Journal

Welcome to my own little corner on the web.  Most of this site is dedicated to my photography but this section is where I journal about my life as a wife, momma and how I’m trying to create a beautiful home in a few spare minutes each day…

I’m married to my best friend. He’s funny, the salt of the earth and cute to boot. He’s a man with faith that cannot be shaken. He makes me feel beautiful and also happens to be a rockstar dad (I hit the marriage jackpot people). He is also going blind from a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. You can read a little about it here. We believe in miracles so we pray for a cure and in the meantime we’re making every visual memory we can. It’s no coincidence that his wife is a photographer (thank you, Jesus), often he can see his children’s faces better in a photograph than when they’re right in front of him.

We’ve made 4 gorgeous little beings, Grace, Jack, Luke and our caboose, Levi. They bring joy and exhaustion in equal abundance. How do we do it? It’s true friends, it takes a village and ours is pretty bad a**. As a matter of fact my dad and stepmom live with us – yep we’re one of THOSE families. We are both from big, beautiful families. BIG.

It’s not always pretty, it’s life. It’s real. And I’m grateful for every second of it.

Summer Vacation

It's day 6 of our 11 day vacation. We've traveled far in just about every mode of transportation I can think of. We've eaten well, slept in, done just the perfect amount of 'touristy' things, fought, laughed hard, lived in pj's and swimsuits, felt homesick, turned...

Levi Paul turns 2

This boy. Where do I begin? Hi smile. It starts there. His smile puts a spell on you...I'm pretty sure there's 3 dimples there but I can't be positive because I can't stop staring at his eyes. They're dark as night but somehow they sparkle and captivate. He's pretty...

Fun in the Sun

Have you heard of Park Hill Design? I remember the first time I laid eyes on Meridythe's work at a market. If I remember correctly, my jaw hung open the entire time I combed through the racks looking at the most beautiful and unique children's clothing I'd ever seen....

Jack Dillon turns 7

He loves green olives, and dried seaweed...but can't stand bacon. He plays and fights with equal passion with his big sister and little brother. And the littlest brother? He can do no wrong. He's got Jack wrapped around his little finger... He dodges your hand if you...

To Rise

Dear Grace, You turned 9 this past weekend. That, apparently, qualifies you as a tween (shaking my head in disbelief). There's certainly that ever present parental sadness that the time goes by so quickly, but I can honestly say I love every stage of motherhood with...

To the beat of his own, loud drum (Luke Turns 5)

We celebrated this guy tonight. He turned 5. What is it about 5?  It's a tough one, a turning point. Not that Luke isn't already ahead of the game. He's so bright and ambitious. He's already started reading and tries to spell everything. "Mom, do you spell truck...

Finding your Vision

I pray often for vision.  I boldly pray for a miracle for Jared's vision (he has lost most of it to a degenerative eye disease) but I also pray for a more metaphorical vision for my own life and the purpose of my photography. As a photographer I've already gone...

Levi Paul Turns One

He's a happy baby. He's a Momma's boy. He's into EVERYthing (and clearly has a Faris appetite) And this past Sunday, this sweet, sweet boy turned one. Le sigh. We call him bear.  Sometimes bear bear. Sooooo... His pudgy hands. Sister finally helped him understand it...

Want to become a better photographer? Here’s one guaranteed way.

Last year I had family photos taken. Finally. (***All photo credits for this post belong to My Four Hens Photography) I was the cobbler with holes in his shoes. Yes, I take photos of my family almost daily but it had been 7 years since I had had a full professional...

Levi Paul (an at home newborn photo shoot)

I remember the night that we decided: one more baby. Over a glass of wine, on a date at our favorite Indian restaurant I finally verbalized what had been swimming around in my head...should we or shouldn't we?  I can honestly say I didn't really want to be pregnant...

You Got This Buddy

    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...

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...

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,...

Lucky Number 7 (Grace turns 7)

I'm pretty sure we captured her first heartbreak on video. We did a gender reveal with the kids and Grace bit into her cupcake first. "Aww" she said with a disappointed swing in her voice. And we knew it was a boy. We all laughed and chattered in bewilderment at yet...

Little Man, Big Personality (Luke turns 3)

Jared and I love a newborn cry, it's so sweet. It's like their screaming with all of their might but to us it's muted as though you're listening through glass. We talked about it before Luke was born, how we couldn't wait to hear it. Yeah, that didn't happen.  He came...

Pinwheel Flower Tutorial (Easy DIY!)

If you happened to see my post on my daughter's room reveal, you might remember these pinwheel flowers I have hanging on her wall. I actually made these for her 3rd birthday party (she's 6 now!) as a decoration but I loved them so much I used them in her room. What I...

Girl’s Room Reveal (& How She Keeps It Clean)

A few weeks back I posted my Boys' Room Reveal and also talked about how it was just the beginning of decluttering and simplifying our home. Perhaps the room that needed it the most, was my sweet girl's room. It was always a mess. So we went through her toys and chose...

How I Recovered My Outdoor Swing with a Canvas Paint Drop-cloth

The story begins with me needing a photography backdrop for taking head shots. I invested in a nice dark background but I wanted a light colored one as well so I could give my clients the option. I read somewhere to use a canvas paint drop-cloth from Home Depot and...

Why We Bought A 41 Year Old Apache Camper

Last week I posted about our maiden voyage in our new camper. I might have briefly mentioned that our camper is 41 years old, which might lead you to ask why on earth would we buy a camper that was born in the early 70's? It all started with my neighbor... I was...

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 – Foodimals Birthday Party

When I made the decision to participate again in this year's 31 Days blogging challenge, it was partly because I knew I had a plenty of material from a backlog of projects. One of which is Jack's birthday party...which was 5 months ago (sheesh). This little guy...

How to Create Beautiful Office Space (When You Have No Space!)

In case you don't know this part of our story, just over two years ago my husband was laid off from his job. At that point we insanely bravely decided that we would pursue the dream of both owning businesses and working from home. We truly believed this is where God...

{FREE} Dino Printables

When I recently moved my boys into their new room I was determined to come up with some unique (and inexpensive) ways to decorate and make it special to them. Since they love to play with their little dinosaurs figures I started brainstorming on how to somehow...

Apache Maiden Voyage

So we bought a camper. I don't really like camping. But my husband does and I have no doubt my children will love it too.  Who am I to be the stick in the mud? So I asked myself what I don't like about camping and my top two answers (being cold and sleeping on the...

A Really Good Day

Today was a big day. It was a good day. This one started 1st grade.   I was trying to figure out how to get her to the bus stop, then take the boys to preschool...then get to her school in time to walk her into class. "Mommy why would you come to my school?"...

Boy’s Room Inspiration

I'm on a mission to simplify the way we live in our home. Thing is - the act of simplifying is turning out to be hard work. But we have 4 adults, 3 kids and 2 dogs in this 'not so big' house so NOT simplifying is a sure path to insanity. Take the boys' room for...

The Wildest Photo Shoot I’ve Ever Done

It all started with Girl Scout cookies. Grace's troop sold the heck out of them so they earned some money.  We all voted and decided to donate to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO.  They let our girls visit for free and the rest of our families tagged along....

It Takes A Village

It was a little over a month ago.  I had been on a business trip for 5 days and was missing my babies and husband, lots. I boarded my flight and settled into my window seat for what I anticipated would be a very productive 4 hour flight from Orlando to Denver editing...

Jack Dillon, 4

This boy. We are abundantly aware of how blessed we are that we get to raise him. He's confident, he's loving, he's awesome. He loves life...lives it well... and looks cool while doing it. Happy Birthday sweet boy. We're so proud of you young man. xoxo...

Today (told by my iphone)

Kids, I was just in the mood to take pictures of everything today. Maybe it was that you boys are finally starting to feel a teensy bit better after being sick for a week. Maybe it was because it was a day where we just let it flow..no plans, no leaving the house...

Cousins

Ahh, the 4th Annual President's Day weekend family trip to Buena Vista.  It's nothing that any sane individual would consider a relaxing vacation given that there were 11 kids (7 of them 6 years old and under). But once you learn to live with the white noise (read:...

Just One More Minute

"Mommy, hug hug!" I was putting her to bed and as I began to walk away to turn off the light she asked for a hug. I walked over to her and stretched up to her on her loft bed for the hug. "I just wanna hug you forever, I never want to let go" she says "can we hug for...

Happy Birthday Luke David!

My baby. He's such a little dude already (you'll notice this year I didn't make him wear his birthday suit like before). "Wait Mom..." "...where's my pocket?" There we go. Luke you're such a passionate soul at only 2 years old.  You blow our minds, we love to watch...

The Beauty of Stillness

I remember the first time I experienced the vulnerability of one of my children not feeling well. It was when Grace was a baby and she wasn't even sick but she was teething and it was causing her a lot of pain. She woke me up in the middle of the night and I just held...

That’s A Wrap!

Christmas 2013 as well as the weeks leading up to it was a whirlwind.  Every moment of every day swallowed up by stuff to do.  Work. Preparation. Work. Preparation. Try to eek out a few family moments here and there.... Well those eeked out moments are the ones I...

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

November and December were insane for me. Insane. But after Thanksgiving I knew I needed to press pause and let tradition run the show for a day. The kids (okay me too) get so giddy when we put up our tree, it's pure joy. It all starts with Papa Nick bringing his...

Why You Should Take Your Kids On A Date

This is our son Jack. He's sweet. He's funny. He's peculiar. He's all kinds of awesome. He's 3...and lately he's been reminding us of all that entails. He has an older sister who goes to Kindergarten full day and gets to do all kinds of cool stuff.  He has a little...

Mushroom Risotto (Gluten-Free and Dairy ‘Lite’)

Typically when I set out to make dinner for the family I'm searching for a recipe that is fast and easy. Risotto, well it's actually neither. But every once in awhile I crave this rich, savory dish to satisfy my comfort food craving. It's time consuming. It's high...

In A Slump? Read This.

It's about that time in 31 Days of blogging that I've lost steam. It's actually day 27 but I'm just now writing day 25. I'm behind in work. Our social calendar has shown no mercy. My kids are melting as I type this. The laundry...oh Lord. I'm pooped. SO...in case any...

Baking Soda to Clean a Cookie Sheet – Does It Work?

I've never met a cookie sheet I couldn't ruin. You may remember last year when I turned one into a magnetic board for Grace's room... Well after I cooked pizza on one the other night and lost half of the crust I figured I would just throw the sheet away.  But Jenean...

Halloween Chocolate Spider Treats

Confession time. I was going to let Halloween decorating sorta 'slip by' this year.  We're a bit crazy busy and despite the fact that I went all out last year I just wasn't feelin' it this year.  But I didn't take one thing into consideration...I now have kids of the...

Curry Chicken Salad ~ Gluten and Dairy Free

Grandma Jenean should have been a chef.  It's not just that she loves to cook but she loves to create dishes and her palate is never wrong.  For her latest grandchild's baby shower  one of the dishes she made was Curry Chicken Salad served in lettuce cups. This is a...

Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes ~ Gluten and Dairy Free

I've made a lot of gluten free pancakes.  Some have been pretty good, but these...these were amazing.   I think it was partially due to the fact that I used gluten free all purpose baking mix instead of flour.  Also, I used coconut oil on the griddle instead of...

Creamy Potato Leek Soup – Dairy Free

I wasn't planning to post this. I was planning on following another recipe to the 'T'. I didn't take photos (except for this one on my phone). It wasn't on my agenda. But I had at least 3 people ask me for the recipe when I posted my Instagram and I wound up...

A Letter To My Daughter About Beauty

Dear Grace, It's hard being a girl sometimes. When I was a young girl, I was very self-conscious about the way that I looked. I didn't like my hair. I didn't like my freckles. I didn't like my skinny legs. I didn't like my skin. I was insecure. But I'll never forget...

What A Difference A Rug Makes

Do you love your living room?  I don't know about you but we take the name quite literally here in our house and we really LIVE in the living room.  It's also what you see when you walk in the house so it's the first impression. And I didn't love mine. Here's the...

Coconut Rice Pudding – Gluten and Dairy Free

  Last night I made a gluten-free, dairy-free coconut rice pudding. It sounds complicated and not so interesting after all of the rejections in the title but I promise - it's delicious. And easy! You'll need: 1 1/2 C cooked rice (I used basmati) 2 1/2 C Coconut...

How To Turn Your Favorite Children’s Book Quotes Into Art

Recently, as I was shopping for my sister's baby shower gift, I realized I had no feelings of nostalgia or longing as I walked through Babies R Us.  That is, until I got to the books.  As I picked out each one I had a hard time not loading my cart with just as many...

A Dining Room Make-Under

This one has been a work in progress for awhile.  Slowly but surely, I've changed a few things about our dining room: Inspired by some dining rooms on Pinterest where the table is pushed against the wall with bench seating on one side I finally made the first move....

Gluten Free Fruit Pizza

Remember this lovely dessert from this lovely baby shower? Now I'm going to tell you how to make it! (adapted from this recipe) Here's what you'll need: Crust 1 box Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix (I happen to know of a famous 'Betty' that makes one) 1 Egg 1/2 C. softened...

Why You Should Start E-mailing Your Kids

Today was picture day for Grace.  Since the school pictures are only head shots I asked Grace to pose for a few of my own shots because let's face it, you gotta see the outfit she chose from head to toe to get the full effect. Am I right? Also today, on the way home...