Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Pumpkin Patch 2015

Friday, October 23rd, 2015



Outtake time.






A favorite from this year:


My kids have come to enjoy taking portraits at the pumpkin patch.  They remember photos that I have taken of them in the past, and they like to re-create some of those.

I love the fall and the change of season–even though it takes a while to feel it in San Antonio.  I also like pumpkin patch pictures because they encourage me as a photographer.  I have gotten pretty good at making the pumpkin patch at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church look pretty luxurious–even thought is small and has a lot of cluttered backgrounds. (Maybe I will do a pumpkin patch photography clinic one day. . .)

After School

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

There is a dizzy-ing, repetitve intensity to my days.

Although I love my kids and they are precious to me, seeing 3:13 p.m. on the clock tempts me to be anxious.



No matter where I am in the house, I can always hear the tell-tale thud of a boy hurtling himself at the door. . . which is almost always unlocked at this time.

Sometimes they also ring the door bell repeatedly.  And I can feel my heart race faster and my blood pressure rise.


The door slams closed.  Backpacks skid across the floor.  And both boys start talking to me simultaneously–

…about how they fell during gym;

…about how a girl bugged them by stepping on their shoes while waiting in line;

…about an important note that they received from a teacher;

…about an upcoming field trip;

…about how many pages they’ve read in a book;

…about how they don’t want to do homework;

…about how they had a conflict with another kid walking home from school; and

…about how the other brother walked too slow or ran too fast as they headed home.

And it is just a lot to take in.  And respond to well.


They clean out their lunches, take off their shoes, put important papers on the counter, start to get out their homework supplies, and wash their hands.

(Well, at least they claim that they have washed their hands.  I often call their bluff.  They offer proof, “Do you want to smell my hands?”  Um, no thanks.)

After school, it is challenging to check the boxes.

After school, it is challenging to relate to one another.

Carter, in particular, creates an environment of emotional intensity and unpredictability.  Little things set him off.

I bring my own anger and fears and intensity to the table too.  I lose my cool.  I too live like I am fundamentally alone and have to fend for myself.

I know of grace and forgiveness, but I often experience alone-ness and guilt.


Normally, Emmeline comes home around 3:45 p.m.  This day, she was sick.

When your kid is sick, it is awful to see him/her suffer.  You realize your limitations as a parent.

When your kid is sick, it is like your whole day gets put in a blender without the lid and the spin button gets pushed.



No matter what happens with one child, in a sense, the show must go on.  I’m always looking for a pause button.  But there just isn’t one.


This afternoon, I took the boys to our gym for their kids’ CrossFit class.  A lot of my life feels like  a carefully timed scavenger hunt.  (“Be here at this time with this person and this stuff.”)

And life feels this full even though we have tried to be strategic in our selection of activities.


We spend a lot of time here as a family.  There is a wonderful sense of challenge and community in our gym.

Carter and Harrison’s enthusiasm for CrossFit reminds me of how kids usually end up being passionate about what you are passionate about.

Being active, working hard, welcoming others, nurturing community, being creative, making and eating good food, learning over a lifetime, and living in light of the gospel–these passions are ones that I hope our kids absorb.



Homework often feels like this.  This day, I was calling out spelling test words for both boys.  They hate that I make them do this.



Emmeline is pretty self-sufficient with homework.  Obviously, this day she wasn’t up to doing any work.

Carter needs regular accountability.

During this season of life, Harrison needs a lot of reading support.  He has to work for every gain in reading.  Like all of my kids, he is in Spanish Immersion so he is learning to read in Spanish and in English.

It seems so costly and inconvenient to slow down and work with him during this crazy time of day.  I hope it pays off.  I need to remember that I am not the author of my kids’ life stories, including their learning.


Next, I called out Carter’s spelling words.

This expression of anxiety and worry is reflective of Carter’s complex interior world.


Where is my multi-tool?  Where is my survival gear box?


With older kids, some things have gotten easier.  Now, my kids can bathe themselves.  I usually just double check Harrison after he is soaped and then after he is rinsed.


These angry words and complaints captured below were directed at me.  Seeing this image made me laugh.  However, in the moment, these complaints strike a nerve.

My kids’ words often highlight certain lies that I am tempted to believe–lies like “You must do this [fill in the blank] in order to be loved.”


So much of my life revolves around food in terms of meal planning, shopping, prepping, and cleaning up after meals.  This night, we had hummus.

We were hosting a group at our house after the kids went to bed, so I knew the hummus could double as an appetizer.


Sometimes my life feels like the movie “Groundhog Day”–except I never get it right.


Tomorrow will look mostly the same.  We might have a different snack.  We might read a different book.  We might have conflicts about different things.  We might go to a different place.  We might eat a different dinner.

However, we will check many of the same boxes.  And more significantly, we will struggle to love one another in the midst of this swirling activity.

These dizzying, repetitive days painfully remind me that I cannot put my worth in my kids’ happiness.  I cannot put my worth in my kids’ academic or athletic success.  I cannot put my hope in our schooling choice.  I cannot put my worth in my kids’ health.  I cannot tie my identity to my kids’ emotional well-being.  I cannot put my worth in my own work and box-checking.  I cannot put my worth in our punctuality.  I cannot put my worth in my mood or feelings.

I cannot put my worth in my own goodness; my kids expose so much of my brokenness.  I need more.  I need hope.

I am choosing to take God at His Word and not trust my feelings or look to others–especially my children–for my identity.  I need the power of His Spirit.  I need to know of Christ’s love more.  I need God to act on my behalf and for His glory in my life–especially after school.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Young Marriage/ Old House/ New Baby

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

I have known Bekah through many life stages–as a daughter and sister, as an intern, as a single woman, as an engaged woman, as a product manager, as a world traveler, as a writer, as a married woman, and now as a mom.


Throughout all of these transformations, she has remained my friend.

And Bekah has known me through the years as well.  She has watched my family grow and change.  And she has participated in my growth as a photographer often as my “willing subject” for photography assignments–both those assigned by my teachers and those self-assigned.  I think I have done more photo shoots with her than anyone else–other than  my own family members.

I first photographed Bekah as a daughter here in January of 2009:


I photographed her in a parking lot here later in 2009:


and in another parking lot (HERE),

during an engagement shoot here:


as a bride (HERE),

and on her wedding day on 10.10.10 (HERE),

I snapped this shot when I first met Moira this past spring:



In December, Bekah and her husband Lewis invited me to tell the story of their life with their precious daughter, Moira, in their old house in San Antonio.  How could I possibly say no to that?




































Bekah, you are one loved woman.  I see God’s work and care for you in your life over the years.  I see the beauty in your story.  I am thankful that I know you.



Bekah & Lewis, you all are such a perfect match for each other.  Your daughter is a delightful little alert and happy person–the perfect addition to your family.

Maybe one day I will get to photograph her when she becomes a mom.

Callie’s Family

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with my friend Callie and her family. Callie and I “met” online while taking a photography course. After figuring out that she lived in Austin and I lived in San Antonio (about 1 1/2 hrs. apart), we met in the middle in a town called New Braunfels. Since then, we’ve met every few months to talk shop and hang out. We have grown as friends and photographers in the last couple of years.

Callie’s work reminds me of clean, white, crisp hotel sheets. It’s classic and substantive. She isn’t after “flash”, she is after emotional connection. Take a look and see what I mean by clicking HERE.

A year or so ago, she proposed a photo swap. I would shoot her family then she would shoot mine. After months of patient waiting (on her part!), we finally scheduled it and made it happen.


This was kind of my dream shoot. I felt like I could shoot like “me” and be myself.
I came to capture their home life and tell their story.


Callie’s daughter is a spirited girl with spunk to spare. She is a straight-shooter.
At one point during the shoot, all she could think about was a jelly sandwich. We took a break and grabbed a bite to eat. She got her wish. I could have photographed her eating for hours.


Callie’s son is an inquisitive, interactive boy and an eager learner. It was so fun to meet him in person after seeing him in so many photos.




Super Mom meets Super Girl.


My favorite kids’ author/illustrator + creative use of a book = girl genius (in my mind)




Thanks so much, Callie, for letting me get to know you and your family.
Thank you for busting you tail to take photos of my family. Can’t wait to see the finished result!
Mike, you worked so hard too! Thanks for making it easy for me.


Sunday, October 6th, 2013

I blogged earlier about how much fun our family has been having at Saturday Morning Discovery at The Southwest School of Art. For four Saturdays, we have enjoyed origami, collage, pastels, watercolor, clay and screen printing.

We chose to do clay every single Saturday this month. The kids loved it so much!

Devine Acres Farm

Friday, October 4th, 2013

I got to spend a warm Friday with Harrison and his friends at Devine Acres Farm.

We did some pumpkin painting.

We learned about farm animals.

We fed some goats.

And we washed out hands. . . several times.

We learned about the life cycle of pumpkins and how a Christmas tree farms runs.
The highlight, though, was the duck races.

It’s simple: old-fashioned water pumps + gutters + rubber ducks + kid power
= a ton of fun.

This is why I love little boys:
“This is WAY more fun than a bath!!!”

Ballet Recital 2013

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Emmie danced in her second recital this summer.
We are thankful for all of the wonderful instruction she has received from Connally’s Dance Workshop.

We enjoyed a lot of skilled and beautiful dancing in different styles.
If Emmie sticks with it, she has a lot to look forward to . . .

Emmeline, I enjoy watching you dance! You have worked really hard, and it is paying off.

And They’re Off: Back to School 2013-2014

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Today the kids went back to school.
Emmeline is in 5th grade.
Carter is in 3rd grade.
And Harrison is in 1st grade.

This is the magical year when all three kids will be in one school.
(I guess there is a benefit to being kind of crazy and having three kids close together, right?)

It was a drizzly, humid start to the day.

I’ve learned to take my back to school pics mostly after the school day.
The kids are usually too nervous and focused on getting into their classrooms in time to relax for a few photos.

I’m pretty happy that Carter found a shirt that he approved of. He has a particular sense of style, and I want to honor that. This shirt has a bit of humor in it which reflects his personality.

Harrison begins Spanish Immersion this year so he will be learning a new language. For our family, Spanish Immersion is a rite of passage and synonymous with starting first grade.

A rare group photo:

Carter picked Harrison up after school and brought him outside to meet me. They beat Emmie out the door. They were happy to see me 🙂

There’s a little bit of a bro-mance going on here:

Check back in about 24 hours. I intended to ask each kid about their favorite part of the day, but I forgot and now they are crashed out.

The Williams Family

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Meet the Williams Family.

This is one of the reasons why the Williams’ backyard is littered with all kinds of sports equipment.
Dad was a great catcher.
Curious George took one for the team.
Trammell knocked it out of the ballpark (and luckily, not into my lens).

A mom is someone who can turn this. . .

. . . into this. What a privilege!

It is hard to keep up with Alan and Trammell.
The two of them have regular races on their driveway.

Teammates Matter. 🙂

Boot wearing takes balance.

Have you ever been so happy that your toes curl?

Thank you, Amanda and Alan, for inviting me to document your life with your two babies!

Henry & Wyatt

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with these two brothers, Henry and Wyatt. I’ve know them since they were little, but I got to know them in a whole new light after photographing them.

I am looking forward to seeing God continue to unfold His faithfulness to each of them and to their precious family.