Only one more month of summer…

Back in May, my very first family shoot (outside of family members)…it was an overcast day, until they showed up. Out came the sun!  We had a few posers in there. hehehe

This summer raced by with record speed. My baby is officially eight months old today!

This breaks my heart just a bit, as she is the best, sweetest baby girl and I’m obviously going to need another baby sooner than I originally planned.

It’s good to practice on friends, they don’t bat an eye when you ask them to do re-takes…

Because babies are my absolute favorite…and no, this is not a pregnancy announcement.


What on earth have I been doing this summer?

What have you been doing this summer?

I asked first…

Another sunny day, found a huge tree with lots of shade. Look at this family. To quote the excellent animated film ‘Cars’ – “there’s a lot of love out there, man.”

Mostly just all the great mom things of laundry, dishes, cooking…I’ll be completely honest here and admit that I have not been reading many books to my kids this summer, there has been a lot more tv and I have zero guilt about this.

I used to hate it when my kid didn’t cooperate during pictures. As a photographer, I love it when little kids let their personality shine.

Last school year wore me out. Then in the spring I got pink eye and battled it all the way through July 4th weekend. I have not had any pink eye since that weekend, still have a bit of dry eye, but that is so much easier to deal with.

Can you guess which one is the future class clown?

What we have had is lots of cuddles – indoors – lots of dirt in hair from the hours spent outside in the backyard, lots of forts. I got tired of putting the boy’s mattress back on the bed, so it’s still on their bedroom floor, surrounded by toys.

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I’m gloriously less stressed these days.

I want to attribute the goodness in my life to God.

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In the chaos of this world, He gives me peace and hope that good things will come.


In addition to having the support of my husband, the women of the Relief Society (the women’s organization from my church) have gone above and beyond to serve me here in Columbia, Missouri.

I hit the jack pot – and it’s not just the women in my LDS ward – there are women in surrounding wards who have served me too.


Those acts of service (making us dinner, taking my kids, swapping baby clothes, having us over to play, teaching my children) have lifted my load.

Playing at the park.

If only the news was full of the stories of these life transforming women – the world wouldn’t seem so dark to me – it would be the light of God’s love shinning. A beacon of hope for humanity.


The women I go to church with lift me with their testimonies, their compliments, their smiles, their friendship.

In return, those women let me take their picture. I wish I could tell their stories from a photojournalist point of view – as an alternative to the terribly distressing news as of late.

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Behind the scenes with my little ballerina. I had all three of my kids with me…so I didn’t get past testing the lighting. I was done the moment Brantè said, “Tyler get out of the toilet.” We’ll try again.

Motherhood (since I’m a mother)/Parenting takes a lot of work/sacrifice and without this village of helpful women I would have lost my mind long ago.

(Note about photos – all are SOOC (straight out of camera) photos – because I’m currently too poor for Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.)

[Below are photos taken by a friend – with a nicer camera, nicer lens…nicer skills]

It helps to have a hobby.

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Can you say, “lens envy”?

Mine is record keeping. Family record keeping. Which is the main reason for blogging. It’s also why I love taking photos.  I have made several family photo album books this year. It takes me awhile to make family yearbooks, but I enjoy reliving our time together as I pick through our photos from the year and write about our time spent together.

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I had no plans to be in photos when I got ready for the park! She mentioned taking some of me, so I threw on a coordinating shirt. So, this is me in all my mom glory!

It is the reading of and looking through those memories that draw me nearer to my extended family and friends.

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Anyone up for pictures? I can’t promise they will look mystically amazing, but I’d love the practice and you will have a moment of time captured forever of that day your three year old got gum stuck in his hair and your baby had poop up his back…

and those memories are worth preserving.

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What our children prefer over having pictures taken…


Summer Baby Shower With A Beach Theme – is there any other theme?

Last Saturday some friends gathered to celebrate the coming of our new baby boy.


I know there are lots of themes out there for showers, but I long for the beach, I would always rather be there than almost anywhere in the world.


The sound of the waves can soothe my soul almost as well as getting a good night’s rest, eating a great meal or doing a session in the Temple.

Ukulele is Dan's - the table is about half full here - Stefanie made sure there was no empty space here. Yum
Ukulele is Dan’s – the table is about half full here – Stefanie made sure there was no empty space here. Yum

My husband happens to own several beachy props, so the decor was a no-brainer (right Stef…who stayed up late making everything look fabulous?).

Details - I love the center piece on the crafting table, where we painted onesies.
Details – I love the center piece on the crafting table, where we painted onesies. That is brown sugar in place of sand, if you were wondering.

I moved to Columbia in late January and come July I had new friendships – Stefanie and I met because we were assigned as Visiting Teaching companions through church.  Lucky me.

I requested smoothies...such a great thing smoothies.
I requested smoothies…such a great thing smoothies.

A few months ago Stefanie asked if she could throw a shower for me – I told her I wasn’t sure that was a good idea, since I didn’t know anyone – she insisted.

Those cupcakes were delicious - chocolate cupcakes with a butter cream/coconut frosting.
Those cupcakes were delicious – chocolate cupcakes with a butter cream/coconut frosting. I crave them – you hear me – I need more of those in my life.

I’m so glad that she did, I had a great time.

Painting a onesie
Painting a onesie

Those who came got to get to know each other better too – some of the activities were filling out some things about themselves and then me guessing who it was – it was fun and funny discovering who belonged to what.

I know Jennifer's weird has to do with eating.
I know Jennifer’s weird quirk…it has to do with eating.

Like, who listens to country music? Who listens to too much Hipster stuff? Who belongs to what weird quirk? Well, You had to be there to get the answers…


My other friend Jewly (along with her family) was the first person to reach out and invite me to do things.

Super artist here - love her work.
Super artist Crystalyn here – love her work.

Being in my first trimester and having to move was stressful enough – it was nice to have people go out of their way to befriend me when I wasn’t feeling up to it.

Rachel here won a nice beach blanket by getting most of the All About Katie questions correct.
Rachel here won a nice beach blanket by getting most of the All About Katie questions correct.

Since I began feeling better, it has been easier to make time for social activities.


again, I’m glad I did.

Books - I love books, my two year old loves books and our new baby will love them too.
Books – I love books, my two year old loves books and our new baby will love them too.

Because, had I remained a hermit I’m pretty sure my baby shower would have been a party of one.

WIth no friends - I wouldn't have gotten this alligator muscle shirt.
WIth no friends – I wouldn’t have gotten this muscle shirt with stars on it (which comes with cute little crocodile shorts and I love crocodiles).

I prefer to avoid Lonely – party of one.

I did the sheep one to the right. Crystalyn did the surfboard one on the left.
I did the sheep one to the right. Crystalyn did the surfboard one on the left.

I feel really blessed – to those who came and those who didn’t but sent gifts – you ladies are too generous.

Everyone got to conjure the artist inside.

I’m all stocked up on diapers and wipes too and that makes me happier still.

Shower gifts for those who came - a reusable bag "beach bag" and herbal mint chapstick. Dude, that is awesome.
Shower gifts for those who came – a reusable bag “beach bag” and herbal mint chapstick. Dudettes, “Thanks for Hangin with us.”

Thank you so much for thinking of me and making me feel special.

Hostess Stefanie
Hostess Stefanie

and special thanks to Stefanie’s husband who took over care of the kids all Saturday – we know Dad doesn’t fit into Mom Jeans, but we are so glad you put them on!

L to R:  (Danny's board), Jewly, Me and Stef
L to R: (Danny’s board), Jewly, Me and Stef

I like parties, who’s up next???

Ah, Tina, Tina is up next.

Ah, I’m Feeling Like A Weather Man

LOVED the Oregon Zoo (I’ve done the San Diego multiple times and St Louis…so I know good zoos).

First my plans go off track in April in the midst of my sewing and ozark concerts…I started feeling tired, really tired. Then I started thinking I was pregnant. I took 3 or 4 pregnancy tests that all said NEGATIVE. Ok, I’m just tired. Then I booked a trip to see my older sister in Washington during the month of May…no big deal, I can fly with baby all by myself.

That girls loves her sunglasses and her binkie! I love that girl!

I love unexpected adventure.

A group of fun kiddos

As it turns out, a few days before I fly to Portland, OR I discover that I am indeed pregnant. Hm, well, I guess I feel ok enough to fly with an infant by myself while I’m pregnant…pregnant women crossed the plains right?

I love the mighty forest of the great northwest. It is so ENCHANTING!

Ok, so I return from my trip to Washington state knowing perfectly well the next great adventure in my life is Costa Rica…late July. Until the last week, when Dan and I learned that the summer class he was taking was unnecessary and he could drop it. Which meant, he had to find something else to do with his summer.  hmmmmm. What to do?

Writing a blog is kinda like being an otter at the zoo…..

I’ll tell ya what, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. We are moving to Southern Texas for the remainder of the summer so Danny can work for his uncle’s construction company. We are still going to Costa Rica…as far as I know, but I don’t feel like predicting the rest of the year, in fear of misleading myself. I’m glad to see family in Houston again and who knows, maybe something else exciting will happen.