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As a second grader, she’s an old pro. The 1st day of the 1st week of school started by taking this sweet girl to her bus stop. She posed with her friends…



Climbed on the bus and off she went. (Don’t ask what could possibly be weighing down her bag that much on the first day of school…)


She loves school. What more could we ask for?

Well, I asked her to smile. I might have had to make a (ahem) ‘fart noise’…for like a really long time. But hey – that’s a genuine smile!



Yes, she’s as tall as she looks.



She got a little tired of smiling for me.

Come on, be serious Grace.


Okay that’s a little too serious.



Grace…smile honey.


That’s my girl. Just beautiful.


Next we drove Luke to preschool. We wondered if he would struggle now that his big brother had ‘graduated’ to Kindergarten but instead he impressed us all.


Hugging Grandma goodbye.


And without looking back…


We haven’t learned much from last year when it comes to holding a sign.





Oh Luke David.


Such. A. Clown.


With a rebel yell…


My goofball. This is the closest I could get to a normal smile.



Jacks first full day was a couple of days later. We just knew he would love school. He’s well socialized, loved preschool, loves learning…was so pumped for Kindergarten.

We could barely keep up with him as he walked to his classroom and even tried to ditch us as he stopped to turn and waive goodbye.


And kept on walking…


Uh, what are you guys still doing here?


Gimme a hug goodbye bro! (Do I have to???)


Yes, you have to.


One last shot


He even wanted to ride the bus home.


It seemed to go well. We thought he did great.

So imagine how blindsided we were when he broke down crying while making his lunch for the next day. He didn’t want to go back to school.

We thought he was just tired and that it was a moment that would pass but instead it got worse.

Way worse.

For about a week straight he cried when he woke up. Cried over his breakfast. Cried all the way to school and cried all day in school. He would have a moment of relief when I picked him up until he asked me if he had to go back tomorrow.

“Yes buddy”

He asked how long he had to go to school and after we explained his school years to him he informed us that he would NOT be going to college.

And then he started crying again. He cried at dinner. He cried himself to sleep.

We were beside ourselves. It was so unlike him, he was acting depressed. He kept telling us he just missed us. He also told us he wanted a new teacher because he thought she was mean.

Ugh. Just punch me in the stomach.

His teacher, very well-respected, is known for being strict and my sensitive, well-behaved boy has never really had anyone like that in his short life. As parents, you just want to protect your child. You want everyone to be kind to them but the reality is…well that’s not reality. We prayed, and we told Jack to pray. We dug deep to try to find how this could be a positive thing. We explained that she wasn’t yelling at him but that she had a lot of kids to keep under control. Try to explain not taking something personal to a 5 year old.

Then one day, he didn’t cry as much. He told me that afternoon that he was crying, and he thought of God, and he stopped crying.

And little by little, inch by inch…each day he cried a little bit less.


And his teacher rewarded him, you know…that mean teacher.



And finally, last day of week 3, no tears from start to finish.



It was so painful to watch him go through the anxiety, we just want him to love school!


But we both knew that in God’s infinite plan something even greater was happening.


He was learning that people show their kindness in different ways.

That discipline does not equal ‘mean’.

That he does like school after all (heck maybe he’ll even go to college!!)

And for us as his parents, we learned to let go so that he could learn to lean on God.



And so our school year begins.


His Own Story

Knowing that the pain is indescribable.

Knowing it’s a marathon that no training can prepare you for.

Knowing that there’s always at least one fearful moment.

Knowing that ‘birth plan’ is an oxymoron.

Somehow, despite knowing all of this, I love giving birth.



My nurse told me “They each want their own story” and Levi was no exception.

You think you know what’s gonna go down. You think history will repeat itself.




And while some things are the same…




She was right. They each want their own story.

After a fast labor and JUST as my epidural kicked in, Levi Paul was born with one push. One push!



And I wept with joy.

Moments I never want to forget…



This awesome woman safely delivered all 4 of my babies.



His proud Papa’s…



This oh so familiar pouty bottom lip that he shares with his big brothers.




Another Faris appetite.


Welcome to our family Levi. Here’s to a million more memories to come…




***Many thank to Levi’s Auntie Joy for being my ‘birth photographer’ <3

Josh and Leah – Engagement

No better way to come back from a ‘maternity leave’ than to jump right in and photograph a wedding. I am so excited to photograph Josh and Leah tomorrow as they take their own plunge and say ‘I do’. As I sit here trying to cool off on this near 90 degree day it’s hard to remember how cold it was the day that we did their engagement shoot!

I mean COLD. When I scouted the location the day before it was about 5 degrees. I was actually a little worried about pulling it off. But the sun was kind enough to warm up to a balmy 25 degrees for us and let me tell you, it made all the difference.

Just enough to encourage lots of cuddling.







These two are so sweet.




The best clients are the ones that pretty much ignore me and just be…




So beautiful.



This wedding is going to be FUN!



Can’t wait guys!  See you tomorrow…xoxo


Lord, Protect My Child

I was going to do this self portrait session yesterday, but I didn’t feel good. I was utterly exhausted and had zero motivation.  I just felt…yuck.

Last week I found out this baby boy was breech.


And I’ve been in a funk ever since. I know it’s not devastating news, but anything at all that could potentially get in the way of a safe delivery is not what a hyper-hormonal 37 week pregnant momma wants to hear. And then there was the potential of a c-section that I wanted nothing to do with. I had just been talking about how excited I was to go into labor…and it felt like that was rudely yanked away from me and baby boy.

I needed to decide if I wanted to have a ‘version’ (where your Dr. tries to turn the baby from the outside). I’ve heard everything from ‘it’s uncomfortable’ to ‘it’s excruciating’ and admittedly I wasn’t too keen on finding out which side of the fence I would fall on.

Over and over Susan Tedeschi’s song ‘Lord, Protect My Child’ started playing in my head. After all, at the end of the day all I care about is that this child is safe and healthy…something that is so frustratingly out of my control. So I just kept praying for God to protect this child. And I prayed…that he would take this decision out of my hands.


I wound up scheduling the procedure. I visited a chiropractor certified in the Webster technique. I elevated my hips (only once…my heartburn and nausea was too powerful). I checked into the hospital this morning feeling fairly calm, trying not to focus on anything other than the best outcome.

In walked two of the cheeriest, funniest women ready to take care of me.

‘Alright I’m gonna do your ultrasound before anything else because I’m on a roll…the past three babies I checked all presented vertex’ (head down).

I perked up, they were bringing some good mojo I could feel it. They gooped up my belly and started to search for his head. Within seconds she moved the wand down low and…

“Head down!”

He had flipped on his own. What a very, very good boy.


I nearly burst into happy, relieved tears.

I realized as the day went on that while my heartburn had subsided, my waddling had accentuated. But for real ya’ll, waddling beats heartburn any day of the week. I felt rejuvenated and decided today was the day for my maternity self portrait session.

Luke helped me make sure my setting were right.

And with my trusty remote app on my phone connected to my Canon 6D I snapped away.


This little guy popped in for a couple…


Goodness he melts me.



Just 3 more weeks to go…



Can’t wait to meet you sweet boy.




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