Holidays

mothers

mothers

This morning, while you nursed, I taught you about butterfly kisses—you're currently obsessed with "pitter patters" (caterpillars) and our garden is full of butterflies. I'm so grateful that you made me a mom. Watching you grow is magic. ✨

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baby bumblebee

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Late last night I was attaching tiny antennae to a tiny beanie, and I was tired (because I have a newborn) and projects that require problem solving and fine motor skills are all that more challenging when you're tired. It made me appreciate my mom so much more, for all the late nights she spent finishing up our costumes and school projects. I'm learning that the lengths a mother will go for her child are limitless—and I should really get better about not leaving things for the last minute. 

Two Nights in the Tahoe National Forest

Seven adults, one pup, and two nights in the mountains. We're already itching to go back. I posted on my instagram that I was a bit apprehensive about backpacking. I have a history of scoliosis and a back that tires easily, and in the past I wrote it off as something that wasn't for me. I don't do well when I'm tired or hungry or in pain, and I was worried it would bring out the worst in me. But our friends invited us to join them, so we bought some essentials and borrowed some gear, packed plenty of food, and stayed optimistic. Waking up that first morning to the sun rising over the lake had me sold. Having the right gear makes all the difference. I highly recommend anyone on the fence about backpacking to borrow some gear (or rent from REI) and give it a try. You have nothing to lose and the world to gain. 

A White Christmas

Bear Valley is about a 35 minute drive from our home, and walking through the snow in the sunshine with our friends was the perfect way to spend the holiday. This pooch was totally stoked, and watching him frolic and chase snow balls was highly entertaining.

In the past month I have developed a greater appreciation for snow. It's remarkable how it can completely transform a landscape, how it makes people so happy, and how it enables leisure activities that would otherwise not be appealing. I'm still learning how to photograph it. That much white is a challenge, it's so easy for an image to be overexposed. The scene is definitely more dynamic when the sun is out, the sky is blue, and there are shadows. And it doesn't hurt if there's a Goldendoodle having the best day of his life. 

November in Hilo

It's Saturday evening and the chickens are out for their nightly forage. The neighboring roosters are crowing out of jealousy or hunger or loneliness, chained to their a-frame shelters. Nala girl stares through me, her eyes are bottomless pools of caramel. I think she is the most perfect creature I have ever met. 

It's Sunday and the sky is bright blue and littered with cotton ball clouds. I am surrounded by young coconut palms and I am mesmerized by lines and light and color. Later, mom and I will go for a long ocean swim, out of the reef and into deep water. We will see multiple sea turtles surfing in the waves and we won't know that it's our last sunny day.

It's Wednesday and for the second afternoon in a row I'm tied to a roof documenting a module installation for my dad's company. It's starting to drizzle, and I keep having to wipe the raindrops from my lens.  

It's Thursday and the table is set. There is too much food. We invited three adults and two children to join our table, but failed to tell them how many people there would be, so they brought enough for an army. We will eat leftovers for days.

It's Friday at noon. It's been raining all morning and I had to postpone a photo shoot for the second time. I'm up the road visiting the brand new baby sheep we saw on our Thanksgiving walk. Surprisingly, the mama comes right up to me when I call her, and her little black lamb bounces along beside her. On my walk back home I will find a perfectly ripe avocado on the ground that we will enjoy in our salad for dinner. 

It's Friday evening, and I'm outside the fence admiring how the light catches and dances off water droplets. Mochi kitty comes running out to join me. He has proven to be my most challenging subject. Every time I get down at his level he runs to me for loving. I discover that if I put him on the fence it buys me some time. His eyes are the same green as the ginger. 

sunrise from Mauna Kea

It's Sunday morning, 6:20 am and we're up above the clouds at the Mauna Kea summit. At 13,000 feet the horizon is apricot colored fading to blue, both getting brighter as our spot on earth rotates closer to the sun. It's below freezing and the wind is blowing. I can't feel my hands, and the Japanese tourists are hopping around in their orange snowsuits, trying to stay warm. The shadow of the volcano is printed on the candy-colored clouds to the west. I slip into the car and pour myself a mug of Earl Grey hot chocolate and warm my fingers and my lips. We will later go out for pancakes.

It's Sunday afternoon, and mom and I have finished the quilt top to my new quilt. We designed and sewed for four days while it rained and rained and now it's spread out on the dining table full of safety pins waiting to be quilted. Nala is cowering under the table because she knows her days with me around are numbered.

It's Sunday evening and we're taking Nala out for her walk. I have to run back for my camera because the sky is putting on a show. A lot of water has fallen during my visit, but when it isn't raining the sky is doing spectacular things. All that rain makes you appreciate the relief even more, and I revel in its beauty. 

It's Monday morning and my flight leaves in a few hours. I am rejuvenated. I walked Nala every day. I spent quality one on one time with my parents. I photographed four families, I reconnected with an old friend, and I made plans for my next visit. I feel really lucky and happy and grateful and excited for what's to come.

4th of July // In the Garden // Willits, CA

Our 4th of July weekend was enjoyed up in Willits with good food, great friends and lovely surroundings. I was lucky enough to photograph a friend's expansive garden in the evening, morning and afternoon light, and that was pretty much the best.

In the morning, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the garden in my pjs when everyone else was still asleep. The bees were making their rounds to the poppies, which had opened overnight. I watched their wrinkly new petals change in the light as the sun made its way through the trees. Poppies may be my favorite flower to photograph. I love them from every direction, in any light, in focus or as a speck in the background. 

That the afternoon I returned with Christa to water. She proved to be a lovely subject. As were the chamomile and the sunflowers.

I'm appreciative of good friends who cook up delicious breakfast feasts, make ice cream sandwiches with cookies warm from the oven, play multiple games of ping pong and Settlers of Catan, and share their bounty.

I'm anxious to have our own garden, where I can watch the bees dance from flower to flower and study the light on petals and greens. 

P.S. Last 4th of July in Santa Cruz and the one before that (also in Santa Cruz).

Christmas at C&S Ranch

Marina was housesitting at a ranch in Tomales, so we grandchildren ventured up north to join her for Christmas. Austin and I drove up on Christmas eve, arriving after lunch, and Jeffery followed after putting in a half day at work. The only hiccup in the holiday was that soon after we arrived, the ranch completely ran out of water and we had to pull buckets of pool water to wash dishes and flush toilets.

I gifted Marina new lipstick.

At sunset I took the truck down the road to photograph the cows. I shot for a while, and they were pretty cute, all turning to look at me, inching closer with curiosity. When I was ready to move on I headed back to the truck and found the keys locked inside and the headlights on. I texted Jeffery, who was on his way from the city and had the other set of keys, and I went back to shooting the cows. When I was starting to lose the light and it was getting cold and I hadn't heard from him, I gave him a call. "Where are you?" I asked. "I just drove over a cow grate. Where are you?" he asked, and as soon as he said the words, he came around the bend. My hero. 

Lights on, locked out.

We enjoyed bouillabaisse for dinner and woke up to an incredible sunrise. 

I spent most of Christmas day with Coco Chanel, a beautiful Burmese kitty, on my lap, reading Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. Pausing for turkey dinner and too much dessert. I finished the book just in time to watch the Warriors beat the Clippers and then we drove home. Good book, good Christmas. Without something going wrong there is no story to tell. Last year our heat didn't work. It just makes me appreciate all of the little thing we take for granted.