the tree | austin photographer

While I like to keep it real around here, I rarely air out our dirty laundry when it comes to my marriage.  Today however, it feels appropriate.  Yes, I realize it is Mother’s Day.  It’s relevant.  Promise.

A tree.  A simple little tree.  See, last Mother’s Day my husband came to me and asked me what I wanted.  While I don’t necessarily believe that I’m *entitled* to a gift for being a mother, I knew he would go out and buy something regardless, it may as well be something I’d enjoy and well, if I’m being honest, he doesn’t have the greatest record of gift giving (like the year I got a new bike just weeks after breaking my tailbone).  Anyway, last year I couldn’t decide between a bench for the front porch and a tree for the back yard.  I reaaaaaally wanted a tree, but I knew it would cause a stir because we’d been talking about getting a tree for the back for awhile and could not agree on where to put it.  I want several trees in the back yard, Jase doesn’t like to have to mow around anything (insert eye roll here) and wanted to plant the trees on the other side of the fence in the green space.  My beef with that:  it’s not our property and we loose the rights to maintain it.  Plus I think it’s just plain lazy to not want to have to mow around anything especially when Ty cuts the grass!  He’s just being stubborn.  But, in the end I asked for the tree and asked for the ultimate gift of being able to be the one to decide where to plant it, that was the real gift.  He put up quite the fight about me choosing placement, but in the end he agreed to at least buy the tree as my gift.  Mother’s Day came and went and I was promised a tree.  Nada.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  A few months later I brought it up again and then a few weeks later he came home with a tree.  It was crooked and ugly to be 100% honest.  It looked like an ugly, crooked twig.  I don’t think he even knew why he bought it.  We decided it needed to be returned and he took it back.  We got distracted by kids and life, I was working a lot and there was no mention of the tree for awhile.  Every now and then when we would be outside or talking about planting tree he’d feel guilty and grouchy about it.  I know he felt bad he’d botched my Mother’s Day gift.  But then…..

Out of nowhere one day I notice a tree poking over the back fence.  Just a few weeks after the last tree was returned.  IN THE EXACT SPOT HE WANTED TO PLANT IT.  hmmmmm, a coincidence, he swears, but I highly doubt it.  What are the odds of ONE new tree in ALL the acres of greenspace behind us landing EXACTLY where he wanted to plant it.  AND it’s fast growing, just like we were looking to purchase.  My theory is that it was purchased and planted while I was off working one Saturday morning.  We’ve had many, many *discussions* about this tree over the course of the last few months.  I swear he planted it there, he swears he didn’t.  Someday, hopefully many years from now, one of us will be on our deathbed and he’ll look over at me and say….”I have to tell you the TRUTH, remember that tree in the greenspace…..” and I’ll say “oh the one you planted on the wrong side of the fence?” and he’ll say “yes”.  I just know it.  Unless of course he wants to confess early and save us years upon years of marital discord (ok ok, it’s really more like banter).  Other couples fight about money and in-laws and much bigger, more serious things.  No, not us, we fight about trees (and his driving but that is a post for another day!).

All in all, I had a great Mother’s Day this year, I got to sleep a little extra, they made me breakfast, I got some amazing cards and beautiful homemade gifts from the kids….

And I have a husband who truly puts in an effort to make me feel loved and appreciated, not just today, but many days throughout the year.  I love him.  Even if he does plant trees on the wrong side of the fence.  😉

2010-05-09T21:44:42-05:00May 8th, 2010|My Family, Our House|

because i don’t want to forget

This morning, as I was dozing in and out, trying to convince myself to put at least one foot out of the bed, Jason was up with the kids cooking breakfast.  As I dozed out again I felt a little tap on my forehead, just between my eyes.  And before I even opened them, I thought it would be Taryn standing there, because that is her old trick.  But it was Teagan.  I opened them, smiled in surprise that it was him, and groggily closed them again.  He said “Momma, Momma, I ready”.  “You’re ready bud?”, I asked, assuming he meant ready to play, ready to start his day, ready to go.  But my little man said “Ready to ‘nuggle….” and he climbed up and laid his head on my chest, his little hand patting my shoulder and my face and he looked up at me and smiled.  He stayed there for what seemed like forever in toddler time, but it must have been real time about 20 minutes.  And I loved it.

2010-03-30T21:00:13-05:00March 30th, 2010|My Family|


You ever have one of those days where things just don’t go right.  Nothing bad happened, but nothing goes as planned?  Today was that day.

My session first thing this morning didn’t go as planned, so bummed about that.  Then I got a call from my husband on my way home that the repair place called about my Explorer and the repairs would be more than the stupid thing is worth.  Sigh….we planned on replacing it with a minivan this year but we weren’t ready yet.  Much less on short notice.  With our work schedules and kids activities, 2 of the 3 need carpool and pre-k drop offs / pickups….we are sooo not a one car family.  So we found ourselves car shopping this afternoon with 3 tired, cranky kiddos.  If you’ve ever been shopping with my husband, or heard me tell “the refrigerator story”….you know that this is a big deal.  Have I ever told that story here?  Ty tells it pretty well, complete with exasperation.  Jase will research a product to death, then go to look at it, mull it over, think about it some more, go home and google, research reviews, theeeennnnn, go back and stare of two products side by side.  For hours.  Like, 6 hours.  Tis true.  The time Ty and I went with him to buy a refrigerator, I thought our sanity was a thing of the past.  I love him, I do, he balances out my spontaneous side but the indecisiveness does get a bit exhausting for big purchases.  I tried hard to embrace who he is today and his thought processes…..good move, it went well at the dealership.  We came home for a bit to think on the big purchase this afternoon and everyone refused naps (except Jase, who fell asleep on the floor in the living room, go figure!).  Then Teagan got a fever (he’s teething again)… when it was time to head back to the dealership we just couldn’t face it.  We threw in the towel and gave in for the day.   Jase made an awesome meatball pizza for dinner and when I opened the fridge to fix drinks I found this….

I love my little dude.  I love the way he loves putting things away.  And I love the way he dances.  And laughs.  And loves.  I love finding his things around the house.  Someday I’m going to miss this.

2010-02-27T21:12:50-06:00February 27th, 2010|My Family|

fresh reflections

Have you guys seen what Fresh Art Photography is doing to raise up women?  It started out here.  And then turned in to this.  And I love it.  As women we are so hard on ourselves and it’s always amazing at how other people, especially the ones we love the most, see us differently than we see ourselves.  And as much as I encourage my client and friends and family to get in front of the camera so they can be seen and loved, it is hard for me to follow my own advice.  For a long time I dished out that advice but thought the rule didn’t apply to me.  Nah, I knew it did, I just ignored it.  But I’ve gotten better about it.  Having amazing photographer friends (like Jod and Michele and Sara and Teri) around to photograph me with my family helps a ton.  I know that what my family sees is a wife and mother and the person they love, I know that, but it’s still hard for me to be on the other side of the camera.  But I do it.  So can you.

Anyway, the other night I was messing around with Jodie and submitted this photo for her Fresh Reflections blog….


For some reason she didn’t want it and ignored my request, can’t imagine why?!?!

Instead she replied, cashed in on a favor I owe her and made me send her a real one.  I’m not sure what I got myself into, I’m a little scared, but you can check it out here.  Thanks Sara for letting us use your photo!!  And thank you to Jodie & Kim for finding the beauty in the women around you.

This reminds me that I never came back and shared all my favorite shots Sara took of my fam before Christmas….I’ll do that this week!

2010-01-29T21:21:07-06:00January 29th, 2010|My Family|

Merry Christmas

Everyone should have our cards by now so I figured it would be safe to come share.  Simple and very, very “Stradtner”  🙂  Merry Christmas everyone!!


Featuring photos by yours truly, Sara Lopez & Jodie Allen.

2009-12-21T13:54:46-06:00December 21st, 2009|My Family|

10 on Tuesday | Austin Photographer

1.  There are little people in my house.  Lots and lots of little people.  Little people resembling Taryn & Lily…..


I’m not sure which one has the bedhead, it could really go either way.  The third eye in the middle is actually the nose in case you were wondering.  Magic Erasers are my friend.

2.  Ty was pretty excited a few weeks ago to go to his first UT football game.  And by excited, I meen e.x.c.i.t.e.d!  I bought him a little disposable camera to put in his pocket.  I can only imagine what is on it….when I asked he said he took photos of his food, the 54 oz drink his dad bought him (why?!?) and the jumbotron LOL!  Anyway, I’ve been carrying around that little orange camera in my purse for a few weeks and one day Taryn was sitting next to me while I was writing out some checks and said “what is that?”  I told her what it was and that I needed to “bring it in and get the photos developed” she asked me if they were going to “come sit on our couch and proof them”…..hehehe……funny kid, I’ve ruined them!

3.  The kids wrote letters to Santa the other night.  For the first year, Taryn wrote hers by herself.  She was proud.

taryn_letterIt says “Dear Santa, What I Want For Christmas Is A Talking Buzz…something something something (it’s mean to say with a moving helmet), Taryn.   And then a picture of herself so he’ll know who she is.  No please or thank you…but I’m proud of her.  Big girl.

4.  Teagan, oh (almost 2), Teagan.  He was ONLY into letter writing if HE got to HOLD the pen.


While I don’t think he full understand the concept of Santa, he did understand we were writing about things we want because he kept saying “more binkies…uhhhhmmmmmm, elmo….uhhhmmmmmmm, buzz!” and tapping his paper.  Yeah, that pretty much sums up his list!

5.  Jason got a call from one of the network directors at this office over the weekend because they were doing some maintence on their system.  Apparently they needed his password to do something to his machine.  We were in tears laughing because he had to spell out his password to the director…..t-u-r-d-(“yes sir, d as in dog”)-m-o-n-k-e-y….bwahahahaha!  That’ll teach him!  ((no worries, he has since changed it!)) Classic.

6.  Teagan’s new favorite phrase of the week is “HEY NOW!”

7.  Saturday morning we loaded up and took the kids out to eat breakfast.  A rare treat for us as 1) I’m usually working on weekend mornings and 2) we live so far out by the time we get everyone out of the house and to a restaurant, everyone is cranky and starving.  But we braved it and I’m so glad we did.  It was nice.  After breakfast we did a little shopping and then went to the Christmas tree farm in Salado to get a Christmas tree.  The kids had a great time.  Ty was all about the hot chocolate and picking the perfect tree (he found it too!).   Taryn was all about the tree swing and the hay ride.  Teagan was all about running from us and hiding in the trees.  And the popcorn. I don’t even think he noticed we were ON a hayride as he shoved popcorn in his mouth.


Taryn looks good.  Doesn’t she look good?  I was looking at some photos I never posted from August, when things were really bad before her surgery and she was so thin.  We haven’t seen her look this healthy in a long, long time.  Healthy rocks.

8.  Well, it’s official.  We know where this weirdness came from.


9.  After our tree was decorated I wanted a photo of the kids, all snuggled up, looking sweet in their pj’s in front of it.  Instead I got this:


10.  Awesome.

2009-12-08T01:09:25-06:00December 8th, 2009|My Family|
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