Pretty Pictures


I’m still alive and well… just a bit of writers block lately. That tends to happen when work gets busy and family life is low key. Here are a few pretty pictures from the past two weeks.

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Real Life


In an effort to keep up with writing more frequently, here’s a really random post. I’m practicing with my wide-angle lens on my DSLR and photoshop settings as I’m starting to get into real estate photography. Practicing with my own house was the obvious choice. The living room was pretty tidy but I made no effort to clean up the other rooms. I’ll spare you from Ali’s bathroom and our bedroom. Here’s a little real life peek into my house:

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Family Yearbook – Vol. 1, 2011


I bought a coupon from Living Social for a photo book from Shutterfly a few months ago. At first I was thinking of doing the photos all based around Precious since I take so many pics of her. But then I couldn’t decide on the time frame. I couldn’t really do her first year since we don’t have any pictures from her first two months. I thought about doing the day she joined our family until her adoption day, but I wanted to have the book out at her adoption party so that wouldn’t work. And what about Ladybug, our first child through foster care? I had intended to make a scrapbook of her time with us since I took about 300 pictures during the 5 weeks, but I never got around to it. I wanted to have some kind of album to honor her, too. I finally decided on doing a family yearbook of 2011, starting what I hope to be a tradition of making a family photo book of each year. With careful planning I managed to stick to 20 pages. Even though I’m a graphic designer by day, I decided to use one of Shutterfly’s templates for the book rather than doing a custom design—because I had a feeling I’d spend way too much time on the design and the book would get put off. So here it is:

I’m really happy with how it turned out. It chronicals the biggest milestones of 2011. Here are a few of the highlights, starting with our niece Eliza’s birth day in February.

Jason’s and my anniversary

Preparing our home to become foster parents and when Ladybug joined our family

Our first weekend trips with Precious to Pigeon Forge and Cincinnati

The birth of our niece Iris and our friends’ son Jaron, Thanksgiving in PA with my family

“Surrender Day”, purchasing the land for our future home, and Christmas

Documenting an Adoption


A sweet commenter suggested that we hire a photographer to document our adoption day. I had thought about getting a photographer to get some family pictures of us around the time of the finalization but it didn’t occur to me to have someone document the actual day. She sent a link to the video that was put together celebrating their family’s adoption day. The audio from the courthouse really gets me because it stirs up memories from being in court with Ladybug and Precious. This brief documentary is so beautiful. I’ve cried every time I’ve watched it. (Fair warning.)

I am so looking forward to our adoption finalization day!

Mystery Girl


Perhaps you’re wondering why all of the photos of our little girl are faceless and why I’m not using her name. It’s not a strict rule from our training, but Jason and I have chosen to protect her identity. First of all, we’re not her legal guardians; the state is. Secondly, someone may be looking for her and it’s our job to keep her safe. So, her name for the purposes of blogging and facebook is L. Or lately, I’ve been calling her Ladybug. (Which is incidentally now a blog category in the “FILE UNDER” menu to the left, Family: Ladybug) I thought I’d explain that in case it seemed bizarre that I was cropping out the best part of the photos… her beautiful little face. And believe me, I am taking tons of pictures that aren’t creepily-cropped, for my personal use.

I need to come up with some creative, identity-concealing photo tricks. Any photographer friends or fellow foster parents out there have suggestions?



Last year Jason and I celebrated 7 years of marriage and 11 years since our first date. It was our 7-11 year. I had been wanting to get some professional pictures done. It was time; we hadn’t had any done since our wedding. Sitting in front of a backdrop at a department store isn’t our thing so we commissioned our friend Beth Rose, who is an awesome photographer, to do some lifestyle portraits for us. And I had the perfect idea. A 7-Eleven photo shoot. I envisioned a local Slurpee selling gas station as our setting. Problem is, there aren’t ANY 7-Elevens in Nashville. None in Atlanta where we go to IKEA. None in Naples, FL where we went on vacation last year. None in Cincinnati where we frequently visit our friends. So I shelved the idea. Then, over Christmas we planned to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Emmaus, PA. Before our trip, I looked it up and sure enough, there is a 7-Eleven right near his house. I had a new solution: bring Slurpee cups back home and do the photo in Nashville in the spring. BR was game. (The cup designs exceeded my expectations!) I convinced myself that as long as we did the shoot before May, it was technically still our 7-11 year. But, I’m overdue in sharing these since we’re now absolutely in our 8-12 year. Ah well. But now that you know the back story, the cups will make sense.

(Cup-free pictures were posted here.)

I’m thinking of getting one of the three above (where the cups are prominent) blown up to poster size for something funky/different for the house. Leaning towards the 2nd from the bottom. Do you have a favorite?

All photos by Beth Rose Photography

8 Years


Happy Anniversary, Jason. You are my best friend, my biggest encourager, my rock. You make me laugh and feel loved like no one else. I think we’re a great team. Like peanut butter and jelly, you and me. I’m so glad to be by your side on this crazy adventure! I’ll forever be your wifey and you’ll always be my right hand man.

All photos by Beth Rose Photography

(One more photo and “8 Things We’ve Learned in 8 Year” here.)

A funny story about how we celebrated our anniversary will be coming tomorrow.

Where Children Sleep


I saw a link to this amazing photo documentary book called Where Children Sleep by James Mollison on the blog Design Mom. It’s a powerful and heart-breaking with photos of children from all over the world and the places they sleep. I guarantee it will change you.

Here’s a sampling:



Photography student Cristin Durning from Watkins College of Art & Design (my alma mater!) took some excellent photos of our home for a school project.

There are a few more on her portfolio website.

All photos © 2010 Cristin Durning.

Face It


I recently came across the website of photographer Francois Robert and fell in love with his clever Fine Art series. Here are a few of my favorites from Faces:




If you like these, check out Comparisons, Contents and From the Ground from this Fine Art series. He also has several other categories of photography in his portfolio.