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Category Archives: Q&A


any shutter sisters readers that may be venturing over here.

i love their site and blog and love what they do. what they are all about. quoted from their about page:

Shutter Sisters is committed to honoring and celebrating the beauty that women behind cameras can capture. We embrace the belief that we are all creative equals, eager to share with one another our work; our art. It is in that sharing that we thrive and grow not only in our creativity but in all facets of our lives.

so inspiring. i was so genuinely HAPPY when maile wilson asked if id like to be interviewed.

ive actually done a small handful of interviews in the last week. always fun to answer questions different sites/blogs/people come up with.

link to the interview.

thanks maile, and everyone!

q&a | part two

question: do you have any handwritten cards or letters from your family (immediate or extended) or dear friends from back in the day?

question: if so how do you store them?

question: do you ever get them out and read them over?

Posted by: lesli streets | May 17, 2007 at 08:34 PM

i have a lot of notes that were passed between jeff and i in high school. i havent gotten them out in at least five years. i keep them in a cardboard hatbox my mom bought me when i was 15 or 16. way up high in my closet!

Ok, SERIOUS question (relatively): Are you a morning person, or a night owl?

Posted by: Sue Sykes | May 17, 2007 at 08:56 PM

a night owl, totally. i hate opening my eyes every morning. hate. so i stay up way too late, enjoying the freedom of the evening, and i pay for it every morning.

Q: Do your neighbors or people in your community know that you are this famous scrapbooker/photographer guru?

Q: Do people you don’t know come and say hey to your kids using their names b/c they “know” their names from following your blog/scrapbook pages etc?

Posted by: Leigh | May 17, 2007 at 09:07 PM

its a weird thing isnt it? i dont feel like a celeb or a guru! they see me in my pajamas everyday as i walk kenna to the bus. they hear me yell out the backdoor at my kids. i dont think they see me as a celeb or a guru either. :) a couple of my neighbors know, and the woman who delivers my mail knows, because she saw anna on the cover of simple.

the recognizing of the kids does happen. a lot of times people will say “i recognized your daughter/son first!” its pretty crazy when someone does recognize us. doesnt happen often, but whenever it does we get a good giggle out of it after. its just CRAZY that its all because of SCRAPBOOKING. who woulda thunk?

What do you do for dinner at your house? Do you cook? If so, what?
Lain (who is always looking for good ideas).

Posted by: Lain Ehmann | May 17, 2007 at 09:15 PM

confession time: i dont cook. i want to cook. but i hate to cook. we eat out entirely too much. we need to stop. i go on binges of eating at home-cooking for the family. but i always peter out. sigh…..

QUESTION…How do you capture the spontaneous photos of your children? How do you see the extraordinary, in everything ordinary…

Posted by: Julie Winder | May 17, 2007 at 09:26 PM

i think its because i am pretty spontaneous myself. you have to know when to click the shutter. i never wait for them to look at me. im always talking to them, asking questions, making them do things that are against the rules-like jump on the bed or lick their dad…you just have to have fun and open your eyes to what you really want to capture.

i think its also that i know how precious these days are-and i want to be able to look back and remember every detail. so my drive and passion is powered by that.

Have with to agree with mommy g, would love to see your scrappin’ area. Hope you’re feeling back to your normal self soon.

Posted by: Susy | May 18, 2007 at 04:09 AM

that will have to be another post. i actually may have posted photos of my space somewhere on this blog. somewhere…i have my office set up in my dining room. its the first thing you see when you walk into my house. i am very “in the trenches” over here.

So, my question is this: when you are out with all your of your kids, do you ever get rude comments from people about having a “big family”?

Posted by: Kari | May 18, 2007 at 06:10 AM

i have heard it ALL. although, i have to say, it was a whole heck of a lot worse when we lived in LA. i had mckenna and drew and was pregnant with nate. pregnant and pushing around a double stroller, and then with him in the baby bjorn pushing a double stroller. it got to the point where i couldnt go to the grocery store without hearing “oh boy you have your hands full!” like every AISLE. it became an inside joke with my friends. i have gotten-”are they all yours?” “OH i thought you ran a daycare!” “do they all have the same dad?” “how are you going to pay for all of those college educations?” ” dont you know what causes that yet?” “are you planning on having MORE?”

my advice is-dont make comments on a childs size or a families size. chances are, theyve heard it all before.

If you HAD to pick between your camera and your computer and could only use one of them for the REST of your life…which would you choose?

Posted by: Jenn from MA | May 18, 2007 at 06:11 AM

that is a trick question right?

What are your kids’ middle names????

Posted by: Lauren | May 18, 2007 at 06:20 AM

the only one with any interestingness is drews. he is drew jefferson.
jeffs dads name is jamie. and jeffs middle name is jamison. (jamies son)
so drew is jefferys son (jefferson)
we tease him that he will have to call his son blank drewson, and since drewson really isnt a name, we call him that as a nickname.

what do you do all day? what’s an average day for miss tara?!!

Posted by: Stacey | May 18, 2007 at 06:41 AM

in between a lot of time at the computer proofing, answering emails, placing orders, printing, and surfing the web i:

wake up at 6:30 to get kenna on the bus by 7. wake up everyone else. get them out the door by 7:30. come home. get anna ready for school and take her at 8:15. then i come home and breathe. usually check email and work all morning. have sessions. pick up anna (she goes twice a week) at noon. run errands. take her to dance. or give her a nap. work some more. pick up the kids at 2. do homework. referee. go to the pool. watch them while they ride bikes. make snacks. clean up. get dinner (out, usually) i know its so bad! and get the kids ready for bed. jeff puts them to bed every night. their bedtime is 7. its what we’ve always done and it works for us. they do have to get up pretty early. thats when its party time. jeff and i jump into bed and watch tv or a movie or we talk or he plays video games and i get more work done. we go to bed around midnight and start all over again. i do most of my sessions on weekends and t/th mornings.

i cant believe i just fit my whole day into a paragraph. it seems so small written out like that but living it feels very very………BIG.

My question: How old are you?

Posted by: Andrea Shirey | May 18, 2007 at 07:27 AM

three oh. shhhhhhh.

If you could visit any place that has existed in a movie – where would you go?
ie. the toy factory in Toys, or the red and green Paris from Amelie…

Posted by: Melanie | May 18, 2007 at 07:28 AM

oh my gosh-SUCH A COOL idea and i dont even have to think twice. hands down no question: the north pole in the polar express.

i already know you don’t have the answer to this question, but I really wish i knew where to get some of those clip board things on your window ledge. they are soooo great!

i hope you feel better soon.

Posted by: brandie | May 18, 2007 at 07:38 AM

i googled 12×12 clipboards and found THIS: melissa francis how much do you love me?!

what’s your favorite vice? everyone needs one.
C’mon, fess up!

Posted by: melly | May 18, 2007 at 07:51 AM

mwuaaahahahaha-drumsticks (of the ice cream variety) (and yes, sometimes plural) at 10pm in bed.

Q: Since we’re kinda neighbors, what are your favorite restaurants? Hole in the walls are even better.
Q: What is your favorite snack food?
Q: Does your family have dinner together every night? What are your favorite meals?

Can’t wait to read all your answers!
-megan from sc, ca

Posted by: Megan | May 18, 2007 at 10:32 AM

hi megan. :)

fave restaurants:
natraj off alicia pkwy
miguels mexican resauraunt in foothill ranch (bigtime fave)
claim jumper
ocean burrito in oceanside
olive garden-stuffed mushrooms and zuppa toscana yummmm

fave snack foods-chips, struessel cakes, coke with ice, nuts

and we do have dinner together every night-its just usually at one of those places i listed above. ;)

1) What’s the one expression you’ve never captured on film?
2) What was it like to be a HoFer with Cathy?

Posted by: Michelle | May 18, 2007 at 10:47 AM

2) totally totally fun. we were on the phone with each other when we both got our HOF calls. it was the best.

What’s your favorite ride at Disney? And, what’s the one snack you can’t live without??

:) Melissa

Posted by: Melissa Raphael | May 18, 2007 at 11:59 AM

thunder mountain and simply dipped drumsticks.

Q: if you could live anywhere in the world at all.. where would you chose?

Posted by: eLiZaBeTh | May 18, 2007 at 06:14 PM

san francisco. or england.

Just curious on your religious views.
You are my photographic hero!

Posted by: Leah | May 18, 2007 at 09:07 PM

my views are-if youve got views, more power to you! :)
just dont kill anybody or hate anybody because of it.
i personally am not a religious person. i was at one time in my life and it didnt fit. most of my extended family and a lot of my friends are though, and i love that we can all co-exist happily with our differences. i love differences. they really do make life so interesting.

do you like tori amos??

:) simple question hee hehe

Posted by: jenn | May 19, 2007 at 08:24 PM

kind of. not really. a little bit. (not a simple answer) haha

whew! the questions are done! it was so fun answering them. they made me think and laugh and remember. good stuff…….from wonderful people. thank you!

and thankfully, i am feeling better. it turns out, i have epstein barr. and i think i have it chronically, or have had it for most of my life. i felt really bad for about two months, but i feel like i have turned a corner now. thank you so much for all the happy thoughts and well wishes. i hope that i just keep feeling better!

i got home this week from utah where i was doing sessions. i have so many fun photos to proof-i cant wait to show them off here asap.

how we became we

jeff and i met on the playground.
i was in fourth grade.
he was in fifth grade.
i was digging holes in the dirt.
he was doing lord knows what.

i knew about him-his DAD was his TEACHER. and that was really cool. (i was NOT cool)
but you know, i was in fourth grade. i was on his sisters softball team. (i begged for the team to be called the purple unicorns but the blue dragons won out. whatever.)

then i moved away. onto another elementary school. and we didnt meet up again until 9th grade.
we were in drama together. a couple plays together.
i thought he was so cute. and he was taller than me. double bonus.
but i never thought he would like me. i thought he was too cute for me.
but we were friends, kind of. in that nervous flirty weird way.
then we both started mock trial.
and we got partnered up.
he was a lawyer and i was his witness. we had to practice together. a lot.
we started hanging out more with the team. i was a junior, he was a senior.

one day, after practice, he offered to give me a ride home. another girl on the team also asked for a ride home. as he was exiting the parking lot, he said “okay which way do i go?” the other girl said-if you are going to my house go left. i said, if you are going to my house go right.

he went left. so he could get me alone. i remember in that moment knowing something was going to happen.

he drove me home in his blue honda prelude. and dropped me off. NOTHING HAPPENED.
fifteen minutes later the phone rang. and it was him. and he asked me out on a date. it was my first date. i had just turned 16. we decided to go see home alone. when we hung up i screamed and jumped up and down on my bed.

thats when we began. we have been together ever since, minus a month or two due to stupidity.

we went to prom together. we moved away to college together. and at the end of our first year of college, we got pregnant together. with mckenna. i was 17. he was 19.

when those two lines turned blue in our apartment bathroom with me sitting on the toilet and him sitting in the bathtub…everything turned upside down and right side up all at once.

our parents were PISSED. we were so busted. but we all got through it somehow.

we moved back home. i turned 18. we got married. (in vegas at the chapel of the bells) jeff worked as the overnight security guard for our apartment complex, getting us free rent plus $400 a month. he went to a computer training school during the day. he got his first real job at the tender age of 21. his salary was $21k. we were rich.

then came drew when i was 20.
then came nathan when i was 23.
and then anna when i was 26.

4 apartments and 3 houses in 5 cities. 4 jobs and 8 cars.

15 years later and i look back at where we came from and what we have done to get here and it seems like a miracle. we went from teenagers who knew nothing and had nothing to adults who are doing what they always wanted. we are so lucky that we still work together. that we still need each other.

ive been with him half my life. only him. and i truly truly feel that we were destined for each other. it wouldnt and couldnt have happened any other way.

jeff and tara circa 1993