Archive for April, 2015

The 2015 Pooch Parade & The Toilet Seat Museum

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

My neighbor, Barney Smith, is legendary.  He is the creator and curator of The Toilet Seat Museum.  He spotted my “expensive camera” about a half mile away and quickly invited me into his museum to tell me about his toilet seats.

He was hoping that I was a reporter.


This man cares about the details.

His toilet seats are meticulously organized–sorted by category and in some cases, by year.

He encouraged me to photograph a page from a magazine article about him because the reporter, in his opinion, did a good job and got it right.

The Annual Pooch Parade is his personal Super Bowl.




Hundreds of dogs and people file by his museum on this day each year.



My friend Caroline waited eagerly to share her dog treats.


Harrison and I ended up watching the parade with our four-legged friend Andy.  We enjoyed spending time with lots of our neighbors and some out of town friends.

Emmeline and Carter walked the parade route with our friends, Carrie and James and their two dogs, Bella and Cooper.

I love my neighborhood.

Spring Break 2015 (at the Ranch)

Friday, April 24th, 2015

While others were sunning themselves on the beach and sipping umbrella drinks, Greg’s spring break began like this:


I don’t think Greg had any idea that marrying me would involve so much manual labor.  He has stained decks, fixed dishwashers, stopped plumbing disasters, put out literal fires, scaled tall ladders, evaded wild hogs, and buried dead cows.

This day, Greg and my dad were filling the feeder in the hog trap.

The ground was so wet from frequent rains and recent snow that the feeder was sinking deep into the earth.

They tried to put it in a more stable position. . . after it was nearly full.



There was enough residual snow in patches of shade to make a few snow balls.




Then we loaded the trailer to feed some hungry cows.


This guy used to wear Brooks Brother suits and travel around the world as a bankruptcy/ restructuring expert for large corporations in financial trouble.

Now Grampy wears Dickey one-piece overalls. He spends his time selling hot sauce, practicing guitar, and feeding longhorn cattle. #lifestylechange


Harrison tried to rope a tree branch.


We peeked inside one of Grampy’s sheds.


Much of our spring break was spent indoors.  It rained and rained and rained.  I think we got about 6 inches while we were there.  When the rain stopped, the kids slung on the mud boots and headed outside.


Harrison made a bow and arrow that also doubled as a spear.


Blue thought that that same spear looked exactly like a stick that you could fetch.

Carter was fussy so he stayed away from the camera.


Cousin Madeline followed Emmeline around a lot.


My dad fixed the door to Blue’s kennel in the garage.



Emmeline and Harrison taught Madeline how to climb hay bales.  Harrison passed out ice from the ice maker in the garage.

Emmeline made this face as she realized Madeline was getting pretty messy by mixing ice chewing and hay bale climbing.


In a super rare move, Madeline let me  a picture of her.  I don’t think she has let me do this in the past two years.



These girls love each other very much.


Carter refused to allow me to double check his suitcase before we left.  He forgot to pack socks.

His one pair of socks was soaking wet.  While the other three kids were playing, he was stuck inside.


Big glass of peach tea + 4 wheeler + work gloves + tattered jacket + sunglasses + ballcap = my dad most of the time



My mom is a rock star in the kitchen.


Bampy and Harrison made us savory black bean pancakes for dinner one night.


She taught him how to separate eggs.


Another night we ate roasted vegetables and roast chicken.


The chicken was definitely photo worthy.


I can’t even get close to making roast chicken like my mom.  Out of respect, I don’t even try.  It is one of the things I request when we visit.


The back door opens and closes a million times in a single day at the ranch.

This time, Harrison swung by the kitchen to ask Bampy, “What is for dinner??”


This image below reminds me that all the beautiful and delicious things that come out of Bampy’s kitchen are the result of my mom’s service to us.


Just About Perfect.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Amidst the swirl of a busy life, this moment was just about perfect.


Emmeline held little Lilly for the first time. Lilly’s mommy, Kim, babysat for our family several years ago. Emmeline was just shy of two years old. Carter was about to be born. Harrison wasn’t even on the map–humanly speaking. And Kim held my babies, enjoyed them, and cared for them.

Kim and Garrett, we think that Lilly is just about perfect.

A Fellow Lover of Red Poppies

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

I was driving by the community garden yesterday and noticed a woman nestled among the red poppies painting.

I downed my lunch as quickly as possible, grabbed my camera, and returned to the garden in hopes of meeting her.

Julene was welcoming.  She was gracious enough to allow me to get to know her a bit and photograph her in action.


As the hot overhead sun pounded down on us, we discovered some shared loves:

light, color, art, our community, the movie “A Room with a View” and of course. . . red poppies.



Our time together was, without a doubt, a worthwhile detour in my day.


Tuesday, April 21st, 2015


I can’t even really put into words how much I love this portrait and why.

It is striking and honest and captures a flash of Charis’ beauty.


I would have been happy with this shoot had I just gotten the above image.  Instead, we got a whole lot more.

Charis was kind enough to be my willing subject the other day so I could sharpen some skills.  Her sister Tana was a great help to both of us.  She held reflectors, carried a step ladder, cleared debris, and provided some comic relief.













Charis, I am looking forward to hearing about this next season in your life.

I know you were a bit out of your comfort zone, but thank you for going on this photographic adventure with me.

Thank you for allowing me to mark this crossroads for you–somewhere between girl and woman.

I’ve Been At This for Two Years

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015


I started CrossFitting on this day, April 1st, two years ago.

On this muggy anniversary morning, I had the privilege of completing this workout with my friends:

Two times through the following:

1200 m run or row

15 burpees onto plate

30 toes to rings

15 push ups

30 air squats


I am so fortunate to start most of my days with friends like these.

Thank you Nick, Rebekah, Julianne, Andi, Alberto, Jess, Jen. . .

Laurie, Lacey, Jenny, Abbie, Jennifer, Lesley, Juliann K. . .

Rachel B., Bernie, Ed, Cathy, Evita, Stephanie, Gianna, Gretchen, and Cathy.

You have taken away any excuses I might have.  You have pulled things out of me that I never thought possible.  You have created a place where I can try and fail and try again.

You guys push me and encourage me and inspire me.  You have made ALL the hard stuff that we do fun.  That’s pretty amazing.

Although these photos below show me at work, each one of them reminds me of how you have supported me.

Andi took this photo.  Amy helped me get my first pull ups.


Coach Julianne celebrates what we are doing by photographing us.  And she even makes me smile during a WOD.



I have stuck with snatching–even though it isn’t my forte–thanks to Nick.  This drill work day shows my growing confidence.  Some days I (almost) like it.

My friend Gianna gave me these shoes.



And despite the fact that these smiles turned to grimaces as the seconds ticked by, this photo reminds me of the amazing women who push me and even shout at me to keep going.

It helps when the person shouting the loudest has a beautiful British accent.


And if you have gotten this far in this blog post and live in San Antonio and are even remotely thinking about trying MissionCrossFit, do it!

Our gym is full of welcoming, hardworking, encouraging, real people.

We would love to have you.

I promise I will cheer loudly for you.  You don’t have to be an amazing athlete.

You just have to be willing to try again and again.