photography, sports, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Getting My Kicks


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.


nature, Uncategorized, Wyoming

Girls Who Fish

First Fishing Trip.jpg

It’s spring break and Wyokiddo and I are out playing while Outdoor Guy tends to the birds.  Today, she requested we go fishing, so mid-morning we loaded up her Mickey Mouse fishing pole and some worms and we headed out.

The fishing was slow, so Wyokiddo had time to ponder the esoteric.

“Mama, why are there only boys out here?”

I set down my rod and contemplated how to answer her question.  Occasionally we’d see a woman fishing in a boat with her husband.  But by and large, anytime we were out in the field, it was men, or boys with their dads.  Very few little girls, and never just a mom and her daughter.

“Well, some girls haven’t ever had anyone take them fishing,” I tried to explain.  “They might live in a city where there isn’t any place to fish, or no one has ever shown them how.   And some girls don’t want to fish.  They think it’s boring or dirty or gross, or that it’s something only boys should do.  They don’t know how much fun it can be!”

Wyokiddo was quiet after that, dividing her attention between her bobber in the water and the ladybug crawling up her arm.

Several minutes later, she looked up at me and squinted against the late morning sun.

“Mama, let’s always be the kind of girls who fish.”

From her lips to God’s ears.  No matter where life takes this beautiful little soul, may she always be one of the girls who fish.


family, Kids, Uncategorized

Gifts from Little People


“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mama. Sorry they’re dead. But uh, it’s winter, so…”

Wyokiddo @ 4  years old.  If I’m being honest, I’ve received far less thoughtful gifts from far less cuter humans.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Show the world how big your heart is today, and every day.


family, Kids, photography, Uncategorized

First Loves

rocky-fish-final-drwMeet Rocky. He’s Wyokiddo’s fish, bought to replace the gold fish she won at a 4-H carnival that died approximately 15 hours after we brought it home. Rocky is much more hearty, and photogenic. Thankfully.

Someday, we’ll tell Wyokiddo stories about her first pet. Stories like how for the first three weeks after his arrival, she’d wake up in the morning, run to his bowl and breathlessly exclaim “Oh thank goodness! Mama, Mama, Rocky didn’t die last night!”

Her enthusiasm for Rocky has waned a little bit with the arrival of Ziggy the puppy.  But I will still catch Wyokiddo standing at Rocky’s bowl, her finger tracing a path for Rocky to follow.  She chatters at him, telling the fish stories of her day, her friends and her life.

It warms my heart.  Somewhere in the heavens, there’s a chestnut mare with spots and an attitude that has all my childhood secrets woven through her thin, black mane.

Now Rocky will have Wyokiddo’s secrets, and she’ll always have a photo of this beautiful little guy.


family, Uncategorized, writing, Wyoming

The Mother of Invention

We’ve got a house full of new toys Wyokiddo received for Christmas.  But for almost two hours tonight, she entertained herself with a box, straws, tape, beads, feathers and pipe cleaners.  Lots and lots of pipe cleaners.

She was creating an “invention.”  I’m not clear on what the invention will do once it is finished.  I don’t know that she cares.  Wyokiddo was all about the process, attacking the placement of each hole, each bit of straw, with a great deal of concentration and seriousness.

Wyokiddo is too young for New Year’s Resolutions.  But I think I’ll take my cue from her and work to find joy and purpose in the little things that surround me.




country life, family, photography, Uncategorized

Chickens are the New Chihuahuas

Emily and Chicken-5

This week in micro-fashion…

Looking for the latest in back-to-school accessories for your preschooler? Might I suggest a pocket chicken! Boas are out, bantys are in! Pink, turquoise, t-shirts, leggings, they really do go with any outfit…

Meet Erica the Bantam rooster.  Erica-the-girl named Erica-the-rooster before anyone knew he was a she (the rooster, not the girl). The rooster belongs to Wyokiddo’s papa.  The erstwhile clucker-turned-crower quickly fell under the spell of the curly-haired dynamo.  Wyokiddo would pick up Erica and pack him around under her arm while she helped her papa do chores.  If she put him down, it wasn’t long before he was back at her feet, lobbying for loves and meal worms.

My daughter, the chicken-whisperer.



family, Uncategorized, writing

Fearless: Life Lessons from a 4-Year Old

Today was the last trip Wyokiddo and I will make to the city pool for the summer.  It’s closing this weekend and we have a full schedule the next few days.  We made the most of our time, including Wyokiddo’s first trip off the diving board.

This summer, with very little help from me, she learned to actually swim, float and dive to the bottom of the pool to retrieve an object.  Her big cousin just taught her how to do a flip underwater and she was even on the cusp of handstands.  She is positively fearless.

I can swim but I’m not truly comfortable in the water.  So I am in absolute awe of her in the pool.  As I swam to the middle of the deep end to catch her coming off the board, her confidence took my break away.  Without a moment’s hesitation, she climbed the ladder, marched out the end of the plank, gave one little wiggle of her butt and leaped into the water with the biggest smile on her face.  No second guessing, no worrying.  She just closed her eyes and jumped.

And to think I could have missed it.

There are times I get self-conscious, lumbering around in my bathing suit.  I feel a bit like a moose clambering to get out of a mud bog.  I could have let my own fear and body image get in the way of enjoying a summer at the pool with my kid.  Do I look good in a swimsuit?  Well, no.  I’m carrying 3o extra pounds.  I have dimples on my ass and my bangs are thinning.  And thanks to breastfeeding, my chest isn’t what it used to be.  But I get in the pool anyway.

Because here’s the thing…my daughter doesn’t care.  She doesn’t see those imperfections.  She just sees her mama in the pool, ready to catch her as she leaps off the diving board for the first time.  She will remember having fun in the water and laughing when she soaks me, not my cellulite or my flabby arms.

This summer, we ran into friends of Wyokiddos at the pool, but only one was with his mom.  Wyokiddo asked me why her friends’ moms didn’t come to the pool, why some only came with a babysitter.  I explained that some moms had to work, that some moms couldn’t swim, and that some moms didn’t like to get in the pool.

Today, as we were walking to our car to go home, she squeezed my hand and said “Thanks for being a mom that gets in the pool.”

I know there will be moments in the future when I don’t feel good about my body.  I’ll compare it to someone else and feel ashamed that I don’t look like I did when I was 16.  I just hope when those moments hit me, I can remember my fearless four-year old and channel her enthusiasm and confidence.  Because I never want to be anything less than the mom that gets in the pool.



family, Uncategorized, writing

For Wyokiddo, on her 4th birthday

Family -21eDear Emily,

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  How can you be turning 4?  It doesn’t seem like 4 years have passed since we welcomed you into our lives.  But here you are, growing in size and sass each and every day.

This year, you finally understood the concept of a birthday.  You knew you would turn 4, that we’d have a party and that you’d get presents.  You were so excited for this birthday, you told everyone you met about it, including that Mama is going to make you a Paw Patrol cake.

This is just one of many things you’ve learned since the last birthday.  You are like a little sponge, soaking up anything and everything about the world around you.  You are fascinated with animals, domestic and wild.  Your favorite activity the last few weeks has been to go visit the chicks in their brooder houses.  You will sit down in the sawdust with them and let them climb all over you.  You giggle when they try to crawl in your boot.  You scold them when they peck at one another.  You cheer when they begin learning to fly and mourn the loss of the ones that don’t make it.  You would sit with your chicks for hours in those sweltering barns if I would let you.

You’re also learning about wildlife and wild birds.  You can spot deer and antelope hiding on the side of the road before I can.  I love that you can identify the birds that come visit our feeder, or that you can identify a killdeer just by hearing its call.  It tells me that you are paying attention to the little details in life, and that you understand there is a world beyond a television or iPod.

You’ve also become a great fishing buddy.  As the weekend approaches, you will ask if we can go fishing on Daddy’s day off.  You trudge behind us, eagerly carrying your Mickey Mouse fishing pole or the worm box.  It doesn’t matter that you haven’t caught a fish – you just like seeing anything come out of the water.  After I caught some crappie on our second trip out, you must have given me a million high fives.  “Way to go catching that fish Mama!”  When you get bored, we pass the time letting the water splash on our feet, watch the silly grebes or make us stories about the fish we’ll see in faraway places.  I love these moments as much as I love actually fishing, because it’s just the three of us, our little family sharing something we love without distraction.

The last year has been full of big changes.  Moving to a new place, a new room, giving up the binky, starting preschool, getting a big girl bed.  You have handled each with grace and courage.  I continue to be amazed at your fearlessness and confidence.  You aren’t reckless, but you aren’t timid either.  When you started preschool last fall, you weren’t scared.  You threw open the door, marched right down the hall and said “Schoool, here I come!”  In the pool, you are teaching all the boys how to jump in without having someone there to catch you.  And you are not afraid to start a conversation with a grownup, whether it’s the bagger at the grocery store or the lady checking out our books in the library.

You aren’t a baby anymore.  You tell me this all the time, but it is evident in your appearance and demeanor.  You are a preschooler who is ready to take life by the horns and wrestle it to the ground.  You are developing a wonderful sense of humor and a sense of compassion.

I would be remiss if I didn’t log some of your favorites at this particular moment in time, so here goes.  Your favorite TV shows right now are Shimmer and Shine, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West and Wild Kratts.  You requested a Paw Patrol cake for your birthday and still love all the pups.  You ask me to make homemade pizza at least once a week.  You love to eat frozen mangoes with breakfast.  You are packing around Baby, your first doll, with you wherever you go.  In fact, you plan to use some of the birthday money GG gave you to buy a stroller and bottle for Baby so that she’s never hungry.  You want to be in the water constantly, and can even swim on your own for a few seconds.  I am still your best friend, and Roxy dog is one of your favorite playmates.  Each day when you get up from your nap, you still squeal and run to him when you see Daddy.

I hope every birthday makes you as happy as this one had.  We celebrated with Grammie and Papa, Nana, Uncle Bill, Aunt Debbie and Ellen.  You were enamored with Ellen and had a great conversation about her nail polish, much to Daddy’s chagrin.  (She’s a great role model, by the way.  Please look up to her as you grow up!)  It didn’t matter that the cake I made was a little lopsided or that we had no decorations.  You were surrounded by your family and we celebrated with love.  You finally got that rainbow lights Barbie mermaid you’ve been coveting since Christmas, so I think that part was pretty cool, too.

While your boundless energy sometimes exhausts me, I am forever grateful to have such a sunny free-spirited daughter.  You make me take myself less seriously and keep us laughing with your silliness and exuberance.  May you always be so ebulient and joyful and pure of heart.

Never doubt how much Daddy and I love you at this stage and all the stages beyond.  We will forever be your biggest champions.

Happy birthday, Emmers.  I love you.


P.S.  Thanks to my dear friend of the Bronco Babies blog for giving me the idea of writing a letter to my daughter each year on her birthday.