The Reminder

Stark cold concrete built into the ground, you are a reminder of the fear and turmoil that we humans create while on this earth.
Yet as the sun sets for another day, the fleeting beauty covers everything like a blanket to remind us,
 if we will listen,
that the one thing we have for certain is this present moment.

Family Shoot September 2011

I love doing family shoots, it’s fun for me to see the family interact and watch the little ones play. 

One of the challenges on family shoots is that the little ones, especially those under the age of 8 or 9, tend to lose patience quickly. These little guys were great, they got bored, but put up with one pose after another.

 

 Looks like a formidable trio here!

Thank you Jeff & Kristi for asking me to capture this time in your lives!  

I AM the Crazy Neighbor Lady!

A few months ago I was a bit bored and when I’m bored, I sometimes decide to find something around the house to take pictures of. While meandering around, I found a little dandelion in my front yard growing up against the landscape block in front of my house. I decided that since this little guy had somehow escaped the perfectionist yard tending of my detail oriented husband, G1, I would see about getting up close and getting some pictures of it. In fact, I had decided to see if I could somewhat, re-create this .

So I went and fetched a cup of water and G2 (my beloved camera) and proceeded back outside to my front yard. I glanced around,  saw that my neighbors all seemed to be inside, so I, a grown woman, laid down on my stomach, reached my hand in the cup, submerged it in the water, then pulled it out to sprinkle it on this tiny dandelion. Soon, as I was sprawled on the front yard, facing a block wall, G2 and I were snapping away, trying to find the ‘just right’ angle at which to shoot this little guy. I was in my own little artistic world, both creating and at the same time marveling at the intricate detail and the frail beauty of this God forsaken weed when suddenly I was pulled back, into the dimension of consciousness with the words “What are you doing?”

I, flat on my stomach, feet stretching towards the street, turned my head to see my neighbors, a nice, young couple standing next to each other in their driveway, her, with their precious one year old son in her arms, looking at their crazy neighbor lady with bemused smiles on their faces. Initially, I felt my whole body as well as what dignity I thought I had, cringe at the thought of how I must look. I clumsily got to my feet and stuttered out “T-taking a picture of a, a um, dandelion?”

They looked at each other, chuckled to each other as if their previous conversations about their “not right neighbors” were somehow backed up by this newest piece of evidence and said “Ok”. I, started laughing at myself (with them) and told them I’d email them the link to my picture. I promised them that as ridiculous as I know I looked, I hoped that they would see that something so tiny could be a thing of beauty. We ended with a good laugh as they took their son for a walk around the neighborhood.

Yes, I too think I am crazy at times but honestly, once I get past that initial cringe of self consciousness, I don’t care. I enjoy getting down and close up to things most pass by. It brings me peace, and reminds me of the beauty in all things, even the little ones.

The Family That Lived Outside My Door

I have been lucky to have a sweet family live outside my sliding glass door for the past several weeks.

I have watched their personal journey and felt at times like a giant gawker.

Here are the links to Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 and this is my last installment of the story of this miniature family.

I considered having a huge goodbye party like Oprah, but, well, didn’t want to detract any attention from her. After all, she had her show for 25 years, the Robirdsons haven’t been around quite that long.

When opening the squeaky screen door, one of the babies, who was considering leaving the nest, jumped ship so we were down to 3.

 

Then, just a day or two later, I could see that baby #2 was stretching his legs, trying to gather the nerve to make that big leap.

Then there were two. 

 While at work, the other 2 left. I came home to this:

We humans can become so self-absorbed that we, at times, forget about the other creatures we share this earth with. The Robirdsons are a family, different from ours yet the same. It truly makes me wonder if they are they more like us than we will ever know. After all, in the matter of a little over a month, the Robirdsons have had a family, cared for it, raised it and sent them on their way. It takes humans 20 years (more or less) to do the same thing.

I literally stare at my empty nest hanging outside my window and feel that bitter-sweet set of emotions. I miss seeing the little ones snuggling together all sweet and adorable and yet I know that this is what nature intends for every living thing.

Goodbye Robirdsons, thank you for sharing your precious family with me. Sorry if the goofy lady with the camera freaked you out at times but you reminded me that this world is full of wonders both big and small and they exist right in front of our eyes if we take the time to see them.

Thank you for that.

They’re Growing Up Quick

Days 5, 6 and 7 of the Robirdsons

If you missed it, here is my first post on the Robirdsons.

And here is my second post.

I will have one last post after this one about my little birdy family.

Seriously, I try so hard to stay away from this little family in my back window but I just love to watch them.

 Does this mean I need to get a life?

Um, nevermind, don’t answer that, it was a rhetorical question, I don’t think I really want to know.

 

These hungry little piglets seem like they grow by the hour.

 

We had a couple of days of damp and colder than normal weather and momma took her place on her nest in order to keep her babies warm.

 

I feel as though I am truly blessed having a front row seat to this little life event. 

 

 

It’s rare to see momma and pappa at the same time on the nest but I was happy to get the rare shot. 

Ok, now admit it, they are (finally) adorable!

 It’s getting close, I can feel it, they are getting old enough to go out on their own.

 

The Robirdsons – Day 4

 Here are a few pictures of the Robirdson Quads just 4 days after they were hatched.

If you missed my first installment of the Robirdsons, you can read it here.

Their feathers are starting to come in, and like human babies they eat and sleep a lot.

Notice in the picture below that Momma has a worm in her beak.

Momma and Daddy Robirdson fed them every half hour or so all day long. I am amazed at their stamina and dedication.

Dare I say they are approaching cute! 

My oldest daughter, now home from college for the summer, laughs at me everytime I climb on the kitchen chair to take pictures of these babies. She said “Mom, you are going to be crushed when they leave the nest.” I promptly explained to her with one daughter that goes away to college and is about ready to enter her senior year and another getting ready to go off to college, I am getting used to the feeling of my babies leaving the nest and am just enjoying them while they are here.

My first Quadruplet newborn session – The Robirdsons

Ok, so my quads aren’t exactly human newborns but still amazing and adorable (eventually) in their bird way.

 Earlier this spring, about a week before Easter, I had planned on replanting a new batch of flowers in the hanging pot outside my back door. I admittedly let the darned thing hang outside all winter long where the dainty annuals from last year became nothing more than withered sticks.

My plans for fresh new annual colors soon changed as I noticed one evening while cooking dinner that the flower pot had new residents moving in, Momma and Pappa robin were making a new nest in MY flower pot.   As I watched their hard work I through the upcoming days I eventually dubbed this sweet little family, the Robirdsons.

Every day for close to a week they flew back and forth, several times a day, carrying sticks and grass and the makings of a new home for their little ones that were soon to arrive. They placed their building materials carefully and packed them down.

Easter morning, I climbed up on the kitchen chair and peeking into their nest from my side of the glass saw this:

 And then I re-focused my lens a little past my original target and saw an Easter character standing close by.

 Could the Easter bunny have dropped these here? Surely not.

 So as this was my first close up experience with this species, I wondered how long it would be until we had little baby Robirdsons in our nest.  Curious I was,  so I did what any modern human would do and I Googled it to find out that our babies were due 12 – 14 days after the last egg was laid.

Momma was a good momma bird and barely left her nest, especially during that second week and I, strangely enough, found myself growing excited and impatient in anticipation of their arrival.

Sure enough, 2 weeks later, on Mothers Day none the less, our hatchlings arrived, 4 in total and lets just say they were definately the kind of face only a mother could love.

 

Momma Robirdson sat on her nest to protect her new flock but would occasionally fly off to find food and bring it back to her babies. 

 

 Momma also didn’t really like the fact that I was standing on a kitchen chair on the other side of the glass so I would try to get my pictures quick, then leave them alone. Only over the next few days, my quick little picture jaunts have become more and more frequent because I am just so fascinated. I tried pulling my fake Ficus tree out of the corner to cover me and to try to make the Mrs. more comfortable but this is one smart momma who can still see me taking quick peeks into their little family world.

The last 3 pictures above were taken on May 11th and as I write this only a few days from then, I am amazed at how fast my babies Mrs Robinsons babies have changed, you will be too. 

More details to come soon!

Days That Weren’t …. Winter

Although I do love living in a place with a change in seasons, this winter has been longer and tougher than most in my memories past.

A few weeks ago I showed you some picts from last spring, now I will show you a few that I took of the Missouri countryside before it turned blah and wintery.

A beautiful day in Autumn.

I should have been at work that day, but took a vacation day.

I wish I could get paid to drive around this beautiful country of ours and take in all of the beauty.

Now THAT would be awesome.

 

But wait, 

I guess since it was a vacation day, and I got paid for it, I did (technically) get paid to drive around and take pictures.

Sweet!

Always have to look at the bright side!

Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 Skinless chicken breast filets

4 oz goat cheese

Sundried tomatoes, diced

1 red pepper cut into strips

garlic salt

black pepper

8 slices of bacon

toothpicks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the chicken breast (start at the thickest part of the side) and fold open as pictured below:

I must interrupt this recipe to point out the new pan in the above picture.

 It was a gift from my Aunt Cheryl.

She saw my recipe for Italian Sausage Stromboli and the pathetic cookie sheet I was using (that I had hoped no one would notice) and she felt compelled to buy me a new baking sheet.

 Thank you Auntie Cheryl! I can now hold my head up high!

Now back to our regularly scheduled recipe.

After you have split the chicken breasts, spread with goat cheese,

Take your red pepper slices:

Place a few slices on top of the cheese,

sprinkle a little of your diced sundried tomatos, sprinkle black pepper and a little garlic salt

 and fold the chicken over.

Now, take 2 pieces of bacon per filet and wrap around chicken using toothpicks to help keep the chicken secure.

Put in oven and cook for aprox 30-35 minutes, make sure chicken has no pink color left to it.

You should believe me when I say YUM!

Let me know what you think!

Grown Up Snow Day

 

Yesterday  I walked out my door to this:

 

 

I’m not usually too worried about driving in the snow, but yesterday we received about a foot of the fluffy cold stuff and so I decided to play it safe and take a PTO (personal time off) day from work.

Its the other people driving that scare me.

So, I realized that yesterday was an unofficial Grown Up Snow day and I felt like a kid again (except for when I needed my readers glasses to read tiny print).

G1 got out to clean off the cars, our driveway and 5 other neighbors driveways, he’s such a good neighbor.

I walked around taking a few pictures along the way.

 

 

This is our back patio where on warm days a few Margaritas are sometimes enjoyed.

Oh how I long for those days now.

 Then I walk around the corner to see that one of my neices or my silly nephew left a little hot handed artwork on my storm door from the suprise birthday party G1 threw for me a few weekends ago.

It pretty much sums up my mood for this grown up snow day.