end of last school year and beginning of this one catch-up post.

So I've been in a fog of denial lately. But when October arrived, it hit me. Time to face it, chalk up how very much I've missed, and move on. I missed the last day of school pictures for last year. I missed the first day of school pictures for this year. But that's just the way I suppose it's going to go for now. Because homeschooling nine kids is no joke. Yep, that's right. Now all my school-aged kiddos are officially schooling at home. We had planned to maybe wait a year or so to bring Jude and Shepherd home to school with the other kids, but by … [Read more...]

Isabelle = 11

Isabelle (not-too-long-ago) turned 11. This is a girl that thinks about her birthday for approximately 360 days a year, give or take. During the 6 months that follow her birthday I refuse her attempts to engage me in birthday-themed conversations. You know, all the things she'd like to get for her birthday, what kind of cake she'd like, what sort of party she's thinking of having. Because her birthday is two seasons away. But sometime after Christmas, I begin to indulge her. I bite off on the as-I-tuck-her-into-bed remarks she makes about her next … [Read more...]

a mama’s gotta do…

School's out. Which means I have all of my babies, from the littlest to the biggest, home. As must as I wish it were otherwise, this is rare. Due to Zach's college schedule, sometimes this phenomenon only occurs twice a year. Which leaves a mama with only one thing to do. Insist on taking pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Thankfully, I knew a place we could go where the kids can actually have fun in the process. Even better, it's free. And we picked a day that had a questionable forecast, in order to miss the crowds, and arrived just … [Read more...]

what 10 years looks like.

We spent this weekend reminiscing. A lot. It was 10 years ago that we were in China for the first time. Holding a feisty, determined, pint-sized survivor, with a half-dollar sized hole in her heart. I still remember how it felt as those last moments inched by before I would finally become her mama: standing in a smoke-filled room, my ears filled with sounds of a language I didn't understand, my sweaty palm clutching a frayed referral picture of a tiny baby. And waiting, waiting, waiting to be handed that very baby, who was to be my baby from that moment into … [Read more...]

the year of the sheep

We wanted to celebrate Chinese New Year on Thursday - the official first day of the Lunar New Year. Didn't happen. Then we hoped to celebrate on Saturday. Nope. On Sunday Chris took the boys to church and I kept the girls home since we had three still recovering from fever/nausea/rash. And we were finally able to get the party started. The girls and I began by pulling down box after box of keepsakes gathered during eight trips to China. We looked through it all. Pearls and jade bought for the girls. Chopsticks and tobacco boxes purchased for … [Read more...]

2014 in review: 24 of my favorites

It's become a bit of a thing around here, I suppose: going through my pictures at the end of the year and plucking out a few favorites. It's laborious. It's time consuming. But I love it because it's a chance to look back at the year, as a mama, and see how my babies have grown. Cherish important milestones. Remember sweet moments. I don't love it because it's a chance to look back at the year, as a photographer, and see how my photography has grown. Or not. *ahem* But whatever. I am still clicking away. And perfect or not, these images tell the story of … [Read more...]

christmas 2014

It was noisy. It was chaotic. It was wonderful. And the best part? Having this little one home. Be still my heart. To have her here, with us this year, was the greatest gift we could have ever imagined. But the kids wanted toys, too For some crazy reason. Tallula got a Frozen snuggle-thing. Whose one-size-fits-all sizing is evidently for much larger kids. But with Elsa's face on the front, does it really matter? Vivienne got the Bright Eyes Kitty. There were 3 Bright Eyes designs and 4 of my girls wanted one. Lula lost. Thankfully Lula is easy-going and … [Read more...]

I’m gonna miss ’em.

So what does a mama do, when she should be packing for China? She ventures into the fall-colored woods with her kiddos and takes pictures of their sweet faces. Because she's gonna miss 'em. Crazy to me that I'll be leaving in a little over 24 hours. And I'll be away for 2 whole weeks. Away from all these shiny little faces. All these busy little hands. All these noisy little feet. I am *almost* missing them already, and I haven't even left yet. Almost. Thankfully, they're not feeling the same sappy sentimentality over momma leaving. Because … [Read more...]

orphan sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. We watched a video in church that was created to celebrate all the children who have come home to families in our church through adoption. Some from Ethiopia. South Korea. Alabama. And a few especially adorable ones from China that, when their faces flashed across the screen, might have made me tear up a little. Especially their faces before they came home. It's not that they didn't have a roof over their heads. Or clothes on their backs. Or food in their belly. It's that they didn't have parents, a mama to snuggle … [Read more...]

the daily

In July, on a challenge from my friend Lisa, I dusted off my Instagram account. And it's been true love ever since. I was a bit wobbly starting out, not quite sure how to pick and choose what to post. But I've since decided to pursue pictures that very much represent *real-life* to me... the things that intrigue me, inspire me, and the things I want to remember. Maybe my kids being silly. Maybe a mushroom (yes, I have a thing for colorful mushrooms). Maybe my dogs. Whatever it is, though, the pressure is off and I can just be me. The pictures might not be … [Read more...]