Sunday, October 12, 2014

Discover Wisconsin | Let's Go Flying

"Let's go flying," he said. "Bring your camera, it will be fun," he said. 

After months of hard study while juggling crazy work schedules, home life, and flight school, he finally had his pilot's license and a plane to show me our Autumn-bedazzled countryside. Just him and me. What could possibly be a better date to take your lady on?

That Saturday morning dawned crisp and still. The rising sun pierced rays through the gently rising Autumn fog. Peaceful. Quiet. Perfect. It couldn't have been more beautiful. 

This is Wisconsin. 

This was my first flight in a small aircraft. I didn't know what to expect. With my capable pilot at the controls my only fear was motion sickness. But even that fear was unfounded as we took to the skies. The ride was smooth. The views were breathtaking. The adventure of it all was exhilarating. The flight was inevitably too short.

Yes this. This is the place I call home. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Neil & Anna | Today and Every Day

Let me tell you a story about a girl and a boy. Two park benches on a warm Summer day. An unprecedented romance.

Well this might not be exactly how it went down, but these two found the love that is known to find you in unexpected places yet lasts for a lifetime. They know they are lucky to be in love with their best friend each and every day from here to the end of time. 

This is my friend Anna and her forever best friend Neil. They were wed nearly two years ago, but the photos from her wedding day weren't enough to capture their undying passionate love. She asked if I would do more for her. Capture themselves as the bride and groom that they were on that cold December day and remain to this day. Have the wedding pictures without the wedding. So donning their wedding attire, an afternoon of sunshine and the wedding day glow as bright as ever, we took it to the park where sun rays and flowers and gentle breezes made the perfect setting to capture the romance. This, my friends, is the way to do it. Enjoy your wedding day and save the exciting photography for for another day. I have never had such fun with a bride and groom. I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was to narrow down my favorite images. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Baby Brenden | From Here, to the Moon and Back

This beautiful baby boy is clearly the light of his mommy's life. So perfect and strong and healthy and sweet. There's something beautiful about a new mother's love for her baby and the way the baby absorbs and thrives off of that love. You don't know what love looks like until you see a mommy's tireless, undying, unending, patient, eternal dedication to a precious little person so dependent on her. Brenden's beautiful mommy is a perfect picture of that and they made such a gorgeous pair. I loved every minute I got to spend behind the camera with them. 

I could hold out my arms, say "I love you this much" 
I could tell you how long I will long for your touch 
How much and how far would I go to prove 
The depth and the breadth of my love for you?

From here to the moon and back 
Who else in this world will love you like that? 
Love everlasting, I promise you that 
From here to the moon and back 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Little Toby Becomes a Big Brother

I have known Stephen (the big papa here) as a self proclaimed big-bro since before his lovely Amy and cute little Toby entered his life. Watching him become a sappy husband and proud father is the cutest miracle story ever. And now they're celebrating the little cutie becoming a big brother and you have just never seen anything more happy. Never has a cute little "Bug" been more adored and loved by such proud parents. He is their absolute world and they just have so much love to give their babies and each other. Best family ever. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

How to Make Your Lettuce Last Longer

Everybody in our house loves fresh crisp salads. Even the dog. But he's a dork so that is to be expected. Wait. What does that even say about the rest of us?

It would therefore stand to reason that we would decide to plant a bountiful lot of lettuce in our herb/perennial/raised bed/patio garden thingymabobagoo. Due to our exceptional planning-ahead skills, it became overdue for harvest all at the exact same minute. And what are you supposed to do with that. much. lettuce. at. one. time. sans the going to waste option?

Well, I kind of panicked a little because what is the one produce that is served but one way? Not cooked, not canned, not frozen, not dried, not anything but fresh? Well, it so happens to be that same stuff that was going to seed on the patio and would soon be going to rot in our fridge. Pinterest, however, made a virtual promise of sorts that if I were to package it all neatly into perfect mason jars it had the potential of lasting for weeks.

(Epic: "Pinterest" and "mason jars" all in the same sentence)

I dig potential.

So I cut the lettuce down, took it to the kitchen sink and thoroughly scrubbed it to death a few times because I can not stand the thought of one single aphid surviving my mad salad skills. After a thorough rinse and repeat cycle, I chopped and gently packed into a few of the many wide mouth canning jars I had recently picked up at a garage sale for three crisp George Washington's. Voila. Beauty right there.

Stuck said jars into the fridge and I'm here to say, 8 days later, that said lettuce is not a minute less crisp and fresh than it was the day they endured said brutal bathing. I suspect they have a solid week or two left before we begin to reach stages of wilt; in the unlikely event that we don't eat that many salads. I promise to update further on first hand experience on the shelf life of jarred lettuce. We have planted again, this time we're doing it in cycles. If things go according to plan, we won't be buying lettuce until a few weeks past the first frost.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

When I Look Into Your Eyes | Colton Samuel, 18 Months

A little over 18 months ago you entered our lives, little man. We thought that we were simply once again joyfully embarking on the journey of sweet newborn-scented babyness; that we were just welcoming a little brother for Jimmy into our family; that we had a lot to offer you. What we didn't know was that you had so much more to offer us.

You took us on a journey to Rochester. We learned about trusting competent strangers in an ambulance to take our beautiful newborn safely over icy roads hours away where you could get better. We learned a lot about faith. We learned about miracles. We learned about how much people in our world cared so deeply--about us... about you. We learned that we had nothing to complain about; that even in our darkest, scariest moments we had oh so very much to be grateful for.

We thought we had the parenting thing down pat when we took you home, but you taught us that we were helpless humans with absolutely no idea of what we were doing. You taught us to think more with our heart and less with our mind. We learned how perfect little cherubs like you need a lot of love. A lot of love. We learned about long sleepless nights. We learned that sometimes the only sleeping position is the one with you on your tummy on daddy's chest. We learned about colic. About food sensitivities. We made many mistakes along the way, but you never noticed; you asked for nothing but love. And slowly you got better.

You learned to walk... and run... and climb... and fall. Fearlessly. Keeping you alive is a full time job. You have sharpened our senses. Your favorite thing to do is play with a framed picture of mommy and daddy. You love music. You love dancing. You know no strangers; on the beach last weekend you just went up to a random person who was filming his family and stood beside him, pretending he was your new dad for the moment. You danced out into the street three times at a parade to the giggling amusement of the crowd. You make people laugh.

You taught us about vivacious toddlerhood. You have naughty streaks that are so adorable that we can't help but love you. You live with your heart and your arms wide open. You're tough yet so tender. You have a beautiful and strong spirit. I pray to God it is never crushed or broken.

You taught us about gentleness. About love like we have never known. About selflessness. About giving up our plans and our dreams to make a better world for each other. You taught us to never be complacent, but to constantly endeavor to become better for you and your sweet brother Jimmy. You have bonded us together so tight.

Before you were born, you and I often listened to Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up". I had no idea how much it impacted both of us. It's our song. And I love you and will never give up on being the best that I can for the beautiful boy you are.

When I look into your eyes, it's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise; there's so much they hold.

And just like them old stars I feel that we've come so far
To be right where you are, how old is your soul?
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am

I won't give up on us, even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love I'm still looking up.