First Time Maternity Shoot

Okay, that title makes it sound so professional. It was not. I was mess of confusion and inexperience.

Let me back track. So, I asked my friend Shelley if I could take some maternity pictures for her. I really want to practice using my camera more often, but I can only chase my boys around for so long. She agreed. Finally, models that will hold still longer than a second.

Thankfully, they were so patient with me and my unprofessionalism. I brought Gilbert along, which made for a bit of a distraction. Then, the light outside kept changing, causing me to constantly fiddle with the settings on my camera. I kept apologizing, worrying I was taking up their evening time and not do a very good job in the first place. But they were very gracious. Here are a few pictures, not great. The pictures I mean, they are adorable. I definitely need more practice.









I have many more. I thought I would share the better of the bunch. We are doing another photo shoot this Saturday to take advantage of the beautiful fall scenery. But we did this shoot to capture some sunshine, since it’s supposed to rain on Saturday…wah, wah.

I already have a list of things I will do different next time:

1. Stop saying “sorry” so much. Bad habit…sorry!

2. Put my camera on manual focus. I’ve been advised to use auto-focus, but I don’t feel like my pictures are as crisp when I do so.

3. Come with a plan. Scout out some great spots to take pictures and know what kind of poses I want to do.

4. Attempt to capture the natural, sometimes posing all the time can be to much.

5. Most importantly….not bring my baby with me this time. He is cute and all, but he makes it hard to focus.

I’m looking forward to it. I will share more if they turn out.

This Mama’s 2 Weeks in Photos: part 4 & 5

The last few weeks seemed to have blurred together. I got a little lazy about writing and taking pictures. Sick kiddos and vacation recovery have kept me away from my blog. But I’m back with 2 weeks of photos. Here ya go:

I felt like Benjamin wasn’t getting enough attention lately since Gilbert was becoming more active and requiring more attention. So I took him to the zoo, just the two of us. He was very happy to see pumpkins all over the zoo.


Now that Gilbert can roll over, it has changed Benjamin and Gilbert’s relationship. This was the first glimmer of them “playing” together. I love it.


For about a week Western Washington was bogged down by thick, depressing fog. But with the fog, we spotted all of the amazing spiderwebs outside of our house. After reading Charlotte’s Web for the 10th time, I am always in awe of spider’s unnoticed, beautiful, creations.


There is a glass blowing shop in Tacoma that creates and sells thousands of glass pumpkins every Saturday during the fall. The glass pumpkin patch travels to a different city each week. It is definite eye candy. I’ll admit, I had to add another to my collection. But really this is the last one…..


Benjamin got his first semi-major injury. He fell into a coffee table and his teeth almost went through his lower lip. Though it may have hurt me, more than it hurt him.


I finally got brave enough to play with the shutter on my camera. I’m amazed at how it changes the light in my pictures. Check out my sweet 5 month old.


There is a small toddler park by my parents house. One foggy day last week we went to visit my parents. Benjamin’s favorite thing was running back and forth under the monkey bars. It’s funny to see what this little guy enjoys.


My niece turned 5 last week. She had a Belle birthday party. I love this shot of the lingering smoke coming off the candles.


I had to add a second shot. I love seeing the 10 kids gathered around the birthday cake.


We carved Benjamin and Gilbert’s pumpkins  yesterday. Benjamin was amazed to find what was inside the pumpkins.


I’ll be back next weekend with more pictures.

Food is Power. Knowledge is Even More Power.

It’s currently midnight and I am up way passed my bedtime. But, if I tried to sleep right now I couldn’t. My mind is racing. It all began when my mom e-mailed me a link to a YouTube video about the dangers of foods with GMOs. The state of Washington is trying to pass a law that requires all food manufacturers to label whether or not their foods are genetically modified. It is a hot topic. I was already planning on voting for the bill to pass, but the video confirmed why I am voting “yes.” Here is the link if you are interested in watching it: No GMOs clip.

After watching it, I got all fired about about the food we as Americans consume. It is even more concerning to me now, since I am using that so called “food” to nourish my children. Within 20 minutes I was online joining The Smith Brothers delivery service for organic milk, yogurt, eggs and bread to be delivered weekly, 4 food items Benjamin eats a lot of.

Then I proceded to watch a documentary called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” on Netflix. It was a about two overweight men with the same painful disease who changed their lifestyle to eating pure, natural foods and the life changing positive impact it had on each of them.

It’s amazing to me that food is no longer food. It’s an addictive poison, much like a drug. And it’s on our grocery stores shelves, there for us to eat and feed to our children.

Then I started to think about my students and how when cupcakes are brought to school for a birthday, they. go. NUTS. Sugar makes our kids crrrrrraaaazzy. But the problem is, sugar is in everything, especially bread, which my child likes…..A LOT.

Benjamin is fastly approaching the terrible twos, however, he seems to be trying them out early. For the past month he has been hypersensitive, throwing tantrums and very irrational. We assumed it was teething, the need for more sleep or a growth spurt. But after tonight I started to wonder about the foods he eats, especially the bread. So right before going to bed I Googled, “does bread cause bad behavior in children?” The first article it took me to was an Australian study about an ingredient called calcium propionate that is used in many breads that has been known to make children act irrational and over-react in mundane situations. Which would describe Benjamin to a T this last month. I quickly ran down stairs to the fridge to check the ingredients and there it was, calcium propionate in our Oroweat bread. I have no proof that this is what is causing the tantrums (he is almost 2), but I wonder if it could be making things worse. So tomorrow we say goodbye to Oroweat and hunt for a natural bread. I will keep you posted about whether or not we see any changes.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is. It is just a mish mash of my thoughts spinning around in my brain after an evening of thinking about food and I’m fired up and I want you to get fired up with me. Food is important. We use it to fuel or bodies and if we fuel our bodies with garbage that is full of chemicals rather than vitamins and nutrients what do we expect to get?





October Travels

Every year my husband’s family takes a weekend fall trip somewhere. Four years ago when we were dating we sent to Seaside, OR with his family The weather was beautiful, we encouraged them to go back every year. We were so excited we found out we were going back. The Ocean in October can be beautiful. I was even more excited to take pictures. My poor children are currently the only subjects of my photography. Here, Kollin’s family and the beach could also be my subjects. So here is a rundown of our trip through pictures.

Benjamin reading with his cousin and Grandpa. Benjamin knew his grandpa liked to read. So before the trip he kept saying, “Papa…book.”


Benjamin’s first time on the ocean beach. It’s not often you get to swing on the beach.


Gilbert got much more cuddle time than beach time.


Family photo op.


Nephew’s off-roading it during our walk on the promenade.


They found a garter snake along the way. I hate snakes…the only thing Indiana Jones and I have in common.


Benjamin’s football hat was put to good use this weekend.


Our brother-law’s kids. I love this picture. It looks like an album cover.


One of our nieces getting a piggy back ride down the promenade.


Benjamin getting his own piggy back ride.


3 generations.


The family had a photo shoot. One of our nieces is a photographer. It’s not often you get a shot of the photographer since they hide behind the camera.


We lucked out that weekend. Sunshine and kites.


Pretty awesome view from the swing.


Father and son. I like to experiment shooting into the light.


Benjamin’s dream. He brought home a taxi cab.


Trying to be creative at the carousel. Benjamin wanted ride, but we didn’t have any money with us…next time.


Last night. Can’t believe this was the only sunset we caught.


Hope we can go back next year. Seaside in October is amazing.

This Mama’s Week in Photos: part 3

Another week with my boys, it seemed like a blur. Benjamin’s naps have been short to non-existent. But it’s also a week to celebrate. Gilbert is napping regularly for at least 40 minutes every 2 hours….Yay! Here is my week:

Benjamin soaking up October sun at the park.


Gilbert getting some tummy time between naps. Don’t mind the drool.


My husband brought out his old Little People Town for Benjamin to play with. He loves it. I was having childhood flashbacks all week.


One of the afternoons Benjamin decided not to nap, I sat him on our bed to read quietly while I folded clothes and put laundry away.


Benjamin having quality cousin time. So. Many. Girls.


Stay tuned for pictures from our trip to Seaside.


A year ago today was a very big day for me. A year ago today, I found out I was pregnant with Gilbert. Benjamin was 9 months old at the time. The first thought I had when the nurse whispered, “it’s positive,” to my midwife was, how in the world will I get both of them in the car when I’m alone?  The idea of having two babies under two was scary. I will admit it is really hard having two under two, but I can’t imagine life without Gilbert.

Last year I stated that I didn’t want to do anything new for the next year since life had had so many changes. I think God laughed when I spoke those words. Gilbert was a reminder to us that we don’t call the shots in life, even though we think we do. He has a different plan for each of us. Gilbert was supposed to be a part of our family, whether or not we planned it.


Gilbert was also a reminder that God’s gifts come unexpectedly. He has been a blessing to each of us. His calm, sweet, spirit gives us so much joy. We thought it was fitting we chose Gilbert for his name. Gilbert means “bright promise.” When we got to the hospital there was a full rainbow outside our window, a symbol of God’s promise. Gilbert is our bright promise, our gift from God.


I have nothing profound to say, other than, I am humbled and grateful that I get to be Gilbert’s mom.


This Mama’s Week in 5 Photos: part 2

Ugh…I had a really hard time pushing myself to write this post this week. Benjamin has been teething like crazy. He is super cranky, crying a lot and NOT napping.   The no-napping has been the hardest to deal with, being an introverted parent who relies on nap time to recharge for the rest of the day. All week I was like a cell phone with one bar left while the last bit of juice slowly seeped out of me. This week made it really hard to pick up the camera. The boys are central in my photographs because there was no time for much else except sleep.

Last Saturday we were trapped inside due to monsoon like weather. We went to my sister’s house for dinner to escape the house and so our husbands could watch the UW game together. And so our kids could entertain each other. Gilbert is smiling at his sweet cousin Perla.


Sunday was another rainy day so that afternoon we headed to the Children’s Museum. The picture is just a reflection of my feet, but is very symbolic of my week since I was on my feet all week long.


Bath time is the calmest time of day amidst the teething chaos. And it’s always better with Big Bird, Elmo and Pooh.


Another rainy day we were trapped inside with nowhere to go, I had a flat tire and Benjamin only napped for an hour. We made cookies to pass the time. One of Benjamin’s new words this week was “bake.”


Today we went to the pumpkin patch (more on that in another post). Here is was quick snapshot. The cranky teether wanted to be held. Photos were limited.


I’m hoping those teeth cut through soon, for Benjamin’s sake and my sanity. We’ll see what comes of next week.

Out for a Drive

I don’t know if any of your parents did this with you as a kid, but I now understand why my parents would sometimes take us “out for a drive.” They would load us up in the car and we would drive from Lakewood into Tacoma, checking out all the great Tacoma “landmarks.”   I actually did not remember my parents doing this until today….when I took my own children “out for a drive.”

The the last two weeks have been pretty miserable. Benjamin is teething, teething like it’s his job. A baby teething is much different from a toddler teething. Babies are sad and want to snuggle. Toddlers are cranky, naughty and miserable, which makes everyone else around them, meaning me, miserable. His naps have been next to non- existent, he is testing every possible boundary, and he has night terrors every night.

I was recently talking to a mom of 3, telling her about the last few days. She told me that that on occasion she would go through the drive-thru at Starbucks, get a latte and take the longest possible route home. The kids were all safe, still, and calm, and she got a break.

So today after Benjamin only took a 90 minute nap, and Gilbert fell asleep on me while nursing, I couldn’t take another day of not having a kid-free break. An hour before my husband came I home, I put the kids in the car and went “out for a drive.”

It didn’t occur to me that I would be joining all the commuters headed home from a day’s work. I thought it was really ironic that most people on the road were in their car trying to get home, exhausted from their day and I was in my car just trying to get out of the house, exhausted from my day.

I first stopped at Starbucks, got my pumpkin spice soy chai and a cookie for Benjamin. Little did he know I slipped a cookie out of our freezer on our way out, trying to save $1.50. Then, we made our way to 5 mile drive around Point Defiance. It’s a great drive, there are beautiful fall leaves, a view of the water and very little traffic. I kept praying the car wouldn’t break down as I occasionally drove by creepy men hanging out by their cars. I even saw walking a man with a hook for a hand walking the opposite direction. In case I got a flat tire, I was hoping he would be more like Captain Hook than the guy from I Know What You Did Last Summer. It’s funny what your imagination can do when you’ve been “alone” all day.  On our way home I tried to win a trip to Hawaii a local radio station was giving away. I didn’t win, shocker! Choosing the 10th caller is a very unreasonable number, it only gives 9 other people the hope of winning. I made it home, where Kollin was just pulling up. It was great, I got an hour break and when I got home I was no longer out numbered. Whew!

The point of this post is that if you are a mom or dad of small, wiggly, fussy, children and you need a break there is nothing wrong with going for a long drive to catch your breath and reenergize with a cup of $4.00 coffee. It was a great piece of advice that I received and I would like to pass on to any tired, worn down parents out there.