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Monday, October 20, 2014

Our Week in Review 2014 ~ 10/12-10/18

Hello!  Happy Monday morning!  Wait, is that an oxymoron?  :)

I'm actually posting on time for a change.  Not quite sure how that happened.

The past week has been full of ups and downs.  I photographed a vow renewal on Sunday.  They have been married for 35 years!  Then I photographed a gorgeous high school senior later that day.  I can't wait to share photos from both sessions.  

Our school district had a meeting on Wednesday to announce proposals to close some elementary schools and consolidate.  Unfortunately our school is on the chopping block. 

Nick found out that he needs glasses for reading.  

And he ran in a cross country track meet on Saturday morning.  It was cold and rainy but he did great!  He finished 20th out of 60+ boys!  The thing that really got me though was this one boy, who is on the bigger side, was the last one to finish - and when he got to a certain point, a bunch of kids rallied around him and ran with him to the finish line.  It made me cry then and I'm tearing up now just typing this.  I don't even know his name, but I found it so touching that our kids are so caring.  (I'm blaming the emotions on hormones).  :)

I visited a craft show also on Saturday and picked up some really cute stuff.  The talent of folks just blows me away sometimes.

After the craft show Doug and the boys joined me on a drive up to a local apple orchard for their Fritterfest.  I have never had an apple fritter before, but it was YUMMY!  I could have eaten a few more.  :)

We also finally found a buyer for the Lincoln!  We didn't expect it to sell overnight - it is a luxury car after all - but we didn't really expect it to take 6 months either.  I will miss those heated seats.  :)

I am still participating in Fat Mum Slim's Photo a Day challenge.  Here are this week's pics ...

{October 12:  L is for ...}
October 12:  L is for ...
Lazy.  After a long, busy day which included church, photographing a vow renewal (they are celebrating 35 years of marriage!), and photographing a high school senior, I was just going to dig into the archives for today's prompt. But then this evening Honey jumped up on the couch and assumed the position. :)

{October 13:  M is for ...}
October 13:  M is for ...
Magenta.  We are having a beautiful fall here in Western Pennsylvania.

I thought about doing "M is for Monarch" and using an archive photo (since my babies are still in the caterpillar stage and I just shared a caterpillar photo last week), but I took this photo this morning while out walking the dog and I just had to share.  The colors surrounding us right now are absolutely gorgeous.

{October 14: N is for ...}
October 14: N is for ...
Nick.  He doesn't let me take his picture very often, so I take advantage of the times when he lets me. Normally he yells "PAPARAZZI!!!" and runs the other way. Or he makes goofy faces. You should see how many shots I took before I got this face.

{October 15: O is for ...}
October 15: O is for ...
Open.  When a Monarch butterfly opens its wings, it is easier to see whether it is a male or a female. This handsome fellow is a male, indicated by the thin webbing in his wings and the two dots on his hind wings (scent glands).

Digging into the recent archives today. This was butterfly number 154 of 155 that I released so far this year. I was fortunate enough to find some late babies the same day I released him. As of today, I have 16 in chrysalis and 2 more still munching away. (The last 2 were found a few days after the 16). I might be making a road trip south when it comes time to release them, but if it is cold here, I won't be complaining.

{October 16: P is for ...}
October 16: P is for ...
Pupa.  Was there any doubt I would share this photo today?  :)

A Monarch caterpillar forms its chrysalis then spends about 10-14 days in the pupa stage before emerging as a gorgeous butterfly. This particular chrysalis is 3 days old. I have 15 more just like it. Along with 2 big juicy caterpillars still munching away. I expect they will form their chrysalises in the next few days.

{October 17: Q is for ...}
October 17: Q is for ...
Quiet and Quick.  As I was pondering over what to share for today's prompt, my son brought in a praying mantis that he had found. Normally I'm not a big fan of mantises. They eat butterflies after all. However, since there are no butterflies around right now, I was excited to see her. I placed her on my flowers and just observed. She {quietly} sat very still and watched while bees and flies buzzed around her. She {quickly} reached out to try to grab a few but she was not {quick} enough. She preened herself every now and then, which is what she is doing in this picture. I hope she is {quick} enough tonight or tomorrow to snag herself a meal.

{October 18: R is for ...}
October 18: R is for ...
Running.  Alex has been asking me to go take his pictures for a week or so now. I think he misses his mama and since photo shoots are what take me away from him, that would be a good way to get to spend time with me. Makes me both happy and sad at the same time. Anyway, we made it a quick session. I snapped some posed shots and then told him to just explore and have fun. He ran around - having a good time like an 8YO boy should do. And then we went for ice cream. Of course. Hmmm, maybe that was the reason he wanted to go do pictures. :)

Linking with Tamar:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Week in Review 2014 ~ 10/5 - 10/11

I just discovered that my week numbers seem to be off, so in order to not drive myself crazy with trying to fix them, I'm just going with a more generic title for the remainder of 2014.  While the song "Let It Go" is running in my head and I take deep, cleansing breaths.  Don't sweat the small stuff, right?  :)

I'm still continuing with Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge.  Here is the list for October.  Easy peasy, right?  Not always.  But fun nonetheless.  I have decided that I may take a new picture or use an archived photo, depending on my schedule and my mood.  :)

{October 5:  E is for ...}
October 5: E is for ...
Evening sky.  I took this photo a few weeks ago. A gorgeous sunset after church one evening. This is basically SOOC - just some sharpening done.

After spending the day with my nephew who just got home from serving in Afghanistan (he's a Marine) and my sister (his mom) and my mom, I honestly didn't even think about picking up my camera to take a photo for today's prompt. We had such a nice day together. Talking and playing UNO, our card game of choice these days. (That way the kids can play too.) I probably should have taken some pictures, but I just didn't.

{October 6:  F is for ...}
October 6: F is for ...
Flower.  We had lots of sunflowers in our garden this year. They make me happy. I mean, who can look at a sunflower and NOT be happy?   :)

{October 7:  G is for ...}
October 7:  G is for ...
Green frog.  Ribbit.  :)

{October 8:  H is for ...}
October 8:  H is for ...
Hat.  Gobble gobble.  :)  While out shopping today I saw this turkey hat at Target and just couldn't pass it up. We have a crazy hat night coming up soon at church and I thought one of the boys would like to wear it. Alex volunteered to give it a try this afternoon.

{October 9:  I is for ...}
October 9:  I is for ...
Inside ... a milkweed seed pod.

{October 10:  J is for ...}
October 10:  J is for ...
Jagged.  This was a tough one. I had a long list of ideas and this wasn't even on my list. But it ended up being my favorite. Funny how that works. :)

{October 11:  K is for ...}
October 11:  K is for ...
Kindness.  The boys and I went for a walk on a bike trail today. We saw lots of woolly bear caterpillars. Every time we came across one crawling its way across the trail, Nick would pick it up and carry it safely to the side so it wouldn't get stepped on or run over. He showed great kindness. My sweet boy.

Still busy with photo sessions and editing until my eyeballs are ready to bleed.  :)  It's a good thing.  Hoping to post some photos from recent sessions soon!  Thanks for stopping by!

Linking with Tamar:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Our 38th & 39th Weeks ~ 2014

Another skipped week of posting means another week of double the photos.  Brace yourself.  :)

Finished up September and having Keira as my subject in every photo.  We had fun but were running out of ideas by the end.

{September 21: Fave word}
Favorite Word
Naturally, on her 16th birthday, her favorite word is SIXTEEN.

{September 22: Crisp}
September 22: Crisp
We don't have many crisp leaves on the ground yet, but we did manage to find a few.

{September 23: Triangle}
September 23: Triangle
We were pretty stumped on this one. And then this happened.  :)

{September 24: Loud}
September 24: Loud.
Now that Keira has learned how to play the guitar better, she isn't afraid to play it LOUD!  :)  Here she is rocking out on our friend Seans' guitar.

{September 25: Angle}
September 25: Angle
From this angle Keira's violin looks really big and Keira looks pretty small.

{September 26: Best}
September 26: Best
When I asked Keira which birthday gift she liked the best, without hesitation she answered this one.

{September 27: Celebration}
September 27: Celebration
This was a tough prompt since we celebrated Keira's birthday last Saturday. But this evening I had the pleasure of photographing my sister-in-law and my two nieces and Keira came along as my assistant. Keira and the girls had a little silly celebration when we were almost done with the session. Goofy dollar store glasses and all.

{September 28: Game}
September 28: Game
I'm not quite sure you could call this a game, but it is fun. Keira and I like to go to the top of the parking garage and make silhouettes against the sky at sunset. Tonight the crescent moon was also visible. In case you are wondering, Keira is doing jazz hands.  :)

{September 29: Wish}
September 29: Wish
Wish upon a star. Or a Christmas light.  This didn't come out quite like I'd hoped. Not much time to set it up. We are clearly running out of ideas and are glad to see September coming to an end.

{September 30: Where I'm from}
September 30: Where I'm from
We are from an area that is in the beginning stages of autumn right now. Leaves are changing colors and falling off the trees, the air is cooler. Pumpkins are ripening in the garden. Warm and sunny days are more appreciated because we know it won't be long before all the trees are bare and there is snow on the ground. We have had such a nice stretch of weather these past few weeks. Sad to see it come to an end soon.

I have thoroughly enjoyed having Keira as my subject this month. However, we were running out of ideas so we are glad to see September end. The boys want to know if I am going to do a whole month of each of them. I told them maybe when it is their birth months (December and April). Maybe. They are not nearly as cooperative as their sister.  :)

{October 1: A is for ...}
October 1: A is for ...
Taken at Emmett's Orchard a few weeks ago. A beautiful place with some super friendly people. Not to mention some delicious food and great home decor in their shop. The two bags of apples I brought home that day didn't last long.

{October 2: B is for ...}
October 2: B is for...
Butterfly {duh}  :)
This is a close up of the wing of the handsome fellow I raised and released the other day. He is Monarch number 155 that I raised so far this summer. I thought he would be my last but was fortunate enough to find 16 baby caterpillars, so I'm back in business! Just hoping the weather is warm enough to release them when they have completed their life cycle and become beautiful butterflies.

{October 3: C is for ...}
October 3: C is for ...
Caterpillar (of course) 
And a confused caterpillar at that. This little guy is wondering what happened to the milkweed that he was just eating. Don't worry - I put him right back after his photo session.  :)
This macro shot is a little deceiving because this sweet little guy is only about half an inch (1.5 cm) long.  

{October 4: D is for ...}
October 4: D is for ...
Dried up/Dead

This once was a beautiful blossom of Queen Anne's Lace, a host plant for Black Swallowtails. The butterfly lays her eggs on it, the caterpillars hatch from their eggs and feed on the plant. They go on to form their chrysalis and eventually emerge as another beautiful butterfly. And the circle of life continues. There will be plenty of this planted in my butterfly garden next year.

Linking with Tamar, as always.  :) 
Better late than never.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Scavenger Hunt Sunday 09.28.14

It has been a few weeks since I have participated in Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Things have just been way too crazy to add one more thing to my already-overloaded plate.  However, since this week's list coincides with Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge that I have been participating in, it was a no brainer to play along.  My apologies to those of you who have seen some of these already or will see them again on Monday for my weekly summary post.  :)

Keira was serenading me with Lindsey Stirling's Master of Tides in the key of G.

We were pretty stumped on this one. And then this happened.

{favorite word}
Favorite Word
Naturally, on her 16th birthday, Keira's favorite word is SIXTEEN.

We had a celebration last Saturday for Keira's 16th birthday.  A friend made us this incredible cupcake cake.  (In case you didn't know, we're kinda, sorta into butterflies around here.  We have raised and released 153 Monarchs so far this year with 2 more in chrysalis due to come out in the next few days.  Check out this post for some photos of our lovelies.)

When I asked Keira which birthday gift she liked the best, without hesitation she answered this one.  She has been practicing almost every day and continues to improve.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great week!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our 37th Week ~ 2014

Had another great week!  We are getting into our routine now that the kids are back to school.  Wednesday night classes have started back up at church and are going well.  Had a couple more photo sessions, spent time with friends, went to open house at the boys' school, and celebrated Keira's birthday.  She's 16 now!  

This week is pretty much the same.  Except the kids have a day off of school on Friday.  I was hoping to go have some fun with them, but both boys are grounded right now.  {sigh}  It is tough being a mean mom.  :)

As always, I am still participating in Fat Mum Slim's photo a day challenge with Keira being my subject this month.  She is also helping with the photo ideas.  So this is what we came up with last week ...

{September 14: Healthy}
September 14: Healthy
Keira wasn't feeling all that healthy again today ... still fighting a cold ... so she stayed home and worked on her butterfly collage all day. It is due tomorrow, after all. Apparently she works better under pressure. I wouldn't know where she gets that trait from.  :)

{September 15: Remember}
September 15: Remember
In order to remember what she looked like when she was little, Keira occasionally pulls out her scrapbooks. This is one of my favorite spreads. She was about a year old in these photos.

{September 16: I don't like}
September 16: I don't like
Keira doesn't like emptying the dishwasher. It is one of her chores that she tends to put off. Which ended up being a good thing today because she hadn't emptied it yet until after I got home from a photo shoot tonight and I got to take this picture of her in action.

{September 17: Key}
September 17: Key
Keira was serenading me this afternoon with Lindsey Stirling's Master of Tides in the key of G. 

{September 18: Person}
September 18: Person
Keira is such a sweet, fun, joyful, and kind-hearted person. I really enjoy being in her company! 

{September 19: Even}
September 19: Even
Only two more days! (Two is an even number).  :)

{September 20: Beginning}
September 20: Beginning
We celebrated Keira's 16th birthday today!  This is what Keira's cake looked like at the beginning of her party. It didn't look nearly as pretty by the end.  :)  It tasted pretty darn good though!

So that's it from my neck of the woods!  Hope you have a fabulous week!

Linking with Tamar.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


She went from this ...

Keira baby
(hospital picture - scanned from print)

to this ...

Keira now

in the blink of an eye, it seems.

Happy sweet 16 to my beautiful daughter, Keira.  I am so proud of the young woman you are becoming.  You are going to do great things!

But remember, you will always be my little girl.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

This and That

My days have been filled with shooting, editing, and butterfly rearing lately.  God has really blessed me in those areas which has left little time for blogging.  But I thought I'd pop in for a moment to share a few pics.  Okay, maybe more than a few.  :)

August consisted of:

A lot of this ...

And this ...

And this ...
Monarch male

Monarch visitor


And lots of this ...
Mr. & Mrs. Cross

50th anniversary

Mr. & Mrs. Welmann


Noel family

Mr. & Mrs. Hadfield


And let's not forget my lovely assistant on several occasions ...
Lovely assistant

But August wasn't ALL work.  We did squeeze some family fun in too.

We spent a day at Idlewild.  Nick is missing from this pic because he refuses to ride the Loggin' Toboggin.  :)

farm show
We visited our local farm show and the kids rode some more.

Yellow Creek State Park
The kids and I visited a new-to-us state park.  We hiked and swam and explored.  It was a great day!

Keira and I finally donated our hair.  We each got 10 inches chopped off!
Hair donation - after

Hair donation - before/after - me

The kids went back to school on August 27.  I will share their back-to-school photos another time.  You're welcome.  :)

Then September came.  Which brought with it this beautiful baby girl ...

Baby Sydney

And these lovely teens ...
Kyle and Kamryn

And most recently, this polite young man ...

I have four more sessions scheduled this month.  On top of planning a 16th birthday party, helping with children's ministries, and PTO.  And let's not forget homework with the kids, the never-ending piles of laundry, keeping the house somewhat presentable, trying to spend at least 5 minutes here and there with my sweet husband, and making dinner most nights.  Why is it my kids think they need to eat supper every. single. day?!  

I think maybe I'll sleep next year.  :)

Despite all that, we are trying to squeeze in at least a little fun this month.

Alex was excited to be old enough for the Young Eagles plane rides this year.  He looks so small in that plane!
plane ride

The kids have next Friday off of school, so we are hoping for nice weather so we can do some more hiking/exploring at a nearby park.

We also had more of this ...
tagged Monarch
Let me know if you see her (or any of the others I have tagged - TLA 175 - 183 so far).

My last caterpillar got into its J form yesterday ...
Last cat

And went into chrysalis today - shortly after this handsome male emerged from his chrysalis.

I'm sad to see this year end, but it has been a remarkable year!  If the last four make it to adulthood, I will have raised 156 Monarchs this year!  WOW!  156 miracles happened right here in my office over the past 3 months!  Praise God!  Planning for an even better year next year, God willing!

Lastly, Keira is taking a photography/graphics art class this year as an elective (which makes this mama very happy) and needed to create a collage.  She chose to do a butterfly collage.
Keira's collage

Isn't it spectacular?!  All of the photos are mine except for the white dots around the edges.  Apparently I don't have any photos of white butterflies.  :)  The only requirement for the project was that she included at least one photo of herself.

The template was cut out using the Silhouette machine - each wing section is about 10 inches.  She cut each photo out and placed it all on a black foam board.  Once it was all stuck down, she cut around it with an exacto knife.  Needless to say her teacher was impressed.  :)

Well, I need to get back to editing.  I hope to blog more about each session and my Monarch journey this summer soon.  Hope you are having a great day!

Linking with Kim today ...

Little by Little