Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Photography Journey

Every morning I read through my facebook memories. It's interesting to look back and see what has happened over the years. This morning I realized that seven years ago today I got my first DSLR camera.

It was a long, painful wait to get that thing. I had to save up the money to buy it... and there are priorities in life and some things came up that needed to be paid for first. Oh! It was debt. I had to get out of debt first. THEN I could buy my camera.

While I was waiting to get my camera, I got to watch as others got them as gifts. I'll admit I got a little jealous from time to time, but I always got over it and kept working toward my goal... while wishing someone would gift me a camera. :)

7 years ago today I got that camera and I enjoyed it! Probably more so than I would have had I got it as a gift.

Over the years I read books and took online classes and took a million pictures. Truly... I took so many that I wore it out! I learned how to shoot in manual and started doing photo sessions, and eventually weddings.

This year I did a lot less business with my photography because it's just a lot of work. But I still LOVE taking photos and preserving all of our memories. And it's still a lot of fun to do a few sessions or weddings a year.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the years....

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The brides brother serves our country and was not able to be home for the wedding. Mom is holding the device and brother is watching through skype. So much going on in this photo!



4th of July

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Home Improvements - Painting the Steps

When we bought the house, the downstairs and the stairs had dark green carpet. We left it and had it cleaned because we didn't have any money left to replace it.

Eventually the carpet had to go. We tore it up and had a good laugh at what was under it.



The plan was to paint the steps to keep things cheap, but it took me over a year to actually get to it.

Last week I finally got around to painting. Mike was a big help. We repainted the walls and banister to freshen things up. And then I took a few days to get the stairs painted. My only bathroom is upstairs and I painted the landing at the top, so once I painted I had to leave for the day. Two days of that was enough. I'm so glad to be done and I LOVE the final result!




The only thing left to do is to paint the small piece of trim on the middle of the wall upstairs... but it might take me a year to get to that. :)

We found the treads at Home Depot and they work perfectly with the colors we have in our house. I just need to staple or tape them down.

In the end it turned out to be a nice, cheap update. ($70) I'm going to see how the paint holds up. If it lasts and doesn't get all scratched up, I will also paint my bedroom floor. We'll see!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


PLSD = Post Lice Stress Disorder.

If it's not in the books, it should be! I totally have it!!! I think my kids do too.

It's no secret that two summers ago I found lice on Liza's head... two days before she was flower girl in a wedding. I broke down and cried, called a friend to find out what I needed to do, and then went into full freak out mode.

I treated heads, combed forEVER, vacuumed everything... twice, did a gazillion loads of laundry, ate far too much chocolate and didn't sleep for two weeks.

I'm itching my head as I write this. Are you itching yet??

Lice has turned me into a paranoid person.

I check Liza's and Jason's heads several times a week.
When I see kids I always glance at their heads looking for signs. I can't help it!
I still give hugs but my mind is always certain that a lice bug is crawling onto me as I do.
I know it's all in my mind but I just can't. make it. stop!

It's bad guys.

My scalp is irritated all the time because I am always itching it. And then itching it makes me think I MUST have lice. And so I itch some more. It's a vicious cycle that seems impossible to break.

I have PLSD.
It's a real thing... and I hope you never experience it!!

Stop itching your head!

Monday, November 9, 2015


What a year! It was around this time last year that I learned that the school board wanted to close the school across the street. At first I didn't really care... because I hadn't really thought it through. Once I started thinking beyond things like kids only having pavement for a playground or long bus rides (those things didn't get me fired up because that's what I had when I was in elementary school) and started thinking about how closing our school would impact my community and the people who lived there... that's when my heart got sucked in.

And once my heart got sucked in... I was all in.

I remember talking with people about how consuming the issue was. I would wake up thinking about it and fall asleep thinking about it. I often had sleepless nights as my mind wrestled with all the things that were wrong with closing our school.

I wrote speeches and stood in front of the school board and sometimes several hundred others trying to get them to understand the importance of our school to our community... and how closing our school would be devastating and destroy the kind of community we had.

But they closed our school anyways... and everything I pointed out in my speeches is happening.

Our community will never again be as big and strong as it was with a school.
It's harder to get to know people beyond my next door neighbors.
Everything feels disconnected, divided and different.

The saddest part...
I used to see so many kids and families during the week because of school and seeing these kids and families made it possible for me to find needs that others could help with. People were always contacting me asking who and how they could help. Just the other day I received an email from a friend looking for a family to bless this holiday season, and I wanted to cry as I sat there thinking and coming up blank.

I no longer see the kids and families. I don't know what their needs are... and therefore can't connect those who want to DO with those who have a need.

My community has lost so much more than a school.

At tonight's board meeting they will vote to accept a bid from a buyer for the building across the street that used to be our school. As far as buyers go, this one wouldn't be horrible. It's an organization that offers services for people with special needs. The problem is that everything is a step down from having a school there. Nothing will bring our community together like the school did. So it's hard to be happy about having a buyer.

And I may be a little depressed about the fact that having a buyer means it will never again be a school... which means my community will never be able to recover what was lost.

I'm still trying to figure out how to do the things I used to... differently. I'm not sure how to find the needs like I used to and I miss the joy of easily helping others.

When the school closed, my community changed...
Life changed...
I changed.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Family Time!

I come from a big family.
I am one of six.
Second oldest.

Two weekends ago my youngest brother, baby of the family, last of my siblings still single... got married! The family has grown once again and we are so happy with the latest addition!

It was fun to have everyone home...even though it can get a bit crazy to have a gazillion people in a small house!

I took lots of pics of the family and very few of actual wedding stuff. It was nice to just enjoy the time and take snap shots instead of always thinking about how to get the best photo possible. I enjoyed watching my kids and all their cousins play together like no time has gone by since they last saw each other.

It was just a really nice time. :)


We are dorks...


...that aren't very good at pulling off serious. :)



The cousins...




My mom looks AMAZING!!!




Jason was a big hit on the dance floor! He kept dropping into splits. It was pretty amazing. My heart was proud of his awesomeness.



It's pretty much a guarantee that during a reception a Michael Jackson song will be played and my brother Dave will think that he is as cool as MJ was. It's pretty entertaining.



It's always fun times when the family gets together!

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