a beautiful reminder

We recently had a opportunity to have our family photos taken professionally. And, of course, I jumped at the chance. I shared a few of these on a post at No Hands But Ours, but there are a few more. And since this is where I *attempt* do the memory-keeping for this family o' mine, I wanted to share them here most of all. I didn't have super high expectations. After all, no one got new clothes or had their hairs did. Only a few of our outfits even really coordinated. And one of us was missing her nap. But I just figured we'd go out there and have fun. And, … [Read more...]

how we do Halloween

I've shared before about our *ahem* spin on Halloween. This year we changed it up even more. The verdict is still out on whether or not we'll do it this way again but, all things considering, it was a really good time. We used to do Halloween pretty traditionally. Here we are in 2008. Jude in that rainbow wig, oh my. Here we are in 2009, the last year we technically trick or treated. Jude and Shepherd were just itty-bitty peanuts. In 2010 though, we had to make some changes. We wanted to still have fun with the kids, but Chris was away and … [Read more...]

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...]

to China for Clementine – my favorites: Shamian Island

Yesterday marked nine months since we met Clementine. We didn't celebrate with a cake or a photo session. Our girl is still deep in the recovery stages of open heart and slide tracheoplasy surgery. I've shared a lot of the last few weeks on Instagram and I'm not sure yet if I'll sit down and blog about it because it was so very hard, y'all. I walked through an open heart surgery with Isabelle shortly after she came home, and thought I had an inkling of what it might be like. I was wrong. I just thank the Lord He went before, beside and behind us, in a mighty way. I … [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...]

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...]

Happy 11th.

Sophie Lu is 11. And, among many other things, she's a girl who knows her mind. So when it came time to pick a menu and shop for party accessories, I just got out of the way. She chose a local burger joint with the best sweet potato fries, ever. Chocolate Trifle, covered with chocolate chips. Pink party accessories. And mustaches... for everyone. I like this girl's style. Happy 11th, Sophie Lulu. I love you and the strong, beautiful young lady you have become. … [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...]

Christmas cookies

This Christmas we are paring down. 1. because we want to 2. because we have to Last year we pared down a lot. And it was good. But the Lord has continued to open our eyes to the all ways He has gone before us. And continues to walk alongside us. There is nothing that we need that we don't already have. Really, what could a box contain that could compare to having Him? Beyond spending less, this year we are going out less. Like not. at. all. None of the usual Christmas festivities or outings, all in an effort to keep our littlest peanut as healthy as … [Read more...]