Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Little 4-Year-Old!

Let the Celebrations CONTINUE!

Last week, someone shared a thought that was so inspirational.  They talked about how we shouldn't stop at 12 days of Christmas, and how important the 13th day of Christmas was...

Well, for me, that really hit home.

Because, on the 13th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A child.

He is kind
He is smart
He is important... He is SO important.

So, on this 13th day of  Christmas, we do not stand in long return lines, we do not tear down all of the Christmas decorations, nor do we agonize over the many unwanted pounds gained... No, we are far too busy celebrating to do any of that!  Our 13th day is filled with waffles, playing, candles, and wishes!  Oh, and some hulk-tastic fun!  (yeah, that's right, we're hulk fans around here!)

Here is my little Hulk Smash's (he chose his blog name) 4 year photoshoot:

Brothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta HUG....

As you FLY off, we hope you have a WONDERFUL day!!

Thank you for stopping by!!  

Loo Who

Monday, December 24, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!


I hope that Christmas Eve finds you with 
*The stockings all hung with care
*Presents all wrapped up tight
*Food all cooked and ready to devour

But, if you're anything like me---

'Twas the day before Christmas, and all through our home..
There was scurrying and hurrying and all sorts of things needing done.

Presents awaiting their final assemble, 
And pictures of side dishes we hope they soon resemble.

But amidst all the chaos and clatter,
We look around and see that none of this matters.

Our bows may not be tied just right,
The wrapping may look like it's gone through a fight.

Perhaps the food is not so picture-perfect,
But, come morning, it will all be worth-it.

For, the best part of Christmas can't be wrapped, bow-ed, baked or bought,
The BEST part of Christmas comes from our 2 tiny tots!

Ok, ok, I'm not the greatest poet- ON WITH THE SHOW!

Today, is MONDAY MUST, with a Christmas twist..

First, I must recap last weeks Monday Must- Roberts was AMAZING!!  AND, Estrella is a VERY close second to Roberts- the flavors of the food are on-point!  They definitely do not disappoint- in fact, when I got home, I told Jeffe that Roberts may be losing it's first place ranking in my fav restaurants category.  Jury is still out- apparently there are a few more dishes I need to try before I cast my final vote.  None the less, Estrella is TOTALLY MUST-WORTHY!

Now, on to Christmas!!

This Monday MUST is dedicated to giving.  I don't care what religion or non-religion you are, there is nothing wrong with stopping and appreciating those around you!  This Monday MUST is a Must-Do, today and tomorrow, I challenge you to give as much love and joy as you can muster to those around you.  Be they friend or foe, family or stranger- we could all use a little more love in our life!

I love Christmas, I really do.  It's a time to turn our hearts to faith, love and family!  I love my little family more than anything!  I love to see those smiling faces! 

Which, brings me to the giving segment of this post.... We, here at Looky Loo, LOVE TO GIVE PRESENTS!!  And we were racking our brains as to what we could give YOU this holiday!  And, what better gift than the gift of  SMILES!

We have shared such touching moments with our fans this year- and we are so touched that you allowed us to be apart of some of your biggest moments!

To give back, we are giving away TWO photoshoots for Christmas.

So, how, might you ask, does one receive such a present?

Well, one family has already been chosen, by us for their immense kindness and giving throughout the year.  The SECOND, will be chose by YOU!

So, here's the scoop.  You email me with your pick of a family most deserving of a free photoshoot.  Tell me what has impressed you, how they have changed the lives of those around them through selfless act of kindness.  And I will give them a FREE PHOTOSHOOT!

*You can't nominate yourself
*You have two days to email me (today and tomorrow)
*I will pick my winner Christmas night
*It must be a family in SLO County

Ok, those are the details, I'm sure you've already thought of someone who would be perfect, so what are you waiting for??!!  Stop reading this and get to your email asap!  

Well, I am a photographer after all, so I leave you with these smiling faces to send you on your Merry Way....


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You say it's your Birthday...... It's my Birthday, Too!

Happy Day, Loves!

Today, to change it up a bit and give you a rest from hearing from me, I've enlisted some of my closest friends over the years to give you the inside scoop on Loo Who!

First up, my built-in, lifetime best friend: my sister..

I was racking my brain thinking of memorable moments of you, and I always go back to you as a baby.  You had reddish hair and a sweet round belly.  You loved peaches baby food.  You were such a sweet, happy baby. 

One night, in the house at Harris Ranch when you were still a little baby, we couldn't find you.  We looked and looked, but no Cindy.  You had crawled into your own little bed - too high for us to think you could get into it - and fell asleep. 
On a road trip to Riverside (I think), your dad gave you chocolate and you threw it up everywhere.  Out of all of the vomit I've witnessed in my life, that one has always stuck around.  Who knew you'd be allergic to chocolate? 
When you were a toddler, you wouldn't let me curl your hair.  You would cry and cry, but no curling iron would touch your hair. 
And the soda... your dad told you that soda turns your teeth green.  On a trip back from Idaho, we only had a Sprite in the car, and you were very, very thirsty for milk.  Well, milk doesn't keep well in a car, so we didn't have anything for you.  You were soooo thirsty, and gave in to the soda.  And your teeth didn't turn green - but you were devestatingly certain they would. 
I loved you and took care of you the moment you came home to us in a stocking.

So, yes, I am still allergic to chocolate, go to bed early, and don't like soda- random Loo Who facts 1,2 & 3.  However, I have learned to love a curling iron and no longer fit into a stocking- at least none that I have seen.  

*another fun fact: my first son also got to come home in a stocking!

Fast forward to high school- Lindsey-

I don't even know where to start! Bounce house party at your house, wayyy too many funny girls camp memories, our letter notebooks, Tommy Boy quoting, school dances.. There are very few memories from freshman year and half my sophomore year that don't involve you.

Yes, random fact #4:Tommy Boy is still my favorite movie!! :)

Up Next, another one of my high school best friends and cheer buddy: Amanda.  

So I've been trying to figure out which of our many memories would be best to share. I think the best one has to be the time we decided to start dressing "nicer" or something like that and got all dressed up and went to albertsons( i know we were going somewhere else too, I just don't remember where). Some lady even commented on our outfits!

Yes, "dressing better."  I think I still have this obsession!  Amanda has probably been my girliest best friend over the years- I think this was really when I learned to love all things pink and pretty!  In fact, every time I think of her or those memories, it's an instant: "aww!"  Random fact #5: I have the HARDEST time picking out what to wear, and usually just wear yoga pants!

Ok, the next one is funny, she is the only one of my friends on this list who has lived with me (besides my sister and hubs), so she knows some of my weirdest quirks.. but even funnier, she called me by the wrong name FOREVER.  She is one of my college best friends: Jessica

You hate eating stale cereal and always ended up throwing almost an entire box away.... The first time we went to chili's, you got ordering anxiety because you didn't know what was good... Going to Costco for lunch... You falling in the street and busting your lip and holding q- tips up to it because for some reason the house we were at had no toilet paper. And most of all calling you Courtney for the 1st month we knew each other. 

Well, random facts #6, 7, & 8: I've gotten better about cereal- I just eat oatmeal, I still have ordering anxiety at new restaurants, still love Costco samples (and have passed that love to my children), and she still calls me Courtney (but now as a joke)!

The next friend is funny, because she's actually the mom of one of my best friends from high school, but as I got older and married and had kids, I became close friends with her: Cari

I have lots of memories of you being my daughter, Ren's friend. You were always smiling and laughing together. How funny time is that you have crossed the great divide into wife-Dom and parenthood, and done an amazing job I might add. I treasure our friendship and the wisdom and sparkle you bring to everyone you meet! I also like to get my digs in with Ren by saying well, she is my friend now also!!! She just hates that! My favorite thing you have ever said is "hey, by the end of the day if my kids are still alive......goal accomplished!"

Like Ren, Cari brings out my funny side.  We just laugh and joke, so she gets all of my good one-liners! lol!  Oh ya, random fact #9 ... I may or may not think I'm a comedian!

That brings me to today.  And, just as I always dreamed, my best friend is my husband.  Here is a video displaying all of the notes he left for me today, set to the song that always reminds him of me- ENJOY!  :)

Hmm, there were a few random facts in there: 10. I cannot read to my children without making crazy voices, 11: I'm a HUGE plan-o-holic, and I'm sure tons more- I'm pretty random and quirky!  But, that's what I love most about these people- they know all of the quirks and still love me!  That alone makes it a Happy Birthday!

Thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me!  

What are some random facts about you?  

Happy 6 Days until Christmas!! ;)


Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday MUST!

Hello BlogLand... It's me again!
Yes, I'm saying it again- I am BACK and ready to blog regularly!

Looky Loo is ready to be

LEGEN (wait for it) DARY!

(oh ya, I also started watching HIMYM after some prompts from one of my best friends and am obsessed!)

Well, this week is my BIRTHDAY WEEK!  So I will put a birthday spin on most of my posts!  Get ready for some Looky Loo FUN

First Stop: Birthday Monday MUST!

Today I am sharing 2 MUST-TRY Things on the Central Coast.  These happen to be the only 2 things I asked my husband for for my birthday- ya, they're that amazing!

First up: Dinner

If you ever find  yourself in Paso, you MUST TRY Roberts.  Everything there is AMAZING.  The food is DIVINE, the ambiance is bliss, and the seats.... the seats really sell it.  They are cushion-y, velvet-y, and a beautiful shabby chic blue.  And the service is on-point!  (ok, I had to add that since one of my friends works there, but seriously, I have never been disappointed!)

After going there only once, it climbed STRAIGHT. TO. THE. TOP. of my favorite restaurants list.  (yes, even above Cheesecake Factory-gasp!)  Which is why, when Jeffe asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said a 3 course meal at Roberts!

Don't get me wrong, it is a little pricey, but the lunch menu is reasonable, and the desserts are DELICIOUS, and totally affordable at $6!  You don't have to break the budget to get the feel of total awesome-ness that is ROBERTS!

(on a totally unrelated note, I am going to their sister-restaurant, Estrella later this week, so I will give you an update next week as to how it ranks compared to my first love..)

Next stop: Movies

 Let me start out by saying that I am not a fan of Atascadero.  Ok, I've said it.  When you grow up in Paso, you are bred to loathe orange and grey!  

With that being said, it takes A LOT for me to go into that town.  I'm talking there must be something downright AMAZING.

When I was a child, that was Captain Kids.  (I'm not going to lie, that would probably still draw me if they hadn't closed down)

As an adult, I haven't found anything to draw me there.... that is, until NOW!

Have I dramatized the intro enough?  Good.. 

Because I solemnly vow to never at least mostly never go to a regular theater again.  

Let me tell you why.  Atascadero decided to put in a new theater in their downtown.  Yawn.  Every town has a movie theater these days.  EXCEPT un-yawn, they decided to add a VIP theater.  One with LEATHER seats at least TWO TIMES the normal side.  And armrests that can ACTUALLY accommodate TWO arms!  (ya, that's right- no more racing to your seat to claim the arm rest!)  Oh, and speaking of seats, you can order your ticket online and PICK YOUR SEAT--- you, know, like on an airline.  Pretty fancy stuff, if you ask me!  Oh, and there is an attached bar and servers- you can order b-soda if you want.  Or, if you're like me, you can get a GLASS of water with ice.  

It was so fancy I thought I would never want to pay the price.  Oh, ya, price- that thing.  WAIT!  The price is the SAME as the regular tickets!  WHAT-THE-WHAT!?!?!  

Yes, you can go enjoy a VIP movie on a Tuesday for FIVE DOLLARS.  

Done and done.

Are you with me??  You MUST try the VIP experience!

I will caution, there are a couple of catches: first, you have to be 21+ (whew, barely made it! lol), second, there it's only one theater, so the options are slim on movie and time.

But, hey, still totally worth it!

That is the second thing I asked for!  I'm not going to lie, this is going to be one AMAZING date night!  I will fill you in on the movie we see- perhaps the next Monday MUST!

As for now... now that I am drooling on my keyboard with excitement.. I leave you with dreams of some wonderful MUST-TRYs on the Central Coast!

Have you seen, bought, wanted, tried, done something that is a MUST??

Tell me about it!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Intro Necessary

Today, I'm getting real.  Totally non-photography.  Today, it's just me, my computer, and a story....

Dr: "well, Cynthia, I have the numbers and we need to have a totally different conversation now....
Can your husband come to your next appointment?  I want to make sure you have the support you need, that you're not alone."

The support I need?...


(a few weeks earlier)

It had been a long night.  I just drove the boys home from LA by myself- Jeffe left early to get some much needed study time in.  Normally we don't drive separately, but Jeffe bought me a new car while we were down south and let me drive it home.  Bliss, I tell you, pure bliss!  TV in the back totally captivating my children, and my ipod in the front playing whatever song I choose. 

Amidst my bliss (which was tremendous, since I had been without a car for months now, as we saved up), all I could think about was one thing. THE. WHOLE. FOUR. HOURS.

I promised myself I wouldn't take another test for at least 5 more days, but the SECOND I walked into the door, after a hello kiss to my sweet husband that is, I HIT THE BATHROOM.

Jeffe, ever the gentleman, exited to the car to unload our junk luggage.  My mind was on bigger things. Done.  I waited impatiently by the door for Jeff to come back in.

"BOO-YAH!!" shoving the pee-stick in his face.

"Well, that's one way to tell your husband  you're pregnant!"

I had been telling Jeffe for two agonizing weeks that I was pregnant, all with the response of a deer-in-the-headlights-look.  AND, we had somehow managed to get pregnant exactly one day after having my IUD taken out.  So, yes, a BOO-YAH was totally necessary.  I knew it.  And all of the negative pee-sticks could, well, stick it!

YESSSSS!  (insert ringing bells and all that jazz- because I was ecstatic!)

I am baby-crazy. Ok, I've said it.  From the second my children reach about 6 months, I.AM.HUNGRY.FOR.MORE.  It's a disease, I'm sure.  But I'll leave that to someone else to research.  And, if you've done the math, the beast inside of me dying for a tiny, little, precious newborn had been put on hold for TWENTY-EIGHT whole months!  (yes, when you become a mother all time calculations are converted over to the mother-system: aka months/ in terms of how old one of your kids is)

So, here we were, on the baby-train again.  Occupancy: 5.  Yes, it takes all 4 of us and Lola to make it through the craziness that is Looky Loo pregnant.  Let's just say, it's not a pretty sight! ;)

First stop: major stomach pains/puking.

Ok, maybe TMI, but if so, you can exit now.

So, this is where the scary part of the ride began.  This is when you are on the plane and you hit turbulence and you begin praying with all your might and looking upward every 5 seconds to check if the oxygen masks have fallen.  (No? Just Me?  Well, you get the idea)

I knew something wasn't right.

So, I did what any normal, level-headed mother in the tech age would do and googled every last slight pain I was feeling.  By nights end, I had either ovarian cancer or a tubal pregnancy.  Trust me, I'm an avid Grey's watcher, which means I'm basically an MD.  I know what I'm doing.

But, I wasn't far enough along to see a doctor- and stomach pains aren't exactly weird for pregnancy.  Just for crazy people like me who know their body far too well.

So, on with life.  I told only the need-to-know people, with the immediate caution: it's not going to last. No need to have them get all attached to the idea of me having a baby.  I surely wasn't.  Or at least I was trying not to be.  Right?

I talked to women who had been pregnant before and who had had miscarriages.  Medical studies for my Dr Grey research.  Pretty technical stuff.

After all of my research, I came to the conclusion that maybe I was ok.  Maybe cramps and severe stomach pains were totally fine and this was just some super child kicking my rear.


For a second I let myself believe everything was ok and that I was having this baby.  We told the boys and they were THRILLED.  Well, by they, I mean Calvin.  He became my little hero.  Taking care of me and Boston on my hard days.  Oh ya, more turbulence: enter migraine fun.

Then, on the day before Thanksgiving more rough seas.  I had not only stomach pains and now spotting, but I was feeling light-headed and dizzy.

Dr. GreyMcCauley, what should we do??

I was drawing a blank, so I gave in and called the "real" doctor.  Appointment immediately.

Insert another hero.  My step mom spent her entire day before Thanksgiving toting me around to appointments while my brothers and dad took care of the boys.  Oh, don't worry, it's not like they had cleaning and cooking to do.  I mean, it was only the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING and they were only HOSTING Thanksgiving dinner at their house.


Well, my mind was set at ease.  No ovarian cancer and no tubal pregnancy.  Weird, I know- Dr GreyMcCauley is NEVER wrong.  But, it's ok, I'm not too proud to admit a rare wrong call in my thriving medical practice.

Doctor's orders: bed rest and water.

Done and done.  Right?  Because anyone with 2 kids and 2 jobs has plenty of time to spend IN BED.  Sure, ok, doc, I'll get right on that.

Well, I did the best I could, thanks to the amazing people around me.  Including my WONDERFUL husband, who helped me make my parts of the Thanksgiving meal.

Fast forward through a fun, family-filled weekend and some horrible decisions to tell a few more people I was pregnant.  Darn that calm before the storm when you really start to convince yourself that everything is fine.

Here comes Monday.  Oh, how I hate you Monday.

Dr appt to go over all of the millions of tests they took on Wednesday.  Which, might I add, they did not fully collect.

So, while the nurses were busy getting the rest of the data, Mrs Dr decided to take a look at baby boo-yah.  Another ultrasound.  It went a little something like this:

"Everything looks perfect.  The sac is growing beautifully and is in the perfect place.  I'm not worried about the spotting or pain.  I think it's safe to say you're pregnant.  I just want to check out the rest of the results and I'll be right back...."

Well, you know how the rest goes.  We're back to the beginning of this story.  Back to the "new conversation."

I want to clarify, I am in no way upset with Mrs Dr.  Everything did seem fine.

Until she read the blood results: Done and done.  Baby boo-yah was no more.

Our new conversation was filled with letters and numbers that are mostly just a blur to me now.  It's amazing how fast you can go from elated to crushed, let me tell you.

That brings me to today: waiting.  Waiting for baby boo-yah to exit the womb and make room for baby here-to-stay.

Now, don't get the wrong idea.  I'm not writing this for your sympathy or pity.  I've let myself feel all of the emotions and I've come to terms with everything.  What really sparked me to write this little ditty (besides wanting people to stop asking if I'm pregnant, because I just don't know how to answer that) is something that has really hit me.

One word from this experience has buzzed through my mind lately: support.

Boston loves to sing "the wise man built his house upon a ROCK."  (he loves that last part, because you hit your hand with a fist when you say it- very manly)  I've heard that song a million times.  Yes, our lives need to have a strong foundation so we can make it through the storms of life...lalala, yadayadayada...

BUT, what I realized through all of this is that there is so much more to that strong foundation.  It's laid brick by brick.  And yes, some of the bricks are morals, beliefs, confidence, etc.  But, I think each person in our lives holds a brick in our foundation.  Some are strong bricks that help sure-up our foundation, and some are bricks of sand, and when the storms come, they fall apart or leave- leaving you with holes in your foundation.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm really grateful for the rocks in my life.  Through all of this, I have had so many people there making things easier.  Whether taking Calvin to school, sending me sweet messages of concern, or driving me around, each solid brick has stood strong while I  battled my little storm.  And don't get me wrong, I know it is but a little storm- people go through much more horrible things everyday.  

As I laid in bed the other night- clearly in my angry phase- wondering what the purpose was for a trial like this (why couldn't I just not get pregnant... why did I have to gain this stupid weight, etc) I realized one thing.

It is a great gift to LOVE and BE LOVED

Through this I have had the opportunity to do both.

With the immediate pain of loss, I realized just how much I loved that little baby boo-yah.  Without ever even meeting them or knowing them I loved them.  With my whole heart.  I took joy thinking about who they would be and what a great addition they would be to our family.  A couple months is not long, but it was long enough to fall in love.

I also allowed myself to be loved.  I am still amazed at the over-whelming amount of love and support I have received.  It's amazing how much easier a trial can feel when you know people are out there praying for you and concerned for your well-being.  People who make you feel better about yourself and love you for who you are.  My sweet husband tenderly took care of me and, during a crazy week (last week of classes in his last quarter at Cal Poly), he took time off to come to the appointment.  Stud.  Total Brick, baby!  ;)

I am so grateful for each person in my life.  From this, I am inspired to do more and to be more.  I want to make sure I am the rock in other people's foundations, not the sand that blows away during the hard times.  I think we all have times in our lives where we look deep-down and yearn to grow and do better.  But, in doing that, I feel that it makes the trial worth it.  If I can grow and do better, than baby boo-yah wasn't a total loss.  There's no need to be sad, or even angry.

I have a beautiful life full of love and happiness!  I have SO much to be grateful for!

Yes, Mrs Dr, I do have enough support- I have more than enough support.

So, Little Lookies.. are you brick or sand?  Have you been compelled to "stop and smell the roses" lately?  What are you working on in your life?  Are you daring enough to share?

Well, there is one thing I know for sure:

(stolen from my fav movie)

"You is KIND,
You is SMART,

So, go out and show the world the kind of rock you're made of! ;)

xoxo, Loo Who

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Back To Basics: Camille Senior Portrait Shoot

Well my Looky Friends, I have a confession to make:

My name is Loo Who, and I have neglected my blog!

Whew, OK, I said it!  Now, to make amends...

I am going to be brutally honest with you, I have not done a photoshoot blog post since BEFORE JUNE!  AHHH!  LAME-O!  Well, before you click the back button on me, let me make it up to you!  I'm going back and making it right.  One by one, you will see the shoots that have consumed me for the passed few months!  Bare with me, this may take a while.  But, I'm SUPER excited for you to see what I have been creating in my absence!

First up, is the lovely Camille!

Camille won my Senior Sponsor spot this year.  I asked for a creative idea, and she wrote in with a few ideas, plus a pinterest board full of ideas!  WINNER!

Without further ado, here is what I created from all of the inspiration she gave me:

First up: Rustic barn feel.  So, up to the beautiful San Luis hilltops we went!

 Next up: Rustic ballerina...

 Yes, you can thank Camille for my ballerina obsession!  It was just so fun to mold her in random spots, and I LOVED how they came out!!

Scene 3: Water

What's a photo shoot without a waterfall??  

Final Product:

(I'll refrain from the cheesy, "put it all together and what do you get?... Gooo team")

I hope you enjoyed my recap!  Be sure to share some love for the beautiful Camille!  And, don't forget, if you are going to be a senior next year, or know someone who is, I always sponsor the first senior of the season!  Start coming up with those crazy ideas!  :) 

Here, to make all of your craziest dreams a reality photograph...