December 27, 2013

a gold star

we tried to stay home, but we needed food.
otherwise we'd have worked towards a guinness world record of how long two people can actually avoid finding themselves in the after christmas masses.

we avoided the before christmas masses with flying colors and if it had been a paper to be graded by the loving hand of a teacher, we would have gotten an A+ and a gold star and she would have asked us to present at the next mandatory assembly in the auditorium.

we did sneak out on christmas day and watched "the secret life of walter mitty." does everyone go to the theatre on the 25th? it sure seemed like it. anyhow, it started out a bit slow and a little odd, but then it grabbed our attention and inspired us. that's all i'm saying about it so that someone who hates it doesn't throw a dagger at me and someone who loved it doesn't ask why i didn't blow kisses all over it.

it will be a new year soon. do you have your word yet?

my word found me just the other day. i was standing at the desk in my studio, looking at some old photos on my computer and "it" literally reached out and wrapped itself around me. i instantly wrote it down, looked up every definition that "it" wears like an insanely loved prom dress and said yes.

i'll share it here on the first of january and i hope you have one to share, too.
right now i'm busy bundling up "disappointment" and all of "her friends" that visited {and unfortunately stayed too long} this year and deciding where i'm going to bury them to prevent them from ever EVER ever visiting again.

see you soon. in the new year. i think i'm going to love 2014.

December 24, 2013

and just like that, it's here

may your christmas days be filled with more love and laughter than 
you can even imagine.
{and cookies. don't forget the frosted covered sugar cookies. 
may your christmas days be filled with those, too}

December 19, 2013

we're all out of almond bark

why is it that target can't seem to keep almond bark on the shelves this time of year? obviously i'm not the only one who knows that their almond bark is the best. last week i got the last package in the store. yesterday, nothing. i had to resort to white baking chips. they'll probably suck.

lately for lunch, i've been having scrambled eggs. i can't really do eggs for breakfast, but by noon they are calling my name. i will put anything in my eggs {spinach, onions, green peppers, mushrooms} but they MUST be finished with a heavy dose of goat cheese. amazingly delicious.

for most of you, you know my love and involvement with help-portrait. this year was the year all of years since we had TWO locations. the second location was at the food pantry where i volunteer and with 585 clients photographed at pantry number one and 189 photographed at pantry number two, i am blown away.
in explaining to someone today who knew nothing about help-portrait, she asked, "and what do you do, or do they do with the photos?" and i told her that for most of these families that these are the first family photographs they have ever had...and once again, i got all teary eyed. i have worked the past few years with amandalynn, our amazing madison coordinator for help-portrait and here's
an article she wrote. see how many times you see me {look carefully} and my hubby. {who by the way has always helped with HP but was a HUGE help this year...thanks babe}

the social security site yesterday said i don't qualify for benefits...that i haven't worked enough hours. well they can take that information and shove it. i was a stay at home mom who worked her butt off and volunteered for everything that my children were involved in and just because i didn't "pay into the system," on paper it looks like i didn't do anything. {insert a volcano erupting}
whew. that's off my chest.

do you re-gift? i do. just saying.

i love ellen and my dream is to be part of her 12 days of christmas. yesterday was a good day. they all got trips to resorts in mexico. honestly, i'd be happy with a target gift card that i could use to stock up on almond bark...if they ever restock the shelves.

December 12, 2013

i can't do it…..

i can't shoot when it's less than ten degrees outside. seriously, i can't. i think i'm allergic to air when it's not heated to at least twenty degrees, but even then, the sun better be out and the wind better not be blowing.

so let's just pretend i took these photos this week {instead of two weeks ago} to show you our six inches of snow and how all the gaps that fall left behind are filled with what looks like creamy white frosting. okay? thanks :)  

last weekend was madison's help-portrait event and we photographed 585 people and 14 dogs. it was a HUGE day and i'm so grateful to be part of this amazing group. this weekend we do it all over again, because the need is that great and our group decided to do its first, "second location." i just can't tell you how wonderful it is to give families in need, a photo of themselves.

i don't know what i'd do with all my time if i wasn't watching videos that go viral and end up on facebook…so today i have to share this one with you. it will melt your heart and make you laugh. kids are amazing, aren't they? talk about just being yourself.

December 5, 2013

like walking through a cloud…..

it was forty degrees when i changed into my walking clothes and hiking boots late yesterday afternoon and i raised a "want to come with me" eyebrow towards my hubby. he looked at me and smiled.

a thick and extremely wet fog had engulfed our entire town and was holding it hostage and i was determined to get up close and personal with it.

usually by this time of the year, my ability to see mother nature's beauty has dwindled and i pout, but not yesterday. yesterday i saw a stillness and a softness and even a spookiness that took my breath away. the ground beneath our feet didn't make a noise, even though it was still covered in leaves. instead, it was soft and quiet and i think somehow mother nature knew that "she" had thrown out her version of a red carpet for us to walk on.

my baby has been housebound for too long now. days have been spent kicking and screaming and without the darling personality she came home with, but yesterday, she was a happy camper. she cooperated beautifully and loved being out in the fog just as much as i did. i'll never really worry about her or any of her siblings and being outside with them. they were all born weatherproof. snort.

when we finished our walk and were heading towards the car, i noticed how damp our clothes were. my hubby said, "it was like walking through a cloud" and i smiled. it truly was just like that.

i'm so grateful he's retired now and gets to do spur of the moment, middle of the day things with me. blessed, i tell you. we are truly blessed.

November 28, 2013

partaking in the pecan pie…..

happy thanksgiving everyone
i hope today especially that you're surrounded by loved ones. it doesn't matter if they're family or  friends or the next door neighbors…they're the ones that make you feel warm and safe...and hopefully one of them makes an amazing pie.

if you're reading this, thank you. thank you for letting me into your online life and believing that i have something that will inspire you or make you laugh. maybe it's a photo that will bring a smile to your face or hopefully, like i said above, it's a few minutes of making you feel warm and safe inside my little world here.

"tug on anything at all and you'll find it connected to everything else in the universe"
~john muir~

November 24, 2013

serious business…..

just a week ago, it was still there. 
the beauty of fall.

the kind of weather that makes me silly. 
or at least makes me do silly things.
now it's cold. seriously cold.
personally, i hate it.
anyone with me

November 18, 2013

you're being ignored.....

sheepishly, that's what i told my blog just now..."you're being ignored."

if she could have, she would have given me a cold shoulder, looked the other way and then sulked. instead she just sat there.

she knows i need to "clean things up" and that my "pages" are messy and a new banner needs to be made, but yet she doesn't make me feel bad about it. i make myself feel bad about it. i pinky swore with her that i'd get my act together and fix things between us. she rolled her eyes, but in a warm "i love you and would be nothing without you" kind of way. snort.

i used to be such a faithful blogger and i still am when things are happening and the outdoors are pretty...but when life is great, just not photo worthy and cold weather is peering at me through the "it gets dark now at 3pm" windows, i'm left feeling like other things are more important. like surfing tumblr for hours and hours and hours. don't judge. it's where i find my inspiration. well, that's at least what i tell people who want to know why i surf tumblr for hours and hours and hours. see, it makes sense if you think about it.

anywhooooooo...this saturday, i'm shooting "feast for the turkeys" at the heartland farm sanctuary and my hubby is my second shooter. i am beyond excited to share this day with him. i have volunteered for them before, photographing one of their barn dances, in which he got to come with me and i was grateful he was there, but this time he's shooting, too.

want to know a secret? he's an amazing photographer and loved photography long before i ever did. yep, seriously friends, he's really really good and knows way more than he lets on. oh, and that beard...lordy, it's just getting better everyday!!

i cried this afternoon telling him two new "feel good" stories from the food pantry i volunteer at. it happens pretty much every monday. what can i say? seeing a gentleman grateful from the bottom of his heart for the big heavy warm winter coat we had for him or a young woman almost in tears over the black pantsuits i found for her to wear for a job she was starting later today...well, somedays it just doesn't get any better than this.

i wish i had done this when my kids were born and believe me, my grandchildren will have very similar photos.

sherry and i are thinking there needs to be a "don't like" option needed on FB. what are your thoughts?

i hope your week is off to a great start !!!

November 12, 2013


i've scheduled this post to go "live" at 9:10 this morning. if you're a goon like me and miss the morning version of this pretty much totally cool day, you can do yours tonight at 9:10pm. 
are you with me? have i lost you? are you getting it?, cool right?

for those of you on FB with me, you already know that i have a new baby. for those of you who didn't see my little "birth announcement" it's all about her...and yes, i was able to get my hands on one of the "2000" silver limited edition versions. call me extremely lucky.

let me tell you, she is simply gorgeous and i feel horrible that i've hardly gotten her out to play. our weather turned cold and icky the night she arrived, so i've kept her mostly inside where i know she'll be warm and comfy...but she did help me with all of the shots on this post.

i don't use the filters on my camera {like ever} but being stuck inside last night as our temperatures dropped to seventeen {yikes} i sat on our couch, reading my new camera manual and used the black and white filter to irritate photograph my hubby. snort.

oh, and overhead recessed lighting...ummm, not so great :(

but good lord he's a handsome man...and look at his beard. he's got the whole "no shave november" thing going on and i love it. granted, it's a bit scratchy, but's a sexy thang!!

November 8, 2013

falling together and never apart.....

here's a really big leaf for you


here's a bigger leaf for you


will you juggle them for me and make me laugh
{pretty please}

just like last year, here i am having gathered a handful of milk pod seeds on one of our walks. then i stood very still, for a very long time and made lots of wishes. very important wishes. 

sometimes wishes feel more like prayers.

i think what's important is that you put out into the universe what you want or don't want, what you need, what's no longer working for you or even the changes you need to see happen. 

i mean why not, right?

then i let them go
{oh, and actually, the milk pod seeds and the wishing thing...i did this on multiple walks but only photographed it once...and you know what, i think things have happened. things have changed. in a very very good way}

November 5, 2013

hanging on for dear life.....

i've written before about volunteering at the clothing distribution center at our local food pantry and today, with the cold weather knocking at our door, i wanted to share a little bit more.

yesterday i had a mom looking for winter coats for her and her daughter and our supply of winter items has already dwindled down to very limited sizes and it broke my heart that we didn't have what she needed. she said they had planned on looking for coats over the weekend, but instead had to put their dog down and all of their extra money had been used towards that.

last week, another mom needed footed sleepers for her son. a specific size obviously, but she didn't care if they were in a little girl's print, as she just needed to keep him warm. she told me they couldn't afford to turn their heat on.

i'm sharing this just to raise awareness to what donating can actually do. it can change someone's day. or their life. i'm guessing most of you already donate to goodwill or maybe saint vincent de paul, but if you can, try to find a local shelter or a local food pantry {that has a clothing center} to take your items to. the families who utilize food pantries have a very limited income {or no income at all} and need your help year round and even more so if you live in a colder climate. 

i know there are probably many opinions out there regarding donations or donation centers, so all i'm saying is your help is greatly needed.

if this post gets just a few of you to empty out your closets with things that you no longer wear, pants that don't fit, shoes that were never quite "you" in the first place, then i've done what i wanted to do. like a PSA, i'm just trying to educate and motivate.

now, in regards to what you donate. if the clothing and shoes or the coats/hats/mittens/gloves/scarves look like someone wore them in a bar fight {and lost} they aren't acceptable. we receive ripped/torn/stained items  all of the time and throw them away. if what you're donating isn't something you'd wear, then someone else isn't going to wear them either. i hope i'm not sounding mean, since donating comes from the heart, but you really just can't imagine how horrible some of the things are that come into our center.

okay, i'm jumping down off my platform now and heading to the kitchen. a hot bowl of soup is calling my name.

ps...fall continues to amaze me this year for some reason, but slowly, she's packing her bags and i can't tell you how much she'll be missed.

October 29, 2013

don't be corny.....

actually, be as corny as you want to be. make others laugh. make yourself laugh. be here. don't be back there or too far ahead, just be here. love deeply. love like there won't be a tomorrow. be thankful when you wake up. the past is the past, leave it there. eat broccoli. play in the leaves. don't keep your feelings inside. eat cream cheese frosting, by itself. call your parents. be gentle with your words, they have the ability to be cut without your knowledge. quiche can be eaten three times a day. fall back this weekend. take more photos, of anything. take more photos of yourself. walk. walk a lot. make eye contact with strangers and watch them smile. don't scowl. be honest. hold hands. make out. eat the halloween candy you bought. buy more candy. don't wear clothes that make you feel ugly. drink more water. be gentle, all the time. grow together. don't let one of you get ahead or stay behind. talk it out. don't assume. learn something new. do something new. figure out what makes you happy and do it. if it takes a while to figure it out, don't beat yourself up. say no. oh, for the love of God, say no. and last but not least, let me repeat, BE HERE. be present.

the quotes above are from tumblr and most likely found on my pinterest page.

October 25, 2013

with wings.....

i'm not really sure what purpose a grasshopper has, but when it stays still long enough for me  to photograph her and she actually convinces me that she's looking right at me, i think maybe that's it. maybe they're only here to be photographed...and to fly up against our shins when we walk through the long grass causing us to be grossed out just a little.

we found an abandoned vineyard in the grassy bottoms of a wonderful little park where we walk and i have to tell you, i melted just a bit. melted, as in fell in love with these luscious wild grapes. there were rows and rows of twisted vines and old thick posts and as we walked through them, between them and around them, snapping photo after photo, i thought someday i'll have a row of grape carrying vines in my own to my llamas. 
a girl can dream.

this reminds me, we need apples.
happy weekend everyone. i hope it's a beautiful one for you.

October 21, 2013

wakey wakey.....

of all the photos i've taken this fall, this one is my favorite.

the blushing of the berries, the texture on the leaves and the depth of autumn all rolled into {what i call} one delicious picture. the only editing done, was toning down the berries, as the sun had completely illuminated them, making them even too bright for my eyes.

it's the little things that wake me up and make me smile.

me. me. me.
ewe. ewe. ewe.

yes, it's another fungi.
this scene always makes me laugh and if you don't try and talk like them after watching this clip, at least for a little bit, well then there's something seriously wrong with you.

have you seen these? my hubby and i are a bit hooked and now my father-in-law is, too. in a few days, my sister-in-law will be on our team, as hers is in the mail. oh, technology you get me every time.

this half-time show was amazing. it's a long one, but so worth it and if you're here reading my blog, chances are you're reading other blogs and just playing around on your computer, so i'm guessing you'll have time. snort.

if this "love a stranger" story doesn't make your day, i don't know what will. it makes me proud to be a photographer.

and last not but least, grab a tissue and watch this story about second chances.

October 15, 2013

he's home with donuts.....

it's not fall without a trip to the apple orchard, but the funny thing is...we never buy any apples when we're there. instead, i take photos and we always indulge in their fresh warm apple cider donuts. call us weird.

lately, my thoughts are filled with nothing but wanting to write {actually i feel a "need" to write} but i'm not getting anything down on paper or even here on my blog. i blame it on the weather.

when winter arrives here in wisconsin, i hibernate. i don't ski or snow shoe or ice skate. oh sure, you might get me outside to build a snowman or make a snow angel or throw a few snowballs, but that's it. so i find winter a perfect time to get everything done that i didn't do the rest of the year and that includes writing. lots of writing.

i hope my hubby is enjoying his retirement as much as i am. i love having him home with me. you see, now that he's retired, technically...i am, too, but nobody ever really notices when a stay at home mom retires. instead everyone looks at me and says, "so, is he driving you crazy, yet?" well the answer is always a profound, "NO!"

so what exactly did i retire from you might ask? well, anyone married to an executive whose climb includes moving twelve times from state to state will know exactly what i'm not doing anymore. i'm not having babies and moving to a new state when they're only 6 weeks or 9 months old. i'm not coordinating movers on both ends of a full household move or shutting off utilities in an old location and hoping i have the start date correct in a new one. i'm not unpacking boxes only to have them packed back up 6 or 9 or 24 months later to be moved yet again. i'm not finding new doctors or dentists in a new state. i'm not taking kids out of their schools and away from their friends and moving them to a new one while praying they'll be okay. i'm not saying good-bye {with tears streaming down my cheeks} to friends and neighbors. i'm not acting as a single mom while my hubby travels internationally. i'm not finding new teams for our kids to play on. i'm not finding a new person to handle our hair, our insurance, our yard needs, our snow issues, a vet, a groomer, groups to become involved in...and holy crap, the list goes on forever.

could i go on and on and on?  i could, but i won't. you get the picture...and to be honest, because it's all we really knew, we loved moving to new places. we were always telling people that we had "gypsy" in our blood and that we were always one step ahead of the law when they asked,  "why so many times?"

could we move again? of course. will we? well, isn't that the million dollar question of the day. snort.

and now i  raise my glass to everyone who has retired, no matter what they did, or how long they did it... because a job, no matter what, is a job is a job is a job.

i hope you're falling for fall the way we have been. walking and playing in "her" colors and warmth {while swatting the %$&* bees away} have been everyday activities for us and when it ends, well let's just say, there might be tears on my screen.