because she was not nursing well at this point) and check her temperature. It's 11:45 pm and her temp is 102.4. I give her some Advil and we both go back to sleep. I'm awakened at around 1 am by her squirming around. Out of habit I touch her forehead and she is BURNING UP! I take her temp again and it is now 103.8!!!

I JUMP (and I seriously mean JUMP!) out of bed and proceed to throw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. I wake Monk and tell him I'm taking Charlotte to the children's hospital. I grab and extra set of jammies for her, some socks, wrap her in a blanket and head out the door. It's now 1:15 am. Children's hospital is only about a 15 minute drive and I was ever so relieved when I pulled into the parking lot to see it wasn't that crowded. I throw open Charlie's door, get her out of the carseat and proceed a few steps. I pull her to me as I'm walking and touch her forehead to my lips.


The fever was practically gone. I stood in the garage for a few minutes contemplating what I was going to do. I walked back to Phil and got into the backseat with Charlotte. I sat there with her held next to me for probably 15 minutes and then decided to head home. I wasn't going to expose her to every other germ in Fort Worth if she wasn't running a dangerous fever anymore. And so we headed home.

After getting home I nursed her in the recliner and we stayed there to sleep. She woke me up and hour later throwing up all over me. It was fun times, my friends.

I had a chiropractor appointment on Friday and I took Charlie with me so we both could get lasered and adjusted. She was still running a high fever and very lethargic. Luckily for me, her normal doctor called while I was driving home and asked about her. When I told the nurse what was going on, she told the doctor who in turn wanted me to bring Charlotte back in that afternoon!! Oy.

Now are you confused?

We went back that afternoon and had yet another flu test done (Charlotte is not a fan of a giant Q-tip thingys being shoved up her nose!) and had a strep test done. Negatory on the deuce. Her doctor was perplexed and a little concerned. She ordered a blood test and an xray.

I left her office and proceeded to the lab. Y'all. Consider yourself lucky if you have never had to watch someone draw blood from your baby. Oh my. When we walked in I told the girl she had better be a One Stick Wonder because my baby was not going to be a pin cushion. She assured me she was and she kept her word. She only stuck her once, but she dug around with the needle in her arm for about 10 MINUTES! I'm pretty sure that if I stuck a needle in my arm that at some point I would, in fact, hit a vein! Then once she did hit the vein the blood came out very sloooooooooooooooooooooooowly. My word. I was never so glad to be done with something in my life

The x-rays weren't much better. There were issues there as well. Then on my way home Monk proceeds to call and tell me that Liv has a fever of 102. Um ... okay. I was never so glad to pull into my driveway in all my life.

The doctor had put stat orders on both of these procedures and was going to call me that evening (Friday) with the results. Would you believe me if I told you that the doctor called and said the xray place messed up and we weren't going to have the results until Monday?! And would you believe me again if I told you that the doctor called back an hour and a half later to tell me that THE LAB DIDN'T TAKE ENOUGH BLOOD TO RUN THE TEST?!?!?!

Needless to say, she told me that if Charlie wasn't any better by Saturday evening then we needed to go to the children's hospital. ::sigh::

Saturday came and Liv woke with a fever of 103. Charlie was 102. I had to go to my great-nephew's birthday party and had determined if Charlotte wasn't any better by the time I got home I was taking her in. After arriving at my niece's house I noticed that Hope was a little quiet and pale. We took her temperature and it was 101. Really? Three kids with temperatures and a momma with bronchitis. I was fairly certain that at this point if anyone came to our house they were going to need a hazmat suit. It was that bad.

When I came home from the party Charlotte seemed to have perked up a little. Hope was miserable, Liv was doing better and Grace just bebopped around as if the world was her oyster. I, on the other hand, wanted to collapse.

Charlotte's fever broke Saturday night and she stayed fever all night and all day today. Thank you, Lord! Liv on the other hand woke up feverish and ended up vomiting. (Which interestingly enough, Hope felt the need to reinact the vomit scene by coughing and gagging into a bucket. She told Monk, 'I frow up, Daddy. ' HA!) She was extremely miserable all day today until this evening and she seemed to have relief from the relentless stomach cramping. Charlotte is still fever free, but very fussy and needy still. Hope seems to be fine. Freak incident or calm before the storm? I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

And me?

Well. I'm still taking my antibiotics and hacking my brains out. I ditched the cough syrup with codeine and went old school. I made myself up an old hillbilly remedy that my mom used to give us as kids: Honey, Whiskey and Lemon. The honey coats your throat to soothe it, the whiskey dilates your bronchial tubes and the lemon helps break up the congestion. It's done more for me today than the prescription one has for the last two days.

The recipe is as follows:

Honey, Whiskey and Lemon Cough Syrup (and hot toddy)

~ 1/2 c. honey
~ 1/4 -1/2 c. whiskey
~ 1/4c. lemon

That's it. I put all mine in a Mason jar and shook it up. Done. Take about a tablespoon every 4 hours. Or more if the kids are driving you nuts.

It's so pretty ...

hwl jar -2

Some of you may say, 'But Michelle! That has whiskey in it!".

I say, 'Yep. And if it doesn't stop me coughing at least I won't care."

Okay. Not really. I'm not a teetotaler anyway, but I can assure you that there is not enough alcohol in a measley tablespoon to turn you into some babbling lush.

Unless this post could be considered written by a babbling lush then disregard that last statement.

Today has been spent recovering, recouping, cleaning and trying to get the general mayhem that has permeated our lives for the last 5 days under control. I will tell you now that after Day 9 of the cleanse, all deals were off. For our own sanity we chose to go off for the weekend just to make things a little easier. As you could imagine. We are going right back to it tomorrow and we don't feel one single bit guilty about it. (You should see how much weight Monk has lost! Wow! I should have taken before and after pics of us!)

But today was for comfort. So I made this ...

soup 2

.... and we called it a day.