The other night, my boys and I were watching a Hallmark Christmas movie (yes, already …) and there was a scene where a mom spilled out her exhausted shpeal to the main character about how trying, anguishing, and draining it is to be a mother.  Mine looked at me with question in their eyes, like I was going to be nodding in eager agreement with her dire description.

I assured them that don’t feel that way about being a mother.   I am 100% sure that there was a day when I would have.  And I am 100% telling you that I (we) have many challenges as parents and they have many challenges as children.  But now-a-days, I can truly say that nothing would bring me more joy than I have from being home with these nuggets.  Not because they are the perfect children or because I am the perfect mom  (puh-lease … that couldn’t be further from the truth!), but I know it is because God has convicted me that this is what I am meant to be doing right now.   When we truly feel that our path is following that which God has set out for us, the joy is immeasurable.   When we truly feel that each of our tasks is done in honor of Him, we find the extraordinary in the ordinary.  Whether it is being a parent or a doctor or a photographer or a mail carrier or a musician, honoring God with what we do brings great blessing.

It’s not a cakewalk … parenting or following God’s path … but both bring incredible blessings and are totally worth the effort.  And definitely worth giving thanks for.

I just needed to say that. :)

As I said 2 days ago, I took my boys out for Fall portraits and we started just right on the road by our house.  I wasn’t sure what the light was going to be like in town at the spot I’d hoped to use, but turned out … it was gorgeous.  It was cold and frosty which made for a lovely combination!

This may be my favorite portrait of them ever …  ♥

Or maybe this one …. ♥♥

Oh, how I love them, so.  ♥

Thank you, again, for being here.  I hope your Thanksgiving was so special and full of all that you give thanks for!


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Each fall, it seems, I take these guys out for a round of portraits.  I really try to only do this once a year so they don’t get overwhelmed and unwilling to (happily;)) participate.    I had a spot in mind to use down in town and knew that the morning light was going to be ideal.

So we set out early … as early as we could which really wasn’t all that early … but about 200 yards up our little country road we came to this spot and I had to stop.  We pass it every time we leave home so it was perfect.  And I was worried we’d already missed the pretty light in town so I didn’t want our efforts to be for nothing. ;)

We hopped back in the car to drive to town, but I only made it about 50 more yards before seeing the light coming through this spot and had to pull over again. :D  These were ALL taken RIGHT along the road and some were taken with me across the road, and some with me in the road.  Thankfully, we don’t see much traffic. ;)  When we did though, they were log trucks, and the drivers kindly blew their air horns at us … much to my boys’ delight. :)

Kaden was about done at this point, so slipped in the background to be sad about the cold.

And then came back in when he realized that cuddling by brothers was a lot warmer. ;)

Our Portrait ‘Day’ did not end here.  It totally could have.  No one needs the 100 portraits I ended up with. ;)  But, they were willing participants and we stretched our day out with an oil change and playing at an awesome park in between.  Believe it or not, with the short hours of daylight this time of year, we actually took advantage of the sun rising all the way to the sun setting!  So, I bet you can guess what I’ll be sharing over the next few days. ;)  And maybe even into next week! :D

Thank you, friends, for being here!  And for those interested, these were all take with Big Curtis (my 70-200mm) at 2.8. ♥ 

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  • Carol - Your photos are always a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing your sweet boys with us! Your life is such a testimony to the goodness of a loving God & the grace He pours out on His children. I have shared “you” with so many, and we all agree that you would be a wonderful friend if you lived closer to us <3ReplyCancel

  • Mom - Oh, be still my heart! Ahhhh…… so precious!
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

For some reason when I think of Thanksgiving, ‘cornucopia’ comes to mind.  I have no idea why, or if the pilgrims had cornucopia’s but that link is there in my mind.  Likewise, when I think of spilling out a bunch of random images into one post, I also think of the word ‘cornucopia’.  So, I thought it was fitting that I shared a cornucopia of images today, since it is the week of Thanksgiving.

Or maybe I think of the word shmorgishborg??

Either way, they both sort of fit and can both be related to thanksgiving and to a lot of photos being shared together.  Maybe?

Anyway, when I take photos, I feel sad for them if I don’t share them, so occasionally I smush them together into one big, random post.

1)  Remember last month when we had that solar eclipse?  Here it is!  October 8, 2014 at 3:53 am. :) 

2)  Still continuing to monitor and regulate the usage of electronics.  Timers really help. ;)

3)  One day this dog nearly drowns, the next day he gets sprayed by a skunk.  Poor pup can’t catch a break.  We’ll see how he likes going to the groomer’s tomorrow!

4)  Here’s one cool result of the new clear-cut above our house.  And the result of my sweet husband escorting me out into the dark so I can photograph it. :)

5)  I’m missing mornings like this now … the rain, the cold, the later sunrises are keeping me indoors for my morning quiet time.  Glad to have reminders like this, though, that it’ll come again!

6)  I have my coffee out of this mug, every morning.  I love that it was a gift from my sorority ‘Lil Sis for my wedding.  She gave us 2, but this one is the only one that has lasted the past (almost) 12 years. :)  But each morning that I drink from it, I think of her.  ♥

7)  Having my boys help around the house is like their gift back to me for all their diapers I ever changed.

8)  ???

9)  Again … ???

10)  This rose bush is working to debunk the claim that roses are high-maintenance.   I don’t water it or fertilize it and it blooms from spring into November.    The extent of it’s care is a good, yearly pruning, and then the removal of spent blooms.  I claim no part in it’s beauty or success. ;)

I feel so much better having posted these!  I hope your Monday is great!

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  • Mom - This was a fun post. I loved all the images :) Poor Charlie :( The moon photos are frame-able!!!
    I am so Thankful for your posts. They always bring me closer to you, my dear daughter!
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Debbie Jenkins - Hi Lacey! I stumbled upon your blog (through facebook I think) and I am so inspired by your photography. I just purchased my first DSLR camera a couple months ago to take better pictures of my 14 mo old and having fun with it, but have lots to learn! It’s been forever since the swimming days :) – you have a beautiful family and such lovely photos to capture them! Just wanted to say hi and love your blog! – Debbie (Lentz)ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Debbie!! It is so good to hear from you! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for your kind words. The best place to learn how to shoot with your DSLR is for sure! I hope you’ll check it out! :DReplyCancel

      • Debbie - Thanks Lacey! I’ve been checking out clickin moms, hope to take one of the classes soon!ReplyCancel

Over Veteran’s Day weekend, my mom had a few days off of work and made a last minute trip down to our place.  We figured it would be a perfect time to take a field-trip and figured it was about time to finally take that trip to Silver Falls State Park that we’ve talked about for years.  I always thought we could only go when Matt was able to come with us so that he could carry Kaden when he got tired, but lately, this little guy doesn’t seem to get tired!

Monday morning was beautiful … cold, but beautiful, so we worked on school for a bit and then headed out for the Falls.  The drive is only about 40 minutes from our house so it is a bit ridiculous that we don’t come here more often.  It is certainly a spectacular place.  It is also a place that I remember visiting as a child, which of course makes the visits I make with my boys all the more special.  

Coming into this visit to the Falls, I knew I wanted to try my hand at using very slow shutter speeds to capture the flowing water.  Back when Matt and I were first married he took me into Portland and we checked out a little art gallery.   Three of the images we purchased were of waterfalls and I was amazed at how the water appeared so smooth.  Little did I know that even back then I loved the look that a slow shutter speed gives to flowing water. ;)

And since I had just completed teaching the lesson on using a slow shutter speed in Mastering Manual Exposure, I figured I’d better put the lesson into practice.  In this shot, I was able to brace myself by resting my elbows on the guard railing, making a 1/3 second shutter speed possible with little camera shake.

35mm | f/16 | SS 1/3 | ISO 100

Are there many places in the world where you can walk under overhanging cliffs and behind a waterfall that is plummeting over 170 feet??

This one, again, was with a slow shutter speed, and much more challenging since I took it on a bridge that was being bounced on by passer-byers. ;)

35mm | f/16 | SS 1/4 | ISO 160

Right about here, one of these little guys needed to go back for a rather important matter, so we went back, loaded up, and drove to another hiking spot in the park, which led us to about 5 more falls.

This next image was a wee bit tougher yet, since I didn’t have anything to rest my arms on and the water was father away so I needed an even slower shutter speed to give the desired effect.  Plus, I was cold.   It took a few tries. ;)

35mm | f/11 | 1/3 | ISO 250

This boy of mine … is he my kid, or what??  He was all about taking photos with Grammie’s camera. ;)

This is one thing I am sure thankful for … my family’s understanding and patience when it comes to my photography.  They’d wander and wait, sit and relax, while I tried my hand at getting the waterfall photos I was envisioning.  ♥

We calculated how far we went and it would be just over 3 miles round-trip.  With lots of hills mixed in!

I think I could probably go back on my own with the boys, but having either my mom or Matt with us just makes it feel right.

Eventually, our pace slowed down as the littlest guy’s legs started to peter out.  He never complained … but we were all getting hungry so needed to get the show on the road…

His biggest brother insisted he could help, too…  :)

We did this hike nearly 2 weeks ago, and I’m already itching to get to it again.   But, I think it would be a fun project to try for these waterfall shots each season so maybe I’ll give it a few months until Winter has set in… that sounds cold and slippery, so we’ll see!  Probably next time, though, whenever we do make it back, I’ll suck it up and just bring my tripod! ;)

Thank you for visiting and if you have any questions about working with a slow shutter speed, I’m happy to answer them!

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  • Mom - This is definitely a keepsake blog post. It was such a fun hike, or should I say stroll…when walking hand-in-hand with little Tado and his short, little legs :) The falls were breath-taking and your photos of them are just gorgeous! Frame-able, for sure! Thank you for sharing!!
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Eric - WOW WOW WOW!!! BREATHTAKING!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jolene - The pictures are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Alice C. - The waterfalls in Oregon are just incredible <3 My grandpa has a summer house near Eugene, and every year we went we'd go up to the falls near Clear Lake. Just incredible!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - How cool, Alice! I’ve never been to Clear Lake before but I love having a growing list of places that we’d like to visit. :)ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Lacey,
    I know you don’t know me but I feel like I know you through you photographs. I love when your pictures pop up on my feed on Facebook. I can’t wait to click on that link to your blog to see what you have going on. You truly are an inspiration. You make me want to go out and try something new with my camera. I just wanted you to know that I am one of those people out there that you inspire every time you post your photos on your blog. Thank you for pushing me to better myself.
    Just another mom who loves photography,

    • Lacey - Hi Nancy! It is so nice to meet you. :) Reading a comment like this means so incredibly much to me and having this impact on you is more than I ever hoped to accomplish with my photography. :) Thank you so much for taking the time to share and to comment!ReplyCancel

  • Carol - Love, Love your photographs! They are absolutely beautiful.Did you use the 35 mm lens for the pics of the boys and your mom too?ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Carol! Thank you so much! Yes, I did use the 35 for that one. On hikes like this I generally bring just one lens and I figured that would be the best one for photographing the falls. :)ReplyCancel

Just two days ago, Cooper told me he wanted to be somebody’s hero.   Yesterday, he became our dog, Charlie’s.  Actually, all of the boys worked together to keep their cool and save their doggie.

It was a gorgeous afternoon and we had yet to visit the pond since it had frozen over.  While their favorite thing to do at the pond is swim, they also love to skip rocks over it when it is frozen and hear the echoy sound as they bounce across.  So we bundled up and headed out for a walk.

Within seconds of being there the boys were skirting across the frozen water and Charlie was trying to go after them.

He walked across without problem, clearly thinking this was pretty fun!

He went to his usual spot on the rickety old dock and I told him to stay.  Looking back, I feel like I didn’t have much sense in my head about the whole situation, but I did have the sense to tell him not to jump.  I told him to stay, so he stayed, but just for a second.

Before launching.

Why did I not panic when I saw his back foot break through??

A split second after I took this photo of Charlie walking across the frozen pond, the ice broke and he fell in and could not climb out.   I watched him for a moment, struggling to get out before running around the pond, dropping my camera, and grabbing a large branch to hit and try to further break the ice between him and me.   I screamed at the boys to grab as big of rocks as they could to try to throw out into the 15 foot stretch of ice between us.   I hit the ice with the branch, but it just broke so I ran for some big river rocks that line the drainage area from the pond.  The boys did the same, I think.

I don’t even know how much time passed … how many times I hit the ice with other huge branches or how many big rocks we threw trying to break the ice.   I was frantic. I absolutely thought we were going to watch our pup go under and not come back up.   I kept thinking he’s going to die.  I kept thinking my boys are going to watch their dog die.   He was whimpering and shaking.   I was screaming.   Kaden was crying.   Gage was throwing big rocks and encouraging Charlie.  I kept thinking … Do we have a raft??  Who has a boat I can call?  I can’t run up to the house to make a call.  I don’t have my cell phone.  Can I go out there on my belly?  No, then we’d both be in the water.   I was SO frantic.   I know I just kept saying, “Boys!!  I don’t know what to DO!!  What do I do???”

Then Cooper shouted at me that we needed to get the extension ladder that was leaning on a structure near the pond.   Brilliant.   It was down across the lawn and driveway so I ran to it.  Cooper behind me.  I threw it over my shoulder, and I think Cooper picked up the rear as we ran it back up the hill and onto the dock.  This dock scares me.  It is rickety and old and I never let the boys go on it.  I reached the extension ladder out as far as it could go and then battled with it to extend it further.  Cooper stayed behind me on the dock holding down the back end.

And we pleaded … screamed and encouraged Charlie to get on it.   Oh, his eyes.  He stared at me and I just laid down toward the ice, resting on the ladder, and kept calling to him.   He gripped onto the ice and stared at me.  Friends, I don’t want to be mellow-dramatic, but seriously.   This was crazy!  He finally started to crawl up on it and I can still hear the shrieks of encouragement from the boys.  He got up about 2/3 of the way, only for the extension portion to detach from the rest of the ladder.  I tried to press my portion down on the separated part, but, the pressure of him pushing down on it made it slip away from me and down into the water. 

But thank God … that pressure he put on the ladder also made the ice break as it fell and he was released from the small opening of water that he was stuck in!  I continued to break the ice with the ladder that was left while Charlie swam  toward me.  He made it to me on the dock, I grabbed his collar to help him out.   And I was never so happy to have him shake a body full of pond water all over me.   Well, that never has made me happy … but yesterday, it sure did! 

Afterward, my chest ached, I could hardly talk and my boys … my goodness … And Charlie?  He did ‘Charlie Go Crazy’ around the lawn and then went right back to the edge of the pond to try again!  Cooper put his lasso around his collar and we walked him home.  The lasso only lasted a minute though because that puppy had a new lease on life and just wanted to run. :)

So, lesson’s learned:  

1) Don’t be stupid like me and let your dog run on ice that you don’t know is 100% solid ice.  I would absolutely not have let my boys walk out there so I absolutely should not have allowed Charlie to.  Had he drowned, it would be totally been my fault.

2) Always have a smart, quick thinking kid with you. :)  I’m amazed at how relatively calm they all stayed and love that Cooper said he prayed and Gage said he stayed calm because he felt God tell him this would be okay.   I felt none of those things and was just a complete lunatic!  Their level heads and faithful hearts saved their pup.  ♥

Thank you for reading.  ♥

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  • Jade - What a relief! And such amazing boys. So glad everyone is alright and Charlie safe.ReplyCancel

  • Mom - I, too, was having a heart attack just reading your blog. How absolutely frightening! I’m so thankful for the happy outcome. Praise God!
    Hugs to Charlie
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Jolene - So glad he’s safe! I was holding my breath through this story. Awhile back when I was expecting, I had a scary situation with some pit bulls that were attacking our sheep. I totally get the frantic need to protect your pet, especially when your children are watching. I have to say, like you, I wasn’t very calm :)ReplyCancel

  • Erica - OH MY GOLLY!!!! I fellt like we were there reading your retelling. How scary. Good job getting him out. So brave.ReplyCancel