Category Archives: Deep thoughts

Because…

It’s time.  It’s time to focus my lens, to adjust the aperture a little lower to blur the background and focus in on the subject.  On Christmas day I pulled out my big professional camera for the first time since July to capture life.  As I looked through the viewfinder attempting to capture my 16 month-old amusement with the Christmas tree, it hit me.  I miss this.  Much to my surprise, at the sight of my camera the Little Monster immediately raced to the front of the tree, plopped himself down and gave me the cheesiest grin I have ever seen.

Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-1 Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-12

While I love living life on the other side of the camera (and appreciate the convenience of my iPhone camera), intentionly capturing the little details that tell our family stories seemed like a thing of the past. Then it really hit me, I’m a hypocrite!  Little-d-Tales {Photography & Design} LLC was created in January 2011 with the tagline “capturing the moments that tell the stories of your life.” I created the business to offer photojournalism specialty to lifestyle photography.  Back then I would combine my appreciation of writing (blogging) with the ability to capture photos to best tell the story.  My passion grew and so did my clientele.  I was capturing real life, little details that weren’t staged or scripted, helping tell the stories of who individuals were, the nuances in families, and amazing things happening in our communities.  Ironically something began to change, it became work.  A wise person once told me, “it’s important to follow your passion, but be careful you don’t kill it.” My passion began to wane and every session felt like more time away from family.

Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-13 Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-16 Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-18

Enjoying Life has not had a post since Spring of 2015.  There is not even a story or record that my youngest was even born on this blog.  The good news is I have still captured these moments.  But what happened in the past 2 years is I began to dread sitting down at the computer after a shoot to edit the photos.  I almost resented it. I took on fewer jobs and began to consider the end of Little-d-Tales {Photography & Design}.  Well Christmas solidified the decision and my last photo shoot for hire was December 26, 2016.

Thank you to my many clients who invited me into your homes, trusted me to capture the most amazing moments of your life both big and small.  For coming back time and time again.  I have stood beside you as you saw your future husband for the first time, holding your baby, watching you drip with sweat as you attempt to get your 1 year old  to sit and smile.  For learning to have a tissues as I capture your child’s senior photos, or M & M’s to entice the little ones.  For having grace to keep the shoot scheduled  to capture your family knowing that one of the chairs would now be empty.  Each shoot helped me grow into a better person, not just a better photographer. Being a natural light lifestyle photographer requires the technical and artistic skills to “make it happen.”  You gave me the confidence to take the helm of rowdy group of over 75 people. The business skills to manage financials and predict profit margins without knowing the depth of the job. As the business developed so did my IT skills, learning code and editing shortcuts and hardware needs to stay competitive in the market.  With each photo shoot you helped me see the world in a little different way.  Thank you. I am grateful for an awesome 5 year run at my own business.  It was exactly what I needed to be able to sit here today and say goodbye and be completely content with the decision.

I will continue to pull out my camera, hone my photography skills and admire amazing lighting.  Except my camera will be focused in this direction. Little-d-Tales: YIR 2016 &emdash; Christmasday16-2

It is my hope that I will sit down and enjoy telling OUR stories again.  As our family closed the books on 2016, we did so with bittersweet hearts.  2016 marked several unforeseen milestones in our home and hearts.  While beautiful girl’s smile reminds us of the good, the “Love You” snowflake made by Little Man in the background was a memorial to our dog who unexpectedly died in November, along with several family members. Little Man placed the love you facing out so our “(loved ones) in heaven could read it.”  Our family is grateful for photos such as these so that in years to come we are still reminded to smile, to remember, and hold tight to the memories that created our 2016 family stories.

2016 closes the chapter on Little-d-Tales {Photography & Design} because…It’s time! Thank you for helping write this chapter of my life.  It has been a meaningful 5 years.

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Flow of Creativity, scarpbooking

Oh, I forgot

Dear Life,

I was awakened from a deep slumber at 1 AM by my daughter’s cry and mumbling of something troubling her.  I walked into her room, rubbed her back as I stated soothingly “Shh, it’s okay Mae.  Mommy’s here, it was just a dream.” In true EllaMae fashion still in a confused slumbering state, she wittingly replied “oh, I forgot” and peacefully fell back to sleep.

As I returned to my bed chuckling I thought about how often I have forgotten what life is really like.  This blog is one stunning example of that.  The vision of this blog and several other of my endeavors has been with the best intentions to document life…notice a few gaps.  My son is 5 and my daughter is 3, and baby 3 is on the way.  You know what I forgot about? When I was up every 2-3 hours a night to feed the kids.  How my son would beg for me to sleep with him throughout the night or lay with him until he fell asleep (he still appreciates it when I do). How my daughter would sing herself silly trying to avoid sleeping (still does) and we would come down into the living room and dance to Christina Perri playlist on pandora with all the lights off in the house. How I would often crawl into bed with my kids so they could calm me and help me relax on a night when sleep wasn’t on my side.  Or, how before I had children I was up often at 2 AM with trouble sleeping and I would then get creative and do a project only to be interrupted at 7 AM with the need to go to work…you know my real job.  I forgot how after the kids went to bed I would take to the computer in obligation to create my next post, plan my next social media strategy or edit a batch of clients proofs.  These all seem like fleeting memories now.  

Perhaps it’s me avoiding the guilt, or perhaps it’s simply a feeling of content.  I fall asleep each night with relatively low level of anxiety, I often have the luxury to put both of my children to bed, then come back hours later kiss their cheeks, watch them sleep, and encourage them to “dream big.” While I may stink at documenting and sharing our life stories of the past few years, it’s moments like tonight when I remember how much I really do enjoy life.

When I rolled over at 2:30 AM, still unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to crawl into my daughters single bed attempting to snuggle her along with her 3 pillows, 4 cozy blankets (these are all separate blankets she requires, not the actual bedding) Willy the orca, Diego the seal, and my daughter flailed out across the bed.  As I crawled under the covers the baseball from spring break vacation found it’s way into my thigh and I pressed my 25 week pregnant body into a sliver of available space.  (Are you getting this visual- sounds relaxing doesn’t it?) I rubbed her head streaking the hair away from her face and watched in admiration of this beautiful girl sleeping peacefully.  I placed my arm around her chest snuggling her in close.  I could feel her heart beating in her chest and the rhythm of her breathing slowly calm me.  She rolled from her side to her back and placed both hands behind her head.  I remembered both of my littles as babies would sleep with their hands behind their head.  I always appreciated that and recalled someone saying “that’s a sign they are content.” I always followed it up by saying “this is the life?!”

Thank you EllaMae, for reminding me at 1 AM that we have a pretty sweet life.  I sometimes forget those little things.

Love,
Mom 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Musings with Mae, Proud Parents

redefining our story

October 10, 2013

It’s 8:33 PM my husband walks into little man’s darkened room and snaps his fingers to get my attention.  Slowly I emerged from Caleb’s request to “lay with him” walk downstairs into a darkened dining room with the illumination of 2 candles, 2 wine glasses and the transformational bottle of Barbera wine (a symbol of our honeymoon) with an anniversary card propped delicately against the proper wine glasses on the counter.  The scene was far different 5 years ago.  Completing a rehearsal dinner with our favorite people and favorite meal (still is, although a rare delicacy in our eat-out options these days), scurrying to the reception hall to decorate and greet out-of-town hotel guests.  5 -years ago we were embracing the eve of our wedding and writing the first chapter of our life together as Mr & Mrs.  Tonight a few chapters are under our belt and our definition of a romantic evening is now redefined to an evening in the basement, drinking wine, watching baseball and hoping the kids sleep through the night!

a-kiss-for-the-crowd

 

5 years ago my focus was details for our wedding day, realizing if something didn’t go according to the 5-page itinerary, it was completely ok.  We had worked over the year to develop a day that would be the perfect start to our story with pieces of us interwoven throughout the day by making and creating all aspects of the wedding that would be future reminders of our life together.  I was focussed on the decorations, the weather, waking up on time and wondering what the next 24 hours would hold.  Today the focus is to not drop our children, remembering to feed the dog or to pick the kids up from daycare, and recognizing that 6 hours of sleep is A LOT, and there is no shame in google being is my new best friend. There is no itinerary fitting for this type of life, and no manual that will prepare you for the heart ache and joy that can happen in a 5 minute swing.

ceremony-wheelbarrow

Today our story is filled with the entertainment of a 5-year old dog, a 3-year-old son, and an 18-month old daughter who keeps our story alive and fulfilling everyday.  The days of serenity are depleted to a few hours of quiet each week and our relationship thrives between the blood lines of our children and moments passing by as we prepare for the daily monotonous lifestyles we live.  And yet with each “uneventful” day we add and fill our story with moments that are more meaningful than the anticipation of our wedding could ever fulfill.

IMG_3148

In five years we have added a few adventures of travel; a loyal dog-child who continues to greet us each day with varying levels of spunk and energy; a house which we have converted to our home filled with projects, pitter-patter of children’s feet, laughter and tears; Our son who prepared us for the un-predictable nature and complete fulfillment of children; and for our daughter who made us realize we really weren’t as ready as we thought we were.  Each day brings experiences, challenges, opportunities, and memorable stories.  I have added a photography business to the mix to help us and others capture these moments to tell the story of our life. To hectic work schedules challenging us to balance professional and personal goals while maintaining the presence in real life.  What I have learned is, I don’t know the half of what I thought I did, and I have loved learning each day with you!

 

My husband, Brent, deserves an award!  He is a talented man who can create whatever I ask.  He can man the house and coordinate 2 children, a dog, dinner, 2-baths, and have kids into bed (on time) with smiles and snuggles, just in time for him to drywall the basement before bed!   I am a free-spirited explorer who has a chaotic approach to life.  Thankfully, my husband grounds me and makes our life a reality.  Each vision, and dream I draft he adds a touch of reality and perception to the story to make our life “for real.” He accepts my creative endeavors, welcomes my spunk, and sometimes encourages my outrageous ideas and spontaneous lifestyle 🙂

IMG_0868

 

Thank you Brent.  Thank you for being a friend, partner, father, confidant, and life-partner.  Above all thank you for being you and allowing me to be me.  It has been a splendid 5 years with events and stories that I hope we spend many more years expounding upon!

Photo taken by Matthew Murray Photography

Photo taken by Matthew Murray Photography

Happy 5 year Anniversary!  Should we celebrate and go to McDonald’s tomorrow?

Love you More,
Heidi Marie 🙂

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Let's talk about me!, Proud Parents, wedding, wedding jazz

Curveball: Inspirational Story of the Greater Good

Let me start by saying my 3-year-old son LOVES baseball.  He’s been swinging a bat and hitting pitches since he was 2 years old.  It’s ordinary for us to be outside playing “Baseball” by 7 AM no matter the temperature, season, or other planned activities for that day.  We DVR any baseball game just so he can watch baseball on rainy days.  Truth of the matter is he doesn’t care if he’s watching a t-ball game at the park down the street, or sitting front row at a Major League game…. he simply loves the game.  Earlier this year we had planned a family vacation to St. Louis and the thought occurred to us, maybe we should take the Major League Baseball Stadium tour….and a plan was born.  Our family goal is to hit all 30 stadiums before he graduates from high school.

Early Last week, the family situation was different.  We were called up to Northern Wisconsin by my in-laws after my father-in-law was nearing the end of his 10 month battle with cancer.  As fate would have it the kids and I would arrive just moments before his final breath.  The daily routine of our family life took hiatus to reconciling memories and planning the celebration of my father-in-law’s life.  My 3-year-old son and 17-month-old daughter took things in stride.  Somewhat isolated from other kids their age, we tried to find recreational activities to get them out so they weren’t stir crazy.  The temps were nearing high 90’s with high humidity, but my children were still anxious to play outside. Luckily I packed the wiffle bat, 2 baseball gloves, a few balls and my son’s baseball helmet.  Regardless of the forecast he pleaded to play baseball regularly.  As my week with the extended family was drawing to an end, it seemed fitting to find a way to squeeze in the nearest Major League Baseball Stadium to check one more off the tour.  So Wednesday, August 28th we decided to brave the heat and head to Minneapolis to catch the Twins vs. Royals game at Target Field.

In true Little Man fashion he dwelled in the experience of being at a baseball game.  He wore his Brewers outfit, cheered for the Cubs, and watched intently as the Twins played the Royals.  He observed others trying to get on the big screen by holding posters and dancing, so he grabbed his “First Game Certificate” and held it up with pride.  Of course there was a fair amount of the required baseball snacks.  A typical baseball game experience…until the 7th inning.  As the heat waned on us we decided we needed to get up and walk around.  Opting for the cheap seats in the 300 level, we were excluded from the occasional breeze I noticed on the lower levels.  We made our way down to the lower level, managed to get a picture with TC Twin Bear and were drawn to some open seats along the first base line near the right field.

First Game Cert TC Twin Bear

After the Royals put up 5 runs in the 7th many fans cleared out, leaving clusters of empty seats throughout the stadium. We lingered along the 1st base line, and eventually took a seat a few rows back from the field to take in the final 1.5 innings. I felt slightly guilty sitting down so close to the field, although I knew we weren’t stealing anyone else seats.  The fans around us welcomed us and easily chatted with my husband, son and I.  I noticed a family to our right, just across the aisle. A young teenage boy was decked in Twins attire, sported a handmade sign, and pleaded every opportunity for the right fielder (Wilkens Ramirez that game) to throw a ball, sign his glove, whatever he could get. He seemed to be a true diehard baseball/Twins fan.  I smiled and thought to myself, “that will probably be my little man some day.”  As the Twins took the field in the bottom of the eighth after warming up, Wilkens threw the ball in our direction. My husband fumbled it and the young boy I explained above got the ball…rightfully so. We sat down, my son was disappointed.  As we explained to our 3-year-old that you can’t expect to get everything you want, and that the other boy was waiting the entire game … he showed up next to us and offered the ball to my son. I assured the young boy it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted.

Twins-high five

We were so moved by the gesture we encouraged our son to give him a high-five and say thank you. Which he did, and the crowd cheered. The mom snuck over to share the picture she had captured of my son giving  the high-five.  Together we dwelled on the moment and shared in the joy of the proud mom moment.  Generosity and sportsmanship at it’s finest.

The boys with THE BALL that changed our week

The boys with THE BALL that changed our summer

I learned that the 13-year-old boy had a similar love for the game and like my little man has played the game since he could walk.  Several other fans shared positive comments,  the usher even stated he wished he had a ball to honor the young man’s generosity. Without knowing our story, our struggles or the week had just endured, he found it in his heart to give the ball to my son and make this night the highlight of our summer. My son has been sleeping with the ball ever since. I shared the picture below with the family when we arrived home later that evening.  The crossing of our family’s path with the young boy’s family has been an enriching and fulfilling experience in and of itself.  I feel like I have been given a gift and I need to share this story.

Twin- Sleep with Ball

Now I’d like to ask your help.  Help me  honor this young boy for his generosity and selflessness.  Share this story!  I would like to highlight how little acts of kindness can really make a difference, to provide inspiration, to show how everyday people contribute to the greater good!

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Proud Parents, The Caleb Times, Uncategorized

6 months later..

Little Miss Mae,

Tomorrow we will celebrate 6 months of your life.  If I could use one phrase to define who you are it would be One Happy Baby!

I haven’t been so religious about blogging your developments, but I’ve been doing my best to capture them along the way.  We have mastered the art of rolling over at 3 months, rolling both ways by 4 months and now you pretty much steamroll your way around the house.  There’s not a toy or object in the house you haven’t tasted, including your hands.  Your fingers are still long enough to touch the back of your throat, which makes you gag, but you’ll repeat it a few times just to make sure.  Just 2 weeks ago we added the title of “sitter” to your resume, and are currently exploring life on all fours (as opposed to your belly & back).  Despite the rolls from your chin to your ankles you are incredibly strong and are hoisting yourself up on to your hands and knees on a regular basis and rocking back and forth.  Seems we might add Crawling to our title sooner than later.

I alluded to your gorgeous physique, you are living up to the name of “chunky monkey” with the most adorable cheeks and rolls filling your legs.  At 6 months you are 7 pounds lighter than your 2 1/2-year-old brother.  The 3-6 months wardrobe is long gone and the 6 month wardrobe is looking like it might be short-lived.  You aren’t so fond of multiple outfit changes.  Getting dressed is like a bad habit that we have to coach you through every day. Your long brown hair, with reddish tints, is growing faster than I know how to style.  I have invested in all sorts of “pretties” to show off your beautiful face and lovely locks of hair.  Baby hair is not my forte, but here are several attempts….

We are still breastfeeding (insert mom’s smile here- she made her goal) and have a nice little stock pile built up for hopefully a few more months.  You are a good eater, but really only on your terms.  Unlike your brother the whole spoon thing is really getting in the way of your food.  You are less than impressed with Rice Cereal and Oatmeal.  You are onto veggies, but really you prefer the wash cloth afterwards more than any of the food.  The pesky teeth are taking FOREVER to break through!

In terms of personality you are indeed The Sunshine Princess (naturally the offspring to the Sunshine Queen).  You are so easily entertained, and full of smiles and belly laughs, yes belly laughs! Rolling, talking and finding ways to entertain yourself at all hours of the day (and night) is how you roll!  I can’t even begin to describe the relationship you have with your big brother.  You light up at the sight of his face.  The rougher and crazier he is the more you smile and laugh.  He makes sure you get plenty of hugs and kisses everyday.  I am amazed at the genuine relationship you have established in this quick 6 months.  I hope as you read this 10 years from now you can appreciate each other the same way! On a similar note, you and Diesel are starting to get to know each other a bit better too.  Diesel’s starting to catch on to your affinity for kisses.  Your dad is already fretting the days of boys seeing how much you love kisses.

While you totally are laid-back and easy-going, you still like to buck the system and make we all know whose really running this house.  Up until 5 months we were pretty blessed with a “Baby who sleeps through the night” (True Story).  In the past months you’ve discovered when you wake up at 4 AM, you get all the attention.  Bright eyed and bushy-tailed you might be, but I’m pretty sure you’ve taken the wind out of dad and my sail.  We prefer sleeping until at least 6 AM if you could arrange that again, we’d really appreciate it.  Name the bribe and I’ll totally make it happen.

As we turn the page to month 6 I look forward to new adventures.  Life has spiked its way into overdrive and I’m desperately treading water trying to keep up.  Each day has provided me with new opportunities to nourish your mind and soul.  Your amazing smile and personality have been so inspiring and add such joy to our lives.

Good Night Princess.   Dream big.   I’ll see you in the morning!

Love you More,
Mom 🙂

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Filed under Bundle of Joy, Deep thoughts, Proud Parents

Preparing for You {pregnancy}

Dear Little Miss Bea,

On Saturday we will celebrate our 38th week together and already the doctor is talking about inducing me.  Based on your brother’s late arrival, I assume you two schemed up a plan!  Either way I wanted to catch you up on the fun and crazy memories we’ve shared over the last few months!

First of all, we know you are a girl.  This news has un-ravelled a sequence of events.While your dad and I have decided on a name months ago, we’re trying to keep some elements of surprise.  In light of this we have thrown out lots of unlikely possibilities (Gertrude, Juanita, and our favorite Beatrice).  Somehow Beatrice has stuck and thus you are now being referred to as “Little Miss Bea.”  Only your brother and dad are calling you by name on occasion.

Your brother is more versed in “baby” than your actual name.  He believes you are my belly button.  In the first half of the pregnancy he’d lift my shirt and show you off, thankfully he’s taking up just pointing to my belly now.  Although he has no shame in showing off his “baby” by lifting his shirt, and has even lifted the shirts to show some bare belly of the girls at daycare.  Boys – you never know what they might do. We are sharing stories and introducing him to other babies.  He seems very excited to see and hold other babies, so I’m very eager for you 2 to meet.

Your room is almost complete.  We have a few finishing touches to add, which will likely wait until your arrival so we can include your name and portraits to the wall.  I’m very excited that you will have a very chic room that is un-traditional for most nursery decor.  While we converted the guest room into your new room, it really was my room in terms of closet and storage.  This forced me to purge the closet to create some shared space.  Based on the start of your wardrobe, this may be an issue of contention in future years.

You have been kind on your mom, and surrendered her the agony of morning sickness.  You often remind me of what I should or should not be eating (or you really want me to drink mil), as often I am struck with  unbearable heartburn following a few triggered foods.  We had one major concern in January where I was rushed to the emergency room with chest pains.  What they thought was a pulmonary embolism (Blood clot in the lung) was ruled out later that day with a CT scan.  Thankfully we were okay and moving on.  Several weeks ago I got to see you again thanks to an Ultrasound.  While I was measuring small, you certainly were not to blame.  At 34 weeks an average baby weighs 4 – 4.5 lbs and you were almost 6 lbs.  The ultrasound tech was a bit taken back by the length of your leg bones.  She thought you and might be tall like your mommy. Unfortunately you were positioned sideways into my pelvis so I wasn’t able to see your face.  To date we have been pretty sensible and I have done a much better job being aware of my weight and exercise (we’re still under the recommended weight gain, unlike the near 65 lbs I gained with your brother).  Fortunately the unseasonably warm weather has kept us outside on walks and playing outside more than we might typically do during a normal March in Wisconsin.  This has resulted in some swelling of the ankles and relentless hot flashes.  I can’t say my maternity wardrobe was prepared for summer attire in March!  We’re getting by and enjoying every drop of sunshine we can.

There are so many things that I am curiously waiting to learn.  Will you have a full head of hair like your brother?  How about your demeanor and personality- laid back and relaxed, or more of the high maintenance type?  Mommy’s or daddy’s girl?  High-fashion or Sports?  Who will you look like?  Will you break the myth of second child characteristics, or make your daddy yearn for a 3rd just like you?

In just 2 short weeks we will meet in person and you will shape a whole new chapter of our life story.  Rest up little Bea, because you are in for one exciting adventure!
Love you more,
Mom

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Filed under Bundle of Joy, Deep thoughts, Proud Parents

Grateful

On this thanksgiving day I have much to be grateful for.

I’m grateful for my husband who is always willing to help out with mundane (or special requests) to make life easier around the house.  Like helping making a salad,  an appetizer, vegetable and dessert for Thanksgiving meal last night before going to bed.

I’m grateful for my little man who “helps” me fold laundary by decorating the house and himself with his mom’s socks and underwear.  Maybe next time I’ll wait to introduce him to Christams decorating after all the laundry has been folded!

I’m grateful for our dog-child who will cuddle up to you and do everything possible to make your day a little brighter.

And last but certainly not least, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be an incubator to our future daughter.  I am blessed each day with her squiggles and the relentless heartburn.

 

Hope you and yours have a happy and safe thanksgiving Holiday 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Let's talk about me!, Proud Parents, The Caleb Times