You Tried It!

Today I’m sharing photos sent by – you – my readers – who are trying it!

First: Sneaking Around

This one is from Joy. She is almost halfway through a 365 project which you can see here.

I love the porch light, beautiful daughter and she’s reading an honest to goodness letter.

Second: Getting Down in the Dirt

This one is from Marcin. You can find more of his work here.

Marcin writes: This was taken in full sunlight with a scrim, a light modifier diffusing the light. I put it on a chair to shield the little one from light and get nicer shadows.

You almost need an assistant, but it is worth it.

Crazy cute baby and perfect light.

This is from Zane, whose beautiful blog is Amabellen. She got down in the dirt to get this shot of her daughter’s concentration.

The grass in front mirrors the branches behind. It also captures such a pure expression.

Marcin also sent a photo of Sweet Stuff between his kids. Such a joyful moment!

Thank you for sharing your images with me.

Enjoy the weekend!

Try It: Notice the Sweet Stuff

Some days, it seems like most of our day was sunshine with a few clouds.

Some days, I climb the stairs at bedtime, exhausted, with unhappy voices echoing in my head.  Are these kids ever happy? 

Well, yes.  They are. Every day for at least a few split seconds. (1/200 of a second for the above photo.)

Yesterday, we met cousins at a playground.  We played and played.  My kids were screaming as we got into the car (tired, hot and hungry).  Atticus was clamoring for a milkshake.  I am not one to say no to a milkshake.

We got one.  They shared it.  

This gets to the heart of why I take photos almost every day.  Sometimes it is hard to remember that these sweet moments happen every day.  But, I have proof.  

This week – Try It: Notice the Sweet Stuff.

If you asked me, “Do Atticus and Augusta laugh together?”  I would probably say, “I don’t know. Atticus laughs after he knocks her down.”

But look! They do laugh together.  I hadn’t noticed.

I’d love to see what you notice this week. Send your photo in an email to

Coming on Friday: photos from readers who have been trying it. (Want in? It’s not too late.)

Did you enjoy reading this post? Do you have a question? Grammatical error to report? Frustration with your camera setting? I’m all ears. 

Leave a comment.  Send me an email.  I’d love to hear from you.

For the Love :: April

I am so happy to be part of a blog circle with some fantastic photographers.  Once a month we create a post with the theme – for the love.  Follow the link at the end of the post to the next blog in the circle.  Keep following links, and you will find yourself right back where you started.

This month: birthday celebrations and how our family showered our birthday boy and girl with love on their birthdays.

This morning I counted 24 birthday celebrations I have orchestrated since taking on my role of mother.

We have come a long way.  My first daughter had a big party on her first birthday.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends were invited to celebrate our baby girl.  She was happy to be part of it but clearly, the party was for mom and dad.

We no longer celebrate with big parties.  But we do celebrate.

That’s the boy sipping ginger ale on the morning of his birthday.  Yup.  He had a tummy bug and wasn’t feeling so great.  His sisters were also sick and home from school.

The good news: there was no party to cancel.  

His dad stayed home from work and took him to out to a construction site. (WAY better than a bunch of five year olds running around the house in Atty’s eyes.)

He didn’t eat much cake but loved blowing out his candles and opening gifts.  

The best gift: an excavator!  It was in pristine condition for five minutes.

The next morning we woke up to our baby’s… gulp… little girl’s birthday.  

We went out to the park for a bubble blowing extravaganza!

Time with dad and mom.

Cake and candles.


I didn’t know when I was celebrating my older girls’ birthdays at this age that a very simple day can be satisfying and full to the brim with love and celebration.

Happy Birthdays to Atticus and Augusta! Love, love, love you.

And now on to the next blog! Follow the circle to Veronica Armstrong’s post.

Imperfect Gifts

A year and a half ago, I bought materials to make dolls for all three of my girls.  I planned to have them done by Christmas 2012.  I started the dolls but never finished.

My reasons were simple – no time, no space.  

I decided on a smaller goal.  Just one doll for Augusta on Christmas.  Again, I didn’t finish.

I set my sights on her second birthday.  While crafting her doll, I listened to my inner dialogue. 

It sounded like this: “Are the eyes even?  Is the mouth too small?  Will this stitch hold?  The stitches are so uneven.  I don’t really like the shape of the legs.” It went on and on.  What was left out of the chatter going on was, “I’m making a doll for my daughter who is… turning two.” 

I listened to my darling inner critic prattle on and sewed anyway.  I finished it the night before her birthday and wrapped it up.

She opened it on her birthday and was held it for a minute or two.  Then she put it down and played with something else.  Her sister, Avery, picked it up, hugged it and took it to her room.  (Where it remains.)

I didn’t hit a home run for Augusta with this doll, but I learned that “no time!” and  “no space!” are not the reasons my projects don’t get done by Christmas.  

I’ve started to call the inner dialogue while I work my inner third grader.  She wants perfect, matching stitches so no one will look at her work and say, “It’s not so great.”  

I listened to my inner third grader as I made a photo book for Augusta.  “Are the photos straight? Who are you leaving out? Will Mom like the photo of herself?” 

I said, “It’s okay, honey.  It’s for a two year old who may or may not love the book.  But she will not care if the pictures are straight as long as she can tear the wrapping paper.”


Oh, finger paints.  Another great birthday gift.  Monday I will tell you about two less than perfect gifts.

What will you enjoy creating this weekend?  

A loaf of homemade bread?  A song about the spring flowers?  A story made up at bedtime?

Try It: Get Down in the Dirt

This week’s Try It is so simple ~ you are going to love it.

But… it is bad news for your favorite pair of pants.

Do you know the difference between the photo above and this next photo?

Same adorable girl playing in the dirt.  Same time of day.  Same camera.  Same lens.  Same settings.

I only changed one thing: I stood up for the second photo.

This week I offer you a very simple task: get down on your knees and see how it changes your photographs.

Standing up:

Or getting down on my knees:

I love this photo (above) because of the girls’ expressions and what is happening between them. If I had been standing at that moment instead of kneeling, it wouldn’t have been the same photo.  It would have been hard to see their faces and the background would have been the grass.

This week Try It: Get Down in the Dirt.

Send your favorite from the week to me:

I’d love to see what happens when you get down in the dirt.

One more thing… Getting a lower angle is just one of the the many choices you have when taking a photo.  I’m encouraging you to make a choice – which angle looks the most interesting to you – instead of just standing there.

A special thanks to my lovely assistant, Savanna! (Who is rockin’ the low angle!)

Try It: Sneak Around

It is so tempting to get your child’s attention for a photo.  I know.  We adore their lovely faces.  

But this week, sneak up on them.  Quietly.  Don’t get their attention.  Stay outside the room if possible.  

Maybe even catch them at some mischief.

I have an advantage here.  I get my camera out every day.  To my kids it is a non-event.  The more often you can get your camera out without imposing on your child, the more they will ignore you.

You can gain this advantage too – but it will take some time and some discipline. (No: “Look over here honey!”)  They are used to giving you a smile and waiting until you go about your business.

When you are done capturing them quietly, go ahead and say, “Hey!”

This week TRY IT: Sneak Around and see what happens.

Send me anything you’ve tried, this week or any other week ~

Have a great week!

Try It: Record (an un-fun) Routine

Try It is back!

Try It is a weekly photo suggestion to inspire you to have more fun photographing your family.

Every Wednesday, right here. No fancy camera needed.

We have a lot of fun around here. Those are the times I am usually inspired to photograph. But, as you may have guessed already, it is not a 24/7 party at our house. There is plenty of impromptu unpleasantness: fights, spills and the like.

There are also things that must be done that no one likes.

For instance, my two year old daughter would much rather leave the crusty oatmeal and boogers on her face. When she saw me getting the washcloth ready, she said, “No! Don’t brush my face!” (She doesn’t like having her teeth brushed either.)

What do you have to do every day (because you love ’em!) that your kids don’t like at all? Sock and shoes? Taking out the trash? Homework?

This week you can see those dark clouds as photo ops.

Try It: photograph an un-fun but predictable routine.

Share a link to your photos in the comments.

I can’t wait to see the unpleasantness…