Posts Tagged ‘Freeport’

New Adventures

May 21, 2015

It has been so long since I posted an update, I had to relearn my blogging software a bit. I have been trying to decide how to best utilize my long-term blog since my photography business has slowed a bit and our travel life has increased. My plan is to update more about that and our family adventures, for now.

This past week I was very interested in the Galena Triathlon that has been running for the past 20 years. Last Saturday the athletes began with their swim at Nixon Beach. We were really interested since our daughter, Dawn, has been training for an upcoming triathlon in Davenport next month.
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Last Monday, Molly, Jason and four of his friends came to Freeport hoping to get in the lake, ride the trails and hang out together before they started their summer jobs. Jim and I are so proud of our oldest grandson who just completed his freshman year at Fordham University. He brought friends that he has know since early grade school and despite awful weather, they managed to have fun. Tuesday was the best weather day so we headed to the lake, built a fire and they rode around the entire lake on our souped-up golf cart. Then, we headed down to the lake for a little fishing only to discover the marina closed and we were without bait. A few minutes later I secured wax worms from a veteran fisherman and we were in business. The sunshine felt so good that afternoon. Wednesday was terribly cold and rainy so Molly drove the group to Monroe – one of his friends has done very little travelling and Wisconsin was added to his newly extended list of states. We said goodbye to the group this morning around 8 am.

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On Tuesday, my Highland friend, Jeanne and her husband, left for an extended trip to Canada and Oregon. I love to follow their trips on her retirement blog.

Today, we also got ready for a very brief visit from Dawn’s family who is flying to Germany tonight. They packed their suitcases into the Highlander so Jim could drive them to O’Hare and after a quick lunch, we said goodbye. Time for a little relaxation, knitting and dog walking. And, some camping this weekend at Apple Canyon Lake. Who says retirement is boring??

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Working with a two-year-old always requires patience. And, if you persist long enough you are rewarded with beautiful smiles, scampering little feet, tiny toes, curious blue eyes and unexpected emotion and fun. Grace’s Daddy just returned from Afghanistan yesterday and had not seen her for ten months. Grace was so excited to see him she didn’t get much sleep last night. I had lots of ideas for the session but, as usual, the toddler’s spontaneity shines through!

Daddy and Grace

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Today was just my day. I went to Twice as Nice Home with a mission and, this time, I scored – big time! I was actually looking for dessert plates to match my old, old punch cups from the Unicorn Restaurant. Find #1: 20 dessert plates for $15. They have one rectangle for dessert, one to fit the punch cup and one is an ash tray! How shockingly retro. Find #2: This sweet antique doll that was asking to go home with me and sit on the bed with Grandma’s quilt. She reminds me of the China Girl from Oz a little bit – can you think of a good name for her? Find #3: these hand-painted plates that were made in China. 20 dessert plates and seven dinner plates came home with me for $9.99. Leaves are so beautiful, aren’t they? Find #4: paper towel holder now holding the garden string that I’m fond of using to tie up my climbing roses. Find #5: a garden angel that matches my purple bird bath and candle holder. Find #6: this tray magazine holder. I’ve been sorting through everything in my house and was having such a tough time giving up some old Southern Living, Country Living, Midwest Living, Martha Stewart, etc. and now I don’t have to!

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Plates

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Garden Angel

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Last week Emma and her family came to see me from Rockford. Emma was 13 days new and just as sweet as she could be. She slept and posed so pretty.

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Emma is Born!

NmB Photography – Rockford, IL newborn photographer

Kelby immediately corrected me when I called them “Urban Chickens” since, technically, they do not live in the city limits so they are not truly urban chickens. However, Kelby’s family is surrounded by a housing development so, it doesn’t really seem like they are outside the city limits. They have struggled to maintain a small flock of chickens but, sadly, the urban predators find them time after time. Hopefully, these will last a little longer. Dawn and her Dad added the coop’s side panels so the flock will be protected during the cold weather.

Saturday the weather was beautiful and warm and we were able to be outside playing and studying the newer chickens up close. On Sunday, I used four little eggs in the pumpkin pie I baked.

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Kelby assured me that the chickens do have ears.

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Luv these Chickens!

After finishing up a wonderful session with brand new Abigail and her first-time parents, I started replaying the planning that was involved in capturing these images. Even though I love to photograph the spontaneity of a toddler, the newborn session is approached in an entirely different manner. Steps accomplished before the session:

Four weeks in advance analyze carefully sites like Pinterest and my Google Reader for inspiration like Shannon Sewell and Sarah Ulrich.

Order newborn hat well in advance of session from A Bit of String in case baby arrives early. Abigail did! Cost $20. And, another hat from MadAboutColour which took even longer to arrive from Canada (didn’t end up using it). Cost $33

Renew National Association of Photoshop Professionals membership (NAPP) partially to get free shipping from B&H Photo and Video. Spend time watching video tutorials on lighting and Lightroom 4.0. Cost $99

Three weeks in advance order roll of wide, replacement paper in white from B&H Photo Video. Order warm white by mistake but love it in the chair shot. Also, order three short rolls; Sea Green (used in spring shot), Sky Blue and Marmalade. Cost $124

Order ruffled romper to take advantage of sale from Ashley’s Posh Tots. Cost $15

Search for another perfect chair and find one at Grasshoppers in LeClaire, IA. Also, purchase vintage planter and Spring setup starts to formulate in my mind. Gas plus new props. Cost $150

Find paper flowers and butterfly for background of spring setup at JoAnn Fabric. Cost $20

Order two yards of caramel fur fabric from Fabric.com. Cost $28

Two weeks in advance arrange for chair painting and distressing to remove all lead paint. Labor plus materials cost $75.

Order gray throw from Pottery Barn. Cost $63

Two days in advance carefully cut caramel fur per research on YouTube (I cut my gray fur all wrong!).

Wash new clothing and throw. Test rolling throw in yellow egg basket.

Morning of session turn on additional heat in the studio and waiting room including space heater and heating pad.

Utilize iPhone womb sound app. Wait for Abby to be fed.

Position dad close by (just out of shot) for safety.

Two hour session with a marvelously sleepy baby and so, so helpful parents. Resulting images captured: PRICELESS!

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SpringNew Family Addition

Daddy's Boots

I have sorely neglected this blog but, again, am pledging to do better! This is one of our recent birthday girls from the Cuter Every Day Club, Megan. It’s amazing for me to see these little ones as newborns and finish up with this wonderful “cake smash” session” on their birthday. Megan used a two-finger technique for sampling the cake – they are all different. Some are tentative, some want to share, and they all are happiest when the cake arrives! My, my – see how she has changed in one short year.

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NmB Photography

NmB Photography

Even though Paige enjoys getting ready for a mini session with Mimi (me) and she is great at helping me get everything set up, she’s really not that thrilled when we get going. Often she can’t wait to get off itchy clothing like these leggings I bought both of the girls. So, out of many, many shots this morning these two were the best.

This past weekend I finally met Kali and her family of nine for their outdoor photo session. This has been planned for a long, long time starting with a gift certificate purchased for Christmas last year. Kali and I have had many email conversations about scheduling, what-to-wear, etc but this was the first time we met face-to-face. It’s a small world in NW Illinois, though, and I remembered her mother-in-law from classes at Highland and her mother worked with my son at one time. Our original plan for the session was early May but that day turned out to be too rainy so we all agreed to reschedule for last Saturday and I’m soo happy we did. The field was full of yellow flowers, the sky was perfectly blue with some clouds mixed in and the temperature was surprisingly warm. The bigger girls amazed me with their tumbling skills at only seven and four and one-year-old Reese just smiled and smiled! Who could ask for more than that?


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Summer is so short! We no longer take vacations during the summer as we love to spend time here and have family join us at the lake. We’re thankful they will come from Ohio and Iowa during the short summer months. We now prefer to vacation during the cold & miserable midwest winter if at all possible. We have been to the lake several times this summer and are looking forward to lounging on floats in the lake again this weekend. I’m sure the water has warmed dramatically since the last time we were there.

Last weekend, though, we did make our way to Madison with Dawn’s family to go to the Farmer’s Market. It was hot and crowded and overwhelming so we were all ready to leave after only doing half of it. Do you know it’s the largest in the country? We had a nice, cool lunch at the Great Dane after eating a whole loaf of warm cheese bread and sampling lots of cheese – it’s all about the cheese! State Street was just as busy due to Maxwell Street days and the patio of the union was packed, too!

On the way home, we stopped at Brennan’s in Monroe to get the rest of the ingredients we needed for Dawn’s special gourmet, grilled pizza. Everything but the fresh mozarella had been purchased at the Farmer’s Market. We were really proud of ourselves for dragging along a pull-behind traveler and a cooler in the car. We were all pretty exhausted at the end of the day! What are your favorite things to do in the summer time?

A couple more tips for you on photo processing: I use purchased actions for much of my blog’s photo processing. I always use MCP’s Crystal Clear Web Resize to prepare my images for this blog. On these images I also used the Pioneer Woman’s free Action Set 1 How nice of Ree Drummond to give away these actions and to provide so many, many wonderful tutorials on photography and photo processing. If you are an aspiring photographer, spend some time on the photography section of her blog. She has some Flickr groups, too!

IT’S ALL ABOUT the CHEESE

This last photo appeals to me so much: Lars, our son-in-law, is pelting his wife with some little beads off of the trees and in the background it appears that Grandpa, aka Gpa, is telling Erin another fanciful story about how his little finger became crooked (yes, it really is). Jim is so much better at this pretending and story-telling than I am. I love him for that!

Erin was a happy, little six-year-old last weekend. She was enthralled with this little monkey from one of the State Street stores and had it riding her Webkinz pet. Lovingly wrapped around her is the fabric we found at Hobby Lobby for her new, tied blanket. We located the perfect color fleece for the other side at JoAnn’s so she didn’t understand that it wasn’t going to get magically done and go right home with her that day.


Kelby is such a fun kid, now! He doesn’t talk constantly any more but when he does, it’s usually a conversation about animals – more specifically fish of all kinds. He’s a walking encyclopedia and though he’s a voracious reader and listener of fiction, he checks out just as many non-fiction books from the Iowa City library.