Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Pictures with 94-year old grandmother

I had a great day today. I went with Jamie to Petitti Lawn and Garden Center in Solon. He was hired to take Santa photos. I had a great time meeting people and watching all the children go crazy over Santa.

There was a short lull in the crowd and an older lady leaned heavily on her cane while she shuffled along. She stopped and eyed Santa. Little by little her smiled grew wider. I approached and touched her on the shoulder. She barely glanced at me and continued to eye Santa. I grinned and looked at her daughter.

I touched her shoulder again. "Would you like to go up and see Santa?"

She continued to look his way. "I could do that?"

"Of Course, there's no age limit on Santa or on Christmas fun."

For the first time she looked into my eyes. "Yes!" She announced. She looked back at Santa.

Her daughter's mouth dropped. "Mom! I can't believe it. You want to see Santa."

Another strong answer. "Yes. Let's do it." She poked her cane in front of me and turned to walk around to Santa's path.

I heard a hearty "ho ho ho." Santa was obviously pleased. When she got closer she laughed and told him she was 94. He laughed and said he was 860.

Tears formed in my eyes as I watched her sit on his knee and giggle. She told him she wanted pictures to give to her children and grandchildren. She said that Christmas wasn't only for children and she wanted them to remember that they could have fun no matter what their age.

For those of you that are coming to the Mom Squad Luncheon, we have a lineup of fun treats that will lift your heart and your spirit. So come with joy and the expectancy of a child.

AND.....take a tip from this dear woman. Enjoy the season with laughter. Jamie Jansen Photography will be set up in the lobby of Hartville Kitchen. On a first come first serve basis you can have your picture taken with your friends, children, mom or just by yourself. Most of the time Moms are behind the camera. Take this chance to not only have a professional portrait made, but like this dear woman - make a statement to your family. Let them know that this is the time for celebration and fun.

Your photos will be professionally printed and mailed to you in time for Christmas. Or....and this is what I can order a CD disc with a signed release form. That means that you can take the disc to Wallmart, K-mart or any other photography center and have as many prints made as you like. In the long run, this option is definitely the best buy. You can print those pictures for years to come. You can make Christmas cards, calendars or key chains. Think of all the Christmas cheer you can give. prepared, come a little early (anytime after 11:00 am) and have some fun with Jamie. While you are waiting for the Luncheon to begin you can browse the Hartville gift shoppe or Art gallery. The Luncheon doors will open at 12:30.

To see all the photography prices, click on the following link.

See you there,


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tips for sitting on Santa's lap

Do you have a precious but tender hearted child that seems to be afraid of meeting new people? Is grandma already asking for a picture of your little one with Santa and you know it's not going to go well? Try these tips to help your pre-schooler or toddler have a pleasant time with Santa.

Before taking your child to see Santa, purchase a fake beard. Most children haven't seen a mass of white hair or cotton on an adult. Some of their fear may be because they aren't sure if you are putting them on a person's lap or if this is actually some kind of mean animal.

Wear the beard while laughing and playing with your child. Have Daddy, grandpa and maybe even your best friend try the beard on and laugh. Allow your child to touch and investigate the beard. Let him put it on and look in the mirror.

Allow your child to make friends with several "safe" people at church or a play group. Try to pick out someone that is a little overweight or someone that has a gruff voice.

Watch movies of Santa and get excited about wanting to see him. Have fun teaching your child how to "ho-ho-ho." Purchase some red velvet (doesn't have to be more than a small block) so he can feel the texture and become familiar with the bright color.

Arrive a little early for your session and point out other children that are having fun with Santa. Be sure and point out how close "mommies" stand and how fun it will be to wave at mommy.

To save money, you can pass your purchases on to other mommies in your playgroup. You might even go so far as to find someone that has a Santa suit and will let the children practice by sitting in his lap.

While these tips may not take all your child's fears away, they will help. Remember, children are usually afraid of what they don't understand. Helping them to be familiar with the surroundings will help your child relax with Santa.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Sarah's Choice


Jamie posted the original raw photos of Rebecca St. James on his blog and website. You can check it out at



In the commercial section of his main website

He said in answer to many questions he's received that ..."Yes, she was charming!"

Really Cool Youtube


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Anita Renfroe Concert

The Mom Squad was there!

We laughed, we shook hands, we met all of you and we had a ball! Anita is a fun roller coaster ride of belly laughs and touching nuggets.

The best part of the show however was shaking hands with all of you. Next time you attend a conference, be sure and look for the Mom Squad banner. We would love to meet you!

Our Photographer and Rebecca St. James

Jamie Jansen Photography has done a lot for the Fish. He took the photos and designed our new Mom Squad logo, he provided new photos for the sidebar and he is producing a video for our Mom Squad Christmas Luncheon.

Jamie's work was also represented this week on the Fox and Friends morning show on the #1 Fox Cable news network. The show was interviewing Rebecca St. James and her new movie, Sarah's Choice. Just behind her you can see three pictures of the cover of the DVD. Jamie took the photo of Rebecca for the Cover.

We are so excited to announce that Jamie will be at the Mom Squad Luncheon with all his equipment and will be taking pictures on a first come first serve basis. He will set up early and stay late in order to do as many pictures as possible.

How fun to tell all your friends that you use the same photographer as Rebecca St. James!

Jamie will also have information on how you can set up a photo shoot, senior pictures or weddings. How exciting to give a Christmas gift to your teen of a photo shoot (or senior picture session) with the photographer for a new movie!

The Mom Squad is excited about our new logo, our new pictures and our professional relationship with Jamie Jansen Photography.

Great Music!!!!

This YouTube song is composed and sung by a new rising artist and you are going to be the first to hear this new talent. This young man is a senior music pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Freeport, Illinois. He is writing new music and hopes to produce a full CD soon.

Be the first to hear this new song.

And....because he is the son of this Mom Squad Panel sure and let me know what you think.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Santa wants the swine flu shot?

This is both a fun article and a practical one. Cat Lincoln posted an article on titled Mall Santas fear Swine Flu

With thousands of moms and dads lining up with their children to see Santa, it's the perfect breading ground for germs. It's not that mall Santas want to make it difficult for children but they are asking to be approved to receive the early H1N1 vaccine.

Mall Santas are some of the most compassionate and kind people on the planet. They deal with frustrated tired parents, children who spill, spit up, scream and wet on their uniforms. Tired children wiggle and squirm while curious children pull Santa's beard and rub a candy filled hand up and down their suit. Most of these exciteable children aren't concerned about hygiene and all poor Santa has to protect himself is a bottle of hand sanitizer and the hope that the really sick ones stay home.

When you take your children to see Santa this year, be sure you have administered protection. Above all, don't forget to give Santa a big smile and a bigger thank you for his work!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Friday, Watch Good Morning America & Let's Go Cruisin' Ladies!

I am so excited to tell you that Royal Caribbean just launched their newest ship and it is unlike anything out there. It is the Oasis Of The Seas and Good Morning America will broadcast live this Friday morning (20th - 7AM) from the Oasis. YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE THIS SHIP!! It is what I call a theme ship. As you walk the decks, you will actually think you are walking in New York City...Central Park, Shopping areas!!! I have seen it and it is AMAZING! Give me a call, Darlene of the Mom Squad @ DAR Vacations (216) 978-9667 and let's De-stress And Relax together. There are wonderful Discounts for Groups and we can form a group by having at least 10 cabins (20 people or more) booked. I have cruised many times before and I truly love it. It is the most reasonable all inclusive and if you have children, THERE IS SO MUCH FOR THEM TO DO INDEPENDENTLY as the ships have age appropriate planned activities with the most attentive of chaperones for them.

IF YOU HAVE EVER CRUISED, believe me you have never cruised like this before. IF YOU HAVE NEVER CRUISED, the Oasis, and in fact Royal Caribbean in general will spoil you for any other cruise line. Check them out and let's beat the winter blues together Mom Squad. Visit and feel free to click on the Royal Caribbean link there. See the building of Central Park

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Give the Gift of Geneology

One of my in-laws took on the task of researching his family history by using a wonderful site called Geni. It is truly amazing to see the family progression. People are reaching out to each other, sending birthday greetings, thank you notes to family members in the military and viewing photos and videos - old and new. It is a very sweet way to document and remember those that have passed on as well. There are options for a Family Newsletter, special event alerts and Geni can automatically connect the family relationships within your Tree. There are over 70 million profiles on Geni to date. I believe you will really find this site beneficial for your family as well and a lot of fun to coordinate and it's FREE! Try it and let us know how you like it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Mom Squad Prayer for You

Dear God:
The woman reading this is beautiful, classy,
strong and You love her.
Help her live her life to the fullest.

Please promote her and cause her to excel above
her expectations.
Help her shine in the darkest places where it
is impossible to love.
Protect her at all times, lift her up when she
needs you the most, and let her know when she walks with you, she will always be safe.

You are our rock, our shelter...thank you Lord!

Monday, November 09, 2009

I was in the yard looking at my trees striped bare. I could see all the imperfections that had been covered by the leaves just a few weeks ago.

I thought how we are like those trees. We spend time covering our imperfections with fake smiles, nice words, proper actions and all the time God is looking down seeing through that covering and loving us anyway.

It reminds me how we are striped bare before the Lord, all our imperfections exposed, and that He loves and covers us making us beautiful and perfect in His eyes.

Thank you Lord for you unconditional love and grace, that is new every morning.
Paula Jilling
Mom Squad Panel

Friday, November 06, 2009

The value of one life

The holidays are a happy time for all of us. We love the lights and the excitement of spending time with friends and family. Many people are struggling with a down economy, less money, trouble at work and fear about our future.

Into this mix bag of difficult emotional times walks a young girl. She's barely 9 and is the joy to those around her. Unfortunately she has an inoperable brain tumor. My son Ken is a pastor and very close to the Ives family. He's met little Sydney and says she is an adorable angel. It breaks our hearts to hear of such tragedy in one so young and yet....we are moved by her courage, her strength and her desire to give hope to those around her.

In your busy days and as you prepare for the holidays I encourage you to go on her website and read the story of this courageous young girl. It will humble you. It will inspire you and I hope it will help you to see the "really" important things in your own life.

She is at death's door and the family really needs your prayers. Almost 613,000 people have visited her site. I encourage you to do so today.