Before & After

To celebrate my upcoming birthday Friday, I decided to cut my hair short. I’d been growing it out, thinking it’d be fun to have a pony tail again, but I’d forgotten just how irritating it is to constantly brush my bangs out of my eyes, not to mention the 20 minutes it took to dry my insanely thick hair everyday (thanks, Mom!).

My hairdresser is a saint, laughing when I told her to cut it all off.

And she did.

Happy birthday to me (and it only took me a whopping five minutes this morning to get ready!).

(And I never know what to do in front of the camera! ACK!)


The week leading up to this portrait session was rainy and dreary and cold, an early winter moving in. Auti’s mother and I were frantically texting back and forth days before, going back and forth on whether the sun might shine or if we should postpone yet another week. I was gung ho about moving forward, confident that the weathermen would be wrong (I have yet to meet a weatherman that is actually dead on with his forecast), but Auti’s mother was still a bit hesitant, but decided to trust me.

Meg was going to be my photo assistant for the shoot, Auti (and her mother) being good friends of Meg’s through her martial arts school she attends. Auti and her parents showed up just minutes after we pulled into the parking lot of the park we had decided upon for the shoot, and lo and behold! the sun broke through the clouds halfway through, casting beautiful golden light on the hills behind us and making the whole world glow.

Auti was a delight, always smiling and joking around. She’s a middle schooler attending the same middle school that my kids went to, and she’s into everything: gymnastics, running, martial arts . . . you name it, and she probably does it. I just had so much fun taking her portraits, and just like the sun making the world glow, so does this child. She just makes everyone happy to be around.


Almost Twenty-Five

Meghan will turn twenty-five next week. I’m not quite sure where the years went to, but they have been filled with so much learning, so much laughter, so many long talks and so many quiet times, too. I read millions of words to her during her childhood and told stories upon stories about my family and David’s to her. Memories of growing up with her have been floating through my head lately.

So many life times in the span of twenty-five years have been lived.

I feel as though the tip of the iceberg has barely broken the surface

a five dollar umbrella

Meghan had the afternoon off Monday to take care of some business, and stopped by the house for a quick p.b. & j. and a visit.

I had a polka dotted umbrella that I'd found at Walmart for $5.00.

It was raining.

And I had an idea in my head.





a friend in need

Wednesday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch trying to find the energy to work out when my phone pinged indicating that I had a message. It was from my friend Sharon, the house mother of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority house on campus asking if I could help her out with taking some new pictures for the house. She had some girls and some sparklers (and a 9-month-old puppy made an appearance later on), but her good camera was in the shop and all she had a was an introductory level camera that didn't shoot the large files that she needed for the print sizes she had in mind. Of course I said yes, and loaded up my gear later that afternoon and drove up to campus and met her at the house.

I always enjoy shooting college girls. They're just on the cusp of adulthood, but they're still pretty silly and goofy, traits that I am very comfortable and, ahem, rather familiar with. And Sharon is just such a huge help in calming my nerves and helping me relax. The girls posed, Sharon lit sparklers, we all squealed, I photographed and we all "ooh-ed" and "aww-ed" over Piper the Dachshund. It was a quick shoot, an easy shoot and a fun shoot and I was more than happy to help out my friend. 

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Inspired by the Instagram account, @dancersanddogs, I set out to re-create my own version of a dancer and a dog this past Tuesday afternoon. Yes, the dancer was the (very!) energetic five-year-old daughter of my good friend and yes, the dog was our sweet Langley the Lab, and yes, we managed to pull off a similar scene that the Dancers & Dogs folks make look so easy. It took two large carrots, graham crackers, goldfish, cranapple juice and lots of laughter and patience, but Dana and I managed to wrangle our respective charges into sitting still for the second it took for me to press the shutter button on my camera.

I also managed to take some sweet portraits of little Ellie in all her exuberance. A fun, fun day all around. 


emily and the class of 2018

As of  7:00 this morning, I made my 6,602 (give or take a few) peanut butter and jelly school lunch sandwich, fed Joe and watched him roar off to the high school on the back of his morotrcycle to take his final final public school exam.

The enormity of that moment was not lost on me.

I became a School Mom in 1999 when Meghan began kindergarten, and it’s been non-stop ever since: sack lunches, drop offs and pick ups, field trips and concerts, science fairs and homeroom duties. I was thinking about all of that, all those moments, all that life, Monday evening as I drove home from taking senior pictures of one of Joe’s classmates that lives just around the corner from us. It struck me that these kids, Joe’s classmates and good buddies, have become a little bit Iike an extended family to me.  We moved here in 2005, just three months before Joe was to start kindergarten himself and we didn't know a soul in Fayetteville. Both kids had left behind all of their friends that they've known their whole short lives and both were a little nervous about the first day of school in their new town. I've written about Meghan's experience here, but it was Joe that had the hardest time that first month of school, wanting me to keep him company for as long as his (amazingly wonderful!) teacher would let me until he finally decided that he liked kindergarten and that he didn't need me around anymore. I began volunteering at his grade school, coming in at Library Time to help maintain calm and also to help in his classrooms. It was in his classrooms that I began making friends of my own, first with the kids, later with their parents. 

And what a welcoming group it was, full of smiles, laughter, warmth and friendliness (and a lot of mischief from the kids!).

This month Joe's class, all the kids I've met and helped out in reading groups, tying shoes and whispering to be quiet, will be donning caps and gowns and striding across the stage to receive their high school diplomas. They're all grown up, full of dreams and achievements, some going off to college in the fall, some going into the military, some not quite sure what they want to do. But no matter what, I am so, so proud of them all.

Thank you, Emily, for helping me along the way and for being a friend. You'll go far and I can't wait to see what you do.