Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The secret to happiness...

"The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible.  There is no abstract and impersonal proof either that strawberries are good or that they are not good.  To the man who likes them they are good, to the man who dislikes them they are not.  But the man who likes them has a pleasure which the other does not have; to that extent his life is more enjoyable and he is better adapted to the world in which both must live....The more things a man is interested in, the more opportunities of happiness he has."  -Betrand Russell (found in THE GOD WHO WEEPS by Terryl Givens)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas morning 2014

Christmas felt very magical this year.
There wasn't any talk of Santa or American Girl dolls so I was worried some of the childlike wonder would be minimized.  Surprisingly-I think we all felt that it may have been our most favorite Christmas yet.  The girls knew a few of their gifts ahead of Christmas morning and were thrilled with their surprises!  I was thrilled with the music going on Christmas morning with their new instruments!

 ...a guitar

a lap harp...

....a dulcimer

And waking up to a white Christmas was like icing on the cake.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve-2014

a festive art pieces from Kate & Sophie
a few special deliveries
 Nana invited the girls to Build a Bear again this year!
They LOVE finding new treasures their with cousins each Christmas!
...a little bit of exploring downtown before we went home
for a dinner of clam chowder, crab legs, salad and HaagenDaas sundaes!


Friday, December 5, 2014

state report [check]

This 5th grader of mine is finally finding her stride.
She is confidant.
She is now completing her work in class.
She is happy to go to school each day.
She is even finding time to practice...really efficient practice!

Earlier this year we were in a bit of turmoil.
She was bringing home reports of 7-12 missing assignments a week.
That would be concerning if she wasn't working at home...BUT it was TROUBLING because she WAS working at home---a lot.  Like 2 to 3 1/2 hours a night.
It is one thing to work that hard if it is getting you somewhere---but when you are working THAT hard and feel like your sinking it is not a good scenario for a 10 year old.  Her desk, and school cubicle was a disaster...disorganization is an understatement!  There was no time to be a kid...and she was STRESSED OUT!

Through email, phone calls with patient teachers, a parent teacher conference and a helpful principal big changes have been made.  It was arranged that whatever Kate finished in class is what she turned unfinished work would be sent home.  She would complete 30 minutes of homework a night + 30 minutes of reading, unless she had a special project (i.e.; State Report, book report, etc...).  Through those earlier communications with the faculty at school, her teachers especially, she realized that although she had previously read them as callous and indifferent, she now knows that they care about her and want her to succeed.

There is a fine line between being your child's advocate and being an enabler.  I was worried that had a completely pulled Kate out of the situation...she would have lost the opportunity to solve the problem, communicate and struggle through.  As we pulled up to the school today and she handed me her reading minutes to sign, I realized that this 10 year old is getting it all figured out.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


These two were in DESPERATE need of hair cuts.  When they left Brianne's chair last night they found their reflections on any smooth surface...they played with the ends...and were SO excited about the "drastic" change!  They couldn't wait to get to school to see the reaction on their friends' faces!  :)

Friday, November 21, 2014

time to get up

I wish she loved this cozy spot when I say "time for bed" as much as she does every morning---

"just a little longer" she pleads every morning...
"it's too cold" she complains as I gently tug on her covers
"5 more minutes" she begs

She takes after her Mom :)

It is Friday!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

fallen leaves

35mm f2.8 1/160 @ ISO 1250

It has been such a beautiful fall.  Will this really be covered in white tomorrow?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

lights poured out the windows

Danny and I jumped in the car one evening this past week.  We were welcoming home a friend who had been away on a mission.  We knew we wouldn't be long.  Dinner was almost ready.  Each of the girls had an was practicing music...another finishing dinner and another setting the table.  Nothing is perfect around our house but as we pulled out of the driveway, the sun was down and the lights from our home poured out of the windows.  Our daughters were inside- being crazy, silly, distracted but also really really really good.  Their goodness fills our home.  We both reflected on what it would have been like had we not had the privilege of being their parents.  They truly bring us so much joy.  Life isn't easy...and far from perfect.  We have challenges and trials...hard days but really really good days too.  We are grateful that we get to grow, work, try, fail, and triumph together.

A couple of Saturdays ago...the weather was GORGEOUS and fall was in the air.  I had a new lens to play with (the 50mm 1.2) and about 1 hour to spare (before we had to leave for the football game).  I asked the girls if I could take their pictures- we put outfits together in about 10 minutes.  As we were about to leave Danny was finishing up a day of working in the yard.  We grabbed a shirt for him and decided to all go to a hillside in our neighborhood.  This photo shoot was the most PAINLESS attempt at family photos- completely unplanned, I didn't even change, I didn't buy one article of clothing- and I don't think Danny had even showered.   As we got there we realized that my mother in law had just come for the game---so she even took some of all five of us.  They were the least planned and organized photos we have taken-but may be my very favorites.