I love the idea of generations. Knowing where you came from is really important. Especially when you're about to take on the world.

Here is great-grandma Rosemary, grandpa Vern, mom Tricia and our nephew Adam.

Ryan and I went to our nephew's high school graduation party today. Yep, that's right. High school. It's hard to believe Adam was only 11 when I met him for the first time at Ryan's college graduation party.
Again, I feel old. But not as old as Ryan who told me on the way home that he remembers going to visit see Adam the day he was born.


Memory lane

After finishing the Dam to Dam 5K and wandering around the downtown Farmers Market for awhile I desperately wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon outside. But I sat down at the computer to do something instead. I can't even remember what it was; I got side tracked.

I started looking through my old photos. Four years worth of photos. I got lost in work picnics, weddings, vacations, parties and every day life of the past. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

For your sake I hope I don't get around to looking through my old scrapbooks. We have a scanner now and you might be inundated with really old pictures. Although the perms my mom used to make me get are reason enough to avoid posting anything too old.

The Nadas Concert - Arnolds Park: Summer 2005
I saw The Nadas for the first time my freshman year of college. A friend drug me to a concert on campus under the Campanile. I loved it. And the lead singer, Mike Butterworth. Fast forward five years, and I'm working for the newspaper in Okoboji. Turns out Mike grew up in Spirit Lake. I got to interview him for a preview article and cover the concert. Fun times.

The Pier at Arnolds Park: September 2007
This is THE bench where Ryan proposed January 2005.

My dad bailing hay: September 2008
I can smell the freshly cut alfalfa. Reminds me of long, hot summer days unloading wagons and stacking bales.

A crazy clown at the Guthrie County Fair parade: September 2006
I love the little girl in pink in the bottom right corner.

My grandpa: July 2005
Ahhh... I love this photo. The sly smile. The thick glasses. The "Bite Me" cap. This is my grandpa.

The whole family shooting clays: May 2007

Memorial Day weekend in my uncle's pasture. It was so much fun.

Ann and Kurt's wedding: June 2005
This is one of the first photos I shot with my SLR. I had no idea what I was doing. There are so many things wrong with this photo... it isn't properly focused, the exposure is off. It's pretty much horrible from a composition standpoint. But I love it. Makes me think of how far I've come every time.



Today I am thankful for big parking spaces. My car was in the shop, so I was driving around in Ryan's truck today. It's a beast.

I'm also thankful for summer space. Loving the long days and warm weather. I just hope it slows down a little so we have time to enjoy it. Here's a little slice of summer I took last year.


Engagement: Michelle & Jason

I've known Michelle for... oh, fifteen years at least. Maybe more like twenty. Wow. I feel old all of a sudden. Anyway, we've been friends for a long time. After graduation we went to separate colleges. Thanks to email and instant messanger we managed to stay in touch but rarely saw each other - the down side to having cyber communication at your finger tips.

As luck would have it Michelle was newly engaged just as I made the decision to take photography from hobby to business. She asked me to photograph her upcoming wedding to Jason. I'd never met Jason, but I could tell by the way she talked about him this guy had completely swept her off her feet. I jumped at the chance. I love a good love story after all.

Well, our several year long stretch of not seeing each other ended this weekend when we got together for engagement photos. It was so good to see Michelle again, but even better was the opportunity to meet Jason. He's really laid back - as evidenced by his go with the flow attitude while I gave them absolutely horrid directions sending them on a wild goose HIS neck of the woods no less! But more importantly, underneath all of the teasing I could see how much he adores my friend. And that's all I needed to know.

I'm so excited for their wedding in October. Their whole family deserves more than one happy beginning.


Long weekend

Every year over Memorial Day weekend my extended family gets together to camp. There's always tons of good food, a few games of volleyball, a trip down the river in a canoe or inner tube and lots of time spent around the campfire.

This year, my cousin graduated from high school on Sunday so we shifted the location to celebrate her success. Doesn't matter where we are, we always have a great time. Saturday evening baseball was the game of choice.

We staged a break in at Whitney's graduation party. Not really. My cousin's girlfriend locked her keys in her car. Been there before... more than once unfortunately! Thanks to Ryan's felling wedges (for cutting down trees) and a straightened fly swatter handle, the boys were able to get in no problem.

My niece was cute as ever, of course...

The woman of the hour... my cousin Whitney, the high school graduate, with her mom and my Aunt Eileen.

Plenty of time for my brother to catch up with cousin Amy from Colorado and cousin Justin from Waukee (Ryan's new best friend, because Justin is another fire guy). I love the smile spread across my Aunt Mary's face here.

Today is all about family. And I wouldn't be able to have this time with my loved ones if not for the millions of soldiers who left theirs to serve our country. And that is what we all need to remember this Memorial Day.

P.S. I also did an engagement shoot this weekend... photos posted soon!


Photo packaging

I love paper. All kinds. All colors. All textures. All patterns. I'm not prejudice. Stationary, card stock, scrapbook paper... doesn't matter. There's just something about the infinite possibilities of a blank sheet of paper.

One of my favorite places is a scrap booking store in Ankeny. Isles and isles, rows and rows of paper. My heaven. While there earlier this week I found this tin. I had no idea what I was going to do with it - but it needed to come home with me.

After finishing up processing photos from my last wedding, I realized it was the perfect size for a cd. Coincidentally I had a cd of wedding photos to give to a bride and groom.

The tin was just a little too wide... so with the creative help of a friend I devised a plan to create a spacer from card stock to hold the cd in place. Just for fun I threw in tissue paper for some dimension.

I forgot to take a photo... but I glued the words to the song the congregation sang at the ceremony onto the back of the lid.

It was a super fun project for me. And I think it looks fantastic.

When I was finished I realized I had all of this extra space behind the CD. So I wrote Mary and Jeff a quick note to wish them well and thank them for being so awesome.



From my friend Franklin today:

“Give me such courage and I can scale the hardest peaks alone,
And transform every stumbling block into a stepping stone.”
- Gail Brook Burket

A church in Guttenberg



No, not Easter the holiday but rather the organization devoted to helping those with disabilities. My friend Angie was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Iowa 2009 and spoke at a recent Easter Seals event releasing a new study about children and families dealing with autism. Angie invited me to tag along and play papparrazi.

Angie is such a fabulous person. Just this morning I heard a quote that reminded me of Ang. "Service is the rent we pay for living" from Michelle Obama's recent commencement address at a college in California.

I won't even try to list the various activites and organizations Angie has impacted... honestly, I don't know them all. But I met Ang through the committee that puts on the town's celebration every year.

Olivia Myers, Miss Iowa 2008 was also there to support the recent developments the Easter Seals organization has made in autism research.

I had no idea Camp Sunnyside existed before last Wednesday. And I didn't realize how invaluable the services provided by the Easter Seals are those with disabilities and their families. They put on a camp for kids with autism every summer to help give them life skills as well as an opportunity to have a blast with other kids like them. There's a library where families can check out various developmental equipment to see if it makes a difference in their loved ones' life.
Thanks for the opportunity Ang. I had a great time!


Arthritis Foundation

The last time I was up before 5 am was, well... I don't remember. But last Saturday I drug myself out of bed at 4:45 to volunteer at the annual Arthritis Walk at the Blank Park Zoo. Hundreds of people showed up to raise money to find a cure for arthritis. Together we raised over $40,000 and had a lot of fun.

This is Nikole. She rode around in a sweet hot pink wheel chair most of the day - and almost broke my heart.

It was a great day. And I'm already looking forward to next year.
*P.S. I want you all to know I wrote this post last Sunday... I thought I published it but apparently only saved it as a draft. A whole week without posting is pathetic. I'm going to get better about posting more often... promise!


Wedding: Mary & Jeff

Love was almost palpable the second you walked into Prince of Peace Luthern church. Perhaps it floated in on the breeze of the fantastic weather. Or maybe it was carried in by the family and friends that filled the church to celebrate with Mary and Jeff.

She sang all the way down the hallway. I have no idea what the song was - but it didn't matter. Mary was getting married today. I saw him break a smile - seemingly for no reason. But there was a big reason. Jeff was getting married today.

There was this warm sense of calm surrounding the entire day. Calm because Mary and Jeff knew they weren't supposed to be anywhere else or with anyone else. They are everything together. Laughter, happiness, joy, goofyness... and love. Their life together started on Saturday. A life filled with scrapbooking and hours spent under the hood of the Jeep I'm sure.

Mary and Jeff - I'm so honored you asked me to document the love that will become the rest of your life. Hope you're having a great time on your honeymoon! Enjoy...