Category Archives: daily life

no sessions yet…

I thought I would check in since it’s been a while!

I am still not booking sessions, but I’m still here.  Still kicking.  Still eating all of the cookies and wondering why my pants are so tight.

As a family, we are also still spending lots of time on the lake…

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I mean, LOTS and lots of time on the lake.
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I’m still taking pictures of everyone’s pets.
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And there is still a lot of cat hair at my house.
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The kids are keeping busy with the usual – choir, softball pitching, and acting…
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softball greta pitch jocelyn shakopee

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And one of them became a teenager, but is still as wonderful and kind and funny as ever.

We are lucky for that.
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My husband is still running marathons and we all still go and cheer him on.
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And we still never miss the State Fair.
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Overall, life is good.

I hope all is well with you guys, too.
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on the wall

Don’t ask me how many nail holes it took to get these pictures all lined up on my wall, you guys.

I can take the photos, but I should really leave the hammering and nailing to someone else.



By the way, the left canvas is my son and daughter at ages 6 and 3.

The middle canvas and framed pictures are them at ages 11 and 8.

And yes, we keep the cat toys in that cupboard.

a note about fall sessions

Hello! I wanted to quick post a note for any potential session families to let you know that October weekend session dates are now filled. There are still August weekends available, the first weekend in September is available, and the beginning of November is available (I usually cut off around Nov. 15 due to the dropping temps and how hard that is on little ones).

And because I can’t do a post without some pictures, here is what’s been happening in our neck of the woods:

A little lake time…


A little more lake time…


And then a TINY bit more lake time (yes, he is a very skilled boy, we are very proud)…


Some hanging around with friends (I think they were comparing missing teeth)…


And just some hanging around…


And a very first 5k for our 11 year old (my husband served as his mobile cheering section)…


He finished in 27:06.  Not too shabby for a 5th grader!


I’ll be back soon!

And then we can swap Minnesota August stories. Until then, enjoy this beautiful summer of ours. 🙂

making music

My 8-year-old daughter is involved with a great organization called Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs. This year, the Angelica Cantanti choirs had the rare and wonderful opportunity to sing their final Spring concert at Orchestra Hall (EEEK!, OMG YOU GUYS!, ORCHESTRA HALL!, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!, SO BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL!).

Orchestra Hall doesn’t allow photography during performances, so the Angelica organization had its wonderfully talented photographer Mark Riddle take on the task of being the designated photographer for the evening. And since he’s just one guy and it’s hard to be 20 places at once, they asked if I’d be a 2nd designated photographer.

Which, of course, was a no-brainer — I would have been bummed not to get to take any photos in this beautiful venue. So being granted permission AND given a “Pit Pass” on an official-looking lanyard was something I could definitely agree to.

So I got to take a lot of wonderfully fun pictures of some wonderfully talented kids. I’ll only post a handful below (because man-oh-man, I took a lot), but I wish these pictures could somehow convey the beautiful music and energy those kids produced together — it was truly wonderful.


The day before the concert, the kids got to rehearse with renowned conductor Dr. Rollo Dilworth. Dr. Dilworth has worked with Angelica before and flew in from Philadelphia to work with them again for this event.

Dr. Dilworth was so great with the kids and knew exactly how to pull the best music out of them:


Here is Dr. Dilworth leading the kids through warm-up exercises:


And going through songs with them ONE MORE TIME the next day, just an hour before the concert (my daughter was so excited to tell me, “Mom! Dr. Dilworth doesn’t use paper music — he uses an iPad when he conducts!”):


There are 4 choirs total (grouped generally by age).  Once the concert began, each choir performed a few songs on stage with just their group, and then all of the choirs performed together.

This is my daughter’s choir (the youngest choir) during their performance with their wonderful conductor:


And this is my daughter (on the far right) flashing us her little smile once she found us in the balcony:


After each choir performed alone (from the youngest choir to the oldest), they all performed together, under the direction of Dr. Dilworth:



It was moving and goosebump-inducing and tear-jerking.

Those kids put their hearts and souls into their music and I’m so glad I was there to see it and to feel it.


If you are interested in the Angelica Cantanti organization for your child, please check out their website!  Auditions for new choir members are being held May through August.  And if our shy 8-year-old can audition, your kid can do it, too.  🙂


Two blog posts in one day — hang onto your hats!…

My husband and I have been talking about taking our kids to Hawaii since they were tiny babies.

And this was the year we finally did it.


We spent 11 lovely days on 2 Hawaiian islands.

It was fantastic.

I won’t lie to you — coming home from this trip was the most bummed I’ve ever been after a vacation.  It took me a solid week to accept the fact that the vacation was over and I couldn’t wear flip flops and a swimsuit all day and couldn’t walk to the beach after breakfast to snorkel and play in the waves.

The good news is that the memories are still fresh and we have lots of pictures to help us remember.  Here are just a few…

This is our kids swimming on Waikiki Beach under Diamond Head crater.


Of all of the beaches we saw, I think Waikiki was the prettiest (although the busiest).

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This was our kids’ first time in the ocean and they loved playing in the waves.

It never got old for them.

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Honolulu was beautiful.  You can see the City at dusk here (that is Diamond Head in the back).

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It was a whirlwind of people and beaches and city life and oh-so-much traffic.  Like a little Los Angeles, but moved onto a gorgeous island.

We stayed there for 4 days.

On the main drag with all of the expensive shops, there were these stones on the sidewalks that showed different Hawaiian words and their meanings.  I thought it was really neat (although I don’t think my husband appreciated me stopping so often to take pictures of them).

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So after 4 days in Honolulu, we flew to Maui.

I think it was even more beautiful.  Quiet and gorgeous.  Water and sand.  I never checked my watch.  Never knew the date.  It was just a week of happiness.

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We spent a lot of time in the water.  If we weren’t swimming or snorkeling in the ocean, we were swimming or snorkeling in a pool somewhere.

The kids snorkeled ALL the time.  We mostly just saw the tops their heads whenever they were in water.

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We did some paddleboarding.

This is my son, waiting to catch a wave…

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And we went to a luau.

My husband and I had low expectations (after reading hundreds of reviews on Yelp), but it ended up being an awesome night, and probably one of the kids’ favorite things we did.  We are so glad we went.

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We made it to the top of Haleakala Mountain.

You can see what my son thought of the extremely winding drive back down the mountain.  :/

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And we went out to see the whales.

That is a momma whale on the left, and her baby (his tail) on the right.

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But mostly, we just spent time together.

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It was a wonderful trip.

Worth the wait.

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in our neck of the woods

On a recent Friday, I got to babysit my neighbor’s adorable 2-year-old.

She was easy-peasy all day and made a great grocery store shopping companion.

She really liked being in my daughter’s bedroom, so we did a little bed-jumping in there…

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It was a big hit.

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Then we ate a little lunch and goofed around for a bit.

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She is a cutie pie.

And good news!  Her new baby brother is due to arrive in just a few short weeks so we will get to see her in some more pictures!

I have a pretty solid hunch she will make a fantastic big sister.

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So, what else…?

Our friends’ golden retriever puppy is still as cute as ever…

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And our cats still don’t like it…

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And we attended my daughter’s first concert with her new choir.

That is her in the front row, far left.  To say she was “into it” would be an understatement.

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The concert was hosted by two talented singers from CANTUS.

They kept us all very entertained between the students’ performances.

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It was a lovely evening.

Great kids, great conductors, great music.

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a new year

Oh my gosh, I am still alive.  And I am guilty of some serious blog neglect, I know.  Over the holidays, my energies were focused more on cookies and little tiny smoked wieners bathed in barbecue sauce than they were focused on this blog.  I can’t help it — I am helpless against salty meat or buttercream frosting.

So … a quick catch up!  I don’t know which order to go in, so let’s start with the CUTEST!

Our good friends got a golden retriever puppy for Christmas.  And I love him and want to make him mine.


I think we visited the dog 3 times during his first 5 days in his new home.  We MAY have overstayed our welcome (thank goodness we have gracious friends).  But oh man, overstaying our welcome in order to visit this adorable fuzzball was worth it, you guys…


But I don’t think our cats enjoyed us coming home over and over again with puppy smell all over us.

They were not pleased…


So now, the holidays!

First, there was Halloween…


A “kitty” and “Charlie Brown going as a ghost.”

They made the costumes themselves, so I was on board.  It saved me a trip to Party America.


Then Thanksgiving — so much gravy! — and then my mom came over and baked cookies with my daughter and me.

My mom taught my daughter the ins and outs of rolling cookie dough.


Grandma is a good teacher because my daughter caught on pretty quickly.


This was our final product.  Like, 8,000 frosted sugar cookies or so.

It’s so weird that my pants are so tight after the holidays, you guys … I just CAN’T figure out why that is…


Then came Christmas.

Here is a shot-by-shot of my daughter opening her big gift — first not believing it was what it was, then realizing she really got it.



It was pretty fun to watch.

We had a wonderful Christmas and a quiet, happy New Year.  Our family has some fun things to look forward to this year, which I am excited about.

But I am mostly thankful that we are healthy and we are together.  That pretty much takes the cake.