Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread Men!

Click the link below to read my latest entry on Pennlive about baking gingerbread men with the kiddos!

You Don't Have to Run as Fast as You Can...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ellie is FOUR!

Well, she's actually four plus a week. :) Here's the link to my Pennlive post about the celebration.

Ellie is FOUR!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A "Sober-ing" Challenge

When my friend, Shauna Sober, called and asked me to take a family picture for their Christmas card this year, I agreed without hesitation! We decided that since her hubby, Ken, spends every waking moment at the family tree lot in New Cumberland, we would just take the rest of the family to him! Besides, what better location for a holiday picture than amongst tons of Christmas trees?!?

I love these next two shots of the girls and their ornaments.
Here's Morgan, 2 and 1/2...

...and Lauren, 5 and 3/4. (Note to self: Wear a less obtrusive color when photographing child holding shiny silver ornament:-)

The sisters were goofin' together while waiting for Daddy to finish up with a customer. One or both of them is always singing or dancing. :-)

And here's where my "challenge" began. It seems that Little Miss Morgan is not a very good "camera-looker-atter" unless, of course, it suits her. Never mind that everyone else is ready! You should see the outtakes I have! It's a good thing she's still cute from the side! :-)

And here's my favorite! I think it's just so darn "small town cute." And I think Shauna and Ken like it too... :-)

All in all, I think we did pretty well. The Sobers got a family pic for cards, and I learned a lot while battling Morgan for some "face time." Just like anything else in life, it's amazing how much more you learn by actually doing!

Merry Christmas to All! ...and if you're in the Harrisburg area and need a tree, there just so happens to be a super cute family-owned lot right in downtown New Cumberland. Just look for the big red sign!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Costello Family

The weekend after Thanksgiving, I met with the Costello Family for pictures of the kids. Mom had initially been planning this as a surprise for her hubby, but then she broke down and told him. This gave me the opportunity to convince them to let me get some family shots too. I'm so glad they agreed! Have you ever seen so many BLUE eyes in one picture before?!? (Click on the image to enlarge.)

As I was uploading these to my blog, I realized that I have a lot of b&w favorites from this shoot. Dunno why...

LOVE this one! What happy faces.

Who needs a Christmas tree? Just decorate the kids!

Dad is one of the football coaches at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High. Mom had wanted to surprise him with pics of the kids in the stadium...then she realized we needed his keys in order for us to get INTO the stadium. :-) I really like the way this edit turned out. Sorta' reminds me of an antique athletic photo you might find at a flea market.

What dad wouldn't be proud to have this one on his desk? :-)

Go 'cats!

'One of the last shots of the afternoon. Soon after this, all four kids turned into pumpkins. :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Baker's Dozen of Randomness

It's been over a week since I've posted! Yikes! This time of year, Life just feels like it's whirling out of control in the Weaver House.

Come check out my latest Pennlive entry!

A Baker's Dozen of Randomness

Monday, November 16, 2009

Turkey Trouble

Copy and paste this url to see. You know you wanna... :-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Taylor Girls

Meet Caitlin and Bri, two of the sweetest (and most beautiful!) teenagers around. Their family has been long-time family friends of ours. Caitlin goes to Messiah College (two minutes from our house), and Bri is a very talented mallet player in Jim's various percussion ensembles at MASH. They are also our go-to babysitters; Ben and Ellie absolutely adore them!

So when their mom asked me to do a shoot for them, I was thrilled! Take pictures of two beautiful models who actually take direction??? ...not something I get to do very much!!! :-)

We went to that same country lane that Ellie and I were scoping out a few weeks ago.

The Taylors Three...

Bri in the corn...

I love Caitlin's BLUE eyes!

On the way home, we stopped off along the Appalachian Trail to try out shots at an old, run down barn wall. Very cool! ...can't wait to try this location again in the spring/summer when the lighting isn't so severe.

Thanks again, for letting me practice on you, Gals!

Friday, October 23, 2009

"My" Country Lane

Ellie and I went to my favorite "country lane" today to scope out some good backdrops for a photo shoot I have on Sunday. When I told her what we were doing, she said she didn't want to have her picture taken. So I didn't fuss too much with her hair, since actually making it photo-worthy practically takes an Act of Congress these days! As luck would have it, once we got there, she decided to be a willing model. Go figure. I'm SO over thin, messy preschool hair!!!! Ugh. So just ignore the "crazy hair" in the following photos, please. :-)

Aside from my frustration over the hair issue, we had a fun time. Ellie was workin' it for the camera, and I got lots of good ideas for Sunday. 'Can't wait, Taylor girls!!!

Ellie was making me nervous when she was in the corn. She kept wanting to go further and further as if we were in a corn maze. You know, one with an actual end and people you can scream for if you get really lost?? I was, of course, focusing on following her, adjusting camera settings, and taking pictures. And in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "What if we can't find our way back?!?" :-) The rows curved enough that it was rather disorienting in there! Obviously, we got out safely, but it did make me nervous! :-)

(Don't forget, you can click on any image to view in full size.)

One of my two FAVORITES from the day! She's trying to make a bouquet out of soy beans...which have fuzzy pods! Did ya know? I didn't! There's my "something new" for the day!

"Now this is working better!" Grasses along the edge of the lane made a perfect bouquet for her to pretend she was getting married. :-)

I played around with the saturation and filters on this one...I kinda like it.

I asked Ellie to go up the small hill to where the red and orange leaves were, then turn around and skip back down the hill toward me. Turns out that although she can skip, it still takes a bit too much effort (and tongue-twisting) to look as natural and cute as I was hoping. :-) Oh well...

Jim and I both LOVE this one! This is a natural Ellie Smile!!!

And I like this one a lot too. Is it just me, or does this look a whole lot like my childhood pics?!? Anyone???

This one is also a "Typical Ellie" expression. It's a dead give away that she's goofin' around.

And like that, she was done. Headin' for the van (that I parked in a corn field). Notice the spunk, even from behind? She was jabbering away to herself in a high-pitched voice probably narrating some tale of going to dance class or getting her "little sister" ready for school or just talking to her friend, "Toolie"...who knows! :-)

What a character, this one! It turned out to be a very good Mommy-Ellie day today. We were certainly due... :-) See? The miracles a camera can work!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lost: Two Front Teeth

Ben lost not one but two teeth at school on Monday! (They were due to come out - not victims of "unnecessary roughness" on the playground. :-) Here's a shot of his now toothless grin. Aside from being able to stick his tongue through the void, he is very tickled by this new-found "thumb-sucking receptacle." :-)

Check out my pennlive blog for more pics and details!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


As my sister will readily attest, I rarely listened to "normal" music as a teenager. I loved listening to Classical music, Broadway shows, and even contemporary band and orchestra pieces. Yeah, I'm sure this doesn't come as a surprise to many, right? :-) I mean, what 15-year-old listens to (and sings along with) Les Miserables the entire way cross country and back?!? Sarah still gives me a hard time about that one. :-)

One of my favorite pieces has always been Handel's Messiah. I have a few different recordings of it, and in my pre-child days, I would listen to them in the car constantly during the holiday season. It is such a powerful piece! Once while in college, I got hired to play 2nd oboe in the Messiah for a few performances. What an experience!

When Jen (a college friend) posted this video of the Hallelujah Chorus on her facebook page, I just knew I had to share it! It's a high school group performing a slightly altered version, but it's "powerful" just the same.

As an elementary school teacher, I am always desperate to find a single student with a developed sense of humor, even on a "slap-stick level." In middle school, I find the students' ideas of humor to be mainly too giddy and silly. Then finally, by tenth grade, it seems that some students (usually boys) develop a more refined sense of humor and the ability to use it correctly and subtly. This is case in point, don't ya think? :-) 'Hope it made you laugh!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Art of Compromise

Read my new Pennlive post at

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meat Muffins

Check out my latest post on pennlive!

Monday, October 12, 2009

FREE Chocolate!

Come read my latest post on "Being Becky."

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Public Apology

Use this link to access my newest post on "Being Becky."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A couple more pics...AND a new Pennlive post

Here are a few more pictures from Hersheypark that I didn't share on my Pennlive blog. The friends that we hung with for the day were the "other" Weavers, but I didn't want to offer their pics up for "consumption" by the general public. Our kids are good friends from preschool - the big brothers were in class together last year as were the little sisters.

This one just cracks me up! This is the girls on the scrambler. Julia is as tiny as Ellie is...not. Here's a demonstration of why centrifugal force should always be feared. :-)

This is a shot of the kids playing the "Raise Your Hand If..." game. This game is certain to grab the attention of young children and calm/defuse almost any situation. You simply make statements like, "Raise your hand if you had fun at Hersheypark today." "Raise your hand if you had ice cream ." Etc, etc... Of course, when Beth plays with our four, she always ends with "Raise your hand if your last name is Weaver." :-)

And finally, a cute shot of four really tired kiddos.

My full Hersheypark post can be read at

There is also a new post on Being Becky.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Actress for Hire!

Corinne is a Cumberland Valley High School senior with big dreams! She is planning to go to college for musical drama. Only thing is that the two schools she has her sites (and heart) set on are "big money" schools. Of course, these days, what school isn't, right? :-) ...and did I mention that she's the second of five children?!? when her mom contacted me about taking head shots for Corinne's college applications, I knew she was gonna have to really work it in front of the camera! How do you make a head shot say "Accept me and give me a huge scholarship!"? :-)

Here are some of my favorites from our session. The serious look...

Who wouldn't DIE for eyes like this?!?

My personal favorite...but maybe not quite a traditional head shot.

Oh, and I made her be my guinea pig while I had her there. :-) I've always wanted to use those cool entry walls at Messiah College in some photos! Any of my high school friends reminded of Kristen when you look at this shot???

This one says "classy lady" to me - love the natural smile!

When I asked her what her favorite role was that she has played, she drew a blank! She did say that last year she got to wear a fat suit in Les Mis...too funny!

This one may be a little "relaxed" for a head shot but it's an awesome picture of her being her.

Another cool one...

As we finished the session, I asked her to look into the camera and give me her best "Give me a $50,000 Scholarship" smile. This is what I got. Don't you just feel the yearning?!? "The force is strong with this one." :-) Sorry. Star Wars quote...couldn't help myself! :-)

Good luck, Corinne! I can't wait to see your name in lights, girl!! I'll definitely have you sign one of your prints for me, so when you're famous I can have legitimate claim to knowing you when...

Monday, September 28, 2009


Check out the tales from our Hersheypark trip on "Being Becky."

Sorry...I haven't yet figured out how to connect this with a direct link. I'll have my technology assistant help me with that tonight. In the meantime, you can just copy the above url and paste it into your address thingy at the top. Amazing that I've gotten this far with technology, isn't it?!? :-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


This post will be brief, as I'm typing with my right pointer finger up in the air and/or wrapped in ice. Somehow I managed to scald it severely this evening while making dinner. Stop laughing. Dinner was good, thanks for wondering. :-)

I wanted to let everyone know that I just finished my first post for my new blog at, "Being Becky!" It won't go live until my editor gets into work tomorrow morning, I assume. Use the link below to visit and check it out! I still plan to continue posting here, as well. ...since obviously I'm insane. :-) We'll see how it goes...

Thank you ALL for your well-wishes and support. Especially thanks to Susan (for coming up with a rockin' title) and Elaine (for my super awesome head shots).

So here it is:

Come visit, send friends to visit, click often. :-)

I'm off to find more ice!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finally, it was Ellie's Turn!

Ellie finally got to join the ranks of 2009-2010 school students this week! She attended a 2 1/2 year-old program last year and loved it. In fact, when I picked her up after the first day last year, her teacher told me that she'd like to hire Ellie as a substitute. :-)

Sending her this year was a no-brainer, but waiting for her class to start was painful! Ben had a 9 day head start on her, so by Tuesday morning, when it was finally her first day, the child could hardly stand herself any longer! Of course, Ben gets on the bus at 7:15, and Ellie's class doesn't start until 9:00. It was an excruciating hour and half before we could leave!

I finally allowed her to head out to the van at about 8:30, and we dilly-dallied in the front yard taking some pictures to eat up a few more minutes. These are the first pictures that I have posted that were taken with my NEW CAMERA!!!!!! Yep! I've been saving up for almost a year, and I'm now the proud owner of a D90! Woo hoo!!! Wish I could say that the transition was an easy one. Let's just say I'm learning... :-) Incidentally, if anyone is looking for a good point 'n shoot, I have a used Sony Cybershot to sell. It's less than 2 years old... Uh! I digress. Back to Ellie's first day!

When we went out to take pictures, Ellie ran for her favorite dance spot - the fiber optic "box" next to the mailboxes. She thinks it's her own private dance stage. I love it when she runs over there to "tap dance" and sing to herself as if the entire street can't see her!

How's this for a nice, traditional First Day of School pose? :-) Cute, at least...

Stacy, you say your Brooklyn has problems looking at the camera? Yeah, well I totally feel your pain, sister! :-) This is SUCH a typical Ellie shot! Cute, yet not even remotely looking in the right direction! Argh!!!

I like how this one turned out...

But these next two are my FAVORITES!!!

Then, of course, we hit a wall. Enough was enough! She was done posing, and it was time to get in the van!!!!

Ellie was one of the first two students to arrive at school. Here she is, eagerly waiting for the classroom door to open with her best buddy, Julia. Notice the school shoes that they picked out? The exact same style, just in different colors. Too funny!

And after Ellie went skipping into class, I drove back home to pick up my dear neighbor friend, Kay. She and I do breakfast at the Cracker Barrel once a month when the kids are in school. I love listening to her tales of raising her three children and the loving memories she has of her husband. Sometimes, we'll grab one of her many photo albums from her numerous trips around the world, and take it along to breakfast. It's always fun to see her light up and listen to her remember the details of her adventures!

I finally remembered to get a picture of the two of us together. It's not a great one...we'll have to try again. :-)

After our breakfast, I dropped Kay back at home in time to turn around and pick Ellie up from her big First Day! Needless to say, she was just as excited to leave again this morning for Day #2. We're seriously going to have to find something to do between 7:15 and 8:45 on Tuesdays and Thursdays...perhaps early morning grocery shopping?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This One's for You, Mom!

My mom (Gram) retired from teaching this past June after 26 consecutive years plus an additional 7? years before I was born! (Did I get that right, Mom?) As a retirement gift, her faculty gave her a Grandparent Membership to the Baltimore Zoo. This provides entrance for two adults and four children any day through next Memorial Day, I believe. Since the four grandchildren are all under the age of 6 (and my parents are far from stupid :-), they've not yet taken all the kids by themselves. Instead, they've taken the individual families at different times.

Mom wanted desperately to squeeze in a trip with Ben and Ellie before Ben headed to Kindergarten and she had her foot surgery. (What a way to spend your first non-teaching Fall, right?!? She had the surgery last Wednesday, so mobility has come to a screeching halt for many least the kind of mobility you need to do the zoo!) She's been asking where my zoo pictures are, so hopefully this will give her something to smile about while she is staying off her feet. :-)

Now, brace yourself. If you thought you felt like you were on vacation with us, just wait! You may want to consider taking a bathroom break and grabbing something to snack on before continuing on with this post! Sorry. I couldn't help it! Too many cool animal shots!!! I'll at least try to keep the narration to a minimum... Stop laughing.

At the beginning of the Africa Trail section, we spotted this tortoise out for a morning stroll. Ellie immediately lapsed into her "shtick" from our National Zoo trip back in May. "Now's that's a turtle, alright!" Amazing what they remember, isn't it? I love the texture of his front legs...

Mr. Rhino. Again, intriguing texture...wonder what his skin feels like... Benjamin has a stuffed rhinoceros that he used to sleep with. When he was younger, he called it a "winus." :-)

Co-ed dorms have nothin' on this zoo exhibit! Ostriches, zebras, rhinos all in the same habitat.

The Balto. Zoo has an awesome aviary! You can actually walk into the exhibit and wander through the various walkways and platforms. This was right up Ben's alley, what with his bird obsession! :-) Here he is conversing with the White-Faced Whistling Ducks. They actually sounded like little squeaky bath toys. No doubt Ben would have taken one home if only he could have scooped one up...

I just thought this one of Gram and Ellie was cute. They're looking at a spoon-billed...something.

Baby storks. Ugly little suckers, aren't they?!? I would have thought they'd be MUCH cuter!

After spending about 10 minutes in the aviary, Ellie announced loudly, "Let's get outta' here a-fore we get pecked!" Gram responded, "That's Gram's girl...worrying about things that are never gonna' happen!" :-)

I just had to get a shot of this! This gentleman was actually in a suit at the zoo on one of the hottest days of the summer!!!! He must be "someone important," because on the way in, the tram stopped to pick him up at the VIP parking lot. We saw him many times throughout the morning, and all I could think of was "The Thomas Crown Affair." :-)

The cheetah exhibit is an incredible experience. There is a huge window where the kids can stand a breath away from the pacing cats! Ellie, of course, used the opportunity to practice her poses. :-)

Doesn't this shot of Ben look a little startling?!? When Jim was looking at the pictures in the camera, it made him do a double-take!!! :-)

This was actually the first time that the baby elephant, Samson, (with his mother present) was introduced to the bull elephants! Each elephant had a handler present...don't know what they would have done if the rendezvous had gone awry... It was interesting to watch. The whole event was definitely highly choreographed.

Check out Samson's back legs. Too cute!

The little guy kept following the trainers around begging for treats. See? A trait not unique to human children!

Mommy following behind...

The kids got to ride on a camel. This little adventure was an extra $5.00 per person! Not a small splurge but not too bad either when the cost of admission was FREE! :-) This shot cracks me up! Doesn't it look like they're comparing the size of their feet instead of enjoying what will likely be their one and only camel ride EVER?!?

Doesn't it look like Ellie's tickling the camel's nose here? Too funny!

Giraffes! I got lots of neat giraffe shots!

LOVE this one!

...and this one! :-)

Get this! You can actually feed the giraffes at the Balto. Zoo! You pay $2.00 for a branch of Acacia leaves and then stand on the feeding deck and wait. The giraffes are of course, rather well-trained in this procedure, and it didn't take long for an eager neck to stretch our way. This is Cesear, the "baby" 3 yr-old, eating Ben's leaves.

Ben was in love with Cesear! He lingered as long as possible. By this point, Ellie was WAY past done. She's not heat tolerant to say the least. The child sweats if the temp is above 70, so this stifling late summer HUMID day was too much for her!

Little Cesear, close-up. Too cute!!!

LOVE the crossed necks! :-)

After the giraffe-feeding we quickly visited the polar bears before calling it a day. 'Tis the glory of the membership! We could leave when we were done and not feel guilty for not staying all day! I'm greatly looking forward to making some visits later in the fall and winter.

It's been ages since I was at the Baltimore Zoo! I do have snapshot memories from elementary school field trips, but that's about it. I was very impressed by the exhibits and the "extra" experiences that were available. Of course, the giraffe-feeding was a huge hit, and the camel ride was a close second. If you remember, we couldn't find the giraffes in D.C. in May, because they were in ...Miami! So this trip made up nicely for Benjamin's disappointment a few months back.

'Can't wait to return soon and do the other half of the zoo. For those in need of a good retirement gift, I certainly think this one takes the cake! Store this idea in the deep recesses of your memory for future reference. You could just be a hero at the office the next time someone retires...