flowers for me

I've been having a hard time at work lately.  When I came in yesterday, the lovely ladies I work with had this great bouquet of flowers for me.  Isn't it awesome?  Definitely cheered this 'buttercup' up!


my motto {stressed, but blessed}

So ... Curt's gone up to the lake to do some 'scouting' ... that'd be slang for looking for deer. Hunting season hasn't opened yet, but Curt always likes to go up early and "become one with the trees." {direct quote!}

That leaves me at home with the girls for "3 sleeps" {another direct quote}. Why is it when he's gone all h _ _ _ breaks loose? Tears here, screams there, falls over there, spilled milk over here.

At one point I had 3 girls talking to me. I swear one eyeball was looking one way and the other the other way, with a finger pointing saying "just a minute" in the other direction. {direct quote from the finger}.

Then there's the fact that I'm trying to drop a pound or two {having some self-esteem issues}, and I tend to grab handfuls of munchies when I'm stressin' ... I wasn't so sure I wanted to share the following thought, but I'm thinking {read hoping} you'll get a kick out of it. So I'm in the pantry with my hand in a bag of goldfish {completely stressed out} when I think the following:

"All I'm trying to do is drop a couple pounds before Curt comes back so I'll feel like having {ahem, I can't write the word} when he comes back."

Okay, maybe that wasn't as funny as I thought it was. But it cracked me up {thinking about blogging about it} and got me through the night.

This is Hunter setting the table for dinner ... she took her job very seriously.

And for the evening entertainment ... hot off the UPS truck ... the newly released 'Tinkerbell.' Here are some photos I captured of the evening. We pulled out the sofa bed, lit a fire, popped some corn and settled in for a little pixie dust. Some of us felt compelled to work on our laptops {and it wasn't me!}.



{you need to click on this image to view it larger ... the look on Cameron's face is priceless!}

It's a{nother} wrap!  I finished editing these photos and you can find the full set here.  Lisa, I'll have a set of proofs and disk of the images to you by the end of the week.

Thanks again guys for letting me photograph your family ... enjoy!


{second} invitation

One more quick post ...

If there is any chance at all that you can get to the illustrated sermon I mentioned, I would highly, highly recommend it.

Taylor & I went tonight and both loved it.  It was a great depiction of satan and how he moves to work in your life and fill your thoughts, mind and heart full of deceit and things against God's Word and plan for your life.

Please ... make every opportunity to attend.  You'll be glad you did ...

our saturday {told via iphone photos}

Let's see ... Curt took the girls to McDonalds in the morning, while I stayed home and panicked over birthday gifts for the weekend.  And I also took Taylor & Ana to the school to catch a bus headed to Six Flags for Frightfest.

When Curt and the girls got home, we turned around to bring the girls to an art class at the Wustum Art Musuem in Racine.  Exhibits below:

After dropping Piper and Wynter at the art class ... Curt, Hunter and I headed to the bookstore for some browsing.  And then a quick trip to Starbucks.  Exhibit below:

After Starbucks, we picked up Piper & Wynter, took a quick drive through McDonalds for lunch, dropped Curt at the house to put Hunter down for her nap ... while I took Piper & Wynter to Swan's Pumpkin Farm, where Piper had a birthday party to attend.

Wynter and I headed home to finish up Cameron's birthday gift before she needed to get to his party.  Curt took Wynter to Cameron's, while I stayed home with Hunter {who was sleeping}.  Wynter's party started at 2:30, and then Curt was supposed to swing by Piper's party to pick her up {it ended at 3:00} ... so when he walked in the door at 3:00, I thought something was up.

He forgot to get Piper.  So he high-tailed it to get Piper.  When they got home, I played a bit with the girls and we started talking about dinner.  I thought Wynter's party went until 5ish, so we weren't sure how to handle dinner {we are on the early Racine dinner plan}.

I ran upstairs to check my calendar ... 5:30 was the end time of the party.  So Curt, Piper, Hunter and I headed to Jose's for an early dinner and then we'd go get Wynter.

Had a great dinner {nice small group of 4!} and made it to Wynter's party a little early 5:20.  But if we were early, why was Wynter in Cameron's car {with dad} waiting for us?

"Oh no!  Did the party end at 5:00?" I asked the dad.  He looks me dead in the eyes and says, "4:30."  Yikers ... didn't see that one coming!

We felt absolutely horrible!  Horrible!!

When we got home, we decided to have a little outdoor playtime.  You know, to really get those noses running good!  :)

Exhibits below:

I love that we can still get her to 'smile' ...

Piper jumping off hay bales ...

Wynter climbing trees ...

Yeah, and okay ... about that party pick-up, mis-hap?  Piper had been invited to two parties on Saturday {and two more today}, but because they overlapped, she had to pick one.  The one she didn't pick was from 2:30-5:30, which was the one I looked at when I ran to look at my calendar.

My calendar has a slot to write in each kid's schedule.  Wynter's schedule clearly stated 2:30-4:30 ... my bad!


Short notice, but I'd like to put an invitation out there to attend an illustrated sermon at my church {basically, a play with a message}.

The sermon is tonight and Wednesday night, both at 7:00pm.  There is childcare available for all ages.

You can find more information here.  Maybe I'll see you tonight?


before & after

I am constantly amazed what a huge difference a little 'touch-up' makes in photography!  Really, it's the difference between amateur and professional {please believe me, i'm not saying these are professional ... i'm just trying to point out the astounding difference}.

Sorry ... I'm plugging away on these and just had to share ... this one was a 'goodie' ...

tip: click on the photo to view it larger ... i try to save all the photos in my blog, so that you can view them larger


a girls night ...

Yeah, we saw it.  And yeah, it was pretty cool.  I'm just glad I had an excuse in the form of young girls that wanted to see it.  :)

I took Piper, Wynter, Taylor and my {other} daughter, Ana to see High School Musical 3 tonight.  We had a pretty good time and the girls really liked it.

Troy ... Gabriella ... Sigh ...

my hero

This is my nephew Brett.  He graduated and received his wings today from the United States Army Airborne School.  He leaves today to go straight to Army Ranger training {a specialized, elite force in the Army}.

Any guesses how proud I am of him?

fun storyboards

Back in May, my dear friend Marta, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.  Before she started her chemo treatments, we decided to take some family photos.

This was before I started the serious studying of photography that I've been doing recently.  The images had turned out 'okay' {in my mind}, but before I handed them over to Marta, I wanted to make them really special.

What a dear she is for being so patient with me!  I had a one-on-one consulting session scheduled with a photographer whose work I super, duper {yes, super duper} admire, but not until September.  I knew I wanted to bring Marta's photos to see what I could do to make them 'special' ...

Jessica taught me SO much!  I seriously can not hand over a raw {sooc, straight out of camera} photo anymore.  It's a problem.  Both for my time limitations and for the serious case of carpal tunnel I've got starting.

Here are a few storyboards I put together of Marta's photos.  I framed them and gave them to her on her last day of chemo.  Needless to say she loved them!  You can view the rest of her photos here.

I love you Marta!  Thank you for waiting 5ish months for your photos!  :)



it's a wrap!

I finished post-processing the Short's photos ... and I think they turned out pretty awesome.


another family session

I took photos this afternoon of my good friend Lisa and her family.  I'd been nervous and constantly thinking about what I would have this family do.  The kids are grown and not as easy to 'play cute.'  The upside is that everyone will look and smile at the same time!

Okay, so this photo?  This young man is 17 and pretty much wanted nothing to do with getting his photos taken.  I'd have to sort of coerce him into a position and beg him to 'act' like he belonged to his family.  Geesh, teenage boys!

Anyway, so in this photo ... I'd had Marissa and Cameron sitting together.  Asking Cameron to try to look like it was a photo with two people in it ... not a self-portrait.  I asked Marissa if she could rest her head on Cameron's shoulder.  He's like "not cool, not cool."  She did it.  I got the shot!  Love it!  The pure anguish of sisterly love!  :)

Seriously though, I've known this family for years ... they are loving, caring and a blessing to be around.

small world photography

My good friend Amy is the administrator at Small World Montessori school in Racine.  It's a fairly new position for her and she's been doing all she can to make a difference at the school.  One small difference {that we all know can make a big impact} is decorating.

So she invited me {and Hunter} to come into the school this morning to take photos of the children.

I had a great time seeing all these children and photographing them.  Thank you Amy, thank you children!  And thank you Amy, for playing with Huntie and keeping her belly full of snacks!  :)

I'm actually going to lay down for a nap {something I never, ever am able to do anymore} ... I think it will help keep hunger pangs away as well!  :)

But I first wanted to post a few photos from this morning.


one more prayer request

See the girl in the middle?  Her name is Stephanie Brandt and she needs prayers.  Lots of them.  Her mom {Cindy} too.

And Stephanie isn't this little anymore ... she's 17.  Today.  Her 17th birthday is today.

Lisa and I were at chemo with Marta last Monday, when Lisa got a call from her husband.  He'd gotten a message from Cindy, that Stephanie was admitted to Children's Hospital with severe chest pains.  She was born with Marfan Syndrome, which among other things causes heart problems.

At 6:30 last Monday night, they had Stephanie split wide open ... and didn't know what to do with her.  They lost her numerous times on the operating table that night.  And at 3:00 am, the doctors came out and told Cindy to start calling her family.

By 7:00 am the next morning, they finished the surgery and Stephanie survived.  The surgeons didn't think she would make it and are surprised she's alive today.

I'd argue to say my God had a hand in this and knows exactly what he's doing.

Stephanie is by no means out of the woods yet.  She's been mostly sedated and gets extremely frustrated and angry when she starts to 'come to' ... because of the tube in her mouth and the limitations everything is causing.

She had a CT scan done today, where they found blood behind her {left?} lung.  They've decided to open her up again and clean things up and see what's going on.  That will be done tomorrow at 7:30 am ... join me in prayer ... please!

After her first surgery, there was a good chance Steph would be paralyzed.  They've since found that she has sensation in both her legs and arms ... both good signs, but still not great news.

Again, I'd ask that you join me in prayer for both Stephanie and her family.

fasting {part two}

Just a note that I will be fasting again tomorrow {10.21.08}. My church is holding a day of fasting and prayer, and I was already planning to fast again for Lori this week ... so decided to do it tomorrow with my church.

Along with Lori, I will be praying for many of my friends and my family. I wanted to ask ... if you have a prayer request, please leave me a comment and I will include that in my prayers. If you prefer to send me an email with your prayer request, I'd love that too. Blessings!


quality friend time

Saturday afternoon I headed to Fright Fest with Taylor, Ana, Brigitte & Tiffany.  It was crowded!  Crowded = No rides.

Taylor & Ana ditched us pretty quickly to do their own thing.  While Tiff and I seemed to work our way from funnel cakes, to cheese fries, to fajitas, to caramel apples.  Brig ate some too, but wasn't feeling her best.

We ended up going on one lame ride {Condor ... caww, caww ... yes, the operator actually 'cawwed' as he started our ride} and one lame show.  The effects {3D} were awesome ... the storyline?  Still not sure what it was about!

Thanks so much Brigitte and Tiffany for including us in the fun ... here's to next year!

{OH! in case you're wondering what's up with my freaky smile ... i feel inclined to share that i'm working on a new smile that doesn't cause me to close my eyes so much ... therefore showing less wrinkles around my eyes ... i think i need to keep practicing!}  :)


update on lori

I can't thank you enough for the prayers yesterday.  I honestly know they got me through the day.  I did take my migraine meds and was headache and upset stomach free all day.

I would get hungry, but the best part about that is every time a hunger pang hit, I would pray for my dear friend.

This is Lori's latest entry in her journal:
Just wanted to let you all know that I received my latest MRI results this week. Not too much to tell except that they confirmed what Dr. Loehrer had found in the CT. The cancer has metastisized to the spine. In all honesty, it really threw me for a day or so as I guess I just thought it was in 2 spots, the one we radiated last summer and this new spot. But the scan showed it's all over the spine and has moved into the bone. We really need to pray! I know you are all probably thinking, "WE ARE!" It's just that I don't know what else to do. Anyway, I am doing better now and feeling like, with God's strength, I can handle this.One good thing is that this time, the cancer is not in the spinal canal like it was this summer, so there is no risk of paralysis. Also, after meeting with my Radiation Oncologist this week, he told me he was very surprised to see that the tumor this summer showed a "slight decrease". I didn't think that sounded too great, but he said he expected, at best, to find that it had just not grown, but the fact that it shrunk, even slightly, was very surprising. Of course, we all know that was the work of our Lord, so it's not surprising to us! So even in the midst of some really bad news, there are praise reports and evidence that God is hearing our prayers. I thank you all for continuing to cover us in prayer. This is so much bigger than us, there is no way out except that God move on our behalf. Your prayers are so very important. Thank you.  With Love...

{if you have a moment, and feel so inclined ... please stop by Lori's website and leave a comment}


sneak peek

I took photos of the Short family while we were up at the lake.  Here are a couple I've quickly played with ...


I am fasting today for my dear friend Lori Dyskstra.  I don't know the extent, but I know she hasn't received good news about the spread of her cancer.

If you read this and have any relationship with God ... please.  please pray for Lori.  Please pray for her pain to go away, and most importantly, please pray for her complete healing.

I know, without a shadow of doubt that my Lord can heal her.  What I don't know, is if he will heal her.  And that in itself is a struggle too big for me to explain.

Please also pray for strength for myself as I go about my day.  I am taking an anti-migraine medication that upsets a stomach if it doesn't have food in it.  I'm struggling with not taking the medication ... at the risk of a migraine.  Or taking it ... at the risk of an icky stomach.

Lots of prayers are needed today ...



I couldn't resist ... here are the originals.

done! {hallelujah}

I am done weeding through the wedding photos!!  Woo-hoo!  I have 720 saved and will start editing them soon.  As I was going through, there were quite a few that I knew couldn't be saved {bad lighting, blurred, etc.} ... and then there were a few that had to be saved.  I'd pull them out of the bunch and give it my best shot.  Here are a couple of those shots ... and then one of Kris and I ...


I don't want to be a big whiner about the million {written in a dramatic, whiney tone ... maybe for effect, add an eye-roll} things I have to do, because I know we all have a 'million' things we need to accomplish.  But for some reason, I can't get my act together and get them done!

I need to get a blog post written for work, but am feeling completely uninspired and wiped.  I want to get to the wedding photos {update: i've only got 263 left to go through, then i can start editing}.  I want to get to the Short family's photos {which i shot while we were up at the lake}.  I need & want to finish the bible study for tomorrow.  And then a variety of other need to's ...

But what am I doing instead?  Procrastinating.

I'm a master at that ...

And besides all that, I know that you all need to hear about my day with Hunter.  :)

After we dropped the girls at school and a quick trip to the grocery store this morning, we headed to Mayfair to pick out some stuff for the new addition.  Then a trip to Hunter's favorite store ... no, not Build-A-Bear ... Stride Rite!  This girl loves shoes.  She spends hours {well, not hours} trying on all her sisters shoes.

She was SO adorable sitting with the sales lady telling her all about what she liked and didn't like in a shoe.  She was also careful to point out her new 'socks' {tights}.

Curt got her up from her nap this afternoon and played with her a bit {the girls are staying late at school today}, so I hadn't seen her ... she just comes up to the office and has a new outfit on.  I asked where her other pretty dress was and she informed me she 'peed' on it.  But was proudly sportin' a new 'pwetty dress' ... complete with new 'socks' and her new shoes!

I've said it before, but I love this baby!  And P.S. ... bear with me, I think I'll be calling her 'baby' for many years to come!



The kids had off school Friday and Monday for long fall break.  So we took some friends and headed to the lake.

Yesterday was rainy most of the day, but we still managed to do some fishing on the dock in the morning and take a hike to the cabin for a little hot chocolate snack yesterday afternoon.

Today we're off for some canoeing, although dragging a bit.  The ladies were up way too late {1:30 am!!!} and we're paying today.

The kids are having so much fun ... Piper's best friend Julia is here, and they're basically in heaven.

{oh! and i've made it down to 910 photos ... and i'm finally at the end of the ceremony ... yay me!}


things are a changin'

For some reason today was a stressful one.  I can't even put my finger on why exactly.  Well ... I guess I could try {if you're interested} ...

I've pretty much lost my voice.  I feel pretty okay, little sore throat, but not a raging cold or anything {knock on wood}.  And today, for some reason, I've had the worst headaches that I've had in quite a few days {could be because I thought they were gone for good?}.

And I also think my thoughts are just in a million places.  {1,700 photos; packing for the lake tomorrow; work; bible study; another bible study; the barn (that's another post) and I don't know ... life?}  :)

Amy emailed and said she saw me while driving and I looked like something was wrong, so she was just checking on me.  I had to laugh and let her know that was just my 'thinking' look.  Since then, I'm catching myself with a very furrowed brow!

Okay, so anyway ... I forgot Curt had a board meeting and dinner tonight, and I was kinda planning on him taking the girls to cheer class and I'd stay home with Hunter and get the girls packed.

That didn't happen.  I also forgot Piper had daisies after school.  So ... picked up Wynter and Taylor from school.  Then drove to daycare to get Hunter.  Home for just a bit before we had to leave again.  In that time, got some things together and as we're getting ready to go out the door, I hear the strangest tinkling sound.  Kind of like water hitting the floor.  Or maybe is it pee?

Water?  Ha!  Wishful thinking.  It's pee ... quickly run and change Hunter, this time putting a diaper on her.  {and as I'm typing this, I'm realizing ... said pee never got cleaned up!}  Grab Hunter and Wynt and get them in the car.  Drive through McDonalds, get to school to pick up Piper ... serve them dinner in the car on the way to cheer.

Drop them at cheer, come home with Hunter to start packing them for tomorrow.  Beg Taylor to watch Hunter for me while I pick the other two up from cheer.

When I pick them up, Piper decides she wants her haircut.  I'm an advocate of that, and she was SO excited at the prospect ... and of course, I have plenty of time to do it ... sure, why not?

We get home just before bedtime, I quickly wash her hair, cut it, dry it, straighten it.  Talk Wynter into keeping her hair long.  Give medicine to all.  Of course, take a few photos of Piper.  Get pj's on, etc., etc. ... when finally my knight in shining armor {I mean a shiny business suit} comes walking in the door.  He talks me into letting him put them to sleep ... um yeah, like I fought him real hard on that one!

I get myself packed and then what do I do?  Run to my office to tell you all about it!  :)

Do you love Piper's hair?  Seriously, she couldn't be happier ... for now!



Most of you know that I took photos at my friend's wedding on Saturday.  I can't tell you how blessed I felt to be there on her special day.  I will share more about it in a different post {when I can post some of the 1,700 photos I'm trying to sift through ... talk about overwhelming!}.

In fact, Curt's taking the girls a bath right now so that I can sort through them ... and what am I doing instead?  Procrastinating by writing a blog post!  :)

Okay, so after I get home from the wedding Saturday night, I rip into the gifts Kris gave me.  Ana was astonished that I wasn't the one getting married, but I got gifts!

Are you laughing?  Cuz Taylor & Ana couldn't stop.  This is Kris and I, circa ... maybe ... 1981??  You know ... classic middle school where you needed to dress the same {or was that just us?}.  Trisha and I had a lot of the same clothes, so Kris and I would make Trish give them to Kris so we could match.  And then this awesome 'putting-an-ornament-on-the-tree' pose really seals the deal, doesn't it?

Seriously though, the photo and frame {still friends after all these years}, meant the world to me.  {I request that you click the image to enlarge and get the full effect!}

And then yes ... here we have the rainbow and the unicorn.  Kris and I had quite the collection.  Right down to our bedding!  She said she found this and had to get it for me ... and in classic BFF style, she got one for herself too.

Thank you Kris!


it's not tuesday ...

But I got to spend the day with Hunter anyway.  Last Friday during her swimming lesson {an instructor picks her up from daycare, walks her to the pool, and drops her off when done}, her right ear started bleeding bright red blood.

The instructor called, so Curt picked her up and took her to the pediatrician right away.   The doc said she had an infection, but all else looked okay {and the bleeding had stopped by then}.

As I mentioned previously, Curt had the girls up north for the weekend ... on Saturday, he called to tell me her ear started bleeding again.  And then yesterday when they got home, she told me her ear hurt and that it was her left one.  Well ... she didn't tell me it was her left one, but that was the one she pointed to.  And then she was poking at it all night long.

I called her ENT specialist this morning on my way to work and left a message {so long that I got cut off and hadn't even left my phone number yet, so had to call back again!  crazy moms!!}.

As life would have it, I was half way to work {9:00} when they called and told me they could squeeze her in at 9:45.  I called Curt, but he was on his way to a meeting.  So I turned around and went to get her from daycare.

She was SO excited to see me ... sweet little thing ... bouncing up and down with joy!

We high-tailed it to the doctor ... ran in the door at 9:55 ... not bad timing, if I do say so myself!  Turns out all is okay.  They did a thorough examination and Hunter was a sweetie throughout ... letting them poke and prod and examine.  The tubes are pushing out a little, but nothing of concern.  Could just be the natural progression of them.  She's got an ear infection, and redness and such.  The bleeding was just the infection pushing through.

So we just need to continue with the drops her pediatrician gave us.  And the left ear she told me was hurting?  All clear!  Not sure what that was about.

Anyway, Curt met us for lunch ... we had such a fun time with that little one.  I know I'm totally biased and all ... but I just can't tell you enough how precious she is.  And in true Hunter style, once we got to lunch she downed a glass of "apple. juiwce."

She fell asleep in the car and I couldn't resist a couple photos when we pulled in the drive.  I love, love, love those little baby-curled-up-sleeping fists.  And when I brought her in the house and changed her from "undiewears" to a diaper, I told her I'd put her music on {LOUD construction = new naptime routine that includes music}, and she whispers {half-asleep}, "and. rub. my. back. too? mommy?"

I'm so in love with this little girl ...



If the first person you run into after a bad haircut, is a very brave friend that makes chemo look easy ... don't complain!

Um, yeah ... telling you this from experience!  :(

wedding of a lifetime

I'll post more photos and I've got quite the story to tell too ... but wanted to put this one up as a sneak peek.

a little love ...

I photographed a friend's wedding yesterday, and since I would be busy all day ... Curt took the girls up to the lake for the weekend.

He picked the girls up after school on Friday and left right away for the lake.  When I came back to the house Friday afternoon, I found this ...

He loves me?  He love me not?  He loves me ...

{sigh ...}


a wynter jett original

This is one of Wynter's stream-of-conscious originals ... which happens to be one. very. long. chorus.

{disclaimer:  the lyrics get a little risque for a 4 year old, but i'm chalking that up to listening to too many of "tay-tay's" songs}