my christmas elves

I LOVE taking pictures of my kids... normally.  They last for about 3.5467 minutes and then they are over it.  While we were in San Diego for Thanksgiving we took pictures of all of the cousins in Christmas jammies for my mom's Christmas card.  They turned out really cute despite me breaking into a cold sweat and needing a bottle of Excedrin after corralling 10 kids and 2 dogs for about an hour (felt like 10!).  It was a good refresher on why I do NOT take pictures of families.  I'm not brave enough!  I so admire photographers who do, though!

P.S.  One of these kiddos had BRRRRIGHT purple hair for the picture and I changed it!  Can you guess who it was???


I loved every last bit of Regan's shoot.  She is super laid back, organic, and natural and wanted to go to the Paint Mines which is THE coolest and most unique location ever!  Plus, her mama is my hubby's cousin so that was an added bonus.  And the icing on the cake is that when I was editing her pictures I noticed that she and my husband have the same color eyes.  They are oh-so-beautiful!  Regan, you are one of a kind and I absolutely ADORE you!!


kierlyn and ryden

This brother sister combo was awesome.  They got along but had that cute bother/sister feistiness.  While Mom didn't find it quite as funny as Tara and I did, those two kept us in stitches!  I absolutely LOVED my time with them AND, as we were finishing up the shoot I put together that her sister in law is one of my all time favorite co-workers from back in my teaching days!  What a small world!!

Exploring~ Pikes Peak Children Photographer

It seems like every time my parents come up it's because something major has happened  (and I don't mean that in a good way). They don't get to come up "just because" all that often and when they do it's only for a few days.  I prefer their visits to be a week long... or longer.  :)  This time was close: 5 days.  Hey!  We'll take it! We spent Memorial Day up in the mountains exploring and getting some beautiful fresh air.  I think spending the day in the mountains with Bryan and my kids (and any other family that may be in town) is probably my most favorite thing to do.  It always feels like we are completely alone... like we have an entire world to discover.  This day was no exception.

This is my Glimpses 52 Chic Critique submission for the week... just barely squeaked it in!

4 Ladies and a Dad~ Black Forest Family Photographer

Bryan is so lucky to have bought into a practice with two amazing partners.  This is one of his partners, his beautiful wife, and three adorable girls.  And his darling wife is one of the best teachers at our gym.  They were troopers traipsing through the dirt and trees for me.  We had a lot of fun.  This mama likes the more formal posed pictures, which, honestly, for me is a little bit harder.  Hopefully we got what she wanted.  They are a beautiful family so we were at a good starting point.  :) The highlight of the entire afternoon for me was when I was doing pictures of just the girls.  I had Dad standing behind me so that the girls would look at me and hopefully I could get some natural smiles.  They begged him to to the "screeching pig" (I think that's the name... if it's not, it should be changed to that).  And, boy, did he deliver!  I about jumped out of my skin!!!  It was hysterical.  One he should definitely start doing in the dental office just to see people's reactions.


The B Family- Colorado Springs Family Photographer

I seriously love this family with all my heart.  They are so darling and when I get the chance to photograph them I definitely earn my keep.  That being said, this time was SO different!  The kids were FABULOUS for me... actually, little Lacey wanted nothing to do with me but as long as Mom and Dad were near by, she was fine.  (But I do have some marvelous pictures of her so distraught you would have thought I was coming at her with the Scream mask on.)  The boys were champs.  They just moved down to the Springs from Denver and I couldn't be happier to have them near us.  They are some of our dearest friends who we also have the privilege of being stuck with for eternity!  Love you guys!

Again with the bear butt... :)

Nona and Papa~ Breckenridge Family Photographer

My parents are pretty awesome.  They are super in love.  They have been married for over 35 years and are going strong.  How many couples can say that?!  They never fight.  And when I say never I literally mean just that.  Never.  They will calmly talk things over but they never raise their voices at each other.  They were a wonderful example to us growing up. They came up to Breckenridge with us.  It was so much fun having them along, espeically since Bryan had to come back down to work for the second 1/2 of the week.  The kids adore my parents as well.  They love playing with them, snuggling with them... really anything.  I love my parents so much and am so lucky to have them around!



The G Family~ Aurora Family Photographer

I love those hard working soldiers we have.  And this Daddy is one of them.  He was home on leave so it was family picture time.  He was SOOOOO excited to have family pictures done (*she says with OVERWHELMING sarcasm...*).  Seriously, Dad's are always... ummm... how to say it nicely... not too into pictures.  :) But, at the end of the day, we got some cute ones and he loves his family so much that even though he was trying to be tough we got some pictures of the softer side.  Plus, the awesome mommy and I met up for dessert to look over all the pictures.  She is SO cool.  One of the greatest things about this business is meeting new people... and Rachel was no exception.

Little Miss Thing in her princess get up. This is when her REAL personality came shining through.



Miss Debbie~ Breckenridge Cancer Photographer

This woman is a fighter, to say the least.  She has been battling cancer for NINE years.  NINE!  She's had breast, liver, brain, and... shoot... one more... dang!  I'll remember... give me a few minutes.  While we were on our respite week up in Breckenridge  the head Domus Pacis woman asked me to do a photo shoot of Debbie.  Debbie was visiting her sweet sister, Barb, for the week and they were put up in what I can only imagine was a wonderful space to enjoy a week long, much needed vacation.  The entire shoot I just imagined going through this with my sister.... watching her suffer the way I'm sure Debbie has.... and wow.  What an overwhelming thought.  She was nothing but positive and a complete pleasure to be around.  Her wig looked SO awesome that when I answered the door I couldn't tell which one was wearing the wig.  She was beautiful inside and out and I will be forever grateful for being able to document this trying time in her life.  I wish her a long life of recovery and HAIR!


I think she is laughing here because I asked her which of her 3 sisters is her favorite.


And of course I still can't remember the 4th... I'm so lame.  But, she's amazing.  And anyone lucky enough to know her has been blessed!

Best Video EVER! ~Colorado Springs Videography

I so wish I could take any credit at all for this... but I can't.  Kelli France, of France Photography make this killer video for me with the help of her super talented videographer because she loves me so very much.  :)  (I bought her dinner and fro yo... does that make up for it?)  I have told her no less than 100 times that it means the world to me.  It's so priceless!!!  She and Jess (videographer extrodinaire) will never know how much this means to me.  It's seriously perfect.  They could not have nailed this any better!!  Thank you Kelli and Jess!  You talent is through the roof!!  

Carter's Cancer ~ France Photography from Kelli France on Vimeo.

Happy (Late) 4th of July!~ Pikes Peak Photographer

One nice thing about having a child with cancer is that we spend time with just our little family most of the time.  It really is kinda cool... we are seeing really pretty things all over the area.  On the 4th, my cute hubby's parents came up so we went out exploring.  We came upon some beautiful scenery and some pretty nice light.  Not wanting to miss a photo op I tried to snag a few pictures of each of my little ones.

Patient, Patient Family~ Colorado Springs Family Photographer

This beautiful family is one that has been featured on my old blog a time or two.  This is Bryan's sister and her family.  They are pretty much awesome.  I love hanging out with her and her kids, clearly, are adorable.  Too bad they live so far away... we don't get to see them much.  We decided to brave the rain and the cold to take some pictures.  The kids did pretty darn well considering the weather.  I was bummed that the sun never came out to play but, hey, you can't have everything.  :) She has been beyond patient with me.  We took these pictures about 4 days before Carter was diagnosed with cancer so she patiently waited while my world was turned up-side-down.  And I am very grateful for that.  But, since I am taking her twin sister's family pictures in a few weeks I figured I should probably get on the ball a little bit. :)

Thanks for the great afternoon, guys!  And thanks even more for being so patient.  Love you!!

Flash Back Friday: Grammie~ Colorado Springs Family Photographer

In March Bryan's mom came to visit. It was so much fun having her here.  (She left the day before Carter was diagnosed with cancer.)  Before we took her to the airport we went to the park (on a blustery day) to play.  I brought my camera so I could take pictures of each kid with their super sweet grandmother.

You hear stories about the dreaded "mother-in-law".  I must say, mine is a walk in the park. She's awesome. She's one of my closest friends and does her VERY best to not overstep her bounds.  (Which I know at times is hard. ;))  She drove up with me when we moved up here a few months ago and helped us get settled... which was REALLY nice considering we all got sick on the ride up and first few days here.  (Pres puked all night in the hotel room and Carter had massive diarrhea the morning we left AZ.)  She surprised the kids last month with a visit.  They were THRILLED!  They asked her if she was going to live with us and, of course, there were SOOOOOO many tears when she had to go home.  (It's in my grand master plan to get them to move up here once they are empty nesters and Dru retires.)  Anyways, it was a beautiful day at the park with tons of sun light to play with.  I got some cute pictures of the kids with her.

Grandmother and Granddaughter

Grandmother and granddaughter

Grandmother and Grandson


Grtanddaughter and grandmother

Grammie and Grandbaby

Like Father, Like Son~ Colorado Springs Family Photographer

Carter is definitely his father's son.  He's very logical just like Bryan is.  For example: Bryan thought that Carter may have Leukemia a few days before he was diagnosed based on a few different things.  When I asked him why he didn't tell me he thought it could be cancer he shrugged his shoulders and said, "You're a mom.  You would have freaked out and I thought it was a long shot.  I'm not medically trained to diagnose something like that anyways.  And you had an appointment for a few days later.  What would have been the point of telling you?"  Hmmm.  Typical Bryan.  Me?  I would have screamed from the rooftops, "My son is tired and has two very small red dots on his neck!!  IT MUST BE CANCER!"  :)  Wouldn't have been too productive. Carter is like Bryan like that.  He's quite logical.  When he was explained the process and road that lie ahead of him he shrugged his little 5 year old shoulders and said, "Well, it doesn't sound fun but if this is what needs to happen to make my blood healthy then I guess that's ok."  Seriously?  You're FIVE!  Shouldn't you, oh I don't know, freak out that the next three years of your life will be filled with shots, puking, hair loss, and tons of other yuckies you won't enjoy instead of chasing girls around the playground, playing sports, and digging tunnels in the snow?  So weird to me, this thing they call logical thinking.  I'm just FAR too girl to be that rational.

Bryan and Carter are both thinkers as well.  You can just tell, looking at them, that the wheels are turning.  They are processing something that has been said to decide whether or not they believe it.

They are also both very into sciencey stuff.  Carter thinks weather is cool... so does Bryan.  They both think the human body is cool.  Once, about a year ago, they had a conversation about white blood cells at the dinner table.  Carter could not have been over 4 at the time.  Seriously?  White blood cells?  So odd.

When people started shaving their heads Carter quickly turned to his hero, Daddy, to see if he was going to join in the fun.  Bryan LOVES having a shaved head.  But, he looks young (he IS young).  He has people constantly asking him how old he is.  (As he's shoving a huge needle into their mouths...)  So, he was a little hesitant.  He sells treatments all day long to his patients.  They need to trust him.  He doesn't have any wrinkles.  No facial hair.  Not a lick of gray hair.  He thought if he shaved his head he would look too yound making it a little more difficult for patients to take him seriously.  And, afterall, the livelihood of our family depends on him raking in the big bucks.  :)

After much deliberation, he decided, "Who cares if people don't take me seriously for a few weeks.  I'll let me facial hair grow a little to compensate.  Shaving my head to support my little man will be something he will remember forever."  Could not agree more.  I was feeling that way inside but tried hard not to voice my opinion because I didn't want to make him feel bad.  (It didn't affect his work at all, by the way... probably becaue he looks so stinking HOT with a shaved head!)  I must admit, while he was on the fence about it, I think there was one thing that pushed him over the edge.  Ben, Bryan's super amazing younger brother, played the "I'll do it if you do it" card.  Worked like a charm.  When I told Bryan that Ben was on board if Bryan went for it, he got this look in his eyes... you know, the look an older brother gets when he sees a wonderful opportunity to tease a younger sibling?  Now that they're all grown up, Ben is the one and only sibling that doesn't end up on the receiving end of Bryan's taunting.  But, I faulter from my point.

The shaving if the heads is just one more thing that Bryan and Carter have in common right now... although Bryan's is already on it's way back (he's got TONS of hair) while Carter's is just getting thinner and thinner.  I love this picture of the two of them.

Visitors, Visitors, and More Visitors~ Colorado Springs Family Photographer

Bryan and I have THE most amazing families in the universe.  The night Carter was diagnosed I called my parents.  (What?... no.... I TOTALLY didn't cry like a baby through the ENTIRE conversation... there was no hyperventalating, no snot, no crying-so-hard-I-could-barely-see-the-road going on....  Not me.  I don't do that. :))  They were on the first flight out the next morning and were at the hospital by early afternoon.  They were coming out to help with the girls but since the girls were contently playing at Chelsea's they came to the hospital.   (Mom, pat yourself on the back for holding it together and not crying... I knew she had spent the entire previous night in tears.)  Carter was thrilled to see them.  They spent a week with us.  It was so refreshing on my few hours away from the hospital to come home and see their smiling faces.  We all know, there's nothing in the world quite like Mom.  And my mom and dad are two of my very best friends in the world.  They are AWE.  SOME.  Seriously so cool.  (But that is a post for another time.)  They were able to spend a lot of time at the hospital with Carter and my mom was up to her usual antics while she was there.  Making stuffed animals dance in order to get Carter to laugh.  Recording the doctor on her iPhone so she could send it to my family.  Giving the Doctor the hundreds of papers she had printed off from Wikipedia in case the doctor needed to learn a thing or two.  (Seriously?  Wikipedia?  People can go in and edit that just for kicks!!)  So funny.  And my dad ended up extending his trip so he could spend more time with us.  Who needs to work and make money anyways?!

While my parents were here partying with us, Bryan's sweet mother was waiting with baited breath for her chance to come up.  She had been up visiting and had gone home a mere 24 hours before Carter was diagnosed.  (Although she was very much on my side with getting him into the doctor.  She was quite clearly the concerns I had with his energy level.)  She had her plane ticket about .08 seconds after we told her when we wanted her to come.  She once again dropped everything (she has her mother living in an attached apartment whom she cares for, her super cool husband, one daughter in high school, and two daughters off track in college all at home still).  I absolutely LOVE my in-laws.  You hear such horror stories about "mother-in-laws" and I am happy to say that I have none such stories.  She is very respectful of us and our privacy.  She loves me like I'm her own. (how could you NOT?!?)  She ADORES my children.... literally, I think she would raise them for me if I asked.  And, most of all, she raised the most wonderful man in the entire world.  Bryan is amazing and it's in great part to how he was raised.  We loved having her come visit and can't wait for her to come back.

Grandma visiting at the hospital

After Maureen left Bryan's youngest sister, a junior in high school came out for the weekend.  Naomi, or Auntimoni as the kiddies call her, was so great to have out here.  She was the one here when Carter finally got to come home from the hospital.  When we walked in the door there was a HUGE banner that she and Addilyn had made hanging on the wall welcoming home Carter.  There was also a chocolate cake in the oven to have for dessert.  SO thoughtful!!

Aunt visiting at the hospital

Naomi had to get back for school, but have no fear, Noelle came to the rescue.  She came and visited for a week.  The kids had a blast with her.  Even though Carter's energy level was st rock bottom, she would be sure to include him whenever he was up for playing.  They were constantly building forts, playing, and doing all kinds of things that fun aunts do.  She was really good about stepping up and getting things done when I needed a break.  I never had to tell her what I needed.  She just seemed to know.

Next was Nellie's turn.  I'm pretty sure I need to replace Nellie's jeans after her visit.  They played so much "Doggy" that I'm sure she has a few holes in the knees of her pants.  She was the one here when Carter's hair started falling out.  She was very sweet and sympathetic with the whole thing.

All three of these girls were so great about helping out.  They cleaned, changed bums, put kids in bed, cooked, babysat, let me nap... you name it, they did it.  And Dru and Maureen foot the bill for all of their plane tickets.  They didn't bat an eye lash when it came to getting the girls up here to help us out.  (And we all know how cheap plane tickets are when you are buying them only a week in advance.)

Once Bryan's family was done with their rounds up here it was Aunt Kelly's turn.  Kelly is my super duper sister.  She's older than me so sometimes she doubles as a mom.  :)  She came up for a few days while her sweetie of a husband watched the Ladies.  (Have I mentioned how much I love her girls?!?)    My kids ADORE her and were N.O.T. happy to see her go.  She was here when Carter had his second port surgery.  By this point Preslee was pretty much over everyone in the world who wasn't Bryan or me, but she loved Kelly.

Aunt Kelly and the Kids

My kids are so lucky.  They have the world's best aunts.  And 1/2 of them were able to come visit during that first month.  When one family member left, the kids were heartbroken.  But their hearts quickly healed as another fun family member swooped in to play with them and keep their minds off of the fact that Mommy and Daddy weren't quite themselves and that Carter was going through all kinds of stuff that wasn't normal.  We will be eternally grateful to everyone who came and helped out during this time.  We are also grateful for those who WANTED to come help but because of their own families and schooling were not able to be here in person.  We know their hearts were with us the entire time.

This post would not be complete without mentioning Chelsea.  She has been my go to throughout this past month.  She takes my girls when I have to take Carter to the doctor and Bryan's working.   She dropped her plans for a girls night out at 8:00 at night when Carter was diagnosed.  She rushed right over (Bryan hadn't even told her what was wrong when he called her) and stayed with my girls until Bryan got home around 1:00am.  (Not entirely true... Nash needed to eat so Josh stepped in and stayed the remainder of the time.)  She also took them the entire next day.  It was easily over 12 hours.  And then she let me cry on her shoulder when I can to get them that night.  She has seriously been my angel.  I could not have made it through the last month without her here.  She NEVER makes me feel bad about leaving the girls with her (I promise I try not to take advantage of her... I've only gone shopping twice when I told her I was really going to the doctor. ;))  I love her so very much!!!

While it was wonderful to have a lot of family rotating through, it was also nice to have our little apartment back to ourselves (and to finally get Carter off of the blow-up mattress in our room and back into his own room).  The night Kelly left (she was our last visitor) Carter said to me, "Mom, I really liked having everyone come visit but I'm excited to just have our little family together again."  Made mama happy.  :)  We've been doing well on our own.  I've had to call on Chels a little more but I figure once I wear my welcome out with her I'll move onto Katie and Kim... forewarned, ladies!!!  :)

Family~ Colorado Springs Children Photographer

Presents from the family We really try to have the girls come in and see Carter at the hospital... problem is that Preslee is a walking tornado (love her dearly) and Addilyn's interest isn't held for longer than 5 minutes.  The entire visit (which on average last for 10-15 minutes) is spent following Pres around and stopping her from messing with the IV tower or stopping her from yanking things off the counter, or telling Addilyn that she needs to play the game on the iPad by herself or telling her to leave Carter's brand new things alone.... it's exhausting.

Future Doctor of America

BUT... we feel it's important for them (especially Addi) to see Carter here in order to better understand that he is really really sick.  She keeps saying "When Carter comes home he's going to be all better!"  Nope.  Not the case.  Three years is a long time to a three year old... in fact it's a lifetime.  Carter also kind of shuts down when too many people are here at one time.  I think it's mostly Preslee because she's SO all over the place.  Often times he'll lay down and pull his blanket over his head.  Poor thing.

Brother and sister bonding in the hospital

Kelly Dearest- Colorado Springs Family Photographer

Colorado Family Pictures on the snow I'm so excited about this new blog!  I'm excited to spend time in the future (or pay someone if it ends up being over my head) to spend time customizing it so it goes with my branding and style.  I have spent a lot of time revamping my business since I have moved and I think I'm FINALLY there!  It's a MIRACLE!

I can't think of a better person to start my new blog off with other than my amazing, OLDER sister.  :)  She's wonderful.  She's one of my very bestest friends in the world and I miss her so so much!  I'm so glad that she and her family moved back to Poway so that every time I go home I'll be able to see her.  Isn't she just so darn perty?  Clearly, it runs in the family!  :)