Wednesday, December 13, 2017

LEO Family

Every night we hug him and kiss him and tell him we love him and to stay safe as he heads off to work. While we sleep he isn't; he works overnights in one of the most violent cities in the US. While we dream, he dusts for fingerprints, collects blood and DNA, photographs crime scenes, and gathers evidence in hopes of piecing together a complicated puzzle to bring justice forth to the crime that has been committed. He protects and serves. When he walks through the door in the morning, bombarded by the hustle-and-bustle of getting out the door in time for school, we are so immensely grateful for him -- especially this guy. His job may be a police officer, but to him he's daddy, forever and for always.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Printing Your Snaps

*I literally copy-and-pasted this blog post from my photog blog because I think it's awesome info and wanted to have a virtual copy on this here blog too 😉

I thought I'd step aside from my usual photoshoot blogs and instead give you something different: a look at the wide world of photography printing.

My oh my how it varies by where you choose to get your prints printed!  I do provide all of my clients who choose to print their images on their own this handy printing info PDF with some tips and insight on where to print...but in addition to that now, I will be providing them these handouts as well!  Because you just paid a good amount for my services, you should want to get them printed at a place that replicates the same quality I have delivered to you in your digital images!

Obviously my top printing recommendation is to print through me (I use the professional print lab WHCC, which has amazing quality and ridiculously fast shipping!); however, for those who choose not to (and that's okay!!), I'm giving you this here post to enlighten you as to where you are choosing to have your prints printed.  Just because a place is offering free prints -- or super cheap ones -- doesn't mean you should print there!  You just spent a good chunk of change having your pictures done by a professional -- you owe it to those snaps to have them printed by one too!

I want to note that I have done zero editing to this pictures -- I simply took a picture of them, collaged them together, and tossed the print shop's name over it.  That's it.  I have been skeptical of these posts in the past thinking that surely a bit more editing was done to exaggerate the quality and color differences but I promise you I have not done anything to alter these -- they are as close to having all of the prints in your hand to compare as I could get!

I included the original image and then chose 4 of the most popular 'quick print' places to have these printed at (Walgreens, CVS, Wal-Mart, and Shutterfly) and then my 3 top recommendations (mpix, WHCC, and Diversified Lab Services (local STL print lab)) where I recommend my clients get their pictures printed.  The differences are astounding.  Some more evident than others, but still, such a variety of qualities across the board!

I want to note that this post is in no way bashing drugstore or 'quick and cheap' photo labs...more so to educate you, the consumer and client, as to the differences and qualities in where you are having your images printed!  Those drugstore print labs are definitely quick -- and I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't use them every now and again when I need some prints ASAP (like when I find out the night before I need to send in family pictures for my kids' preschool projects for the next day: Walgreens to the rescue!).  However, if I'm printing images to display in my house or give as gifts, you bet I want to make sure they are printed well and as close to my original as possible.

I hope this post has been informative to you in showing you the differences you can get when printing your snaps.  I want all of my clients to be as happy with their prints as they are with their images, so I hope this insight proves helpful in your choosing of where to get your snaps printed!

Snap Patrick, Snap!!!

Dude loves to snap.

I mean, this Pixltoys camera is ahhhhhhmazing and he can't get enough of it!

Clearly I can't get enough of him using it either! HAHA!

This is nothing more than a gigantic photo dump of pics of my favorite little dude using his camera!  It was SO WARM on Monday (like 56 degrees!) albeit a bit windy, but we had to take advantage and get outside for some snaps!  Some snaps of me snapping Patrick snapping!  (Follow that??!)

Anyways, if you have a kiddo who likes to take pics, get them one of these cameras!!  Patrick has a discount code for you PIXLPLAYBR30 at if you'd like to save 30% and grab one.  Promise you won't regret it -- they are awesome!!

Monday, December 11, 2017


Okay friends, it's that time of the year again...time to take the kids + Scoots to see SANTA!

Here's a nice little link up to last year's adventures if you'd like to walk down memory lane with me.

Anyways, this has become a yearly tradition for this Mooney gang so Santa pictures will be happening in early December from here on out!

Way back before Thanksgiving I made Santa reservations for a Monday night because 1. reservations make things go soooooo much faster 2. we can only bring Scoots on certain days/times so I wanted to make sure to snag one of those 3. they fill up SO FAST!

So the time had come and I was actually really excited and had some optimism on how this would go.  All of the kiddos had these adorable and cute matching outfits (which, spoiler, they'll wear again on Christmas Eve and day too.  WOOT WOOT.) and I had a game plan that Patrick and Rosie would stand next to Santa (since Rosie is okay with him as long as she's not sitting on him!) and that Santa would hold Annie and Scoots.  I mean, freak out pics are kinda amazing too (last year's was so good!) but a cute smiling pic works as well.

Anyways, so once the big kids and I got home from school we had a chance for a quick snack before we got Annie and Mike up from their siestas and loaded up in the van to go see Santa!

Here are 2 gems from literally about 5 seconds before we loaded them up in the van to go -- I am SHOCKED with how these turned out!  SO GOOD!  My spirits were lifted with their couch snap cooperation and I was hoping for the same kind of luck at the mall.

Now, my expectations were looooooooowwwwwww and totally expected a freak out or four (uh-hm, ROSIE), but I was shockingly surprised!

I should first mention it is always packed and it was not at all this year.  Like we were in and out in less than 20 minutes -- the longest part was getting our pics printed!  So that was a nice treat.  I hate crowds and avoid them at all costs cause they give me major anxiety but I always let that go for these pics, cause, TRADITION.

New this year was they do a 'practice picture' before you see Santa and shockingly it went well!  Lots of fake smiles!  Haha!

And since I'm a mothersucker I bought all of the digitals so here are some other gems from the 'practice' session.

After the practice pics they went to see Santa -- I told Rosie to just stand next to him (cause she told us in the car on the way over she did NOT want to sit on his lap! Just hold his hand!) but the next thing I knew she was taking off and ran into his arms, gave him a hug, and climbed up on his lap.  I kid you not.  I had to pick my mouth up off of the floor cause I was totally expecting another freak out a la last year's pics.

Anyways, I am sooooo happy with how this year's pic turned out!  Everyone is looking!  No one is crying!  Fake smiles all around!  Just the best.

And some outtakes for good measure too.  Gosh, it really was a great night and the kiddos had so much fun and were SOOOO good.

Ro thoroughly enjoyed the escalator ride too, by the way.

The big kids took turns holding Scoots and then tackling each other on the super soft tile floor 😑 while we waited for our prints.  That took the longest, and had we gotten them faster we'd have been in and out in less than 10 minutes which was AWESOME and I'm blogging for next year when I dread doing this because of my crowd anxiety but I will read this and it won't be too bad.

Anyways, what an awesome year 2017 was for Santa pics!  I cannot wait to see what 2018 holds!! EEEKKKK!  Kids really do make this season so much more fun and magical.

Ohhhhh, and I can't leave you without my 2013 to 2017 comparison snap...I live for these!

Merry Christmas my friends!  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!!!

Crab Legs & Jim Edmonds

This weekend was another incredibly busy -- yet fun! -- one.  I had 4 photoshoots (see here, here, and here) and the big kids were at their vacation home for some more Christmas activities, yet, despite all of that, we still were SOOOOO BUSY!  However, my jam-packed fall of seemingly endless amounts of photoshoots are coming to a close just as the holidays are getting into full swing (good timing, eh?!).

On Friday night Mike and I had a RARE date night.  Like I think I can count on one hand the times we've gone out to dinner (that wasn't for an event or anniversary) sans kids.  So this was a huge treat!

We actually had a gift card to Fleming's Steakhouse which is a place that 1. is so ungodly delicious 2. we'd never ever go to if we didn't have someone else paying for it!  Haha!  It was seriously one of the best dinners I've ever had...the crab legs were TO DIE FOR and this basil fruity drink was heavenly!

Aside from having a rare night out solo and getting to have lots and lots of adult talk, probably the coolest part of our dinner was running into Cardinals outfielder (and he was also on Real Housewives with his wife Meghan on BRAVO) Jim Edmonds!  He actually sat right behind us!! Of course I didn't want to bother him since he was enjoying his dinner, so I had Mike snap a pic of me and my finished drink...oh and heyyyyyy there Jim Edmonds in the background.  So sly am I. Haha!

We then capitalized on our kid-free night and hit up my school's staff Christmas party as well which was so great getting to catch up with some of my coworkers about non-work stuff.

Sidebar: my friend Robyn is freaking amazing.  She is donating her kidney to Super Michael in January and a month or so ago I got to capture some very special pics of them to mark the beginning of their kidney journey!  I am planning on being there to capture the actual transplant and such too...stay tuned for that!  But seriously, Robyn is the most selfless, kind-hearted, amazing person I've ever met!  I am so proud to call her my friend and what she's doing for Michael does not surprise me in the least bit -- she's such a giving person and literally would give someone part of her if it meant helping them!

Since the big kids were gone this weekend livin' it up at the lake, I was not only to get lots of photos snapped BUT I was able to get every.single.Christmas.present. wrapped!  It took me nearly 3 hours Saturday night but dang nabit, everything is wrapped! I have a few more gifts on the way but I'll just wrap those as they come.  Gosh this is the best feeling EVER!

We went to our fave MOD pizza for dinner Saturday night with my parents and then made a mad dash to Target to get Patrick (who I am so glad can't read yet, cause SPOILER ALERT) a new bike for Christmas!

Annie had a thrilling time on our Tarjay adventures.  That girl loves her some Target just like her mama :)

Sunday was a big day: I finally splurged and got UV filters for my 3 main lenses!  WOOOOOOT!  These will help that haze and glare for sunny shots, and, most importantly, protect my babies if they're dropped or what not.  Replacing a $50 filter is better than replacing a $2000 lens!

Annie and I had to make a mad-dash to school on Sunday to upload some client galleries because our internet at home is on the fritz.  I mean, it's working, but the upload stream is like worse than dial-up!  Up until Saturday it was working just I troubleshot everything I knew how to do, but unfortunately I couldn't fix it.  I called Charter and they had me do the same things and nope, nothing worked.  So a tech is coming out today to HOPEFULLY fix it because I NEED my fast uploads for my internet...that will be awful if I don't have those quick speeds anymore!  So I'm hoping it's a quick fix :)

Lunch yesterday...Annie has kind of figured out how to eat her pouches on her own, so yay for that!  She's also figured out how to feed Scooter 😑

Lovely.  But not surprising, that dog communicates with the kids on his own level and it's like they understand his little silent begging and give him whatever he wants!

A little update about this girl and her potty with her gone this weekend I told Kate to not mess with it and just keep her in that's what she did.  She is still staying dry for long periods of time, but this morning she asked for undies AND a I just put her in a diaper.  I may back off and really focus on potty training her over break when we're home for longer periods of time.  Ideally I'd love for her to be potty trained by the time she goes back to school in January...but I know that's probably wishful thinking! Haha!  But keep your fingers crossed for her :)

Just a few random Annie photos from this weekend since she was solo-kidding it and I love having that special time with her every now and again!

Before the big kids got home last night I snapped a few pics of Annie in the bathtub...

And it just so happened 2 years ago on that exact day I snapped a similar one of Rosie!  I mean, I had to do a comparison snap then, right??!?!  It kills me how much different they look!  I mean, definitely some similarities (hellllllo RB face!) but gosh so many differences.  Love these two little ladies so much!

I found this fun app (Plotagraph) and I've been having fun ^^^ playing with it!  There are some really awesome things you can do with it and I can't wait to keep playing with it more and bring some of my snaps to life!  So fun, amiright??!!

Here's a few real life snappies with me in them for a change from this weekend!  P & R are in love with their new jammies and love to match...and I have no clue where or what I'm looking at in that first pic with them.  Whatevs.  And Annie was enjoying a prebedtime snack...which I just have a feeling our days may be numbered with this.  I'm sure she'll make it to a year but after that I'm sure she'll prefer a cup to me and this journey will be done...which I'm okay with and okay having my body back for a bit :)

I'll end this way too early post with a few snaps of some sleeping babes...and get ready to head into the craziness of this week!!!  We are off to see Santa tonight (fingers crossed that goes well!) and then have a week full of lots and lots of family stuff.  I can't wait!  Have a great week my friends!!
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