Sweet Emma {Phoenix Baby Photographer}

This is Emma and she is sweet as they come.  At 3 months old, she was happy and very interested in all that was going on around her.  I have had the opportunity to photograph her big brother, Thomas, since he was a newborn so it was so fun to get to see the “dark” version of blonde haired Thomas in his baby sister.   I don’t have the opportunity to shoot this particular age as often as other types of shoots so I ooohhhed and awweeed over her bright shining eyes all day as I processed them.  It was very fun to take pictures of a wide eyed baby this time!

This little coat and jacket is to DIE FOR.  In fact, I really wish I had it for Tori.

Sometimes it is difficult to get babies of this age to focus on me.  The camera can be confusing and they want to see the “real” face behind.  In this case though, little Emma was intrigued.  Future photographer in the making?

See you again in a few months sweet baby girl!

J+L {Phoenix Newlywed Photography}

On October 31st, 2012, Joe and Laura tied the knot.  One week later, I had fun capturing the newlyweds in the Arizona desert.

I have known Laura and her three sisters since childhood.  When she told me she was up for a desert landscape shoot, I went on the hunt for just the right spot.   As I told Laura, this particular spot was not for city girls.   Realizing Laura  was raised in an AZ cowgirl culture, I was confident this location would be a good fit for her.    The AZ desert has more to offer than just barren desert and saguaros.  If you find the right spots, you get pretty desert oasis with right amount of desert landscape and a bit of wild green mixed in.


My parents grew up in the High Desert of California.  My dad roamed the desert landscape all his life.  When he moved to AZ when I was 4, he quickly began his AZ explorations.  As a result, I have seen so much of what AZ has to offer as we spent so much time in my growing up years out on adventures (and they were adventures – my Dad is truly wild at heart).      All that to say, I LOVE IT when clients are up for a bit of adventure with me.    A bit of walking and boot requirements are a small price to pay for some of these sweet spots (if you ask me).


Congratulations Joe and Laura and thank you for allowing me to capture this wonderful time in your lives!  It was so good to see you and the boys again.  Send my love and thanks on to Cody and Cameron for all their help.  Cody went way above the call of duty didn’t he?  LOL.


B+T Family {Phoenix Family Photographer}

I first met Tammy about 8 years ago at BSF.    We both had two kids and were hoping for more in our future.  A few years later, we reconnected again at a Homeschool PE group.  I was excited for Brian and Tammy when they made the decision to adopt from Ethiopia.  Adoption is a remarkable journey all by itself.  Add another country, and the adoption of older kiddos to the mix and it is interesting indeed.    I have been following Tammy’s adoption story via her blog and was thrilled when she asked me to do their family pictures.  I wanted to take part in this celebration and capturing them all together was a blessing for ME.

Preston and Taylor are sweet and beautiful teens and great older siblings.  I enjoyed watching how the younger ones  related to them.

Milkanu and Tadesse stole my heart right out of the gate.    They could not be any cuter.  Not even possible.

I love sibling silliness and these two were a riot.

Milkana (older brother), was as charming as could be.  He was my little assistant and really helped me gain the affection of little brother (as you will see below who was playing with me adorably).   Taddy started off on the shy side but warmed right up.


International adoption has challenges.  All those hearts learning to love one another – that is quite a journey.   There is so much at stake…and so much to gain.  To see these two beautiful boys wrapped in the arms of love was a precious site to behold.  I prayed I would capture this time in their lives in a way that would do justice.

I love the quote that says “A baby fills a place in your heart that you didn’t know you had.”   Tammy and I had the opportunity to talk through what we thought the building of our families was going to look like years before God revealed His ultimate plan.   I think we would both agree, that God filled our hearts in pretty amazing ways and we still stand in awe of it all.  Who would have thought?  Only God.


J + S Family {Phoenix Family Photography}

Look familiar?  I wanted to recreate a shot from the pregnancy shoot now that little Miss Eden is here and 4 months old already.  J and S have TWO little darlings now and they did great for a sunrise shoot!

Such a beautiful family…

Just look at that sweet big sissy shushhin’ her baby sister.  Adorable.  She was singing her Twinkle Twinkle too and I wished I had been video taping.  Cutest little voice ever.   I am a big fan of Miss Kennedy.

It’s been so fun to get to watch these two little ones grow.

Halloween 2012

Deciding upon costumes this year was no easy task.  Tori changed her mind 100 times.  She wanted to be Wonder Woman again.  Then a Barbie Princess.  Then a pirate.  Then Cinderella.  I REALLY wanted her to be Boo from Monster’s Inc.  She refused.   The day before, I caved and bought the Barbie Princess dress only for her to change her mind, yet again, and insist on Wonder Woman for the second year in a row.  After I had already invested in the costume, I put my mama foot down.  Sheeshh.

I wanted Troy to be a cute little owl.  Daddy and Tanner said “Heck no!”.  Daddy wanted the Hulk.  I said “No”.  Aunt Beck wanted a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.  Cute idea but I didn’t want to create the costume.  One day, Troy came out of his room with his too long hair standing up all crazy and looking quite a bit like Chris Farley.  Jim says “I know what who he needs to be for Halloween!  Put him in a very small jacket!”

I said “Heck No!”.   I also knew that all four of my brothers would take one look at my little Farley brother and know exactly the clip Jim had in mind.   Pllllleeeeeeaaaasssseeee!  (And mom, I totally do not ever refer to people as “fat”, EVER.  This was all Jim.  ALL JIM!)

For reference purposes only, I posted the clip but then had to delete it quickly because there was a naughty word in the sequence and I don’t want to get in trouble.  🙂   I can’t help but sing “Fat guy in a little coat” though as I type this.  It’s a catchy little jingle.


I finally found a Teeny Meanie Monster costume and that seemed to fit perfectly for our busy baby.  🙂  In case you can’t figure this out, Tanner was a ninja, Ty was War Machine from Iron Man II, Tori was a Barbie Princess, and Troy, as stated, a little monster (far better choice than Chris Farley though Jim would say not nearly as funny).

Let’s talk about Ty Jordan.

He is my personal secretary.  When I am trying to talk to schedule things, he often tells me what I have on my schedule (because he has found a new love for reading my calendar every day).  It has come in quite conveniently on several occasions.


4:30 AM

Ty:  Mommy!  My tummy hurts.  I think I will throw up.

I relocate him to the front room with a pillow and blanket.

Ty:  Can you hurry to get me a bowl.  I am going to throw up.

He sits on the couch with lips white as could be and then looks at me with a big smile and says “So….what are you going to be doing tomorrow?”

And then he threw up.

Who, on earth, is happy in the middle of the stomach flu?  WHO?


Bridgette (his OT):  Ty what do you say when you go trick or treating?

Ty: Trick or Treat.

Bridgette:  And then what?

Ty:  Thank you.

Bridgette:  And do you say “What are you guys doing tomorrow?  What did you have for dinner?  What is your dog’s name?”

Ty:  Why would I do that Bridgette?

Bridgette and I locked eyes and then died laughing.  Really?????????


Ty says that his best best best friend in the whole wide world is Matt (Jenna’s boyfriend).  He told me today that he wants to work at Burger King but only on Thursdays and only at breakfast to be with Matt.


I was sitting at my desk and was both sad and angry about some things.  I got up and left the room.  Ty and Tanner both follow me.


Ty:  Mom why were you making that face while you sat at your desk?  Here let me show you.

He sits at the breakfast table and tries to imitate my expression.

Tanner:  You were just thinking right?

(Did I mention Tanner and Jim both have a mild amount of Asperger’s as well lol?)

Doni:  Yes I was thinking Ty.

He continues to follow me on my trip to the bathroom.  Impressively, I could tell he was sensing something was wrong but didn’t know how to relate or comment so instead…

Ty:  You look really beautiful today.  Do I?  I look handsome don’t I?

Me:  Yes but can I please go to the bathroom privately?

Ty:  Oh!  Ya!  Right.

Five minutes later.  I am back out on the couch (still stewing).

Ty:  Mom!  I know what you are doing right now!  You are thinking again right?

Me:  Actually Ty I am a little sad right now.

Ty:  What about?

Me:  About things I don’t want to talk to my little boy about.

I forget what he said next but it was a total conversation change.  He cracks me up.  As wild as it is that he can’t read my emotions, the fact that he is finally observing something amiss and asking me to EXPLAIN what he is seeing is incredible.  Truly amazing.  I would equate it to a blind person asking you to describe the color red.  They can’t see it but they want to know what it means to you.  His very interest in me and what my face is “saying” is such a huge blessing.  You just never know do you?


After a recent shoot, I decided to pick up Chipotle and I had Ty, Tori and Troy with me.  I had been pretty scatter brained that day and apparently, my kids realized it.    After having to turn around yet again because I made a wrong turn getting Jenna home, I arrived at the restaurant after 8:00 PM.  When I got back to the car, I couldn’t manage all my packages so I set the diaper bag and purse down on the ground to free up my hands to get Troy in his carseat.  Ty approaches.

Ty:  Mommy I have your food.  I am going to put it down right next to your purse.

Me:  Thanks Ty.

He starts to walk away but comes back.

Ty:  Mommy don’t forget your food.  If you do, you’ll be hungry.

Me:  Okay.  Thanks Ty.

He starts to walk a way a second time and then returns yet again.

Ty:  Mommy I am just going to get your food.

Now, as tempting as it is to make this story about how scatter brained I must be if my children are following behind me babysitting such situations LOL, that is not the direction I am trying to take this.   What amazed me about this was that he noticed!!!!  He realized I was plate spinning and dropping plates and SO HE DID SOMETHING about it!!!!   Totally remarkable.   I know this seems like no big deal but in our home it is a HUGE DEAL.   I can’t even tell you how much these things encourage me.


Let me tell you about my little “monster” as of late…

I can’t keep him from climbing!  I have had to lay every chair in the house on its side and it is becoming such a pain.  If we forget and stand a chair upright, he is WALKING across the table tops.   Yesterday I caught him standing up on top of Tanner and Ty’s dresser drawer.   This afternoon, while in the bathroom with Troy (because of course I always have a small person in tow when I am in the bathroom), he climbed up on top of a bench and used it to get on top of the bathroom cabinet.  Then he sat down in the sink basin and turned the water on.  I don’t really want you to picture the scene of me having to race from the toilet to get him out of his sink bath but I worried he turned the hot spout.   So, yes, bench now removed from bathroom.   Good golly Miss Molly.   The climbing escapades are continual.  I caught him on top of the table with an entire box of cereal poured out sitting in the middle of it munching away.  One day he pulled a chair up to the pantry and was throwing all the breakfast boxes onto the floor looking for the meal of his choice.  I caught him on a chair at my island adding a knife and a pen to my meatball mixture.  I was in the kitchen but was at the sink and didn’t see him hijack Tori’s helper chair.   Thus the reason why we now have all of our chairs laying down on their side.

He also has quite a little temper these days.  When he is mad, he is starting to throw himself down on the floor.   Fact check.  A firstborn has much more success with that  than a fourth born.  I just look at him with a “have fun with that” look and go find something else to do.  The other morning he woke up grumpy and threw himself down on the kitchen floor.  Was I not making breakfast quite quick enough?  Couldn’t figure out what he was mad about.  So I left the room and decided to sit at my computer for a few minutes as I wasn’t going to indulge the tantrum.   Next thing I know, I look over my shoulder and I see these little eyes peeking around a chair at me.  He had followed me.  Tantrums are no fun without an audience.  So funny.   I secretly grinned at my success.  Two points for mom.

He learned to say “eat” this morning and he says “hi” so adorably.  He sounds  like my Grandma Z when he says it.  This long drawn out girly southern sounding “hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”.  Did I learn it from Grandma?  I used to love the way she said “Hiiiiiiiiiii” in her southern drawl so I must imitate it.  I need to get a recording of it.     He is STILL calling me “Daddy”.    First person he asks for when he wakes up is Daddy too (and in this case, he does mean Jim and not me because he goes looking for him).   He really isn’t adding many words still but he is certainly a chatter bug.   Love him love him love him.

He figured out that if he cries about an hour after bedtime that he stands half a chance of cuddle time with mama so this week I have been rocking him back to sleep.  I like it more than he does but shhhhhh don’t tell.  He also has been going back into his room and swiping his pacies out of his bed when he is sleepy.    All these months and he has had the pacy only at bedtime and now at 16 months he starts going in to get it.

He loves food lately and I think he has gained quite a bit.  He still looks little compared to his peers but he is definitely growing.  The patching is going pretty good.  We have to patch 3 hours a day and most of the time he lives with it.  The glasses are still a royal pain though.

Tori has been taking her own sweet time to do what I ask her to do lately and that is entirely my fault because I have not been disciplined about being consistent with her on this issue.  I have committed to work on this resulting in an evening chat with her before bed.

Me:  Now Tori, tomorrow are you going to do what mommy says WHEN mommy says it?

Tori:  What are you going to ask me tomorrow?

I actually had to ask her to repeat that because I thought surely she didn’t just say what it sounded like.  She did.


At the dinner table…

Tori:  Can I have a lunchable instead of this dinner like Ty?

Me:  No.  Ty isn’t’ eating this dinner because

Tori:  Because he has Asperger’s.

The next day while getting ready in my bathroom.

Me:  So Tori, do you know why Ty has Asperger’s?

Tori:  No.

Me:  Because he was born so early.  Babies are supposed to stay in tummies almost twice as long as Ty did.

Tori:  So how did we get in to this?

Me:  Get in to what?

Tori:  This thing we are talking about?

I felt like I was having a conversation with a teenager.


After watching Cinderella…

Tori:  I wish we had birds to help me with my room but we can’t have birds in our house right?  Cuz they would make a wreck of it!”

Newsflash.  Four kids make a wreck of it too.


Tori:  Mom I hope you don’t turn out like me.

Me:  What do you mean?

Tori:  All crazy and stuff.

No idea where that came from.  LOL.


After a recent photo shoot with a newborn…

Tori:  Mommy did you do all the pictures I told you to.

Me:  No I didn’t.

Tori:  Why didn’t you?

Me:  Because baby Keirstin didn’t want to go to sleep.

Tori:  Well I guess you should have let me help you shouldn’t you have?

Guess so.  🙂


Tori:  Braxtyn said that I said the S word.

Me:  Did you?

Tori:  Yes.

Me:  Tori.  What is the S word?

Tori:  Stupid.

Eleven years into this parenting gig and I have learned to ASK.


Troy climbs up on chair while I am sweeping.  I, exhausted from this issue say…

Me:  (BIG SIGH)  Troy….be careful.

Tori:  That’s all your going to say?

Me:  What do you think I should say?

Tori:  Get down.  Maybe?

I realize much of this wouldn’t be funny if she weren’t four.  But she is four.  And that makes her powerful, sassy, spirit quite funny to me.  She’ll learn but I sure enjoy this little big person.


Tori must have thought I was particularly wordy in a recent conversation with Ty because when I was finished she said “Wow!  That was a lot of words!”.


And just so you know, I do not allow my children to play  in the street.  In this instance, we were on a lonely desert road with a clear view.  Just sayin.

And my little Tanner?  Sweet as ever.  He is preparing tonight for his second annual big game hunt.  Last year he got his first deer on the first day out.  That was cool.   He and Jim took a gun safety course before he turned 10 so that he would be all prepared.    I remember having to drive all my brothers back and forth from gun safety classes when they were young and now the process starts again with my babies.  I suspect Tori will be attending when she is 10 too as she loves to shoot.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take pictures of all my nieces and nephews this year due to the location of our family party (and there were some goodies too!).  I was glad though that I at least got to capture these five little monkeys.

Earlier in the week, I asked Cozy what she wanted to be for Halloween and she told me “A chicken pot”.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure that out.  When I saw that Graham was dressed as a Hip Hop Chicken, I assumed that was what she meant.  Noah was a gangsta’ (who I thought really looked a bunch like JB but he wouldn’t admit that).   Brooke and the girls were all four seasons (wasn’t that a great idea?).  Brooke was Winter, Braxtyn was Fall, Cozette was Spring, and Quinn was Summer.  Loved it.

Tori is right smack dab in the middle of Braxtyn and Cozy with eighteen months in between them all.

There is a wild card in every shoot.  🙂

Recently we discovered that Troy is afraid of animals.  (Notice he is cautiously observing the Hip Hop Chicken safe in brother’s arms).   It started when we took him to a friends house with a small dog.  The dog was let loose and jumped on him (in a very friendly way) and Troy flipped out.  The dog did not injure Troy in any way but the attention scared him.  Ever since, he starts yelling if he sees an animal.  I was laughing so hard on Halloween because he accidentally ran Ryker’s little indoor tryke into Ryker’s hamster cage.  When the hampster came out to investigate, Troy started screaming.   He would get up close to the cage to check out the hampster IF the hampster was hiding but as soon as the little guy would come out, Troy would start screaming again.  Poor hamster was equally afraid of Troy (and for good reason).  He also is hating stuffed animals that light up or sing.  Remember how I had to get rid of the glow baby and all animals of the sort when Ty was little?  Same thing.

Whew…tired of typing now.  10-4 all.