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My First Attempt at Senior Portraits

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A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I would take senior portraits of her daughter. I’ve never taken senior portraits before, but I was up for the challenge. Luckily, my friend’s daughter has a great personality and made things easy for me.

I started out extremely nervous, but ended up having a great time. It was a good learning experience.  The best part was the text that I received after the shoot was over.



Nothing feels better than knowing something you did made someone happy.











“We Will Always Love Each Other as Family.”

On Monday night, Ethan and I had a very serious talk about school and grades. My son has always made good grades. All a’s and b’s so far in high school. But this last semester he struggled a bit with hard classes and he felt like I was being negative, not giving him credit for how well he has done overall in school. Voices were raised, feelings were hurt, tears were shed.

After the conversation was over, my daughter walked into the room and handed her brother a piece of paper.

What she wrote brought me to tears because it was so lovely and everything I hope my children will be to each other in life (Kind, sympathetic, understanding, encouraging, supportive.) It was extra special because those two argue like crazy. But I know at their core and in the depths of their hearts, there is nothing but love. At the moment I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than knowing that my children love and care for one another when it matters the most.



(I have Gabriella’s permission to post this. She wants others to see “how families can love each other.” She’s the best.)

She is Rich

I often wonder how my job loss has affected my daughter. She’s had to give up things that she loves (like gymnastics) because there just isn’t any money. I feel like a failure and wonder if she’s upset with me for having put our family in this position.

And then today I found this paper in her homework folder. My fears have been put to rest and I no longer have to wonder.

She believes she is rich because she has a family.


I Got to Play a Wedding Photographer For a Day and I Have The Scars On My Feet to Prove It

In 2009, my aunt Heidi passed away unexpectedly.

She was the age that I am as I type this.   Forty two.

She had many health problems, but no one expected her to pass away the day that she did. It was a horribly sad day for everyone who loved her.

I loved her so very much and her death devastated me.

She was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. I know that sounds cliche, but how many women do you know who got SHOT IN THE HEAD and survived?  My aunt did.

I knew she loved me dearly. I also knew that if I screwed up in school or got out of line, she would kick my ass. And I LOVED her for it. She made me feel special, she made me feel loved, she made me feel valuable. And, OH how she made me laugh.

I miss her so much. 

My aunt had one child. A beautiful daughter named Mallory.  That little girl was everything to my aunt.

That little girl is now 27 years old. She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent young woman who has chosen to spend her life teaching children. I have no doubts my aunt would be incredibly proud of her baby girl. I know our entire family is.

On March 10th, my cousin got married.  My mom, my sister and I flew out to Texas to be there for the wedding. I was honored to not only be invited to the wedding, but to be asked to photograph it.

Photographing a wedding is hard work. But I feel truly blessed to have been able to do this for my cousin.

(Here are just a few of my favorites.)

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Happy 21st Birthday to the Son Who Made Me a Mother



March 3, 1993 you made your entrance into our lives. I always tell people you were a perfect baby and it’s the truth in every way. You were calm, you were cuddly, you slept well, you didn’t fuss much and you made each day special and worth getting up for. 21 years later– the same is true.


You have grown into a responsible, selfless, kind, hilarious (if sometimes annoying and YOU KNOW WHY I say that.) young man. I genuinely enjoy the person you have become.


My wish for you today is that you do not waste your youth. You are living the best days of your life right now. Learn, grow, better yourself every opportunity you get, never let fear stop you from doing something, have fun with your friends, make memories, drink responsibly, respect women, and whatever you do, DO NOT make me a grandma for at least another 5 years.


It’s been a pleasure to raise you, my son.


I love you. 

p.s. You can legally buy alcohol now.

p.p.s Stella Rosa Orange Mascato is my favorite.

p.p.p.s The BevMo on 19th st. is open now.

DIY Photo Canvas That Is Easy Enough for Me (the Person Who Ruins Every Craft) to Make!

We moved into our new home in July. I had money saved to do some decorating (new accent furniture, pretty new things to hang on the wall, etc) but I lost my job just a few weeks after moving in, so that money went to pay bills instead.

(Real Life is FUN!)

Looking at the blanks walls can be a bit of a downer.  This house is lovely and I do love it so, however, I’d love to be able to buy things to make it look like our home.  Yesterday, I decided to try a project I’ve seen on Pinterest to add a little bit of joy to the walls in our bathroom. The project looked simple (and inexpensive!) enough to try.

I had two fun, adorable “bath shots” of Little G made into 11×14 prints (I did them at Costco, only $2.99 for an 11×14)

The only materials needed besides the prints were 2 blank canvases (I purchased black ones so  I wouldn’t have to paint them), Mod Podge and a paint brush. That was it!


You can find the instructions that I used HERE. Basically, you put Mod Podge on the canvas, you then place the photo on top, get rid of any air bubbles and put a coat or two of Mod Podge on top of the print. If you have a white canvas, you may want to paint the edges black (again, see the instructions on the link I posted above) but since I used a black canvas, I didn’t have to do that step. I may try that next time to see if I like the painted edges better.

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The only issue I have is the lines from the dried Mod Podge. I wish I had been more careful to make sure they were a bit neater (if that makes sense?) but other than that, I absolutely LOVE the way they turned out and can’t wait to make some more for other rooms in the house.

It’s totally possible I’m going to turn into one of those “Decorate Your House on a Super Tight Budget” people.  Prepare yourselves.

The Letter That Melted My (Bitter) Heart

I’ve been down for the past few days. And I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself.  Last week was rough for many reasons. And to add to the frustration, on Wednesday I injured my knee pretty badly. I’m currently unable to walk without crutches (or jumping/limping around the house) and on a variety of medications/pain killers. The doctor said it will be at least 4-6 weeks before I can even think about working out again. 

I feel defeated and I can’t seem to find Joy in the days.

Last night  I limped into my daughter’s room to put something away. I noticed an open envelope sitting on her dresser. I opened it up and what I found inside made me cry.



Also inside was a beautiful photo she had drawn and money from her piggy bank.

I am proud of my daughter for her thoughtfulness and I am grateful to have raised a little person with a big heart, who desires to help others. 

I’ve been too focused on self, on my own problems and no good ever comes from living that way. I think it’s time to snap out of my selfish pity party and follow my daughter’s example.

I plan to add some of my own money and mail the letter tomorrow.