Archive for October, 2009

Kate’s Party!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

A few weeks ago we had a party to celebrate Kate’s birthday.  Getting set up didn’t go exactly how I had imagined.  Being a wedding planner I had it all mapped out.  Supplies, timing, food… but then I wanted to do a montage video at the very last minute.  Well those two things don’t fit in the same sentence.  I didn’t start doing the video until a few days before the party and it took FOREVER.  On the day of the party I was running around like a wild woman, snapping at everyone and neglecting everything, except the video.  So if you haven’t seen it, scroll down a few posts to her birthday letter and watch it.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  Its the videos fault (ok, my fault) that the party was so hectic in the beginning but fun was had by all no matter the circumstances.  Thank you to everyone who was able to celebrate with us and especially to those that helped pull everything together to make it happen!

Here is Kate arriving at her party.  The guests were already there.  At least there was someone to witness the grand entrance!

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Kate’s cakes.  Yes, they are over the top.  Yes, they were awesome.  Yes, we are taking donations toward the girl’s wedding. 

The birthday cakes are from Susie’s Scrumptious Sweets.  The bottom layer was Southern Butter Pecan (RUM), and the top was banana (for the kids).


Fondant is funny on smash cakes.  It really helps contain the mess.



We had Nova’s music teacher to entertain the little ones, which was the best choice we could have made.  Kate was having the time of her life!  She loved the music but was fascinated by the parachute.  She cried when they put it away!


Kate under the parachute…


Even Noah enjoyed it!


Ayla out by the pool for some fresh air.                        Falan taking her turn with the birthday hat.

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Even with the fondant, Kate managed to make a pretty good mess of herself.  After a bath in the restroom sink she had a wardrobe change.  All the outfits she had that day were made by her amazing Aunt Lindy.  She really outdid herself with this beautiful cupcake dress.

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And because everything at the party was so rushed we didn’t really get any good shots of Kate’s attire.  We made an attempt to reenact the outfit but Kate couldn’t remain patient enough to wear her initial shirt too.  Either way, I love this photo!


Single Motherhood

Monday, October 12th, 2009

My sister has been a single mother for most of her daughter’s life.  I know single moms, I know people who, in times of frustration with their spouses, think it would be better to be a single mom.  Never have I known what it means to be one, although it has always been very easy to say “I don’t know how you do it” and pat them on the back.  I never knew how easy I have it.

Walter was at a conference for a few days recently.  Although he crawled in late in the night and left early the next morning I was mostly in charge of the parenting and household chores.  I was pretty much on my own and let me tell you, it was tough.  I have never before given single moms, or moms of traveling husbands, the credit they deserve.  Sure, you have no one extra to clean up after or put up with, but you also have no one there to help you or, more importantly, support you and appreciate you.  The kids mean well and they wouldn’t be able to make it if you weren’t there but they rarely admit it and they don’t tell you how good of a job you’ve done at the end of every day.  So to all the single parents, or parents who find themselves mostly in charge on a daily basis, I salute you.  I appreciate you and I envy the strength and patience you have to get through the day with your head held high and your sanity intact.  I would never choose to be put in that position because I’m not sure if I could muster what it takes to do it long term.  You have my utmost respect.

I leave you with a story that I read for inspiration and perspective every now and again.  This is for any parent and although long, and a little religious (for those that aren’t), it is very worth the read…

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” Obviously not. No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a tv guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You’re gonna love it there.”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

So to all the moms out there, single or not – Great job!  Keep up the hard, good work.  Whether you’re coated in formula, spackled in peanut butter, frustrated with your teenager’s raging hormones, or constantly hearing about your grand kids trials and tribulations, thank you.  You are an amazing person, we need you, we appreciate your love and your energy, even if you don’t hear it all the time!

Kate vs. Cake

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

I am sooooo behind!  A few weeks after Kate’s birthday, I bring you still – birthday stuff.  I wouldn’t post it if it wasn’t adorable though! 

A lot of things have changed through the years, even in photography.  My Father In Law used to photograph weddings with totally manual cameras that used film and developed the negatives in special labs.  He only shot the photos he thought people would buy.  It was called “shooting the reprints”.  Back then weddings were also much different than they are now.  I challenge you to find one person who would wear their hair in the style their grandma did.  Anyway, I know it’s a stretch but very similar to that progression is first birthday photos.  I’m not even sure people did photos other than what was captured at the party but these days, the days of digital, we photographer ev-er-y-thing!  One of the current trends is to capture your nearly one year old’s reaction to their first cake.  We’ve done this for a few clients and if nothing else, it’s great for some laughs.  Some children want nothing to do with it and others are mildly interested.  If you know anything about Kate, you know that she likes to eat.  I never thought though, that she could demolish an entire cake.  So here’s Kate’s first smash cake – in photos…

The pretty, poor, unsuspecting cake.


Hello, Cake.


I am going to eat you.





And rub you on my body.



And squish you in my toes.  And my nose.

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Don’t tell anyone it was me.


How could they not know it was me?


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Guess we should just finish it off then.


The poor cake.  A total body experience.