slide show

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Day in the Summer Life...

... for the littles at Little Cabin in the Woods
It's so good.
So very good.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cedar Creek Fire

On Wednesday of last week a forest fire started to the south of us. It quickly grew to 2,000 acres. Then 4,000, then 5,000, then 8,000, then 10,000 and is now holding pretty steady at 12,000+ acres. Our little community was put on "pre-evacuation" notice so we everyone could fill their car up with gasoline, gather up the things that just couldn't be left behind (pet supplies, medications...) and make a plan to get out of dodge, so that in the event that we were asked to evacuate, we could leave immediately. The fire has currently burnt right up to the trigger points, the lines that determines whether or not we are asked to evacuated. Although in the last couple days the wind shifted (wind is kinda unpredictable like that) and the fire started burning in the opposite direction of us. That's good. Not good that it's moving towards other communities. And not good that the wind is predicted to shift back towards our direction today. Forest fires are unpredictable and at the mercy of the wind and weather conditions. So we wait and see what is to come.
Cedar Creek Fire Day 1
Arizona is a state that lives with forest fires. We don't have hurricanes, tornadoes or earthquakes, but we do have brush fires, flash floods, droughts, and forest fires. So we know the drill. And until the authorities say otherwise, we're staying put at our Little Cabin in the Woods. If they do tell us to leave, we will be out of here in less than 5 minutes.
Cedar Creek Fire day 2 at sunset
Over the last 5 days we've watched the smoke billow on the horizon. As the winds have changed we've had smoke settle in our neighbor hood and some ash fall from the sky. All of this is happening when Arizona is having record breaking temperatures. Yesterday Phoenix was 118 degrees and it was the 95 degrees up here at Little Cabin int he Woods, the hottest I've ever experienced up here. This makes for even more unpredictable fire conditions.

Cedar Creek Fire day 5 as Skycranes fill at a local lake then head back towards the fire in the background. 

In 2002 I was pregnant with Boo, when we were evacuated for a fire that ultimately consumed almost 470,000 acres. And everyone here remembers this like it was yesterday. It was only 3 years ago after all and it's still pretty tender in our hearts. So everyone is erring on the side of caution for the firefighters, hotshots, and the communities effected by this fire. Of course it's good that way, and I wouldn't stay here one moment longer if I thought we were in any type of danger.
Meanwhile, back at the cabin, we are loving our summer despite the fire. Lots of folks have left town already, and that has left our little town extra quiet, just the way we like it! Jude and his buddies have the driving range and the golf course to themselves late in the afternoons, (even if there is smoke in the background) and he's pretty sure that's the same thing as heaven!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Star Student {Sennie}

Meet beautiful Sennie!
When I first "met" Sennie I was kinda fascinated with her life. She contacted me about my beginner's photography class and that's when I discovered her amazing wonderful blog. Actually I had already been perusing her blog before I even knew about here, and I learned that Sennie is Finnish, and she and her Captain have quadruplets and 2 daughters adopted from China. Their family splits it's time between Maine, Florida and the confines of a a 1991 Airstream as they travel the country. Sennie home schools the whole brood all the while. Well... we have that Chinese daughter thing in common... and we're both moms... but I think I'd be quaking in my boots to have quadruplets, much less teenager quadruplets and confine them all in a motorhome long term. As you can see, she's pretty amazing!
Sennie took my beginner's photography class. Then my editing class. I think she even took a took a couple more classes. And earlier this year we even got to meet each other in SanDiego at a photography workshop. I met one of the most beautiful, gentle souls in Sennie. She's the kind of woman that you'd really want as a best friend. Or sister. Or both! And that's also when I really learned about who Sennie is as a photographer. She's not your traditional portrait photographer. She's a real-life, see-the-beauty-in-your-everyday-moments photographer. Her lifestyle images regularly blow my mind!
I took my first photography class with Nancy a couple of years ago. I had an entry-level Nikon DSLR camera, and had been shooting in auto mode for a long while. When I saw her ad for learning how to use a DSLR camera and make sense of all the settings I knew I needed to take her the class. I had already taken a class at a local photography shop, and had tried to read about my camera online and from my manual, but had felt both a waste of time. I felt very discouraged, and wondered if I’d ever be able to learn to use my complicated camera.  
I contacted Nancy, and she was very encouraging and easy to talk to. I decided to try one more time. I found her class structure to be very helpful, having a group on Facebook to interact with, and being able to watch instructional videos at home when convenient for me. Having Nancy give feedback on images was most helpful. She was so encouraging as she taught everyone in the class, making it a joy to learn.

Nancy is a gifted photographer, and also a natural teacher. My very first Manual n’ More class is what unlocked for me this incredible journey.

A journey to rediscover a creative side of me. I thought I was learning the mechanics of my camera and learning to take better pictures of my children, but one class led to another, and a passion was born. A passion to see beauty, to see all those ordinary miracles around me, every day, and to record them with my camera, so I/we would not forget. And a passion to tell stories with my pictures. For my family, but also for others.

I have completely fallen in love with photography, and my life is so much richer for it. 

Thank you, Nancy,  for unlocking the mystery behind all those buttons on my camera, and for getting me started on my life-long journey!  ~Sennie

You are very welcome, Sennie. I assure you that the pleasure is all mine!

Sennie is just starting out doing family life-style images for hire. If I lived in Florida in the Vero Beach area, including parts of Orlando, West Palm Beach and Cocoa Beach I'd be all over that like white on rice! You can check out more of her amazing work HERE.
I honored to call Sennie my friend. I'm inspired by her photography, and now she's teaching me a thing or two about photographing the real un-staged moments of life. And I really hope we'll get to meet up in person again soon!

Monday, June 13, 2016


We're all settled in for the next 8 weeks at Little Cabin in the Woods. Sweet summer! It's my very favorite season. It's full of lots of nothing and lots of time to do it in. Our days are filled with things that are so insignificant that they hardly matter, and a realization that those little bitty nothings are the very things that made each day so special.
Like the sound of the wind as it blows through the pine trees. Late afternoon walks. Sitting on a neighbor's porch. Wildflower picking. Watching the squirrels. The kids are already covered in skinned knees and elbows. Reading a book. Making and eating popsicles and our favorite summer foods. The little family of foxes that live under the porch of our neighbor. Butterflies. Squirrels. And on this occasion, a caterpillar.
Tess and Jude lost interest eventually with the furry, crawly, and little visitor, but Mimi as pretty sure she'd found a new pet. I had to do some persuading, but eventually convinced her it was best to set it free so it could turn into a beautiful butterfly.
Lots of nothing at all to do and a whole bunch of time to do it in!
 And this little guy couldn't figure out what the big deal was all about!

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