Zandi Oil Painting

Recently I did a photoshoot for my niece Zandi.  She just turned five years old.  We were sad to miss her birthday party tonight because now Tanner has a fever.  🙁

I have yet to post process the pictures from this shoot but I did get an oil done of her.  Since these oils take me at least 3 hours, I wanted to prioritize a few before school started back (Tuesday!).  Hope you love it Aimee!  Mom likes the color version and Jim likes it in black and white.  I think she looks so beautiful and this picture really captured her I thought.  Our sweet little girl with her gorgeous baby blues.

The Zoomed version

The original picture for comparison

Notice my new little watermark in the upper right corner?  The silhouette is of Tori (like you didn’t guess that). 

Two kid funnies:

Scene:  Jim getting ready to cut Tanner’s hair in the bathroom.  Mommy watching on.

Tanner:  Mommy.  I don’t want my hair to look like Daddy’s.

LOL!  I laughed.  Jim didn’t.


Scene:  At Papa and Sweetie’s.  Ty was getting really annoyed with Tori because she kept trying to get his X box controller.

Me:  Honey.  You are the big brother who is 4 and she is only 6 months.  You need to talk sweet to her and be very gentle.  Just lovingly take it away from her and talk real nice while you are doing it.

Ty gives a very half hearted attempt.  Tori isn’t going for it.  Tanner intervenes and starts very gently weedling it out of her hands and is softly talking to her.  Following is what Ty says to Tanner after Tanner recovers the controller without incident.

Ty:  You ARE the best brother!

We died laughing.  He said it so sincerely – it was hysterical.


Pictures of my daughter from this weekend in her special ordered outfit should be posted tomorrow.  🙂


A few more…loved how these turned out but sad she was soo sick.

(I need to reiterate for fear of someone thinking I was torturing her by taking her pictures.  I was taking test shots and she wanted to near me at all times.  She was feeling a bit better for a couple of hours and was tolerating being put down.  I used her as my test shot because she was happy enough to put up with it for a few minutes.)

New take on the feet pic.  I am allowed to post a million of them as long as they are all slightly different right ;)?

Aren’t those lips so kissable?

 Your just going to LOVE what I have planned for tomorrow!  I bought something for her months ago and I have been waiting for the right time to do the shoot.   Shoot scheduled for tomorrow.  You’ll hopefully see those pictures sometime next week.



Tori’s final hearing date has been set for Wed, October 22nd at 8:30 AM!  It has taken so long, I bet most people will be surprised it technically hasn’t happened yet.  We haven’t been concerned because (unofficially but technically) the birthparents rights are already effectively severed BUT still…I can’t wait until this is F I N I S H E D!!!!

We didn’t get to bring any family to Ty’s hearing because not even Ty could come due to his lock down but this time I would rather have family celebrate the day.  Therefore, any family that can make it is invited to come to the courthouse that morning and witness this precious moment in our lives when Tori will FOREVER belong to our family.  Since it is so early in the morning, I thought we could all go have breakfast together afterwards.  I know it isn’t convenient timing but I would love for family to be there this time if you can.  I talked to the agency this morning and they said family are welcome to attend with us.  It only takes about 15 minutes so it won’t be as long as my wedding hee hee!  So mark your calendars right now!


Live Loved

WOW did I have fun with this!!!!!!  I am going to call this my “Live Loved” collection because I want to make a lot more of them but they are quite time consumming.   

My Inspiration:

I was looking at this website last week and just was amazed at the talent of the photographer who is such a masterful artist in her trade.  She has a certain look that I have almost no hope of emulating but boy howdy I am going to try.  This was my first attempt.  Notice I did a side view only because I wasn’t ready to attempt the face yet.  Jessica’s subjects look very surreal and dreamy and I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish that so I avoided it on my first go round.  I don’t want to “copy” her anyhow – (and if she were to read that sentence she would probably say “Ha!  As if!”  hee hee) – but I would like to use her pictures to give me inspiration for my own dreamy storybook look.   Here is a close up:

You can see more of the paint effect here.

Already thinking through some other ideas to try.  These projects take hours though so I have to limit myself.  🙂  I want a gallery full of them though.  One for virtual oils and one for “Live Loved” pictures.  It isn’t that I am big on angels or fairy wings…but I DO love surreal and fantasy and dreamy and storybook.   I put the verse on this picture because it seemed to belong there.  God dreams big.  What fun He must have had creating!   I think of how Jesus delighted in the children and how He must smile at the way they celebrate life.  Celebrating life is exactly why I started taking pictures in the first place.  Guess that brings me full circle.   I have been trying (as you well know) to get centered on the truth lately.  I love that 4 Him song Center of the Mark that says “To love God…love people…that’s the center of the mark”.  I want to feel like even my hobbies are a celebration of that and for me, photography and design are a reflection of my love for God and people.   Pictures of dreamy, playful children symbolize living loved to me because the faith of little children places them centered in His lap.  That’s where I want to be.  This collection – as I hope to build it – will be a reminder of that.


What do you think?

Heidi have I been busy while you’ve been offline or what????? 


I have been challenging myself with more natural lighting pictures.  The trade off is noise because you have to shoot at a higher ISO.  Been practicing to minimize this and I love the results of the above.  I took this on Saturday when she was having a somewhat happy moment.  I only took a few while she was sitting in her bumbo – she wasn’t up for a real photo shoot – trust me.  Still though…holy cow she is gorgeous. 

I just think blogging is the coolest thing in the world.  I have had a website for about 10 years now and a blog for about 4 and a half years  and I love the histories that I have been able to write doing this.  It has taken a long time to catch on with my family but FINALLY many family members have joined the blog world and I love it.  And….drumroll…after 4.5 years…my MOTHER and my AUNT KAREN…finally see my blog every day!  Woooohoooo!  My motherS (including MIL) in this comment, have complained that blogging is too impersonal for them and they want to hear and see everything first hand.  I get that – I do – BUT I take so many pictures that there is no chance they would see all the pictures of their grandkids if they (break –  Tori chewing on a huge piece of paper)   didn’t see the pics that I post DAILY.    My Aunt Karen lives in CA and I feel like she has missed out on a lot and we have missed out on being with her.  I am so glad that we at least have this “window” to the family.  (Love you Aunt Karen).  Then there is the Kacalek side of the family too.  My Dads sister and her five kids.  We haven’t seen them in 7 years this month and these are my first cousins.  Due in large part to blog communities, we are finally working on a reunion.  (Note to family:  Michelle and I are working on dates for next summer – thinking of a couple of beach houses in San Diego for a weekend!)  In this crazy busy culture we are in, blogs can be such a tool for relationship building and maintaining.  Some may argue that without them we would be in better touch personally but I disagree.   I am WAY more connected as an SAHM mom in the internet community then I would have been otherwise.  I am not a phone person (we don’t really need to comment on that do we hee hee?) so I think I would have lived an even quieter life.

Truth is, I love people and I love to talk TO people.  The thing I just can’t figure out though (hee hee), is people often don’t like to talk to me!  I approach strangers all the time and start conversations and I think I actually frighten them.  I get these wide eyed “you are talking to ME” looks all the time.  Lately I pray everytime that I am in the grocery store that the Lord would give me someone to talk to and love if even for a moment.  Once in awhile I encounter someone who is very receptive and needing someone to talk to.  Case in point, I was at the meat counter one day and started a conversation with the lady in line.  She got a cell phone call while we were talking and actually told the caller she was busy and would have to call them back.  🙂  That is unusual.  She had some things to say and needed someone to listen.  Yesterday though I had the more common experience (and I had to call my friend Kristi and comment on this because I knew she would appreciate it).

I was standing in line at Walmart and the woman checking me out was wearing flare advertising a book series I just finished.  I asked her how she liked the books and she told me she hadn’t read them (all said without making eye contact).  Hmmmm…  Where do I go from here?  So I try again.   “So are you required to just wear the flare for advertisement?”  She answered “yes” and remained quiet.  I was giggling internally and couldn’t help but glance around and notice that none of the other Walmart checkers were wearing this “required” flare.  Interesting.  I decided not to push so I remained quiet a bit.  My order was big so I stood there in silence packing my groceries.  Finally she decided to open up a bit and chat and by the end of our conversation she was ready to go purchase the book she was advertising.  Funny.

This is the more familiar story to me…I try to initiate conversation and people want to run and hide.  Going to keep trying though because the Lord keeps laying it on my heart that I am to be His hands and feet.  How can I love people if I don’t take the time to know them and be interested?  We all get so busy that it’s hard to do sometimes isn’t it?  Something I have been praying about though and trying to just learn to keep looking for my opportunities and take every small window of opportunity.   A little love goes a long way doesn’t it?

My Little Sickie

These pictures were taken on Saturday.  My poor poor girl.

Having so much of her Daddy’s attention all weekend certainely didn’t hurt her feelings though.  🙂

Sleeping face down as always.  See why she still sleeps in the glider in my room?  Daddy was right beside her watching her so she could sleep HER way a bit.

Tori felt much better today (Monday).  Still isn’t eating quite as much but she has been pretty happy.  Ryker came down with the same thing this weekend and he is now under the weather.  🙁


Favorite Ty word of the week:

Whack-Ah-Moley = Guacamole  🙂


So if your wondering why I keep putting my pretend business name on stuff when I am not in business…here is my explanation:

You know how before you get married you doodle with your fiances last name to see how yours is going to look?  🙂  Well…I guess this is similar.  I keep playing with the idea of eventually going into business if even on a small scale.  Jim and I have talked about it a lot lately.  IF I did, it would be VERY small scale while the kids were little because I couldn’t manage much but maybe when they are bigger?  At any rate though, this is the name I want so I am looking at registering it in advance.  One other reason…I have these moments where I consider whether or not I want other people that I don’t know potentially copying and using pictures that I post and this motivates me to consider more watermarking.


Got some good pictures coming up this week.  🙂