Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Feaking Out and Laughing Like Crazy

I have always said that one thing I wanted to strive for in parenting is to keep the lines of communication flowing between me and the kids. I want us to be able to talk about anything and everything. I want to be the one who explains the big life lessons, the hard questions, and the life changing decisions that come their way.

I was slapped in the face with one of these instances and I flat out panicked. OH MY FREAKING GOODNESS!!!!

All I have to say is that I am thankful for my husband. He is a rock star in this area and I give him all credit for handling it so perfectly! I have no idea how he just knows how to talk to his girls, I definitely took notes this time around!

Which brings us to the topic at hand, Abby's letter.

"Don't wear the cowboy belt any more or I will stop being your girlfriend, I will like you if you loose the cowboy stuff."

 "Please answer the questions I give you." (haha, a girl after my own heart).

The scratched out parts are the best, "I get sad when I here this crap, it's not a bad word."
"Meet me at the Swirly slide!"
"It's all about love!" (She totally stole that one from her sister).

I was so thankful when she decided to share this with us. She didn't have to and confirmed we must be doing something right... whew!!  For a few moments I was patting myself on the back for a job well done! Then I read the letter. The rest of the pats go to Erik.

After we read the letter alone we called Abby up to talk about it. I kept quiet most of the time. One, because I felt like I would burst out in laughter if I opened my mouth. And two, because I honestly didn't know what to say. Is this stage of life already happening? What the frick!? She's only eight for goodness sake. Was I into boys at her age? No.

She was so cute talking to us about the whole thing. A few times I had to look at the wall and hide my face behind a couch pillow so she wouldn't see me laughing. "Meet me at the swirly slide, "OH MY GOODNESS, BAHAHAHA!!! 

I hope next time I'll be the one playing it cool, but I do have to give this one to Erik!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hilltop Lodge at The Denver Home Show

The Hilltop Lodge made it's debut at the Denver Home Show this weekend! We had a great turn-out and a wonderful response from the crowd! Everyone wanted to see what all the commotion was about surrounding this adorable portable abode. There was often a line that formed with those waiting to step inside the little house and experience the custom built home away from home!

Thank you to all who helped make this possible, we couldn't have done it without you! 

And here is a little word from the man himself. This is a little blurb Erik wrote for the news, I loved it and wanted to share. 

My family and I moved to Colorado chasing dreams of prosperity and stability only to find the economy crash on them. We were going to be that family of six enjoying the weekends and working towards a secure retirement but fate had other plans.

After losing my job as an elevator constructor we decided to go back to our roots. Live simply and do what we love. I have built and designed portable structures since 1998 for fun, first learning basic church retreat cabins and then branching out by embracing other applications like portable coffee houses and small living spaces. Over the years, I have refined the amenities and sought to embrace all of the needs a person has for living in a scaled down portable, energy-efficient package. Some of the greatest days of my life have been spent building these simple cabins for people who value the same family togetherness while escaping the monotony of their everyday life. Since making the decision to return to our first love, incredible members of our community have reached out with open arms to help us succeed. In many ways, this story is about how we can all help each other live out our dreams.

Mixing skill, experience, and passion for what I call neo-conservationism, fuels my design concepts. My core beliefs are centered around using resources to their fullest. Having four kids and living in Colorado can give a person an intense passion for preserving the incredible beauty that we all share. By not erecting permanent structures throughout Colorado and the rest of the US, we can use only the space we need for the time we need it. It’s becoming so important these days to leave less of an imprint for our future generations. This way we can enjoy what beauty our nation has to offer without depleting it long term.

By no means am I alone in this mindset. People are seeking to simplify their living experience in droves. Awareness is being awakened at a grassroots level and the idea of living simply is gaining traction among the masses. From people concerned about their carbon footprint to ex-homeowners seeking a low-cost housing alternative, many are taking the leap and living in smaller, simpler structures.

The tangible and intangible benefits are great. Portability saves the end-user large amounts of money in building permits and fees. The size of these tiny houses brings operating costs down to pennies. Repair and maintenance are miniscule compared to even the smallest traditional home. The user can also feel
great about the smaller imprint they leave for future generations. The Hilltop Lodge uses 1/10th of the electricity a typical home uses and is capable of being completely powered by a small 2000 watt inverter generator while remaining lit and warmed on the coldest of days. This is all achieved through our innovative construction and portability techniques.

In response to the poor economy, my family has decided to take a different route than most. We want to leave a positive impact for our children's children through innovation and social change in regards to how we utilize our resources.

Looking back on the effect of the economy with respect of our young family, I find myself being more thankful than embittered. I was losing touch with my family while working my "regular" job. Since then I have made lasting friendships worth more to me than any security a "regular" job could bring. I also get the satisfaction of doing something great for the planet and our future generations. It turns out, shaking things up brought me back to what is truly important; doing what I love for whom I love. To me, that has become the American Dream.

Erik Wilt

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Your Own Unique Voice

A lot of times in our industry we get bogged down, depressed, insecure because we are always looking at what “we are not” rather then letting “who we are” shine through. 

A wise nerd once told me and I quote:

“ Make sure your research doesn’t steal your own, unique voice. Sometimes we look at too many different options and it paralyzes us. “ 
~Chris Mclaughlin

Look Chris, I put one of those little squiggly lines in front of your name! Doesn’t it look cool?

This principle has really impacted my journey as a photographer. When I start to feel overwhelmed by all of the “I’m not” thoughts, I remember what Chris told me. The words, “unique voice”, play over and over in my head.

My favorite images are typically those that I categorize as “imperfectly perfect”. Recently, I’ve been learning to be comfortable with my own voice as a photographer. Now, I let the beauty I see stand alone.

I’ve adopted this motto in many areas of my life. Being a busy, working mom, I’ve learned to let a lot of things go. My house isn’t perfect, my kids aren’t spotless and my mind is a mushy mess most of the time! Its “all-good”…life in its organized chaos is beautiful.

Get crazy! Shoot in a way you never thought was “right” or “correct”. Let the rules fall by the wayside, get out there, and shoot for you!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Overcoming the I-Can't-Skate-Date

One of the greatest rewards in parenting is watching your child overcome something that they think they "can't do". I love to watch their determination replace their fears. I love to see the immense joy spread across their face when they finally get it; they took the fear and kicked it to the curb and wouldn't take "no" for an answer. 

Ella was next in line for a date-day with mommy. She was bursting with excitement the entire month. We were going rollerskating, and I was just as excited as her. I hadn't been rollerskating in years and I have a lot of memories associated with the roller rink; when I was a kid it was the place to be. Birthday parties, weekend outings, and many summer days were spent circling the the plastic coated floor. The disco ball would set the mood and Paula Abdul's top hits would blast the speakers. We would all stop to do the hokey-pokey and sing Happy Birthday to the kids in the middle of the floor... those were the days! It's fun reliving your own childhood memories through your kids!

The first time around the floor, Ella was ready to throw in the towel. Her demeanor went from, "this is the most exciting day of my life" to screaming out, "I can't do this!" Within five minutes of strapping on our skates she started to wonder what she had gotten herself into. We stopped and had a little heart-to-heart. When something in life is hard we just have to push through and not give up. We talked about hard-work, practice, and the patience you need when learning something new. We continued to circle the floor together with our hands tightly clasped. Each time around, we rejoiced over every tiny improvement.

We took a little break and watched as the other skaters circled the floor to Katy Perry's, "California Gurls". I was messing with my camera phone getting ready to capture some awesome phone pics when I noticed Ella wasn't beside me. I looked up and scanned the dark roller rink, half-way across the floor I spotted the green stripped shirt inching her way around. This tenacious little girl wasn't going to let a pair of roller skates get the best of her; she was going to overcome this thing and she wasn't going to give up. 

I was beaming from ear to ear with the joy only a mother could feel from seeing her child overcome fear and take it head on. I couldn't of been more proud of her in that moment. 

She got around to me and with a big smile on her face and asked, "Did you see me mom?"

It was a great day!!

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