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Wyatt 8 years of Adventuring

January 18, 2020

Dear Wyatt

Dear Wyatt,

I told you that you didn’t turn 8 officially until I took your 8 year pictures with Ms. Lindsay. You laughed it off like that wasn’t the case, but in my mind I’ll do anything to keep you little. And yes almost 2 months does seem like quite the procrastination, but I was just trying to maintain consistency with the years in the past and possibly give myself some slack for the future. You will understand one day, probably when you finally get the time to one day reading this when you’re older. Maybe you will have your own kids; something you talk about on occasion either when Maggie is being dreamy or doing something you don’t want her to do and you just wish you were the parent and could be the one to boss her around. Yep that’s when I hear about it.

But Wyatt let’s…

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Micky AKA Macaroni, Micky Mouse, the Mick and so many more…

October 15, 2019

Micky “The Cat” Stumbaugh

Forever Missed and Forever Loved

12.28.08-9.16.19

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Micky,

I have wrote this out in my head a million times, just not on paper. I hope it comes out as well. You know my mind at this point Micky, so you know that it can be hard to put into words what is on my mind. Micky, You are on my mind. Micky, you were an amazing friend. An amazing cat. Some have never had a cat like you. Really no one. So right now they are reading this and they are unsure why I am writing about a cat. But Micky you were so much more then a cat. You were a part of us. Yeah, the corny “you were a part of our family.” You were.

But seriously for some reason you didn’t know you were a cat all the time. Maybe it was because of where you came from. But at times you thought you were a vacuum. You would just eat things off the floor. Random things too, string, toys after you were done shredding them. And I would have to remind you, as I was cleaning up the remnants of your toys and string, in your vomit mind you; that Micky you are not a vacuum.

Other times Micky you thought you were a doorman. You maintained our doors. I think it stemmed back from your early days as a kitten. See you didn’t come from the greatest of houses. People often say avoid kitty mills and stuff like that. But when you come face to face with animals being housed in bad conditions you just want to get them out. So we did. Maybe there were all the numbers to call back then I don’t know. But your hate for closed doors we believe stemmed from back then. None the less Micky I want you to know there is not a moment I don’t walk by our closet, bedroom, or the kids room doors with out thinking of you. I see the hangers hanging on all the doorknobs and I just smile. My safety net so you didn’t lock yourself into any of the rooms when you messed with the doors. The truth being you hated closed doors. You would sit outside of a closed door and MeOw for hours. We were never able to close any of the kids doors when they were little. You always wanted to be able to see them. To make sure they were ok. The closed door thing also was a bit of a pain when anyone needed to go to the bathroom. You were like a siren for anyone who was trying to find a peaceful moment away from the kids hiding behind a closed door was not an option. I would hear a MeOw (He had the siamese Meow) and my cover was blown. Your MeOw was like a siren going off and telling everyone, ‘She’s up here!!!’

But Micky your greatest job, the one you found the most joy in, that I could see for sure; was as our Mother Hen. See my cats are never cats. Micky was much more. But his main animal was definitely Hen. He was very protective in that way. If anyone was every sick, or sad; he was right there. Micky was always making sure you were ok. When the kids were born him and Rocky came and checked out the scene. Leaning into the carseats to see what we had brought for them to play with. I remember with Wyatt they both used to love all of his toys and stuff. They thought the play yards and carseats and swings were all for them, until all the sudden we came home with one full. They poked their heads in and something came moving out. They both jumped back a good 10 feet when he kicked out. Then they went back, they wanted to see more. It may have always taken Micky time to let the kids pet him. And another settling in period would have to happen once they got mobile. But before they were mobile he would sleep in their rooms, and watch over them, well even after they were mobile. He was always there making sure everyone was safe and ok.

Micky I will never forget the moment when Wyatt figured out how to throw his diapers out of the diaper organizer. You stood there helplessly watching, in disapproval. I will forever treasure that moment and that picture of the two of you. And the day before we had to take you in, you sat by the front door basking in the sun. Maggie was ready for her nap time and came around to you and Rocky to make sure you were ready for your naps too. Without prompt she came to me and told me she had already given you kisses and wished you “Sweet Dreams while you napped”. Then she ran excitedly over to Rocky and did the same. My heart about burst while my knees about dropped. I was so worried about how we were going to be, just BE with out you.

Micky you have been so so much to us. Wyatt really misses you at bedtime when we read. You always used to read with us, and rub up against the book over and over again until I lost my place. I know this isn’t going to sound like a blessing so much. But if it weren’t for reading every night we would never have caught the cancer when we did. You rubbing up against the books is what caught it. I saw the little tiny lump on your lip as you rubbed in the same spot on the book as you always did. The vet said most people would never have noticed. We did because Micky, you liked to read. You loved to hear Wyatt read the most. Anytime he went upstairs to read on his own you were there in a heartbeat. Sometimes you would even help pick which book he should read next out of the stack.

You were an animal enthusiast too. I’m not sure if that became more of a thing after you and Wyatt read books about them or not. But I will never forget your very first “pet/ friend”. Story of an Ant: It was an ant. God rest its soul. You found it on the bathtub, and it was SO cool. You followed it along the top of the bathtub for a little then you tapped it with your paw, then your other paw, then back with your other paw. Then, ‘Oh No it fell in the tub’, so you jumped in after it. You batted it around a little. Then you wanted to look at it closer, this is where we go, poor ant friend. So you sniffed it. Oh Ant friend you Looked where did you go??? You jumped back on the ledge of the bathtub. Something was tickling your nose. Snort! You snorted out your nose. Then threw around your head side to side, to try and get out that tickle you get sometimes. Oh Ant friend you are back!!! Where were you? Your face is so excited. You start to jump around the ant, jumping back and forth like you just made magic happen. Your friend was lost now he is found. Rejoice! So you go in for another look. Oh no. Where has he gone? Snort. It happened again. Magic he is back. But now he isn’t moving as much. I will tap him harder. Now he is speck, and does not move. Not interested. Moving on. Maybe ant friend will be in Heaven too. Although he might want a seat a little further from you. No offense.

Micky, I just want to say your brother misses you a lot. Rocky spent the first few days looking for you. He has been a little depressed. Were trying to keep him cheered up as much as we can. But you know as well as I do that The Rock needs his trainer. I guess that we should have named you a more immortal name. You and Rocky were named after the Rocky movies. Our favorite characters in the movie. Rocky and Micky. That is why there is no E in your name. Daddy insisted. And Mick boy were you a ball of energy. I will never forget the laser pointer Rocky just sitting there yelling at it from the ground, while you try to find a way to get to it from the ground. One time even jumping the entire height of the door. You had ups. Even in your last week there was a fly in the house. We were all getting ready to go to sleep. I hear this loud thud on the wall. Then I look out, you just killed the fly right outside the kids rooms in the hallway. I turn to Josh and say I can’t get mad at Micky for waking the kids while killing a fly, he’s got cancer. Our cat with cancer just killed a fly!

And so I guess this is where I do it. I would like to say thank you to all the vets out there who work so tirelessly to keep our pets alive. And when they are at their last days to transition us all to those last moments. A huge thank you to Silver Springs Animal Clinic. And I would also like to say thank you to all the risk takers out there. The science innovators. The dreamers who believe there is more to medicine then what we know right now. And the people willing to live it right now. Back in the beginning of May when Micky was first diagnosed with Lymphoma, cancer. He was given 1 month, maybe 2. Because of medicine unaffiliated with Silver Springs Animal Clinic we were able to have Micky happy and comfortable for 5 months. We even thought at one point there was a chance he was going to beat it. But in the end infections got the best of him. We were so blessed with the time we had with you Micky.

You have trained us and brought us up so well. Thank you for being all of our trainers. Maggie asked where you were the other day. Wyatt didn’t want to worry her. He wanted to tell her we sent you off with another family. Thinking that would be best. I told him no we can’t lie. But I know where he was going and what he was thinking. He was just trying to protect his little sister, just like you would have. But no sooner did I say no we cannot lie that he said; “Maggie Micky is in Heaven with Jesus chasing the butterflies. He is having a great time. We will see him one day.”

Sometimes its the kids who paint the most beautiful pictures in our minds and give us the most peace, when we need it most too. And what I told you as you drifted off and Micky I still do believe it was this. And I hope it brings someone else some peace that may have known Micky, or may have lost a pet recently too. Because No one can change my mind about this, Jesus loves us all fur or not. Thank you all for listening.

“Micky, you’re going to Heaven now to see Jesus. He is amazing. Jesus can make fish like nobody’s business. So trust me you’re going to the right place. If you want salmon you just tap Jesus on the shoulder and ask. And from what I hear its endless. And the only rule is you save 2 for Noah, I heard he has a thing about that.”

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Maggie aka: My Little Diva, is 2

May 23, 2019

My Dear Maggie

Oh my Maggie, what can I say? Well first maybe I will start by addressing you by your correct name. L.D. or Little Diva. Let me just give you one of your most recent examples. Your wonderful brother and I were setting up your When Dinosaurs Walked on Sesame Street birthday party; well actually at this point we were done, the party was all ready for you. Daddy called me and said that you were on strike. I want you to picture a little diva now all decked out in a pink tutu with little sparkly happy birthday sequence intermixed with rainbow pompoms all strung throughout this pink tutu. And of course she perfectly paired this with her favorite pink Elmo shirt, her bright yellow big bird shoes, and topped it off with her pigtail pom pom Abby Cadabby hat. But let me tell you where the Little Diva came…

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Wyatt and Albert Einstein

February 16, 2019

Dear Wyatt

So a bunch of months ago Wyatt asked to get a lizard. Specifically some sort of iguana. We were leaning towards a bearded dragon, but it was more like fate that we ended up finding Einstein, as Wyatt would come to name him, on Facebook. Einstein, named Bolio when we first met him, came from a family who could no longer house him. After a few conversations online the meeting was set and we went on a long drive to the middle of nowhere to go pick him up with Aunt Angie and Maya. Only to find out that the tank took up the 2nd full size back seat folded down and the back of the SUV. And Einstein needed to ride on Wyatt for the long ride. Leaving Maya in the small seat next to Wyatt and Einstein, and apparently she had a recently discovered fear of reptiles. So…

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Wyatt: My 7 year old Dinosaur

February 8, 2019

Dear Wyatt

Wow. I don’t even know what to say. How many times have I said that? A lot! But it’s so true. 7. Seven. Seven whole years have past since the day you came into our lives. 7 years ago our little family of 2 people and 2 cats became a family of 3 people and 2 cats. And might I add 2 a little bit more physically fit cats. The kind of cats that could run, maneuver a room, and find a place to hide in a moments notice kind of cats. The kind of cats that might have a version a kitty cat PTSD, every time they heard anything that sounded like it could be you, they froze and got close to the ground.

These 7 years have been so fun. There have been so many fun adventures we have gone on. So many adventures we have gone on…

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Our Family: December 2018

December 22, 2018

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Good Old DaysMacklemore
I wish somebody would have told me babe
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of the good old days
1112
10
I was thinking about the band
I was thinking about the fans
We were underground
Loaded merch in that 12-passenger van
In a small club in Minnesota
And the snow outside of 1st Ave
I just wanted my name in a star
Now look at where we at
Still growing up, still growing up
I’d be laying in my bed and dream about what I’d become
Couldn’t wait toget older, couldn’t wait to be someone
Now that I’m here, wishing I was still young
Those good old days
8
7
I wish somebody would have told me babe
That some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
‘Cause someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of the good old days
6
Wish I didn’t think I had the answers
Wish I didn’t drink all of that glass first
Wish I made it to homecoming
Got up the courage to ask her
Wish I would’ve gotten out of my shell
Wish I put the bottle back on that shelf
Wish I wouldn’t have worry about what other people thought
And felt comfortable in myself
Rooftop open and the stars above
Moment frozen, sneaking out, and falling in love
Me, you and that futon, we’d just begun
On the grass, dreaming, figuring out who I was
Those good old days
5
I wish somebody would have told me babe
That some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
‘Cause someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of the good old days
4
Never thought we’d get old, maybe we’re still young
Maybe we always look back and think it was better than it was
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now
We’ve come so far, I guess I’m proud
And I ain’t worried about the wrinkles around my smile
I’ve got some scars, I’ve been around
I’ve felt some pain, I’ve seen some things, but I’m here now
Those good old days
3
You don’t know, what you’ve got
Till it goes, till it’s gone
You don’t know, what you’ve got
Till it goes, till it’s gone
2
I wish somebody would have told me babe
Some day, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days

1

A huge thanks to Lindsay Schwartz for always being willing to take our family portraits. And putting up with whichever kid is having a meltdown that day, there always seems to be one. And to Josh, almost 14 years down and so so many wrinkles that tell the stories of our love together. Our 2 has grown to 4, plus 2 cats and a very large iguana as Wyatt would want me to point out. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Every day with you is a good old day. Love Jen

Sara Hoover: Senior Portraits

October 11, 2018

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Exactly one month ago Sara, Kristin and I embarked on an  extraordinary adventure. We spent the evening dodging rain storms and finding cool places throughout the city of Harrisburg to take Sara’s senior portraits. We wanted to do some of the spots that someone would expect to see if you would get your senior pictures taken in Harrisburg, or any portraits taken in Harrisburg, but also some places that you may not think of. Kristin and Sara knew some really cool places, I was on an adventure.

I could go on and on about all the places we went, but some of them are top secret. (Not really). But I would rather talk about the fun time I had, and all the fluffy squirrels we saw. Though that is the only sentence I was planning to mention the fluffy squirrels, but you never know they could always make an appearance. Squirrels are like that.

Sara showed me around the capitol during our shoot and told me about how she had been there multiple times growing up, it wasn’t my first time seeing the outside. But when it rained they naturally scanned us for everything to make sure we were not a threat to ourselves or others, I greatly appreciated that. The Pennsylvania capitol building is a really cool building it really makes you look up. And of course Sara had no issue with filling me in during the “Rain directed”- spur of the moment with all of the historical data and tour information that she remembered along the way.

Not long after the rain had stopped I learned there was a backside to the capitol building, talking about being blindsided. I had no idea it was there at all. On the backside they had beautiful stone stairs draped around a very large fountain. All the while Sara just kept going with the flow, spending her whole evening with me, taking countless pictures. And never complaining. And a shout out to Kristin who just kept running back to the van to get stuff that was forgotten or needed shelter from possible downpours. I had a lot of fun hanging out and getting work done with this shoot together. Thanks so much for choosing me to be your photographer for your senior portraits. I hope you like some of the pictures

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