Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shirley Temple and Mr. Grumpy Pants

Today we put curlers in Chloe's hair before church. I had planned to keep her hair down, and maybe stick a little clip in or something. That is until I removed the curlers and discovered how well her hair had taken to them! As Chloe put it, her hair was "CRAZY!" The curls were so concentrated and intense, that she looked as though she'd been electrocuted. To dull it down, we resorted to pigtails (much to her dismay).

Well, she looked so darn cute that I had to grab the camera.

And since Ryan didn't like the idea of staying inside the house by himself, even for the short 45 seconds little Miss Temple and I stood on the front porch to snap a shot, he decided to join in.

He'd just awakened from a nap. That was his excuse.

I love my children, grumpiness and all!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My website - a rough draft

Okay. So it's still not where I want it to be, but it's getting closer.

Click here to see it!

Tonight I finally put some music of choice on there, and added a slide show to the home page. My brother wrote the rendition of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". I think it's absolutely fitting, considering babies and children are where my heart is in all of this. Here are the things I'm still working on, for what it's worth:

  • shorten the introduction of 'Twinkle, Twinkle...'
  • make it so the music continues to play no matter where you're browsing (currently it starts over every time you click a new link - annoying!)
  • slow down the slide shows
  • figure out a way to fill the space when a vertical photo appears (too much white background - need to have 2 vertical photos side by side, I think)
  • play with the color scheme (am thinking of changing the background to black, and my logo to the original lime green I had it at before)
  • re-edit several photos (hey, you get better with time! And frankly, a lot of my photos could look a lot better!)
  • add some font variety

I'll get there. I do want to say a big thanks to a few people:

FIRST, Holly Bliss, who designed my logo.

SECOND, Eric Jensen, who literally built this site from the ground up.

THIRD, fellow-photographers who have spent time with me and willingly shared what they know (David Pacheco, who took THIS PHOTO of my dad and me - just to give you an idea of how long I've known this guy!), Brian Mickelson and Rachael Pullman, who without hesitation gave of their time to help me become a better photographer.

FOURTH, David Halliday, who aside from being an awesome brother, has spent hours working on the music, and will, no doubt spend plenty more, as he is like his kid sister: a perfectionist.

FIFTH & FINALLY, my family! My dad, who convinced me to make the jump and purchase a DSLR! My mom, who is my biggest fan. Neil's parents, siblings, etc., who have all been nothing but encouarging. My children, who have been very patient practice subjects...

...And Neil, who has been an incredible husband, teacher, supporter and partner. I am amazed by him. He wants this for me just as much as I do, and has shown it both by action and word.

David is planning to write renditions of several of my favorite songs, which I'll eventually add to the site (perhaps in the form of a medley - we haven't decided yet). So far the songs on the list (that I can think of right now) include: 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', 'What a Wonderful World', 'When You Wish Upon a Star', and 'My Heavenly Father Loves Me' (both David's and my favorite Primary song).

So there you have it! A rough draft of Valeri Andersen Photography! I am open to suggestions, if you have any. Thank you, loved ones, for your support and encouragement. It has truly meant to the world. XOXO.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Celebrating Love...

Here's a peek at our Valentine's week.

To sum it up, the kids were spoiled rotten by their Grandpas and Grandmas!
Chloe also hosted a preschool party, which she's still talking about!

Hope you all had a love-filled Valentine's too!

Happy Birthday to Brad!

Happy Birthday to Brad, who turns a quarter of a century today!

{It's been a big year for him, as you can see! - May 2009}

{With the newest Mrs. Andersen - November 2009}

Brad, we love you, and hope your birthday is nothing less than PERFECT!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Guest blogger

My friend, Brian, whom I've known pretty much my whole life and have recently been reconnected with (thanks to blogging and facebook), asked me to be a 'guest blogger' a couple weeks ago. His mom and my mom worked together in the school system for several years, and our families were in the same ward in Vacaville, CA (where I'm originally from). The entire Mickelson family is a pretty amazing bunch, I'll have to say!

Brian shares my love of photography, and has inspired me greatly with his work. In addition, he's been beyond gracious in answering my many, many photography questions. I like to call him my long distance mentor.

Yesterday he posted my "interview" on his blog. Read it HERE, if you're interested. Or just check out the blog to enjoy his humor and amazing photography. Thanks Brian!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Random rambles...

My blog is gathering dust. Sad, but true. I used to be such an faithful blogger, but it seems, at the end of the day, when all other responsibilities have been met (or haven't), the last thing I feel like doing is sitting down to form an eloquent and witty post.

The time I would normally be spending here, I've been dedicating to Photoshop. Since I finally made the jump from Elements, I've found myself feeling wonderfully overwhelmed. I say "wonderfully" because I am realizing more and more the endless options the program offers. But I am still overwhelmed, confused, frazzled, frustrated, etc. Learning photoshop is like learning a foreign language. Time and patience is key. If you have both, you're in great shape. For me, Ha! Well, let's just say it's been a slow process. But I'm getting there!

Business is good. I haven't been advertising myself like I really ought to be, but I've been so immersed in other aspects of my business, and life itself, that I've hardly had the time. Luckily business has continued to filter in. I'm sure even if I was advertising, things would be slow given the time of year. Last week I had a customer return to me for the third time! That always makes ya feel good! And my first of three weddings is just around the corner (April 3rd). My website is almost finished. It's open to the public, but I'm still not ready to make the big announcement. Sorry - it just isn't quite where I want it. And now that I'm learning all these cool new tricks in photoshop, I'm finding myself wanting to go back and re-edit several photos, which will take even more time. Argh, it's endless.

The kids are driving me crazier than ever. I love 'em more than life itself, but gosh! Some days I just want to go to the bathroom without an audience! Or eat a hot meal. Or eat a meal, uninterrupted. It seems the days one child sleeps in, the other is up at the crack of dawn. When one is perfectly content, the other is having a meltdown. Motherhood is endless. But I sure do love it. There are moments where I find myself watching Chloe do her thing, and wondering how 4 years have already passed by.

She is growing so fast, and developing into such a little lady. She has her moments - man oh man - but she really is growing up! She is so observant, and understands a lot more than I know we realize. Yesterday she tied a bow on her dress, just out of the blue and ENTIRELY on her own! I know I didn't teach her how to do it! She continues to challenge and amaze us, and the process truly is rewarding.

Here's a recent photo of Mr. Ryan.

Who knew that dumping one's bottle upside down to create a pond of milk could be so incredibly entertaining?

Neil is doing well. His territory changed at the first of the year, which has required less travel for him. It's been nice having him around more. He's been spending quite a bit of his free time researching wood and making plans to build a new work bench, among other things. He also finished the end table, which matches our coffee table. Need to take a photo of the finished product. If he could afford to quit his job and make a living doing wood working, he would in a heartbeat. He's pretty passionate about it.

Here he is at our Ward's Pinewood Derby last week. He was in charge of the Bishopric's car, which, by the way, beat everyone else's. Don't worry - it didn't count for the sake of the boys. :)

You may be wondering what Bishop Lamb's expression is all about. Let's just say he's a UTE through and through, and did NOT appreciate being represented with a blue and white car! The funny thing is, Neil went with BYU colors just to mess with him. I think it worked. Bishop, you're a good sport!

Neil and I celebrated the 8th anniversary of our first date on Tuesday, the 9th. I know it sounds cheesy, but even Neil has managed to remember this day each year. It also happens to be my grandparents' wedding anniversary, my best friend/cousin's wedding anniversary, and, I just learned last week, Neil's grandpa's birthday! Funny, irrelevant stuff - those are usually the things I remember. :)

Have we changed much in 8 years?

All in all, life is good. A tad busier than I'd like, but good! Maybe one of these days I'll be able to get this silly blog caught up. I still haven't even posted about Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or my parent's September visit. Oh, life!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Today Grandpa Don turns 85!

{Ryan with Aunt Ann and Grandpa Don up in Brighton, UT - Oct. '09}

We love you, Grandpa, and we hope this birthday is the best yet! Don't party too hard!