Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tribute to my Father-In-Law

  We got the news this morning that my father-in-law passed away. Bari called me at work and I immediately came home. As anyone who just lost a parent, he is in shock. Bari M. (Gippy), had been ill for several years. I don't know I can name all the health challenges. Arthritis took it's tole, as did some kind of cancer of the tonsils. Like I said, I never knew all the specifics of his ailing health. What I do know, is that Gippy had the flu (or flu-like symptoms) this past week, and this morning he died. 

 I don't think it is possible to stand by your spouse without reliving your own experiences. This morning as I comforted and supported my dear husband, I remembered every moment of the evening my own father passed away. Nothing can prepare you for the inevitable. Even though I have a strong sense of purpose of my mission in life, my belief in Christ and Eternal Family, it is nonetheless, difficult to move forward in this life without a parent. Parents are the strength of the family, the ties of family bonds. Thinking of one parent without their spouse beside them, is terrible. It isn't just your own mourning/sadness/sense of loss, it is the concern of your surviving parents mourning/sadness/sense of loss that can become even more overwhelming.

I can't say enough great things about Bari's parents (all 4 of them!). All have been nothing but gratious, kind and inclusive for my children and myself in their family.

One of the first Christmas' I had with my kids and Gippy & Nana, they were teasing Bari about keeping us - whether or not he married me. They were instantly in love with all the kids and included them in every family activity. The only sadness I ever saw in Gippy was when he would reflect on not spending enough family time together.

The last time I saw Gippy and Nana, was when they came up (they live in Chattanooga), for Bari Ray's Graduation, and was here for the twin's birth also. (It was all on the same night- my family, over-scheduled, as usual). Bari M. and Linda were planning on coming up at New Year's to have Christmas with all the grandkids, and see the twins.

Of course, we have weddings on both Friday, and Saturday. Bari and Bari Ray will drive down to TN tomorrow morning (Wednesday) and come back the next evening (Thursday). We are hoping any funeral arrangements will be scheduled for Sunday, so the whole family will be able to make it back down by then.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Saga of the Christmas Tree

Christmas tree. It should be so easy.

I have been married to Bari for 6 Christmas's. And for 6 Christmas's there has been drama over the Christmas Tree.

When we got married, we each had our own tree. Each of us loved our own tree (and did not particularly like the others' tree). My tree was narrow and tall, kind of sparse so there could be lots of ornaments. We made new ornaments each year to put up. I had gotten it the first or second Christmas after the divorce, and we were living in a townhouse. I didn't want to bother with a real tree (had done that most of my life), and knew the benefits of an artificial tree would outweigh the strengths of a real tree.

Bari had a short(er) W-I-D-E tree. The kind you have to put the yellow branches in the yellow holes. Only most of the color codes were worn off and you just had to guess what went where. Each branch had to be carefully pulled apart and the ends tipped up a little bit so it not only held the ornaments, but looked Real. (Oh, my tree came in sections that fit together, and folded like an umbrella).  Bari's big thing was that it 'looked real'. Ok. Maybe. But it was a Royal Pain to put up.

 Now, I work Retail. RETAIL. I need Christmas to be fun and EASY. I don't want to miss the holiday because I work (all the time). So, I have (in the last 6 years since we have had the cable network with BYU channel), put up the tree on the first Sunday in December when the church Christmas Devotional is on. It is just long enough after Thanksgiving that I don't feel like it is Too early, but early enough that I don't feel like it is at the last minute. Yes. Lots of thought and experience has gone into this. And thus the problem.

 A couple of years ago my tree finally bit the dust. It couldn't be stored well- parts of it wouldn't come apart, and that was a problem. So. We started using Bari's tree.  . . . . Everyone was frustrated. The kids couldn't figure out where the branches went. When I wanted the tree put op (on the required Sunday), Bari was busy/taking a nap/not interested. Last year they actually put it up when I was at work, which was ok, but part of the problem is how hard it is to put lights on it.

Last year in January, Bari and I had a bridal show at the Convention Center downtown for 2 days. The night of the first day, we all got the flu. The second day we spent at the show running back and forth to the Restrooms. When we got home, we found all the kids sick, the tree knocked over, and the house a mess. I walked in, surveyed the living room and went to bed.

So, our cats think the tree is a giant cat toy. When they get into the tree (which they do) they knock off branches to make a place to sit. Cute? Sure, you should see the pictures.

Now  . . . . all that leads me to this year. I want a Pre-lit tree. I don't want to mess with putting lights all over branches anymore. Saturday night I bought a tree. Today I returned the tree.

The Saga continues........

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let's try again . . . . .

So, it's Tuesday. Everyone is at church or school and I am at home ALONE. (hurray) Writing on my Blog. (hurray). And typing with one hand because I'm eating a Klondike bar with the other (sugar free) (hurray- - - -challenging, but definitely worth it!).

  If it is at all possible, this week is busier than ever. We have Redsfest coming up next weekend, and are setting up 2 Costco displays. On top of all that, I still have custom framing to do. It's all good. I work with some wonderful people. Thank heavens they are all team players. Although, they (both Lynne and Greg- the other 2 framers) have crowned me - "the Responsible One". Yea, that means I take charge of all the stuff no one else wants to do. I don't mind it, but it does get to be a lot extra stress sometimes. So, for instance, these are some of the things that either I do all the time, or things that occasionally someone else will do too. (By occasionally, I mean, when I am on vacation, or crying in the bathroom because I am overwhelmed [no- I don't cry in the bathroom- at work anyway] ).
  *I clean the Mymaki (printer) every morning. There is a special cleaning on Mondays, too. Also make sure the cleaning solutions are ordered when they get low.
 *I keep inventory of all the length moulding, mats and glass.
 * Keep inventory of all frames made that day, size, number made, and moulding type.
  *Keep inventory of all the movie posters we have. Keep a sheet of specific posters, and organize all the rolls of posters. So, if my boss (just like tonight before I left) yells from his office -"Do We Have Hoosiers?" He isn't talking to anyone else. I look at my list and yell back -"Yea, One!" and he replies- "Ok- Pull It Out - Steve Needs It Tomorrow!'. So, I'm framing a poster tomorrow.
*I do almost all of the corporate custom framing projects. Not only do we frame for the Reds Baseball team, I frame for CBTS (Cincinnati Bell), ProCamps and lots others.
 *I check all the saw blades and change them when needed.
  Anyway, the list goes on and on. I wasn't going to blog about all of this, I was going to write about this past weekend.

Saturday I worked until noon, and then went downtown (Price Hill) to visit Joey. I brought him some clothes. He has broken off his relationship with his girlfriend, and because of this, he doesn't have anything, not clothes, not blankets, nothing. I already took a coat and blanket and some shirts. Anyway, he is at the Prospect House. It seems to be helping him. He is always surprised to see me. I stayed for the Family Meeting. There was a woman conducting the meeting that had not done it before. It was mostly about her life and how AA had helped her. At the end there were questions. I didn't find it particularly helpful or interesting, but I was there to support Joey any way I could. We (Joey and I) talked for a while. I met his counselor.  Stayed about 2 hours.
 Drove home, and was there for only about 30 minutes before Bari and I left to go to a Thanksgiving dinner that his step-brother was having. That was interesting. Bari's step-brother Miquel's ex-wives were there. They were both there last year also. Anyway, we went back this year, because Miquel is planning on moving back to Panama at the end of next year, and so, won't have anymore Thanksgiving dinners. So, we went.
  Got home (after stopping by Kroger), at about 10. At that time, I baked 3 Pumpkin pies. Went to bed at midnight.
  Got up at 6:30, baked the cake part of a Pumpkin Roll and went to Church. After church, our delightful Home Teachers came by. When they left, I finished the Pumpkin Roll, and made Sam a frozen pizza (what is wrong with that picture?). I also, did some post-production work on a set of portraits for a client we were meeting.
 We left for Katy's around 2:30, on the way, stopped by a restaurant where our customer was waiting for us. We delivered a package of pictures to her of her daughter.
 Headed on to Katy's and got there around 4. My oldest step-son, Dane and his wife, Yuka, were there. We had a really nice time visiting. Yuka is wild- literally. She was wrestling on the floor with Sam. He had a great time though. I gave Dane a baseball that Pete Rose personalized for him. He was so excited. (Oh yea, I almost forgot- Pete was in Cincinnati about 4 days last week. He was in my store on Monday and Thursday).
 So, we had a good time catching up with Dane. I hadn't seen him since Katy's wedding. They are thinking about coming up at Christmas. Dane is in the Army, and is now stationed at Fort Knox. I am just thrilled that all the brothers and sisters might have a strong relationship. Dane was already out of the house when we had Madeline and Sam. So I love seeing them interact and get to know each other. Family is so important.
 That's my weekend and more.
 Gonna bake more pies tonight to take tomorrow.
 Have a great Thanksgiving! (2 down, one to go!).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oops, missed a couple.

 So, blame it on the Bengals. They played (badly) a Monday Night football game, so I didn't blog. I don't have an excuse for the week after that though. 

Bari was so kind as to download all the pictures from my camera.

I never do well when adding pictures to this blog. Bear with me.

Obviously this is Halloween. The boys were the cutest pumpkins ever.

These seem to be going backwards in time. Hmmm. This was taken on Katy's back porch the Sunday the twins were Blessed. What a super cute bunch of boys!

This is Tony Perez. One of the Big Red Machine Reds baseball players. Geez- I need to loose the weight!

The picture of Pete Rose in the chair are from the Pete Rose Roast we photographed in September. This is from my camera, Bari took the 'official' photos from the event. Oh, that's Pete's son - Pete at the podium.

The bat and ball were given to me by the Reds this summer. I framed them as a gift from the Reds to Jonny Gomes. It was his 100th home run bat and ball. Last I heard, Jonny sent them to his home in Arizona.
And yes, that is fake grass in the back of the frame. It gets everywhere when I have to frame with it.

So, I hope the pics make up for the fact I hadn't blogged the past couple of weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 5 - - - - basic work/family

 Sooooo . . . . . . . week 5, not so bad.

As I was cutting and joining frames in the warehouse this afternoon, I had lots of time to think about what I wanted to blog about this week. And, as usual, many weird and amazing things came to mind.

Here are a few.

Sam. We have been diligently trying to get him caught up on his homework. It has been a momentous struggle. He is smart enough to know the answers on the papers, he just doesn't know why he has to do it. And he hates to write. So, like I said. It has been a struggle. One night, I think it was Thursday, he was up until 10:30. Now, he didn't do homework the whole time- infact, I don't think he really started until around 7, but still, it was horrible. Thank heavens we are finally in a new quarter, and have a fresh start. Tonight he got done by 7 and even got to watch a little TV. (And snuggle with Mom on the couch).

I want my kids in bed by 10. Usually this isn't a problem. I like my "quiet time". I can be a little cranky about it. 

Madeline. I am enjoying re-reading "The Hobbit". She hates it. She isn't into fantasy I guess. I was thinking about the first time I read it. I think I was about her age - 13 at the time. My family are avid readers. My sister has had a novel published. Yea, big into reading. I was raised a reader on Nancy Drew Mysteries. My sisters read them, and I couldn't wait until I was old enough. Now, "The Hobbit" doesn't have much appeal to this new generation. Even the Harry Potter series has to be bigger and more fantastic than the one before. Not to mention the films. Each Potter movie is more animated and fantastic than the last.

I still love reading. I love that you can make the book, the images, anything you want. I would rather read a really good novel, mystery, thriller, than watch a movie. And more so if the movie is made from a best selling book. Then again, that might have something to do with the fact that I live with a man who can turn the TV to any 007 Bond movie at any given part and name the movie, the main actors, what will happen next in the plot, and the band who recorded the film score.

I am the oldest person at my company. Sometimes this bothers me. Mostly because I don't think I am old. Or, Very old. Sometimes it bothers me because I do more. I am given more responsibilities. And then there are days I just physically work harder. Today was a day like that. It was just a hard day, and I'm tired. And I don't want to be tired. I don't think I should be tired.

Yesterday Katy, Josh and the boys came over for Trick-or-Treat. I made a couple of big pots of veggie soup, and we had a nice evening. Sam went with some friends. Madeline stayed home for a while, until a couple of girlfriends came over. 
  The most fun, of course, was William. He was dressed in his pumpkin suit, (as were the twins), and just ran around the neighborhood looking cute. He had no clue what was going on, but enjoyed every minute. I took a couple of pictures, when I have time to download, I will put them on the blog. It takes forever with this computer.

Our wedding on Saturday was nice. It was a full Catholic Mass at St Rose. St Rose is right on the river. There is a scale on the back of the church which shows where the water marks are from every major flood. This might have been the first full mass that Madeline has been to with me. These weddings last about an hour. Madeline couldn't believe it took so long to marry some one. But she was really helpful.

We are starting to make plans for Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I always loved getting together with family.

Sooooo.....It is now about 10:40. If I hurry, I will have enough time to read another chapter before I fall asleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week 4 ... a funeral, a wedding, and family

 Well, so far this has gone about quite nicely. (Can you tell I am reading "The Hobbit"? It is required reading for Madeline, and I am re-reading to help her through it).

 Last week started with a funeral. My former boss' father passed away and I wanted to pay my respects. It was a long drive (Mt. Orab), and a long wait (an hour standing in a slow moving line), but it was the right thing to do. No regrets.

Bari's brother and sister-in-law were visiting the past couple of weeks. There were several family dinners. Kyo-sun is from Korea, and always makes a traditional meal for us while she is here. Kevin, Bari and Bari Ray walked around campus one morning. Kevin is in the Air Force, and almost ready to retire. He started his career in the ROTC program at UC, just like Bari Ray.

Work is fine, I did finish the Ochocinco project, and they loved it. Now the Reds have a new project for us to work on. (No, this isn't the 500 or 1000 pieces for the Hall of Fame, we haven't heard if we are doing that or not). This is a new project. It includes a team picture, brass plate, baseball league emblem, and an empty champagne bottle. Not 1, not 10 of these- probably around 25 shadowboxes for all the owners. I get the best stuff! They haven't committed to this either, but I am working with my boss to find the right molding/mat choices so he can present the design to them.  I'm pretty excited to get the chance to do this one. It should be really fun. (Even if there are 25).

And just so you don't think I never get the chance to do some kind of 'normal' family stuff, we carved pumpkins Sunday afternoon. It has been a tradition since moving here with Bari, that we carve our pumpkins while sitting on the front steps of the house. Some years it is a little cold. This year it was beautiful. I always do a traditional face, Madeline did a scary face, Sam has an Avitar-Air Bender face (with the arrow down the top) and Bari Ray had Brittany carve his. It is a scary tree. Amazing how relieved I felt after getting the old flower pots off of the porch steps and the pumpkins carved.

We had a wonderful wedding this past weekend. I think we have 4 or 5 weddings in a row now. Anyway, last week the couple was really cute, and they just seemed perfect for each other. Even the brides dad cried.

I have heard (through Katy) that Joey is going to a Half-Way house for 3 months. The program helps with his schooling, job hunt, and (when he gets out) housing. I am really happy that he found some help. We will see how it goes. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Week 3 and Ochocinco

  So, yesterday was pretty typical for me. Work. Work. Oh, yea, and more work. You need 33 movie posters measured, drymounted, glassed and framed (all around 27x40 inches) in 3" wide moulding? Sure, no problem, let me just finish up the 56 (FIFTY-SIX) pieces for the Reds first.

In the middle of this day, I have a visit from one of the corporate clients I've been working with. They have 3 - 4 separate projects I am doing for them. Now, their company sets up sports camps for pro players -basketball, football, soccer - - -whatever. And the player usually uses this as a way to promote their charity. The company finds sponsors for the camp and the pro athlete. I then frame mini posters, or photographs of the athlete with sponsors, and signature cuts. (Signature cuts are small cards with the pro player's autograph).

Yes, so in the middle of my day, one of the companies shows up. We discuss his new projects, one of which is a multi-opening piece with a mini poster, and Chad Ochocinco's card/signature cut.  Fine. I put everything in a large manila envelope, and set it aside.  Vicki had been working on some graphics for me and I had to give her some information from this meeting immediately. We had made changes in a design, and I needed to tell her before she got too far into it.         THEN, I got a phone call (from the same corporate client) just to review a couple of things.      THEN I went to pick up the envelope to make a couple of notes and COULD NOT FIND IT  . . . . . .ANYWHERE.

Everyone looked. Everyone looked everywhere.

I don't loose things. ESPECIALLY not signature pieces. ESPECIALLY not Chad Ochocinco. 4 Chad Ochocinco cards. Not 1 card, FOUR cards.      GEEEEEZZZzzzzzz.

After getting home, going to bed with a migraine. I looked on my desk this morning and saw 2 manila envelopes with the same name on both. I thought, "why does he have 2 envelopes?". Yep, you guessed it. One was turned over, so I didn't see the correct name. It was on my desk the whole time.


And that's not all.

When I started framing the pieces I noticed something odd about the  signature cards.

They were copies. The cards didn't have original Ochocinco signatures on them. They aren't worth squat.

And I had a migraine over them.

And then my boss told me we have an additional order of 88 movie posters. yea.

And then (yes- there is more- and yes, this is how my days really do roll)...... my boss told us that we were asked to put a bid together for the Reds Hall of Fame for 500 pieces.

yep  . . . .500

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday - week 2

So, I am still trying to get into my head that writing every week is going to be good for me. Does this really replace a traditional journal? That doesn't seem right. You can't really store this like you can a book. Then again, how many books do I have that are only written until June or July of that year?

 This week was ok. Madeline's knee is getting better. We even bought her toe shoes on Saturday, and she took her first pointe class for this year, on Monday. Her ballet teacher said she did very well for not dancing (pointe) the last 9 months. Infact, she did even better than a couple of girls who had danced all year last year, on pointe. So, that's good. And (most importantly) the shoes weren't as expensive as I had thought. Man, she really does love dance.

We got a call from one of Sam's teachers today. Homework has been a struggle for quite some time. And honestly, I am pretty exhausted when I come home, and Homework is the last thing I want to deal with. So, I have been working with him, but not pushing or challenging him as much as I should. So, today, (like I said) his teacher called and said that (bluntly) if he didn't immediately start getting things in order, he would not pass 6th grade. Yea, great. He is really smart, but he is stubborn too. Bari (thank heaven's) has taken the bull by the horns, and made Sam sit (with a break for dinner of course) and finish/catch up home work for 4 hours tonight. It was a struggle, but he did pretty well. My concern is that when we have a day when Bari and I have wedding meetings, it will be a challenge to have him finish his work correctly with out us there.

 Speaking of Sam, he became a Deacon on Sunday with Bari Ray doing the ordination. That probably isn't the correct explanation, but most of you know what I mean. Anyway, it was really nice to see the brothers giving and receiving blessings with (step)Dad, and Brother-in-Law in the circle. Katy and I cried, it was very moving. That was another family moment that Joey missed that he will never get the chance to see. That makes me sad.

What else?

We ran up to Clyde/Fremont Sunday night for an event. I took off work on Monday (SURPRISE) and had a nice visit with my Mom. She is so funny. Bari even gave her an early Hallowe'en Card, and she was thrilled. Although Mom keeps busy (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), I know there must be times she is just lonely. A last minute visit on a Monday was a great thing for both of us. And even though Bari is Swamped with production work, he didn't mind the longer-than-we-thought visit. I have such a great husband!

Katy called today, the boys had their checkup. Grant is a whopping 12lbs, and Henry is over 10 -maybe even 10 1/2 lbs. They were sooo cute on Sunday. William was a hoot.

I barely see Bari Ray. He is deep into classes at the University, and work. He is working tonight, I think he is keeping it to about 4 hours a day during the week, and all day Saturday. Yea. Livin the good life!

So, that wasn't too bad. I will try again next week. As my mom would say- "we'll just see what happens!."

Monday, October 4, 2010


 I should probably try to write every week. Right now this blog is always in a catch up mode. And if I write every week I won't second guess if my rantings are interesting, funny (or not), insightful, or just "stuff" that is going on and not worth the effort.

That will probably only last a week or two.

Soooo. The twins are doing well. Henry had hernia surgery last Wednesday. It went well, and he seems to feel much better. Grant is smiling and quite a cute cuddly boy. Katy had an assessment for William (19mos and not a single word), and it went well. He is a smart little boy, and has learned sign language for "more" and "cheese". He uses the "cheese" sign for any food, but the people who were observing him were even more impressed he could understand a general term like "more".
 So, they weren't too worried that he doesn't speak yet. He does make sounds (cute coo noises when he holds his little brothers), and will most likely start talking when he wants too.

We had a weekend of shooting. I shot the local Homecoming Parade on Thursday. Friday and Saturday we had weddings, and late Sunday had a family/baby session. No day off this past weekend, and a full weekend coming up.

Katy called me Sunday evening and asked me when I had my next day off. I said it would probably be a week from Monday. She said I work too hard, and that I'm 'not 30 anymore'. (Yea, nice. Thanks for that). She is worried, and wanted to know if Bari knew how hard I work. Well of course he does. And yes it is hard, and yes I am tired and my feet hurt.(I'm not 30 anymore you know).  But the whole purpose is to be able to quit my full time job and work from home. I would like to be home when my kids leave for school, and be here when they come home in the afternoon. That way it won't be so bad when I am away on a Saturday for a wedding, or a Wednesday night for a planning meeting. Now it just seems like I am gone all the time. (And my feet hurt all the time).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Too much going on . . . . . .

 So, I haven't written because we have had almost too much going on. The youngest 2 are back in school. They are in different buildings this year. It always makes me a little nervous when Madeline isn't there to watch over Sam. But then again, it is probably really good for Sam to be on his own without sis watching out for him. For instance, this week there were 2 mornings when Sam had to get himself on the bus. One time Bari Ray was home to keep and eye on the clock for him. The other time he really had to get ready (coat and bookbag) and get out the door. I worry about the TV distraction, but when I called (of course! I'm MOM!), he had his jacket and was walking out the door to catch the bus. Yeah!

  We have been seriously busy at work. Job security right? I framed a baseball base again this year, but with a twist, it also had a baseball to go with it. It was finished today, and looks pretty good. Bari and I will be going to the Pete Rose Roast tomorrow night. He is documenting it for my boss (who organized it ). It should be interesting. I have never been to a Casino first off, and all the players and celebs should be fun. I have met most of the old Reds - Big Red Machine players, but Bari hasn't. It is really fun that we can do this type of event together. Then, on Sunday we have another trip up to my hometown for an event there. We will have to leave late Saturday after the Roast, or early Sunday. I vote for Sat night. I always sleep better when I am in town, rather than getting up EARLY to travel. Same thing with next weekend. We have a late wedding Friday here in town, and an early wedding Saturday near Lake Erie.

  That is just a taste of life here. Good news for me, I finally finished the redecoration on the dining room. It has been torn apart for MONTHS. Labor Day I finished painting and moved furniture around. I did take some before and after pix. We'll see how long it takes to get them posted.

Well, this is a not-so-flattering pic of Madeline after they practiced for the tennis opening ceremony in Mason. It was really hot, but they did really well. Bari has better pix on his production computer. Some day I will see those again. . . .
 Even though I tried to put this at the bottom of my blog, it decided to place itself in the middle hmmmmm. Anyway, this is the picture taken right after Bari Ray received the priesthood at Stake Conference a couple weeks ago. It was quite a weekend for Bari Ray.

The boys are all doing well. Katy is doing pretty well. I think she lives for the weekends when Josh is home. Then again, who doesn't live for the weekends?  The boys are growing, Henry is almost 8 lbs, and Grant has hit 10. They both rolled over this week. William is a pistol. He is sooooo cute.

I have been able to visit my Mom more often these last couple of weeks. It has been really nice. She is doing well and seems very happy and busy. I love to visit and just sit on her porch. It sure brings back childhood memories.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Some Pics

Pictures from our wedding in South Carolina. A very pretty plantation. We could have taken pictures anywhere. The whole place was picture perfect. The pink flowering bushes were Crep Mertle (sp). Beautiful, kind of like lilacs.

  Finally got a couple of pix of Henry and Katy with William. Grant was with Madeline at the time. For some reason, I didn't get as many of him. As of today, Grant weighs 8lbs 5oz, and Henry weighs 6lbs 1oz. Wow.

We went to visit my Mom a couple of weeks ago. Madeline showed her an IPod Touch. It was stinkin' hilarious. She would touch something and say "Oh!" every time. Every time!
 Love my mom.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Went to a Movie Premier Last Night

So, this doesn't happen every day. My boss was some kind of assistant producer of the movie -4192 The Crowning of the Hit King. A documentary about Pete Rose. Here is the crew at the After-Party. We get along pretty well most of the time, can you tell?
 Got a quick shot of my sweetheart. Those are our VIP purple wrist bands. So we got to party with Pete and the beautiful people as my brother-in-law would say.

 The last pic should be the first - this is early in the evening when Pete was doing interviews outside of the theater. Yes. that is Bari in the middle of the Paparazzi. He was the official CEI sports Photoman.
  Anyway it was fun. Not something you get  to do every night of the week.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I've Been Everywhere Man- - -I've been everywhere.....

 This is the first weekend I've been home for quite some time. We do have a wedding to photograph this evening, but at least it is close by.

I don't really know where to begin.

So, I'm blogging because I am so far behind on all the family news- I'd better get something published before it gets any worse. AND I'm blogging because I've been gone/busy so much these past few weeks/month that my bedroom is a total disaster and I don't really want to clean today.

I will start with Katy. Grant is HOME! he came home 2 Sundays ago. He is doing really well. I got to watch him one night (Tuesday) while Katy and Josh went to the hospital to visit Henry. After Grant woke up from his nap it was time to change and feed him. Man, after unwrapping all the blankets and his tiny little jammies, it really hit me how very Very small he his. What a cutie though. And a good eater. Even at this size you can see a bit of a dimpled chin and how he doesn't look anything like William did. I would post pix, but this takes forever to download (and I do have to clean sometime today before I leave). Bari took a couple of shots of William and Grant (in a basket) this past week. I happened to put the pic of Will next to a pic of Sammy (taken about the same age) on the cork board at my desk and was amazed at the likeness. Little Henry is still at the hospital. He did get moved to the big bed, but is still on oxygen and is having trouble learning how to suck. Katy is ready to have them both home with her instead of making the daily trips across town, but Henry isn't co-operating. I reminded her to be patient. It is amazing that Henry is even here, so she needs to let him progress at his own S-l-o-w pace.

I'm embarrassed to say that Sam has spent much of his summer so far - on the couch in his pajamas. This of course is his goal, and because we haven't been home - he has been succeeding. Thank heavens for Boy Scouts on Wednesdays. Now that June is behind us, as well as most of the summers activities, his summer will also change (for the better).

Madeline is due home from Girls Camp today. Last year she had a Fierce case of Chigger bites. I really hope that didn't happen this year. She was a bit (not toooo bad) less-than-excited about going. Mostly because we had just gotten back from a trip to Chicago the day before, and because she had heard they were going to hike 8 miles. I'm sure none of the groups hike 8 miles, but we'll see.
  So, Madeline had Applause National Dance Competition in Waukegan, Ill. a couple of weeks ago. Waukegan is about an hour north of Chicago, almost in Wisconsin. She was scheduled to dance Thursday and Saturday, possibly Sunday. So, we decided to drive up on Wednesday, find everything and get settled. Everything went well until we were about 20-30 minutes past Indianapolis. We stopped at a Rest Stop on Rt 65 outside of Lebanon. When we came back out to the car (my little white Subaru wagon) it wouldn't start. We had just gotten a new battery this past winter. Yea. Great. It was about 12:30. I called Bari, and then I called AAA.  The following is our time line for the rest of the day......
   12:30 Call AAA for a Wrecker.
    1:30 A little white truck arrives and checks the battery and the starter. Can't fix it.
     2pm Calls for a tow truck.. . . . .
      . . . . .we call . . . and call . . . and call. . . .
     4:45 The Tow truck arrives.
  - - - - -now keep in mind that the Service Dept closes at 5 so there is no way (NOW!) to fix and drive the car to Chicago. AND the RENTAL agency closes at 6. AND it is now RUSH hour in INDI where we are going BACK to. Yea Great
   The tow truck driver insists it is battery, but I don't let him try to fix it because I was too worried about missing the rental agency. We get to the rental car 20 Minutes before closing. Thank heavens the car we were getting was able to fit a metal trash can in its trunk (props- you gotta love em'). (By the way, I was right, it wasn't the battery, and had I let the tow driver work on the car, we would have missed getting a rental car).

  So, back on the road sometime after 6. Madeline is fiddling with radio stations when the Emergency Warning System comes on and announces a Tornado in the area. Ok. Too bad I don't really know where I am. I told Madeline that I didn't want anything to happen to the rental, and that if the weather got worse, we would find an overpass to sit under. Yep. You know it. Not 10 minutes down the road, the blackest looking clouds and heavy winds picked up. We (and several other cars) headed for some kind of shelter and sat for almost 20 minutes. It stormed all the way through Chicago. Amazing lightening.
   13 hours after we left home - we arrived at the hotel. I should have been about a 6 hour trip.
    Madeline did well at her competition, her trio received a High Gold, and one of the tap routines got a Platinum. The Mini Team (5year olds) won the whole competition at the Best of the Best program on Sunday. We were already heading for home because we had to pick up the Subaru and drop off the rental car. On the way home by-the-way, I stopped 2 more times with heavy wind and rain.

 So, that was Chicago.- Oh we did take the train downtown on Friday and went to Taste of Chicago. That was fun. And the theater where she danced was the home to Jack Benny, and 2 blocks from the lake. So it was beautiful.

  The week before Chicago, Bari and I drove to South Carolina for a wedding. It was hot. The venue was beautiful. It even had peacocks on the grounds. The groom had rented the whole place, so we stayed on the grounds at some cabin-type rooms. The facility was mostly used for hunting parties up until now. Recently they started converting it to more of a wedding venue. Which explains why there weren't any ice machines, microwaves or refrigerators in or near the rooms. It was pleasant though. The couple was nice, and the venue like I said, was beautiful. It did rain almost every day at the same time, so they postponed the wedding for about a half an hour, but that didn't really matter. I took pix on my own camera, when I can I will post some. Side note, on the way home through the mountains, at a scenic overlook, my camera broke. (Thanks to my father-in-law for letting my borrow his camera for the Chicago trip).
     So, Bari and I got home on Sunday (the trip was Thursday to Sunday) and then I left for Nationals on Wednesday (Wednesday to Sunday) and Madeline left on Tuesday for camp. BEFORE the SC trip, Bari went whitewater rafting with the older boy scouts (not Sam) in WV for 3 days. That was Mon, Tues Wed and then to SC on that same Thurs.

We were counting all the states we had been through in 2 weeks. 6 or 7 (without driving west!).

 I think that is all the trips, EXCEPT Youth Conf. this year, which is a Trek. But Bari Ray is the only one in the family going. Too bad Madeline is just a little too young. Oh, Bari the Younger, also had a mini trip to Cedar Point and then to the Columbus Temple.  I would love to take all the kids to Cedar point sometime this summer. That is were I had my first 'real' job (not babysitting).  Bari Ray will start classes at UC in the fall.

I won't add much about Joey. His whole situation breaks my heart.

I think that is all the news for now. I will try to get photos when I can. I can't believe it is JULY!

Friday, May 14, 2010

28 3/7 weeks!

Well Katy had some ups and some downs this week. It is fabulous that she is well into her 28th week (29 on Tuesday). They were originally hoping for 32 weeks, then it seemed like she would never make it 26 weeks. So, she is relieved that the babies are staying put. 

   Her kidneys are functioning well. They would like better numbers from her, but that probably won't happen until she delivers. Since I haven't been with Katy when she has been to see the kidney specialist, I don't know what they are testing for, except "kidney function". So, to give you an idea of where she was when she got to the hospital a month ago - she was a '14', now she is a '7' (better- yes?) well, normal on this test is a '.3'.  A  -  Point Three- not just a three. Hmmm. Better is relative I guess.

The other not so good news she got, was that the family who have been watching William are going on vacation at the end of next week. They will be gone for a month. Yea, we are a bit frantic trying to keep Katy calm about the whole thing. Bari and I will try to take him one day a week, we are hoping his (Bari's) sis and mom will pick up a day. Josh's parents said they will take 2. It wouldn't be so hard if Will wasn't allergic to cats.

   Nothing like a little family drama during times of stress. My oldest son seems to thrive on that. Needless to say, he has continued to bring me gray hair and hot flashes.  (I tend to get hot flashes when I am emotional- upset or verge of tears). 

  So, another- normal- busy- crazy week for us. Nightly visits to the hospital, or wedding meetings or work. Gee I believe I am having a flash now - - - -

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good News

I'm tired tonight, so this will be brief.  Bari and I ran up to Sandusky Co. last weekend for an engagement shoot in Green Springs (yes, there is a Green Springs Ohio).  We had an engagement shoot Friday night (in Cincinnati) too. Anyway, it was a long weekend, and I'm tired. Seems like I'm always tired the next day- after a big weekend. It even takes me a day to get tired. Weird.
 Well, Katy had some big tests today. This was the day we had been waiting for. She had the babies measured. Apparently, they can only be measured every 3 weeks. Don't ask me why. So, everything went very well. Both of their Dopplers were normal, which is a very big deal. And they both had gained weight. Baby A now weighs 1 lb, 6 oz. And Baby B weighs a whopping 2 lbs, 3 oz. The drs are pleased with their progress, and will continue to monitor her in the hospital. Oh, and they will do some kind of testing on her kidney every week. Sounds like they think this may stay stable a while longer.  The babies chance of survival went from 0-10% when she entered the hospital to 70- and now to 90% survival on Tuesday when she is officially 27 weeks. So we are so very grateful for all those who keep Katy, the Babies and her family in their thoughts and prayers. Honestly, we aren't out of the woods yet, but this sure seems a bit better news than in the past.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An exhausting 2 weeks

 Here are a few updates.
Katy got her tests back. Her kidney function is normal. I don't know how that is possible. She has 1 kidney, and that one is 'scarred' and not a 'true' kidney shape. Along with the fact that she is carrying TWINS ! Whatever. I just can't believe it.

 Also, she got back some of her Amnio tests. They have a negative result for any chromosome abnormality. So I guess they are ruling out Down's Syndrome. Although, baby A is still quite small, and seems to have other abnormalities. There has been some discussion that baby A may be in distress when delivered. And with all the challenges he has already, that he might not make it to delivery. Katy is cautiously optimistic. I think you have to be if you are a mom of any kind. How could you give up when you can feel him move, and hear his heartbeat? She has a pretty healthy 'wait-and-see' attitude, but knows she will not want to put baby B - who is very healthy - at risk. So, the plan is to (possibly) deliver in 2-3 more weeks (she will be 28-29 weeks). If baby A becomes distressed before that, she will probably not deliver if the outcome will put undue pressure on B. This week has been one of the most stressful I have ever had.

Just a bit of info  . . . little William is staying with a great family from their church. The Standish family have twins of their own and have had the same long term hospital stay. On the weekends Josh takes Will. On Saturdays and Sundays after church, Josh takes little Will to the hospital to see his Mama. Usually this is the only time through the week that Josh sees Katy too. It has always been Katy's priority that Josh visit William every weekday morning before he goes to work. They live so far from the hospital that it is not logical to try to do both. Katy thinks it is much more important for William to have a visit every day from Dada, than for her to have a visit from her husband. Again, thank heavens she is pretty close to us. I have been able to go almost every (weekday) night to visit. I think I have only missed one so far.

  On top of this, work was crazy, it always is when Pete (Rose) is in town. And Joe Morgan (Big Red Machine 2nd baseman- MVP, HOF) stopped by the shop on Wednesday also. It all keeps my boss busy, and a little cranky sometimes.

  Last weekend Madeline and I were in Indianapolis for a dance competition. Normally, this doesn't happen, but last weekend we didn't get home until about 1am. She had one dance on Saturday night, and 5 dances on Sunday. She was exhausted. They scored really well, so that helped.

    Last but not least, Bari and I spent Saturday morning (before I left for Indi) at the PNC Bank in Finneytown. I had the unpleasant opportunity of having someone withdraw money from atm's from my account. We would like to find out who it is. Doesn't that sound reasonable? Even though it had been happening at our 2 local branches, Friday night, money was also withdrawn from a branch on Linn St. Do you know where that is? I had to look it up too. DOWNTOWN. And the PNC people WON'T let me look at the VIDEO from any of the transactions. Now, let me ask you  IS THAT HELPING ME? no. I think not.  PNC is NOT customer friendly. I Highly suggest that any of you who might have had National City, and now use PNC-  . . . .RUN- take your money and RUN. We are changing banks asap.

 OH, I  forgot about the wedding we had on Friday. It was fun, lots of pictures in lots of locations. It make Friday seem like a Saturday. My brother and his family ran through town Thursday night, so that was fun, and I'm sure something else has happened that I have completely forgotten about. But, I'm tired, time for bed and a quiet weekend.

Friday, April 16, 2010


 Katy had the amnio this afternoon. I wasn't able to be with her. Afterword she told the dr that she 'deserved Chipotle'. And he bought her dinner (with Guacamole !). Now it is a waiting game for the results.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

new Katy and baby news....kind of

So, I just glanced at my last blog, and I was right. It was about a month and Katy was admitted to University Hospital. We went to her Dr appt on Monday and after looking at her sonograms, they sent her to the hospital for amniocentesis. As of Thursday morning, they haven't yet performed the test. There is a good chance that she will now be there until the babies are born. We will know more after the test. Her room #3227. Call her room instead of her cell (if you have it) if you want to chat. She is worried about her minutes on the cell.
  I have been able to visit every night for about an hour. If there is anything positive about this stay, it is that she is only about 25 minutes from me instead of the 50 if she were at Anderson.
  So, briefly, baby A isn't growing well, and there are abnormalities in the head. B is ok, but is something happens to A it will affect B also.
  I will try to post again tonight./ 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Katy news and other stuff

 First, thanks for all the kind messages about my birthday. I really do appreciate it all. There is a kinda funny (I guess it's funny) story about what Bari (Big Bari- not little bari) said the day before the Big Day. He knew I was trying really hard to get over the whole 50 thing- and he said, "honey, now, you know my Mom. Well, she's in her 60's right? And she's happy. . . . . and your Mom, she's what now? [  me answering  . . "going to be 85 sweetheart"],   yep, 85, and She's happy Right?."  Well there you go. I guess they all made it through 50 to the happier years.
    - - - - Please - - - -someone - - - -explain to me how Men think.

So, this past weekend was the opening of the Home and Garden Show at the Convention Center. Sat and Sun and then again today (Wednesday) through next Sunday. We weren't exactly sure what to expect, or how to market for this. But Bari made a really nice postcard type coupon to either sell, or give away as information on our Family Sessions. By the end of the weekend, we had given (and talked to) almost 700 people. We explained our 'on location' family/group/baby/high school seniors sessions and briefly how they worked. Just handing out info without any explanation would be a waste of time. Anyway, so far it has been a very good experience for us. The real surprise in all of this is the number of interested brides we had. Infact, we have already booked one wedding from the show. Weird. Can you hear that conversations with her bridesmaids? "where did you find your photographers?"     "Oh, at the Home and GARDEN Show!". And to top it all off, it is a location wedding on a plantation in South Carolina. Yea. No kidding.

  So, Bari is there tonight and tomorrow during the day, I'll go afterwork tomorrow and he will be there Friday all day. Both of us will be there this weekend (but I'll go Sunday after I teach my RS lesson). It is a BIG commitment, but so far it is worth it.

  Now, the Katy news isn't great. She is feeling pretty good and little William is terrific. The twins seem to be thriving. Unfortunately, Katy's challenged by her weak kidney. If you don't know, she had surgery when she was 4 years old to remove her left kidney. The right side kidney is rounded and scarred. The Drs said the remaining kidney is functioning, but there is a problem. I don't want to go into detail, and honestly, I don't know all the details, but it is safe to say that the Drs don't think the problem is related to the pregnancy. So, long story short, she is going to be admitted to University Hosp in about a month. She has to stay till the babies come, and even stay longer than that. She cannot have any testing on her remaining kidney until the twins are born. So, after the babies are here, they will keep her in the hospital to do all sorts of testing. Worst case scenario,   she will need a transplant in 3-5 years.

 Now, she has a wonderful family who will take William through the week, and Josh will have him on the weekends. The family went through almost this exact same challenge. The mom was on hospital bed rest for the last 2 months of her pregnancy with their twins. So, I don't think there could be a better solution to a terrible problem. This has helped her feel a little better about the whole thing.
  If you would like Katy's phone number, or mailing address, email me and I will be happy to forward it to you. She does not have internet access.

  I know you will keep her and her little family in your thoughts and prayers.


Monday, March 8, 2010

It's a big day for me

 Alright, I've been dreading this day for about a year (or more). And regardless of what I've said, done, haven't done or thought of doing, it has come anyway. Today. The Day. The Big Day....my birthday..... I'm 50. FIFTY. wow. half a century. 25+25. wow. Yep.
    I've been dreading this day. I don't know why though. Because I don't fear getting older. I certainly don't fear dying. I don't know why this is such a big deal. Yep. and I know I'm older than almost all of you who read this occasionally. (Yep, Like I wasn't older before too, but  NOW I'm REALLY old). That makes a difference.

So, to get on with life. Today is also the anniversary of my baptism. 30 years in the church (also older than some of you). Funny, that still makes me a convert, although I've been in the church longer than out of the church.

 AND- Bari is taking me out to dinner (we have a gift cert. that we haven't used yet). Reservations at the Boathouse, Montgomery Inn. Yea Baby! Ribs tonight!

 So, I have more Katy news and more Home and Garden news, but since I am venting on my birthday, I'll blog that tomorrow. (When I'm full of ribs).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stars in your Crown and a bit of news

 I believe there is a special place in Heaven for Elementary School Band Directors.        Yep.        I'm positive.

If you have ever had the privilege of going to a 5th and 6th Grade Band Concert you would certainly agree. After attending Sam's concert last Thursday, I have come to another conclusion.

Strings performances are always accompanied by a piano for one reason.      So you can identify the song that is being 'played'. Yes.     If it weren't for the piano being played throughout the song, the audience would never know where we were on the program.      We had 6 ( S - I - X ) groups of strings play BEFORE Sam's 5th grade band. RRRRReeeeCCCChhhhh               SSSSccccRRRREEEEccchhhhh. Six times. Starting with the 3RD GRADERS. Now, you might ask, "Why don't you think the Strings Teacher deserves an automatic place in Heaven?".                  That is a good question. And there is one simple answer.

Because they are just crazy. Certifiable. They have to be after spending hour after hour in closed rooms with 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders making all sorts of insane sounds with their violins (and other such stringed instruments). Yes, they certainly have lost their minds by now.

 I'm just grateful that Sam chose the Trombone and not a string of any kind.
  Last week he showed some interest in learning the piano.    Now, I could live with that.

 p.s.   - - - - - - Katy is doing well, but is on bed rest for a couple of days. And - - - - -- -(I love those little dashes - - -it's a great way to p -a - u- s -e ) And -- she is having twin BOYS!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Pin Oak Tree

We have a Pin Oak tree in our back yard. I took a picture of it after the last big snow storm. This is the new picture on my blogsite.

  I have a love/hate relationship with this tree.

  If you know me at all, you know that I am totally in love with trees of all shapes and sizes. Any time of year, any weather condition. I love trees in the rain, dancing branches in the wind. I love snow on the trunk near the ground, and how it creeps up the side. I love the new -barely buds in the very early spring. In fact, I try to catch the first site of buds as they slowly emerge from the branches.  I watch the shadows of the branches in the summer sun. I love how the branches turn toward the sky right before a summer storm.

 Yes, I love trees. Sometimes, I don't love my 'backyard tree'.

  Did you notice the leaves? Yes, after a snowstorm- SNOW storm. There are still leaves on the tree. And in the snow. Did you notice? Do you know what that means? Yep.

  We rake leaves A - L - L  YEAR. It is a game to see when the last leaves will finally fall off the tree. Can you guess?  Yep.

  Usually around April the last of LAST years leaves fall.

    . . . . . . .  right before the first leaves start to bud   . . . .

 I love trees in the winter.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's a 'bloggett'.. . . .-aka- mini blog

I only have a minute or 2 to blog this morning- so it is a miniblog!

 Just wanted to let you-all know that Bari has been working on the business web site and blog. So, if you haven't checked it out for a while- look at the other blog listed in our 'complete profile' area. And check the web site at cherryblossomdesign.net.
 Oh, and if you had youth at the Winter Formal and want to check out the pix, email us at either address - bariandlouann@yahoo.com,  or bariandlouann@cherryblossomdesign.net. and we'll get you the password.

  More bits of info. Bari reserved a booth at the Home and Garden Show this year. If you are not familiar, it is a premier indoor home decorating and remodeling show down town at the convention center. It is about 10 days long. I will have to be there for work (CEI Sports), and for Cherryblossom Design, too! AND- that is Madeline's first Competition Dance weekend. Geez.

 Gotta go and scrape off the car!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Holy Cow. . . . . . some really B-I-G news . . . . . .x's 2 !

 Ok, ready for some really big news? Big news for our family anyway. Ready? ready? Katy is expecting. She is due in early August. And. . . . .it's. . . . . twins. Yep. No kidding. Would I kid at such a thing? She is just finishing her 1st Trimester. We went to her ob specialist this am and checked out the little punkin's. The doc met with us for a while, as did the Genetic specialists. The babies are really good. They have good heartbeats and measurements. Baby 'B' (or was it 'A' ? I don't remember), moved his/her mouth like it was drinking - And then his/her Tongue came out! It was so cute, like it was sucking on an invisible binki. The Dr is pleased with how well Katy is doing, and doesn't think (beyond the normal risks of multiples and pregnancy) that this will be too difficult for her. So, I called my sis and bro and Mom tonight to spread the good news and thought I'd blog a bit too.

                        (That's me and Pete Rose the baseball player. Just in case you didn't know.)

Did I mention that I got a new camera for Christmas? Yea for me! AND it came with the correct cords to download images to my computer. Again - Yea for Me! So, for the first time in a LONG time, I'm going to add photo's to the blog. We'll see how well that goes.  The problem now is - how do I choose which of the 94 images to publish. Hmmmmmmm- gotta put in the cats, and the little William, and , hmmmmmm.

Ok so I'm not so good at putting these where they should go. I thought they'd drop at the end of the last paragraph, but apparently not. I'll wait to add pics of the cats and such nonsence the next blog- I don't want to add anything more to the MIDDLE of this one-


Monday, January 4, 2010

My Year in Review, and Holy Cow ! 4 days in to the New Year and already it's Crazy at the Cruzes

My year in review.

As I was driving to my Mom's the weekend after Christmas I had much time to reflect on the last year. Bari was happily snoozing in the passenger seat and the kids were with family. I actually tried to do a month by month assessment of the year, but since I can't remember each month, that became a fail. So, here goes (the best of my ability to remember anyway).

March - see how time flies? I'm sure something happened in Jan and Feb besides Joey and Madeline's birthdays. Anyway, along came March 5, 2009 and little William Drake Colonel  my 1st grandbaby was born. What a cutie. Nothing else of importance happened in March including my 49 -FOURTY-NINETH Birthday! Let's just not talk about that.

May - I left my job of 6 years and went to work for a sports memobilia store. Since that time I have framed baseball bases, seatbacks, LOTS of different signed photographs, a sign from the dugout from the old Reds Stadium, and a tile from a roof from Germany. I can't even remember all the things I've done. I've met Pete Rose and George Foster, Kyle Cook (starting Center for the Bengals). I really like local sports, thank heaven's.
In May we also celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and spent a weekend at Murphin Ridge Inn. Beautiful. I want to go back. We remenise often.

June-July-August- Summer- who can remember?

September- Bari left his job at a studio where he had been working for 13 years to devote full time to our photography business. It was a BIG jump. We are keeping busy (kinda) and paying our bills (mostly). But it is scary. I'm still very confident that this was the right move for us, but even though he has been photographing weddings for over 17 years, it is a LOT of hard work.
In late August-early Sept, my brother and family came to visit. It was really fun to have them around for the weekend. I miss having family close by.

November- Thanksgiving in Savannah, Ga. It was so much fun. The city is beautiful. The trees are incredible. We had a great time with Bari's family. They are always so much fun. I've never eaten Thanksgiving Dinner outside on a patio before. We would really like to go back and visit.

December- My first Redsfest with the company I work for. I mention this because it might help explain just how busy my job is. This is a 2 day Reds Baseball party held at the Convention Center each year. We stock and man a HUGE booth at the convention center. There are baseball signings, bands playing, old and new players there. It is a family event. Next year I want Bari to bring Sam and Madeline.

January 2-3, 2010. Bari and I decide to take the BIG step and pay the BIG bucks to have a booth at the most prestigious bridal show in the city. So last weekend we were at Wendy's Bridal Show in the Grand Ballroom at the Convention Center. OK, so starting Friday night (the night before-) we went to Bari's sister's house because his dad and step mom were visiting from Chattanooga. We had so much to do to get ready, but went over anyway and had dinner. Sam and Madeline went to his mom's afterward to spend the night. We came here and organized everything we would need for the booth. We had already done 2 small bridal shows in the summer, so everything was there, we just needed to double check, and put it in one place for easy packing the next morning. Rise and shine early- we were at the venue at 7:30 in the morning. The show would open at 10. We thought it went well even though there were 25+ photographers there. That evening were were exhausted, and all we wanted to do was go home and sleep. Our feet hurt, we were hungry, and emotionally exhausted from being 'up' and happy to every one of those brides. WELLLLLL...... Bari's dear mom decided to have a dinner for everyone that evening. It was really nice, although we didn't feel any too nice. Headed home around 9- Madeline was starting to complain about her stomach. We recently found out she is lactose intolerant. So I thought it was that. Fine. The next day was Sunday, we made sure the kids knew they were all going to church together, we would still be at the show. . . . . . . . . .Midnight I get up to find Bari Ray terribly sick. He said he had texted Brittany who had been at dinner too, and she was also sick. Yea, I was trying VERY hard to NOT be sick. Tums, Peppermint, anything   . . . . . . . .yep, 2am I was sick as a dog (worse than a dog). I knew Bari would get it too. We still had the next day at the EXPENSIVE wedding show to go to - and how could we not be there? What kind of reputation would we have as photographers if we missed it? So, I started making a plan, I would go early and set up the few things we had taken down the night before. Bari could come around 1 or 2 when we were supposed to be really busy. Maybe I could call my friend Gail to help me. Then I remembered --oh oh--the booth next to us was a restaurant, Lebanese and Greek foods. Then smell the day before was incredible, but with a very sick stomach, oh oh.
So, I did get up (somehow) and got myself to the show. Bari followed a little later, and we managed to make our way throught it. We made it somehow, even with the smell of roasted lamb, and the lack of bathrooms close by (it was in the ballroom). Really, it was the hardest thing we have ever had to do together.

Nope, the story doesn't end there. When we got home we now found Madeline sick, the Christmas tree knocked over, and I remembered that I hadn't made it to the grocery to get anything for the kids lunches. With that, I went in my room to rest - Just A Little While - at about 6ish I layed down, at 8:50 I woke up! ! !
Walked out of my room to find Madeline still sick , in her bed, she had called a friend of mine for advise because I was sick and sleeping - LOVE YOU LISA-.  So, we think all is winding down, I sleep most of the night  in my own bed. Get up in the morning, and SAMMY'S sick. (All over the Bathroom- of course).

 Well, Bari is the At Home Dad now, so I cleaned myself up and went to work like any good wife.

And this is only the 4th day of the year- - - -