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My husband had the afternoon off, so we decided to include him in our Summer Bucket List fun for the first time ever. A family bike ride seemed to be the best option. After all, we desperately needed dad to fill all those tires and make sure everything was in working order.

Our two adult bikes were hanging from the garage rafters. We hadn’t ridden them in two, maybe three years. They were dusty, dirty, and the tires were completely deflated. So Seth broke out the pump and filled everyone’s tires while I managed other prep needs.

Two children put on their helmets without question. One child did NOT, I repeat, did NOT want to wear his helmet. “Dumb.” “Babyish.” “This looks so stupid,” he said. “Nobody my age wears a helmet.” We persisted that we were going on a very long bike ride and that he needed to wear that helmet. Finally, after much persuasion, he agreed and we were on our way.




As we biked out of our driveway, I realized it had been an incredibly LONG time since we’d gone on a family bike ride. I honestly couldn’t remember when the last family ride would have been. As we greeted a neighbor on our way out of the neighborhood, I also realized that it’s incredibly RARE to see families go on bike rides together anymore. Growing up, my family went on bike rides all the time. Back in the 80s, it was fairly routine to see families on casual evening bike rides around town. But today? Not so common at all.

By the time we got all the way out of the neighborhood, I was already a bit winded. Seth reminded me that I should be the most physically prepared for this bike ride since I work out so faithfully. But I haven’t ridden a bike for any long distance in years, so truth is, it wasn’t that easy for me. Why is it that biking as an adult is so much more physically taxing than it was when you were a kid?

We rode those bikes 3.5 miles anyway, all the way to our destination. Up hills. Down hills. Through neighborhoods. Along the highway for a bit. Across the railroad tracks. Then finally through a long bike path.

We drove without stopping, although when we arrived at our destination – a large park – we were exhausted. Thank goodness for the bottles of water I hauled in my backpack.


After a few minutes of rest, we decided we’d go down to the lake where there’s a public swimming area. Suddenly, the kids had a burst of energy. “Let’s go swimming!” Ummm….okay? They, of course, didn’t have swimsuits along, so they agreed to go in their clothes. Not exactly mom’s ideal scenario, but it worked. Two kids in the water with soaking wet clothes. One playing on the sandy, wet shore. No swimsuits for mom or dad. No towels. And no change of clothes for the kids. But again, it worked! Perhaps I need to get out of my box more often.

The fun eventually wore off and the kids came in from the water. We reminded them they’d have to ride all the way back (another 3.5 miles, mind you) with sopping wet clothes, that they might get chafed skin with all the rubbing that was about to happen. But they didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they barely complained about those wet clothes. Wet clothing wasn’t an issue at all. I was shocked.

So we made our way back, all 3.5 miles. Up hills. Down hills. Through the bike path. Across the railroad tracks. And along the highway. Maisie, our youngest, exclaimed “woo hoo” from her baby bike trailer the whole way long. (Yes, that was my favorite part of the adventure.)

The kids wanted to stop for ice cream. Dad thought it would be better to stop for another round of hydration. So I tended the bikes, and Seth and the kids went into a gas station for drinks. We refueled as customers pumped gas. Then we made our way back home.

Elsa LOVED it. Said she’d do this everyday.

Cooper not so much.

Maisie. “Woo hoo!”

Seth and I? A little exhausted.

Family bike ride? An overall success.




Family Bike Ride

Total Cost: $9.00 for beverages at the end of the ride

Mom Lesson: Step out of the box and have a little fun.

Kid Lesson: Don’t underestimate kids’ ability to go with the flow.





This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.



Today, I honor the 10-year-old girl who asked for a camera in 1986, got one for Christmas, and never stopped carrying it around from that day forward.

Today, I pay tribute to the dreams of the high school student, the college student who quietly included photography on a list of possible career aspirations, but quickly decided NO – photography’s not safe, not what’s expected, doesn’t pay enough, is too lofty, too dreamy, too unpredictable, too artsy, too out of the box.

Today, I remember the girl, the teenager, the college and graduate student, the wife, the mom, daughter, sister and friend who always felt a tad out of place carrying that camera around everywhere she went, like she needed to hide something, like she didn’t quite fit in with that thing, like she was always a bit awkward holding that camera at her side when most seemed to go about life as usual without one.

Today, I acknowledge her visions.

Today, I’m proud of the woman who realized she’d grown out of every camera she’d ever owned.

Today, I’m rooting for the woman who stepped out of the box, took a risk, and told her husband it was time – time to make a significant camera upgrade, time to explore this photography dream, time to do it once and for all.

Today, I’m grateful for a husband who said “Yes, let’s do this. But I want you to get good. Really good.”

Today, I’m still surprised by the woman who bought that dream camera and three months later, put a photography dream out there in My Life. Part Two. without having a clue if it would really come true.

Today, I’m overwhelmed by a God who knits us, weaves us, makes us beautiful. Grateful for a God who pursues relentlessly, creates ways where there are none, reminds us that He made us for a purpose, fashioned us for such a time as this.

Today, I’m incredibly humbled (and a little bit terrified) to launch Knit Woven Made, my photography business. The name, Knit Woven Made, is inspired by my favorite scripture, Psalm 139:1-16.

I’m still in exploration mode.

Still doing photo shoots for FREE, and will be through the end of August 2015.

I purchased two domain names for a photography website when the business becomes official:


Why reserve .com and .org domains, you ask? Because my long-term vision for photography includes service and giving, loving and encouraging creatively through photography. I’ve dreamed up a non-income generating photography project that would be incredibly meaningful and fulfilling to me as a photographer, writer and human being. So while my future photography website is highly likely to be a .com, I’m leaving open the possibility of a .org. Because I’m no longer limiting God’s ways, paths or plans.

My photography dreams are just as dear as my writing dreams. I believe they’ll work in tandem. It’s my intention to give these writing and photography explorations my full effort so at the end of life, I can rest in peace knowing I pursued my loves, developed my gifts, and fulfilled my God-given purpose.

Before I share a few photos, I’d love to share a few details!

This month, August only, I’ll be doing a limited number of FREE photo shoots. I have 14 1/2 years working as a speech-language therapist and a special interest in special needs, so I’d absolutely love to do more special needs photo shoots. This would also be a perfect opportunity for milestone photographs, and I’m hoping to improve my family posing skills, so if you’re fun, flexible, casual and haven’t had family photos in a while, I might be your photographer! I’m open to just about anything from maternity to special events to low-key graduation photos.

All September and October 2015, I’ll be running an introductory rate of $50 for one 60-75 minute photo session.  

All photo sessions are on location, in the comfort of your home (if I know you personally) or at an agreed upon favorite outdoor destination. I’m willing to photograph anywhere within reasonable driving distance in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul. When you make an inquiry, please include your location so I can determine the feasibility of a shoot.

During our photo shoot, I’ll take as many photographs as I’m able. After the shoot, I will edit out the bad, blurry, and just okay photographs. I’ll leave you with all the good, great and awesome photographs from the session! You will receive a CD with full rights to photographs.

I’ve owned my dream camera for 11 months, but I’ve been taking photographs relentlessly for nearly 30 years. In fact, photography’s the only thing I’ve done my whole life without fail. So while I can’t promise you perfection in these early days, I can promise you heart, hard work, and a bunch of photographs I hope you’ll treasure for years to come.

It would be a true honor and delight to have you click on over to my new Facebook page for photography! I’m launching it today at When you visit, be sure to “like” the page and scroll all the way through the feed, which includes photos from four of six full-length photo shoots I’ve done, and three blog posts I’ve written about photography. From here on out, I’ll be posting all photography updates on that page. Please feel free to share this post and the Facebook page with anyone you think might be interested!

If you would like to take advantage of a FREE photo shoot in August or want to schedule a $50 introductory shoot for September or October, please leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post, contact me via the Facebook page, or send me an email at

Thanks, everyone! And may you be blessed, remembering you’re Knit Woven Made.










Our pizza party happened fairly spontaneously, really.

We were due to pick up Cooper from his morning activity and it was lunch time, so I asked the girls, “Should we get a pizza and head to the park after we pick up Cooper?” They agreed it was an awesome idea, so we pressed onward with plans.

Boys and girls flowed from the school. Cooper hopped in the car and instead of heading for home, we headed to the pizza place for carryout. Cooper was delighted. “Who’s idea was this anyway? This is fun!” he exclaimed.

When we arrived at the park, we casually made our way to a shaded area with picnic tables and got set up. It was incredibly simple. One large Domino’s carryout pizza. Soda. Some paper plates. And a few napkins. That’s it.

Simple was the word.

Almost benign, unremarkable.




But yet, not.

It worked. It was fast. And it was fun for the kids.


We ate our pizza. We drank our soda (not nearly all of it, mind you). We cleaned up. All in a matter of 10-15 minutes.

Then we made our way to a nearby park. Because for some reason, parks always work well for us.

They swung.

They took turns jumping off swings.

Maisie went down a triple slide.

Then they all went down the triple slide.

They climbed up. Came back down. And climbed some places they really shouldn’t have been climbing.

They had a blast.








When they exhausted their fun at the park, we made our way along a bike path and landed at the skateboard park.

All three kids ran back and forth, up and down, on the skateboard ramps. It was hot. And the ramps were pitch sparkly black. I’m not sure how or why they ran that long. But they did. Apparently they needed some exercise. Cooper was the first to weary. Then Elsa. Then Maisie, “the baby.”

Just when I thought it was time to go, Maisie made her way up to the top of a skateboard ramp onto what looked like a big stage. Cooper, Elsa and I were sitting on a park bench at this point, so we watched as Maisie began performing her favorite songs. Let it Go, of course. And ABCs among other childhood faves. Then, after a while, Elsa joined her on stage. Cooper followed shortly. Before I knew it, they were singing ABCs, as in ALL TOGETHER, at the park, on the skateboard stage. I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears for that matter. My three children were singing the ABCs ALL TOGETHER at the park?! You can’t make this stuff up, especially when two of your kids are 10 and 12 and far beyond ABCs.

This was quaint.

This was obviously a once in a lifetime occurrence.

This was a little other worldly.

This was the motherhood I envisioned before I became a mom.

This was the moment that made me feel like I was doing something right. Even if the moment only lasted as long as the “ABCs” song.


What more can I say? The moment came. And the moment passed.

It was a simple outing. Far better than I would’ve ever guessed sitting at that fairly unremarkable pizza party table.

Another summer bucket list activity checked off. Another day at home with the kids.

Pizza party (and another park).

Total Cost: ~$12.00 for pizza and pop

Mom Lesson: Don’t underestimate kids’ ability to make fun anywhere.

Kid Lesson: Big kids are still little kids at heart.





This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.

  1. Carol Femling says:

    I meant koolaide!!!

  2. Carol Femling says:

    I used to take you kids to the park several times a week when you all were young. You all loved the simple sandwiches, chips and kookaide that I brought for our lunch. I would LOVE those simple days back!! Enjoy them while you can!! ❤️

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