The Marini's and Company

One of my favoritefavorite country artists is George Strait. He has a song that's about a man on the day his daughter is born, and the little things he sees throughout the day that point him to God. The chorus of "I Saw God Today" has a part that says this:
"His fingerprints are everywhere
I'd just slow down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today."

Thanks to this little boy, I would like to say "I saw God today." Gabe Marini has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) and though he is two years old, he can't do hardly anything a "normal" two year old would be able to.
Let me back up just a bit. I recieved an e-mail from Gabe's momma, Rachel, a few weeks ago. She came across my blog about a year ago and has been a silent follower :D However, she introduced herself, hoping to do a shoot with her extended family. You see, her in-laws are medical missionaries in Africa and they were in town for just a bit. They don't have many opportunities to get pictures of them all together. Of course I was thrilled to have the chance to shoot them!

Rachel seemed ever-so-sweet in her emails and I looked at her blog and got to know her a little better. But oh my, I was no expecting to be so touched by this family. I think I was in a bit of a "spiritual shellshock" when I met them in person. Gabe was hooked up to about four machines with chords and lights and lots of "beeps." Rachel greeted me with a huge, beautiful, glowing smile. She is so beautiful. I definitely saw God through her smile. Children were running all around, it was too cold for Gabe outside and his monitors were low on battery, yet she was so peaceful and warm. She loves her family, oh she loves them.

She loves Gabe so much. He can't tell her "thank you" right now. Someday, though. Someday in the glorious paradise that Jesus has prepared, she will get to hear Gabe thank her. All the years, tears, sleepless nights and exhausting days will be over! She will be rewarded! Her work will have been so worth it when her baby boy is in a new, perfect body and he is enjoying heaven! What a marvelous thought!

Rachel, well done! I don't think you know how much you have affected me. I re-wrote this post so many times trying to make it right, and words just keep failing me. I so respect you and so want to be like you. I hope that as I grow older people will leave meeting me, the way I felt meeting you. You are such a light to a watching world! And so is your son, husband and beautiful little girls :D

Also, to the Grandma and Grandpa :D THANK you for what you are doing in Africa. I'm honestly speechless. I know that I don't have the character do what you do. I pray you feel the Lord's pleasure!
One last picture - this is Rachel's brother-in-law and family :D Aren't they super cute?!?!

Thank you thank you thank you for welcoming me into your home and for helping me love my Savior more! You all are so wonderful!


The Glab Family

Let's take a walk down Sentiment Lane, shall we?
In the summer of 2004, I was given my first SLR. A cute little Minolta with basic settings and two lenses. I didn't really know anything about the equipment, but I knew I would need it for my first wedding ever (I second shot). It arrived and I couldn't even stand how excited I was. I needed to shoot! I needed to practice! Goodness, I had never done this before!

My best friend, Corinne, and her family were our neighbors at the time. They kindly let me shoot them (and now looking back, I realize it was my very first shoot ever :D ). One roll of black and white. One roll of color. Developed in an hour at Walmart. Wa-la!
It was pretty stinking fun :D

Roughly 5 years later, I was able to shoot them again! We had so much fun talking & laughing, remembering the good ol' days, tracking down their crazy dog and getting some sweet shots.

Mrs. Glab also asked for some pictures of her and her man - since they hadn't had any taken since their wedding day!

I also did senior pictures for Corinne (gah! Senior! gooodness!)

Corinne and I were quite the pair back in the day. We played together all the time. We planned surprise birthday parties for each other, organized neighborhood dances & shows, fought and cried during games of Monopoly and laughed waaay too hard when we picked the "Ricky's underwear" card in the American girl doll game. On Saturday mornings I would wake up early and go watch her swim meets.
We did a lemonade stand once. We "raised money" to get a coat for a lady we knew who didn't have one (Mrs. Glab ended up giving us one of her old coats. Apparently $10 in change doesn't go very far in the coat world.) We pranked Mrs. Glab and told her we had gotten Corinne's ears pierced (that prank brought to you by sticky rhinestones and bubble-gum toothpaste.) We had sleepovers, built forts, went sledding, decorated our rooms and all in all had a blast as little buddies :D
I am SO grateful for all the memories Corinne! And congratulations on making it to senior year! Woohoo! You are such a beautiful, joyful friend :)

Ok, slideshow time! It's a long one. Be ye warned :D


Melrose Family

The Melrose's are long time family friends and I was just so excited when the opportunity a[mel]rose (haha get it?) for me to shoot them!

I loved this one of Abby :) So lovely!

Erin, the oldest daughter, wanted me to do a few of her and her husband, too! Erin is the biggest photography-blog-stalk eeeever ;) I love it because I'll talk about some picture I like and she will pipe right in "Oh! Wasn't that on Jasmine's blog last month?"

My dad is Erin's boss at I company I worked at last summer. I didn't last very long haha But there were many days that the only reason I got through was because Erin was sending me "The Office" quotes or wedding pictures she liked or because we were scrouging for food together ;) She is so much fun and has wanted to do a shoot for a while now! So glad we got to!


Here is the slideshow, with the song they requested: Green Eyes!



This post started with a crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich on soft potato bread, sitting in a little baggy.

It got thrown away before I could get a picture, but for some reason after I saw that sandwich, I got all sentimental.

You see, back when I was a little girl in elementary school, I never had a sandwich like that. Soft, sweet, and very processed. Yumm-a! My sandwiches were two big crusts hugging whole peanuts smeared in thick jelly. At least that's how it tasted too me. Hard, crunchy and whole-grain.

I saw a half of my youngest sister's sandwich sitting on the counter when we were getting ready for dinner the other night. "Whaaat? Since when do we get sandwiches like this?!? There is no way I would have ever had a sandwich like this when I was little. Ever." Lauren, the youngest of us seven kids, just giggled in a naughty kind of way. My mom just kept on cooking dinner and said "Oh I know" with a kidding-around-sarcastic-woe-is-Kristen-tone.

I forgot about the sandwich, and a few minutes later we were eating dinner. I was so overwhelmed with how fast life is going by. It wasn't like anything particularly special was going on, but I don't know. I was quite touched. I know that within a few years our dear ol' family is going to be going many different directions. Between siblings going to college, and marriages and moves, it won't be just us for many more years. I don't want to forget what it's like to be at home with everyone. Just us.

I went a little physco and started taking pictures of our night. Just so I won't forget. I love the dirty door that leads to the garage, which leads to the driveway where the basketball hoop is. Right next to the "tree-house" and slide, thats in front of our homemade wiffle-ball field. There are chalk drawings, shoes, bikes, trash, overgrown grass and many memories out there on the other side of that door!

In the same room as the door, is the pantry. We eat a lot a lot a lot of food. Both my parents are excellent cooks, and all of us kids like to make food.
I do love how food brings people together and I love all of our times eating at home - and the hysterical dinner conversations. I love the times when we go out to eat and the huge scene we make. Poor restaurant staff :( haha
I love the times when I would go grocery shopping with my parents (my father is a coupon dictator!), and now I love when I take the kids grocery shopping. Especially when I send them to find something and they come back with something a little different ("I know it's not vanilla ice cream, but the Chocolate Explosion ice cream was on sale for $2 off.)

On this particular night, Kevin and Dude had to clear out a shelf and put up a sign to let people know that those Gushers and Fruit-by-the-foot's were theirs. If you don't hide or claim your food, it will dissapear with out a trace.
Actually, it will dissapear and the wrapper will be on the floor of the living room or under a seat cushion. So a little bit of a trace.
But I loved that little sign with all my heart and don't want to forget it!

Another part of our night that I loved was all that happened in the family room. It's very common to find children sleeping at any time. In any place. I love Lauren's little snowflake pants and flowered shirt that completely clash.

And I love how her face looks much more like a baby when she's asleep, especially her mouth. She is getting waaay too old.

Speaking of old, Mr. Bear is one of the few animals our entire family likes. We are not pet people (Katie had a guinea pig once. It died a very soapy death thanks to a good-natured gesture from a younger brother) or even stuffed animal people. But we all love Mr. Bear.

I think we love him so much cause he always has our back (he.he. I went there hahaa)
For real though, Mr. Bear is the coveted seat in the house, especially during TV time.

He's been through a lot :D

Oh! Another happy of the night! We got our first boxes of clementines! It's officially almost winter (officially :D) when we start getting clemetines. My family inhales those things. We go through whole boxes in hours (our record is two boxes in less then 24 hours. woot!)

Our kitchen area starts to smell like citrus and you can find orange peels all over. Usually Dude collects them and throws them away :) He's a good kid.

A little later Ladybug had found a comfier position. I just want to squeeze that little girl. I love her soooo much!

Around 8:30 it was real bedtime - the Ladies and I went upstairs to their un-made bed.

They smelled like too much shampoo, bubble-gum toothpaste and oranges. Their hair was still wet and Shannon was stumbling along her book, trying to read to Lauren. Someday she'll read prefectly fine, but for now I love that when she comes to "froggy" it sounds like "fa-er-aw-g-g-yu"

These Ladies are the best of friends and laugh and laugh and laugh together.

Oh that's just lovely, Shannon. Lovely :D

Lauren was not quite ready to sleep - after all, she had just spent half an hour sleeping on the couch. When it was finally time to turn out the lights, she tried to "fake sleep" on me.
I could see right through her.
I was a master fake sleeper (at least she didn't try to fake snore. She knows better then I did. No one falls for a fake snore). But then she couldn't keep a straight face anymore. I love it :D

I burst out laughing and so did they. It was a while before they fell asleep, but worth it.

I never, ever, ever want to forget these nights at home. And now, I am going to make a potato bread pb&j sandwich and I probably won't eat the crust, thank you very much.


Nyah and Ryder

"now i'm trying to lose this attachment
my addiction to your smile"
-- brian birdwell

Jess and Neil had their baby boy, Ryder, two weeks ago! Of course we must have pictures :D

I love this one:

But it wasn't super easy to get ;D

Jess loves his "denim blue" eyes. We're all hoping they stay that color!

Aww.guh. How can you not just want to kisssss that?

I think looks like a little gerbil in this one haha

Nyah was exceptionally eager to have her picture taken! Fine by me! Isn't she just beautiful?

What an angel, right? ;)

And a few outside:

Jess this outfit - I do too! How cute?

I love this kid hahaha

Congratulations! Enjoy the show!