Colorado . 2013

We recently were able to spend a week in one of our favorite places in America… Colorado. These are the times that I feel incredibly blessed to do what I do for a living… photographing weddings in some of the most beautiful places and bringing my family along for some time away. Our goal is to book at least one wedding in Colorado every year… so tell your friends!!

We were really able to relax and reconnect during our time in the mountains near Durango, CO. From the outset, I decided that it would be best for both me and for my family if I made this an Instagram-free vacation. I moved both Instagram + Facebook to the very last screen on my phone so I wouldn’t be tempted to mindlessly click on it, and I resisted the urge to post every single photo I took of our trip for everyone to see. This was the absolutely best decision I’ve made in a long time. I was really able to be present with my family and not think about impressing people on the internet every moment of the day.

I also decided that I was going to leave behind my digital camera when we went on walks and stuff. I was armed only with my iPhone and my film camera. I haven’t sent my film off to get developed yet, but this is what was captured with my iPhone. I used VSCO CAM to shoot and edit every one of these photos right after I took them. I love this powerful photography tool that really allowed me to capture memories quickly and not spend forever behind my computer editing photos. My iPhone will now be my go-to camera on vacations!

Colorado01 Colorado02 Colorado03 Colorado04 Colorado05 Colorado06 Colorado07 Colorado08 Colorado09 Colorado10 Colorado11 Colorado12 Colorado13 Colorado14 Colorado15 Colorado16 Colorado17 Colorado18 Colorado19 Colorado20 Colorado21 Colorado22 Colorado23 Colorado24 Colorado25 Colorado26 Colorado27 Colorado28 Colorado29 Colorado30All images shot and processed on iPhone using VSCO CAM.

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Horse Obsession!

Our little guy is absolutely OBSESSED with horses. The first few days we thought it may just be a fad. Turns out, horses are here to stay. If you meet D, YOU will soon become a horse to be pulled around the house… ridden on… locked in the closet because you’ve been a bad horse… you get the picture.

Early on, we were told that it would be a good idea to get him a stuffed animal of some sort so that he could have something to hold and confide in when he gets sad. So, we decided to get him the horse pictured above. He was SO excited about it. However, just as important as finding the perfect horse was finding a rope to tie around his neck to lead him around the house. Awesome. We have such a cowboy on our hands. Not what I was expecting!

The same day that we got him the $15 horse, we decided to give his family a call so that he could talk to them since he misses them tremendously… one of the first things he told them was that he “got a horse”. He didn’t bother to tell them that it was about a foot tall… and made out of cotton. We were whispering in his ear that he should tell them that he “got it” from Walmart. Eventually he did, and they all laughed and we sighed with relief that they no longer thought that we were trying to buy his love or something!

We’ve been trying to figure out how to make his room more personal for him. Last week, the thought went through my mind that I should get some horse photos printed that I shot several months ago for a client. So, I ordered some big prints and surprised him the other day. His face lit up as if magic had landed right in his room. He has been staring at the horses and dreaming up stories about them every since.

I love the power of photographs.

I love watching his mind speed through creative scenarios that he makes up.

Sugar. Tee-Tee. Old Man. Horses.

Well… Happy MLK Day to all…

What a crazy few days we’ve had around here. Sara and I looked at each other the other day and said, why does it look like we are parents of a newborn? We were completely worn out and felt like our entire day revolved around starring at and playing with D.

Things are starting to level out though. Just when I get really frustrated with the way he acts or talks to us or something, I have to remember that just 3 days ago this 5 yr old was yanked out of his normal and placed into something that could not be more abnormal. Shoot… as a 26 yr old, I would probably not be behaving much better!

We’re learning and laughing a lot.

Our first breakfast consisted of me trying to get him to eat… while not having a clue what he normally eats. We agreed on toast. I paired it with a cold glass of organic milk and thought we would be good to go. He just starred at it. We talked for a bit and figured out that he normally eats oatmeal. Awesome. We have that. So we cooked it up. It was the instant kind that is already sweet with lots of sugar. He took one bite and said, “where’s the suga?” We went back and forth for a bit until I sprinkled a tiny bit more in from our huge container (the health major in me was cringing… this was everything I was trained to NOT do). “Put the WHOLE thing in there… I ain’t eatin’ that!” Then he took a sip of his wonderfully organic milk… “There ain’t no suga in this… where’s the suga?!?”

You get the picture… it was quite the sugar catastrophe that I wasn’t prepared for. Gradually, we’re eating less and less sugar. Here’s for hoping!

Other fun things:

As we’re getting out of the car from shopping the other night, D tells Sara, “I gotta potty!”… Sara: “Alright, let’s go in the… D! Not on the driveway!!” Before she could even respond, he had whipped it out and was spewing all over the driveway. Can’t punish him for something that he thought would be normal. Now he knows that’s not OK.

He’s definitely still in the “figuring things out” phase. Learning that referring to me as “Old Man” doesn’t go over well. Realizing that when he sneaks into my office and gets on the computer, he will quickly end up on his bed in time-out.

All in all… he’s a really smiley kid who loves to play and have fun. He pretends that everything is a horse and enjoys yelling at his imaginary dog.

So this is our life right now. Always something new.

putting things on hold

I was about half way through writing my post for today’s Friday Photography Insight when the phone rang yesterday. For the past 3 weeks, we have been officially licensed foster parents… just waiting for the call.

If you’re a client and have called later at night thinking that surely I would not answer my phone and you actually had to talk to me, that’s because I definitely thought that YOU were our caseworker calling us with a possible foster placement. Lots of disappointing realizations to say the least.

But, as I was sitting at my computer writing about ISO (that’s what the next post will be about), the phone rang and I answered.

A 5 year old boy… we’ll call him “D” here on the interwebs.

Sara and I had a game plan for when such a call would come. I would immediately text her phone and say “CALL ME” (had to be in all caps)… I would also send her an email and any other thing I could do to get her attention. As soon as she could pull herself away from her class she would call me and we’d make the final decision.

She called back pretty darn quickly. I answered and heard her yelling in the background to her kids, “I SAAIID SIT DOWN!”. I knew at that point that she meant business! We decided that there was no reason why we shouldn’t accept the placement, and within a matter of hours, we had a little 5 year old sitting in our living room.

It has been a whirlwind of a day… it’s been emotional and hard… but, it’s also been hopeful and exciting.

So, the next few days will involve us getting to know each other better. If I don’t respond to an email super-fast, you’ll have to just get over that! 🙂

Here’s to the journey ahead… a journey that promises to pull us closer to the Lord for our strength and dependence. We appreciate all prayers for us and for D.

Two Years and Counting!

Two years ago today, I said, “I do” to the most beautiful woman that I know. The last two years have been refining for the both of us. We’ve been able to laugh and cry and at the end of it realize that we still love spending time with each other way more than with anyone else. I love that we both make the same jokes about things and create the same awkward situations. I pride myself in the fact that we are known as the couple that makes the inappropriate comments around our friends! If it was just one of us, it would be kinda an issue, but since we both have NO filter, it makes life all the more fun!

Sara, I can not wait to spend the rest of my life with you by my side… to experience the things that we’ll experience this next year with none other than my best friend.

I. Love. You.

Side Note :: To those of you who are contemplating getting married a few days after Christmas (as we did), realize that when you get ready to celebrate your anniversary in a town like Bryan/College Station, there will be ZERO cool restaurants open because apparently unless you are student in this town, you are worthless.

World AIDS Day 2010 : I Remember

Just last night I was visiting with a couple while riding home from a photo shoot… we got to talking about my experience in Malawi… I made the comment that I couldn’t believe that it’s been two and a half years since I boarded a plane and said my last goodbyes to that wonderful place. It is really scary how time gets away from you… I’m starting to understand what my dad means when he makes those statements.

Each year, days like today sneak up on me. I promised to never forget the things I saw. There is no doubt that I won’t forget the things I saw. But the reality is… I woke up today, and were it not for Twitter, I would have no clue that it is World AIDS Day. Each year, I find myself further and further away from my connections with the reality that people all over the world are suffering from a disease that is crippling societies… destroying families… stripping the last strands of hope that people are holding on to.

Yeah… it’s been two and a half years since I left that place. But, there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t think about Malawi. It may be a cup of hot tea that I drink in the morning… a dish that we have for dinner one night… when I just naturally call one of the kids in our Life Group “Iwe”… or give Sara and sad face when she is complaining about something and say “pepani” (“sorry”… said in a very childish-tone… yeah… I’m mean like that!).

Today I remember.

Today I’m wearing the shirt that a Malawian friend made me… randomly I already had it on before I remembered it was AIDS Day.

Today it is important that our friends and neighbors around the world know that they are not alone in this fight.

For those of you who didn’t know… I lived in Malawi, Africa for almost a year working with a program called HOPE for AIDS. Check out the wonderful work they are doing! I wrote about all my experiences on a blog called Hope From Malawi. Here’s a particular post I wrote when I was visiting an AIDS clinic that we supported.