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a view through a lens.

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TEN – Owen

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A decade. Wow. I can still remember rolling you out of the delivery room to show Great Grandma her very first great grandchild. I remember getting to know you at the hospital, driving you home, walking you around the house when we got home. I remember you getting sick at 2 weeks old and holding you upright at night for about 2 weeks so you could breath. It all just seems like a short time ago, but it wasn’t. You’re 10 Owen and we couldn’t be prouder.

At 10, you have an active imagination. This year has seen you enjoy starting to draw, continue to enjoy building lego creations, and thoroughly enjoy playing Minecraft. You’ve also started to enjoy reading which is wonderful to see. You’re devouring books during the evenings and appear to enjoy the worlds that reading is taking you into. You work independently and excel at school. You have a handful of really good friends that you enjoy playing with and a family that you love. You’re wise beyond your years, an independent soul that is sure in his ways. To say this is what I was hoping for 10 years ago when I met you would be an understatement, and while I realize that most every dad could write something like this about their son, I sure am happy to call you MY son. You’re an impressive young boy and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring your way.

We love you O!

Owen @ 10
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Owen with his best friends (Nick S, Owen, Oliver and Morgan, Devin, Jake, Tyler, Nick P, Cal)
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Our trip to Washington state after you wanted to go visit the Space Needle
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You took this picture
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You continue to love visiting the lake
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For sports, you took up snowboarding and started to hit the skatepark this year. Mostly on your scooter.
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Your cousin Delaney = Soulmate
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Written by craiglindner

November 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Owen, Uncategorized

Through A Lens (2012)

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On a Sunday evening in April, I was sitting with Morgan watching TV like we usually do on Sunday when I read this article about changing habits.  To say it changed my life is a bit of an overstatement, but as I read it I began to think about my eating.  Eating is a necessity, but what, how much, and when you eat is more of a habit.  As I analyzed my patterns that was true.  Simply by focusing an existing routine (eating) on a new reward (which happened for me, to be the scale) allowed be to adjust my eating habits to lost 25 pounds throughout the summer without any drastic diet approach and eating pretty much whatever I want.  It was the first time I’ve ever consciously approached my diet, coupled with my passion for riding to improve my fitness, I was pleasantly surprised with the results.  The cool part, is that this approach can be applied to any habit you have if you think about it enough.

Beyond that unexpected diversion, 2012 was a busy year working on launching Target stores in Canada in 2013.  That work got in the way of a lot of my other interests and goals, but that’s ok.  We’ll get back to those soon.  In February I took a new role on the Canada project which gave me an amazing view to an incredibly complex project. Work took me to Israel, which was an amazing experience, and the year pushed me to work differently and challenged me on many fronts. Amazingly, we are very close to opening our first stores and it’s hard to believe that in less than a year we will have around 130 stores open for business. It sounds simple, but I can’t think of a project more ambitious. 2 years, 130 stores, starting systems from scratch. Just an amazing effort from an amazing team at an amazing company. I feel lucky to have been a part of the journey from the beginning.

Beyond work, I had a couple of simple goals, so let’s look back at how I did:

Almanzo (ARGS) Series: I wanted to shoot the entire ARGS gravel road racing series this year, but no luck. Work was too demanding. I was able to get away to shoot the Almanzo race itself in May and as usual had a blast. I love the spirit of what Chris Skogen has created. Pure passion. If you are not familiar with Almanzo, read this . Calling Almanzo a “race” is appropriate for about 10% of the people that ride. What I love about photographing the Almanzo, isn’t the “race” part. It’s about capturing people pushing themselves to complete something so personal across an amazing route in southern Minnesota. Truly a special event. Overall, my pictures this year were OK. I had grander visions going in, but was happy with some shots. (Grade B)

Lighting: As agreed last year, no grade here. Lighting is time consuming and I continued my self education and experimentation this year. Continued to be amazed at the talents of Joe McNally and his willingness to share his techniques. More to come in 2013.

The Boys: Didn’t take as many pictures as I would like this year (see the work note above), but did continue to document how the boys are growing up. Morgan started hockey this year, so my winter project is to document his Mite team throughout the year.  Watching 6 year olds learn how to play hockey is actually very similar to documenting the Almanzo, and I love it. (Grade: C)

Ride: Riding played a big part of my fitness routine, but it wasn’t obsessive. Weekly rides on both roads and mountain bikes helped me relax and connect with friends. A few big trips also made the year fun. A ride from Forest Lake to Amery Wisconsin, a super fun 70 mile mountain bike weekend in Hayward, Wisconsin, and a 100 mile Gentleman’s Ride on the Almanzo course capped off a fun year.  100 miles on gravel wasn’t something I really thought I could do, but thanks to Dan Steeves’ patience and partnership, I did it, and had a blast. Overall, riding was fantastic this year. I think I got stronger and better and look forward to more improvement in 2013 (Grade A-).

Goals for 2013, let’s keep them simple due the the amount of work ahead:

Work: Get these stores in Canada open!

Photography: Continue to document the Almanzo, work on lighting skills, learn long exposure photography.

The Boys: You guessed it. Continue documenting and finish the documenting of the Tiger’s Mite experience. Would also like to take the time to get a more formal portrait of the boys with thier grandparents. I think they are old enough to have the patience.

Ride: Continue to advance in endurance and speed. Take a minimum of three long ride weekends and get more comfortable with longer distances. Most importantly continue to find time to get out on the roads and trails and ride.  It relaxes me.

2013 goals look an awful lot like a repeat of 2012, but that’s cool with me. Important work ahead, so let’s just concentrate on that, and change things up in 2014! Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past year. Thanks for reading…

Almanzo:
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Classic Almanzo scene.

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Dan Steeves nearing the finish.

Personal:

Site of the Crucifixion
The site of the crucification. Definitely makes you stop and think for a bit.

Stone of the Dead
The Stone of the Dead. Jesus laid here.

Western Wall
The Western Wall.

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Disney with the cousins. So much fun. Truly a magical place.

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Gentleman’s Ride – 100 miles on gravel with Dan Steeves.

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My next year’s focus. Taking the Expect More, Pay Less promise to Canada.

The Boys:
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Owen started mountain biking this year. Can’t wait for next year!

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Morgan Tball.

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Owen – Growing up so fast. Nine years old!

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This sums up Morgan’s spirit! 5 years old.

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Brothers.

Tigers Hockey:
Learning to Stop

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Written by craiglindner

December 29, 2012 at 8:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Morgan – FIVE

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Buddy,

Today you turn five and what a year it’s been. You’re the consummate little brother, always trying to keep up, and proving that you can be just as good as your brother and the older kids in the neighborhood. Simply put, the world’s in trouble when Morgan grows up because you are determined. This year saw a lot of firsts. You were the first in our family to break a bone (not surprisingly) when you fell off the slide and broke your arm. You wore your cast with pride and are now fully recovered. You busted loose of training wheels and learned to ride your bike on you own in one morning. From there, you never looked back. Once winter came, it was off to the snowboard hill. At the first snow, you walked up the hill one morning and taught yourself how to get down the hill in about 30 minutes. Finally, you have started to take skating seriously in your second season and have decided to practice hard in order to play hockey next year.

It’s been amazing fun watching you develop your own passions this year. You love to ride bike, skate, dress up in costumes and pretend you are saving the world. Be it firefighter, pirate, police man, or super hero, the world is in safe hands with Morgan in charge. You’ve also done wonderfully in school. You’re letters and numbers are really taking off and you’re getting excited for Kindergarten next year.

Morgan, you are simply one of a kind and we love watching you spread your wings and fly. Here’s hoping the next year is filled with even more firsts! Happy Birthday buddy.

Love, Dad.

Morgan

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Morgan on Ice

Poor Morgie.  Fell last night and broke wrist 2 days before vacation.  He's a trooper and doing just fine.

Written by craiglindner

February 22, 2012 at 5:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Through A Lens (2011)

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Coming into 2011, I had plans to simplify my goals and just focus on a couple of projects. Let’s review how that worked by looking at goals for 2011:

Work, Shmirck: Life’s too short, so work can no longer be a barrier to shooting. I will have my camera in my hand much more in 2011.  (Grade F-):  Shortly after I wrote this goal, I had a little project called Target Canada drop on my plate at work which basically destroyed all hope of actually achieving this goal.  By 2013 we will have opened around 130 stores in Canada starting with nothing.  I’m running a team focused on in store systems including point of sale, so the pressure is on to land this successfully.  That equates to work, and not much else!

Projects: Rather than worry about Landscapes, Lighting, People, etc. I’m going to focus on a couple of projects. One will be the Almanzo 100 and the other is still to be defined, but will stretch me in ways that make me uncomfortable and push me to shoot more. (Grade D):  See point 1 above.  There were two projects I had in mind when I wrote this.  The documenting the Almanzo 100 and achieving a “abstract” image each and every month.  Achieving the Almanzo project was easy because it was one day.  That said, it was a miserable day.  About 40 degrees and rain made for an interesting day of shoot and even a more interesting day of riding for the competitors.  It was miserable.  Almanzo 2011 saw resulted in my pictures getting published in DirtRag magazine and and XXC Magazine which was cool, but my efforts for the day only rated at about a B.   I got a few cool pictures, but in general thought I could have captured the spirit of the day a bit better.   As I said above, it was miserable.  That said, a step forward, a very cool event, and it may have sparked some new ideas for 2012.

My other project of creating a abstract image each month fell apart quickly with the demands of life (or so I claim).  It’s one stinking image a month, so the real issue is that I never actually verbalized that goal to anyone, and I honestly just gave up on it after a few months and the growing demands of life.  I have to stop doing this.

The Boys: Much to their dismay, I still truly love to capture my boys growing up. I’m blessed with two fantastic little guys and my mission to document their youth continues. Couldn’t be prouder of Owen and Morgan. (Grade B):  Could have been better. There were many days when I left the camera behind, but I also feel like a captured the year pretty well.  I just love documenting the boys growing up.  I know that most everyone does this, but I hope some day my boys look back and say that I did a pretty good job.  Highlights of the year this year were Owen’s baseball team, Morgan riding his bike without training wheels, and our vacations to San Diego and Chicago.  Sorry boys, I think you’re going to make the list again in 2012.

Beyond my stated goals, I continued to educate myself and experiment.  Kelby Training continued to be a trusted resource to help grow my knowledge.  Truly great videos that educate and inform on key techniques. I specifically spent a fair amount of time learning about light.  Joe McNally courses are pure genius and instructors such as Cliff Maunter, Jay Maisel, and Jeremy Cowart influenced my photography throughout the year.  The internet is truly wonderful in how it brings this top notch teaching to you year after year.  If you’re interested in improving your photography, I highly recommend kelbytraining.com.

Equipment:  One major purchase this year on the photography front this year was a new printer and I couldn’t be happier.  This spring, I invested in the Epson R3000 printer and I’m absolutely in love with it.  For a couple years, I’ve longed for the ability to print on Epson papers and the R3000 absolutely nails it.  To me, photography comes alive in the print and I’m thrilled to have the R3000 producing such great results!

What Else: This year my passion for riding my bike continued to grow.  I upgraded my rides in the spring with the addition of the Salsa Vaya for road/gravel riding and the Salsa El Mariachi Ti for mountain biking.  Why two?  The plan was originally just a new road/gravel bike, but I soon came to the conclusion that mountain biking on my single speed Surly Karate Monkey was just stupid given the combo of my age a ability.  Long story short, the El Mariachi Ti was my single best purchase of the year.  Several rides up in Hayward as well as the opening of the new single track at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove (my nomination for the best use of tax dollars in 2011!)  provided ample opportunity to improve my riding skills.  A combo of the new bike and more time on the trails has improved my confidence significantly and made me much more comfortable on the trails.

Biking is a simple outlet for me.  It’s time that allows me to simply think, get the pressures of work out of my mind, and just reflect on what makes me happy.  It sounds incredibly simple, and low tech, but it works for me and is becoming and increasingly important part of my life.  This post from the Surly Blog sums up a lot.

2012: Goals for 2012 are as follows:

Almanzo (ARGS) Series:  Not sure I can pull this off, but I would love to try to document the entire ARGS series of racing this year.  This is six (Ragnarok 105, Almanzo 100 / Royal 162, Westside Dirty Benjamin, Gentleman’s Ride, Heck of the North, and the Dirt Bag) FREE gravel road races across Minnesota and it’s actually something pretty special.  There is a deeper story here that needs to be documented and this year, work permitting, I would like to take a stab at doing just that.  Concept like Chase Jarvis’ Dasein Project are inspiring me to do something much bigger than a single day in 2012.  Not sure if I can pull it off, may need some help, but let’s see what we can do.  If work demands too much, I will still shoot the Almanzo race this year, but my focus will be slightly different.

Lighting:  I think I’m getting more educated on the lighting front and it’s pretty fascinating.  The techniques involved in throwing away natural light and replacing it with light you can control is peaking my interest.  Watching masters like Joe McNally is really making me think this may be a topic worth exploring in 2012.  Let’s agree that we won’t grade this effort at the end of the year, but I will at least try to push my skills in this area next year.

The Boys:  This one is simple.  Keep documenting their lives.  Owen and Morgan are two fantastic little guys and I love them with all of my heart.  I often think that if my life’s work is to document their youth, I would be cool with that.  It’s simply awesome to watch them grow up.

Ride:  I have no aspirations to be great, but I do love to ride.  It’s my thinking time and I hope to never lose that time.  More riding in Hayward in 2012.

That’s it.  2012 is sure to be a hectic year as we get ready to launch Target into Canada, but I’m determined not to let work entirely consume my life and always make time to see life through a lens.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past year.  Thanks for reading…

Almanzo:  

A miserable day. 40 degrees and rain = one big mess. Most did not finish.
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My favorite shot of the day. Sums up the Almanzo nicely in my opinion.
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Published. This was a first for me, so that’s pretty cool.
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People: Portraits from the year.
Sister In Law before baby #3.
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Friesinger’s
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The Boys:  They are both getting a bit more patient in front of the camera.  Just a little.

Owen:  Such a sweet little guy at 8.

Eight!

Morgan: Can test our patience at times, but this shot sums him up.  My buddy.

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Learning:  A huge year of learning for Owen which was fun to watch.  He continues to do amazingly well.  These two pictures are from a trip to Chicago which fascinated him.

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Determined: Morgan’s spirit pushes him to keep up with the older boys

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Joy: Running on the lake at the cabin
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Best Use of tax dollars in 2011: Elm Creek Park Reserve single track (and my El Mariachi Ti).
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Lots more pictures from the year here.  Thanks for reading. On to 2012.

–cl

Written by craiglindner

December 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2010 Behind the Lens

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Another year has gone by behind the lens, so it’s time for a report card against goals, and to remember the year.  Here were the goals I set a year ago.

2010 Goals:

  • Monthly Goal: Create a monthly calendar for photography goals. (Grade = F: Work got in the way.  With a change of roles in mid 2010, photography took a bit of a back seat.  I achieved some of my goals, but really only scratched the surface.)
  • Light: Acquire 1-2 more speedlights and a couple of diffusers to continue experimentation of understanding how to shape light.  (Grade = C: I have the equipment that I think I want for now and have begun to learn a bit.  Not nearly aggressive enough to feel comfortable with shaping light yet, but my understanding this year is better than last.)
  • Landscapes: 2-4 dedicated landscape/outdoor shoots + figure out a way to combine mountain biking and photography (without breaking my camera).  (Grade = C:  Got out a couple of times, but for very short amounts of time.  I spent a great deal of time this year studying landscape photographers on twitter and the web, and have a better understanding of how they achieve their craft.)
  • Black and White: Develop a more dramatic black and white conversion. In 2009, I just started to scratch the surface of understanding black and white. In 2010, it will become natural for me.   (Grade = B:  Between Lightroom and Photoshop, I think I’ve developed a black and white style I’m happy with and feel I have a solid understanding what goes into a black and white photo.)
  • People: It’s why I shoot. (Grade C = This year was busy and largely focused on the boys.  Had the opportunity to shoot one baby and help on one wedding which was fun, but schedule left me a bit short of this goal.

While 2010 wasn’t a great year for shooting due to a pretty intense work schedule, it did provide my single most successful day ever as a photographer.  The day was Saturday, May 15th and I spent the day as “support” for a Dan and Mark, a couple of friends that were riding the Almanzo 100.  The Almanzo 100 is a 100 mile gravel road bike race across the hills of southern Minnesota, so with plenty of time to kill that day, I decided to bring the camera.  Without much of a plan, I started shooting the riders.  Mostly concerned with connecting with Dan and Mark at a couple of checkpoints, I soon realized that I could probable get some pretty cool pictures of a lot of the riders that they may appreciate.  I ended the day with hundreds of photos which I then posted to flickr to share with the world.  The next day, I have over 40,000 views of these photos and people seemed genuinely appreciative.  It was an incredible day, and in the spirit of Chris Skogen, the founder of the Almanzo, I was able to provide many riders with a rare picture of themselves in action.  A lot of fun, and I look forward to a return to the Almanzo on 2011.

So, onto 2011.  My goals are simplifying and the focus will be on shooting.  Here are my goals:

  • Work, Shmirck:  Life’s too short, so work can no longer be a barrier to shooting.  I will have my camera in my hand much more in 2011.
  • Projects:  Rather than worry about Landscapes, Lighting, People, etc. I’m going to focus on a couple of projects.  One will be the Almanzo 100 and the other is still to be defined, but will stretch me in ways that make me uncomfortable and push me to shoot more.
  • The Boys:  Much to their dismay, I still truly love to capture my boys growing up.  I’m blessed with two fantastic little guys and my mission to document their youth continues.  Couldn’t be prouder of Owen and Morgan.

That’s it.  Simple and to the point.  Shoot more in 2011.  Here’s a look back at some of my favorite shots for 2010.

An Early year trip to San Diego allowed my to capture this wonderful shot of the La Costa Resort.  Classic California.

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This shot of La Jolla was actually my first “published” photo when the Schamp travel site contacted me to see if they could use this photo for their website.

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Landscape work:  I eyed this shot most every week as I would go on my bike rides out west of Maple Grove.  The round barn is unique and I was happy with how this photo turned out.

Round Barn

Landscape: Shot from up at the cabin this fall.  Liked how the white trees stood out and the yellow leaves of the Aspen’s remained late into the fall.

Birch

This is probably my favorite shot from the Almanzo 100.  It captures the spirit of the event in one frame.  100 miles, by yourself, through the rolling hills of souther Minnesota.  Fantastic event.

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My best friend Dan in action.  Darcie his wife claimed that this was the best picture every taken of him on his bike.  Glad I took it!

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Another great picture of the spirit of the Almanzo.  This was a group of riders late in the race on the final climb.  Determination.

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I liked the black and white treatment here.  If you look closely, this was a single speed bike.  Insane for 100 miles on gravel.

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Metal:  One of my better pictures of the day.  Unknown to me at the time, this ended up being the husband of a friend of someone who worked for me at Target.  Small world.  I was able to provide a larger print to this rider.

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The spirit of the Almanzo.

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People:  My one newborn session of the year.  Was still happy with how I capture the little ones.

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My boys:

Dreams begin – I’ll always cherish this picture.  Owen’s first Twins game ever in the brand new stadium.

Where dreams begin!

Growing up:  Morgan learns to ride a bike at age 3.

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So cute:  Just a quick capture one night in the bath tub while I tested out a new lens.  Just love the innocence of this picture.

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Owen and Morgan:  One time per year, right before Owen’s birthday, we are somehow granted just enough patience from the boys to capture some nice photographs.  Here are three of my favorites from this years session.

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Morgie

Brothers

Written by craiglindner

December 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

So, You’re Three…

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Morgan, today is your third birthday and put simply, you are the light of my life.

At three you are the most optimistic and kind little boy that two parents could hope for.  You’re a wonderful brother and you do everything in your power to keep up with Owen.  This year saw you make huge progress.  From starting Montessori school to beginning to have your personality come out in words that get clearer and clearer every day.  These were big challenges and you tackled every one of them bravely.

What I’ll remember most about these years is simple.  Your smile.  I like to think that it’s a window to your heart and it reminds me every day what is important.  Morgan thanks for being the wonderful little boy that you are.  You have no idea the impact you are having on our lives.  Happy birthday buddy.  We’re so very proud of you!

Written by craiglindner

February 21, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Na Na Na Na

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What a ham.

Morgan hams it up for Uncle Ray and shows off his silly side.  It sums him up so well.  Owen is the cautious and more serious one, and Morgan is care free and daring.  I suspect these are attributes you have to take on when you’re the younger brother, trying so hard to keep up.

Morgie… The one and only!

Written by craiglindner

November 11, 2008 at 6:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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