~ Baby Reed ~

Meet baby Reed.  A sweet, happy, loud, little pumpkin that I got to spend the afternoon with.  He is only 6-7 months old and check him out standing in his crib, he is quite the over-acheiver.   Daddy is a football coach, they must have already been running some workouts ;)
Oh how I love to shoot mamas in "their chair" in the nursery.  We spend so much time there.  Feeding, rocking, shushing, swaying, loving, singing, reading, at all hours of the day or night our butts are in those chairs with our babies.  

I still have mine in our basement.  Even if I did have another baby we'd have no room for it, but I still can't part with it.  I remember rocking in it 9 months pregnant with Rocky just staring at an empty room, waiting for him to arrive.

Happy Monday!  More to come later this week!

~ January ~

I found this on Facebook and laughed and laughed.  It's just like my house, except 
there are 3 kids, plus a 70 lb Golden Retriever and my husband usually ends up on the couch - LOL!  

I don't have anything special to say, it's January and we've been doing alot of nothing.

One of our old friends Honkey came to visit.  He's an improv actor in Los Angeles, he used to work with us in radio and my kids freaking love him.  

Oh, AND I was also on the Dr. Phil show with him a LONG time ago.  The preview is still on youtube and it cracks me up!  We got on the show as a dare from our radio friends, faked the whole thing just to get on TV, oh I miss my young and ballsy years.   I have the whole episode on video somewhere in my basement.

On another note, I gotta say....I'm starting to get this whole "sister" thing and it's pretty spectacular. 

 I never had a sister so this is new territory for me.    It's beautiful, it's complicated, it's silly and it's heartwarming.  Right now it's giggling under covers and sharing sippy cups, I'll blink and they'll be fighting over clothes, or make up, or who gets to take the car that night.

Luci had her first Dentist appointment the other day and you would have thought I took her to Disney world.  She was so excited to go, she is still talking about it.  No cavities, yay!  She said she wants to go to the Dentist everyday.
We've also begun figure skating lessons.  In our family we get our babies on the ice early.  
Usually around 2 1/2 years old for their first time, then lessons at about 3 or 4.  
Mama was a figure skater and Daddy was a hockey player, these babies better get used to the ice ;)  
Luci loves it so far.
Santa Clause brought us a Kareoke machine and the littlest Manno seems to like it the most.  She is in there all night signing and jabbering.   It's now part of her bedtime routine 
- snack, bath, jammies, sing karaoke, go nite nite -
Poor Rocky has been a little neglected in this post, but he is busy in school all day while the girls and I stay home.  He is still full swing in Hockey season, he tried his hand a Goalie and it didn't go to well.  For him OR me.  I was not cut out to be a goalie parent.  By the time he was scored on for the 5th or 6th time and the other team moms are ringing cow bells and hooting and hollering right in my ear I just had to move.  I went down to the other end of the rink and watched it by myself.  I wanted to rescue him, but I couldn't.   Even though it was hard to watch it was also good for him.  Rocky has always been really good at sports and it was a slice of humble pie for him to have a rough game.  Good for his character.
Daddy was there waiting for him as soon as he got off the ice.  The first thing Rocky said was "Dad, I let some of those last ones in because I was just too tired to stop them"  Poor kid, he slept good that night.  And said he doesn't want to try goalie again until he is 8 years old.  That's fine with momma ;)

~ Baby Bryant ~

Meet Bryant, a very special little baby.  Special because he was born on my birthday, special because he belongs to a family I grew up being a part of, and special because he is a fighter.  You may notice a large scar down his tiny chest.  He was born with a multitude of very serious heart defects.  He had his first open heart surgery at just a couple days old with many more already planned.  

He belongs to Brian and Amanda.  Brian grew up down the street from me.  I was at his house almost as much a mine.  It's safe to say I have a love-hate relationship with Brian.  He was like the mean older brother I never asked for ;)   He threw a frog at me once when I was riding my bike and I swear I'm still traumatized.  However, I loved his mom and sister an awful lot so it kept me coming back for more. 

I know he and Amanda will be a great source of strength and comfort for little 
Bryant and his long journey ahead. 

~ What do you do with all those pictures? ~

What do you do with all those pictures?

A question I get asked alot ;)

It's true, I do take a lot of photos of my kids, keeping them all organized and in one place can be overwhelming.  So I thought I would share a little bit about how I handle my family photos.

First of all I have a folder on my computer separate from all photography work I do, simply labeled "Family Photos 2011" - then, inside that folder are 12 more folders labeled Jan-Dec.

I find it's easiest to separate my photos by month rather than by a specific event.  Because at any time  when I get an extra few minutes I can dump them into the current months folder and deal with them later.   Then usually sometime around the end of the month I do what us photographers call "culling" - which mean, deleting all the crap.

Now here is where people mess up.  Folks, you gotta delete stuff.  If I go to one of Rockys baseball games I might take 30 or 40 photos.  But I pick my favorite 5-10 pictures from the game and then I delete the rest. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your photos it's because you're holding on to less-than-average photos for dear life for no reason at all.  I do the same thing with any event.  I probably took 50 pictures at Libby Lus birthday and kept about 12-15 the rest are gone.   I simply don't need them.  I don't need 12 pictures of her blowing out her candles.  I need 2 or 3.   

This might be hard to get used to the first couple time you do it.  Dragging those images into your trash bin might make you a little queasy but I promise your kids will joy 2-3 good pictures of them learning how to ride their bike than 20 mediocre ones.  Learning how to "let go" and keep your photos condensed to only the important ones is half the battle. 

Then, I take all those photos, from all 12 months, and every year I create a book called "Stories From Mom"- I make the book using  www.shutterfly.com  a super easy, user friendly, consumer program.  Anyone can figure their books out, it is simple drag and drop layouts.  (I never wait until the end of the year to start the book.  I sit down at least 3-4 times and year and knock out some pages.)  

I talked about last years book here.

And I almost danced a jig when this years book arrived.  Even though I know what every page says it's still so fun to hold it in my hands.  Here is a peek inside this years book.

Every single important event of our year is documented in here.  Big things like birthday parties, little things like Doctors appointments and growth stats.  It is much easier than keeping 3 separate baby books.     You can order multiple copies of the same book so each of your kids get one to take with them when they leave the nest. 
You don't have to be a professional photographer or a witty writer to document great memories for your kids.  Just start doing it, it's January so you are off to a fresh start!   Start your book today!

Now let's talk about walls.  In the family room we have regular wall mounted frames.  I still love frames because I can change them.  I just took that photo of Rocky in November and couldn't wait to switch it out with his old one.
But I definitely get the most compliments on these.  My gallery wraps.  One for each kid.  Printed on canvas and stretched around a wooden frame.  The come ready to hang and look stunning on your walls.  I love these so much, Rocky and Luci's are a little out-dated and I will probably update all 3 of these with new gallery wraps later this year.   
I also have a collage of standouts.   Standouts are the cheaper little step-sister of gallery wraps.  They hang frameless on your walls, just like the gallery wraps, but they are printed on a Styrofoam material and much lighter weight and less expensive.
And last, but not least.  Little nekkid pictures of my babies in my bathroom.  They all have little "censored" bars over their private parts.   I think it's cute.  My husband just thinks it's weird that we have photos in our bathroom :)
So there you have it.  Manno family memories all wrapped up in one post.  I know we live in a digital age, but to me, actual printed photos that you can look at on a wall or hold in your hand will always win in my book over looking at them on a computer screen.  

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