can't wait

sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself. - author unknown

i have a secret longing for the middle of nowhere. and even starting over, hence the military life and i getting along so well. and i can't wait to get back to this space.  this space (almost) in the the middle of nowhere.

in tampa, we don't camp in the summer (99 degrees with 99% humidity is rather miserable); we camp in the winter. and i ache for all that camping has to offer...

bonding as a family. away from the noise. solitude. freedom. the sounds of nature. fresh air. the smell of the woods. no obligations. no deadlines. nightly campfires. s'mores. hiking. bike riding. geo-caching. hammock resting. football throwing. book reading. wildlife. exploring. imagination and creative play. embracing dirty. overall rejuvenation. cherished time together. simple days. the memories.

these were taken back in march, on one of our camping adventures and i can't wait to get back to doing this. soon!!

yep... i can't wait. p.s. kiele was out of town during this trip.

working together

she said she usually cried at least once a daynot because she was sad but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short. - storypeople

over the weekend, steve and sky built a ladder together. a ladder so my kids and the  boys behind us can climb freely over our backyard fence.  when steve and sky were working on our neighbor's side of the ladder, the boys helped too. and it all makes my heart so happy.  and well...i'll just leave it at that. the end.


what _____ looks like | month fourteen

a bit different than my typical monthly post because this past month was  just that -- a bit different.  it was a month largely filled with dealing with a negligent roof job, city roof inspections, hiring an attorney, hiring a formal roof inspection (who found 143 issues with our roof), dealing with roofer's insurance and ours, and applying to an HGTV show (we made it to the next casting round and should find out if we're going to be on their new show in a couple weeks). ETA:  i just heard from HGTV and we've made it to the NEXT round. our video has been forwarded from the casting team to the network. so we're now waiting to hear if the network approves our family to be on the show, which could "take a while" (per the casting team).  holding onto every bit of hope i have to hold onto!!

but, in celebrating having a roof over our heads (even if it's a shitty, leaky one) and the comfort, love, warmth and charm of our home, this month i share... what my house looks like.

the front of our 1927, 1600 square foot house

living room

kids' messy bedrooms

our bedroom, which has endured a bulk of the interior damage from our negligent, leaky roof .  :-(

office, which is a little cubby area on the side of our bedroom

dining area, with cut-out view of kitchen

galley-style kitchen

spare bathroom, which steve did an awesome job completely redoing this past year





i've also been working a lot on our annual family book this past month, so i also share... what our 2012 family book looks like.

the full book spread ( larger image HERE)

and a few of my favorite single pages and page-spreads from the book...

front cover

back cover

opening page


if interested, you an see 2011's book layout here and 2010's here

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this 'what ____ looks like' monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with christy williams | sarasota, florida photographer.


what _____ looks like | month thirteen

a month of settling back at home after a very busy summer (most of it spent away), awesome friends visiting, a trip to crystal springs and LOTS of time spent in the water.  here's what august looked like... back with kiele.

hanging out at honeymoon island.

payton and the mermaid barbie she found rescued from the water.

kayaking and swimming at three sisters spring -- where the water is a constant 72 degrees and the manatees like to hang out in the winter.

the whole gang.

the security guard at our hotel, who has lived in the area his entire life, told us that three sisters spring was named that because three sisters had died there.  he shared that it was shut down for quite a while. so when editing the photo below of my friend, it kind of creeped me out to see three hands in the image (heather's plus two reflections of each hand).  but of course, it also made me love the image that much more.

twister with friends.

at our hotel.

jumping into the river, where we saw five manatee swim by.

celebrating jen's birthday.

lake time.

swimming at home.

playing in the street puddles.

me, shooting in the rain, in the street [taken by jen].

shooting in the smelly bay with jen & the littles [more photos from here coming soon].

and of course, the first day of school [taken after school].

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this 'what ____ looks like' monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with leah zawadzki | orange county family photographer.

what _____ looks like | month twelve

hard to believe i've been sharing these monthly posts for a full year now. although technically, this is really post eleven since i didn't share last month. BUT i think i had a pretty good excuse, being in tanzania and all -- and  i think i made up for it with my RIDETZ posts. :-) july was an exciting month for us, filled with lots of traveling: san diego, CA carson city, NV tahoe, NV san francisco, CA vegas, NV (an unplanned stay & ER visit) battle lake, MN.

we spent less than a week at home in july, which was perfectly fine by me.

what our july looked like begins at camp oma's in NEVADA...

with the cousins

my animal lover

izzy and her walking stick, on our hike

at the top

and back down again

the 1989 van

hands off

sky & great grandma mary

guitar practice


TAHOE lake stop

our hotel in SAN FRANCISCO

cool paintings that filled the walls of an entire alley way

overnight at alpana's

sick at the airport causing an unexpected two-day layover stay in vegas, NEVADA

back home in TAMPA & boating with our besties

a week family vacation in MINNESOTA with martha & her family. new friends...

sometimes, but not often, cheering up was necessary

with daddy

at our cabin, which we didn't spend much time at all (thanks to martha & her fabulous family :-) )

photo shoot of ellie & sky (shooting with and styled by martha)

cabin break

paint by number

soul sisters

lots of swimming in the lake and some super fun time shooting in the water.  a separate post on that coming soon.

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with stephanie moore | tucson family photographer.

and with that, i say good day and...

what _____ looks like | month ten

wow! hard to believe that it's been 10 months that i've been working on this monthly project.  beyond grateful to those who invited me to participate. without further ado, THIS is a bit of what our may looked like...

a san diego business trip, shooting portrait clients and an editorial

two of my most favorite people in the world

joey's last photo :-(

me...right before dropping my camera and smashing this lens

a gymnastics meet

hearing for the FIRST TIME, while in the water

lots of swimming

a star student

favorite color: green favorite book: hop on pop favorite movie: avengers favorite sport: soccer when i grow up, i want to be: a zoo keeper i'm special because: i am nice favorite food: popcorn i have a pet: 2 pets -- a fish and a dog the person i most admire is: my mom and dad my favorite school subject: math

a brave little girl, who got seven shots, 6 scrapings and a mole biopsy

and a bunch of everyday life, which so often revolves around our living room.

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] -- starting with stephanie moore | tucson family photographer.


what ____ looks like | month seven

where has february gone?  it seems to have just flown by.  but i guess, really, every month seems to feel that way.  here's a bit of what our everyday-kind-of-days in february looks looked like... as with every month, four trips to the horse farm / petting zoo.  always a new friend or two. and many old friends.

the new barn kitten had an eye infection, but my kids loved all over him anyways. and a rat got loose but didn't go far from his hairless friend.

fighting for attention.

falling off the new horse.

and bravely getting right back on.

barn windows.

the reptile room -- one of his favorites.

tire swing at the farm.

his new walking path.



the aviary.

my boy.

dirty feet -- more often than not.

boat ride with friends.

seeing dolphin along the way.

our almost-private island.

heading home.

hands off!

a visit with jen.

and shooting with jen.

one minute up | the next minute upside-down.

sky and ryder with my camera.


few quick photos during our shoot.

balancing act.

trip to the state fair.

building the snail a home of shells.

which ended with the boy yelling in the girl's ear and the girl giving a throat punch.

after gymnastics.

portraits with my new lens.

chicken, for the school 'moosical'.

his first speaking line -- "but others are boiled and made into chicken soup...buccbuuuuuuk."

the gift she made her best friend, using the separation of cool and warm colors.


there’s a circle of 12 photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… chubby cheek photography | child photographer.

what ____ looks like | month five

i'm a bit short on words with this post because we just returned from our nevada vacation. we arrived home on the 31st, picked up charley and headed right back out -- to our friend's house for a new year's eve celebration together.  we spent the night, returning to our house yesterday afternoon.  then it was unpacking, grocery shopping, working on the yard, mail opening, uploading and editing photos, etc. so much to do but i'm ready for things to get back to normal. i'm also ready to get my butt back into shape (ugh!). so... here’s a bit of what 10 days, with family in nevada, looks like...

putting the finishing touches on oma and opa's really tall christmas tree, with the help of uncle joe.

opa sharing photo memories on the laptop, from last summer's visit (all the cousins stayed at oma and opa's together, for three weeks).

dogs, dogs and more dogs. my kids so love them.

there's also lots of games. uncle dan helping ryder with the polar bear puzzle.

ryder and daddy playing battleship together.

and cousins working on the 1000-piece puzzle.

skyler decided she wanted to climb the house's rock wall.

and then the other rock wall.

and finally the rock walls in one of the casinos in reno.

along with walking a tight rope.

ryder played lots of soccer with his uncles.

and with the dogs. sometimes we had to put izzy back in the house because she would actually stop the ball.

skyler finding a new way to sit on the kitchen chairs.

the cousins (minus one) -- ages 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 and 14. kiele spent most of the vacation at her dad's in CA; she joined us on the 28th.

having fun with tires.

our elf found a new friend mixed in with oma's christmas ornaments. even though oma's elf wasn't "real", sky sat him with our elf, joy.

always so much food at oma and opa's. there's something sitting out at all times of the day. and lots of eating, i did.

oma reading the littles 'twas the night before christmas' right before bed, christmas eve.

more tomorrow. :-))

there’s a group of 12 of us participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… stephanie moore | tucson senior photographer.

what ____ looks like | month three

october was a tad bit really crazy. it brought my 42nd birthday, new plumbing for our whole house, the complete demo of a bathroom, the start of the bathroom renovation and a husband leaving for three weeks to afghanistan. in celebrating the chaos, here's a bit of what our everyday amongst the chaos looks like...

kid mess. not related to renovation mess.

"tribal markings", courtesy of kiele. notice the little chest hairs. he had armpit hair too.

ryder's new trick, which he won't stop doing.

charley love.

always asking to help with chores. well not always, but a lot of times.

location scouting.

playing on the front yard swing.

meeting more new friends on the farm, during kiele's riding lessons.

star tattoos and giggles.

half of the time, i find her upside down somewhere.

and some iphone [instagram] photos from this month...

where you'll find the little ones and i, every tuesday and thursday. where's skyler and ryder?

a few of my birthday surprises.  can't even begin to tell you how much i love the art my kids create for me [thank you kim!!].

in the middle of the bathroom demo.

skyler: "hey mom, this looks like your hair".

i just love her knees. even more when they're dirty.

and here's to november and celebrating all that's to come.

there's a group of 12 of us participating in this monthly project.  i hope you'll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up is the awesome stephanie moore | tucson senior photographer.

in my spare time

...i've been working on my family's annual book. anyone who's read my blog over the past couple years, probably already knows how much i adore and treasure my family books. they grace our credenza right as you walk in the door and i get chills each and every time i look through one of the books.  last night, i found the  kids looking through them -- laughing and giggling as they turned the pages. i've been doing an annual book ever since i started photography [2006].  i always joke that if there's a fire and my family is all safe, my books are next to be saved from the flames. but i'm serious.

i started working on the book a bit earlier than usual, so i'm not rushing to get it done the end of november.  i give the books to grandparents for christmas every year and need to make sure i allow time for printing and shipping. this year my book is called life passes so fast, with an accompanying closing quote on the last page.  sigh!

while i'm sure the book will be tweaked many times between now and the end of november, this is how it's looking so far...

you can see a larger version HERE.

a bit about my book-making process: i design the book from scratch [no template]. 11x13 landscape format. hard cover and premium matte paper. use booksmart via blurb. every year is different (e.g. here's last year's layout). include favorite photos from the year. quotes to go with some of the photos. words | thoughts about each child. every book is unique. and so very special.

in closing... i beg you to get your digital files off your computer and printed. on your walls. in a book. somewhere. anywhere.

i'll be sharing another project i've been working on in a few days. just a couple more things to get done first.

what ____ looks like | month two

since i was traveling (shooting in san diego and chicago) the first two weeks of september, here's what 12 days in september looks like... hanging out at the (closed) golf course.

new bikes.

purging and the birth of a growing goodwill pile.

TV trance.

the build-a-bear bed that charley loves to sleep in (even though he's way too big for it).

more new friends at the horse farm.

goofing around (until someone usually gets hurt).

a few of her drawing spaces.

the joy of handmade cards.

his bottom bunk and hanging animal friends.

her taped american flag. and the surprise gifts she leaves me, which i love so much (even if his eye keeps falling off).

fun at a friend's birthday party.

if you're not familiar with the project, here's the initial post with a bit of an explanation.  there's a total of 12 of us participating in "what _____ looks like". i hope you’ll now head on over to stephanie's blog to see what she shared this month — stephanie moore | tucson family photographer. and if you're playing along with us or have your own monthly project, please share your link in a comment.  i'd love to follow your project too.  :-))

ETA: i just got out of the shower and this is how i found the littles, watching TV, of course. couldn't help but add it to my 'what 12 days in september looks like'.