Thursday, October 13, 2011

Going with the Flow...

I grew up in New England… where each season’s weather was fairly predictable: hot and sticky in the summer, cool and breezy in the fall, freezing cold in the winter and miserably rainy in the spring. The rain in particular, which began in March and pretty much hung around until May, was predictable. The sky would gradually start to darken one day, and then the rains would begin and last for days. I was used to the weather staying pretty consistent. So you can imagine my surprise when, after moving to Florida for college, I was introduced to the daily 30-minute summer afternoon rain shower.  It was amazing to me. Sun one minute, rain the next. Though it took a while for my northern brain to get used to the southern weather, I have come to expect that weather changes here often .. and quickly.

Check out the rest of this post... {and the pictures} over at the photo blog by clicking here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Progress Report

So, it turns out that this whole Blogging thing is a LOT harder to do with a school-age child than it was when she was a baby/toddler who occasionally slept. LOL!

I just wrote a post (with photos) over at the other blog about Isabel's first progress report. I wish I had the energy right now to be more creative and write a different version of it for this blog.

But I don't.  Though I DO wish I could bottle some of my daughter's energy for myself! LOL!

You can check out the update by clicking here:

or here:

Thanks for understanding
(and hope to see you over on the other blog!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

All is Well...

A month in and all is well
 Today marks the one month point of my Kindergartener’s formal education in the public school system. While part of me still cannot believe that we are coming up on five years as mother and daughter, the rest of me stands in awe of the amazing child that Isabel has developed into. She is bright, witty, intuitive and quite the social butterfly. 
Walking through the doors of that school was her first step into a whole new world…a world of discovery, laughter, failure, friends, joy, pain. The whole gamut. 
 The space where her first two teeth fell out last month is gone, filled by the two new adult teeth. 
As quick as that. The baby replaced by the adult. I know that I have 13 years ahead of me before the child as a whole becomes the woman she will be. 

Thirteen years. 
I know that it will fly by in a heartbeat. And I will be writing about how my *baby* is finishing her first month of college. 

Until then, I will try my hardest to be present. To enjoy moments like this morning’s, when, as she waited for her Vanilla Bean mini Scone, she excitedly announced to the folks in line that “My Mom got paid today!” To embrace the time of reading bedtime stories together and listening to Veggie Tales in the car. To experience bittersweet times of growth, like her decision to walk to her classroom by herself today.
The next decade will be filled with change and growth…for us both. And while there is a tad bit of apprehension, if these last five years have been any indication, the adventure has just begun.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Love is in the Air

As the ocean is never full of water,
so is the heart never full of love”

With the exception of when I studied abroad, I have always lived my life within 30 minutes of the Atlantic Ocean. There is something about the sound of gulls and the smell of the salt on the air that comforts me, embraces me, calms me. The sheer enormity of the ocean helps me put things into perspective. There is a peace that envelopes me; the waves rolling in and out, in and out… they remind me of the cycles of life.

I was there last month, an hour before sunset to shoot an engagement session for a colleague of mine. I seriously couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening. The beach was deserted. The weather was not too hot. There were gorgeous clouds in the sky and the sunset was spectacular. It was a photographer's dream come true.

And that was just the setting.

As D.H. Lawrence put it,
"I am in love - and, my God, it is the greatest thing that can happen to a man."
Indeed, it would seem to be.

You can check out images of this session
over at the other blog by clicking here.

{Thanks for visiting}


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Seeing What Isn't There

Please check out my new post over at the other blog.
Hope you enjoy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Isabel and Irene

We were lucky. 
Hurricane Irene stayed off the coast 200 miles from us. We were spared the destructive effects of her and were left with some magnificent waves.

I brought Isabel with me this past week 
while I was scouting a location for
 an engagement photography session 
at the beach.

It was about an hour before sunset 
and the light was glorious.

As I looked up, I was amazed (yet again) 
at the beautiful little girl Isabel has become.

She lost two teeth the week before last 
and just finished her first week of kindergarten.

My baby is gone forever. 
And while, there is a deep sadness over that, 
its impact is softened by the joy of seeing 
this amazing child.
My child.
My love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leaving Comfort Behind

So, you might ask... where have I been lately? Well, I have been working hard this summer building my photography business and am excited about how it is growing. This past week I had three sessions: two high school seniors and one fellow photographer from Miami. The photo shoots with the two girls were totally in my comfort zone. I love teenagers. As a teacher I am surrounded by them 8 hours a day. I get them. I enjoy them. I am recharged and inspired by them. And while having two sessions on the same day, 12 hours apart is not the ideal scheduling... it was fun and relaxing photographing the two teens.
Well, that is as relaxing as 98 degree Florida heat can be... : -0

Two days later, I had another session. This time with a fellow Floridian photographer. She was in town visiting with some friends and we had communicated earlier in the month about me taking her pictures. I knew that her session would be different and that I would be stretched. So I agreed.
And it WAS different. I am used to the insecuities that come with being an adolescent. With Kenia, it was very different. I loved that she was someone who was comfortable with her body...and knew how to position herself. I also loved that she was comfortable with a camera... albeit, her comfort usually lies on the other side of the lens.

What was out of my comfort zone was the edgy feel of the whole shoot. I am used to a more soft look, both  in dress and in environment. But, I realize it is important to grow. And so I took the plunge and went for it.

And I liked it.
I liked the strength that is portrayed through her.
And I liked that I, myself, grew stronger as a photographer because of her.

For more (and to see the photos), click here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Simple Thanks

It's inevitable. I mean… they DO grow up. I recognize that. It's just that it hits out of nowhere. Like when my daughter came dancing into my bedroom wearing a dress she liked from last summer. Only, THIS summer it looks like a long shirt.

She starts kindergarten in less than three weeks. It seems like just yesterday we were in China with her being placed in my arms. And then there's is that wonderful rite of passage that she went through yesterday… the loss of the first tooth. Is there ANYTHING cuter than those goofy gap-toothed smiles?

And so I sit here. Having just finished slipping some quarters under her pillow and writing a letter from the Tooth Fairy for her to find in the morning. I sit here in amazement at the incredible life I live. And for that I am thankful.

the long road

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


It's been two months since the arrival of Lilly, the abandoned kitten that my student brought to me the last week of school. She has definitely rocked our little world. (How in the world could I have forgotten how much energy a kitten has?) She spends most of her days sleeping, so she is all fired up and ready to play All. NIGHT. LONG.

Poor Lulu, our older cat, has been tortured to no end by the little ball of fur who hides behind doors, chairs, clothes, (you name it) and then jumps out and attack you... playfully, of course. Yeah, right!
We have made it two months and I am hoping she mellows out a bit. 

I have hope. 
After all, this is what I saw when I walked into the kitchen yesterday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BW Wednesday: Simple Beauty

Last month, you got a glimpse of this amazing woman.
She is stunning and so photogenic. It boggles the mind that she has never modeled.

I loved how the light played upon her in so many different ways. Looking through the lens was like watching a chameleon.  One moment looking as if she was from the 19th century and the next like a fierce European Vogue model.

What a gift to be able to photograph her.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Official Launch!

After a month or so of tweaking, the new website is launched. You can check it out here:

You can also follow along on FB (link on the site) or on Twitter @LBPhotos
I am so excited!

(Thanks for visiting! )

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer, Smoke, Soil and a Silly Kitten

It has been smokey here lately. I mean SMOKEY!!! Like... you can barely make it from the front door of the house to the car kind of smokey. Clothes smell like you just finished singing camp songs and eating s'mores. In the 31 years I have lived here, I don't ever remember it being like this. The fires continue to blaze.  Every few days we get a reprieve when it rains. But it's a mixed blessing because with the rain comes lightening... and then more fires.

During one of the days this past week when the air was clear, Isabel and I finally planted our vegetable garden. We have a nice fine tomato plant with two pepper plants on each side. Next to them are cantaloupe, cucumbers and squash. Protecting all of them from insects are a couple of marigolds.

It is a small garden. But it is ours. And we love it...especially because it is our first.

The back yard is really filling out: the crepe myrtles are blooming nicely. [You can see a couple of photos above and below.] The ligustrum is now over ten feet tall and the plumbago, butterfly weed, and four o'clocks add a punch of color and fragrance. The last of the jasmine blooms are tenaciously hanging on to the branches. We have roses, lilies, daisies and sunflowers blossoming. I just bought a scarlet mandevilla and a glorious peach-lavender-rose colored bouganvilla to plant in huge containers and train up the posts of the pergola.

We love our yard. Or, as one sweet friend referred to it, our secret garden. We love entertaining back there. IN one corner, there is a nice swing and dining area under the shady pergola. In another corner there is a relaxing hammock under the shade of our huge pecan tree. It's easy to slip away into a  peaceful nap out there. The branches of the tree canopy are filled with birds and squirrels.  It's our wonderful escape. One we like to share with company.

And so it was fun this past week when we were able to entertain guests a couple of times. Two sweet friends drove up from south Florida to attend Isabel's pre-K graduation. Isabel adores them both... as do I! We had a wonderful time enjoying each other's company. They are like family and the mom has been part of Isabel's life even before she came home from China. How blessed I am to have such great friends.

Yesterday, I got a treat when the mom of the two happened to be driving with friends back to south Florida from Georgia. I was able to convince them to drop by for a visit and we had a blast. Great women! I look forward to seeing them again on our next jaunt down south.

And so, with them gone and Isabel at camp, I am here with Lulu and Lilly. You might ask: Who is Lilly?

Well...during the last week of school, one of my students showed up at my classroom with a tiny kitten. I'm talking 5-6 weeks old. Her eyes were still blue. She looked just like our Lulu did when she was a kitten. I was smitten with the kitten. (Did I mention that I am a sucker for cats?) It has seemed really strange to have only one cat for this past year since Buddy died. (For the previous 17 years, I had always had two cats.) So, getting another cat was in the back of my mind. I ended up bringing her home and Isabel promptly named her Lilly. (Though for the last couple of days, she has decided she would like to change her name to Love. Huh???)

[WARNING: Some major wild eyebrow and whisker action ahead! View at own risk.]

It has been really interesting watching Isabel with Lilly. The last time we had a kitten was when we got Lulu (and Isabel was not yet two years old.) Back then she just chased the kitten around the house and enticed it with ribbons. This time, she wraps it in her little baby blanket and talks to it. Amazingly, Lilly doesn't mind. In fact, I usually find her snuggled in Isabel's lap. Which is nice. Since Lulu (the former traumatized kitten) is not that affectionate of a cat. (Perhaps some counseling could help?) She spends most of her days and nights avoiding Lilly. She still hisses at her. But not as much. They actually can be on the same bed together now. As long as Lilly doesn't get too close.

I understand. Change is never easy.

For now,  I fill my days relaxing, planning for the next school year, doing projects around the house...(quick question: should I hire someone to pressure wash or just rent the dang machine at 1/3 of the price and do it myself???) and continuing to work daily on my photography. It's nice to just be.

And you. What are you doing for the summer?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Exciting Things Happening!

I know, I know.
Where have I been?
Well, the mystery has been solved. I have been making one of my dreams come true: starting a photography business. After a year and a half of slowly building a portfolio and client base, I am excited to announce that my photography business is in full swing. I had two amazing women design my new logo and my new blog. You can check them out here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BW Wednesday: Easter

Easter Lilies

Trumpet shaped bloom
Good News sounds forth from tomb
Lilies shout Glory

- by Mary Havran ..

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

BW Wednesday: JM

Late one evening, 25 years ago, my good friend went into labor. While she and her husband rushed to the hospital, I stayed behind with their 2.5 year old. The baby that was born is now a funny, gracious, talented and incredibly handsome man. Jon Michael is like a nephew to me, and after living years in NC , he's back in Florida. I am lucky to have him living in the same city.

We had fun at the Town Center doing a photo shoot.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Break: Camping at the Beach

I haven't been camping since I was in college. Like then, we went during spring break and pitched our tent near the ocean. Unlike then, I had a child with me.
...and that made all the difference!

She went bike-riding, paddle boating, toasted marshmallows, saw an alligator and a bunch of pelicans, swam, built castles and listened to owls.

Turns out that we had the best three days of the break. It has rained every day since.

Three more days of vacation and then...back to work. : )

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Coming up for Air...

It's been a month since I last posted. How in the world can that be? We are in the midst of third quarter exams at school before spring break. Then the crazy (seemingly non-stop) testing begins: FCAT, Benchmarks, EOC, MAP,AP and IB exams. And then, of course, there are the final exams. The spring is a whirlwind for me during the week. As such, I look forward to doing something fun on the weekends.

Over the Presidents Day holiday, we headed to south Florida to visit friends and family. I am thankful to have my mom's brother and sister live within driving distance. They are the closest family we have down here. We spent the weekend being spoiled by my aunt's gourmet cooking, catching a jazz concert, checking out a manatee museum, swimming and watching Isabel swing her first gold club. It was a short but filled three days. On the way home, I decided to just head east off the interstate until I hit the Atlantic Ocean. We were in no rush. We ended up at a great little beach and hung out for an hour or so before heading back home.

A couple of weekends ago, we were planning to head over to Palatka for the annual Azalea Festival which, for some reason, I always seem to forget each year until after it is over. I was so proud of myself for putting it on the calendar. Unfortunately, both Isabel and I came down with bronchitis and the trip was canceled. Last weekend, however, while we were in Saint Augustine, we called a friend and found out they were actually on their way to the very place where the festival had taken place. We ended up joining them and had a blast! Who knew you could actually HIKE in Florida? (I'll tell you who! My THIGHS the next morning!)

I think we are going to spend this weekend working in the yard. The ligustrum and crepe myrtles are starting to bud. The dogwood is is full bloom... just glorious. Isabel wants to have a vegetable garden this summer. I think it's a wonderful idea. We just need to figure out the details.

Here are some pictures from our adventures and, as always, you can click to enlarge them.

Playing Jenga with Great Uncle Tom

Outside The Manatee Museum

Inside the Manatee Museum

They look a little like French Fries, huh?

Great Aunt Moe showing her how to hold the club

Swinging Away...

A Little Side Track to the Beach

Total joy

At The Entrance to The Ravines

Clearly, the azaleas were still in bloom

One of the two suspension bridges

Hiking up from the ravine

Time for a pose, folks!

A rare photo of the two of us

And another : )