giving back . hurricane ike

hurricanes, not my favorite subject.  especially when i think about everything katrina took from us.  all the heart ache and tears she caused us.  precious time she took away from us enjoying taryn as a baby.  and photographs.  she stole so many photographs.

that is one of the driving forces behind what i do.  why i love photography.  why i dove in to learning, capturing.  my instant and immediate need after the storm to have printed memories again.  they can’t be replaced, but many of them are etched in my mind.  i so wish we would have taken many of them with us, instead of just some.  but i can’t change that now.

when a hurricane hits, so many of us, feel helpless as to what we can do, how we can help.  even having gone through it ourselves, i still feel that way.  on the inside i just keep thinking “what can I do?”

well duh, I should do what i “do”!  nothing like the obvious to knock you upside the head huh?

i can help with photography.  i can help families have new printed memories.  while i can’t replace their photos, i know that pain, and i can give them new ones, for a new start.

so, here is the deal….

if you know someone who has been affected by hurricane ike and they lost photographs, simply submit their names, your relationship to the person / family, and a little bit about them.  depending on the number of submissions received, i may not be able to help every family that comes my way but i am hoping to get other photographers involved in this project as well.  i normally do charity work several times per year anyway and this will be my project for 2009.

if you are a photographer and would like to participate in this project – please contact me at lstradtner@mac.com.  i will create a referral list as requests come in and hope to feature other participating photographers as sessions occur.  by agreeing to participate, you can give as much as you choose, one session or ten, totally your choice.  we’ll appreciate anything you are willing to give!  giving back feels good and i promise if you participate, you will walk away with something special from each family.

ok, so this is your call to action – contact me today at lstradtner@mac.com if you know someone in need or if you are a photographer who would like to participate!

By |2008-09-17T07:03:39-05:00September 17th, 2008|Announcements, Client Work|10 Comments

katrina . 3 years later

So much has changed for us.  Three years ago, we were just home from the hospital with Taryn, enjoying our beautiful little honeymoon baby.  Our security, our lives as we knew it, our home, everything, was changed in an instant though.

Last year, I couldn’t face the anniversary of the storm.  It was too much.  Even two years later, living it every single day.  Rebuilding took forever.  Our normal, was a new normal.  An unfair normal.  One we resented.  I still resent the fact that she stole Taryn’s early days of being a baby from us.  That time we’ll never get back.  She changed our children, our marriage.  We went through so much, Jason and I.  We got married in Hawaii, came home with a honeymoon baby, Ty was adopted by Jason when Taryn was just a few weeks old and then Katrina ripped into town just a few weeks after that.  Yeah, we’ve been through a lot in just a few years of marriage.   I’m so thankful we made it through stronger and more connected than ever.

This year, I feel I can face it.  Maybe it’s the new start in Austin.  Maybe it’s not hearing about it everyday on the radio, on tv, in line at the grocery store, everywhere you go, everything you see, everyone you talk to, is connected in some way to Katrina.  She follows you, no matter how much you don’t want her to, but it’s worse when you are there, in the middle of it.  Maybe it’s having Teagan and relishing every single baby moment with him.  I wish I could have Taryn’s back, but since I can’t, I’m glad I had it again, silly, but it eases the pain just a little.

I can’t think about that time and not remember what it was like to know that my mom and step dad were there riding it out.  They had to, they couldn’t leave.  I am not sure I’ll ever forget what those long 5 days of no contact and not knowing, were like.

This image will give me a creeps as long as I live.  The big red X left on our home reflecting the home was searched and the number of bodies found.  I thank God we left.  I thank God we got out early.  I thank God that number in the bottom of an X is a zero.

Our street, months after the storm.  Our town was closed, we weren’t allowed in for several months.  Mud leading to our house was over 8 inches thick months later.  The photo on the right was taken after our home was gutted.  We often wished it would have just been wiped out, crazy, but true.  It was a nightmare.

I wish I would have had photography then the way I do now.  I wish I could have documented our experience, everything we saw, everything we went through.  If there is a silver lining, it’s that loosing so many of my printed memories gave me a drive to capture new memories.  Eventually, a new camera and the need to do everything I could to capture our lives.  I knew I couldn’t replace it all, but I could make sure I didn’t loose photographs again.  Without Katrina, I would have the love of photography that I do.  I wouldn’t have had the drive, or the passion for it that I do.  I hate her for what she did to us, but it’s taken some time for us to see that there is good to come out of it.  So many people jumped in to help us, with donations, with necessities, with prayers and warm wishes.  We are healthy, happy and have a new start.  We’re pretty thankful for that.

And to Gustav, stay away from my family.  And my friends.  You’re not wanted.  Leave them alone.  Everyone has been through enough.  To follow Katrina’s footsteps is just way to unfair.

By |2008-08-28T21:02:06-05:00August 28th, 2008|My Family|17 Comments

10 on Tuesday

and it’s actually Tuesday, how about that?!

1.  Our lives feel like total chaos right now.  Maybe it’s the fact that summer is here and that means more time outside, more go, go, go.  Maybe its the fact that our business just opened up this week, officially, and  its been a lot of work getting things ready to go.  Ty’s birthday party coming up, Jase is busy with work, Taryn’s taken a liking to using her outside voice 24/7, which Teagan is not liking.  And Teagan is teetering on that 4 month growth spurt, it’s coming, and the thought of it makes me tired.  He’ll want to nurse non-stop.  He’s been really fussy the last few days, thankfully, I ordered a new sling last night so I can wear him more comfortably.  Thanks Nancy for the recommendation!  I love the way she wears her daughter so that she can see out, Teagan is going to dig that.

2. This is their thing.  Never let’s Mommy do it, just Daddy.  I secretly love that though.  Makes me go awwwwwww….

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3.  We hit the pool this morning with some friends.  Our neighborhood pool is awesome, it slopes down so the little ones can play safely, has a lot of sprinklers and buckets of water that splashes down from a big pole, pretty cool.  Well, at the end of the slope are a couple of stairs that lead to the deep end.  Taryn never goes out that far.  Today I was at the edge of the pool with Teagan and Taryn stepped right off the stairs and down into the water.  I jumped towards her and started to grab her and yelled out to Alli who was close to her as well.  She grabbed her and I pulled her up by the arms.  Scary.  We now have a new rule not to go past the blue line that marks the start of the stairs.  It wasn’t that deep, less than 3 feet with the other step right there, but enough for her to loose her bearings and go under.  She did not like the water up her nose and the look of fear in her eyes as she went under sticks in my mind….ugh.  Thankfully we were both right there to grab her, and that Ms. Alli is good at being quick on her toes, Lily was a swimming fish with no fear this morning!

4.  We decided at the last minute this week to participate in a silent auction through Jason’s work to benefit the ASPCA.  We will be donating a session and I had to pull some display materials together really quick last night.  In addition to some large prints, a canvas, an album, business cards and some other frilly stuff, I printed this as a mounted 20×20 for the display table.  Me likey….

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5.   Only two more days of school left.  Ty can’t wait.  I have mixed emotions about it, probably like every other mom out there right?  I can’t wait to have him home and spend more time with him, watch him have a fun summer being a kid.  He’s earned that, the right to play in our neighborhood, be safe and just be a kid, ride his bike, go to the pool, get dirty and just be a boy.  We had a hard time letting him do those things in our old neighborhood with all the rebuilding, so this is a whole new thing for him.  On the other hand, he and Taryn have been in a bickering rut lately, and I’m not sure I’m ready for full, all day banter and rough housing back and forth.  Oh, and I’m not ready for the grocery bill.  Yikes can that kid eat!! 

6.  I know I promised pics of Teagan’s Blurb book, sorry, I took them and just haven’t had a chance to proof them yet.  I will, soon, promise!

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7.  I’m considering a new blog.  For a bunch of reasons.  Some business reasons, some personal reasons.  Just can’t decide.  I want to upgrade, but I’m having a hard time deciding whether to separate the business from the personal.  Part of me feels that all my work is intertwined with who I am and what I do, and then the other part of me thinks it would be better having two distinct blogs, one for each.  Hmmmm, decisions, decisions.  What do you guys think?

8.  This makes me go awwwwwww too.  Meredith and her Mommy.

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9.  Must get working on Father’s Day pics.  Soon, maybe one night this week.  Can’t wait to work out the ideas in my head. 

10.  Ok, it’s the end of 10 on Tuesday and I’m at my wits end with Taryn’s 24/7 outside voice.  We’ve tried everything, the quiet game, jumping over the threshold of our house going from inside to outside voice (yeah, my neighbors think I’m nuts), spending quiet time in her room, reminders, nothing is working.  The loud, screeching, constant yelling at toddler volume, is making me nuts.  Help?  Advice?  Anyone?  Anyone??

By |2008-06-03T13:47:15-05:00June 3rd, 2008|Client Work|15 Comments

running on empty

The 6 week growth spurt is kicking my butt.  I’d love to know what our little porker weighs.  All he does is eat…and eat…and eat some more.  When he cries like this I’ve been known to call him a "fuss butt".  Taryn picked up on this term and the other day when I put her in the corner she informed me I was being a "fuss butt".  Nice.

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Can you believe it’s been 6 weeks already?!  My mind keeps wandering back to when Taryn was this age.  At 5 weeks old we were evacuating for Hurricane Katrina.  Running for our lives, living on the road, in hotel rooms, with family.  I look at Teagan and have no idea how we did it with a newborn.  But we did.  Jase and I talk about it all the time, we were just going through the motions, doing what we had to do to survive.  It still amazes me.  And it still makes me sad.  We were so distracted, so stressed about loosing so much, our home, everything we’d worked hard for, that we couldn’t focus on and enjoy our new baby.  It’s all a blur now.  And each day that we get to enjoy Teagan at this age, I think to myself "this is it, this is what we missed".  So even if I’m really tired today from the 6 week growth spurt and the fact that Taryn has been sick the last few days, I haven’t slept, I realize that when you compare it all, this is easy.  I can do this.  Gladly.

By |2008-03-24T23:48:54-05:00March 24th, 2008|Uncategorized|2 Comments

flashback friday

I’m so glad you guys are willing to indulge me with Flashback Fridays 🙂

This was taken with our old point and shoot dinosaur when we were living in the fema trailer after the storm.   Such an expressive little thing!  And look at that – catchlights before I even knew what a catchlight was!  Ha!

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So excited about this weekend, family coming in and we’re having a get together at our house.  The first one since we moved in. 

Wish me luck, I’m off to the grocery store for the first time alone with all three kids.  I’m either brave or crazy.  Probably both.

By |2008-03-21T12:25:10-05:00March 21st, 2008|Uncategorized|1 Comment

here we go!

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Soccer is in full swing, as of the crack of dawn this morning.  Ty played from the time he was 4 until he was 7, took the year off that Jason and I got married since he would be in Hawaii for 3 weeks of the season and then the league had trouble due to hurricane katrina the following year.  Now that we’ve moved to Austin, it feels good to be back out there again, watching the games, cheering Ty on (which Taryn LOVES), the grass stains, the orange slices, sitting in our little fold-out chairs, just the whole experience.  Fun stuff, for all of us, but especially Ty, he’s totally psyched about it!

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As tough as it was to get everyone out of the house at 7:30 am this morning, it did me a world of good to get out for awhile.  Thank you all for your well wishes in my last post 🙂

By |2008-03-01T18:27:46-05:00March 1st, 2008|Uncategorized|2 Comments

We made it!

It took us 2 days but we made it!  It was a rough trip with a bunch of, uhmmmm, chaos, but we are here!  We close first thing this morning and move into the new house this afternoon.  So excited.  And ready.  Poor Taryn is soooo confused, she just keeps crying and saying she wants to go "home".  We try and explain it to her but I just don’t think she gets it yet.  🙁  Hopefully the new house and no more hotel living will help her to adjust.  Ty is just wired, excited and everywhere!  And traveling with a black lab mix, is totally like traveling with another child, after 2 days with Kylie in the front seat of the car with me she’s driving me nuts!  LOL!  I can’t wait to let her loose in the big backyard!

I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JASON!!!  He’s joining me on the dark side ….. bye bye 20’s, helloooo 30!!!  And just what he always wanted on his 30th birthday – a 30 year mortgage!!  Bwahahaha!!!

Happy Birthday honey, I love you =)

By |2007-10-22T07:30:47-05:00October 22nd, 2007|Uncategorized|13 Comments

the sale

Well, a quick update this morning as I log in from our hotel.  After a long couple of days, we’re all moved out of the house and the sale occurs this morning.  Part of me is sad, it’s our house, our home.  Jason lived there when we got engaged, it’s where we returned after getting married in Hawai’i, we found out we were having Taryn in that house, and it’s where we brought her home from the hospital.  Tons of memories, birthday, Christmas’s, doing homework at the kitchen table, fixing dinner.  We became a family, we grew, we changed and we loved, all in that house.

And then there is this little voice in the back of my head that whispers, "Good riddance you money hungry, stress, blood, sweat and tears causing, thanks to Katrina nightmare."

Here is hoping for a smooth closing today…

By |2007-10-19T08:57:06-05:00October 19th, 2007|Uncategorized|7 Comments

Thank God for my Mom.

The Gee came to my rescue today.  She showed up with a smile and worked her tail off, packed the kitchen, entertained Taryn, changed diapers, picked up Ty from school and even took out the trash.  I don’t know what I would have done without her today, I’ve been awake since 3:30 am and feeling pretty bad all day.  Very sore and crampy from over doing it while packing yesterday.  Thanks Mom, you rock. 

Moving truck arrives first thing in the morning.  We’re exhausted, and not quite ready.  Our last night in the house….is, yup, you guessed it, total chaos. 

By |2007-10-16T22:02:29-05:00October 16th, 2007|Uncategorized|6 Comments

hurry up and wait

Things are looking up on the home front.  We are hopeful that everything will work out with both the house and Jason’s job situation, just in the nick of time.  We should know more today actually.  With any luck at all we’ll be packing up the house like crazy people through the weekend!  We’re not good at the ole hurry up and wait routine.  It’s stressful.  T’s getting a little bored with it herself….

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Actually, she was waiting on me to finish snapping so she could go watch Little Einsteins 😉  Ahh, the life of a 2 year old.  She’s been into so much lately and says the funniest things.  I need to gather them all together in my mind and post them before they escape me.

Ty finished all the Harry Potter books.  I’m so proud of him, in 4th grade reading at a 7th grade level.  He takes Accelerated Reader tests on the books at school after he finishes each one and has been getting all A’s and B’s on them.  The day after he finished the last one he was soooo bored, so we had to make an emergency trip to the book store.  Fifty dollars later reminds me that we need to locate the nearest library once we move!

Hopefully we’ll have good house selling news really soon, I’ll update as soon as I can, thanks for stopping in!  =)

By |2007-10-10T10:23:16-05:00October 10th, 2007|Uncategorized|0 Comments

party party

My mom threw us a going away party this weekend, it was so great to just relax with family and friends and visit.  A little sad, but fun and we had some great food! 

I took a few shots, not many, but I think this one is my favorite…Little T hanging out with my mom.  I love to see how happy they are when they are together…

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Thank you Mom, we love you!!

By |2007-10-07T21:01:42-05:00October 7th, 2007|Uncategorized|2 Comments
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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.