Saturday, February 28, 2009



Alyssa is so insanely talented, as you may already know from the Christmas stocking she made for Abigail. She also made the pink baby blanket used in our birth announcement photo.

Following in the creative, talented footsteps of her great-grandmother and grandmother (and probably generations before) she worked feverishly to create a beautiful new blanket to enter into the Hillsborough County Fair (Strawberry Festival). Alyssa had asked for us to bring her the Christmas stocking last month, so she could enter it if the blanket wasn't finished in time. She was able to enter both creations and was awarded ribbons for FIRST AND SECOND! First place was for the blanket and second for the stocking.


PS: Alyssa, your aunt thinks if you had put a framed 8x10 of Abby IN the stocking, you would have won 1st for it too.

Friday, February 27, 2009

On Second Thought, We'll Just Stay Home

Thanks to some untimely weather rolling into the area this weekend, the 3 of us are staying put this weekend instead of trekking up to Pigeon Forge in the cold, wet weather. Figuring we would be spending most of our trip cooped up in the condo for our anniversary trip, and the return drive possibly being a little tricky with all that snow & ice headed our way, we'll be delaying our little trip until next weekend. Honestly, as much as I was looking forward to getting away for a little family trip up in the mountains, the thought of not being able to get out and enjoy that clean country air because of cold rain coming down constantly was a little disheartening. No worries, the forecasts for next weekend look great. And so plans shift to doing a few things around the house. My office absolutely needs to be painted and organized, so that's the big item on my agenda. We still don't know where a lot of things are from the move because most of my office stuff is stuffed in boxes. Maybe that will change after this weekend. I guess that about covers it...well, except for the need to post more photos of Miss Abigail. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Miscellaneous Happenings...

Condo Up High

Thursday is coming to a close here and just have a few things to mention as the weekend approaches. First, Miss Abigail is enjoying a little time with her Nina this evening. Anita drove up from Tampa today and is planning on staying here through next weekend when Wayne is flying into town. Jill, Abby and I are leaving tomorrow afternoon for our weekend trip up to the condo in Pigeon Forge for our anniversary. Jill and I will be celebrating 3 years of marriage on Wednesday next week, so having a short getaway with Abby in tow should be nice. Anita will be Toby-sitting while we're gone, but may be returning back to Tampa sometime over the weekend depending on how everything goes with her cousin, Rita who is battling cancer and not doing well. For those who know Rita and even those who don't, please remember her and the family in your thoughts and prayers.

In other news, I'm happy to share that my grandfather proposed to his "lady-friend" this past weekend and, of course, she said yes. They've been dating for sometime now, and I guess it finally made sense to tie the knot, even if he is 84 years old. I guess love has no age limits! :-) My family is really happy about this because we've worried about him ever since my grandmother passed away back in 2001. He managed well since he had his furry four-legged friend, Deebee to keep him company, but she passed away last year leaving him home along in a house out in the country. He's such a strong guy, though, and I'm so proud to call him my grandfather.

The man has had a somewhat turbulent life, but he's battled through anything and everything life has thrown at him such as: serving in WWII where he was at one point captured only to escape and return back to the front lines to serve in the Battle of the Bulge among others; during the war received a "dear john" letter that his first wife was leaving him; after the war lost his 2nd wife & unborn child in a house fire; found the 3rd time to be a charm and began a family that includes my dad; lost his business in a fire and barely survived in 60's; lost his & my grandmother's home and all belongings in another fire in the late 90's; and then after 50+ years of marriage to my grandmother he watched her pass away in 2001. To see him keep truckin along makes me so proud. And now he's getting ready to tie the knot again to a very sweet lady. The cute couple has set their date for May 2nd, and I plan to be their wedding photographer, which would be a big honor for me since it would be my first official wedding. Of course, I'm sure I'll share duties with my older cousin who's a pro-photographer, but I know we'll all have some fun that day.

Last weekend my parents were visiting and I finally had the opportunity to capture my daughter showing those pitiful pouty lips that she's always giving me. Jill thinks this is more of a move to play on her daddy's soft heart than actually being upset.

So, that's about it from the Barnes household for now. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Snuggle Bug

I have a Snuggle Bug today. She's so cute, and slightly pathetic with her occasional whimper. As I type, she's snuggled on my chest sleeping on my bodily pillow...she's been here for at least an hour sleeping on and off.

Abigail is official 2mo old and we went for her well visit at the Pediatrician yesterday. At birth she weighed 6lbs 2oz and measured 18in long. Yesterday, she weighed in at 9lbs 6oz and measured 22in! Our LITTLE girl is growing so much! And although we made the switch from Newborn to Size 1 diapers this past week AND I adjusted the straps in her infant carrier. I hadn't posted these little milestones to the blog because I think in some weird part of my head, I'm still in a bit of denial. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled she is healthy and growing but it's happening too fast! I even packed away most of her Newborn clothes last week! There are a few pairs of pants labeled NB, but they measure with the other 0-3mo clothes. Now all we need is warmer weather for her to be able to wear more of her 0-3mo clothes!

The 2mo well visit would not be complete without her immunizations. Matt was thrilled he wouldn't be attending because he didn't want to see her cry, thanks babe. The nurse did give me the option to split her immunizations and I eagerly accepted! We did the polio by mouth, DTaP (right thigh) and Rotovirus (left thigh). The polio was sugary so she did great with that. With each shot, she looked a bit shocked then SCREAMED, her face quickly becoming reddish-purple! When her color returned to normal, she was fine again. She was such a trooper! She was more tired than usual in the evening and fussy. I kept giving her Tylenol every 4hrs. And we had another Mommy & Me bubble bath which she really seemed to enjoy. The warm water probably made her little legs feel better after the shots. We go back in 2wks for the other 3 immunization shots.

I haven't given her any Tylenol since 2am, and while I think she's still feeling a bit yucky from yesterday I don't think she's in pain and she doesn't have fever (cool as a cucumber!). We're just going to have a lazy day snuggling, we're both still in our pajamas. I'm sure Matt's a little jealous of my snuggle time, but I guess that's what he gets for being so happy he missed out on the doctor visit! :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

CrashB Photo Blog Under Construction

After spending some time this weekend really thinking about starting up a freelance photography business, I've decided to take a few steps forward to make this crazy idea become a reality. As of tonight, I now have a blog/website dedicated to the soon-to-be CrashB Photo. I spent some time over the weekend researching different website providers and even the possibility of purchasing my own domain, but these days simplicity means a lot to me because it saves time, money and sanity. My wife and daughter should be very appreciative that I'm keeping things simple while I put together the essentials of my business, especially since I'm normally a complicated perfectionist. With that said, my basic idea for the new blog is to post photos and information pertaining to my business. This should be a great tool that I can utilize when potential clients need more information or to see samples of my work. It'll probably be sometime before I even land that first client, which means some photos of Miss Abigail and/or friends and family will probably show up over there as well as here...with their permission, of course. Anyways, wish me luck! :-)

CrashB Blog Background

Friday, February 20, 2009

Researching the Possibilities...

Over the last several days I've begun to convince myself (and Jill) that turning my little photography hobby into a actual side business may not be a bad idea. For starters, it could be a nice source of extra income since Jill is now a stay-at-home mom. She has already begun to promote me over at Marietta Moms, which could be a great starting point to build my clientele (babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers, seniors, weddings). I enjoy being around kids anyways, and honestly they can be some of the easiest to work with when it comes to photographing a client. I know I could offer parents some unique photos of their children, make a little money for the college fund (and/or future wedding) for Abby, and have a little fun all at the same time. :-)

The Cook Family

So, I've spent a lot of time the last two nights researching what tools (websites, camera equipment, etc.) other fellow photographers are using for their businesses. For me, I already have some great camera gear with a semi-pro Canon DSLR XTi camera body and two lenses that include my Sigma 17-70mm (for wide angle shots) and the spectacular mini-wonder that is my Canon 50mm (portrait lens). And if I want to experiement with new lenses, there are numerous lens rental sites online that would offer me a more affordable option than purchasing those $400-$600 specialty lenses. I would like to set up a photo blog that I could direct potential clients to, which I've already started building. I would then use a new Flickr account dedicated to my photography business that would allow clients to link to and share. Honestly, there's not a lot of capital that needs to be invested into starting up the business.

Current Gear

Another incredibly cool gadget that I came across today on a fellow photographer's website is the Animoto videos. They cater their video services to photographers because it gives them another product to offer to clients. You can add your own music to the video, and the look is really eye-catching. I gave it a trial tonight with a few of Abby's photos and a song from my iTunes library. Check it out...

and a litte more edgy version using my old Tennessee State Prison photos...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Smiles & Cries

Our little Miss Abigail can sometimes find herself combating the wide spectrum of emotion between happiness and sadness (or at least discomfort if there's a dirty diaper). The photos above are a perfect example of how in one moment she can smile that big gummy smile, and in the next moment she can show that pouty face.

Then there are times when Jill just puts Abby in the sling and she is completely content...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Abby's Getting Chatty

So everyone says that time will absolutely fly by as you watch your little one grow into a bumbling, tumbling toddler and to expect to see her do something different and new everyday. Well, recently little Miss Abigail has begun to do more than just mumble a sound or two. It started a few weeks ago with Jill at home, but now she's letting loose. It's as if she's trying to carry on a conversation with us and it's absolutely adorable. It's now the highlight of my time in the evenings with Abby because it seems like we're actually communicating, which is so much more than the quiet little baby we knew only a few weeks ago.

Just this weekend we went to the baptism of the child of one of Jill's cousins, and we joined everyone for brunch at a family members home. Abby was in a good mood and went in another room with Deena while Jill and I finished eating. After finishing I walked into the living room to find Abby talking away to anyone who would look at her and listen. Makes me think we're going to have a social little bee on our hands because she didn't even care that Mom & Dad were way off in another room. :-)

Anyways, here are a few vids that we shot over the weekend. Most of her jibberish is spoken at the beginning of this first video while the majority of it is just of her having the hiccups. Still cute, of course!

Abby Speaks and Hiccups from Matt Barnes on Vimeo.

This next video was taken shortly after the hiccups went away.

Talkin & Kickin from Abigail Barnes on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Love & Batter

We're enjoying a lazy Saturday here at the house after enjoying some delicious breakfast cooked by yours truly. Since Jill was lacking sleep from the last day or two of semi-restless nights with Abby, the two of us went downstairs early this morning and let Jill sleep. I was aiming at surprising Jill with breakfast in bed, but she came down early so it ended up being just breakfast on the couch. Either way, I think the heart-shaped pancakes came out good. I used some blue corn mix and they turned out quite tasty.

As for our little darling, she's got her own Valentine's Day wishes for you all. Take a look at the video we shot last night. Have a great (hallmark) holiday, folks! :-)

Happy Valentine's Day! from Jill Barnes on Vimeo

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sleepy Girl

Abigail has been one sleepy girl today!

She woke me up this morning with her coos. She had a good couple hours awake. Then it seems like she's slept so much the rest of the day. She's slept in the swing, in my arms, in the swing again, and is now sleeping in the sling. I must admit, it's been nice! I actually ate, more than once! And not just a granola bar like other days where that's all I can manage before Matt gets home after 5pm! Today I had a bowl of cereal, a grilled cheese then a small portion of gnocci left over from my dinner last night. I even was able to fit a few thank you notes in AND two trips to the mailbox!

Usually, Abigail will not sleep longer than 30mins when we're home alone. If we're at home and have visitors, she'll sleep longer than 30mins. And when she is snoozing for me, I'm barely able to put her down. I'll wear her in the sling, but then I'm still fairly limited on what I can get done. If we go out, she'll sleep almost the entire time. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely L-O-V-E spending time with Abigail, even more now that she's showing her personality. Somedays I actually feel bad that I'm not productive with stuff around the house. I do have a happy and clean baby girl to show for my non-productive-around-the-house-self. :)

She did have 2 poopy diapers during the night, which isn't usual, she normall doesn't poo until morning. (Sorry if that's a little more detail than you would have hoped.) I guess she didn't sleep well last night, when she poos in her sleep she's very restless.

Matt should be home soon and hopefully he'll get some good Abby awake time. She's starting to wake up now, so it's time for a clean diaper and some boobie probably all just in time for Matt to get here!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"New" Swing & "Finger" Food

I bought new batteries today (on sale! - but more about my thriftiness another day) for the side-to-side swing we brought back with us from Tampa. Abigail enjoyed herself and she stayed in it longer than the front-to-back. She fell asleep and when she woke up I heard her cooing from the kitchen.

"New" Swing from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

A few hours later, Matt was holding Abigail and somehow she decided she wanted to gnaw on his finger. I tried taking a few still shots...

...but as most of you know, my husband is very hard to photograph with his eye open unless he's making a face. I decided to opt for video instead.

"Finger" Food from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday's Return Trip

It's a little before noon here in Odessa, and Toby and me are enjoying the cool breezes on the back porch before all of us pack up and get on the road headed back to Atlanta. I always wish we had more time to spend on trips down here, but we're planning on being back next month when Domenico, Jill's cousin from Italy. Domenico is currently studying English in Rochester, NY and is coming into town to visit with everyone during his Spring Break week.

Anyways, we had a great time yesterday afternoon as the Anita & Wayne's house was filled with family for the Sunday night dinner. People actually started dropping by to visit and see Abigail before dinner time also, and of course I made sure to take plenty of photos (289 to be exact). So, enjoy the photos today as we make the trek back up to Georgia. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Afternoon in Odessa

After all the traveling of the last few days, we're getting to settle down here at Wayne & Anita's and let everyone else come visit us. The weather is absolutely gorgeous, and Abigail has been in a fairly good mood most of the day. Anyways, stay tuned for photos from today at some point. In the meantime, I made a little trek into the orange groves to shoot, so that's what the photos are from.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Family Time & Happy Birthday Wesley!

Today my brother turns 26! And in honor of his birthday, the city of Tampa hosted the Gasparilla Parade. Every few years the two events fall together, which is fitting since Wes was born during Gasparilla - everyone watched the parade in 1983 on TV from the maternity waiting room. Matt, Abigail and I did not attend the Gasparilla Parade. In a few years, we'll be attending the Children's Parade I'm sure. Instead, we had another fun filled day, we were able to introduce Abigail to even more of her relatives. Then we had dinner with my friend Janet & her hubby-to-be Mike at Cheesecake Factory (yum!). (Janet, don't forget to give Mike the blog address.)

Photos from Today

This video is super cute! Kaely (2yrs old) sings Abigail the ABCs.
ABCs with Kaely & Abby from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

Tomorrow will be more excitement with more friends, cousins, great-aunts, great-uncles and great-grandparents.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mason & Melina

Mason & Melina 02-06-09 from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

It's been since late October since we've last seen Mason & Melina. They change so much so fast!

New Toy for Abigail

Marisa passed this Aquarium Bouncer down to us and it's been here at my parents. My mom brought it down last night and put her in it this morning. It plays music, vibrates and even blows bubbles in the water portion at the top. Abigail is very interested in the colors and sounds. She even talks & coos at it and tries kicking the dangling fish.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Road Trip

We left Marietta around 9:30am. Had hoped to leave earlier but it was too cold. Traffic wasn't bad at all through downtown Atlanta and as expected, Abigail slept most of the way. We stopped in Tifton for lunch. I was able to feed Abigail and Toby got a walk. She had a little awake time after eating and that's when I snapped a few pics, before she was lulled back to sleep by the car's vibrations. Overall, it was a nice drive and we made it to my parent's house by 5:45pm. We have a fun filled weekend ahead of us!

Introducing...Our Nephew!!

Last night Jill, Abby, Anita and I drove down to Newnan for the baby reveal party at my sister & brother-in-law's. Unlike our time back several months ago, Val & Justin didn't have to keep their secret for long as they had the ultrasound right before the party. Before hand we did a vote, and it seemed to lean heavy towards a boy. The final verdict...


How cool is that? Jill and I just became parents only 7 weeks ago, and now we're going to become an aunt and uncle by July. Even better, my parents are going from only having grand-dogs to having two grandchildren in a 7 month span. For me, I'm excited because I'll have a little nephew to be rough and tough with. Boys get a totally different set of rules than those little girls, and rightly so. I wouldn't have Abby outside throwing the football and climbing trees (unless she wants to, of course), but with my nephew I'm sure Justin, Dad and I will all have a little fun being boys with him. Justin is already planning his first trip to Turner Field to watch the Braves, and I'll be itching to take him to an Auburn football game in a few short years.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kicking & Smiling

This video was shot last night.

Kicking & Smiling from Jill Barnes on Vimeo.

Sorry it took so long to post, Vimeo had an upload delay then we've been out and about since 7am this morning! I had a dentist appointment and Matt took Abigail into work until I was finished. (And a wonderful appt, if you were curious, no cavities...unlike my husband's appt last week. I having my teeth cleaned.) Abigail and I then went to Barnes and Noble for coffee until the mall opened where we awaited my Mom's arrival. Tomorrow Mom, Abigail, Toby and I are driving down to Tampa. Matt will be flying down on Friday night.

MUCH EXCITEMENT FOR TONIGHT... We will be attending the Baby Daniel reveal party! I believe we posted back in November that Matt's sister is pregnant and due in July. Tonight, Valerie and Justin are having an ultrasound to discover if they are having a boy or girl. We'll be heading down to Newnan this evening, excited to learn if I shall start shopping for a nephew or neice!