Pacey, Gage, and Rowan | Personal

I was chatting with one of my clients a few weeks ago and confessed that I had absolutely no pictures of my three kiddos together other than quick snapshots with my cell phone or very, very informal shots with my camera. Rowan has been with us for over three years, and we have nothing of them all together! How crazy! Our last formal family portrait was over six years ago. And we have another photographer in the family, too! How shameful is that!? So when last Monday turned out to be unseasonably warm and sunny, I ran to Target to piece together outfits, picked Pacey up at the bus stop, and zoomed over to Stumpy Lake in hopes of catching the sun before it dipped behind the trees. I know how hard it is to take pictures of your own kids. It’s so much easier to get frustrated, and funny how your kids find it easier to not listen because “it’s just mom.” On the way, I explained to the boys that I needed them to be as cooperative as they could because recently Rowan is a little stubborn when it comes to pictures. I had been talking up our pictures all day with Rowan, and she seemed on board, but three year olds… well, you know! I may have also bribed with ice cream. You have to do what works, right?! For all of the pressure to make it to the park with enough time left with the sun and the few moments I had to firmly get the boys back on track with me, I am so glad I took advantage of the chance to get these photos of them. I mean the sunlight! Seriously, Stumpy Lake is where it’s at for long grass and gorgeous glow at sunset!! 2014-12-01_0001 2014-12-09_0005 I sersiously couldn’t love them more!! Can you tell how much Rowan adores her big brothers?!2014-12-09_0003   I cannot get over how old they are looking. Gage still has a tiny bit of the little kid look, but Pacey is all teenager.2014-12-09_0010 2014-12-09_0009 The purples and pinks that came out when the sun started dipping below the tree line… Love!2014-12-09_0011 After the sun went below the trees, we hopped back in the car and drove down to the fishing/overlook bridge that runs alongside the lake’s edge. The post-sunset blue hour was so, so awesome! I had gotten into a rut of starting sessions too early for fear of running out of time, but the result has been fighting a too strong sun. I’ve finally trusted in my abilities to capture what I needed during the true golden hour and twilight hour, and it’s been so worth it!2014-12-09_00042014-12-09_00122014-12-09_00132014-12-09_00062014-12-09_0008 Only her big brothers can get smiles and laughs like this. I probably don’t want to know what they were doing over my head!
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And yes, we are going to have our hands full in about ten years. This was entirely her idea!2014-12-09_0015 Which of course led to this, and it might be my favorite from the night. It’s captures the three of them perfectly!2014-12-09_0014

Right Here, Right Now | Personal

Today I was on the treadmill… walking. Yes, walking. If your newish around here, I like to swim, bike, and run. To me it’s fun to race triathlons, and I’ve written about it over and over. It gives me goals to reach for and a chance to prove to myself that I am strong and capable. Now that we are caught up, back to walking. I completed my third half-ironman in September, which is 70.3 total miles of swimming, biking, and running, and I am registered to complete my first full ironman (140.6 miles) in October of 2015. I have several small stepping stones along the way to that goal with the first being the Shamrock half-marathon that I race just about every year. And this year if I don’t beat my ancient 13.1 personal best time, I might just lose it at the finish line!

After giving myself an extended break from structured training through October and most of November, I felt ready two weeks ago. And what a week! I was focused; I had great workouts. I was excited to be back, and I capped the week off with nine fantastic trail miles on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. That was the last real workout I’ve done. For whatever reason, I woke up with a tweaked lower back on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and it won’t quite go away. The chiropractor helped yesterday, and I felt good enough to do a very short and easy swim (eight laps). Today, he suggested I try some walking.

Which is why I found myself at the gym this morning stifling giggles while I walked on the treadmill. I’ve been through the injury cycle enough times in the last several years to know it isn’t worth being frustrated. It is what it is, and it’s where I am right now, so instead of fighting it, I’d be much better off embracing it. Instead of being annoyed I was only walking two miles, I chose to enjoy the fact that I was finally moving. Slowly and not as far as usual, but at least I was moving.

That long thirty-five minutes also lead me to think about photography, and how it’s so easy for me to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. I might wish I could pose like that or catch the sun like this or edit like that. I might come home from every session with a million “wish I would haves” and maybe a few more failed images than I would like to have. I’m relatively new to this game. I always try to remember that I’ve improved in leaps and bounds, but I can’t compare someone’s three or five or twenty years in to my now.

Because right here, right now, when I can be honest with myself, I’m pretty happy with where my images are. I’m happy with my progress in learning to run a business, and I’m happy with what I’ve learned (sometimes painfully) about running a session, but the perfectionist in me wants to get hung up on not being perfect. That is the struggle, isn’t it? I know I still have so much room to improve, but I also have to know that right here, right now is just as good as what will be comparatively speaking.

So whatever journey you find yourself in the midst of– whether it’s creative, athletic, or something else, take a quick moment to smile at where you are right here, right now. All of the treadmill walks and failed images are leading you to an even bigger level of greatness.

<3

virginia beach wedding photographer

Below Our Feet | Personal

2014-11-20_0002Two weeks ago, Jon and I had the opportunity to schedule a couple’s session with Tiffany of Tiffany Joyce Photography. I’ve been so lucky to meet several incredibly kind and supportive photographers, and Tiffany is no exception. I was really excited for several reasons. I knew we would have a lot of fun. And I know Tiffany’s style of photography is very similar to mine. Plus I knew I could ask a million nerdy photographer questions, and she would understand!

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Since our wedding in 2009, Jon and I don’t have many pictures of ourselves other than iPhone selfies. And while I adore the photos we have from that day that Jeff of Calma Photography took for us, we were definitely due for some updated ones!

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And you know, life definitely has changed quite a bit since then. We’ve added Rowan to our family; I stopped teaching and began staying home with her; Jon’s position has changed at work and has brought with it more responsibility and stress; Lexus has gone off to college; we now have a newly minted teenager in the house; and Gage is almost finished with elementary school.

Listen to the river

Does it make you wonder

How anything could ever stand still?

-Brett Dennen

2014-11-20_0005Right. Nothing stands still. We are really shadows of who we were during our whirlwind dating story. We’ve grown and evolved. We’ve endured job and new baby stress and the growing pains associated with bringing together two families. We’ve found the beginnings of the middle place of a marriage more lived in than new. And sometimes we struggle to maintain the magic, the beauty of our relationship that pulled us in to begin with.

But our experience with Tiffany reminded us that underneath it all, underneath the late nights at work, the triathlon training, the kids, the house, the stress of a new business; that if we peel back all of those layers and expose the us that so often gets brushed by, we find that we still are the young and crazy couple that probably moved way too quickly because we just couldn’t stand the thought of being apart.

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Watch your step

Walk softer, softer

‘Cause dreams are growing below our feet.

-Brett Dennen

Sometimes we forget to walk softer. Sometimes the magic becomes a little distant and hazy, and we become consumed by the mundane day-to-day, and we can’t see how much we really have. But we always come back. We always rediscover each other and continue tending our dreams.

And if you’re thinking a couple’s session might be a good idea, stop thinking and do it. It totally is! I am so incredibly grateful to Tiffany for completely capturing our relationship; I will definitely miss her– she’s moving to Connecticut, so if you’re from that area, look her up!

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I’ve been obsessed with Brett Dennen lately. Here’s where I pulled the quotes for this post. It’s my favorite song of his!

Growing Pains | Personal

Rowan is next to me doing the same puzzle for the fifth time. It’s a challenging puzzle for a three year old. Twenty-four pieces. Several different patterns. She’s had it since last Christmas, but still she needs help with it each time. We’ve shown her how the edges and corners work. We’ve talked about working on one animal at a time, breaking the puzzle down into manageable bits. But still, for the last eleven months, all of that advice just hasn’t stuck: she tries to force middle pieces along the edges; she leaves the pieces in a jumbled mess instead of flipping them over so she can see the pictures. And she usually ends up in frustrated tears when she tries to do it on her own.

But tonight, tonight is suddenly and amazingly different. For the most part, she’s doing the entire puzzle on her own. The pieces are still a bit of a mess. Every so often a middle piece is forced along the edge. And she might slam a piece in place out of frustration before she finally asked for help. But her independence is stunningly obvious.

Cue the sixth puzzle attempt.

Lately I’ve been feeling these same sort of growing pains. The same sense of frustration at where I am in my learning and growing process. I know I’ve made amazing progress in the last six months. But the internal struggle of admitting that I am growing and still have so much to learn is hard for me. I’ve always been a perfectionist; I like to be right and feel secure in what I do. Photography has shifted all of that for me.

It has forced me to embrace myself exactly where I am at the moment. After a session is over, I have to find peace with the result because there isn’t usually a chance to change anything. And gratefully not one session has been disastrous. I know I am being very critical of myself and my work, but I believe that is where my growth comes. At some point in my past, I would have experienced just a touch of this awkward stage and judged it too hard, too challenging to continue. It is much safer being stagnant, but stagnancy doesn’t bring happiness. Ever!

So I’m trying to find peace amongst the dissonance of each session’s learning moments. I’m pulling all of them together and moving forward. Sometimes it sticks immediately. Sometimes I have to learn it again and again before I really own it. Most recently, after being frustrated with too many soft images for my liking, I’m celebrating finding the absolute sweet spot shutter speed for my 135mm lens to avoid camera shake. (1/640 if you’re curious!)

Some days the pressure of growing so quickly feels too much; some days it feels like an amazingly exciting ride. I can equally be ecstatic and terrified about this journey all at once. Finding balance between these two extremes is never easy, but it helps to have others who have been there. They help me flip over my own puzzle pieces and guide me to putting them in the right place. Even if that means putting them aside for the night after a meltdown over the seventh attempt. They understand and encourage me to breathe and believe in myself and come back again later. And trust in the process, growing pains and all.

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Reset: 40 day goals | Personal

I spent a recent Saturday evening out with my closest friends and our husbands. Over several different dinner conversations, I started to really understand why I’ve felt just a little off over the last several months. I haven’t been able to pinpoint it exactly, but despite a thriving and exciting new business, despite everything seeming to be moving along quite happily, I wasn’t entirely happy. This summer really proved it. I was turning inward, holing up inside the house more often than not. I didn’t want to write; training for this weekend’s half-ironman was more of a chore than something that I once enjoyed. The kids and I didn’t do much of note this summer, and while that is okay, while I know I don’t have to entertain them constantly, I also want some memories of our summers together. Aside from a fun trip to my parents’ house, there isn’t much to mark our time. And I knew it; I could watch it happening, and despite that, I constantly longed for the end of summer to let me off of the hook.

The conversation that night that highlighted all of these feelings in an incandescent light was about hiking Old Rag Mountain in the Shenandoah Valley. Two of my sets of friends were talking about their experiences with this hike. I was half listening to that conversation and catching part of another, but suddenly I had the very clear realization that I was almost back to sitting on the couch, watching life go by and feeling twinges of jealousy of others’ lives. That’s been the reason for this blog all along, hasn’t it? It’s been the meat of my about page since the beginning.

I know I’m better than I was. I’m making dreams happen. I’ve taken steps in a photography career that I once thought were unachievable. I’ve completed races in distances I once believed were unmanageable. I’ve written more frequently than I’ve ever before. Life is more multi-faceted, more beautiful than it has ever been before.

But still. Something is missing, and I realized that in the life span of this online space, I’ve become less transparent about some of the more day-to-day things, some of the posts that used to be fun, light, and happy. I’ve talked about that pressure to be something, both in writing and in training for triathlons. I need a reset. Here. In training after this weekend’s big race. In the day-to-day. In our family experiences.

But back to Old Rag. In that moment, I realized I needed my 40 day goals more than ever right now. I sense that I am beginning to float again. I am anchored in photography, but everything else is becoming somewhat ethereal. Again it is coming back to balance and finding the courage, the inertia, and the strength to create more of the life I want to live rather than thinking that maybe one day I’ll hike Old Rag. Maybe one day, we will have that experience. Maybe.

I’m tired of maybes. So here are my new goals. Follow along. And maybe join me and share some of your own!

    October 3-November 12

  1. Consistently meal plan again. This has been hit and miss over the last several months. I get lazy and forget to write the grocery list until the last minute. Then we wing it for the week. Life is so much simpler with a meal plan! Going along with the meal plan, I need to eat healthier breakfasts and lunches. Lack of planning here has lead to some questionable food choices. And extra pounds!
  2. Update the photo wall. We repainted our family room this summer, and the photo wall frames are still in a pile on the mantel. I have two prints I bought that I have wanted to add to it, and I really need to order updated pictures. The most recent one of Rowan framed in our house is from when she was four months old. Yes. Four months old. She’s changed a bunch in that time. And so have my photography skills for that matter!
  3. Enjoy the breathing room that comes with finishing Ironman 70.3 Augusta on 9/28. It’s been a struggle to enjoy triathlon training, running, swimming, biking, or anything for a while. I’ve found more joy lately, but I’d love to really engage with running again. And make some improvements with being free of races and plans for several months. I’m purposely leaving this goal open-ended.
  4. Plan a family trip to the mountains. If it doesn’t actually happen in these 40 days, I want to have it planned. We’ve been talking about it since last fall. And all through the summer. Those maybes and one days got in the way of doing it.
  5. Yoga on the beach. This is another one day and maybe item I’ve talked about for over two years. Rowan is in preschool two days a week, and I have the time to make it happen before it gets too cold and windy.
  6. Bringing this one back from my second set of 40 day goals ever: Smile at and say hello to strangers whenever I’m out. This pushes me entirely out of my comfort zone. I’ve definitely gotten better at this than I used to be, but I know I can be more outgoing than I am now.
  7. Do nice things. Pay it forward. Buy a stranger coffee. Snail mail a friend a small gift. I know that I need to step outside of myself more!
  8. Explore a new place for a photography session. I’m starting to get a little too comfortable in my favorite spots. I would really like an urban setting. Anyone want to schedule one in downtown Norfolk? Richmond? How fun!
  9. Take the time and energy to explore more of this area with the kids. I get stressed thinking about traffic, length of time to get somewhere, the energy it will all consume. But that leads us to sitting around and not doing much of anything. I’ve lived here for more than twenty years, but I know there are so many things we could do together that we haven’t done yet!
  10. Breathe. Sometimes it feels so easy to get caught up in stress and miss just how beautiful life is.

Kristy is restarting her goals, too! Read about her goal to say yes more!

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Invested: August and September Edition | Personal

“One does not discover new lands without first, and for a long time, losing sight of the shore.”
-Andre Gilde

This was a tough summer in many ways. When I saw this quote pop up on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago, I exhaled. This was a summer of losing sight of the shore in many ways, of being firmly grounded in the sand in others, and of learning to find the balance throughout the precariousness and accept those moments as part of my growth and hold fast to the belief that they will bring me to new and more amazing places in my life.

Seeing all of the invested moments in pictures over the last two months makes my heart happy. Despite the apparent clumsiness, life is, and always was, good.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting a new set of 40 day goals. I think this time of reflection post-Augusta is the perfect way to reset!

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Augusta 70.3 Ironman Race Report | Personal

Photo Sep 29, 2 55 29 PMThis was such a huge, huge weekend for me! I hardly know where to start. I really have so many thoughts and feelings to reflect on; this race, maybe even more than the first one last year, has been life-changing!

It’s been no secret that I’ve struggled with training this year. I nearly dropped Raleigh at the last minute, and even at many, many times this summer Augusta was always a shaky reality. The thought of long training days and hard workouts constantly felt overwhelming. Somewhere along the way I had lost my love of the sport, and I know that signing up for two 70.3 distance races this year was impulsive, post-race anxiety and completely fear based. That’s another post altogether, though!

After a great training weekend in North Carolina with a great friend I met on Instagram, I felt ready. We put in 65 hilly biking miles, ten total running miles, and over a mile of swimming in Jordan Lake. I was confident that Augusta would happen. It might not be faster than last year, but I knew I was as ready as I could be.

Jon, Rowan, and I left a few days before the race and stopped in Columbia, SC, for the night. We visited the zoo and some outlets and took our time getting to Georgia. I had managed to stay mostly calm on the way down, but as soon as we crossed the Savannah River and into Georgia, I was incredibly anxious. We made it to the expo and packet pick up. I bought my traditional t-shirt, we had dinner, and checked into the hotel. I was reaching internal meltdown mode. I felt like a fraud for being there because I hadn’t trained as long or as hard as I had last summer. I knew I needed to calm down, so I found the fitness center and the treadmill. Two, sweaty miles later I felt much better!

Photo Sep 27, 10 44 01 AMOn Saturday we had to check my bike in at transition. We checked out the river and stopped over at Aiken, SC, for a fun lunch. That afternoon, I was going to do a practice swim. I arrived at the dock and found my friend, Olivia, whom I had met last year at the race. We made our way down the river together, and I am so glad I did. It was much colder than last year, and between the first two buoys, the river grass was so thick that it almost wrapped around my arms as I stroked. I may have panicked just a bit then, but it ended up being a strong swim.

Photo Sep 27, 10 50 19 AMWe had a quiet dinner in our room, and I slept really well through the night. We were up early and found our way to the race site. I spent the morning with Jon and Rowan enjoying the nervous anticipation of all the racers, the gorgeous sunrise, the sky divers, and the beautiful sky. I kissed them goodbye, and found my swim wave. I was ready to see what the day would bring! My only goal was to smile all day. I knew Augusta held magic for me last year, and I wanted to find it again.

Photo Sep 28, 7 32 30 AMPhoto Sep 28, 7 26 16 AMSwim 34:51

The corps of engineers had released water from the dam upriver overnight, so the water temperature was even colder than it had been the day before. For the first 200 meters or so, I could not get into a breathing rhythm. My exhale was shallow in the water, and it left me feeling like I was gasping on my inhale. I started to get frustrated, and for a brief moment, I even flipped on my back to backstroke. But I immediately stopped myself. Backstroke is a go-to when absolutely necessary, but I knew I was stronger and more focused than that right then. I knew I could figure out what the problem was without panicking. I unzipped my wetsuit halfway, and that was all it took. I could inhale more deeply and exhale fully. Suddenly, I was swimming strongly, and the rest of the swim was uneventful. My arms felt fatigued from the swim less than 24 hours before, but I was so glad I had done that to prepare my mind for the river grass, the water temperatures, and the feeling of my wetsuit, which I hadn’t put on since June. And for the beginning of the swim breathing issues, I still made it out of the water faster than last year! And smiling!

Photo Oct 01, 5 27 19 PMTransition 1: 5:58

I spotted Jon and Rowan along the swim exit. I cheered, skilled, waved, and made the long, winding way to my bike towards the back of transition. A slightly faster transition than last year, too!

Bike: 3:32:48

I was ready for this bike course. The 65 miles that Erin and I biked in early September were much hillier and harder than I knew this course would be. My legs felt tired, and it took at least five miles to loosen up and find a good pedal stroke. There was a stiff headwind on the way out and it was fairly consistent for most of the ride until the end. I still kept a good average for the first twenty miles. We pass by the Savannah River Site, and the road surface is extremely bumpy and can get frustrating and that is also the area where you find the first climbs of the course. On the second big climb, I too hastily shifted into my small chain ring in the front, and my chain came off. I managed to unclip from my pedals before falling over and spent a few minutes getting the chain back on the rings. Thankfully, that was the most frustrating part of the entire 56 miles. I kept an eye on my time, and I knew that with the wind and the chain issue, I would come in slower than I did last year by about ten minutes. But that was okay with me. I really enjoyed the ride, and it made me love my new bike even more. And still smiling!

bikeTransition 2: 6:39

As much as I enjoyed the ride, I was ready to find the dismount line and park my bike. The most important part of long races is to stay present with what’s immediately in front of you, but I was looking forward to the run leg all day. It is definitely hard at that point, but I knew the energy along the course would be great, and I knew Jon and Rowan would find me several times. I’m not sure what I did differently, but this transition was two minutes faster than last year.

Run: 2:49:05

I completed all of my long training runs at a 4:1 interval. I knew from last year that it was the most effective and focused way to finish for where my running is right now. I felt really good for the first two miles. I saw Jon and Rowan at the end of the first mile, and after that I began to feel a little dizzy and my stomach felt off. I knew that I needed to check in with my body to see what it needed. Fortunately, I took in all of the nutrition and fluid I should have on the bike. During the run, you eat and drink what your body demands. I mentally ran through what the aid stations have– chips, cookies, pretzels, bananas, oranges, water, sports drink, and Coke. I knew for sure I wanted oranges and some Coke. I did that at the next station and immediately felt better. I alternated between water and coke and oranges for the rest of the race. It worked perfectly! Jon and Rowan also gave me the Honey Stinger chews I had them pack each time I saw them.

The Augusta run course is fantastic. There is enough crowd support that the energy is always up, but there are also times when you are alone with other racers, and that is really when you have to test yourself mentally. I stayed focused on my 4:1 and kept it fairly consistent except when an aid station came up, when I stopped very, very briefly to see Jon and Rowan, or when I just felt I needed an extra minute to walk.

My knee started to hurt around mile seven. I know this issue so well after all these years, and I can tell when it is a superficial problem or when it will become something big. I had a feeling it would be big if I didn’t adjust somehow. And really after all of these years, I’m still not sure exactly what causes it, but something told me to straighten up and lead with my chest. As soon as I did that the pain completely dissipated. This is a huge breakthrough for this issue! It hurt again at mile ten, and I readjusted and again it was gone.

This was at mile 12. All smiles!

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Otherwise, the run was great. I was happy and focused. I was ready to see the finish line and really the thirteen miles were over before I knew it. Time becomes a funny thing during these long races. You are completely unaware of time of day and overall passing time in a larger sense, but very focused on it in a micro way. I turned the corner to run back onto Broad Street and could see the finish line several hundred feet away. Jon and Rowan caught me just into the finish chute, and I finished my third 70.3 in twelve months smiling and happy. The same way I finished the first one. My run time was exactly the same (within seconds) as last year’s!

Finish time: 7:09:21

finish3 finish2I have so many thoughts about this last year. I found so many dark spaces in training and racing, and almost gave up on this sport all together. Augusta will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first 70.3, but also because it became about redemption through the struggle this past weekend.

I finished six minutes slower than last year on training that was hit and miss this summer. I realized that I am much stronger than I think once again– both physically and mentally. And surprisingly, I returned home from this race reenergized rather than depleted, which is such a huge difference from last year and especially this year at Raleigh. I feel ready to take on newer, maybe bigger, challenges, which is such a nice feeling after dreading every run, swim, and ride for most of the summer.

Mostly I’m overwhelmed and grateful. I’m overwhelmed that I was able to find the focus to follow through with both 70.3 races this year. I’m overwhelmed and grateful that my body can do things I never thought possible and that I have built such a huge amount of mental strength. Whenever I think of the numbers– that I can run 13.1 miles at the end of all of the miles of the first two legs, I am still amazed.

And most importantly, I am endlessly grateful to my wonderful husband who has stuck through all of my crazy ups and downs this year. My proclamations of being done with running, with dropping this race or that one. He has encouraged me and challenged me to see it through but gently and lovingly has helped me to that point. I know I am capable of being strong on my own, but with him, I am able to shine even more brightly.Photo Sep 28, 8 10 21 AM

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First Days | Personal

2014-09-15_0023Last week I sent a fifth and seventh grader off to school. Over the next two weeks they will turn eleven and thirteen. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder how it is that I’m suddenly the mom of a teenager.

2014-09-15_0021I remember anxiously worrying about these days when I was still pregnant with Pacey. I fretted that he would be one of those teenagers. The disrespectful, rude ones. One of those skaters who would intentionally block the street at the entrance to our neighborhood. Those teenage days, a bit hazy and still so far in the future, seemed like the end of all that could be good about motherhood.

2014-09-15_0022And now, teetering precariously on the cusp of those hazy days, so close that they are sharply in focus, I tenderly hold that scared soon-to-be girl-mom in my heart. The lanky, deep-voiced, almost thirteen year old that has taken the place of the round face and soft curls is no more frustrating or less lovable than he was at three. The circumstances have changed. The frustration points are much different. But underneath the lank and rasp, he’s still Pacey. He’s still curls and cheeks and snuggles. And I find that I expected a sudden disconnect because of an age humorous.

2014-09-15_0020So it’s first days around here. First days of seventh grade and fifth grade. First days of three year old preschool. First days of the teenage years. All at once they are the squinty-eyed newborns, the curly-haired and ornery toddlers, and the freshly minted teenagers. First days of seeing again and again that motherhood evolves and grows with our children, but is seamlessly and gently timeless.

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Rowan is clearly more interested in the camera than the boys are now!

Invested: May, June, and July edition | Personal

I’ve gotten a little behind with these! With Raleigh 70.3 being on June 1 and being on vacation over the end of June and early July, I thought about doing the monthly recap and then that thought quickly evaporated.

Staying invested and actively connecting with my life has always been my struggle, but over this summer it has seemed more second nature than a focused practice, which I take as positive progress!

The summer has been filled with photography, so much photography growth and learning and connecting. With friends and music; with running and happy miles again. With family bike rides and fresh fruit and sunsets and sunrises. With a big race finish in Raleigh and a long stretch to stay focused for Augusta’s finish line in September.

I’ve made some big changes, some subtle changes, and some promises to myself to stay on this path no matter how overwhelming or sometimes scary it may seem. It’s so easy for me to withdraw into myself in a protective way, but when I notice that more readily, I’m able to extend past those old habits and grow.

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If you haven’t read my other posts in this series, you can catch up here:

January
February
March
April

This is a joint project with Breath of Sunshine that was created when we were wondering how we could stay more focused on our words for the year and celebrate them along the way. Check out her posts, too!

Zucchini Bread | Grandma’s Recipe Box

2014-07-26_0004It’s been way too long since I’ve made a new recipe. Life got busy through the spring, and I got a little (a lot) distracted. But taking a break is always a great way to be energized to start fresh, and with all of the local and fresh veggies around this time of the year, it was the perfect time to make something with zucchini!

Zucchini bread has always been a favorite of mine. I remember having it all the time when I was a little kid, and by the looks of this card, it was definitely a well-loved recipe. And our muffins came out just a great as I remember! I sprinkled them with powdered sugar, which the recipe doesn’t call for because why not?

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The best part of getting back into the recipe box was enjoying it with Rowan. She’s definitely become a much better helper in the kitchen these days. She understands pouring and mixing and even helped to crack the eggs!

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Zucchini Bread (or Muffins)

3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 eggs (well beaten)
1 c oil
2 c grated zucchini
3 tsp vanilla
2 c sugar
1 c chopped nuts
raisins optional
powdered sugar

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  1. Beat eggs and then add sugar and oil and continue beating.
  2. Add vanilla and zucchini and stir.
  3. Sift flour and remaining dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  4. Stir in nuts and raisins.
  5. Pour batter into floured and greased loaf pan (1 large or 3 small) or into lined muffin pan.
  6. Bake for an hour (loaves) or 25 minutes (muffins) at 325 degrees.
  7. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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