I'm ALIVE!! First post in over 2 months!


I have not blogged in over 2 months!  Lots and LOTS of changes have happened in this VERY short time frame.  Not all will be revealed today - they will make for some very fun posts.  One fun change,  I did get married, and I assume that will turn into multiple posts - the frustrating and the beautiful.  

Today I just wanted to put up a few pictures of my big guy.  We had a little get away over Labor Day weekend and it is just what we needed.  The wedding and everything else going on has made life crazy - so, we took one day to do nothing except enjoy. 

Every year my family goes to Michigan, to Wako Beach.  It is one of the few vacations we took as a family of 8 - but, we went every year just in time to pick peaches and blueberries.  Now, the annual vacation has gotten much larger, now that we are a family of 22, and growing...  However this year, I had my wedding on the weekend we would have gone.  So, a few of us decided to pick up and go spend the day - it wasn't much, but it was perfect.   I cherish that time with Brayden.  The everyday hustle and bustle is so busy.  I am conscious daily about how quickly the time flees - which keeps me loving every  minute I am with him - and it makes me very sad when I am not  (with the exception of the no nap days - those are brutal)

Here is B and My younger sister's family on our mini 1 day vaca!:

all tuckered out - they were all asleep before we even left the parking lot! 

and on the way home...  we got to drive through this: 

I hope to post again soon! I have months of awesome client pictures that I am behind - and the next two months are super busy, but I hope I can keep up better now.  Enjoy your weekend!



new smiles

In Brayden's 3 1/2 years of life - He has had more dental work done then many adults. 

At 5 months, he got his first 2 teeth.  But, when they came in, they had a greyness to them.  Over the next several months, they chipped away - eventually exposing his nerve.  So, at 13 months old, he had to have a double root canal. 

6 months later, the veneer cover popped off.  The entire cap needed to be replaced.  We had to do the entire thing all over again.  After it was all said and done, Brayen loved his new 'toothers'.  He loved telling people about his 'new teeth'. 

Then, just a few weeks ago I noticed a lump on his gum.  Come to find out, it was an abscess - he had an infection in the roots of both teeth.  The dentist told us he would need to have them pulled.  

This is really small potatoes to many things in life - I thank God daily for my healthy, stubborn, lovable little man.   But, at the same time I am vain enough to admit I love Brayden's toothy little grin.  He looks just like his Mom :)  I was worried about how he would look - and now with the wedding coming up, he will be toothless for all of our pictures.  More then all of those things, he would have to experience something scary - scary for him, and for his parents.  Watching him being taken away by strangers and worrying about him being scared is a terrible feeling.  

I took some pictures of him at T-Ball this week, I wanted to capture his last days of this smile.  

Yesterday, I saw the dentist round the corner.  He said Brayden did great.  He gave us the 'to-do's' and 'do-nots' to care for his gap, where his precious little fake teeth use to be.  As he was explaining, I saw my little man round the corner - 4 stickers on his shirt,  a little prize in each hand, and a bloody gauze between is lips.  I removed the gauze and looked...  it was scary at first, but he was still that adorable little man - he just looked older.  And he added a cute little whistle to his words when he speaks.  

Throughout the day yesterday, We made our rounds to show off his new look.  Every time I looked at him, I smiled ear to ear, "I love your new smile, Brayden - you look so cute!"  I truly do.  I realized I had the same feeling when they were going to cap his first teeth - sad and scared about the process and what he would look like.  But, he is always my adorable little man.  One day, his big boy teeth will decide to come in.  I have no doubt I will love that awkward little smile just as much as I have loved the different versions it has already gone through.  He is more then his teeth - He is Brayden, my beautiful little boy.  

 I do love that adorable little toothless smile ; )



from roller skates to wedding bells

I got an email from a childhood friend, she was engaged and getting married in about 3 months.  She needed a photographer for the wedding and engagement pictures done :)  I am lucky to be able to be involved in their special day.  Not only as a guest - but, I get to capture the moments they will cherish for a lifetime. 

Amanda and her family lived on a farm about 5 miles or so from us.  Her family and my family spent many weekend nights together - grilling out home grown burgers, playing kick-the-can, roller skating in the basement, making s'mors on a campfire.  We were all in 4-H together, many crafts, baked goods, and livestock shows spent together.  Their families have been so close to us, they are much like family.  

There is no doubt I will shed a few tears on the day of her wedding - I already did during her engagement session.  I am such a sap! 

Amanda and Ben will be married 2 weeks after John and I.  Some days it is unreal to believe that we are 30, when it feels like just yesterday was sleep overs and make-up.  

Congratulations Amanda and Ben! 




the beauty I stumble on

I fell short on completing my "blog everyday in May" challenge.  The summer starts to pick up a lot for my little photography shop - Busy most weekends, be it taking pictures or editing them.  So, my intention started out very gung-hoe, but it was hard to keep up.  There are still a few of her topics that I plan on blogging about...  I just need to wait until I get caught up.  The blogging is fun, it has turned into my hobby and therapy and the photography is a business - so, the clients come first.  Well, truth be told, they are second...  this little guy comes first:

It makes me a little sad to say out loud, but Brayden and I had 5 days in row together.  No work.  No Photography.  I think the last time we had that many days in a row together without much interruption was last summer for vacation.  I didn't realize how much I miss that time with him - this week back to work was brutal - all 3 days of it.  And, Brayden is with his Dad this weekend - and, I really miss him.  That time together spoils us both - it is really hard to get back to that routine, that 7:30-5:30 daily grind.  He is growing up so fast - I feel like time is slipping away.  He is going to turn into a teenager in the blink of an eye - I pray, daily, that he will still love me like he does now.  I pray, daily, that he is gentler on me then I was to my parents.  I pray we respect each other, like we do now - but with greater appreciation for where time has taken us.  

During our break - the 3 of us went to the zoo - they have a dinosaur exhibit.  And, if there is anything Brayden loves as much as his Mom - it would be his dinosaurs.  He has loved them for forever it feels like.  He is inherently all boy.

 I use to worry about Brayden missing the everyday male role model, that I would be confusing his 'maleness' - If there is even such a thing - but, I know now that even though he still likes to put on my jewelry and play with my make-up from time to time, he is all boy.  He loves sticks, and worms, and monster trucks, and dinosaurs, and being outside and 'rough houseing'.  I apparently us that term now much like my mom use too.  It probably sounds something like 'if you boys are going to rough house, go down stairs' - because Brayden now uses that phrase, "John and I are going to rough house - I will be the rough house.  Downstairs, right Mom?"

I wish I had a video to capture every silly phrase, every hug, every kiss, every 'so much" response to my "I love you".   He will never be like this again.  I find myself being happy and sad, excited and terrified all at the same time.  

These feelings surfaced up this week being back at work...  and then this morning I read this article that was shared on FB - To Parents of Small Children - Go read it.   You will laugh and cry - because we all feel it.  Because parenting is hard.  Because parenting has all of those emotions that you just don't get until you have children to raise...  to witness and participate all at the same time.  Both Parent and child learning as we go.  Parenting is frustrating and exhausting and down right scary sometimes.  But, it is the best thing I have ever done, ever.  And, I imagine it will always be #1 on my list of accomplishments. I love when I stumble on beauty - the article reminded me of the zoo pictures that I hadn't looked at yet - and then, as I opened the folder, I stumbled on the most beautiful faces, Brayden and John, my family.   

In the Life, Love & Lemons front, I updated the Home page with a few of my fav photos.  I have the most beautiful families.  I also added a new proofing and purchasing site.  AND, I bought a new camera!!  John asked if I was excited as I examined the new Nikon...  my response, "No.  I am scared sh!t!#ss".  I needed to upgrade, but it is hard to bite the bullet and spend the money.  But, now that I have it I am so fascinated by the upgraded / updated technology.  I will put it to practice this weekend shooting some of my vintage rentals for my website. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! :)  Thanks for stopping by!



cute curry family

I am so behind on editing, blogging, cleaning my house...  I am trying to get caught up.  I fell off the 'blog everyday in May' band wagon...  like 10 days ago...   I tried!  Just too busy,  but busy isn't bad!

A few weekends ago a took some  photos of an adorable family.  Three beautiful little girls - full of personality!  Mom and Dad are going to have their hands full in about 10 years (if they don't alreay)!  Here is the cute Curry family!:


Love these pictures of them dancing under the pavilion :) 



The Family I have been hiding

I had a request to do a grandkids photo session for their Grandma's birthday.  It was also pretty close to Mother's Day - so, all of the Dad's decided to keep it as a secret from their wives, so it could dual as the Grandma's birthday gift and the Mother's Day gifts. 

Let me just say, I know on their part this was a lot of work in coordinating schedules and plotting stories to be sure to keep the ladies of the families in the dark, they did all of the work! I showed up and laughed through the entire session.  They were such a fun, and might I add, a good looking family to photograph.  We got some good laughs, and great gifts!

Here they are - FINALLY!! Go to Facebook and check them out - be sure to 'like' my page! :) 

The Family I have been hiding for WEEKS! 





Day 20: My Church burned down - 80 days until the wedding

Day 20: Get real. Share something you're struggling with right now.

With all of the 'things' to do with a wedding...  having a plan B for 'what if' the church burns down isn't really something I had accounted for, 80 days prior to our wedding.

After several texts and calls from John and other concerned family, I discovered yesterday afternoon that our church had caught on fire, and it is bad. 

I spoke with Father Hougan this morning to schedule a meeting to discuss next steps.  He said he thought of us, and felt bad but we would have to  plan our wedding elsewhere.   

This church wasn't my childhood church, but ever since I moved back and started attending church again, Father Hougan has been instrumental in building and educating my faith. My faith has always been present, always close by - by religion has not.  I am learning about practicing religion and my faith are much deeper then I ever realized.  I have learned more in the past 2 years attending his masses then I have in the previous 28 years.  

The church was beautiful.  It was moved, picked up and carried to a new lot a few blocks away.  Determined to keep the old beauty, the structure and original woodwork was kept but the church was updated, expanded, and more economically efficient.

I was looking forward to our wedding there.  It feels like a home, comfortable and familiar - much like it does for the rest of the parish.  I am disappointed that I won't be getting married in my church, which to me symbolizes the part of my prsoanl transformation, but our wedding is more then the church we get married in.  I think I am more upset about the displacement we will all feel during Mass.  I am sure after a few weeks it will become more routine and we will all adjust.    I know there is a lot of work that will need to be done to put St. Paul's back to it beauty.  

So for now, we will brainstorm options... add yet another revision to my already printed, addressed, stamped and ready to be mailed invitations...  

Here are a few pictured I got of the Rockford Diocese website:



Day 18 - story from my childhood

I am the awkward one behind the swing :) Mallory on the bar and cousins Mike and Jess on the swing


I feel as though I am unique in the way I was raised.  Farm life is very different from the way my the majority of my friends grew up.  I didn't know then, but I loved country life.  I loved it at times, when I wasn't cursing about living out in the middle of no where and not being able to see my friends, but I actually really did love it.  I loved the peacefulness.  I loved our dinners - meat, potato, veggie, and dessert almost every night - a lot of our food was raised right on the farm.  I never knew how different that life was until I had to live it the other way.  I didn't have video games or MTV.  It was around, just not at our house.  We had chores to do, beans to walk, lawn to mow, stalls to clean, laundry on the line, etc, etc. 

I can honestly say I have a neverending list of really great childhood stories - that involve playing kick the can, campfires, grooming animals for 4-H, and even in the work - I found fun :) 

Having a Dad that farms and a Mom that stays home, there was expected roles that they each had.  One of my favorite stories I like to tell is about the jean jacket that I got from my Dad for my birthday.  I had blogged about it previously - and it is still one of my favorites.  

Read about it here: to 54 more




Day 17: Just me

Day 17: A favorite photo of yourself and why

I can't pick just one :)  That sounds pretty self centered but give me a chance to explain :) 

Being behind the lens, as most Mom's are, I don't have that many pictures of myself since I had Brayden, and even less since I started my hobby / passion as a business.  I pick up the camera less and carry it with me less because I sometimes feel as though I need a break.  When really, I think if I brought it with me more for the fun stuff, I would reconnect with why  I fell in love with it - just because I loved it.  No money, or appointments, or editing - I did just because I loved it.  Don't get me wrong, I still love it.  I just enjoy the freedom of it from my eye since I do it so often now.  I love it differently - I love that I get to give that to another family to cherish.  I need to refocus  (pun intended) and give that to my family more often. :) 

Back to pictures of me.  I have a long list - and they all have Brayden in it.  I believe that is when I loved myself the most, differently.  Sure, the parts of my body that I once loved, definitely, in no way shape or form resemble what they use to, but the smile on my face and the love in my eyes says it all.  Not only that, I am aging.  I don't see it everyday - but, I can tell when I go back.  And, that's ok.  It's part of life and I want to love that process, and how I look with the age of lots of love and laughter...  and maybe some stress too, but, it is life. 

I am really excited for our wedding pictures.  It will be John and I - with love and joy written all over our faces...  I can't wait for that!  

So anyway, here are a few of my favorites: 


And one of John and I :) 



Johnny - final Senior Smiles entry, baseball

I got to do multiple sessions of Johnny throughout his Senior year.  Johnny is special :)  I work with his Mom and he is best friends with my kid brother, who graduated last year.  I love that Johnny's pictures are unique, and they pushed me out of the standard 'stand and pose' mentality - His are real and natural.  I blogged about Johnny here and here - check out those sessions as well!  They are pretty awesome! 

Here is the final installment of Johnny - He graduates on Sunday the 26th :) Congrats Johnny!




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Day 16: My lot in life - My becoming

My lot in life is much the same as it has always been.  I have been surrounded by my immediate family, always.  Even when there has been distance - physical or emotional - we are never far from each other.  

I have always been the child of six to do things a little differently - often against the warning of my family.  And, although I respect their opinions, I know that their choices and decisions and their way of doing things is not always the same for me.  

I have a long list in my head - all of the things that my family said "I told you so".  But, at the same time, they have always been there.  I have to discover on my own.  I also have to suck up my pride and ask for help when my plans don't hash out.  For them, my list is probably longer then they would like it to be.  For me, I know there are many things that I still didn't do - and, I wish I would have (and maybe still will).   My place on earth was meant to take this route of self discovery by trial and error, by being knocked down and getting back up.  My lot in life is to be the child that gave my Mom grey hair and go against my Dad's better advisement.  It has also given me Brayden, and now John.  My journey hasn't always been the typical route, but I eventually find my destination, sometimes it is just a bumpier path.  

From someone or somewhere I have this sense of dreaming big - I am convinced it is genetic - so, my parents can blame themselves! ; )  This lot, this life is all about doing and learning.  And, I am beyond happy.  

I owe most of it to my parents who has kept me grounded with values - but let me fly (even if they didn't want me to).  Deep down, I think they are proud of 'how' I am - and who I am becoming. 


My lot, my family, my choices have all helped to develop the person I am becoming - but, part of me has always just been me.

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catching up - blog everyday in May

So, I guess I am getting about a C- in the 'blog everyday in May' challenge.  

I am going to do some catching up.

Day 10: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill. .... Umm, yeah -I am passing on this one.  I did photoblogs instead :) here, here, and here (encase you missed them)

Day 11: Sell yourself in 10 words or less

I can learn and do anything (and then I smile).  


Day 12: What do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life...)

I miss Virginia, but I love my family more so in the Midwest I will remain, for a while anyway.  I miss parts of my childhood.  Not school - but being on the farm.  I didn't know how much I loved it until I am without it.  I would love to experience that again, knowing what I know now. 


Day 13: Issue a public apology. This can be as funny or as serious or as creative as you want it to be.

I have nothing for this one.   Boring, I know. 


Day 14: Ten things that make you really happy

1) Brayden

2) John

3) My family and friends

4) Country Music

5) Being creative - Photography, editing, painting, designing, etc.

6) Learning, anything and everything

7) Field Work.  I love the smell of spring time and fresh tilled earth.  I love seeing planters and combines that start work early and stay late - often to beat forecasted rain or to get it done well Mother Nature will allow.  

8) The American flag and songs associated with it

9) Shopping (I would be a liar if this wasn't on my top 10 list)

10) Dreaming of the future


Day 15: A Day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - this could be "a photo an hour" if you'd like)

Please excuse the cell pictures, but it is a glipse.  

Wake up to this:


Shower, coffee (made a delivered by John), breakfast for B (usually in bed), finish getting ready, walk to daycare, walk back home, leave for work, Manage a "Quality Management System" and all of the joys that go along with my 9-5'er, get Brayden, go home, snack, make dinner, do laundry, get ready for the next day, Bath Brayden, Play with Brayden, say "no" a million times,  Say "yes" and answer "Why" a million times, and in between it all I answer photography emails, schedule appointments, take pictures, edit pictures, edit more pictures, blog about pictures or life in general.  And currently planning a wedding...  Caterers, favors, bands, center pieces, photographers, rings, shoes, ...  Oh, and I shop for antiques or vintage items - always explaining 'why' to John.  "It is for the wedding or it is a prop or I am going to paint it and resell it."  God Bless him, he usually just smiles :)  Our days are busy, and sometimes long - but, I love it. 

Basically, it all revolves around this adorable little man :) 


Can you blame me? :)  He's so cute!! 



First Wedding of 2013

I have my first wedding of 2013 on June 22, with several more to follow - including my own!  Here is my first Bride and Groom for 2013.  They are simply lovely - and I can not wait to photography their wedding!

Here is Amanda and Ryan!




Happy Mother's Day Weekend

I am looking forward to this weekend.  Not only is Sunday Mother's Day - but, I get my boy back from Virginia!!  

For all of the Mom's out there, take the weekend to relax.  Dishes, laundry, dusting can wait.  Just enjoy the little people that gave this day to you.  There really is nothing else in life that can compare.  So, start celebrating today and make the whole weekend dedicated to being a great mom - and let your kids know how much you appreciate them for giving you the best gift in the world, Motherhood :)




Day 9: A moment in your day

Day 9, Thursday: A moment in your day (this can be just a photo or both a photo and words)

a gift from my Mom - does she know me or what! 

Most of days look the same....  The mornings are usually crazy.  Hit snooze one too many times, shower, make breakfast for B, get dressed, maybe make-up, maybe blow dry, get B dressed, grab the remaining bits of breakfast for him to eat in the car or at Mrs. A's house.  His daycare is literally 2 blocks from the house.  I have wonderful intentions of walking there now that it is nice out...  I will also have to get up earlier.  Either way, I always run 'late' too work.  I just say my hours are from 7:45 to 5:15... instead of 7:30-5:00 like they are supposed to be :) 

A few of my favorite parts of my morning, is my coffee - not only is it a necessity, but John makes it for me and delivers it to whatever room I happen to be frantically getting ready in.  From there it is a hurried kiss good-bye.  I love that part of our morning.  It isn't much, but it is the little things that make it special.  My other favorite is Brayden...  Even on the frustrating days when he begs for just a few more minutes to finish his cartoon (which is typically why I run late) or when he gives me his sad face because he just wants us 'to stay together'.  And yes, even though I hear it multiple times a week, it always breaks my heart.  This week, he is in VA.  So, I have actually been to work on time....  which is fun to watch people do a double take when I walk in the door BEFORE 7:30.  But, I miss my little buddy.  I miss his questions.  I miss his smile.  I miss his pucker when we kiss good-bye, and kiss hello.  I am ready for him to be home.  I miss the chaos.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  



Release and Dream

It was wonderful driving into work today, sun up, window down and good country music on the radio.  I thought of the word 'release'.  I decided pulling into the parking lot that I would blog about that word.  

It just so happens that today's blog day #8 is: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.

So, they fit perfectly together.


Maybe I can only speak for myself, but letting go is difficult.  I think it was my crutch when things didn't go my way, I always had the 'go to' excuse or blame.  I still do it, but the weight of guilt, anger, hurt have started to dissipate with my happiness.  I have slowly started to heal and let go.  I owe much or my release to Brayden.  Having this little person completely dependent on me, I released much of what I thought mattered.  Those once huge circumstances and mind-sets paled in comparison to the magnitude that this little being carried into the world for me.  For the first few years of his life, He was all that mattered.  I sacrificed for him - I rarely see them as sacrifices, it is just what you do.  He is my everything.  Just before I met John, I had been cultivating a world of more then just Brayden.  I learned I had to live for me too.  For the first time, in what seemed like forever, I did things for me, not for someone else.  I dug into the passions that were buried by trying to make others happy, I lost too much of who I was.  I finally developed myself and I believe the world brought me John because prior to that point, I wasn't ready to receive him.  

I released much of what was holding me back from being myself.  Anger, hurt, pride, fear, disappointment in myself and others - gone.  I dove into self development.  I find that I am more myself now then I have been in a very long time.  I still have flaws, but they are just intrinsically who I am.  I accept the flaws, and so does John.  


I have always been a dreamer.  Always.  I believe just as intrinsic as my flaws, so is my ability to dream big.  I believe in some ways it has been my saving grace.  I have never felt defeated when sometimes, externally it may have looked like I was.  I have always known that my life would take off, it may include  detours along the way, but I have always known to get up, push through and find a different path. I can trudge through (usually after a good cry). I know that I / we are not out of the clear, inevitably, there will be more events that will occur that will push us back, or knock us down.  But, I have confidence in us.   We create our circumstances, they only own us if we let them. We won't let them.  

My advice?

Let go of excuses to stop being the best version of yourself.  Release what holds you back, whatever it is.  Run with the dreams that are deep down.  Take small steps to achieve them, whatever they may be.  Most importantly, never let anyone hold you back.  Dream Big.  Dream Small.  Dream for now or dream for the future.  Release and Dream. 

PS. An added bonus, others will see this and it will push them - be it family, friends, strangers... I think it is especially important for our kids to see and learn the meaning of perseverance - we should always be the example.

Happy Hump Day!  



Day 7, Tuesday: The thing(s) you're most afraid of

Today's topic for the blog every day in May challenge is: 

The thing(s) you're most afraid of

You know, It is so beautiful out... and I am in an optimistic mood, so, I don't really want to talk about this :) It is a bright sunny day and finally warming up here in the midwest, the topic just doesn't fit my mood today.  

I will say, the only thing that scares me to my core is something unhealthy or tragic to happen to my family.  I know things happen....  I just don't want them to happen to the people I love.  I am sure everyone would say the same.  

nuff said.

On a brighter note; My shoes and handbag match ... well, kinda :) 

Happy Tuesday everyone! :) 



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Day 5 and Day 6: fav bloggers and 'what I do'

I left my laptop at the studio yesterday...  and, I was exhausted from a very long weekend.  So, I decided I would do two topics today.

Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member

Amy Kolz - I have blogged about her several times: here and here.   She was the silent nudge that pushed me to do this.  She was a strangerer I stumbled upon, and I have followed and connected with her ever since.  She checks in with me from time to time and we stay in touch through FB.  I will forever owe to her the release I have found through pursuing my passions.  Thanks Amy! ; )

A few others - some are big names, some are not - but, I follow and check in on them often.  They are all different types of people.  Creative, Photographers, Mother's, Father's, DIYers, Writers, and some are all of these :)  There are my favorites, and I am a regular reader - and a big fan. 

Lil Blue Boo

Miss Mustard Seed

Diapers and Daisies

Single Dad Laughing

Under the Sycamore

Finding Joy

The Daily Balance

Brining The Sunshine

Marc and Angel


Day 6: If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question, 'what do you do'?

I am an ISO Coordinator for my 9-5'er for a manufacturing company that makes air dryers. They sell internationally and I was hired to obtain and manage their International Organization of Standards Certification.  It comes with it's own challenges, but I enjoy it and it is close to home.   All of the other hours of my life I am a Mommy and a Partner with John.  I am a Photographer, Blogger, Designer, Furniture Painter, Hoarder / Collector, and basically anything else I decide to dabble in.  Most of all, I am a dreamer and a planner.  I dream big, and I plan every move.  It doesn't always work - but, I find love (and hate) in the trying.  I am happy with giving something my time - if it works; great!  If it doesn't, that's great too.  Either way, I learn, and to me that is success.  I can never fail if I always try.  And that is what I do :)

photo by Chris Bland


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