Since it’s now June, I thought it only appropriate to blog about our cutting down of the Christmas tree from last November. :) Finally playing catch up on more personal photos now that I’m officially on “maternity leave/baby watch” for the summer.

This Fall we ventured to a different Christmas tree farm than last year, because they were partnering with our church to give all proceeds to families in need within our area/church. Our adventure was had at Kraxberger Farms. They were very friendly and it was a beautiful place. It was hard to decide which tree to cut down, because honestly they were all so uniform and beautiful looking. I let Brian make the final decision and he and Brady sawed it down and hauled it to the truck. I think George had the most fun – he ran around and greeted everyone and had the biggest “smile” on his face the whole time.








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We went on our first family camping trip back in September 2016 to Clear Lake in Mt. Hood National Forest just East of Portland. It’s in a really beautiful area, but beware, there are TWO Clear Lakes in Oregon. Of course, the pictures I kept looking at of the super clear waters were from the one located more towards Central Oregon. The one we ended up at was basically dried up lol. Whoops. We started the trip with dinner at our favorite burger joint on the way, Calamity Jane’s, so we didn’t arrive at our campsite until after dark.  Despite that and the fact that it down poured on us the majority of our stay, it was fine. We made the best of it.

We stayed two nights. It was Brian, Brady (almost 4 at the time), George (our golden retriever) and me. We used one big tent for all of us and even fashioned a little tarp to cook under the second night in the pouring rain. I couldn’t seem to get warm pretty much the whole time. One of the most important goals of mine for this camping trip was A) a great view of a mountain lake B) To sit under (& photograph) the stars out in the wilderness (that’s one way that God woos me is the sky), but we arrived at our campsite jussst in time to get a glimpse of a beautiful starry night right as the clouds for the impending rain quickly moved in and blocked any/all stars/moon. I didn’t get my starry night picture. Sigh.

We mostly stuck close to our campsite, which was very nicely sized and equipped with a big fire pit, picnic table, and was located next to a community dumpster and a quick walk across the road to the pit toilet. We did take a little walk down to the (dried up) lake the first morning there.  It’d be nice to return when the weather isn’t so dreary.  Since I thought we were going to the OTHER Clear Lake, I’d planned a couple hikes and even got a stick/accessories for my new GoPro to take some neat under water video. Well, I took some video on our drive in and before the rain really hit (or when we got a short break).

Thanks to my hubby who’s acquired decent camping/wilderness gear over the years and a friend who let us borrow some additional sleeping pads, we had a comfortable stay!  Next time we’ll set up a better “keep mud out of the tent” system, but we did an ok job for the most part. Brady also did better sleeping in the tent than I imagined as a 3 year old on his first camping trip.  We look forward to our next family camping trip!

Here’s a short fusion video from our 1st camping experience: (also my first GoPro video (I have some improvements to make the next time I use it)…)

Here are some images:

_2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6296__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6301__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6304__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6305__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6311__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6313__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6319__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6324__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6331__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6342__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6351__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6362__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6368__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6378__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6389__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6395__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6396__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6406__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6408__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6414__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6416__5x7_ _2016_09_ClearLakeCamping_HighRes_6421__5x7_

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It was a very cold January day for Dallas, TX. I had just travelled from Portland, OR back to my old stompin’ grounds (Dallas) to document this sweet family’s day. We had only spoken on the phone a hand full of times before meeting each other early that morning.  A little fact about Lorilei is she LOVES Christmas decor, which she leaves up for a couple months after Christmas (hence all the decorations). Their sweet son, Killian, had actually slept in later than usual that morning so we got to capture him waking, which is always fun. “Hey kid! Here’s a giant camera in your face! Wake up!”  He wasn’t really phased, though.  In fact, he liked the camera!  It’s so nice how the family tends to forget I’m there within a couple hours of stalking them with my camera. Everyone relaxes and I’m able to capture very REAL moments and emotions.

We started the morning by cooking breakfast in their home after Killian helped his dad retrieve the morning paper. Tory is apparently the cook and Lorilei made her daily smoothie, followed by some crafts at the kitchen table, and exploring some water beads in a giant tub of water before venturing out of the house.  Killian usually has a full schedule of fun activities throughout the week and since mom and dad took the day off from lawyering we all got to accompany him to his activities. We started with a nice lunch out then, attended his sports lessons class (which was inside b/c of the cold), followed by private indoor swim lessons. The kid can swim the length of an  olympic pool. Better than me. And he’s FOUR. Quite impressive.  Apparently his dad has been taking him to this pool to swim since he was 6 months old and he took to it really well.

We ran an errand on the way back to their house to pick up a sink/plumbing part for their master bathroom that Killian would help dad repair. Dad prepped dinner while mom and Killian built a gingerbread house.  We enjoyed a nice Italian dinner and they indulged in s’mores in the backyard for dessert.  Afterwards, Killian and his dad worked on a Star Wars Lego project (doing legos is their “thing”) before heading to bedtime routine. They’re geniuses and have a reclining couch IN Killian’s room so they get super comfy during bedtime book reading. Each parent takes their turn reading books before bedtime prayers are said and goodnight kisses are given.

One thing I really enjoy about these storytelling sessions is that I get to learn the nitty gritty details of people’s stories. I get to learn their joys and their struggles.  How they discipline their children. How they reward their children.  They’re favorite foods and the little mannerisms that their kiddos have- but may only stick around for another few months. I get to see who does most of the cooking and what bedtime routines look like. I get to see how the kids adore their parents and the sweet affectionate touches and looks the parents give each other throughout the day. I see how they help balance the load of parenting.  I LEARN from these families. These are the memories worth preserving!

It was such a pleasure and joy serving this family with a full Day in the Life Storytelling Session!  It wasn’t but a couple weeks after their session, one of their sweet 15 year old dogs passed away.  I’m so glad they have these videos and pictures to remember her as a part of their family.

Here’s a quick 1 minute clip of their day (see full version below):

FULL Fusion Video:

Here are some of my favorite images:

_2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9853-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9873__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9889__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9894__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9906-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9917__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9922-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9936__5x7_

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_2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1175__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1255__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1307-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1287-2__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1355__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1408__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1445-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1449__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1414__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1532__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1465-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1597__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1511-2__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1475-2__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1631__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1668__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1688__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_0202__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1706__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1714__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1740__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1764__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1839__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_0198__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9837__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_9832__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1865-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_2008-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1929__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1882-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_1866__5x7__2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_2051__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_2063-2__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_2081__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_2110__5x7_ _2017_01_Cronin_HighRes_2123-2__5x7_



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