No resolutions and gentle expectations

The other day we took our littles sledding with my sister and her family.  There was a wet slushy snow falling and a bitter wind chill, but it was a fantastic day.  We found the perfect hill, not so steep and not so short.  The kids took turns racing down the hill.  Our husbands added a jump at the bottom of the hill for excellent air.  A random man in sweatpants joined us, racing down the hill almost taking out my daughter and my brother in law in the process.  I visited with my sister, we took funny slow motion videos, the baby even went sledding while we giggled hysterically as she yelled “woo-hoo” all the way down.  Plus, nobody peed in their pants.  It was an epic day.  We were all frozen at the end of two hours and stopped at our favorite pizza place on the way home.

By the time I tucked my youngest into bed at night she wasn’t feeling well.  She ended up getting sick later that night.  As I sat rubbing her back and whispering quiet words to her, she started sobbing.  She apologized to me through her tears, saying she was so sorry she didn’t feel good and that I had to take care of her.  I told her that was my job and I was happy to do it and so sad she wasn’t feeling well.  I was heartbroken that she felt the need to apologize.  God gave me a family to care for.

As I lay in bed I thought about her apology and what must have been going through her head.  Even at such a young age she expects great and overwhelming things of herself.  She actually felt bad that I was rubbing her back and holding a cool washcloth to her forehead while she threw up.  Like she was putting me out.  Somehow we feel less than when we need help, as though it makes us weak to show our vulnerabilities.  It humanizes us, casting us in a raw light.

It is our vulnerabilities that make us real.  Our deep emotion, fear, and love.  This year I am making no resolutions.  Our life journey is challenging to navigate, expect gently from yourself and know that you are enough!



video of shame…oregon photographer

The other day I came home and heard my littlest little singing upstairs in her room. I quietly crept up the stairs and pulled my phone to film her sweetness. I couldn’t quite get a great angle without her hearing or seeing me and ended up getting a dresser view. I had this brilliant idea to sneakily hide it in her room, because she is just so cute when she thinks no one is watching. I turned it on and casually walked into her room. No crazy here, just your mom coming in to say hey. I pretended to look at her books on her shelf while I propped it onto her jewelry box, hit record, and left the room. I was hovering just outside her bedroom when it hit me how creepy this was. Had I actually set up a hidden camera in my daughter’s room to secretly film her? Am I that mom?

Little’s are just so adorable when they think no one is watching. My daughter laughs and plays with her imaginary friends over tea parties, barks and growls at her stuffed puppy, and sings endless made-up songs while crafting Barbie dresses out of old socks. I cherish these secret moments my little’s have in their world of childhood fascination. Children live in a brilliant made-up world full of wonder and excitement. As they grow into adults they set aside their youthful sense of enchantment for a more mature presence. Since I can’t hang out at school in the coatroom watching them everyday, wait, is that allowed? It might be a thing, I will make sure to look into it. The point is, as a parent I desperately want to grab hold of these fleeting memories with both hands and keep them fresh in my mind forever. I will just remember to be thankful for everyday I get with them and enjoy who they are right now and the magnificent people they are growing in to.

Filled with shame and embarrassment I snuck back in and retrieved the device, deleted the recording, and swore to myself never to do that again.

I’ll probably do it again.

There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 6200-6500 days from birth until high school graduation…make each one count!


Seriously, just smile…Oregon photographer

I often get the same question from my clients…how do you get such gorgeous family pictures every year? I bet your kids are so well behaved for you “because you’re a photographer”. Actually, the opposite is true. My children are frequently disinclined to go along with my photographic whims and desires. It’s typically a big dramatic ordeal where I use my mommy voice, pleade, sometimes…often…yell and threaten to get them to just pretend or fake that we are a big happy family. Someone always has an issue sitting next to or putting their arm around someone else. There is always an argument about what they don’t want to wear or about the way someone smells, or who touched whom. It’s the same thing my clients children go through, only worse. Your kids actually listen to me, mine, totally don’t.

The reality of it is, kids just plain don’t want to be forced to do something their parents require, unless it’s fun. Then even still there is this natural objection they have to a parents suggestion. You are not alone, even the photographer has a rough go of it when trying to coerce their kids to cooperate for a family memory. Sometimes you just need to be content with the memory of how your kids are now, or just relax and let them be themselves. I find that the less I freak out, the more my chickens participate in the family activities, specifically pictures. Don’t give up, they will appreciate these memories as they get older and possibly, if you’re lucky, thank you for making them participate.



Evelyn = hazelnut…..Oregon newborn photographer

Do you remember those framed prints with your name and it’s meaning printed out that you could buy at the fair? I was always so excited to read mine and wanted it so bad. I couldn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t pay $45 so I could hang it on my wall. It was so unfair

I have an affinity for names, baby names in particular. There is so much potential for lovely original names, passed-along favorite family names, traditional or new age names, even food names! My youngest little names everything from stuffed to real pets after food. Her first cat was named nacho, and her second…nacho dos. Not that I’m recommending you name your baby nacho, but Mrs. Paltrow did name her daughter Apple, so…

One of my favorite, and terrifying, things as a mother was trying to decide on a name for my unborn babies. The challenge sometimes seemed as overwhelming as it was exciting. I mean, we had to pick a name for a tiny person we didn’t even know. What if it didn’t fit? Seriously, what if it didn’t? And what if they didn’t like it? I knew a guy in college who changed his name to Riddle when he was 18 because Chris was just never the right fit for him. I digress. As daunting a task as this is, parents also have to agree. Its a big job. Ultimately the process brought my husband and I closer and me closer to each of my children, helping to develop our bond.

My brother & sister had a darling baby girl in May. As with most babies on my husbands side, she looks just like her dad and uncles. The wives brunette features just can’t compete with the crazy dominant genetics on those blonde boys. She is gorgeous. Her mothers delicate face, her fathers pouty lips, and the perfect cheeks. Her name is Evelyn Poe, and I’m pretty in love with her. Evelyn is of French origin, derived from the word aveline, meaning hazelnut.

Enjoy these images of my new niece, sweet little hazelnut that she is, Evelyn.





Holed up…

My family is under the weather in the severe sense. So far I am well, but feel something lingering not too far off, just waiting for my vulnerability to surface. My energy is down and I am feeling run ragged between three kids with various ailments and needs. It is easy to feel under appreciated and sometimes envious of parents that work outside the home on a regular basis. Especially with a youth hospital wing set up in my living room. Working out of my home office and on location for shooting, I often find myself getting frustrated with the constant interruptions, whining and bickering that goes on amongst the troops. The truth of the matter is though, this is exactly where I want to be. I talk all the time about wanting to “be there” for my kids. This is exactly what that means. They need me to put their hair up when they’re sick, to put a cool cloth on their foreheads, make them soup, and get them Popsicles. I feel blessed that I have a job that allows for sick days and family. Even though I get interrupted frequently, I am happy with my lot. This is my most important job, in sickness, and in health. I just keep thinking about the words of a smart fish, just keep swimming!

Join me this summer for some fun, family centered, special shoots. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for details soon to come!

why yes that is a scrunchie in my hair…portland senior portrait photographer

We all have old school pictures somewhere, tucked away in a box on the bookshelf at our parents house or maybe hidden in frames behind current pictures.  We are wearing out of date clothes, lipstick with names like “It’s your mauve” and “Brazil nut”.  Some of us were lucky enough to have a permed mullet or to get glamor shots (you know who you are).   I always felt like they were embarrassments meant to be pulled out and giggled at with boyfriends and distant relatives.  Like my parents knew how bad my style was and wanted to have something to laugh at in years to come, when really they just love me.  Plain and simple.

The truth is, your youth should be celebrated.  Especially your senior year.  Never again in your life do you really have every path laid out before you.  You can literally choose to do anything you want to, ANYTHING.  You are going to make mistakes, you will probably trip and fall (not literally although that is also a possibility), and you will find out who your true friends are.  Senior year is all about the very best time in your life as you are embarking into that super scary world of being an adult.  Trust me when I say this, you really will miss this time in your life as it just goes too fast.  So slow down, celebrate this year and embrace how truly awesome you are.

It pretty much boils down to this…is this how you want to look back and remember senior year…

SIDE NOTE: when my sweet little 7 year old saw this she batted her eyes, looked up at me and said “mom, did anyone like you? I mean when you looked like…this?”

Or do you want to remember how amazing your senior year was like this…


I will help you create a one of a kind senior experience with a custom portrait session that is totally you.

~Be amazing, not ordinary~

call to secure your date




They smell of moonlight and childhood…Portland portrait photographer

I adore my children, really quite a lot. They are all individually spectacular and quirky and I would want to hang out with them even if I wasn’t parentally obligated to. I have endeavored this year more than any other to simply enjoy my children in the stages they are in. Of course I miss them being babies but I also truly enjoyed them when they were smaller and do so now. Our lives don’t slow down and I find it important to strive to find contentment in our every day. Otherwise I feel like I am not only mourning the loss of their babyhood, but I am missing out on their now-ness which is so amazing. We recently had a few “big” milestones in our household. Our tallest and oldest daughter became a teenager, our littlest lost her face changing two front teeth, and our freckled boy in the middle made the minors team in baseball.

I have secretly been frightened of the “terrible teens” and how they supposedly snap your sweet well mannered child into a horrible spiteful nightmare seemingly overnight. On the day of her 13th birthday I found that I eyed the clock nervously waiting until the exact moment 13 years ago when she was born. I had visions of the second hand clicking into place and her head spinning around poltergeist style while she spewed nasty words from her once sweet mouth. This, fortunately, did not come to pass and she simply said thank you for an awesome birthday and skipped off to her room to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. My husband and I stared at each other blankly for a moment then had a victory glass of wine for a parenting job well done and did the same. Although she didn’t turn into a werewolf or slam a door in our faces, we did notice some subtle changes in her. She has always been a really exceptional kid, and I am not just saying that because we share DNA. She’s polite, kind hearted, compassionate, responsible, and tries as much as possible to stay out of and not cause drama. Since becoming a teenager she has worked harder in school, taken more pride in her appearance, and gotten herself ready quicker in the morning so she can catch the bus and arrive early to school for extra homework help. I am so enjoying the person she is and looking forward to the young woman she is becoming.

My littlest has been keeping the tooth fairy busy with 6 lost teeth in a year, the most recent and face changing her front two. I was a bit surprised when as that second small front tooth popped out of her mouth I burst into tears. What on earth was I doing? I didn’t just twist, tug, and pull a tooth free from my gums. I wasn’t bleeding, so why was I crying? My last baby just lost her last big tooth. Her last one, my last baby. This would never happen again. Well, barring an unfortunate dodgeball event at recess or a mis-step in hopscotch that is. I realized that one tiny lost tooth signified for me the loss of her babyhood. The restructuring of all three of my babies into big kids. I suddenly felt like I had missed out on so much, yet I have been blessed to be home with them sharing in everything. I felt in that one moment an enormous sense of loss and fulfillment all at once. Over a tooth, go figure! I immediately took her to my studio and photographed her beautiful transition into a young lady. She is outstanding! (And quite possibly my one kid that will morph into a teenage werewolf in a few years.)

Last year we signed our son up for rookie baseball thinking we were pretty rad parents. We got him cool gear, broke in his glove, and practiced with him in the yard. Well apparently a few of his buddies tried out and made it onto a higher level team. Our son was pretty convinced he was on the wrong team and that we should have signed him up on the minors team with his friends. Not as rad as we once thought. He played (and complained about it) the whole season and this year made sure we signed him up for the right team. The one catch, he had to try out. Our son is a really good athlete but doesn’t always focus come game time…squirrel! He likes to do his own thing and struggles to follow direction at times. That being said, last year he played an entire game of flag football in the pouring rain refusing to be subbed. He ended up tackling, or grabbing the flag, on almost every play and receiving the defensive player of the season award for that game. He also ended up with a month of pneumonia. He is one of the smartest kids I have met, constantly asking questions and trying to figure out how things work. He pushes limits and makes new ones. I already think he is a pretty cool individual but am so excited to see where his life takes him. Oh yeah, and he made the team.

Each night we send our kids up to bed to dream of exciting adventures and of the impossible. One by one we tuck them in and as I breath in I catch the scent of moonlight and childhood, sweetness and life, honey and earth. Everything that is good, fresh, and promising. I truly do adore my children and know they are going to be amazing grownups someday. For now, however, I will treasure them just as they are. Silly, quirky, and mine.

*moonlight is the sweet smell you breathe in as you kiss your sweet child’s cheek goodnight and see the moonbeams washing through their window and dancing across their face.


my three littles