Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Proud Mommy Post!

So it is time for me to be a boastful Mom. Sure...every Mom thinks that her kid is a genius, and in their own way, they probably are. It is amazing as a Mom to watch them grow and make new connections in the world.

Ian, my 4 1/2 year old, is amazing to me! He makes connections with things that I think most grown adults would have a hard time with. Today, once again, I was amazed by his intelligence.

Now being that Ian is 4 1/2 years old, the concept of weather eludes him. He knows it is winter. He knows that it is cold outside. And yet today, he was determined to have a Peanut Butter and Jelly Stand! He wanted to sell PB&J sandwiches to anyone who came to the house. At first I tried to reason with him and explain that we can't have a PB&J stand in the winter because it is too cold out, but that was rapidly progressing into a fight. So I told him that I was going to put the peanut butter and jelly away so that when someone came to buy one we could make it fresh. We even hung his precious OPEN sign on the door.

Now tonight, as I was putting things away after dinner...this is what I found.

Now Ian is a very creative child. For Christmas we got him an art box with crayons, colored pencils, markers, glue, chalk, scissors, a hole punch, a stapler and added a 6 pack of legal pads for him to write and draw on. He makes books, signs, writes letters to family, etc. So seeing signs taped to the front of the stool in the kitchen was no shocker.

Then I looked closer and saw this:

To those of you who don't speak Preschooler, reading it may be even more difficult. But as I stood there and looked at it, I realized what it said. My son had spelled out on his own...Peanut Butter and Jelly Stand. How can I know that this is what it says? Because I am his Mom and I know how he thinks. He must have sat down and sounded it out, although when he does this, he tends to miss some letters. But heck...he is only 4!

So look really close and sound out the letters on the page:

PEUN=Peanut (guess he mixed up the letters too)

I think it is actually pretty impressive for a 4 year old!

Shan just pointed out to me that the picture that accompanied the so nicely spelled out sign is actually a menu.

For 1 Quarter, you can have a sandwich. (I know it is a quarter because when I asked Ian earlier in the day how much he was charging for his sandwiches he told me "25 cents!")

So begins my child into the world of the self-employed. Hey...with parents like us...could we expect anything else out of him! He has grown up in this business from birth!

Hope you enjoyed my little brag on my eldest son. I just think he is awesome!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The New Site is Up!

I am very excited to announce that our new website is up and running! If you haven't had a chance to see it, be sure to stop by and take a look.

831 Photography Website

I love the clean look, the big pictures and the ability to have music and movement on our site. I would love to hear your comments on the site as well! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008...full speed ahead!

We are into a new year and a new wedding season. We just finished our bridal show at the John S. Knight Center and it was awesome! I loved getting the chance to meet new brides, grooms, family members and friends and getting the opportunity to talk with them more about their day.

Our new website should be up in just a few more days and I am soooooooooo excited! (Did I emphasize that enough!?!?! LOL) Our website is overdue for a new look and we are so thrilled to be getting it up soon. It will have new gallery images for everyone and video testimonials from past wedding clients. Be sure to keep checking our site for the new look!

Hope January is treating everyone well. (And I hope you have missed the illness that keeps getting passed around! My poor Ian has had 2 separate fevers in the last 12 days!)

Off to bed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Congratulations Maggie and John!

I had the pleasure of photographing Maggie and John's wedding on November 30th. (Sorry I am so late posting about it!)

Maggie and John were married in Madison, OH and had their reception at the Madison Country Club. The ceremony was very emotional and the reception was stunning! Everything was perfect! I am honored that John and Maggie chose me to capture their day and I am proud to call them my friends.

John and Maggie's Wedding Slideshow

All the best the world has to offer for you both!

Congratulations Halle and Mike!

Halle and Mike were married on December 22nd at Glenmoor Country Club in Canton, OH. The ceremony was very sweet as they read their vows to each other and the reception was beautiful.

Halle and Mike's Wedding Slideshow

Have a great life together!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Few Changes

So if you read this post first, it is probably going to jump out at you with very little precursor and you may be a bit lost. This post is very long and I apologize for that, but there is a lot to be said. (The Holiday Hangover post mentions my subject for this post and may be a better place to start.)

So our lease is up on our studio location and after many discussions with Shan and Callie, we have decided not to renew our lease. We are moving our offices into our homes for awhile so that we can save money for a new house and change our personal lives for the better. Our phone number and website will still be the same. Our customer service will actually improve through this process. Let me explain how we came to this decision.

4 1/2 years ago, I gave birth to a wonderful little boy named Ian.

4 years ago, we moved into our studio location. All was well. Ian had a room at the office with a crib and some toys and was content to play on the office floor while I got my work done. We also had a restaurant next door which brought traffic to our little section of the Blvd. and got us noticed.

2 years ago, the restaurant closed and took with it 95% of our walk-in traffic. We also started doing a lot more of our portrait sessions on location and in doing so found that we really didn't need a studio location to do portraits.

A little over 1 year ago, I gave birth to another wonderful little boy named Christian. Now with 2 boys, one of which is now 3 years old, very active and into everything, working at the office with the kids was next to impossible. They got bored easily and would get into things that we didn't want them touching. We had a hard time keeping them quiet while we were on the phones and the hours that we were keeping were just grueling...on them and us.

So we started talking about what to do when our lease was up and we decided that in order to have a life that somewhat resembled a normal family, we needed to make some changes.

1. Move the office back into the house. Callie could work from her house, Shan and I would work from ours. This allowed our kids to be able to play with their toys and just be kids. (Not to mention that they will be able to go outside and play with their neighborhood friends this summer instead of being stuck in an office.)

2. Change our work schedule. 10am-7pm worked fine when Ian was a baby and didn't have a set schedule, but things change. Ian is in preschool now and needed a much earlier bedtime than our schedule would allow and Christian was born a scheduled child by nature. (You can always tell when we get close to bedtime for Christian.) Also, we had no family time. Working 7 days a week and later than we should eliminated any opportunity for family time.

3. Stop working 24 hours a day. Now you may laugh at this one and perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but we did work into the early morning hours almost every day. (2am bedtimes for us were not uncommon...and Shan has been known to see the sun come up before he has gone to bed on many occasions.)

4. Put more into our customer service. Looking at our lives and realizing that we wanted more time for our families allowed us to look at our clients differently and realize that they would probably want the same thing. So we decided to start meeting with our clients where it is convenient for them.

So this is how our business schedule looks for us now. Our phone hours are Monday 1pm-5pm, Tuesday-Friday 8am-5pm with 1 hour for lunch. All consultations and sessions are by appointment only. Our phone number and website have not changed. (Gotta love Vonage!) Portrait sessions are $50 and are 1 hour on location. (You pick the location within 50 miles of Akron) Consultations are done wherever is most convenient for the client. I have found that Barnes and Noble or a coffee shop are great places to sit down and meet. We will also come to your home or work if that is what you prefer.

For me personally (Shan and Callie may have different availability), I will have the following times available for consultations. (Some days may not be available due to events which is why all consultations and sessions are by appointment only. Just call me so that we can find times that will work.)

From now until March 15th:
Monday-Friday: 8am-7pm
Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 12pm-3pm

After March 15th:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8am-5pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 8am-7pm
Saturdays: 10am-2pm (When available)

The reason for this schedule is that we are busiest with consultations in January, February and March. So I am making myself more available during those months. After March, I want to be able to spend more evenings and Sundays with my family, so I will have extended hours only 2 nights a week and some Saturdays if I am not scheduled for an event.

All of this is being done so that we can provide our clients with the best work possible. By limiting the number of hours that we are doing business, we keep ourselves from getting burned out and we preserve our love for the work. (Just think about your own job...if you worked 80 hours a week, it would probably lose some of the things that you love about it....assuming you love what you do of course! LOL) We want to stay fresh and continue to love our work.

I am also a person just like you. I want to spend more time with my family. As my boys grow, I am realizing more and more that they aren't going to be small for long and I want to enjoy my time with them. I want to play in the backyard with them in the evenings and take them bike riding on Sundays. I want to make time for us to go to church as a family again and sit down for meals at our dining room table every night. I am sure that many of you want similar things with your families and so I know you understand why this is so important to me.

I am still here to be a great photographer and will attend to my clients needs the same way that I always did, just with different hours and from a new office. I consider my clients to be my friends and so I want to make sure that I can be the absolute best for my friends when they need me.

I am very excited about our new life that we are creating right now. (Although to be honest, it is still really hard for me not to check my e-mail all night long! LOL Closing that door to the office and just being a Mom and Wife the rest of the night is something that is taking some getting used to. But I love it!) I hope that you will all be excited for us too!

As always, if you have any questions about the changes, please feel free to ask. That is what I am here serve friends!


Holiday Hangover

So we finally ended our marathon of holiday travels and landed back in good ole' Akron, OH on January 2nd. Of course with a bridal show very soon on the horizon and an office to move (more on this in a bit), I had plenty on my plate to take care of. And yet...I was suffering from the dreaded Holiday Hangover.

I am sure many of you have experienced this at some point in your lives. You spend days and weeks leading up to a major event (ie. A Wedding, Birthday, Vacation, Holiday) and as soon as it is over, you go into this stupor. You aren't sure what to do with yourself now that it is over. You are happy that life is back to "normal", but then you start to question...what is a normal life? Your life has been all consumed by this event for so long that you can't even recognize normal anymore. You have lots of stuff that needs to be taken care of since you haven't been focusing on anything but the event, but for some reason, you can't shift your mind into gear to get things done. This is what I have dubbed the Holiday Hangover.

I suffered from the Holiday Hangover for 2 days this time. I had tons of e-mail and phone calls to return from my break, but for some reason, I just couldn't get focused on it for several days. Maybe this is God's way of helping us get our life back in order. Slow us down when we get back from an event so that we can see the big picture and really get things in order.

Anyway...I think that most of my Holiday Hangover has lifted. I am back into work and life mode and am happy to be "normal" again. My next post will go into more detail about the move and some changes in my life.

Hope all of you have made it out of the Holidays happy and safe. Let's have a great 2008!