Changes are happening around here and I don’t know exactly here this blog is headed. When I closed the studio down a year and a half ago I knew that the blog would (obviously) take on a new form. It actually just lay dormant for nearly all that time. I am ready to bring it back to life, but I don’t know where I am headed with it yet. I am in the midst of many of my own personal changes and so I think you will probably see that coming forth here as well. I thank you for being here and continuing to join me on this journey. It’s probably not going to be real pretty for a while, but I know it’s going to be worth it!
So let me tell you about a new find that I totally love. ThredUp. ThredUp is an online consignment store and I completely love it. They are all about recycling/ reusing clothes and not being a “throw away” society and I think that’s awesome and totally on point. They make it super easy to find second hand, gently worn clothes without having to hunt through racks and racks of garments. I have a super hard time at consignment or resale stores because my patience level isn’t very high in that area, so to be able to sit down when I have a few spare minutes on my phone or the computer and plug in key words to find the sizes and styles, brand or color I am looking for is huge.
Here’s why else I love thredUP. They donate 5% of all my purchases to my kids school! Yes! Isn’t that awesome? So, sure. They are making some cash (they need to- they are a business!) but they are also giving back and I can totally get on board with that. My kids go to a small public school that we LOVE and they can use all the extra funds that come their way. If you are going to sign up with a school, be sure to do it BEFORE making your purchase. They aren’t able to retro activate a donation. I found that out the hard way. If you don’t have a school to donate to, my kids school would never turn down being linked to your account! Just plug in Woodbrook Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA.
I don’t always try out new sites that see because I don’t have an incentive to navigate something new and figure it out. I was incentivized not only with the 5% going back to my kids school, but the friend that told me about it got $20 for the rec and I got $20 off my first purchase too! I love it when companies have rewards for their existing clients as well as new ones. That’s the way to do it! I also ended up scoring free shipping, so it was a win in every direction.
I wanted to post a totally honest review because I feel like if I am going to talk about it and advocate for them, you deserve to see what actually happened with my order. When I went to the site I didn’t have a specific need for anything, I just needed more clothes in general for my ever-growing-crew. They sell women’s clothes, shoes and accessories as well as children items. I didn’t need anything for myself, so I focused on the kids. I don’t care too much about brand, but I do feel like investing in certain brands goes a long ways as far as wear-and-tear on the item. I have a hard time spending $70 on a pair of jeans for a child that will outgrow them before the season is even up. It’s ludicrous in fact.
Rainbow Daughter scored some great items. I bought a Gap skirt that I so wish had a coordinating adult version. It’s a beautiful linen and has beautiful little detailing near the bottom that I didn’t even notice when I bought it. She also got an Abercrombie and Fitch cardigan sweater and a brand new OshKosh Bg’osh bathing suit with the tags on.
Trevski always needs pants. The boy hates jeans so I’m always on the lookout for cute cargo style pants. I found a pair of Gap cargos that fit the bill. You could tell these had been a second hand purchase, but they were still in great condition. They just had a little more wear in all the normal parts. I looked with a very fine eye- at normal glance you would never tell! I also found a pair of Gap basketball shorts that came at a perfect timing since he JUST outgrew his and he has a game this Saturday… they also happened to be the matching colors to his team! He also got an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie sweatshirt and Quicksilver swim shorts.
Baby EC came home with a Gap button down shirt and a pair of swim shorts. I was so excited because while I was looking through the carts for him I found a Green Bay Packer shirt in his size, but when I went back to add it to my cart it was gone. No kidding- GONE! If you see something you LOVE you must put it in your cart right away. There are others shopping at the same time and if they grab it first, it’s theirs. I was super bummed about that.
I ended up purchasing 9 items and spent $75. I really can’t believe what a great deal I got and I LOVE everything I bought. I most certainly will go back again and shop. It was so easy and much more convenient then going to the store, baby in tow. Even without the baby, it’s just such an easy way to shop.
I went back to the site today to take a peek and get links to add here and I noticed a little banner at the top saying they “missed me” and gave me a code for 15% off my purchase. Great marketing and a great perk! How about that!
If you are AT ALL interested- go take a look and use this code (http://www.thredup.com/r/PERAI6) to get yourself $20 off. I’ll get the $20 off too, how cool!
If I forgot to add anything or you have any questions, just let me know. I would love to hear about your experience and any tips you might have.
Grandma… I think about you today and everyday…
I think about the summers I would come and stay with you in LaCrosse. It’s the summers that stand out the most to me. I think about sitting next to you on the couch and snuggling up close to you. You always had time for me. All the time in the world. You would sit and play cards with me and teach me new games I only got to play when I was with you. Since then I have started to teach my friends your fun games.
I think about the times we would sit on the porch, too. We would swing on your porch swing and listen to the trains run by. They would shake the whole house. The thunderstorms would come in with a roar and the sound of the rain would make this “tinking” noise on the tin roof that Mom loved. I didn’t get it when I was small, but the older I got the more I understood and before I even knew what had happened, it was one of my favorite sounds and memories, too.
I think about your red nails- you used to paint them in such a unique way. I loved watching you paint them and thought it was so grown up and fancy that you always wore red. I have your nail beds. I know it’s a strange thing to recognize, but we have rare nail beds. They are narrow and delicate. Our nails are shaped the same way too. That part I think I might do on purpose. It’s not exactly intentional, I guess I just grew up loving holding your hands and staring at them and your nails. It makes me feel close to you knowing we share that. I get teased a lot because I also have your toe nails- or NO baby toe nail. It’s so weird, I know. I don’t understand it, but whatever. Again, I can deal because it makes me feel closer to you and I like that.
I think about how crazy funny you were. You would jump on beds in hotel rooms and dance all night at weddings. Nothing stopped you from having a good time. Your laughter was contagious and people were just happy being around you. There are so many times that you would make a silly face or joke and whomever was around couldn’t help but laugh. Grams- you always had us in stitches.
I think about breakfast being toast and a slice of cheddar cheese with coffee. A special dessert you always made perfectly was angel food cake with strawberry frosting. You taught me how to cut it without ripping it apart. You just wet the knife a little then slice and it cuts through the cake like butter. You loved mixed nuts and when I was younger I only liked the peanuts and cashews. As I got older I liked picking through them with you and choosing others.
Grandma, you are a pillar of grace. I am honored to be your granddaughter and I shall look forward to seeing you again one day in heaven. I miss you so much and I love you.
Larry, we miss you. I miss you. We all miss you.
I think about when we would call you with car trouble and we could hold the phone to the car and you could diagnose the problem just by the sound. You were an amazing mechanic!
I think about the garden in your backyard and how you could spend hours there with your grandchildren, picking, pruning and growing things just so.
I think about your boots. You always wore these boots that would sit by the back door. The same boots with everything. Even though I wan’t part of the memory, I think about the April Fools joke that Sam played on you when he was young and put an egg in your boot and you stepped into your boot, broke the egg and were so mad you wore it anyways. (As reported by your son, but according to your wife you cleaned it out… at least this is the way memory has saved that treasure of a story.)
I think about coming down the stairs and seeing you sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in your hand. You were always there sitting and catching up on the newspaper and had your coffee in hand. That small navy blue mug.
I think about the time you, Sam and I went to the Packer game and we got absolutely drenched. I can’t find the picture right now, but I have it engraved in my mind. It was so cold and wet but we had such a fun time.
I think about the time that you let me do a photo session with you and Trix. It was a beautiful “Indian Summer” day and you wanted to wear your Wisconsin Sweatshirt. Trix tried changing it but I remember telling her to leave it and it was ok. You didn’t like your picture taken and I was afraid you might change your mind about going if we made you change out of that sweatshirt! You were already sick and not able to walk for the previous days to that, but you gained strength that day and we slowly strolled through the Horicon Marsh. Reagan and Trevor were running ahead with Sam making sure no one took an unexpected dive into the water. You, Trix and I lingered behind stopping here and there to take our time and snap a few shots every now and again. It was such a gift that you allowed me to do that and I will forever be thankful that I could. I can still go back to that day and it feels like yesterday.
You would love your new Grandson, Emmett. Yes! Sweet Baby E joined us 7 months ago and he won’t meet you here on this earth, but he will definitely know who you are. His brother and sister will make sure of that… we will all make sure of that. You would really love him. He is happy and laughs all the time, he is chubby and just so sweet.
I know you check in on us. I feel it every now and again. I’m glad you do and I hope you keep it up. Things aren’t always easy, but knowing you’re still peeking in on us is a gift indeed.
Until we meet again.
I literally shut the studio doors. I documented my last key turn and few moments sitting on the floor that my husband worked so hard to install for me. (
And someday I’ll pull out those files and share them, when I get my act together a little more! *Addendum- in a short review of recent posts I found the link with those images!) Sam put his blood sweat and tears (maybe not tears, but definitely sweat and blood!) into renovating that studio for me and although he was cool with me shutting it down, I still had some sad feelings about everything I felt like I was “losing” or “giving up”. Most of those things were tangible- the hardwood floors, an awesome quiet (and almost always) clean place to shoot, a place to escape to when my introverted self needed to be alone… What I didn’t see coming were the things that I am facing now. Things that so many new Momma’s feel and things I went through once upon a time in life. I’ll save most of that for later, but I WILL talk about the “Newborn Fog”.
Sweet Baby E is going to be 4 months old next week. I find it no coincidence that at the same time that I am coming out of the newborn fog, I am also feeling a huge loss of self. Newborns are NEEDY y’all. They are so needy and precious and perfect and needy. Are you catching that needy part? As much as others help out – and I have some amazing friends and family and husband who help quite a bit – but even so, especially if you are nursing (which I am) then a baby just NEEDS it’s Momma and there isn’t a whole lot anyone else can do. Now, I know this part is short-lived in the scheme of life. I have been here before so I know how painfully fast it actually goes. So, this time around, I tried to slow down as much as I could and just enjoy it. And I have been enjoying it, for the most part. There are always hard parts to that and every moment isn’t happy or perfect, but I still cherish this time I have in our families lives together.
I am a woman who somehow, by the grace of God and TONS of mistakes from yonder years, knows my limits. I am fine saying NO because I know how drowning it feels to say YES too many times and fill your plate beyond the brim. It’s nasty and I stay away from that as much as I can, because it does no one any good. Not the ones you say YES to, not to your family and certainly not to yourself. So, I try and balance things out to see where the YES needs to go and then I usually know when it’s right for the NO to come into play. Except when you have a newborn. Then pretty much all balance goes out the window. Not forever, but for a while.
Again- I am reminding you that I feel like I am just ever-so-slowly coming out of the newborn fog, so I am just beginning to put pieces of life and (former) business back in order. I am not reopening my photography business, but there are still things to be sorted through. I am no longer ignoring emails from vendors that send me about a hundred emails every other day and my inbox is slowly clearing out. As I started paying closer attention to my email, I realized that I had made a mistake. My hosting company, GoDaddy (whom I really enjoy!) had been sending me emails and even called, to let me know my credit card for auto renewals expired and if I wanted to renew my expiring url’s, I needed to update my credit card. I only half paid attention to this- I kept thinking I would do it later when I had the chance to sit down at the computer. Friends… sometimes I went WEEKS without sitting down at the computer. iPhones and other technology allow that to happen and so I just let the time slip by. Then, last week I realized that my website was down. I thought there was a glitch and contacted my web host… it was then that all the reminders and phone calls to renew my url came flooding back to me and I knew it was too late. I lost the url that I had used for my business. My initial reaction was that it was ok, since I closed the business. Then, as it started sinking in it hit me a little harder and I just became angry with myself for being so careless. I do have grace for myself, but it’s still pretty disappointing that it all happened. Not to mention my business name has my family name is in it and it just felt like a violation of sorts. If you go to the site now, someone in Japan scooped up my url and the content is a bit confusing to me even with the translation help by google. I emailed the person who bought it, knowing the answer I would get, and asked him if I could buy it back. I received the answer I knew I would… crickets. My site is gone and I don’t really have a desire to put up a new photography website since my platform is here and those doors have closed. Literally, physically and virtually. Closed, gone, done. Whether or not I like it, that’s just the way it was, is and is supposed to be. It’s another sign that something I felt so dear to my heart has had it’s time and is now a past chapter of my book.
In the chance that you try to find my old site and end up seeing something totally random, you know that’s not me. (Notice I haven’t been sharing the url- I won’t… I don’t want it getting hits and the person to earn any income off my old site. Maybe he’ll find it useless and let it go upon url expiration!) I’m here on this blog and I will only BE here. I’m enjoying my Sweet Little E, Rainbow Daughter and Trevski, so for now all the rest can wait. The fog is still lifting and I still have some sorting through to do to get back to a place of normal. The Lord knows that doesn’t happen quickly and I’m not going to rush things along faster then they should. Life passes us by faster then I like it to anyway!
To close, I thought of such a perfect quote that so many of my Momma friends and I recite. “The days are long, but the years are short.” -Gretchen Rubin. In keeping with the theme of the quote, I pulled a pic from our family walk last night… I wanted so badly to let them go on without me so I could have a few moments of alone time, but alas I chose to get some much needed exercise and quality family time. The kids found blackberries along the way and of course we had to stop and document the moment. Once a photographer, always a photographer.
And I’m including an image sans kiddo’s so if you want to pin it, it might be more fitting!