Erika Ray Photography » blog

Technically Summer ends with Labor day.  But once School starts, I think Summer has kissed us all good-bye.

See ya Summer 2014.  You’re never my favorite season.  I tolerate you because I have no choice.  To make it worse, you and I got off to a rocky start with a job change.  But listen…  You were kind to me and loved me by not sending a heatwave.

The first half of Summer disappeared so quickly it didn’t even leave a mosquito bite.  The second half was full and successful.    We saw family, friends, and even a campsite.

But you’re gone.  It’s time to bear hug Fall.  Fall is my crush and I can’t wait to flirt with him.  This weekend, I’m going to romance the shit out of him.  He will love me.




See Part one of Summer 2014 here.

  • Becky Millard Reno - that last one is hilarious!August 28, 2014 – 3:43 amReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Erika, I love your pictures. They provoke a stream of thoughts as I view them. And..your boys are very handsome little guys. Their eyes are so expressive.August 28, 2014 – 9:14 amReplyCancel

I don’t have issues deleting photos.

The wrong eye is in focus?  Delete.

Cute picture of toddler, but a person is shoveling a huge bite of food into their mouth in the background?  Delete.

Becks is wonky looking, but Coop is spot-on?  Delete.

I’ve got high-eyes, but the entire family is gorgeous?  Delete.

I’m really good at deleting photos.  I don’t want to look at a lot of photos.  I want to look a handful of really good photos.  If you delete a lot, I respect you.  And concerning my workflow, I’m lazy.  I hate editing turds because it never works.  It’s still a hot steamy pile of photo shit with some colors popped.  The X key and I are buddies in LR.  I’m no hoarder when it comes to photos.  I figure there’s always a better moment waiting for my camera to capture.

But then there’s a photo I should delete, but simply can’t.  I know that the bottom half was properly exposed.  I know the top half was hazy and over exposed.  My focus was off.  Most people won’t see the Boo-Boos, but I do.  It’s going to take more work than I’d like to “fix” it.  And all of that is ok.  I’m not putting myself down, I’m pointing out facts.  Things I’ll attempt to avoid in with the next snap.

But sometimes the very things that sucked us into photograph out-weigh any technical flubs.  Sometimes the soft gaze of a boy kicks you like the first time he actually kicked you: jolting and exhilarating.  Sometimes the slightly blurry eyes hold every single smile he’s ever flashed for the past nine years.  Sometimes those eyes are unrecognizable because they can’t possibly be that old.  And sometimes the face is truly the most beautiful thing you’ve ever witnessed.

Those Sometimes are the reasons we reach for our cameras.


  • Kristin - I loved this.August 26, 2014 – 9:36 amReplyCancel

  • Amy Tuggle - My god I love you. August 26, 2014 – 12:59 pmReplyCancel

  • LaShawn Wiltz - yes to all of this. just YES!August 26, 2014 – 1:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Robin Geer Troxell - keeper
    August 26, 2014 – 1:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Love itAugust 26, 2014 – 2:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Kate Sytsma - Yes!August 26, 2014 – 4:47 pmReplyCancel

I feel silly putting a quilt up for sale.  No clue why, it just feels funny.

I feel silly keeping this quilt.  We have too many and this is a generous baby-sized one.  Finger crossed we won’t be welcoming any more babies into our family.

But I didn’t feel silly starting this quilt knowing the above facts.  I got an itch and I had to scratch it: All Polka Dots in a Square heavy design?!  Hell yes I want/need that.

So what’s a Silly Gal to do?

How about a silent auction?

You will probably pay much less than I would actually list it for and all the proceeds would go to a fantastic place. You’d get a deal, a warm fuzzy feeling, and a pretty sweet quilt.  I’m not sure you’re missing anything in that deal.  I guess if it came with a hot piece of ass slinging drinks while doling out back rubs that’d be an even better.  But you get what you get.

More details once it’s finished.

Scrappy trip along polka dot

  • Lisa Epp - It’s beautiful!! August 25, 2014 – 12:54 pmReplyCancel

They’re starting to out-number us.  I’m sure one day they’ll be up to no good behind the garage.  Or they’ll be sullen teenagers bored at backyard parties.


Whenever I see photos of them laughing, I can’t help but smile and think: I’ve done the same thing with yours parents years before anyone imagined being called “Mom” or “Dad”.  


I gave Becks some advice when starting Kindergarten and most of it is applicable for every grade.  But he and Coop got another lesson last night as they were getting ready for bed.  Any time we discuss a big topic (racism, homophobia, sexism, democracy), Coop usually listens patiently and then says politely, “That’s a lot of words.  I think I got it.  I should be nice to people.”  Becks always agrees with his brother.


So let’s break down the Basics Coop and Becks Style…

  • Be kind.
  • Some kids are assholes (look, it’s true and you know it).  Walk away from them.  If they follow, find a teacher.  If that doesn’t work, find a friend.  Assholes hate groups.
  • Try really hard.  If your hardest isn’t cutting it, come to me and we’ll figure out.
  • Be kind, Kiddo.
  • But if someone isn’t being kind to you, stand up for yourself.
  • If you see someone who’s having a hard time standing up for themselves, help them.  It’s always easier when someone has your back.
  • Doodle whenever you’re allowed to doodle.  Your father and I value creativity and it will help you stay quiet.  It’s in your genes to talk and teachers aren’t keen about that little genetic trait, so doodle.
  • Be you.  Being a copy is exhausting and futile.
  • Own yourself and never apologize for it.
  • Say “please” and “thank you”.  People eat those words up.  Plus it’s proper.  And it makes us look like we did our job. . .
  • Don’t whisper around people.  It makes those ears not involved feel crappy and left out.  If you can’t say it in front of everyone, maybe don’t say it or choose a better place to whisper.
  • Shower.  Change your underwear.  Brush your teeth.  And how about we try to comb our hair every day?
  • Here’s the big one…  Be kind.  You’ve got no idea what’s really going on at that kid’s house.  Maybe cut him/her some slack. Smile.  Ask if they like Minecraft, WWE, Lego’s, and <insert current fad>.  Just be kind.  Remember when someone was kind to you?  Yeah, that felt awesome!  Be that awesome for someone.
  • You know what?  Sometimes life is shitty and unfair.  I’m sorry it simply is.  But for the most part, life is fantastic and beautiful.  Always look for it and when you can’t see it, trust that it will surprise you.  Cause it will.
  • If you stumble, I’m always right behind you.  I got you, Kid.
  • I’ve always got you.


I’m positive I missed a dozen basics.  Feel free to leave them in the comments.

  • Cara - Really love this! Very nice.August 20, 2014 – 12:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Carol Klein Ray - I love this! August 20, 2014 – 1:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Debra Mayes - Two very lucky boys…….
    August 20, 2014 – 1:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Epp - This is fabulous. Thank you for sharing such wonderful lessons, that even some adults could us a refresher course on. xx
    August 20, 2014 – 2:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Schaffhausen Murphy - Oh my. Erika, that is so beautiful. Mind if I share it with my boys? Love it!August 20, 2014 – 5:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Love this!August 21, 2014 – 8:38 amReplyCancel

When you’re a Mom, you learn very quickly that the phrase “Pick your battles” is possibly the best advice EVER given.

When you’re a Mom to the opposite sex who are constantly engaging in behavior that makes no sense to your core, the advice is life-saving.

Having them home for an extended period this past week, I survived by picking my battles.




  • Kaci - I just love how REAL you are. Makes me feel more relaxed and normal just hearing your stories. I love your perspective on life and raising boys.August 12, 2014 – 12:09 pmReplyCancel