Tuesday, April 29, 2014

for the love of music.

I'm a musician. A vocalist. I have been ever since I can remember. So imagine my glee when my daughter started asking questions about the instruments she heard in the bluegrass music that we listen to in the mornings. She wanted to know the names of the instruments and then she wanted to know what they looked like. And then of course we had to pull out Daddy's guitar and play on it a little bit.
She can now properly identify a violin (or fiddle as we usually call it since we're listening to bluegrass right now), a banjo, and a guitar. Quite impressive considering all are string instruments. She also likes when the "girly" sings.
I love to see her eyes light up when a banjo opens up a song and she says, "Momma, s'at a banjo? S'at a banjo, Momma?" It makes me so happy to watch her pretend that her toy ladle and frying pan are a bow and fiddle. And my heart swells when I catch her singing "Iiiii'll fly awaaaaayyy!" as she plays with her Play-Doh. I am so grateful that I have passed on a love for music of all kinds.


Saturday, April 26, 2014


It hit me at the strangest moment. As I my hands were submerged in soapy dishwater and dinner over-cooked on the stove, I watched him sweep the walkway in our front yard. I turned to look out over crumb and clutter-covered kitchen counters and a dining room table with dried-on spaghetti sauce and the pink paint that remained after the Valentine's crafting months ago, into a messy sunroom where pillows were tossed haphazardly onto the floor amongst books and blocks and my two fair-haired babies watched a television show that certainly exceeded the recommended daily limit.
And somehow, I saw beauty. And I thought of how this was never the life I wanted for myself yet how blessed my life has become.
This life that is daily filled with tantrums thrown and meals refused and counters wiped and re-wiped and dogs shooed and laundry folded and refolded after the babies tossed it onto the floor.
Where windows are smudged and dishes are dirty and the sink smells and the shoes never make it to the basket.
Where the carpet is beyond salvage and the furniture is second-hand and the light bulb in the fridge has been burned out for a week and the bananas always brown before you can eat them.
Where time and patience and naps are often in short supply.
Where the back yard needs mowing and the toys litter the floor of my shower even though the children have their own bathroom and mending piles up in my closet.
Where everything needs painting and updating and plans are big but the time and budget is small.
Where my bed only stays made for about five seconds before that darling little blue-eyed creature crawls into it and begs, "Momma, snuggle!"
Where in the dark of the wee hours of the morning, I stare into the bright lights of that damned and blessed baby monitor checking and re-checking that those babies are still fast asleep, covered up, and peacefully dreaming of the adventures that were had.
Where a little boy plops himself into my lap and insists that I read book after book yanked from the shelf, and then discarded in the middle of the floor.
Where night after night, he lays his tired bones next to mine and grasps my hand as sleep comes fast and heavy, and then kisses my cheek when the morning comes too soon.
Where tears are numerous, and dedicated to moments of extremes- anger, hurt, fear, frustration, yet still and often, joy.

And all this... mess of a life- the marriage, the children, the house, the mortgage, the two cars, the dog...  it was never what I wanted. It was the makings of a dull and repetitious and empty life for which I refused to settle. Because when my body was younger and my mind was more naïve and my eyes were too wide and wild, I was sure that all I ever wanted was a life lived fast and free...

And God found me and rescued me from my own selfish destruction and placed in my path those amazing blessings that I never asked for and I certainly didn't earn. And even then, when days were long and hard and the babies refused to sleep and I- short-sighted and merely mortal- began to mourn the loss of my freedom and my body and my time and my rest and my youth, He continued to bless me. To give me more than I thought I could handle, and more than I deserved.

How great is His love for me. How many are His blessings. How vast His faith in me... that He would entrust such a rich life to one that did not at first appreciate the utter and absolute wonder of the simplicity set before her.  I am forever grateful that my God is greater than my self, and that His plans for me are far bigger and more exquisite than my inferior, inglorious dreams.

I haven't the holiness to see what He sees all the time. I haven't the strength to bear it in my withering mortal soul. So I just continue to trust that dirty dishes and mismatched socks and messy hair and piles of mail are all signs of a life lived fully and humbly and simply. I take my cues from small cherub faces, flush with laughter and arms held around my waist and words whispered quietly in the dark. I remind myself that this is holy work, and this life that I never wanted, is the life I could never ever replace or trade for all the world...


Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Farams | Oklahoma City Family and Children's Photographer

Photographing the Farams was an absolute joy! Mason was one of those dream babies that just grinned and made moony-eyes at his momma for the entire session.

And boy were those eyes big and blue! Can you even believe the peepers on this kid? Gorgeous.

But I guess you can't help but be gorgeous when your momma and Daddy look like this

I've known Lauren since college when we were both living the show business life and running around in wigs and stage make up in the Music Theatre Department. Really just babies! Since then we've both gotten married and had babies of our own. And yeah okay, maybe she was crowned Miss America somewhere in between there...  ;)

Thank you for being lovely, Faram family. It was great fun! Let's do it again soon!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Marlin's Little Gentleman-Themed Baby Shower

Some of our closest friends are expecting their third baby- a BOY! They have two little girls and now it's finally time to welcome a little fella into the mix! Kayleigh wanted a "Little Gentleman" theme for the shower, so I got to work planning a shower that was tasteful and cute!

Truth: I am not a huge fan of baby showers. They tend to be overly cutesy and I just can't stomach all the baby blue diapered rubber duckies or pink pearls and bows, so I was glad that my friend chose a cute theme that could be done with a neutral color palette. I chose black and tan. Like a boss.

Again, we created a simple image and then uploaded it to a Facebook invite. It was fast and easy and worked like a charm!
I collaborated with my mom to come up with a unique idea for the centerpieces. I created the top hat center pieces by rolling up diapers, wrapping with felt, and setting on top of a circle of black poster board. I rolled the edges of the "brim" to make it look more like a hat, and then stuck in a shishkabob skewer with a cut-out of a bow tie (other variations included a mustache and a baby rattle!). It was super easy, and I've never seen one like it! We gave all the diapers to our friends at the end of the shower, and other guests took home the "skewers." Win-win!
A couple of things about the centerpieces: I initially rolled four individual diapers and wrapped with felt, but soon realized that it looked much more round if I rolled the diapers all together like so:

Either way, once they were on the table, they looked very cute!


We didn't play any party games, but I did have a few activities for the guests to do as they arrived and mingled.

There was a "Wish Tree" in lieu of a guestbook. The guests could write out their wishes for baby boy and then sign their names. I attached them to a key ring and gave to my friend to place in her baby book at the end of the shower.
And there was also a "Diaper Talk" station. The guests were encouraged to write a sentiment- sweet or funny- on a diaper and place in the basket. That way when my friend is up at 2 a.m. changing ANOTHER poopy diaper, she'll have a good laugh! I think people really had a good time with this one!

And of course, we had the usual diaper cake- made by the momma-to-be's mother!

And as favors, we gave the traditional cigars

There was also an adorable bow-tie garland with baby boy's name on it, but somehow I managed to forget to photograph it!

My friend had a really great time being showered by all of her friends and family, and I've already been recruited to help design the next baby shower for another friend! Don't drink the water, folks. I'm telling you it's contagious!

Congratulations, Marlin Family! I can't wait to meet little Malachi!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nacho Li-Grey's Luchador-themed First Birthday!

I can't believe it's nearly Easter! We're practically a third of the way through this year already? I've been looking so forward to so many things this March and April. We've had visits from family members, parties, birthdays, picnics, road trips, and baby showers so far!

One of the biggest events I was planning was Grey's first birthday party. I decided way back in October of last year that I wanted to do a Lucha Libre theme for his party. See, we love Nacho Libre... Okay, that's not entirely true. *I* love Nacho Libre, and I think Grey's little round tummy just reminds me of Jack Black in "stretchy pants" summoning his "eagle powers." I mean, who doesn't love a baby belly? And yes, just like Vesper's Menagerie-themed Birthday party, I made him a costume. Nevertheless, we went with a fiesta theme and threw in some luchador touches! Here are just a few snapshots of his day:

We did a simple Facebook invite. It seems to be he easiest way to do things these days, but I did make an actual image for his invitation which turned out SO cute!
I made the tissue paper fiesta garland and luchador mask and then added balloons in various locations. I loved how the garland turned out because it was super cheap ($2 for two packages of colored tissue paper) and it was a very substantial garland. Some garlands end up feeling kind of wispy, and I was going for bold! We wanted lots of bright colors!

and later in the day, we put that piñata centerpiece to good use! The kids had SO much fun trying to bust that thing open! That's our little Birdy with Daddy helping her take a couple of swings.

It was all very simple and handmade, but that's the best way to do it- especially when they're only a year old! We had so much fun celebrating with our family that came over. Thank you to everyone who helped make his day so special!

And just for good measure, here's a picture of Grey on his birthday morning in his birthday present:

Happy Birthday, little Bear!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jones Family | Oklahoma City Lifestyle and Family Photographer

Had some fun in the sun {FINALLY}! The Jones family and I headed out into the late afternoon sun to grab some family shots.

I am so relieved that things are starting to warm up around here. It makes it much easier to get kiddos to smile!

Daddies help with that too
Yep. I could definitely go for more sessions- and weather- like this!

God bless,