spiffing up the place

I’ve been rearranging the furniture here on the blog, so to speak. You may have noticed some new color in the sidebar in the form of photo buttons. I’m trying to organize some of my posts to make them more accessible. You can’t imagine how long it took to link all those posts–and to thumbnail and link the photos–so please mosey on over there and click around!

There are also some new photos hanging on the walls. I’ve finally posted myself up in the sidebar, presiding over the proceedings. And after more than two years, there’s an updated photo on the meet the family page. (I’ll also have to update that page with two kiddies’ birthdays later this week. Yep, two.)

Those photos are courtesy of a photo shoot we had here back in August. It all began at three o’clock one morning as I lay in bed, sleep eluding me, two-and-a-half weeks before H was due to head off to college. I found myself in a state of frenzy that only a mother sending a child off to college could understand. See, I’d been meaning to arrange for us to have a family portrait taken before H went off. We have never had a professional photo taken of all five of us and it felt important suddenly. I kept meaning to arrange it, but all sorts of other little things had distracted me, like buying a dorm mattress cover to protect from bedbugs, and getting the kid to the dentist before he left, and trying to convince him to be home for dinner with the family once in a blue moon. But I hadn’t gotten to scheduling that photo session, and I lay there in bed realizing that if I didn’t get it in now, we wouldn’t be able to schedule one until H was home in January. January!

I stumbled to the computer at 6:00 a.m. and wrote a rather emotional email to Mary McHenry, a photographer whose work I’d seen hanging in a local kids’ store.

Mary was kind enough to shoehorn in a photo session before H left. Not only that, but she made the session more fun than I ever thought taking photos could be. She was relaxed and calm, and she somehow got everyone to be themselves before the camera. She took shots of us eating a staged dinner together, and shots of the kids in their bedrooms. She even got photos of Chris and me, something we haven’t had done since our pre-kid days.

I snapped a photo of the photo-taking

It was an especially lovely few hours because it felt like a celebration of the five of us as a family, before H went on his way.

I thought I’d share Mary’s work here, in case you’re also in the San Francisco Bay Area, and looking for a photographer. Mary’s photos are both artistic and natural–and she has a keen talent for bringing out the personalities of her subjects. You can see some other images from our session on Mary’s blog, here and here. I hope you’ll check out her wonderful work.

Anyway, that’s enough of the blog-spiffing for the time being. Now I really ought to tackle Mr. T’s closet…

16 comments… add one
  • Melissa Crowe Oct 25, 2010 @ 18:49

    Well, now you’ve done it. I have an EVEN BIGGER crush on your entire family! 😉 Beautiful, beautiful photos.

    • patricia Oct 25, 2010 @ 22:05

      Aw shucks, thanks.

      I have a crush on the gang too!

  • Carrie Pomeroy Oct 25, 2010 @ 21:44

    The photos are stunning! Thank you for sharing them. You all look very happy and close. And I am jaw-droppingly envious of how clean and uncluttered your house looks! I am newly inspired to clear out old toys before the holidays kick in. What cool blackboard walls in your son’s room, too!

    • patricia Oct 25, 2010 @ 22:09

      Well of course our house looked clean and uncluttered–we were having a photo shoot! 😉

      T’s closet, on the other hand, is a force to be reckoned with. It’s the repository of three kids-worth of stuff. Beyond cluttered!

  • susan Oct 25, 2010 @ 22:04

    Your blog is looking really uncluttered. Too uncluttered! All the sidebars went away for me. Maybe it is my browser. I really liked your new look until it disappeared.

    • patricia Oct 25, 2010 @ 22:12

      I changed the settings so the sidebar doesn’t show up when people click on sidebar pages. It was distracting for some of those posts. That also means that it doesn’t show up when you click on a particular post to leave a comment. Do you think that’s why you’re not seeing it? Or do you not see it even when you click the header and go to the main page?

      Hmmm…I’ll have to see if I can keep the sidebar off for pages, but not for individual posts…

      Thanks for letting me know, Susan!

      • patricia Oct 25, 2010 @ 23:17

        I think I fixed it. Now the sidebar shouldn’t come up on my “a little background pages” or on the “spots on the farm” pages. But it should come up everywhere else, including clicked-on posts.

        If it still doesn’t work, please let me know!

      • susan Oct 26, 2010 @ 5:56

        Now it looks great–I love the pages the buttons lead to. The square buttons and photos look great as does the little flickr grid with changing photos.

  • Just Peaches Oct 26, 2010 @ 5:42

    Oh my! How could you choose?! She did a really fabulous job — you’re all so photogenic. Funny to hear you scrambling for a portrait: we’ve never had a professional photo taken either (even though hubby keeps bugging me). Maybe sooner would be better than later.

    P.S. Love the new look of the site too.

    • patricia Oct 26, 2010 @ 22:15

      Well, we couldn’t choose–so we bought the CD that includes all the images.

      I advise scheduling a portrait before your oldest is days away from leaving for college! Seriously, consider doing it soon, while your youngest is still little. I wish we’d taken more when mine were younger…

  • Kristin Oct 26, 2010 @ 21:05

    Really enjoyed the photos. Feel a little teary-eyed about all the changes. I can’t believe how old and mature H looks and L is quite a knock-out with those bedroom eyes of hers. What a great photo session.

    I think the organization of your sidebar rocks! Nice work.

    • patricia Oct 26, 2010 @ 22:19

      I get a little choked up when I look at the photos of H too. I miss him.

      Thanks for the feedback on the sidebar, Kristin!

  • kort Oct 27, 2010 @ 15:33

    pretty, pretty pictures! so glad that this opportunity came together. the love, the love!

    • patricia Oct 28, 2010 @ 8:26

      I’m glad it came together too. Sometimes when you want something, you just have to do it, even if it makes you sound a little crazy (as I imagine my email may have sounded to Mary…)

      Thanks, Kort!

  • Susan Paulukonis Nov 19, 2010 @ 7:31

    Just caught up on your blog…love the new “About the Family” updates, and the photos. L looks so much like you, now! Good luck with the book! Sounds exciting.

    • patricia Nov 21, 2010 @ 22:39

      Do you think L looks like me? I can always see me in the boys, T especially, but usually not L. My poor recessive genes had to fight to get seen!

      Nice to hear from you!

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