Wednesday, December 28, 2011

a gloat.

I’m eating a white cheddar, leek, carrot, turnip, chicken pot pie right this second. My compliments to the chef (and to mom and dad for supplying the pie maker). If anyone visits in the next month or so, expect pie. Much pie.

Too lazy to take a pretty picture? you guessed it.


A few thoughts as we approach the new year.

Change. It’s a happening. For starters, I sent out a formal announcement that SarahScruggsPhotography is getting closed down. It’s not entirely true. Sarah Scruggs the photographer still lives on. It feels funny saying that, but that’s the truth. I am comfortable with calling myself a photographer now….because  honestly when you’re first starting out, the voice inside shouts nothing but doubt. My first impression of taking photos for money was nothing but a “wing it” survival mode mentality. image

but I still have a quest before me. I do not wish to be merely a girl with a camera. I want to shape up. Define. Challenge myself.

I did some soul searching.

I knew I had to quit the weddings…but what do I do with myself? Do I go back to school? Do I force myself to be content with just being a nanny? or a supermarket clerk? or a bum….I’d fit right in with the rest of the Charlestonites. I could even go the hipster route and beg for money in my urban outfitters clothing on street corners.

A few months ago I read this post on my friends blog (she’s an amazing writer and has some deeply wonderful words for people). I laughed because I too have my list of things I wanted to be one day.

What did you want to be (and why) as a kid?

      • An Animator: hopelessly hooked on Disney movies and the joys of Saturday morning cartoons (sonic the hedgehog anyone?), I’ve always been fascinated by drawings that move. This idea progressed with me into high school and is still a fascination, except now I dream of being a conceptual artist. I feel like it would focus on what I love doing: creating, but you don’t carry your ideas out- someone else does. Isn’t that nice? and since I’m particularly awesome at not finishing things I start- I felt like this had great potential.
      • An Architect: oh math….dangit….math….
      • A Painter: I had delusional visions of being a millionaire painter, traveling and painting in little villas in the hillside.
      • A Veterinarian: This was until I discovered that a vet works with sick animals, not cute furry adorable bundles of joy, but sick oozing, angry things and I’d  have to do things like look at blood or mend bones. I’m sure if there were a  job where all I got to do was play with happy animals all day-I’d be the way to go (and lets face it, Petsmart just doesn’t pay enough).
      • a Ballerina: this was incredibly short-lived since my mom signed me up for ballet lessons as a child. True to my hopelessly coordinated self, the only thing they would allow me to be was a light. I was to sit on the flour and unfurrow my arms at a particular point in the piece and that was that. No squatting prancing or pirouetting for this girl. But really I’m doing good if I can make a trip to the bathroom without face planting or doing some sort of I-tripped-but-I-might-can-make-this-look-intentional dance.
      • Writer: my best friend and I spent our grade school days at recess writing stories together (I’m well aware that normal children run and play soccer and things like that). While we wrote, we play acted. She was predominantly the writer, while I supplied the ridiculous. Our stories were mainly about star wars because that’s what we were crazy about back then. Nonetheless the desire to craft a story has stuck with me. Unfortunately an excellence in the English language has not. I’m sure most people who read my blog cringe at my unedited free flow of thought. I am in awe of people who write well..I genuinely covet and respect the gift but I’m also real with who I am. I just don’t have it Smile but thankfully things like blogs exist so I can get it out of my system.

I’m proud to say that even at an early age, I entertained no thoughts of higher education. While the idea of being really smart seems really cool, Ive always been geared towards what I can do with my hands. That is to say it is much easier to imagine me working a plow than being an engineer. (Not to undermine that thanks to my parents and folks from my alma mater, I graduated college, and I greatly value the education I’ve been blessed with).  Never once did I fancy myself a photographer (except when I looked through National Geographic and I think everyone does that).

But here I am! I’m going to try to be a photographer. Not a wedding photographer, but something. I‘ve just got to figure it out in the meantime.


so here is the conclusion of my rambles. Your job doesn’t define you, but you can define your job.

It’s just like the Thanksgiving dinner table conversation from Across the Universe


Max’s father: Max! Get serious, for once! What are you going to DO with your life?
Max: Why is it always what will I do? "What will he do", "What will he do," "Oh, my god what will he do", Do, do, do, do, do. Why isn't the issue here who I am?
Uncle teddy: Because, Maxwell, what you do defines who you are.
Max: No, Uncle Teddy. Who you are defines what you do. Right Jude?
Jude: [awkward] ... Well, surely it's not what you do, but the, uh... the way that you do it.

I feel like it’s worth weighing my options because I get so attached to what I do. There is an inner struggle for me to separate what I do from what I am. So for now, I’m going down this path. I’m making changes because they are crucial, but I’m hoping to stick with something that I’ve started. For once I want to push through the hard stuff and keep going …but change, always change.

I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve done things I should have done differently and make compromises where I shouldn’t have. But I’ve learned so much in the process. I think God has helped me to admit defeat, but also to take it and learn from it so I can keep going. This is new for me. I’m a shut down and start over kind of person. I think before, I might have taken this discouragement as a sign from God to stop and do just that. Now, I’m thinking God wants me to learn to press on. Ultimately to focus on my actions as a person rather than my career. My character is far more important than any picture I will ever take. Any pride in my work. Any path in life. If I lose site of my purpose on earth, there is no real value in my work.

Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Philippians 2:14,15

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Bit’s O Christmas via phone pictures

Over Christmas, my parents very graciously let our pup run around their backyard (since locking her our courtyard for a few days would be downright cruel). She had the time of her life…she seemed sad as we were headed back home. Charley took this video of her on his phone before we left but she was playing what we call “husky jousting”. She does this in our apartment too. If you squat and clap, she’ll run like crazy, and then loop back around and run at you like tag. Needless to say, there was a huge furry bundle of energy in the backyard during Christmas and Sam the cat wasn’t to happy about it. He took off in search of a dogless backyard. Thank goodness he came back in the end, but I doubt Sam will ever be friends with the dog.

and while my parents are mostly cat people, I feel like my dad would get along with this dog pretty well:

Back home after christmas, juneau is still waking us up in the typical Juneau fashion. Every morning. That’s right, and alarm clock I can count on (usuallly by 9am….so when I wake up for work at the crack of dawn she just opens a sleepy eye and glares at me for turning on the bathroom light).


And we were late for my families Christmas eve celebration because charley had to work. He was supposed to work til 12 but got off at 5:30. he was making these “12 days of Christmas” trays. Each tray is for two people. TWO PEOPLE!? I’m pretty sure they could have gone without and we’d have been okay on time. The strange tree contraption is  a french wedding cake, creme puffs coated in caramel.

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My cousin and her husband picked out this for our Christmas present:

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Awesome right? Frodo and Sam look like the Beatles and Bilbo Baggins looks a lot like Regis Philbin.

and speaking of cool gifts…

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Charley got this personal pie maker from my mom and dad. I was in on the secret so I was dying the night before as charley made mini pies for our white elephant exchange….I was itching to tell him that what took him an hour the night before, he could do in ten minutes later. From the second it entered our house, charley has been happier than a fat kid with a bag of cheetos. He must have made like six sets of pies when we got home…cherry, leek, chicken, …I’m pretty sure if he ran out of ingredients he might go looking for our cities rats. If his straight razers weren’t packed away in storage, he’d be singing songs from Sweeny Todd and selling the “worse pies in Charleston”.

Since we had so many, we gifted them to some very  happy neighbors and hobo’s. (I guess we aren't grumpy Grinches after all). He also found out that it’s the perfect contraption for poached eggs. It’s gives them the firm outside and soft but not runny consistency inside. Since he’s a guy, of course he added some bacon to the mix.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

a factory and book recommendation.

This picture is from a few months ago. I was driving through a small town which comprised of this one factory and several rundown buildings. I kinda felt like I was driving though a battlefield, it’s pretty scary looking. Charley looked at this picture and said that this was why he didn’t make too much effort to recycle. I laughed, but it does make me pretty sad that we have these things pouring crud into the atmosphere. He also said he preferred the editing on photo B. I have a theory that men like more clean cut colors with high contrast while women like the soft stuff. Which way do you like better?


Since you’re on your Christmas holiday, I read this autobiography by Annie Leibovitz a few years ago and loved it. If you are interested in photography or just looking for a good read, it’s a good one (but for heavens sake get it from the library, it’s expensive).  I drove by the billowing smoke and said to myself, “hey, I should pull a leibovitz”. She spent a few years learning photography by shooting the insides of factories in industrial America, a taboo thing to do at the time. She was pretty much a master at getting into anything that was unheard of at the time, as is her claim to fame: a controversial portrait. Of course it wasn’t exactly taboo of me to snap a factory…just a little strange. Charley and I agreed that I could look like this in a few years aha!…{pic credit}

A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005Annie Leibovitz at Work

Porch Cats

My grandparents always have an abundance of porch cats. We greet the new batch every Christmas. This year was spent trying to get them to pose in different letters of the alphabet, but after capturing quite a few “C”s ..I gave up.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Charley’s Display Tray #2

Hello creative husband.

He made the lake out of peppermint schnapps flavored Jell-O . With dipped pretzels, toasted marshmallows and homemade gingerbread, I’m guessing it tastes pretty good too. Oh and it’s lit from the inside and has a Christmas tree and presents that you can see through the window (but not in the picture.) How cool is that?!

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Years Themed Dessert Tray

Charley has been making these little display dessert trays for important guests at work. (Apparently all these goodies are for 2 people a piece!?).  These were his Chinese new year trays. The dragon is made out of frosted cupcakes. The wire with the squares are supposed to be Chinese lanterns. There are sesame truffles (I think…sorry charley, I forgot what they were…) and homemade fortune cookies. Everything got a little gold shimmer but it’s hard to see from the the photos. The two trays are actually different….if you can see that one dragon is more happy.  He took these photos on his phone of course.

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and speaking of awesome phone photos, this happened last night:

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In fact this pretty much happens every night. That is the permanent facial fixture of Zack’s cat.

Yes I know I’m belated on all things internet but this really makes my day:


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I am not a teacher…


I came armed with on Monday with a multitude of games and crafts and get-your-energy-out activities. With school out, holiday zest high and a unending supply of candy canes on the Christmas tree, super nanny needed to come prepared. We made Snow Dough, from a recipe I found online. It’s just 3 cups flour, one cup salt, whatever spices you’d like it to smell like, and some warm water. This was a perfect activity for my two ages to mesh on since the 6 year old can practice measuring, stirring, and kneading the dough, while the 2 year old can observe, knead, (taste?). We decided to add glitter because, well…what isn’t better with glitter? The great thing is that these smell Awesome baking (320 degrees for an hour).


We rolled the dough out and used the Ikea cookie cutters to make our ornament shapes, and stuck holes in the tops. We had a blast trying to make other animals out of the existing shapes. After we were finished we had to of course clean the entire kitchen and vacuum nearly the entire bottom floor since as we all know kids+flour+glitter+Christmas spirit= major mess.


Enter phase two of my day, with “Little Man” fed, read to, and put to sleep, “Madam Butterfly” and I had a playdate afternoon. This means 5 of her little friends came over for ornament making with Nanny Sarah. To make it only slightly more difficult, everyone was a different age ranging 4 to 7. In order to keep things going smoothly, I started barking commands. No one goes near the road. No one goes in the house without paint inspection. No one throws paint. Got it? It felt mean, but it had to be established. Mentally everyone got a number (since their names where thrown at me in a rush as their mothers dashed off in triumphant freedom). Mental count off happened every five minutes since everyone was running around the yard. To my dismay every one of them was deposited in their finest Christmas-children's-Boutique-Dresses. Were the mother’s somehow unaware that this was a crafting party and that paint would be thrown, tossed, skipped, spitted and chortled in any manner possible at lighting speed!?

The first thing brought up was who wanted to be what princess.

“Rapunzel!” “I’m Rapunzel too! “Belle!” “you’re not Belle, you should be Ariel” “I’m a prince!” “you can’t be a prince, you’re a girl” “she can be a prince if she wants too” “ what prince are you?” “I’m all of yall’s princes”

well that’s settled.

We started with the glass ornaments. Everyone got an ornament (with the sharp top already taken off) and a Styrofoam cup. We took turns and did one ornament at a time, letting the kids choose their colors. Some could squirt, some couldn’t, but the paint is poured inside and they get to roll it around. Stole this one from Young House Love. Next they stick their ornaments to dry upside down in the Styrofoam cup.

Then we painted our baked critters. The kids got 4 ornaments apiece and surprisingly there was no argument on who got what animal. Calm delegation happened even…I was quite taken aback. Painting these guys was a mess. I mean a mess like I’ve never seen a mess. Glitter and glue were involved to so I’ll just let you use your imagination there. I became the human napkin. Any extra paint on their hands was globbed on my arms (or shirt) from any direction. We had napkins, but at least they were being slightly conscientious of where they put their paint. This only variegated from my usual nanny role as a human kleenex a small bit so I didn’t mind so much.

While these dried in the sun on separate pieces of paper with their names on them, we made cards addressed to Moms and Dads. I squiggled out some star shapes in glue and let them pour the glitter. The front yard is festively shiny now.


Cleanup time. I am not ashamed to say that I lined them up and hosed them off  in the yard. Their smocks were deposited in a pile and each kid given some soap. I did hose duty and checked to make sure the precious Christmas outfits and hairdo’s were back as they were when they arrived. Snack time was on the horizon, but to buy some time we played Zookeeper in the yard. This way they dried and I could dump our remaining chaos in the garbage and clean the tables.

Zookeeper is a game we used to play in grade school: one person is the zookeeper and everyone else is a different animal. The clumsy zookeeper accidentally opens the gate and lets all the animals out. The only rules are that you have to run like your particular animal. If you’re a monkey, you bow your arms and legs. If you’re a giraffe, you run with your arm up. If you’re a sloth…..well you’re kinda out of luck. In this game I had three unicorns, a lion, a cheetah, and a monkey.

Then came the tricky part, getting my zoo inside but without waking up the 2 year old. I mean why not just invite an orchestra to play band music outside of his door? It would probably have been quieter. (FYI the whole time I had a baby monitor attached to my hip like some sort of giant 90’s cell phone- quite laughable). To insure our peace, I promised cupcakes to only those who were quiet. We sat around a table and played the questions game. I asked everyone in turn, their favorite color, what they’re most afraid of, what they wanted for Christmas. This surprisingly captivated their attention, I dunno if it that they got to talk about themselves, or that they felt important being called on.

Before we ate our cupcakes and peanut caramel popcorn, I asked everyone “any allergies?” just to be safe. I got a “  no”, no,” no,” no,” no “ I think so”. It was the youngest one. She then went from “I think so” to “ I am most certainly allergic to peanuts”. The whole afternoon, she’d been answering the opposite of everyone just because it was funny. I knew she was doing the same thing but of course I didn’t want to risk it. Thankfully I had her mother’s number. She answered, “ No, she’s not allergic to peanuts. Sometimes she thinks she is, but she’ll be fine.” I cringe. Really? Is this what kids are all about? Have I been away from kids for so long that I’ve forgotten how unpredictable and crazy they are?

Which leads me to the title of the post “why I will never be a teacher”. It’s pretty self explanatory. I could never ever deal with the kinds of things that I know elementary and grade school teachers deal with on a day to day basis.

Couldn’t do it.

I don’t know how they do it. I’m in awe. I ‘m lucky to be here today because I can imagine each and every one of my poor teachers probably had thoughts of killing me at one point or another. I remember being very full of energy. As a matter of fact, my poor parents….

Anyways. Ornaments were bagged. Goodbyes were given. I survived the day. I’m sure some of the moms thought they were getting monochrome dazzling works of art for their tree as opposed to the oozing, snot-colored creatures clutched in their children's painted hands. (There really should be a color named Kid-Mixed-Brown). That’s one thing I’ve learned as certain…you cannot wield a child’s imagination or creativity. You can guide, and you can hope, but there’s a special craziness there…and it’s beautiful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I don’t know if I’ll make through this next year….

Contending for my content


This  past Tuesday, charley had set up some appointments to look at houses for rent. We drove into the neighborhood thinking, wow, awesome location. Close to everything. Not to far from work. Gasp! it had a full sized fridge and a backyard. We were sold by that point alone, but also by it’s charming layout and ample room. Triple score points because it was a 1920’s ranch and got beautiful photogenic light from the dining room and living room windows. Did I just say dining room? What exactly is a dining room..I’ve forgotten. You mean they designate an entire room for a table!? such luxuries.

We oohed and ahhed over the space, the screened porch, the brick oven in the backyard. The poor landlord must have thought we hadn’t been in a real house before. We were so in love with this house that we halfheartedly went to the other house viewings but were already planning a new life in dream house A.

I guess that was the first mistake really. I let myself get carried away. I mentally put each and every bit of our furniture in place. I mentally played with the dog in the yard. I even savored the idea of being able to let the dog into the backyard via door attached to house. (We currently must get dressed, find keys, leash dog, unlock padlock to put her in her 4 foot long courtyard). I’m sure charley was envisioning a peaceful night cooking dinner from our amply stocked pantry. 

Enter crash and burn let down. A couple came the day after us and on the spot paid the deposit and first months rent. The landlord knew we wanted it and that we were trying to work things out with our current landlord, but money in hand is the key.

The wuss in me went to the bathroom and cried for a few seconds.

I was whiney and dejected all week. I complained. I griped. I was sad.

I wanted.

Enter a reminder from God on my entitlement.

In my heart I’d passed over the line of “oh that would be nice”. I coveted, I felt entitled to it. Then the “whoa is me” song starts playing, and my disposition to complaining starts to roll out. My contentedness is wasted away to dissatisfaction. It’s not a new thing, it’s an ongoing struggle and it is certainly a hindrance to being a joyful person.

And if realizing this wasn’t enough, God kept the perspective flowing from all sides. Case one: I read someone’s blog- a newlywed couple in Africa battling  sickness and yet giving their all and making do with a pail of water and a house full of bugs. I realized how weak I am, and how much I have.

Case two: Christmas music fills my car as I shuttle kids to and fro from school. Christmas music irritates me. It’s overly perky, repetitive and the words are usually “under the tree” “presents” “christmas christmas chrismas”. I have yet to hear a Jesus/Christian song this year. Yes I know I’m a scrooge. But because of the annoying music, I’m constantly mentally trying to remind myself of why we celebrate Christmas. It’s because of Baby Jesus right? You know the guy who comes to save us even though we’re sinners. We celebrate it because of grace. We celebrate that God loves us and provides for us. It reminds me: What is it that I deserve? For some strange reason, I am a creature fully aggressive on my own entitlement in spite of the fact that every blessing has come from above.

Case three: yeah thanks a lot pinterest.

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So today, I am grateful. Grateful for my patient and loving husband. Grateful for food on the table and a job, and  gas in my car to travel to the people  I love. I’m grateful to God for the apartment  he provided and a chance to say '”I live downtown !”. Life is an adventure and in every part of it I am learning. Our move to Charleston (leaving friends and family) was part of God’s greater plan.  I’ve found that here, I’ve been stretched more as a person. I have less to fall back on, less safety net. I’m grateful for this time of our life because I’ve been learning the crucial-ness of letting go. I’m learning to adapt. I’m learning to love people in tiny places. I’m learning that stuff/ houses/ space/ decorations…it’s all just stuff. It’s not important. What is important is my attitude, my heart, and how I treat those around me.


ps. this probably has typos since I killed  my keyboard with a cup of cider.

pps. for some genuine and lovely true- meaning-of-Christmas music check out Sea wolf mutiny’s New EP that they’re offering for free (but don’t be afraid to give them a little gift so they can keep producing awesomeness!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Crafting

One thing for sure, the kids I nanny are getting their crafts in. Wedged between extra curricular activities, we’ve been crafting our little Christmas hearts out. And thanks to Pinterest, there's an unstopped flow of ideas pouring their way. The trick for me is finding activities that teach and are fun and are mess free. I’d love to go all out and make huge messes, but there frequently just isn’t enough time. My usual method is to wait for a warmer day so we can do things in the grass outside. Doing things inside just makes me scared they’ll get paint on something really expensive.

Some of the winning holiday crafts so far have been:

1. the classic snowflake cutouts. We made them three days in a row since they just keep asking to make more. This is good for the two year old to practice his cutting skills (although no real snowflake will follow) while the 6 year old gets to express her creativity. We made the prettier 6 point snowflakes just to be spiffier and hung them on the chandelier when we finished.


2. Painting glass ornaments

We picked up some clear glass ornaments at Michaels and acrylic paint. Squirted a few globs in the tops and let them swirl and shake. It turns into fun since the two year old gets to squirt (who doesn’t like to squirt?) and can shake them without paint flying everywhere. It also helps the 6 year old exercise patience as the slow moving paint rolls inside the ball.

3. Masking tape Christmas tree

We took a tiny canvas and masked off the edges of a Christmas tree shape. I let the kids get to work at gooping on the good stuff. For some particular reason, the tree ended up a pretty shade of barf/ red. We let it dry and then added some strands of glitter glue for the lights.  All week long we’ve made a project of “decorating the tree”. We took some tiny objects and glued Velcro pieces so they can be removed or put on. Next on the agenda is to make a few fake presents to Velcro on too that they can hide secret messages in.

4. Clay ornaments

I took my ikea woodland creatures cookie cutters and together we mixed some homemade play dough. The best part is how excited they get about rolling out the dough  and “kneading”. Phase two was another glue, paint, sparkles, pom-poms frenzy. Then phase three was tying some pretty bows on them (since we forgot the holes).

5. Melted crayons

We melted some red and green crayon bits into a wreath with the “raygun blaster from mars” aka mommy’s hairdryer. They enjoyed this simply for it’s destructive nature.

A few things

1.  Faber Castell from eric yeo on Vimeo.

2. how cool is a free holiday print?:


3. I was not aware that the human body was capable of such balance

Break ton Neck from Alex Yde on Vimeo.

4. This is a good way to get the heebie jeebies but enjoy some wonderfully shot frames

I Believe I can Fly ( flight of the frenchies). Trailer from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Barnacles and Blood

It’s cold wet and windy here. I had a family shoot this morning, but between the 5 kids under the age of five and the 10 adults, things were running a little behind. I stopped on the beach since they weren’t ready to check our conditions and found these barnacle rocks.  Unfortunately I also forgot that barnacles are sharp and that I should never do anything that requires coordination. Cowboy boots are in no way slippery rock terrain material. I wish I had gotten my slip on camera, but alas just ended up with some bloody fingers and a knee. I didn’t realize I was dripping everywhere (and in my camera) until a bit later so now I’m trying to figure out how to clean up my camera buttons. Funny enough, even though charley just got me a new tripod, I didn’t think to bring it with me. These were taken perched on rocks instead. Needless to say the rest of the family pictures were  not taken on barnacle rocks aha (for the briefest of moments I thought Hey! great backdrop!). It was  a challenge to get 5 freezing children to smile but somehow we made it through. Lets hope they aren’t scarred for life from the experience.

I was supposed to travel yet again today, but completely crashed. I’ve gone for quite some time with no sleep, worked 29 hours in the past two hours. I woke up after sleeping in my contacts to charley bringing me hot shepherds pie and cider. I am finding that I am not home long enough to edit the things on my computer and it’s turning into a mess.