About Me

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Thank you for visting my blog. When I started this blog, it was just the vehicle for which I had hoped to share photos of our life in Chicagoland with our loved ones, but it has turned into so much more for me. Life is ever evolving in our household and time no longer stands still. Every moment is precious and worthy of being captured and treasured. In addition, through my love of the camera, I have had the opportunity to meet and also capture moments in others' lives. It is my hope, with this blog, that when my memory fails me, the words and photos on this blog will remind of where we were. History...Through My Glass...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I took it off of my neck to get Roan down from the loading dock of the local liquor store (see pictures). I was drawn to the blue door and tonight was a perfect night and weather for pictures. As I was still holding Roan, I reached for my camera and had a good hold of it, but the strap got caught on the wood and it went flying onto the pavement.

I felt my heart drop as the glass shattered everywhere. The battery cover went flying. It seems that the camera is still working. I was able to get battery cover to go back in, but it's not the same. Also, the UV filter is broken, but the worse thing is that my 50mm 1.4 is pretty much dead. I can still kind of use it, but I don't know how much longer it will last. I might have to get another. :(

So I think these are the last pictures for awhile. I forgot that my ISO was set at 800 again so they are a bit noisey.

I thought the loading door was such a unique color...especially for a liqour store. At first he thought it was pretty cool to be up there.

Then he realized that he couldn't go anywhere and started to get worried...

He started screaming, "Help!"

I told him that I would help him so he started looking at traffic and was saying, "Cars..."

four years

...two houses, two towns, and one child later. I think we're finally starting to get it right. Happy Anniversary, Choua. I think the fifth year is the charm. Can't wait to keep sharing and living life with you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

snapshots from our weekend

We started the weekend at a farewell get-together for the V Family. Now that the kids are all bigger, it was impossible to get them into one shot. Can you see B standing in the background?

Then we headed to Chicago for what we think will be one final weekend there before it starts to get cold. We started out at the Museum of Science and Industry. We didn't know that it closes at 4p and we left after Roan's nap so we only spent one hour there. It was a quick tour.

This museum is by far my favorite of the museums in Chicagoland. Of course, I am a major nerd so take it with a grain of salt.

No...Roan is not in a real plane. He's sitting in the replica.

He had only a few minutes in every play area. This one was a crane, but he got impatient with the crane because he couldn't control it well so he got out and started moving the blocks with his hands.

Then we headed to Chinatown for the "Moon Festival". Roan was cranky and in complete terrible 2 mode so our visit was shortlived. We attempted to eat at the Phoenix and I had a warddrobe malfunction on the air balloon slide.

Then we headed to the Magnificient Mile to settle down in our bargain suite. We walked all of the way from Water Tower Place to the historic Mickey D's near the Hardrock Cafe. Roan loved being out at night amongst all of the people. Above is the view from the top of our hotel.

The next morning, we headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo...our first time. It's a nice zoo...much different from Brookfield though.

My guys...

There was this amazing jungle gym, which we later discovered was for ages 4-8, but Roan was determined to conquer it. I watched with my fingernails in my mouth as his little body climbed up the contraption. He was the tiniest one. We had to pull him out of there after about 40 minutes.

As Roan napped in the parking garage, I had to pee so I went out while Choua stayed with Roan. They were filming a TV pilot called, Family Practice, there. I know the pix is overexposed, but it was the best picture of the main actresses face that I got. I don't know who she is, but she seemed familiar to me. Does anyone recognize her?

Finally, Roan's favorite place. He kept running from one side to the other, but never close enough to the actual fountain to get dumped on. The couple next to me, kept laughing at him and they eventually realized that I was the little boy's mom so they told me that they thought he was just so cool. He had the best time!

one year

You'll always be in my memory and close to my heart.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm the Mom

A solicitor for a charity showed up at our door just as we were headed out to the library earlier this evening. I knew I should have just gone out the door, but I didn't listen to my inner voice.

As I opened the door and Roan runs up and stands next to me, he asked, "Is your mom home?" Yikes...can I say that made my day? Since I've had Roan and since I've gained 30 pounds, I've only been referred to by strangers as "Ma'am". The rest of the evening is not really worth mentioning.
I've been playing with PS CS2 and I think I am kind of getting it. Here are two pictures that I converted:

#1: I took out the original background of trees and sky and made it black to mimic something I might do in a studio one day, since I don't have a studio. I messed up a little on the right of the picture, but I can live with it for now.

#2: I converted to B&W and then I dodged her face and skin to bring them out of the shadows.

Sounds easy, but it involves layers and layer masks and such...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Post Without a Picture

My first post in awhile without pictures. I am just plain pooped with the pictures. I've been working on my PS CS skills. I think I may take a community class this Fall.

I read this and wish I saw it. As a mom of a girl, you worry about pedophiles and such. As a mom of boy, I always worry about Autism, especially when he wasn't talking much. I don't know how much too much information plays into my fears, but I still believe that knowledge is power and that if it should happen in our family that we would handle it like a family and put our trust in God.


I also have been so motivated by my sisters and slowly started walking and being more conscious of my eating. Since, last week, I've lost five pounds! Yay! I don't know if I can attribute all of that to my efforts, since Aunt Flo usually adds at least three pounds and she's gone now, but I know that I have lost at least a couple of pounds so I am very happy. I plan to start a more structured plan next week after our weekend DT.

Okay...gotta get to bed before 10p for once.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One More Time

I got the wonderful opportunity to photograph little A...again. Did I mention that J, her mother, has allowed me to go back two more times for a total of three sessions? Because I promised J that I would have a few up by the weekend end so that Daddy B, who is in Africa, can see a few. I'm sure he misses his children so much. I don't blame him...look at this little baby!

Ha! Ha! I just noticed that she's giving me the finger in the above picture. Attitude already! Too cute!

Also, lately, I've been getting the whole, "Love your camera," comments from people. I've heard it happen to other photographers and how annoyed they are by it and I do have a great camera (and lenses help too)...but I am working so hard to get these pictures to turn out as I planned. I'm not annoyed. In fact, I am honored! It must just mean that I am getting better.

And to F, mom to the "Beautiful Girls" and one herself, I promise that I will have proofs for you by mid-week.

Friday, September 14, 2007


A couple of months ago, I wrote a post in frustration about my husband. Since then, I've had a couple of people mention why I would do such a thing...air my dirty laundry? I did it for a couple of reasons:

1. I was stressed and frustrated and needed to vent. I guess I didn't realize that anyone was reading my blog. I had not really started telling anyone about it yet at the time.
2. I wanted others to know that we have hiccups too. I think many people look at our life and think we never fight. Not because I am such a good wife and not because we try to hide it, but because I do have such a good husband.

This made me realize that I don't ever write about the good in my life...well, other than Roan and photography. I think I tend to vent a lot and not be grateful enough. In the past few weeks I have been feeling so blessed.

I know that we'll always have bumps, but I am confident that the worst is behind us. The reason I know this is because I am sure that we have love in our marriage and because of this, I am more willing to be all of the things that I know that I can be. There are many things that I aspire to be, but I have only chosen a handful to focus on right now. I realize that I cannot do it all and I don't want to!

I see the person that fell in love with coming back to me and I feel like I am falling in love with him all over again...even more so this time. I'm not afraid this time to be vulnerable and I'm also not afraid to be honest and completely myself with you this time. AND I see the person that I truly am coming back too, but I am not overwhelmed by any of this.

I am also so blessed to have such a loving family. There are six of us siblings--four girls and two boys--ranging from ages 23 to 35. Even though we are not close, proximity-wise; we are remain close in our hearts. And even though our parents are in Laos, we continue to make sure that we get together and continue to "be" a family.

On the other side of my family; I am so blessed to have such wonderful in-laws! I could not have asked for a better pair and some really great brothers-in-law also. I have been a selfish daughter and sister-in-law and I hope to be more giving and understanding going forward.

I have also met some wonderful people who I consider to be close friends--you know who you are. I am blessed to have all of you also.

These people keep me grounded. Because Choua and I are pretty much alone down here in Chicagoland, we tend to focus only on ourselves. It's easy to lose track of our roots and get wrapped up in our own thinking and being. The funny thing is that it took being away from home to make me realize how lucky we are to be Hmong. I love and respect our culture...I crave it. It is such a beautiful culture! I hope I can learn enough of it to teach to Roan. I have always been accused of being too "American", even from Choua, but I am trying to balance both cultures and really value being bi-cultural.

And not least of all, I am blessed to have my faith. I don't think I could have gotten through the hard times without it. I know that many people think it's silly to put so much faith in a Christian God, but I truly believe that without faith, I would not have experienced such a great life. I realized that when my faith dwindled, so did my life.

Finally, thanks to God, my most blessed and valuable thing is Roan. I have the best one! Seriously! I always remember Choua's words when I asked him what he thought when he first saw Roan and he said, "I thought, we hit the jackpot!" We sure did.

He was in a good mood. I asked him if he'd let me take a few pictures of him and to my surprise he said, "Yes, Mommy," so I went to get my camera.

He let me take quite a few.

He even flashed a smile here and there.

Then he started to run away.

And finally...this is what I got.

I also wanted to thank Choua for being so patient with me and letting me spend so much time working on my photography. I still have a long road ahead of me, but without his support, I would not have been able to learn as much as I have.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Michigan Dunes Beach

We spent Sunday at the Michigan Warren Dunes and Beach. It was a great end to the summer for us. The minute I put Roan on the ground, he started trying to take his shirt off. To him, as long as his shirt is off, he can go swimming, regardless of his bottoms.

We tried to eat our yummy gourmet sandwiches that Choua and I made, but Roan kept creeping more and more towards the water. We try our best to teach him patience, but sometimes we fail.

Here are some beach pictures. All of these were just slightly adjusted in Lightroom. I just added a little bit of vibrance and then added the border, watermarked, and re-sized for the web. They are not the best quality pictures; simply snapshots. I wasn't too worried about my settings.

Someone had built a very nice castle (wish I would have gotten a before pic) here, but Roan knocked it down. He still gets a kick out of destroying things. We were unable to rebuild it.

Then we headed for The Dune! I don't think I did a good job of capturing just how intimidating it was to a Dad, a little boy, and a Mom with her camera and an old bag of bread. Don't ask, you'll know why later.

I was so proud of Roan. He attacked the dune with great fervor. He climbed...
...and climbed as much as his little body and lungs could take him.

Then he had to rest. He kept saying, "Hlease, hlease...helme", which is "Please, please...help me" in his language.

So Choua gave him some help.

One final rest before we got to the top.

Then it was back down to feed the seagulls as there were none to speak of at the top of the dune. I carried that bag of bread all the way up and back down that thing. Well, at least I didn't have to carry Roan too.

As usual, he found a stick and started to chase the birds.

Sunset...perfect ending!