Finally, I'm moving along with my photography. I feel like I'm stepping in mud a little, but I guess the best way to grow in this will also be similar to my spiritual journey, as it's always been.

Triggered by "a week behind the lens" on the O channel, which I accidently stumbled across in the nick of time (are there any accidents?)

Nothing specifically "said" what to do. But something happened in watching a day in the life, and interviews with famous photographers...seeing their work and hearing their words.

I realized that this isn't, this doesn't have to be, about product.
In fact, it's never felt like it should be or was meant to be about product for me.  

The "product" I strive to achieve, much of which is edited in, is one perspective. A fun and wonderful way to go about it.
But for me, I've felt my way out in finding my way in. The more I've learned on the technical end, be it from behind the lens or from behind the editing process, the less my heart has soared in a photo or moved through an image. and it's left me empty and sad. but hardly searching. i guess i had just let go and assumed that this was all I had in me anymore.

Now I know there's more for me, yet. There is something in the photographer in me, something from the center of myself that is ready to come out and be free. So I'm removing the walls, and boundaries, and tape, and expectations, and product mentality...
for a good while i am only going to shoot with my heart and my eye. and what comes of this is what will be. dark. light. sharp. blurred. contrasting. dull. simple. complex. ugly. beautiful. real. true. and honest.

I'm SO ready for this right now.
Thank You God for bringing this about.
Be Glorified.


It happened.
It went really well.
Reminiscent of the kind of good, solid, love-filled get togethers we had when the boys were first born. Really special and memorable.

Thank You, God.


hot tub lub

We finally got the hot tub up and running. We have been enjoying it ever since. Literally. We hardly come out. :) 

We have a very small leak somewhere underneath. We have to add about an inch of water every day. I had to wash the entire room down, walls, blinds, screens, windows, floor, and cover all because of condensation and the fact that the room hasn't been cleaned in years. AND it costed $140 just for the chemical program I bought yesterday. The good in that is that we bought the FROG program which uses less chemicals than any other system, and the kit last for 4-6 months. Some of it longer. All well worth it!

Zeek loves it. He *swims* in it all the time. Even Greg loves it. 
It's been great for all of our sleep. We sleep fast and hard after a day of spa and resort. 
It makes the house feel even more amazing, like were just plain being spoiled, now. :)  

Thank You God. Help us find that leak, please! 

mission playschool complete

Yesterday, Zeek had his first day at "playschool". That's what we've agreed to call it. Because teachers, daycare, day school, the center, preschool, and the like were all indications of something Zeek wanted us to be sure this was not. :) Because he is attending so that he can "learn" to be a friend and play with other kids, "playschool" is appropriate.

Whew! Now that we have that settled... :)

I made him let me take a little "first day" photo. Since, who knows if there will be too many of those opportunities for a homeschooler. Not likely. He did great for it.

He was hesitant about going, knowing that i wasn't going to stay there with him, but he was okay. The "playschool" is only a mile from our house, so as we quickly approached the building i heard him call from the back seat, "i can't believe we're already here." as though he was expecting a ride to the city to calm his nerves. :)

Once inside (so adorable, btw) he found a fun toy to play with that he's never seen before. And he really didn't mind that i was leaving. I kissed him and told him i would be back soon. He whispered that he didn't want me to go, but he had a smile frown on (where he puckers his lips like he's really upset, but there's a smile peeking through the edges). That was my sign that he was JUST FINE. And so I went.

When I returned he was having a blast. Playing and comfortable. He RAN to me with his arms out from across the huge room, and we almost chipped each others' teeth when we smash-face kissed. :)
Then it was off to play so more for him.

Becky and Jeff showed up about 10 minutes later. They wanted to be a part of his first day and see his "playschool". They loved it and we stayed while Jeff helped Zeek climb the climbing wall, and Becky and I had another tour given by the owner's mom.

We all went back to our house and had balloons, pizza, drinks and cookies... it was a really nice night.


Zeek said:

zeek: mom, why’s Yuki’s nose always wet?
me: I don’t know. Maybe because she’s always licking it?
zeek: maybe we can find out on dog.com

“please can I have some juice and why do you have boobs?”

zeek: I found something I could do.
me: what is it?
zeek: I can’t tell ya’. It’s not a teller thing. It’s a see-er thing. And it’s in the kitchen. Wanna come catch it?

Playing xbox fish game with me Zeek says,
“You can’t ever eat the shark. Not on the demo.”

Playing memory with Jay he says,
“Mom! I found some bats so now I have six...and jaymee barely has four.”

He came hobble-skipping into the living room, leaned over on the couch with his arm over his stomach, looked up at me with his eyes half closed and strained to tell me, 

“I ate way too much candy, so don’t squeeze me.” 


me and you against the world

me: let me just get these wieners off of here...
Zeek: what did you just call those?
me: (reluctant) wieners???

We got shafted a little for not being the most subservient babysitters in the world... which led to Greg doing some soul searching, finding his footing and standing firm that we need to do what is right for us as a family whether other people agree with us or not.

He said that he's so glad that we are together on things even if we are the black sheep in most of our circles. :)

Jaymee is staying another night, and we love it. She and Zeek are having the best time together that they've ever had. They are getting along really well. being GOOD to one another. And having lots of fun time on their own.

I strung the last of the white Christmas lights outside this afternoon. We plugged them all in and started a bond fire. We roasted mini-cheese-hotdogs (fabulous), and texas garlic toast on our sticks (I melted the metal pie pans). Then we had smores. I made my first smore using Ghiradelli chocolate squares. YUM! And I had an idea to stick little shards of pepermint sticks into the marshmallow for a fun wintery smore. :)

The kids played in the yard under the Christmas lights. They even jumped and played in our gigantic leaf pile. It was SO fun. Yuki loved it.

Once inside, Jay took a shower, Zeek took a bath, while I cleaned up the house a little and caught up with Pam on the phone.

Now I am going to read the kids to sleep and get the mail. There should be a One Tree Hill in there for my enjoyment (Greg is out with Levi and his brother). There might even be a pack of shutterfly photos of Zeek and our family that I can't wait to send out in the mail! :)

Oh happy day.


Shining Stars it is

We went to the center. We liked what we saw and heard. We especially love the four year old area/program/teachers. We found what works best for us within our options. And we are happy about the decision to move forward in enrolling Zeek in the after 4-K preschool program, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1:30-4p.

Zeek is going to have SO much fun. He's security and independence makes me feel so much more confident about this than I thought I could. The majority of the kinds of things that I chose not to ever put my child in day care because of (large groups of kids with numbered teachers, lack of compassion and burn out behaviors from teachers, exposure to secular kids and their unfavorable choices) are all things that I know my boy is more than capable of handling. And handling well.

We enroll him on Monday and he starts on Tuesday. THIS week. I'm so excited for him. :)



baby steps to a big decision

Today I made an appointment for us to visit the Pre-school up the road on Thursday morning.

I've been considering it for awhile now, looking into enrolling Zeek in that center for a few hours a couple of days a week. The older he gets the clearer it becomes that he needs more social interaction. And as much as I am struggling with the first big step to providing that, I know in my heart that it's best thing for him. I know that we would be doing him a selfish disservice not to give this to him right now.

I'm trying to focus on the positives. It's laughable to think of myself as a mom who drops her kid off and picks her kid up. :( That MY kid might go to a "day care". That I would have to find some kind of enjoyment in having three hours, two or three days a week on my own. I'm just not that mom.

But I know how good this will be for him. How much more of "him" he/we will discover when he is encouraged to break out of his little (kitten) shell and be Zeek to a small censored little area of the world. All on his own. When he has the normal surroundings of other people and children to interact with.

Along with our plan to homeschool has always been the condition that it would be based on the individual child.
If anyone asked me what one thing Zeek needs that he doesn't have, I would say "people". Consistent contact with everyday people and other children. The lack of this is not only squelching his potential, but it's breaking him down. It's drying him out.
I know that being home, alone, with me in the country, all day long, everyday... even with Jaymee, the YMCA, the emporium and all... he is being held back.
Something isn't right about this.
I can feel that it is time for him to step out a little bit.

Almost a year ago God told me this would come in a much more specific way. I couldn't believe it and I hated it then.
But I'm starting to understand now.

I feel like a whole different stage of parenting is coming into play, and I was never prepared for things to change so much as they have, so quickly. But he's not a baby anymore. And he deserves this. Just like we deserve to be allowed to make our choices, right and wrong, good and bad. It wouldn't be fruitful if we couldn't.

And I KNOW that's God, because it goes against everything I've believed for years. all in one night.

Thank You God. Bring us, despite me. Guide and lead us in Your Will.  


A Good Day

Today was one of those days. The rare kind that I want everyday to resemble. One of those "best" kind of regular days. Things just went so smoothly. Things got done. Priorities were inline and everything worked out.

- We woke around 7am and saw Greg off to work.
- Zeek played his new fish game on the island counter top while I made waffles next to him.
- He watched the red light and told me when it turned green so I could chop and wash his fresh strawberries.
- He ate while I started on the only TWO loads of laundry in the house. :)
- I made some calls out to snow removers, hot tub fixers, furnace guys... even measured the square footage of the driveway (2,400 sq.ft).
- We dove into school beginning with devotion, followed by reading, writing, and math. Then we read from Zeek backyard magazine and did an awesome art project of bugs using pipe cleaners and foam paper.
- Next Zeek and I went outside to pick sticks in the yard with the wheel barrow and have a fire.
- We cooked hotdogs, texas garlic toast, french fries, and smores on the fire, and gorged ourselves.
- And just as I was thinking "this is my best life ever", Greg called to tell me that he was having the best day and he actually felt good at work for the first time in a long time.
- We headed inside to give Yuki and Zeek a much needed bath. (i don't think my kid has EVER been so filthy before)
- After bath time, Zeek played boowa and kwala while i cleaned the bathroom upstairs and the pocket bathroom, the floors, and switched laundry.
- I took a shower, got the mail, and did some minor photo editing.
- Zeek ate some dinner.
- Greg came home and wrestled with Zeek for about a half and hour.
- Then he headed off to guys night.
- I fed Zeek a banana and some juice, and I'm about to head off to get him ready for beddy.
- I will read to him until he sleeps. Then I will come down, make a huge stinky sandwich and a fruity fun drink, and watch Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters.


I can't wait for tomorrow to do it all over again!!! :)

Thank You Jesus!


Autumn on Partridge Lane

Well, I've never in all my life...

Good thing I love to do yard work. :)


Zeek likes to plan "surprise birthday parties". He tells us that he is making a party for us and that we can't come until he invites us. He usually bribes Yuki into his room, or the stairwell, or where ever he's setting up the event, and then he sets up an area for her with her own snacks, toys and bed.

He sets up all his stuffed animals as guests, wraps presents (his toys) in blankets and stuffs them into socks, makes pretend cake out of legos, decorates, and plans games. Then he calls the birthday person to come to their party.

We alway have to wipe our feet before we can enter. And then he leads us through each stage of the party. It is very creative and fun to see the ideas he comes up with.

He's especially happy this week to have all the balloons from Greg's party to use for his "surprise party" decorations. :)



I can't count how many times I've been disappointed in the content of the new journal I started at the beginning of September. As I finished off the pages of my last journal I looked so forward to the fresh pages of the new adorable Xenia Taler journal I had in waiting. I was so excited that the start dates of each were so close to being one year apart to the day.

And when it was time to switch I wrote on the inside page of the new:

"This will be the second full journal that I am proud of...
Another GREAT year ahead!"

and then as soon as it started, my excitement was over.

Alex left
Then began a season of introversion
Depression fought for me
Confusion took over for a time
Greg got bit, then MRSA
I got MRSA and haven't been healthy since

and I kept saying "little did I know... I guess this book won't be as great as the last one..."

And then today I realized that the last book began with
The end of blogging for me
The letting go of two dear friends who were breaking me down
My photography crapping out
Grandma Ruth beginning her journey to leave us
And Nemo biting Zeek and having to be put down

And yes, there was unsurpassable freedom after the process of blog-less-ness ran it's course.
And there was healing around the corner for Emily and I.
And God granted grace in allowing Holly and I to peacefully part.
And my photography changed itself over and I learned that much like everything else, it will never be the same, and that is a good thing.
And Grandma Ruth didn't leave us, well not completely.
And we're all healing from Nemo and now there is Yuki.

But it didn't seem all that great in the start. In fact, one month in we found the house and God spoke and we waited for six months. And six months would have felt like forever at a time before God stretched me until patience became mine.

So how do I know that the current laundry list of what seems like a crap shoot of misfortune isn't in preparation for more unfolding, revealing, growing and healing He has up His sleeve for me in this journal's course?

Who am I to determine that this one isn't going to be any good?
What if it is?

In fact, I think it just might be, after all a really great journal journey.
yeah. :)


october 31st

I think we've finally found a better tradition than what Greg and I grew up with in "halloween". I've wracked my brains trying to come up with something, because I know that it is difficult for Greg to have this day, his birthday no less, with nothing fun for his little boy.

So, I came up with a plan to have a party. Just the three of us. Lots of small token prizes, candy, games, movies, favorite foods and snacks, AND a treasure hunt!!!

We starting things off with the treasure hunt. We went all around the house from one gift with an attached clue to the next, receiving, reading, and seeking out the next hiding place. It was SO much fun! We all enjoyed it.

Next we played some new games that I picked up while eating snacks and candy.
Then we made little sand art bottles...

Finally, we ate dinner while we watched movies.
It worked out great, and no one was left disappointed, sad, left out, or bored.
In fact, we didn't even think about whether or not we'd get any trick-or-treaters. (which we did not)

This will definitely be the new thing for Greg's birthday. Although, next year there will surely be a grown up party too, since it will be his big four-O!
Now THAT is scary. ;)