White morning

It started last night. Big chubby snowflakes. I love winter. The first snow especially. I love the way it drapes everything in a fluffy white hug. I love that the entire landscape looks pristine, untouched. I was thrilled when I woke up to white this morning. It must have snowed all night. And so far it has kept up all morning. If I'm lucky we'll get another two inches. I snapped a few photos when I went out to shovel the driveway.

The tree formerly known as our neighbors, until it fell into our backyard.

Our privacy fence.

The tree in our front yard. See what I mean by pristine...

Since it snowed all night, I worked on a couple of projects that I thought of yesterday at Memory Bound, a scrapbooking store in Ankeny. I always come up with (or "borrow") the coolest ideas after a visit to Memory Bound.
I made this cute little calendar out of two coasters. I have no idea where I'm going to put it yet... but it was fun to make.

A throw back to the metal lunch box days... I decorated this similar tin box with cooking themed scrapbook paper to transform it into a receipe box.

And now I'm off to make Christmas cookies... Happy Sunday!


Family moments: The Wolbers

Tom and Melissa have been such good sports. As have their boys, Carter and Calvin. The Wolbers were one of my first photography experiments. And they've let me take their photos ever since.

This past weekend we went downtown to take their annual family photos. The first year we went to the Botanical Center. Followed by their house. This year I suggested the skywalks. Lots of metal, glass and brick. Very urban.

It was a little tough for a couple reasons. Calvin was in no mood to get his picture taken. Not a bad mood mind you. Just not in the mood to stand still very long.

This would be him trying to run away...

He'd smile anywhere... except at the camera!

And of course Carter's nose was more interesting than me.

When all was said and done we did manage to get a couple good ones.

Many, many thanks for letting me follow you around toting my camera. You've been such great models all these years!

*Side note - I recently installed some tracking on my blog. Welcome to those of you checking in from Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Washington and even Alaska! Thanks for stopping by.


A little publicity

I always wondered why people I interviewed were nervous about it. It wasn't like I was going to write something awful about them. I wasn't one of those "out for blood" kind of reporters. You can't be in small town Iowa.

So it was a really strange feeling. I have asked the questions a hundred times. I've never answered them before.

As I sat down with the list of Colleen's questions about my photography business I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I pondered every word choice, every syllable, every phrase. At the time I was grateful for the opportunity to email her my answers... but as a writer it was excruciating. It had to be... perfect.

And then the big moment came. That single second that seals your fate. The arrow of my mouse hovered over the send button.

I said a quick prayer out loud, took a deep breath and... clicked.
Originally the article about my photography was supposed to run in October. Apparently it was a busy news month. Finally this past Wednesday the article about Tracy Anne Photography ran in The Sun, a newspaper in Ames.

Colleen had given me a sneak peek at the article so I already knew she'd done a great job. But to see it in print was fantastic. Apparently Ryan was excited too. He brought five extra copies home from the post office.

But to be honest, I was more excited about the impact the article would make on my business. Within 24 hours I had two people email me. And that is exciting!


Birthday wishes

My sister's birthday isn't technically until tomorrow. But considering the Marshall Islands are a day and a half ahead of us, she's celebrating her birthday now. In fact it's almost over. Pam, I hope you get a nice dinner from Burger King (the only restaurant on the island) and tv reception!


The Governor's hunt

Many, many... many years ago, a glacier was perched ontop of most of central Iowa. And most of North America for that matter. As the glacier retreated, the stone and sand it had accumulated over it's creation ground down the landscape. Scattered across the flat ground were low spots that developed as chunks of ice left behind melted and formed wetlands. The prairie pot hole region was created. This is why central Iowa is so flat compared to other areas where the glacier didn't bull doze its way through.

A majority of the wetlands that used to make up the Iowa horizon have been drained, tiled and turned into crop land. However, more and more people are realizing the benefit of native prairie and wetlands. They plow their corn and soybeans under in exchange for big blue stem and switch grass.

For the past 20 years Iowa's Governor has celebrated conservation and restoration of the native Iowa landscape by spending a day in its glory. The annual Governor's Pheasant Hunt is a tradition started by Terry Brandstad, who hunted on Ryan's grandma's farm.

This year Iowa Governor Chet Culver came back to Carroll County to hunt. While he didn't hunt at the farm, Ryan and his dad were joined by a terrific crew.

Cody from the
Iowa Pork Producers Association, Scott and Michael from Templeton Rye Whiskey, Liz Garst from the Whiterock Conservancy, Mark and Mark from the Iowa Farm Bureau. (Thanks to Ryan for stepping in as photographer for this one.)

These guys *ah hem* and girl brought back 23 birds - just one short of their limit and the most of all ten hunting groups.

After a morning of hunting Governor Culver released a female bald eagle rehabilitated by Kay Newman of Save Our Avian Resources (SOAR).

I believe this was Governor Culver's reaction to someone's suggestion that he attempt the release with out the triple-ply, reinfoced leather gloves.

Watching her fly away was a pretty impressive sight...



Things to come:

  1. Photos of the release of a rehabilitated female bald eagle
  2. Iowa Governor Chet Culver makes an appearance on this little blog
  3. Front page news on Wednesday

Sorry about the boring post today, but it’ll get more interesting this week. I promise.



The top of my blog is prime real estate. The crème de la crème. The big kahuna. Like the newspaper article “above the fold,” it’s always the first thing you see. It’s always the hottest news. A two second glimpse into the single biggest event of the day/week, depending on the publication schedule (or lack there of as in the case of this little blog.)

I like seeing good posts at the top of my blog. Happy posts. Fun posts. Maybe even more than I liked seeing my articles above the fold back in my days of being a reporter. So naturally I try not to let semi-downer posts hang out in that coveted top spot for long. It’s bad karma.

So today I’m looking for something positive. Something warm and fuzzy. Something that makes you smile…

“You.” Ha! Here I am talking as if there are actually people out there who read my crazy ramblings. Question - What is the appropriate verb here anyway? Writing? Blogging? Because I’m certainly not talking. Although the co-workers in my cubie pod would get a good chuckle if I was saying this out loud.

Anywho – moving on. I just realized I use a lot of odd phrases. “Anywho” for instance. And my car pool buddies tell me I say “by the by” instead of “by the way.” I’m going to write a book about our car pool adventures. It will be a best seller.

It drives Ryan crazy when I leave the “st” off “against”. I’ve found I say “indeed” a lot at work. “Whatever dude” is used to sarcastically disagree with someone. “Your mom” is something Ryan and I say in a poor attempt at a rebuttal. It’s sheer nonsense my friend!

There I go again. Not only assuming people read this but to go so far as to call you my friends? I don’t even know your name…Yet.

I would. If you comment. I would like that. Then I won’t feel like I’m talking (there’s that word again!) to cyber nothing-ness.

Hmmm… anyone smiling? Anyone?

Random thought. Would it be horrible if I emailed my Christmas letter this year? Think of the trees I would save! And printer ink. And stamps. And my time. Sure a mass email is impersonal… but answer me this – how is mass printing and sending the same letter via snail mail any more personal?

It’s a tough question. One further compounded by the fact that I like sending our Christmas letter. I enjoy pouring over whether to close with “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”. I actually like addressing envelopes by hand. One year I even printed the letter on plain white paper and drew a string of Christmas lights on every single one by hand with my multi-colored Sharpies.

What’s that you say?

I’m crazy?

Yeah, well…. your mom!


Hauling wagons

For Ryan's Grandpa Wayne.

Goodbyes are hard. You never know what to say. You end up twiddling your thumbs or twisting your hair. They're just awkward. Goodbyes are so much harder when it's forever. There are tears and a fear of the unknown. What will life be like without such an amazing person in it? How can your world function with such an important piece missing? It's like trying to pull the wagon of your life with out the hitch pin.
As you realize your future won't be the same you cling to the past. You struggle to remember everything. Every single detail. Practicing casting fishing poles in the front yard and using his big t-shirt for pajamas when you sleep over. When he came to check the garden and take you for a ride. Buying you a train for Christmas. Tasting his home made ice cream and barbequed chicken. Teaching you to play black jack.
The memories come rushing back. All at once. Little by little. A smile creeps across your face. He'll always share a part of your future, because he has helped shape your life. He's filled up your wagon with happiness, laughter and love. He is woven into every detail, every memory. And you'll haul him everywhere.


Wedding moments: Brian & Kelly

He used to tickle me until I peed my pants. We used to build tree houses by the pond and created forts out of a sheet draped over the furniture. He scared away the bullies at school and refused to give me a ride because it wasn't cool to be seen with your little sister. My freshman year his friends became my friends so we ended up hanging out more. By college he wasn't just my brother, but a friend. He came to save me when the tires almost fell off my car. When I turned 21 he came to Ames and celebrated with me. Despite the taunting, teasing and torture... I have to admit he's been a pretty good big brother.
And it got even better when he brought Kelly into our lives some three or four years ago. She is so sweet and quite possibly the most genuine person I've ever met. She is a welcomed a edition to our family.
Brian and Kelly were married at Pinicon Ridge Park in Central City. November is a tricky month in Iowa. You have to plan for a sunny, 75 degree day and the possibility of an ice storm. Over the weekend the air was crisp with a hint of fall. It couldn't have been more perfect for a wedding.

Brian and Kelly - Thank you. I'm so honored you asked me to take your photos. I hope they remind you of the laughter and love from your wedding for years to come. Enjoy...

*Side note - I downloaded the photos in order but they didn't post that way. So the last photo in the post is actually first.