Family friendly hiking.

In an effort to continually expose our kids to new things, especially in nature, and keep them (and us) active, we hiked to the Fifth water hot springs in Diamond Fork Canyon in Utah.

It is a MUST do for a hiking adventure.

Annnd because I had to heft a human child on my back, the big girl camera was left at home and these are all iphone pics courtesy of myself and my husband Mike.

It was more of a walk than a hike.  Our girls, who were 8 and 6, easily made it with minimal complaining.  Our 3 year old probably could have done it as well, but we didn’t want to go that slow.
So we packed him and our 1 year old in on our backs.  I think it was a little over 2 miles each way.

We brought swimsuits and a change of clothes, as well as lunch to eat by the springs.

On the internet it said a lot of things about naked people being there.  Mercifully, we didn’t see any.

The hike up was beautiful.  Kind of reminded me of hiking in Hawaii.  Seriously.  Super green.  Trees branching over the paths.  Little stream running by.

As you get closer you can start to smell the springs.  And the water in the river starts to get warmer.  Our kids thought that was pretty awesome.

When we got to the top, we ate lunch, then played around in the different pools.

Definitely worth a visit.  We’ll be going back.  When the kids get a little older, I want to do it in the winter.

Why we have to get those pictures off our computers!!!

One of the greatest technological advancements and pure gifts in my generation is digital photography.  Because it is accessible to everyone and allows us to document our lives and the lives of our families in an affordable and easy way.

Here’s the thing though.  We take pictures.  If you’re like me, you take a LOT of pictures.  And then what happens?  They sit.  On our phones.  On our card readers.  On our computer.

And how crappy would it be if this gem just stayed on my computer where no one could see it and enjoy?!

I am guilty of this as much as anyone.  But that’s changing.  Right now.  And forever.

Because truly, the photographs I take are among the most cherished things I have.  Right up there with my husband, my kids, my boat, and my bed.  ūüôā  If there was only one material thing I could keep in this world, it would be my pictures.  Because my pictures are the story of my life.  Of my family’s life.  It’s what we do.  It’s who we are.

But my husband and kids have probably only seen about 7% of the pictures I’ve taken.  Because they’re sitting on my computer.  That my kids aren’t allowed to touch for fear of death.  Or a broken leg.  (I’m kidding.  You can read here how he scored that cute little cast)

This is the year I have committed to stop thinking about things and start doing things. Starting with the things that are most important.  Like photographs.  And how to get all four of my kids to sleep through the night.  Sigh.

So join me in this quest to get the pictures OFF the computer and OUT where they can make a difference!

Click here for STEP 1.

There is a season

A scripture I think of often.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die…A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance….
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away…
A time of war, and a time of peace….”
               Ecclesiastes chapter 3

I get ahead of myself alot.  Move to seasons in my mind that my actual life isn’t ready for yet.

Projects I’d like to do.  Things I’d like to finish.  Things I’d like to start.  A business I’d like to grow.  Books I’d like to write (yea, books).

And I have to often remind myself, “To every thing there is a season….”  To every thing, there is a season.  And sometimes, I have to be more patient for certain seasons to come, and certain seasons to end.

God has this whole thing figured out.  He’s pretty smart.

For now, my season is little people.  And lots of messes.  And lots of laughter.  And a whole lot of tears.  Very little alone time.  Very little personal time.  Constant dependence.  Teaching.  Enduring.  Enjoying.  Cleaning.  Cleaning.  And more cleaning.  Homework.  Reading.  Bedtime (that takes far too long).  Morning routines before school.

Little people.  Man how I love them.  And already miss things they do even though they’re still doing them.  How is that even possible?

As hard as having four little kids is, I’d freeze them if I could.  I truly would.  Because I know things to come are only going to be harder.

To every thing, there is a season…..

I promise they get calcium.

And yes they drink milk.  And take Calcium vitamins.  We have BAD luck with broken legs around here.

Carter broke his leg when he was about 17 months old.  Jumping on the couch.  He cried for about 30 seconds and then was fine.  But he had a slight (very slight) limp for about a week so we took him in to get him checked.  Just to be safe.  And while he was literally running around the pediatrician’s office, she came out and told me it was broken.

This is him playing soccer in the street after he broke his leg but before we took him to the doctor.

He cried harder getting the cast on than he did when he broke his leg.  Not because it hurt.  He didn’t want people touching him.

He recovered from cast trauma quickly.


While he had the cast on, he also got pink eye.  Hot.  Mess.

He adapted to regular life with a cast quite quickly.

He refused to wear the protective boot.  So we tried to protect it with socks.  That didn’t work either.  He busted through the first cast after one week and had to get another cast put on.

Carter then broke his other leg just before he turned 3.  Jumping on the tramp.  On his dad’s birthday.  He was on there with his older sisters and cousins.  And they bounced him too high.  And then took the bounce out of the tramp.  At least that’s what we guessed happen.  There were no reliable witness’s.  But we knew from the way he acted that it was broken.  He is a physically tough (but emotionally fragile) little boy.

This brake was worse than the first one.  He had to be in a hard splint for a week before we could put a cast on.  And he wasn’t allowed to walk.  That was tricky getting him around while having a baby around too.

Getting the cast on this time was much less traumatizing for both of us.

Relaxed as could be.  No worries, ladies.  I’ve been here before.

Then it was off to target to get his “wheelchair” a.k.a skateboard, and a sharpie so people could sign his cast.

He wasn’t allowed to walk on it for 3 weeks.  It was a long 3 weeks.

Once he was allowed to walk, I told him “You can walk now”.  So he stood up, took a few steps, looked at me in complete surprise and said “I CAN WALK!!!  I CAN WALK!!!”  I think in his little mind he thought he’d never walk again.  It brought tears to my eyes.  What a blessing that it was just a little broken leg that would eventually heal and not a lifetime battle we would have to fight like some parents do with their kids.

He again adapted quickly.

And broke through this cast as well.  We just put duct tape on it.  Duct tape fixes everything.

He doesn’t like loud noises.

And then Caleb, in an effort to be just like his brother (which he tries to do daily) broke his leg falling off my sisters front porch steps when he was about 18 months old.  He thought he could walk down the steps going forward.  Turns out he couldn’t.  And we knew right away, having dealt with Carter’s prior broken leg, that it was broken.  But we waited for one day so we could take him to our own pediatrician.  We’re running out of instacare’s to take the boys to without having to worry about DCFS.

Caleb was allowed to put weight on his and walk, but he wouldn’t.  For about 10 days.  It was a long 10 days.

He started pulling the “stuffing” out, so he got his cast off a few days early.

Carter.  Still not diggin’ loud noises.

Here’s to hoping we’ve got all our broken legs out of the way.

The “every day”

When I started doing photography it was 100% for the money. ¬†Not because I was passionate about photography or shutter speeds or f-stops. ¬†Not because I was artistic or creative and I needed an outlet. ¬†Not because I had a “good eye” or was naturally talented at taking pictures. ¬†I saw an opportunity to make money (which I like) photography sports (which I LOVE) so I went for it.

My perspective when I first started as a photographer and my perspective now are radically different.

The truth is, I still don’t take pictures because I’m passionate about photography. ¬†I take pictures because I’m passionate about the people IN the pictures. ¬†And the stories of their lives.


When I learned how to take pictures of people (not just sports), I knew my style wouldn’t be typical. ¬†I quickly started to learn how powerful a photograph can be. ¬†Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. ¬†A photograph can be more than just a photograph. ¬†A photograph can show a persons soul. ¬†It has the ability to tell the world who someone IS. ¬†And that’s not a small thing.


As my style developed as a photographer, my mission became to focus on personality and relationships.  To have emotion in my photographs.  To tell, without words, who someone is.

Sometimes a perfect memory can be ruined if put to words  Nova Ren Suma


I attended a seminar where another photographer said “The power we possess to bring out someone’s inner most soul is an art form. ¬†We allow people to see pas their insecurities and see who they really are.” ¬†I believe that.


This has completely changed the way I take pictures of my own children.  And the importance I give to the photographs I take (and display) of them.


As a parent, one of my main goals is to allow my children to be who they already are.  Images are one way I can help them discover who that is.  Photography has become a tool in my life to help me be a more intentional, present, and aware mom.  To appreciate my children more.  To be aware of who they are and who they are becoming.  To document their lives.  The good AND the bad.  And to document our families story.

Photography has given me more patience. ¬†More love. ¬†More compassion. ¬†More awareness. ¬†And most importantly, more intention to live a purposeful life. ¬†That’s why it’s SO important to me and why I want to share that gift with other people.

It’s the every day stuff. ¬†What they do from day to day that show who they are. ¬†So in my opinion, the pictures I take of my kids in my own home are by far the most important kind.

Photography is a gift because it allows us to see the beauty in what can feel routine and mundane.” ¬†Ashley Campbell.




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