Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm a little bit behind in my blog posting...

...maybe even a lot behind!  Of course, those are self-imposed, completely arbitrary deadlines, but still!  It's already mid-January 2013!  And it's not as if I didn't have anything to say/add/post/discuss over the past couple of months...'cause I've always got something on my mind...!
I did, however, have a busy holiday season; lots of family, friends and travel.  And we are currently undergoing a very, very cold spell, which I am fairly certain freezes the part of my brain that makes me a productive, creative individual as I seem to be in lock down mode in those areas - choosing instead to hide away in the warmth, oftentimes to be found sitting by the fire with my kitties and books.  (I am pretty sure I could be a bear, by the way…that hibernating thing they do sounds really appealing to me!)  In any case, I hope the holidays were good to all of you and that 2013 finds you in good spirits and in good health!
I will share a few little things from the end of the year…and then I am going to re-focus on things ahead!
Speaking of little things...I, of course, HAVE to share a few pictures of Harper!!!  She turned 9 months old just after Thanksgiving...and is creeping up on the ONE YEAR mark very soon!  I did some photos with her stunning parents for their Christmas cards...these three being some of my favorites (these three people and the three pictures)!  

We were lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with a big bunch of the Ryan clan in Tri-Cities, Washington!  It has always been pretty remarkable to me that the family, as big and crazy and unpredictable and diverse as we all are, manage to get along really, really well!  Of course, when there is yummy food and drinks, football and games, talks and laughter, it's hard not to have a good time!
Headed to the coast for a week in early December...have I mentioned that I love it there, any time of the year!  I even love it when it's chilly and rainy...again with the books and the fireplace...hmmm...I am starting to see a trend!
And then Allison & Stephen arrived, mid-December, to spend Christmas with us!  I love it when they come home, of course, it makes home feel more complete...and now that they are expecting, it is becoming even more exciting to see them!  On Christmas Eve we did a little impromptu maternity shoot...and let me just say, Allison makes everything look glamorous!  Even pregnancy!  She makes it look easy to be so beautiful!  :)

We spent most of our time, including Christmas day, watching Harper.  No, I mean, literally, just looking at her!  We'd all sit around in the living room, talking, watching tv, playing a game, and Harper would crawl from toy to toy and person to person and we'd all just sit there, completely mesmerized and entertained by this tiny little being...  She has no idea how captivating she is!  It was sure sweet to see her with Mike's Mom & Dad too!  I don't think Marion ever stopped smiling!  :)

Allison and Stephen headed home before New Years...Mike and I spent New Years in Jackson again (for probably the 10th time) was cold, cold, cold...but sunny and beautiful.  (I am a fair weather photographer, for sure, choosing to shoot this from the comfort of the cab of the truck with my iPhone!)

I have a few ideas for blog postings...I've been saving up, sitting by the fire, I think, so I might fill up the blog roll all at once!  I'll share some of the things I've been doing or thinking about doing or wanting to post keep an eye out!  In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of this new year...beginnings are always exciting and hopeful!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Things on my bulletin board.

I have had this quote pinned to my office cork board for years, almost a decade, in fact.  My mom sent it to me in an email and I promptly printed it out and stuck it up there.  I love the analogy of hungry wolves... 
My bulletin board; a constantly evolving collection of quotes, photos and things that inspire me, make me smile or challenge me, has gotten kind of crowded over the years, and, well, I'll be honest, really messy!  A few weeks ago, I cleaned it all off...and started anew.  I made stacks of things to keep in a little treasure box (re-distributing junk!) and things to get rid of...and I re-discovered this quote, stuck up there on now-yellowed paper...and re-pinned it to my clean bulletin board! 
And then tonight, by happenstance, I found it on Pinterest!  It made me happy to see it digitally!  It challenges me, inspires me and reminds me, feed the Good wolf.  :) 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Harper Jean

One of the things I love best about this sweet little girl is the way she looks at her momma...who is still my sweet little girl.

September travels.

We did some traveling in September...thought I'd share a bit of the sights! 

Early in the month Mike & I headed up to Seattle with a truckload of Allison & Stephen's stuff!  They were settling into their new digs near the UW campus, getting started with school and work, and we were able to spend a few days hanging out with them; seeing the campus, biking, paddle boarding (for the first time!) and getting to know their new neighborhood!

Then, we headed across the waters and over to the Olympic National Park.  I've never been, but Mike had gone years ago with a photography class, so he was eager to show me around.  We stayed in Forks, WA...and if you are a Twilight fan you will know that it is where some of the film(s) were shot.  I have not read any of the books or seen any of the movies, so the tourist attractions in the little town were lost on me!  We did, however, wander a beach path after dark and it was plenty creepy...sure felt like a vampire was lurking...!

Spent our days driving here and there, did a little hiking, found an amazing spot to paddle board (Lake Crescent...amazing emerald water that was unbelievably clear, surrounded by hills covered in beautiful trees) and we sampled some local fare.  Our evenings, we headed to the beaches for sunsets!

After a few days of exploring, we headed South to Pacific City, Oregon.  Home away from home.  We hiked out the beautifully forested, muddy trail to Cape Lookout on one afternoon...spent a couple of days just hanging out watching the dories come and go...paddle boarded a nice lake in Lincoln City...and explored Cape Kiwanda a little more (oh, and if I am offering full disclosure, I might also mention that we ended up in the ER late one night, Mike passing a kidney stone!).  We made an unexpected trip to Hermiston to honor Mike's Uncle, Dave Landon, who passed away after a long illness.  Dave was one of the first "Ryan" family members I met as he and his wife, Carolyn, lived in Hermiston when Mike and I first met there...and Dave always made me feel like part of his family; a daughter.  He was the first voice I recall hearing when I woke up in the hospital having just had Ashley...he told me "she is beautiful".  I will miss his laugh. 

Mike headed back after a week, leaving me to set my own pace for the rest of the time...I did a lot of beach walking, took a paddle board yoga class on the Nestucca River (and never fell off!), enjoyed time to read and write and daydream...and took a glass blowing lesson one afternoon (made a cool paperweight)!  "I come to the sea to breathe" is one of my favorite quotes...and I sure do love it...something about the unceasing movement of the sea that calms me.

I made it home safely and spent a day re-grouping at home before I packed up Ashley & Harper for a road trip to Island Park to visit some friends!  It was a fun visit and great to spend a day with Ashley & Harper, too, after having been away for 3 weeks!  Harper is growing so fast now...busy learning new things every day (stay tuned for the next post for a Harper update!)!  That next weekend, we met those friends in the Grand Teton Park and spent a beautiful Fall day doing a little kayaking down the Snake River...and then we camped out at a spot where we could watch the full moon go down as the sun rose up right over the Teton Range. 

September was spent mostly on the road, for me...and Fall always feels like a good time to settle back in at home for a this month I did some portrait work with some sweet clients, did mountains of laundry and plenty of housework and dreaded paperwork, caught up with some old friends in Boise and took Mike's parents to a BSU football game.  And then, I traveled once again, to Seattle to visit Allison...this time with Ashley & Harper!  We did kind of a girl's weekend (we let Stephen stay...and baby Uriah!), with shopping and sight-seeing and ice cream and cookies and plenty of sitting around watching Harper!  I managed to do a couple of photo shoots too...stay tuned for that! 

On a ferry, leaving Seattle for the Olympic National Park.
The Seattle skyline.
Lake Crescent...incredible waters!
Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Park
Second Beach
Second Beach
I can't resist making towers on rocky shores!
Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach
Pacific City, Oregon...home away from home.
Moonset and sunrise, over the Teton Range.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fall and families!

A small sampling of some of the little families I got to play with this Fall!
We had a nice Fall this year, though it does seem like it went from 80 degrees to snow awfully quickly (yep, it's snowing right now!)!  I do love those brief days of Autumn; the colors are bright and there is lots of sunshine, the air smells of damp soil and crisp leaves, and the temperature is jeans and t-shirts until the sun goes down and then you reach for that cozy sweatshirt and contemplate the sitting-by-the-fire-weather that is right around the corner! 
Fall is too brief, but it was fun to spend pieces of it with these little families and others!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I am home after nearly a month long adventuresome absence and am beginning to settle back in for a bit;  going through the stack of bills that inevitably pile up when you are away, finishing up the mounds of laundry that comes with dumping out suitcases (complete with little piles of sand in the bottom), cleaning house, doing some great Fall portraits with some fun clients and trying to get back into the groove of "regular" life which includes plenty of my to-do lists, of course!  Although there are certainly more pertinent chores to attend to, I couldn't help myself but to download some of my pictures from our Seattle-Olympic Park-Oregon coast trip and I came across this one, from the Olympic National Park, which makes me just sort of sigh... 
I know there must be a heaven...and I kind of like to think this is what it is going to feel like...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On being alone.

I took a walk on the beach early this morning.  (It’s funny how, for me, walking on the beach is so much different than walking almost anywhere else…funny how willing I am to get up early and take a stroll, where at home it feels like such a chore, and honestly, I often succeed in talking myself out of it entirely!).  It was low tide, chilly, grey and cloudy, and the waters of the Pacific Ocean were incredibly calm, lake-like…and though I walked for close to an hour I saw less than a dozen people.  These are the people I don’t see often, because, as my dad used to say, I am generally an owl (a night-person) and they are obviously larks (morning people)…and those two species don’t see much of each other, except in passing, at a Starbucks, around noon.

A couple of those people were clearly out for their habitual early morning exercise; outfitted in tight-fitting spandex and those cool, bright Nike running shoes that flex like accordions, huffing and puffing like physically fit people do, instead of me, who would be gasping for air at their pace!  A couple of those people were beach combers; heads down, wet pockets bulging, eyes fixated on each fragment of shell, searching for treasures which I try to pass by now, remembering the box in my basement still filled with sand dollars from years past!  There was one lone surfer, sitting on his board in the swells staring into the grey distance, patiently awaiting a break.  Two trucks were parked with empty boat trailers, indicating that a couple of dory boats had made it out even before me.  And there were a couple of dog walkers; carrying wet tennis balls with those ingenious wand-flinger-things and plastic poop bags sticking out of their pockets.  

What didn’t strike me, until I returned to my perch on the dune with my warm, taupe-colored coffee and watched these early morning larks from afar, is that they were each alone.  No couples, no families, no groups…just solitary larks.  That is not what you normally see on this beach, not midday; instead it’s usually families (shoes slung over shoulders, kites and buckets in tow), lots of couples and friends (hand holding, dune-climbing and chasing each other with threats of cold splashes in the ocean), groups of tourists (hats on and cameras around their necks) and fishermen coming and going in teams of two or three.  Even the surfers tend to come in packs.  But for some reason, early in the morning, this morning, it was the solitary folks who had found their way to the sand. 

That seems kind of sad, to most, I think…there is a definitive loneliness we associate with being alone…but each of the individuals I passed by this morning seemed pretty content, in their way, in the quiet of the morning, before the day had really awakened.  It didn’t feel sad…it felt, actually, peaceful. 

Maybe these larks, these early-risers, have found this secret time (to me it seems like a secret, because I am always surprised to share the morning with anyone up that early!), in the wee hours of the morning, to disconnect from an otherwise well-connected world of cell phones and internet and televisions…and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my smart phone and my ability to stay connected and reconnect with family and distant friends!  I am a total Instagram-aholic…and rarely a day goes by that I don’t peruse Facebook to see what people are up to…and the same for email and texting and talking on the phone!  It is crazy to think of all the years I didn’t even have a home phone, let alone a cell phone, a computer or any other way to keeping in touch!  I used to travel, on the road, alone, all the time, without a cell phone…?  What?!  How in the world did I keep in touch with anyone without a phone?  Or without the almighty Internet?!

…but maybe, we’ve all forgotten how to be alone, how to appreciate alone-ness…and so we instead associate a dreaded, avoid-at-all-costs, loneliness to it…  Reminds me of kids who have lost the ability to be totally creative in play, for who without video games there is “nothing to do”!  I don’t know…but it was a nice, quiet morning on the beach…and I enjoyed sharing it, in a sense, with the other solitary folks who had found their way to the sand. 
A grey, chilly morning. 
Tomorrow, well, honestly, I might just set the coffee maker for 9 and sleep in a little…!  But, I might wander out early and into the aloneness again.  For now, I am going to post this on my blog and then link it on my Facebook page…Instagram an iPhone picture…and then maybe call Mike and text the girls…maybe even Facetime with Harper!!!  Because I can!  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

the Hunt family!

Okay, so I admit to my bias...but this is one beautiful family!  My daughter, Ashley, my son-in-law, Byron, and of course, well-known to my blog, my sweet grand-daughter, Harper Jean!  We headed out the door in the evening and the light was beautiful,!!!  Harper just turned 6 months old...and time will continue to fly by as we enjoy her little personality developing...she's starting to babble, a lot, she loves to smile and giggle and cuddle...ahhh, she's just so cute! 
I am headed on vacation soon and it is beginning to occur to me that I am gonna miss her sweet little face!  Next year, I might have to take her with me!


Monday, August 27, 2012


This is my beautiful niece, Taylor!  She is sweet and sassy, fun and smart...and I mentioned beautiful, right?!  We met up in Boise and headed to Freak Alley to do some fun graffiti shots...and then wandered out of the city to do a little rural thing too.  (She is a little bit country...and a little bit hip-hop!)  Fun weekend, and I am excited to edit the rest of these images!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I confess, I am not really a morning person....

...particularly when they are absent the smell of freshly brewed coffee...  But this particular cold April morning...well, this beautiful, golden sunrise was worth the cup of instant java I was sipping on by the banks of Oxbow Bend...

Monday, August 20, 2012

The secret to being Nana...

...okay, so maybe I don't really have a secret...because maybe there AREN'T any real secrets, to being a Nana, or to being a Mom (or a parent), for that matter.  Maybe the real secret is that we all just do the best we can...with our kids, and then, when we are particularly blessed, with our grand kids...and really, in life.  We all just do the best we can!  

Harper, my granddaughter, is growing fast, though she is still so tiny!  She explores her little world eagerly, paying so much attention now to expressions and faces and sounds and kitties!  She is almost ready to sit all by herself; she loves to stand up, with help; and still loves to be cuddled into her blanket too!  She laughs the cutest little belly laugh, especially when her momma is playing with her!  She is so fun to watch because everything is new to watching her explore is a little like seeing the world for the first time, again!  I mean, I had totally forgotten how much fun it was to put my toes in my mouth!  Ahhh, she's so adorable and I love her so much!

A sweet friend of mine, a young mom, posted a picture on Facebook today of her son heading off to Kindergarten...and it doesn't seem that long ago when I took those same pictures; of new backpacks, clean shoes, fresh crayons...time really does fly by!  I was remembering a letter I had written to the girls' elementary school parents and faculty upon quitting my job there and moving here...  I wrote to them about some of lessons I had learned while working among incredible educators and alongside amazing parents...and honestly, I probably learned the most important lessons from the children themselves...lessons about being a kid, and about being an adult...lessons about the human experience.  The last line in the letter was this -
"I have learned that we all really want the same things for these children - for them to feel success and pridebelonging and security, for them to feel encouraged, nurtured and appreciated, and a sense of 'being a part of" something...and really, we all want the same things for ourselves..."  
The secret to being a Nana...well, I don't have any secrets, but I am ready with lots of love and kisses, and boxes of fresh crayons (when she's ready!)...and, I am just doing the best I can!

Oh, but here is a pretty new secret...I'm going to be a Nana again in February!!!  Congratulations to Allison & Stephen!!!  I am so excited for you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I wish the Winter months would fly by like Summer months always do!  My last blog posting was in June and I was at the Oregon Coast...and here it is August already?!  And, while I am really looking forward to more beach time this Fall (including a trip up to Seattle and into the Olympic National Park and then more Oregon time!)...the Summer has mostly been spent closer to home. 
We left the beach and made a detour to Washougal, WA, to watch Mike and his brother, Shawn, along with thousands of other crazy people, compete in a Spartan Race!  If you've participated in one of these races before, good for you!  If you've thought about it, watched the videos, studied the courses and decided against it, even better for you!!!  It was crazy and intense, and I was just a spectator!
Shawn is an amazing competitor, kind of a BEAST, and he killed the course in under an hour!  I am pretty sure he's hooked now...I hear he's going to do another run this fall!  And Mike did great!  I will be honest, I kept an eye on the ambulances that were standing by, a little bit worried...but he did really well ("for an old guy" he would say)!  He got hung up in a pack for awhile on one obstacle, which the participants aptly nicknamed "Cheese Grater Hill" (imagine crawling uphill for about a hundred yards on a thin layer of mud over a cheese grater [a rocky hillside]...ouch...oh, did I mention you'd be crawling under barbed wire?!).  But, he finished it with a smile on his face...I think that was a smile, it might have been mud...?!  Mike says he is really glad he did it, but don't be looking for him on another course any time soon!
The brothers; before and after...still smiling!

The weekend after we got home we packed up again and headed south to Mack, Colorado for "Country Jam", a weekend outdoor music festival which takes place in a giant dust bowl in the middle of nowhere!  Luke Bryan (who was an amazing performer!), Jo Dee Messina, Trace Adkins and, my favorite, the Zac Brown Band, were among the long list of performers over the weekend.  We did a lot of people watchin' in and around the concert grounds (plenty of crazies!), wandered into the cute little town of Fruita, and spent one morning exploring the Colorado National Monument, trying to stay out of the heat wave!  We got to have a fun, unexpected breakfast with my Aunt Sally and her husband Mike, who were passing through...and then saw them again a few days later when they came up through Wyoming to Pocatello. 

The Colorado National Monument...if it looks really hot and really dry, well, it was!
We spent a pretty quiet 4th of July, watching the local fireworks show from our deck, headed to the mountains for some kayaking, and then spent a couple of weekends in Boise helping Mike's parents move into their new digs. 

In between our travels we, of course, got in lots of Harper-time! She is growing so fast and has the cutest little personality developing!

I could do this all day...!

Tummy time!

Momma at work!

Seriously, how cute is this face?!

So sweet!

Reading stories!

5 months young!

They make cute babies!

And then, finally, Allison & Stephen arrived!  Oh, I sure do miss her when she is away...and she has been away for awhile!  They've been having adventures of their own, in Alaska, California, Alabama and Florida!  We headed to Jackson for some great kayaking (minus the crazy storm that literally chased us off of String Lake!), have had a few dinner/bbqs with both our girls and their hubbies, missed out on our camping/hiking trip because a stomach bug infected our house : ( ...but have enjoyed spending a quiet week just kind of hanging out.

Harper time with Aunt Allison!

Floating the Snake River, near Oxbow Bend.

Leisurely float down the Snake River.

See those thunder clouds coming over the Grand...

...yep, chased off the water by rain...and thunder...and LIGHTNING!

Triangle Rock!  String Lake.
Clouds cleared away...beautiful day on the lake!

Making the leap!



They like each other a lot.  :)

Up next, well, Allison is packing up the rest of her things (we've had fun going through all of her childhood stuff...I didn't know I had that many stuffed animals in my house!) for their move up to Seattle!  Stephen starts school again next month and Allison will be settling in, making a new home and looking for work...and we'll get to see them soon with a truckload of their household stuff!

We're all headed to Boise for a Hawks baseball game and a birthday celebration (Happy Birthday to Venita, my sweet mom-in-law, who will turn 74 on Sunday!).  And then, a kayaking trip in the works, a trip to Boise to do some senior pictures with my beautiful niece, and then...finish out the summer with a trip to Washington and then Oregon!  The beach is calling!