Tuesday, June 26, 2012

blogworthy: our CRAZY day at the zoo!

We just got home from our crazy day at the zoo. 
Now, when i say crazy, i mean it!

Location: Brookfield Zoo
Time: about 4:30 p.m.

The kids & I went for a short trip to the zoo as pumpkin-poos had been dying to go for so long. As we pass the carousel, I say to sunshine girl, "Hey, do you think any animals will escape the zoo today like in that book we like to read at home?"

 {a very fun book to read to your kids}

Location:  the Desert House in the Brookfield Zoo
Time: about 4:45 p.m.

It is already considered a "good" zoo trip, as the jaguar is pacing back & forth, very active, the porcupine was out & about and the meerkats were on look out for anyone who may swipe their food.

 {photo copyright Martin Harvey source: gettyone.com}

We pass the porcupines and head toward a bridge that separates the caracal from some other sort of desert animals (they look similar to hedgehogs). A kind teenage zoo volunteer is on the bridge & eager to educate us about these animals.

Me: Is he (the caracal) alone down there?

Zoo volunteer: Yes, and more interesting is that he has been known to try to jump or climb the walls (it is like a fake rocky ledge) because he really likes kids... {i am thinking: "likes kids?" hmmm....}

I am holding pumpkin-poos as my favorite little mister & I are tall enough to peek over the fence. I am looking for the caracal who has quickly moved, and glance over to see him JUMPING UP & CLIMBING THE WALL RIGHT FOR SUNSHINE GIRL who is squatting at the fence peering through the slots to see in.

  {photo copyright Martin Harvey source: gettyone.com how they look in the wild}

Zoo volunteer: GET BACK & MOVE AWAY!!!!

{The caracal's paws are over the top of the fence and he is easily climbing out!}


{I am quickly running away with the kids carrying pumpkin-poos in my arms & look back to see my favorite little mister turn back to see if the caracal is all the way over the fence. HE IS COMPLETELY OVER THE FENCE!}


{I practically run into a zoo keeper who is out & about feeding the animals & tell her the teen needs help as the caracal is on the loose}

They shove us out the door & as they lock it behind us, all 3 kids almost in unison smile excitedly & exclaim, "NOW WE HAVE A STORY FOR DADDY!" {a phrase we often use around here}

After we all stopped having our near heart attacks, we were able to laugh & think straight.  I was NOT going to mess with a wild animal near my kiddos. Mama bear came out in me & then I felt so bad that I left that helpless teenager RIGHT NEXT TO THE CARACAL all by himself!

All I could picture was my sunshine girl being scratched to death in her beautiful face, which as you know already sports 2 scars from previous accidents. {she was VERY brave by the way... OH, she told me she looked him in the eye & when I said you know you should never look an animal straight in the eye, she changed her story to looking at his big, pointy ears}.

Well, we looked up caracals online & found out some interesting tidbits for you all:
1. They are desert animals
2. They are very well known for jumping 10 feet or more & are most known for being the only land carnivorous animal who can leap to catch a bird in flight.
3. They are excellent climbers :) {ummm... you ain't kidding!}
4. They are solitary creatures.

So, that is our big excitement for the day... heck, for the year! Here's to many more zoo adventures! {Oh, and my favorite little mister wants you to know that the lion was roaring & the sloth bears were wrestling!}

Grace & Peace,

Saturday, June 16, 2012

2012 Senior Portrait & Design

Back in May, I had the pleasure of photographing Will's senior photos. 
Above you see his graduation open house invitation 
which I also had the pleasure of designing.
I love the design, as each image captures a little bit of his life & personality.

This is the back side of the graduation invitation.

Now, this photo session was a TON of fun. We shot in downtown Hinsdale on a Sunday afternoon when the town is very quiet & I learned a BIG lesson in this shoot: even if high schoolers intimidate you {as they do me...I never really even liked high school to begin with}, get to know your client. Ask questions, even when it seems they may not want to talk :) If I had not asked him if he was involved in any sports, I would have NEVER known his awesome gymnastics skills, which we got to explore throughout the shoot! How fun is that?!

 Check out that vertical!

 And, of course a perfect landing.

 This is my favorite image from the day.

 And, of course, I had to get some bare feet images in there too...
Will, many blessings to your journey ahead. I think it will be a great one!

{OH, and by the way, when I came home & showed my kids the train track shots, they completely reprimanded me & asked if I was going to be arrested!!! It totally freaked them out. We live right near the train tracks in our town & I am constantly teaching them about "train safety" & here I am photographing a gymnast on the tracks 2 towns over! yikes.}

Grace & Peace,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Ultimate Owl Fundraiser!

 2 Weeks ago my 3 nature loving kiddos hosted an owl benefit to try to raise money to "adopt" an owl at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center, an animal rehabilitation center which we frequently visit, partly due to the many owls that live there.

You may remember that almost 2 years ago now they hosted a benefit for their Compassion International child in Tanzania, Africa in which my favorite little mister created origami upon request & I baked blueberry muffins & Sam made his famous rice krispie treats.

 Of course, Sunshine Girl had to man the cash register.

 My favorite little mister & his best owl friend "Bubo"
{part of the Latin name for Great Horned Owl}
He is the one who has started this owl obsession 
in our home after reading the Guardians of Gahoole.
{Bubo was even in our Christmas photo this year!}

 Pumpkin Poos & her snowy owl "Cutie Pie"
What a name for a snowy owl, right?
Who can resist?!
{remember this winter we actually saw
chicago's snowy owls?!}

 Daddy's famous rice krispie treats were back!
{He only made 6 batches & at first 
cut them the size of a child's head}

 We had a coloring table where all of the kids could draw their own owls.

 My favorite little mister & sunshine girl gave a concert 
on their keyboard.
So fun!

 {click on the image to see these larger}
And, they each created original works of art which I scanned into my computer to make prints to giveaway or sell! The above are my favorite little mister's. Now, I must say, I love how their personalities come out in their artwork... His being more methodical & scientific.

 These are sunshine girl's drawings {above} and are more girly & designed.

 These are pumpkin poo's drawing & painting. I just love the simple line work she creates & yet how it so magically captures an owl figure.

And, these are some coloring pages I created for the kids to color at the art tables.

We had a GREAT time creating all of this & are so thankful for our extremely generous family, friends, and neighbors who supported our cause. It was so nice to see several of the kids' teachers stop by and show their love.

And, because of all of your generous support, today we were able to adopt not only ONE but TWO owls!!!! {we had some disagreement as to which owls would be chosen: the older 2 kids wanted the Barred Owl & pumpkin & I wanted the Barn Owl... so we got both!}

Thank you & my favorite little mister wants you all to know 3 ways YOU can help the owls at your home:
1. Reduce
2. Reuse
3. Recycle!

Grace & Peace,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Behind the Scenes: Psalm 145: Praise!

Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; 
his greatness no one can fathom.
Psalm 145:2-3

When thinking of how I could visually design this psalm, I focused on the first line over & over, "every day I will praise you & extol your name for ever & ever..." I thought about the joyful emotions experienced while I worship my Lord, as well as a natural element that points heavenward. I chose a sunflower, as they are bright & cheery & "turn" to face the sun, their true source of light & life. I wanted the image to be upbeat & beautiful, drawing others into worship themselves.

Worship, whether it be through song, prayer, service, art, writing, etc... is such a personal event as you connect your heart with your creator's. I hope you experience hope, joy, and abundance of life as you enter in and that it is done with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. With that said, I also know there are seasons of life in which worship is purely a choice & according to the Psalms, a sacrifice of praise. Either way, whether we fully "feel" like it or not, He is worthy of all praise and I hope you sense His pleasure and Spirit as you give your pure worship to Him.

{art available here}

May you enjoy serving & worshiping our mighty God.

grace & peace,