Archive for the ‘Hank&Willie’ Category

Winter Fun

March 3, 2012

We haven’t had much of a winter (NO COMPLAINTS), but I do savor the wackiness of indoor play in wintertime!



And then, since we haven’t had winter weather, the outdoor stuff continues as well. We’ve been tracking Sunny the Seal, a harbor seal hanging out off the coast of Stonington boro, and while we wait, plenty of winter beachcombing is available!

Tiny seal head–Sunny was feeling shy.

Experimenting with a new photoshop script for collage-ing for the new blog coming next month. (Finally!) Sorry for all the weird sizes!

That’s Sunny on the rock. (The one without the blue hoodie and sneaks!)

(Thanks for tipping us off to our seal friend, Chelle!)


Ten on Ten: August 2011

August 10, 2011

I’ve been mourning a bit the lack of kid posts here on this blog, the one that started as their electronic baby book. But until I have a new blog to debut (this fall–we had to take a breather during wedding season!), I’ve been posting client work here, and today it feels great to return to my roots and post a series of personal photos.

The inspiration for this came from a great group of women photographers. One of them—who takes the most heartstoppingly gorgeous photos of her brood—suggested this project and I am so grateful to her!

So here’s the plan: one day a month, I document life around me by taking ten photos, one roughly every hour.

On the tenth day of the month, each of us posts our ten photos, and you can follow around the circle of eight of us if you like.

Today I’m linking to Carrie of Carrie Hill Photography, and you will absolutely adore the soulful moments she captured.

So, without further buildup, my Ten on Ten for August 2011.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On the date I chose for my ten on ten, we had the boys’ best girlfriends over for a sleepover the night before.

I came downstairs on a rainy Sunday morning to find the four of them quietly giggling, drawing and reading. We all needed a rainy day to take a break on this beautiful summer!

The dreaded Augmentin. Will showed me his finger one day last week saying, “Mom, I think I sprained my wrist.” A small, swollen cut, oozing with pus at the tip of his finger was enhanced by a faint red line trailing up into his arm.

A quick trip to the pediatrician resulted in powerful and awful-tasting doses of this goop. He’s almost done. (Culture revealed strep group A infection. Thank goodness for modern medicine!)

Sorry the photo is so small, but it features “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” playing on my MacBook. Will, Henry, and their overnight guests Olivia and Gabby are all gaga for Harry. You wouldn’t believe how quiet four children can be when they are listening to Harry Potter audio book reader Jim Dale.

“Mom! Watch! I am blowing air into my ears!”

The rain still falling, this crew took every toy in the house, spread them out on blankets, couches and chairs in the living room, and had a sale.

Books were “20:50” each, camping gear was $1.50 a piece or $30 for all five pieces and the game of Perfection was $80. Legos and Playmobil had their own price points, and some, of course, were spesl.

Henry has had enough of the rain by now.

Finally! The rain stops. Naturally, my two and their neighbor decide to wash rocks to celebrate.

An hour later I found them over at the neighbor’s house, washing their bikes and singing one stanza from Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” OVER AND OVER.

Hydrangeas in bloom.

Pool time! Made extra special to have a swim with visiting cousin Justin, pictured on right.

After staying up til nearly 10 on the sleepover, these toes and the five-year-old body attached to it were out cold. Good night!

Lego Love

March 9, 2011

In case I EVER forget what it is like to have two Lego-loving boys in the house. You know, in 1,000 years when the last one is finally picked up and not embedded in the bottom of my feet.

Remind me about this photo and how this is just a scene from everyday life.

A few changes on the way

March 3, 2011

This blog has served as a catchall for baby and kid stories and photos, ramblings, recipes and client photos for a very long time, and it’s time for something new!

When I started here on wordpress nearly five years ago, I didn’t even have a phone that took a photo. (Really!) So all my posts about my kids turned into long (long!) winded narratives with lots of lovingly and carefully selected photos and…well, I think only crazy new mothers can keep that up. Or bloggers far more organized than me.

So then, when I got a phone with a camera (I think this was the first time I posted a cell phone picture, in 2008) and started using it all the time to illustrate the funny moments in our days, it didn’t seem like this spot was the place—mixed in with gorgeous brides and sweet, clean babies—to feature my messy, muddy duo.

And, since I was almost never sitting down at the computer to record the moments I wanted to remember, it felt like I needed a place to post by phone the mobile memories we were making. So, Will and Henry (a.k.a. Hank and Willie) have a new home on tumblr. It’s right here, and the address is

And has fine images like this one there:

I’m going to keep a similar eclectic mix here, but those tiny feet you see above in the header have grown (when I can find the image file of those feet, it will migrate over to tumblr, too) and might not need so many posts of their own. Since, thankfully, they don’t keep us up at night anymore, and as I look back, it seems that all I did was write about that and post recipes for hot fudge sauce.

So this space here, connected to my photography website, is going to be undergoing a transformation along with my website this month. I’ll still be posting client images here until the transformation is finished, but I’m hoping that will be soooooon–I’m ready!

Here’s a wee sliver of a peek at the website and blog changes coming up, designed by Lucinda Wesson of Chocolate Creative Design. Can’t wait!

Seaweed never goes out of style

October 2, 2010


Cape Cod, Sept., 2010

We interrupt your summer to post…

August 3, 2010

A little adventure on Cape Cod last week resulted in more iphone photos than real photos, but I just loved this one.

More to come.

Hope you are also going crabbing barefoot on a regular basis. Safely.

Oh, hi. You’re still here?

July 8, 2010

Well. I cringed a little when I looked at the date on my last post, APRIL 28. I have never taken such a long, extended break from my beloved blog, but I ended up having a really full life in May and June of all good things, and I just didn’t take the time to post it.  At the same time, I’ve been considering the newest directions for this blog, which serves so many roles for me–my electronic baby book, first and foremost. Also, my preview site for photography clients and future clients. And, for those who have been reading a long time, you’ll recall that the wanna-be food writer in me found a home here, too.

Hank & Willie as we know it is going to look a little different very soon, thanks to the creative touches of Lucinda Wesson at Chocolate Creative Design, but in the meantime, I’m back and have so much to post! I have missed this so much!

Stay tuned for a million pictures coming your way shortly.



Something as simple as breathing

November 17, 2009

Breathing—we do it all day and all night, and almost never think a thing about it, until we’re knocked out with a nuisance of a cold once or twice a year. And having giant healthy lungs, which most of us are blessed with, means that we never really give any thought to tiny premature baby lungs, the size of our thumbs, struggling to fill with air.

But then, this morning I read Julie’s post this morning and thought to myself, “Once again, she says it better than anyone.”  While we mothers of NICU warriors might have healthy children today, with just the faintest of scars to show for that time, we carry our own deep scars, etched on our hearts. Perhaps the only way to heal those is to do some small thing in hopes that another baby and another parent won’t have to live through the time we did.

And what seems crazy to me now is that I really didn’t know how sick he was.  It wasn’t until a doctor said, “This is really tough…but we think he’ll go home with you,” that I understood he still might not…

I breathed for Charlie that night, sitting by his bed, crying, eyeballs so swollen that it hurt to move them in my head, nostrils scrubbed raw by hospital paper towels.  Every gurgle of his CPAP happened, it seemed, because we willed it.  His breaths, when they resumed, were only because we worked for them when he couldn’t. Which isn’t true, of course.  The tickle of the feet and the rubbing of the belly helped, but it was the drip of caffeine, the caustic burst of antibiotic, and the transfusion that eventually brought him around.  It was the science: serendipity and inspiration tempered by years of research and refinement, the careful observation and adjustment, a dedication that awes me.  My deep gulps of air did nothing, practically speaking, for Charlie.  All they did was keep me upright, somehow, next to the isolette.

Like many preterm babies, when Charlie was born, his lungs were immature.  They lacked surfactant, a substance that keeps the lungs from closing and collapsing upon exhalation, and couldn’t stay open on their own.  The development of artificial surfactant therapy, funded by the March of Dimes in the 1980s, ushered in a tenfold decrease in the number of babies who die from RDS (respiratory distress syndrome).  Three doses of surfactant and five years later, Charlie’s not only alive but thriving, the only artifact of  his prematurity an occasional touch of asthma.

Julie, at A Little Pregnant

I could have written it, but she does it better, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read her entire post and take her up on her offer to donate for each story you share in the comments.

I can’t write it like Julie does, I but I join her today in her offer—in honor of our Henry, and Julie’s son Charlie and my beautiful niece and nephew Isabella and Andrew, born at 30 weeks, I will donate a dollar to the March of Dimes for every story you share about prematurity touching your life. One per reader, please.

And thank you to longtime Hank & Willie readers who have so kindly donated to the March of Dimes at my urging in the past.

And as I have said before,

if you’ve known a preemie,

if your child was a preemie,

if you were a preemie,

if you’re grateful that you didn’t have a preemie,

if you might someday have a preemie,

if you’d like to honor the medical professionals that cared for Henry or a preemie in your life,

or if you just think my Henry is a tough guy,

you even can make your own donation here.

I bet I can even find a few more embarrassing photos of myself to post if the March of Dimes gets some H & W donations this year!

Thank you.

Some days you just want to pretend they aren’t yours

April 5, 2009


Busy YMCA family locker room, packed to the gills with kids and parents post swimming lessons.


Will and Henry, darling preschool-aged brothers, in the shower (a handicapped-accessible room with a door) rinsing off after their lesson.

Mom, the gorgeous, slim, thirty something mother of Will and Henry, frequently mistaken for their big sister or babysitter. She momentarily leaves them in the shower to go spin-dry their suits.

Twenty or so other mothers, fathers and children, many of whom are waiting to use the exact shower Will and Henry are in.

Scene 1:

Door opens, Will sticks his head out.

Will: “MOOOOOOOOM! Henry just peed on me in the SHOOOOOWER, and it was a LOT!”

Sound of crickets chirping fills the locker room.

Looking around to see who really knows she is connected to that child, Mom trills: “Be there in a minute!” without making eye contact with anyone.

Mom returns, swinging her shiny, silky locks, opens door a crack and offers admonishment: “Henry, we don’t pee in the shower, we pee in the toilet. That is not good manners and you need to apologize to your brother for peeing on him.” She repeats several times for good measure and to be sure all parents in the room have heard her “utter disapproval” (while rolling her eyes a little on the inside, because she is certainly not going to die on this particular hill, and at least they were in the shower when he peed on his brother.)


Alternate ending: (Check with focus groups re: approval) Mom waits outside shower with patented “who me?” expression on face until everyone who witnessed Will’s statement is gone.

Fade to black.


November 17, 2008

I’m always delighted to photograph Other People’s Kids, because mine? Well, it is a rare day I get more cooperation than this:


Which is why I don’t take their Christmas photo. She does, thank goodness.

But Other People’s Kids? Another story all together!







My Best Shot? I can’t pick. You decide.

Jump Around

October 9, 2008

One of my favorite things to do with subjects of all ages is make ’em jump. Kids in particular can’t seem to get enough of it, and I’ve had a lot of fun this summer stopping the action.

Technique-wise, it’s easy to do, at least from the camera’s point of view.

1. Shoot in manual or in shutter-priority.

2. Set your shutter speed to at least 1/500 or 1/1000 if your light allows.

3. Adjust your ISO (turn it up) for the fast shutter speed. My settings above were f/2.8, 1/500 and and ISO pushed all the way to 1250.

4. If you have a burst mode on your camera, turn it on.

5. Shoot from down low to increase the perceived height of the jump. If your jumpers get more than an inch off the ground, that is.

6. Alternatively, have them jump off a low wall or anchored bench to get some “hang time” with little subjects.

Working on the technique of the jumpers is something else.

Here’s the true secret to jumping photos–if your subjects are really old enough to execute a jump, tell them to bend their knees—it makes them look that much higher off the ground.

Since I don’t have jumpers old enough to get it together, I will illustrate with some examples of excellent jumps out there. (These photos are licensed through Creative Commons.)

cc photo by Xose Castro

cc photo by Fevis Yu

This technique is always fun at weddings or other events where people are dressed up.

cc photo by annieee

The incongruity of jumping in formal wear adds something even better to jumping photos. Take note, Molly—are you and Michael practicing your jumps?

When you nail the technique, you can see how much fun you can have with it. To take this amazing photo,  the photographer zoomed his or her lens at the same time, to give the feeling of movement. It worked.

cc photo by pasotraspaso

And for the truly accomplished jump photographer,  you can start playing with light and silhouette.

cc photo by clspeace

Need a little help getting your jumps off the ground? Check out this site,–your best jumping shot on a hotel bed. Fun for the whole family. Maria, Ellen, don’t we have some we could submit from long ago college cross-country meets?

Hope to see your jump shots out there soon!

Food Friday: Ice Cream and What to Do With It, Part 1 (The Chipwich)

July 25, 2008

I know. You’re reading that headline and wondering what the HECK is wrong with me, since you have never had any trouble putting away a delicious cone of ice cream, and why mess with a good thing?

Here’s why.

Ice cream in a bowl (or from the pint, if we’re being honest) can be so its-9:30 p.m.-and-I-can-eat-this-or-just-go-to-bed. Ice cream in a cone at the farm stand is lovely and wonderful, but sometimes it is just fun to exercise your creative side when it comes to ice cream, and elevate it to something you can truly call dessert. And calling things dessert is basically my calling in life, if you hadn’t noticed.

The Almighty Chipwich

I’ll discuss the base, chocolate chip cookies, another day, since there is SO MUCH TO BE SAID there, but basically you need no real recipe to make a platter of chipwiches today.

1. Bake your cookies. I will insist here that they be from scratch. Make them fairly small. Let them cool.

2. Scoop your favorite ice cream (I recommend vanilla in this case, but go crazy.) onto a cookie in modest amounts. (An overstuffed chipwich is a lot like buying a Betamax in the 1980s—it seemed like a good idea at the time, but you end up wishing you hadn’t.) Squish the top cookie on the scoop of ice cream.

3. Some might consider the chipwich unfinished without a roll through some mini-chocolate chips or some flaked coconut. I say that is gilding the lily, and I like my chipwiches as pure as, well, vanilla ice cream trapped between two chocolate chip cookies. So I quit there and put them in the freezer. (It’s a good idea to wrap them individually in plastic wrap, freeze them, and then unwrap them and serve them on a platter later.

And if one of those individually wrapped chipwiches doesn’t make it onto the platter, and you find it later in the freezer? It would PROBABLY be good with coffee when your children are napping.

I’m guessing.

Since I have LOTS to say about ice cream, yet I have two boys waiting NOT-SO-PATIENTLY to go berry picking RIGHT NOW, I will continue this series over the weekend. I can’t wait to hear how you make ice cream and other frozen treats extra special!

Next week for Food Friday? I have no idea, so bring it on—plan to post something you love!