Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: Happy Gram


These are my boys.

Well, these were my boys when they were in about the fourth and second grade.

In other words, a different lifetime ago.

Dude is holding a Happy Gram. His teacher gave it to him – it’s worth one free assignment.

The first line of the happy gram cracks me up:

“Instead of candy that makes you fat, here’s a free coupon, what do you think of that?”

LOL! I think his teacher (who, if I remember correctly, was a huge health nut), was trying to rhyme “that” with “fat”, but Oy, let’s give the kids a complex, shall we?! 🙂

Anyway, this was a Valentine’s Day gift and I remember Dude LOVING this because it meant he wouldn’t have homework for at least ONE evening.

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flasback: Bonus! Or – Geez, Another Photo Flashback?!


As I was looking through pictures, I came across these:

Making Christmas Candy

I totally forgot I used to do this! And this makes me want to do it again!

I would melt colored chocolate and using paint brushes, paint the molds with these colors, let them dry, and then pour regular chocolate into the molds. I made these for a small number of years before I got burned out. And the boys got older and well … you know how it is.

Christmas Candy

And as I look over the assortment in this picture, my mom must have been there with me. Because there’s no way I made all of this stuff by myself, I’m not patient enough. We must have gotten together to make Christmas “goodies.” Remember that, mom?

Man. Now I have a hankerin’ to make more candies. I think I may have to make a trip to the craft store.

Soon. 🙂

Do you guys make Christmas “goodies?”

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: Christmas at Silver Dollar City


Christmas at Silver Dollar City

Yep. This is us, freezing our butts off at Silver Dollar City during the Christmas light display they host every Christmas season.

(If you’re ever in the Branson, Missouri area at this time of year, I HIGHLY recommend going. The kids LOVE IT!)

Let’s see, Dude looks like he’s about five and Jazz looks about three-ish. Judging by my strange tongue-in-cheek expression, I’m extracting food from my teeth, (which sounds about right).

I had to doctor this photo up quite a bit. It was over exposed and though our faces still look ghostly pale, at least now you can see them. You can see them a little better in the bigger version. (If you’re so inclined but I have to warn you – my face at 1000 pixels wide? SCARY STUFF).

I sure wish they had digital cameras back then!

I like my hair here. I’m quite certain, at some point in my future, I’ll most likely get my hair cut like this again. I’m starting to get to the stage where I’m feeling just a wee bit ridiculious having long straight hair and being … um … the age I am.

Anyway, I love this family moment. Brings back memories. Dude remembers this trip, Jazz does not.

In fact, I need these pictures to remind me that yes, our boys were indeed that little once upon a time.

Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem possible.

(A Mad Russian’s Christmas by Trans-Siberian Orchestra )

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: Setting Up for Pictures


Playing with the fancy lights

Kevin has always been a great photographer. He has a natural instinct for finding the right light, and a keen eye for capturing unique perspectives.

Photography is one of the first interests we had in common.

We have spent quite a bit of money on photography equipment over the years, nothing along the professional level, but definitely on the novice level. My very first “serious” camera was an Olympus 35 mm. This was, of course, waaaay before SLR’s or anything digital and I had to set everything manually. Which was daunting and something I never really got the hang of. I wanted something I could just point and shoot and get a decent picture from. That’s why I got SO excited when SLR’s came out because I had my point and shoot, only there were settings that I could fiddle with and actually “feel” like a photographer.

Kevin and I used to go out and take pictures. This was way before children. When the boys came along, we barely had time to be parents, let alone photographers. We took pictures of the boys, of course, but it was always with a camera that any dolt who could push a button could use.

Then, as the boys got older, our interest in photography peaked again and that’s when we started investing in nicer cameras. Currently, I use a Canon Power Shot A590 that I carry with me and that I use to tape my idiotic videos with. It’s a truly great camera, if you’re in the market.

Then we bought our Canon Rebel. Our very expensive and UBER COOL Canon Rebel. (The same camera that we nearly lost in the terminal when we put it on the floor next to us to check in for our cruise. Talk about an exciting way to get your vacation started!!)

We truly love this camera. I like to pretend I know what I’m doing when I use the Rebel, but the truth is, I have no clue. I play with the cool knobs and settings and …. hope for the best.

But Kevin, he’s actually taken a photography class and he knows a little something-something about F-stops, angles, lighting and anything else required to get that really stunning shot.

As a result, his sister asked him to come over and take their family picture last year. So, he set them up and took their picture and OH MY GOSH, they turned out great.

Part of the reason they turned out so good was because my brother-in-law, who’s REALLY into photography, had all the cool equipment, complete with fancy-smancy portrait lights. Which Kevin used to take their picture and immediately wanted.

So, Santa brought him portrait lights for Christmas last year.

Which he has YET to use.

I’m hoping this post? Lights his guilt fire and he drags them out. 😉

(I’m a sneaky little devil, aren’t I? *grin*)

Project 365: Day 2

(The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Barlow Girl)

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: Dude’s First Halloween


I thought family members would get a kick out of seeing this:

This is Dude and Nanny (Kevin’s grandmother – who recently passed away). Dude is a little under a year in this picture and though he was okay wearing this costume in this picture, he melted down about 2.2 seconds after it was snapped.

My mom came up with this nifty idea. It’s a regular sleeper, but she made the clown embellishments. Pretty clever, right?

She’s a crafty one, my mom.

Looking at this picture, and looking at Dude’s profile picture in the sidebar, I don’t know, is this even the same kid?! It seems like he was NEVER this small.

*SIGH* Kids grow up waaaay too fast. Enjoy them while you can!

Photo Story Friday

Photo Flashback: I Was Once a Whale


Oh yes, yes I was.

I’m posting a picture of me, very pregnant, with my first son.

As you can CLEARLY see, I gained a lot of weight with my first born. When I got pregnant, it was like I was set free. I was running, arms outstretched, an euphoric expression on my face, down every grocery store aisle just WAITING to stuff every edible thing into my enormous maw.

And I did. I gained a WHOPPING 60 pounds with Dude. I had watched what I ate, and sacrificed so many goodies all throughout my life at that point that I’m afraid I went a little insane when suddenly, I was being told I had to eat.

And eat, I did.

(Look how FAT my hands were! Ugh!)

I was a whale. No, it’s okay, we can all admit that out loud. You won’t hurt my feelings because it’s the God’s-honest truth.

That is by far the biggest I’ve ever been in my life. I don’t think I even got that big with Jazz, and he was born on time!

I was about 32 weeks pregnant in this picture – Dude was born shortly after this picture was taken (Dude was 8 weeks early) so JUST THINK how big I would have ended up IF Dude had been full term!

I’m pretty sure I would have cracked the walls of our rental house just walking across the floors.

It took me forever to lose that weight. In fact, I never really lost all of it before I got pregnant with Jazz.

Ugh. My eyes bleed just looking at this picture.

Photo Story Friday

Photo Story Friday: My Old Man

For those that don’t know, this is my husband, Kevin. Yes, he’s older than I am .,. by four years. 😀

Dressed as an Old Man

This was back when he and I worked at the bank together (’88/’89). That’s where we met.

It was Halloween and everyone dressed up. I, along with two other girls that worked the lobby with me, dressed up as one of the Three Blind Mice.

Kevin whittled down some fake hair to make his goatee and mustache, painted streaks of gray in the fake hair as well as his own hair and his eyebrows and went dressed as an older gentleman.

In fact, he was SO convincing, that the older lady customers that came through that day hit on him!


It was hilarious and we gave him such a hard time.

I can’t help but wonder if this is how he’ll look when he’s actually old(er).

If so? RAWR.

Photo Story Friday

Photo Story Friday: The Infamous Battery Cables

Can you guess what I’m holding?

Battery Cables - for Christmas

Yep. Those are battery cables. They were a gift from Kevin.

Oh yes. Yes, he did.

I’m smiling and laughing in this picture because I thought it was a joke.

It wasn’t a joke. The man honestly gave me battery cables for Christmas one year (1990?).

I was QUITE pouty. WTH? Who gets battery cables for Christmas?! Who GIVES battery cables at Christmas!?

Never mind that they’ve come in handy NUMEROUS times over the years (yes, I still have them).

But poor guy. He was just trying to be helpful. He worried about me being stranded out somewhere alone sometime and wanted to make sure I was taken care of. (Remember, this was back before cell phones existed. That doesn’t even seem possible, does it).

I give him a hard time about that Christmas, A LOT. And though I was a good sport about the gift and I understood why he gave them to me, let’s just say …

the man has NEVER given me anything like that for Christmas since.


(I just got an idea. We should give Dude battery cables for Christmas this year. He would DIE. HAHA!)

Photo Story Friday

Photo Story Friday: Achieving Goals

Picture this (haha, get it?): The year is 1988 and it’s finally time for Kevin to graduate from college. (By the way, he was drop-dead tired in this picture. Poor guy).


We had been dating for one year when he graduated. And I remember his graduation ceremony clearly (which is saying a lot, considering my faulty memory).

I was both proud and envious. I had dreams of going to college, but I didn’t think I was smart enough to handle it. I did poorly my senior year of high school (mainly because I was a stinker and spent most of my time trying to figure a way out of going) and I hadn’t taken the ACT test.

Who would accept me?

But still. When Kevin walked down that aisle, accepted his diploma and looked so carefree and happy, I was jealous. And I vowed that night that somehow, someway, I would graduate from college someday.

(And I did. After going on and off for nearly ten years, I finally graduated in 2003).

Seeing Kevin in his cap and gown inspired me. It wasn’t just the fact that he was graduating, but all of the sacrifices and hardships he endured to get to that point.

He originally wanted to be a musician. He had been playing with a local band for a while and they were well-known in our city. He had grandiose ideas of making it big.

But reality crashed down on him and he realized that though he may be happy, he would most likely not make a lot of money.

So, he altered his plans. He toyed with the idea of going into computers (this was back in the late 80’s, before computers had become so commonplace) and he was talked out of it.

He was persuaded to give accounting a try. He was good at numbers. And he was an excellent problem solver, so … he went to school and graduated with an accounting degree. (He later went on and passed his CPA exam).

He was dirt poor when he went to college. He worked two jobs and after paying his bills, had $5.00 left over until next pay day.

He existed on Ramen noodles for months.

He was exhausted. And at times, he was discouraged. But he trudged forward and never gave up.

He does not have fond memories of his college years and that’s mainly because they were so difficult for him. He had to struggle and fight for everything. He had some pretty major personal problems going on at the time and that only added to his stress.

But he never gave up.

And over the years, since our married life, we have struggled, scrimped, saved, and sacrificed so much to get where we are today.

And given our background and our experience, that’s the reason I get so impatient, and even downright angry, whenever I hear people complain, and express envy for folks “who’ve got it good.”

Successful people weren’t always successful. Chances are, they started at the bottom and worked their way up. The difference between a successful person and a not so successful person is perserverance.

You can’t give up.

Not if you really want something.

So, I suppose the moral of this post? Don’t be jealous of people who have more than you do, be inspired. Success is hard, and seemingly impossible at times, but boy howdy, is victory sweet once you get there.

And everyone who lives in America, has the CHANCE to succeed. The question is, are people willing to put forth the effort to make it happen?

I wonder.