iPhone random-ness

This little boy just figured out what Zia’s house looks like. Literally for the first time today he squealed and lunged when he recognized my house. Pretty happy about that milestone. These are old, but we play in the backyard lots when he visits.

Swimming at Nanni’s (& Papa’s)

Bike-riding on a “new to her” big girl bike


End of Summer Luau

A few weekends ago I headed down to Orange County with my mom, Sawyer and Greta for an end of summer luau at Jane’s. The kids had a blast, the weather turned out to be beautiful, delicious food (as always!), and lots and lots of bouncing. My camera was being glitchy so I kept it home and just snapped with my iPhone.

newborn elizabeth

I have loved photographing this family for the past few years, so when I received the call that they had welcomed a newborn baby girl, I was excited to come meet her. She was 14 days old at the shoot and just wonderful. I really have fallen in love with photographing families in their home lately. The kids are so at ease and it’s a calm, familiar environment for everyone. If you’d like to see more from this shoot, please head on over to my photography blog.


sorry for the sparse posts here and there but I have been busy editing two lovely sessions that I hope to share with you very soon. I am finishing one clients disc at this very moment and hopefully this weekend I will have some time to prepare some posts. we have been super busy with school and homework and house guests and back to school night and volunteer duties and aaron worked 48 hours in 3 days last weekend. so we are in need of some down time this weekend. be back next week. for now, here’s one shot from a session, this little newborn is oh so loved. more to come!

book post

My nightstand has a stack of books so high it makes me smile at the moment. All the kids and myself have been in a reading frenzy the last few weeks and we love it. Back to school kind of does that to us, along with the fact that our new routine is kids in bed at 7pm, lights out at 7:30pm. It gives them a full half hour of quiet reading time.

Sawyer has been reading the A-Z Mystery books, one a day. So I check out 7-10 at the library and that only lasts us about a week. He also discovered the Calendar Mystery books. They are both a little young for his reading skill if you ask me, but he just loves to complete a whole book in an afternoon or evening. So I don’t complain. Reading is reading.

Gunnar finished the Hunger Games trilogy, in about a week. I have to say it was a bit odd to have my kid read books that I love. But it was pretty fun to discuss and now we talk about the movie and who they casted and our thoughts on it. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for a normal 4th grader, but Gunnar is such a sophisticated reader that I allowed it. Well, I allowed it after he snuck The Hunger Games to school and started it before asking me. I was going to let him read it when he turns 10 this winter, but it didn’t happen.

Greta is reading better and better these days. In fact at dinner this evening I played tic tac toe with her and all over her menu she had to write “mom lost” “greta wins”. All by herself she is sounding things out and spelling them.

I finished a few weeks ago Cutting for Stone. Excellent book, very powerful. If you are looking for a deeper book, and one that is meaty and has a story that takes place over years, I recommend it. It takes place in Ethiopia and is just a beautiful story that has everything from sadness, to laughter to pain. So be prepared.

A client of mine loaned me NurtureShock, which I cannot put down at the moment (thanks Rachel!). Seriously, so fascinating. If you are a fan of Malcolm Gladwell, or read Outliers, or enjoy books like that which take a methodology or idea that is prevalent and then picks it apart and dissects it and then blows your mind with the reality of it, this is your book. And I love that it touches on all different subjects, but always having to do with children. So if you’re a parent, read this book. I was especially fascinated with the chapter on obesity and sleep and IQs. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a stickler when it comes to my kids bedtimes. Even on the weekends, even during summer. And this gave me a little bit of justification as to why I shouldn’t let that slide. Yay for early bedtimes.

If you have any recommendations please leave me a comment with what they are. I’ll let you know that my nightstand at the moment consists of Room, To Kill a Mockingbird, and 2 others that I just cannot remember but are also from our book swap. I cannot wait to devour them!

Happy reading.

first day of school- hold me

We are into the second week of school and I feel that we have a rhythm going. I wasn’t dreading the start of school like I did last year. I think that came with the familiarity of the teachers we were assigned. We’ve had each teacher in the past so I felt prepared and confident knowing what to expect. If you can imagine I felt prepared to send the littlest off to kindergarten. I think all my anxieties and stress subsided once I found out she was going to be in my boys’ kindergarten teacher’s class. It would be home for her. In fact the moment I told her that Ms Brown was her teacher, she looked at me and asked me ‘how many minutes til the first day of school?’

And sure enough my littlest was ready as can be. In fact I did my first pre first day of school ironing for her. She insisted her shirt not be wrinkly for school. Which is funny because if I could get the boys just to wear CLEAN shirts I would be thrilled. She definitely is the tiniest of the class, but I expected that. I shed only a few tears and there was no sobbing, no sunglasses needed. I was strong and I’m proud of that. I miss her for sure, but I still miss my boys. All day is a long time to be gone from them, but each day I get to pick them up, I see their smiles and listen to them talk over one another to tell me all about their day. I love to hear who was a good listener and who wasn’t. Who got their name on the board and who was caught being good. Two days already my Soso was caught being good and came home with prizes. You can’t help but love that boy and his teacher once again has fallen for his sweet ways. I love to hear who is ahead on table points and who shared their lunch with who.

On the first day my sweet Grets ran up to hold the hand of a little girl who was crying. Yes, she was the one doing the comforting. Her dad’s heart melted and he came over to thank me for having such a kind girl. Gunnar is in 4th grade now so he lines up in a different section just for 4th and 5th graders. THAT was hard to get used to. Seeing my boy with the oldest kids of the school. His lunch is now with 5th graders. Hold me. I’ve already been in his class once to organize some books for the teacher and I love getting to overhear him in language arts. I love listening to the idioms he comes up with and I even like listening to when he gets busted for writing a note to his friend. Somehow his teacher hasn’t realized that you can’t let these kids choose their own seats. I wonder how long that will last before he is banished to another table for his chattiness.

My life has been at the school quite a bit these last few days, but I don’t mind. It’s where all my kids are, it’s where I want to be too. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the peace and quiet, I have enjoyed having laundry done before they get home, I have enjoyed even cleaning, but I don’t mind being at the school if a teacher needs an hour’s worth of copying done, or if one teacher needs their entire reading library organized into genres and color coded in bins. Or if the kindergarten yard needs some love and attention. In fact my whole schedule and routine has changed since this first day of school. Before, Aaron used to be in charge of the boys, and I was in charge of Greta. Except for Tuesdays when I had all 3. That included Aaron making their lunches, getting them fed breakfast and taking them to school. And me doing the same for Greta. But now that all 3 are going to the same place, all 5 of us spend our mornings together. We all wake up together, we eat an actual breakfast now, you want eggs? you get eggs. you want toast with egg in a whole? that’s what you get. we still do cereal and milk once in awhile, but we actually have a real family breakfast. We pack the lunches altogether, and get this: both Aaron and I take them to school together. I didn’t know how much the kids would love that until now. They absolutely adore having BOTH mom and dad there to see them off.

We hang around at the school together and make sure everyone is where they need to be. There’s no dropping them off in a hurry to get another one to a different school. And it’s good for Aaron and I. I know it probably is more practical for just one of us to take them and then the other one can get stuff done, but it’s so nice to do it together. So far it’s been every day and I hope it continues as long as we can make it happen. But with this new routine has me heading to bed like a granny! I cannot keep my eyes open past 10:30. I mean I have tried to stay up til 11pm, but I’m pretty delirious at that point. The kids too have a new routine and lights are out at 7:30. Yep, 7:30. For all 3. And they sleep hard let me tell you. They don’t stir until the next morning, where the 3 of them wake up anywhere between 6:50-7:20. And I can’t remember the last time I was out the door fully dressed with mascara on and a bra in a long time. I don’t have to come home after I take the kids to school but I usually do. But it’s great to be ready to go if I have to that early in the morning.

Now, for some photos of their first day of school all together.