"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera." - Lewis Hine

Hi! If you made it to this page, you're probably wondering who writes this blog. That would be me, Michelle. Former toddler teacher, photographer, and Abe's mama. The Lewis Hine quote above describes me perfectly, so instead of trying to write an actual bio, I'm going to use pictures to share a few things you may not know about me, and add a couple notes to explain what may not be obvious by just looking at the photos. Here goes...

1. I have an identical twin sister. We look the same, talk the same, and the last time Abe saw her, he completely freaked out. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for Abe), she lives on the East coast, so we don't see her too often.

2. I'm the middle child in a family of nine. Yup, nine! My three youngest siblings weren't even born yet when this picture was taken. That's my mom on the left. I was born and raised in Minnesota, and moved back here after college even though most of my family now lives in Arizona.

3. I went to school at Loyola University in New Orleans. Loved it. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said an artist. To reach that goal, I took every art class offered in high school, and eventually I went on to study visual arts at Loyola. Although I ended up majoring in Photojournalism, I continued to take at least one art or art history class each semester apart from my photography classes. Just couldn't afford to take every art class. It gets expensive when you have to buy all the materials yourself!

4. Since I was paying my own way through college, I worked at the child care center on campus as part of my school's work-study program. I really loved working with the kids (especially the toddlers!), and when I graduated and moved back to Minnesota, I found that was one of the things I missed most about living in New Orleans - well, that and the food! I ended up finding a job as a toddler teacher at a small child care center in South Minneapolis. One of my favorite parts of the job was coming up with art projects to do with the kids. It's amazing to see how artistic 2-year-olds can be!

5. After a few years as a toddler teacher, I decided to find a job in photography. I started assisting a few photographers I admired, while at the same time starting my own photography business. Between the assisting gigs and my own shoots, photography quickly became my full time job.

6. After dating for 9 years, Noah and I finally got married in May of 2007. (You can read more about our wedding here.) We first met when we were about 14, became friends in high school, and started dating in college despite living over 1000 miles apart! Almost fifteen years together and I wouldn't change a thing...although I do wish we'd remembered to reapply sunscreen to avoid the sunburned feet we ended up with on our honeymoon in Mexico.

7. We bought our sweet little house (which was built in 1946) just a week after our first anniversary. After 4 years, all of our boxes are unpacked, but we're still hanging pictures and doing our best to make this house our home.

8. Our son, Abraham, was born August 23, 2010. (You can read all about his birth here.) I started blogging as a way to keep our faraway family and friends updated when I was expecting Abe, and kept it up after he was born. He's been an inspiration from the very start! (Photo by Liz Banfield.)

9. I love gardening. In fact, this blog started out as a way for me to keep track of what was going on in my garden. It later merged with the baby blog I started when I was expecting Abe, and picked up some of my other interests and hobbies along the way. But honestly, if Minnesota wasn't covered in snow for about 6 months of the year, I'd probably just spend all my time outside...attempting to grow the perfect tomato.

10. I am more than a little bit obsessed with the Minnesota State Fair. What makes the fair so great? Is it the food...the fun...the farm animals? Ok, it's the food. I usually start researching weeks before the fair which new foods to try and which favorites not to miss. I've been known to makes maps. It's a sickness really. Abe was less than a week old the first time we brought him to the fair! He's been there a number of times since. 

So there you have it. A few things you didn't know about me and perhaps some insight into what fuels this blog. And since I can't end this post without a picture of my family, here we are when Abe was about 4 months old. My husband is a runner, and this picture was taken at a 5K he ran called the Santa Shuffle. (He normally does not have a long white beard.)

Have any questions? You can email me at rustandsunshine (at) gmail (dot) com, or find me elsewhere on the web:


Thanks for stopping by!