I love this…

I love this 4.14

So him right now.
Nose in the computer, totally engrossed.
He’s been taking lessons at Microsoft and loves it.
Our own little Bill Gates… or maybe Steve Jobs?

I want to remember: Disneyland

I want to remember how much Alex held my hand through the park

I want to remember how much more independent Alex was this year. Getting in and out of rides, buckling in, even using the single rider line.

I want to remember the leisurely pace that we held during this trip. We only used two of our “magic mornings”. Lines were short and we never felt pressured to hurry.

I want to remember the pure tears of joy when we sprung the surprise on Alex. It was my favorite part of the trip.

I want to remember my first Dole Whip (yummy!)

I want to remember watching Alex experience ride on Goofy’s Sky School over and over all by himself.

I want to remember experiencing the magic through his eyes again and hoping that the magic of Disney captures him every time he goes.

familydisney

Tonight…

This sweet boy asked if I would snuggle with him “just five more minutes!”. How could I possibly say no when all that was going through my mind was this thought -

How much longer will he want to snuggle with me at all?

We are blessed with a sweet, sweet boy. I can still see glimpses of the little guy that he was.

But more and more those moments are being overshadowed by glimpses of the young man he’s becoming.

I like what I’m seeing so far but I can’t help but also feel a little bit sad at what we’re leaving behind.

ilovethis

2013 in Review

It’s sort of unreal that 2013 has come and gone. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite memories from the year…

Winter:

CR

bball3

lax

mexico

The beginning of the year brought an exciting adventure – Costa Rica! It was a work trip and unfortunately the boys had to stay at home, but it was a wonderful opportunity to see coffee farms first hand and experience that part of the coffee business.
Alex was finishing up basketball and also started his first year of lacrosse which he loved.
Mark and I made our third annual trek to La Paz, Mexico for some sun and relaxation.

Spring:

lax2

lambo

lambo2

colorrun

soapbox

Mark had the chance to drive a Lamborghini come springtime. It was raining that day, but he left the car with a huge smile on his face so I’d say it was a success.
Alex ran the Color Run with me, his first 5k. He did awesome and is ready to do it again this year.
Alex also was a driver in the Stanwood Soapbox Derby this year. He and Mark spent several weeks building his car and he made it through several rounds on race day. He also had a big smile on his face most of the day… what is it with boys and fast cars?

Summer:

halfmarathon

pool

zipline

going down

skimboard

kitesunset

Summer always goes by so fast, but we made the most of it!
I ran my first half-marathon in Seattle with my dear friend Sarah {yikes!}
We dropped Alex off on Orcas Island for his first week of summer camp at Camp Orkila! We all survived and he’s already been talking about next year.
Grandma Hazel and Grandpa Keith joined us for an exciting zip-line adventure on Camano Island.
We spent a few days at Long Beach with some friends for the kite festival. We had some beautiful weather and Alex worked to master the skim board.

Fall:

soccer

Shepler Family 2013 (26)Shepler Family 2013 (41)

Shepler Family 2013 (28)

pumpkin

Fall:

Fall brings cooler temperatures and soccer! Alex improved over last year and spent a bit more time as goalie this year.
Alex also turned 10 – I’m not sure how that happened and I’m not sure I approve.
We also hit up the pumpkin patch. Alex was the only one of us who got taller.

We made some special memories this year – many more than can be recorded here. We spent some great time with friends and family and with each other. I’m so thankful for another year, for our health and happiness. Happy New Year – here’s to a magical 2014!

Blowing Glass

My mother-in-law found a brochure for an art festival that included an opportunity to blow your own glass float. I love experiences like this so we were in!

The glass blowing happened at Shack Art Center in Everett. There is a small gallery space in the front of the building, but they offer a lot of classes. I’m looking forward to looking into more of them, but for now it’s glass blowing.

First, the gal who was helping us gathered some clear glass. I think she said that there’s about 300 lbs of molten glass in the furnace that holds it. Then, we learned how to turn the pipe in the second, “working” furnace. It was hot work!

glass1
glass2

Next, we added the color. We did this depending on the end pattern we were looking for; I was going for more of a “spotted” look, while the boys chose a “swirl” pattern.

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glass4glass5

(I love the concentrated look on Alex’s face here!)

The color went on in layers. A couple pats into the color (or rolls in my case) then into the furnace. A couple more pats (or rolls) then back into the furnace. Since the boys were going for a swirl pattern, they had an extra step – they had to actually make the swirls! Really cool to get to “play” with the glass like that.

glass6
glass7

After one last trip into the furnace to smooth things out, it was time to blow our glass blobs into glass balls. While we blew, the gal that helped us actually helped form a nice ball and worked to get it ready to separate from the pipe.

glass8
glass9

And with that, our glass floats were born! After they were blown up, she sealed up the hole at the bottom with more glass then they went into an oven so that they could slowly cool down. We had to wait two days to pick them up, but totally worth the wait. Here’s the fruit of our labor:

glass10

I’m so happy with how they turned out and I’m also really happy with how hands on the process was. This was a really fun experience and I think we may go back in September to try our hand at making some glass pumpkins. Seriously, you need to check this place out!

Now, to find a safe place to display them…

I want to remember : camp

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I want to remember how antsy Alex was all morning the day we dropped him off.

I want to remember that when we were leaving he almost didn’t want to say goodbye. Mark thought that Alex maybe thought he was too old or it wasn’t cool. I think that maybe he was worried he’d cry.

I want to remember the helpless feeling when we heard that he’d gotten sick. Even though he was fine and it was likely just nerves it was so hard to hear.

I want to remember the smile on his face in the pool and the pure joy that we felt when we saw that photo.

I want to remember how nice it was to have time to reconnect as a couple and how quiet the house was.

I want to remember how cool he tried to play it when we got there to pick him up.

I want to remember his tears of joy to see us and how that moment totally made me lose my cool.

I want to remember the first hug.

I want to remember how excited he was to share his stories and how curious he was to see if they matched up with my camp experience.

I want to remember how proud of him I felt for getting through the week all on his own and for wanting to go back next year.

Good bye and good luck…

me and matthew orcas

Even when they are for good and noble reasons, good-byes are hard.

My dear friend Matthew is moving to Cambodia for the next three years to do some amazing work with rescued victims of sex trafficking. I didn’t want him to leave without sharing how very proud I am of him. It takes so much courage to leave what is familiar and comfortable, even in small measure – to be moving halfway around the world to take on such a worthy effort is stunning.

Matthew, thank you for your support in achieving some of my dreams and thank you for the example you set in going after yours. You will change the world. I love you.

If you’re interested in knowing more about what Matthew will be doing in Cambodia, please visit the Justice and Soul webpage.

Super Moon 2013

Last year I was so excited to capture the Super Moon - I thought it was a rare occurrence but then it happened again this weekend. I had to give it another go.

moon first

The weather wasn’t exactly cooperating early on; lots of spotty clouds in the sky. I found that these were some of my favorite photos, though. Really cool effects were happening:
moon1

moon2

Finally the moon decided to peak above the clouds, but only for a minute:
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moon4

Just before I was going to call it a night the clouds parted. My white balance wasn’t set properly for this one (a little too warm) but I really do love it.
moon5

I set up using this tutorial from Katrina Kennedy just like I did last year. It was a little bit tricky at first because the moon wasn’t really “out” and I ended up adjusting my settings quite a bit to get the result I was looking for. At one point during the evening a friend posted another link on Facebook from this page and I tried a bit of that as well. I know that I still have a lot to learn technically, but I’m happy that I’ve learned enough to get shots like these.

The next Super Moon is scheduled to appear in August 2014. I would love to be somewhere that I could capture the moon really low on the horizon. Any suggestions?

Soapbox Derby…

Over Father’s Day weekend, Alex raced in the 6th Annual Stanwood Camano Soapbox Derby.IMG_1261

Originally we had planned on going camping for the weekend and when the opportunity first presented itself for Alex, he had a hard time deciding. Finally, about two weeks before the event, Alex decided (with a little help) that we could camp almost any weekend but the Soapbox Derby only happens once a year.
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It was a very good decision.
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Mark and Alex spent two weeks building the car. This was a lot more technical that either of them imagined it would be and some of the other kids had been working on theirs for months! They got it done though and on the first chance Alex had to practice he jumped right in, volunteering to go first! His fearlessness continued on race day. He was awesome.
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I think his smile says it all… he had a blast! This was actually a perfect Father’s Day weekend activity. Alex made it through four rounds of racing and is already talking about next year.
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i love this…

ilovethis17

It’s been a while since I shared a favorite, but this one definitely fit the bill.
Love that quirky expression and the spark in his eye.
So him right now.

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