the dynamic five-0

the dynamic of a family changes with a new baby sister.

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things are a little softer:

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and a teeny bit sweeter:

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a touch quieter:

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for sure things are a bit pinker:

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and a whole lot more phloof-ier!

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and things are a little busier:

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but for these spirited and charming brothers:

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and these compassionate, kind, and genuinely good parents:

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their family wouldn’t be the same without that little piece of precious pink “phloof” that arrived a few months of ago,

and all the yummy squishiness that came with her.

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love her “squish” face in this one:

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a family of sweetness:

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this one i think should be mounted on a canvas and showcased on the mantel by that brand new mirror, because it is a perfect reflection of the family dynamic, and i love it.

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christina, darren, ryan, matthew, and baby carolynn, thank you so much for the fun afternoon! i loved all the playing, running, hugging, laughing, bleeding (you bet there was even some of that), and ice-creaming that happened. grateful to know you. may your family dynamic of awesome-ness continually inspire others. thank you so much for the opportunity. much love, kj

eternal sophomores

for some reason i think my students remain eternal sophomores in high school. i know they have grown up, moved on with their lives, and are doing big and exciting things, but in my mind i guard them safe and sound in the confines of room 903 memories. when i hear of them traveling the world with the peace corps, serving missions for churches, graduating from college, competing in national and international sporting events, getting engaged then married, and even having babies, it takes me off guard for a couple of seconds, because, like i said, they will always be sophomores to me, but then i realize life moves time forward, and time makes life happen! and that’s cool. i love all my former students so much. at the end of the year i would always get emotional when i had to say goodbye to them. they just became so much a part of me during that time and we had so much fun learning and growing that saying goodbye to that season always made my heart hurt, for selfish reasons really: i just wanted to keep them close to me, a little bit longer. maybe that’s why i keep them in my head as sophomores, because they had such an impact in my life during that year of their life. when those “sophomores” contact me and want to meet at starbuck’s or for lunch or even just email or text to tell me their news, my face is plastered with a smile at the thought of seeing/hearing from one of them again, and celebrating in the news of their exciting lives.

sam is one of my sophomores:

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she moved to orange county the summer before her sophomore year. as a veteran of lots of moving i know how tough it can be to pick up and start fresh especially as a high school student (i went to 3 different high schools in 4 years. count them…3. it’s hard!) i knew immediately how sam was feeling when i saw her outside my door at lunch on one of the first days of school: she hadn’t found her niche yet and needed a place to be until she did. we didn’t have lunch together for long, she is way to energetic, warm, caring, charismatic, and personable for that, but i enjoyed her company while we did.

she has found someone to have lunch with for the rest of her life:

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i am protective of my sophomores, when they were in my class and when they graduate from it. for some reason i just feel that i still have some responsibility for their growth and success; it’s weird, i know, but it’s how i think and feel. i knew sam wouldn’t make a bad choice in choosing the man she would marry but i had to find out for myself that she was going to be happy and taken care of for the rest of her life. it didn’t take me long before i saw that adam was her niche.

she found it: her eternal niche.

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i know he will be there when she is metaphorically waiting at the door, needing anything…and he’ll be the one she sits with and feels happy, safe, and comfortable with…forever:

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and they love each other, so much. and their life is going to be rich and full and blessed:

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it feels good to have a niche:

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and to know that it isn’t going to change like it does so often when you are a sophomore. this niche is going to last a very long time. it’s a good one. i give it an a+.

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sam, you are special to me! thank you for touching my life when you were a sophomore and for touching it again as an adult “sophomore”. i am so happy to know you and have you in my life!!

sam and adam, may you always find safety, happiness, laughter, and joy in your niche. much love and congratulations to both of you; your wedding and life are going to be beautiful!! thank you so much for this opportunity. love you, nuz

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not in your mouth, larkee!!!

larkin, like most children, puts everything in her mouth. we constantly spout, “not in your mouth, larkee; spit it out!!!” she’s not a choker at all. in fact at any given time she can have a few marbles, some legos, a matchbox car, maybe even an earring or two in her mouth and just keep them there while she toddles around. there’s just so much storage in those cheeks…

the other day we were telling her the opposite, “keep it in your mouth larkee! keep. it. in. your. mouth.” but instead it ended up in the hair…

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it made her mad, naturally so.

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no children or hairs were harmed in the removal of the lollipop.

we directed her to the bath where she immediatly put all the number sponges in her mouth.

i love you and your chipmunk cheeks lark!!

happy weekend everyone!!

a sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel to protect you

“i just couldn’t do it j; there is no way.” i came in from my shoot on wednesday and started sharing.

after illustrating verbally the pictures of my heart, he gave me the obligatory head shake of approval, “that would be so hard, for all of us.”

“i mean, think about it babe. think about all the sacrifices they are making.”

“i know. that’s tough.”

“i felt so inspired by them, j, so touched by their story. my heart was beating fast the whole time thinking about the next few weeks and what lies ahead.”

“we should for sure keep them in our prayers.”

“for sure.”

they have been in my thoughts and prayers since wednesday; they will reside there for some time to come.

this family barely moved to southern california.

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they move a lot actually. that’s just the way it works when you are in the military. just when you think you are situated and know a place orders arrive and you are off somewhere new. in my case, my family always moved together. my dad was a chaplain in the air force; we got orders every two to three years. in the beginning it was easier because we were young and always got a fun bag filled with new thrills for the trip, but as we got older it started to be more difficult to be uprooted and start fresh so often, with or without a new bag of tricks. the one thing that was constant was that we always had each other. my dad was sent on tdy’s (temporary tour of duties), but never longer than a week or two, max. because of the way we were raised my sister and i have an affinity for the armed services and the men and women who work so hard to defend our liberties. i don’t think we consider often enough the sacrifices that are made so we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

just consider:

a beautiful and kind-hearted wife

two young and growing children

moments, milestones, memories

birthdays, anniversaries, holidays

home

now image leaving it all.

for a year.

rob is being deployed; he leaves at the end of the month and will be without his family, and they without him for a year.

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and that’s why i have been thinking about them since wednesday. my heart has been full of so much appreciation at the sacrifice for our country (essentially for all of us, strangers to these soldiers. ), the courage and bravery of shinta and rob, and the renewed hope of a return to peace.

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i am just not as brave as they are. i could not do my life, alone, for a year. now consider raising two small children on your own, no break comes through the door at 400pm; no saturdays to run errands by yourself; no reprieve from the ebb and flow of mommy-hood. shinta was so mellow about it all. i of course was peppering her with questions about how she does it: takes on each day, works through the tough stuff, presses on. “i just do it. you get used to it after a while.” she was so confidant in her belief in herself, and so positive about the whole experience; i feel inspired by her and how she is empowering herself as a woman, and a “single-mom”. she has no family here to help with the regimen; when he leaves she will be on her own until she rebuilds their life in a new place. she is  a soldier too, metaphorically: fighting to keep it all together at home while her man is away. she is much stronger and way more courageous than i will ever be.

and way more beautiful too. i don’t know how rob can stand to be away.

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especially with a love like theirs:

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i love this image. it is my favorite of the two of them. i think every couple should have one just like it. i think rob should make stickers of it and put them all over his foot locker and duffle bag. ;)

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the beautiful and the brave:

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may heart aches thinking about the sacrifices that come with leaving these two:

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these next two make me emotional. someday this will all be over and he will be home with his family seeing his gorgeous wife and darling children each day. someday these will just be reminders of how they looked when they were little in comparison to their protective and loving father. but right now these images are what rob has to hold on to. that, to me, makes them priceless:

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just consider the moments:

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and the sacrifices being made to miss those moments.

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now whisper a prayer for those that leave and those who stay behind.

an irish blessing for your family:

“A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.”

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rob, may you be safe. may you be blessed, and may you know how grateful we are for the service you render our country. thank you for leaving everything that is dear to you to defend something so important to all of us. i am inspired by your bravery and courage and your strength to do what you believe is right. thank you from my heart.

shinta, may you know you inspire. may you know your spirit is strong! may your courage prevail when you have changed 5 poopy diapers all before noon, observed a terrific 4-year-old tantrum at target, and left the house with un-observed throw-up in your hair. may you know you have a standing dinner invitation at our house EVERY sunday or whenever you want. please come. we would love to have you. our hearts and home will always be open to you.

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“Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it’s one day further from the last time you saw each other, it’s one day closer to the next time you will.”
– Author Unknown

may the calendar dates tick swiftly by.

may your family be blessed with comfort and peace.

you will be in our thoughts and prayers. thank you again for the sacrifices you are all making; i am so grateful to have met you, kamee

ps alright everyone rally together and leave them some love in the comments section. anything you think might serve to inspire as they prepare to walk this journey. thanks!!

valentine’s day aka every day

i love valentine’s day.

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it might be because of the long-stemed love that comes to the door via special delivery or the sparkly surprise that comes in the small tiffany’s box. i might love valentine’s because of the heart-shaped boxes filled with nuts and chews or the little love notes that are found in my inbox, my mailbox, and later my keepsake shoebox, throughout the day.

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i love that there is a day to celebrate love. that is just. plain. cool.

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i love making reservations for a surprise romantic dinner. and i love the look on his face when i open the door and he see’s me all ready to be the girl on his arm all. night. long.

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it’s good to celebrate love, all levels of it.

i know we associate valentine’s with ooey-gooey, mushy-wushy love, but i think it can be a day to celebrate love plutonic, love spiritual, love friendly, love neighborly, love sincere, love pure, and love sweet.

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my man, used to write me poems, all the time. they would show up in cool places like my wash basin in the bathroom, the seat of my car, in my purse, inside a romantic card. he doesn’t write them as often now because he is busy with his mba program and the family and responsibilities, but the ones i do have are special to me. when i read them it makes me feel like it’s valentine’s day, even if it’s march 6th or august 8th or any other random day. they make me feel appreciated, valued, respected, beautiful, and deeply and truly loved.

i love to be with couples who feel the same way:

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it’s good to have a day to celebrate love, to give it a proper shout out. for sure. but i think cupid fires his bows every. single. day. making valentine’s day, really when you think about it, every day. why don’t i get little turquoise boxes with black ribbons every day then? i’m just sayin…

whitney: a beautiful box with so many metaphorical bows.

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and drew: and out-of-the-box type of guy

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they are both out -of -the- box and i love it!!

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and they are both utterly and completely, wholeheartedly and profoundly, deeply and beautifully in love. every day is valentine’s day for them.

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and they are hot too; that’s a part of valentine’s right? the hot part.

red hots.

that’s what these two are, red hots:

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(just dangling the carrot…put june 26th on your calendars. a kickin’ it workshop is going to be in southern california and these two and all their hotness are going to be the models. these two plus a professional stylist; you won’t believe what is in store for the ca workshop. perhaps a ticket to kick it could be the sparkly inside your little tiffany’s box for valentine’s this year??? just a thought. fire me off an email to reserve your spot. details coming soon…)

a memory of their first date that will one day be a family treasure:

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whit and drew: i love you guys. you know. the kind of love where you would do anything for the person. the kind of love that makes you smile and get emotional just thinking about the other people. the kind of love that makes you happy when you see their faces. the kind of love that makes you proud. the kind of love that waits excitedly for the next visit. the kind of love that appreciates and is grateful. that kind of love. the kind of love that never goes away. no matter what.

may you love each other more today than yesterday. may you know that my family and i love you both so much.

may valentine’s always come in some small way every day.

love you, kam

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isn’t it romantic?

i am not thinking about the super bowl…i am thinking about romance and all of its lovely feelings…

LOVE the feel of this one. the full post is coming soon; i just had to share this image. right now.

may it make you feel romantic…

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