Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let's Hear It For The Boys!

I Heart Faces is having another great contest this week.
The theme is
"Let's Hear It For The Boys!".
Being up to my ears in boys most of the time,
I could not resist an entry.

This curly-haired cutie was Bren's best friend
at Happy Apple Academy in Saint Marys, Ga.
His name is Daylor and he did some modeling for me
while we were there.
I just can't get over his curls!
Can you?
He is my entry in the kids category for this contest.
And for my adult entry.....

My oldest son, Zach.
I took this picture on his 17th birthday.
It's been a favorite of mine ever since.
I just love the glow in his eyes and the tilt of his head.
He's a handsome boy, that's for sure!
Go on over to I Heart Faces to see some more
fabulous photos of the men in our lives or to enter your own photo!!

Just click on the logo below.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pike Place Market

Every once in a while, David and I
try to get away for the day just to spend time together.
Now that the big kids are older and can take care of themselves
and Brendell, we are able to do this way more often
than in the past.

A few weeks ago, we decided to go to Pike Place Market
in downtown Seattle.
We had no plan, we just went to see what we could see.

The first shop that lured us past it's threshold
Oh my goodness! I am not a cheese girl,
but after tasting Beechers fresh curds,
I just might become one!
We also sampled "The World's Best Mac-n-Cheese".
One word....

Pike Place market is busseling with people
and filled with unique little shops and eateries.
It's just the kind of place I like to be on a sunny afternoon.

I was drawn to all of the street musicians on the day we went.
Some of them were quite good.

Their music added to the festive feel of the day.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it
and the crooners were rewarded handsomely
with over-flowing dollar jars.
A gift for a gift.

This group played outside of the first Starbucks.
Prime realestate for street performers
as that Starbucks is continually packed with tourists.

I wanted to buy their CD to use as party music
for our next BBQ.
It was so fun and bouncy.
Perfect for background music while entertaining a
bunch of friends.

Everytime we go to Pike Place,
we stop by this little shop.
The way they have their artisan oils displayed
is just so pretty and organic.

The produce at the market is always amazing
and you can find everything you need.
One day we plan to come down here and
search out ingredients for a creative dinner
and bring them home to cook.

The Confectional was calling our name
just as we were ready to leave.
We just couldn't resist sampling
these little cheesecakes.
They were divine!

After we shared the cheesecakes,
we took a walk through some downtown streets
and ended up at Pacific Place.
Loaded with shops and restaurants,
this mall was more than we were willing to take on
that day, so we walked back down the hill
toward the market.

I can't ever go to the market without
bringing home a big bouquet
of local flowers.
Aren't they gorgeous?
I love having fresh flowers in the house and
it's hard to beat the prices or freshness of these
market flower bouquets.
So, it seems Seattle is more than just grey skies, rain and McDreamy!
Who knew?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Saturday was opening day for
U-pick strawberries here at our local farm.

David, Brendell and I got up nice and early
to pick our share of my favorite berry.
Brendell was so excited to find unusual shapes.
I heard more "Look Mom's!!" in the hour we were there
than I have heard in a long time!

After living in Southern California for four years,
we have been spoiled when it comes to sweet strawberries!
Biringer Farm berries come pretty close though!

The annual Strawberry Festival in Marysville is
this coming weekend.
It is a four day event including a carnival,
craft booths, talent show, parade, and of course
plenty of delicious strawberries.

If you have been following my blog for a while,
you will remember last year's festival
which occured just a week after David deployed to the
middle east onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
My what a difference a year makes!

Marysville was an unfamiliar town full of strangers
last year, and we hardly knew where to go
to participate in the events of this festival.
Now this year, we are all looking forward to it so much
and David gets to experience it with us!

Biringer Farm in Arlington has over 22 acres
of strawberries to pick from.
We got two flats full picking from just
three or four rows!

Wondering what we did with all those berries?
After eating about a third of them like potato chips,
we sliced up the rest to use as topping for
strawberry shortcake,
waffles, pancakes,
and ice cream.

If you want to pick your own strawberries
or any other fruit in season,
just google "U-pick" and your state or county
and see what comes up!

Happy picking!!!

I heart faces... Sepia

I always enjoy photography forums and sites
where I can connect with other photographers
and "oooh and ahhhh" over their work.
I found I heart faces a few months ago
and as you know,
I like to enter their weekly contest if I have
a photo that I think applies well to their theme.
This week, it's Sepia toned photographs.
I am almost done wrapping up my marathon family
session edits and this little angel is among
my favorites of the day.
This is Mattie, my friend Jessica's little one.
She's such a sweet little girl
and I think this photo captures her cherubic qualities...
even without the wings!
Head on over to I heart Faces by clicking on the
icon. Enter your own photo or just
"oooh and ahhhh" like I do!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Weed Killer

Last Wednesday I stood in front of a group of new Navy wives
to present my section as part of the Compass program.

My section is called Local Insights and the purpose of it is to
encourage these new wives to get involved in their community.
My friend Melissa and I present this section together.
Melissa had the great idea to compare our lives
as navy spouses to that of a garden.
Our motto is "bloom where you are planted".
We have the cutest board where we have a big tree,
a sunshine, clouds and flowers
all representative of an aspect of our lives.
Melissa tells a story of her daughter bringing home from school
a painted pot with a marigold seed
tucked deep into the soil.
She brought it home in December.
Doubting that it would ever bloom off season,
Melissa and her daughter cared for it and
watered it every day until one day
they got a little sprout.
Surprisingly, the marigold grew to produce flowers
in less than ideal circumstances.
And so goes our theme.
I'm sure you can plainly see our analogy.
So there I stood, very convincingly telling these girls
that embracing the "bloom where you are planted"
motto for themselves will transform their
quality of life from merely surviving to thriving.
Sounds good, right?
Fast forward six days
and here I am sobbing at my computer desk
over so many thoughts swimming around in my head.
I wasn't blooming at all yesterday,
I was withering fast.
Weeds of doubt, longing, discontent and jealousy
were choking out any hope that
the flowers in my life would raise their colorful faces to the sun.
And so there I sat feeling sorry for myself.
Replaying over and over again how hard it is
to be on a separate coast from my family.
How much it stinks that my parents can't see
the daily happenings in my kid's lives.
How sad it is that their sporting events and
school events are attended by just David and I
and more often just me.
How frustrating it is that I have to uproot my business
every couple of years
and never really get a chance to live up to my potential.
I was allowing the slugs of "poor me" eat away at my fading leaves.
At times in my life it has been very difficult to maintain contentment.
This is one of them.
Yesterday it started with two little weeds of
"Gosh, I miss my family"
"Will I ever get this photography business off the ground?"
and those weeds grew into
"I have ruined my kids by moving so far away from family and
uprooting my kids in the middle of the school year four out of the last six years."
"I might as well just give up my dream of ever being a full time photographer
because it is just too hard to keep starting over!"
And then the weeds continued to choke out my blooms with,

"I didn't sign up to do this alone with an often deploying husband
and way too distant grandparents, uncles and cousins!"
Ug! I just hate attacks of the killer weeds!
I know in my heart that all of these are lies.
Sure we have it hard.
My kids don't get to benefit from having family around them.
I do have to hold this fort down alone much of the time.
They do have holes in their education.
I will have to postpone my ultimate dream of owning a real studio for at least
the next decade.
on the other hand,
God has put us here for a reason.
I really do believe that.
He knows where I am and why I am here
and he promised to handle this all for me.
He hasn't left me here alone.
He has definitely blessed me with an awesome
navy family of other spouses while I am here
in Washington.
During times like this, I cling to my life verse
and use it as my weed killer.
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
"For I know that the weeds are going to come and try to overtake you,
but I am the master gardener and I've got plenty of weed killer
ready for you. I won't let those weeds choke the life out of you.
You are going to be a beautiful fruitful garden one day.
I promise."
Well, it really doesn't say that....
but that's how I am applying it today.
Here is what it really says:
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.
Plans to give you a future and a hope."
So, even though I might feel like my family is being harmed
right now, and I feel like the weeds
are wrapping tightly around my roots,
God has a plan.
He promises to give me a future and a hope.

So, take that you stupid weeds!

I end my presentation with a list.
I wrote this list to remind myself of how thankful I will be one day
that we really did bloom where we were planted.
Here it is word for word from my presentation notes:

Having been a navy family for 17 years,
we have lived in all four corners of the United States.
We have moved 6 times and have been through 14 deployments.
Some may say that that seems like a fragmented life
full of longing for family and familiarity,
and in some ways, they would be right.
But when I look back,
I’m so blessed to know that we have good friends all over this country
and we’ve really lived in every place we’ve been stationed.
My kids have swam in both oceans of America's coasts
and the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
We’ve seen Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Mt. Rushmore.
We’ve been to Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam.

We’ve seen the stars on Hollywood Blvd
and have sipped sweet tea underneath the Spanish moss
in the thick Southern heat.
We've seen Mickey Mouse on both coasts.

We've cheered on the FSU seminoles in Tallahassee

and the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

We've wandered through old western ghost towns
and the historic streets of Saint Augustine.

We ate pizza at the oldest pizza parlor in NYC
and had beignets in New Orleans.

We've thrown snowballs in New England

and have held starfish from the tidepools in Southern California.

We’ve gone deep sea fishing ,
toured “old ironsides” (the USS Constitution)
and have ridden the fastest wooden roller coaster
on the west coast.
We've been to the geographical center of the United States

and high up on a ski lift in New Hampshire.

We’ve walked the freedom trail in Boston and the sandy beaches of Malibu.
We’ve visited countless museums, aquariums, gardens and state parks.
We’ve led full, vibrant lives
all because we decided that we were going to embrace
the best side of this Navy life.
I’m thankful that we made it a goal as a family
to visit as many points of interest in each of our duty stations
because our kids will be able to look back at all they were able to see and do
just because their dad was a sailor.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ferry Land

When you come to the Pacific Northwest,
one thing you must do is ride a ferry.
Ferries are a way of life here.
They are a common way of getting from here
to there and they offer
a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

David has been taking one to work everyday
while the ship is in the yards in Bremmerton.
His ferry ride is an hour long
and leaves directly from the base in Everett.

When we decided to go to Bremmerton a few weeks ago
to scope out some venues for a family marathon shoot,
we took the Edmonds Kingston Ferry
which is a 45 minute ride.

It was a grey misty day,
but we still really enjoyed ourselves.
Dare I say that we might actually be becoming
acclaimated to the weather here?
It seriously is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
I will admit though that the hardest part for me
has been these last two months.
I don't mind it being cold when it should be cold,
but when it's April and we are in heavy jackets,
that is not OK with me.
However, the weather here has recently reached record highs,
with blue skies and searing sun,
so I'm not complaining anymore!

Brendell explored the Ferry and
loved it so much.
She looked for otters and seals,
eagles and seagulls.
It was so fun to watch her get so excited.

Half way through the ride, we gave her the camera
and let her shoot us for a little bit.
She shot about 50 photos in 10 minutes!
Some of them are featured on my blog header.
Here are some others.

When we got to Bremmerton,
we drove to Manchester State Park
which was recommended to us by my friend
Jessica who met us there.

We walked around and I did a few test shots
to see how the area would work for
the sessions I was scheduling for the following week.

It is such a gorgeous park with lots of different
photo opportunities.
I can't wait to show you some sneaks from the
family sessions I held there!
I've been burried in the editing of those sessions
ever since.
I'm working in two and three hour spurts
and am working my way through them all.
I'm two thirds of the way done,
so check back soon for some
sneaks at some goregous families.

David was in his uniform all that day because
we had to stop by the sub base in Bremmerton
for him to meet with some XO's.
He managed to stay mud-free despite pushing
Jessica's kids in a stroller
through some sloppy trails.
He's such a good sport!!