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Monday, October 26, 2009

What are you still doing over here? Oh, you're catching up on the last few years of my life:) Go live in the now and type in

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's a...

NEW BLOG!!!!!!!!! I finally did it with the help of Jake (and Brian and TJ too:) This chapter of the blog has ended and a new chapter has begun. Please go check out Living Life Beyond ( Go get your dancing shoes on because we are about to do the Happy Dance together! I can't tell you how excited I am! Go chickity, check it out:) I have to tell you....I'm a little nervous posting this. I am about to go live with this! Am I ready? Is the new blog ready?

Get out of my way fears....I'm clicking live on all I go. Here's to new beginnings:) I wish you could see the smile on my face or feel the butterflies in my heart (not sure why they are so high and not in my stomach...must be a deeper....excitement of accomplishment). Go now.....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fresh Eyes...

"I'm so busy, it's crazy right now."
"Oh man, that sounds so nice, but we have way too much going on for that."
"He/She has change since we got married."
"You have too much time on your hands."
"I have to drop Billy off, then I am off to the grocery store, then to the gym, back to pick up billy and take him to soccer and then to the dentist. Homework, dinner, bed." whew;)

These are just a few words that are like nails on a chalkboard for me right now. I know how easy it is to get overbooked...believe me. Too busy to do the things we "want to do" because we have put too much on the "need to do" list. Let's me babble for a bit on the different aspects of our life that suffer the most from getting so damn busy. Look at the chaos in this pic....just enough time to see what the other person is doing, talk surface for a bit and then back to the chaos.
We all get buzzing around so fast that we miss seeing each other....really seeing and talking to each other. Take for instance...months ago, Jake decided to shave off his facial hair. He asked me one day if I had noticed. I was taken back by the fact that he had to ask me, but then I was in total shock when I asked him how long it had been...3 DAYS! I hadn't REALLY looked at him (with fresh eyes) in 3 whole days. How long has it been since you saw your sig. other with fresh eyes...a day, week, months, years?:( Another story. I just got back from the most amazing trip to visit a friend in Sacramento (more to come on that). Traveling is the best medicine for getting us to open up our eyes to new experiences. I am on cruise control half the time and notice very little in a day that wasn't similar to the day before. Well, I did a lot of talking about "fresh eyes" (or clear eyes for Lindsey) with Mark and Lindsey as I photographed them for 2 days. I wanted to explore the idea of when we first start dating someone and all the awesomeness that we observe in each other. How do we keep those fresh eyes in a marriage years later? First we have to slow down! Then we have to be curious about the other person. We have to stop putting everything they do into a box of understanding and labeling. When was the last time that we have said something to the effect of, "oh, my husband/wife would never do/like that." How do you know this for sure? WHY do you know this for sure? I hope that I catch myself saying anything that might answer for Jake. I hope I never know him that "well". After all my incredible experiences on my trip I couldn't wait to get home to my pride and joy. Jake and the kids (and of course the dog) were all in the car picking me up. Jake got out to help with my bags and the first thing I notice....he shaved all of his facial hair again. I NOTICED:) His face lit up as I mentioned it because what I really could have been saying was, "I noticed.....I SEE you...I LOVE you!" I am processing a lot on keeping marriages fresh and also noticing how BUSY everyone is. I think they are hugely connected and it's something that has to be balanced all the time. Slow down a little...then a lot and when things get busy again, start the process all over again. When everyone is resting (getting their kids into this and that), be the one that flies away and does what is right for their WHOLE family. Pull up beside someone on the telephone line and really talk, not regurgitate schedules.Jake and I are going on a mini-vaca this weekend to Seattle. Our dear friends Heidi and Dave spoiled us with a weekend workshop at the Gottman Institute. So while the rest of our loved ones are going to soccer, then football, the movies and whatever else on the schedule...we are going to take a second to be different. We are going to focus on the glue of our family...the love that started it all and continues to be the glue! Go find something to have fresh eyes about. Go look at your kids with fresh eyes. Lots more to come on this freshness;) I can't wait to share our trip:)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Careful what you wish for.

Let's say that you haven't seen me since the diagnoses....upon seeing me the scenario will probably go something like this. "Eeee, hiiiii (squealing in between)." I say hey, how are you? (in the midst of a huge embrace) Then you might push me away from you as to get a better look at my whole body. Then the inevitable comes..."how are you feeling?" And before I can answer you, you take the space where I am suppose to answer with, "well, you look great?" I put a question mark there because it always seems like those words come out with such surprise and confusion. Then there is a look that some have given me. I don't know how to quite put the exact words to it, but every woman has experienced it. When you know you look good and a woman gives you a compliment that you look great, but her eyes are more like daggers of jealousy that ask "how" or "why" do you look so damn good. Let me explain where I am going with this...wait, I can't because I don't really know what I am trying to say. Let me give you a couple extremes that have come my way to put me in a confusing state. When a couple different women (friends) have said, "maybe I should get MS so I can look that good." Or, "I don't want what you have, but you have a rockin body". These are compliments right? At every point in my life I have always been very confident and happy with what my body looked like (minus, right after baby insanity moments;) As a woman, I know that we tend to take our eyes off our own plate A LOT, but have we become so out of touch with reality that we would wish a sickness, (like when someone gets the flu and gets all skinny), or a disease on ourselves with careless words. I don't feel mad when people say these things because I know where they are coming from. I am glad that I am confusing their vision of what MS is suppose to do, or might do to me. But we really need to take more care with our thoughts of ourselves and words with others. When was the last time that you paid a compliment to yourself? When was the last time you liked looking at a picture of yourself? If you can't remember the last time, then you may want to pay attention to what kind of self talk you're giving yourself to be that unhappy with your healthy body. Maybe you have been living so long in who you WANT to be instead of appreciating who you ARE! I wished many times that I would care more about food and get healthier one day. My wish totally came true and this is the path that needed to take me there. I truly am thankful for this wish....but many of you might want to be careful what you are wishing for. Take control of your thoughts and be who you want to be!

I remember taking these pictures for Jake for Valentine's Day 6 months after Jamie was born. Shannon was just starting out in photography and we went to go take shots of each other. In that whole process I remember realizing how much the pictures were for me and not Jake by the end.The experience was uplifting and exciting. I was proud of the body that I had and even embraced the huge nursing bra showing through because I knew that one day those big girls might disappear. Let's be realistic here...I am still a girl and I haven't been 100% content my whole life about each body (I do have an ego and I did want a boob job), but I think what I was able to grasp that many others don't was that no matter how much I love or dislike my shape, I know it will always be changing. If I can't embrace it for it is in any given moment, then I am not embracing me. I loved my body a year ago when it was 20 some pounds heavier and didn't want to lose the weight. I will take your 20 extra pounds and you can gladly take the MS. I just hope it has the same wake-up call that it gave me. If it doesn't then you're just going to be skinny, but still unhappy.

So go get some pictures taken of yourself! Love your body for keeping you alive and healthy, because it might not be that way tomorrow! I have taken some recent pics to celebrate, yet another phase of life and I can honestly say that I love my body and I'm not afraid to say it, because that isn't for anyone else to discredit. I love my body for waking me up. I love it for allowing me to play volleyball, take care of my kids, wrestle Jake, tie my shoes, walk straight and I even love the tingling all over...because it's me. So yes...I look good....because I feel good. And for the days that I might not feel good, at least I don't have the extra negative thought swirling around about not being content in my own skin. Thanks for the ranting!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My Passion is contagious!

This is so exciting I don't even know where to begin....
Let's go back about 10 years.
I had a camera
I had a baby
Baby inspires me to learn again. I start reading. I start looking for a way to be more.
I fall in love with baby so much and the only way I have to document it is a point and shoot film camera.
I start journalling, cutting pictures out of magazines, taking pictures....I say this because "scrapbooking" was not yet a household craft.
Then I REALLY started scrapbooking. Then I got payed to scrapbook.
Then I wanted to get better pictures and I start shooting all the time.
Then people started complimenting my photography and "maybe I could shoot their family"?
There...STOP...there is the spark, and it is about to get ignited. The day I started to ASPIRE to become a photographer! First I toy with the idea and start tip toeing through the beginning of an exploration. How can I shoot in better light? Where do I get better prints? What outrageous thing can I do with my kid now, all for the sake of a picture?
Then I found The Catalyst in my photography life....Joyce Makenzie. She handed me her camera and had faith in me. After that first click of the camera in her studio, I felt impulses begin to fire in me that I never knew existed. There were fires started in the depths that were igniting motivation for the first time in a long time. I couldn't learn enough. My head is still spinning!
Fast forward through 3 amazing kids, the most supportive parents/family, husband and friends a girl could ask for, and a passion that could never be extinguished was born....
Now...I want to be That Catalyst (thanks for the brainstorming Tracie!). I want to be the wave maker and the synergist that stimulates a passion waiting to be fueled in someone else. I know that my passion is contagious and I love to share my here goes the beginning of this chapter.
My friend Amy Hall has been a catalyst to me for this as well. I have had classes on my agenda for years but I think I let fear get in my way. Amy is that friend that I admire for her ability to do. She is a mover and a shaker and she is one of my biggest fans. What I was delighted to encounter this year is that I am now one of her biggest fans;) She has grown into an incredible photographer that shares the same thirst for photography that we never seem able to quench. She has given me the courage and push that I needed to create a space for others to learn. So here's the news....she and I are teaming up for the first ever class....drum roll please....called...
So please come and aspire to get out of your box...whether it is the fear box, or the busy box, or the there's too much to learn box, and come be in an encouraging surrounding that is going to be filled with amazing people. This is the mothership of all crafts. Photos for life. We plan to squash every antonym to the word Catalyst (block, blockage, preventer, prevention). Can you feel the excitement? Thank you Amy for helping me get out of my own way!!!

More Details....
There is going to be so much fun, talking, doing, eating, laughing, learning and deep thinking that your heads might implode as your eyes are taken over by your soul!
$395.00 Full Day class
$100.00 extra for a bonus day of more hands-on practice getting behind and "maybe" in front...(not saying for sure in case you panic;) of the camera. We are OPEN books and there is nothing off limits. So leave your "I cant's at the door", open up your mind and put the most amazing tool in your hands and learn with us! Leave a comment if you are interested in more info (or e-mail We are only taking 20 rockstars so jump on it!
Oh the dates:0
October 24th and 25th

Friday, September 4, 2009

More tears please...

These are happier tears this time with the day 2 story. First I will make you cry, but then I have a good laugh for you as well (hang in there Kenz:) Take a look at this face below. Really look at his smile. There is so much joy. And above all, this little guy is bursting at the seams with LOVE. I never really understood why people question whether or not they are going to have enough love for a second child after they pour so much into the first. Well, I can assure you that any doubt that you have in your mind is washed out when your heart is filled from the sibling love. There is no prouder moment than witnessing that overwhelming love that a child has for their sibling. When they get excited to be with them every moment of the day. When they get protective of them. Or when they have moments like this....Tré came home yesterday and told me that the day was awesome. Then he paused...he said with a shy smirk, "but almost cried again". Jalena asked why before I could. The conversation went like this...
"Jalena, do you remember when we saw each other at recess. Well, when the bell rang and I knew that you had to leave I felt the burning in my throat because I wanted to cry." She asked why..."I guess it is because I love you so much that I didn't want you to go, I wanted to go with you." Later he was telling Jake and I about it again and he elaborated. He said that he was scared for her. He was worried that she would get scared or feel like crying and he wanted to be there for her. So he got over his own moment of fear the day before...but then he put the same fears into someone else's life and took on the emotions again. I am so thankful for all the love lessons in my life and I am proud that my kids have a safe place to process their emotions. I told them that they are lucky in love and that they should be proud of loving so fully. I told Tré that he has to be careful/conscience of putting emotions on others and worrying about how they might feel. He doesn't get it quite yet because he doesn't have control of his compassion...and that is probably what makes him so great and full of lessons for us to learn.

Just in case a few of you are crying (Mom:), here is another favorite moment of the week. I was working on the computer and I could hear the kids plotting in Jalena's room right next door. They came flying into the studio and thank goodness the camera was on my desk and ready to go to capture this greatness! SUPER UNDIES!!!!!
I'd like to say that this is the first time that my kids have done this, but I can't:) I will say that the little princess below was the first to ever attempt such a thing. I think she as about 4 when she first tried it and the boys thought it was genius. I know your kids have done this as well...go get the dang camera out and capture your own memories. Don't them slip away.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Get out of your own way!

What a day! First day of school and I fully expected waterworks as I always do each year when I have to detach from my kids after an amazing summer. What I didn't expect was tears from my 4th grader and yet another important lesson in life;) The day started off great. Everyone was excited...I know this because there was so much chatter this morning that you would have thought it was Christmas. I made binders for the kids that had Keeta's pictures all over it so they would miss her too much. Put everyone in the car (including the dog) and headed off to school with a little pep in our step...First stop, yearly pose...everybody's doing it:) Stay with me until the end for the lesson or at least tears....
Next stop...Tré gets swarmed by his friends...wait there are no boys in there? He tell THE GIRLS that he has to help his sister first. True to Tré style..."Jalena, this is where your backpack goes and then you line up right here when the bell rings.""Tré, I KNOW, I've watch you every year! I'm outta here!" True Jalena (The Icebreaker) style.It didn't take Tré long to get right back into the swing of things.Thank goodness they still don't what to do next once they catch their prey;)Then it was one last shoe tying session...the bell...the anticipation of saying good-bye) this is where I start to get a little weepy.Jalena....nervous maybe, but hidden by the shield of bravery and excitement. Tré...proud...nervous, but looks great and gives me a confident wave good-bye. I'm not quite sure what happened in the time that I clicked off my camera, grabbed Jamie's hand and walked halfway down the hall.I hear these heavy, desperate footsteps with a small whimper to echo. It is Tré sprinting after me just seconds after I saw the little smile on his face as I left him.Most of you would not have turned back on the camera. Most of you would have handled this situation differently...but I assure you that in the next steps that I took, I probably covered all of your choices. First, I coddled and told him that it was perfectly normal to be scared. After 10 minutes of getting nowhere with rationalizing I went with parenting technique #2...stern. Get in there and go see your friends and stop letting the fear get a hold of you. #3 Let's try some breathing techniques and try to stay in the now...what do you hear, feel, smell?" Clearly he couldn't smell a thing because he had been crying for 15 minutes and it was stuffed. Now the teacher comes out to see what in God's name I have done...she sees that I need back-up and gives her hand at it. Still no go and MORE tears. Now I just want to cry with him and take him home with rollercoaster, huh...stay with me:)Bribery (which I take pride in NEVER using). Let's talk about the surprise that I am going to work on for when you get out of school and tell me all the ways that you got over your fears and had fun. Nothing...sobbing now! I am pretty sure that we are 2 hours into this ordeal at this point (reality, 15 mins/30 tops). I tell him to go get a drink, gather himself and march into that room and I will wait outside the door until he feels comfy. Sure, I was prepared to stay the whole day. Final technique a final last effort to put all my mommy skills into action, I seize the opportunity when the teacher came out for the second get the heck out of dodge. I told her to hold onto him, that I loved him and that I had to go.I am pretty sure that my whole heart was left behind or at least sitting in my throat in that fleeting moment. If you could zoom into his face full of emotion in this pic you would be bawling. In all my techniques and all my wishes, there was nothing I could do to get him out of his own paralysis created by fear. I could relate to this more than he could possibly know. I still feel those paralyzing moments that takes me right back to a scared, little girl that can't find the courage to take the next step. So as I sit here and try to write this through the tear-blurred vision. This day, these moments were designed just for me. I was suppose to have these lessons today through my little appendages. One being brave and showing me the path that I know that I can choose. And the "older me" showing me that it's o.k. to be scared. It's ok to fear change. It's NOT o.k. to be paralyzed and to get in my own way so badly that I need someone to grip me out of it. So thank you kiddos. Thank you for being the most beautiful human beings in this world. I want to feel like this when I get off this bus that I am on. I want to hold my hands open this wide to show the world that I made myself fell "this big" today. Tré told me that he thought of Keeta to get out of the fear. He said that he looked at the binder of Keeta if he felt sad. Mommy tactic # whatever, worked! He found his own way out and he felt so proud.We're o.k. now. I'm O.K! I am so thankful for this day and these tears, and to be able to share. Tomorrow is a new day...and I won't be walking the kids into the school. I think I will just stay in the car and cry. I will pretend for a moment that I am able to push the pause button on this thing called life that is always is fast forward. God help me next week when this guy goes to his first day of his last year in preschool. God help me when he goes to Kindergarten. Let's not even talk about all 3 in full day just yet.
The lesson of the day...get the hell out of your own way. Take one of your biggest fears and stop giving yourself thousands of reasons to hold onto it. Just conquer it. I can't tell you how, but I can tell you how amazing it is going to feel on the other side of it!