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A Different Kind of Before and After

When you lose weight, especially a significant amount of weight, people love to tell you how! amazing! you! look! omg! It’s nice to hear because losing a significant amount of weight is not easy to do and it’s nice to be recognized for hard work, yes? But, if you should happen to stop losing weight and gain weight back, it’s hard to NOT feel ashamed and or embarrassed.


In the past year, I had a traumatic friendship break-up, lost my job and a huge portion of our household income, injured my knee and then injured my neck and shoulder. I was depressed, I was broke, I was scared and so I did what I did what I needed to do to cope emotionally. (Eat. A Lot.) I’m not saying I handled things in the best or healthiest way possible, I absolutely did not. But I did what gave me comfort at the time. It’s taken a lot of time, a lot of tears, a lot of conversations with my husband and a LOT of donuts, but I’m finally at a place where I can say that I’ve truly, completely let go. I’m ready to move on and to live my best life again. I’m ready to admit where I went wrong and to do better.

If I choose to hold onto the shame that I feel about letting myself get unhealthy again, I will not be able to move forward.


I have nothing to be ashamed about. I ate too much, I didn’t work out enough and I gained weight. It happened. I refuse to sit here and feel sorry for myself or feel like a terrible person. Instead, I choose to set goals, to make better choices and to get in shape again.

Here’s my “before and after.” The first photos are of when I was in shape, when I had lost weight and was no longer 199. The second pictures were taken today after my first boot camp class (big ups to Lindsay for hooking me up with a writing gig so boot camp is possible again!) Totally out of shape again, totally 199 pounds again (okay, I lie, 201 pounds) But TOTALLY MOTIVATED TO DO BETTER.


(I chose the LARGE size photo because IN YOUR FACE, SHAME.)

*Insert Inspirational Title Here*


Last year at this time, I was well into a year of doing boot camp. I was fit, I was strong, I was running, I was feeling and looking great.

Then I lost my job.

Then I injured my knee.

Then I had to quit boot camp because I could no longer afford it.

Then I injured my neck and my shoulder.

Then I got depressed and I ate a lot of things that are unhealthy because they gave me temporary (false) comfort.

Then I gained weight.

Then I was overwhelmed with shame and regret.

Then I finally made an appointment with my endocrinologist and cried in her office because I was back up to 197 pound and was ashamed, embarrassed and scared.

Then my endocrinologist contacted me last week and said all of my test results were normal and that she has no doubt that I will lose the weight and get fit again.

And then I decided to believe that she is right. That just because I’ve had a set back doesn’t mean that I am a failure.

Then I decided that shame will only hold me back from my goals and from living my best life.

Then I decided it’s time to let go of the shame and replace it with determination.

It’s time to set new goals and start living life again.

What’s done is done. What happens next is up to me.

I Can’t Promise You That This Won’t Become the Look at My Pictures of My Adorable Dog Blog.

We have a new member of the family.

He’s a Yorkie and his name is Choco.

It all happened so fast.

Long story short? We lost both of our dogs last year. Our daughter was heartbroken. She asked for a new dog often. I would tell her things like “Maybe for Christmas next year!”

Then one day my mother in law called me and said that her neighbor had an adorable little dog but her husband was allergic and she had to find it a new home. And she was all “he’s trained and he’s cute and he’s just the most precious little dog in all of the world.” I agreed to meet the dog and see if he would be a good fit for our family. We ended up bringing him home the very next day.

We hadn’t mentioned any of this to our daughter, so the day we brought him home we surprised her after school.

In my excitement, I totally left the dog out of the video. But don’t panic! I have pictures!

He is perfect for us and just what our family was missing. Happy my girl has another furry friend to love and make memories with.

My First Attempt at Senior Portraits

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A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I would take senior portraits of her daughter. I’ve never taken senior portraits before, but I was up for the challenge. Luckily, my friend’s daughter has a great personality and made things easy for me.

I started out extremely nervous, but ended up having a great time. It was a good learning experience.  The best part was the text that I received after the shoot was over.



Nothing feels better than knowing something you did made someone happy.











“We Will Always Love Each Other as Family.”

On Monday night, Ethan and I had a very serious talk about school and grades. My son has always made good grades. All a’s and b’s so far in high school. But this last semester he struggled a bit with hard classes and he felt like I was being negative, not giving him credit for how well he has done overall in school. Voices were raised, feelings were hurt, tears were shed.

After the conversation was over, my daughter walked into the room and handed her brother a piece of paper.

What she wrote brought me to tears because it was so lovely and everything I hope my children will be to each other in life (Kind, sympathetic, understanding, encouraging, supportive.) It was extra special because those two argue like crazy. But I know at their core and in the depths of their hearts, there is nothing but love. At the moment I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than knowing that my children love and care for one another when it matters the most.



(I have Gabriella’s permission to post this. She wants others to see “how families can love each other.” She’s the best.)

She is Rich

I often wonder how my job loss has affected my daughter. She’s had to give up things that she loves (like gymnastics) because there just isn’t any money. I feel like a failure and wonder if she’s upset with me for having put our family in this position.

And then today I found this paper in her homework folder. My fears have been put to rest and I no longer have to wonder.

She believes she is rich because she has a family.


I Got to Play a Wedding Photographer For a Day and I Have The Scars On My Feet to Prove It

In 2009, my aunt Heidi passed away unexpectedly.

She was the age that I am as I type this.   Forty two.

She had many health problems, but no one expected her to pass away the day that she did. It was a horribly sad day for everyone who loved her.

I loved her so very much and her death devastated me.

She was one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. I know that sounds cliche, but how many women do you know who got SHOT IN THE HEAD and survived?  My aunt did.

I knew she loved me dearly. I also knew that if I screwed up in school or got out of line, she would kick my ass. And I LOVED her for it. She made me feel special, she made me feel loved, she made me feel valuable. And, OH how she made me laugh.

I miss her so much. 

My aunt had one child. A beautiful daughter named Mallory.  That little girl was everything to my aunt.

That little girl is now 27 years old. She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent young woman who has chosen to spend her life teaching children. I have no doubts my aunt would be incredibly proud of her baby girl. I know our entire family is.

On March 10th, my cousin got married.  My mom, my sister and I flew out to Texas to be there for the wedding. I was honored to not only be invited to the wedding, but to be asked to photograph it.

Photographing a wedding is hard work. But I feel truly blessed to have been able to do this for my cousin.

(Here are just a few of my favorites.)

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