Tuesday, December 04, 2007

out with the old!

Blogger has been a little crabby lately....

So even though my new website and blog are still undergoing construction, it's time to move on!


Go ahead, check it out and reset your RSS feed with the new address. I've added new pics today and will continue to add photos to the new blog.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Weird Friday night

In memory of my neighbor's blow up Christmas thingy: 

November 25, 2007-November 31, 2007 

After recording Cassie (see below post) we had something really weird happen. Here's the story...

We live in a somewhat quiet neighborhood, but we do have some super bored kids who live here because there is a fair amount of vandalism. It's super annoying and can be expensive as we had to replace our garage door because of it a couple months after we moved in. (I tell you, spending  $900 to buy a garage door when you just bought a house and got pregnant is so much fun!) Anyway, Friday night while we were recording Cassie we were sitting in John's office and we heard yelling outside. It sounded like it was right outside our window and when we peeked outside it was too men fighting in our yard! It was pretty scary. They made their way to our front porch and started ringing our doorbell yelling all sorts of stuff.   I cautiously looked out the porch window and saw that one of the men had a knife. I freaked out! It scared the DAYLIGHTS out of me. I called 911 and we were all pretty confused and I was so scared! Both of the guys were yelling and the pugs were going nuts so we couldn't hear what they were saying.

It ended up MUCH less dramatic that John or I had imagined. It was our neighbor down the street who had caught some drunk kid cutting his blow up Christmas decorations with a knife. Since this guy gets vandalized all the time he was fed up. He chased the kid all the way down the street and wrestled him onto our porch until the police came. The thing is, we thought it was two drunk guys in a fight and after seeing the knife and hearing all sorts of yelling we didn't know if there was a gun involved. Talk about adrenaline pumping. (If you know me, I'm a bit dramatic anyway, so you can imagine how freaked I was.) 

It was the weirdest thing. Our neighbor came over today and apologized and thanked us for calling the cops.  I'm not sure he fully appreciated us though because when he was listing all the things that have been done to him (like having his lawn driven through EVERY week, etc. which really stinks) he mentioned that people have been putting his Christmas reindeer in sexual positions and upon hearing that John and I busted out laughing. We are so immature! He told us it wasn't so funny if you have a 5 and 7 year old daughter. Ummmm, yea. It's a horrible thing. (giggle-giggle.) 

No seriously, that does really stink for that guy. He's a hard working guy and a good dad, so I feel for him.  Our neighbor proceeded to tell us that as he was holding the kid in a headlock waiting for the police to come he realized the guy had soiled his pants. Must have been pretty surprised when got caught, huh? YUCK! Can you imagine holding some guy in a headlock and smelling that? sheesh. Oh, and remember the knife I saw? Well it was what he used to pop the big Christmas blow up thingy. You'd think he's be smart enough to drop it, but he held on to it the entire time. What an idiot! When the cops came that just made him look like a guy with a weapon. Oh, and he was 18, so he actually went to jail that night. Hope he had fun popping that balloon.

So that was our night Friday night. Thankfully, all is quiet on Bluewater Trail this evening. There's a blow up snowman and penguin in the yard behind us and so far, all is looking good for that duo. I think it's safe to say Christmas decor is safe in the suburbs this evening thanks to the vigalante actions of our good neighbor three doors down.

Oh, by the way, some of you asked for the link to Cassie singing at Miles' dedication. Just go to our youtube page, Click here for videos  It's the one called Miles' Dedication.  Enjoy!  It's a rough recording because it's just from a video camera, so I'm excited that we got to actually record her with an actual mic. 

recording session

After my friend Cassie sang at Miles' dedication this past summer, we offered to record her singing if she wanted a demo disk or just for fun.  Finally we were able to find a time to get together and do it.  John's studio is the perfect size for him, but add more people to the mix and it's pretty tiny.  I tried to get some shots but had minimal space and light. I was sitting out in the kitchen shooting most of the shots through a narrow slit in John's office french doors, so keep that in mind when perusing the shots. Btw, I LOVE Cassie's hair. I wish I knew how to wear headbands in the funky way she does.  
It was awesome to have our own little live concert in our home on a chilly Friday night.  We LOVE her voice and she writes her own music.  I just eat up creative people.  Oh, if you look closely, there's John in the upper left corner. 
Ok, how adorable is Cassie in these headphones?  Bless her heart, it was kind of a challenge to play the guitar part separately from the singing. She had to sit on her hands to keep from making noise when she sang.  Stamp came in and did some tap dancing on the plastic floor protector to help with the noise making.  That Stamp, she just has to be where the action is! 

I love that I was able to get the shot of her guitar like this and I was all proud of myself and then John said, "Yea, but she's just tuning, not playing."  Ugh! Leave it to a musician to notice that!  I was trying not to make her too uncomfortable by snapping a bunch of pics, so I tried to be quick.  I'll be shooting her again soon for a cover so I'll get another chance. ; )
Notice her beautiful engagement ring in this photo?  She just got engaged last week!  We are so excited for her and her fiance Jason because they are the sweetest couple.  Oh  my goodness I can't wait to see Cassie as a bride. She's going to take my breath away!  

When the CD is done, we will (with permission, of course) be posting her music.  She's so beatiful in so many ways. We love you Cassie!

kurtz family get together

Thanksgiving week we went to Brenda Kurtz's house where her kids were home and had all of the grandchildren together. I grew up next to the Kurtz family and these people are literally like family to me. I don't get to see them often, but when we do it's like no time has passed.

When we arrived, there were two dogs, 5 kids and an assortment of adults, so Miles was was kind of freaked out at first.

You all met Evan earlier this summer. Jen and I got to go through our pregnancies (and cluelessness together) and now we get to figure out this whole parenting thing together too. Here he is deep in thought.
Susan, on the hand, is a PRO as she has four little ones. Her youngest didn't have a problem conking out on the couch despite all the craziness in the room. 
And here Ariana is awake. 

Wendy, Susan and Jen's world traveling sister, is awesome with the kids. I had a million shots of her playing, but thought this one summed it up.  She's such a cool person. I love hearing her stories of where she has recently traveled when I see her throughout the year. 
This is Daisy, Jason and Jen's dog. She is super smart and totally Jason and Jen's first born.  We share the same dog craziness as we have both:
A. Taken our dog to see Santa 
B. Taken our dogs to a doggy daycare 
C.  celebrate our dog's birthday 
D. Dress our dogs for cold weather.  

(Um, I think they have taken Daisy to see Santa. Jen, you'll have to comment me if I got that right.)  
Evan was a tough guy to capture as he's walking now.  Here he is on the move. 

These two were braiding each other's hair the entire time. Again, I have a million pics, but thought I would show the end result. 
Towards the end everybody started to get sleepy. 
Must have been all those tickles. 
Susan's kids LOVED the camera.  
Issac held this pose for ever as he hung over the end of the couch.  He loved having his picture taken. 
Ok, time to put the camera down and get caught up with the Kurtz family.  Can't wait to see you guys over Christmas!  

Lots of love to you!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hyperbets at Sunset, by John. ;-)

Another sunset, another chance for John and Betsy to play! Give us a beautiful sunset and a camera and we are set. I know, I know, we've done this before, but they are so much fun, I couldn't resist posting. (And yes, I went nuts with the colors, but wouldn't you too? I love going nuts on the colors when it's just for blogging fun.)

Last time we did a sunset shoot we went for sweet mommy and baby shots. This time, it's too cold for baby so I just got to be my good 'ol hyper self.  By the time John got a turn, I was too freakin cold to shoot him. (bummer because it's FUN!) We took a bunch of zany shots but I restrained by just posting these.  Enjoy. 

Tree pose by the tree for the yogis in the crowd.  
I'm channeling my inner Michelle Kwan here.  
Yes, I took my coat off here to try for more graceful arms.  Can you say Brrrrrrr!? I'm wearing short sleeves!  (Yes mom, I'm taking my Vit. C!) 
I'm telling you, the next time there is an awesome sunset, swing by our house! We could have all sorts of fun with two people. Oh, the possibilities.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

welcome wall•e!

After years of using a PC, I have returned to my Apple roots and have another imac! (Bless my old egg imac, this one is light years better than that sweet little thing!)  It feels good to be home!  I grew up in a house where using macintosh computers was like a religion. I'm not kidding.  I went to two mac world conventions in San Fran, CA as a kid and it might as well had been Disney World.  Man, I really wish I could have stayed a computer geek through high school. Oh well, I'm trying to catch up now. 

Meet Wall•y. (I named my mac after this adorable character) For those of you pc fans, the entire computer is located inside the screen.  What you see on the box here is all you get and need.  No CPU tower.  Sweet, huh? 
John was like a kid in a candy store. He LOVES opening up and setting up new computers.  The best part of the set up was when a little camera popped up from the in-screen camera to snap my profile photo.  (We let Whisper stand in since I hadn't showered yet. I tell you, we dropped EVERYTHING to set this baby up.) 
The keyboard is very different and taking some getting used to. It's so freakin thin!
This screen is SOOOOO beautiful. It's huge and glossy. We can play DVD's on it and watch movies in the living room now if we want. We are mesmerized by this screen.  (I have used the word mesmerized twice this week on the blog. What a great week!)  
Hey, what's that on the screen? It's a Betsy and John Photography website! How'd that get there? Guess I'll have to release that sometime soon. ; ) Good thing I have a shiny new mac to finish it! (I'm seriously just about as excited as I could be if you couldn't tell. Like seriously excited. I don't feel worthy!)

So I usually don't dare work on the computer while Miles is around because my pc had a million cords and the tower to climb on.  I thought I would try it when he woke up from his nap. Can you find Miles?

This photo where Miles is laying on his belly cracks me up.  He was enthralled with the cord hole in the back of the armoire.  (That's where the tower used to be. Now it's a little spot for Miles to play.) 
Ok, he's starting to climb on the printer. Time to shut the doors to Wall•y, for now.

We are in the midst of moving all of our photo library on John's mac to a harddrive so I can get them moved over here to Wall•y. Um, the computer says it will take 6 hours. It ran for a while and then had an error. We are back to productivity ceasing! Oh well, it's all part of the process. I'm SO ready to get rolling on getting our photography business site up and running, get some business cards printed, etc. Very exciting time! Poor John is the one who has an actual full fledged business and bless his heart, I think he's struggling to focus with all this excitement (and fun) fluttering around. It's an interesting time, that's for sure. Again, stay tuned!

BTW, I hate posting right after I do a super cute post because I don't like the idea of people missing cute stuff on a previous post. So make sure you scroll down to see Preston and Miles at the Coffee shop. One of my favorite photos is in there.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Miles & Preston meet for coffee

Miles and I met our new friends Erin and Preston for some hot drinks and some much needed time out of the house at my favorite coffee shop, the Mocha Lounge, a week or so ago.  Miles could barely wait to get his hands on Preston, who seemed pretty jazzed to meet Miles too. He's only 3 months old but he's got the smile down!  (I flipped when I realized I caught him actually smiling at Miles. Now how freakin cute is that?) 

Miles LOVED Erin's necklace. Thankfully it remained intact despite Miles' track record of dismantling beaded necklaces in no time flat.

I met Erin at a mom 2 mom group (yes, I know some of you are laughing at the mom group thing) and we hit it off really well. We actually first met when she was still pregnant for Preston this past summer, but we didn't get to connect until now. I'm so glad we did because we have so much in common! It's so much fun to meet people that you just hit it off and start chatting away like crazy.   (I LOVE This photo, btw. I would KILL for Erin's teeth.) We both have brainiac/creative husbands too so even more in common. Yippee!  
Look at those lashes!  This was just the beginning of a series of facial expressions in a yawn that I captured. (I'll post those later. This is one of those moments when John is working late, I need to get on the computer to grab some files, but don't want to wait for him to be done to blog.  Did I mention I'm excited I'm getting my own Mac? It's on it's way!) 
This photo is my favorite of the day. I couldn't stop staring at it when I loaded it onto our computer. He's so squishy and those eyes are looking right at me and oh so mesmerizing. 

Again with the squishiness! Don't you want to squeeze this baby RIGHT NOW? 
I love photographing babies sitting up like this, before they really know how to sit up.  (Remember the hippo photo I took of Miles? That's where I got the idea.) 

Gotta capture those sweet little hands. 
Miles was so patient to sit and play with his cheerios while I played with my camera and gabbed on and on.  I wonder how much longer he will be intrigued by a little canister of Cheerios. 

Oh, I hope I get to photograph some more babies soon. I have been having a blast photographing Miles this week (you'll see what I mean very soon) but little babies are fun too because they can be such good little models and let me get in and photograph their little hands and feet.

Woo, I'm so tired. I was up past 1 AM last night so I need to get to bed pronto.Nighty Night, hope you enjoyed the cute baby pics!

See ya soon Erin and Preston!

Monday, November 26, 2007

light a life

If you are a new blog reader, you may not know that I was married before and lost my first husband, Andy, to cancer. Even though I have come a very long way in my grief process, there will never be a holiday season my heart isn't remembering him or the amazing families I met in our journey through cancer. I would like to share a bit of my experience with you this evening.

This is a photo of me and Andy on his first day in the transplant unit in Minneapolis. (Notice his Got Chemo? shirt. That was SO Andy!) It was Halloween, 2002, hence the big spider balloon and despite our happy faces, we were scared out of our minds. We had already been living in MN for a month collecting his stem cells and going through many strange and painful tests not to mention just waiting to begin the transplant. Despite how terrifying, unbelievably painful and lonely that time was, it was also a time of hope. After all other treatments had failed, a stem cell transplant was this one beam of hope that gave us a glimpse at the possibility of living cancer free.

We ended up not only spending our Halloween in the transplant unit, but our Thanksgiving and our Christmas in MN as well. Every holiday season I think back to those hospital rooms and how some family is living in them now, trying to somehow give their child a Merry Christmas amongst the tubes and beeping machines. That is so much harder than you could ever imagine. The majority of families getting a transplant don't live near a transplant center. They have to travel very far, leave their homes and jobs behind to care for their children, spouses or sometimes even a parent. Insurance doesn't pay for the house you have to leave behind or the car payment you still need to make. When Andy and I moved to MN for his transplant we had to pay $900 a month (5 years ago) for our apartment in MN, utilities, food, prescription co-pays and still pay for our car payments and our mortgage at home in Indiana. There was still a percentage we had to pay of the $350,000 transplant fee too. Not to mention I was on an unpaid family medical leave from my job and Andy was getting a fraction of his paycheck from disability.

We couldn't do it on our own. The whole community banded together and helped us pay for it. There was one organization that was an amazing gift to us during that entire ordeal and in the months afterward. The National Transplant Assistance Fund. They helped our community raise funds, managed the funds for us and gave us checks to pay for all the things I listed above. The NTAF was such a wonderful gift to us that I stayed in contact with them after losing Andrew and I am now on the board of directors for the NTAF.

One of my projects I'm involved with is the Light a Life campaign. We are raising funds to help build the NTAF's emergency assistance fund to help people who need funds right away and can not wait for the funds to be raised before they get their life saving drugs or medical care. This Christmas, in honor of Andrew and all the people in transplant units across the country, please consider giving a gift to the NTAF. Your donation can be given as a gift to a family member or friend in memory or in honor of someone special. The NTAF will send a card to your loved one, letting them know of the gift given on their behalf. Please visit
NTAF's Website to light a life today.

This is a logo I designed as my first project on the board of directors last year. It was a really fun project and I'm thrilled it's something they can use on their materials over and over.

Also, if you know of someone going through any kind of transplant or who has endured a catastrophic spinal injury, the NTAF can help them raise funds they need. If you need more information, you can go to
NTAF's Website or email me and I can tell you more.

Thank you very much. I know not everyone appreciates hearing about requests for donations, but the NTAF is truly an amazing organization and one very near to my heart. Andrew always said that once he got healthy he wanted to turn around and do for other cancer patients what so many had done for him. He was never able to do that so I try my best to help spread his message of the importance of giving back.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

post thanksgiving randomness

As you know, rain or shine, John walks the pugs every morning and Miles and I try to join him when we can. Here's Miles' winter get-up. Poor kid can't move an inch in that thing. Not to mention he's about to bust out of the Baby Bjorn.

Here's another shot of my mom with Mugga (Andy's Grandma) enjoying one of Barb's many toys before Thanksgiving. So sweet.

I'm soooo tired but I"ll give you a preview of what's to come on the blog this week: Get together with The Kurtz family, Miles does coffee with Preston and Miles' first festival of trees at the Embassy photos. My new Mac better be ready for some major work when it arrives this week because I have LOTS for it to do! Oh, and there are LOTS of other fun and exciting things brewing yet to be announced. Stay tuned!

guess who...

Grandma sat across from at Thanksgiving?

It's like there wasn't another soul at the table! To say Grandma loves Miles is the understatement of the century!

More photos to come. The thing I LOVE about the photo with my mom is you can see Bill Zabel's signature chops in the background. ;-)