Posts in Category: Personal

The Next Generation

Aerial over Logan Airport
In fourth grade, I met my lifelong best friends. The four of us, Kristin, Stacy and Sara, were inseparable from age eight to eighteen.

20 Years of Friendship: 9th Grade Formal to My Wedding

Since then, we have almost quite literally moved to the four corners of the country: Seattle, Chicago, Boston, and Texas/Norfolk/San Diego. Still, we have been bridesmaids in each others wedding and have a stunning ability to come back together as if no time has passed.
Aerial over Charlotte
As a pilot in the Navy, Kristin’s husband, has helped them to travel the country and now the family is preparing for a two year deployment in Japan.
Three Months
Before they take to the skies, we gathered together in Virginia to meet her newest addition, Marian Grace, and spend time with her incredibly delightful two-year-old, Audrey.
Tickle!To say they stole my heart is a tremendous under statement.  When Audrey asked, “Can Auntie Beth put me to bed?”  I was hers forever.

  • Norfolk Botanical Garden
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden

Spring was in full bloom in Virginia, a welcome break from Boston and Chicago’s long frigid winter.  We spent most of a day wandering through the blooms in the Norfolk Botanical Garden.  Audrey made hypotheses about whether the yellow and the white daffodils would smell the same and found a multitude of fossilized teeth (some might also call them sticks).

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Sometimes I forget how fascinating the world can be.

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  • Three Months

Three Months

It’s hard to believe that the next time I see her on US ground she will be as old as her big sister.  I am amazed watching these little girls grow up.  The first time I met Audrey she was three months old (below).

Audrey: 3 Months

And now, Marian is the very same age.

Three Months

I just can’t wait to see them all again, maybe next time in Asia?
Aerial Over Boston


Check out even more cuteness in the gallery.


kennebunkport-28As we prepare for Dorothy’s baby to arrive, a few of our best girlfriends took a quiet weekend in March to travel to beautiful Kennebunkport, Maine for some much needed recharging, catching up, and reflection.


To the best of Dorothy’s knowledge, the weekend was a wonderful opportunity for our college girlfriends to start a yearly tradition of reuniting.  Many of us have married, so we don’t have weddings as a convenient excuse to see each other every year.  I think it is so important for us not to lose touch with those we love, even when the pace of life makes it so easy for time to slip by.


We wanted to set aside a time to stop and be together.


In our society, we rarely come together to celebrate babies in the way women historically did.  As we planned this first weekend of female bonding, I couldn’t think of anything better than also rejoicing in the new life about to join our community and the mother bringing him into the world.


In preparation for this special weekend, we handcrafted decorations in the colors of the baby room to bring a personal touch to the day.  In just a couple weeks we will be using these creations in his newborn photographs!


We planned a morning yoga class just for her.  She was completely surprised (and I love a good surprise!).


Amy from GLOW studio and spa, hosted such a personalized class for us, including a reading from a book our book club had selected in Dorothy’s honor: The Red Tent.





Though we all went to the same university, this group of women truly became friends post-graduation in a book club we continued for years after college.



So, we couldn’t imagine a better gift for this new addition, than a children’s book library of his own.  Each of us brought him our favorite children’s book, which we hope he will grow to love as much as we have.

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We began each morning with a warm breakfast and coffee overlooking this view.








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And ended each evening watching the ocean, the fireplace and sipping a glass of wine.


Our last morning morning, we curled up with the books everyone brought for the baby’s library and read to him for the first time snuggled on the bed in front of the fireplace.


We can’t wait to share all of the love we already have for this littlest one and accompany Dorothy into this new stage of life.


In a Winter Wonderland

As I get older, I see holidays in Michigan with such different eyes.  I relish the peacefulness, the warmth (well, not literally, obviously), and the serene beauty.


Although the holidays have come and gone, as I am feeling nostalgic for those lovely weeks I thought I would share a couple images of Traverse City in the winter.

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Despite snowing every day and rarely getting above double digits, we stayed warm and cozy with wonderful food and company.  My brother, now a coffee aficionado, found these old coffee pots and macguivered them so that they could make a mildly successful to decent cup of coffee.  It was particularly cool watching the vacuum pot do its magic and seeing my grandparents old pot make one more (likely its last, because it really wasn’t good) cup of coffee.  

(Jake also gave everyone harissa for a holiday present, as you can tell my mother may not have been completely prepared for the spice as she put it directly on her tongue.)

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For us, there is nothing like Christmas eve dinner with our closest family friends.  We eat three courses of fondue and get to catch up all together, sometimes for the only time all year.  With our favorite foods and people, we all do whatever we can each year to come from all over the country and end up together at this table over the holidays.  

Truly, it snowed every single day we were home.

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These downy flakes transformed life into a snow globe.

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This year, I knit everyone hats.  I cannot claim credit for my brother’s hat.  Although, he swears he’s not a bonafide hipster anymore, he definitely already had the slouchy, I-wear-it-inside-hat.

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By the time we went home, the county had already had 10 feet of snow (you can tell because they track it on the local tire shop).  We tried to get outside in it every day, exploring downtown and taking this gorgeous walk along the marina.  For whatever reason, despite the temperature, I am never as cold in Michigan as I am elsewhere.  Maybe it is the free mulled cider that they provide downtown. . .


Always my biggest highlight of going home, is spending time with my Grandmother.  She is the funniest, kindest and most interesting woman.  She also tells the. best. stories.  

Michigan_17 I have begun a project of capturing some of the stories she tells about her life via audio and photograph. I am really excited to be heading back to Michigan at the beginning of February to get the next installment of her stories. As this project gels and evolves I will hope to share pieces of it with you all in the next several months.

Michigan_16 I’m tremendously grateful that it is only a matter of weeks until I get to return to Michigan, even if only for a few days.  What a lovely and special place.  I hope your holidays were as well.

Happy 2014!


Westward Adventuring

I am a creature of the spring and the summer. So this morning, as I reached for my fall jacket, realizing that it was too cold for a one-layer walk to the bus, I found myself daydreaming about summer and the traveling to beautiful warm places. In case you are also craving some warm sunshine, I thought I would share some pictures from our trip through the Pacific Northwest.
Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR My husband and I kicked off our trip in the City of Roses: Portland, Oregon. I didn’t realize how literally that name was meant.

  • 2013-0Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR

The Portland Rose Test garden, was one of the most beautiful displays of flowers I have ever seen. The air smelled divine. The colors and variations were astonishing. I kept wishing I had a bride and groom to photograph amidst the display.

  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR
  • Rose Test Garden, Portland, OR

Fully saturated with colors and a little warm, we wandered up the hill to find the Japanese garden. As we entered through the archway the cool, quiet suffused the summer air.  The entire landscape had been so thoughtfully composed in a mixture of greens, textures, and elegantly arching lines,

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

  • Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
  • Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
  • Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

We were told by the guide that every element of the garden was crafted purposefully. The bench in the far right picture (it’s tiny on the edge) was the first piece installed and it took months to determine the exact height of the center stone that would be most advantageous to the space as a whole.

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

The trickle of the water and the movement of the koi were so relaxing. We would have stayed here all afternoon, if we hadn’t gotten hungry for lunch.

Japanese Garden, Portland, OR

Portland was filled to the hilt with farmer’s markets. We certainly didn’t take advantage of every market, but I think that we tried.

  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR
  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR
  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR
  • PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR

Once our friends, Andy and Caitlyn joined us in Portland, we had to head south. However, before we left, we visited the Portland State University farmer’s market in the morning, but made sure to leave early enough that we could get to the Corvallis farmer’s market for lunch.

PSU Farmer's Market, Portland, OR

Yes, we are those people. But, who wouldn’t be with warm artichoke filled tamales for breakfast in Portland, and a lunch by the river with sun-warmed berries and fresh local goat cheese.

Corvallis, ORWe were lucky enough to stay with Jason’s best friend’s parents in Corvallis (we brought his mother some of those lovely zinnias). In Corvallis, we hiked Bald Hill for this beautiful view. Truly, I found myself wishing that we could pull off and go hiking most of the time that we were in Oregon. I even tried to convince the group more times than maybe I should have (sorry guys!), but every vista was so lovely that I just wanted to see more.

Swimming Hole and Bald Hill, Corvallis, OR

After a warm trek up the “hill” (which in our parts of the country we would call a mountain), we found a local waterhole and went swimming. It felt like Michigan, with the train trellis over the water, and children floating on the water in an air mattress. We even found a baby crawfish!

View from the vineyard in Ashland, OR

As we continued south, through Oregon wine country, we stopped at a wonderful vineyard overlooking this view. We learned how to appropriately smell and taste wine. Now, we can at least look like those obnoxious people slurping their wine to “taste the notes of plum”. Realistically, I think knowing that we could will be enough for us. We then stayed in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Shakespeare Festival. I loved Ashland: the quaint downtown, the adorable houses on the hill overlooking the mountains, the free “green show” on the town commons every night. I was having images of retiring there, eating good food with friends outdoors under the twinkling lights hanging in the arbors and then taking a stroll at dusk through the neighborhood. Although, we are far from retirement, on our walk through the neighborhood, we did see two baby fawns feeding from a mother doe in someone’s backyard. We couldn’t have been more than four feet away from them. It was magical. Did I mention, I really loved it there?

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Having reached our southern most point of our trip, we turned back towards Portland. On the way, we found another river and stopped for a dip. Here, Caitlin found this amazingly cool Goliath slug. On this trip we learned A LOT about slugs. Caitlin had done a unit for her fourth grade class on snails and mollusks, and honestly, she helped us all to see the world in a more fascinated way. It is one of the many things I love about Caitlin, is her intense curiosity about the world around her and how she shares that with others.

Spencer's Butte, Eugene, OR

On the way back we stopped in Eugene, OR, where we captured the view from Spencer’s Butte. There’s a pun here, but I’ll just say that it was gorgeous. As we sat at the top admiring the stunning views of the Willamette Valley, a flight of butterflies circled around us. I feel so lucky to have gotten to see a piece of Oregon’s beauty.

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After another stop in Portland, we left Oregon and made our way to the Olympic peninsula and Lake Quinault in Washington. I had never seen a temperate rainforest before and was overwhelmed. The hiking trails were studded with berries in hues from amber to amethyst. The trees were dripping with moss. There was a crazy juxiposition of scale throughout the forest, from clover the size of your palm and leaves the size of Caitlin’s head, an entire forest of tiny trees on the cross-section of a log.

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Andy, Caitlin, Jason and I happened upon a rustic lodge restaurant after our hike, where we enjoyed a bottle of wine and a stunning view over the lake.  And what could make it more perfect?  Lawn sports!  It’s like they knew we were coming.  After dinner, we took a drive to see the waterfalls further down on the peninsula.  We couldn’t believe it when we spotted in the field a whole herd of wild elk, even a mother with two babies.

Lake Quinault, Olympic Peninsula, WA at dawnA photographer is always a photographer, even on vacation.  So, to get the pretty morning light, Jason and I woke up before the dawn so I could get the truly lovely photos.  This was the view out of the front door of our cottage.  Following are just a few of the images from our hike.

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Lake Quinault and Mount Rainier, WA

Our last stop was just a quick couple days in Seattle.  The city was fantastic: beautiful, with views of city, water and mountains (above is Mount Rainier), closer together than I have ever seen in a metropolitan area.  The second grader in me still thought that the coolest part of the entire stay in Seattle was watching the salmon jump up the fish ladder.  Although it reminded me of an elementary school field trip, I loved it.  The struggle, the victory, the defeat as the fish swam and then hurtled themselves against the current up to the next step of the ladder to make it home to spawn.  Those fish were working way harder than I ever work in a Baptiste Yoga class!  If they broadcast that, I just might watch it.  Although, I was cheering too hard to photograph the fish, I do have a few images from the lovely botanical gardens next door.

Poppies in Carl English Botanical Gardens in Seattle, WAI am so grateful that Caitlin and Andy came adventuring with us.  We listened to lots of NPR podcasts; had wonderful conversations and saw a new part of the country that I cannot wait to return to see again.  This is one of the many reasons I love photographs, because this way we can return again and again whenever we choose.