My Favorite Holiday Weekend

I love kicking off my favorite holiday weekend with the Heart and Sole Race, in Pittsville, WI. It’s always on July 3rd, so sometimes it’s crazy hot! It’s an evening race, which sometimes helps, but it’s a fabulous five mile race that raises money for their little local fire department. What a great cause!

There are a couple things that I can count on in this race, and this Blues Brothers guy is one of them!

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This course is an out-and-back with four water stations, and they’re all needed since it’s usually so warm. I stop every time! I run this race with my friend, George, and we chat almost the whole time. We both see runners that we know from other races, so it’s nice to wave at our friends when we run by! That’s one of my favorite parts about out-and-back courses… I get a chance to see everyone who hit the turnaround before I did on their way back, and then I get to cheer on everyone behind me once I turn around! :)

The finish line for this race is just adorable. So festive!

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I obviously took that photo before the race- when we came through the chute, there were lots of other people with us! I really love small town races. :)

I enjoyed some incredible watermelon post race…

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…and granola. Oh, gosh, the granola.

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It’s homemade, and I have dreams about it the rest of the year. It’s sooo delicious, and I love munching on that once I finish the race! :)

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Many thanks to this lady, who obviously is responsible for cooking pans and pans and pans of the good stuff!

George and I came in at a strong 47:24, and refueled with cold beer. :)

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I came home, soaked in a tub, and hung out with Brian on our newly finished back deck. We live close enough to Riverfront Rendezvous that we could hear Here Come The Mummies as they played, and I relaxed with a glass of lemonade and enjoyed them from the comfort of my own home. :)

On Saturday morning, we prepped for a cookout later, and I got ready for our Stevens Point Fourth of July parade. I love parades, and the Fourth of July, and everything patriotic. This is my favorite day!

The common council and the mayor all got together and walked in the parade. It was a lot of fun!

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This is me with “the Marys…” Alderperson Mary Kneebone and Alderperson Mary McComb. :)

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Our other friend Mary was driving the truck with the City Band float. Way to go, girl!

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After the parade, I dropped off cookies for our police department and fire department (THANK YOU for working holidays and keeping us safe!), then met Chris and Amy at our house for some lake time!

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We had some perfect weather- hot and sunny with a cold, clear lake to jump in. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our house for our annual cookout. Of course, I completely forgot to take photos of our friends and all the delicious food, but we had a gaggle over for burgers, brats, sweet corn, and all sorts of traditional grilling foods!

For dessert, we featured my tenth annual flag cake!

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I can’t believe I’ve been making this cake for ten years! I used to choose white cake, but now I make angel food cake with fresh whipped cream for frosting. Delicious!

Once it got a little darker, we played with some sparklers. My friends are the cutest!

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We finished our night with s’mores by the fire, and Amy and Chris stayed for a sleepover!

We woke them up with coffee, egg sandwiches, and quite impressive Bloody Marys.

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Breakfast on the front porch with friends is really the best way to start my day, especially since our post-brunching activity was a walk to the new winery. Brian and I were lucky enough to attend their soft opening the week prior, so we were excited to show off this new facility!

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We strolled through the parks on the way home, stopping to look at the emergency vehicle display.

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Abbie was thrilled with all our visitors and all the time playing outside, but she was really happy to cool off inside for the afternoon. :)

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Stevens Point hosts fireworks on Sunday, so Brian and I headed over to the park with our kayaks and watched both our friends in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades play at the park AND the fireworks from our little place on the water.

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Don’t worry, friends: we are experienced kayakers and had both bow and stern lights, as well as headlamps. I get concerned about the other kayakers out on the water- there is a lot of boat traffic out for the fireworks and I’ve seen less experienced kayakers struggle in the wake. Lights are very important, too!

We packed up the boats, drove the three blocks home, and collapsed in bed.

Fourth of July weekend? Complete, and a total success. :)

As always, thanks for reading!!

Miles this year: 308.55

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So Many Photoshoots, So Little Time

I love my weekday photo shoots- they’re less of a time commitment than weddings, but I still get the chance to capture some adorable people and catch some unique moments!

The Pulvermacher boys met me at the park for a little play time! It has been two years since I had the chance to capture a little Pulvermacher… Grant was so tiny when he was in last!

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Look at him now- all grown up, loves to tell me about life, and he has a baby brother!

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Photo shoots are exhausting.

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These two are just the cutest. I am an only child, so I just love learning about and capturing the relationship between siblings!

Later that afternoon, I ran over to Appleton for the Lifest leadership meeting. Being partially in charge of our team of photographers and videographers makes me excited but also nervous! I’m always worried about everyone’s wellbeing.

I found a few friends at the meeting- Bill and Darrell!

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Love those guys. I left the meeting totally pumped! :)

The following day was a session with the gorgeous Robyn. I have worked with her several times before- for her engagement and wedding photos with her husband, Rodney. These two are expecting a baby, so we headed out to Robyn’s parents’ land in the country, and we had a blast!

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Robyn is just glowing, and she has this beautiful laugh that just resonates with my soul. I’m so excited for these two!

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Congratulations, Swart family! I can’t wait to meet your little one. <3

…and that shoot brought me to Friday, where I had another opportunity to work with Heidi and Maxx. They are the couple that does a “picture-in-a-picture” shoot every year to celebrate their anniversary. I was lucky enough to shoot their 2nd anniversary photo, and they came back this year for their 4th anniversary. Time flies!

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I just love these two, and their anniversary photo idea is super cute! Take a peek at the frame that they’re holding… you can see their other pictures inside of that image!

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That brought me to Friday night, and the start of my Fourth of July festivities. My next post will tell you all about that- running, cookouts, time at the lake, time on the river, a trip to the winery… it gets better and better!

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 304.55

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Mom’s Wedding + Oberstadt Family Reunion

While my mom and Bill had their wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day up at St. Therese, they planned a big reception and party out at Wildlife Campground this summer.

It was a wonderful time: our friends and family came from near and far…

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…Mom (and her sisters and friends) decorated with flowers from the farmer’s market, she had her peacock feather themed cake, and her life-long dream: a giant processional of bridesmaids to “Prince Ali” from Aladdin…

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…and we danced all night long!

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We finished the night by releasing a few lanterns.

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Congratulations, Mom and Bill!

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The thing about weddings (that no one tells you about) is that after the dust has settled, and everyone has been fed, and people are happy… someone needs to clean up! We stayed up late cleaning and helping to put away all the gifts and decorations. We were camping right at the campground, so we didn’t have far to go, and it was a fun adventure with our little pup. She loves camping! We slept soundly, and woke up early so we could head out to the Oberstadt family reunion at Lynn and Jerry’s house.

We were tired, but we put on a good face, brought store-bought cookies, and played hammerschlagen.

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They always have photo albums with really old photos of the family members and newspaper clippings. I love reading about family history! This year, they had a whole new series of “old photos,” including this embarrasing capture from a time in our lives when we thought dressing alike was a good idea.

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I’m tired just writing this post- we sure know how to pack our weekends full of adventure! :)

Up next? A week full of photoshoots before my all-time favorite holiday. <3

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 302.1

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Transcribing Dance Company Shoot + Working From Home

I was honored when Charys, this lovely lady…

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…the choreographer of Transcribing Dance Company, invited me to be a part of a collaboration. I had the chance to shoot her company with Brendan, another photographer, over at Central Waters Brewing. I’ve had a couple shoots over at Central Waters in the past, but no surprise- they were all beer-related.

This one involved some lovely dancers in a big warehouse full of aging barrels (and playing in their prairie out back), and it yielded some pretty neat results!

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It was fun to work with another photographer on a shoot like this- since Brendan and I have very different styles, I bet TDC got a really varied selection to choose from! :) Speaking of working with other photographers- I spent this week trying to get everything done before heading to Lifest, where I work with (and supervise) the Ninjagrapher team. Ninjagrapher is the name that we’ve given to our photographers and videographers, since we encourage them to be ninja-like in their shooting. Of course, I’m not very good at being like a ninja- my smile gives me away every time. Anyway, I was pleased to set up an interview with the two newest members of our Ninjagrapher team, the Jaeger boys!

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We had a very serious interview at Belts’ Ice Cream, then I welcomed them to our team with open arms, and set up the logistics of the event with their parents.

I do love working from home most of the time, but it’s always exciting for me to get out and meet with people for ice cream or coffee. I’m still continuing to work on shutting down my computer when my day is over, and not sitting on the couch all evening doing work. Work is work and home is home, and when those two things are only 12 steps apart, it gets hard to differentiate… especially when the majority of my clients come home from their jobs, then want to communicate wtih me! :)

One of the up sides of working from home is that I get to choose the length of my commute, so I often choose places that are within bicycling distance. When I heard about the ReVisioning Point community meeting pertaining to bicycles, I was thrilled to attend! Of course, I rode my bike. :) Our representative, Katrina Shankland, was in attendance, and we sat together. It’s so encouraging to know we have support of elected leaders at all levels in our attempts to make our city safer and more friendly for cyclists and pedestrians.

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That’s all for now, friends. Thanks for reading! :) Up next? My momma’s wedding. <3

Miles this year: 300.1

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Yoga Photos + Purple Northern Lights + Amanda & Mark Madison Engagement

After my long weekend with STREAM Girls, I was absolutely exhausted. I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30!

Luckily, I woke the next morning refreshed, and I was able to help Brian work on our new back deck- I was using power tools and everything! My mom would be so proud. :) Our deck is really coming together! I can’t wait to have dance parties on it and do yoga and feed my friends.

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We took a break, cleaned up, then ran up to Wausau to celebrate Father’s Day with my mom’s family, and I gave some special love to Grampie. <3

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I started the next week with yoga with Carmel, back up at CSY. It was their four year anniversary, so they had a little party, and brought in a photographer. I love these images! Thanks to Miranda Photography for capturing our sweaty, happy selves.

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Whenever I leave a hot yoga class, I have a total new sense of purpose and lots of energy! It seems counterintuitive, but yoga makes me feel more productive (and happier!) for the rest of the day… and it was made even better when I heard through the grapevine that the northern lights were going to be active Tuesday night. The Aurora Borealis is notoriously fickle and hard to predict- when the best experts attempt to predict it, sometimes it’s not visible, and sometimes they don’t predict it, and you can see it with the naked eye.

Several times, my shooting attempts have been foiled by clouds- it was predicted, and appeared, but I couldn’t see it through the overcast skies. I saw the forecast, and I was a little excited, but as sunset approached, so did a storm. It rained from 8-9:30ish, and I thought for sure the clouds would be in my way. I sat down and watched the 10:00 news with Brian, and kept anxiously peeking out the window every five minutes, until I finally decided to head out around 10:30 and give it a go.

My first stop was a short drive away, at Sunset Lake. When I got there, I wondered if the park was closed, since it was dark. I hoped not, since the gate was open, and I drove down to the water’s edge. I pulled out my tripod, and my camera, and the bug spray, then got set up. My eyes had finally adjusted to that extra-black-feeling darkness of playing in the country late at night, when a boat showed up. They were fishing with a giant light in their boat, and I knew it would be hard to work around their light as I was setting my exposure to the skies… and just when I thought I better shoot fast before they entered my frame, they shone their light right at me on shore, and I could no longer see anything. :( It’s a good thing that I know my gear like the back of my hand, so I could operate it without actually looking at the buttons and dials.

As soon as I set up the tripod and camera, I knew I wanted to be lower to the ground to get the angle I wanted. I sat down in the soft earth next to the water, and before I knew it, I could feel the warmth of the recent rain seeping through the fabric of my yoga pants. Oh, well… I guess that’s a sacrifice that I had to make to get these shots.

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I love that the big dipper was so prominent! I was only shooting there for about 15 minutes before I packed up and headed home. I wanted to go to the river’s edge in my neighborhood to capture just how truly beautiful Stevens Point can be. This image was taken three blocks from my home, in Bukolt Park. :)

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The next day, I charged my batteries, grabbed clear memory cards, and headed down to Madison to meet Amanda and Mark for their engagement portrait session. We had such a fun time! We started at the Capitol…

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…then wandered to Monona Terrace…

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…and we ended the shoot with a walk down State Street to the Memorial Union, where they had their first date, quite literally on that wooden bench!

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Congratulations on your engagement, Amanda and Mark! It was wonderful to work with you, and we can’t wait until your wedding next year! :)

The weather has been so beautiful that I’ve been really enjoying my runs. One of my routes this week wound through campus to the track and back, and I was reminded that, indeed, it is a great day to be a Pointer!

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I recovered from my run with a green smoothie on the back deck. It’s coming along, and I’m so excited!

As always, thanks for reading, friends!

Miles this year: 298.1

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STREAM Girls 2015 + Fishing With Mike

STREAM Girls: one of the coolest programs that TU does. Of course, I’m totally biased, since it was an idea that I came up with after having a good long talk with my momma about how to get more girls and women involved in conservation and fly fishing.

The second annual STREAM Girls event was held on June 19th and 20th, in Wisconsin’s Jordan Park, along the Plover River. It is a collaborative event between Trout Unlimited and the Girl Scouts of America, and we were very excited to get our girls involved and learning about water once again!

STREAM is an acronym that is based on the STEM education emphasis: S for science, T for technology, R for recreation, E for engineering, A for arts, and M for math.

The STREAM Girls curriculum covers many topics: everything from the science behind water flow, streamside vegetation, fish habitat and water quality to fly tying and casting.

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Entomology is always a BIG HIT!

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We made a direct connection from the bugs in the stream to the flies that we tie, and ushered the girls to stations to tie some flies, with a fabulous 1:1 ratio of volunteers to girls. They followed a wooly bugger recipe, then were given a little creative license to make their own!

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We wrapped up the first day with fly casting basics and casting games, then practicing casting into water. It really does have a totally different feel than learning on grass, so we tried to create as authentic a learning environment as we could.

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TU national staff and volunteers designed and provided specialized handbooks to the scouts, outlining their activities for the program. The program is about 75% science-based and 25% angling, and it includes an at-home checklist to share with their families, evaluating their familial impact on their watershed.

We had Junior Girl Scouts for the full day of learning on Friday, and Brownies joined us on Saturday morning. The older girls took the younger girls on a streamwalk, stopping at volunteer-manned stations, sharing what they’ve learned about the stream, and answering questions along the way. Each stop earned them a charm or bead for a bracelet that they assembled at the end of the stream walk.

Channel 7 news even came out to cover the event!

It was raining on us for the majority of Saturday, but we wrapped those girls in ponchos and we braved the rain for a little shore fishing on Jordan Pond.

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We had 18 graduates of the STREAM Girls program, each earning a patch for the back of their vest or sash, a certificate of completion, and a water bottle with the STREAM Girls logo.

As the girls packed up their gear, excitedly showing their parents their new patch, I found peace in my heart knowing we’d helped to create a new generation of educated observers and nature lovers.

TU volunteers came from all corners of Wisconsin to share their passion and knowledge about water, and I’m incredibly thankful for the kindness and generosity of everyone who contributed.

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One of those dedicated volunteers was my friend, Mike Kuhr. We went out fishing on my home water (the Tomorrow River) Friday evening, and had a lot of fun!

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Fishing in the dark is every bit as difficult as you would think it would be, but catching fish is even more rewarding, if that’s possible. It was a great time, and I caught my biggest nighttime fish yet! :)

After that whirlwind of a weekend, I was so thankful to get home to my pup and Mr. Mustache. I need a vacation!

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Thanks for reading! :)

Miles this year: 296.1

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Wedding Recovery + The Bakken Family + Bram’s Senior Portraits

Being in a wedding is exhausting! :) Brian and I stayed with Abbie at the Jefferson Street Inn, so we could just walk over to the gift opening brunch. That hotel was really quite wonderful! We’ve shot weddings there before, and I’ve loved working with their catering and event staff, but we’d never actually stayed there. Our room was classy, the front desk staff was very friendly (I needed extra shampoo to get all the hairspray out of my updo!), and they let Abbie stay there for a small fee. The trip signified many “firsts” for Abbie- her first hotel stay, her first carpet experience (we have hardwood and tile), and her first ride in an elevator! She was such a champ. I love that cutie! We took her for ice cream at Briqs to celebrate. :)

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I started the next week with an adorable family/maternity shoot with the Bakken family. Kendi is beautifully pregnant with Teddy, so we had a fabulous shoot with these guys!

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It’s safe to say Jace is excited about becoming a big brother! :)

After their photo shoot, I went for a run around the park. I found a little trail that I hadn’t run before, and I loved exploring.

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Hot, humid runs are a special kind of cleansing. :) I got home in time to clean up and finish studying before my first full city council meeting. Here’s the view from my new “office…”

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…and of course, a selfie with the alders from Districts 5 and 6. :)

Our friend, Ali, had a cancelled flight, so she was in Stevens Point for an extra day. We met at Emy J’s, caught up, and I learned all about her Brooklyn life! New York sounds like a completely different experience- I’ve been there once, but we went and visited all the sights that tourists typically see, so it wasn’t a really authentic experience. :)

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I finished out the week with some fabulous senior portraits for Bram. He’s a very talented soccer player and avid fly angler, so we had a variety of locations for the shoot. :)

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It was great to work with you, Bram! Thanks for not kicking that soccer ball right at my head.

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Shots like this are a sure sign of trust… I wouldn’t lay down on the ground with my gear in front of just any soccer player and ask him to shoot the ball. :)

I was busy putting the final touches on my STREAM Girls program, and subsequently feeling pretty stressed, so Brian decided to take me on a little date to Belts’! It’s a short bike ride from our home, and we just LOVE their ice cream! :)

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It’s easy to support local businesses when their products are delicious! :)

Up next? STREAM Girls- all the cuteness of Girl Scouts learning about their watershed and the Trout Unlimited volunteers who help. :)

As always, thanks for reading! :)

Miles this year: 294.1

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