Heller Ritz Photography
A day without Sunshine is like, you know, night. ~Steve Martin


Thank you for stopping by! Here, you can join me in my eternal quest for sunshine. You will find posts of my latest photography ventures, peek into the lives of my private sunshine subjects, and learn about my quest for spreading kindness Because of Heller. I would love it if you left a comment to let me know you were here, and to share your sunshine too! If you would like to follow my journey, scroll down to Spread Some Sunshine and join me.

xo Hayley

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Right in my Back Yard

In search of a little inspiration today, I ventured right outside my door. I love my yard. It was the reason we purchased our home. It's vast and lovely and filled with gorgeous palms of every kind...and vast and overwhelming and filled with dogs and pot holes (thanks to the dogs) and toys and...

Anyway, there IS beauty, like this pod from our magnolia tree. I find the pods almost as intriguing as the magnolias themselves.

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And, I love these pink flowers that grow high above the swing set. At sunset, they catch the light in so many remarkable ways.

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...and they come in various shades of pink.

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This little plant, though seemingly nothing special, is most special. Heller planted these flowers (and a few others) that seem to come back again and again. Perhaps they are some form of a weed, but they make me happy.

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And then there was this--like a haunting flashback from Toy Story 3. I have no idea where it came from. Despite Nicholas's recent infatuation with "live dolls," we don't own any actual dolls.

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So, in search of inspiration, I found something interesting--right in my own back yard.

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Nicholas found it interesting too.

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And, if you think it might belong to you, feel free to stop by and pick it up. You will find it on our roof, where Nicholas was inspired to toss it for safe-keeping.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Color of Music

The walls of his room--“They have to be red, Mom.” Heller told me.

Red—Heller’s favorite color. Courageous and bold. Remarkable, confident, and full of life. I miss those bright red walls. The colors now are quiet, soft, and muted. The colors now are safe.

The stenciling over his closet speaks to my heart, “Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” Nicholas plays in Heller's room sometimes—“Heller’s room” it will remain. Nicholas knows those things which we hold special, what cannot change, what cannot be touched. He tries as hard as a three-year-old can to keep the room safe.

The closet doors stay closed. Behind them are treasures. “Please can I play with Heller’s guitar?” Nicholas asks. Within the closet, Heller’s guitar rests quietly. Heller’s guitar is safe.

Today, Nicholas was granted his wish. Today, Nicholas played with Heller’s guitar.

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Although my comforter is red (Heller would have liked that), and the guitar is a perfect fit in Nicholas’s arms, I am continuing to play it safe.

Heller’s guitar is back in the closet. One day, Heller’s guitar will belong to Nicholas (Heller would have loved that).

Until then, I will build my strength. I know that I will eventually emerge into the light, and, I’m looking forward to the music Nicholas will play when I am finally there.

It will be RED.

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Heller plays his new guitar - October 2005

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Heart Faces - PURPLE

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This week's I Heart Faces photo challenge (PURPLE), comes with a short story and lesson in color complements.

Here, Nicholas is wearing his Baltimore Ravens T-shirt. As you can see, the team color is purple.

Since the complementary color pairing for purple is commonly determined to be yellow, I usually pair this shirt with Nicholas's yellow, Converse sneaks. For this reason, and probably because I refuse to cut his hair, when he wears his Ravens T-shirt, I usually hear, "She is so cute." Uggg.

So, today I decided to put Nicholas in his purple shirt and black Converse. I think this says, "I'm all boy!" And since many believe that the true complement to purple is yellow green, Nicholas lying on the grass offers a perfect complement to today's I Heart Faces theme!!

Check out what colors others are mixing with purple this week here.

The Plan

You and me against the world...

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Sometimes it seems like, you and me against the world...

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...but, listen up my young cousin, I have a plan.

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I'm really excited about this one. All YOU have to do is stick to the plan.

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Now, smile pretty for my mommy. Whatever you do, don't let on that we have a plan.

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Are you cozy? Is your head comfortable? We're doin' good.

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Remember...whatever you do, stick to the plan.

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Now, give them an innocent smile. Make sure it looks really real.

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When they look away, you know what to do. Are you ready? Get ready...

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Oh no, Teagan. I think we're BUSTED!

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You and me against the world...

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Who Loves Ya, Babe?

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So, I seem to have a thing for flamingos.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photostory Friday - Teagan and the Bear

Everybody has been sharing this story today, but I think it is time I told it exactly how it happened.

So, there I was, relaxing at my Mapa's and Papa's house.

I was kicked back, ya know? Airing out the piggies...

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Now and then, I'd flash my baby blues at my Aunt Hayley's camera. She's a little crazy for the photos if you ask me.

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I was starting to work in to my really great stuff. You know, a little smile here and there. I'm starting to figure out that adults need those cheap thrills, see?

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It's worth it too. I get these killer rewards. My mom's smooches, for example. They're the best!

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Back to my story.

So I was chillin', see? I had no worries. There were no wild animals in sight. (Well, okay, my cuddly giraffe was there.) Don't make anything of it.

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Oh, and if you ask me, my cousin can get crazy sometimes. He's a little bit like a wild animal. But, I'm paying attention. I mean, he had some really cool moves that I might try when I'm a tad bigger.

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I digress. The point is, I was the first one to see it! Something didn't seem quite right. I've never seen one before. But, I'm only two months old, and there are a lot of things I haven't seen.

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Besides, like I said, I was really digging my mom's smooches.

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The thing is, there it was... right in Mapa's front yard... less than fifteen feet away. A BEAR! No, not the kind that they shoved in my face when they put me in that basket (What the heck was that about anyway?). No, I mean a REAL BEAR.

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Well, Mommy and Aunt Hayley were so quick to get away that Aunt Hayley left her zoom lens behind in the grass. (THAT'S how serious this was!) Nobody was going back for it any time soon, so this is the best photo she can offer.

Everybody hung out and watched the bear for a while. Then, my Daddy (the only brave one I think), scared it away. Daddy's cool. After that, I think the bear was all that anyone could talk about for hours. It must have been the most exciting thing to happen around here since, well, ME.

So, that's my story (the REAL story) and I am sticking to it.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, July 22, 2010

He's Here!

Baby Teagan_First Look

No, I mean he's really HERE! And, since I only got about ten minutes with him and my camera, I'm going back for more! Look at him? How could I not? So, please check back later for more Baby Teagan!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Heart Faces - Over My Head!

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When Nicholas (only three years of age) decided he wanted to ride the swings at the Florida State Fair, my initial thought was, "Are you out of your head? Those things fly at least eight feet OVER MY HEAD!" But, he was determined (and the appropriate height), so how could I refuse?

While this photo shows very little of his face (Do you know how hard it is to capture a face from eight feet below a whirlwind?), it definitely captures his determination and focus. As we hooted and hollered from below, I imagine he was thinking, "I said I wanted to ride the swings, Mom. I never said I wanted to smile for a photograph while doing it!"

This week's I Heart Faces theme of OVER MY HEAD is open to interpretation. Check out other wonderfully creative photos here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

...because if Meme had words for us, I'm afraid I couldn't post them.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

I Heart Faces - I Love My Country

Today's photos and story are inspired by I Heart Faces' non-competition theme, I Love My Country.

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Scroll Down for Additional Photos

“Hey! It’s American Ingenuity, ya know?” Those are the words most often expressed by my engineer husband when something that seemed unfixable surprises us and comes to life.
A Boy.
A Dog.
A Radio Flyer.

A classic touch of Americana meets American Ingenuity.

Did you know that the Radio Flyer was first assembled by Antonio Pasin, a young Italian who traveled to America, The Land of Opportunity, and arrived on Ellis Island in 1914? To me; however, the little red wagon stands as one of the most identifiable pieces of Americana.

I believe with my whole heart, that every American boy and girl should own a little red wagon. The boundless imaginations of children-- their creative inventiveness-- determines the wagon’s role and has the ability to open so many worlds of adventure.

I always wanted a horse. I needed a horse. But, the deeply sloping, mulched hill surrounding my parents’ lovely suburban home did not allow for my dream to become reality. Therefore, my reality became a dream. My rustic Radio Flyer became my gallant steed, with flowing red hair. We traveled the treacherous hills together—the wagon’s axle my harness and reins—my brave terrier by my side.

Today, when my husband pulled Heller’s rusted wagon to the curb, and placed it alongside the other garbage for pickup, I almost cried.

No. That wasn’t happening.

“Aww, Hon,” he placated. “It’s junk.”

I called my children to my side. “Whatever happened to American Ingenuity?” I asked him.

So, the Radio Flyer stays. And here I offer:

A Boy.
A Dog.
A Radio Flyer.
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Read other I Heart Faces stories this week here!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fountain of Truth

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I came that you may have and enjoy life and have it in abundance, until it overflows. ~John 10:10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Kindness

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Dear Kindness,

I know you by heart.

Your elements, your patterns,
they replicate, and continue,
and swell with each occurrence.

I’ve collected them,
counted them, and
memorized them
without even trying.

Her smile,
his laughter,
their speechlessness,
my joy.

I’ve delivered you
and received you,
without knowing
the difference.

I know you by heart.
And, my heart is
thankful for it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Bless the USA!

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