Tuesday, September 29, 2009

my inspiration

Taken 2 weeks ago these 2 images are my current favorites of Grace and William. If our eyes are the window to our souls, these images show them to me.

I believe that Photography is an art and like any art what fuels it is inspiration. That source is really what tells you what to photograph and what choices you make as far as the settings you choose on your camera, the perspective and composition you choose and even what you want to portray or show as far as evoking a feeling or mood with an image. What inspires me may be completely different than what inspires you or another person. I thought I'd share some of mine. You'll have to share with me what inspires you too...

Nature~ whether it's a stunning landscape or pastoral scene, a sunset, vibrant leaves in Autumn or the beauty of a flower or garden, I love them all.

Locations~water of any kind whether it's a lake or the sea, a beach, a large city, small town, buildings, businesses, architectural features of any kind, bridges(I'm a nut about them), and urban life and all that goes on in a city.

People~ the relationships or bonds between them... friends, families of any kind, children and their parents, siblings, couples, husbands and wives, grandparents and their grandchildren. To see the connection they all have to me is inspiring and heart warming.

Other photographers~ inspire me to try something different and step out of my comfort zone. They help me learn new techniques, try photographing different subjects, and teach me to 'see' through the lens differently and help me grow as a photographer.

My mood~ depending on how I feel that day or perhaps I'm in a joyful or a down time in my life at the time. Personally I find I do the best work when I'm a little bit depressed or sad about something.

And finally what inspires me the most are my children. They are the reason I got my first DSLR camera just 10 months ago. I originally wanted to take better pictures of my children and what I found was that I could capture their 'true' personalities and who they are as people. I can capture an expression, an emotion whether it is sad, angry, pensive, joyful or silly. My most favorite images are when they aren't paying attention to where the camera is and doing what they do best...being a child. They will have memories of their lives that they can pass on to their own children and grandchildren someday. A gift from me to them.

Monday, September 28, 2009

the gift of family

'Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.' William Cullen Bryant

Yesterday we took a little road trip an hour away to visit my parents aka 'Grandma and Grandpa B.' It was a gorgeous early Autumn day, and some of the leaves are starting to change.

I haven't spoken much up my own growing up but I grew up in what I call a 'Beaver Cleaver' kind of family in the 1960's and 70's. A great time to be a kid. My mom was a former 5th grade teacher, my Dad a businessman, both were what I call very hands on parents...involved with what it takes to make a family work and dedicated to their children. They are as wonderful Grandparents as they are parents to me and my siblings. You never outgrow the need for a parent in your life, if not for direction, maybe comfort now and then or that familiarity of those you love dearly. At least that's how it is for me.

We all had lunch together and went over to nearby state park. Grace and Will absolutely adore their Grandma and Grandpa who are fortunately healthy and active in their late 70's. I love to see my children with them, they have a special bond.

Grace collected acorns...you would have thought they were diamonds, of course those treasures came home with us. Will was interested in the canoes and kayaks but especially watched 2 little boys fishing off the pier...he could have watched them for hours. They caught 2 sunfish. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

teeth and pumpkins?

Yeah...I know you might wonder what is up with the odd or 'interesting' title of this post but I couldn't think up a cute or catchy one. It does kind of sum up our week and not that they are even remotely related.

We have had a lot of 'tooth stuff' going on around here. First miss Grace has lost her very first tooth and that was reason for us to celebrate since she's wanted badly to lose one for about 6 months and it finally happened 2 nights ago. This girl was so excited and we are too, she informed me this morning that the best part was that she can now spit water out between her bottom teeth. Oh to be 7 and enjoy such simple pleasures! The other tooth or rather teeth event was with Will because he had 4 deep cavities filled...he did well with the procedure and we are very happy it's over for him (and us)!


Now here's the hard part for me...I have no clever segue way into the pumpkin part of this post, so I guess I'll just jump right in and say here's the rest of the pumpkin pictures from Tuesday that I didn't get around to posting until now. Oh well, better late than never. Enjoy, you can see they both had a lot of fun by their expressions. We are hoping to go apple picking sometime soon if the weather cooperates.

Have a wonderful weekend! Hope yours is relaxing and fun.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

hey...it's Fall!

"I love fall! Fall is exciting. It's apples and cider. It's an airborne spider.It's pumpkins in bins. It's burrs on dog's chins. It's wind blowing leaves. It's chilly red knees. It's nuts on the ground. It's a crisp dry sound. It's green leaves turning. And the smell of them burning. It's clouds in the sky. It's fall. That's why...I love fall."- Author Unknown

Autumn(or Fall as we say in the United States) has arrived and hands down is my favorite season.
What do I love about it? Cooler days and nights, pumpkin picking and trying to find just the 'right one,' the changing colors of the leaves to garnet, vibrant orange and gold, college football games(especially my alma mater), wearing Fall clothes like warm sweaters and jackets again, picking apples and baking, the deep blue sky of an Autumn afternoon and trick or treating with my kids.

Sunday we took a little drive to a place that we see often when we go to Madison which is about 20 minutes away. A farmer grows and sells pumpkins and gourds and Grace and Will have been begging us to stop and check them out. They both had a blast with the pumpkins and picked a few to take home with us. We'll go on another pumpkin picking journey in October to a place that's become a tradition every year at a real working farm. Enjoy this glorious season of change.

Monday, September 21, 2009

farewell sweet Summer!

Although I've learned a lot in the last 10 months about photography(and have more to learn)...
My very favorite types of pictures to take are candids...pictures of our life as we live it.

A few evenings ago we walked down a bike path near our home and Grace and Will ran, chased each other and played, and climbed on the bridge over the creek.

We stayed there for over an hour, laughing, talking, throwing rocks into the water(their favorite thing to do) and listening to the birds and watch the sun get lower in the sky.

The light was so beautiful and we took it all in on one of these last Summer evenings, farewell my sweet friend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Sitting on those cute chairs at the UW Memorial Union.
Sweet little man...thinking.

definition of crazy: unusual, crooked, mad, insane, disturbed, impractical or unusual.
Over the years Dan and I have had many comments(unsolicited of course) made to us about adoption. Namely...us adopting at the age we are. Now we are very healthy, active people who just happen now to be 50. The most common remark we hear is that we are 'crazy.' Are we crazy? I like to think not but being the type of people we are have pretty much always been comfortable who we are, what we believe in and think is right for our family.
Is it crazy to want to adopt a child and love them from a far years before you meet them? No. Is it crazy to be called to do something much bigger than your own wants or needs? No. I know we ARE crazy in love with these children that we've been blessed with. In the next few months Dan and I have some serious thinking and praying about what comes next for our family. Meanwhile we keep on going and enjoying these 2 immensely.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

these last days of Summer

"Happily we bask in this warm September sun, Which illuminates all creatures..."- Henry David Thoreau

Sunday we spent the afternoon on the southern side of Lake Mendota on the UW campus in Madison.
The Memorial Union there is lovely and faces the lake. Grace and Will loved the sailboats(the UW sailing team keeps their boats docked there)

Of course we had to stop and have some ice cream...they both picked Strawberry!

We walked out on several piers to see the ducks, watch the water and boats and people watch...I loved all the colors of the lake and shore area especially at sunset while we were there.

We are loving the last few days of Summer. You can feel Autumn coming with the shorter days, the sun being lower in the sky and the cool evenings. I've seen several trees here in southern Wisconsin already turning colors. It's always a little bittersweet for me with Summer leaving though my favorite season of Fall is arriving soon! My 2 littles already have field trips for school scheduled, next week Will's class goes out to
walk in the woods at another nearby lake to learn about nature and Grace's class will go apple picking. Goodbye Summer...we've had a fun one!

Monday, September 14, 2009


This week's photo challenge on the I ♥ faces photography blog is 'contemplative.' Yesterday we spent a greater part of the afternoon in Madison on Lake Mendota. I shot this one of William right after he had sat down for a rest after a long walk...I wonder what he was thinking about here. I love his sweet little face....

You can see more contemplative expressions on the I ♥ faces blog.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Will is one of the most charming kids you will ever meet. Our other children, Grace and Nick, are quiet, reserved and demure but Will is engaging, outgoing and has no problem introducing himself to new people. At the grocery store last night, he said “Hi” to no less then 10 people and by the time we had our groceries bagged and paid for he knew the cashier’s name, the bagger’s name and the lady behind us in line. They also knew his name, his sister’s name, his brother’s name, our dog’s name, our cat’s name, my name, his age, his school…you get the picture. As we were leaving, the bagger and cashier agreed that he was the cutest thing they had ever seen. The lady in line saw us in the parking lot and said, “Your son is absolutely adorable!” I don’t know if he is going in to sales or politics but he loves to talk, looks people in the eye, is always memorable and everyone adores him. I frequently tell him that he's a 'handsome dude'...every time I say that he replies back to me,
"No Mom...I a boy...not a dude!"
Boy or dude, he IS a character and we love him to pieces!
{Have a wonderful weekend, we hope to be outside a lot...Indian Summer has arrived here.}

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

{not quite} wordless Wednesday

Whenever you're lonely. Just look at the spaces between your fingers and remember that's where my fingers fit perfectly.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

finding beauty in all things

Since I was a little girl I've been fascinated with patterns, lines, form, texture and color. I remember in elementary school being bored at times and looking up at the ceiling, counting the tiles and noticing the patterns. My mother was a sewer and I grew up going with her to fabric stores...I was intrigued with the color and patterns of fabric and even the feel. What photography has done for me is help me look at the world a little differently and appreciate all the small details...I've always been a very visual person but it's like now I view everything from a different perspective and appreciate the small things that are gifts to us all...

The vibrant colors and varied textures of a sunflower...

The pop of color of Grace's skirt and flower in her hair against the muted blue of the old wooden porch...

Sunlight through a crab apple tree...

My little boy's sweet soft feet...

A dapple gray horse that I see every time I drive from our town into the city near we live...I think of him as a friend.

A wagon of gladiolas for sale on the roadside not far from where I live...

A metal wall with bumps on top of the Wabash Ave. bridge over the Chicago River...I liked the light reflecting on the metal and texture of the bumps.

The many tones of green in a field of Queen Anne's Lace contrasting with the old basket and floral top Grace is wearing...

And finally, the lovely curved arch of an old window, and lines on the outside of a barn and peeling paint...somehow these images are pleasing to me and make me smile. And in my busy and at times somewhat stressful life make me stop for a moment and appreciate what is beautiful, for beauty is in everything.

Friday, September 4, 2009

beginnings and an ending...

What a busy week this has been, with both William and Grace starting school....William woke up bright and early Tuesday in a GREAT mood and ready for the day. (I love his sparkly eyes in this pic)

No tears when he met his teacher and classmates for the first time...he's such a social guy. He goes 4 mornings a week to preschool and truly loved it!

Grace unfortunately didn't start the week out so well as she was sick and missed her 'official' first day of First grade. Poor little thing has a UTI and strep throat...but is doing well now after a day home and being started on an antibiotic that covers both infections. (Grace is rarely sick) I took the below pics of her on Wednesday, the day she started school and can see she wasn't quite 100% ...but she is now thankfully!

Wed. morning before Grace going to school and with William.
Besides the beginnings of a new school year for these 2, we also had an ending. Wednesday was the last legal part of William's adoption journey. His adoption was finalized in our state at a court hearing....we had to wait a little while before we went into the courtroom and Will made friends with a little girl also waiting for her hearing. Dan and I had prepared him some about what was happening and how he needed to use his 'inside voice' when we met the judge. When it was our turn to go in, we went and sat at a table. The room was totally silent. William was sitting on Dan's lap with me next to him and a microphone sat on the table(it was on). William leaned over and spoke into it, saying softly 'hello...hello' to the judge. Everyone started laughing...it was funny and SO cute (and very William!) The hearing was brief and William was given a teddy bear to celebrate his special day...the judge congratulated us all and William gave him a giant hug! I had tears in my eyes...over 3 years ago we started this journey, and what a journey it's been. What a wonderful little boy we've been blessed to to have in our lives. He's come so far in a year...and we ALL have haven't we?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

more of Chicago!

A night shot of the Crown Fountain(the 2 glass block towers that sit in a pool of water) in Millennium Park looking toward Michigan Ave.



Tribune Tower on the Chicago river.

Well, I'm still coming down from the high of the weekend at the workshop....haven't laughed that much in a very long time! It was great to spend time with some wonderful women who are also talented photographers. Here are some more of my favorites that I shot.
© Aging with Grace and strong Will
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