Category Archives: Personal

Australia Diary:

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The first time we visited Australia, Ephram was just shy of 3 year’s old so he doesn’t have any memories of his trip other than photos. We started thinking months ago about where we wanted to go on vacation last year and Ephram wanted to be able to see my friends and get to know them since he’s older now. Who was I to argue….I was thrilled with the thought of returning. So last year we buckled down and made our plans. We counted down the days. It was finally here and it was hard to believe. The suitcases have gotten bigger and feels like there is more to transport now. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t think they could make the 16 hour flight. I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought that too, but somehow it goes faster than you think it will. With movies, snacks, food coming at you all hours, mingling with other fliers, an sleeping, it makes the time go by.
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16+ hours later and we arrive in Melbourne, Australia. My friend Sarah picked us up from the airport and we made the hour and a half journey to her home in Ocean Grove. I was so happy this time we all managed to get some sleep on this flight. We all felt pretty good. We took a short nap just to ease through an by the time the girl’s got home from school, Claire and Ephram swam for a few hours in the pool.
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One would think we wouldn’t want to get back on a plane so soon, but the next morning we were off for an hour flight to Hobart, Tasmania for a couple of days get-a-way. This entire trip consisted of 10 plane rides, so we got our fair share of the friendly skies. Ephram’s love of planes and airports only grew.  It’s funny how Australian airports differ from those here. While you still have to have your laptop go through security, they do not require to you take off shoes, sweaters, jackets, etc. For domestic flights, you can still walk to the gate with your loved one’s to see them off or to greet them.  During one of our flights, I was confused when I passed a man crying as we walked out to our flight. It took me a second to realize that he’d just said goodbye to someone. How sad that made me that we no longer have that freedom in America.
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Hobart is absolutely beautiful. Course I’d be lying if I didn’t say Australia boast’s of a lot of beautiful places. Hobart is surrounded by countless lakes an mountains.  It’s not a super huge city, but yet it offer’s so much.
4 We visited Port Arthur which was a convict settlement started in about 1830.  It was also the sight of a massacre that took place on the grounds in 1996, killing 35 an injuring 23.5
The city at night is just as spectacular. The ships and boats sit in the harbor in the still of the water. I couldn’t resist getting some photos of them.
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Every Saturday the Salamanca Street Market is held on the main road in Hobart. There were so many great items to browse through, and the produce, flowers and such were tempting had I a place to make use of them. We found some nice trinkets to take home for our keepsakes, but I’m kicking myself for some of the stuff I didn’t get.
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The town of Richmond is quiet and rural. We had a nice lunch at a local cafe there and enjoyed the warm sun on our skin. We took in some of the shops and did some sight seeing by foot and car.
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On our last night in Hobart, we went to an intriguing restaurant called The Drunken Admiral. The whole restaurant was filled from top to bottom with all things nautical. You simply had to take a tour of the place just to take it all in. As we waited for our table reservation, the girl’s and I walked around the dock’s.
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Claire an I were twinkies that evening….
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We enjoyed our evening at The Drunken Admiral. A few wines, some tasty dinner, great company and a lot of laughs.
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We flew back to Melbourne, an the next morning Marty, Ephram and I were on a train into the big city again from Ocean Grove for a night. Melbourne is a city full of splendor, color and unique views. Some of the alleyways are vibrant with graffiti. It’s kind of neat to see art put to a good use. Many of the building’s line up close together, leaving these generally ugly alleyways, so it’s a great means of making it more appealing to the eye. Always something different to see.
1011We made another visit this trip to the Victoria Market during our visit to the city. You can find an array of wonderful Australian finds, as well as the expected produce and such. This place is a must see if you make a visit.
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We opted to go back to our friend’s house so we could spend more time with them, making the most of our trip with them as we could. Ephram was having such a good time he didn’t want to be away from them. Both of our first born’s share the same birthdate. Isn’t that crazy? So the night before their birthday we had a little birthday celebration as we had plans for the following day. We had a wonderful Italian dinner and cake for Grace and Ephram.
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The next day, we had a 14 year old and a 10 year old. We started the day with opening gifts then went to The Dunes Cafe on the beach for breakfast. We took a ride above the city of Melbourne on the Melbourne Star. It’s a slow paced ride with sights for miles out, but at the same time can make you want to stay away from the windows. Don’t look down.  Then we ended the night with the opening night of Australia’s AFL. Australian Rules Footy as they call it. It was something I’d always wanted to do and was so happy I was finally there in the right season. It’s a high energy game. The fans go wild for their teams. I was a little concerned that Ephram might be bored. I was more shocked that he was absolutely enthralled in it. He was cheering on his picked team and yelling out in anger….it was rather fun to watch. But he still was devoted to his first love of NASCAR, even way down in Australia.
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Early the next morning, Marty, Ephram and I took off for another flight to Brisbane, Australia. I had one purpose that I was beside myself on for visiting. My longing to hold a Koala. You don’t even understand, this is like a dream since I was a young child. I was so excited, it was almost emotional. Lone Pine Sanctuary holds all the great native Australian animals. You can get up close with the Koala’s, feed Kangaroo’s and experience other animals in the park. It made for a fun afternoon.
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And just like that, it was done. I knew going in, I would only get to hold one for about a minute, but it was so worth it. I’ve loved Koala’s for so long and I wasn’t going to miss out on this again. That by the way is Bonnie, he was a handsome boy that I am holding. They are a sweet animal, very slow moving and docile. But adorable as can be!
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We made the drive about an hour from Brisbane to Surfer’s Paradise, heading South from Brisbane. Our hotel for the night was on the top floor, level 19. Gorgeous views of the city and the ocean in view.
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The next morning we had a nice breakfast at our hotel and then went out on the beach to check it out for a few before getting in our car to make another hour’s drive further South to our next destination.
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I’d been looking so forward to this part of the trip. Seeing some place new we hadn’t seen the last time. A spectacular beach like none other I’d been too before. Byron Bay is electric. It has a population of a more hippie life style. Cafe’s and shops line the main streets, and then there is the beaches….I could just loose myself there.
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This was our home for the next three nights. These cabins were more like a house. The sounds around us were nothing like that of being here in Ohio. You could hear the Kookuburra’s singing off and on during the day, the different exotic bird’s that would fly over. The smells of the Eucalyptus tree’s..I just couldn’t get enough of it.
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This time frame gave us a chance to slow down a bit. By now we’d already taken five of our ten flights, so we were constantly on the go. We spent much time swimming at the beach an spending time at the pool where our cabin was. The weather was perfect and it just felt good for the soul.
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Now that I’m back home, I keep going back to one of my happy places which was Byron Bay. I just felt peace and happiness of being able to see this beautiful country a bit more. It was exciting to be able to see surfers for the first time. An yes, the bat’s.  The Flying Fox bats, they were in swarms around Byron Bay in this one area, it was far too cool of an experience.
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Just down the road from our cabin was The Farm at Byron Bay. A working farm sitting on a hill overlooking the valley from all around. They had just had new piglets born, so that was an attraction for everyone to enjoy. They were cute, an the mom was tired, she plopped herself in a nice mud bath to cool herself off from the heat. They were just in the start of Autumn at our arrival. Our spring, their fall, kind of messes with your head.
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We got in some more beach time and I was just amazed at how few people were on the beach with us, it was very nice and very relaxing. Such a beautiful spot.
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We made a visit up the hillside to Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse. It’s a small area at the top, with only few spaces for cars. It was kind of crazy watching a tour bus park itself on the edge of the lot amidst other hopeful cars looking for a space. The views of Byron Bay from all sides was gorgeous. Not over populated at all. Just as nature made it. It was absolutely refreshing not to see towering hotels and business’s along the coast, just the tropical tree’s.
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This scene was seen several times during our visit.
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The Pass at Byron Bay is where we did our swimming. You literally felt like you were on a deserted island, having it all to yourself an a handful of other’s. We watched as surfers caught waves, we strolled along the beach finding barely any shells. It’s just a stunning area and I’m so glad that we visited here.
30 At Angel’s beach about 30 minutes from Byron Bay I met with Indigo and Tiffany for a portrait session on the beach. While I was shooting, Marty and Ephram were playing in the sand and walking along the edge of the water, but not getting in the well known shark area ocean. 31
We made the hour flight to Sydney. Since Ephram wasn’t able to remember his last visit there, we wanted to be sure he got to see it again. We started our day with visiting the Sydney Opera House, taking a tour of the inside. Something we hadn’t done our last trip. It was interesting getting to see it from different vantage points and learning more about the History of this iconic building that sits at the edge of the harbor. It’s so grand.
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There are ten points to the sails of the top of the building. It took 16 year’s to build the Opera House. Over a million tiles cover the roof. They have over 3000 events a year held at the Opera House.
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The inside is just as intriguing. The massive concrete walls that frame the house. It’s a virtual eye maze of lines and designs. It’s sad to think that the architect who designed it never got to see his masterpiece in living form.
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From a homeschooling point of view, Ephram was learning so much about this great country and differences in the world. To learn through his eyes is just as exciting. I always love hearing his memories from his travels.
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We had dinner at the water’s edge next to the Opera House standing above us. We watched as the massive cruise ship backed out of the harbor to set sail into the seas. Ephram was a bit in the dumps as he lost one of his NASCARS in the Sydney Opera House tour. Now there will always be a bit of Ephram and NASCAR in Sydney.
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Night or day, Sydney is awesome. I didn’t do the bridge climb this trip cause the guy’s aren’t keen to it, but thankful I can have that memory from our last trip. If you ever have the chance to visit Sydney, I highly recommend it. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I never felt scared when making the climb. It’s an experience like no other. And I did it alone with a bunch of strangers while Marty and Ephram watched from across the harbor.
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We visited Bondi and Manly beach on this trip and it was nice to see some other sights around Sydney. Bondi has this long wall along the beach full of message graffiti.
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A view of our apartment while in Sydney. We were directly across the harbor from the Opera House. We were amazed when we walked into the apartment the open view of the Opera House across from us. We would simply Uber back and forth which was quick an less time consuming.
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One of the days in Sydney was a complete rain out due to the Cyclone (hurricane) that had just hit up in Queensland the day prior, so we made use of our time by visiting some navel ships which kept us dry for the most part and then went to one of the mall’s in Sydney.
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Every year for his birthday, I do photos of him to commemorate. What a backdrop for his 10th year. What great memories he’s had for his birthday.
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We returned back to Ocean Grove for the end of our trip. Soaked in some more time with Craig, Sarah and the girls. Took in some sights close to them. Visited a vineyard, the remains of a ship. We had a nice lunch at a dock area. It becomes harder at this point wanting to return home. It’s hard knowing it’s all coming to a close. It’s hard to even grasp the trip at this point as we’ve seen and done so much.
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I was thrilled to get a bit of ‘work’ if you want to call it that in while in Australia. It is always so nice to be able to have those experiences and photographic keepsakes for my portfolio. I had the opportunity to photograph Sarah and Craig’s daughter’s on the beach with their friends. While in Byron Bay, I captured Indigo and Tiffany on a deserted beach. They were awesome to work with. And to end the trip, I had the pleasure of photographing Sarah’s family.
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The trip brought on so many wonderful memories. It’s hard to whittle down photos to a few when there is tons more. So many funny moments, like the time we got pulled over in Tasmania…watching Marty doing laundry in Ocean Grove. Those early morning flights…Ephram becoming the photographer. He was happy to not only take some of our photos, but he also ended up taking photos for other tourists around.
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I cannot put into words how much fun we had on this trip. I enjoyed watching the kids bond with one another. It’s so very hard saying goodbye each time. We cherish the time we get to spend together and always look forward to the next time. We have so many fond memories from this trip. It is such a unique bond of friendship that is more family to me. So for now, I will hold these photographic memories close until we meet again. Thank you for a wonderful visit Sarah, Craig, Grace and Claire. XX!

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Abandoned

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Oh the joys that come in the down season….after the craziness of the fall madness soon followed by the holiday rush, I get to relax for a few months and catch up on other odds and ends I enjoy. It also gives me the opportunity to do shoots like this one. Something I enjoy is just taking an inspiration and making it come to life. Kindra and I have worked on a few sessions now and it’s been such a blast to work with her. She’s up for anything of my crazy ideas. She even beat me to the punch line this winter with collaborating again…..she didn’t have to ask twice.
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Kindra found this old 1800’s abandoned house that was the perfect fit for what I was looking for. The house is going to be torn down this coming spring. Holes in the floor’s, holes in the ceilings, wallpaper shredded, dust, and cob webs, but this house had a story to tell.
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It just happened to be a warm winter’s day……is was spring like. For all those other shoots we’ve done in absolute freezing conditions, we welcomed the warmer air.
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My love for old houses, it was hard to imagine this once beautiful home soon being destroyed. The pieces of woodwork within the house were charming and still in mint condition. But the year’s of abandonment have taken their toll. Animals have been taking over the house.
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I fell in love with this sun room area, the turquoise color was just perfection. If I could take this space with me, I would have shoved it in my car. It was stunning.
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The home has been abandoned for likely around 30 year’s or so..nature has overtaken it. Weeds and branches climbing through the windows. We had to be very cautious of where we walked for fear of falling through to the cellar.
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The house is a bit of a walking museum. Piles upon piles of news papers and magazines from decades ago….the upstairs we couldn’t even shoot in cause the piles were literally so high you couldn’t get in the door…an for fear of falling through, we thought it best not to go up there.
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I fell in love with this old retro wallpaper. Kindra graced the room with her natural beauty among the falling down home.
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You are stunning lady….
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A funny lil story…..in this room is the remains of a unidentifiable carcass. I took it out of the photo for the sake of shock value….but it was a sight for sure. It was completely mummified.
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Kindra changed it up for a different look. The countless vines have twisted and turned about the property, making it hard to even get in the door from year’s of being unkept.
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It was fascinating the finds in this old house. This old red chair covered in year’s of dust….a painted image of the Virgin Mary. So many interesting finds just left behind.
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This kitchen was crazy….multiple year’s of wallpaper falling off the walls around us. The floors were covered in year’s of dust, dirt, feces, (yes, I said it) and strange odds and ends. We laughed how when we both went back to our homes we were going to take several showers to wash down the surroundings we’d been in all day.
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And this is why I love working with Kindra…….she doesn’t ask questions, she feels the art within her and we mesh. One image out of a session can speak so many words to me. I walk away with ‘That’ was the image.
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I love the play on colors, how both the black and the white colored dresses stood out on their own in the sun room.
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Thank you again Kindra for being such a fun chick to work with. I always have such a blast and I look so forward to our next collaboration together!!

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9 Year’s Later:

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As winter winds down, I come to look forward to taking my son’s birthday photos each March. This year we took him to Mid-Ohio Speedway in Lexington Ohio for his 9 year portraits. His love of racing is still his everything so it was a perfect backdrop. You wouldn’t know it by the look of things but it was a cold day, the wind blustery. With his birthday falling right at the start of spring, he’s on the cuff of cold vs. warm. So we made the best of it and had some fun in pit row.
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Looking back over the yearly photos I take of him for each birthday, I feel like this is the first year I’m seeing the ‘little boy’ disappear. He’s really growing up on us and I don’t know where the time is going. It’s not much longer till we will be seeing eye to eye, granted, I’m a mere 5’0 tall, but he’s gaining on me.
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Ephram’s passion for NASCAR and racing has just continued to grow over the year’s. I keep thinking he’ll grow tired of it, but he’s going strong, but I love that about him. He’s never gotten into the things most boys his age get into. He’s always stood out on his own terms. He loves to race his NASCAR diecast car’s on the track his dad made him in his bedroom. He will spend hours running races, using his imagination.
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Having seen a few races now, he’s been to a couple of NASCAR tracks the last few year’s. Road trips for us have included stops at tracks just so he can see it. He’s deemed our family title ‘Three wide’. I kinda fancy it.
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He’s a good sport…he was freezing and wanting to get his coat back on, but knowing he wasn’t going to be let off the hook that easy. This has been our tradition each year…I can’t stop it now. I adore looking back over the year’s of photos and seeing the changes in him.
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Ephram is such an old soul…..I love to sit back and watch him sometimes. He has always warmed to adults, likely more so than kids. He can strike up a conversation with anyone without any nudge from mom or dad. His humor is certainly a combination of his mom and dad, sarcastic and right on target. He’s quick witted and a prankster. We have a lot of fun with each other…oh the stories I could tell. Better yet, the stories he could tell.
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Totally in his element.
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Last of the single digits. That blows our minds. Wishing you HAPPY BIRTHDAY big guy!!! XOXO  http://www.midohio.com/

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Anyone Seen Me?

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Believe it or not, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth…I’ve been keeping super super busy this fall and want to thank everyone for their support and business. I’ve had a lot of fun sessions and met a lot of new faces and I can’t wait to share with you some of those images. Every year at this time though, I hold off on posting images so close to the holidays as I know many use them for their holiday cards and gifts. So stay tuned, Christmas week I’ll post a huge blog to catch up.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share this recent shoot I did alongside Ironwood Wolves. I had so much fun. It was incredible working with such a beautiful animal. Cana was a delight. If you want to find out more about Ironwood Wolves, or set up a shoot with me using one of them, let me know.  You can check them out here at http://ironwoodwolves.weebly.com/

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Ephram’s 8 Year Portraits

It was that time of year again…time for the yearly photo session of our son. I love looking back over the year’s of photos seeing how much he has changed. I was trying to think of a setting for this year’s shoot. It’s such an iffy time of year, early spring but not much to look at in terms of color and foliage. Tried to think about the things that Ephram likes. The one and only one thing came to mind, The Columbus Motor Speedway. What a perfect setting for a boy who loves all things NASCAR. A love he’s had now for a few year’s that has not died down at all. His love has become a family affair. One we all have come to enjoy, all because of Ephram.1
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Ephram has always stood out on his own. His interests seem to always be different than most kids his age. He’s never gotten into super hero’s or sports, but he’s been drawn into the world of racing.  It has become a constant in our home. He’s acquired a massive collection of NASCAR die cast cars and his dad built him an awesome race track for the car’s to run on in his room. And this year for his birthday he was surprised with a Go-Kart. He’s on cloud 9.
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Each week we tune into watch the NASCAR races to watch his favorite driver, the #5 Kasey Kahne. He has liked him from the start of his love for racing and follows him loyally. He was fortunate enough to meet him last year at one of the races, a high light for sure.
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Ephram is finishing up his 2nd grade year at his primary school and eager for the next. He’s doing well in school and he enjoy’s art and math and music classes. He’s made some really good pals at school.
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The sweet boy he’s growing up to be, he melts me with his genuine heart. He’s thoughtful and grateful. He’s compassionate for other’s. He’s got a big heart. He’s a charmer and has a wicked sense of humor. I don’t want him to grow up so fast, but I do look forward to seeing where he goes in the future.
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Happy Birthday Sweet Ephram!

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