Wes + Erica.

My family + I recently headed up to Indiana for a reception to celebrate the marriage of my niece, Erica, + her husband Wes.  They had a wonderful BBQ reception with lots of lawn games out on a beautiful farm.  There was a photographer hired to photograph, so I mostly had my camera in my purse, but I did take it out for a few shots, beginning with Erica’s sweet daughter, Ella…
















It was a beautiful reception + it’s always so good to see family again!  :)

Eat at Joes. Cooper’s Lobster.

When my family takes a trip to North Myrtle Beach, we have a favorite dining spot…  Eat At Joes.
Here’s a peek at our recent trip.  Cooper tried his first lobster + loved it.


:)

Lake Michigan + My Chicago Boys

My family + I were in Michigan last week for my niece’s wedding.  We decided to extend our trip + visit Lake Michigan.  We also decided to spend a few days in the big city of Chicago, Illinois.







These next 3 images are thanks to my new photographer friend, Jennifer Snead.  She was nearby on the beach with her family + offered to take some photos for us.  Jennifer, I will cherish these.  THANK YOU!!!





My Chicago Boys







Grammy + Grandpa, who live in Seattle, were also in Chicago so we met them for the day.







We started driving home to North Carolina on the 4th of July, but didn’t want to miss fireworks.  So around 9:00 PM, we hopped off the highway + found a firework show in Cambridge, Ohio.  It was wonderful!






:)

God’s Not Dead.

The movie, God’s Not Dead, just opened in theaters this past Friday.  We went to see it up in Cary, along with several of our friends.  Wow!  The movie was so well done!

I’d highly recommend seeing this! :)

Baking Palmiers. Houston.

Houston loves to bake.  Here’s one of our favorite things to make…  palmiers.











Waiting for the palmiers to come out of the oven…


And as I was looking back through old photos today, I came across some of Houston baking when he was 4…

Awe…  Such a little cutie!!!  To see those images, click HERE.  (They were taken in our previous home.)

Jaleigh. Senior Photos.

Jaleigh’s mom, Amber, is super talented!  She designs kitchens.  Last year, when we bought this old home, we knew that the kitchen would need to be redone.  Amber’s design was brilliant + we LOVE it!  THANK YOU, Amber!!!  Well, for part of our trading of services, I photographed her daughter for her senior photos.

Due to the rain, much of our shoot was done indoors, but we headed outside when the raindrops would stop.  We even had the sun peek through for a few of these…

































Amber, THANK YOU for all of your kitchen expertise!  We LOVE it!!!

And Jaleigh, I loved getting to know you better.  You are STUNNING!!!  And totally fun.  Congrats on being a senior!  :)

(You can see a couple more of Jaleigh’s photos by clicking HERE.)

Camp Winston. Winston’s 11th Birthday Party.

Winston just turned 11. :)
To celebrate, he said he wanted a camping party with all of his wonderful friends from his homeschool youth group.
We started out by making party invitations in the form of a camp booklet…


We cut paper grocery bags + used the sewing machine to sew the pages together.


There are both girls + boys in the youth group.  Everyone was invited over for a fun evening of dinner, games + late night s’mores.   The boys were invited to sleep outside in some tents.  The girls were invited to do some “camp-IN”…  Camping IN-SIDE the house for the night.



Prior to the party, Winston, Houston + I were busy during our art time of school.  We bought innexpensive fabric at Walmart + made a huge welcome sign…






Winston’s cake was very easy to make.  We melted sugar, added yellow + red food coloring, + shaped it with toothpicks as it was drying to make our fire.



This decorative string of pine cones was one of Houston’s projects.




Decorative tape added some color to our walking sticks.


We made an outhouse sign pointing into our woods.  You see, after the girls went to bed in the house, the doors were locked + the boys were no longer able to come inside, even to use the restroom.  Oh, no.  This was REAL camping for the guys.  :)



Upon arrival, kids were to put their electronics / phones in the basket.  This was a run-around, laugh + enjoy the company of those you’re with kind of a party.  :)   And, although I totally love + adore all of the youth, it made me feel more at ease knowing that no one  was accessing the internet at 2am, for example.


It was a lovely, warm evening.  Winston + his friends ate outside around the farm table.  We had some DELICIOUS homemade macaroni-n-cheese provided by my wonderful friend Sarah.  THANK YOU Sarah!!!  :)















Winston has such a great group of friends + they made his party so much fun!!!  We love + adore each + every one of them.  It was a wonderful evening of memories, not just for Winston, but for our whole family.  :)

Your (My) Garden Buddy + Her Fabulous Family.

I adore my garden buddy.  She’s such a wonderful ‘coach’ in gardening + a fabulous friend.

It’s so nice being able to trade services with someone.  About a year ago, Meghan Cooke, owner of Your Garden Buddy, helped me with our landscaping.  This property was left to grow wild for the last several years, so I’m sure it was no easy task, but Meghan is such a great visionary.  She would slowly walk the property with me, running her fingers along leaves, explaining what type of plant it was + how it would change over the seasons.  She helped me fine-tune my plans that I had already dreamed up for areas of the yard, + gave me brilliant ideas for other areas.  Meghan is such a WONDERFUL “coach” when it comes to gardening + I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND using her services!

As a trade for her services, I offered to do photos of her family.  (I’m still not booking new sessions, as mentioned HERE.  This shoot was set up about a year ago.)

Meghan + her FABULOUS family…





















Meghan, Ross, Ryan, Jordan + Ian, THANK YOU for hanging out with me.  You are such a sweet family + I adore you all!!!  :)

And Meghan, THANK YOU so much for all of your coaching you’ve given me with gardening.  I’ve learned so much from you!  THANK YOU!!!   And thank you for your sweet friendship.  I hope you enjoy your images.

Sneak Peek. Your (My) Garden Buddy.

It’s so nice being able to trade services with someone.  About a year ago, Meghan Cooke, owner of Your Garden Buddy, helped me with our landscaping.  This property was left to grow wild for the last several years, so I’m sure it was no easy task, but Meghan is such a great visionary.  She would slowly walk the property with me, running her fingers along leaves, explaining what type of plant it was + how it would change over the seasons.  She helped me fine-tune my plans that I had already dreamed up for areas of the yard, + gave me brilliant ideas for other areas.  Meghan is such a WONDERFUL “coach” when it comes to gardening + I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND using her services!

As a trade for her services, I offered to do photos of her family.  (I’m still not booking new sessions, as mentioned HERE.  This shoot was set up about a year ago.)  Here’s a little sneak peek of their shoot…

More images coming soon!  :)

Two Anniversaries!

Last week, we celebrated 2 anniversaries.

First, we celebrated the day Jeff + I were married.  Awe… it’s such a special memory for us!  …A celebration for the whole family.  That day was such a blessing from the Lord.  I had gone through a divorce + thought I’d never want to get married again.  But the Lord had other plans for me + my (at that time) 1 year old son, Winston.  He brought 3 very precious men into our lives…  Jeff + his two young sons, Cooper + Thomas (just 5 + 9 at that time).  And since then, we’ve brought another precious young man into the family, Houston.  I can’t imagine my life without all of these wonderful men!

We spent our anniversary day doing one of our favorite things….  working on a BIG project.

We don’t have a ton of land (2 and a half acres), but to me, it seems like we’ve bought a farm.  I love it!  :)   Jeff went out that morning + rented a chainsaw for the day.  So we spent the day clearing a chunk of our woods so that we can have a larger grassy area.  The entire day was spent sawing + hauling the trees into several big piles.


This is what the area looked like after a lot of the trees had been chopped down…  (Winston was snapping photos)…



The guys were such great workers!


As a special treat for us on our anniversary, Winston + Houston gave us a lunch-time puppet show.  The show was a re-enactment of the day Jeff + I met.  It was so cute watching them tell the story in their own words, after having heard it so many times from us.  I sat there + cried.  It was one of those super special moments that I hope I will always remember.  :)




Jeff + I watching the show…

This was by far, my most favorite anniversary day EVER!

Two days later, we celebrated another big day in our lives.  It was the 1 year anniversary of the Lord blessing us with this home. It was a HUGE blessing…  THANK YOU LORD!!!  This home is something that Jeff + I should never have been able to afford.  But the Lord told us this was the home for us.  So, even though this home was under contract with another potential buyer, we put our home on the market + it sold a moth later.  The contract on this home fell-through with the other buyers + then this home was taken off the market for several months.  Meanwhile, we moved out of our current home + moved into a small rental home.  This home came back on the market in foreclosure, but we still couldn’t afford it.  We lived in our rental home for 14 months, and then, in the Lord’s perfect timing, the price on this home dropped significantly (a couple of times!) + we were now able to put in an offer.  After many other miracles from the Lord, this home became ours.  Well, at least we’re taking care of it for the Lord.  We know it’s really His.  :)

So on our 1 year anniversary of being blessed with this home, we spent another day working to clear the land.  Cooper + Jeff worked hard at digging up all the large stumps left in the soil…








Here’s what the new clearing looks like…


Next step, sprinkler lines + grass.  (Jeff started working on that today.)

THANK YOU LORD for all your blessings.  Through all the hardships in life + all the joys, may YOU be praised.