Wow first off it is AMAZING how long it has been since I have blogged. Both babies have had birthdays, Grammy came for a visit, Easter. I need to get busy. But this post is about none of those it is about friendship.

Last weekend I left for my first girls weekend in over 5 years.  Only the second time I have left one or both girls for longer than 6 hours (not counting the three times Larry and I have been briefly away together).  I have to admit I was worried I would not be able to detach enough.  That should not have been a concern I had no problem.  This does not speak to how incredibly much I love my children it speaks to how incredibly badly I needed this break.

LA recap:

Two friends.  25 years and counting.  Some friendships truly are forever.

My two friends, Heather and Smita are two of the most beautiful people I know for more reasons than I have words.

As it turns out the word AMAZING can be used, a lot.  I mean A LOT! It can also be said several different ways and once exposed, as I was by an “Amazing” expert, you too will find many more reasons for said word than you ever thought possible.

When one friend does not drink coffee in the morning you need another one to walk down the street with you, Thanks Smee!

Sample sales are an LA wonder, that I for one, would not be opposed to experiencing again!

Lunch in LA does mean a celebrity sighting!

Having a friend who is a make up artist is not too shabby.

Having a friend who is a week away from owning a vineyard, not too shabby either.  I have already offered my children up for child labor in return for lodging.

A tree filled with Chandeliers is a pretty awesome sight.

I can still walk in heels!

The super sunny weekend in LA may have resulted in a cold and cloudy day at the beach but luckily, good company and food made up for the weather crisis. Along with some tasty white sangria.

I have a totally new appreciation for intstagram.

The entire weekend was perfect.  In fact the more I think about it perfect is not quite the right word it was, AH-MAAAAAAZ-ING!

LAblog1 LAblog2 LAblog3

Christmas Morning

So surprise a belated post! Ha like that ever happens here!

I love Christmas Morning. I love it. Ella woke up before Ava while it was still dark so I ran her past the tree and into the TV room so she would not see anything until Ava woke up. My sleepy girl. It was still dark so I took a quick picture of everything untouched. LOVE it!!! Impatient I actually had to wake Ava up!

Ava’s favorite gift: Her scooter! Ella: not sure she loved her new toothbrush, a spin top that lights up a lot!
Really though they loved everything. New chairs from Grandma and the new doll house gets TONS of play everyday!

A perfect morning.

christmasam2012blog1 christmasam2012blog2 christmasam2012blog3 christmasam2012blog4

Well I think it is safe to say that I am obsessed with capturing my kids.  Truly.  The perfect moment the perfect outfit the perfect setting.  I love it all. But there are moments when I choose not to have a camera at all.  I leave it behind.  Ironically these seem to be the same moments that EVERYONE else around me is staring through the back of their camera or iPhone.

OK here is where I may sound a little judgmental and condescending.  I do not mean it to come off that way but this is my opportunity to explain to my children why there will not be many pictures of them on stage or scoring their first soccer goal.  I want them to understand that these moments are ones I do not want to miss waiting behind a camera to press the shutter at the perfect moment, angry because the light is wrong or because there are noticeable distractions.  These are the moments I want to live, I want to remember forever.  And despite the fact that we think the only way to preserve something is to capture it either in photos or video our brains are actually remarkable tools we should trust more.  Our heart does not soar quite the same while looking through a camera at the amazement of our children.

This year we went to hear Ava sing for her Christmas program.  I left my camera at home and my iPhone in my bag.  I sat next to Larry, with Ella on my lap and with NO camera.  I sat and smiled at my girl, giggled at the adorableness of her little four year old voice as she introduced herself, listened to each note of song, and watched every movement.  I was present, fully present.  There are no pictures or videos but I do not need them because I was there, truly there.

Here is Ava at home singing her songs.



I LOVE Christmas Trees

I love Christmas trees. I love the decorations, I love the lights and I am always sad when it is time to take them down.

Meet Wilford our Christmas Tree~

We had such a lovely night of Christmas music, hot chocolate, candy canes and decorating. Ava even wore the santa hat a small miracle all by itself!  Man photographing with no light is not a small challenge but I love tree light pics.

wilfordblog1 wilfordblog2 wilfordblog3 wilfordblog4 wilfordblog5

The Tree Hunt

Our annual tree hunt was blessed with no rain. After a morning of downpours we arrived to the tree farm for about 45 min. of dry weather. Ella did not want to walk at all, until she found the rain puddles! Ava was a wonderful tree scout with Larry and they found the PERFECT tree, Wilford! It started raining again as the last rope was tied to the car. Not bad timing!

wilfordhuntblog1 wilfordhuntblog2 wilfordhuntblog3 wilfordhuntblog4 wilfordhuntblog5

Is it December?

Oh my. I had planned on actually sharing Christmas pictures and stories on Christmas. I guess I did not make it. I am still stuck in October. I am almost grateful November was uneventful and I may get to December before it is over.  At least there is a small sliver of hope.

In Michigan we went to one of my favorite fall spots, The Franklin Cider Mill.  It reminds me of high school, fall and Michigan in general.  There really is not much to do, it is over priced but hey that is where nostalgia gets you!  Pa and Uncle Chris joined in and it was a perfect fall day.  The girls fed the ducks and we all enjoyed cider and doughnuts.  Over all a success and the next fall we are in Michigan we will be back!  Cheers!

franklinmill2012blog1 franklinmill2012blog2 franklinmill2012blog3 franklinmill2012blog4

My Fall Beauties

My favorite time of year, by far, is fall. The colors, the crunchy leaves, the brisk air. I love it all especially when I get to head to Michigan where I rarely have to contend with rain. Well this year there was plenty of rain. I expected lots more time to shoot my own kids but only got this one chance. I took them to a location I was shooting at later that week to test it out. I got no cooperation from the subjects which lucky resulted in beautiful candids! No sibling shot or at least not one that would make the mantel but the weather, well, the sun made up for it all. And here are the wonderful results of 30 very frustrating minutes of a photographer motherhood. All you other photographer moms know exactly what I mean! And for any of you that follow my business page this is an exact repeat but with a few special family shots thrown in!!!

minefall2012blog1minfall2012blog2minfall2012blog3 minefall2012blog4 minefall2012blog5 minefall2012blog6minefall2012blog11 minefall2012blog7 minefall2012blog8 minefall2012blog9 minefall2012blog10

The Whole Truth

In a world of social media we are inundated with only part reality.  We see a happy family out for the day, the perfect dinner being served, a wonderful art project completed, a pin board filled with all the wonderful educational activities we spend our days completing, toasts and accolades to the perfect spouse and ones very best friend a testament to the joy of life.  It, Facebook,  is kinda like the modern day “Leave it to Beaver.”  A snippet of reality that shadows the whole truth under a veil of unattainable perfection.

Well today was crappy.  YES, crappy. No fancy vocabulary, no veil. CRAPPY!

This blog is a journal. One I hope my children will look back on to remember their childhood.  I hope it makes them laugh.  I hope it fills their hearts with smiles but I also want it to be the truth.  Years from now their day will end with children snug in their beds perhaps a glass of wine in their hand and them wondering how they will do it again tomorrow.  I hope they find hope in the pages of this blog.  I hope they find truth and I hope they know that unattainable perfection is just that.  Unattainable.

Today I woke up with the flu, and a 102 degree fever. Other symptoms I will not detail.  Today was my MOPS group. One of my only times for adult, childless conversation.  I missed it.  Today my kids did not eat the first breakfast I made them.  They did not eat the second breakfast I made them.  Today I put the garbage out apparently after the garbage man came.  Today 20 minutes after I finally got Ella to sleep for nap Ava went in because she thought Ella needed her.  Sweet, yes, screaming baby with no nap… not so sweet.  Now two tired kids with no naps, and a 102 fever we were out of milk amongst other things.  Two kids in the car to the store.  I do not think it necessary to go into details at this point although I will state that Ella spends 90% of any car trip screaming or crying and that is with a nap.  Today my kids ate part of the dinner I made them (I consider that a success).  I cleaned two floors of my house, vacuumed and did a mini photo shoot.  Today we did two art projects and kicked off the first of My 12 days of Christmas Tradition.  Today like everyday I took two kids in the rain for a 30+ min walk with Lola because she is a member of the family and has needs too.  Today there were tears and spilled milk. There were smiles and giggles.  There was fun and boredom.  There were successes and failure.  Today I am sitting here typing which is my therapy while I wait for the crying on the monitor to die down.  Ella has decided that she no longer wants to go to sleep.  Today I was a mom of two children and a dog.  Today I feel guilty like many days that I have no energy to be a wife.  My wonderful husband who is equally exhausted sits downstairs alone because I need these minutes to myself.  I wish that I had wine but even without it I am thinking, how will I do this again tomorrow.  That is the truth.

But no matter what happened today, there was love.  Everyday there is love even through the tears.  Love that cannot be described in words.  And that is why even though I sit and wonder, I know how I will do this again tomorrow.



BRAVE and BELL, Tinker Bell

Well it was a long road to the final choice of Halloween costumes.  I was set on Ella being Little Red Riding Hood and Ava jumped at the chance to be the big bad Wolf!!! How cute would that be!!  Well alas Ava was bitten by the super hero bug.  Changing her mind to Batman.  She stuck to that for weeks insisting that Ella still be Riding Hood and Daddy the Wolf.  She, Batman would save Riding Hood from the mean Wolf, Daddy. Well who can argue with that logic.  When in comes Brave.  I am not sure what had her sold first the red hair or the bow and arrow.
Well Merida it was!  And if big sis was going Disney Ella mine as well too!  And can you even imagine a cuter Tinker Bell?

Michigan Fall

Fall in Michigan is my FAVORITE time of year. The colors, sun, crisp air, crunchy leaves and I get to leave the northwest rain behind.

Well, not so much this year.

No it was not terrible but the rain definitely followed me from Seattle.  I always look forward to my trips home to Michigan. Ava gets so excited and counts down the days and except for the dreaded plane flight I have help and giggles for weeks at a time.  This year I had all of those along with non sleeping children and thus a non sleeping mama.  Not sure what it was about this trip east but we did not adjust.  At all.  I was exhausted by the time we flew back home.  Despite it all there were lots of giggles and good times and although belated I plan to share them.  Hopefully before Christmas! LOL!

Here is Ava in her window at Grammy’s.  This window is a place to climb, read, watch TV from, jump off of, or just sit.  Who knew that a window could be so many things!  Love it.