hola amigos!

I am blessed.  Let me count the ways ... :)

I pray every morning.  This morning I was sitting outside before the sun had risen, but you could see the pinkish horizon at the edge of the water ... beautiful!  I'm sitting there saying my prayers and I always start by thanking God for what he's done for me ... and let me just say that this morning was one huge thank-fest!

The last couple of days have been amazing.  Friday was spent at our beach just hanging out for the day playing with the kids.  We had our own private parasail that everyone took turns going on.  We had jet skis and a catamaran.

Curt had ordered a slew of kids activities, so there were little kid-sized tents set up with pottery painting, carnival games, a face painter, hair braiders and a little runway for the girls to have a fashion show on.

Thanksgiving night was spent outside at the most gorgeous Thanksgiving table I've ever had the pleasure to eat at.  We had deep-fried turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, beef tenderloin ... the list goes on and it was all delicious!

These are photos of some of the details ... our own water bottles with my logo, the goodie bags Curt had waiting for everyone, my huge birthday sign, the sketch of the girls, and a water bottle with the weekend's itinerary.

These are photos of Thanksgiving day.  Our house host had a birthday surprise for me too!  He had little baby sea turtles for all the kids {and a few extras}, for everyone to let go into the ocean ... it was incredible!!  The kids loved it!

Other photos include a group on the catamaran, Piper posing on the catwalk, Hunter as a bunny, and the girls playing on the beach.

Yesterday, we drove into Cancun where we took an hour or so catamaran ride to Isla Mujeres.  We stopped for snorkeling along the way.  Wynter had just tossed her cookies, so she didn't go out, but Piper loved it!  We saw a lot of colorful fish and a school of barracuda ... oooooo, barracuda {thank you Heart}.

After snorkeling, we docked at the island and hopped in the water with a shark for a photo op, before heading to a pre-packed lunch ... yummy!

After lunch we got back on the catamaran and sailed back into Cancun.  Ahhhhh ....

Last night, we had a beach bbq {I can't wait to share photos!!}, it was spectacular!  The beach was beautiful ... I couldn't even begin to describe it.  And dinner ... let's just say after this vacation, it's back on Nutrisystem for me!  {But worth it!}

After dinner, we watched the video montage again ... I wish you all could see it!  Followed by fireworks ... oh! I forgot to mention, the first night here we had fireworks too.  I love fireworks!

Then the kids watched 'Return to Neverland' on plasma tv's set up on the beach ... complete with popcorn!  While they were doing that, we had a limbo contest {it was silent limbo, so the kids could keep watching the movie}.  Taylor won, and I came in second ... I still got it! {But am paying for it this morning!}

After a bonfire, we got the girls to bed and tucked ourselves in too.

Today will find us playing on the beach again.  And this afternoon, Curt's arranged for a petting zoo to come to the house for the kids.  He has thought of absolutely everything.

Tonight we'll go to Puerto Morelos for dinner and tomorrow we head home.  Head home smiling ...


i was wrong ...

My husband can surprise me ... big!  I absolutely don't know where to begin ... but will try.

So Sunday is my 40th {birthday, that is}.  We had started talking a while ago about doing something for the big four-O.  I thought a trip with friends would be fun.  As we get into this year, I start asking and saying we should make plans.

At the same time, I'm getting letters from my nephew {in the Army} saying, "I'm really going to try to be home for Thanksgiving Auntie."

So I start asking {read, grilling} Curt about my birthday and if we had plans and if not, we really should start making them.  He's verbal throw-up man in terms of trying to keep a surprise ... so of course, he spilled it 'all' and told me that he'd already made plans.  He'd rented a house in Mexico and some friends were coming, along with my family.  He also went into detail about who couldn't make it and why.

So there, the cat was out of the bag.

That is until yesterday.  As I packed, I thought of a relaxing vacation with friends and family.  Lounging around doing nothing but eating salsa & chips.

We waited til the kids were out of school and flew separately from the rest of our friends and family, so were later getting in.  As we drove up to the house, I could see 'something' was going on.  I saw a tent and people milling about.  Wasn't sure it would be for me, but also wondered if something was up.

As we walked into the house and out back ... these huge sparkler shooter things went off and there were my friends and family taking photos and yelling happy birthday!

It was the hugest, most magnificent birthday party set up that I've ever seen!  Well ... at least that I've seen for me.

I started crying and soaking it all in.  There were colored lights everywhere, plasma tv's everywhere, a cake in the pool with lights and flowers, a logo!, little sitting tables, food ... and my friends and family surrounding me!

I quickly realized I was underdressed, so after my hellos and tears, went upstairs to change into the oneish nice outfit I brought.  My mom came up and helped me get my trainwreck dressed {that's how we roll} children into something presentable for a party.

My husband had goodie bags on everyone's beds ... everyone's!  With beach towels, flipflops.  He had a special birthday shirt made for me and the girls with my bday logo.  There was even an itinerary for the weekend.  Can you believe that?  An itinerary in my honor!

We went back outside to music, food, fun!  After a while it was time for dinner, so we headed to the beach ... yes, the beach right outside our house.  It was so amazing.

I wish I had photos to post.  Know the best part?  There was a photographer and videographer documenting everything!  I'm finally going to be in pictures!  :)

The dinner was a buffet of stations with anything you could imagine.  Sofas and little tables.  Flowers.  Music.  Beautiful lighting.  The waves crashing.  There were little kids tables set up for the girls.  Amazing.  Absolutely amazing.

I love my husband so much.

After the cake cutting and happy birthday song ... Curt presented me with a gift.  A gift I've always dreamed of and is bringing tears to my eyes as I write this.  He had it covered and slowly unveiled a framed pencil drawing of our girls.  If that wasn't gift enough ... he explained to me that this was a sketch of a sculpture he's commissioned of our children.  The plaque at the bottom reads:

Happy 40th Tracie
"our adventurous girls" 2008

It has them pointing at some creature on the ground and laughing.  Curt's thought is to put it at a pond on our property that the girls love to go explore.  I'm thinking I may try to talk him into putting it outside my bedroom window so I can enjoy it every morning.

Okay, back to the evening.  So we're sitting again eating cake and dessert when things slow down a bit.  Curt gets up and gives me the most wonderful toast.  For loving him.  For standing by him {in the last few rough years we had}.  And how much he loves me.  Sigh ....

And then ... the surprise video montage.  If this is any indication of how incredible it was ... I was sobbing.  He had my friends and family video taped saying awesomely sweet things about me.  He had photos I don't think I remember seeing before.  Photos of the kids.  Video from our wedding.  Amazing ... I can't wait to watch it again.

After the video, there were fire dancers on the beach.  Baby Hunter thoroughly enjoyed them!  She was rolling her hands around {think 'wheels on the bus'} and wiggling to the beat ... precious!!

After that on a different area of our beach were pillows and mats laid out next to a huge bonfire for s'mores and relaxing.

Curt thought of every possible detail.  I never expected it in a million years ... I was surprised!

I can't wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store.  It's an awesome itinerary with amazing things planned.  One of the best parts?  We'll have the photographer and videographer document the whole weekend!  Is that heaven or what?

I'll be taking some photos too and will share when I can.

OH!  and I almost forgot ... Curt even brought my favorite caterer and friend, Marija {from Gracious Events} to help out!

Happy Birthday to me ... :)


more prayers needed

I'm so incredibly late posting this.  Do you remember this prayer request?  Well, Steph now has a Caring Bridge site and it would be great if you could visit, read her story, say a prayer and maybe even leave her a little note of encouragement.  I know the Lord will bless you if you do!  :)

exuma mama's


I had the most amazing time with these ladies.  We did absolutely nothing but relax, soak up the sun, laugh, karaoke, eat and ... laugh!

I'll have more photos coming at a later date, but just wanted to say a quick thank you to this awesome group of women ... thank you, thank you for loving me and being my friend!


cookie exchange

I've never been to a cookie exchange before, and now I know why.  Seriously?  10 dozen cookies?!?  120 cookies?  Crazy!

Plus, the cookies we brought needed to be 'freezable' and that seemed to limit my choices even further.  How the heck do I know what's freezable?

I wanted to make a recipe my mom used to make when I was young, all I remember was sneaking into the garage {where we kept the cookies so they stayed refrigerated}, to sneak these yummy cherry chip bars.

Anyway, my mom found the recipe ... called for cherry chips and a cherry chip cake mix.  Neither of which is on the market anymore.  Although, my mom did find the cake mix available at amazon.com.  Only problem is I needed to make them now!

Online I went and found a recipe for Magic Cookie Bars.  Easy enough!  And instead of using a 9x13 pan, like the recipe called for ... I used a cookie sheet and doubled the recipe.  A couple hours later, I was good to go.

Pulled out a favor from my 'secret weapon' {Nellie} and got a pretty recipe design.  Printed, cut and attached to a take out container ... very Martha Stewart if I do say so myself!

Next year, I'm only going for the wine ... no cookies from me!


discount on canon equipment

Just in case any of the ladies from Me Ra's workshop has found my blog and is reading this post, I thought I'd put this out there ...

Design Aglow has an awesome deal for it's readers and you can find out more here.

early birthday for me

So I had a pretty horrible night last night. Just so much going on with Taylor and other decisions I'm being faced with right now.

I had a cookie party to go to last night {more on that later}, and when I got there I pretty much broke down into a puddle of tears. Amy was so sweet to listen to me, hold me and pray with me. Brigitte too ...

And then Amy asks, "Do you want your birthday present?" Um, she may not know me well enough yet ... cuz seriously? you never have to ask me if I want a present! :)

She happened to have it living in her car and excitedly ran out to get it. In case I need to explain ... it's a quilt. Made up of squares from all the girls and one from Curt. Handprints, love, footprints, hearts, drawings and sweet beginner's writing. I love it and will treasure it forever.

Thank you ... from the bottom of my heart Amy ...


me ra koh photography workshop

I had the most unbelievable time in Chicago this past weekend.  Unbelievable.  I learned many, many things.  About photography and about myself.  Me Ra and her husband Brian are undoubtedly the most down-to-earth people I've ever met.  They are one of the nation's premier photographers and yet, they sat and had pizza and discussed their personal lives and gave us so much strength and advice.

For me, not only was it a step further in my photography 'career' ... it was a step further in learning about life.

I also learned I'm not quite the dork {read freak} I thought I was.  I emailed Heather early Saturday morning to pray for me, as I was quite nervous.  Nervous I would be a nervous dork and not make friends.  Nervous my photography and knowledge wouldn't stand up to the others.  Just nervous.

I took the 6:43 am train to Chicago, dropped my bag at the hotel, made a pit stop at starbucks and then headed to the workshop, that began at 9:00.  I walked in nervous, but immediately {well, not completely immediately}, but within minutes, felt completely at ease.  What a wonderful group of women!  I mean, completely wonderful.  Some professional, some amateurs and some in the same boat I am.

Kelli, who's pregnant with twin boys greeted me almost immediately.  Debbi, Gretchen ... I really felt at ease.  And loved learning I'm not a dork!!  :)

Remember the line from Dirty Dancing where Baby first learns about the secret dancing party?  And Johnny asks, "what's she doing here?"  She replies, "I carried the watermelon."  And then walks away sort of yelling at herself, "I carried the watermelon?" ... brilliant move Baby.  Remember that?  Classic!  That's classic me ... I'm often walking away from a conversation thinking, "really? brilliant move einstein!"  {read freak!}


So, this is me with Brian and Me Ra.  I absolutely can't wait to attend another workshop with them.  They are so gracious, forgiving and knowledgeable.  Not to mention what a cute couple they are!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to them both.

We had a photo shoot arranged on Saturday.  There were four babies situated around the room with their moms and/or dads.  The lighting was absolutely horrible!  There were 20 other women we needed to work around and it was well ... really pretty stressful!

Then we find out Me Ra wants us to pick two of our favorite images and submit them for a critique the next day.  Say what?!?

Okay, so here's another lesson I learned.  Less is more.  Say it slowly ... less is more.  I took over 400 photos that afternoon {in about an hours time}, but many, many of the images were a rushed anxiety to get the right shot.  I really need to be more thoughtful in setting up my subjects, shot, lighting.

If I had done that, I wouldn't have had 400+ photos to sift through to find two that I loved.  It was also hard wondering what they would love.

So here are the two I went with:

Me Ra was completely gracious in her responses to me ... to everyone really.  When she saw this next photo, she turned to me and said in her super sweet voice, "Tracie ... this is beautiful."  I don't think I'll ever forget that.  :)

She said the same to many others {granted, there was a lot of talent in that room!}, but that comment and her connotation will carry me forever.

And these two photos were my follow-up choices.  I didn't submit them, but I loved them.  I didn't choose this one of the baby, because we're often warned in photography to watch out for a tree growing out of someone's head behind you.  We lots of times think, "oh! go stand by that pretty tree."  But what we don't realize is that the final product is often a tree coming out of someone's head.

So in this shot, baby Kira {who I almost stole!!} has her mommy's straps coming out of her chin!  :)

And I still love this shot.

What an awesome experience ... Once again, I'm reminded just how blessed I really am.  I feel so thankful to have been able to attend this weekend.  Me Ra wrote more about it here.


so close ...

I'm so close to being done with Kris's beautiful wedding photos.  I can't wait to share more!

happy {belated} birthday trisha!

So I totally missed singing my favorite lil' sis her birthday song this year.  I'm so sorry Trish ... here goes ...

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear TrishA, happy birthday to YOU!  May you live a hundred years.  May you drink a hundred beers.  Get plAstered, you bAAAd girl ... happy birthday to you!

Trish and I are both the same age right now.  Cool, huh?

{and a happy early birthday to my mom!}



I'm sitting in Starbucks in Chicago waiting for my workshop start time to draw near.  I took the early train down and don't want to be a complete dork by getting to the workshop early.

I had an awesome prayer session in the car this morning {on my way to the train station}.  It again, hit me ... in the midst of the stress I have been completely overwhelmed with lately ... I have forgotten to pray.

I know my Lord can calm me.  I know he can give me peace in the midst of my storm.  I don't know why, in my times of over-the-top stress ... I forget to give it to Him.

Maybe, just maybe ... he keeps putting me in over-the-top stressful situations until I learn that I need to give it to him.  Hmmm ... I'm going to let that one soak in.


that's why they're free!

So this was only, what? ... my fourth{ish} shoot.  OMWord, I think this family will agree with me when I say it was challenging!  A very rambunctious {but adorable}, two year old boy.  A 13 year old dog.  Bad lighting.  And basically, pandemonium all the way around.

I talked to the family this morning and said, "that's why they're free!"  We were able to laugh about it.  I assured them I got a few good shots, and here's a sampling.

Okay, actually not this first one.  This first one makes me laugh ... the dog is sitting there happy to pose away for me, while the family has craziness going on in the background.  I just kept shooting away, satisfied that I had one cooperative participant.  :)

I'll work on the rest of your photos Tiff and let you know when they're ready.  Enjoy!


get'chur gap on ...

Not sure how many of you read my bwp blog ... but I feel this needs repeating ...


"princesses don't use nukies ..."

That's what Piper said to Hunter as they were laying in bed with me Sunday morning {I think it was Sunday}.

They were both up about 5:30 that morning, so I snuck them into bed with me before Wynter woke up and saw they were gone.  I forgot to grab a nukie for Hunter and asked her if she could go to sleep without one {yes, I was trying for another half hour of shut-eye!}.  She said, "no."

Ever so seriously, Piper looked at her and said, "princesses don't use nukies."  Hunter {oooo, I love her} says, "I not princess.  I bebe."

And off I went to get a nukie ...

Last Friday the girls had off of school, so we went to Mayfair for some shopping and a visit to Build-a-Bear.  As they were picking out their outfits, it brought back so many memories of Taylor loving that store so much.  We have a basement full of built stuffed animals!



I'm sitting in my new office.  SO exciting I can't begin to tell you ... well, maybe I can try.  :)

Although, I am so sad to go into our old office.  I guess now it's Curt's office.  We've shared an office for the past 8ish years.  It looks so incredibly empty.  It sort of puts a pit in my stomach when I go up there.  No more just turning around and telling him what's on my mind, or running over and sitting in his lap to be silly.  :(

Upside?  No more fighting over the temperature {he likes it cold, I like it hot}.

I've been going insane with this construction.  It was all moving along so well, until Friday.  We were supposed to move in on Friday.  And we did move in on Friday, only the space wasn't finished.  Still isn't.  I had off of work on Monday, and today I had my mom take Hunter for me so I could work on things.

Okay, I literally just sighed the hugest sigh ... I'm not even going to go into it ... just put it behind me.

Tonight is the first night the girls are in their new beds ... they are too, too excited.  Poor baby Huntie, though, we had to trick her into thinking the girls are still in her room with her.  The bunk beds they're in are too dangerous for the baby {steep ladder}, so she'll be in the nursery for a while longer.  Maybe til high school?  :)

I posted this on the bwp blog today.  I'll be slowing posting here too.  At least I should.  It's amazing to me how many times throughout the day something will happen and I'll immediately think I should blog about it.  So, who knows ...

But I do know that I need to slow down.  Unpack the boxes surrounding me.  Lift the weight on top of me.  Clear the stress inside of me.

Blessings to you all ... I'll be back soon ...


happy birthday amy!

We had a surprise party for our friend Amy tonight.  And she was surprised.  I love that.  And I love that we were able to spend some of her special day together.

I think birthday's are awesome.  Not necessarily the aging process {yuck}, but just the fact that you have a special day dedicated just to you.  I never understand when people think it's 'just another day.'

It's the perfect day to count your blessings, be thankful for friends and loved ones around you and frankly {as Tiffany put it so well} ... "feel the love!"

Thank you Amy {and Ryan for helping us pull it off} for being a special you and letting us give you love to feel.  Happy Birthday Friend!
And I couldn't resist including this great shot of our two princesses!



Children make us crazy ... I'm convinced of it. Why else would I ...

-hide band-aids and tape?
-sing the ABC's in the shower
-pretend to eat plastic food
-scream the word "because!"
-let a child eat ice-cream for breakfast just so I have time to check my email
-call my husband "Daddio"
-take a 3 minute shower and feel clean
-ever-EVER say...'don't wipe, let me do it'

I read this here this morning and had to share!


portion control

Look what I found!!!  It's all about portion right?  Is it bad to eat 6 servings at a time?



And now for the negative post.  I'm gonna start with last week.  Curt was gone Monday thru Thursday and for some reason it threw me a little off course.

I'm feeling super behind at work.  I had taken the previous Friday off to go on a field trip with Wynter, but because of the weather, it was canceled.  The girls only had a half day that day, so it didn't make sense to go in to work anyway.  Then Monday, Hunter had an early morning ear doc appointment at Children's, and again, by the time I got her back to Racine, it didn't make sense to go to work.

Tuesday's I'm off with Hunter.  And Wednesday, they rescheduled Wynter's field trip.  With Curt gone, my mom gone and me working ... Wynt wouldn't have anyone go to the pumpkin farm with her.  I was tempted to send Taylor along with her.  You know, since Taylor isn't enjoying school so much anyway right now.

I really struggled with going in to work or going on Wynter's field trip.  It should've been a no-brainer, but it wasn't that easy for me.  The field trip won, when the realization that in life's big picture, missing one more day of work wouldn't matter.  I was able to go on the field trip and then headed to work for a lunch meeting and some quick mail opening before I needed to leave to pick them up from school.

OH! but here's the great part ... I drop the girls at school at 8:30 and the field trip doesn't leave til 9:00.  I was going to drive Wynt down and then have her take the bus back to school, while I left right for work.  So after I drop them off and get them settled in their classes, I head back to the car to do some work {okay, okay ... catalog shopping}.  I turn on the ignition part way so that I can listen to the radio.  9:00 rolls around and I get out to go to the classroom to get Wynt and get back in the car.  I turn on the ignition and nothing.  Well, actually ... some random noise, but not the roar of the engine noise I was looking for.  Dead.  Battery ... dead.

I am so blessed to be able to call someone to have a car brought down to the pumpkin farm.  I drag my feet all the way to the bus and climb aboard.  I am not a fan of the bus.  They are bumpy.  Smelly.  And cause my motion sickness to kick into high gear.

We finally got to the pumpkin farm and it was a great time.  Curt's car was delivered and I was able to get to Milwaukee with 15 minutes to spare.

A few other things from last week ... I got stung on my foot by a hornet.  Or wasp?  It's still itchy and you can see where it stung me.  Ouch!

Another fun fact ... well, let me give you the subject line I sent to the ladies at work on Thursday morning:  "Forgot to bring the baby to school, I'll be in late."  Yeah.  Good times.

And Friday ended with me needing to let someone go from the store.  My absolutely favorite thing to do.  I'm awesome at it too.  My hands shake.  My voice shakes.  My throat is dry.  I say very unnecessary things {the term 'beating a dead horse deader' comes to mind}.  Yeah.  It was awesome.

I started out Monday having to let two more people go.  It's really for the good of the store and needed to happen, but OMGoodness, I'd just like a break.

This past weekend was pretty horrible for Taylor.  I am at a complete loss as to what I should do for her.  Mama bear wants to take the pain away, take her out of there {school} and protect her forever.  Common sense tells me, she needs to learn people will be mean her whole life and she needs to learn to overcome it.  Does anyone have an answer for me?  We sure could use some prayers.

We went to look at a different school today.  She'd go in a heartbeat if I gave her the okay.  I'm not there yet though.  It's in Kenosha and I think it would completely cause a coronary in our family.  Again, please pray.

Curt's gone again this week.  Back a day this weekend, and then gone again for a few more days. My stress level seems high.  At one point tonight, I'm sitting on the stairs holding a screaming kid {that'd be Wynter who missed a step and fell down them}, while trying to explain to another kid, how to tell an even number from an odd number.  Can I just ask ... is it purely a memorization thing, or is there a rule for even/odd numbers?  And while I'm asking ... does someone want to help with homework this week?  :)

It's late.  I'm tired.  My carpal tunnel is at an all-time high in the pain factor.  I must go.

time with hunter

Last Tuesday, Hunter and I visited the Milwaukee Public Museum for our Tuesday adventure.  The museum is featuring the Titanic exhibit and I was curious to see it.  We were given boarding passes with a passengers name and then at the end of the exhibit, you could check the passenger list to see if you survived or not.

Huntie was a little. bit. cranky at the end of the exhibit, so I was never able to check.  But we had our photos taken, and they laminated it on the boarding pass.  I'm a sucker for cheesy memorabilia like that.  In the photo, you can see Hunter proudly displaying her boarding pass.

She was anxious to move on to the butterfly exhibit and see the dinosaurs, so we left and toured the rest of the museum before we headed home.  I have such a fun time with her.

And for today's field trip, we met Heather and EJ at the Children's Museum for a little playtime.  Aren't they cute??

wynter's birthday {continued ...}

Just a wrap-up on Wynter's birthday.  She broke out her new #5 shirt for the day {kind of a tradition for the girls, thank you chasing fireflies!}.  She was insistent on a giant cookie and popcorn as her class treat.  And being the great mom that I am, I didn't dare try to talk her into homemade cupcakes or anything extravagant like that!  :)  But popcorn?  I'm still not sure where that came from.

So after a quick stop at the grocery store for her bday treat, we made our way into her classroom.  The teachers immediately started working on her birthday crown.  It so happens  {who knew?} that her getting-to-be a good friend, Audrey's birthday is on the same day.  Fun!

After school, we headed to the bookstore for a while, and then to Wynter's all-time favorite eatery ... Noodle's & Company.  That girl can down a bowl of mac & cheese like nobody's business!


happy number five!

Oooo-weee, this has been the day of all days! And I don't mean that in a good way, but I'll save the negativity for another post. :)

This post is dedicated to my newly aged five year old ... Wynter Jett Johnson!

I took some photos of her in bed with me this morning watching TV {and added some of the day she was born}. She's always been our 'early bird.' She was up about 5:30, and I loved telling her the story of, "just five years ago, I was on my way to the hospital to have you born." Her eyes got all wide and she loved hearing it.

I went into the hospital for induction early on November 3, 2003. I can't remember my original due date. The 10th comes to mind. But I begged the doctor to 'take me early,' as I was having horrible, horrible back pain. I think if you're a pain in the butt with your doctor, they want to get your off their roster and will do pretty much anything to let you have your baby.

Wynt was born with the cord around her neck and not breathing. They quickly got the cord off and she started breathing, but they wouldn't give her to me right away. When they gave her back she was white, and ... well ... not too pretty. I loved her anyway. And love her even more today.

So this is my baby girl Wynter. She's fun. She's got a tactile kinda love. She's clumsy. When she cries, the red stork bites on her face get redder. And I think she's Piper's best friend {for now ...}.

Happy Birthday sweet Wynter.


happy halloween {late}

Me and my girls.
Dad {praying mantis ... with scary voice box thingy and all}.
Girls trick-or-treating.
A baby who suddenly "get's it!"
We had an incredible Halloween.  Started with the girls costume parade at school.  Hunter and I dressed up too.  Everyone went nuts for the candy corn costumes {thank you curt for being in charge of costumes this year ... totally paid off!}.

Then I went into work with my costume on.  It was hilarious!  I was knocking things over all over the place, but everyone loved it.  They even put an apron on me ...

When we got home from work/school, we quickly got ready to go over to Piper's friend Anabelle's house.  The kids were too excited!

Curt was hilarious in his praying mantis costume.  Seriously, he enjoys it more than the kids do.  He loves to scare the other kids, although someone tore a wing off of him.

Huntie got so into the candy.  Is it possible to love someone to death?  This baby fills me so full of joy.  I wish I could remember some of the things she was saying.  She'd sit in the wagon with her candy bucket between her legs.  At one point she snuck a sucker, and the look on her face of pure sweetness ... ahhhhhhhhh.

The night was beautiful.  It slowly turned dark and I'm pulling our baby in the wagon as she's making her way through pretty much her entire bucket of candy.  And I'm just feeling totally at peace.  My family all around me.  My praying mantis ... my candy corn.  I am blessed.

{misting again ...}

And this is the last post of the day.  Obviously, I'm super behind and there are still things I want to write about.  Wynter's field trip.  My day with Hunter.  And my dear friend Marta.

But for now, I must get my butt into the shower and prepare for Wynter's birthday party.

OH!  You can see more photos from the day here.

new logo

Okay, so ... I was signing up for an online photography source.  To have prints made, albums, upload photos and such and I needed to have a studio name.  I thought and thought, wanted something clever ... maybe to honor God {blessed photography?}, maybe to honor my kids {4 girls photography?} ... and ended up honoring myself {tsj photography}.

So there I have it.  A studio name.

Then came the thought ... doesn't a studio name deserve a logo?  Yes.  I'm pretty sure the answer was yes.  So I pulled out a favor from Nellie and got a logo!!  A real logo.  Do you like it?

Say yes ...

my kid & her bff {part two}

Taken July 3, 1997

my kid & her bff

Taylor and Ana have been friends since ... well ... since they were two years old.  In fact, I'm going to hunt for one of the photos I have of them as toddlers.

They went to the same preschool together.  Ana was a little older and did all of Taylor's talking for her.  She knew what Taylor wanted and made sure everything was taken care of for her.  {why am I misting up?!}

And, because she was older got moved to another class when she turned three.  That left Taylor behind to fend for herself and she actually had a hard time with it.

Sidenote:  My little Taylor was basically bald until she was well into her two-year-old life.  Ana on the other hand, had a full head of hair, and she used to wear the cutest little sprout on the top of her head.  Taylor would beg and beg for 'Ana Becker hair' ... I did the best I could with what little she had.  But she was happy.

Taylor and Ana ended up going to the same school together when they started Kindergarten {she hadn't seen Ana in a couple of years by that point}.  When I saw they would be going to the same school, I asked that they be in separate classes, as I wanted Taylor to make her own way and not hide behind Ana.

They started Kindergarten and were in different classes ... but the inevitable happened and they became inseparable.  And honestly, I couldn't be happier.

{misting up again ...}

Sure, they've had their ups and downs.  But these two, I believe have a bond.  They understand each other.  They 'get' each other.  Their crazy together and aren't afraid to show it.  They don't care what others think.  Well, they do ... but not because their being ridiculously silly.

They're having a hard time right now.  With something called 'relational aggression' ... that's a fancy word for bullying.  I'm not sure why, but for some reason there are a group of kids that are not being too kind to these crazy girls of mine.  It makes me so sad.

It makes them sad too.  We're doing all we can to support them and keep them going strong.  But some days, it's pretty hard.

Why can't the world be a kinder place?

details, details ...

Kris, just in case you're checking in ...

You've waited so patiently, I thought this would be a good {upcoming} one month anniversary gift.  These are some of the details of your special day ... I hope it's enough to tide you over until all the photos are done.  Shouldn't be much longer ... :)