Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Once Upon A Time....

...........in a land of Dutch people, I met a boy.

We went on our 1st date on October 6, 1978.

For me, it was love on the 1st date - and I knew without a doubt that I would marry him.

Him? Not fully convinced. But within a few months, he had fallen as well.

Thirty six years ago today I awoke to a soft rain after spending the night on the couch in my parents living room. Struggling to sleep the night before due to the slippery, velvety, wildly flowered couch I was sleeping on, the chatter of my mom & our Wisconsin family in the kitchen next to me and the excitement of finally getting to marry the guy of my dreams!

I had a 7am hair appointment with my 2 best friends from my childhood and then a church to get to as our wedding was at 11:30 that Saturday morning. Why I felt the need to have my hairdresser do my "bobbed" haircut I don't know, but I guess it was an excuse to feel special? All it took was a wash, blow dry & curling it under for it to look as it did on any other day that I did it myself. But the memory remains and it is part of my wedding day revelry.

Today, my Dream Boy is in Seattle. As far west and away from the Mitten as could possibly be. But, he is helping the 2nd son pack up their apartment to bring them back to the Mitten by the end of the week. Our D2 will be staying on to finish out the season with her current job & will be joining S2 by the end of the month. 

My DIL & I spent last Tuesday together in Detroit looking for a place for them to live once they move back. After a very long day and many, many apartments & rental houses later and lots of driving and checking out the area, we successfully found a place that they will call home for the next year at least. It is close to the lake and in a community that seems to be very family oriented. 

But back to this day - and the celebration of having spent 36 years married to a man that has been my rock through thick & thin.

We have faced many, many trials and triumphs through our life and I can't imagine my life with anyone else. He is my quiet strength. He is my voice of reason and the one who can make me laugh until I snort and then almost pass out because I start to hyperventilate.

He has loved me as unconditionally as any human possibly can - through it all he has been my strongest supporter, my biggest cheerleader and the greatest example to me & our family of what a Godly man is.

Dream Boy - near or far, the miles cannot separate us from each other as the connection we have with each other has grown so strong in our life together. Thank you for who you are and who we've become.

I am so looking forward to another 36+ years with you. Hey - your aunt & uncle did it, why can't we???

I love you.



Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

What a wonderful weekend I had! But then again, I enjoy every weekend.

My birthday was on Friday and that just started everything off with such a positive note! I had one student bring me a birthday cake, a former student who shares the same birthday with me brought me a cheesecake, another student brought me a Milky Way and 3 classes sang happy birthday to me! At the end of the day during announcements one more of my students asked to announce the birthdays so she could announce mine!

Dream Boy gave me a new charm for my Pandora bracelet and then brought flowers home to me. We waited for our oldest son to get out of work, then picked he & our daughter-in-law for dinner. Our friends and one of their son's met us and we enjoyed an evening feasting on Chinese!  The waiter surprised me with a strawberry smoothie after dinner and a box of green tea to take home. 

Saturday started out rainy & gray, so we hung around the house. I finally brought out the domestic diva in me and did some much needed cleaning as it was the perfect day to clean. Dream Boy went out later in the afternoon to mow while I took a little siesta on the couch after editing pictures for over 2 hours. 

I woke up to the sound of my texting chirp and was delighted to see our friends inviting us over for a little get together. Their oldest son & daughter-in-law are expecting their 2nd child in February and were doing a reveal party - so we headed into town to join in on the fun! They have a little girl who is about 1 1/2 years old now, and everyone was so excited to see that the water turned blue and they are expecting a little boy!

Sunday we headed off to church, picking up one of my graduated students and one of my current seniors on the way. I love that they want to join us each week & I pray for their hearts to be opened to the message that Pastor Steve shares each week.

We got home & Dream Boy was heading off on a bike ride & I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day & get another kayaking excursion in. Never know how many days we have left like this, so I texted my little sister to see if she wanted to play along? She has been talking about kayaking & asking lots of questions because they've been looking at getting some kayaks for them & the girls.  She happened to be free, so she came on out around 3pm, right after Dream Boy got home from his bike ride. So he helped load the kayaks up & took us down to the river and off we paddled!

It was a beautiful day - the temps were so comfortable and sky was so blue. We saw lots & lots of turtles and bunches of frogs jumping in front of us. What a great afternoon. 

Now - to get my big sister over here for a paddle adventure soon! 

So I've headed back to school today. It's homecoming week and I took over Student Council as advisor, once again.  Gonna be a long week - all the festivities on Friday night - parade, game, and dance.  Then on Saturday I am shooting an outdoor wedding. 

I'm gonna need Sunday to recover, I can tell already!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning everyone!

Well, I'm back in school and slowly adapting to the routine once again. It was a rough start last week, but I'm working through it day by day - feeling that my "to do" list may get shorter with each passing day.

Friday night Dream Boy came home from work, got cleaned up & we headed downtown to Art Hop! I submitted an entry back in August (as seen above) for a showing at Sarkozy's Bakery. They were looking for different art mediums for this particular exhibit and each entry needed to be based on inspiration found at a local land preserve in our area. 

My entry, "Hush", was accepted and so I carefully selected my print lab and had it mounted on a 1 1/2" standout with a bamboo edge. Dream Boy helped me attach the picture wire that was required, to the back of it for display.

We arrived shortly after 6pm - Art Hop had been in full swing for over an hour already. The Bakery was packed! There were about 20 entries beautifully displayed throughout the venue. We took our time looking at each entry and it was so inspiring to see everyone's different interpretations of this preserve. From oil painting, watercolor, charcoal drawings and photography, each entry was amazing.

This exhibit will be on display through the month of September, so if you happen to be in downtown Kalamazoo, Sarkozy's is open for lunch every day and they make some awesome pizza and various other goodies! Check it out if you are able!

Saturday dawned dark, rainy & considerably cooler.  I was supposed to have a family shoot that morning, but we chatted and decided to move it to Sunday afternoon.

This left my morning free, so Dream Boy & I headed out to a visitation for our friend who lost her dad last week. 

We quickly decided to go out for breakfast and chose a restaurant that has been around forever. Dream Boy ordered an omelet and when it came, he was disappointed as he and I both remember it being twice the size before. We were commenting on it when the waitress showed up with another plate. She had a huge omelet on it & said that someone had mistakenly taken Dream Boy's order and he had received the small portion. She said the cook realized the mistake and quickly made a new omelet for him. He tried to send back the smaller one, but the waitress stated it would just get thrown away so she offered to bring a to go container. So we boxed it up & she brought us some disposable silverware and a bag. After we finished we decided to take it to one of the many corners that we know there are always homeless on.  After spending almost an hour going to all of these known places and not finding one person to give the meal to, we gave up and headed back to Westnedge. I think the rain was keeping them all inside or under cover somewhere.

We then did some "back to school" shopping for me - I was in desperate need of some jeans and I had Old Navy Super cash to use before it expired. I came home with a sweater, a flannel shirt, long sleeved top, a pair of dress pants and 2 pairs of jeans! Should be set for a while, right?

Heading home, it continued to rain off & on. I settled down with a book and Dream Boy headed down to work on his bike as he had a 60 mile ride coming up on Sunday. I ended up taking a lengthy nap on the couch - a perfect rainy day activity!

We spent the evening at home, Dream Boy making a wonderful pasta dish for dinner. It was quiet night for us and we actually ended up going to bed around 10 as we were both exhausted! I know, we're real party animals, right?

Sunday Dream Boy headed off for his ride and I picked up one of my graduated students and we headed to church together. She had signed up to work nursery, so she headed down to take care of the littles and I settled in for a morning of worship & praise. Blake joined me about halfway through, as the kiddo's that were in nursery went over to children's church and no one was left for her to watch!

After church, we headed to a favorite spot for lunch for me, breakfast for her! We had a great time talking and working on setting up her goals for the next few months. 

I got home from church and got my gear ready, during which time Dream Boy came home from his ride. We had about 10 minutes together before I headed out the door for my family shoot. It was funny because his ride was out in the "wine country" that morning and my shoot was in the same general vicinity that afternoon! The grapevines are just bursting with fruit - and the smell? Oh my goodness - it was delicious. The air was permeated with the scent of grape.

I finished up my session and took my time heading back into town, meandering through the country side and enjoying some time to just relax, reflect and unwind by myself.

Dream Boy and I met up with some friends for dinner to celebrate the news of our new grandbaby that is expected to arrive next March AND their 3rd grandbaby expected to arrive in February. We were also celebrating the fact that my younger children are moving back to Michigan from Seattle at the end of this month!

Yep, S2 has a new job in the Detroit area.  Dream Boy is headed out in a couple of weeks to drive back with him. His wife will be staying on at her job in Seattle for one more month and then be joining him here - her dad will be driving her back then.

So - this mama's heart is full! Last week was just filled with family news that was so exciting!

And now.....back to school.

But that's okay - I'm living on the joy of my family being physically close together once again.

Have a great week!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Well good morning everyone!

Seems I've taken some time off yet again from blogging. But I've needed to just "be". To enjoy what was left of my summer and try & get my mind wrapped around the fact that school starts tomorrow.

Gone are the mornings of quiet and calm and slow starts. Back to getting up with an alarm and rushing around to get out the door on time and into the classroom.

Plus last weekend.......I was out of commission for it as I somehow contracted a virus that kept me down & out for 4 days. Hopefully it built up my immunity so that whatever the kiddo's bring back with them to school, I will be immune to it!

Last week started out hot & humid, as most of our summer has been. But it also brought a major hatching of mosquitoes that have been lying in wait all summer for a good heavy dousing of rain! They literally are the worst I can ever remember - but Dream Boy & I are thankful that they stayed away for most of the summer as we have never enjoyed our backyard patio as much as we did this year!

Monday I had a full day of "school" stuff - our yearly back to school breakfast and then meetings in the afternoon. My principal texted me early in the morning to make sure I brought my camera to our staff meeting as she loves a staff picture at the beginning of every school year.
Lots of new faces this year - but that brings lots of new ideas and energy to the building!

Tuesday night I had a senior shoot. It was rescheduled from the Friday before when I was so sick & had to cancel. I've NEVER had to cancel due to illness, it was so hard for me to make that call - but by the time the shoot was supposed to happen, I was in the doc's office feeling mighty bad.

Anyways - back to Tuesday night..........did you know that we have a real castle in our city? This has stood on the hill overlooking our downtown for as long as I can remember. It was built in 1895 and since I grew up on that side of town, I passed it oh-so many times with my parents when we would take a trip cross town to grandma & grandpa's house.

There have been many owners and a time that it stood empty, but over the last several years - it has become a very active place again. It is a bed & breakfast now and they host several different activities throughout the year. You can imagine my excitement to even be in this place, as I have never been on the grounds, let alone inside the castle before this.
I arrived just before my senior & her mom. They quickly ushered her into a bedroom to use as a changing room and I was taken on a tour of where I could shoot and what was off limits, which basically was nothing other than a staircase being rebuilt and the bedrooms that were occupied.
I was soon joined by mom and daughter on the rooftop. The humidity was building and storms were very possible, so we decided to concentrate on the outdoor pictures first. It was absolutely breathtaking up there - I was amazed at the view.
We spent over 2 hours climbing up & down stairs and checking out bedrooms and balconies and loving every corner we found. I couldn't wait to get home to check out what I had captured. I always do one "sneak peek" for the senior, as it is usually about 3 weeks for me during this time of year to get their editing done. 

Wednesday morning I downloaded my session and I randomly clicked on one photo to edit for her sneak peek. Oh.my.goodness! I was blown away as I began tweaking this shot..........
This girl, that sky and the castle peaks - I was just blown away!  Hokey toots! I truly can't wait to finish editing this session. 

Now don't get me wrong - I love all my senior sessions because every one is so very different from the others. Every session I am amazed and tickled pink deep down inside when I see what my little 2" screen on the back of my camera doesn't show me. 

But there was something about this castle and the stormy sky and the view - maybe there's magic in this castle? My senior & her mom talked about the haunted basement and how ghostbusters were called in to help rid them of the ghosts, but this part was just magical to me!

So, the storms never came in, but the humidity was once again unbearable and I was sweaty mess when I got home, so I jumped in the shower while my Dream Boy finished up making dinner for us.

I spent the next day designing my new office space at home. I wrote out my lists, pinned ideas of what I'm trying to achieve, and then went out and bought paint and storage containers and priced items that I want to eventually add. I need to make my work space more comfortable and less cramped, which means my desk will need to go - but I have my counter top workspace & I'll be working on making that more of a productive area.

I had a long conversation with my Uncle last week, who is also our tax preparer and a whizz at finances. He gave me some great ideas and advice on how to make my office a tax deduction. So - my next few weeks will be working on the redo.....I'll be sure to take before and after shots of my process.

The weekend came in sunny and more comfortable. A cold front moved through mid week and by Friday it was sunny skies and gorgeous temps. I drove my mother-in-law to the airport as she flew down to spend 10 days with Dream Boy's sister in Florida. Thankfully Hermine blew through the night before and her flight down was very comfortable without any turbulence or delays.

Saturday we went out for breakfast with our close friends and then headed down to the local Farmer's Market. We are so fortunate to have such a market, in fact, our market is ranked the best Farmer's Market in Michigan! And if you walk through it, you will understand why.

We're pretty well stocked with fresh fruit & veggies for the week - so salads will be on the menu throughout!

I had another senior session late Saturday afternoon out at the local state campground.  This girl is a friend of the family and they camp with a whole bunch of families out there every Labor Day Weekend.  We were sure to spray ourselves down to help & try to ward off the mosquitoes, then we headed over to the lake and trails to take some pictures!

After we finished - saving the most mosquito infested spot for last - we all headed back to the campsite where Dream Boy had ridden his bike out to and feasted on a taco dinner with everyone! We sat around the campfire until it was getting dark & then headed home as riding a bike in the dark is not a preferred method, even though he had lights on the front & back.

Sunday we got up & while I was getting ready for church, there was a knock at our front door.  Dream Boy answered it & I soon realized it was an older gentleman that Dream Boy has talked to on his bike rides. We have a large lake just north of us and it is a favorite bike ride for many. While on his frequent rides around the lake, he has passed this gentleman's home and has even stopped to talk with him about his Scirocco. It's a car once made by Volkswagen and was the first car our oldest son ever bought. Dream Boy & S1 talk about this guy's car all the time, it is in pristine shape and he is the original owner. He bought it in 1986 & it was built in Germany & then shipped here. He has 51,000 miles on it.

Well, the gentleman knew where we lived as he remembers all of the different Scirocco's our son had in the driveway over the years. He said he has stopped by our house several times before with his car, but we aren't home, and today he thought he'd try again! 

I finished getting dressed and headed outside to scope out this gem of a car that I've heard so much about. It was in beautiful condition. Jim, the gentleman, was on his way to the cemetery to visit his wife's grave, and he wanted Dream Boy to go along with him for a ride. So Dream Boy did and they spent about a half hour together. When they drove back into the driveway I found Dream Boy was driving the car! Jim insisted that he drive it back from the cemetery. 

While we ended up missing church, we both felt that the time Dream Boy spent talking with Jim and then riding with him was so important. He talked to Dream Boy about how lonely he gets and so we were truly convinced that this was time well spent.

Dream Boy was sure to take pictures of the car and send them to S1 - who was amazed to see the car sitting in our driveway!

After Jim left, Dream Boy created a massive and delicious breakfast for us. While eating we decided to head up to a little lakeshore town called Saugatuck and spend the day wandering through the shops and walking the docks to look at the boats.
We sat on a special bench to watch the boats heading in and out from the Big Lake. This bench is where my good friend, Deanna & her hubby used to sit on years ago when they vacationed in Saugatuck every summer.  I told Dream Boy about it and he insisted that we take a seat there in honor of Gary & Deanna. It's a magical seat - it totally relaxes you and makes you dream of summer days and nights.

We arrived home around dinner time, but neither of us was too hungry as we had stopped at a local bar in Saugatuck for beer and and appetizer before heading home.

We rounded off our night by finishing the series "House of Cards" on Netflix. We are caught up on that one, and since it was still early, we decided to find another series to "binge watch" on our weekend nights at home. We settled on "Suits". We watched the first episode and are hooked!

So that brings us to today. It is a holiday here in the U.S., so Dream Boy is currently out on a bike ride and I am taking full advantage of lazing in my PJ's one last time before heading back to work tomorrow.

Today is a beautiful day - so I know that somehow some water & sunshine will definitely be in our plans for the afternoon.

Have a great week everyone!