February 365| A Personal Post

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Today you woke up crying. I could tell by your cry that you were scared. When I went in to get you you held me tight and brought all your comforts from your crib with you. I wasn't quite sure what was wrong, but of course you ended up in my bed with me. Once you got comfortable you told me about your bad dream. The morning light was just starting to drift into the window and shine on your face. The mood of the light fit the mood of the room. I grabbed my camera fast and was so grateful that you stayed in one place. This picture assures me that I will forever remember these lovies of yours and how you always asked to come in our bed in the mornings.

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Getting ready for the morning. You are helping your brother who is just starting to learn to dress himself. You are always so willing to help and he is not always receptive. Today was one of those mornings he was trying to exert his independence. I did manage to catch your effort on film. You are the sweetest little mama. I am so grateful for your helpful spirit.

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praying that this little boy is always seeking The Light with all of his soul.

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play dates and frigid frog is just what the doctor ordered.

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today your daddy took you on a daddy daughter date night. Afterwards you came home with a beautiful rose and pictures from your date. You told me that you had never seen a real rose like this one before. You had so much to tell about your date and I could see how special it made you feel. May you always know just how much your daddy loves you and how special you are. I am so grateful that you have a daddy that is setting a strong foundation for you to know your worth.

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This may look like chaos, but one of the most beautiful things that having a newborn has done lately is to slow us all down. So, our mornings look like this. I am always hunkered down in my bed for the first 30-45 minutes of the day feeding Judah. And you and your sister come to me. You beg for stories, so we read book after book. This morning your sister asked to do school so we had school blocks out and you dumped them over and over again while Adalynn wrote her sentences. It was just what I needed to start my morning with good perspective on what is truly important. My time spent with all of you is never wasted.

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Portrait of my baby boy. You are just starting to smile and it lights up your whole face:)

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within the first hour of every day you have already asked me at least once to hold your baby brother. You love to hold him in the morning because thats when he gives the best smiles. You will always announce with such happiness "look, he's smiling at me!" This morning I wanted to be the one to make you smile so I offered to let you hold him standing up. You were more than thrilled as you have asked me this multiple times and the answer is always "no". Today I knew you could handle it. It lasted for just 2 short minutes, but just look at the sweetness.

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Painting on the deck.

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sick days are just no fun for anyone.

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While daddy and sister are quarantined in the back bedroom I am getting some quality time with you. We have played game after game and read book after book. However, you still long for the outdoors. Sickness and cold weather have kept us cooped up for too long.

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we start em young around here.

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Prepping for Valentines Day.

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Its Valentines Day!

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You got your first bouquet of flowers from your daddy. He knew how it would make you feel after getting the one rose on your daddy-daughter date. He was right. You were thrilled. He waited until you fell asleep, cut them, arranged them in a vase and placed them in your room for you to discover when you woke up. He is a good man. And you, my daughter, deserve it.

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you got an electric four wheeler for Christmas and it's all you want to ride lately. However I was able to talk you into riding your balance bike yesterday... finally. Here you were busy "checking" all the parts cause that's just what you do😉 oh and those rain boots are your new obsession. 

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Well its not a real party until your kid blows out his diaper and you don't have a spare pair of pants. Yep, Im that mom that had a kid running around CFA with boots and a diaper. On our way out to the car I received 1 sympathetic head shake and chuckle from a middle aged man in the drive through line and another "looks like you've got your hands full" comment from a fellow mom. Thankfully, I was there with friends who watched my other two while I cleaned my dirty kid. It takes a village.

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Daddy brought the boat home last night. You were both pumped since you haven't seen it in months. At first, you used it as your jungle gym to climb all over. Soon enough your imaginations went wild and you were on a ship fighting bad pirates with your swords (aka water squirters). You played until the sun went down behind the trees and the sky was just gorgeous behind you.

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We went on a family trip to frigid frog. Our first time going just the 5 of us. You were both pumped. As a parent I see that it is these little things that get you so excited.

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Oh Judah you are as sweet as sugar.

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catch and release. Somehow we get lots of moths caught in our screened in porch. You won't rest until you catch them and set them free. Here you have just let one go and you are both watching it fly free. I can tell the sense of pride you feel when you do it. You love that sense that you have just helped someone in a mighty way. Your brother thinks your talent is incredible and watches everything unfold with wonder.

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When your Nana and Poppy go on a trip you are constantly asking when will they come home. You both miss them so much when they go. The day the come home is like a holiday for you two. This is the welcome you give them every time they return. Your legs can't run fast enough to get to them:) It blesses my heart to watch you sprint to greet them.

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playdoh on the back deck in the morning light.

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a little back yard golf cart riding on this fine February day.

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Just a little morning guitar playing. You are so consumed with music in your play right now. You love Justin Bieber songs and now you know quite a few of them. This morning I asked you to go lay on my bed while I ran and grabbed your clothes from the other room. When I came back you were like this singing Justin Bieber songs.

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today was a bad parenting day for me. The kind where you get in the shower that evening and just want to cry because you know you really didn't get it right. I have been worn out, overwhelmed and easily irritated. I have not shown patience or grace where I needed to. I failed. I knew I needed to confront you. We were sitting on the bed and I told you I was sorry for being easily frustrated today. And without hesitation you reached out, touched me and said, "its ok mom, you are doing your best." Its like Jesus was speaking directly through you. It was so effortless for you to forgive me AND encourage me. It was God's grace poured over me. It humbled me and convicted me in an instant. You have a good heart little girl and God uses you to push me to be more like Him on a daily basis. I'm so proud of who you are.

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February art.

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These dreary days sometimes make for the most fun evenings. Wet boots and dirty pants. Beautiful night skies and cute hoodies. All is good.

The Grega Family

One of my favorite photo sessions this past Fall!  I love this family, I love this location, I loved their outfits!  And seriously those kids!  Look at them!  They are as precious as they look.  Trust me.

The Ratliff Family

I just love looking back on these Fall sessions!  Fall is by far my favorite season and its an added bonus that I get to do so many family photo sessions during this beautiful month.  Here is the beautiful Ratliff family.  I am so thankful to call them friends:)

The Calano Family

Meet the sweet Calano family.  I am so thankful that after meeting this amazing mom through a close friend of mine, that I was finally able to meet her family.  We had such a wonderful time taking photos in their backyard.  Yes, this is their backyard.  Isn't it beautiful!?!  And what a gorgeous family, too!

January 365| A Personal Post

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As some of you already know, this year I decided to take on the 365 Project.  The idea behind the project is simple: take a picture everyday for a year.  Document your days.  As a photographer I have slacked on pulling out my "big"camera for my own family.  Instead of feeling guilty about it any more I am doing something about it, hence this project.  I am documenting my life just as it is right now.  This has been such a great experience so far.  Not only am I seeing the beauty in the "mundane", but also I am learning my camera in a whole new way.  Surprisingly, one of the most difficult parts of this project has been to only choose one photo each day.  So, I am including some in this blog that didn't make the cut.  Hope you enjoy!

 

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From the moment you laid eyes on Judah you were intrigued. And the first time you held him you couldn't hold back the proud smile. Now you spend each day trying to think of ways you can interact with him. Tonight you pulled your chair over and made a solid effort to put on your brother's hat. Good work my sweet son.

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My brand new baby. My 3rd son. My littlest miracle. You are one of a kind and yet you remind me so much of your older brother, Noah. You have so many of his features and yet you can look so much like your sister, too. I stare at you all the time wondering what you will be like and how you interact with your brother and sister who absolutely adore you. We are blessed to call you ours.

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and just like that you lost your first tooth... You were little stunned by it. You meant to wiggle it, but that tooth was just ready to come out. You cried and asked me to put it back. but after you gathered your composure you were so proud to tell everyone about this milestone. I'm not sure I am ready for you to grow like this.

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Just a little couch jumpin' on a cold day. I usually have to convince you to let me take your picture. And today was no exception. but I am so glad I pushed for this. I want to remember how much you loved to jump on the couch. Your dad is constantly telling you not to, but today I encouraged it because I know all too soon you will be too old for this.

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my middle babe. Oh how your eyes can melt me❤

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curly baby toes❤ I wish I could capture every little perfect, tiny feature of yours. You are beautiful.

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Sometimes you just need a impromptu dance party on mom's bed. Top songs on the list: Justin bieber "baby", Taylor swift "shake it off" and Jason Aldean "big green tractor."

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some screen time. Everyday is a battle for balance. The screens pull at you both and admittedly they pull at me, too. but our best days are spent without these distractions.

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totally enthralled in your game. You are a thinker. A reasoner. I love you so much❤ 

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you ask me everyday, multiple times to hold him. Your voice gets the sweetest high pitch tone when you speak to him. You already love him so much and talk about how cute he is. I pray that your bond stays this strong forever❤ 

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tractor ride. This is one of your absolute favorite things to do right now. I love watching you ride on the same lap and same tractor I rode on growing up. The land has changed some but it is still the same soil I grew up on. And that man that you are sitting with is the best man I've ever known. The bond you have with your Poppy melts my heart to watch. You told us the other day that he is your best friend. I love the way you love him and your tractor rides together❤


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morning cuddles. These three may never understand how deep this mothers love is

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trains. Today you got your trains out and played alone at the couch. You placed each train just so and made sure to include them all in the line up. You are obsessed with all types of transportation. I love your sense of wonder.

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pretend play. Today you set up an animal hospital on the bed next to me while I sat and nursed your brother. You have such a vivid imagination and it blows me away to watch you think of creative games to play. We have been cooped up in the house quit a bit lately. I know you love to be on the go, but your fantasy world comes alive when we stay home for days. I smiled when you brought out your computer to take notes on the panda's medical history. You asked the best questions and used the word biology over and over (in totally wrong context). I just can't help but wonder what you will be one day. I hope you know how proud you make me. 

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you love the outdoors. You have a fun sense of adventure and you are so coordinated. One day I know you will be sitting in these swings, but for right now, it's belly swinging for you. This mamas heart wants to keep you small forever.

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Some pictures I cherish more than others. As soon as I took this one I knew it would be close to my heart forever. You are two and a half and you will soon be leaving this crib. I look forward to coming and getting you out each morning and afternoon. You always grab your 3 essentials: big blanket, blankie and doggie. Your doggie is most loved by you. Each day before nap I pretend that your doggie is calling for you to come cuddle with him. You can't help but smile every time I make his doggie voice. Here in this picture you are holding him close to you as usual.

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lazy days when boxes become airplanes

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I walked in to find you sitting in this beautiful light. Messy hair and pjs on. beautiful as always. I will never grow tired of seeing the way you look in the early morning hours.

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The day we got a minivan. Apparantly, 3 kids earned me a new car.

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you have a love for music. You are constantly asking me to play your favorite songs on my phone for you to dance and sing to. Today you serenaded me so seriously in the playroom with a worship song. I thought my heart would explode❤

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Auggie is still trying to figure Judah out. He is so curious about him.

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you are a month old now. The time has really gone by so quickly. I cherish each of these newborn days with you because I know that soon you will not be so tiny. As of now you don't like your diaper changed or being cold. And you love the sound of the shower running and being held. You may be small but you hold a big place in all our hearts Judah Karl Yates.

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My boys. If I could just get a glimpse of the future and what your relationship will look like. Right now it is one of the sweetest things I could witness. One of my favorite sounds is hearing "hey buddy" each time you are together.

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I want to never ever forget every single perfect 6 year old feature on this beautiful face. 

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today I offered to pull out the play doh. You both let out squeals of delight! It doesn't happen often because of the serious mess, but you both played for over an hour. We listened to music and pretended you were baking cakes for me. It was worth all the mess to see how happy it made you both.

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this week you learned how to do laundry. I always thought that I would be the one to teach you, but instead it was your daddy. You both decided to bless me one morning and start a load. Now that you know how you have grabbed the laundry basket for me, dragged it across the entire house and started washing them all on your own on multiple occasions. You have the sweetest heart and thankfully I was able to capture you in action this morning.

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what started out as a portrait of Judah turned into this. I seriously can't keep you guys away from your brother and I'm kind of ok with it.

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An afternoon of legos with your Aunt Tutu. Seeing you spend time with family makes me happy.

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back in the swing of homeschool after a nice long break.

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It was another lazy morning today. You were begging me to put justin bieber on so you could dance and sing. You were standing in this morning light. I loved the stripes in the light with the stripes in your shirt. I may or may not have bribed you to take a couple pictures before I put on some music for you.

 
 

The Bowen Family

Photographing this family was such a treat!  I couldn't get enough of their authentic interactions with one another.  It was beautiful and real.  And these are the things I love to photograph.  Of course they are all just gorgeous and the evening weather could not have felt any better.   And these busy boys had the most amazing manners.  They don't get much sweeter than this family right here!

 

The Buckalew Family

I am so blessed when I get to see families year after year.  I love seeing families change and grow. And I also get the opportunity to spend time with families that I have grown to love.  Its not hard to love this family!  They are so sweet:) And they have the rare ability to be playful, sarcastic and completely loving and encouraging at the same time!  So grateful to know them!

Stockton Cake Smash

Sometimes you just need to have a little fun on your first birthday.  And thats exactly what we did with Stockton for his one year smash cake!  We started in the studio and then moved to the outdoors.  Stockton and his daddy almost share a birthday so it was only fitting for daddy to have his own smash cake too, right!?!  I mean you can't get any more loving and fun than these 3.  I am so thankful to have the best clients!

The Campbell Family

It is always a treat to photograph this family.  This mama is such an inspiration to me and those around her.  She has fought a hard fight and done it with such dignity and grace.  And these girls of hers are just precious in every way.  They have a deep bond and love for one another.  It is such a joy to watch them grow.  And the dad, well I grew up with him, so it is so fun to see him with his beautiful family.  They are the best!

Don't Burst my Bubble | A personal post

Ever since I can remember spring break has been golden. It represents one word: freedom. When I was a student it meant freedom from books, studying, teen drama and school bells. When I was a teacher it meant freedom from dreaded standardized testing, meetings, Parent -teacher conferences, and just responsibility in general . But the joy it brings me now is far sweeter. It means extra time with my school aged nieces. And even better, I get a front row seat in watching my two little ones build lasting memories with their cousins. 

All it took this particular evening was bubbles. To a 1 year old bubbles are magical.  And to a photographer this golden light and pure childhood joy are where the magic is. And these happy things came together to create a moment in time that I will not forget. 

And as you can see in their faces...I'm pretty sure they won't either. (And even if they do, these images are a reminder). 

So here's to breaking out your big cameras, point and shoots or iPhones and documenting YOUR moments. I promise you won't regret it.

The Bauer Family

I cannot tell you how much I look forward to seeing this family!  Every single time it is a new adventure and I fall a little more in love with them.  And these kids melt me!  I love watching their sweet sibling bond.  The way that they play together is just beautiful!  And then there was the evening light and the fountain that made them completely giddy.  I guess you could say that it was just a perfect evening!