OMG, I love my job.

I dare you to find a job cooler than being a photographer.

I mean honestly, how often do you get to stop traffic at a somewhat busy intersection in order to capture something like this?

I have often times made it clear that weddings aren't exactly my favorite thing to shoot. I am much more comfortable in a studio setting, and weddings tend to throw me off my game.

But for this particular wedding, Andrea (the bride) told me I could do whatever I wanted. She gave me no limits. 

There were no restrictions.

So there were also cool, random photos like this one.

There are several more on my photography blog if you're interested - the link is up at the top of the page. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just worked a 16 hour day (ok, so maybe that part of the job is not-so-cool).

It's time for me to crash into bed and wake up on...Wednesday?

End of the [school] year.

Well, Thad survived his first year of preschool.

And, if he's anything like me, according to my mom, "He only has another 25 years of school left!"

That's a scary thought. Lol.

Anyways, here is a photo of Thad on his very first day, back in September:

Now, about 8 or 9 months later, he has grown so much. He loves to sing, and can recite almost everything on television or in the movies. His social skills have improved immensely (he no longer thinks it's ok to push babies, or punch kids in the face). He knows the days of the week and his vocabulary has exploded. It's been a good year for him.

On his last day of school, the kids all sang songs for the moms (in what appeared to be a perfect throwback to the 1950s, none of the dads were able to make it, since they were all at work, lol.).

Thad seemed less than enthusiastic at first.

But he eventually warmed up...

Oh! And before you go judging his clothing, today was the first day in this child's entire life where he insisted on dressing himself. Every other day of the week, I pick out clothes, and he wears them. But this day? Oh no. This day, he insisted upon his train shirt, his basketball shorts and his frog boots - the perfect "end of year" attire.

After they sang songs, each of the kids got a little certificate for their completion of 3's Preschool, as well as a bag of candy.

At first, Thad showed me his certificate.

But this photo was captured during a very brief moment in time. He was waaaay more excited to show me that after a year of school, he had earned a bag of Skittles.

Rock on, little man.

Then, as if the bags of candy weren't enough, the kiddos got to have a little party - complete with frosted donuts and juice. You could just see the look of stress on the moms' faces as they thought, "Oh holy hell, my child is going to be a nightmare in about 30 minutes, and it's only 9am!"

It was almost like it was payback for all the mornings that we each got to leave our children at school, while we enjoyed a few hours of peace and quiet. Thad's teachers knew what they were doing the entire time...I am sure of it. ;)

LMAO. I love 3-year-olds.

Is it weird that I am thinking of calling her mom to ask if she can come over for a photo shoot? Seriously, she's GORGEOUS! What photographer wouldn't want photos of her to add to their portfolio!?

And, of course, the obligatory "Thad with his teachers" photos.

This first one makes me laugh because Ms. DeYoung was Thad's absolute favorite teacher, from the start. He always talked about her outside of school, and always wanted to say goodbye to her, before others. But, as you can see, this picture makes him look (1) creeped out, and (2) terrified. Lol.

It's hard to believe that this first year is already over. Thad is under the impression that now that he is done with 3's Preschool, it means that he is four years old. I keep having to remind him that no, he's not - but his birthday will be here in a few months and THEN he will be four.

I am hoping that he has as much fun, and loves his teachers as much as he did this year when he is in 4's Preschool. I am sure he will.

He's pretty adaptable. ;)

Baseball and friends.

Now that the sun is out in Michigan (can you believe it!?), Thad literally spends every waking moment outside. From the moment he wakes up, I hear, "Mommy, can I go play outside?" Then, when it's time to come in for bath and bed, he freaks out on me, like I am depriving him of something so vital to his entire life.

(He's such a drama queen).

Anyways, one of his favorite things to do - which makes my heart absolutely smile - is play baseball. When he's alone, he plays with the roof, lol. He throws it up, then tries to catch it as it rolls down.

You can just tell that he was born to be an athlete.

I'm still waiting for that moment when I say, "You can just tell that he was born to be a rocket scientist. Or an intellect. Or a person who loves to read. Or a kid who knows the difference between the letter 'A' and the letter 'R'." But I can be patient...

Anyways, here are a few photos I snagged the other day. You can tell that I lost me desire to edit them after the first photo, so I apologize for the crappy quality. Lol.

This next shot was followed up with about 1,000,000 "Mommy!! I caught it!! I caught!!"s. Lol. He was so proud. (As was I!)

Baseball isn't the only thing we've been doing these days...

There has been a lot of bike riding.

And exploring new places (where we "found" Nemo)...

And - of course - hanging out with Keegan.

I have loved so much about this spring and summer season so far. It reminds me of the days when I lived in California, and spent so much time outside with my friends. We would play dress up, ride our bikes, roller blade...whatever. It didn't even matter. We just wanted to be outside.

I'm so thankful that Thad has this same desire, and that he isn't begging me to sit in front of the television, or in front of some Nintendo console. 

I hope it stays this way forever.

Fun with storyboards.

I've decided to start using storyboards more when I blahg, instead of just using single photos (or making my own).

This is just a test with some flowers I've shot lately. :)

Girls' Night.

I can't remember the last time I stayed up until 4am after a night out with friends, inhaling Taco Bell to fulfill my late night need for some sort of disgusting ass food, and then passing out on the couch until mid-afternoon the next day.

But that's what I did this weekend.

I headed south to hang out with Danielle.

We took over 2 hours to do our hair and make-up (don't judge).

Then we grabbed a bite to eat.

Headed to the bars.

Took shots of tequilla.

Drank beer.

Sang karaoke.


Danced some more.

Took one more shot of tequilla.

Then headed home (no worries - we had a designated driver).

But of course, we couldn't just go home. We had to stay up talking nonsense about God only knows what, eating our Taco Bell, and watching late night television. 

Finally, by 4am, we figured it might be a good idea to go to sleep.

So I did.

And I slept like a baby.

And I woke up at 2pm.


It was fantastic.

Then I came home, edited some photos from a session I had this weekend, and fell in love with this one:

It felt so good to have a night out with good friends.

As much as I love being home with Tom and Thad, sometimes I need a night to get away and re-live those days when I was 23 and had nothing more to worry about than how many more absences I had left in school before they dropped me from a class, and what I was going to eat for dinner since I couldn't afford groceries.

A big ol' thanks to that husband of mine for playing Daddy Day Care while I was gone.

He's the best.

I'm going for it.

I know I posted recently about how my traveling boudoir will have to wait until I am out of school. But Dallas was such a big hit, I changed my mind. When I have more information regarding the cities and the dates and the prices and the total awesomeness that will ensue, I will post the information.

Until then, please enjoy a photo of Thad with my new fisheye lens.

(I'd been lusting over this lens for a couple years...)

In case you didn't believe me.

When I tell people that prednisone, at one point, made my cheeks so large that I could actually see them out of the corner of my eyes, I don't really think they believe me.

I think they think I'm exaggerating when I say that I couldn't comfortably smile without my skin stretching.

And I am almost positive they think I am a liar when I tell them that sleeping on my back was an impossibility because of the way it stretched the skin on my face.

So, here's proof.

Taken in February of 2009, I was on my way to the full effects of large amounts of steroids.

On. My. Way.

In other words, my face actually got bigger than this.

And for comparison, here I am today.

Still on steroids, but nothing like I was. And it has still taken 2 years to slowly lose the "puff" in my face.

Thank God for the element of time.


So, I got a new lens.

Which  makes life even more awesome than it already is.

I traded in my extra wide angle for a fisheye, which excites me to no end.

Both of these were taken with the new lens. It doesn't show what I REALLY wanted the lens for - which is fun, random photos like this one:

 (Please excuse the bags under my eyes. Clearly, I was tired.)

And don't you worry that there will be many more to come. ;)

In other news, I am finally done editing all my boudoir sessions from Denver and Dallas. They turned out so, so awesome. And I had such a blast - I can't wait to make this a full-time gig. I plan to set some dates in stone for boudoir marathons in cities like Boston, Vegas, Miami, Austin, Los Angeles and Chicago.

I can't really do this until I no longer have any other obligations (i.e. school, school, school), but at least I have a plan.

Thad and I are traveling to California for a week in June. My sister, Brandi, is getting married, and I am going to take her and her fiance to the Santa Monica pier for some engagement photos. Oh, and maybe we'll go to Disneyland because that's, well, required.

The following month, my good friend Danielle and I are headed to North Carolina or Colorado, or both. We haven't decided which. Lol. But just know that there will be lots of road trippin', beer drinkin', shitty food eatin' to be had. Although, maybe not all at once.

Tom is still loving his externship. Every day he comes home with some story about how he got to defend someone in court, or how he - ahem - won a case against the assistant Attorney General for the state of Michigan.

(Read: My husband's a bad ass).

I am so incredibly proud of him. I have always known he would make a great attorney, and now that he is getting to play that role, I love to watch him succeed.

August needs to hold something fun in store for our family, although I'm not sure what. I can't believe that Thad will be coming up on his 4th birthday. Time has gone so incredibly fast. As I type this, he is outside playing in the yard with his little girl friend and the neighbor kids. He wants nothing to do with Tom or if I if it doesn't involve being outside with his friends and shooting a Nerf gun.


Life is good.

Now excuse me while I grab a nap before Tom and I head out to some friends' place for the evening. Dirk's quarter-annual Drunk Fest begins in t-minus 3.5 hours.

Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy

Now that another semester has started,  I have realized that not a single day of the week can be used for something like hanging out and relaxing. 


Tom started his externship with the public defender's office, and he is absolutely loving it. I love seeing him so happy, too. He gets to conference with prisoners, and stand up in court, and co-chair murder trials. Pretty cool stuff.

So, while he is working Monday thru Friday, I am at home with Thad, studying, cleaning, cooking, editing 1,349,730,276 photo sessions, and generally realizing that I've taken on way too much.

By the time that's done, I meet Tom in downtown, hand over Thaddeus, and go to school.

Then, on the weekends, I teach.

Yep. Week 2 of this and I am totally drained. Lol.

The good news is that I am the kind of person who is encouraged to work harder when I have more work to do. So I am not falling behind.


The other good news is that snow is officially gone from the forecast, and there are trees and flowers in bloom all over Western Michigan.


I will admit. I do love the spring and summers in this state. I really can't wait to get to the lake.

Oh! And for those family and friends who keep up with my blahg in California -- I just booked my flight! I will be there with Thad on June 1. Can't wait to see you! xoxo

Beauty and inspiration.

I've mentioned before on my blahg (several times, actually) that my Aunt Tracey is a survivor of breast cancer. At the onset of her diagnosis, I think she and I naturally formed an even more special bond than we already had because I could relate to most of her struggles.

Not breast cancer struggles, of course, but struggles that involved the fear of leaving our child[ren] behind, the fear of what this disease might mean for our futures, and the fear of the physical side effects that each of us would be battling.

Someone who could help relate to her exact feelings and experience, however, was a friend of mine from my days at Baylor. At my age, she was in the midst of the same battle -- undergoing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and reconstructive surgery. In addition to all of this, during her ordeal she was informed that her dad was also battling cancer. Unfortunately, he lost his battle a little over a year ago.

Through all of this shit that she had to put up with, I never heard one single negative word come out of her mouth.

Instead, she devoted herself to the cause and embraced her "new beautiful."

I am so thankful for this friend of mine. She has never met my Aunt Tracey, but I know she instilled into her the same positive attitude that she had, and I am a firm believer that she helped my aunt in many ways that most of us around her were unable to.

So, on my recent trip to Dallas, she told me that she wanted to do boudoir. In addition to this, she wanted to focus on taking some pictures of herself with pink boxing gloves and underwear that read "survivor."

In other words, she wanted to show the world (and herself) that she [literally] kicked cancer's ass.

I burned out.

My big grand plan to talk about Wegener's all the time went South.


Then I realized eh, I don't really want to be defined by my disease anyways, and told myself I was "over" talking about it.

But the real reason?

I've been super, incredibly, amazingly busy.







What have I been so busy with, you ask?


Her photos.

And her photos.

And her photos.

And her photos.

And her photos.

And her photos.

And her photos.

Oh, and don't go thinkin' I'll be back any time soon.

I have 10 more sessions to edit.




But seriously? 

I fucking love my job.

Wegener's Disease: May 2 Fact of the Day

FACT: The average person diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis spends an average of $10,000 each year, on medication alone.

Uh, yes...you read that right. $10,000 each year.

Now, take away insurance coverage, etc., and the future looks a little less bleak. And, thank God, our insurance covers all but $15 of each of my prescriptions. But at 8 prescriptions each month, $15/month, my average amount totals:


Per year.

Any photographer will tell you that $1,440 is better spent on a nice lens - definitely some L glass.


Oh well. Maybe some day.

Vasculitis Awareness Month

Vasculitis Awareness Month takes place in the month of May. Since I don't really have the resources to host "awareness events" or anything of the sort, I've decided to make an attempt at blahg-ing at least one fact each day about my disease, in an effort for more people to understand what it is, how it effects those who have it, and what is done to treat it.

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels, arteries, veins or capillaries. When such inflammation occurs, it causes changes in the walls of blood vessels, such as weakening or narrowing that can progress to the point of blood vessel blockage.

Members of the vasculitis family include:
  • Behcet's Disease
  • Churg Strauss Syndrome
  • Henoch-Schonlein Purpura
  • Microscopoc Polyangiitis
  • Rheumatoid Vasculitis
  • Buerger's Disease
  • Cryoglobulinemia
  • Hypersensitivity Vasculitis
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa
  • Takayasu's Arteritis (I read a book written by a woman with this disease once - it's called Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired. The book was absolutely phenomenal --- and hilarious.)
  • Kawasaki Disease
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Wegener's Granulomatosis (my particular disease)
Symptoms of vasculitis include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, asthma, severe headaches, chronic sinusitis, nasal allergies, cough/shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, fever, joint pain, facial soreness, kidney problems, lung inflammation, nerve problems (numbness, weakness, pain), skin lesions/rashes, and vision changes.

Finally, I wanted to add that my motivation for participating in Awareness Month stems from not only the fact that I am impacted by this disease on a daily basis, but because more people are effected by autoimmune diseases in this country than are people with breast cancer. And while breast cancer foundations and events are definitely worthy causes, there is in no way, shape or form the same kind of support for the autoimmune family. Members of this family are also without a cure, and are often at the mercy of their disease. Something needs to be done for these people as well, and I would love to some day see people wearing not only the color PINK, but also the color RED.

Dallas update.

As much as I talked badly about the state of Texas when I lived here, being in Dallas really does make me realize how much I actually truly love it. I don't love the heat, but I do love the people. And the friends. And the city. And the nightlife. And the schools. And the homes. And the cost of living. And a lot of other things, including the Mexican food.

My days here have been occupied with photo shoots and good friends --- at all times. I've had the chance to visit with old friends, old roommates, old sorority sisters, my Big sister in Alpha Chi, as well as people who I figured I may never even see again.

On top of that, I have had some fabulous boudoir shoots. I am not even kidding when I say that these shoots are so much fun --- I laugh so much while working, it's ridiculous. And it's not always with people I know --- I had several sessions this weekend with people I had only met for the first time, and by the time we were done, we were exchanging jokes and laughing our asses off. 

Tomorrow the plan is to take it easy, and hang out with friends some more before leaving on Tuesday.

I'm so sad to leave some of these people behind. Especially Kelly. I wish we could live closer!

Maybe someday. ;)