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study groupie

Last night the study group reconvened. Still productive, but with a furry follower.


Nikon D3, ISO 2000, Nikon 85mm f/1.4, 1/500sec @ f/1.4

Took lots of photos at last weeks gymnastic meet… can’t seem to find many to share however.  I’ve noticed it before, but the lights in many gyms are some form of fluorescent. No problem other than the color of the light cycles with AC current. As a result,  photos taken a split second apart will have very different colors.
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study group

An oddly productive bedtime study group.


After Isabel took Clarke to the mailbox in the daylight saving darkness, he went missing for a few minutes. Looked outside, called his name, offered a treat… no Clarke. Turns out he was stranded in the mud room, restrained by his leash like it was tied to an old oak tree.


Joined by another princess, and a Seussical single feathered Gertrude McFuzz, the girls braved some spooky sets for tricks & treats.

happy halloween

Isabel takes candy collection to the next level.

rocked out

Rocked out at the Blue Man Group show last night… Isabel partied on 7-up and popcorn, then passed out on the floor. She’s still sleeping, so hopefully she won’t be hung over ;-)

dress rehearsal

A pre Halloween hay ride had the girls in full costume today.


Grace’s pre-bar salute… a perfect 10.


In my eyes a 7.4 seems pretty close to a 10.0… Grace however, seems to disagree. Her disappointment was short-lived thanks to an uncle, auntie and quadruple grandparent turnout. Thanks for coming everyone!

born this way

Isabel moves to music in her head and rolls with a style all her own.


A generation ago, a little girl from Motley, Minnesota played a flute in her grade school band. Today, a little girl from Duluth, Minnesota plays that very flute, in her grade school band.

simple ~ beautiful

A recent post on the Strobist got me thinking about my little used and long forgotten reflector. It’s simple, inexpensive, and in some situations, makes for some beautiful light.


Isabel waiting for her piano lesson in St. Scholastica’s Tower Hall. Image taken and uploaded directly from my phone ~ amazing!

girl built

Built with big earrings, pony tails and a single pink block.

haunted mouse

Isabel’s new piano piece arrives just in time… happy halloween


Inspired by the “the Changing face of America“, an article in the National Geographic.

trail crew

Brushed out the neighborhood trail this past weekend. Afterwards, the whole crew made first tracks.


Already 3 weeks into school, Grace works to balance homework, 4 hours of gymnastics twice a week, and band practice (flute)… I don’t worry about her falling, rather finding time.

tick tock

Despite the serenity here, the clock is ticking. Reading calendars, tracking minutes and the worries of a 5th grade Type A have begun. While Grace likes to read, she does so with a timer running ensuring she meets the 20 min requirement.

Worry over her success I will never… over her worries often.


Nikon D3, ISO 400, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 1/25 sec @ f/1.4.

You’ve likely heard it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Well, I know this welder guy who put his 10,000 hours in like 40 years ago… and he’s still welding.  So if you’re a master after 10,000, what are you after 100,000? 
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dog days

Hot and humid for back to school week.

back to school

Yes already… exciting, depressing, but they are cute.

ps. check out those mother approved kicks on Isabel ;-)

book nook

The cedar grove flanking our campsite was a great place to enjoy a good book, or in dad’s case, a good nap.


or so it would seem… If you look really close you’ll notice a white cord going from my ankle to our canoe camera left.

day trippin’

Wednesday was a day trip over a short portage and a couple miles of water to Gordon lake. Sightseeing and a swim filled the near perfect afternoon.




Isabel took to the trees this BWCA trip. She ate breakfast and at least one dinner from this Cedar perch.


Nikon D3, ISO 200, Nikon 50mm f/1.4, 1/125 sec @ f/2. 10 shot pano (my wide-angle lens was buried in the portage pack)

For our family, summers end is usually highlighted by a late August BWCA trip.  This year was no different, we paddled nearly 10 miles, portaged 350 rods (a bit over a mile), and slathered on two bottle of bug dope over 5 days.  The note we found on our final portage however, was something new…
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no idea…

Other than funny, I have no idea what that expression is.

happy birthday ben

Happy Birthday Ben!!!


ps. Grace was a bit tongue-tied tonight… It took her three takes to get her lines right; the “I got it!” at the end is in celebration :-)

on belay!

Went climbing with the girls today for the first time. Or rather, the girls climbed, and I worked as their belay slave. In any case, weather was perfect and somewhat surprisingly, they really had fun.

opening act

The whole family spent Sunday night at the Weesner Family Amphitheater of the Minnesota zoo.  The zoo served as an afternoon opener to the John Butler Trio, an Australian Jam band led by guitar wizard John Butler.  This track, “Ocean” caught my ear a couple of years ago… been a fan ever since.

The “Live at Red Rocks” DVD trailer gives you a pretty good idea of what went on Sunday night, which Miss Grace described as “Super Fun”.  Take that Justin Beiber :-)


too much fun not to share another…

if I were a dog

it couldn’t get any better than this.

dock dog

As a retriever, Clarke generally tires after couple tennis ball tosses. But as you can see, when water and a dock are involved, it’s game on.


The finale of Isabel’s piano camp took place in UMD’s amazing Weber Music hall.

fantastic four

somehow the group photo turned into a comic book cover.

get out kid!

is what that look means.


Little Isabel lookin’ to make a big splash.

ps. click on the image to make this one full size.

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