Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006 has come and gone and wow, was it a good one! My little ones all got new pajamas and one of the things my dad and stepmom wanted was a picture of them all snazzed up in their sleeping attire. So this is it! don't they look comfy?!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's finally here...the chance to take a deep breath and just enjoy the next few days with family. As I write, I am waiting for my mom to get here. The kids are running from Mickey's First Christmas to the window, waiting for her too. My mom will be here 'til Christmas Day and then she goes on to her cousins and my dad and stepmom will come later morning Christmas Day. I am so blessed to have such wonderful parents. My mom and dad are divorced but remain friends and it's nice to be able to be open with them about the plans. My mom and dad even ran into each other at lunch one day and ended up eating together. They talked for an hour about my brother and I and of course the grandkids. My mom and dad are just happy and that makes me happy. Someday I hope my mom will find a man just as my dad has found my stepmom. She is another cheerleader for our family and we love it! The more the merrier.

I also am taking this time to think about my friends whom I love so much. For without you, I don't know where I would be. You are all so special, even those who I have gotten to know through blogging. Speaking of which, I cannot comment on some blogs which drives me crazy and I want a certain person to know how happy I am for her and her couragous battle with cancer! You did it girl and I am so proud of you! I know this Christmas will be extra special in ways I can't even imagine. Here's to you...

So, Merry Christmas my wonderful friends. You are the light of my days and I cannot wait to meet the new ones and see the old ones again. God has blessed me with you all...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tonight is the biggest night in NFL football...at least at our house. It's the Viking/Packer game. They only play each other twice per season so they come few and far between. My bh is a huge Viking fan and our 9-yr. old is a die hard Packer fan so it makes for some interesting jabs when they play. We look forward to this game every year...and what did we find out? It's on a channel we don't get...NFL Network...and not many people do around here. It's like this exclusive channel that our cable provider doesn't carry or something like that. Believe me, I've called around. So now we have to resort to the radio which is not nearly as fun. sOr my bh is resorting to searching around on the internet to maybe hook up with the laptop. So I'll still have my usual football snacks around...chips, dip, chicken wings, etc. We just won't be watching it on the big screen. My Packer fan and Viking fan will be bummed but then again, maybe we can huddle around the radio, snuggled in blankets, eating junk food to our hearts content. Isn't that they way they did it in the olden days??

P.S. I am a Viking fan but to not hurt my son's feelings, I will cheer on the cheeseheads if they make some good plays. Secretly though, I hope that purple-headed guy in the stands spills his beer on the cheesehead in front of him...HA!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

J esus
O thers
Y ourself
...this was the message our pastor talked about at the kid's Christmas program yesterday. And how true it is. Not only did I enjoy watching the kids do their part in telling the Christmas story but I had by my bh sitting right next to me, joining in all the holiday hymns. I know he heard the message too and took it all in. Nothing meant more to me than sitting in church with him. I found myself gazing at him and just feeling really good. God is answering my prayers as He always does. And as I listened to my 6 yr old. say her part about the angels, everything was content. I felt totally full, totally blessed. My bh was smiling and I knew he could feel the presence of God. Even today, the spirit is still there. It's amazing. Nothing short of amazing.

Friday, December 15, 2006

This afternoon my 4 yr old...oops, she is now 5, can't get used to that...anyway, we were making cards for my bh. She sat next to me and asked me how to spell "fixer"..I told her the letters one by one not knowing what she was writing. This is what she came up with...it made me smile. Once again, I realize how big she is getting. These are the things that need to be framed! Can't wait to see his face when he reads it...Merry Christmas as only a 5 yr. old can say it best.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I never imagined we would be outside with no coats on and no snow boots in the middle of December. This is how we spent one afternoon, playing in the yard, burning off that extra energy. Here's to those wonderful "warm" days of winter that we must take advantage of. Who knows what tomorrow will bring...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Put one of these red and silver wrapped Hershey kisses in front of me and I have no will power. None. I could eat these anytime of day, anywhere. I can eat them with breakfast, lunch and dinner and in between. I even snuck a few during church. God knows my love for these new candies out this season. The obsession started when I received a bag as a thank you gift. I had never heard of them before...I read the bag, "hmmm, candy cane hershey kisses...sounds interesting. i'll try one..." Then two, then three, then four...then I can't stop!! If you haven't had one yet, beware. They'll grab your tastebuds with the minty, chocolatey flavor and suddenly a monster is created! I love this time of year...especially because of these little bits of heaven that somehow seem to make me smile. So I'll just keep enjoying them while I can and passing on the goodness to other chocolate lovers. You must grab a bag before they disappear this season...or just come to my house. I'll have plenty to share!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

No photos for this one...you'll see why.

Have you ever tried giving an 85 pound dog a bath who doesn't want a bath? I did and I tell you it was no easy task. We are talking about a dog who will jump head first into the lake but won't step into a couple of inches of water in the tub. What's up with that?!? So normally I would have just bagged the idea but he HAD to have a bath. Needless to say, a lab likes to wander and he just happened to wander into the neighbor's garbage. He smelled...bad. I couldn't stand it. So I locked him in the bathroom so he couldn't escape and it took me like 10 minutes to get him in. It was like lifting a 200 pound weight. My youngest daughter, bless her heart, came in to help. After some convincing, we finally got the big lug into the tub. I started washing him down...darn, I forgot to get "his" shampoo. I wasn't about to leave him so I grabbed the baby shampoo. I figured if he smelled like baby, that would be okay. The actual washing part went pretty smoothly. Then it was time to get out. And out he came. Water was everywhere along with black hair and a few dollops of slobber. My daughter was laughing and grabbed a towel to dry him off. I knew once I opened the door he would start rolling around on the carpet, couch and anything else he could find. I really wanted to contain the dog hair in once spot. I grabbed the hair dryer and began to get him dry as fast as possible. My daughter immediately grabbed a comb and started "grooming" him. I thought to myself if someone were watching this, it would be really, really, funny....finally, he was dry, clean and smelled just like a baby. I let him out. He slid on the floor as his paws slipped on the water laiden tile. I took a deep breath...whew. The dog looked great but I was a mess. Not to mention the bathroom. I spent the next hour cleaning up. I knew right away I was not meant for the dog grooming business.

And next time, I may just skip the dog bath and take one myself!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Babies are the best to photograph...I think they are my favorites. I don't get a chance to do this young of babies very often but these were special. They are of my good friend's sister and baby Lane is 2 weeks old. Isn't he just sweet?!

'Tis the season for busy times! Seems like having both my daughter's birthdays in December creates quite the month. My youngest turned 5 on Friday...she had a blast. I made the cake for her, like she wanted, and put a crown on it. It wasn't perfect but she loved it. That's my baby...it could have been the worst cake in town but she would have loved it anyway. It was great just to see her so giddy and happy all day. Now I have my other daughter who turns 7 on the 20th...she will be just as happy with anything that comes her way. I love all the kid's birthdays but in a way, it does make me a little teary eyed. It takes me months to get used to their "new" age. And by the time I do, another birthday comes around. They sure are getting big, right before my eyes. But they are such awesome, amazing kids and I love them more and more everyday. So as for my son, I can't even talk about how old he will be next spring...only 3 more years and he will be a...a...a...teenager! Ugh!

Don't even ask how I am when my birthday roles around...it's not a pretty sight!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. I love dragging out the stored away boxes labeled "Christmas decorations" in big black letters. I love going through them with my kids and watching the excited look on their faces. The house is decorated to the brim. I love helping the kids memorize their lines for the program at church...I love wrapping the special gifts for friends and family...I love celebrating the birth of Christ. But most of all, I just love life and this time of year reminds me how great it is to be here, on this earth, living for God. There really is no greater gift than that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanks to a reporter on CNN, I had orange hair.

My bh and I were watching the channel Saturday afternoon and he saw it...the hairstyle I was looking for. Now, I have been looking for a change for quite awhile. But I was finding it hard to know what color/style I should be wearing. I would pay big money to have an appointment with Nick on What Not To Wear...he rocks. Anyhoo, after some discussion, I really wanted to get rid of my blond hair and dark roots poking through. My good friend who does my hair could not get me in until the middle of December so I thought, I'll just put a little color in myself just to hold me over until then....

Big mistake.

I went to Walmart, picked out this semi-permanent color. I thought it looked good. So did my bh who has wanted me back to brunette again for some time. I was excited. I was ready to make the subtle change. My girls and I went into the bathroom and proceeded to put in a light brown, Navajo Bronze to be exact. After the 10 minute waiting period, I washed it out, put a towel around my head and then my heart went into my throat. My hair was orange. Not like a pumpkin orange, but more like a reddish orange. My girls just kind of stared and then wanted me to dye their hair pink. I had to get my bh's opinion. He and my son looked and said, it's definitely orange.

So, I had to fix it. I couldn't go to church the next morning with orange hair. I headed back to Walmart, with a hat on of course, and got another box. Dark brown this time, went home and did the whole process again. This time, it worked. It's still a little reddish and not quite the color I was going for but my hairdresser can take care of the rest.

I still went to church. God doesn't care what color my hair is, so I didn't care. I just walked in with my head held high but inside I was saying a little prayer, "Please God don't let anyone comment on my hair." Only one person did. Ssheww...I guess I learned a little lesson and will probably avoid the hair color aisle for a long time.

Who came up with name "Navajo Bronze" anyway? Should be more like "Navajo Bronze but could be Navajo Orange on some people"....Sigh!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Is it my age or why can't I just focus? I always knew my worst trait was getting distracted easily but it seems to have taken on a new life. I think it's getting worse. Like today for instance, I have a ton of things to get done around the house and here I am, 10:00 at night and as I look around I really can't tell you what i got done. Ugh. I really need to focus on one thing at a time. I seem to start one thing and before finishing, start on another. While I'm folding laundry, I'll notice some dirty dishes in the sink which I can't stand so I have to quick put them in the dishwasher. Then I'll notice something else sitting out that needs to be dealt with and I'll start it but if my kids or husband come out and need something,

"mom, I can't find my shoes...."
"mom, I need my hair put in a bun...."
"mom, can I have some chocolate milk...
"honey, where is my screwdriver...."

So, I'll help them and forget what I was doing before. The result? There are times when nothing really ever gets done. It's a vicious cycle. I can't seem to stop. Sometimes I think it's a case of being a busy mom, sometimes I think it's a case of, well, getting older?! But as I sit here and look at the half-folded laundry, more dishes in the sink, books on the floor and my husbands hunting clothes laying at my feet, is it really that big of deal? The laundry will get done, it will get put away and everything will be just fine....

Okay, so now what was I gonna do?????? Sigh.....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nothing really much to say...I just like this picture of our dog, Ridge. This was right before he got to go pheasant hunting so he was being very patient. Believe it or not, he's only 9 months old and he's huge. But very sweet and very good with the kids. Funny how those animals just become a part of the family. Good boy, Ridge...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Keep reading after this post...I'm in a blogging mood! Today I brought my kids to school as my bh and I do every morning. My son had to be there extra early for student council so I told my 1st grader she could wait in the van with me until the bell rang. She saw her friend, Ethel, and wanted to go play so we did our ritual kisses and hugs and she ran off. I usually wait awhile before pulling away, just to make sure she is okay. (I wonder if I will ever stop doing that.) Suddenly she motioned for me to come over to her. I went, asked what was wrong and she wanted to come back into the van with me. She was teary eyed and wanted anther hug. I was surprised as she usually goes off to school with no problem. This morning was different. She really was missing me. I told her we would have some mommy-Maddie time in just a few hours. Once she was at lunch, school is half over, I told her. She smiled and gave me a final kiss and hug.

Picking up the kids from school is probably my favorite thing to do...they still run with those open arms, even my 4th grade son is excited to come home. So my 1st grader was extra excited to see me waiting for her today. Hmmmm, I realized no matter how old they get, there are still the little things that just mean so much.

I just had to post this picture...it's of my client/friend's triplet boys. They are 2 1/2 years old and I had the pleasure of photographing them last weekend. This one is definitely in my top 5 list. I love how they are just playing and how totally oblivious to me snapping away in front of them. This same family also has a 6 year old daughter. They have never had a family picture taken because, well, can you say triplets?!? My friend has always wanted one so we set up the appointment. While walking to the location I was going to use, her husband looked at me and said, "this is never going to work. We've tried it before and the boys are either crying or won't sit." I looked at him and said we'll give it a shot. This is what their first family photo turned out like.....

My friend cried. That is truly the best part of what I do...giving people the picture they will cherish forever.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What a great surprise my dear friend gave me...this was picture I didn't know she had and she gave it to me all framed and ready to display. Wow, the half marathon was over a month ago already and it seems like yesterday. I'm on the right and my good friend and running buddy is on the left. It's great to have a friend to share the experience with. We're already talking about the next one. We always say we will be toenail-less (yes, I did lose one with all the running) and will be having knee replacements someday, but it will all be worth the feeling of exhileration of crossing the finish line. I just may not be able to wear sandals for a really long time...

Friday, October 27, 2006

You know you're getting old when your 6 1/2 year old daughter is talking about boyfriends. Yeah, it came as a shock to me too. Actually, you should have seen my bh's face...now that was shocked. She was talking about it this morning while eating her Lucky Charms. It just came out of nowhere. "Oakley was my boyfriend but now he's my ex-boyfriend. So now Quinn is my boyfriend." I just stared at her. Where did the "ex" come from? Do you even know what that means? Wait a minute, why are we even talking about BOYFRIENDS?!?!?! My youngest daughter giggled, my son was grossed out and my bh just looked a little pale. I knew it was up to me to take the bull by the horn and ask more questions.

"What do you mean he is your boyfriend? It's okay to have boys as your friends but..." Oh where was I going with this. We are talking about 1st graders here. They are probably just friends that play on the playground at recess.

"Quinn is just cute with his glasses and he makes me laugh. He's a good friend."

Whew. She really just has a little boy in her class that is her friend. Okay we're safe for now. But only for now. For I know in just a few short years, those boys will be calling, coming over, asking for dates....ugh. I'm glad I have a few more years to think about that talk. Sorry, Quinn. No dates for now. Just some swings on the monkey bars and some good giggles.

I just hope the color comes back to my bh's face!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

this is a picture I took a couple of weekends ago and it's one of my favorites. It reminds me of when my bh and I were married 12 1/2 years ago...we were about the same age as this couple was and just as in love. Still are when it comes right down to it. Through all the trials and tribulations, the love is always there. We laugh at our memories and look forward to the ones yet to come. Aaahhh, love....there's nothing like it.

This is our family dog, Ridge. He has a special place for my youngest daughter for some reason. Maybe it's all the treats she sneaks to him. Prior to Ridge, we had a chocolate lab for 13 years which is very old for a lab. We had to put him down in January and we still miss him! We made it two months before Ridge came into our lives and literally has turned it upside down! Going from an old dog who didn't do much to this rambunctious puppy was an eye opener to say the least! But over the last couple of months, he is really learning his boundaries and to stay off the couch. (Except in this picture!) I have met quite a few of my neighbors through trying to get Ridge out their yard and stop chasing the cats. Luckily I have very nice neighbors! He loves the kids and is a great dog to play with. One of his favorite things to play is football with my son...he makes a great defender for him to practice against. It's quite the sight to watch. He is a great hunter, much to the boys' delight and found several pheasants for us to eat last weekend. So at 8-months old, Ridge is turning out to be a wonderful part of our family. As long as he stays off the couch...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My 4-yr. old and I went to M.O.P.S. this morning and had a great time. This is a great group of women that I have befriended over the last couple of years. This morning we went around and told "our story". It all started with how many M&M's there were on your plate, that is how many things you needed to say about your life. I was amazed at the little tidbits that I didn't know about some of these women. We laughed with each other and just listened to each other tell about ourselves. I even found Cami sitting next to me graduated a year behind me in high school. Who knew?!? It was a good morning and my daughter loves "Moppets", the program for the preschoolers while us moms learn from each other. It's really amazing how at the same time moms can have totally different lives, we can have so much in common. I think back about 7-8 years and how I was just lost with myself. I didn't know who I was or what I was supposed to be doing and didn't know who to turn to for help. and somehow, by God's hand, I was lead into these awesome groups...MOPS, Beth Moore and our church. They have shown me to be okay with me and who I am and have lead me to meet some amazing people..friends. God really is something, isn't He?! I just am in awe of the way He works in our lives. I pray that I can instill that into my children as they grow. speaking of children, my baby girl is awaiting her lunch. Thanks to God for giving me direction back then so I can give my children the direction they need. Which is right now, towards the kitchen!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My blog is a little outdated. Yes, I am still blogging, just having problems finding the time lately. Which is a good thing I guess. My appointment book has been full this month. I'm amazed at the response this year. I hope it continues. My bh told me I need to get a business plan written up for the next several years. Business plan?! What is that? Do I really need that? Sometimes I think I need someone to sit down with me and help me out with this kind of stuff. Anyway, maybe I will get business-knowledged and start to know what I am doing. All I know now is that I love taking pictures of people, places and things. I think I should have a specialty, something that I known for. Is that part of a business plan? Once I am out of the busy season, I think I will have to figure that out. I usually don't think too far ahead of, well, today. Maybe the weekend. I'm grateful for today so I don't worry too much about what lies ahead. But now that I have business, maybe I need to change that mindset. So that's my blog for today...to business plan or not to business plan. I can't believe I actually have to think about it.

Thank you, God, for opening my eyes up to my "thing". Now I ask for your guidance in making up a plan. I give it all to you because you have the plan on me. Thank you for your blessings I so undeservingly receive.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I took the kids out to the nature trail in Yankton last weekend. It was so nice and thought it would be a great day to take Christmas pictures. Plus we could take a little stroll on the trail and take in all the pretty colors of fall. Sounded perfect right? It started out great...

...then they started to get a little silly. "Let's be farmers and put the wheat in our mouths..." They giggled. Even I laughed. Okay it was funny and cute. But only once. Come on kids, I just need a few more shots for Christmas cards. Just give me five more minutes, a few more smiles and we'll be done...

My 4 yr. old decided it was just too much walking. But I couldn't carry her, I had my camera, tripod and lenses with me. Come on, baby girl. I encouraged her we were almost there. I started praying for patience. Please God...She finally joined up with the rest of us. The 50 cent bribe helped...

...hmmm, these flowers look interesting. "Can I pick some and bring them home?" Okay I said. Whatever you want, let's just keep moving. The 15 minute picture shoot was ending up taking an hour. She loves exploring. But by now it was getting hot...they were getting thirsty. Great, I didn't bring anything to drink. Now what?!

Whew. My son to the rescue. " Hey, here's a water spicket. I'll see if it works." It did and everyone got a drink. Including their clothes. By this time, I was sweating bullets. It's harder taking pictures of my own kids than customers! We kept on trekking. My bh called on the phone. "Where are you?" I told him it taking a little longer than expected. He laughed. By now the bribe was up to a dollar...

...we LOVE our brother. He didn't quite feel the love. Right after this shot, they all rolled in the grass. They were really hot by now and ready to get out of those sweaters! Mom, are we done?!

Finally, and hour and 3 dollars later, I got the picture. Someday they will appreciate this picture. Okay, maybe not. But I'll remember how hard it was getting them to cooperate and they did. And had some fun along the way. And what's really cool is they smiled and got along just for me. Here's to this years Christmas card. Thank you God for my wonderful blessings whom I love with all my heart...but I'm sure glad I only have to do this once a year....:)


Saturday, September 30, 2006

I heard a wonderful message this morning. It was from this lady, some of you know, named Beth Moore. I feel like I know her. I have been listening to her and doing her weekly Bible studies for 3 years now. And with each study, I seem to learn more. I learn more about God, life and, myself. I feel much more content with who I am since Beth has been speaking to me. I have given my life to God because He has the file on me and knows exactly what I need. It's a hard thing to do, to just giving it all to Him. But since I have, I feel peace and contentment in knowing that I am doing what He wants me to do. This morning's lesson was on joy. Abiding joy. I had to share it with you. Do you know what complete joy is? It's that kind where your heart is throbing and swelling. Have you ever felt that? She talked about the kingdom that is promised to us. A kingdom where we are royalty. Why is it that when we were little, we dressed up like princesses and there was no doubt that we were royalty. What happens to that feeling? Life takes over and circumstances happen and suddenly we no longer feel like princesses and knights. But it's not true. We ARE royalty. We have royal blood so we must feel that way. God's kingdom is waiting for us. Even when we are going through rough times in life, there is comfort in knowing that joy is coming. There may be tears tonight but there is that awesome joy tomorrow. Reminds me of the friend I know battling cancer. I thought about her and wanted to let her know that JOY is coming! God promises us that. Keep God in your heart. And know that we are all royalty, beautiful in His eyes and there is abiding joy coming to us all.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oh yeah, this is my boy. Not so little anymore. He had an amazing game in football this past Monday...scored a touchdown and made some awesome blocks. He plays wide receiver, running back on offense and safety on defense (yes, I am learning these positions). Monday was so exciting for him and for us. It got even more exciting in the 4th quarter when the coach put him in as quaterback. He was nervous, but played it great. He just loves the game. Now that he is sleeping in his Green Bay Packer bedroom which I have since finished, I think he even dreams in green! I love watching him play, watching him learn and watching him grow into a wonderful all-around kid. But the best part-the part that makes me sure that I am doing an okay job- is that even this 9-yr. old still says I love you, mom, everyday. That's the part of him that never grows old.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My girls. Only 4 and 6 and how they have changed my life. When I was a little girl I always wanted to have a girl so I could fix her hair...and I got it! Two heads of beautiful hair to brush and braid. The oldest sometimes complains but someday I know she will understand why I just love to brush her hair, for no reason at all. They are best friends and it's so great to see them play together. The youngest does everything the oldest does. Like two peas in a pod. Okay it's not perfect all the time. There are squabbles, arguements over who gets what Barbie and who gets to wear the sparkly shirt, but all in all, they love each other. I pray they stay close when they get older. I'm very close to my only brother and I couldn't imagine not having him in my life. My girls talk about us doing "girl" things when we get older...like getting "pickles" on our eyes, as the 6-yr. old says, going to movies, shopping and getting our nails done. Yes, i have very girl-y girls. And I wouldn't have it any other way. I look forward to all the times we will share, as girls. Because there is nothing better than being a girl and doing all those "girl" things together.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What is it about fall that just gets me going in the morning? I love this time of year...football games, leaves changing colors and probably the most important thing, turtlenecks!! Okay, you may think I have totally lost it (maybe too much running) but I love getting out those turtleneck sweaters. Pair 'em up with jeans and I have my favorite outfit. Thinking of being able to wear them just makes me get up in the morning and want to get dressed! I wish I had every color and I'm always on the look out for them. I have always loved turtlenecks. For some reason, they make my hair look better. Sometimes I think it's just all in my head (or neck) but I really think fall gives me more good hair days. Who can complain about that? Whoever invented turtlenecks, thank you. They make me feel good about myself on those days that otherwise I might not. Hmmm...funny how something so silly can make the day. Could only happen to a woman!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Well, I did it. I can now say I've completed a half marathon. And it's a great feeling. Looking back, I really can't believe it worked out the way it did. My bh was torn between a hunting trip and coming with me and after some discussion, we decided the antelope were calling his name. So I was left Saturday morning to fend for myself, the kids and the dog. Before even leaving town I had to take family pictures and go to my son's soccer game. It was a hectic morning but we all made it to where we needed to be and finally got on the road to Sioux Falls. After spending some awesome time with my dad and stepmom, we went to my mom's where we were spending the night. I went to bed early and my mind was spinning from one thing to another. 2 hours later I was still awake. Before I knew it it was 5:30 and I rolled out of bed. My adreneline took over. I dressed, ate a not-so-tasty energy bar and headed down the two blocks to the wellness center. I was amazed at the people there already, stretching out. I even knew some people. As we loaded the bus to the starting line, it was misting and very chilly. Not a bad day for running a race, I thought. I met up with my running partner and the anticipation grew. Finally the gun went off and we were off, running in the race that I have been working towards for 6 months. The people on the sidelines were amazing. They were cheering and clapping for us, I thought that was so cool. I yelled to them, thanks for working so early in the morning! Mile 1-6 were great, I felt great and it was so pretty out. I just kept looking around, remembering landmarks from growing up in S.F. Then we hit the bike trail. Mile 7...8...more people taking pictures, cheering, hey there's my running partner's family! There were even drummers playing a tune. I couldn't believe all these people were here for us! Mile 9...uh oh, there's the wall. I hit it everytime. It's the time when all of a sudden my knees start to tighten up, they start to feel robotic. I couldn't make them go any faster. I looked at my watch, we were a little behind where we wanted to be but my legs just wouldn't move. I started talking to God. Help me God, I need you here. I accepted what my body and what God was telling me. Mile 10...the longest one. I began to think they measured wrong. This has to be more than a mile! I could feel God with me though. Finally, mile 11...we're almost there. Mile 12...I started feeling good again, I picked up speed. I could hear the people cheering. Must be the finish line I thought. We turned the corner and it was the most awesome thing I've ever experienced...the people clapping, cheering for me a total stranger! I forgot about my robotic knees and just took it all in. I saw my kids, my mom, my dad and the most wonderful surprise. From a distance I heard "DeAnn!" Is that my friend from Monstrose! It was! I couldn't believe it, tears came to my eyes. Having that support was so cool. I've never felt so great before. Immediately afterwards, I knew right then, I was signing up next year. My bh called and after telling him about it, he wished he would've come with me. I could hear it in his voice, he was proud. That made me smile. It's okay, I thought, you'll do it with me next year.

I went home feeling fortunate that God helped me through this race. I'm so astonished at what He shows me everytime I run. I feel like He is right there with me, pulling me along. Now I'm taking a little break but I'm ready for the next race, ready for the next heart to heart talk with God. My tennis shoes are in clear view as we speak. God put them there to remind me how much running puts me one with Him. Thanks be to Him and to you, my friends for being there. It meant so much. Pictures to come!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I've been pounding the pavement for the last 6 months in anticipation of this weekend. It's the day of the big race. Aside from quitting my job 5 years ago to stay home with my kids and start a business, this is the next biggest thing I've ever done. I'm so excited yet scared. A half-marathon has been on my mind for a few years now and here it is, I'm going to do it. Can't back out now. Especially since my good friend and training partner will be waiting for me! I just hope it's an awesome experience. I'll be praying as I always do when I run for God to just help me through to the end. This whole training thing has changed me in a lot of ways. For one, now I actually like water! I never like the taste of water much, I'd prefer an icy Coke. But I made myself drink it after running because I knew it was better for me and I wanted to train the right way. Now I prefer the taste of water. I can drink it all the time and it tastes so good. My skin feels better too. I also appreciate the human body much more. After a 10 miler my knees would hurt so bad, it's hard to walk down the stairs. My friend and I got a huge laugh when we had to skoot down her steps on our butts. That was a sight. My knee still gets a little stiff but how it holds up during all that pounding is incredible. i'm truly thankful for having knees that work and can get me through the training and races. And running with a friend has been awesome. We have become so close going through it together. She has made me a better runner and a better person. So now the training has ended. The days of running those long runs in 100 degrees is over. The gun goes off in 3 days and I'm ready. Ready to run through Sioux Falls and see more of the beauty that God wants to show me.

funny how when you really look, you see beauty all around you. My business is very busy right now with seniors and families. Being in this area of the state, there is never a shortage of "photo spots." I try and make everyone's pictures a little different, try out a new spot. The other day I knew I had a senior booked and while driving to pick up the kids from school, I noticed a bridge. I did a double-take. Where did that come from? Wow, look at those wild flowers, how pretty! That would make a great "photo spot"! Hmmm, all these years in Yankton and I never noticed this bridge before. I decided right then, I was going to take my senior there for pictures to try it out. Wow, was I glad I did. Turns out, it made a beautiful place for pictures. It was like God just put this right in front of my face. Amazing how He does that. I told some friends at my M.O.P.S meeting this morning about it and they all agreed, God is amazing. Sometimes when I run, I notice things I never had before. Like a cornfield...or a trail...or a grove of trees. It's all part of His plan to help me create pictures. Pretty amazing.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Although it may not look like it outside, fall is here. At our house, whatever sport is in play, that's what season it is. Soccer is here and of course, football. That's my son, in the green at practice. He only wears green, he's a huge Green Bay Packer fan. His dad on the other hand is a huge Vikings fan. Yeah, I know. I don't know how it happened either. We dressed the kid in purple until he was old enough to figure out we were trying to push the Vikings. We bought him Viking stuff, posters, blankets, you name it. Suddenly one day he became a cheesehead and he hasn't looked back. Now I am redoing his room and what does he want? A Packer room. So he's getting it. Packer bedding, pillows and even a Packer-green wall. It's great fun to watch these games in the league he's in. It's very serious play. They have drafts, pretty much stay with the same coaches, teams every year to keep up the continuity. They play on a real field under the lights with refs and the whole works. It's a great experience for all the kids. Today he got some exciting news...my good friend is taking her husband and son to a Packer game and with their package they bought, they get 3 autographs. She told me she will bring my son's Packer hat and get it signed by a real live Packer player. Wow, the look on his face was priceless. I can't wait to see him when he gets it back. As he dreams of playing in the big leagues, he's practicing hard. Look out Brett Favre, there may be another Packer coming in about 13 years. But for now, I'll cheer him on while he plays little league football. Great practice, bud!!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Have you ever met a person in your life that just kind of changed your life? I feel like I know a person that has done that for me and I have never met her. Strange huh. It's true. I have been reading this blog of a friend of a friend and it has had such an impact on me. I can't even describe it. It's funny how things happen. I would have never of "met" this person if it weren't for this blogging gig. She lives in small town and has cancer. She is my age with a husband and two small kids. She has had surgery and is now undergoing chemo treatments and her experiences are so inspiring. I feel like I know her. I feel like I want to meet her, introduce myself and tell her I have been praying for her. A complete stranger yet a friend. I sit and think about how this came about and I know it was a God-thing. This person's words came at a time in my life when I needed it most. And God knew it. Ever so gently, He gave my friend the idea to pass her blogs on to me. It's all a plan. And I'm so grateful. This person is fighting this cancer with everything she has. It's amazing. She's amazing. I think of the beautiful flowers that have bloomed and how precious life is. We should never take it for granted. Now, within the last few weeks reading about her life, when I see a flower, I am reminded of life. Someday soon friend, I will introduce my self, give you a flower and let you know exactly how much you mean to me, a total stranger.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I can't believe school starts tomorrow. This picture of my youngest daughter's feet reminds me of one of our favorite things to do in the summer...go to the beach. And after tomorrow, the lazy beach days will be very numbered. We live only a couple of miles from the nearest sandy shore. This summer we actually all biked there quite a few times. Swimming, playing in the sand and meeting up with friends for a grillout are the best memories.

I always get a little sad when school starts up again. Another year older for the kids and for me! I will have a 4th grader, a 1st grader and luckily I still get one at home. It's amazing to me how fast the time goes. With soccer and football practices/games, dance classes, school parties, the time seems to go even faster. I just try and cherish every minute. I have these feet hanging on my wall and everytime I look at it, I am reminded of those summer days.

I wish we could stop time, even just for a little while.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Something happened to me this morning that made me realize there is still such a thing as romance. I got in the shower after getting my bh off to work. I took an especially hot one and created swirls of steam in the bathroom. It felt good. I opened to door to grab a towel and what I saw made me freeze. On the mirror was written, "Hi Beautiful". I looked behind me as if someone else would be there. That surely wasn't meant for me, was it? Who wrote it? Who are they talking too? I thought it might have been my son. No, he wouldn't know how to spell beautiful. It really looked like my bh's handwriting. Finally after a minute of trying to figure it out, I figured it out. Suddenly a smile came on my face as drips from my hair came running down. My bh wrote on the steamy mirror after his shower and he wrote it for me! I guess I don't consider myself as beautiful but it sure made me smile. I couldn't believe how sweet it was. I called my bh at work and asked him about the mirror message. He didn't even know if it would work but thought it would be fun to try. Oh it worked. In more ways than one. My day has been made and it all started with a steamy bathroom and a mirror. The words slowly disappeared as the steam evaporated. I'm already looking forward to tomorrow's shower so I can see them again. Sorry Windex, I think I will hold off on cleaning that mirror as long as I can.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

What an awesome weekend. It was Riverboat Days here and if you haven't heard of it, it's like the biggest event of the summer. An extra 150,000 people are in town for the festivities that go on all weekend. Yesterday started out with my 5k race and then the parade. We actually got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. Yes these are the ones on all the beer commercials. They were magnificent. The kids got their picture taken with one of them. My bh said they should be throwing out beers instead of candy. The last time they were here was in 1961 so we may never get that chance again. After the parade we headed down to the river and ate, ate and ate some more. I don't think I can eat another funnel cake again. We hooked up with our friends and ate again. Then the girls had to get ready for their dance program. Did I tell you we ate a lot? The girls danced their hearts out and my son rode the rides. Then we ate yet once again. The food was amazing. Good thing I ran earlier. Gave me a good excuse to keep eating! We finished the night with scouting out the art vendors and just enjoying the beautiful weather. And of course one more funnel cake. We visited with our pastor for a minute before I noticed him staring at the sunset. I knew we were thinking the same thing, what a wonderful place God has created for us to live. I wished everyone there saw what we were seeing in the same way. My 4 yr. old's face while she was dancing says it all...in her opinion, life is just one big parade.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I swear my 6 yr. old is going on 13. She is starting 1st grade next week and i looked at her today and couldn't believe how much of a young lady she is growing up to be. Then my thoughts came back to reality. Here's why...She had her dance dress rehearsal this afternoon for a performance this weekend. Her hair was all up in a bun, makeup on perfectly including ruby red lipstick to match her ruby red dance outfit. She gracefully performed every step on stage and I was so proud!

We got back in the van, she buckled up and told my son to pull her finger. He did, she "tooted" and laughed like crazy. That's my girl. Secretly, I was glad you did this. I wouldn't want you growing up on me too fast.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Will I ever understand the way a man thinks, why he does the things he does? It's question I may never know the answer to but nevertheless, he's my husband and I love him. He is gone tonight, at a going-away party for some people at his work. I'm envious that he is socializing with adult people in a place that doesn't involve swings, slides or Happy Meals. Dont' get me wrong, I love McDonalds but there comes a time when you just need something a bit more grown up. I was a bit hard on him before he left tonight. My defense mechanism in me reared it's ugly head and I made a mountain out of a molehill as they say. Oops. My bad. Times come when I feel underappreciated but as I settle down and look at the big picture, it's not about me and what I do or don't do. It's about recognizing the signs that I am appreciated and loved. Isn't that just like a man, to do that stuff the hard way instead of just saying it.

So now I must tell you about by better half (bh), my husband. He is a great person and the things I have learned from him are countless. There is no one in the world who can make me laugh like my bh. He is always there for me, even during the hunting season, when the deer take a front seat in his life. He has taught me how to be a stronger person, more confident in everything I do and more aware of my surroundings. Before I met my bh, I never knew the difference between a whitetail and a mule deer. Yes there is a difference. I never knew how beautiful wildlife really was and how amazing it is to see them in their natural habitat. I never knew how much fun is would be to make a roomful of snacks and chow down while watching the Vikings on TV together. I love just watching him work on his bow, perfecting it. Sometimes I wonder why he chose me. He loves the kids and me, even in the chaotic days and the days when we really need to just take a break from each other. It's all the day of the life of marriage. I love my bh and I wish he was here so i could apologize for my moodiness. I am blessed to have him and I know we were brought together for a reason. So even in the days when our little bad habits are driving each other crazy, my heart is full of love and respect for him. I just need to remember that a little more often. Thanks my bh, wherever you are for making me who I am today. Here's my favorite picture I took of you, reminds me of our simple life together.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hi! This whole blogging thing is very new to me. I'll be honest and tell you I didn't even know what a blog really was until a few days ago. My friend just advanced me in to the 21st century by filling me in. Thanks! After a painstaking attempt at getting this set up, I think I have finally done it and am looking forward to keeping it up.

I don't even know where to begin. Do I start with my life, my beliefs, my hopes and dreams? As I watch my 4 yr. old "read" a Barbie book just at my feet, my mumble jumble of thoughts suddenly simplify. That's how it should be, just another day enjoying a good book of Barbie.

I began a photography business 3 years ago, a longtime dream of mine, and the more pictures I take the more I realize how simple things really are and we just don't see them in the everyday busy-ness of life. Like a flower picture. How often do we really stop to look at them? Or a child just thinking, pondering about what playground equipment to go on next. Pictures for me are a thousand words and more. They give me peace and remind me of the simple, beautiful things in life.

Running does the same thing but in a different way. When I run, I become one with God. That is the time I pray, reflect on myself and all the blessings I so undeservingly receive. I am up to 11 miles, every mile becoming closer to Him. I feel close to God during my runs, especially at the end when all I can think about is getting a cold glass of water. One long run came on a day when it was 150 degrees out and I didn't think I could run anymore. All I wanted was some water. I prayed for God to help me to the end and it wasn't a minute later, a boy was outside playing with hose. I knew the boy and asked him to spray me. He did and it was more refreshing than I could have imagined. Needless to say, I made it to the end of my run and once again realized how God is always with me.

So that is it. My first blog. How did I do, my fellow bloggees? Next to my family, my photography is a love of mine that I like to share. Here are a few that remind me of simple things. Hope they do the same for you.