Emma One Year {Phoenix Baby Photographer}



I have got to hand it to little Emma.  She was a real trooper.  I am not sure I have ever been SO hot during a shoot!  Years ago, I visited Missouri.  When I stepped off the airplane I thought I would die.  I couldn’t breathe.  It was at that moment when I fully understood what the word “dry” heat means.   I have appreciated AZ summers ever since (by comparison).

Unfortunately, it was NOT a dry heat at sunrise on this fine morning.  When I walked outside at 5:30 AM and it already felt sticky and suffocating, I knew we were in for a real adventure (especially with a baby!).   She hung in there like a champ and did great for her first birthday session.  I think she complained far less than I did.





Love this sweet sibling shot with her big brother Tommy.



Even though it was hhhhhooooootttttt, I was really glad to get those beautiful, yellow, summer colors in the background.











I love the little monkey crawl.













Emma’s mama made her smash cake.  Isn’t it darling?


Emma was quite dainty for her cake smash and didn’t make a mess at all.







Emma shares a birthday with my husband.  Tomorrow she will officially be ONE.


Thanks M and K for giving me the sweet blessing of several sessions with Thomas and Emma.


Tori’s First Tooth



Look who lost her first tooth last week (7/22/13)?  We were really surprised that she lost her first tooth at 5.  That seemed a little on the early side.  I cracked up at her cousin Ryker on Sunday.  He was doing his best to unsecure a tooth so as to not be outdone by Tori.   Zane lost his first tooth wrestling with Ty so it CAN be done.

A few more things about TORI…

She checks the weather every day (just like her Aunt Jodi).  She just has to know.  Last week she thought the overcast day was SUCH a nice day.  (Only a kid who lives in Arizona right?)

She is quite the chatter box lately and her stories go on FOOORRRREEEVVVVEERRR.  She gives every minute detail.  I have even caught my very verbose Ty trying to sum her up and rush her along.  Drives Tanner totally NUTS.  So funny.  She loves having nightly chat time with mommy in bed.  I think she prefers “talk time” over story time.  She really loves morning tea and chat time too.  She is quite entertaining.   The other night she was jabbering away and I kept drifting off and she would say “Did you just hear anything I said?!”.  Finally, I had to tell her that I was putting my own self to bed.  She begged to follow so that we could “just talk”.  I told her I was too tired.  She said, “Well I will just talk to you then.”  So I let her (had to see what she would do when I didn’t respond.)   I warned her that I wouldn’t talk back and she said that she wouldn’t even care.

“I’ll just talk and you don’t have to say anything back to me,” she said.

She talked on and on about what it felt like to get sleepy.  What your eyes feel like and what you look like and how you feel inside.  She would ask me questions and when I wouldn’t answer she would answer herself on my behalf.  When she thought I was asleep, she quietly slipped out and went back to her bed.   She rocked talked me to sleep.  Precious.


Recently she told me that she is never going to leave me.  She is going to go to college but come home at night.


One day Dusty and I made plans to go out to lunch with the kids.  When he got here, Troy wasn’t ready.  I went looking for him and couldn’t find him.  Dusty calls  to me from down the hall after discovering that Tori had used a tall laundry basket upside down to help her brother climb up onto the changing table.  She was standing on it and had already changed his diaper and put on his clothes for him.  That was a first.  She got the diaper on perfectly too.  And he let her!   Such a little mama.


Me (to Tori and Ty):  I have some sad news and some happy news.

Ty:  what is the happy news?  I want to hear the happy news!

Me:  First the sad news (and I relay it)

Ty:  Okay now the happy news!  I can’t wait!

Me:  (I relay the happy news)

Me to Tori:  Do you have any questions Tori?

Tori:  No.  Do you have any questions mama?




Jim:  Phineas and Ferb are building a time machine!

Me:  Thank you Candice.


Tori:  May I clip your toenails?

Me:  No

Tori:  Are you so happy I didn’t whine?

Me:  About what?

Tori:  About not being allowed to clip your toenails.

Me:  Oh.  Ya.

Tori.  I thought so.


Tori loves to watch the teenager Disney shows (Victorious, Dog with a Blog, ICarly…).  She kept trying to use the phrase “Too soon?” with me all week but I wasn’t getting it until she explained the context because she was not landing it right every time she tried it.   Finally….

Setting:  Tori and Ty in big trouble because they were allowing Troy to run amuck in the bathroom (running water, toothpaste diaster, etc).  They were sent to their rooms.  When I released them from their confinement:

Ty:  Mom I had a pretty nice time in my room because Troy was keeping me company.  It was really nice and I wasn’t lonely.

Tori:  MEEEE TTOOOO!  Troy kept me company in my room too and it was pretty fun!  Woooooohooooo!   Too soon?

Me:  Uh yeah.  Too soon.  You finally landed that correctly.

My girl is a riot.




Troy has been in a bad habit of screaming (SCREAMING) lately.  We have called it “Fourth Child Syndrome”.  He wants to make good and sure that everyone hears and acknowledges his complaints.   It is amazingly ear piercing and I feel really bad for all the people who have had to endure phone conversations with me in the last couple of weeks and heard the wail on the other end of the line.

I love how he is echoing the things that his siblings say like “Me too! I do!  Want one!”

I also love how when he cries or complains, he only covers one eye.  Even when he is not patched, he just doesn’t bother covering his eye that is often patched.  Too cute.

He has really been a slow talker but he makes his point known quite well.  The other morning I gave him a granola bar for breakfast.

Troy:  Mom.  See it!  (Points at granola bar) Bye Bye! (as he waves to it).

Got it.  No Granola Bars for breakfast.


Lately, he has loved to watch Curious George and Garfield on Netflix.


And a quick update on the bigger boys…

Ty:  I have a nice life.


Ty:  Comedy Gold!  (Every time he tells a joke HE thinks is funny)


Ty:  Mom.  Let’s put our faces together and see how good we look.  Don’t we look good together?

Ty had an evaluation recently (for insurance purposes) and the pediatrician suggested that he see an Ear, Nose, and Throat Dr.  She suspects that he still may be having some sleep apnea and thinks it would be helpful to him to have his andanoids and tonsils out.  She said to listen to him at night and if he catches his breath while snoring (he snores all the time), that the ENT will likely move forward with that surgery.  Hmmmmm…..   Better to do it now than later I guess.

She also couldn’t get over how big he is.  She kept commenting on how TALL he is going to be.  I can wear his flip flops around as technically we are in the same size shoe now (Ty is 9 years old).  I wear a 9.5/10 in women’s by the way.


Tanner has been keeping himself busy on this short summer break with computer games and such.  Too hot outside!  Jim built him a pretty nifty jig for making survival bracelets too.  He does a great job with them and has been learning all different types of braiding off YouTube.   Pretty cool.  He and Jim just found out they were drawn for deer in October so shooting practice will commence pretty soon.  He is starting Fall soccer too.  It’s about to get busy around here!


Drew {Phoenix Newborn Lifestyle Photography}



Sometimes I get REAL lucky.  When those baby blues locked onto mine, I knew that we had just scored a money shot.  Is Drew adorable or what?  He was such a sweet natured, contented little fella (who really wasn’t big on the whole sleeping thing).  The first half of the shoot, he slept pretty well but once he was up, he was UP.   I sure enjoyed getting to cuddle this little guy.





Drew’s parents had this sign in their house and I intended to use it but the little insomniac altered that plan a bit.  Not to be deterred, I just added it to the shot of my choice.



I love lifestyle newborn shoots.  Really love them.  I think it is a real advantage to use my clients home instead of my studio because you then get to incorporate a bit of their very first environment into the captured memories.



A yawn!  How happy we were to see that!





Did you know that Aiden and Anais have a line of BAMBOO wrapping linens?  I have always used their muslin ones (absolute favorite blankets for my babies) but when Drew’s mom showed me this bamboo one, I was in love.  Even lighter than the muslin.  Perfect for AZ babies.



And this is BIG SISTER Ella.  You have seen Miss Ella on my blog a few times and she just gets more beautiful every single time I see her.  Such a little sweetheart.








To. Die. For.  You just can’t plan that…









N – beautiful as always.







I love getting to capture babies first room.


And again, peeking right at me.  (*As is often the case, this is a composite)



Drew’s daddy is a firefighter.  Capturing baby with dad in his uniform was an opportunity I could not resist.




Thank you D family for inviting me into your home to capture this amazing time.

Tori and Sabrina



Something pretty special happened this week.  Tori got to meet her 9 month old birthsister, Sabrina.  And yes, it was love at first sight… for Tori too (hee hee!).  You had to know that *I* would be in love.   We have been given the unique opportunity to have a relationship with Sabrina and her family (Sabrina was a gift via adoption too) and I am so grateful.  I love that my daughter has the blessing of knowing Sabrina and I really look forward to the sweet friendships that will be forged through the years between our families because of the bond that our daughters share.  Isn’t God cool in how He orchestrates things?

I showed Tori a picture of Sabrina before she met her in person and the first words out of Tori’s mouth were “Hey!  That’s me when I was a baby!”  I laughed and corrected her and she follows with, “She DOES look like me!”   Tori was all smiles and kissing on her when she met Sabrina.  We went and built a bear for Sabrina the week before so that Tori could bring her a little something.  Tori named the bear “Flower”.

I think the timing was great too because just this week, we had the conversation I was told to expect at age 5.

Tori:  Mommy.  You and Daddy and the boys are white and I am brown.

Me:  That’s true.  It’s because you are hispanic and we are caucasion.

Tori:  I HATE brown!

Me:  Hmmmm…well I specifically ordered brown with God and He gave me what I asked for so I guess you’ll have to take that up with Him because I LOVE brown!!!

Not another word did she say about THAT. 🙂  But, she did comment that Sabrina had hair and skin like her and I thought even that tiny piece of connection was a sweet reassurance for my precious girl.

I made the choice to not sit and have a lengthy talk about ethnicity because I didn’t want to give my daughter the idea that a difference in ethnicity is worth a serious conversation.  As far as mama is concerned, it isn’t.  I want her to acknowledge her ethnicity and embrace it.  Realize that she IS IN FACT Hispanic and have pride in that.   Maybe someday in my future I will think that I, in my own mind, over simplify some things but some things I am just simple about.  It’s a color.  IT’S JUST A COLOR.  A beautiful color.  The color that I prayed for.   When I look upon my daughter, I embrace everything that makes Tori who she is.    She is perfect.   Brown is the color of a dream come true.

And speaking of being simple about things…

As I long suspected, Tori had a very simple approach to Sabrina.  She thought it was super cool.  She thought Sabrina was so cute.  She loves to tell people that she has a birthsister.  That’s it.   She wasn’t confused, overwhelmed, anxious…she just enjoyed the gift of getting to see her.    As you know, this isn’t our kids first exposure to birth siblings (or birthparents either).

I just feel so blessed that we have this amazing opportunity to love Sabrina and her family.  (Tori was quite taken with Sabrina’s 7 year old brother Jacob too and she can’t WAIT to see him again too LOL!)

I left with a heart full.  So did my kids.  Awesome isn’t it?




Feel free to oohhh and awww over the girls.  I am.  Both of them.

I Heart Jason Gray

Dear Jason Gray,


I love your heart.  The lyrics you write are words that have been etched on my heart and I feel as though I could have penned them myself (though not so eloquently put).  Nothing is wasted.


Nothing is Wasted



I am New



Remind Me Who I Am



The verse I have clung to for my TyJo has always been  1 Cor 1:27:

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

And I love this one too:


2 Cor 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.



“Weak and broken people are uniquely equipped to bring mercy to other people.” – Jason Gray