Our Summer in Photos | 2018

What a summer! It’s officially fall and we are currently in the mountains of North Carolina getting the first glimpse and feels of the fall breeze and I am 100% in my happy place (minus two points for a congestion and cough). I’m using this weekend as an official transition into FALL and we have big plans to get home, wrap up some home renovation projects and then I have my eyes on a DIY fall wreath project which has me feeling giddy in the most basic white girl crafty wife mom way.

Back in my one-kid days I documented and regularly posted our “everyday” photos but things have been super busy around here since Emmeline Joy joined us (16 months ago…) and while I’m hanging in with the documenting (somewhat), posting regularly is clearly not my forte… right now, anyway!

Easing back into a little bit of a slower season work wise and kicking it off with a recap of our summer in PHOTOS! Like, one hundred photos in a blog post. I’m pretty sure that’s too many. But some highlights:

• We celebrated Emmeline’s first birthday • Emmeline took her first steps • I taught summer school online • Lincoln went to day camp at the YMCA • We spent countless summer evenings and weekday mornings at the Y pool • We took our first road trip to Tennessee (me, ever!) and spent several nights in a hotel as a family of four • during our trip to TN we celebrated the beautiful life of Marshall’s grandma Joy, got to visit with cousins, aunts and uncles and had a date night in Nashville • I took the kids to Pullen Park and Lincoln hated the boats, but they tolerated the train and loved the popsicles • Countless mornings in the sandbox in our front flowerbed • Lots of playdates during the week and some weekends with incredible friends • a family trip to Marbles kids museum on a Thursday • Em started cutting molars and hated us and life, but really likes her new toothbrush • Buzz Lightyear jammies and Superman shirt on repeat • I rented a Sony DSLR and then bought one a month later • Our first trip to the beach as a family of 4, I still haven’t had a Britt’s donut and we all got sunburned • teeny tiny ponytails • one million diaper changes • so many carseat naps • a blue and pink hydrangea bush for a brief time in the front yard • the end of the 2s class in preschool • our best friends from CO and Winston Salem came to see us (and I can’t find the memory card) • so many snacky dinners • Sundays at church serving as a family of four •

Man. I loved this summer 100000 million times more than last summer. Not to hate too much on last summer, it was just really hard with a newborn and new toddler. This summer was just so much more fun. I’m so aware of only having eighteen summers. 3 down already with Lincoln, two down with Emmeline… it’s all going so fast. Kids of Mine: if you’re reading this in the future, please know that while sometimes you drove me completely crazy, I truly love every minute of being your mom. Please don’t ever leave me. K thanks.

The Murphy Family | Maternity

This year is the year of exploring what it would be like if I were really a birth photographer. It has been so enlightening and enjoyable and I’ve gotten to really dive in to all the facets of storytelling for these little babes, and the big bump is a big part of it!

I had a random Saturday morning open up so I invited myself over to the Murphys’ for some in home maternity photos just for funsies before baby boy’s birth and I am so glad I did. When I was shooting weddings years ago I always included an engagement session so I could hang with the couple before the big day and this proved to be just as important! I mean, the next time I saw these guys Mandie was in labor so it was really fun to have some fun hang time before the big day. Mandie was approaching full term with this baby, a major victory after developing preeclampsia with her oldest and delivering at 34 weeks. I’m all about a photo session to commemorate a milestone so I was so happy to be able to capture some of this answered prayer for them!

Once I became a mom it became the Saturday mornings that I truly loved the most. Weekdays are hectic with work and preschool, Sundays are quick so we can get to church, but Saturdays. Saturdays are pajamas, and slow long breakfasts and hanging out in bed. Saturdays are awesome. Behold, the Saturday mornings of the Murphys as a family of three. Little brother joined the party yesterday, so it’s like looking at a little time capsule. Also, those curls. I sent them an obscenely large gallery, most of the photos were of THOSE CURLS. They are amazing.


Strawberry Picking

Two weeks ago we met up with a few friends to go strawberry picking! In all honesty I was feeling super pregnant, super grumpy, super impatient and super thirsty and Lincoln was all of the toddler equivalents. I wanted to stay home but I’m so glad we went. We were driving each other bananas all morning, but this was a lovely thirty minute break from all the bananas driving. It was gorgeous weather!

Lincoln was bored with it at first and then realized that they were strawberries he could eat, and then he was ALL OVER THAT. He did really great and ate some whole ones (green leaves included) and then later found it was much better to just take one or two big juicy bites and then throw the rest of the berry somewhere. I didn’t realize it was pay by the bucket and didn’t fill all of ours up and by the time I paid it was too late and the toddler was too done. So, next time we know. Pile it up. All the strawberries. So fun to see these friends, and my dear friend Stephanie gave me some fresh eggs from a friend of hers and they were delicious. Great day. Great eating day.

Sidenote: My lil’ Nikon 28mm lens never disappoints. The color of these photos is incredible. Most of these are straight out of the camera, I had to tweak exposure on a few because the metering doesn’t line up 100% with the lens and my body, but I am just in awe. Yay eyeballs and cameras and weird lens configurations and adaptors.

























Our Everyday Photos: April 2017

Just a normal Thursday. Marshall was home in the morning because the plumber came to install a whole house water filter (so maybe not so normal…) I took L to preschool and then hung out and worked at Starbucks until it was time for pickup. It was hard to reign in my focus, but I totally goofed off for most of the time, but then finished everything I needed to finish the last 45 minutes like a total procrasti-rockstar. Came home for nap, worked some more while he slept, we went for a big walk and then I headed out to my last married ladies eGroup meeting. Such a sweet day. 

Our Everyday Photos: February 2017

February was fun. Just a “normal” month in our days and routines. Our weeks had become really predictable with no track out or winter weather. I’m learning that seasons come and go quickly, and everything is fluid, always changing so I’m trying to adjust my perspective and enjoy the predictability of a “schedule” while it lasts (it will be gone oh so soon with a new baby en route!). To save a little money and because of some changes in my work flow, we stopped having a Monday babysitter (bittersweet for sure) but we enjoyed having some extra fun Mama +  Lincoln time. Mondays we did something fun, Tuesday/Thursdays preschool days, Wednesdays became storytime and playdate days and Fridays were usually our Marbles day. We play in the mornings and then I work in the afternoons (and early early mornings). I want to remember the fun playdates, the bathtimes, and bedtime routines, the transition to the super bed (big kid bed! we upgraded to our king this month). Messy cheese puffs, our trip to Ikea, heart shaped paleo muffins on Valentine’s day, little long sleeved hoodies and button ups. Messy kitchens and messy faces. Man oh man, not taking having a camera or these photos for granted any longer, my friends. These are my favorite things. 

Foto February Week 2

// Canon 5DMKII Nikon 28mm f/4 1/125 ISO 640  // dawn light challenge //
I decided to bring my big camera along with us to IKEA over the weekend to try out my new fancy sling and because I don’t actually think I’ve ever brought it with us to a trip there. It was fun. My sling turned out to be pretty awesome and I wore my camera most of the day with no issues. It was fun having it handy to capture some fun IKEA Lincoln moments (is our love of IKEA too strong? Maybe?) and some fun times with Uncle Christopher who we don’t get to see that often. This photo was just a few minutes into our trip down I-40. It took me a long time to get the shutter just right so I didn’t wash out the colors (that sunrise!) and to get the movement of the lines on the highway without a car right next to us and the trees in a way that I liked. Basically, how did/do people ever shoot film? I seriously trial and errored like 100 pictures of this sunrise until I got one I liked, and still flagged four and chose between them and kept this one. Mad props. 

Also, decided to just pick an aperture for the day/series with my Nikon lens. It saves the ISO and shutter info since that’s done on the camera. I just really love the colors and the angle of this lens too much to stick with my 50mm all month. 

// Canon 5DMKII Nikon 28mm f/2.8 1/500 ISO 1250  // self portrait challenge //

Hi, IKEA bathroom selfie. So not adjusting/straightening this image is stressing me out a tad with all the crooked lines but those are the rules! And one handed manually focusing this photo was a hoot. Just after this Lincoln grabbed my lens (eyeroll emoji) but I just liked his face here and that I look pregnant from the front! I have been feeling huge, but my huge feels don’t really translate into photos except in this one I think it is communicated well. Stripes help I guess. 
// Canon 5DMKII Nikon 28mm f/2.8 1/500 ISO 2500  // movement challenge //

Oh storytime! I already technically did the “movement” challenge but storytime was such a blast on Wednesday I wanted to include one. There’s usually quite a bit of light in the storytime area of the library but it was a very gray and rainy day so had to lower my f stop to 2.8 and bump up the ISO quite a bit to get clear images. A weird juxtaposition of slow enough shutter to get enough light (to not have to adjust in Lightroom) and not too slow to get blurry jumps. I like how it turned out and that you can see the SHEER JOY on the boy’s face because jumping is his favorite. It’s so funny to think that just maybe even like 6 months ago (or less?) he couldn’t jump yet. He would say he was jumping but he would just kind of shuffle and then one day he just… jumped. Both feet, off the ground, he landed  and the rest is history. It’s fun watching these little people turn into people. Can’t wait until I’m not pregnant and we can go back to the trampoline place. He loved it.

// Canon 5DMKII Nikon 28mm f/2.8 1/8000 ISO 5000  // landscape  & fastest shutter challenge //

This is the view outside of our playroom window. If you sit just right on the futon you can’t see any of the houses across the street and just trees and sky and I pretend we are in the mountains sometimes. I was trying hard to angle it to get the funny little clouds and no houses but in the bottom right corner you can see the ever slightest triangle of a rooftop. Suburbs problems. I’ll probably hit another landscape (and combine it with a really slow shutter, just have to think of a fun place to do it) but I am technically checking it off with this one. Such pretty Carolina blue skies today with the faintest hint of an upcoming spring. Now I’m wondering though, is it a landscape photo if there’s no actual land in it? Just trees that are technically connected to the land? Yeah I should probably just do landscape again. 

I’ve highlighted what remains! I’ve really neglected the shutter thing and ISO specifics.

Rambly thoughts: 
I was going to get Lincoln some glowsticks for a fun dark bathtime on Sunday, I need to remember to do that. That will be a good way to hit max ISO, nighttime, slower shutter, etc. 

Shooting at church on Sunday, I’m sure I’ll hit some of the fun light ones (except flash). I need to find my flash. 

Oh shooting a TON this weekend. Cousin birthday party, newborn session, blog photos for a friend (and her dog). Lots of opportunity to experiment, just need to keep ISO in mind. 

This is really fun, I just wish I had done different ISOs instead of the ones I have listed. 

Animal portrait will be no problem. Luna is already ready for her close up. Might use my 85mm for that 
    • f/ highest a lens goes
    • f/11 (this week!) 
    • f/8
    • f/4
    • f/lowest gear allows (for me that’s 1.8!) 
    • SLOWEST it goes 
    • 1+ second shutter 
    • 1/30 shutter
    • 1/300 shutter
    • FASTEST it goes (this week!) 
  • ISO
    • ISO 400
    • ISO 800
    • ISO 1600
    • rim light
    • external light
    • flash
    • dawn or dusk light (this week!) 
    • nighttime 
    • self portrait
    • landscape 
    • animal portrait 
    • water
    • movement 

Just Because | Steph + Ben

So, being a mom is tough.  Figuring out what your place in the world is is tough. Finding balance in the tension of being a mother and having a career is tough.

Lincoln was a newborn when I resigned from my teaching job for the coming school year. I was supposed to be excited to have the opportunity to work from home and be with my baby all the time, but it was such an unfamiliar thing I was really not as thrilled as I thought I would be when I signed my resignation letter. There was so much unknown and comments made by co-workers and friends (“oh it must be so nice to be able to stay at home….”) that made me think I was surrendering a hardworking life for a glorified maternity leave– except permanent. 

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I remember tearfully telling Marshall… ”—but I don’t want to be just a mom! I thought there was more for me!”  I felt like I needed to start a business, write a book, do something big. Little did I realize at the time, that raising that tiny person into a  full grown human being is one of the biggest things I’ll ever do. It’s not glamorous. It doesn’t gain a lot of followers. There’s a lot of poop, boogers, squashed bananas in places there shouldn’t be squashed bananas, and lately, singing the songs to Frozen more times than I’ve ever wanted to (that’s my own fault– who showed him Frozen? Me. I did.). It’s taken time, almost two years, and I can’t say I don’t wonder what it would be like to still be working in a school (versus a virtual one) or running a business or writing a book, or going “viral” or whatever, but more days than not I find my heart and soul to be very content doing what I was designed best to do: be Lincoln’s mom. Most days, I kinda rock at it. Not in a perfect, make-all-the-right-decisions way, but in that I recognize the weight of what I’m doing. It’s big. I don’t love it twenty four/ seven, but there are moments– many of them– when the joy just catches me by surprise and I thank God that this is where he put me, even though I was reluctant. There are some freaking hard days, but there are really great days too. And those hard days aren’t all bad, just hard. Getting to this place hasn’t been easy (actually, it was the worst summer and subsequent six months of my life adjusting) but it’s been so worth it, and my perspective on everything is so different. I could not be more grateful. (If you aren’t familiar with my postpartum depression/anxiety/eczema explosion story you can read it here and my thoughts on being “just a mom” here). 
Okay, enough about my experience and exploiting a friend’s beautiful photos to share my thoughts on the complexity of mommy societal expectations. Another day, another post… 

Not to quote the title of my blog but this girl and I? We are handpicked. Like, from day one God had us in mind to be friends. We met in 2013 when Marshall and I visited our first small group at The Summit. We bonded over photography, our love for chocolate pastries and Paris, coffee and kitchen aid mixers, like all in the first 10 minutes of meeting each other. The rest is history. We didn’t know it at the time, but we had lived in the same neighborhood, literally down the street from each other, and then they moved out to the country but were still within a reasonable driving distance from our house. This lady loves so selflessly. The way she serves her husband and family is admirable. She’s like me, into a little bit of everything. We love music, crafting, Jesus, leggings, coffee, photography, etc. Samesies. 
She and her husband worked their booties off the first year and some of Ben’s life to pay off their debt so she could be at home with him and pour all her time into her photography business. In December she celebrated her last day of her day job and is officially a full time mama and small business owner and I asked her if I could come over and document this sweet time and transition. It’s hard when you’re in it to see how sweet it is. These photos are just so special and remind me so much of me and my own sweet boy. There is something so magical, just so so so magical about those everyday things. Making coffee. Playing trains. Eating breakfast together. Reading books. Getting dressed. Diaper changes. Some days its so monotonous, but before you know it they’re reading their own books, feeding themselves and NOT throwing it on the floor (right? RIGHT?!), and using the potty (or so I’ve heard). It’s hard adjusting to the slow life and being on toddler time, especially when you’ve been going 1,000 miles an hour and accomplishing more things before the sun is up than some people do all day…. for most of your life. 
But this girl? She rocks it. She rocks being Ben’s mama. He’s the sweetest little kid in the whole world (even compared to my own) and loves to snuggle and show affection, and I just love it. Even to me. Gives me hugs every time he sees me. Every time! I just love him and could eat him up! Now that she’s more flexible during the day we get to see each other a lot (like once a week!) and it makes me so happy. It’s like a promise fulfilled on so many fronts. I was so lonely and lost and confused in those early baby days, and begged God for community. Every time we see each other is just such a big reminder of God’s faithfulness in his timing in the big things and in the small. Thank you for having me over (ahem– letting me invite myself over) Steph and Ben! It was such a joy to be part of your morning.