Category Archives: kids

The Best Day Ever!

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Spoiler alert! If you haven’t see the new Star Wars don’t read this because it has nothing but spoilers in it. And elated enthusiasm sprinkled with gushings of affection and ravings of a proud mama.

After far too many months since my last visit, I finally got a chance to see my kids in Memphis. Kelly and I usually make this a day trip since they are so close (but spending the night would be spectacular too). I was having serious Riley withdrawals. Jeremy’s work put him out of town a couple times, forcing us to postpone our visit. This weekend was THE trip and it was fantastic, stupendous, out of this world.

The day was astonishingly beautiful to start with. We watched the sun appear out over the horizon as it peeked through the swampland of eastern Arkansas.

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Driving past the flooded fields of this part of the state at this time of day is so breathtaking, stunning.

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After passing several trucks parked at the edge of the river and several odd bodies of water, all with a thin layer of ice coating them, mind you, we figured out what we were looking at.

Ducks!

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Lots and lots of ducks! It’s duck hunting season. It’s amazing how many were in the sky and in the water on the ground. Flooded fields fed scores of them. We take this route several times a year, but never at this season. How awesome to see this force of nature at work. Hundreds of birds migrating.

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Some of the scenery was just plain breathtaking. I’ve always wanted to take a shot like this. Perfect!

A beautiful start to a perfect day with these awesome people!

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We didn’t have any specific plans for the day. Just going to hang and visit and eat and play. Open some presents.

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and make Gramma beg to get him to face the camera.

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This weekend is the opening of the most anticipated, long awaited, stupendous movie of the decade…

STAR WARS!!

Jeremy had the great fortune to go see it the day before. That meant he couldn’t say a single word about it except that it was spectacular. The man came up with the brilliant idea we go see Star Wars! What about our baby, Riley? Jeremy would take care of our little sweetie. The rest of us were pumped! Me, I have wanted to see this movie with my son since I found out about its creation. Jeremy is the biggest Star Wars nerd ever. I created him. I saw all the movies when they hit the theaters all those years ago, Return of the Jedi six times. I bought him all the Star Wars toys I could afford and Nani bought the rest of the toys. This kid loves everything Star Wars.

We ate some lunch before the show and then off we went.

This movie delivered everything I expected and more! I loved it. They maintained the same feel and integrity of the original movies. The same type of thrilling fight scenes and space battles excited us. I don’t care if anyone thinks it might be redundant. Cleaver scenes and quips tiee into the older movies, making us react in response. Those of us who KNOW those movies love that stuff. I loved seeing the new crew peer out from under the grate inside the Mellinnium Falcon just as they did in the first movie. And when Rey pulled out a piece of electronics and said she fixed the (I can’t remember what it’s called) it was always broken in the second movie. She bypassed it! I wanted to clap for joy.

This movie has endearing robots and dark, scary bad guys and mysterious, mystical powers. Of course they kill off our favorite character. But! My all time favorite character shows up at the end – Luke. He looked awesome as an old man.

This movie delivers all the trappings of a fantastic epic saga. Thank you JJ Abrams for a movie I can’t wait to see again.

That’s my little piece of heaven and it’s a huge piece for me!

Love,

Jeannene

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Thanksgiving 2015

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I have to get in here more often. Since I took this day job, my evenings are the only time I have for downtime and I fall into watching my favorite shows when I should  do something more productive. My hubby thinks I need to start posting cooking spots again. I love to cook, and do it every day (pretty much). I really need a new computer to process the pictures, though. It takes forever to edit on this thing. I have graduated to more sophistication! I never thought I’d see the day. I’m growing up!

This year Ben made it home. He is at the University in north part of the state and makes it home about once a month or so. I’m so glad he isn’t as homesick as he was. It was awesome having him home.

This year Kelly suggested we take some fall pictures. I haven’t taken pics of Ben in at least two years, so we were definitely due. The weather was overcast, but warm with a gentle breeze. I pulled out the big camera and here a few shots from that shoot.

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And my girl….

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By the grace of God I finally got a shot of these two with “normal” faces.

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Because they usually look at each other like this (I’ll wreak a girl’s fury for posting this, but it is so REAL!)

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Moments like that cannot be scripted. Just keep your finger on the trigger. Love it!

And then, the most important person in our family. The Boss, the Prince, the dude around whom we all run circles…..

COOPER!
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Thank you for letting me share the best pieces of my heaven.

 

Love,

Jeannene

Schmidt Family Reunion 2015

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This month Kelly and I celebrated our phenomenal family at our family reunion in Reading, Michigan. It’s the first reunion Kelly has ever attended and the first one in twenty years for her mother (a horrible example of family togetherness on my part). We had the BEST time of our lives!

I caught up with my cousins who enriched my life as a kid and Kelly found out there are a ton of people she is attached to at a deeper level than any other person on this earth besides her immediate family. And imagine this… they care for her just as much. She has longed to know her extended family and they are every bit as hilarious and crazy and fun and caring as she hoped.

We roomed with these wonderful, wacky people…
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These are the Frank Schmidt’s. My dad was one of eight kids and these are a good sampling of his prodigy.
I hope to God we didn’t shame him. (Highly unlikely). Dad helped institute a new family tradition with his two brothers, Tom and Gerry. It is now continued by Jamie Schmidt and Billy Caverly…. The Martini Club.

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I was too soused to get a really good photo document of this momentous event, but believe me when I tell you we honored our heroes valiantly with some damn good gin and recounting of the best memories. Love you Dad.

We were honored by the presence of the three remaining matriarchs of our family. The vibrant and vivacious Mary Schmidt, Emmy Caverly and Pat Smith.

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These ladies are incredible.

The camp we were at offered loads of fun activities. One of them was a giant rope swing. Easy peasy for Kelly.

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And here she is on the high ropes. This looks easy, but she is 40 feet off the ground. It is freaking scary!

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And hard as heck.

We enjoyed the company of some incredible people. I hope to post more detailed pictures. Heck, I took about 800 shots through out the weekend.

After the reunion we spent a few days in East Tawas. We couldn’t stay without capturing a few special pictures of my girl on the lake.

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We hung out with my mom and my sister (no good pics of Liz… sorry) and my nephew Sean. He and Kelly had a blast.

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Can’t believe how incredible the time we had and how much we enjoyed every moment, every person, every experience.

Happy Summer you all!!

Love
Jeannene

The New Year is Indeed Looking Bright!

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The New Year always holds such promises of hope and excitement. Fresh beginnings and the fulfillment of dreams is always my wish for my kids. I set my own goals for the year, but they are fluid and easily attainable, provided I actually apply myself. But my hopes for my kids are more important. I want for them what we all want… happiness and all their dreams come true. I pray for them every day.

This week I heard from two of the three not living at home. WHoo hooo!! Aaron has been struggling for the past year and a half with a severe health issue and a financial setback. The health issue was addressed and he is recovering beautifully. He started a fantastic new job this week. It will help him put his life back together. I am so grateful my Heavenly Father hears prayers. This young man has so much to give the world and he got a little side tracked, as most of us do. Now the world will stand in awe to have him back in it full force! Bless you son.

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Ben also called this week to tell us he’s thinking he’d like to transfer to Russellville campus (Arkansas Tech) next semester and finish his degree there. He’s at Fayetteville U of A right now and making a great go of it, but he is not in his comfort zone. The move itself was traumatic, this being the first time Ben had ever been away from home. The Tech campus is closer to home and both he and his roommate are considering the move so they can keep rooming together. Great teamwork if you ask me.

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Kelly completed a series of tests this week that give her a full scholarship to a local community college. She is beyond happy and releaved. Her plan to fund tuition is not a cramped as originally conceived. Her college dream really can be a reality. I’m so proud of her.

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I’m so proud of all of them. Life is hard and the challenges insurmountable at times, but we try to equip them to face them head on and not back down. My babies are beautiful people and strong souls.

I love you all. (That’s my mom with them. She is the glue.)

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Thank you for sharing my little piece of heaven because it wouldn’t be heaven without them.

Love,
Jeannene

Festival Of Lights – and Happy Things

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We just wrapped up the the Channukah season.

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Ben passed his first semester at the big school. He was overjoyed. He came home for the four days Walmart hadn’t scheduled him to work. We worked him hard, watched movies and let him talk our ears off. And we fed him the Thanksgiving dinner he missed and sent him back with half the turkey meat. Eat on young buck!!

I loved having him around.

At the same time my daughter did a favor for a friend. She took in their little puppy for the short time they went out of town. The friend couldn’t believe her mom and dad were on board with it. A puppy? A not house broken, up in the middle of the night, cute as a button and more baby dog.

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Who could say no to that little face? Meet Chicken.

No that isn’t a typo. The little girl who owns him calls him Chicken. No idea why, but he really knows his name after a week at my house. He comes when you call him. Comes running with kisses and sharp toothed little puppy nips. Small and full of life and wiggles all soft and cuddly. And when he comes he jingles, because around his neck hangs a little bell. That’s because he can disappear like a roach and we need to be able to find him. “tinkle, tinkle, tinkle”

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Gahhh, I’m such a sap. We loved having him.

We didn’t dare let him off that leash outdoors. Chicken thought the grass was a play field in which he could run, and run, and run, and run. That little dog could run fast for something with such short stubby little legs, too. Cooper raced after him the last time he got away and side-swiped him for me, tumbling him end over end. The little thing rolled and lost his bearings enough he laid on his back, puppy paws in the air, long enough for me to scoop him up.

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Chicken is also now a traveling pup. He loved looking out the window as the miles flew by. If he wasn’t somebody else’s little guy, we’d have kept him for good.

Cooper might have had something to say about that, though. He spent the afternoons keeping out of Chicken’s reach. That meant sitting on the edge of the bed where stubby little puppy feet couldn’t gain enough purchase to climb up.

Then when Chicken went home, the house silent of his little bell, Cooper laid around looking rather depressed. After all those evasive maneuvers to keep out of Chicken reach, I thought Cooper would be glad to have the house and us to himself. Evidently even bothersome puppies can endear themselves to older canines…

… and old men. My husband misses ole Chicken.

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This lovely distraction is just what my tired brain needs. A rest from the book that doesn’t seem to want to be finished and shot of pure puppy joy. It’s what we all need.

Happy Holidays to all. I hope all your wishes come true. I know mine have in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

End of Summer Stuff

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Whew! Long time since the last post. After our exceptional vacation we’ve been so busy. One of our things this summer was to make a decent senior picture for Kelly. This involved evaluating the weather, the time of day, the shade, angle of the sun, the location and Lord knows what else. We have this down to a semi-science by now. Lots of locations with several props in these.
Be warned. Excessive pictures follow.

After all the lake pictures we thought we needed some good ole Arkansas woods content.

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Great lighting this day.

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With some sturdy trees…

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And lots of underbrush…

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Cooper, of course, is our ever present helper, companion, best bud. We don’t do anything without that little guy. We loooovvve Cooper.

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And… in the midst of summer bloom, I had to get some of that vibrancy on film.

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This was just the bottom of the photo mountain. Take a gander at this sampling.

Lots of props… Have to have one with her gun… a real country girl.

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We can’t forget the girl with her guitar either. Have to say she looks like a natural and of course there are ton of these.

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With another close up. She hates my close ups, but I love ’em and I’m the one with the camera. Call me the camera boss.

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Not to be forgotten… a vehicle as a backdrop.

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More guitar shots. Love the late day light with her on this pasture.

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Great smile!

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Have to a ‘come hither’ shot to counter the ‘leaving’ shot.

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And another one of those cursed close ups. I didn’t touch these up, the light is funky, but I love that smile.

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The last backdrop is our old tractor. Finally found a decent use for the old guy. She really dresses him up!

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One last shot.

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After flicking through all these, do you have any idea of my pain? An hour and a half of juggling the light and a prop here and there started taking its toll on my pleasant demeanor. Somewhere in these hundreds of shots is a perfect senior picture – Kelly’s call. I love them all.

Thanks for sharing in another small tidbit of my little piece of heaven. You can see it around my girl. All shot on our farm.

Love,
Jeannene

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Homecoming 2013

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Here I go again. *rolls eyes*

Warning! This post includes too many pictures of my offspring dressed up and made up to be so pretty.

A few weeks ago Homecoming took place. My kiddo wasn’t even sure she was going this year until about two before the event. That meant a frantic search for a sweet little dress with all the requirements. It took us exactly and hour to storm the few shops in our local town to find nothing to fit the bill. Another three-hour search of the internet finally yielded the dress with the right style and the perfect flouncy skirt. The color wasn’t perfect, but we were scraping the bottom of the barrel since time was so late. It is the best dress ever!

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And then there is her date… very nice young man.

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A close up….

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More…

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I’m a silly mom…

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I have to get a full shot of this backdrop. This is an old house on a property close to the fella’s home. It has wonderful charisma.

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This was the nicest Homecoming, according to the girl. Even her beau had a good time. By the way, this is dressed up for him. He’s a good ol’ boy and more comfortable in a worn pair of jeans and a familiar tee-shirt… and the hat, of course.

This is the latest piece of my heaven. Enjoy!!

Love,
Jeannene

Tennis

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We have embarked on an entirely new adventure at our house. Our girl discovered an age-old sport.

Tennis.

And she loves it! She finally found her sport niche and this girl is going after it like a dog with a bone. Even better…. she’s pretty darned good at it too.

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She started hitting the ball around with her dad this past spring, him giving her pointers. (This is one of his big sports. He played great tennis in his day.) While at the school tennis courts one Sunday a woman gave us the number of a local tennis coach holding lessons in the near future. That started the ball rolling and it hasn’t stopped yet.

To give her some practice she started just hitting the ball against the back board and hitting balls off the porch into the pasture. That gives picking up balls a whole new meaning… hunting for tennis balls in the grass ain’t a piece of cake. You have to be devoted to go through that.

Dad bought her a ball machine shortly after that. You should have seen the improvement with that little gem! She went to the local lessons, tried out for the high school tennis team and made it (not an insurmountable feat in football country).

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This summer she took lessons and went to workshops and this fall she played tournaments. Her path to improvement is remarkable and exhilarating because….

SHE IS GOING TO THE STATE PLAYOFFS NEXT WEEK!

We are so proud of her.

Instrument in her improvement is this gentleman. He has been teaching and coaching her the past few weeks. His gentle encouragement has made her grow and flourish as a tennis player. Thank you Bill.

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We just want to say… go baby girl!!

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This is the latest installment of my little piece of heaven. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Love,
Jeannene

Portrait

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During my time off I also had the opportunity to take some awesome pictures of my youngest. The time of day was perfect, she was perfect and the camera worked pretty darned well. I must confess, she had been after me to do this for some time. They turned out beautiful.

Just have to post a few…

 

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… this:
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How about this…

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This is for her dad…

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And then this one…

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I had so much fun taking these. Thank goodness for digital cameras. The feedback is instantaneous and the number of takes almost unlimited!

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That concludes one little slice of heaven for today.

Jeannene

It’s Really All About Riley

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I have just one thing to say….

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A picture says a thousand words and that one is packed with a thousand words of cuteness.

This weekend we visited my son and his sweet wife and our newest family member, just turned 1 year, ole Riley boy. He is the epitome of baby hugableness.

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Being the mother of my son, I am the only resource to testify that this little guy is the spitting image of his daddy. I kid you not. From the color and texture of his brown locks to the sparkle of his blue eyes. That includes his ready smile and open joy of the world and all it contains.

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His little smile is infectious. He makes Grandpa smile.

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This is his daddy.

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Today was his first trip to the park… ever. Can you figure out what he thought of it?

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All that space to run around with no barriers blocking his way. He ran ….

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… and slid and …

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… and crawled…

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and ran some more. The park was his undoing, though. Before we knew it, ol’ Riley started tuckering out. He ran at home, his aunt chasing him all over, giggling and laughing. This little guy finds joy in everything and makes everyone around him happy.

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We loved seeing Riley, and his mom and dad of course. But really… it was all about Riley.

This is my little piece of heaven this week.
Love,
Jeannene