family camping :: minneapolis family lifestyle photographer

I spent last Saturday afternoon with my brother and his family, and their beautiful "new" Shasta vintage camper trailer. I had a whole concept session in my mind, where we would take out the camper to a state park, make a bonfire, roast s'mores, hang out together, and I would document the experience. But as the day approached, we decided none of us had either the time or energy to drive to a state park. So in the all too brief time between naps and dinner, we set up the camper in a local park and had fun together playing dominoes, climbing trees, and snacking. These three kids mean the world to me. Now that I live just a stone's throw from them, the cousins are able to play together all the time. Spontaneous playdates and family dinners... sleepovers... trips to the playground...my kids absolutely adore their cousins.

I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful, wonderful family.

I still would really LOVE to do a camping photo session, so if your family is planning a late summer camping trip, consider having me tag along for a couple hours to document your time together. This is the kind of session I love the most - capturing your family together, doing the things you love most.

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letting go

I've been thinking for a long time about writing this blog post, but it wasn't until I read this quote, that I felt compelled to start writing... Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day. ~ Zen Proverb

Owning and running my own photography business gives me the opportunity to learn new things every day...

how to gain and keep new clients. how to run quickbooks and file sales taxes. how to manage my time. how to constantly improve my shooting technique. how to price my work so I can support my family. how to best capture the beauty of the everyday, the wondrously imperfect world we live in. how to balance running a business and spending time with my 3 kids. the list goes on and on...

The letting go is harder for me. These past few years have been a long and very difficult journey in letting go. You see, I'm going through a divorce.

And there are so many things I am working on letting go...

letting go of the life I had planned. letting go of my attachment to the marriage, even though it was clearly over. letting go of my anger. letting go of my fear of the unknown. letting go of the hurt. letting go of the past, to make room for the future.

These past 5 years have been unquestionably the most difficult years of my life, and now it is time for me to start the next chapter. Two months ago, I moved out of our family home. The home where all 3 of our children were born. I found a new home across the river and am starting out fresh, on a new path. The kids and I are settling in, and finding our new normal.

I've rekindled friendships that had gone dormant for years while I turned inward, trying to remain strong for our kids while my marriage was crumbling. I've found new friends that have offered endless support, and for this, I am endlessly thankful. I've lost friends I thought I could trust, and have felt the pain and grief of losing their friendship and support. I've learned more about myself in the past few months than I could have ever imagined.

My husband and I had been together for almost 20 years. That's half of my life. My entire adult life. So while I'm going through a really difficult time adjusting, I have also been given the opportunity, the gift, really, to rediscover who I am. I'm an introvert, that I already knew. But I thought I would completely relish and indulge in the long weekends alone, when the kids are at their dad's house. Turns out, it's a whole cacophony of emotion. Relief. Loneliness. Anger. Quiet. Joy. Confusion. Hurt. Happiness. Introspection. Dejection. Worry. Peace. Hope. Often times changing from one minute to the next.

I'm rediscovering the things that give me comfort... Reading fiction. Eating ice cream. Spending time with friends. Writing. Walking around the lake. Listening to music. Baking cookies. Taking pictures. Slowing down...

The letting go part is hard. Really hard. But necessary. I'm still working on it, and will be for a long time. And in the meantime, I am taking comfort in the hope for the future, that this is the right decision for our family, and we can all move forward to better days.

I want to say thank you to all of my friends, family, and clients who have offered support to me in these past few months. Your love and care is appreciated beyond words. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

 

iphone photography outdoor lake sunset

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. --Joesph Campbell

india :: day 8, weekend sightseeing

On our second weekend in India, we spent some time traveling and playing tourist. While it was a frantic, whirlwind weekend trying to fit everything in, we saw some remarkable sights. First we visited some of the temples in the town of Kanchipuram, which is considered to be one of the seven holiest cities to the Hindus. I loved the colorful shops outside the temples...

And inside the temple.

Blessed by an elephant!

Young couples wanting a family tie these little wooden cribs to the sacred tree in the temple, hoping they will be blessed with a baby.

Kailasanatha Temple...

After the temples, we drove on to Pondicherry, a former French colony.

We visited a silk shop on the way from Pondicherry to Mamallapuram. So beautiful watching them work the looms...

This was all in one day. Exhausting. Day two to come...

india :: our indian cooking lesson

One afternoon a few volunteers spent some time with our cook, and she showed us how to make a couple of our favorite dishes - a peanut coconut curry sauce, and curried cauliflower. Can't wait to try these at home, but I must admit I'm loving the break from spicy foods! The peanut curry dish...

Start with unroasted peanuts, skins on. Roast the peanuts until they start to turn dark brown.

When the peanuts have cooled, remove the skins by rubbing them in your hand and shaking off the loose skins. She said we could just start with no skins and skip this step.

Add these ingredients to the peanuts in the blender: chopped coconut, cilantro, 3 chili peppers (also roasted until they start to turn dark brown, more if you want it spicier), curry leaves, dried tamarind fruit, enough water to make saucy.

Of course, no measurements on any of these, they just go by taste/experience...

Saute mustard seeds & fresh curry leaves in oil (they used sunflower oil) for 1 minute, add peanut sauce from blender. Add salt & water to taste. Delish!

And the curried cauliflower dish...

Parboil the cauliflower.

Chop coconut meat to small pieces. Peel garlic & ginger. Add water.

Add fennel seeds.

Add cloves.

Add cinnamon. They used cinnamon curls, right from the stick. So aromatic.

Chop 3 tomatoes.

Blend all ingredients except cauliflower, adding water as needed.

Saute onions, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Add blended ingredients.

Add 2 huge spoons of curry powder.

Add 1 small spoon turmeric and salt to taste. Add small amount of tamarind juice (soak tamarind fruit in water).

Simmer all ingredients including cauliflower until soft.

And... I'm a complete dork. I didn't get a photo of the completed dish.

total. complete. dork.