Photo Season is here!

I’ve had so much fun taking advantage of the beautiful weather and can’t wait for the leaves to change so I can take even more!  I’ve been lucky enough to be hired to take pictures of families, dance teams, sports teams, babies and seniors. I’m working on some options for the Winter months and working on my flash lighting skills.   If you need pictures taken send me an email (0 is a zero)

GM diet–the struggle is real

Like most of us I have made half hearted attempts at losing weight and getting fit which usually entails a trip to the gym, eating salads and blowing it all in the evening.  So Brad and I decided to really take a big leap. The GM diet is very strict and whether you lose weight or not you realize what bad habits you have without even thinking about the caloric intake.  I did this diet in college when I was a camp counselor and the kids called me the “Little Green Giant” because I would eat plates of cooked frozen broccoli, green beans etc.  It was very hard to execute at a camp with limited access to groceries but we did it. I remember how great I felt afterwards!

So we bought everything and kicked it off on Sunday which was ALL fruit day. Thankfully the berries were amazing and was my favorite part!

By the end of the day I was sooooo ready for some non-sweet veggies! I made some legal vinegar and lemon zest salad dressing with garlic and other favorite spices…it was ok.  The best part about day 2 is the baked potato for breakfast and the spaghetti squash with homemade sauce for dinner.  It was all veggies and spices and will replace any form of sauce we have made in the past!!! So tasty and the freshness really made the difference. I puréed about 6 tomatoes, peppers, onion, fresh spinach and a jalapeño. I added fennel, basil, oregano, cayenne (because it goes in everything), pepper and probably others I’ve forgotten.  I cooked it at a med-high heat so everything cooked together and the flavors blended nicely. The spaghetti squash was just cut in half, removed seeds, laid cut side down on metal pan with a lip and added about a half cup of water to the bottom. I baked on 350 for 45 minutes, forked out the spaghetti and YUM! Warm yummy goodness! Brad said, “Spaghetti Squash is so cool” and requested a Phad Thai experiment for next week.

On Veggie/Fruit day we mostly just had more of the same and my favorite was a spinach salad with fruit and legal vinaigrette (never knew it was spelled that way, I’m a reformed ranch girl).

So we get the banana and milk day with veggie soup on Day 4. I did ok on this day but Brad was pretty hungry. Breakfast felt like cereal and I love the soup so I made it through. I was pretty hungry at bedtime and I cooked all of the meat in the evening so I was busy and smelling the yummy garlic and meat cooking which helped my cravings.

MEAT AND TOMATOES DAY! This clean cooking requires a new pan so between trying it out and devouring a hamburger for breakfast I felt pretty satisfied. Thankfully I had a lunch and at at HuHot so I got a big treat, grilled sliced steak and tomatoes! It was amazing! I felt bad for Brad so I made him some for dinner.

Today is Friday, day 6 and Veggie/Lean Protein day. I’m enjoying the cabbage soup and threw in some hamburger from yesterday.  I’m feeling good going into the weekend and think I’ll distract myself with cleaning projects that have been ignored. Clean body, mind and house! Maybe I’ll have my shit together by mid-February?!?!

Tomorrow we plan to make stir “fried” veggies and rice with puréed fruit juice for a treat. SuperBowl Sunday we will experiment with new legal Paleo minded appetizers and plan our attack for the next week. I have no interest in celebrating our success by wrecking our willpower!  I do look forward to a glass of wine or beer which is actually suggested! Haha! Cheers!

This is the most comprehensive site  GM Diet I’ll report my results when we are all done and arrive at Day 8 “celebration” day! Honestly, so far it feels like I’m pre-Royals World Series/Nutcracker/Christmas shape and can start my quest at a more “normal” weight for me. My real goal is to feel beach ready by June.

 Mexico July 2015 

A truly fresh start for 2016

Last year was insane and I found myself overloaded. I tend to take it too far then hit the wall and feel like I’m not doing anything right. I had a successful year with all of my ventures but was left stressed out. So I decided to streamline.

Although I’ll always love crafty projects I found that the sport and dance schedules were too demanding to do it for a commitment of selling product. It was hard to let go of my booth at Bella Patina in the West Bottoms but it was such a liberating exercise to purge items I had been holding on to hoping they’d find their way into someone’s home. I had a “Fire Sale” the last month and went out with a bang earning money to Christmas shop!  I’ll miss treasure hunting but will be able to do it for fun and not guess if anyone else will like the finds.

Bella table

I’m still full steam ahead with photography and hoping to book some Spring shoots and Seniors in the coming weeks. I had the honor of working with some great families this last Fall and some amazing Seniors as well.  I was also honored to take team pictures for Russell’s baseball team and Saint Teresa’s STARS dance team!  Lord knows I have lots of practice when it comes to sports and dance so that has been fun to mix it into the family and kid photo assignments.

January 2016 was blah… not to be negative out of the gate but just being real. I think I was figuring out how to transition from an exhausting Nutcracker and Christmas into a productive schedule. I was tired and felt like doing absolutely nothing on the weekends. At the end of the month I was ready to dust off the funk and start fresh.

The Hubs and I decided to start a very difficult diet/cleanse. I’m already feeling a huge difference. We are breaking bad habits and I hope will have a new addiction to feeling awesome. I can already tell this will help me be more committed to working out and staying motivated. I’ve been wanting to make big changes for awhile and just didn’t have the spark, I guess it took a month of “meditation” to get me in the mindset to go for it. Sometimes it is easy to talk about making healthy changes…then you grab a cocktail and make nachos…and that all goes out the window. Thankfully my husband is on board and not making nachos and other yummy food while I’m trying hard to keep my will power.

Cheers to a healthy and awesome 2016!

Woods Fam Xmas 2015



Let’s Get This Party Started!

In February I hit my stride that will quicken to a sprint until some time in July.  Whitney’s dance team has an annual “Showcase” so as a dance mom I’m frantically getting all of her costumes altered and “blinged” so she is stage ready.  This year didn’t seem to be as frantic as I’ve remembered in the past.  I think I was more mentally prepared because I spaced out the shoe and accessory buying, some were included in her Christmas stash.  I’m ready with three days to spare!  Yay Me!

People Help The People--Lyrical

People Help The People–Lyrical

New York, NY Line

New York, NY Line

Let's Be Bad-Musical Theatre

Let’s Be Bad-Musical Theatre

These are a few of the highlights from her Dress Rehearsal.  I took over 900 photos to share with the team to help them see corrections and because I love getting the first look at our dances as a trade off to freebie action shots.  This year is no joke!  My 13 year old girl is turning into a woman before my eyes which brings so many other issues to deal with and weigh heavy on my protective mothering heart!  I’m thankful it is all happening with grace and a little at a time.  Her dad is in denial and he’s fine to just stay there about 10 more years.

And this bring me to the BOY MOM side of the equation.  Big Russell is our busy guy juggling soccer and baseball seasons simultaneously.  We used to get bothered by the busy-ness of three kids and three schedules but now we just kind of put on our big boy/girl pant on and go with it.  So far there are only a few overlaps and we just make it work.  We strive for 100% performance but will take 95% and be thankful.  Russell is such a grateful child and is so excited when he has a practice or game.  He’s ALL IN 100% of the time!  He has never waivered, EVER!  I’ll ask him if his uniform is ready and usually it is laying on his floor like a chalk drawing with all pieces accounted for.  Bless his sweet heart!

Carter is enjoying being a superfan in high school and follows his team stats closely.  He’s still playing some sports but this has been a transition year for him.  Baseball tryouts are in a few weeks, fingers crossed!  There are 40-50 guys trying out for 15 spots.  UBER competitive where we live.

I’ve been lucky enough to round up some Senior Portrait requests and was blessed to photograph a fresh crop of babies in January!  Along with my kid cheering I’ll be booking lots of photoshoots as the weather warms up and mamas need their babies documented.  I’m super excited because I bought myself a new portrait lens!  I can’t wait to use it and think it will give me better results and require less editing time.  I’m a slave to light so this lens will give me more to work with when I am shooting indoors.  My mind is buzzing at all of the options and opportunities I want to tryout!

Popping in from Crazy Town

With the weather quickly turning to Winter I’ve been up to my eyeballs in photoshoots which is so awesome!  I’m so happy my love of photography can be shared with sweet families, children and friends.  Photography is a celebration of life, I get compliments all the time on sweet moments I capture but that is how I’m wired.  I know people get sick of me inundating them but they also like it if they are the one captured in an unforgettable moment.

My next step is to create marketing materials.  I wish my son would make me a logo.  I would love to have something custom and am just kind bluuuuh about the whole thing.  Talk about creative block!  I don’t even have an idea!  I just need someone else to do it for me.  Below is a first stab at it but the designer didn’t respond back when I asked for a few changes.  It will do for now but would like something “cuter.”

My logo from Fivr

My logo from Fiverr

The last few weeks have been so intense.  I find myself really doing all I can to put everything in God’s hands.  He’s delivered some really incredible news lately.  First my friend Heather got the terrific news from Johns Hopkins that they will operate and take out her pancreatic cancer.  I mean really…PRAISE THE LORD!  Then yesterday Russell’s baseball coaches good news was posted on Facebook.  His tumors have melted and it looks like he will be cancer free!  We just found out about Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma after our baseball season ended in July!  That is some fast work by his medical team and the good Lord.  I’m beyond grateful to be witness of such miracles.  Now for them both to finish their treatment and find a new normal.  These stories remind me to slow down, love my family and friends and cherish the itty bitty things in life.  There have been some other things on a more personal level and I just want to say the Lord showed me the way, he gave me the words and actions and my problems were solved.  What we also discovered is that our busy Sundays are taking a toll on us and we need to get our family back in church every week.

Here are some shots from my busy fall.

Saint Teresa Academy Stars Dance Team

Saint Teresa Academy  Stars Dance Team

My sweet Carter and his first homecoming.  He did a great job and it was so much fun!

And finally Miss Aurelia!  I’ve been taking her photos since she was born and love getting to spend time with her and her sweet parents.  They are always such good sports and up for whatever creativity we can find.  She is one sassy diva but I love it!

I have camera cards full of pictures to edit now that the Royals aren’t taking up my every waking moment.  It was a fun ride!  We had a great time and will never forget our Blue Okctober!

Happy Birthday to my Hubby! ***remember 9/11/01

This was my facebook post today.  I feel like it pretty much hits right where my heart is on this day each year.

The major thing that sticks in my mind from 9/11/01 was dropping off Carter at day care, he wasn’t even 2 yet and hearing the word terrorist come on the radio. I was like “no way” that wouldn’t happen, it was a mistake. Terrorist wasn’t a common word at the time and we never thought something like this would happen HERE. Since I worked at the Kansas City Business Journal we were very much watching the story unfold. I stood there, 9 months pregnant watching the tv in the newsroom as the towers fell and then as the pentagon was hit…the sky was raining giant airplanes. It was terrifying and I couldn’t fathom how the world would change, what was ahead for all of us but especially my babies, one at daycare and the other in my stomach. Then I felt terrible for my husband…this all happened on his birthday. I know his mom really hated that for him too. So we allowed ourselves to watch a summary of the information then turned off the tv and concentrated on our family. It was a year later when we really let ourselves be affected by this extreme tragedy. We watched the documentaries and weeped. We tabled the grief and worry so we could focus on bringing our daughter into the world. We shielded our son who loved planes, trains and cars too much to introduce the fact that airplanes could crash into buildings and kill thousands of people. We kept our cocoon safe from terrorists and the scary things they make us think about. Carter is now watching a documentary about that day and is fascinated. At almost 15 I think it is time for him to understand the events leading up to that day and what has followed. He will better understand the extreme bravery his Uncle Kyle Brown showed when he enlisted in the Marines and protected us on their soil during three deployments. And he still fights as a Reserve. This is a day to honor all of those people who protect our country, those who have died for our country, the first responders all around the US and the families of those lost but also the families who love those brave men and women. I appreciate and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

9-11-14 and 9-11-01

9-11-14 and 9-11-01 ***borrowed and reposted from tumblr

Kyle and the guys

Kyle and the guys

His first ASK

So my brave big boy thought up a great way to ask a bestie gal pal to homecoming. It’s their first one and he made it a show stopper!!

He had been scheming and trying to keep it all to himself but I encouraged him to let me be his taxi and at least organize the plan. So we ran around between soccer and dance to get the goods.

At the crack of sunshine we picked up Bre his across the street BFF and headed to Starbucks. He asked the Barista to write HOMECOMING? on her Caramel Frapachino. She smiled and told him what a great idea that was.

We headed to the school with her “white girl” drink, bag of twix and *red* roses. On the way to pick flowers he said he didn’t know anything about that but was very definite in wanting only red roses.

So I dropped them off


And they disappeared inside…and I was left to wait and watch for Bre and friends to post pictures of the big, FIRST ASK…








Here we go!! In a flash it happens, taking deep breaths and live in every moment.