Friday, December 27, 2013

The Elysian Fields

Here we are in Oahu, what a heavenly place.  I love the smells, the rich colors and the relaxed attitudes.  It's really an amazing place to spend a week (at least) with the ones I love, my family.  I love the line in Gladiator when Russell Crow shouts just before a big battle,  "…for you are in Elysium and you are already dead!"

If that's heaven, I'm happy to think of the ones I love there.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


It just wouldn't be Fall without a photo of pumpkins and gingers...I love them both.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Happiness Is...

I took this shot as we were leaving our happy really says it all.  I made this chalkboard myself from a scrap of wood from Tommy and some special paint.  It was one of many fun art projects we did over the summer.  The lavender above the board is from the Tuesday Farmer's Market.  :)  


Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Pretty amazing, eh?  I was inspired to research starfish after I took this shot but when I googled "purple starfish" I was given such a shocking definition that I decided to just acknowledge this naturally beautiful scene and leave it at that.  Smile...


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happiness is a Red Balloon

Well, I did it, I painted my first piece for someone else (other than myself).  It was so much harder than I expected to create a piece for a friend.  I found myself over thinking the art and until I let my mind go, I couldn't let my hands work.  I finally freed my mind and created a piece today.  It's acrylic on wood.

Here's my artist statement:

My painting represents some of the things that make me smile.  The ocean has drawn me in and soothed me in more ways than I could have ever expected.  It has made me feel safe and small, it has taken my stressors and made me light, like a colorful balloon.  The red represents my fiery spirit, my redheaded daughter, and my heart, all of which make me feel happy and free.  The lovely seashell is my steadfast love, my everything, my safe place, my beautiful, complex, husband.  He rests and waits patiently for me to fly until I am ready to settle back down and float to him.  He is not jealous or anxious, he enjoys watching me float around smiling in the breeze.

The tiny sunflower is my signature…it is another symbol of all of the friends and family who have given me so much sunshine and love throughout my life.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Eyeing the Needle

Hey Babe,

I captured Siena in this pose and thought it was really cool.  She is obsessed with these rock formations as well as the tide pools at the base of them.  It's really nice to have our daughter enjoying, appreciating and learning so much about nature.  Neither of us miss Chuck-e-Cheese, bouncy houses or fast food...


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sand Dollar

Hi there!  We went sand dollar searching today and struck gold on Gearhart Beach.  It was so fun to walk up and down the beach with a mission.  I wondered if they were dead when the "beached" I was told (by Teaka) and she told me they probably were but just to be safe, shake them and see if I can hear the doves.  I didn't know what she was talking about so I asked and then further researched it when I returned.  She said there are 5 doves that represent peace and Christians believe it is a gift from Jesus.  Here's a poem I've found on many websites tonight:

The Legend of the Sand Dollar
There's a lovely little legend
that I would like to tell,
of the birth and death of Jesus,
found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely,
you'll see that you find here,
four nail holes and a fifth one,
made by a Roman's spear.

On one side the Easter lily,
its center is the star,
that appeared unto the shepherds
and led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
etched on the other side,
reminds us of His birthday,
our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open,
and here you will release,
the five white doves awaiting,
to spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me,
to help us spread His Gospel,
through all Eternity.
Author Unknown

Pretty special little thing, isn't it?  :)  One thing I did learn is that the live sand dollars have tiny, velvety spines all over them (and they are dark), while the dead ones are have a smooth "test" or shell and are usually bleached white by the sun.  Learn something new every day...if only I remembered half of it, eh?


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nehalem Trees

We ventured out again this week and hit a charming little town called Nehalem.  We met our neighbors at their favorite camp ground (where Siena learned to fish) and I couldn't get over the green explosion around me.  It was like a mossy blanket covering the entire area.  You will love it when we take you back there in the fall.  We enjoyed watching the chipmunks run around, the birds hopping from branch to branch and the squirrels leaping from tree to tree.  I wonder if they know how good they have it here?

We do.


ps. On our way home Siena said, "I really like this place.  There are no street lights anywhere.  They must have not wanted to disturb nature here."  Nice observation!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Hi There,

I am finally looking over some shots I took when my sister and Aiden were here and here's one of my favorites.  I love the sense of humor and the sweetness all rolled into one moment.  It's so typical of her. (My mini-me, no doubt)

They are sitting on Tommy's will probably look different when you get here (if he can help it), but I think it's just fine the way it is.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Farmers Market

Hi Sweets!  Here a few shots from the Cannon Beach Farmer's Market today.  It was small but they had everything we could have wanted, artisan cheeses (I bought some), blackberries, cherries, vegetables, bread (yum), honey (I bought some), salmon & crab from Chilkoot, meat from local farmers, flowers (bought one of those bunches of lavender (couldn't resist), fresh juices (bought one), and even wine tasting (have enough)!  Siena made it her mission to pet every dog at the market and that black shirt she chose was covered in dog hair by the end...but she was giddy.  We saw a sweet weim and an equally friendly husky (both made me think of you).  This place gets better each day and makes me want to share it with you all the more...yep, I know where I want to spend your R&R for sure!  And next summer!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July

Here's a photo that sums up the Cannon Beach 4th of July Parade!  It was a charming parade with kids sitting in the back of police cars, fire trucks and grandpa's pride and joy throwing salt water taffy to excited children.  Siena gathered several fist-fulls of candy and has already asked me to eat all of it!  The parade reminded me of a few that participated in when I was in Girl Scouts in Illinois.  Fun memories.  I'm glad we went but I wish you were year.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Happy Feet

Pretty amazing place...even my feet were happy last night as we sat around our little fire and inhaled every second of the sunset.  I took this shot with Jean's cell phone, ironically I was wagging my finger at her for even bringing the phone but since I didn't bring my camera, I was grateful for the opportunity to capture the goodness.  Fortunately, we are expecting a few sunny days here so I will certainly pack a couple of cameras tonight as we head out.  I'm going to try to capture a few images with Uncle Jimmy's camera too.  No instant gratification though...gotta just through caution to the wind and hope it works out.

This place is truly good for the soul and I can't wait to share it once again with you (in person).


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Siena in Apalachacola

This is my favorite shot of Siena in Apalachacola...a cute town near St. George Island, where we just spent a week with your family.  I know you would have loved the beach and most of all, the water--it was warm...just like you love it!  I really enjoyed the trip and I'm happy Siena is getting to an age where she'll start to remember everyone.  

That's it for now...packing for the next trip!

Oregon or bust.


Monday, June 10, 2013



Congratulations to my sweet Nephew, Cameron.  Well done.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

72 Hour Pass

72 Hours

It's never enough
still, the time is so perfect
love, joy fills this room

breathing is hard now
my heart is heavy, I'm sad
you are gone again


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Daddy's Shirt

This is her morning routine...turn on cartoons and plop down on the couch in what she slept in, which is usually "Daddy's Shirt."  She has no preference, it can be any of your long as it's yours.  She is wearing this one (your Patagonia shirt) backwards because she said yesterday was "backwards day" but I am sure it's because there wasn't a design on the front...only on the back.  I know you will always smile when you look back and see her tiny frame snuggled inside your t-shirt.  It makes her feel closer to you...I slept in one of your shirts last night too.  :)

I love you,

Friday, May 3, 2013


As you know, last week, Siena and I went to a Basic Military Training Graduation ceremony, I wanted to share a few of my photos from the event.  It was very impressive, mostly because they do this every single week and these instructors are only given 8 short weeks to take a young Gen-Y? and turn them into an Airman.  That's pretty impressive when you think about it, eh?  I know that I had NO clue when I was 18 years old in training, all I remember is crying a LOT, eating a LOT of junk food on breaks (thanks Mom for those amazing care packages), calling home every chance I got and being one of the few who could actually march (thanks to my nerdy marching band days).  I also remember loving the obstacle course (which I still love next Spartan Sprint is in 2 weeks).  

Something that I loved about this day was watching the families reunite after the ceremony ended.  The Airmen were put at Parade Rest and had to stand there until their family/friend tapped them on the shoulder.  It was difficult to watch some of those kids standing there waiting (for what seemed like forever) while everyone around them was embracing their loved ones.  You know me...I couldn't resist tapping a few shoulders and telling them to relax...they didn't.  This last shot is of a girl whose shoulder I tapped and she told me "I'm waiting for my Momma" and just then, her mom came up and embraced her, as you see here and I just smiled for both of them.  I knew how proud her mom was of her baby girl and I knew how proud that girl was of herself in that moment.  Both my inner child and my current motherly state were equally moved and inspired.  Life is good.  

I love you, 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Shoes

"When you give a kid a camera..."  here's what you get!  She took this adorable self-portrait of her shoes.  I love it and I knew you'd love it too.  It was a wet morning at the basic military training graduation.  We had a good time, even Siena, in spite of the spitting rain.  The trainees did great and it was fun to watch these young kids enlist for the first time.  I haven't seen that since I did it myself almost exactly 25 years  I'll share a couple shots of the ceremony but for now, I wanted to show you "my shoes" by Siena.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

God Speed Boston

Hey Bebe,

As you know, I spent the past 48-ish hours in Boston, during their very tumultuous time, and it was a different city from the last visits.  The police presence was thick and the streets were empty.  I took a water taxi from my hotel over to Quincy Market and found myself tempted to buy one of these hats, but then I felt a little silly because although I have come to love this city, she doesn't belong to me.  I feel like when you wear one of these hats you should have some roots in Boston (since I have neither Italian nor Irish blood, I guess I don't).  

After the market, I walked my favorite section of the North End, Hannover Street.  I stopped in St. Mary's of the Sacred Heart and said a prayer for the city and her people.  I inhaled the heady scent of garlic in the streets and stopped for a pizza pie and a tall glass (ok, 2 tall glasses) of Chianti in a local joint.  The normally crowded streets were nearly empty.  There was the standard pack of hungry customers waiting outside Giacomo's and Mike's Pastry (yes, I bought a ridiculously indulgent lemoncello cannoli) but it wasn't the scene I experienced in the past.  

Like any American city, Boston is resilient, proud and strong.  Once they bury their lost, heal their wounded and open the streets again, Boston will be back to herself again.  Until then, I wish Boston God Speed as the healing begins.

I love you,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blue Bonnets

Hey Sweets,

We are enjoying Texas in the Spring as the blue bonnets are in full bloom.  As you can see, our new puppy is having fun running in them.  As I took this shot, Siena was busy playing on the playground (about 100 yards away) with Sophia for 2 hours of non-stop movement!  They had a blast too.  I know you are missing the green over there so I hope this makes you smile.

I love you and I miss you,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Roller Skates

These are the things of childhood memories.  I always wanted skates like these when I was a little girl.  I coveted the white skates on the girls at the roller rink, even though I was a really crappy skater.  It gave me so much joy to watch her face as she opened the box and squealed with excitement!  I know it would have tickled you to watch our little giraffe racing around the neighborhood.  

I love you and I miss you,

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cracked Egg

Hi Bebe,
We went to Zilker Botanical Gardens today for a Garden Festival...and although it's strange that the only good image I have is that of a tiny cracked egg, it somehow feels appropriate.  Both Siena and are feeling a little maudlin today over missing you.  Although we had a lovely time at the fest with Susan and Sophia, as we were leaving I felt a pang of sadness hit me as I drove through acres of families picnicking, throwing frisbees, walking dogs and flying kites together.  It was like a bloody Halmark commercial, seriously.  Like those families were all staged for effect and we were driving through some set.  We drove your car today (since the stupid truck is dead) and whenever we are in it, we play your music and miss you more.  Oh, so Siena's new favorite song is "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons.  It's pretty funny to turn around and watch her head banging to the chorus.  She always asks me to play it louder and I do because it fills that emptiness in me too.  Replaces the sadness with a little edge instead. I guess our family feels a bit like this tiny egg right now, we are growing and all settling in different nests for now but something still remains back home, in our hearts, in our shell.

I love you and miss you.  She cried for you tonight before she fell asleep.  I just want you to know that although she's a weirdo on the phone and would rather stare at herself and make faces, she loves you deeply and feels so lucky to have such an amazing dad.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

Happy Easter, Baby!  I spent the day with your crazy family...they are starting to grow on me.  :p

Don't worry, I'm going to shave before you come home.

I love you,
I miss you,

Friday, March 29, 2013

Texting Home

Here's my latest edit (still playing with Photoshop) to an image I took last year...I'm calling it "Texting Home."  I am not exactly "feeling it" but it's a good rough draft.  Please let me know if you have any ideas on how to elevate this image.  I want the viewer to get the idea they are watching this Marine enjoying a sweet moment communicating with her daughter back home.  

I know that when I receive a text from you I am smiley so maybe I should have the little girl smiling?  How do you like old Zoe in the picture?  :)  Made me smile too.

I love you.
I miss you,

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sweet Sick Kid

Our pitiful daughter is so sick today...these are the times I find her so sweet and kissable.  I just hope I don't catch her stomach virus, ew.  It's been pretty funky.

We miss you and love you,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chewy Louis

I wonder if Stella would have chewed my favorite card if she could read?

Ironically, one of Siena's favorite library books is entitled, "Chewy Louis" how appropriate, sigh.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Take THAT Photoshop!

"I'd Rather Be...Skiing" is my latest, and hopefully final, edit of this image.  I had a lot of fun with it and hope you dig it too.  It might be hard to see but I added snow (inside) and changed the teeth xrays to ski vacation photos.  (If you click on the image, you can see it a little larger)  I am really anxious to call an image "finished" so I can set the standard for my series and I think this one did it.  My next project is...a secret.  :p  I'm slowly conquering my PS fears, so take THAT Photoshop.

I miss you.
I love you,

ps. For the family...YES, that's Dr. Sam!  :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Martin Stranka Made Me Smile Today

I won't bother telling you about my crappy week.  It's not interesting to read that the garbage bag broke last night as I was pulling it out of the can.  I won't amplify that with "and it was full of freshly shucked corn silk, a remaining dirty diaper and the carcass of a rotisserie chicken.  You don't need to read about how I was shampooing the carpet (because of the nervous-puppy-peeing incidents) and I spilled all of the dirty water on the kitchen floor as I was carrying it to the sink (rookie mistake).  

I'd rather share something fun with you today.  I got the mail early and found a square, brown envelop with European-looking writing and a foreign stamp and I immediately knew "it" arrived.  The coveted image from the generous artist, Martin Stranka!  He sent it, he really sent it!  Thank you so much, Mr. Stranka for this lovely, inspiring image.  I love it and will lovingly frame it and hang it in my office.  In spite of all the crappy little things that tried to sour my mood, Martin Stranka made me smile today!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I DO NOT have a butterfly on my head!

So, I thought about sending you some "cute" pictures of our day at Sea World (with Ella) or our day at the zoo, but then I knew you knew better...we had more of "these" moments than the pretty picture moments.  It's our reality and I know you can see through the angry face and still smile.  I know I can.  


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We'll Be Just Fine

Hi Sweets, we enjoyed a nice afternoon in the beautiful sunshine.  After art school we played on the school grounds with our new friends (thanks, Susan for taking this shot). Siena was happy to be on BOTH sides of the lens today. (go figure)  She was being so sweet to her Mommy and even put her arm around me and gave me a smooch.  This comforted me knowing that even though we'll miss you, we'll be just fine.
I love you,
xxx k

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Year Apart

You left today.  It's March 12, 2013 and so begins our year apart.  As I watched you walk down my apartment stairs this morning, my throat tightened and my eyes began to sting with tears.  I hate good-byes, you know this, I also hate crying, you know this too as I rarely do it.  So, why didn't we just get in the truck and drive to Mexico instead?  We could homeschool Siena, let her wear cornrows and make shell necklaces while we run a tourist bike shop...oh yeah, you're the responsible one, I almost forgot.  Darn you!

I love you and I miss you tonight.

xxx k