Thursday, April 28, 2011

crazy ass sunflare.

i'm fairly certain that this is the newest in technical terms for professional photographers.

crazy ass sunflare.

there really is no other way of describing that.
can you think of a better term?

and also ... another one of THOSE moments ... when i see that light ... hitting something ... someone ...
... just right ...
and i ask my (sometimes usually occasionally often sometimes) agreeable husband to just hold on a second while i go and grab my camera.  {pretty please?}

and i'm once again wowed by what me and my camera can do ... even when we aren't shooting for perfectly technical ... when we are just clicking along because it's what feels so right ...

we all need those reminders of why we do things once in awhile ... don't we?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

on eggs. and easter.

i find myself filling baskets and sorting through who got this and who gets that ...
jellybeans.  and skittles.  chocolate.  and coins.

trying to figure out just how we all fit here. 
because as a family ... we aren't celebrating easter for what easter is meant to be celebrated for.  and that's never how i intended to live my life ... it's just kind of how it's become. 

growing up ... we were ... religious?  i don't know.  that doesn't necessarily seem right either ... i remember going to a catholic church ... for quite some time ...
and i remember silly things about it. 

like standing in line to confess my sins ... and being terrified as i walked through the line ... having NO IDEA what i was going to say.  and so i blurted out that i hit my sister.  even though i didn't.  and i remember that feeling so wrong.

and i remember being told that my picture of god ... which was just a plain old circle on the page ... couldn't be god. 

and then finally ... we went to service one day and it was something new ... and there was a woman ... dancing all around the church during the service.  and i remember wanting to giggle about it ... but holding it in because as i scanned the other faces ... there were no smiles or looks of uncomfortableness.  there were no raised eyebrows.  no sly glances from one adult to another ... it seemed like everyone else was totally fine with this crazy lady dancing around ... while people spoke.  and while the music played.  except for my parents ... who i'm fairly certain were weirded out ... because we never really went back after that.

there was definitely a pause in our religiousness after that.

and then ... eventually i became friends with a group of kids in high school that were from church going families.  and so we went.  and we joined a new church ... and i was in it full-heartedly.  like at least 5 nights per week i was there for some reason or another.  i went to a catholic college my first year ... abandoned that wholeheartedly that spring ... and went off to north dakota ...

and i'm not sure what changed up there in the cold tundra of the north.

but something did.
there wasn't any grand emotion ... or event that preceeded this transition ... there was just a shifting.

the shift has made me open my eyes to what else could be.  and how there maybe just isn't any one right or wrong ... rather that people just are who they are ... and they believe what they need to believe ... and that it really is just all right and all good ... and it's ok to feel how you need to feel.

and yet ... we still celebrate easter ... but not so much for the religious reasons.

i realize as i write this ... that to me - right now - i look at it as a move into spring.  a nature based idea of the world going through a transition ... into new life ... and baby animals.  and the greening of the grass.  the rushing of the water.  and the daffodills that are peeking through the dirt. 

and maybe that's why the non-religious traditions are what feel comfortable to me tonight as i fill baskets and nibble on jellybeans.  maybe that's why bunnies and eggs and flowers feel ok and do-able. 

happy easter to all of you out there ... in whatever way you choose to celebrate.
it's all ok by me.

and if you want to read something that a friend wrote ... in which she ... much more eloquently than me ... writes about religion in her life ... click here ... it struck a chord with me ... i hope she doesn't mind me sharing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


it's the light that gets me.

each and every time ... it's how light pours through openings and windows.  how light strikes up against the blades of grass
or a tree
or a face.

light inspires me ... it ignites a passion in me ... light fills me with hope ... spring.

i see it.  and i observe it.  and my heart flutters.  and i try to decide if this is one of those moments. 
or one of these moments.

and if it's one of those moments?

i turn back toward the house, grab my camera and run back to the light ... hoping that it has waited for me.

and i try to capture it.

and then sometimes ... i get lucky enough ... and i do.

and i look at the picture and it surrounds me in peace. 

even though i know that the picture itself was captured during a moment of crazy in my life when kids were screaming and running through the yard and the swingset was beginning to rock with stella's highflying swinging ... and cora was begging for an underdog and finn just needed someone to push his swing again.  and the neighbor boys were running down to join in on the fun ... and the dog was barking because i left her in the front yard.

it's the light that gets me.

each.  and every.  time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

evolution of a superhero ...

boppa was slightly offended at the baby boy's cinderella pajamas that he has inherited from his big sisters. 
so ...
boppa took it into his own hands to outfit the boy with more suitable pj attire.

and although i am one of those moms that doesn't really mind if my boy wears pink.
or cinderella.
or paints his toenails.
or plays with baby dolls.
and twirls in tutus ...

even i have to admit that my boy. in a cape. is pure adorableness.

cute boy.  in cape.
mama attempts to make it look like cute boy.  in cape.  can fly. 
boy becomes distraught.
mama sticks her tongue out at boy as a distraction technique.
{it works.}  boy sticks tongue back out at mama.
boy notices camera.  and buttons.  buttons.  BUTTONS!

boy attempts to look cute.  to acquire buttons.
boy screams because he doesn't get buttons.
boy pleads to either have buttons or nurse.
{mama isn't willing to give up the camera.}  so boy nurses.
boy runs away happy. 

a superhero ...
saving baby dolls that are abandoned in hallways everywhere.

Monday, April 18, 2011

amongst other things ... stella really did turn seven.

and believe it or not?
i'm writing her seven year old letter to her ... WITHIN 19 DAYS OF HER BIRTHDAY.


(which may totally distract you from the fact that i haven't written anything else here in ... um ... forever.)

dear stellers.

yep.  you still are driving me crazy cakes.  and i'm kinda realizing that this just may be what i'm destined for in life ... so i might as well suck it up and get used to it.  (all while stocking up on wine and margarita mix.)

i had a beautiful maternity photography session today ... and i decided to keep out my camera while the sun was retreating into the tippity tops of the pine trees so that i could capture a photograph of you ... because i was bound and determined to write this letter tonight. 

and you know me.  i don't post well without a photo.

so i did.

and i asked you to smile.
and i asked you to pose.
and i asked you to step slightly to the left so that i could attempt some gorgeous sunflare.

and you did.
because you are the most willing model on the face of the planet.

and then?
you did this.

while waiting for me to get something or other together ...

and it is my most favorite picture from tonight ... probably because you aren't smiling.  and you aren't posing.  and you aren't stepping a foot to the left.  you are just standing there being you.

(complete with the remnants of last week's black eye.  courtesy of another first grader that wasn't supposed to be on the monkey bars at school as you were running below.  though i'm fairly positive that you should always look before running under monkey bars.)

and that makes me fall in love with you all over again.

these are the things that i love about you.  seven to be exact ... though just like every other year ... it's incredibly hard to narrow it down. 

i love that mole just below your left collarbone.  i love that there is a mole in your hairline.  i love that you are this unique individual.  in looks and in attitude and in your beauty.  and in your sense of who you are.

speaking of attitude.
i love that you have some.  i love that you question everything.  i *hate* that you question everything ... especially when i ask you to do something and then you ask "why?" ... but someday ... i hope you question EVERYTHING.  because it is your innate ability to question the things around you that will keep you safe.  and intelligent. 

you love.  beyond anything measurable.  you love.
you just do.
you love your family.  you love your friends.  you love your possessions.  and you would fight for them if it came down to that.
and i hate knowing that this trait is probably going to cause endless heartache someday for you ... but i promise to always be there ... even when you don't want me to ...

that smile of yours.
no.  not that one.  not the fake "say cheese" smile that comes out that looks utterly painful ... teeth clenched and eyes drilling.
THAT one. 
the one that is head tilted back giggling happy.  the eyes that smile bigger than your lips.  the true smile that doesn't come out near often enough but that i treasure whenever it makes it's grand appearance.

your ability to read.
it happened.  one day this year ... you just happened to click ... you went from reading simple books with simple sentences on colorful pages ... to reading BOOKS.  real live books.  books with plots and characters.  books that have glorious words filling the pages and simple drawings here and there that just help to lead your imagination through them.  you read aloud to your siblings.  you read aloud to yourself.  you quietly read in bed.  you pour through books and signs and catalogs.  you read. 

your desire to learn.
first grade is the best grade that you've ever been in ... according to you.  in fact.  you kinda just want to stay in first grade forever.  or ... i wonder if you are just so enamoured with your first grade teacher.  she's been wonderful for you.  and i promise ... that if you are anything like i was ... you'll adore every teacher that you have.  well.  most every teacher.  you're bound to encounter someone interesting somewhere along the line. 
but you do love learning.  and you remember everything.  i just hope we can keep up with you ... and help to challenge you along the way.

the balance of who you are.
because not only do you love learning.  but you love being active.  and music.  and art.  and imagination.  and helping.  and solitude.  and ... i think i always dreamed that my children would be balanced.  and that they would have enough exposure to everything that they could then decide what they wanted their life focus to become ... and you are fulfilling that dream of mine.  which was actually a dream for you.  and i just hope that you grow up happy.  and fulfilled. 

knowing that you are loved beyond measure.

by so. many. people.

even when you drive us bonkers.

you.  are.  loved.

as big as the universe, my dear. 

love always,

Monday, April 4, 2011


i step over a crocodile in my kitchen to rinse yet another glass before cramming it into the dishwasher.  i wipe clean a countertop that can accumulate sticky even when i'm fairly positive that nothing sticky was touched.  i hear a cow moo at me as i walk past the refrigerator.  there's someone coughing in their room and the lights are dim and i'm trying to tiptoe through the house.

and i realize i can only contain these words for so long.  i try not to write when my husband is home.  i know.  that seems silly ... but we only get so much time together ... and i try not to stay awake late into the evenings when he is home merely because having someone warm to lie against is not too common in a pilot household. 

i kind of try to remember to cherish it.  when i can.

but there comes a time when the words and feelings have piled up so much inside of me that they are begging to spill forth. 

even though my pilot husband is still home ... he's since fallen asleep ... and the words are able to clippity clack out through my fingers.

i have no idea what will spill ... and i think that's ok.

during a late night nursing session i came across a "dislike" blog of a favorite blog of mine.  quite honestly i had no idea that these things even existed.  i'm baffled.  and it made my stomach turn. 

not because of who this person is ... but more that someone would feel strongly enough to write terrible things about them ... simply because of how they choose to write about their life.

i'm not sure that i can call myself a writer.  i write.  yes.  but ... i'm not a literary great by any means.  honestly.  these words pour out of my fingers and my pinkies rarely touch a shift key.  my words are often made up and silly sounding.  but they roll off my fingers simply.  and my mind empties.   and i don't feel so stuck inside.  i type late into the night when my littles are asleep ... rather than lie awake at  night feeling the words ... but having no place to put them. 

i would think that is why we are all here.  right?

to put these thoughts out of ourselves.  and yes.  comments and validation feel good.  but ... i think most of us would keep writing our words even if no one spoke back.

so why beat each other up over it?

so what if another person appears to be wildly imaginative and creative and blessed with beauty.
so what if another person appears to be complacent and calm in the wake of a event that would send most spinning out of control.
so what if a person forgets to capitalize or use punctuation or make up words.

they are writing to satisfy something within themself.  and there is room enough to do it.  if it doesn't directly affect you and who you are.  why care.  why not just keep doing what you love to do ... simply because you love to do it.  and let others do the same.

and in the most awful segue ever published on the internets ... stella turned seven.
amidst massive amounts of spraying water.
and maybe the only way to save that poor excuse for a segue is to say that there was this giant bucket that would fill itself with water and spill upon any one every so often.  (like my words.)
(and just for the record ... THAT attempt at making a cohesive post for you to read even kinda makes me gag.)

we surprised her with a trip to wisconsin dells ... a town with numerous waterparks.  and we stayed in a place that we have since deemed worth every penny.  {great wolf lodge} (which is so not even remotely aware - nor do they care - about who i am ... so i was in no way compensated for this glowing report).   it was easy and fun.  completely family friendly and we lived in our swimsuits for three days straight.  there was so much to do.  and we had a blast.  and the margaritas that were available on the way back to the room were delicious.  and blue.  and so.  good.  and we are pretty much screwed if we ever try to take the kids to any other hotel.  um.  ever. 

and while jeremy was off finding coffee (though it wasn't that hard.  starbucks coffee on the second floor!) cora and i slipped into bed with stellers and sang happy birthday. 

and she spent the next umpteen hours asking us how old she was.  and near noon-ish we all started to get a little crabby about this constant barrage of questioning OVER AND OVER and i remember hearing jeremy say ... "basically you are seven.  if anyone asks you ... you are seven.  for all intents and purposes you. are. seven.  blah blah blah blah ...

and then at 4:28 on 3/28 ... while dining in our new favorite restaurant {the cheese factory}.  (thank you alicia!)  she turned seven.  and we sang happy birthday.  and she hid her face and became embarrassed of all of us.  her crazy cake family.  and that's when i realized how close i am to raising a teenager. 

a tear spilled off my cheek as i remembered that hospital room.  and the people.  so. many. people.  and realizing later how close we were to losing one of us and just how lucky we were (and are).  and remembering daddy saying ... "it's stella."  and finally knowing who you were.  i carried you in a state of panic for 9-ish months ... never really knowing who you were.  and then i knew.  and i held you in my arms and felt empty when someone else would hold you ... and i couldn't believe you were there.

and now?  seriously?  seven?  that was seven years ago?

and then all hell broke loose and baby brother commenced must. terrorize. restaurant. NOW.  attitude.  and cora started her screaming.  and mommy had to drag baby boy blue out to the car while he screamed until he realized that he had full button pushing capability sitting on mommy's lap in the front seat waiting for daddy and big sisters to choose the cake and pay the bill. 

and i watched the window go up and down and up and down and up and down. 

and we drove home eventually.  and enjoyed (maybe?) a bit of time together ... and you had your best friend over for two nights and i took you out for a best friend photosession that i had so much fun doing.  and i'm fairly certain that you both enjoyed yourself as well. 

and i promise to write you your seven year old letter ... soon.  i meant to have it done before we left.  but didn't obviously.  and then i've been busy enjoying all this time with you ... and daddy has been here so i just haven't taken a moment to write.

though ... i promise.  i have the words in here.  ready to spill.  just as soon as i get another chance.


because i can only hold these words for so long ... before they must come spilling out through my fingers.