Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mini-sessions are here!!!

After a very successful family marathon shoot

in the Bremmerton area last weekend,

I am excited to offer the same thing here

on the Everett side!

If you are a local family and want to take advantage of this,

please call soon.

With only 8 slots available, they will fill up quickly.

This is a fabulous deal at just a fraction of my online price list.

This promotion is my way of kicking off my local photography business

and introducing myself and my talent to the community.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This week the I Heart Faces photo contest
theme is "Silhouettes".
I had a few to pick from,
but went with this brilliant sunset
in Pensacola, Florida
as seen from my brother's backyard.
I know, huh?

Click on the logo below to visit

I Heart Faces Photography Blog

and take a look at some more

stunning silhouettes or enter your own!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Letter to My 13 Year Old Self......

As I watched my beautiful daughter Madison
turn 13 this week,
I couldn't help but spend some time thinking about
being 13 myself.
There are so many things that I wish I could
get through to my daughter,
so many things that wish I could make her understand.
But, she has to be 13.
She has to go through this awkward and confusing,
yet exciting and incredible time in her life in order
to get where she is supposed to be.
The wisdom she gets from the next five years
and the experiences she has will pave the path of her life
when she leaves our home.
Still, there are things that I want her to know
that I wish I had known at 13.
And so, I've written some of them down
from the perspective of what I would tell my 13 year old self.
Dear Becky,
I'm writing to you from the future, from years of experience,
from wisdom beyond what you can know right now.
I'm writing to tell you some things that I would love for you to really hear
with your heart and not just your ears.
First of all, let's just get to the point....
Don't spend too much time in front of the mirror worrying about
that smallish's coming, and then some!
Make excercise a priority so that it becomes a life long habit.
Do me a favor and eat as healthy as you can
through your teen years so that it won't be so hard to make healthy
choices later.
Don't bother with that year of softball,
it was just embarrassing.
Stick with soccer, it suits you much better.
Invest more time in your family than you do your friends.
They remain when all others move on.
Having said that, I must also say that friends are important.
Make sure that you open your heart to them and chose
friends who lift you up, not tear you down.
Don't kiss that boy behind the bleechers at the baseball field next Summer.
Hold out for your first kiss to happen in a far more romantic and memorable way.
And while we are on the subject, don't waste your time with so many frogs.
You will know when your prince arrives!
Pay attention in class, especially math class.
Even some things that seem insignifiant now, will be important later.
Don't be afraid to say what you want and go after it.
Own your talent, build on it and refine it
and don't be afraid to accept compliments with a simple
"Thank you" instead of downplaying everything you do!
Don't sell yourself short.
Try out! Submit that article! Join that team or club!
Who cares if you fail!
You know what your dream is,
so set yourself on the path to chase it now before other responsibilities
slow down your pursuit.
Be strong in your faith.
Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.
Save money....lot's of it.
Learn how to invest your money so it will grow.
Give your parents a break.
They love you and are doing the best they can.
You are their firstborn...and by all rights and purposes, the guinea pig.
They won't get it right everytime, but they have the best intentions toward you.
Wear sunsreen everyday.....your 39 year old skin will thank you!
Be secure in yourself.
Confidence is attractive and you have alot to be confident about.
Don't let your insecurities keep you from leading or speaking up
or going for something you want.
Don't worry about the future,
your skin clears up, you find a hairstyle that works for you,
you grow into your face, your braces come off,
you don't get any taller, but that is actually one of your endearing qualities,
you have a great relationship with your brothers,
you and your mom are very close,
your Dad is proud of you,
you have friends who love you,
your prince does come and sweeps you off of your feet,
you are a mommy four times over!

As parents we wish we could implant our own hindsight
into our kids, don't we?
Wouldn't it be great if they could listen and learn from our experience?
Sometimes they do, but their best lessons are learned on their own.
From their own failures and triumphs,
from their own broken hearts and happiest days,
from their own choices both good and bad
comes the wisdom that shapes their own lives.

And why would I ever want to take that away from them?
Oh, and Becky,
I almost forgot to tell you,
that decision you made on Monday, September 2, 1991
while sitting in your grandmother's living room
was the absolute right decision!
I knew I could trust you with the big stuff!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am "That Mom"

The other day Bren and Miss K
were playing at our house.
I heard them giggling in another room
and then Miss K showed up at my side with a
worried look on her face.
"Um, Brendell has drawn a mustache on her
face with a pen."
"She has?" my eyes grew wide with forced surprise.
"Yeah. I don't do that." Miss K replied.
"You don't?" I questioned rather sadly.
She raised her jaw and said firmly, "Nope."
I put down my dish towel and stooped down so I could
look right into Miss K's face for dramatic effect.
"Bren is becoming a pirate," I whistpered,
"and pirates need mustaches, right?"
Miss K's eyes started to dance.
Ever so quietly she peeped,
"Can I have one too?"
I stood back up and drummed my fingers on the counter.
"I don't know, Miss K. Would your mom be upset?"
She quickly shook her head.
"No. I don't think so." she said as convincingly as she could.
"Well, Ok then, let's see what we can do."
She ran off into the other room
and I heard her asking Bren to draw a mustache
above her pooched out lips.

It was conservative compared to Bren's drawn on
eye-patch and curly pirate hair that she penned onto her own forehead,
but it sparked imagination and was a temporary portal to 30 minutes
of "Arg, mateys!".

Over the last 17 years,
I have discovered that I am
"That Mom".
I am like Aunt Jodi on
John and Kate Plus Eight
giving out bubble gum
and letting kids play with playdough!
Breaking rules in exchange for smiles,
I'm quick to bring out the paint brushes and glitter
for creative rainy day projects.
If you send your kids to my house,
they might get a bit of washable marker on their hands.
I might feed them oreo cookies and milk
at 4:00 in the afternoon and
I will probably let them lick the mixer beaters
from the brownies I'm making.
I am That Mom.
The one that might not follow the rules exactly,
we'll have loads of fun!
Hey, I've got plenty of soap here too!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blurb Book Photo Contest

It's Monday and that means it's time to enter

the weekly I Heart Faces photo contest.

This is my absolute favorite photo of Bren.

This week's contest is for photos that will be included in

the Blurb Book for I Heart Faces.

We were asked to pick a favorite face.

Wish me luck and then go enter your own

by clicking on the logo above!

There is a category for both ameteurs

and professional photographers.

"I am submitting this photo into the Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I ♥ Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I ♥ Faces web sites."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Family Time......

So for Mother's Day this year

all I asked for was a day to be free to shoot my kids.

With my lens that is....

don't go getting any crazy ideas!

I wanted a day free of "Aw C'mon mom's",

pouting, screaming, fighting, glaring at the camera,

refusing to stand still and so forth.

What I got was a day full of family bonding

in the beautiful setting of

Deception Pass State Park.

I did get some great shots out of it,

but they came with plenty of

attitude and sneering at the lens.

A few refusals to smile and

several, "I won't stand next to him"


I even got some full moons

which I will spare you of!

Not that the perpetrator's booties aren't super cute,

but because I might need them for black mail later.

So my day full of Kodak moments

didn't go quite as smoothly as my pipe dream plans,

but my children are ever dedicated to

keeping it real,

and I can't blame them for that!

Perhaps I wouldn't know what to do

if I didn't have to beg and plead for four simultaneous smiles!

So, my children could have actually saved me from

utter euphoria resulting in sudden confusion

and then an onslaught of uncontrolled panic

over where my "real" children were

and who had replaced them with these

dream stepford like models!

So, thanks kids!

That could have been really bad!

We spent much longer at Deception Pass

and Rosario Beach during this trip

than the first one I had taken by myself

with the kids.

We wanted to show David all we had previously seen

and then explore even more with him.

It seems that everywhere we have lived

there is a scene like this.

Except for Georgia.

There is nothing like this anywhere in South Georgia,

but in the middle of a grey, rainy Pacific Northwest winter,

don't think for a minute that we wouldn't all trade this view for

sipping sweet tea and eating BBQ under the Spanish moss of the tall oak trees,

in the mild December temperatures.

This view here though, it is gorgeous!

Rhode Island had it's cliff walk

with similar rocks and cliffs meeting the Ocean.

California had it's tide pools teaming with life.

We love exploring places like this.

The Pacific Northwest is certainly beautiful!

I mean, Come on!

Just look at the green field dotted with little white flowers

and the backdrop of rocky cliffs

falling into the placid water below!

No matter how much you dislike rain,

you cannot deny the glorious payoff

when the skies clear and you can see

all of the treasures that have been hidden for so long!

I love this shot of everyone stopping for a minute

to rest and take in the view.

We walked to the middle of the Deception Pass bridge

and we continued to be amazed at the beauty that lay before us!

We were able to watch a bald eagle in flight
swooping down, wings spread, talons out,
trying over and over again to catch a fish
in the emerald waters below.

This is something that I had not yet seen close up until then.

It was just awesome!
Being the patriotic girl that I am
and wrapped up in the thrill of seeing our National Bird
and a symbol of liberty and justice for all,
it was all I could do to keep myself from bursting out in
"God Bless America" or "This Land is Your Land"
right then and there!
You will be happy to know that I did refrain,
partly to keep from being pushed over the side
by my kids
and partly because,
well, I just can't sing.
but I was singing on the inside!
And loudly too!

I'm also told that the Orca whales come to rub their bellies
on the rocks at Rosario Beach!
In some places, the rocks are silky smooth because
of the whale visitors and their tummy rubbing.
I can totally understand why.
It's a gorgeous place.
If I were a whale,
this is definitely where I would come
to rub my belly on the rocks.
As a matter of fact,
I had the slight urge to do so while we were there,
and I don't even have a dorsal fin!

Bren loves butter
and wants you all to know it.
I once told her that when I was a little girl
we'd pick butter cups and hold them under our chins.
If they glowed yellow,
then it meant that you loved butter.
She has never forgotten that
and now no butter cup flower escapes her experiment.

My boys, all three of them,
pushed their limits and went on unbeaten paths.
I, on the other hand,
along with my two scaredy cat girls,
pushed the limits of my telephoto lens
from the safety of the very,
very well beaten path for cowards and
scaredy cat girls.

Madison did venture farther than I thought she would,
but soon retreated to my side
where we held our breath watching our men
risk their lives for the right to say they went the farthest!

I call this portrait,
"Three smiles and a sneer".
"Gotcha mom, did you really think it would be that easy?!"

Something about this photo makes me smile.

I love the lighting and composition,

but something about David's expression

just does it for me.

He looks happy and content, doesn't he?

We got lots of "Ewwwwwwwwww's!!!" for this one.

Our kids don't know how lucky they are to have two parents

who are still affectionate with each other after 17 years!

Bren is such a fun little girl and she
enjoyed this day so much!
She was all giggles and smiles for the majority of the day.
Such great memories we are making for her of spending lots of days
running around with her older siblings.
Most likely, she'll be an "only child" at home
in just 6 or 7 short years from now.
Our older birds will leave the nest
before we are out of the Navy,
so only time will tell where God puts each of us geographically
over the next decade.
If I had my way,
I'd build one big compound in a town that we wouldn't have to transfer from
and we'd all be together forever and ever amen.
There I go pipe dreamin' again!
I'm so glad that Bren experiences the fullness of their love for her
right now while they are close enough to give it
to her in person.
She doesn't understand it now,
but these will be some of her most precious memories.

I can't believe that both of our boys

are almost as tall as their father!

Passing me up was nothing.

I feel like I blinked when they were eight and suddenly

I was looking up at them,

but to pass David's 6 feet 1 inches of pure studdliness

will be a milestone for sure!

Aw....a favorite of mine from the day.

I wish I could get someone to take a photo

of me and David sitting together on those rocks

while all four kids are chasing each other down the beach

or wrestling each other in a pile of arms and legs.

That would be a true portrait of our crazy life!

If we could get one or two of them crying while we are at it,

that would round the picture out nicely!

My little Madison is growing up so fast!

She'll be 13 the end of this month!

While she's always been an old soul and
more mature and serious for her age,
I just can't believe she's officially entering the teen years so quickly!

Bren's bucket is now filled with "wishing rocks".

These are black rocks with white stripes all the way around them.

She threw some wishes into the water,

but decided to take some wishes home with her

to save for later.

Three knights in light jackets

and a princess in jeans.
Love it!

And so goes my Mother's Day.
I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way.
Thanks kids for a great day full or laughter,
surprises, discovery and
the stuff memories are made of!!
Thanks David for making it all happen!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Idol Top Three

On American Idol this week,
we were treated to two songs from each of the top three.
One picked by the judges and one selected by themselves.
First of all,
I just have to ask,
Does anyone else think that the judges behavior tonight was embarrassing?
They behaved like silly middle schoolers
(believe me I know one when I see one!)
and they shamefully kept shifting the focus to themselves
with all kinds of ridiculous antics
during the time that they should have been offering constructive criticism
for a very critical week!
It just drove me bonkers!!
Ok, enough with the wrist slapping,
on with the show!

Danny Gokey:
Paula chose "Dance Little Sister" for him tonight.
I wish she would have chosen a more mainstream song.
This one did give him a chance to show his voice off,
but it may have been hard to get into for those who don't know this song.
I don't know why she didn't pick a Bryan Adams song for him!
David and I have been dying to hear something in the Bryan Adams
realm from Danny for weeks now!
Nevertheless, Danny did his thing.
He had fun, had great energy throughout the song
and I enjoyed the dance moves that seemed to annoy Kara so much.
Danny chose:
"You Are So Beautiful" for himself.
I'm not sure about the arrangement...
it seemed to lack a little bit of substance there in the middle,
but there is no denying Danny's vocals.
He has such an amazing connection with the songs he sings
and this came through in spades tonight!

Kris Allen:
Randy and Kara chose "Apologize" for Kris tonight.
I really loved it!
Even though it stuck closely to the original,
I think he sounded really great.
It would have been nice to have heard him put his own spin on this,
but I still think he did a great job with it.
For his second song
Kris chose "Heartless".
Oh my goodness!!!
This was really awesome!!
A brilliant move for tonight!
No doubt Kris is playing to win!
I thought it was raw and bold and definitely better than the original.
After that performance and after the transformation he's made
throughout this show,
I think it's easy to say that Kris is a star.
He's going to do very well after Idol,
but wouldn't it be absolutely amazing if he made it to the final 2?!

Adam Lambert:
Simon chose "One" for Adam tonight.
It was a very emotional performance from Adam
and he really worked those beautiful lyrics,
but I wasn't blown away.
It was just a'ight for me tonight.
Adam chose "Cryin'" for himself.
In true Adam form, he took this song to the highest registers,
but my ears are still ringing from it!
I think he got a bit screechy toward the middle.
It is undeniable that this boy can sing and
that his range is in another atmosphere.
He's a master at stage presence and delivering an incredible
performance, but I'm not too sure about
I'm not convinced that I could tolerate a whole CD of the type of full on,
in your face, heavy guitar, other gallaxy,
melt your face off music that
Adam would surely put out.
I could handle a ballad or two from him,
but even that is like watching a lion in a cage.
He's definitely insanely talented
and he deserves to win based on that,
but do I want him to?
Not so sure.

Going home tonight:
The safe choice is Kris,
but you know,
part of me is rooting
(louder and louder as the day goes on)
for the underdog to get his day.
I'd love to see a Danny/Kris
match up next week for the finale!
Something about the tortoise beating the hare
or the 1980 US hockey team defeating Russia
or David taking down Goliath,
just lifts the spirit.
Seeing the unexpected happen
seems to solidify our own impossible dreams.
So, I'm voting for the upset tonight!

How about you??

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I heart faces {Laughter}

This week's themed contest on the I heart faces blog is "Laughter".

Laughter is definitely something that we have plenty of

around here!

Whether bouncing off the walls of our home

or captured through my lens

laughter is one of my favorite emotions

and the life blood of a Navy wife and mom of teenagers.

As the brilliant, salty songwriter Jimmy Buffet says,

"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane!"

In honor of belly laughs everywhere,

here is my entry in the children's division.

My 12 year old daughter Madison,

caught breaking her normal arms crossed, eye rolling stance

and reveling in the joy of hilarity!

And my adult entry proves that nothing breaks generational gaps like
the comfort and familiarity of shared laughter.
Here is my grandmother and her three daughters,
one of which is my adorable mom,
enjoying a funny moment together.

If you would like to enter your photo in one of I Heart Faces

fabulous weekly contests,

just click on the logo above to go to their website.

You don't have to be a pro to enter!

Whoo-hooo! I won forth place in the "Adult Hat" contest last week

with the photo of my handsome husband!!

Click here to see!

Good luck everyone!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The List.

I know of alot of lists.

There are
Best Seller lists
Shopping lists
To-Do lists
Christmas lists
Bucket lists.
But I've been keeping a special list over the last 17 years.
My list is called:
The Words That Should Not Have To Come Out Of My Mouth list.

In honor of Mother's Day,
I thought I would share my list with you.

The Words That Should Not Have To Come Out Of My Mouth.

by Becca Cleary
1. Do not ollie your skateboard off of the roof.
2. Trash bags are not parachutes. Even if you stand on the second story deck
and the wind catches the bag and billows it out behind you,
it will not ease or stop your rapid descent to the ground.
3. Do not draw pretty pictures on the side of the van with a stick.
4. Do not attempt to double bounce your brother off of the trampoline by jumping from the second story deck.
5. Do not microwave play-dough.
6. Do not put more than two frogs in each of your pockets. Studies have shown
that cramming 7 or 8 frogs into each pocket and then running home to show mommy
your frog family will result in neither happy nor lively frogs.
7. Do not climb onto the roof just so you can excitedly wave "hi" to me through the skylight.
And please do not take your little brother with you when you do this.
8. Do not stand on your bunk bed and squirt water on your ceiling with a squirt gun so you can
write your initials in the softening plaster.
9. Do not pee on the tree in the front yard in broad daylight. There is a perfectly good tree
in the backyard behind our privacy fence.
10. Do not tie a rope to your bike and pull your brother around
on his skateboard or rollerblades or plastic snow sled disc.
11. Crayons are not food. Not even the red ones. Not even if they say Strawberry red
on them and smell yummy.
12. Do not flush any action figures even Aqua Man, down the toilet.
13. Do not flush any fruit larger than a grape down the toilet.
14. Do not practice your color blends by emptying four bottles of food coloring
into your bath water with you.
15. Do not be so proud of the new word you learned to spell that you write it
on every accessible surface of the house and van. I'm very happy that you can spell
"HOT", but lets keep it on the paper, OK?
16. Do not fill the soap dispenser in the dishwasher with Dawn. And then don't accidentally
do it again a few days later just because all of those bubbles were "so fun."
17. Do not put pop tarts into the VHS player.
18. Do not kiss all manner of fish that you catch in the pond before you throw them back.
I don't know what will grow on your lips, but it won't be pleasant.
19. Do not cover yourself from head to toe with permanent marker.
20. Do not tie things to the ceiling fan and then turn the ceiling fan on
so you can play "dodge the things flying from the ceiling fan blades".
21. Do not replace the tire in our tire swing with a skateboard deck so you can launch yourself
from the top of the fence across the yard and back again.
22. Do not unravel millions of yards of toilet paper just so you can make a pretty wedding gown.
23. Do not shave your eyebrows off.
24. Do not super glue any body part to any other body part or any one person to any other person. ever.
25. Do not fill your belly up with beans at dinner just so you can light your farts on fire with your friends later that night!

So there you have it Momma's!
25 actual sentences that should have never come out of my mouth,
but did!
This journey we call motherhood sure is a crazy ride, isn't it?
A crazy, exhilerating, humbling,
rewarding, smile making, heart pounding,
self sacrificing, lesson learning,
undeniably life changing gift of a ride!
But it is so worth it!

Every little kick felt in utero that spawns the unspeakable joy of anticipation,
every prayer whistpered over a sleeping infant,
every googly-eyed smile,
every frustrating day spent with a busy two year old,
every bouquet of colorful weeds or mud-pies served up with love,
every "hey, mom watch this" shouted from the playground,
every eye roll from a know it all teen,
every glance up at the stands from the field just to see if you saw that,
every rush of joy and pride in seeing your child shine,
every night spent in fervent prayer over something your child is facing
every triumph realized in secret and failure made in public
worth the ride.

So, to all the mom's out there riding this Mom-Coaster with me,
the ones who are just out of the starting gate,
ticking up their first hill,
the ones who are gliding through the middle bumps and twists
your hands raised high and the wind in your hair,
the ones screaming down a steep incline
gripping the handbar for dear life
or bracing yourself through a double loop
feeling those G's,
to the ones gliding through their final curves,
their cheeks still flushed from the rush of past inclines and drops,
Hang on, Sisters!
Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times.
Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened.
Keep your eyes toward the front
and most of all
enjoy this thrilling ride!!
Your car only crosses these same tracks once,
and girls, it's FAST!
Don't close your eyes so tightly
through the scary parts
that you miss
the "happy" in the ride.
And Pssst.....
Let me warn you,
do you see that huge hill right there in the middle?
The one whose summit you can barely see?
I'm told that that one is a doozie,
but the ride down....
Oh, I hear that it brings a level of joy
not experienced on any other part of the track.
I've got an interesting mix of excitement and fear
swimming around in my belly like so many butterflies over that one!
Happy Mother's Day to all of my fellow "Mom-Coaster" riders!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

American Idol top Four

Well, we are down to the top four now
in our journey to find the next American Idol.
This week was rock week, with Slash as the guest mentor.
Let's get down to it:
Adam: Whole Lotta Love
I knew this would be Adam's favorite week,
and I knew we'd see full-blown, rocked out
Adam this week.
What can I say?
He looked and sounded like a Pro!
We wouldn't have expected anything
less from him in this genre
and this late in the game.
Allison: Cry Baby
Hmmmmmm....not really loving it,
but I am digging on her hair
Adam's hair dresser did a great job on her!
She's amazing for a 17 year old, but something
wasn't clicking for me with her on this song.
Kris/ Danny Duet: Renegade
Dang! I was hoping this would rock.
The harmonies did, but there was not enough spark in the
individual vocals.
Valliant effort, but it fell just a bit short for me.
Kris: Come Together
I really liked this!
I thought he brought a nice groove to it.
He looked very comfortable and like
he was having a great time
with this performance.
Sadly, this may not be enough to save him
since his track record proves that
it will be either him or Allison leaving tonight.
Danny: Dream On!
Oh! My ears!!!
I had a knot in the pit of my stomach through the whole song
leading up to the scream.
That scream....epic fail in my book.
I do give him props for trying,
but the scream, the lighting,
everything about the ending of that song
was scary.
Sorry, Danny, I love ya,
but you gotta give me something to work with here.
Anything from Bryan Adams
or like Randy said, another vintage
Aerosmith song
would have been a much better fit for him.
Allison/Adam Duet: Slow Ride
Ok, now we're talking!
This rocked!!
This is my Dad's idol "dream team",
because both of these artists are his favorites this year.
I loved everything about it!
Their repore on stage with each other
was awesome!
There was definitely a mutual respect thing going on there
and it was fun to watch.
I think Adam definitely brought out the best in Allison
and she seemed very comfortable with this song.
I think Simon was right when he said that
Adam may have pulled Allison into the final three
with this performance.
Bottom two:
Kris and
(it hurts sooo much to say this!)
Going home:
What do you think???

Monday, May 4, 2009


I heard about this website though Twitter last month

and have been dying to enter one of their contests.

When I saw this weeks theme, I just had to find something

to put up.

Problem is, Bren has modeled some adorable hats in the last few seasons

and I had a really hard time picking just one!

It came down to a flip of a coin,

and this one won out!

So here is my entry for the kid's contest:

And here is my entry for the adult contest:

This is from a shoot I did with David right after he made Chief

and before his commissioning to Officer.

It was the first and only shoot I've ever done with just David.

I think I need to get him back in front of the camera soon!

If you want to enter your photo in this weeks contest,

just click on the above logo for the

i heart faces website!

Good luck!!!