Uncategorized, writing

Strong is the New Pretty

Grasshoppers-44I saw a book advertised on http://www.amightygirl.com today called “Strong is the New Pretty – A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves.”

Strong is the New Pretty.  What an awesome message to send little girls.  As I edited some photos from Wyokiddo’s final Pee Wee soccer game, I realized how far we’ve come, as women, in terms of how we view ourselves and how was ask others to view us.

I grew up a tomboy.  My favorite sport was soccer.  Across a league of more than 100 kids in my grade level, I’d say there were less than 10 girls in the league.  My best friend and I were two of them.  We played with boys and were coached by men.  Always men.  Same with baseball and basketball.  The girls were often treated as second-class citizens, usually plunked on the bench to wait for the boys to run up the score or shoved in the outfield because they boys had the infield covered.

I once asked a soccer coach if I could please play offense in one game.  He told me something like “I have to have girls on my team.  I don’t have to let you lose the game for us.”

Never mind that some of us were, GASP, actually talented, or HORROR OF HORRORS, actually better than the boys.

I knew I was facing an uphill battle.  I had wonderfully supportive parents that never forced their square peg daughter into the round mold society tried to dictate.  But my dad was upfront with me, telling me things like “A lot of men my age aren’t used to tough little girls that like sports.  They don’t think you can do it.  Keep working and prove them wrong.”

At first, the uphill battle didn’t bother me so much.  But after years of going to every practice, working my butt off and still not getting a chance, I sort of lost heart.  I knew I wasn’t as good as a lot of the boys.  But I also knew I was better than a lot of them, too.

Luckily, I found horses.  I had a strong, independent woman as a riding coach that didn’t take anybody’s grief.  In her and the other girls I rode with, I found my tribe.  I think that’s one of the reasons I loved riding and showing horses so much.  It didn’t matter if I was a girl.  I was judged on my abilities and performance, not my genes.  And everywhere I turned in the horse show world were encouraging, supportive, kind women and men.  We competed, but we were all a family, too.

Now, some thirty years later, Wyokiddo is playing soccer.  She has a team of six, and four of them are girls.  Her coach this year is a woman, and she is awesome.  Coach Kaitlyn has helped the kids improve some basic skills and introduced them to concepts like offense and defense and making stops.

I know there will come a point in time where Wyokiddo will be told “Girls can’t do that!” or not treated the same because she isn’t a boy.  But I love that her introduction to sports is filled with girls and women alike showing the world that yes, yes we can.  And that strong really is the new pretty.

Teresa

country life, Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

Snakebit

Puffy Roxy DogYesterday was a rough one for our household.  As the temperatures climbed to above 85 degrees, Wyokiddo and our dogs sought refuge in the water.  We headed to a local reservoir to play in the shallow water and enjoy the beautiful spring day.  We splashed, sang songs and even got to see our first painted turtle up close.

But when I went to unload the dogs from the covered bed of the pickup, I noticed something was wrong with Roxy, our 10-year old lab/German shepherd cross.  She didn’t want to get out of the pickup and was hanging her head to one side.  I reached for her and she snapped at me.  This is same dog who seeks out the preschooler to play dress up.

I looked her over and noticed her ear was bleeding and her face was starting to swell up.  A knot started to form in the pit of my stomach when I realized she’d likely been bitten by a rattlesnake.

Snakes are an unfortunate reality in our corner of the world.  We live with them, watch where we step and avoid the tall grass when it warms up each spring.  But in allowing the dogs to roam free as we played, I’d inadvertently put them at risk.

After a brief consultation with Outdoor Guy, Wyokiddo and I loaded back in the pickup and hauled into town to our local vet.  By the time we reached the vet 20 minutes later, the swelling had reached Roxy’s neck.   To my untrained eye, she acted as if she were in shock.

The wonderful vets at Goshen County Vet Clinic took care of us immediately.  They agreed with my snakebite assessment and took Roxy back for immediate treatment.  When the doctor told us Roxy would have to stay the weekend at the vet clinic, poor Wyokiddo welled up with tears.

Oh God.  This whole time, I’d been worrying about the dog and dealing with my fear over my dog.  I hadn’t stopped to consider all of it through 4-year old eyes.  The vet and vet tech gave us every reason to be hopeful, but warned that some dogs don’t make it.  We said goodbye to Roxy, just in case, and left the clinic in a somber mood.

I stopped at the soda shop thinking a cool treat would life our spirits.  As we waited in the drive-through, Wyokiddo asked “Mama, where is Roxy’s favorite place to be?”

“I don’t know kiddo.  I think anywhere we are is her favorite place.  Why?”

“In case she dies.  I want to put her ashes in her favorite place.”

I lost it.  Right there, in the AJ’s drive-through, tears spilling down on my waiting cash.  This poor kid has seen and processed too much death, I thought.  Her grandpa, two dogs and pet fish, all in less than 18 months.

“Please don’t let her lose this dog, too,” I prayed silently.  “This should not be how we have to say goodbye.”

So we talked some about how Roxy was in the best place she could be, being cared for by animal doctors who knew just what to do.  Wyokiddo settled into her drink.  I wiped away tears and tried to get it together for my kid.

When I laid Wyokiddo down for a nap, she asked if we could pray to God to keep Roxy safe and help her get better.  “Sometimes it helps to talk to God, Mama.  That’s what you told me.”

I stand in awe of this beautiful little soul.

Thankfully, when we called the clinic in the morning, they said our sweet old dog was up, wagging her tail and ready to come home.  Mama, Wyokiddo and even the stalwart Outdoor Guy were happy to greet her a few hours later.  Tonight, she’s resting comfortably but still a little swollen.  Wyokiddo is snuggled in next to her daddy, content and happy now that her best dog is home.  It’s a sight more beautiful than anything I could imagine.

Teresa

photography, sports, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Getting My Kicks

Emily

Last fall, Wyokiddo asked to play soccer.  Quite frankly, I was a bit stunned.  She isn’t a huge fan of sports and hasn’t really expressed an interest in them before.  But we signed her up.  She loved it so much, she’s playing again this spring.

I take photos at her games for a few reasons.  One, it’s good practice at some action photography shots.  And two, it keeps me from getting too intense.

Yes, I’m one of those parents.  Or I would be if I didn’t make a conscious effort to keep my nose out of her on-field business.  Every once in a while, I’ll slip and try to coach instead of encourage.  But if I put a camera in my hands, I’m paying more attention to it than worrying about the performance of my kid.  Which for this competitive mama, is a good thing.

Here’s hoping this technique lasts me for quite a while.  Lord help me if the kid is ever good enough to play varsity.

These action shots are also a great way to practice some graphic design skills.  I’m getting more experienced with Photoshop and the powers of digital design.  If only parenting were as easy as turning on or off the layers of ourselves we don’t really want.

Teresa

nature, photography, Uncategorized

Peacock!

Peacock-1.JPG

A few weeks ago, Wyokiddo and had a girls’ day out.  We stopped by the Riverside Discovery Center in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  It’s a small zoo, but for western Nebraska, it’s a pretty cool place.

One of the highlights is always the peacocks and peahens that roam freely about.  This boy’s feathers were the perfect thing to brighten up the gray day.

Teresa

photography, Uncategorized

Mom & Me Sessions!

It’s usually Mom that takes the photos.  She takes photos of the kids, the pets, the house and the trips.  She’s usually so busy behind the camera that she’s rarely in the photos.  Let’s change that!  Give the hard-working mom in your life a Mom & Me photography session to showcase her beautiful soul and tender relationship with her family.

We’ll work together to find a beautiful location and great lighting and then just let Mom shine.  For 35 minutes, I’ll help make Mom feel beautiful and blessed as we create beautiful images of her surrounded by the people she loves most in the world.

You can book the session now or buy a gift card! Add a photo package so Mom only has to pick her favorites and I will print and ship them directly to you.  Mom & Me sessions can be customized to include the whole family. A perfect present for wives, moms and even moms-to-be! Call or text Teresa at (307) 575-0211.

Mothers Day Sessions

Teresa

nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife, Wyoming

Floating Hubcap

This is how I spent my morning…crawling along an irrigation ditch, camera in hand, trying to stalk a massive snapping turtle.

I spent an hour this morning watching this snapping turtle cruise down our irrigation ditch. It was amazing to see how he’d drift along, then raise his tail to use as a rudder. We see this turtle each spring. I’m guessing he’s pretty old because he is absolutely massive. His entire carapace is probably bigger than a foot and a half across. He lifted his head out of the water once, briefly, before submerging completely and I lost sight of him.

Turtles, frogs and other things that creep and crawl might not be as majestic as a grizzly bear or regal as the wolf, but they are still fascinating creatures. I for one am glad that our state is filled with the good, the bad and the ugly. Makes life more interesting, don’t you think?

Snapping Turtle-1DRWSnapping Turtle-3DRWSnapping Turtle-4DRW

Uncategorized

Mallory & Jay – Denver, Colorado

Two Wyomingites living south of the border.  No, not Mexico.  Colorado.  While finances and jobs led them away from our state, family and love of the outdoors keeps them connected to Wyoming.  Their love of each other, and maybe the occasional night out dancing, keeps them connected to each other.

Mallory and Jay braved the Wyoming wind, puncture vine and snakes to find a few calm spots on Mallory’s parents’ farm for some engagement shots.  In between a little rock climbing gentle teasing from Jay, Mallory shared plans for their September wedding.

I won’t give away the details, but I think the location, the Ivinson Mansion in Laramie, Wyoming, suits them.  It will be elegant but hip with just a touch of down-home country…stay tuned!

Mallory and Jay Finals-1Mallory and Jay Finals-17Mallory and Jay Finals-25Mallory and Jay Finals-35Mallory and Jay Finals-57

Uncategorized

The Dirt Gene

Emily Blocks-1-2Although scientists haven’t identified it yet, I suspect that somewhere in our DNA is the dirt gene.  It is the gene that drives some of us to be outside, soaking up sunshine, playing with bugs and climbing trees.  It is the gene that feeds our need to run our hands in soft earth, squish mud between our toes or race sticks in a stream.

There actually is a name for this need to connect with natural systems and other living things.  It’s called biophilia, and it was discussed by Edward O. Wilson in the mid 1980s.  Wilson believed that all humans subconsciously seek these connections.  But even his theory isn’t new.  Aristotle put forth a similar concept that he described as “a love of life.”

While everyone may possess this dirt gene, this biophilia, some folks’ genes express themselves more firmly than others.

Wyokiddo has the dirt gene.   It’s sequenced somewhere between her gene that determines eye color and the one that gives her curly hair.

In the last few days, my child has asked to go fishing, hiking and catch bugs.  At the park, she skipped playing dolls to have a sword fight with the boys and roll around in the grass.  She climbs rocks, jumps off fallen logs, pokes sticks in holes and rubs her face against the bark of trees.

She doesn’t understand it, but feeding those dirt genes is making her healthy, happy and strong.  She’s improving her powers of concentration, stimulating creativity and developing critical thinking skills.  All this outdoor time also builds her confidence.  She’s activating her senses in a way that a screen or a book never could.

Wyokiddo just thinks its fun to play outside.

So I’ll let her feed those dirt genes.  I’ll let her bail off a 3 foot wall and roll in the grass.  I’ll give her a net to catch butterflies and haul her all over this county to explore new areas and terrain.  Because I know feeding the dirt gene is also feeding her mind, her body and her soul.

Besides, she got some of those dirt genes from me.  I like to play outside, too.

Happy Earth Day.

-Teresa

 

 

nature, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife

Springtime Messenger

Robin 2 DRWI’m participating in a 52 Week Photo Challenge. The topic this week is spring.  What to shoot, what to shoot?  Flowers, budding trees, frogs, newborn calves…all of these remind me of spring and the rebirth that the season brings.

But since I had to choose just one, it was this guy.  Nothing is sweeter music to my tired winter ears than the song of the American Robin. I shot photos that were more artistic and colorful, but as a harbringer of springtime in Wyoming, the robin can’t be beat.

Teresa