Valentine flowers

Kate, Trader Joes & I made a pretty good team for our Valentine flowers this year. They were pretty yesterday-and made for good practice tonight. I shot them in low (iso1600), tungsten (household…light bulb light) which is for sure my least favorite lighting situation. I also shot them with manual focus which is great to practice, and even better to practice on a stationary object other than a moving, fidgety person!


We had the studio light up for my nephews (here) so the teenagers (Ellie & Kate with my nieces Lauren & Rivers and their friend Johnny) decided to play. I set the camera for them and plugged in the light and they had so much fun. And I LOVED the photos they downloaded to my computer!

I honestly LOVE having teenagers so much. (I claim these nieces of mine too!) . You know when you meet people for the first time and over small talk they ask you how many kids you have and their ages, etc… When they learn I have three daughters (currently 12, 14 & 16) there are responses like-

  • wow, you have your hands full
  • there are a lot of hormones in your house
  • your poor husband
  • how are you doing?

But truly, I LOVE being a mom to teenage girls. They are independent in so many ways, which makes room in our relationship for more fun. Teenagers LOVE to have fun! I love seeing their personalities shift and change and become their own. They share more with me now, because they are deeper thinkers than they were in early elementary school. They want adventure, which stretches me out of my comfort zone…which is good for me!

  • Are they sometimes moody? yes.
  • Do they love their cell phones more than me? sometimes…ok, maybe always 🙂
  • Do they have perfect grades and on a direct path to ivy-league? nope
  • Do we agree on everything? again, no

And yes, I love that too. I remind myself frequently, what I was like at their age. They are so much further ahead than I was! I have learned a bit of what is natural development at this age- how important their peers are to them and their desire to be more independent and can relax when that comes up. I have let go of the idea of wanting “perfect kids.” I really did want that when they were younger. I am so grateful that my relationships with them have taught me not only to be at peace with not having it, but I truly do not want that. Especially because no human is perfect and hiding imperfections is not a healthy way to live and weakens relationships. They have taught me so much…and we are just getting started. I feel so lucky.

Now let’s take a look at a few more of their photos:

and my very favorite…

I will be using the light box a few more times this week- photo booth for the 6th grade Valentines and I want photos on my wall over our new couch in the basement…I will share the details of the equipment AND my favorite setup for the best light next week!

thoughts from my yoga teacher

85mm | iso250 | f2.2 | 1/200

At yoga yesterday, the teacher began with a thought she offered that we could meditate on for a few years…

perfection- take away perfection = perfection

I have been thinking about it since then. She also stopped in the middle of our class, muscles straining…focus sharpened, trying to learn side planks and the most efficient safest form…

“you know this is FUN right, that’s why we come, or one of the reasons.”

I do love yoga, but FUN isn’t the first word that would come to mind when I think of yoga. But it is FUN. And maybe I could focus on FUN a bit more…and do things not because I should, or out of duty, but because it’s FUN.

And maybe if I took perfection, out of perfection, that would leave a lot more space for FUN. Maybe I could talk Sophie into believing homework is FUN! 🙂

PUERTO RICO: day eight

I am sitting on the plane waiting for take off. I feel so grateful for the adventure we found here. I always want to remember:

  • we handled any road bumps ie:getting lost on the way to Pomaroso, Danny missing the ferry, a flat tire leaving the Plata Pieta beach, and the first undesirable house rental-with calmness, confidence and laughter
  • when Danny took Sophie for a treat, she picked up a KitKat and brought it back for me because she knew I would love it
  • the views from our windows at the beach house (pictured above)
  • Ellie holding Sophie’s hand just before she jumped off the cliff
  • spending so much time with great friends that were kind enough to invite us along (thank you Dan and Heidi)
  • meeting David from Bristol, RI—and realizing we share a mutual friend, sweet Marcia Hess!
  • riding in the Jeep with doors and roof off, blasting our new “Puerto Rico” playlist that all eleven of us contributed too
  • Kate always wanting to help me with my bag (and Danny too)
  • wherever we went, Danny wanting to make sure I had a seat or shade or anything to make me comfortable
  • Danny calling Ellie and I over to fill in the sentence in the sand on the beach at our Vieques house, “I ❤️_________” and just as we got there, a wave washed it away ☺️
  • trying to surprise the Lowe kids when we picked them up in the Thrifty Van, ducking behind the seats blasting “Despacito”
  • the testimony meeting in a tiny branch on Vieques with 10-15 members
  • twice when tears filled my eyes and my heart was spilling over with gratitude for this messy, fun, hard, happy, crazy, peaceful, amazing life

Muchas gracías Puerto Rico 🇵🇷

PUERTO RICO: day seven

Day seven began in the search for sea turtles. We were told by several locals to go to the Mosquito Pier and they feed in the water on the dock pilings. We headed there with snorkel gear and high hopes. We were sure to have success since our last day in Hawaii we found sea turtles. We peaked over the side up and down the pier with no sightings. Then a few of us, the more adventurous ones, jumped with gear. Unfortunately, there were no turtles in sight. A few fish only.

Waiting for the snorkelers…

Then we headed to Pata Prieta…we could take beach life for several more weeks I think. We met a man, David Barros, who is from Bristol, RI. I asked him if he knew Aunt Jossy. He didn’t think so, but he did know our sweet friend Marcia Hess…and had been to Hog Island! It is a small world!

Leaving Pata Prieta, we got a flat tire. When we rented the Jeep we were given a can of fix-a-flat. I guess it happens often. The girls will miss having a Jeep to drive around, especially with out the top and doors.

Danny didn’t let a day pass by while were there that he didn’t do sit-ups on the beach. 🙂

PUERTO RICO: day six

The only item on our schedule today was church. We met the missionaries while we were out the day before. They confirmed their meeting was at 11:00 a.m. There are about 10-15 attending members of their branch. We loved getting to know the people there. It was a testimony meeting. Danny and Dan both bore their testimonies in Spanish. I conversed with a few people in Spanish after the meeting too. When we came home after lunch, Sophie and Ellie told Danny that he could speak to them only in Spanish to help them learn the language. I told him I would hold down the English in the household. I do speak Spanish. But it doesn’t remotely feel like a language I can speak with ease anymore. The more I have been around it this trip…the more comfortable I feel.

After church we stopped for our favorite ice cream and then lunch. We stayed around the beach house a lot.

I took some photos of Ellie before sunset…REALLY wishing I had brought my Canon 5d! It would have been heavy…but REALLY worth it! Especially the night of the Bioluminescent tour. My markiii is the only camera we own that could have handled that.

We ended the night with a BBQ poolside. It was a great day!