Saturday, June 16, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

E and I are so lucky we get to do life with this guy right here! Z, you are the best partner and dad I could have ever dreamt of! I am so genuinely grateful for all you do for us, and with us, on a daily basis. We love you and hope you know how much we appreciate you! 

I'd also like to say a special Happy Father's Day to my dad (E's PawPaw), and my dad-in-law (E's Papa Doc) who have been amazing dads to both Zach and I and who are amazing grandpas to our little one! Not only does E have awesome grandpas, she also has two amazing GREAT grandpas and a few up in heaven, too. 

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads and father figures out there today, and every day! 

We love you, DADS! Thanks for making our lives easier, fuller, and definitely more fun! 


Friday, June 15, 2018


Sometimes I panic.

It never fails that every time I feel like I'm getting things "under control" and that I have a handle on parenthood/career/family/life, something happens and the "crap" hits the fan. When crap hits the fan (literally or metaphorically), I feel like a total failure... and that sucks. 

Yesterday, five minutes before I needed to leave for a meeting with the Clayton County Artists, our local artist group, I was playing outside with Emmajean and "crap hit the fan". I had turned around for one second and my two-year-old had a broken off mushroom and had it in her hand. PANICKED, I grabbed the mushroom and swiped her mouth to make sure there was none in her mouth. I quickly searched the ground. I saw a broken off piece on the ground, but it didn't complete the broken mushroom in her hand. My heart sank. I asked her if she ate the mushroom and she said, "No!" I asked, "Did you lick the mushroom?" She said, "No." 

Could she have eaten a small portion of this mushroom? Is she old enough to know how to lie? Would putting it in her mouth cause any harm in itself? Was I going to rush her to the emergency room for picking up a mushroom? Am I a crazy mom overreacting? 

I calmed myself (as much as possible). We went inside, washed hands, and I immediately messaged images and the situation to a few close friends who work with DNR. They were great and let me know that I needed to watch her for any signs of discomfort for the next 30 minutes to four hours, but that she was probably fine. The mushroom didn't look like one of the deadly ones, but it definitely didn't look like an edible one either. I cringe to even use the word "deadly" in the same post where I'm talking about my little one. 

After the air had calmed, I leaned down one more time and asked Emmajean if she had eaten the mushroom and she said, "No, I kicked it!" I do believe she was telling the truth. She stuck to her story, so I tried to remain calm and pray for the best. 

Knowing I was the one hosting and supposed to present at the artist meeting, I loaded my things into the van and left E her with Grandmommy and Grandpa. If there was the slightest sign that was something wrong, they would call me and we would take her to the emergency room. 

Let me tell you, it was not the best feeling driving away...things like: failure, bad mom, how could I have let it happen, fear, all flooded my mind. 

As I got closer to G's Closet and Gallery, where we were having our meeting, the tears began to flood my eyes. I carried in my things through stifled sobs and my friends in the artist group comforted me. Several of them shared their own stories and I didn't feel like such a failure anymore. We continued with the meeting, knowing I would leave if called. 

I messaged Zach about half an hour into the meeting and baby girl was acting totally normal. I have to think she was telling me the truth and didn't eat any of that darn mushroom. 

The meeting wrapped up, I got home, and still no signs of discomfort. Four hours later we were in the clear and all slept easy. 

It's days like yesterday that I'm the hardest on myself. It's also days like yesterday that remind me that I can't control everything and accidents happen to everyone. I am so glad I caught her immediately, that she was able to tell me she didn't eat the mushroom, and that I have such an amazing network of friends and family who support and care about us. 

Having a kid has been the most amazing, scariest, and biggest growing experience ever. I'm learning to accept that there will be days that I feel like a failure, days of fear, anxiety, and even full-blown panic, but that is LIFE... and life is beautiful. 

To all of you struggling with anything in your life, feeling hard on yourself, feeling low or unable... Keep doing your best and know that YOU are ENOUGH....even on the days that aren't picture perfect!



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

New Season New Art - The Left Bank Shop and Gallery - McGregor, IA

If you didn't make it out to the opening night of "New Season, New Art" at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery in McGregor, IA, last Friday, you missed out! But don't worry, you can still head over and see it all for yourself until July 9th! 

Now, for those of you who may be confused, The Left Bank Shop and Gallery has both a retail gallery and a special exhibit gallery that rotates new artwork every few weeks. The special exhibit portion of the gallery showcases artwork that is by artists who may or may not show in the seasonal/retail gallery. This past Friday, we celebrated the opening night of the first special exhibit of the season, which featured an awesome display of 10 area artists!

Luckily for y'all, I was there with my camera and can let you have a little taste of what the opening night festivities looked like! :)

First, I walked into the gallery and bumped into one of my favorite local artists... Andy Wroble! You've probably seen his gorgeous ink wash drawings if you've spent any time in the NE Iowa art scene. Andy was the first annual Committee Choice Award recipient at Art in the Park 2015 and we're looking forward to seeing him again this year on Aug. 18 and 19th in Founders' Park! His work is whimsical, loose, and airy, and tells a story with each twist and turn. He has a great display of his original pieces now through July 9th at The Left Bank Shop and Gallery!  

Gorgeous work, Andrew J. Wroble!

Some work shown in the Special Exhibit Gallery may be listed as "NFS," which means it belongs to the artist's personal collection, or simply not for sale. Most of the artwork is for purchase, but every now and then the artist connects with a piece so closely that it just can't be sold! (maybe for the right price?!? wink wink)

Next, I discovered this lovely iron artwork by artist Dan Tesar. It's always neat to see new art and meet new artist friends! Dan is from Wauzeka, WI, and found his love for decorative ironwork after being a farrier for nearly 30 years! The pieces seem delicate and evoke a soft beauty, not what you'd expect to come from a hammer and brute force. Beautiful work, Dan, and thanks for letting me photograph you and your family alongside your iron art!

Also showing at this special exhibit is an artist from Harpers Ferry, IA, photographer, Mary Willie. Mary's photos are exquisite. I love the vibrant colors and her perspective that she uses to capture NE Iowa.

 And now, a display of several jewelry artists!

I need to go back and spend more time with each of these artists... so many wonderful things to look at and choose from. It's so cool to see so much wonderful jewelry in one place.... and all so unique!

The tenth artist in this special exhibit really blew me away. Hans Gill is a sculpture artist from Seneca, WI. His dimensional work feels provocative, experimental, and educational. I really look forward to visiting with this artwork more and plan to head back over to the Left Bank for another viewing soon.


Did I mention that another word for opening night reception is PARTY!? ;)
Seriously, guys... it's fun!

This photo captures my dear friend's joyful smile and colorful spirit! This is talented artist Kris Grover, as she stands in front of a wall filled with her colorful artwork on display in the retail gallery, while a viewer admires her work.  

One of my new cheerful mini masterpieces has already sold from the retail gallery, but you still have a chance to purchase one of my other originals at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery! Can you guess which two are JWEBB originals in the photo above?

I KNOW if you're a follower of SunnyInSaintOlaf, you recognize this little JWEBB ORIGINAL, too! 

There really is something for everyone at The Left Bank and opening nights are a blast! I hope you'll make it down to the next party; I'll let you know when that's coming up! In the meantime, head down and take a look at this fabulous exhibit before July 9th... while you still can! 

As always, HATS OFF to the crew who pulls this awesome display together time and time again at The Left Bank! It's always fresh, there's always something new to see, and it's just about impossible to leave empty-handed! 

My little cherub even left with something...

...crumbs on her face and a full tummy!

Again, you can still catch the show until JULY 9th and I highly recommend it! Unfortunately, you did miss out on a few things that make "opening nights" so special....

1. Meeting the artists!
2. Yummy food and refreshments!  ----- WINE PEOPLE!
3. Music & fun party atmosphere! 

So, OBVIOUSLY, the next time you hear about an opening night, MARK YOUR CALENDAR! 

and stay connected with me here, at sunnyinsaintolaf! 


coming soon.. 
  • Art by the River Fine Art Festival - June 9th from 9am to 4pm in Guttenberg, IA
  • Art Opening at G's Closet and Gallery in Elkader, IA - TBA
  • Art in the Park - Elkader, IA - August 18 & 19