Monday, September 30, 2013

Susan + Jen

This past weekend my sister-in-laws got legally married in Minnesota on the 11th anniversary of their (first) commitment ceremony. I was so happy and proud to be there for them on their special day! Everything was absolutely perfect.

As with most my favorite people, Susan and Jen met in band. What is a wedding without an embarrassing photo of them in their band uniforms?  I love it.

Congratulations, Susan and Jen! 
We love you and are so happy for you and your family! 

Friday, September 27, 2013


Happy Friday! 

The above photo is from last was just the most beautiful day out that we just couldn't go home right away so Michael and I went to the park for a little bit. It was so nice and everything was just perfect. I remember thinking, "this is the life!" Even a mom I didn't know at the park was like, "isn't this the most beautiful day?" It really was and I was happy to spend it with one of my favorite guys. 

More beautiful weather- I think this was from Monday. I love this time of year when the fields are turning colors. 

We went to the zoo on Saturday as you already know and my camera ran out of batteries before we got to the carousel!! Michael chose my favorite animal, the cat with a fish in its mouth. I have never seen a cat eat a fish- do they even like them? Maybe Scampy should start fishing in our pond for some tasty snacks. 

My 8th graders have been working hard getting ready for a parade performance we are doing next weekend. We've been trying to get (and stay) in step for weeks and it is really hard for some kids! I always forget how hard everything is when you are 13/14 years old- your body is growing in weird ways and sometimes it is hard just to walk down the hall let alone try and stay in step with other people. However, I am amazed at the kids who are rockstars and are always in step and it just melts my heart when I see them help their neighbors when they are out of step. 

A coworker also stopped me in the hall and told me his grandson lives on the street by the middle school we usually march on. He said on they days we march by his grandson runs to the window and starts singing along to the school fight song. My favorite, favorite part about marching band is that it really does make people happy- we are continually influencing people outside of our classroom which is a goal of all this common core legislation. 

We had a few minutes on Tuesday night to hit up a park by Scott's office and they had this cool thing that Michael said he was spiderman on. He was so cute! Don't you just love his cheesy smile? view most days with about 5 things I am drinking. I usually leave them scattered about everywhere so to have them corralled is quite a feat. 

It's been another good but busy week and we are looking forward to the weekend. Have a great Friday!

life rearranged

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Senior Photos Mason

So as many of you know, I love taking photos. A former coworker asked me over the summer to take some photos of her senior son (who I had as a 5th grader clarinet student way back when!) and I was absolutely thrilled she asked me. I was very flattered and of course nervous. We finally settled on a date to take them and we got them taken this week. I was worried but the session went really well and I think we got some good shots. 

I hope Mason and his family enjoy them and they are good reminders of this time in his life. 

As for me...
I am gaining confidence in my skills but there are still lots of things I need to learn and I don't really have the time to dedicate to it right now. I still look at my photos and think of all the things I see that are wrong but I know every eye sees different things. I am still learning how to find (and shoot in) good light, making sure my editing is consistent across the board, and finding (and modeling) good poses. I did lots of pinterest research for poses and a little practicing with my husband (thanks for letting me act like a dork around you, Scott!). Overall this session was a lot of fun for me and I learned a lot. I have a few other photography sessions lined up in the future so I am not sure where this is all going but I do love to help out friends and family because I know how fleeting life is and how important photos are. 

I just wanted to share that with you. :o) 

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Saturday at the Zoo

We had a very busy weekend last weekend! It was really beautiful weather and it felt so good to be outside and doing fun things instead of being stuck inside at work all day. We met our friends at the zoo on Saturday and had a great time. 

I am renting an 85mm prime lens and I took it along to practice using it and have fun getting some different shots than I usually get. It is a really neat lens to shoot with! I would love to have one in my bag someday! 

(p.s., renting it from for midwesterners-it is located in Kansas City so it is really fast shipping, especially to DSM). 

We got there a little earlier than our friends so we spent some time playing on the playground. Michael loves the little playground outside the zoo! I like it because it is shaded, has lots of benches for parents and it is pretty well contained so it is not so easy for little kids to run away. I always tell myself that one time we are just going to come for the park and not actually go to the zoo! 

The zoo was super busy but the weather was so nice that we had a great time despite the crowds. It seemed like the Michael had the most fun with the non-zoo things like eating a Sponge Bob shaped ice cream cone, riding the train, drinking out of the drinking fountain and playing in the jeep in the tiger area. I guess it just goes to show you need to find adventure anywhere you go, right? Sometimes I like getting gas in my car because it means I can get a gas station coffee or fountain pop while I'm there. 

When the kids were playing the jeep, the tiger came up right next to the window and put his face right next to the kids. It was crazy and all the kids went, "ahhh!!". I couldn't really capture it but here is a blurry interpretation: 

It was funny to me because you never know what you are going to see! We have definitely never had two trips to the zoo that were exactly alike. 

Friends, thanks for meeting us! We had a great time!

Friday, September 20, 2013


Hi friends, I am back today with Instafriday! I missed last week so I am mostly sharing old photos since this week seemed to fly by and I had hardly anything in my feed to share. Happy Friday!

I got Michael's new bookshelf from our IKEA trip put together and got everything on it. I love it! I especially love how each little square keeps the books from falling over too much and it is easy to flip through. I have grand visions of organizing by subject but....we'll see if that ever happens. I am surprised at how full it is already and I might have to do some weeding out. I love books and I love reading to Michael as part of our special nighttime routine. He made me smile because I overheard him talking to Scott in his room and Michael said, "this is my new mom put it together all by herself!". I was very proud. :o) Although, Scott helped with the securing it to the wall part- that sucker is not going anywhere! 

We've had some nice evenings but I feel they are now on their way out. I love being outside on our patio in the is just perfect in a way I could have never imagined when we planned our home. 

Have you seen these walking sticks around lately? We've seen a ton of them and usually we don't. Michael always goes, "ah! It surprised me!" when he sees one. I love that he says "surprised" instead of scared! 

My school schedule of doom. If you notice, every minute of my day is filled with students (sometimes two, three, four at a time) coming in for lessons. Those holes? Now gone with more students who signed up for band. It is a good problem to have but I am doubting myself a little. I am hoping it will get easier as the year goes on. I keep reminding myself to count my blessings: in a beautiful building where I stay all day, every day; lots of students who want to be part of my program; keeping busy which makes the days fly by; meaningful work that I enjoy doing and feel like I make a difference in kids' lives.  I know I say this all the time but I  do feel very blessed that I can what I love all day long and get paid for it. 

I treated my poor teacher feet to a pedicure last Friday and it was wonderful. The last person I went to had talked me into getting shellac on my feet and this is how you have to get it off. Total alien toes, right? It was a such a treat that I am hoping to do this a little more often as a little bit of pampering (but my pedicure is a week old and still looks great).

Tailgating- Cyclone Pretzels (they were awesome- thanks, Kylie!)

Tailgate games....which I am terrible at! Now sometimes I see kids playing them in P.E. and I am telling those are the real skills kids need in life! Where was that when I was in school?? I also love the guys playing the game next to us which apparently involves sitting next to a cooler and throwing darts at a can. We couldn't really figure that one out. 

And finally...I am working on music listening with my students and this day we did listening maps where students described what they were hearing in the music. I asked what instrument they heard and one student very enthusiastically said, " I know, the DONG!!" lol...I thought it was so funny. I know he meant gong but still, I had to laugh even if I was the only one who got the joke. :o)

That's it for me! Have a great weekend!! 

life rearranged

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