52 week challenge · Happiness · Kids · Photography · Picture Post

52 Weeks


Last year I made a conscious decision to be happy. Life is freaking hard and I was wallowing in misery.

It was pretty bad.

Whose life is the worst.



So. Not. True.

This mental switch wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Get up, be happy.

Example, one day we were driving along, our car started having trouble, of course the sensible thing to do is worry, I could feel it, the anxiety blooming in my chest. Instead of letting the worry monster run rampant, I sat back and thought, wow, so glad we have added a tow package to our insurance, I am glad we are not far from home, we have a cellphone. And most of all, I saw what I had not been previously paying attention too, the rising sun. It was stunning. How could I be unhappy, how could I let my anxiety out when I was witnessing such beauty?

Our car did break down.

But it was okay. Frustrating, oh yes. But okay, life is full of frustrating experiences, hard times, and sometimes trauma.

But attitude is everything.

No, it doesn’t make it better, but neither does being miserable.

I have started a few 52 week challenges, I intend to share them here.

One is 52 weeks of gratitude, this weeks challenge (because I am just now starting) is Why start this challenge. I explained that above, I am doing this because I had a gratitude journal last year and I would say that it was a roaring success. I want to keep going.

I am  grateful to have so many things to be grateful for!

Anther challenge I started at the beginning of the year is a 52 week photography challenge, the idea behind this is that my equipment is only a tool. Right now I have a little compact, it is a Panasonic LX7. It isn’t a lot of things and it has its limits, but I am determined to find them and push them!

I started this challenge at the beginning of the year, but here is week 3 (red) and week 4 (portrait, headshot), this photo I did not share with the group but is my favorite:)





Natalie · Photography · Picture Post

sigh, does there always have to be a title post?

It takes me all of a minute to edit any single photo that I take. This is something that I am very proud of, not only have my photoshop skills increased but my photography skills also. Get it right in camera and you are all set to go!

I am feeling thankful today.

At TOFW one of the presenters said, “You can choose to be strong or you can choose to be weak”. Simple but powerful.

Something I have been thinking about this past couple of days. Instead of the lovely week had all planned out, I feel like I woke up and was flung out of bed and I haven’t hit ground yet.

I can be strong.

I can be strong.

I am grateful for that strength, the strength I would not have known I had a year ago.

“For an impenetrable shield, stand inside yourself”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of those pieces”

~ Judith Viorst

I am not that strong, I will never be that strong!:D



Kids · Photography · Picture Post · Trips to somewhere

“I am a zizzer zazzer zuzz as you can plainly see…..”

Dr. Seuss!

I sometimes think I spend more time on post titles then the posts themselves!

I tried out Wal*mats new photo thingy, you know, photo’s in a matter of minutes!

I don’t like it at all.

Of course I very rarely print at Wal*mat so I suppose that it doesn’t matter, but still.

I went to Time Out For Woman  with Cindi, Sis.A, Patty, Chelle and Susannah on Friday and Saturday.

(That was a mouthful!)

It was so much fun and exactly what I needed both emotionally and spiritually.  It was also nice to know that I am not the only one with laundry issues:D.

So many times you hear the fluff, the cheer, the good stuff and you walk away feeling discouraged, how can I ever relate to these people? They don’t sound as if they would ever recognize a bad hair day, let alone the really stressful stuff that makes up a large portion of my life! But this weekend I was so relieved to hear that they have been there and in some cases gone through some really terrible experiences and yet there they where, saying that it was okay to hope, to have faith, to live and be happy despite our challenges (and the laundry!) I left feeling like I could plunge back into my life with a renewed sense of Hope. And since Hope was the theme I would say they did an excellent job:D.

They promised to come to Portland Maine and I am so very excited!

Time Out For Woman Hartford, Connecticut  (list of presenters).

Today is the last Monday that I will have a two year in the house. I have been reminding Caleb all day long and  he is becoming quite annoyed with me. Tomorrow will be the last Tuesday with a two year old in residence………It will be a long week for my baby boy:D.

Oh! Oh! Oh! ME! ME! ( No I am not asking for a hall pass:D) I have a new watermark for my pictures, I never liked Kristal Photography, this, in my opinion, implies that I am a photographer, which I am not. I am merely a Photography Enthusiast. Very Enthusiast:D. The word Lark has a very dear, special and personal meaning to me and Photo is just um Duh. Joff designed my lark and for your information is a Crested Lark, cocky little fellow but I love him dearly. He needs a bit of tweaking but I am now bringing him out of the Adobe Illustrator closet, so to speak. Nothing fancy or special but I love it. I have a watermarking obsession, but I am not greedy if you would like a photo without the watermark (family and friends) just email me and I can send one right along!

Anyway, what do you think of my new watermark, hmmmmm?

Its Autumn time, Its Autumn time (hum, hum, hum, da, dee, dum)

Evs, is not thinking sweet little boy thoughts. Boys don’t think sweet things. That is what he tells me anyway.

I had something very interesting to say about touch screens and there role in modern society but I really can’t remember what on earth it was. Probably something not very nice.

Most likely not at all nice come to think of it.

Think of what?

I’m off to bed:D


Photography · Picture Post

Star Trails and Meteor Showers

All that hype over the perseids meteor shower and I didn’t see much. Joff called me up around 3:30 AM last night,  I was so tired but I stumbled out to the porch and sure enough Meteor shower, not very exciting when you are mostly asleep.

Tonight I was/am determined to be a little more awake.

And then I remembered! I had never tried the Nikon D300s out for star trails, I had always used the Nikon D50 as the Nikon D70 never quite worked out for that purpose.

So meteor shower or not I wanted to experiment, now my tripod is dead. (I am a serial tripod killer) So I grabbed a few pillows and out I went. 

I am very pleased with my first result, this is a 12 minute exposure. ISO 100 at ap 1.8. 50mm

No edit, just a web re-size, grainy. Not perfect. But I am most definitely excited for crisp clear and cool nights. And a new tripod. Poor tripod, it doesn’t know that it is doomed to a short life:(

Next time I will go wider and try to capture more landscape, I would love to spend the night on a lake shooting star trails, that would be wicked fun and cool!


Animals · Photography · Picture Post

Photography and Kittens

I have been shooting for as long as I could remember. Growing up if I wasn’t working for kitty food I was working for film.

So I could take pictures of my cats.

Nana was allergic to cats, but I adopted any cats that came my way, converting an old play house to a kitty shelter.

Those where my passions as a kid, photography and kittens.

I now have a few more passions, my kids, Joff and ducks for instance.

( I also love sports but that is a whole nother post!)

Nowadays photography is a passion of pretty much everyone on the planet. With little exception most photo (biz) blogs I read start with one simple and over used line;

“I started photography because I wanted to take better pictures of my kids”.

Well I started taking pictures so I could take pictures of my kittens.

I have worked hard at improving my photography so I could take better pictures of my precious fur-babies.

The plus side is I am able to take pictures of my kids. I don’t have to take them to Walmart. Or Sears. Or the new photog down the block.

Although I have thought about it occasionally as taking pics of my kids can sometimes be a bit of a headache (Christmas portraits anyone?)

I just wanted to clarify.

I have six kids.

But I also have three adorable fur-baby models.

I’m just saying…….


Photography · Picture Post

MCP and The flamingo

MCP Actions is having an awesome contest. Awesome. I believe she did this last year, at least I remember seeing pics that people had submitted and thinking, wow, CLEVER! I am afraid that the creative side of my brain is on permanent vacation but I had a fun trying to come up with something anyway. Cheesy, but I love cheese. So.

You have to include the word (letters) MCP in your photo.  I first took the fan shot and photoshopped in MCP: keeping it cool but then my resident flamingo got all huffy and insisted he could do better, I snapped this while he was playing around:)

So. Cheese. E.


Homeschool · Photography

Photography, Homeschooling and maybe the dishes…..

Although the dishes fight tooth and nail with the laundry for my undivided attention.

Homeschooling, well lets see. We have been concentrating on Math and Reading, On Monday we play various math games and I will introduce a new concept or we will continue to work on one that just isn’t sticking.

Felicity and I today went back and forth on this ONE problem for 20 minutes.

Me: What is before 67

Felicity: Ummmm

Me: Okay what is before 7

Felicity: I know! 5!

Me: (silently thinking I have utterly failed)

Felicity: Maybe? Oh um wait….


Me: Yes, so what is before 67?

Felicity: Ummmm

Me: 60 what?

Felicity: Ummmm

For 20 minutes and then we quit and did her reading lesson, Explode the code book 1 and Now I’m Reading level 1. Felicity I confess makes me cry at night, she is the one that makes me question the whole idea of homeschooling and it is not that she is not smart it is that she just doesn’t care. At all. Currently working on how to merge glitter, cardstock and pipe cleaners into a lesson on place values because then she mightt care.

Katie and Alice are moving right along in 3rd, 4th grade math, mostly multiplication, division and once again place value. They are reading chapter books on a weekly basis and working on cursive through Handwriting Without Tears.

Joff covers history.

We do a science lesson when the whim hits us.Last week we learned all kinds of crazy things about toads, frogs and amphibians in general when Katie caught and adopted a toad she found in the garden, she released him yesterday back into the garden. The thing I learned about toads that I would never have guessed is that they have personality, Leaper (the toad) was full of expression. Who knew?


Oh the things I have learned in this last year. And all it took was letting go! I was bound and determined to be a Photographer, to photograph other people, to start a business. Because I was good, so why not? Right? Right?


I am so happy learning to not be obsessive about perfection, about technicalities and somehow or other I think I have improved immensely anyway. For a few years, every time I took a shot it had to be perfect, forget dirty faces and kids being kids, I wanted perfection. But life isn’t perfection, life is brutal and real and honest and full of imperfections. I am learning to embrace those imperfections, not just in photography but in all aspects of my life.

I am happy with where I am in photography right now. I would still love to share my photography, I still intend to get back into shooting and offering sessions. But now, now I am in no big hurry, I am enoying taking snapshots of my kids, dirty faces, cluttered backgrounds in all:).


And now back to find out the winner of the Dishes/Laundry death match.