I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


4th of july & a valuable lesson

Happy 4th of July. One of my very favorite holidays! One of my other favorite things? Photography.

So what better opportunity to combine two of my loves? Photographing the fireworks.

We’re up at the lake this weekend and on the night of the 3rd, there’s an awesome firework display right on the lake. This year, with my newly honed photography skills, I was super excited to experiment photographing the fireworks.

Before I get to that experiment, let me back up to the hours leading up to the firework display. Piper spent the majority of the day with a friend who’s family has a house up here and is vacationing this weekend too. When it was time to say good-bye, Piper’s eyes were full of her famous crocodile tears and she was close to a melt-down.

Beside this, there’s the little fact of timing of the fireworks … which are well after this task-master’s set bedtime for her kids!


Darkness sets in, Piper’s c.r.a.n.k.y!, we’re scrambling to get the kids together, make a snack, get them in warm clothing, flashlights, etc. All the while, I’m excited to get my camera on the tripod and get it set up.

We venture outside … Piper’s crying that she wants to stay in {she’s had super sensitive hearing since birth} because of the loudness. Oh! and did I mention she’s having a melt-down crying?

Full steam ahead, we drag her down to a small lake house on the water where CJ was going sit on the roof with the girls and I was going to set my tripod up on the dock below them. We told Piper she could sit inside the house during the fireworks.

This might sound all patient like and caring … but it wasn’t. It was threating, telling her “fine, but you’re going to miss everything.” “Fine, but you’re going to be in the house by yourself.” “Fine, but you won’t get any snacks.” You know {or at least I hope you can relate}, all that awesome mom-of-the-year award-winning parenting.


Everyone’s getting settled, we get Piper set in the house. She’s still crying, but we pretty much give up and leave. Note: we’re literally just outside the door from where she’s sitting.

I grab my camera and am excited to go down the stairs to set it up on the dock. My brother-in-law is already down there {I knew he was} getting his camera set up, and I set my tripod next to his. He gives me an evil glare {no lie!} and tells me we can’t both shoot from down there. Seriously?!?

I sort of give a huff and say I’ll find another spot. I failed to realize, there really wasn’t another spot.

Tears starting to form {yeah, I can be sensitive}, I go back up to the balcony and set up there. Right in front of a large tree.

The fireworks started and I wasn’t getting much, they were all going off right behind the tree. And worse even … I had a straight line of vision to my BIL’s camera below me, so I could see everything he was getting that I wasn’t.

I did my best to get a few shots. It was totally going to be a learning, practice thing, I just really thought I’d have more time and material to work with. Not so.

I really liked this shot below … you can see my family and friends in the lower right corner of the image. And all the little dotted lights along the bottom of the image are the boats in the water facing the firework display.

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Anyway. I’m standing on the balcony all full of bitterness, taking some pretty useless and crappy photos. Piper’s in the house behind me sad, tired and probably a little scared. And in front of me, I see the rest of my family sitting on the roof enjoying a beautiful display of fireworks.

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I managed one creative thought and shot directly through the trees, while quickly turning the zoom on my camera {forgot my wide angle at home} … and got this image. Not bad. But not good enough to keep me shooting and trying for more. I suddenly had this thought of “what the heck am I doing?”

I shut my camera off and went inside with Piper. We snuggled and watched the fireworks through an even worse view than I had while take photos. A few minutes later, Wynter came in and snuggled with us too.

I guess in a way, I’m glad it happened that I didn’t get the spot on the dock. Yeah, I was bitter as heck and you bet CJ heard exactly how I felt about his bro at that moment … but in hindsight … wasn’t it much better to sit with my tired, cranky, scared little girl? Enjoy my favorite holiday and firework display with the ones I love?

There will be other times to photograph fireworks. And even if there aren’t … will I be any worse off?

Again, would my kids rather see some photos mom took of a firework display … or would they rather remember the night that mom came in and held me and made it all better?

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Look at these girls. They’ve grown too fast … they continue to grow too fast. I need to remember what’s important.

Taylor’s going to be a freshman next year … yikes! Last I looked, she was Piper’s age below …

Taylor’s in Texas this weekend visiting her dad. I miss her something fierce. She’s having a hard time this weekend for some reason … says she’ll talk to me about it when she’s home. She had a tweet that read “I didn’t know I could miss home so much.” Can’t wait to hold her tomorrow!

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Big sigh.

And since I was posting a few photos, I thought I’d throw in a few more … :)

Here’s Wynter working on a hopscotch game. It was adorable watching her so intent on her work. She made 23 boxes and was super proud.

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I mentioned Piper’s school friend who’s also up here this weekend. The girls kind of teeter-tottered between houses yesterday … but here’s a moment when we went out fishing. I have yet to post about our recent trip to Canada for fishing, where Piper really honed her fishing skills. But here’s Piper teaching Ellie how to cast … too cute!

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Okay, now for some grossness. I tweeted about a frog and a spider the girls found … well, here’s the spider with her eggs. We finally decided to let it go … just in case her eggs hatched, the netting of the bug house would in no way contain 100’s of baby spiders! Eeek!

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And to counter the grossness … how ’bout some cuteness? This is our little mini-dachshund, Puddles.

Curt and I have gone biking each morning and CJ likes to take the doggie along. He’s incredible {the dog that is! :)}, he runs along-side us and keeps up. Note: car traffic is scarce.

10 miles for a small dog can be a bit grueling though. At one point yesterday, I realized CJ wasn’t behind me, so I stopped and waited. He finally came over a hill, but Puds was no where around. I started riding again and yelled to Curt, asking where the dog was. He said he’d sent him home. This was about 4 miles from home.

I was shocked. How would he know where ‘home’ was … he’ll just know Curt yelled back.

Alrighty then. I continue with my ride.

Shortly after that, CJ passed me … I look up and see the image below …

How cute is that?

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I hope the 4th is treating you well. And I hope you take some time out of your day to remember the men and women who fought, sacrificed and gave their lives so we could have the freedom we enjoy today.

God … bless America.

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Posted in family photos, family thoughts, holiday, mom-of-the-year

5 Responses to “4th of july & a valuable lesson”

  1. Amy says:

    Snuggling with the girls, sweet moment! One among millions that they will treasure close to their hearts. Beautiful pictures all around. Love hearing about the adventures.

  2. cyndi says:

    Your blog is quickly becoming my favorite! I love the realness of your posts and more often than not something you’ve written about strikes me and I find myself really thinking about what you said. Case in point…I’m a total “taskmaster” and often let the little moments pass by because they interfere with my “plan.” Most of the time it would be just fine to stop and enjoy the moment but I’m too caught up in “get it done” mode to notice.

    I’m also the one who is so focused on getting the “perfect shot” that I miss the actual experience. I’m really trying to balance my new found love of photography + documenting important/fun times in our life with enjoying the actual moment that makes the time so special. This post REALLY hit home with me!! Kudos to you for living the moment! Your girls will most definitely remember snuggling on the couch with you more than they would the insanely awesome pictures you could have snapped had you been able to set up on the dock.

    Happy 4th of July!!

  3. Heather says:

    and just as important is the memories mom will have! good choice my friend!!! :-)

  4. Elizabeth says:

    What a sweet memory for you and your girls. That will mean so much more for so much longer than some pictures of fireworks. I especially love the picture of your dog–such a precious little face!

  5. Kathleen says:

    Good for you! It’s so easy to lose sight of the moment and the memories for the perfect shot. You made the right choice! :)

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