Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up to be JPEGS

I read that tag line years ago  . . . it was an ad for HP in a magazine.  When I read it, I didn’t even know what a JPEG was.

Oh my.

I’ve come a long way in four short years.  You see, when David started medical school, I started a new chapter in my life where I was unemployed (not out of choice, but because we relocated to a foreign country), and pregnant.  Honestly, I barely knew how to check my email in 2005, let alone take a picture and then download it and save it as a JPEG file on my computer.  Remember how empowered I felt the first time I learned how to download pictures off my SD card?  Yeah.  I’ve come a looooong way.

When you find yourself unemployed, childless, and living in a foreign country with a husband who has to study a lot, you end up following your nose.  At night, when my husband would study, and the whole island was still and dark, and I had no diapers to change, or babies to tend to, I found myself reading about photography.

That is how this whole new chapter of my life began.

Remember the title of this post?  I’ve taken that to heart, and I get lots and lots of my images printed.  Lots of them. (Remember my basement wall in Kansas City?)

Sometimes, when the sun, moon, and starts all align, I get stuff for free or on incredible promotions too.

Like this for example:

This is my first gallery wrap.  Clients have ordered them, and I’ve coveted their orders wishing I could order all of my images in 16×20 gallery wraps too.  A few weeks ago, a local company offered me a FREE 16×20 gallery wrap using one of my images so I could see their work.  You know, so I would order from them in the future.

Hallelujah.  Bless them.  I love it sooooo much.  🙂

I recently printed the Timpanogos Temple on a float wrap with a metallic finish.  LOVE IT.

My super talented mother-in-law is an artist, and she made a water color from one of the images I took of Hannah’s ballet class from this post. I love it!

I also had two different books made from from our trip to New York.  The first book is only 20 pages, and it is a generic coffee table book that would appeal to the general public, not just my family.  I selected images from historical church sites for this book.  It has a lovely high gloss jacket cover, with lots of pictures with minimal text.  Many of you asked me to make a coffee table book and here it is!

I really love the black and white layout.

Oh, and I love the four churches spread.

The second book I made was a 100 pages.  MyPublisher sent me an email promoting their new matte cover, telling me I could make a book up to 100 pages for $20.  For those of you who have not made a photo book before, that is a steal. I’m not usually one to pass up a good deal, so I put in about 30 hours over a three day period putting this book together.

I love it.  Really.  It is my family journal of our special time in New York.

I copied and pasted my blog from the seven weeks we were in New York with accompanying images.   Normally, a book this big is about $130, so you can only imagine how excited I was to only pay $20 for it!  I have really loved MyPublisher.  I’ve made 10 different books through them, and have always been really happy with the quality.  I’ve used other companies to make books too, (Snapfish, and Shutterfly) but I like MyPublisher the best.  I have yet to try Blurb, and I know they are less expensive, so they are next on my list.

Here’s the scary part though . . . I hit 100 pages without even blinking.  This book ONLY covers seven weeks.  Do you know how long I’ve been blogging?  YIKES.  I started in 2006, so you know, I have a lot of hours ahead of me and money to fork over to get my blog properly printed into several books!

In 2009 I’m Surprised I Didn’t Lose My Mind!

2009 sure was a crazy one.

I’d like to say, “It sure was a lot of fun!”

David is a fourth year medical student,

Which means, with his time, he is quite prudent!

I’m a photography student and stay-at-home mom.

I’ve tried to manage everything and stay calm!

In Utah, we started the year.

We lived by family, it was nice to be near.

In February, we made our first move of the year . . . Kansas City!

It was beautiful and really, really pretty!

Living in Kansas, we felt so blessed.

I still can’t believe we moved to the Midwest!

We  enjoyed living in Kansas, it’s full of nice folks.

To our surprise, we learned we’d be moving to New York.

Shocked, we thought, “Is this a joke?”

We loaded our car with our kids, Paris, and other good things that we needed.

Pulled a little U-haul and off to New York we proceeded.

The kids traveled well.  Paris was fine.

There were only a few times I thought I would lose my mind!

We visited some Saba friends on the way in Ohio.

We ate so much food and had so much fun, Oh my!  Oh!

We loved living in Rochester. We loved it so much!

Seven short weeks was not long enough!

On our move back to Kansas, we heard some bad news.

We had to move again.  We didn’t get to choose!

School regulations made it impossible to stay,

So we packed up the house much to our dismay.

We found ourselves in Utah once again this time,

David went to North Carolina, oh my!  Does this even rhyme?

We are all together as a family as we speak,

Which is great for us because we love to kiss our kids’ cheeks!

Who knows what the future holds for us now.

I just know there are more moves for us, HOLY COW!

All things considered we are doing quite well.

In fact, I think my heart might swell.

Aside from the moves that have made us nomads and gypsy’s,

Other exciting things have happened that made us quite tipsy!

First, Dallin calmed down A LOT.

No more a screaming baby, who’d have thought?

Hannah sings, dances, and entertains.

She’s already worn out her first pair of ballet shoes and has a lot of brains.

David is busy, school is crazy.

Bummer for him, there’s no time to be lazy.

I started school at the Academy of Art.

Mastering photography, I’ve learned a few things to impart.

Paris has done a mighty fine job as our only family pet,

We’re not looking for another dog, at least not yet.

2009 was full of surprises,

Four cross country moves, I said a lot of “goodbyes.”

I say, “Bring on the New Year!”

Heck, I’ll even say it with good cheer!

In 2010 I just ask for one thing,

Please don’t tell me we’re moving to Beijing!

Things I Know For Sure

Three things I know for sure:

1.  David will be home this weekend.

2.  We will be in Utah until the end of February 2010.  (Possibly/hopefully longer, but since we are not the kind of people who know where we are going to be in a week, much less a month, this feels like we have our WHOLE future planned.)

3.  I have never felt so accomplished in my short photography career as I did last night.

One of my professors at AAU compared my shooting style with the likes of Michael Kenna.



I guess that makes me a “Kennabee” (a term coined for photographers who try to emulate Michael Kenna’s work) and I’m totally fine with that.

I know my work is a long shot from his amazing work, and I’m sure he wouldn’t be super flattered to be compared to me, but it still made my night.

I’m still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor after that comparison.

These three images spurred the Michael Kenna comment:


(Timpanogos Temple in American Fork)


(Marina in Palmyra, New York)


(Canadian skyline at Niagara Falls, New York)


This last image of the Dubai skyline is one of Michael Kenna’s.

Check out his site.  His work is fantastic.

One more thing I know for sure . . .

I have some seriously cute footage of Hannah singing and dancing at our family Christmas party from earlier this week and as soon as I remember how to load video clips, I’ll post it.

Oh.  My.  Heck.  It is SO DARLING.  And I’m not just saying that because I’m  her mom.  (Well, maybe I am . . .)

How Am I Supposed to Concentrate Now?

I’m sitting here, minding my own business, writing essay after essay, and critiquing photography portfolios for my final exams when David sends me this picture he took from his hotel room balcony:


He is currently in New York.

Rochester to be exact.

This is the very area we lived in this summer.

I miss it SO MUCH.

I even think the snow is beautiful.

Look how quaint it is.  So quiet.  So serene.

I could live with freezing cold New York winters.

I could.  (I’m sure I could, right?)

He should NOT have sent me this picture.

How am I supposed to study for finals when I’m distracted thinking about beautiful New York and the fun times we had this summer when we lived there?


I feel a bit disconnected.

Wait, what?  Did you say something?  Because there are 400 other thoughts racing through my head right now and I do not have the capability to listen like a normal person.

The end of this week wraps up one crazy semester for me at AAU.  (Just for the crazy record, I started out the fall semester living in New York, then we moved back to Kansas City, and then we moved to Utah.   TWO OF THE MOVES WERE UNEXPECTED.  Nice, huh?)  And can I just say, that after all my final projects are turned in I will be able to breath a bit easier?

I have some fun projects in the works as well and I’m excited to focus more attention on them as soon as this week is over.

Deep breath . . .

To top off this craziness, David has been in and out, and back again, over and over to the point that it’s even confusing me.  Just last night I ran into some of my cousins (who happen to be deaf) at a concert, (which sounds bizarre after reading the aforementioned bit of info about them) and they were like, “Hey!  Where’s Dave?”

And you know, I was frantically signing apologizing for my sloppy and forgetful speech, while trying to remember State signs and grasping for words. I was like, at this moment, he is in Utah, but he’s only been here for 24 hours because he just got back from Denver, and Cheyenne, and tomorrow he will be in New York, but then he’ll be back, and he should be here for a few weeks, but then I don’t know where he will be and did I mention we’ve had FOUR major moves this year?

And it all comes out like a big run-on sentence like that.  With no breaths.

It is a bit embarrassing to tell our story because we really are gypsy’s.

He is constantly on the move and it is no wonder why this little guy’s favorite word is “GO!”


What do you call a car?  GO.  What do you call a ball?  GO.  What do you call Grandpa?  GO.  What do you call mommy?  GO.

GO.  GO.  GO.

He has YET to say mommy.

He’s working on it.

I think.

Wish my husband luck at his interview in New York!  This is Hannah’s location pick for residency.  She asked TWICE this week when we were moving back to New York.  Along with the rest of his interviews, I REALLY hope they fall in love with my husband!

Well, not fall in love with him because that would be weird . . . but you know . . . I hope they really, really like him and decide they HAVE TO HAVE him for their program.

New York Called. They Want Us Back.

Remember how much I LOVED living in upstate New York?

Well . . .

David got an interview for residency in Rochester!


We just might be heading back to Palmyra/Sodus Point/Fairport to live!

I might be a little excited about this particular interview.  🙂  (I’m also rooting for the residency in North Carolina as well . . .)

We’ll see what happens.  The most important thing is that he matches in the 2010 residency match.

I’ll be happy with which ever residency he gets offered.  I’m just saying I might be extra happy if he matched in Rochester.  🙂

It Never Hurts to Ask

Hours before we left New York, one of my secret readers (aka lurker) decided to comment telling me that her parents were serving a mission in Palmyra.

She wanted to know if I could take a picture of them.

You know what?  It never hurts to ask!  Two phone calls and 30 minutes later, I met and photographed them.

Then, I got a crazy idea.  I almost didn’t ask because it is so crazy.

But . . .

It never hurts to ask, right?

I asked this girl’s parents if they had access to the roof of the Historic Book of Mormon Print Shop.  I wanted to take a picture of the four large churches on the corner from a high vantage point.

They asked someone, who asked someone, who allowed permission and gave detailed instructions on how to get up on the roof and what to expect when up there.

After climbing the fire escape, walking from one rooftop to another, (praying I wouldn’t fall through the roofs!), and shimmying my way up to the pitch of my building, I took one deep breath (mostly so I wouldn’t freak out and fall off the building) and held it so the camera wouldn’t have any camera shake.  (I was told my tripod could not make the trip to the roof and after getting to the top, I agreed.)


This is what the four churches look like from the roof of my building.  It was worth the adventure on the roof for this image.  🙂


I really, really, really tried not to look down, but I did.

After my rooftop adventure, I got down and photographed the churches up close.


This is the Presbyterian Church


I think this one is Catholic . . . but please don’t quote me on that.


I have no idea which denomination this church is.  I can tell you it’s not the Methodist or Presbyterian.  Does that help any?


All of these churches are so old.  The newest one was renovated in 1850.  Most of these were built in the 1700’s.


This last picture is just for fun.  I had a great time shooting buildings during my last few hours in New York, and the Phelps General Store was one of them.

Apparently, this building is haunted.

I did not go inside.  🙂

My Big Dream

On our last day in New York, we drove out to the Finger Lakes area.  We followed our noses until we hit the town of Canandaigua.  We stopped to check out some boats on the lake and this is what we found:


A car repair shop among  several boat houses.


I mean, these were literal houses for boats.


Of course, we thought they were so cute and David started formulating a plan of how and why we might need/have one of these one day.


One day, we might actually own some things.

Actually, I’m just hoping to be out of medical school one day.  It’s not asking for too much is it?

The Very Sad, Sad, Story . . .

We’re moving.


We planned to stay in Kansas for all of David’s rotations, and then move when residency starts.

That is no longer the case.

Last week, as we were driving from New York back to Kansas, we got a phone call from a good friend (and fellow student) telling us that the Veterans hospital (where David did all of his rotations and had all of his elective rotations set up) will no longer rotate Saba medical students.  Some mumbo, jumbo about not being LCME certified.  Don’t ask me what that stands for, but it’s important.

The other hospitals in the area either don’t take foreign medical students, or they are booked until March or later of next year.  That does not help us in making the 2010 residency match.  David has to do rotations solid from November through May to graduate in time for residency.

We sorted through our options and have a plan.  In a nutshell, I have to pack.

UGH, I have to pack!  Do you know how much I hate packing for major moves?  You would think I love it with all the moves we make, but NO!  It’s right up there with giving birth to a 17 pound baby.  Yep, right up there.

Our plan is to stay in KC through most of October, find someone to lease our place (we have a contract, so we aren’t exactly going anywhere until someone leases this place), and head back to Utah.  David will be setting up his own rotations in Utah (we can only do a couple of months because there are specific rules about foreign medical students rotating longer than 8 weeks per year there) and then move on to the next adventure.

Oh yeah, did I mention David is studying for Step 2 right now?  Yep.  Add that to the list of things stressing us out.

I’m tired just thinking about all this.  I think I’ll take the day off and just take a nap.

Yeah, I think I should do that.

While We Were Gone

We are back in Kansas and very happy to be home; even if it is only for a short while.

Many changes are happening in our household, and I’d love to share all the details but I don’t know them yet.  As soon we have some solid plans, I’ll spill them.  I promise.

What I can share is that we are leaving Kansas City in just a couple of weeks.  Crazy, sad, and true all at the same time.  Last week at this time, we were just minding our own business, enjoying our last few days in New York and . . .


We got run over by a diesel.  (Theoretically, not literally)

Speaking of our stay in New York . . .

During our seven week sabbatical to New York from our other life in Kansas City, this little boy decided to walk, and sprout five new teeth two of which were molars.

He also decided to talk.  His vocabulary has jumped from zero words to five: boy, no, dad, ah oh, and hi.  Of which, “Hi!”  is his favorite.  He works that word into every conversation multiple times.


And to think that David almost missed out on all of this when we thought the kids and I would stay behind and let him go to New York on his own . . .

What were we thinking?