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...]

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...]

twice is better.

Yesterday Tallula officially turned 5. But because of spring break and big siblings traveling, we had to have her party a few days early. Which she didn't mind at all. But that left us with nothing especially special planned on the real day, her actual birthday. What to do? Celebrate again. This time with a trip to the store to pick a cupcake. (Chosen by the birthday girl, less for the cupcake and more for the ring it was sporting). Some balloons. And a Just Dance 4 competition. (No pictures, on purpose). Because really, once is … [Read more...]

more than just a few pictures.

When I asked my girls who wanted to go outside with me and my camera, wearing their So Loved shirt, Lula was the first to shout (and jump, with both hands in the air), "Me! Me!" The promise of a pack of Skittles might have helped. I can't be sure. My hope was to just get a few new pictures of the So Loved for girls, since we recently switched from a unisex to a more girly fit. (And since it is so ridiculously cute on, geesh.) But as I looked through these pictures - and thought about all that has happened since I first had the idea for So Loved four years … [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...]

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...]

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...]