Sunday, December 30, 2012


{A letter to you both}

2013 is just around the corner. I am doing the normal thing of thinking about how I want to change. I thought if I shared my goals here, I would more likely to stick to them.

The first ones are how I want to change as a mother:

1. I want to read more books to you both. For some reason, reading to both of you is a bit exhausting. It starts to become a battle about who gets to sit more ON me. And it is just not my favorite. But I need to get over it because you both love books.

2. Go on more adventures. We are kind of home bodies and we have so much around us to explore.

3. Cut down on social media as it has started to be a bit of a distraction again.


1. Try not to lose my mind building this house.

2. Get in a bikini next summer for the family trip to San Diego...nervous for that one!

3. Do crossfit at least 3 times a week.

4. Continue limiting bread/pasta/carbs.


Find a few new cute things for myself, as I seem to soley buy things for your girls instead of my self.


1. Continue to grow and learn new things.

2. Stick to my own style and don't let clients bully me.

The thing about change is that is really hard! I remember the first time I really lost weight and loved my body and I was a freshman in college and I had to walk everywhere and the food was gross so I ate a bowl of rice krispies for every I was not really healthy but I was skinny. However, I am not longer that place in my life. I have settled into a routine and I don't LOVE it. So that means change. I am going to write these on my fridge so I don't fall off the wagon.

Also, your new cousin arrived on Saturday! He is so cute and I cannot wait till you both meet him. He is super snuggly.

Friday, December 14, 2012


(A letter to you both.)

Today a tragic thing happened. We were on the way to the museum and I heard on the radio that a gunman had shot and killed 6 adults and 20 children in an elementary school. As a mother, news like that rattles your core. But I had promised this trip to the museum, so we parked and headed in.

Brynn, you perched on my hip, the place you would be every waking moment if you could. Elle, your small soft in mine walking from the car. As I walked in, tears were gathering. I signed in, purposely not making eye contact. But the counter person could tell and when she asked me how I was, I looked up and let the tears fall. And she did too. It is amazing how instant sadness is when you see it reflected in another person. She asked me only one question, "the shooting"? Yes. The shooting. She touched my hand.

I gathered myself together and found you both, filling up grocery carts full of fake food, running, laughing with eyes wide with discovery. The most beautiful state of child, except sleeping of course :) My initial reaction was one many mothers had.  I wanted to drive home, lock the door, pull down the shades and protect you both forever. But we stayed and you played and we all laughed.

When we got home, I noticed myself getting snappy with you both. It is not like I don't have bad days as a mother, but usually I am pretty even keel. After dinner, there was the usual couch roughhousing and Brynn, you had a somewhat scary tumble backwards and I just hit the wall and we did bath and bedtime early. I just wanted you both in bed. In bed, where you were SAFE. And once you were both tucked in, I felt tension leave my shoulders.

Before this day and these tragic events, I have realized that I am almost completely overwhelmed with this idea of keeping you both out of harms way. I am totally bombarded with possible dangers. When we are out and about, and older man smiles at one of you and while he probably just a grandpa missing his own littles, I am wary of him. He could be a predator. As I walk around the car to get one of you out of the carseat, I worry someone will jump in and steal the car. I worry about products in the foods you both eat and that the TV will give you learning disorders. I am a mother who lives in a cloak of fear.

I tried to think tonight how I could make it better. How can we stop people from mass killing other people? But I think in the end it comes down to our society and the values we have of individuality, one man for himself and that you pull yourself up by the bootstraps.  We have lost almost all sense of community. We are pulled together briefly by tragedy and pulled away by fear. Trust no one, we are urged. Watch out for that person, they could be an enemy. Watch out for that homeless person, he is probably sick. Watch out for that person on welfare, they are trying to steal our money with those checks.

But that is not us. If you stop to look around, you will find that most people are good. So good. So full of love for their children, their friends, their family. Still, our society is not conducive to the straggler. The one who is alone. We are not quick to offer a hand or kindness to those we don't know. We are afraid that if we help other people, or trust other people, they will only bring us down.

We are a country living and breathing fear. It is thrown in our face everyday. It makes us so much less than we could be. It is debilitating. A thousand pound brick we carry on our backs.

So I thought of the mothers and fathers whose babies will never be coming home tonight. And I thought about what they would remember most about their lost littles. Big, sparkling eyes lit up with the enchantments of the world. Tiny tears only they could stop. Belly laughs and giggles. Sweet sleeping breaths from little lips. I thought about how in the end the journey we all take with our kids is short. And meant to be savored but instead I rush through the days, trying to make it bedtime.

So I, for those parents, am going to be less fearful. I am going to slow down. Reach out to others more. Be kinder. Offer help. I am going to take more chances. Seek out new adventures. Be more present. Relax. Enjoy these little loves of my life, you, my babies. Because if fear wins, we all lose.

You are both the best things that have ever happened in my life. I am so thankful for each moment. And the families of this tragedy are in my thoughts, tonight and always.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tree Farm Tradition

Now that we are in our new town, we tried to find a new u-cut Christmas tree place but we just could not find any that stacked up. So we loaded up in the car for an almost hour drive to place we went last year. It is a huge farm on a hill and dare I say it will become tradition to go there (the other tradition will be me driving your dad crazy trying to take photos and you both excelling in looking EVERYWHERE but the camera).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Patch!

We went to the pumpkin patch- this patch is just a couple hundred feet from where our new house will be so next year we will just walk there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


(A letter to Elle)

We decided not to enroll you in preschool this year. You will be three in January and there are plenty of preschools that would happily take you, especially now that you are potty trained. We toyed with the idea, but only briefly.  You are a pretty smart cookie. You know the alphabet, how to spell your name, count to 25 and you are already trying to "read" (you will point to words and say "that means dog").  You have a very active imagination and do a ton of pretend play. You already tell jokes and even tell little white lies! Socially, you do get overwhelmed with a lot of loud noises or a ton of kids but your are leaps and bounds better than you were a year ago and mostly you run up to other kids and announce to them that your name is Elle and they are now your friend.

Part of it is financial. We are building a house right now and it is EXPENSIVE. My hand is cramping up from all the check writing to make that long time dream a reality. But if we really, really wanted you in preschool, we could.

I have researched all the preschools in our town and the one I really want to send you to is 5 days a week. I like their philosophy of kids practicing going to school daily and getting into a routine. I think, for you, you are too young to be at school 5 days a week. First, I aware many kids are in daycare from 6 weeks old and they are just fine. But your dad and I made a choice that we would not go that route (again, nothing wrong with it, just for our family). But you are my snuggly baby. Not ready for school, even though I know you would be just fine.

I love our mornings together. I think it is great bonding time for you and Brynn since after 12, we are getting ready for naps and after naps, comes the dinner rush. You two play together so much between the hours of 8 and 12, and I think that bonding is really important right now. Plus Brynn just loves you do death and would miss you terribly. Plus, I love bering witness to your development right now and guiding you.

You are little for such a short period of time. And although there are days where it may be easier if you were in preschool, I, you, Brynn, we are not ready just yet. I think next September you will start school and I will cry like a little baby but I will feel much more ready. It is such a personal Mama decision and I have gotten some flack for it but I am trusting my instincts and that feels really good.

Love you my sweet, sweet baby. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kiddo Session.

Dragged you both to the park for a little session.

Annnnddd.... an outtake.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Photography: A love story.

{A letter to you both}

It has been three years ago today that I wrote my first blog post.

When I wrote it, I was 20 weeks pregnant with you Elle. I got the idea to start a blog from lurking on the bump message boards- others moms had them and I wanted one too as a way to remember how I was feeling about impending motherhood.

After you were born Elle, I got a new itch. I wanted a better way to capture this experience, beyond just writing stories, I wanted to remember the exact blue of your eyes.

My interest in photography actually began in middle school where I took a photography class (with dark rooms and film cameras). When I met your dad in high school, we had my moms camera from the 70's, which we shot on manual and got our film developed- mostly black and white.  In 2004, after my freshman year in college, your dad and I got a film only SLR (a Nikon N80) for a trip to New Zealand and Austrailia. Your dad wanted to shoot in auto so we kept it in that mode so we could both use it. We used that camera on and off for a few years until it just stayed on the shelf. Life itself was pretty uninspiring. We were working full time jobs, not doing much worth photographing.

When I jumped back into photography (Elle you were about 2 months old), I decided to go the digital route. Back when we got our N80, your dad and I were total film snobs and though digital was going to ruin photography forever.  But when I got back into it, digital was the thing to do. Plus I wanted to learn to edit and use photoshop.

I was as giddy as a school girl when my Nikon D90 and a 50mm 1.8 lens came in the mail. I found a couple photography message boards as I was a bit lost. Those boards helped me grow. Of course, manual was not that scary for me but it was different on a digital body and I had never edited before. I figured out what I wanted my style to look but it took me a long time to be able to edit that way consistently (think almost 2 years). I would buy actions just to dissect them work backwards. I would ask endless questions on photoshop boards, but I figured it out.

About 8 months in (before I had my style down), I decided that I might want to do this as a business. And from the moment I said that out loud, I felt so much pressure. Pressure to suddenly take perfect pictures, start my business the perfect way. I became consumed with what others thought about me and my pictures. What they thought about my brand and my style.  I portfolio built for free for a year and a half just to make sure I really wanted to do it. And I loved all of it. But there was still too much input from others and I was spending too much time looking at others peoples work, comparing and feeling sad, like I would never be where they were.

One day, I decided I was never going to make it like this. So I unliked a ton of facebook pages of other professional photographers. I found a few key photographers whose work I loved (most of it is not even a similar style) for inspiration. I got off most of my message boards except a small one and just let my

And when I did that, a huge weight lifted. I never in my life thought I would be making a living as a person who creates something. And I still feel far from "artist". But I do feel like I produce work that makes my clients smile. And that is quite a beautiful way to make money.

I am excited to see where this journey takes me as I am only in the very beginning steps.  Here is a a little progression from there to now, just for fun.

First newborn, eek.

First family:
2nd Newborn

Then I had a bit of a jump in progress.
3rd Newborn

First Maternity
Discovered I love non-posed newborns & started charging

I certainly don't have it all figured out and I have miles to grow as a photographer. In the next couple years I want to be better at composition, white balance and creativity. I would caution someone starting out to use the internet as a way to learn and grow, but if you feel it taking over the way you view your work, step back and re-eveluate.

My mother, who is a nurse, thought for sure that one of her daughters would follow in her footsteps and become a nurse as well and neither of us did. So I won't wish or think that one you of you will follow my footsteps but I do hope you find a way to turn your passion into a career. To turn your play into work.

I count photography as a love in my life. It has given me a much needed outlet, a way to capture the beauty of your childhoods and give the gift of captured memories to strangers who often become friends.

So cheers to passion. And following dreams. And knowing when it is ok to trust yourself.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Picnic Photos

Photos from our lonely, Friday night picnic- refer to previous post for sad details.