About Me

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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Unbridled JOY!!

Here's a video of Maddie's first circus!
We went Thursday night.  
It's a little long, but she was so excited the entire time it was too hard to cut anything out : )
If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, go to minute 17 !!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Experiencing God in the Midst of Pain

While I was reading Francis Chan's Crazy Love, I ran across one of my favorite life verses:
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7

I encountered this verse during a time of immense pain in my life.  
I was recovering from a 4 hour emergency surgery that involved scraping infection out of my abdominal cavity.  An outpatient surgery gone bad...very bad!  
I went in for a quick laproscopic procedure to take care of endometriosis.  
A week later I found myself, having turned 21 in the hospital, beginning an 8 week road to recovery.
I was in the midst of planning my wedding, a Junior in college tackling 16 hours that semester while working 30 hours a week as a bank teller.  

My crazy, busy life came to a screaching halt.  
All I had on my to-do list was heal.  

I love how God loves us.  

One day in the midst of searing pain, I cried out to God for mercy.  
He gave me Psalm 28:7
I thought about God being my shield. 
 I realized there was no amount of pain I could experience that He hadn't experienced first. 
In fact, the pain went through him as my shield before he ever allowed it to touch me.

After that epiphany, I knew God and I were in this thing together and together we would walk through it.
Although it was a long 8 weeks, I look back on that time with tenderness and gratitude.

Pain is such a peculiar thing.  
I have feared pain.  
I have endured pain.
Now, I'm trying to learn to embrace it.  
Some lessons in life can only be learned in the midst of pain.  
And these are the lifelong lessons we remember forever. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pictures that Tell Stories

I love this picture!  
I love that you can tell from the environment that she is in a church setting.  
I love that she brought along Kanga and set her in the seat next to her.
I love that it seems like she's praising God...but in reality we were at a VBS-like Day Camp and the question was asked,  "How many of you can read?"
Ha Ha! 
I love it.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Growing Old Gracefully

Gracie's wrinkles have swallowed up her eyes!!

Our sweet little pug has now entered the Senior category at 9 yrs. old.  
Tonight she patiently allowed Maddie to adorn her head with a headband, a hat, and a blanket.
It's not always stuff though...Gracie also get lots of kisses and pats while Maddie says, "good dog"  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'm a Sucker for Vintage!

Last week, I gloriously stumbled upon the most fabulous estate sale!!
I couldn't pass up the vintage toys!!!
This is Maddie's FAV-OR-RITE!!!  She spotted it and immediately sat it down on the floor and began playing with it.  It kept her busy for at least 15 minutes while I browsed around.  And the best part... I paid $1 for it! : ) 

I got these for $5

This was an overflowing shoe box of these wooden blocks and I paid $3!

This was the most expensive toy...at $5! : ) 

This little guy was in with a big box of other stuff...

This is the first time I've seen an actual wooden top

I also picked up a few other great finds too.  
Like this great bag.  What I love most about this bag is this...

The key!

The other thing I can't resist is vintage sheets

BUT....I saved the best for last!!
This little chair is the perfect size for Maddie...I can't wait to use it for photo shoots!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Very Important Question...

Kyle's been picking up the camera on the few occasions it hasn't been attached to me like a third arm. 

He's been getting some really good shots and what's even better is now there's actually a few pics of Mommy!! 

Here's one of my favorites he's taken lately...

So here's my oh-so-important question I've been wondering about for a while.
I really need to get my hair trimmed...should I get side-swept bangs or not? 
Tell me what you think!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Palette Art Camp is Awesome!!

We had our first day at Palette Art Camp yesterday!
Maddie had so much fun!!

It's a great little camp put on by my friend Denise.  
She does an amazing job!  
Maddie learned about the primary colors and how to get the secondary colors.  
So much was packed into 2 hours!

Oil pastels!

 A butterfly project!

Sand art!

and best of all...finger paints!

Maddie gave Denise a big high five with her messy hands!  

Clean up was almost as fun as getting messy!

There was snack time.

But the biggest charm of this art camp is everything that happens in between projects too!!
Maddie got to pet the bunny!!

She fell in love with Clyde!

There was swinging...

and stick collecting!!

She had a blast and we still have two more days to go!!

Yay for art camp! : ) 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Maddie and Noah

Since preschool is out for the summer, Maddie is missing Noah.  
She always asks about him.  
If we're going somewhere and I tell her, "let's go" she always says, "Wo-ah?" 
Here's some pictures I took last month when we had Noah over.  
When he ran, she ran.  
When he fell, she fell.  

These two are so cute together!  
I'm so glad she has a good buddy.  
I hope they remain friends for a long time!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chomping at the Bit

I have been chomping at the bit to post these pictures!!!
I know I say this about every photo shoot, but this one really was so much fun!!!
This was an engagement shoot for Tommy and Shelby...the sweetest couple!!
When Shelby mentioned her dachshund Boomer, I encouraged her to bring him along!  
I think he photographed extremely well, don't you?  
Poor little guy wasn't too excited about the car ride though.
 This is the real color of Shelby's eyes!!  I promise I didn't edit them. 

I challenge you to tell me what could be more romantic than pictures at sunset?!!  
I love love love these pics!!

Tommy and Shelby...I had an absolute blast taking your pictures.  
My very best wishes to you and your future together.  
May your days be filled with love and laughter!!

Monday, June 11, 2012


It's been so long since I've blogged there's a lot to catch you up on!
I'll start with our little adventure with the chickens.  
We have the best neighbors ever!  
Terrie invited us to see the chickens she's taking care of while her sister was out of town.  
Maddie was so excited!!
She got to gather the eggs...

and then she chased the chickens around flapping her "wings" and yelling, "CHICK-en!"

I didn't know that chickens could fly, but at one point some of them flew over the fence and Maddie was really upset about that!
But Terrie's brother-in-law told her at dusk they would all head back to the coop on their own.  
We were both wondering if they really would or if we would be running around like crazy trying to catch these chickens!
But amazingly, at just the right time, they flew back over the fence and headed into the coop.  
Then, the rooster cock-a-doodle-dooed and the rest of the hens came marching in!  
It was amazing! 

It makes me want to get chickens now.  
Terrie even let us keep the eggs Maddie gathered and they were so delicious!!  
Thanks for letting us tag along, it's an experience we won't forget. : ) 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Top 10 Tips to Have a Great Photoshoot!!

If you've scheduled a photo shoot with a professional photographer, chances are you are want to get the most out of our investment!!
Here are a few tips to ensure you will capture those unforgettable moments you will treasure for years and years.
Here's an example of the Hughes family that did everything RIGHT!! 
We had such a fun time so here's some take away lessons from my ideal client : ) 

1) RELAX!! 
 Teleisha was such an awesome Mommy...she played and let the kids play and wasn't stressed about getting that perfect pose!  We got some great real-life moments as a result. 

2) Don't fuss over wardrobe...wear what's comfortable
 I love that they wore things they were comfortable in.  
There's nothing wrong with coordinating colors either! 
My suggestion though is to start with something you love to wear and work around that.
Choose a neutral color with a couple of pops of color. 
If you want a coordinated look, have everyone keep within the color scheme but there's no need to go overboard with everyone matching. 

3) Bring props!
 Teleisha knew both of her kids love bubbles.
 This was a great way to begin the photo shoot.
 Everyone was playing and having fun and it set the mood for a great time together. 

4) Allow for creativity
 There is nothing better than having a client completely trust my instincts!!
That's not to say if you have ideas of your own that you shouldn't share. 
A photo shoot is a collaborative effort and these will be your images of your family.

5) Be flexible
 We ended up having to reschedule this shoot a couple of different times! 
Rider had shots one day, and Mom's instincts were right to reschedule the photo shoot.
The next time the weather was not cooperating so we had to reschedule.
Teleisha was super flexible though and we ended up with a perfect day!!

6) Meet with photographer ahead of time to talk about the photo shoot
This is really helpful.
I always go over expectations. 
I learn exactly what you are wanting out of your photo shoot. 
It's a good way to get everyone on the same page!

7) Act natural
I love this shot, mostly because it was totally unscripted!
This was Dad just being Dad and playing with his kids : ) 
So fun.

8) Let your kids be kids
Sometimes Brooklin directed where we would go next based on what caught her eye. 
Mom and Dad were great about letting that happen and then I got shots like this one...seeing the world through her eyes! 

9) Let loose
When Mom and Dad are relaxed and having fun, the mood translates to the kids. 
They totally feel the love and are gracious with hugs and smiles!!

10) HAVE FUN!!
Trust me...photo shoots do not have to be stressful!!
They can actually be some of the best memories you'll create as a family. 
When you have a fun photo shoot, you will appreciate the photos even MORE!! 

So next time you plan a photo shoot, keep these things in mind and you'll come away capturing your real, authentic family just they way you are!!

To see all of the photos from this awesome shoot, go to my website
 Look at Hughes family in gallery.